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ePro - November edition


Welcome to the November edition of ePro, the electronic newsletter of the Houston chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA Houston).  

PRSA Houston''s November 2 Luncheon Meeting – PRSA National President Judith Phair to discuss the challenges facing our profession

After helping to coordinate hurricane assistance for Rita and Katrina, PRSA National President Judith T. Phair, APR, Fellow PRSA, found herself canceling PRSA''s  national Assembly and then the entire national convention this week - because of potential impact of Hurricane Wilma.  Now, Phair will present the "Challenges Facing the PR Profession" and how PRSA is meeting those challenges head on. 

Could we have a more timely speaker, providing insight into how the decision was made and communicated?  You won''t want to miss this one.

Judith T. Phair is president of PhairAdvantage Communications, a Washington, D.C.-area PR and marketing consulting firm with a special focus on education and nonprofit associations.  She has extensive experience in marketing, media relations, fund raising, legislative relations and communications.  Phair served most recently as vice president for public affairs at the Council on Competitiveness, a nonpartisan, nonprofit Washington, D.C.-based association of corporate chief executives, university presidents and labor leaders working together to set a national agenda for U.S. leadership in global markets, technological innovation and education.  She also is a frequent speaker and the author of several articles, books and chapters on PR issues.

Wednesday, November 2, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Courtyard on St. James

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

Sponsors: Our November luncheon is sponsored by Administaff and US Newswire.

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

What’s Going on Next Year?  Cool Plans in the Works Already

Mark your calendars NOW for February 1 when Harris County Judge Robert Eckels will speak to PRSA Houston.  This will be a prime opportunity for sponsors, although we can''t promise time on the podium for this one.  Please call Paula Ruth, APR, at (281) 870-1717, or email her at to commit.  Sponsors may choose to pay in either 2005 or 2006.

Thank you to BP, Bayou City Public Relations and Schipul--The Web Marketing Company for sponsoring our October luncheon.  Thank you to AudienceCentral, Continental Airlines and Schipul--The Web Marketing Company for sponsoring the Strategic Planning Seminar.  We also want to thank Administaff and U.S. Newswire for agreeing to sponsor the November luncheon with Judy Phair, APR, Fellow PRSA.  Additional sponsorships are available for this program or the December Party.

Compensation Survey:  What Are You Worth?

The Public Relations Foundation of Texas—a part of Texas Public Relations Association—is  conducting the 2005 Texas Practitioner Compensation Survey of public relations and communications professionals to update the data the foundation collected in its 2000 survey. 

Take a few minutes to take this online survey so we can all see how we compare in the $$ game:  By participating, IABC/Houston will get a PDF of the survey results, which we will make available to our members at no charge – (quoted to us as a $150 value).

Volunteers & Sponsors Keep PRSA Houston Humming Along!

PRSA Houston is rolling toward the end of a successful year thanks to our many sponsors and volunteers.  Behind the scenes this year, we saw leadership from a number of people, only some of whom were candidates for the Board of Directors in the hotly contested race.  The board''s leadership has been exemplary with many of them putting in their resources as well as their time, even as several changed jobs during the year.  The board committed early this year to put your money into programs.  A core group of leaders including President Cindy Suggs, APR, Universal Weather & Aviation; Wendy Burkeen, APR, KHOU-TV, Channel 11; Mark Hayden, Parker-Hayden Public Relations; Angela Young, Continental Airlines, and Amy deMasi, PR Newswire, have lined up fabulous luncheon programs all year and worked out the details to promote and run them successfully.   The results are clear.  Luncheon attendance (not counting special events such as PR Day or Excalibur) has gone from an average of 71 in 2004 (already up from the previous year) to an average of 87 this year to date (22.5%), despite the price increase needed to cover food, tax and gratuity when we moved to the Courtyard and changed our date.  Our sponsors have covered the rest of our costs, and we thank you! 

Not every one sees how hard people are working behind the scenes or who is doing the work.  So who are these hard workers? Terri Larson, Enbridge Energy, who oversaw professional development activities this year and organized two professional development programs while offering counsel on PR Day.  Paula Smead has been instrumental in recruiting sponsors for a number of committees and volunteers most months to pass out nametags.  Kelly Papinchak, Schipul--The Web Marketing Company, has taken a leadership role in kicking off the New Pros group, the Diversity Committee and keeping up with the ongoing efforts of the University Relations Committee.  Kelly has been instrumental in launching a program with Girl Scouts trying to earn a communications/public relations badge.  Now that Kelly is moving onto the board, others will be needed in these areas.

Lauren Hammit, National Space Biomedical Research Institute, faithfully puts out the ePro each month in addition to coordinating our public relations efforts in the media.  Lisa Martin, Lyondell Chemical, works with committees to promote their events on the Web site and coordinate improvements with our web provider.  Melanie Brenneman, Business Wire, and Susan Richardson, Marathon Oil, produced a highly successful PR Day in the face of Hurricane Katrina that attracted about 200 people.  Bill Zander, Texas Children''s Hospital, and Kristin Pacheco, Sullivan Group Productions, orchestrated a dramatic Excalibur program in June for 165 people (plus volunteers) as well as the call for entries and the judging of the South Carolina Chapter entries (in return for judging ours).  Angela Young, until recently, chaired membership which has remained relatively constant, despite many corporate cutbacks.  Frank Agraz, FBI, is our ethics chair and, as an attorney, brings welcome advice to the leadership team, along with an assortment of AV supplies.

Susan Schmaeling, APR, has marketed our job bank into a highly successful operation that funds our Web site costs.  Similarly, Kelli Newman, APR, Newman & Newman, and Shelli Manning, The Menninger Clinic, have searched for public service and internship opportunities to post.   Priscilla Tinsley, Direct Energy, has worked to improve our alliances with other communications organizations.  Aaron Woods, APR, Lyondell Chemical, has not only watched our pennies, but worked with Amy Kaiser, APR, (until Amy''s move) to organize and promote accreditation within the chapter.  With our chapter continuing to have at least 22 percent of our members accredited, their efforts speak for themselves.

Dan Keeney, APR, DPK Public Relations, our past president, led the nominating committee efforts to assemble the outstanding slate of candidates for our annual election.  Board members Anne Peebles, APR, and Chris Bozman, APR, of Shell, have sponsored events and encouraged attendance, while Petri Darby, APR, Jenkins & Gilchrist, and Sally Ramsay, Pierpont Communications, have presided over meetings when Cindy Suggs could not be there.  All of the Assembly Delegates: Julie Fix, APR, University of Houston and Fix & Associates; Julie Gorling, APR, Gorling Public Relations; Larry Springer, APR, Enbridge Energy; Carolyn Mayo, APR, Vollmer Public Relations, and Ben Wheatley, APR, ABC, Pierpont Communications, have all done their parts to assure attendance and support of PRSA''s many events, and will continue to monitor national issues for us.  In addition to some obvious slots mentioned, Sally Ramsay, president-elect, is filling slots for next year.

And if we''re in the process of thanking, without question, PRSA Houston owes a debt of gratitude to our Chapter Administrator, Paula Ruth, APR, who keeps a wealth of information and activities moving along each and every month.

Please contact Sally at if you are willing to serve in some capacity.  In addition to chairs, we also need committee members.  It takes a strong team to keep PRSA running, but there is room for you to grow here too.

PRSA Houston Member News

A credit to the quality of the professionals among PRSA Houston membership, most, if not all of our members, are active in other organizations as well.  PRSA Houston members Larry Springer, APR, Graham Painter, APR, and Priscilla Tinsley have been nominated among the slate of officers for board positions for the Texas Public Relations Association (TPRA) for 2006.  Congratulations!

Bill Zander of Texas Children''s Hospital and co-chair of the 2005 Excalibur Awards has been named to the PRSA Board of Directors to fill the one-year remaining on a term vacated by Jean Gonsoulin, who resigned to accept a position in California.  I’m not sure we could ask a single thing more from this man.  Thank you, Bill…and congratulations!

Did you notice as we did that Pierpont Communications ranked as the "Best Place to Work" among companies with 10 to 100 participants in the Houston Business Journal?  The story was in the Oct. 7-13 issue.  Of course, a number of PRSA members work there including Phil Morabito, agency head; Sally Ramsay, president-elect for PRSA Houston, and Ben Wheatley, PRSA Houston Assembly Delegate.

PRSA Houston Welcomes New Members!


  • Holly Kurth
  • Julie Huval
  • Mary Biscanin of Lopez Negrete Communications
  • Rebecca Finn of Lopez Negrete Communications, and
  • Susie Rodriguez of Lopez Negrete Communications

PRSA Houston’s New Professionals group is hosting a "Be a Better Writer" Workshop with Doug Williams December 1 at the Westin Galleria

Need to kickstart your creativity?  Having trouble cutting through the clutter?  Key messages lacking quotability?

On December 1, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Westin Galleria (5060 West Alabama), Doug Williams will help you move your writing to the next level in a seminar designed especially for new professionals.  Refreshments will be provided.

Costs to attend are $20 for PRSA members and $25 for non-members if you register online at  Costs at the door are $25 for members and $30 for non-members.

Be sure to register now at

Doug is a principal in Tomasini-W2K, a Houston-based, marketing, public relations, public affairs and training company. He also publishes the Web site

Doug is a former journalist, editor and columnist, and has also worked as a press secretary in the U.S. Senate and as chief creative writer and senior vice president for public relations and public affairs at a large regional advertising agency. Additionally, he has managed corporate communications and marketing functions in both the public and private sectors, and has a broad background in government relations, issues management and crisis communications.

Many thanks to PR Newswire and the Westin Galleria for their sponsorship of this event!


New Pros Holiday Social
New Pros Holiday Social also will take place on December 1 following the workshop.  Come enjoy a fantastic time with your peers and friends!

Successful Launch of PRSA Houston and San Jacinto Girl Scouts Council Public Relations Interest Project Award


On August 27, 2005, PRSA Houston launched a local program with the Girl Scouts of the San Jacinto Council to help Senior Girl Scouts earn their Public Relations Interest Project Award.



The intro session included a discussion of terms in public relations. PRSA members brought in samples to share with Girl Scouts to create a better understanding of the tools of the trade.

At left, Carlos Arcos of Stevens FKM discusses the campaign his agency ran for the Susan G. Komen Foundation''s "Race for the Cure."  Other panelists include Jennifer Gee of Lopez Negrete Communications, Tanisha Haynes of Stevens FKM and Cheyenna Smith of Pierpont Communications.

Check out the pictures here:

October, Just Another Fun-Filled Month for PRSA Houston
(L-R) PRSA Houston Treasurer Aaron Woods, APR, Lyondell Chemical Company; President Cindy Suggs, APR, Universal Weather & Aviation; greet October speaker Marti Gazzier of BP with program chair Wendy Burkeen, APR, KHOU-TV Channel 11, after the luncheon.  Gazzier described the steps BP took immediately after the Texas City crisis to communicate with the families of victims and employees, community, media and regulatory agencies.  Speaking to an audience of 97, she attributed the quick response of the community to relationships built before the crisis.  The company was able to have its CEO John Browne onsite the next day to express their grief, take responsibility and promise amends. She noted that the Environmental Protection Agency also was able to determine rather quickly that the area had not suffered environmentally as a result of the accident.  BP, Bayou City Public Relations and Schipul--The Web Marketing Company were sponsors for the luncheon.
Ed Schipul of Schipul--The Web Marketing Company and Sharon Dotson, APR, of Bayou City Public Relations sponsored the October PRSA luncheon featuring Marti Gazzier of BP on crisis communications.  BP was also a luncheon sponsor.
October Strategic Planning Workshop

PRSA Houston Board member Angela Young, Continental Airlines, one of the sponsors for the Strategic Planning Seminar, chats with Peter Hollister, APR Fellow PRSA, the presenter during a break.
Rodolfo Guerra (left) of LifeGift Organ Donation Center chats with Kelly Papinchak, Schipul--The Web Marketing Company, a sponsor of the Strategic Planning Seminar held recently at the Doubletree Hotel Downtown.
Frank Agraz (left), FBI, PRSA Houston Ethics Chair, chats with Dan Timmins of AudienceCentral, a sponsor of the Strategic Planning Seminar.

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 December newsletter is November 23, 2005.  We love hearing your thoughts and news, so send generously to

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