Strategies & Tactics

Remembering a Past President; Recruiting for 2020 Leadership

By John Elsasser

March 4, 2019

I was sorry to hear about the recent passing of Joe Vecchione, APR, Fellow PRSA. He was 87.

Vecchione served as the Board chair when I started at PRSA in 1994. He wrote the editor’s note for our inaugural issue of Tactics that year.

He also took the time to welcome me to PRSA, asking about my previous work as well as my aspirations for the new publication. I remember him as a kind, thoughtful person who was a tireless advocate for PRSA. That stuck with me these past 25 years.

In 2001, PRSA honored Vecchione with the Paul M. Lund Public Service Award for his many years of volunteer work. The following year, he received the Gold Anvil, PRSA’s highest individual award for lifetime achievement in public relations.

“We’ve lost a true PRSA icon in Joe Vecchione,” PRSA’s 2019 Chair Debra Peterson, APR, said in a statement. “We were very fortunate to be able to benefit from his broad experience, expertise and passion for the profession and PRSA. We are grateful for his leadership through the years.”

Vecchione spent the majority of his career at the Prudential Insurance Company in Newark, N.J., starting in 1965. He became manager of Prudential’s PR division in 1969 and continued his ascent with a promotion to vice president of public relations in 1978. He retired from the company in December 1994.

Despite his illustrious vocation as a communicator, Vecchione almost took a different path.

“I wanted to be an electrical engineer, but that went down the drain when it was discovered I had no talent whatsoever for mechanical drawing, a prime requisite,” he once told the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations. “I did, however, feel comfortable writing, so I looked for a career in that direction.”

Luckily for us, he chose the PR profession.

Seeking leaders for 2020 and beyond

Nominations are now open for the 2020 PRSA Board of Directors. PRSA will be accepting applications through April 30.

PRSA is seeking candidates to fill the three available Executive Committee positions as well as Director positions for five Districts and one At-Large position.

Board members serve as the public face and voice of the organization, act on behalf of the entire PR profession, assist with committees, and provide strategic guidance and valuable insight into trends.

“This is an enormous opportunity for members to give back to their profession and to gain personal and professional growth,” 2019 Nominating Committee Chair Jane Dvorak, APR, Fellow PRSA, said in a statement. “It is a chance to work with some of the industry’s finest thought leaders to help position PRSA now and into the future.”

The Leadership Assembly will vote on the final selections on Oct. 19 in San Diego.

Visit PRSA’s website for more details on the process.


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