A Community-lived Life

Cprs Board Photo

On June 14, 2018, CPRS Vancouver celebrated another year at its Summer Social and Annual General Meeting. It has been my honor to serve as President of this Chapter for the last 2 years, and to sit on the local Board of Directors for the past 5 years.

I first joined CPRS in 2009 because the National conference was taking place in Vancouver and I wanted the member discount rate. By 2011, I had decided to pursue my Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) and in 2013, I joined the local Board – which has significantly impacted my life and career for the positive.

There are many things I’m proud of with respect to the work done by this Board in the 2017-2018 year, all of which you can read in our Annual Report to Members. You’ll note that CPRS Vancouver is in excellent financial shape, we are now the largestlocal society across Canada, and we are looking forward to celebrating a big milestone – 2019 marks CPRS Vancouver’s 60th anniversary!

Before I go, I’d like to talk a minute about volunteerism and my involvement in the CPRS community.

I can tell you that there have been many moments over the last couple of years where I have thought to myself, “wow, this is a lot of work… and I’m not even getting paid!”

Whether that has been meeting with the National organization staff and Board members on a regular basis, liaising with other Chapter President’s across the country, recruiting and onboarding amazing talent locally for our initiatives, helping to plan special events and professional development workshops, there have been some days where I’ve thought “something’s got to  give.”

But in the last few months I’ve taken a hard look at the things I commit time and energy to, as we all know, time is valuable and not in abundance.

This past winter, I read in a book called “Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life”, written by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. There are some good reflection exercises in the book, but the section that stood out for me about building a well-lived joyful life, is belonging to and actively creating COMMUNITY.

That word gets tossed around a lot. So, what is community?

Burnett and Evans outline four aspects of a community:  

  1. A community has a kindred purpose. We share a mission that keeps us moving forward.

  2. A community meets regularly. We partake in consistent, ongoing conversation and we meet because we agree that life lived in a community-supported way is a better life.

  3. A community has some shared ground. We often share similar values with a willingness to try new things together and establish priorities.

  4. A community allows an individual to know others and be known. A level of personal disclosure exists, we share aspirations, engage honestly about our hopes and struggles, and actively participate.  

That fourth one really speaks to me because I can say that many of the peers I have met through CPRS have now also become my friends, my confidants and my professional support network.

In today’s age of social media interaction and content overload, where it is so easy to be personally and emotionally disconnected from others, belonging to this CPRS community truly creates personal connections and human interactions that I feel make for a healthier and more joyful life.

This community has done that for me, and I hope that CPRS Vancouver continues to do that for you, as well. If it hasn’t yet, I encourage you to think about how community fits into your life and how being involved in CPRS, or other professional associations for that matter, can help fill your cup.

While I will still be sticking around on the local Board for another year as Past President, I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for letting me be a part of this community and part of my well-lived, joyful life!

About the Author

Emma Shea is the Past President of the Vancouver CPRS chapter and Principal of EJS Public Relations.