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'Your Communicator'- December Issue

Produced by the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

What a year it has been! I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to lead the chapter in 2020. And I’m especially appreciative of the board for their commitment to the professional practice of public relations in our region and well beyond.

No, this year was not the year I expected. Still, we took advantage of virtual technology to expand our speaker’s series. We used some downtime to develop a solid foundation for the chapter and for future board members. And with the addition of Allie Buth as our Chapter Administrator, being an effective board member became significantly easier. Take a look at our one-page annual report.

I, for one, am looking forward to a time –hopefully in mid-2021—when we can be together in person again. Despite its hardships and disappointments, 2020 was a growth year for me, and I hope it was for you, too.

The capacity of communicators like you to quietly lift-up our community is powerful. There are many examples, but the most recent is a group of more than 50 public information officers from our region that gather monthly to coordinate COVID vaccine communications.

We’re certainly not out of the woods yet. Still we’ve developed a strong road map and infrastructure to tackle whatever 2021 brings. Until I see you again, stay safe and healthy.

Happy New Year!



One for the money: Put Monday, January 4, 2021 at 7 p.m. on your calendars. We’ll be releasing a short video celebrating the Summit Award winners. Stay tuned for more information. Suffice it to say, you all did impressive work this year.

Two for the show: PRSA has always held webinars, but the pandemic took them up a notch. Take advantage of these events and webinars, some of which are free to PRSA members.

Three to get ready: Here are some quick ideas to help you grow professionally.

Four to go: Each month, learn more about one of our members. Please consider submitting your profile for an upcoming feature. Here’s how it works.

This month, we have a chance to get to know Brittany Madonna, Vice President of Marketing & Communications for the YMCA of Virginia’s Blue Ridge, and outgoing Secretary (and incoming Treasurer) of the PRSA Blue Ridge Chapter’s board.

What was your best day as a communicator?

My best day as a communicator was the day the Y opened its new Botetourt location. For months, I had been planning for the grand opening to be on January 1, but I knew several things could potentially push the date as with all construction projects. I will never forget the two weeks leading up to our opening when I had media lined up and marketing in motion announcing the opening. I remember standing in the hallways, wondering if we would be able to pull off all of the work that still needed to be done. Luckily, we did, and it is a day I will forever cherish.

What was your worst day as a communicator?

My worst day as a communicator was on March 17 of this year. It was the day I had to communicate to our membership and the community the Y was closing due to COVID. I knew I was cutting off a place many people rely on for daily socialization, mental wellness, and health.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose and why?

I would be on a tropical island with white sand and clear blue water. The beach has always been a place that has allowed me to clear my mind and come back feeling refreshed and energized. Any island would do, but I have always wanted to visit the Fiji Islands!

Over the next 12 months, I am looking forward to having the opportunity to do some of the things I missed out on during 2020. I hope to make up the trip to Germany with my family that we missed this past June and train and compete in another sprint triathlon this upcoming summer.

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