Leadership Transition

Extending the Legacy

A smooth leadership transition is essential for maintaining a strong Chapter, and it doesn’t have to be a lot of work.


An effective transition helps new leaders make good choices about programs to start, stop or continue; prevents leaders from repeating past mistakes; and helps maintain relationships with professionals and organizations with connections to the Chapter.

Tips for a Successful Transition

A successful transition doesn’t happen without planning and commitment from outgoing and incoming leaders. Here are some tips to help with your transition.

  • Emerging Leaders. Identify emerging leaders early in the year and encourage them to run for office by contacting them personally.
  • Information Binders. Have each executive board member create a binder that outlines everything the next officer will need to know about the position. Include the C.H.A.R.T. Guide (see details below), contacts, materials from past events, agendas and PRSSA resources such as the Chapter Handbook (PDF).
  • Shadowing. After elections are held, allow the incoming officers to shadow the outgoing executive board officer.
  • Orientation or Retreat. Plan time for bonding and discussion between the ingoing and outgoing board members through an event such as an orientation or officer retreat. Discuss programs that worked or didn’t work, goals for the following year, and review transition binders, lists of duties and other important information.
  • Introductions. Introduce incoming officers to important campus contacts and resources, such as your school’s student activities coordinator, student accounts personnel, PRSSA mailboxes and, most importantly, your Faculty and Professional Advisers, and PRSA sponsor Chapter contact.
  • Chapter Brand. Make sure the time you invest in preparing the incoming executive board mirrors the amount of time you’ve invested in building your Chapter’s brand. Ask yourself whether the incoming leaders have the resources to maintain your Chapter’s legacy, and if not, brainstorm ways to make it happen.

Most importantly, so that your leadership receives valuable information and updates:

C.H.A.R.T. Guide

A useful tool for any incoming executive board is an accurate record of the Chapter’s relationships, history and accomplishments. The C.H.A.R.T. Guide, an acronym for Chapter History, Accomplishments, Records and Transition, can be updated annually by officers to assist your Chapter with the transition process.

  • Chapter History. This section is a historical reference for new leaders. Include the Chapter’s founding date, information about the PRSA sponsor Chapter, and partnerships with campus or local organizations.
  • Accomplishments. Include a list of awards earned, competitions entered and sponsorships received.
  • Records. This section has contact information for past presidents, award and scholarship recipients, members who served nationally, and past speakers. Also include dues forms, fundraising information, workshop and recruitment ideas or survey results.
  • Transition. Outline your Chapter’s leadership roles and a timeline of responsibilities for each position.

See the PRSSA Situation Analysis (PDF)as an example of how to put together a Chapter C.H.A.R.T. Guide.

Further questions about officer transitions? Contact the vice president of Chapter development.