Not Goodbye, But See You Soon

As my time as president comes to a close, I wanted to take a moment to share some thoughts and gratitude. 

First and foremost, I would like to thank you, our members, for electing me as your president and trusting me with the management of our chapter this year. It’s been a true honor and a tremendous growth opportunity for me. 

Throughout the course of the year, and during my entire tenure on the PRSA San Diego/Imperial Counties Board of Directors (I began board service in 2018), I have learned so much about leadership, effective internal communication and the importance of clear, concise workflows. All skills that translate to my full-time work and will undoubtedly prove to be beneficial throughout my career. 

It Takes a Village

As a team, the 2022 board stacked up many impressive accomplishments and I am proud of our collective work. From bringing our annual Edward L. Bernays Mark of Excellence Awards ceremony back to a full-scale event and refreshing our Mentorship Program to stepping up our diversity and inclusion game and launching and maintaining our new website, the board tackled several important tasks that brought our organization closer to achieving our long-term goals. 

If I had to choose one area where the chapter shined brightest this year, it would be making good on our commitment to diversity and inclusion. We are in a period of philosophical change and are taking a closer and honest look at our operations to determine how we can do better. 

We hired an equity, diversity and inclusion consultant – the fabulous Janedra Sykes from the Aboreta Group, LLC – to lead the board through a year-long training, which we just wrapped up this summer. As a result of our work with Janedra, we now know how the chapter can better serve our community and have outlined SMART goals that will help put what we learned into practice in the coming years. I, for one, am proud to have been a part of this work and am so grateful to have done it alongside such innovative and talented industry peers.

Getting Personal for a Minute

Given my background, having the opportunity to serve as your president has meant a great deal to me. My family comes from humble beginnings. Though many do not realize it at first glance, I am Latina. Specifically, I am Spanish, Portuguese, Mexican and Irish. My father’s second language is English – he spoke Spanish exclusively until he was nine years old. My paternal grandparents were raised in adobe homes in Anthony, New Mexico with no running water (or electricity, I don’t think). They were farmers who were no stranger to hard work, something that I am proud of and try to emulate in all facets of my life.

Being a first-generation college graduate and only two generations away from extreme poverty, it is surreal that I had the honor of serving in this capacity for our chapter. There are many more little known facts that I could share, but I’ll save that for another time. For now, I just wanted to emphasize how special this experience has been for me. Thank you.

Looking Forward

In closing, I want to assure you that becoming an approachable organization that widens its arms to include all communities was and still is of utmost importance to chapter leadership. We want to make everyone feel welcome, heard and respected. Your opinion matters and we want nothing more than for our membership to be engaged and excited about what’s to come at PRSA SD/IC in 2023 and beyond. 

I look forward to working with the new board in 2023 and seeing you all in the New Year! Happy Holidays! 

Photo by Courtney Hedger on Unsplash

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