Gini, Joe and Martin are back at PRSA’s Counselors Academy Conference in Lake Las Vegas for the second of our two shows.

For those who may not be familiar with the conference, Martin tells us the annual conference is all about the business of PR and invites PR agency leaders across the globe to join the conversation.

Joe says if you run an agency, there are many great reasons to attend and then turns the mic over to some of our colleagues in attendance for their perspectives.

Lisa Gerber says she got into PR with no clue about the business and Counselors helped her raise the bar on her own performance.

Johna Burke finds value because it helps people evolve beyond tactics like managing accounts. This shift is what’s going to propel the profession forward.

Tom Garrity enjoys peer to peer conversation and gaining business insights.

Jean Walcher came first to learn, but this year wants to be reinvigorated by the open and intelligent conversations.

Joe mentions that 3-am feeling when you’re thinking about your agency, you can’t sleep and wonder what you’re going to do next. You may be facing one of those difficult situations where it’s tough to talk to the team. Counselors can be a remarkable source of advice. Meet other smart people who freely share their learnings.

Martin says that when he started at Counselors, there were a lot more multinational agencies but now the organization is geared to independents and entrepreneurs.  He references first learning about social media from Giovanni Rodriguez at Counselors at a session both he and Joe attended. But they didn’t get to know each other until a year or so later when both realized how much of a seminal moment that was.

Gini talks about the networking and how you can have open conversations with your competitors and discuss issues like profitability and margins and other things PR folks don’t learn in school.

At this point, Jean poses a question: Do you reward employees for bringing in new business?

Gini says she’s tried many types of incentives. She recently hired someone by incenting them to create their own job; the person is responsible for developing proposals, closing the business and she has goals based on profitability.

Joe attended a CA session led by Rob Adler on motivating employees and says the same question came up.  One agency gives 5 per cent of a new client’s fee revenue to the staff person that brought it in – for as long as they have the client.

Martin says it can be difficult to figure out the right kind of incentive, because if new business is being generated by the agency leadership and you’re not paying it out, the incentive becomes like an empty promise.

That brings us to an end for this show. Counselors Academy’s next conference is May 6 to 8, 2012 in New Orleans. Disclosure: Martin is conference chair.  You may want to check out the website for an overview of the other programs they offer throughout the year.

Do you have an idea for a topic you would like us to discuss? Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoe Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

This week’s episode was produced by Kristine Simpson.


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