Networking is a PR mandate, especially now

Just because America is in a recession doesn't mean I have to be in one. I've heard this theme echoed repeatedly from podiums across the country.

Just because America is in a recession doesn't mean I have to be in one. I've heard this theme echoed repeatedly from podiums across the country recently. The reality for African Americans in PR, however, is that some of our best and brightest talent have been hardest hit by the economic downturn.

As a volunteer officer for the National Black Public Relations Society (NBPRS), I know first-hand that many among our membership are still challenged. At the same time, some of our members have achieved remarkable milestones.

What has been marvelous to see in these mixed times is the power of our NBPRS network helping to support those members who need it. It's been a great testament to the power of the networking concept.

Many NBPRS members have recovered from loss of jobs and business, thanks to job referrals, relationships, and recommendations. If ever there was a time for anyone to be involved in a professional organization, it's now.

This week, we will host the 2011 NBPRS Conference and Career Fair, October  27-30, at the InterContinental Milwaukee Hotel. Aptly themed “The Network @ Work: Managing Transitions, Techniques, and Technology for Career and Business Success,” we will caucus around employment, career transitions, and new business development. Additionally, we'll hear inspirational stories about innovation and re-creation in these tough times.

Former US ambassador and US Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D-IL) has reinvented herself from long-time public servant to entrepreneur. Her company, Ambassador Organics, sells certified organic and biodynamic food products.

Kim Hunter, founder of Lagrant Communications, is enjoying 20 years of success in business, and also has launched an executive search firm to match employers with top talent.

Career expert Virginia Clarke, author of Career Mapping: Charting Your Course in the New World of Work, will present a special strategy session on career management and diversity recruitment.

Additionally, we will unveil the first NBPRS Network @ Work Membership Guide and directory of African-American practitioners – a benefit for our members and for potential employers.

At the conference, our entire network comes together to focus on supporting each other. However, true networking is not about getting; it's about giving. What can you do to help your personal and professional networks thrive?

When we next look in the mirror, we should ask ourselves the question – what have we personally done to make our networks work better – especially if it is a good time for us.

Wynona Redmond is president of the National Black Public Relations Society and VP of corporate social responsibility at Northstar Lottery Group.

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