Canadian Public Relations Society Northern Lights Annual General Meeting 2015

Annual General Meeting 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

3:30 p.m.

Regional District of Fraser Fort George Board Room


  1. Call to order
  2. Approval of 2014 Annual General Meeting Minutes
  3. President’s Report 2014/2015
  4. Financial Report
  5. Review of By-laws
  6. Election of 2015/2016 Canadian Public Relations Society Northern Lights Membership Society Executive
  7. Other Business
  8. Adjournment

President’s Report

CPRSNL has had another very successful year in 2014/2015 with regular professional development events, effectively developing and executing a regional engagement strategy, creating networking opportunities, connecting with the national chapter, and placing a high importance on chapter sustainability.

The lunch and learn program that is held monthly is well attended by members, and attracts non-members interested in learning about the topics being presented. Topics this year include the Northern Health My Healthy Workplace Campaign (a winner of two CPRS Awards of Excellence in 2014), BC Hydro’s Site C Dam Project Community Consultation Process, Initiatives Prince George’s Move Up Prince George Campaign, and Public Relations in Sport with Stu Ballantyne. We continue to receive positive feedback on these events as they provide tactical considerations for members and an opportunity for people to network.


After seeing exceptional growth in 2014 from the Okanagan, Interior, and northern B.C., CPRSNL is implementing a regional engagement strategy. This strategy included forming a committee to ensure the strategy was locally driven and met the needs of the different regions. The first step was implementing livestreaming of CPRSNL Lunch and Learn events for access by members in the region. We have livestreamed three events to date, and the feedback has been positive while working on improving awareness of the program and quality. For the first time in chapter history, we also held an event in Kelowna to begin engaging members in the Okanagan. There were two sessions, the first with the City of Kelowna and the second with other public relations professionals. It appears there is appetite to have more CPRS engagement in that area, and it is something we will explore in the coming year. Another piece we will be looking at in the coming year is more professional development in communities outside of Prince George. We’re working on the details for a session in Terrace, B.C., which we’re hoping to have more details about in the coming month.


We have also been relatively stable in terms of membership. This is in part thanks to our regular event offerings and the continued belief from members that being part of CPRS is a benefit for their professional growth. This year the board called all of the current members to reach out and gather feedback. Their feedback was very positive, including those living in the regional areas. This was seen as a very positive action by our membership, and something we will continue to do throughout the year. We also heard feedback about our offerings that we will incorporate into our practices in the coming year.

CPRSNL hosted a number of social events including networking gatherings at local pubs and our annual Christmas Party. This year, the Christmas Party was able to raise $740 through the traditional CPRSNL bottle auction. The money raised is split with half going towards CPRSNL professional development initiatives, and half going to a local charity. Another key factor for our chapter this year is CPRSNL members involvement in the extremely successful 2015 Canada Winter Games hosted in Prince George, B.C. in February 2015. Members participated through their current jobs and volunteering, and had a large part in making it a success. CPRSNL helped with this by creating opportunities for the Games to give presentations to members, reach out about potential volunteer opportunities, and network to make connections in order to effectively work on relationships. CPRSNL did not direct or have ownership over the games, but our members made a huge social contribution by participating in a variety of formats to highlight our region and creating space to tell their story. It was another very successful year socially for CPRSNL, and we continue to increase engagement with members.

Our members continue to engage in a number of Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) national events. We had 12 members attend the national conference in Banff, B.C., approximately 25 per cent of our chapter membership. At the 2014 conference, CPRSNL members won three awards of excellence and Shelly Burich officially received her APR designation. Shelly was our fourth member to complete the APR program. We currently have two members going through the APR process with mentorship from both local and national members. CPRSNL also won the 2014 CN Emery Award for membership growth and the 2014 Lectern Awards. In addition to the awards received our chapter president Jessica Quinn was a guest speaker at the mini-conference in Regina, Saskatchewan about the award winning My Healthy Workplace campaign. To date we have six members heading to Montreal for the 2015 conference, and a number of members who have engaged with the awards program. We’re hopeful more awards will be presented to our members in Montreal. It is a considerable distance to travel for our members, and this shows they still see the value in attending the national conference due to the strong professional development and networking opportunities it presents.

CPRSNL continues to be a strong chapter in the CPRS family. We have been able to effectively manage our budget while expanding professional development offerings to members. This is also thanks to the hard work of the strong volunteer board that is dedicated to ensure the chapters success. Effective succession planning also allowed the board to continue despite having our president taking a personal hiatus after having her first child. Overall we were a functional board, with a majority of the board running on the slate for 2015/2016. I would like to thank the board members who have decided not to return for 2015/2016 for committing their volunteer time to the CPRSNL family. Thank you to Jessica Quinn, Brad Lyons, Renee McCloskey, and Amy Dhanjal for their time, and I hope you will consider rejoining the board at a future date as we would love to have you back.

Following the 2015 Annual General Meeting, we will also be finishing the incorporation process that is required for submitting our approved meeting minutes, financial statements, updated bylaws, and board member names to the Government of B.C. We will keep our members up to date on the progress of incorporation.

We’re very proud of the work we have accomplished, and are very excited for 2015/2016! Goals for 2015/2016 included continued regional engagement, executing a membership engagement process, providing more online resources between professional development events, and having fun!

With best regards,

Jonathon Dyck

Acting President

Canadian Public Relations Society – Northern Lights Chapter

CPRS Northern Lights Past President’s Report

After serving three years as President of CPRS Northern Lights, it was a privilege to remain on the Executive in the capacity of Past President. It is an exciting time to be a member of this chapter and this executive, as I believe the younger leaders who are taking on roles of greater responsibility can only help our chapter flourish. I viewed my role of Past President as one who can provide some continuity for the executive, who can assist with succession planning, and who can step in and take on specific tasks when the need arises.

One task I did offer to spearhead was our chapter’s incorporation, which has become a requirement due to federal government legislation. I’ve received considerable assistance from our President, Jonathon Dyck, and our Membership Chair Susan Clarke on this file. Due to other work and volunteer duties, progress was slow over late 2014, but this year we have fully reviewed and edited our bylaws, and have a new set to present to the Board for approval. This approval will trigger the process of actually incorporating as a not-for-profit society. This change will result in some added administrative work over the course of a year, such as providing audited financial statements, but it also sets some clear parameters in which our organization must function to continue in our evolution.

I am more than happy to let my name stand for another term as past president. With our former president Jessica Quinn away on parental leave, it is appropriate that I continue as past president. Should Jessica wish to assume the role when she returns actively to the chapter, I will certainly vacate the post.

It has been a pleasure serving as Past President for the 2014-15 term, and I look forward to another year of exciting change, evolution, growth, and continued excellence in Northern Lights.

Respectfully submitted

Matt Wood

Past President

Canadian Public Relations Society – Northern Lights

Membership Chair

Currently, CPRS Northern Lights has 35 members in the communities of Quesnel, Penticton, Prince George, Kelowna, Kamloops, Dawson Creek, Iqaluit, Courtenay, Terrace, Red Deer, Williams Lake, Burns Lake and Kitimat.

The last year has seen a decrease in membership, from a high of 39 members at the end of April 2014 to the current 35 (at April 30, 2015). Of the expired members, some of the reasons for not renewing include: change of jobs and parental leave.

In the 2014 year, we had success in growing our chapter primarily from referrals of new members from our existing membership. Referrals from Chapter members have been fewer this year than last, and a career change has caused my time to devote to CPRS to be very limited thus far in 2015.

CPRS National has a specific Membership campaign and month, which we participated in, though minimally – mainly via social media posts. The timing was not ideal for our chapter, due to the time of year and lack of available time to dedicate to the campaign. I have suggested to National that chapters are able pick their own membership month.

We have a great chapter, and I anticipate that we will continue to attract more members


Susan Clarke

Membership Chair

Canadian Public Relations Society – Northern Lights

Education Chair Description

When I joined the Board, I thought my role as Education Chair would involve passing on education opportunities related to communications to the Northern Lights Chapter. However, due to the fact that there are no communications programs at post-secondary schools in Prince George, I did not end up having any information to communicate to the Chapter. As a result, my role on the Board ended up involving attending Executive meetings and helping with Chapter activities when possible. I would recommend that the person who takes on this role combines it with another role such as pro-d or regional engagement. This will round out the portfolio more and enable whoever succeeds me to play a more active role on the Board.

Christina Doll

Education Chair

Canadian Public Relations Society – Northern Lights

Communications Chair’s Report

Well it has been quite the year. Last year Brad Lyons and I were nominated as co-Chairs of the Communications for Northern Lights. Little did we know that Brad was going to be moving to Alberta for an incredible new opportunity, nor did I have the ability to foresee that one of Canada’s worst environmental disasters was going to take place within the Cariboo Regional District. However, life goes on and we made it through these challenges.

I would like to thank Brad for being my co-chair this year and for his contributions to CPRSNL. I would also like to thank our Acting President for all of his support and encouragement with communications after Brad’s departure.

Throughout the 2014/2015 term, we have strived to continue to provide members with as much information as possible about local, regional and National communiques using email and social media. Live-Streaming of our Professional Development sessions was introduced as a means of providing opportunities for our regional members, and other chapters to join us for the Lunch and Learn Sessions. We also continued to build on the CPRSNL blog and websites. In the coming year we will continue to develop all of these tools.

During a recent Executive meeting, we identified the need to conduct a survey to determine the best ways to communicate with, and serve the needs of our organization. This will be a follow up survey to one which was conducted a few years ago. This will be taking place over the summer months.

In addition to the ongoing internal communications, in 2015, I would also like to improve our external communications to build the CPRSNL profile within our region, including more earned media coverage and support to help promote not only CPRS and the Northern Lights Chapter, but also to raise awareness of our profession in our communities.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve the CPRSNL membership throughout 2014/2015. It truly is an honour.

Respectfully submitted,

Shelly Burich, APR

Communications Chair 

Accreditation Chair’s Report

The APR program continues to gain interest from the Northern Lights group. We have two – count ‘em, two – members pursuing their APR this year. If both are successful, that would increase the number of APRs in our membership by 50 per cent!

This past year, I participated in an information session in Kelowna with Renee and Jonathan, which included a piece on the APR. We believe the APR is an important lure for potential new members, and it certainly seemed to be so for the people who attended. Many people in the Okanagan have either had or have accreditation in other programs (e.g. ABC).

This coming year I hope to have the opportunity to promote the APR a little more, beginning in the fall with an info session, and followed by any personal information or coaching anyone might want in anticipation of the application deadline of Dec. 1.

One thing to note for those contemplating doing the APR: an award submission is often a good starting point for application into the process. You just need a work sample, and if you have won – or even submitted – to the CPRS awards program, you likely have a big part of your work sample already completed. Talk to me if you want to find out more.

I believe the APR is a worthy goal for anyone involved in PR who is looking at options for professional development, and adding new educational courses and professional designations to their resumes to compete for managerial jobs in public relations and move their careers to the next level. So, a little background:

What is the APR designation?

Accreditation is a voluntary certification program for public relations professionals that is administered by the Canadian Public Relations Society. Currently, it is Canada’s only public relations and communications accreditation program. It identifies practitioners who have depth of experience and competence in the professional practice of public relations.

Why is it important?

Earning the APR designation demonstrates professionalism and is tangible evidence to the public that you have demonstrated a high level of knowledge, skills, abilities and ethics in the area of public relations. It is for this reason that many organizations and corporations specifically seek public relations professionals with the APR designation.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible, you must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Be a member in good standing with the CPRS
  • Be employed full-time in a public relations position for at least five years
  • Spend at least half of your professional time involved in public relations

Easy peasy, right? Quite a few of our members are at the stage where the APR is a realistic goal. It is hard work. But the rewards are numerous, not least of which is the high level of rigour and focus the process helps bring to the work we all do in our daily lives.

If anyone has any questions about the designation or the process, give me a call.

Cam McAlpine, APR

Accreditation Chair

Canadian Public Relations Society – Northern Lights

Proposed Board of Directors for 2015/2016 Canadian Public Relations Society Northern Lights

President – Jonathon Dyck

Vice-President – Christina Doll

Past President – Matt Wood

Secretary-Treasurer – Susan Clarke

Events Chair – Vacant

Membership Chair – Vacant

Professional Development Chair – Alyson Gourley-Cramer

Communications Co-Chairs – Shelly Burich and Matt Wood

Accreditation in Public Relations Chair – Cam McAlpine

Education/Regional Engagement Chair – Vacant

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