'PRomise', a non-profit foundation for public relations, has been launched by young professionals from the industry. Professionals employed with PR agencies and in corporate communication departments will run the foundation's initiative in their individual capacities, said founder trustees Akshar Yadav and Amith Prabhu.
Prabhu, formerly associate director - communications, Starcom MediaVest Group, India, is now with Edelman Public Relations, and is based in Chicago. Yadav is part of Centronics Support, an online PR firm.
"We felt it was time for PR professionals across the board to collectively work to enhance the reputation of a profession that has been misunderstood lately. We realised the best way to do our bit is to group together and focus on three or four initiatives that create a forum for practitioners of all ages – right from the student who is yet to begin a career going up to the leader in the business who has spent decades in the profession. This is a small step in the right direction and we believe this effort will go a long way in making a difference to the true-blue professional," said Yadav.
A statement from the foundation lists the first initiative as a scholarship for students pursuing post graduation in public relations full time. The value of the award is (up to) Rs 50,000. Aspirants need to register and write an essay on 'Public Relations needn't always be a short-term fix for businesses; it can be a critical strategic communications tool too'. Details are available at www.promisefoundation.com
Other initiatives planned include a 'National Weekend Public Relations Conference' in November. A 'Board of Advisors' comprising senior professionals from academics, media, corporate communications, marketing and business have been roped in; besides a 'Board of Mentors' comprised of country heads of public relations firms, according to the founders.
Founding members of PRomise are Shane Jacob (The PRactice), Shrey Khetarpal (Genesis BM), Shreysi Chandra (Corporate Voice Weber Shandwick), Ajit Pai (Edelman), Mariam Joseph (Hanmer MSL), Supriya Morde (Waggener Edstrom), Liza Saha (Text 100), Chiku Somaiya (Airfoil PR, San Francisco), Bodhisatya Basu Thakur (BursonMarsteller, Shanghai), Umesh Nair (Fleishman Hillard), Bhuvaneshwari Joshi (Reliance Industries) and Shekhar DasChowdhury (Mercedes Benz).
Noting that the initiative is not about individuals or the 15-member founding team, Prabhu added, "It is about the future of the profession that we are all concerned. We have recieved tremendous response from CEOs and senior corporate communicators from across levels and we are humbled by the encouragement. The initiative is becoming a movement driven by volunteers who have full-time day jobs and that's the way we want it to be."