A special edition of my weekly column because this needed to be written…
On this day in 2012 the first edition of PRAXIS took place at a quiet resort in Pondicherry. What was thought of as a one-off event turned out to become a movement and a community built on content and connections. As we commemorate ten years of PRAXIS, we are doing a few things this week to celebrate the profession and the various facets of it. At the core is Giving Back. And I will write about it at the end. Here are seven elements:
- This week is special because we are doing something unique. We are hosting the first physical conference in Mumbai on Friday (25th Nov) after a gap of four years. And we are taking an online event offline. SPECTRA was born in the early days of the pandemic as a tool for survival. After two digital editions we are now bringing to life a physical edition. We are sold out a week before the event. We aimed for 200 delegates as a metric to measure success and we are at 220. That evening we are also hosting Super Night – a gathering of communication professionals over cocktails and conversations. At both these events we have a dozen inspiring individuals who will provide us food for thought and they come from diverse walks of life.
- The day after this about 20 of us (Team members at Promise Foundation and a band of committed volunteers and supporters of PRAXIS) are headed to Le Pondy – the same resort in Pondicherry where the first edition took place on this very weekend. This was an open to all meet up and may end up being an annual property. A no-agenda meeting with lot of time to unwind. We are calling it the PRAXIS catch up.
- We also are exactly 10 months away from the tenth edition of PRAXIS. This would have taken place in 2021 but we had to pause the summit for two years. In order to make the next edition truly large we are making it a three-day event instead of two days. The first day and a half will be branded as the World Public Relations Forum. This is the flagship global event that is part of the Global Alliance and is taking place in Asia for the first time. We are going back close to Pondicherry and co-hosting the tenth edition of PRAXIS along with the 11th edition of WPRF at the ITC Chola in Chennai.
- This week we also announce three intellectual properties we are onboarding in the next three months. These are unique collaborations. The first is the day-long reputation management conference similar to SPECTRA. This will be called REPRISE. The name is inspired from Reputation Rise. It also means a repeated passage in music. We want to repeat a simple chorus – that Reputation is everything and we need to protect it at all times.
REPRISE 2023 will take place in January in Bangalore.
Besides this we are planning two evening conclaves exclusively for in-house corporate communication professionals. One is a year-end catch up and the other one will take place in March and will focus on regional communications. The first one is called FIESTA and the second is GRAVITY.
5. With this we have created 12+ properties on our own as well as joint ventures over the last decade. The list includes
a) PRAXIS (Public Relations and Corporate Communications India Summit)
b) SUPER NIGHT
f) QUORUM (more on this in 2023)
h) REPUTATION TODAY – a views portal
i) COMMS NEWS – a news portal
j)FULCRUM AWARDS – in partnership with PR Moment
k) VELOCITY AWARDS
l) SCORE (the School of COmmunications & REputation) – which is a separate entity with investors and co-founders
m) KNOWLEDGE FACTORY (a general interest event mentored by N Madhavan and in collaboration with niiti Consulting
n) LAB – Learn And Breakfast
6. In the midst of this I was persuaded by Sujit Patil and nudged by the late Anant Rangaswami to write a book on Public Relations. In a few months this magnum opus will be published by a leading publisher which Sujit and I have co-authored.
7. Finally, the story on Giving Back. And before that I want to thank my team members past and present, especially Anubhuti Mathur, Ameeta Vadhera and Gurbani Bhatia + Hemant Gaule along-side Ritu Bararia, Shreya Doshi, Tamanna Singh and Hina Issar Huria for all that they do to make me look good. There also a dozen fellows – a special shout out to Moksh Juneja, Ajit Pai, Shreya Krishnan, Sarika Chavan, Geetika Gulati, Tinu Cherian and Amit Nanchahal for their commitment at different times.
Most of what we have achieved since 2015 would not have been possible without the support of my fellow pilgrim Roshan Alexander. We all take home nominal salaries. This year Roshan and I had budgeted to take home a bonus because of the salary cuts we took in the two pandemic years. And we planned this well so we set aside an amount from one of our PRAXIS Silver Partners. As the event day drew near, the sponsor faced a challenge and at first wanted to pull out, then later wanted to cut down on the commitment. Something that has never happened. We stood our ground and showed them the various benefits that they had received already in terms of branding and placements. So, they decided to make the payment but decided not to show up at PRAXIS. We decided to deal with this in our own way. We chose nine NGOs across 9 cities where each of the 9 editions of PRAXIS took place – from Pondicherry, two cities in Maharashtra for Lavasa and Amby Valley, Agra, Mysore, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Goa and Chandigarh. We also chose couple of NGOs in NCR where we operate out of and in the other two major metros. This week we chose to skip our bonus and give away that entire sponsorship amount to these NGOs and celebrate our growth and journey with the lesser privileged.
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