Forgive the lack of humility in using this forum to announce that I am officially representing Canada on the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) Council for a two-year term beginning this week. Founded in 1955, the mission of the IPRA is "to be the world's most relevant, resourceful and influential professional association for senior international public relations executives."
This is taken from the news release that was sent out announcing the election:
"As the Canadian representative, Mr. Neil will be responsible for helping to develop and promote the IPRA in Canada, develop local activities and services, and continue to build thought leadership around developing issues and areas relevant to the practice of public relations. He is. . . 'especially keen to become involved in the new IPRA president's focus on corporate diplomacy'."
In North America, in the cocktail that is the initials of public relations associations (IABC, CPRS, IPR, IMC, PRSA, etc.), the IPRA is probably the least well-known. But what has impressed me enough to become more active in the organization's governance is the extent to which professionals from outside North America and the U.K. are involved. The IPRA Summit attracts public relations practitioners from 30-40 countries.
The diversity of experiences and views represented can't help but add something to my counsel to international clients who are dealing with a multiplicity of cultures and histories. I have learned, for example, to temper my passionate evangelism for social media strategies internationally, especially social networks, with the knowledge that some cultures are less comfortable with this type of highly personal -- or indeed public -- individual communication.
I hope I can help IPRA become better known in North America and contribute to its thought leadership. But I have no doubt I will learn a lot from participating.