Where do PR agency leaders go to learn how to run their businesses?

If you run a PR agency, you know that it can be hard to find expert advice that relates directly to our business. There is no shortage of conferences and seminars dealing with practice issues – media relations, social media, research. But business skills that are tailored to the public relations industry. They are few and far between.

There is one conference that is unique in its focus and its attendees. The PRSA Counselors Academy Conference brings together owners and managers of public realtions agencies from across North America for two days of sessions focusing on the business of PR.

At the recent PRSA International Conference (a great conference for learning about communications best practices), my Inside PR co-hosts, Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich and I caught up with Abbie Fink, the Chair of this past year’s Counselors Academy Conference. We talked with her about what makes Counselors Academy unique – and a must-attend for each of us.

At Counselors Academy, business leaders set aside their status as competitors in order to advance the collective whole, the public relations consulting industry. Abbie says the focus of the Counselors Academy Conference is “being a better owner, a better manager, discovering new ways to do business development and revenue streams … the management side of running a public relations practice.” How do they set billable hours? How do they determine when to bring on another employee? How do they deal with problematic clients? Under what circumstances would they fire a client?

Why do these PR business leaders share so freely with one another? According to Abbie, “If I can help another PR agency owner look at or do something in a different way and they become better at what they do, that’s good for our industry as a whole.”

You can hear our interview with Abbie and also Martin, Gini’s and my discussion of our own perceptions of Counselors Academy on Inside PR 275.

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If you are a PR agency principal and you go to only one conference this year…

The next Counselors Academy Conference will take place May 6 to 8, 2012 in New Orleans. And Inside PR’s Martin Waxman is co-chairing this year’s conference with Dana Hughens. You can be sure that I’ll be there along with the senior leaders of my company.

“If you are a PR business owner and you can only go to one professional development event,” says Abbie Fink, “then Counselors Academy is the one thing you should attend.”

If you’re interested in more information about this year’s conference, you can find it at the Counselors Academy Conference Website.

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