Each week, PRsay will interview one of the nominees for the 2022 PRSA Board of Directors.
Name: Heide Harrell, M.A., APR
Location: Little Rock, Ark.
Current job title: Director of Marketing & Business Development at Rose Law Firm
Board nominee position: Director, Southwest District
Alma mater: UA Little Rock, Master of Arts in Applied Communication Studies
Years a PRSA member: 15
You’ve held a variety of leadership roles at PRSA starting with the Arkansas Chapter. What has fueled this passion to serve PRSA through the years?
Maya Angelou once said, “I have found that, among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”
Without question, I would not be where I am in my career if it had not been for my involvement in the Arkansas Chapter. Our membership is made up of many mentors and colleagues who have supported, guided and shaped who I am as a professional. At the end of the day, my wish is for current and future members to feel the intense passion and gratitude I have for PRSA.
What are some of your strengths as a leader?
Being sociable, principled and adaptable. First, I feel energized when I am in social settings and try to work my “social mojo” wherever I am. I like to think my greatest strength as a leader is my ability to leverage what I call “Southern sass.” This allows me to share my ideas and opinions, while also adding a smile and maybe a giggle to the conversations. Sometimes levity is needed during intense discussions so everyone can take a step back and breathe.
Second, I am proud of my rock-solid principles, which are in line, almost verbatim, with PRSA’s Code of Ethics. I strive to do the right thing the right way in every situation. That does not mean that I am always right — quite the contrary.
However, my decisions and actions are built on the rules of right conduct. Last but not least, adaptability is vitally important to the future success of PRSA, and being a “complacent chameleon” doesn’t have a place on this Board. Whenever I hear the phrase, “but this is how it’s always been done,” it immediately makes me want to find other ways.
What are you most looking forward to next year with PRSA?
The kickoff of PRSA’s 75th-anniversary celebration! I serve on the task force, led by our dedicated co-chairs, Dr. Felicia Blow, APR, and Dr. Denise Hill, APR, which is hard at work executing a robust plan to honor PRSA’s role in shaping the PR profession. I don’t want to give away any surprises, but we are excited to rally our members around this historic milestone!
John Elsasser is PRSA’s publications director and editor-in-chief of its award-winning publication, Strategies & Tactics. He joined PRSA in 1994.