When people ask me, "What do you do for a living?" I typically give the simple and short answer, "I am in public relations." This vague response is not because I am not proud of what I do, it is actually on the contrary - I typically go into so much detail when describing the joy of my profession that people get tired of my long-winded response.

The misconception of us in the public relations industry is that we wait for a crisis and then find a way to "spin" it into a positive outcome. While we are often called upon in a time of turmoil, it is not to spin the situation but to put the situation in the proper perspective. However, this is actually a very small aspect of our jobs.

When explaining the role of public relations professionals, I describe us as storytellers. It is our job to tell, and control, the story of a company through advertisements, articles, comments, social media, and all types of verbal and non-verbal communication. I consider this a great honor as do many of my colleagues. In this digital world, if you have one public relations misstep, it is instantly available for millions to see. If you perform an online search of "PR Blunders," you will see thousands of examples of how one simple mistake can go viral and cause instant damage to a business' reputation.

So I ask, who is telling your company's story? Do you have a marketing or communications representative dedicated to informing the public of you company's services or promoting an innovative project you recently completed? You want to ensure that someone in-house is writing it. If you are not telling your story, it is being told by someone outside the company and those results are never within your control, which may lead to some negative coverage.

This past year, IEC had many stories to share, as evidenced by the amount of quality articles in this magazine throughout 2012. Looking forward, a major story of IEC in 2013 is the launch of the IEC Training Advantage™. This includes the various training opportunities available to our members and the future of the electrical industry. At the core of the IEC Training Advantage is the special philosophy that IEC teaches electricians: you need to not only know how to perform the work, but an electrician needs to know why the work is necessary. An in-depth summary of the IEC Training Advantage is on page 14. The other Special Features in this issue are all glowing examples of the Training Advantage at work and really speak to the superiority of IEC training programs.

Stay tuned to throughout 2013 for the unveiling of new programs. The IEC story is not close to over - we just turned the page and began another chapter.

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