907.529.2391 | mary@barbergp.com

PRSA –- My Career Investment Fund

Many of you who know me are aware I’m pretty sold on the value of membership in the Public Relations Society of America. I’ve had enough questions about it that I thought I’d explain some of the reasons why.

  • Friends – the real kind. The kind you’ll do almost anything for and they’ll reciprocate. From Fairbanks to Miami and hundreds of points in between, my real life friends are there for me just like I’m there for them. We help each other learn and grow professionally and personally.
  • Learning – Webinars, in-person sessions, conferences, locally and nationally. Ethics and advocacy in areas of concern to the profession. There’s access to information and resources. PRSA’s online directory leads you to other members who can help you answer whatever challenge comes your way. Its search function is amazing.
  • Mentoring – Kind of fits with the friend and learning sections, but the protégés I work with teach me on a regular basis. And, when I offer them advice, I know they appreciate it as well.

You can see from this list that I’ve done more than pay my annual dues to PRSA. And, that’s critical because by actually joining and participating I’ve gained benefits that last a lifetime. The Wall Street Journal had an article this week about successful solo professionals. I attribute a lot of my success to the professional network I already established before going out on my own.

The argument against PRSA normally reverts to cost. If you break it down, your PRSA membership is less than $.60/day – less than $5/week. You probably spend $5 coffee every day so why not invest in your career instead? It will certainly reap more rewards.

Obviously, I’m a fan of PRSA but you may have another organization that’s stronger in your market or fits better with your career goals. It really doesn’t matter as long as you join and then participate. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

Disclaimer: Mary is currently a member of the PRSA Alaska Chapter Board of Directors and an officer in PRSA’s College of Fellows. She is also a past member/officer of the PRSA nationally.

Photo Credit: Albert Chau

By |2018-03-18T23:02:42+00:00February 9th, 2010|Leadership & Networking|3 Comments

About the Author:

Mary Deming Barber, APR, Fellow PRSA, runs a strategic communications consultancy where she helps clients understand how to integrate new media into traditional communication programs. Mary has counseled clients in Tacoma, Anchorage, San Francisco, Oregon, and Colorado for nearly 40 years working with a variety of food organizations, several agencies, and as a key team member on two successful US Senate campaigns. 


  1. DeAnn Baxter February 9, 2010 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    Mary, I couldn’t agree more with this post! Never has PRSA been more important to me than now as I seek employment in the field. From free online Webinars at the national level to networking events at the local level and sections in between that allow me to learn more about my interests and connect with experienced pros for advice and support, PRSA has truly been a benefit in my life, especially during this trying time. I also enjoy receiving PRSA publications, written for members by members, providing pros with an outlet to share their ideas and opinions. I am confident that I will be a PRSA member for life.

  2. Rosanna Fiske February 10, 2010 at 12:07 pm - Reply


    I am a “lifer” as well. I’ve seen my PRSA dues pay for themselves over and over again. It’s actually the best investment I’ve made in myself (other than my shoe collection!). Seriously, every job after my first position in marketing came to me from a PRSA connection. Plus, my PRSA networks and PD have provided me with incredible “in the know” status with many of my Fortune 500 clients. One client said it all: “I come to you for counsel because you’re always better informed than I am.” I credit that to my PRSA membership and my active involvement in the organization.

  3. I really like how you framed the idea of joining the PRSA as being part of your career investment fund. And even though I haven’t leveraged my membership as much as I could these days, the value in being part of the community is incredible…from networking alone, there’s lots of things to be mined and leveraged.

    Very Nice Post, Mary!

    Narciso Tovar
    Big Noise Communications

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