Forward: Curley & Pynn’s 2023 Word of the Year


January 18, 2023

By Dan Ward, APR, CPRC

Last year was one of reflection. The process of moving offices after 17 years and preparing for the retirement of our co-founder provided many opportunities to walk down memory lane.

Now, as we turn the page on a new chapter in our firm’s history, we are no longer looking backward and we’re certainly not standing still. As I told our team after the holiday break, 2023 is a time for us to look forward – forward in building upon the legacy of our co-founders, forward in how we partner with our clients and help them grow, and forward in service of our community.

Despite the headwinds predicted for our economy, continued workforce woes, supply chain interruptions and potential COVID-19 resurgences, maintaining the status quo is not an option. Any organization that has survived or even thrived in the last three years already understands the best way to manage uncertainty is to push through … to keep moving forward.

The challenges we overcame in just our last three years – the sharpest and deepest recession in decades, transitioning overnight to online-only operations amidst a world health crisis, navigating unprecedented racial and political turmoil – are proof that we can handle whatever 2023 brings, and that we can lean forward with a profound sense of optimism.

The legacy forged by our co-founders is a tremendous gift. It has bred a culture of strategic thinking, anticipation and problem-solving that helped us navigate these challenges, and will continue serving us well into the future.

Overcoming those challenges also better prepares us to help our client partners move forward.

As PR Daily Executive Editor Allison Carter points out in her “top 6 trends for 2023,” we are heading into a time when the distinctions between external and internal communication are fading, when legacy social media networks (which seems weird to say) lose even more of their luster, when influencer strategies continue to become more important and when short-form video competency is a must.

It’s an exciting time to be a public relations professional. An increasingly unpredictable landscape offers great opportunity for innovation and calculated risk-taking. We’re moving forward not only down a road less traveled, but one that is still being paved, which means our counsel as strategic communicators – as navigators – is more valuable now than ever. Our job is to look over the horizon, and steer our companies and clients toward successful outcomes through the strategic application of new and better communication tools.

I’m glad to say that many of our team members are also stepping forward as volunteer leaders. If we want to see our profession and community move forward, it’s up to us to help. This means taking leadership positions in our industry associations, volunteering in our communities, sharing knowledge as guest speakers and embracing a service mentality in everything we do. I’m looking ahead to a year in which more servant leaders will join our team.

A rearview mirror is important. We must learn from the past, honor legacies and respect longtime relationships, but we must do so while facing straight ahead – moving in the only direction that leads to growth and opportunity for our business, for our clients and for our communities: Forward.

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