"Back to Work" with PRSA Tampa Bay

By Linda Hughes-Kirchubel, PhD and PRSA Tampa Bay member

PRSA Tampa Bay diligently works to support and strengthen professionals throughout their career journeys, and that includes help for those impacted by 2020’s extraordinary circumstances. Months after its launch, PRSA Tampa Bay’s Back to Work (BTW) continues its impact, not just locally but across the nation.

In May, with the full thrust of the coronavirus upon Florida, the nation, and the world, the PRSA Tampa Bay group was created in the wake of massive layoffs, furloughs, and downsizing. As the pandemic’s grip tightened locally, employers large and small initiated new work routines, activated remote work practices when possible, and instituted recommended public health guidelines. Ultimately, the virus toppled the labor market.

Amid this unprecedented crisis, PRSA Tampa Bay's Membership Committee, chaired by Bart Graham, reached out to chapter members, and learned many were impacted, and the BTW group was born. Less than a year later, nearly all the group’s founding members have reentered the traditional job force. Others found ways to pivot professionally, and all are continuing to support those who are managing the job search.

In a testament to his diligence and dedication, Graham connected with other PRSA chapters across the nation, encouraging them in their efforts to launch their own BTW groups.

"I came to PRSA Tampa Bay's BTW group after Bart made a presentation at PRSA Los Angeles' Job Club meeting," said Letitia Austin, owner of TISH Public Relations. "The invitation was made for PRSA-LA and PRSA-Tampa Bay members to participate in each other's meetings. I jumped at this opportunity to be a part of both groups because of the expanded networking opportunities and my desire to eventually relocate to Tampa from the Los Angeles area. I have found both groups to be very beneficial."

During each meeting, job seekers share resources with each other, celebrate victories and offer support for current challenges. Members share tips such as resume building, preparing for job interviews, and using the latest job-finding tools. In addition, PRSA Tampa Bay’s BTW members have also helped support other chapters that, inspired by PRSA Tampa Bay, started their own employment-support groups. Meanwhile, presentations from BTW “graduates” who have found employment keep current members inspired by their success.

“This is yet another example of the value of chapter membership,” said Josh Carrasco, APR, President, PRSA Tampa Bay. “Our chapter leaders saw a need and immediately sprang into action to serve our members. The Back to Work support group and its mission illustrates why PRSA Tampa Bay is the leading organization for PR professionals in the region.” 

PRSA Tampa Bay's Back to Work Group is open to all. For more information about the meeting times or PRSA Tampa Bay, contact Membership Chair Bart Graham, [email protected].


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