Every month, as I plan out my schedule and calendar, I block out 10 or so hours for professional development. That usually takes many different forms:
* Live, monthly PRSA, MIMA or other sessions around the Twin Cities (been sorely lacking here lately)
* Coffee meet-ups with students or other folks looking for advice/job leads (seem to do one of these at least once a week)
* Reading specific blogs/sites online and staying on top of the latest and greatest in our industry.
That last bullet’s usually the biggest for me. Partly because I lump those coffee meet-ups in with my HAPPO work (that’s the spirit of the movement, after all) and partly because I spend a few hours each week collating The HAPPO Report, a weekly e-newsletter that’s sent to more than 250 PRs/communicators (so far) across the Twin Cities. It includes relevant jobs, upcoming events, posts from the last week and a featured job seeker each week. I love putting it together (and truth be told, I’ve had some help along the way–thanks to Bridget Monroe and Tara Cegla), but it’s definitely a time commitment.
Now, as I look at 2012, I think it’s time to take HAPPO to the next level–with your help. So, I’d like to talk for a moment about the future of HAPPO and what I, along with the 30-plus bloggers that are our champions across the country, see ahead in 2012–and what you can do to help us help other PR pros out.
Quarterly HAPPO chats
We’re scheduling these out now. Looking at February, April, September and December as dates. More to come on the February chat soon. We’ll cover all sorts of topics from resume writing to interviews to tips for “managing up.” And keep in mind, these HAPPO chats aren’t just for students or recent grads–they’re meant to be inclusive and relevant, no matter your age or rank.
The HAPPO Report
I’m excited to announce that Nikki Little, our HAPPO champ in Michigan, will be lauching a HAPPO Report there next month. We’re also hopeful a few more will pop up across the country in 2012, but we’re dependent on our champs and volunteer hours to make these happen. If you’re interested in helping in your local market, please send me a note directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re also planning our second annual “HAPPO Hour” event for May. Just like last year,we’ll be hosting LIVE HAPPO events at agencies and organizations across the country. Your chance to meet face-to-face with real-life PR counselors in your market. Network. Meet potential mentors. Ask questions of agency owners and hiring managers. It was a huge success last year and we’re looking forward to round two in May. Again, if you’re interested in helping (or starting one) in your local market, please let me know.
We’re exploring opportunities in this area–not to make money, but instead, in the spirit of HAPPO, to give back. So, we’re thinking about sponsorship opportunities for the quarterly Twitter chats, the HAPPO Hour event in May and the HAPPO Report (in MSP and MI). If you’re interested, please contact me directly at email@example.com. What will we do with the money? I thought you’d never ask…
The HAPPO Grant
Valerie Simon’s brilliant idea–and I love it. We’ll use every dime of sponsorship money to support job seekers as they continue (or start) their hunt. It’s money that can go toward wardrobe upgrades. Copying resumes. Travel expenses. Conferences/webinars. You name it. We know searching for a job is tough–and we aim to make it a little bit easier. We haven’t fleshed out all the details yet, but we’re definitely looking into it.
So, that’s what’s on tap for 2012. How can you get involved? Four easy ways:
* Participate in one of the quarterly HAPPO chats (and use the #happo hash tag every day to share jobs/tips/news)
* Participate (or help organize) a HAPPO Hour event in your local market in May
* Start or contribute to a HAPPO Report in your local market
* Sponsor HAPPO and support job seekers everywhere (contact me directly)
As Valerie, me and 30-plus bloggers did two years ago, take a stand and DO SOMETHING to help our colleagues today. Trust me–you won’t regret it.