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ePro - May edition


Wear Yellow, Live Strong: How Austin''s Champion Charity Spread its Yellow Fever - The Lance Armstrong Foundation 

Join PRSA Houston on May 4 at 11:30 a.m. at the Courtyard on St. James Place (1885 St. James Place) to hear from Michelle Milford, spokesperson and associate director of public relations for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.  You have likely seen them on wrists of presidential candidates, rock stars, celebrities and Olympians.  More importantly, they adorn the wrists of cancer advocates, cancer patients, cancer fighters and cancer survivors.  The Wear Yellow Live Strong Wristband Campaign was born on a Nike campus and flourishes here in Texas and all around the world - all for the benefit of the Lance Armstrong Foundation''s mission of helping people with cancer live strong.  So show up, WEAR YELLOW and join us in learning about THE successful campaign of the year.  To register, visit call (281) 870-1717 or visit  

Help Reel in Great Items for the Silent Auction Benefiting the Public Relations Foundation of Houston!

The Public Relations Society of America is again holding its silent auction to benefit the Public Relations Foundation of Houston.  The silent auction is being held in conjunction with PRSA’s Excalibur Awards dinner, to be held this year on June 9 at the Aquarium downtown.  Theme of the Excalibur Awards is “Rewarding a Sea of Creativity,” and we need your help to reel in great items for the auction.  The Public Relations Foundation of Houston, a dedicated fund in the Greater Houston Community Foundation, benefits education.  This year, the Foundation is awarding its first scholarship—quite an accomplishment after only three years in operation. We would appreciate your generous support of this auction.  Items that are especially popular include corporate executive gifts, restaurant and hotel gift certificates, tickets and passes for leisure activities, wine and food baskets, and any other item you would love to bid on.  We would appreciate very much your generous support this year Ask your favorite restaurant for a gift certificate; look at corporate gifts; ask clients if they can contribute great items.  Combining items result in a package that has lots of sales appeal—for example, passes to a favorite museum plus a gift certificate to a family restaurant.  Donors get recognition at the event and in the auction program, and major donors are recognized on the PRSA Web site. The mission of the Public Relations Foundation of Houston is to enhance the quality of education by creating a permanent educational endowment that will allow it to provide scholarships, grants and programs to benefit students and educators. If you have any questions, please call Sabra Gill (281) 497-4971 or email her:  If you need a request on letterhead, please contact Alice Brink at  Items can be mailed to Sabra Gill, Sabra H. Gill & Associates, P. O. Box 441525, Houston, TX  77244, delivered to Ben Wheatley, Pierpont Communications, 1800 West Loop South, Suite 800, Houston, TX  77027 or to Beverly Freeman, Freeman Communications, 10701 Corporate Drive, Stafford, TX  77477.  Please call Sabra, Ben, (713) 627-2224, or Beverly, (281) 333-5177, before making a delivery.   Thanks for your support of this important project.

PR Day … for Free? 

Let’s face it – there aren’t many ways to attend PR Day 2005 for free. One way however, donating money to the cause - referred to as a sponsorship - will definitely win you special treatment.  The second way, sneaking in, definitely will not.  This year anyway, robotic, snarling dogs will be patrolling the parameters, so we caution against sneaking.  The third way? Win a full-day pass from our PR Day drawings.
 During each of the July and August PRSA luncheons, a drawing will be held to award one free full-day pass for PR Day 2005, which will be September 14 at the Hyatt Regency Downtown. Scheduled to headline is James Arnold, founder of Arnold Consulting Group, Inc., and author of “Leadership and Management of the Public Relations Function.”  James Arnold is a hands-on consultant who has counseled the top management of organizations as diverse as America OnLine, AARP, American Airlines, the American Bar Association, American Century Investments, American Express, Andersen Consulting, Allied-Signal, AT&T—and that’s just the A’s. Mr. Arnold will present, “You Bet Your Company,” an in-depth analysis of strategy, public relations and integrated communications.  A sampling of other sessions includes:

  1. The Onslaught of Blogs - Kyrie O’Connor of The Houston Chronicle and John Wagner of Wagner Communications discuss the evolution and PR applications of blogging.
  2. Big Results, Little Budgets: Campaigns on a Budget - Jeffrey D. Ory, ABC, APR, flies in from New Orleans to share how to maximize success while spending minimally.
 For more sponsorship information, contact Melanie Brenneman. Thank you to PR Day sponsors: Bacon’s, Business Wire, The Houser Company, and design by Piland Design, Inc. 








Online Membership Renewal Now Available

Is it time to renew your membership? Now you can renew by credit card online. Once you have received a dues invoice in the mail, you can log on to the members-only Web site,  Click “My Billing” on the menu. You also may renew your chapter dues, Section and Affinity Group dues at the same place.  Pretty convenient, huh?

PRSA Houston Announces Diversity Committee Chair and Members – Seeking Additional Volunteers
  PRSA Houston members and friends are invited to join the PRSA Houston Diversity Committee to help the Chapter incorporate diversity into all that we do - including programming, membership recruitment and community outreach. Diversity includes, but is not limited to, ethnicity, gender, industries, level of experience and geographic locations. Kelly Papinchak is chairing the committee.  Committee members include Frank Agraz, Mabel Menefee, Angela Young, Paula Ruth, APR, and Virginia Sanchez, APR.  Diversity committee representatives were present on a call with the PRSA National Diversity Committee on April 14 to learn about PRSA''s 2005 Diversity Plan and some of the initiatives that are currently underway, as well as learn of diversity best practices from other PRSA chapters. PRSA Houston’s Diversity Committee will support the mission of the PRSA National Diversity Committee which is: To advance the objectives of and develop an inclusive Society by reaching and involving members who represent a broad spectrum of ethnic, racial and sexual-orientation groups, and by providing professional development, knowledge and support to professionals of diverse race, gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity to help them succeed in public relations. 
For more information, visit or contact Kelly Papinchak,, or (281) 497-6567, ext. 508, if you’re interested in joining this committee. 

Research Your PR Questions Online!

PRSA has a new benefit for members. Now you can search and retrieve answers to your most challenging PR questions from a database of articles from Tactics and Strategist, the association’s national publications.  You can also search hundreds of award-winning case studies from Silver Anvils. Search by practice area, industry or communications channel. For example, you can look at all the media relations articles from both publications since 1988.  If you are not a PRSA member, PRSA staff will conduct searches for you for a fee.  Just sign on to MemberNet,, and click on “PRC Search” in the left margin.

Professional Development Survey Nets Positive Response 

Thanks to all of you who participated in our recent professional development survey. PRSA Houston is dedicated to making sure that as members you have access to the programming that will help you to advance in your public relations careers.  The chapter’s professional development committee will use the information gathered through the survey to plan professional development workshops for the rest of the year.
 To summarize the survey results:

  1. Of the topic suggestions provided, your top two picks were Strategic Communications Planning and Media Measurement, followed by Business Development, Financial Communications and Risk Communications. Other write-in suggestions included Branding (this topic is scheduled for PR Day 2005), IPO Communications, Government Relations, Marketing and Special Events Planning.
  2. When given the choice of length for professional development workshops, the overwhelming majority of respondents said 2 ½ hours was “just right.” As for time of day, it was a pretty even split between 12:00 pm – 2:30 and 8:30 am – 11:00. 
  3. The top two locations for a professional development workshop chosen in the survey were the Galleria area and Downtown, followed far behind by Sugarland/Southwest Houston and The Woodlands/North Houston.
  4. The response that was most surprising to the professional development committee was in regards to the use of Internet/conference calling (online meeting services that would let you attend from your desk or a conference room in your office) as a medium for professional development programming. It was a fairly even split between those who said they’d be more likely to attend, those who would be less likely to attend and those who said it wouldn’t make a difference in their plans to attend. 
So what’s the next step? The professional development committee will use this information to formulate a plan for the remainder of the year. If you are interested in being a member of the committee, contact Terri Larson, (713) 353-6317 or  








Bone Up on PR and Blogs

Are you a blogger? If not, and you’re in PR, you’re likely missing out on technology that may help you reach more individuals with your message than more traditional channels. Just look at a few recent events: the White House recently admitted their first blogger into the White House press corps and the first information about the December 26 tsunami that devastated Southeast Asia emerged through blogs.  Not sure how to communicate through blogs (there are millions of them in existence)? Nick Wreden, of Fusion Branding, provides the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Brand PR: 
  1. Never pitch, personalize. …A blog has everything a blogger has written, complemented by relevant links.  There is absolutely no excuse for not knowing what a blogger''s passions and idiosyncrasies are before you converse about - not pitch - a concept.
  2. Respect a blogger’s time and intelligence. Start emails with an informative subject line. "Press release" is grounds for immediate deletion. Make emails short and concise. Avoid attachments. Do not send HTML email, which has dangerous potential. Do not kowtow; remember it''s a conversation.
  3. "A blog is not about you, it is about me." Never, ever use the words, "I think your readers would be interested in this story." To a large extent, bloggers are more interested in a point of view or the power of an idea than they are "readers."
  4. Quality, not quantity: Here''s a new rule for agencies: Never send out more than one or two communications to blogs a day.
  5. Feed the food chain. Already, almost every industry has its blogging superstars, the go-to bloggers for both insight and buzz. Instead of stuffing their inbox, start by conversing with the bloggers who are likely being read by the superstar. That''s not hard; just read blogrolls of the superstars.
  6. It''s no longer just about the media: Many PR professionals focus on the prominent journalists and influencers who have blogs. That is understandable. But remember that customers, prospects, suppliers, industry associations and others who can influence your brand also have blogs. Converse intelligently with them as well.
  7. Keep learning: According to a blog monitoring organization, the number of blogs worth tracking has grown from 1.5 million to 7.5 million in less than six months. This emerging field is changing so fast that even these tips will have to be revised in a year.

PRSA Houston Job Bank 

Are you looking for a quality internship?  Turn to the PRSA Houston Job Bank to provide you with the opportunity to gain professional experience.  To view the current internship listings simply go to and click on the “Job Bank” button on the left.   
 Questions? Contact Susan Schmaeling

PRSA Houston Hosts Successful Professional Development Event

On Wednesday, April 6, PRSA Houston presented “Starting Your Own Business: The Nuts and Bolts for Success” at the Courtyard at St. James Place.  Attendees heard from James Evans, assistant region director for the University of Houston Small Business Development Center, and a panel of three talented individuals: David McPhail, vice president of Commercial Lending for Hibernia Bank, Susan Schmaeling, APR, Susan Schmaeling PR & Marketing, and Ed Schipul, Schipul – The Web Marketing Company. Discussion ranged from financing for various business activities to business development, time keeping, making decisions on whether or when to take on employees or partners in the business.  The workshop was well-attended by both PRSA Houston members and non-members looking for additional guidance. The PRSA Houston professional development committee is in the process of planning several additional professional development events for 2005. If you are interested in joining the professional development committee, contact Terri Larson at (713) 353.6317 or

Welcome New Members! 

 PRSA Houston
warmly welcomes new members to the group:

  • Scott A. Edwards of Veolia Water
  • Richard A. Fernandez of the Houston Airport System
  • Ken Kelly of Public l Communications, Inc.
  • Merche Shannon of Lopez Negrete Communications
  • Peggy A. Sheehan of the University of Houston
  • Kacey Charter Smith of Texas Medical Center News
  • Patricia S. Vredenburg of Hewlett-Packard Company
Houston Member News
Member on the Speaking Circuit:
Angie Jeffrey, APR, vice president of PR Trak and PRSA Houston member,  will be leading a roundtable during PRSA''s Counselor''s Academy Spring Conference Update, May 15-17, in Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Hotel in Phoenix, Ariz.  Angie''s topic: "Leading Through Measurement: Linking Media Outputs with Business Outcomes." Health Academy Spring Conference:The board of directors of PRSA''s Health Academy would like to invite you to attend the upcoming annual Spring Conference, May 4-6.  It’s a great chance to brush-up on the healthcare space and learn about the issues facing your industry.  Details at: 








What’s Hot This Summer?

Well, besides the boggy Houston temperatures, there’s a lot of HOT PRSA programming going on. Just as a reminder, after May’s “Wear Yellow, Live Strong” program, there will be no June luncheon meeting. Instead, we hope to see everyone in their finest finery to celebrate the best of the best in our field at the annual Excalibur Awards banquet June 9. See accompanying articles for more information on the May program featuring Lance Armstrong’s Foundation PR head, and the June awards ceremony, which is being hosted by KHOU-TV’s own Deborah Duncan. The programs committee is currently finalizing details for the July meeting, which will be July 6.  Come August, our guest speaker will be Jackie Martin, currently executive director of the United Way of Texas Gulf Coast, and soon to be a consultant with a law firm as well as continue her advocacy for UW.  Jackie will share with us the pitfalls and successes of running a massive, non-profit organization that depends heavily on strategic communications and marketing to survive and thrive. Again, mark your calendars: August 3, 11:30, Courtyard on St. James.  Sponsorships are still being accepted for the July and August meetings, as well as the Excalibur Awards in June.  To sponsor an event or register to attend, visit, or call (281) 870-1717.

“Meet the Media” Panel Discussion  - (psst...You won''t want to miss this one!)

PRSA Houston’s New Professionals Group invites you to attend a “Meet the Media” Panel on Thursday, May 12, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Westin Galleria Houston, 5060 West Alabama  in the Royal Suite (24th floor).

Confirmed panelists include:
Christine Hall, Reporter Focus, Media & Marketing, Houston Business JournalJames Howard Gibbons, Editor - Opinion pages, Houston ChroniclePaul Pendergraft, News Director, KUHF-FMBryan Erickson, News Director, KTRH Radio 740 Each media panelist will discuss his or her background and experience in the news industry, followed by a panel Q/A session.  We will close with a mix n’ mingle among guests, and refreshments will be provided.  Costs to attend are $8 for PRSA members and $10 for non-members. You may register and pay online by visiting, or you may pay at the door. Online registration ends at 5 pm on May 11.

A View From Inside the White House: On the Record With Peter Roussel, Former Deputy Press Secretary to President Reagan 

 PRSA Houston’s New Professionals Group
  and the Houston World Affairs Council  Young Professionals Group invite you to attend “A View From Inside the White House: On the Record with Peter Roussel, former Deputy Press Secretary to President Reagan" on Thursday, May 19 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Baker Hughes, 3900 Essex Lane. The meeting will take place in the 2nd Floor Conference Room. Registration and networking begins at 6 p.m. Register online at

 With more than 35 years of business, government, political and media experience - including two tours of duty in the White House under Presidents Reagan and Ford - Peter Roussel, is an author, public speaker, television commentator and public relations consultant, will be addressing PRSA Houston’s New Pros.  From 1981-1987 he served in the White House as Deputy Press Secretary and Special Assistant to President Reagan.  His very first assignment was to handle media relations for the landmark historic appointment of Sandra Day O''Connor as Justice to the Supreme Court.   Roussel will discuss how he became involved in politics and how he came to work in the White House. He will share stories of his international experience, as well as provide insight into how young professionals can begin a career in government. PRSA Houston New Pros thank the Houston World Affairs Council Young Professionals Group and Baker Hughes for their support of this event! New Pros programs and activities target PR professionals with up to five years of experience in public relations, as well as graduating students and professionals new to the industry.  For more information about the PRSA National New Professionals Affinity Group, visit:

Competition Drives Business Directory! 

Petri Darby, APR, is the latest advertiser to advertise in the business directory.  We hope it will become your source for public relations help in specific areas, as well as for translational services, photographers, graphic designers, printers, video suppliers and freelance writers - just to name a few possibilities.  Sharon Dotson, APR, of Bayou City Public Relations started to advertise in February 2005 and claims she already has received business from her ad.  "I never thought of PRSA as a source of business," Sharon said, "but with the business directory, PRSA is helping me to make money.  The directory will definitely justify my membership this year."  Check out the ads at .  
 Exposure like this is open to all relevant companies for the low price of $100/year.  Logos can be uploaded, and the site can be linked to yours.  Lisa Martin of RBC Mortgage, the board member responsible for the Web site, has been very patient helping anyone with difficulties posting.  Please support our advertisers, and help us help you by posting your firm as well.  So far, the ads are sorted alphabetically. 

Give the Gift of PRSA Membership

Do you know a PRSSA member who is graduating this spring? Be part of the "I''m (Almost) Ready to Face the Real World" program by giving the gift of PRSA membership to this student.  Dues for graduating PRSSA students are just $60 for a PRSSA Grad-Associate Membership.  Add $15 more to also include membership in PRSA''s New Professionals Affinity Group, for a total of $75.  Contact Member Services at

So "Hmmm," What Has PRSA Houston Been Busy With Lately?

Jackie Whitley (left) of U.S. Newswire, luncheon sponsor, visits with Terri Larson, Enbridge Energy, professional development chair, and her new boss, PRSA Assembly Delegate Larry Springer at the April luncheon. 

Some New Pros met for some exercise, popcorn and pizza at Emerald Lanes where bowling scores shall remain a big secret! (One member of this gang was not happy with a 180.) Among those bowling were (left to right) front row: Destin Singleton, Vollmer Public Relations; Mari Pillar, Golin Harris; Eric Herrera, Clear Channel Communications; back row: Jacquelynn Schroeder, Vollmer; Kelly Papinchak, Schipul--The Web Marketing Company, and Suzanne Lammers, Westin Galleria and Westin Oaks Hotel.

Peter Durkin, chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas, discussed the research behind the Planned Parenthood communications strategy at the April luncheon.






Joe Guerrero of PR Newswire was among those attending the April PRSA luncheon.

Petri Darby, APR, Jenkens & Gilchrist, and vice president of PRSA Houston was master of ceremonies during the April luncheon.

Susan Schmaeling, APR, Susan Schmaeling Public Relations & Marketing, was a panelist for the workshop on Starting Your Own Business.

Dr. James B. Evans of the University of Houston Small Business Development Center was the keynote speaker for the professional development seminar on starting your own business.









Press Primer
with Melanie Brenneman

Hiking to Galveston County for May''s Press Primer, where, according to Laura Elder, “the petrochemical and tourism industries attempt to peacefully coexist.”  

Laura should know – she’s senior reporter for the Galveston County Daily News, covering the business beat for its 200,000 residents.

From press release to news coverage – what helps the transition?
 Have a timely, local angle. While we pay close attention to national trends, we want to localize the story and tell our readers why they should care. I immediately notice press releases that are clearly written, get right to the point and are completely free of jargon. (Industry jargon is a huge turnoff.)  Some of the best press releases not only include the what, where, when and how, but also industry trends and useful background. And the best pitches? The best pitch has our readership in mind, anticipates questions reporters will have and includes ideas on photo opportunities.  Reporters have to think about the entire package. You may go straight to the source at  Press Primer praise and snide asides are welcome at  I love that stuff. Seriously.

Thank you, Luncheon Sponsors!

PRSA Houston would like to thank U.S. Newswire for its sponsorship of the April luncheon, along with Schipul--The Web Marketing Company, the AV sponsor for the professional development seminar.  U.S. Newswire is also a sponsor for the May luncheon, when it is joined by KHOU-TV and Southwest Airlines.    If you saw the new publication, CREATE, which debuted in April, then you may have seen the ad for PRSA''s May luncheon near the back, the space for which was donated by CREATE and the ad was graciously designed by Kim Miller of Graphique.   We are now booking sponsors for the rest of the year.  Wouldn''t you like to be part of these coming luncheon opportunities?  August 3:  Jackie Martin, executive director, United Way of Texas Gulf CoastSept. 14: PR Day (different sponsor levels apply) Oct. 5: Crisis Communications Panel Nov. 2: PRSA''s 2005 National President Judy PhairDecember: Holiday Party (no speaker) For $500, 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. These sponsorships help PRSA Houston 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 five so far this year.  Discounts are available for sponsoring multiple luncheons.  Opportunities also are available for PR Day and the Excalibur Awards Program.

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 June newsletter is May 18, 2005.   We love hearing your thoughts and news, so send generously to ePro''s editor, Lauren Hammit:

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