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ePro - August edition


Welcome to the August edition of ePro, the electronic newsletter of the Houston chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA Houston).  Join this month and get the most from your membership! 

August Monthly Luncheon: None other than Houston Dynamo Jackie Martin

Join PRSA Houston''s August 3 luncheon meeting to see Houston dynamo Jackie Martin, principal of J S Martin Associates, LP, and former president of the United Way of Texas Gulf Coast, talk about the challenges of running Houston''s largest charitable giving organization.

How do you increase donor contributions in tough economic times?  How do you find new streams of revenue when the well has dried up and disappeared?  How do you convince dueling TV stations to work together to broadcast a prime-time telethon to raise $3 million for the community?  It takes a stick of dynamite.  As the former president of United Way of Texas Gulf Coast, Jackie worked to help Houston get through some of its toughest times -- including tropical storm Allison and the loss of millions in corporate giving.

Prior to starting her consulting business, Martin served as president of United Way of Texas Gulf Coast, the largest charitable giving organization in the Houston area for six and half years. Under Martin’s leadership, the volunteer-driven 80-plus-year-old United Way evolved to meet the changing needs of the community through a dual mission: increasing financial resources by conducting cost-effective, donor-oriented fundraising, and adding value to United Way contributions through hundreds of funded programs and activities that benefit the community. 

Courtyard on St. James
1885 St. James Place (Between Westheimer and San Felipe)

Wednesday, August 3, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

To Register:
For more information or to register, call (281) 870-1717 or visit

We Want You … Committee Volunteers!

Planning is underway for a new professional development event geared specifically for students and new professionals with less than 2 years experience.  This full-day event will NOT focus on “how to get a job,” but rather on the skills that will be needed to excel in public relations.

If you would like to serve on this committee and play a role in shaping the next generation of PR pros, please contact Terri Larson at (713) 353-6317 or      

Career Update: Accreditation Linked to Higher Salaries

Research shows accredited public relations practitioners earn more

NEW YORK, NY (June 22, 2005) - Results from the 2005 PRWeek/Korn Ferry Salary Survey show that Accredited public relations professionals earn salaries 20 percent higher than their non-Accredited colleagues.  On average, these Accredited public relations professionals earn $102,031 compared to $85,272 for non-Accredited practitioners.

 "Accreditation is important because it demonstrates that public relations professionals have a vested interest in and commitment to the public relations field.  Employers, clients and colleagues realize they have the knowledge, ethics and experience that sets them apart from others who are non-Accredited, which offers a significant point of differentiation and added value," said Blake D. Lewis III, APR, 2005 chair of the Universal Accreditation Board.

 The survey, conducted by PRWeek and Millward Brown, was open to all PRWeek readers through the publication''s Web site.  From Jan. 18-31, 2005, a total of 1,864 readers completed the survey.  Results were not weighted and have a +/- 2.3 percent margin of error.

The Universal Accreditation Board, which was created in 1998, is a consortium of ten professional communications organizations including the Agricultural Relations Council, Asociacisn de Relacionistas Profesionales de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico Public Relations Association), Florida Public Relations Council, Maine Public Relations Council, National School Public Relations Association, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Religion Communicators Council, Society Healthcare Strategy and Market Development, Southern Public Relations Federation and the Texas Public Relations Association.  Each organization contributes resources and senior-level volunteer members who represent all segments of the public relations profession.  The UAB oversees the public relations profession''s professional certification program.  The revised Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations was launched in July 2003. 

For more information on the Universal Accreditation Board or to become an Accredited public relations practitioner, contact Kathy Mulvihill at (212) 460-1436 or visit

PR Day - What’s in it for me?

In addition to being a great way to learn more about new and cutting-edge PR tools, PR Day 2005Breaking New Ground: PR Tools for Changing Times, is also an excellent professional development program where you can meet and mingle with your peers.  

During the day-long event on September 14th, one of the many programs that you won’t want to miss is the luncheon panel discussion, Proving PR Value.  The panel includes corporate communications and public affairs leaders in our community, including:

Emcee: Bernadette A. Morris - Bernadette A. Morris is founder and chairman of Sonshine Communications and president, owner and founder of Black PR Wire, Inc.

Panel Moderator: Tony Wyllie - Tony Wyllie is vice president of communications for the Texans and is responsible for shaping and molding the image of the team for the public and the community.  He became the youngest PR director in the NFL when the Tennessee Oilers hired him in 1998.

Graham Painter, APR - Graham Painter is senior vice president of Corporate Communications for Sterling Bank and for its parent company, Sterling Bancshares, Inc.

John E. "Ned" Walker - Ned Walker is senior vice president of Worldwide Corporate Communications for Continental Airlines, Inc.

Steve Stuyck - Steve Stuyck is vice president for Public Affairs at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Christine McGee – Christine Mc Gee is vice president, Marketing Communications for Weatherford International Ltd.

The PR Day committee is currently accepting questions in advance for the Proving PR Value Panel.  Please e-mail your questions to Melanie Brenneman at

And don’t forget early-bird registration discounts are available to those who register for PR Day at the August PRSA Luncheon, August 3rd!   Also, we will give away free admission to PR Day 2005 to a lucky winner at the August meeting.

To register for PR Day, or for more information including sponsorship opportunities and a complete speaker lineup, visit us online.

Special thanks to PR Day 2005 sponsors:
Printing Sponsor: CenterPoint Energy,
Conference Notebook Sponsor: Aquent,
Premier Breakfast Sponsor: FMC Technologies
Additional Sponsors: A&E Graphics, Bacon''s, Burrelles Luce, Business Wire, Enbridge Energy Company, MediaLink, Piland Design, PrimeZone, PR Newswire, RoadShow Media, Schipul - The Web Marketing Company, The Hauser Company, US Newswire, and VMS.

New Publication Comes to Houston Area

The Katy Courier, a new community-focused daily newspaper, is looking for stories of interest to readers in Katy and surrounding areas.  The Courier''s content includes local news and features, sports, business, profiles, and in-depth reporting.  Additionally, the paper will produce lifestyle sections focusing on interests such as home & garden, entertainment, food, and religion.  Announcements and press releases can be e-mailed to or faxed to (281) 675-8081.  Phone inquiries should be directed to Beth Wilson, city editor, at (281) 675-8000.

Give Yourself a Bonus in August

Members and Associate Members:  Join a Professional Interest Section in August and save $20 off the first year dues of $60, and pay just $40 instead. Membership in a Section gives you access to networking and learning opportunities in your specific practice area. Whether you were a member of a Section in the past, have never been a member of a Section, or are a member of one (or more) now, you can take advantage of this offer to join a Section.

Choose from:  Association/Nonprofit, Corporate, Counselors Academy (special requirements, dues are higher), Counselors to Higher Education, Educators Academy, Employee Communications, Entertainment and Sports, Environmental, Financial Communications, Food and Beverage, Health Academy, International, Independent Practitioners Alliance, Military and Public Safety, Multicultural Communications, Public Affairs and Government, Strategic Social Responsibility, Technology, and Travel and Tourism.

To join a Section, visit:  (Note: the form will display the full dues rate but when you join a Section in July or August, you will only be charged $40).  This offer is limited to one bonus-priced section per member. Offer may not be used for renewal of an existing section membership. Bonus cannot be used if renewing online.  For more information about Sections visit Networking Groups at

PRSA Houston Member News

Congratulations to members who are making strides in their careers.  PRSA Houston board member and Treasurer Aaron H. Woods, APR, will begin as public relations manager for Lyondell Chemical Company beginning Aug. 1.

Welcome, New Members! 
It''s a pleasure to have you with us.

  • Associate member Don F. Armstrong
  • Michael J. Bybee of Time Warner Cable
  • Kristy R. Elliott of Memorial Hermann Foundation
  • Jerry Heinold of DePelchin Children''s Center
  • Benjamin Holloman from PRSSA
  • Colin E. Killian from the Texas A&M Athletics Department

PRSA Houston Members Were Busy in July


President-elect Sally Ramsay, Pierpont Communications, accepts a check from TPRA board member and PRSA Assembly Delegate Larry Springer, Enbridge Energy, as PRSA''s share of entry fees for the TPRA awards contest.  PRSA has promoted the TPRA contest in return for a share of the proceeds generated by our members.





July luncheon speaker Chris de Santis involves the audience in describing various segments of the population.





Cristina Tolpo, CEO of Quest Personnel Resources, spoke to New Pros at GolinHarris, June 30, offering job-hunting tips.  The event was sponsored by Business Wire.  





PRSA Board member Priscilla Tinsley, media relations manager for Direct Energy, spoke to New Pros in July about her public relations career and how to make a change from one industry to another.





Joe Guerrero, PR Newswire, & Eric Herrera, Clear Channel Communications, at the July New Pros event featuring Priscilla Tinsley, media relations manager of Direct Energy.




Kelly Papinchak, Schipul-The Web Marketing Company, chairs the New Pros committee.





This beautiful woman is Melanie Brenneman, Business Wire, chairman of PR Day (photo captured at the July New Pros meeting).  She could use a few more volunteers to help with PR Day.






Joe Raia (left) of Ipsos Insight, sponsored the July luncheon featuring Chris de Santis of Chicago.  The topic was generational differences in the workplace, and Chris held the audience of 94 captivated and wanting more.

Master the Art of the Storyteller

How to identify, develop and tell stories that illustrate your points, communicate your messages and sell your products, services and ideas
By: Ann Wylie, president, Wylie Communications Inc.

"Whoever tells the best story wins."
— former President John Quincy Adams (Anthony Hopkins) in the movie "Amistad"

If you want to win the hearts and minds of your audience members, take a tip from Anthony Hopkins'' character in "Amistad" and use stories.  Storytelling (a.k.a. anecdotes or narrative) is "the most powerful form of human communication," writes Peg Neuhauser in Corporate Legends and Lore.  Use this power tool in your very next piece to make your message:

  • More engaging. Anecdotes engage your audience emotionally — far more so than information delivered any other way.
  • Easier to understand. Stories are concrete. They transform abstract concepts — such as the benefits of your new products or service — into real-life, human examples that our readers can get their arms around.
  • Easier to believe. People who are cynical about statistics — and who isn''t these days? — find stories credible. It''s the peer principle of persuasion: Our audience members believe that if it worked for someone else, it will work for them.
  • Easier to remember. People process stories in three ways — factually, visually and emotionally, Neuhauser says. That triple absorption helps readers remember stories longer than other kinds of information.
  • Easier to share. People are more likely to repeat stories than statistical information. So anecdotes can help you create a "buzz" for your topic.
    Therein lies a tale.

Very short stories make wonderful anecdotal leads, testimonials, examples and quotes in everything from brochures to bios, from press releases to publications and from speeches to sidebars.  Here are three quick ways to find and craft stories:

Ask "when" questions. Anecdotes cover one time, not sometimes. "When" questions take content experts back to a specific time, a specific place — and, often, a specific story.

A writer once asked Kansas City architect Cary Goodman when he knew he would join his profession. He told her about the time he built a fabulous tree house at the age of 9.  His construction was so great that the local paper sent a photographer over to shoot it. The photo made the front page.  "It was my first published building," Goodman said. "That''s when I knew I wanted to be an architect."  Questions that go to moments of pain, change, crisis or decision are especially effective at uncovering good stories.

Use P-S-R. One quick way to organize information into a simple anecdote: Problem, Solution, Results.  That approach will shape your material into the narrative arc that transforms mere facts into stories.  Anecdotes can be as long as your market, message and medium demand. But this simple structure is a good reminder that a good anecdote can also be as short as three sentences.

Sandwich your story. If you''re using your story in a speech, you''ll need to work a little harder to make sure your audience "gets" your point.  So sandwich your illustration between your point:

  • Make your point
  • Illustrate it with an anecdote 
  • Reinforce your point

In written communications, you can make do with an "open-face sandwich": Make your point once, before or after your anecdote.  The plot thickens.

The best communicators not only use plenty of stories to illustrate their points, but they work to master this most powerful form of human communication.

And that''s important. Because in communications as well as in Hollywood courtroom scenes, whoever tells the best story wins.

Want to learn more about how to identify, develop and tell stories that illustrate your points, communicate your messages and sell your products, services and ideas? Ann Wylie’s new teleseminar on Oct. 20, 2005, "Master the Art of the Storyteller," can help. To register or to get more information, contact Genevieve DeLaurier at (212) 460-1408 or visit

About the author
Wylie Communications Inc. provides training, writing and consulting services to communicators who want to reach more reporters and to organizations that want to get the word out. The firm handles special writing projects for such clients as Sprint, Northern Funds and Saint Luke''s/Kansas City. And such organizations as Humana, Nokia and SC Johnson call on Wylie Communications for communication training.  Copyright © 2003 Ann Wylie. All rights reserved.

Press Primer with Melanie Brenneman

This month’s Press Primer  goes tête-à-tête with Loren Steffy, business columnist for the Houston Chronicle and author of the business blog Full Disclosure

Steffy joined the Chronicle in April 2004 after serving as Texas bureau chief and senior writer for Bloomberg Markets magazine.  Steffy’s column in the Chronicle appears Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

What is the best way to introduce a new company that might fall in your beat?

As a columnist, all companies fall on my beat, but it’s rare that I write about a company in a general sense.  Usually my columns focus on something they’ve done, either because it’s news or because it illustrates some larger issue or theme.   So, the best introduction might start with e-mail, then perhaps a lunch meeting in which I could get to know the company and the CEO better.  Often times, I’m not looking at the company as a subject, but I’m looking for column ideas from the CEO – like, what issues are affecting your company?  What’s your biggest competitive threat? - that sort of thing.

What was the best news release/PR attempt you’ve come across?  The worst?

The best news releases are ones that are clearly written and that show what is really going on with the company.  Though it’s probably not a “release” per se, Warren Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders is one of the best examples.  The all-time clunker, though, was a 7-Eleven release a few years ago, when they introduced “El Taco,” which was a meat-like product pressed into the form of a hot dog and rolled in a tortilla. The headline on the release was “This ain’t no Chihuahua.”

What is the best time to contact you?

Uh, between midnight and 3 a.m.  No, seriously, late mornings are usually better. Thursday, as a rule, are just generally bad.  Mondays and Wednesdays are typically lower-pressure days when I’m casting about for ideas.

What else do we need to know?

Just keep in mind that as a columnist, I’m a different animal.  Everything is a potential bit for a column.  One of my son’s temper fits from 12 years ago once became my lead for a column about insurance regulation, so you just never know.  But, chances are I’m not going to be interested in a story you’re pitching, although I may be interested in some other element that I see.  Also, read my columns.  If your client decides to close its annual meeting to the public or changes its name to Amegy Bank, you may not want to draw my attention to it.

You can e-mail Loren Steffy at  If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for Press Primer, please e-mail me at

Sponsors – We Thank You!

PRSA Houston would like to thank Ipsos Insight for sponsoring our delightful July 6 program featuring Christopher P. De Santis’ "From Xer to Boomer to Geezer: Generational Differences in the Workplace."   By popular request, we have identified a source of notes on the highly interactive talk and will be working to get them in a form that can be posted on the Web site.  We really could use some sponsors for the luncheon programs for the rest of the year, as well as a few more Sept. 14 PR Day sponsors to meet goals and cover the costs of speakers, so keep us in mind!

Upcoming opportunities:
Aug. 3:
  Jackie Martin, former CEO of the United Way of Texas Gulf Coast 
Sept. 14: PR Day (different sponsor levels apply)
Oct. 5: Crisis Communications Panel
Nov. 2: PRSA''s 2005 National President Judy Phair
December: Holiday Party (no speaker)

For $500 as a luncheon sponsor, PRSA Houston offers the following benefits:

  • Logo/name and a link to sponsor web site PRSA web page related to event
  • 50-word or less description of firm on PRSA Web site
  • Sponsor recognition on all communications for event
  • One complimentary seat at President''s table
  • Link to sponsor''s web site included in e-mail communications related to the event
  • Acknowledgement from podium at event
  • Opportunity to display signs/brochures at event table
  • Labels of our 450 members, if desired
  • Opportunity to do a raffle for attendees at event through collection of business cards at display

If your company would like to be linked to the movers and shakers of Houston, please call (281) 870-1717 or email Paula Ruth at  These sponsorships help PRSA to offer outstanding programs to members at reasonable prices.  If mailings are planned for the luncheon, the sponsor will receive the added benefit of inclusion on the mailing.  Not every luncheon promotion includes a mailing, but we have done seven so far this year.

Discounts are available for sponsoring multiple luncheons. 

ePro is the electronic newsletter of the Houston chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA Houston), and is a tool for you.  The deadline for submitting items for the September newsletter is Wednesday, August 24, 2005.   We love hearing your thoughts and news, so send generously to


Lauren Hammit
(713) 798-7595
(713) 798-7413
Author: Lauren Hammit
Phone: (713) 798-7595
Fax: (713) 798-7413
Category: newsletter | Sub Category: epro