At its quarterly meeting earlier this month, the 17-member Board of Directors of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) voted to renew the employment contract of PRSA president and chief operating officer William M. Murray, CAE, through December 2014.
As the top staff member at PRSA, Murray has worked closely with PRSA’s chair and CEO, its Board of Directors and volunteer leaders to transform the organization in significant ways.
In the past two years under Murray’s leadership, PRSA has increased the scope and number of benefits it delivers to members, while cutting $1.5 million in operating expenses from its budget, keeping membership levels stable and meeting or exceeding the Society’s financial goals.
Murray also has played a central role in identifying and initiating an extensive slate of major projects. Some examples include upgrading important infrastructure, such as the “Jobcenter” and Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) websites; developing value-added product and service offerings, such as a digital version of The Public Relations Strategist; improving product and service delivery, from revamping the daily Issues & Trends eNewsletter to developing a mobile app for PRSA’s International Conference; and contributing to the data-driven re-engineering of PRSA’s advocacy efforts, which now focus on the business value of public relations, ethical standards of conduct and diversity within the profession.
In addition, Murray has worked with the organization’s national leadership on the formation of partnerships between PRSA and the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC), the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) and continuing education programs at New York University, West Virginia University and Rutgers; increased the number of free PRSA learning opportunities; enhanced the financial and operational support provided to PRSA’s local Chapters; and presided over record-breaking years for International Conference sponsorship and the Certification for Education in Public Relations (CEPR) program.
The accomplishment of which Murray is most proud, however, is maintaining high levels of satisfaction among PRSA’s members.
“Even as we navigated an extremely difficult financial period for our country and our members, our 2011 ‘Membership Value, Perception and Satisfaction’ survey shows that key evaluative metrics, such as ‘overall impression of the Society,’ ‘membership satisfaction’ and ‘likelihood to recommend membership to a colleague,’ all have improved,” said Murray. “I’m delighted to have been able to partner with our Board, volunteer leaders and staff to make it all possible.”
Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed. Like many other federally tax-exempt organizations, PRSA files an IRS Form 990 annually. The form provides information on PRSA’s mission, programs and finances, including the compensation of key executives.
Prior to joining PRSA, Murray was executive vice president and co-chief operating officer of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), a trade association representing the international interests of the major Hollywood studios in more than 70 countries. At different times while with the MPAA, Murray was responsible for the association’s international operations, strategic planning, market research and digital strategy.
Earlier in his career, Murray was president of William Murray & Associates, a consulting firm focused on developing international media strategies for clients that included venture capital firms, governments and media companies.