Cheryl I. Procter-Rogers, APR, Fellow PRSA

CPR PhotoProcter-Rogers has 34 years of experience in the PR arena.  She is a senior consultant and executive coach at A Step Ahead PR Consulting and Coaching, Chicago, Illinois.  She was the Public Relations Society of America’s 2006 national president and CEO and its 2011 Gold Anvil recipient. (

When you close your eyes and imagine your live five years from now, what will you see? What sounds will surround you? What will you feel? These images can serve as your internal motivation as you begin to lay the foundation for a fulfilling life and career. As a public relations professional, you will be challenged daily to embrace or create a vision, to be a subject matter expert on a variety of topics and to the have the relationships and resources necessary to deliver on the promise of your personal brand. This can appear daunting and for those unprepared for the challenges ahead, it can be overwhelming.

To create balance and focus, I encourage you to invest in my four C’s which will provide a template for building a successful life and career. I only ask that you invest 20 minutes a week in these four areas so that you can realize the benefits and have the life you desire.

Invest in Your Capabilities

As you begin to define your personal brand, consider what skills, abilities and behaviors align with your vision for yourself.  Now is the perfect time to take a self-assessment survey to inform your plans for growth and development.  Much like you would do for a PR strategy, perform your own personal SCOT analysis and create a plan to build on your strengths and close the gap on your challenges.  Consider what resources you have in order to take advantage of the endless list of opportunities available to you.  Eliminate the threats that can derail your success as you move toward your vision.

Certainly, pursuing a college degree fits nicely here and celebrating this achievement is in order. And more fitting is Alvin Toffler’s quote on embracing lifelong learning, “The illiterate of the future are not those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”.

Invest in Your Career

Be engaged, get inspired!  The internet and email allows you to network with the best in your field and industry. To begin a conversation, follow their accomplishments and reach out to them with something to say and a question to ask.  Interview potential mentors and once you secure one, design the relationship to meet your needs.  Join professional organizations that are relevant and that can assist in building your career.

Invest in Your Cabinet

As CEO of your brand, assemble a group of individuals to act as official advisors and to help you navigate personally and professionally.  Meet regularly with them to share progress on your plan and elicit honest feedback.  They can help you develop the emotional intelligence needed for success.

Invest in Your Community

Volunteering in your community, whether it is for the profession, in your neighborhood, or for a national charity, connects you with humanity and reminds you of what is real and relevant.  In addition, you can expand your network of friends and it can help advance your career as you develop new leadership and team-building skills.  Few understand that volunteering can also help preserve your mental and physical health.

Connect with your passion for the profession you’ve chosen and think big!  The rewards can be endless.

CPR Singature


Leaders exert significant influence on the success, future and image of their profession. Yet, only a few PR studies have explored this important topic.

One goal of the Plank Center is to build a research-based foundation of knowledge regarding the values, qualities and dimensions of excellent leadership, mentorship and diversity and inclusion in PR.