Local Public Relations Pro, Now Leader of the Pack
Prince George, B.C. – Renee McCloskey is well known in the community of Prince George and region for her work in the public relations field and now, she can be referred to as “Madam President” as she is the new head of the Canadian Public Relations Society.
(at right, Renee McCloskey , image courtesy CPRS)
With 1500 members across the country, McCloskey moved to the top rank having served two years as Vice President and has been a member of the National Board for the past 5.
Currently employed by the Regional District of Fraser Fort George,( a position she will keep) she has also served in a public relations role for Northern Health and did some work for Alcan.
To her credit, she started the local Northern Lights chapter of the CPRS some 16 years ago, establishing a group where those in the public relations field could network , and bounce ideas off each other. “The idea of that was to bring the benefits of the National organization to the local people” says McCloskey.
CPRS is the professional body of the public relations profession across Canada. “It’s a place for professional practitioners to be supported in their on going professional development” says McCloskey ” We have a code of professional standards that all of our members adhere to, we have accreditation programs so members can be tested on their skills, tactics and strategies.”
McCloskey becomes the first person from Northern B.C. to head up this organization, and the 5th from British Columbia.
Issues she sees facing the profession include shedding the moniker of spin doctors, ” We recognize there is a stereotype that some have applied to the practice of public relations and communications, but if you look at the work our members are doing across the country, there is ground breaking, fantastic work that’s happening.”: She says Public Relations is the conduit for a lot of organizations to make sure there is meaningful engagement and outreach to the public.
As an example of the good work that can be done, she points to Rob van Adrichem, who will soon leave his VP position at the University of Northern B.C. to join the City of Prince George. “I think the work that Rob van Adrichem has been able to do at UNBC helped build the character and personality of UNBC. ”
Challenges for the CPRS? McCloskey says she sees advocacy for the role and value that Public relations bring as being a major challenge ” The irony is that public relations does a great job of helping with reputation management and issues management but we don’t do that great a job for ourselves and that is something that we’ve commented on over the years.”