PR Profile: Adam Grossman, National Board of Directors Nominee

Adam Grossman PhotoThe National Canadian Public Relations Society is governed by a 12 member Board of Directors. Each director is elected for a three-year term via secret ballot following the Annual General Meeting. This year, two CPRS Vancouver members, Adam Grossman (profiled below) and Rashpal Rai, have been nominated among seven others vying for four spots. Voting is open to all CPRS members until the AGM on May 25, 2014. Ballots can be found here.

CPRS digital writer, Tanya Colledge, caught up with Adam to talk about his current role and hopes for election to the National Board of Directors:

Name: Adam Grossman

Job title: Senior Media Relations Advisor

Company you work for: ICBC

Career background/What got you interested in this career path?

After completing my Master’s degree in American and Canadian history and literature, I unintentionally fell into journalism. After a few years as a reporter and editor, I made the move into PR after crossing the ocean from The Motherland (England) to Canada in 2004. I haven’t looked back since. I spent three and a half years with a PR agency before making the switch to ICBC in 2008.

Why do you want to run for a National board position? Why should members vote for you?

I recently completed a five-year term on the board of CPRS Vancouver. During my first two years, I was the Education Director—responsible for our student membership and engagement portfolio. During this time, I achieved:

  • An increase in student member benefits, which saw student membership rise to more than 120.
  • A complete relaunch of CPRS Vancouver’s Mentorship Program, pairing 15 mentors/mentees each year.
  • A number of student-only workshop events, drawing an average of 70 students per event.
  • The formation of an Education Committee of local volunteers.

Over the following three years, I served as CPRS Vancouver’s Vice-President, President and Past-President. The highlights of my term as President included:

  • The relaunch of — a whole new website filled with regularly refreshed content, thought-leadership articles and an expanded member-only benefits section.
  • The creation of a new Senior Practitioners events series.
  • More than double the postings and revenue from our local, online job board.

After my experience of serving our local chapter, I would greatly look forward to representing our association and industry at a national level.

What will be your first order of business if selected?

Having previous experience of serving on boards, my golden rule on arrival is to listen and learn — and that will be my first order of business if I’m elected to the CPRS National Board. I would want to hear their goals, strategy and challenges for the year ahead and beyond, and to find out where I can best help serve.

What do you love most about PR/communications?

The sheer unpredictability of it all! I remember one morning in my PR agency days when I got to the office early to get a head start on a particular client project. Before I even sat down, my CEO grabbed me, we ran to his car and hit the road on the way to an entirely different client who was dealing with an urgent crisis. On the way, I remember him asking me if I was OK? I said, “Absolutely — this is what I love about this job.” He told me there and then that I was going to have a great career in this profession.

In my currently role managing media relations for a very large company with more than its fair share of issues to manage, life is just as unpredictable. I have a to-do list of things to get done each day and week but I have no idea what I’m going to be working on when I wake up in the morning. My role also allows me to contribute to the company’s overall strategic communications planning — something I love doing.

Favourite PR/communications campaign:

As a parent of two young girls, I’ve become very vulnerable to someone tugging on my emotional heartstrings. The folks at WestJet knocked it out of the park for me with their ‘Christmas Miracle’ campaign.

Best career advice:

To quote one of the greatest men in our recent history, or of any time, Martin Luther King Jr.:

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

Work hard and do the very best with any opportunity that comes your way. My PR career started out as just one day of work. By doing the very best I could with just those eight hours I had, that one day gave me the career I have today.

Favourite journalist/blogger in the city:

Given I work with every media outlet in B.C., I need to be careful about naming favourites but if I had to choose, Chad Skelton at The Vancouver Sun. He understands that what he asks for may take some time and he’s always truly grateful for any assistance we can provide. Chad demonstrates a respect for the efforts our media relations team and how hard we work to help the media out.

Fun fact about you:

One thing I love about life is that you’re never too old to discover new joys that may have been there all along just waiting for you to find them. In 2014, my new joy has been comic books. A friend of mine kept telling me to give some comics and graphic novels a go. I started with a brilliant series called ‘Y: The Last Man’ and now I’m so obsessed with comics. I’ve just made the decision to put all other reading aside for this year. It’s a great escape and a form of storytelling and creative freedom that cannot be found anywhere else.