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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 luncheon programs, networking and wonderful professional development opportunities.


PRSA Houston Monthly Luncheon: Mayor Bill White to Address Members

Join PRSA Houston in July on a new date and at a new place.  For our special presentation by Mayor Bill White, we will be meeting at 11:30 a.m. on the third Thursday of the month, July 15th, at the new downtown Hilton Americas Hotel at 1600 Lamar.

Bill White was elected Houston's 51st mayor on December 6, 2003, and believes that Houston is America's great city of opportunity.  To Mayor White, opportunities must be made available to all Houstonians because the possibilities are endless for the country's fourth largest city. His initial priorities as Mayor are:

  • Economic development and increased jobs in the Houston metro region;
  • Improved traffic flow throughout the city with the smart use of existing technology;
  • Eliminating blight in Houston neighborhoods;
  • Renewed commitment by Houston businesses and citizens to the city's non-profit and social service agencies;
  • Address the challenges of air quality and adequate drainage, and;
  • Make City Hall the most efficient and responsive in the nation.

White joined the WEDGE Group in 1997 as president and CEO, and led the business to record performance during his tenure there. From 1993 to 1995, White served as Deputy Secretary of Energy of the United States and led the effort to reduce the department's annual budget by over $1 billion.  He served as a lead negotiator for the U.S. on energy-related issues between the U.S. and Russia.  Prior to his service in Washington D.C., White was a partner and attorney with the law firm Susman Godfrey, where he handled complex litigation business.  While practicing law, White taught law at the University of Texas at Austin, authored dozens of publications and testified before Congress on antitrust and voting rights issues.

White served on the board of the North American Electrical Reliability Council, which establishes the rules for access to the North American electrical grid.  For many years he served on the Executive Committee of the Greater Houston Partnership, serving twice as chairman of its World Trade Division and once as chair of its Environmental Advisory Committee.  White gives his time to many community based, non-profit boards including Houston's Quality of Life Coalition.

Bill White graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, which he attended on scholarships from the American Legion.  He graduated from the University of Texas Law School with highest honors, and was elected editor-in-chief of its law review.


July 15 Monthly Luncheon – All the Little Details

With this month as the exception, PRSA Houston typically meets the third Wednesday of each month at the Houston City Club at Greenway Plaza.  Networking begins at 11:30 a.m.  A buffet lunch service begins at 11:45 a.m., followed by the meeting at noon.  Luncheon fees for the July program featuring Mayor Bill White are as follows: if reservations are made before July 13 at 5 p.m., fees are $40 for members, $40 for guests and $25 for students. Luncheon fees if reservations are made after July 13 at 5 p.m., or for walk-ins, are $45 for members, $45 for guests and $30 for students. All "no shows" will be billed. Please bring your check payable to PRSA Houston to the meeting.

To register to attend,go online or call (281) 870-1717.


Change of Venue and Time for July Board Meeting

Due to the change of venue for the July monthly luncheon, the PRSA Houston board will meet this month at Stone Kitchen, 2415 Dunstan, on Wednesday, July 21 instead of its usual time, preceding the luncheon.  The meeting will begin at 11:30.  Please contact Cindy Suggs to RSVP: (713) 636-1783 or csuggs@tractebelusa.com


PRSA Houston Job Bank Continues to Link Pros To Great Opportunities

If you are in the midst of an all-out job search, or just curious, PRSA Houston's Job Bank makes for great reading. In the past month, a dozen new jobs have been listed on the site.

"There is a wealth of great talent that is looking for work after various corporate restructurings and many others are itching to take on new challenges as the economy continues to emerge from the doldrums," said Dan Keeney, APR, PRSA president. "I am particularly pleased to see that opportunities encompass a broad range of experience levels, from entry level up to seasoned PR executives."

The following jobs had been listed in the past month:

  • Account Executive/Assistant Account Executive at Ward Creative Communications
  • Client Relations Coordinator for Fulbright & Jaworski
  • Communications Specialist at CenterPoint
  • Corporate Communications Manager for Rackspace Managed Hosting
  • Director of Product for Rackspace Managed Hosting
  • Media Relations Manager - Texas for Direct Energy/CPL/WTU
  • Public Relations Manager for an anonymous company
  • Public Relations Associate at Houston Ballet
  • Public Relations Manager for Six Flags Astroworld
  • Program Coordinator, Communications and Media Relations at North Harris County Community College District
  • Specialist, Communications at Lyondell Chemical Company
  • Writer/Editor for Greater Houston Partnership

"We have received a tremendous number of resumes and from some very good candidates," said Deborah Ward Buks, APR, who said she received 54 resumes after just 10 days. "This is a great time to be in this profession, because business is picking up and there are great opportunities being created."

Buks has two bits of advice for job seekers. First, don't bother the company that has listed a position with unnecessary questions. It doesn't show much initiative to call and ask about the position. Instead, find out as much as you can about the company and tailor your resume and cover letter appropriately. Also, she suggests paying attention to the various parameters a potential employer has included in their listing, such as the number of years of experience. If you have 3 years experience, submitting your resume for a position that asks for at least seven years of experience may be seen as a nuisance -- and, of course the opposite is true as well.

Viewing PRSA Houston's Job Bank listings is free. Listing a job costs $100 for a three-month listing and can be completed online at http://www.prsahouston.org/en/jobs/add.asp


Silent auction nets $2,265 for Public Relations Foundation of Houston

A quilt, Houston Astros tickets, gift baskets, restaurant dinners and stuffed animals were among the many items snapped up by Excalibur Award attendees June 17 at a silent auction to benefit Public Relations Foundation of Houston (PRFH).

Generous bidding helped raise $2,265 for PRFH, which was formed in 2001 to award student scholarships and distribute funds to educational programs that support public relations and communication. PRFH anticipates awarding its first scholarship in spring 2005.

PRFH welcomes your gifts--tax deductible, charitable donations that help students realize their career dreams. There are many ways to contribute:

  • Make a general contribution or designate your gift to honor a colleague or friend.
  • Designate PRFH as a recipient in your will.
  • Establish a memorial fund on behalf of a loved one.
  • Encourage your company to establish a named scholarship within PRFH for a permanent educational project.
  • Lend your talents to help raise funds within the public relations community.

Gifts to PRFH should be made through The Greater Houston Community Foundation. This fully tax-exempt public charity manages PRFH's funds and serves a wide range of other donors by providing investment, regulatory and tax management. For more information and a donation form, visit www.prsahouston.org or call Ben Wheatley, ABC, APR, at (713) 627-2223. 


PR Day 2004 – Do YOU have a blueprint for success in PR?

Where will you be on Wednesday, September 22?  Better be at PR Day 2004, “Blueprints for Success in PR,” of course!  Join us at the Hyatt Regency Houston (1200 Louisiana) as we welcome a powerhouse lineup of speakers, including Jim Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA. We’ve all received many e-mails on Jim’s excellent presentations – now’s your chance to see him LIVE and IN PERSON!

For more information on speakers, and to view the schedule of events, visit us online at www.prsahouston.org/activities/pr_day.asp.

We’ve already given away two FREE full-day registrations to PR Day 2004…and you could be next! At the July 15th luncheon we will draw for a third FREE full-day registration – be there, business cards in hand.

Soon, you’ll be able to register online for PR Day 2004. Until then, make sure you attend the July 15th luncheon to take advantage of Early Bird pricing that is ONLY available at the luncheon/monthly meetings in July and August. This low Early Bird cost is $150 for a full-day and $100 for a half-day – a $15 discount from regular registration costs.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for PR Day 2004! For more information contact Terri Larson at (713) 831-6573, terri.larson@ppfa.org or visit us online at www.prsahouston.org/activities/pr_day.asp. 

Special thanks to our event and door prize sponsors, Swank A/V, Wise Consultants, Business Wire, PR Newswire, Planned Parenthood, Hill & Knowlton, Prime Zone Media Network, Burrelle’s Luce/VMS, Bacon’s, CPY, Etheria Day Spa & Salon, Hyatt Regency Downtown, Greater Houston Partnership and PRSA Houston. Many thanks also to Phil Chrzanowski at www.philcdesign.com for donating his graphic design services and Bayside Printing at www.baysideprinting.com for providing in-kind printing services.


PRSA Houston Members Vote on Proposed Bylaws Change

E-mail ballots have gone out to all PRSA Houston members to determine whether or not to change the Chapter's bylaws to allow more than three unaccredited members to serve on the board at any given time. Currently, the bylaws require that the board consist of no more than three unaccredited board members.

"As we prepare to slate candidates for the board election in September, we felt it was important to allow members to consider this issue," said PRSA Houston President Dan Keeney, APR. "PRSA Houston remains committed to encouraging accreditation and supporting those members who seek accreditation, but believe members should decide whether accreditation should be tied to Chapter leadership."

At least one third of all members will have to cast ballots for the vote to count. A vote to change the bylaws requires a two-thirds majority of the votes cast. Ballots were sent on July 7, 2004. The deadline for voting is August 6, 2004.

If you did not receive an e-mail ballot, please contact Secretary Susan Schmaeling at saspr@swbell.net or call Susan at (713) 349-0780.


Bozman Appointed to Chair PRSA Houston Education Committee

Chris Bozman, APR, one of PRSA Houston’s delegates to the national conference, has been appointed to chair the Chapter’s Education Committee. This committee works closely with Public Relations Foundation of Houston. The Education Committee reviews scholarship applications and recommends students most deserving of financial support.

“We appreciate Chris’ willingness to accept an additional responsibility on behalf of PRSA Houston,” said Dan Keeney, APR, president of PRSA Houston. “Through the work of the Education Committee, the Chapter remains closely connected with the great work being done by the Foundation, and stays up-to-date on the financial and scholastic challenges facing public relations students.”

Bozman is Web communications manager with Shell Oil Company.


2004 International Conference - Don't Miss These Speakers!

Tuesday General Session
10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Ken Auletta
Media Columnist for the New Yorker and Author of “Backstory: Inside the Business of News: When News Becomes More Business than Journalism: Who Wins; Who Loses?” 
Columnist for the “Annals of Communications” in The New Yorker since 1992, Brooklyn-born Ken Auletta is also the author of nine books, including four national bestsellers: “Three Blind Mice: How the TV Networks Lost Their Way,” “Greed and Glory on Wall Street: The Fall of the House of Lehman,” “The Highwayman: Warriors of the Information Super Highway” and “World War 3.0: Microsoft and Its Enemies.”   Join Auletta as he dissects the intricacy of media empires and how those empires intersect with business and politics. No doubt the future of public relations will be profoundly affected by these transformations.

Special Issues Session
11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Alan Hevesi
Comptroller of the State of New York
Corporate and Government Accountability: An "Insider's" View
What's the future of responsible corporate and government management and how can we as communicators support it? Alan Hevesi brings a unique "both sides now" viewpoint to this topic. As comptroller of New York State and trustee for more than $115 billion in employee retirement plans, he has been a vocal advocate of reform and accountability in government. And he's also been a leader in calling for corporate transparency, most recently joining with the California Public Employee Retirement System and other major pension funds in pressuring corporations, including Safeway, Walt Disney and Citicorp, to install more responsible boards of directors.
(Limited seating by ticket only. Tickets are free, but they must be reserved in advance.)


PRSA Houston Member News

Congratulations to PRSA Houston member Toby Stark, who has been invited to present her master's thesis entitled, "The New York Times' Coverage of the Holocaust" to the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication's international convention in Toronto.  Stark earned her master's degree in mass communication from the University of Houston in Dec. 2002.

Welcome New Members!
A warm welcome from PRSA Houston goes to the following new members:

  • Juven Cano of Reich & Binstock, Attorneys at Law
  • Theresa Ivins of Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP
  • Holly Smith of Smith Public Relations
  • Rachel Stockment of SABIC Americas, Inc.
  • Crystal Dollahon of ConocoPhillips, and
  • Timothy Flynn of Hewlett Packard

Comings and Goings
PRSA Houston Member Melissa Carroll has recently joined Project GRAD (Graduation Really Achieves Dreams) Houston as Director of Public Affairs. Project GRAD is a comprehensive, non-profit school reform program that is serving 48,000 students in 73 public schools in H.I.S.D. The program works to improve the quality of curriculum and teaching, as well as elevate academic standards for student performance. Over the last decade, 2,047 students have enrolled in college using the Project GRAD Scholarship. For more information, please visit www.projectgradhouston.org.


Upcoming PRSA Houston Elections To Be Conducted Electronically For the First Time

PRSA Houston members will soon be casting their votes for 2005 leadership positions.  On the ballot will be four seats on the Board of Directors and one Assembly Delegate.

The nominating committee, which will be meeting in July to put together a slate of candidates, is looking for ten members who are ready to be involved in chapter governance for the next three years. If you are interested in serving or know of someone who would like to take a leadership position, contact Kris Taylor, immediate past president and chair of the 2005 nominating committee.  Please make sure that the person you are nominating is a current member of PRSA Houston.  Candidates for assembly delegate must be accredited.


Members Garner Fantastic Returns on PRSA Houston Memberships

Members who introduce a friend or colleague to PRSA will be rewarded when PRSA's Member-Get-A-Member (MGAM) campaign returns in August and September. Members who recruit one member will receive a $25 PRSA voucher ($15 if they refer an Associate member), if they recruit more than one member the rewards increase. Vouchers can be used towards PRSA National teleseminars, seminars (excluding the International Conference) or publications and gift merchandise in the PRSA Store.  Each member who recruits one or more members is also eligible to participate in our Grand MGAM drawing, giving them a chance to win additional prizes and awards - including travel certificates and PRSA merchandise. The referring member's name will be entered in the drawing once for each member they refer. To ensure that the referral is counted, the new member must include the referring member's name on their application with the promotion code MGAM2004, or use a specially marked MGAM application and provide the referring member's name.   The new member can join online - using the promotion code – at https://www.prsa.org/_Membership/memberform/index.cfm.  For more information, call Angela Young, membership chair, at (281) 437-8115.


Want to Reorder your 2004 PRSA Excalibur Award?

Congratulations to all winners of the 2004 PRSA Excalibur Award!  If you would like an award correction, copy change on your certificate or a duplicate, reorder information is now available.  Please log onto www.prsahouston.org for more information.  Reorder forms are due on or before July 30, 2004.  Please direct questions to Anne Peebles at (713) 241-1584 or (281) 874-8290.


PRSA Houston Benefits from TPRA Awards Contest

Under the partnership arrangement PRSA Houston made with the Texas Public Relations Association, PRSA Houston  received $1037.59 from our members' participation in TPRA's competition this year.  We received these funds as our share of a joint promotional effort.  Not only did the TPRA contest enable statewide competition across the state for our members, but it brought rewards back to the chapter.

American Marketing Association Upcoming Speaker Schedule

Join the AMA at one of their monthly luncheons, as their summer and fall speaker schedules promise to be interesting.

  • August 11, 2004 - David Saperstien, Chairman of the Mayor's Task Force on Mobility
  • September 8, 2004 - Tim McDougal, VP Marketing for the Houston Rockets
  • October 13, 2004 - Jim Compton, Sr. VP Mktg for Continental Airlines

Thank You Luncheon Sponsors!

We would like to thank the following sponsors who stepped forward to enable us to offer the Mayor of Houston at a downtown location for July: Business Wire, Multivision, Pierpont Communications and Time Warner Cable.  The move to downtown is part of a review of luncheon facilities now underway and also a response to our members downtown who find it difficult to leave downtown for lunch.  Luncheon sponsorships enable us to meet hotel minimums, cover the cost of audio-visual requirements, provide a discount for students and help us to keep luncheon prices affordable for everyone.  If your company would like to support PRSA by sponsoring a luncheon (or other event), please call Paula Ruth at (281) 870-1717.  Luncheon sponsorships are still available for selected dates this year…you may wish to budget this item in your promotional expenses for next year.      

A luncheon sponsorship includes:

- Mention in promotional e-mail sent to database of subscribers
- Mention and text link in ePRo, the PRSA Houston newsletter
- Text link on PRSA Houston Web site (www.prsahouston.org) 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 - Speak to the luncheon gathering (no more than 3 minutes)
- One lunch registration
- One set of mailing labels for all 460 PRSA Houston members

Luncheon sponsorship prices are:

1x = $500
2x = $900
3x = $1,200
4x = $1,400

Also, in exchange for the delivery and use of a computer and laptop (per month), we provide A-V sponsors:

- Mention in promotional e-mail sent to database of subscribers
- Text link on PRSA Houston Web site (www.prsahouston.org) 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
- One lunch registration


ePro is the electronic newsletter of the Houston chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA Houston), and is a tool for you.   Deadline for submitting items for the August newsletter is August  6, 2004.   We welcome your thoughts and news, so send to Lauren at lhammit@bcm.tmc.edu.



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