VALDOSTA — South Georgia Public Relations Society of America will focus on branding local events at its first meeting of the year.

South Georgia PRSA is a chapter of the national PRSA organization and is based out of South Georgia, said Sementha Mathews, organization president. The PRSA chapter focuses on inspiring, encouraging and trading best practices among communication professionals, she said.

On the national level, PSRA offers accreditation classes and free webinars from individuals who work public relations for larger companies, she said.

The January meeting will host Lisa Billups, executive director of the Thomsaville community resource center. Billups will present "Team South Georgia: How to Embrace Local Events for the Benefit of Your Business, Community and Region."

Billups was invited to speak due to her experience with the Thomasville Film Festival, Mathews said.

Mathews is hoping to take the lessons Billups will share at the meeting to bolster support for the South Georgia Film Festival hosted by Valdosta State University’s mass media department in March, she said.

“This is something that really does affect all of our community. We all should embrace the film festival because it’s one area Georgia is excelling at on the state level. Gov. (Nathan) Deal just said we are number one. … By supporting them, perhaps we can work together to make our area more visible in the area of film arts.”

With this being the first meeting of the year, it raises the question: Who is PRSA for?

“If you see yourself in a job that is actually building a relationship with people to communicate things, then it is for you,” she said. “And if you see yourself as someone who wants to be on a team that helps build up our community and helps network and brings all those communicators together in one place to work at branding our community, then that’s where you should be.”

Mathews is the City of Valdosta public information officer, for example.

The meeting does cost $7 for PRSA members and $10 for non-members, Mathews said. The cost of admission is to help cover the cost of refreshments. Each entry ticket comes with a drink ticket.

The meeting will be 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 10, at Park Place, 108 W. Park Ave. For more information contact the local PRSA chapter at or (229) 563-7713. 

Jason Smith is a reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times. He can be contacted at 229-244-3400 ext.1257.

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