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ePRo - July Edition

Welcome to the July edition of ePRo, the electronic newsletter of the Houston chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA Houston). Join us each month for great programs, networking and professional development opportunities that can’t be beaten. Deadline for submitting items for the August newsletter is July 23, 2006  We love hearing your thoughts and news, so send generously to Stephanie Pertuit at

Legends in their Own Time: Lessons from the Masters

Join PRSA Houston for a special panel discussion with some of the Houston area’s most distinguished and experienced PR professionals at our monthly luncheon at the Courtyard on St. James on Wednesday, July 5.

Masters Panel
Sabra Gill, APR, Legacy Honoree
Gayle McNutt, APR, Fellow PRSA, Legacy Honoree
Graham Painter, APR, Legacy Honoree
Tom Stewart, APR, Fellow PRSA, Legacy Honoree

With more than 125 years of combined experience, these PR masters have done it all. They’ve worked for major corporations, opened their own firms, worked with our city’s leading executives and politicians, and tackled a wide variety of PR challenges over the years. And they’ve been front row witnesses to a technological revolution that has forever changed the ways in which we communicate.

All of the members of our Masters panel are accredited in public relations. Two have been inducted into PRSA’s College of Fellows, which denotes the hallmark of achievement in one’s public relations career and requires a balanced portfolio consisting of service, success and leadership. All four speakers have been honored with
PRSA Houston’s Legacy Award, which honors a senior practitioner whose service to the chapter and the profession were instrumental in creating the legacy of PRSA Houston.

At our July luncheon, they will share the highs and lows of their careers, how our industry has changed since they got their start and what YOU need to do to enjoy similar success in your career.


Wednesday, July 5, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Courtyard on St. James

Register: Visit or contact Paula Ruth, APR, at (281) 870-1717.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Paula Ruth, APR, at or (281) 870-1717.

Excalibur Awards 2006: Elegance of Decades Past

Wow!  Did you ever see black and white look so good! The PRSA Houston Excalibur Awards 2006 event, June 15, at the Petroleum Club was simply spectacular.  An estimated 220 set a new record for attendance!  Our thanks goes to Kristin Pacheco of Sullivan Group and Mari Pillar of GolinHarris and all our sponsors for an absolutely fantastic event.   Congratulations to all winners!

New to the event was the GCI presentation of the CEO Communicator of the Year Award to Harris County Judge Robert Eckels and Houston Mayor Bill White. Both received the award in person from Julian Read, chairman of the West Region for
GCI Group. Often, it is up to the CEO to be the top communicator in an organization and this award recognized an outstanding example of how the actions by leaders can communicate passion, urgency and change the image of the city.

Mike Breslin, APR, general manager of
Hill & Knowlton, the presenting sponsor, presented the Grand Excalibur to Ronda Wendler of Texas Medical Center News, who was the unanimous selection of the judging Georgia Chapter.

Mr. Breslin also presented PRSA Houston President Sally Ramsay, Pierpont Communications, with the PR Professional of the Year Award. Sally presented Erin Blatzer, public relations manager of Houston Museum of Natural Science with the Young Professional of the Year Award. She also provided an outstanding tribute/roast for her former boss Graham Painter, APR, Sterling Bank, who won the 2006 Legacy Award at the young age of 58.

And speaking of winners, the Silent Auction benefiting the Public Relations Foundation of Houston raised over $6,000 to be used for education. The Chapter''s congratulations to Susan Schmaeling, APR, and her committee of volunteers for organizing and leading this super, successful auction which exceeded last year''s total by roughly 20 percent. The Foundation appreciates the generous donations and the spirited bidding. 

The complete Excalibur Award winner''s list is available at

Photos from the event are now available online, thanks to Catch the Moment Photography. If you had your photo taken at Excalibur, you may be able to
find the results now. To order a high quality reprint of any photo, go to and click on reprints. To download an electronic version free of charge, visit

Additional copies of Excalibur awards or corrections may be ordered by completing the Excalibur Awards reorder form no later than July 27. Find the order form at

Once again we would like to thank our Presenting Sponsor
Hill & Knowlton, CEO Communicator of the Year Presenter GCI Group, King''s Court Sponsors BusinessWire, Burson-Marsteller, CenterPoint Energy and Shell; our Knights of the Round Table: Anadarko Petroleum, Fleishman-Hillard, JHHTF Communications Division, Lopez Negrete, Pierpont Communications, Sterling Bank, University of HoustonVollmer Public Relations and the split table of Houston Museum of Natural Science/Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau and our In-Kind Sponsors A&E-The Graphics Complex, Catch the Moment Photography, GolinHarris, Graphique Advertising and Interactive Design, Houston Business Journal, Staging Solutions and Sullivan Group Productions.

Silent Auction a Success

The chapter held its annual silent auction to benefit the Public Relations Foundation of Houston at the Excalibur awards ceremony on June 15.  Excalibur guests enjoyed bidding on the stellar auction items ranging from getaways to Galveston and Lake Livingston, Continental Airlines tickets to dining destinations and even a portable PlayStation.

As you can see to the left, the bidding was fierce at all times. The silent auction raised more than $6,000 for the educational endowment, which allows the Foundation to provide scholarships, grants and programs benefiting public relations students and educators. This year a $1,000 scholarship was awarded to Brittany Philmon, a senior communications major at Texas A&M University. A big thank you to our donors to the silent auction and everyone who assisted in its success – we couldn’t do it without you. 

CEO Communicator of the Year

Julian Read, chairman of the West Region of GCI Corp., as the CEO Communicators Presenter, with Houston Chapter President Sally Ramsay, congratulates Harris County Judge Robert Eckels and Houston Mayor Bill White on winning the first CEO Communicator of the Year Award presented by PRSA Houston. Judge Eckels and Mayor White were recognized for using their communication efforts as leaders during hurricanes Katrina and Rita by accepting evacuees and finding them housing, literally changing the image of Houston nationwide as "a city with a heart."  Read noted it is the CEO who is often thrust into the limelight of a crisis situation, but not everyone is able to communicate compassion and yet a sense of urgency. PRSA Houston recognized their leadership in and use of public relations to achieve their
objectives. Both leaders made brief remarks. Judge Eckels was the
successful bidder for the Continental Airlines tickets at the silent auction, benefiting the Public Relations Foundation of Houston.

Grand Excalibur

Presenting Sponsor Mike Breslin, APR, general manager of Hill & Knowlton, presents the Grand Excalibur Award to Ronda Wendler, Texas Medical Center News.

2006 Legacy Award

PRSA Houston President Sally Ramsay, Pierpont Communications, presents the 2006 Legacy Award of Waterford crystal to Graham Painter, APR, executive vice president of Sterling Bank, who was president of PRSA in 1998 and continues to be active.  Painter will be part of the panel at the July 5 luncheon on "Lessons from the Masters."  He was once Ramsay''s boss when they both worked at the former Houston Lighting & Power.

Public Relations Professional of the Year

Presenting Sponsor Mike Breslin, APR, of Hill and Knowlton presents the Public Relations Professional of the Year Award to Houston Chapter President Sally Ramsay. Ramsay was surprised that Phil Morabito and the staff of Pierpont Communications had nominated her.

Young Professional of the Year

Sally Ramsay (right), president of PRSA Houston, presents Erin Blatzer, public relations manager for the Houston Museum of Natural Science, with the Young Professional of the Year Award.  Erin was nominated by her boss, Lydia Baehr, director of public relations, who managed to invite Erin''s parents without revealing the secret.

August Luncheon: Toughest Job in PR

Hold onto your hat... no, pick up the phone and make your reservation for our second annual "Toughest Job in PR Luncheon" in August!

Soaring gas prices, oil industry profits, executive compensation and retirement packages. Who has the toughest job in PR?  We could take a vote, but our friends in the oil business are sure to win this year. Grab a chair while you still can for the PRSA luncheon on
August 2. Find out how the PR pros from Exxon Mobil tackle the toughest part of our jobs, protecting and defending the reputation of our companies during good times and bad.  You won''t want to miss this one featuring Mark Boudreaux, Media Relations Manager with Exxon Mobil Corporation.

Call soon, as the house is sure to be packed for this special annual luncheon.


Wednesday, August 2, 11:30 a.m.

Where: Courtyard on St. James

Register: Visit or contact Paula Ruth, APR, at (281) 870-1717.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Paula Ruth, APR, at or (281) 870-1717.

PR Day 2006: Expect the Unexpected – Plan! Prepare! Execute! Evaluate!

PRSA Houston Announces PR Day 2006 Speaker Sessions

Whether you are an entry-level or seasoned practitioner, PRSA Houston’s PR Day 2006, held at the Double Tree Allen Center on Thursday, Sept. 21, will have something for everyone. This year’s theme, Expect the Unexpected, reflects the ever-changing business landscape, as well as the challenges and opportunities facing PR professionals in guiding their organization through difficult terrain.

Related to the topic, speaker sessions will feature exceptional leadership and business advice from highly experienced individuals eager to share their insights:

Opening Session: Tom Hoog, senior counselor to the chairman at Hill & Knowlton, Inc will share his forecast for the public relations profession. His topic, “Challenges to the Profession, Opportunities for the Professional” will certainly highlight anticipated trends in the profession.

Luncheon Speaker: Houston’s own Mayor Bill White has dealt with his share of many issues which required and challenged him to expect the unexpected. He will share his insights as he looks back one year later at the aftermaths of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, making the luncheon a must-attend for the event.

Keynote Session: David Grossman, APR, ABC, president of Your Thought Partner, will present “Making the Most of Leaders Through Effective Leadership Communications.” His presentation is geared toward senior-level communicators, and he will also be featured in the Masters’ Breakfast.
Early bird registration for PR Day 2006 is $165 for members and $185 for non-members. Please watch the
PRSA Houston Web site for registration information.

PR Day is the Houston chapter’s largest professional development event of the year, and is traditionally one of the chapter’s most well-attended events. Each year, PR Day offers valuable programming, fresh PR direction and advice, the ability to network with fellow professionals, and direct interaction with journalists.

Volunteers for this committee are welcome and needed! For more information about PR Day 2006, contact PR Day Chair Stephanie Dedeaux at 713.563.0000 or

Peter Hollister and Patricia Trubow Discuss Communication Effectiveness Studies at the June Workshop

Measuring the effectiveness of our communications is a crucial step in strategic communications activities and planning. On June 2,  Peter Hollister (left), APR, Fellow PRSA, CPRC, and Patricia Trubow (right), APR, Fellow PRSA, CPRC, discussed Communications Effectiveness Studies.

The Communication Effectiveness Study (CES) is a proven method for diagnosing the strengths and weaknesses of communications activities, barriers to effectiveness and ways to reach and motivate key audiences.  The CES provides meaningful and usable information to a management concerned with the efficiency, credibility and economy of their communication policies, practices and programs.

Terri Larson, second from left) Enbridge Energy, chair of the professional development committee, thanks Chris Riepe, RTS Marketing Research, (left) and Alice Brink, A Brink & Co., and Marcie Hysinger, Business Wire, for sponsoring the June 2 seminar on communication effectiveness studies.

PRSA Southwest District Meeting

Members of PRSA Houston''s leadership met with officers of PRSA Southwest District in June. The Southwest District provides a major professional development event annually which is often the best training that members of many small chapters in New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas and Arksansas receive. Because PRSA Houston is able to offer its own high quality professional development, our leaders offered several ideas about other benefits the district might offer.

Among those meeting were (seated, left to right) Ben Wheatley, APR, Pierpont Communications, Julie Fix, APR, Fix & Associates; Sally Ramsay, Pierpont Communications, Karen Halvorson, APR, district chair and Blake Lewis, APR, district chair-elect; standing: Mabel Menefee, Bill Zander, Texas Children''s Hospital; Susan Schmaeling, APR, Susan Schmaeling PR & Marketing; Kelly Papinchak, Sterling Bank. Not pictured is Petri Darby, APR, who also participated.

PRSA Houston Accreditation Study Course Sessions

Upcoming Accreditation Sessions are scheduled for 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., Friday, July 7 and July 14, at Corporate Office Centers (2100 West Loop South). Workshops are $10 each. If you have questions, please contact

Be a Luncheon Sponsor

Sponsorships are available for every PRSA luncheon.  Our luncheon sponsors make it possible to bring in speakers from around the country, if necessary, and still maintain a break-even luncheon price for our members.  To purchase a table for the July 5 luncheon or be a sponsor at any luncheon, please call Paula Ruth, APR, at 281-870-1717. In return for your $500 at lunch, we offer the following opportunities:

  • Mention in promotional e-mail sent to database of subscribers
  • Mention and text link in ePRo, the PRSA Houston newsletter
  • Text/Logo link on PRSA Houston Web site for one month
  • Ability to distribute materials to all luncheon attendees
  • Table in back of room to talk with luncheon attendees before and after the event
  • Opportunity to speak to the luncheon gathering (no more than 3 minutes)
  • One lunch registration at the President''s table
  • One set of paper mailing labels for all 430 PRSA Houston members or one-time use of electronically provided membership list (if desired). If you should choose to sponsor more than one luncheon in a calendar year, the sponsorship price for two luncheons is $900, three times is $1,200 and 4 times is $1,400. These multiple luncheon sponsorships do not include special events such as PR Day.

Save the Date: "Meet the Media" Event
Scheduled for August

How do you make the media work for you? What stories capture their attention?  Is any publicity good publicity? Knowing who to contact and when is essential for any media relations campaign. The New Pros are helping others become pros at building relationships with the media and getting stories covered by hosting a “Meet the Media” event on Thursday, August 24, 6:30 p.m. Join us as a panel of well-known names in the local media answer a wide range of questions from our members. Media representatives will be on hand to give their thoughts on how you can get the most out of your media relations efforts. General topics to be discussed may include:

  • Deciding what kind of coverage you want
  • Finding the news angles for your stories
  • Preparing for coverage and its consequences
  • The basic elements of a news release

Check the PRSA calendar of events for more details. The location of the event will be announced at a later time.

New Pros Gain Insight into Sports Marketing

The New Pros recently met with Ryan Stanzel, director of communications for the Houston Aeros, at a sports marketing workshop. Stanzel discussed the Aeros’ communications structure, including media relations strategies in sports marketing and PR. Special thanks go to Vollmer Public Relations, Inc. for graciously hosting the event.

Pictured from left are Nicole Enterline of Browne, Penland, McGregor, Stephens Architects, David Casey, Suzanne Lammers of Nevada Gold and Casinos, Ryan Stanzel and Eric Herrera of
Vollmer Public Relations. Photo courtesy of Chris Lopez.

Stephanie Pertuit
(713) 663-0164
Author: Stephanie Pertuit
Phone: (713) 663-0164
Category: newsletter