Happy Anniversary Alaskans!
After 30+ years in public relations, there have been many milestones in my career – serving as statewide volunteer coordinator for Oregon’s junior senator in his 1986 reelection bid, winning a Silver Anvil for work with the beef industry in 1991, securing my accreditation in 1995 and selection to the College of Fellows in 2003 to name a few. However, none compare to the six weeks I spent last fall on Senator Lisa Murkowski’s write-in campaign.
Many of my public relations colleagues from around the country thought we were crazy but we were a committed band of Alaskans who wanted to do what was right for our state. Over the course of six weeks, between September 17 and November 2 we made history.
I took a break from my business to volunteer as a senior member of the communications team. We were a steadfast band of seven communications professionals who kept the Senator’s messages in front of Alaskans, provided strategic messages to volunteers throughout Alaska and maintained an online and social media presence unlike any we have seen. We taught more thank 40 percent of Alaskans how to “fill it in – write it in” and spell: Lisa Murkowski.”
I blogged about the experience after it was over:
Throughout it all, the team was supported by thousands of Alaskans also committed to sending the Senator back to Washington. These people eagerly took our messages and passed them on to others. They braved cold mornings to wave signs, distribute literature and monitor polls, making sure all Alaskans had the Information needed to write in Lisa’s name.
On election day, we called voters, and kept the social media and web campaign active. But we also did a lot of anxious waiting. We knew we had done all we could and just wanted the polls to close.
By the end of the evening we were celebrating the victory. The lawyers took over the next day and the election wasn’t certified for another seven weeks but we knew we had made history. As a public relations professional, I was extremely proud to accept a Silver Anvil award from the Public Relations Society of America on behalf of Alaskans for our effort. The Anvils are known as the Oscars of the PR field.
For me, the Anvil was significant. However, more important was the sense of accomplishment felt by Alaskans. At a pretty divisive time in our country, Alaskans gathered together to show what good can come from a collective desire to affect change. It is a lesson to others who believe in a cause or person. Together you can make a different. So, just do it!
What a run! Happy First Anniversary Alaskans!