Arthur Andrew Yann III, head of public relations for the PR Society of America, passed away June 13 at the age of 48. The cause has not yet been made public.
One of Mr.Yann's biggest and "most challenging" tasks, according to a blog post by PRSA President-Chief Operating Officer William Murray, was a campaign surrounding membership dues. "After 10 years without an increase in member dues, we faced a stark choice: either cut benefits or raise dues," Mr. Murray wrote. "PRSA bylaws provide that our members vote through the Assembly to set the level of membership dues. Arthur, working closely with the Board, built and executed a campaign that clearly, steadily and calmly set forth the case for an increase, as well as the options facing us. The dues increase was approved on the first vote with minimal discussion -- members felt they had been well informed."
Mr. Yann joined the PRSA in 1999 as a volunteer and member of the PRSA Counselors Academy while working as a partner at Nichol & Co. Nine years later, he joined the industry trade group as VP of PR. There, he laid out a new vision for the group focused on ethics, the value of PR and diversity, Mr. Murray wrote. Prior to taking on the role at PRSA, Mr. Yann was a senior VP at HealthStar Public Relations.
Personally, Mr. Yann is remembered for his "quick sense of humor, his powerful intellect and his passion for his work," said Mr. Murray. "Although he never formalized it, his advice was always the same -- do the right thing, and the public relations will follow. He was never a fan of being politically correct. He simply wanted to speak the truth."
Mr. Yann is survived by his wife Amy and his three-year-old daughter Sofia.