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InterviewaPRProfessional

LisaSorensen
AssistantDirectorofPublicAffairsforNorthAmericaSoutheastAreaoverOpinionLeader
Outreach
TheChurchofJesusChristofLatterdaySaints

IinterviewedLisaSorensen.SheholdsacallingintheChurchofJesusChristofLatterday
SaintsastheAssistantDirectorofPublicAffairsforNorthAmericaSoutheastAreaoverOpinion
LeaderOutreach.Shejokesthatitisthelongestnameforacallinginthechurch.

Iaskedwhatherresponsibilitiesare.Shesaidshehelpsstakesinthechurchtaketheirnormal
activitiesandturnthemintoPRevents.Shealsoconnectsopinionleadersinherareawith
variouschurchrelatedmaterialsandgifts,likeMormonTabernacleChoirCDsandchurch
pamphlets.Onceperquarter,shealsoreceivesreportsfromthe18stakesinthearea.These
reportsincludewhatthestakesaredoingtopromotecommunityoutreach.Shereadsthrough
themallanddecipherswhattheyhavedonewell.Shethencompilesanewsletterandsendsit
outtothePublicAffairsdirectorsofeachofthe18stakes.

IaskedaboutherbackgroundinPR.Shewasfirstcalledabout4.5yearsagotobeherstake
PAdirector.TheythoughtthatshehadbeenonOprahandGoodMorningAmericawithher
company,andthatshedbeagoodfit.Actually,onlyhercookieshadbeenonthoseshows.She
ispartownerofacookiecompanycalledSistersGourmet.Shehadnotechnicalexperience
previoustohercalling.

Herfavoritethingaboutthecallingarethepeoplesheworkswith.Sheonlyseesthemoncea
year,butsheisconstantcommunicationwiththem.TheyliveallovertheSoutheastUS.

Thehardest/worstpartofthecallingforheristhat,unlessyouhaveadegreeinit,it'shardto
feelcompetent.ShesaidthatItslikeanycalling:youkindoffigureitoutasyougo.

IaskedhowabouttheorganizationofthechurchsPublicAffairs.Itssortofhierarchal.Thereis
MichaelOtterson,whoistheheadofPAforthechurch.ThenthereareAreaDirectors.Lisais
theassistanttooneofthese.TheneachstakeinanareahasaPAdirectorwithacouple
assistants.Technicallytheareaandstakecallingsareallstakecallings.Therearenoward
callingsinPA.Thecoordinatingcouncil,whichhavethesameboundariesasamission,isunder
adirectorofPAwhomanagesthedifferentstakedirectors.Thereare18councilsinNorth
America.Overthemisadirectortheyreportto.

LisaisassistanttotheUnitedStatesSoutheastAreaDirector,wholiveinAlabama.Theyhave
108stakestheyobserve.LisawascalledbytheareaSeventy.Theotherassistanttothearea
directorlivesinTennesseeandisoversocialandothermedia.

AaronMurdock
COMM2300001

TheChurchhaswebsiteatpublicaffairs.lds.org.OnlypeoplewithaPAcallingcanaccessit.On
itisatonofgoodtraininginfo.Eachareaintheworldhasitsownsectionofthesitewherethey
posttheirupdatesandevents.

Iaskedforsometipsforme.Shesaidthatthebestpersonissomeonewhoisalreadyinvolved
inthecommunity,someonewhogetsinvolvedatschoolanddoesntjustsitandcomplainat
home.

Whenaskedwhatshehasgained,shesaidshesgladsheshadtheopportunitytoseehowto
bemoreinvolvedandabettermemberofthechurch.Toparaphrase,shesaidthatinthe
Churchwehavethispioneerheritagewherewewouldcirclethewagonstoprotectourselves.
Itsnowtimetopullbackthewagonsandgetoutintothecommunityinsteadofstayinginthe
culturalhall.Herbigchallengeishowtogetmembersoutside.

Shesharedananalogyshethoughtoflastweek.ShesaidthatPAinthechurchisPriesthood
driven.Usuallyitsastakepresidentdecidingwhatshouldhappeninthestake.Shegivesan
exampleofalittlebranchinFloridathatdoesmoreinthecommunitythanmostotherstakesdo
inayear.Instakecouncils,whendiscussinghowtogetinvolvedinthecommunity,shesaid
thatpeoplecomplainthattheyhaveenoughontheirplatesalready.But,shesaidthatyoudont
necessarilyhavetoaddanythingtopeople'splates.Youjustneedtochangethewaytheyre
viewingtheirplates.Shestrying,oneplateatatime,tochangethatviewwithideaslikeadding
astakeeventtothecommunitycalendar,ortakinganeventoutintothecommunity.

AaronMurdock
COMM2300001