PRSA Memphis, Rossie Prep for Busy Year

By Andy Meek

The Memphis chapter of the Public Relations Society of America is kicking off what incoming chapter president Kim Speros Rossie is calling a busy 2014 by naming Beverly Robertson, outgoing president of the National Civil Rights Museum, as the 2014 recipient of the chapter’s Communicator of the Year Award.

PRSA Memphis will celebrate Robertson and her legacy Thursday, Jan. 9, at 11:45 a.m. at the University Club, 1346 Central Ave.

Admission to the event is free for members and $25 for nonmembers.

“Our first goal is to provide our members with quality programming and networking opportunities through our monthly luncheons and development sessions.”

–Kim Speros Rossie
PRSA Memphis incoming president

“The award is about recognizing someone in the chapter or just in the community who’s getting it done on the communication front,” said Jeff Hulett, communications supervisor at the Church Health Center and publicity chair of PRSA Memphis. “These are people who are putting their organization or nonprofit – whatever entity they represent – on the map locally and just getting it done, getting results.”

Robertson has been president of the museum for most of its 22 years and is retiring in July after guiding the museum through a major renovation that debuts in March.

Robertson announced her retirement at the start of the Thanksgiving weekend, and she told The Daily News at the time that the museum’s $27 million renovation and an endowment were accomplishments she wanted to see through before moving on.

“Everything has a season,” Robertson said at the time, “and I’ve had mine.”

The museum expanded its footprint in the South Main Historic Arts District during Robertson’s tenure, including the 2002 opening of the museum’s annex building across Mulberry Street from the museum’s courtyard.

PRSA Memphis’ Communicator of the Year award was established in 1976, with Liberty Bowl founder Bud Dudley as the first recipient. Duncan Williams, president of investment firm Duncan-Williams Inc., won the award last year.

Rossie, senior public relations coordinator at Youth Villages, said the chapter will pursue a number of things to continue its commitment to enhancing the PR profession in the region.

“Our first goal is to provide our members with quality programming and networking opportunities through our monthly luncheons and development sessions,” Rossie said.

“We (also) look forward to highlighting the quality work done by the PR professionals in the Mid-South at our annual Vox Awards.”

Hulett added that the organization wants to raise its visibility and tap more into a kind of revitalization of positivity in the city.

“We want to do more events, more outings, be more active and partner with other groups, because it really is a great way to connect, and there’s so many different groups on the ground doing so many different things,” Hulett said. “In Memphis, there’s so much positive forward motion happening right now, with different neighborhoods being revitalized, new restaurants, the Greenline, you name it. And we benefit from that because we get to bring these people in and basically ask, ‘How did you do that?’

“The Grizzlies, for example, came in and launched their campaign ‘Greater Memphis’ a few months back. So it was exciting and interesting to get the inside scoop on how they came up with that.”