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ePro October edition

Welcome to the October 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.

PRSA Houston Tackles “Ethics After Enron: Why Taking the High Road is Good Business”

In a business and political climate where deciphering the truth from the propaganda grows more difficult by the day, the membership of PRSA Houston will plunge head-on into one of the most important issues of communication: ethical responsibility.  On October 20, PRSA Houston will partner with the Houston Chapter of the American Marketing Association to present a three-hour interactive workshop with Dr. Bruce Weinstein, president of "Ethics at Work" and author of The Ethics Guy in 400 Knight-Ridder newspapers.

In his presentation, Weinstein will explain what makes an issue an ethical one, he will introduce a process for communicators to enable better decision making, and he will describe why doing the right thing is not only a responsibility, but a tool for better business.

Bruce Weinstein, Ph.D., is a professional ethicist whose interactive presentations show how to make better, ethically based decisions. He is an author/editor of four books and the author of over 20 articles on ethics in many highly recognized monthly publications.  He has appeared on the Fox News Channel, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, and other television networks and writes a nationally syndicated weekly newspaper column on ethics. Having received his bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and a doctorate in philosophy and medical ethics from Georgetown University, Dr. Weinstein is a W.K. Kellogg National Fellow and lives in New York.  Thank you to our sponsors: BP, Fulbright & Jaworski, PR Newswire, Business Wire, Halliburton, Sterling Bank and XL Films for making this presentation affordable.  Please note that this program is in lieu of our monthly luncheon.

WHERE:   Courtyard on St. James Place, 1885 St. James Place, Houston, TX, 77056

WHEN:   Wednesday, Oct. 2, 8 a.m. - Registration, Continental Breakfast and Networking, 8:30 -11:30 a.m. - Workshop

COST:    If reservations are made before Oct. 18, cost is $35 for members, $55 for guests and $20 for students.  After Oct.18, the cost is $55 for members, $65 for guests and $40 for students.  Reservations can be made by phone: (281) 870-1717, or online.  If you are a member of AMA, you will receive member rates only on the AMA website:

TO REGISTER:   For information, call Paula Ruth, administrator for PRSA Houston, (281) 870-1717 or email

Remember: PRSA Monthly Board Meetings have Changed Day and Location

PRSA’s programs for October and November will be held in our new location, the elegant Courtyard on St. James.  (More information about December’s meeting location to come later.)  Then, beginning in January, we’ll change our meeting day to the first Wednesday of every month and our monthly meetings will regularly be held at the Courtyard.*

The Courtyard on St. James is at 1885 St. James Place near the intersection of San Felipe and Sage.  The venue offers a delicious menu and ample parking for our events.

Thanks to all who participated in our surveys on locations and dates.  These changes are being made in response to your input.  If you have questions or comments, please e-mail Angela Young at

November Monthly Luncheon - The Public Relations Foundation of Houston Presents:

Get Better Mileage; Research and Measurement Fuel Effective Communication

Following our regular luncheon presentation on Wednesday, Nov. 17, Louis C. Williams, ABC, APR, will present a special half-day afternoon workshop based on his new book, Communications Research, Measurement and Evaluation.

Williams' luncheon presentation will cover:

  • How communication results can be measured
  • The future of public relations research and the link between PR and the bottom line
  • How expectations in business have changed
  • How public relations practitioners can be "research ready" and able to measure their work

Williams' afternoon workshop will cover the practicalities of communication research, including how to frame and scale research goals and logistics and how to sell them through your organization.  He will include practical case studies from real research programs and guide attendees through the development of an effective survey instrument.

Williams is chairman and CEO of L.C. Williams & Associates, a leading Chicago-based public relations firm he founded in 1985.  He has conducted hundreds of seminars around the world and is co-author of two textbooks on communication.  Williams is past chairman of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and is an IABC fellow.  In 2001, he served as interim President and CEO of IABC, managing the association's business affairs and staff in San Francisco.  He is currently a trustee of the Institute for Public Relations.  Williams' new book, Communications Research, Measurement and Evaluation, is considered by many to be the definitive guide to communication measurement.

Luncheon and workshop guests also will be able to interact with exhibiting sponsors for the event. Sponsors include: Business Wire, Houston Speaks, Ipsos-Insight, PR Newswire and PRtrak/Surveillance Data, Inc.  These firms will describe their offerings in measurement and research and provide company literature at their display tables.  Please join us in thanking them for their support of this educational program.

Luncheon:        11:30 a.m., Courtyard on St. James Place
Workshop:       1:30 to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 17
Reception:        4:45 p.m.
Members:         $125 for luncheon/workshop, $35 for lunch only, $100 for workshop only
Non-members: $150 for luncheon/workshop, $45 for lunch only, $125 for workshop only
Students: $50 for luncheon/workshop, $25 for lunch only, $35 for workshop only

This program is sponsored by the Public Relations Foundation of Houston.  Formed in 2001 by PRSA Houston, the Foundation's mission is to enhance the quality of education by creating a permanent educational endowment that will allow it to provide scholarships, grants and programs that benefit students and educators.



PRSA Houston New Professionals Group Invites You to an Evening of Networking

PRSA Houston New Professionals Group invites all interested New Pros to attend the Group’s Inaugural meeting for a Meet and Greet with the PRSA Houston Board of Directors and Committee Chairs on Thursday, October 21, 2004, at the offices of Clear Channel Entertainment, 2000 West Loop South, Suite 1300.  Not only is this a great networking opportunity, but it also provides New Pros who are not familiar with PRSA Houston to learn about the chapter, its initiatives and how you can become involved.

Bring your ideas for speakers, socials and what you¹d like to see happen with YOUR New Pros Chapter.

Also, come prepared to learn more about the New Pros Mentor Program and how you can help get your career off to a great start by learning tips and tools of the trade from seasoned professionals who belong to PRSA Houston.  For more information about becoming a mentor, or being mentored, please contact Eric Herrera at or 713-693-8266.

To RSVP for the October 21 event, or if you have any questions, please contact Kelly Papinchak at or (281) 497-6567, ext. 508.  For questions on the day of the event, please call Kelly’s cell phone, (713)416-2218.

For more information about New Pros, visit:

Special Interest Group for Independent Practitioners

To the PRSA Houston members who have expressed interest in forming a special group for independent PR practitioners in Houston, an opportunity has finally arrived. Consider creating a group of your own!  The purpose of this alliance is to help those already established as independent practitioners who wish to network or discuss issues as well as those who are thinking about beginning a private practice.

If you’re interested in forming a special interest group for independent PR practitioners, please contact Bobby Petty at or (832) 233-2329. Based upon the response, we’ll decide how to proceed in creating the group.

 Five Attending PRSA National Assembly Oct. 23

PRSA Houston will send five delegates to the annual PRSA Assembly Oct. 23 in New York to hear reports, discuss issues affecting the national organization, elect officers and directors and vote on bylaw amendments and chapter dissolutions.

The assembly functions as the Society's annual stakeholders meeting, with delegates elected from chapters, districts and sections exercising the power of approval/disapproval.  Elected by the Houston Chapter to serve three-year terms, this year's delegates are Chris Bozman, APR; Julie B. Fix, APR; Larry Springer, APR; Julie Gorling, APR; and Ben Wheatley, ABC, APR.  Gorling, who will not be able to attend this year's meeting, will be replaced by Houston PRSA President Dan Keeney, APR.

During the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. meeting, delegates will vote on bylaw amendments to:

  • Create a Public Relations Society of America Foundation Advisory Board
  • More accurately reflect the relationship between PRSA and the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB)
  • Change the qualification requirements for Assembly Delegates: Currently, delegates must be APR.  The proposed amendment would allow chapters, districts and sections to send either accredited members or current officers or directors who are not APR to the assembly.  Variations of this amendment failed in 2002 and 2003.  Your Houston PRSA chapter is supporting this amendment, as we did last year.

While last year's assembly featured some "lively" contested races, to date the only candidates for national officer and directors positions are those proposed by the 2004 Nominating Committee.  You can find the complete slate at and in the September issue of PRSA Tactics.

From "our neck of the woods," Elise S. Mitchell, APR, Fellow PRSA, president of Mitchell Communications Group, Fayetteville, Ark., has been nominated for a Delegate-at-Large position for the 2005 assembly, and John J. Deveney, ABC, APR, senior counsel and CEO, Deveney Communications, New Orleans, La., is seeking the Southwest District's seat on the national board.

Tune in next month for a post-assembly report.

State of the Chapter: Important Points from PRSA Houston’s Annual Meeting: 

At the September 22 luncheon, PRSA Houston President Dan Keeney, APR, presided over PRSA Houston's annual meeting.  Key discussion points included:

PRSA Houston's directors and committee chairs met in December to agree upon objectives and strategies for 2004.  The three primary objectives were to improve customer service for our members, improve the financial standing of the chapter and strengthen PRSA Houston's position as the leading organization representing the interests of public relations practitioners throughout the region.

The organization's leadership has made significant progress in achieving these objectives through the following initiatives:

Customer Service:
With the leadership of Cindy Suggs, APR, PRSA Houston conducted an exhaustive evaluation of the organization's monthly luncheon that led to the decision to change venues and the day of the month on which the luncheon falls. Beginning in January, PRSA Houston will meet at the Courtyard on St. James on the first Wednesday of the month.  The Courtyard offers ample parking, which should be a big improvement over the Houston City Club where the luncheon has been held since the start of 2003.  Moving to the first Wednesday of the month will remove the conflict with the Houston Ad Federation that we've had since moving to the third Wednesday nearly two years ago.

With the leadership of Membership Committee Chairman Angela Young, we instituted a routine of personally contacting all new members, either by e-mail or personal phone calls to welcome them to PRSA Houston and encourage their participation in our many committees.  We professionalized the administration of the chapter, hiring Paula Ruth, APR, as chapter administrator.  In addition to being the primary point of contact for those who have questions or problems related to the chapter, Paula handles the chapter's bookkeeping and event registration.

Fiscal Responsibility:
With the stewardship of Treasurer Holly Hutchins, the chapter defined sponsorship packages and then gave the various committees the tools needed to proactively market sponsorships effectively.  The result was a significant up tick in sponsorships, which helped ensure that our events were self-sustaining.

With the leadership of Web Committee Chair Lisa Martin and the support of Schipul - The Web Marketing Company, we continued to improve the chapter's Web site, which is generally regarded as one of the best PRSA chapter Web sites in America.  The latest improvements enhanced site navigation and interactivity, essentially giving each committee the ability to build and manage their own Web sites within the chapter's site.  It is important to note that not only does the chapter's Web site provide significant membership benefits, such as easy event registration, an up-to-date membership directory and job listings, its revenue-producing features -- the job bank and company directory -- have made the Web site nearly financially self-sustaining.

Strengthening PRSA's Positioning:
With the leadership of Priscilla Thorne Tinsley, PRSA Houston led the way in creating a working collaboration between the various communications-oriented organizations throughout Houston.  The cooperative effort, which began with cross-promoting each other's events, is blossoming into jointly organized events, such as the October luncheon, "Ethics After Enron," which is a production of PRSA Houston and the American Marketing Association.  Look for big things from this initiative in the coming months.

With the leadership of PR Day Committee Chair Terri Larsen, we completely dismantled and repurposed the chapter's full-day professional development event. What had been known as "Media Day," became "PR Day," which featured valuable sessions for practitioners of every level.  Hundreds participated, coming from across Texas. Other professional development initiatives include the half-day "Ethics After Enron" later this month, guided by Ethics Committee Chairman Frank Agraz, and a half-day session focusing on PR measurement in November, which is being led by Foundation President Ben Wheatley, ABC, APR, a PRSA Houston Assembly Delegate and past president.

With the leadership of Awards Committee Co-Chairs Anne Bryan Peebles, APR, and Clare Sullivan Jackson, we improved the annual Excalibur Awards, changing the categories to reflect changes that have occurred in our field (fewer print pieces and more electronic media, among other things) and we improved the awards ceremony itself with a wonderful evening at the upscale Hotel Icon.

The chapter is working to make sure public relations practitioners with specific wants and needs feel included, launching the New Pros special interest group for practitioners who have five years or less experience.  PRSA Houston also had its first event in recent memory specifically for senior practitioners -- a breakfast gathering featuring Jim Lukaszewski for those with at least 15 years experience under the belts.

Finally, with the leadership of Accreditation Co-Chairs Aaron Woods, APR, and Amy Kaiser, APR, we adjusted how the chapter supports those seeking accreditation, moving away from the multi-week commitment and instead creating a one-day crash course along with a mentoring program.  This approach is better for those whose schedules are unpredictable.

As a result of these and other initiatives, PRSA Houston has been able to add to its financial reserves.  As of September 22, Petri Darby, APR, the chapter's acting treasurer, reported that our checking and money market accounts totaled approximately $65,000.   Expenses related to PR Day have reduced that amount, but it appears that the chapter will operate in the black in 2004, which will break a two year string of deficit spending.

Finally, at the end of the calendar year, the PRSA Houston board will bid farewell to two members who have been very active for years.  Kris Taylor, APR, leaves after completing her term as immediate past president.  She served as PRSA Houston president in 2003. Holly Hutchins leaves the board after serving the past year and a half as PRSA Houston treasurer.  Both Kris and Holly have served the chapter with distinction and we thank them for their priceless contribution of time and energy.

Cindy Suggs, APR, will serve as president of PRSA Houston in 2005.  Dan Keeney, APR will serve as the chapter's immediate past president.

Joining the board are four new members: Chris Bozman, APR, Anne Bryan Peebles, APR, Mark Hayden and Priscilla Thorne Tinsley.  Each will serve a three year term.  Continuing with their unexpired terms are Wendy Burkeen-Ruble, APR, Petri Darby, APR, Jean Gonsoulin, Lisa Martin, Sally Ramsay, Susan Schmaeling, APR, Aaron Woods, APR and Angela Young.

Additionally, Carolyn Mayo, APR, who served as PRSA Houston president in 2000, will replace Chris Bozman, APR as one of PRSA Houston's five delegates.  Bozman's term expired and the national By Laws prohibit delegates from serving back-to-back terms.  Continuing with their unexpired terms as delegates Julie Fix, APR, Julie Gorling, APR, Larry Springer, APR and Ben Wheatley, ABC, APR.

PRSA Houston Welcomes New Members! 

A warm and inviting welcome from PRSA Houston to our fabulous new members:

  • Pamela Bates of the Four Seasons Hotel
  • Ryan Bishop of American Medical Identifications
  • Matthew Burrus of the Houston Association of Realtors
  • William Clements of Texas Chiropractic College
  • Jennifer Daly 
  • Monica Silva of Vollmer Public Relations
  • Joshua Spradling of The Kincaid School

Fall Membership Promotion – Don’t Miss This Chance to Join and Save!

PRSA's fall membership promotion began Oct.1 and continues through Nov. 30.  Join PRSA during this period and receive membership in a professional interest section for free! Professional interest sections include technology, corporate, employee communications, a health academy, and educators academy and more.  Log on to for a membership application.  Be sure to enter SECT2004 in the promotion code field to get credit for this special offer.

Seeking an Intern? Members,  Post Your Opportunities for Free! 

Did you know PRSA Houston provides an online internship listing service?  Listings appear in the Job Bank section of in two places:  Job Bank Listings and Intern Openings.

And what's even more exciting?  The cost to post internships on the Web site is now free for members and $25 for non-members for a 90-day listing.
So don't hesitate.  Put the chapter Web site to work for your organization.  To submit your internship(s) today, go to the Job Bank section.   Area PRSSA chapters have been contacted.

Wait, there's more ...
PRSSA chapter contact information is also available on the Web site, making it a snap to contact area colleges directly about your organization and your internship program.

Don’t Miss the Jumpstart for Accreditation Workshop! 

Register today for Nov. 13 Accreditation one-day session

PRSA Houston is offering a one-day session to help candidates prepare for the accreditation examination process.  Although this is not a comprehensive study course, it covers all the major topics that will appear on the written exam and helps prepare the candidate for the Readiness Review.  This session also is a great course for those PR practitioners who wish to brush up on their skills.

Register today for your seat in our one-day session on Saturday, Nov. 13, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Houstonian Hotel, 111 North Post Oak.

About the Facilitator:
Julie B. Fix, APR, will lead the one-day session.  Fix is president and principal of Fix & Associates, Inc. Public Relations, providing consulting, planning and training in the areas of community relations, issues management, crisis management, marketing communications, special events and political campaigns.  Fix has won awards for writing and for successful communications programs from the Texas Press Association, Texas Public Relations Association, The Press Club of Houston and the Houston Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.  She has been an adjunct instructor at the University of Houston since Spring Semester 1998, teaching Public Relations Writing and Principles of Public Relations, the introductory course to the PR sequence at UH.

To Register:
Click here to register for the Nov. 13 session.  Registration is $50 for PRSA Houston members and $75 for general audience.

Thanks to our Sponsors:
Houstonian Hotel
Fix & Associates

PR Day 2004:  A Huge Success!


Thanks so much to all of you who attended PR Day 2004: Blueprints for Success in Public Relations!  We’ve heard so much positive feedback from many of you – and the PR Day committee is already hard at work analyzing that feedback for next year’s PR Day event.

Mark your calendars… PR Day 2005 will be held on Wednesday, September 14, 2005! Sponsorship levels and forms for PR Day 2005 will be available soon at

If you’re interested in working on the committee for PR Day 2005, please contact Melanie Brenneman at (713) 871-1900 or Terri Larson at (713) 831-6573.

Thanks again to all of our sponsors: Swank A/V, CenterPoint Energy, The Houston Chronicle, ExxonMobil, Wise Consultants, Vollmer Public Relations, Business Wire, PR Newswire, PrimeZone Media Network, AirCheck News Taping, Bacon’s, Burrelle’s Luce/VMS, Hill & Knowlton, Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas, US Newswire, Roadster Productions, and A&E The Graphics Complex. Graphic design services for PR Day 2004 were provided by Phil Chrzanowski; printing services were provided by Bayside Printing.

Get More Referrals!

In the past week, we have received at least 8 calls from businesses looking for PR Firms--some looking for specific sizes: "bigger than an independent counselor," "mid-sized" or "large."   We've also received calls for requests from those with video production capabilities, media training, graphic design, writers, etc.  With the new Web site up and running, the Business Directory is now much more visible on the site, which had nearly 22,000 hits in August.  A listing on the Business Directory enables us to point potential clients towards those they might call for help in a way that is fair and impartial.  In addition, if you serve public relations firms or provide services to corporate public relations departments, this directory will put your firm before all the qualified buyers.  A listing is only $100 for 12 months and may be paid by credit card or by mailing a check to the chapter office.  Call (281) 870-1717 for more information or list your firm directly at www.prsahouston.orgPRSA Houston President Dan Keeney, APR recently became the first to pay for a listing on the new site. 

Budgeting for Next Year?

Please think of PRSA in your plans.  Not only do we offer a business directory, but we have numerous sponsorship opportunities available with good exposure to our membership.  Call (281) 870-1717 to learn more.

PRSA Mourns Passing of Ernest DeSoto, Public Voice for Houston Airport System

Ernest DeSoto, who has been the Houston Airport System's public voice since 2000 and previously worked as a television producer and editor, died of liver cancer at his home. He was 50.

In his honor, a benefit is being held this Sunday, October 17, to celebrate the life of one of Houston’s best.  Auction proceeds and donations will go to the education fund for DeSoto’s children.  Download the invitation here:"arial, helvetica, sans-serif" color=#666666 size=2>

Born and reared in San Antonio, DeSoto was an air traffic controller in the Air Force for four years, then earned a bachelor's degree in mass communication and political science at Trinity University and an associate of arts degree in radio-television-film at San Antonio College.

His first job was with radio station WOAI in San Antonio. His career also took him to WPVI-TV in Philadelphia in the late 1980s.  There he won an Emmy nomination and the Atlantic City Press Club Golden Video award, both in 1990.  Before joining the airport system, DeSoto was spokesman for the Houston Solid Waste Management Department during 1998-2000.

New Orleans Chapter of PRSA offers Crisis-Planning Workshop

The New Orleans Chapter of PRSA presents Alan Hilburg, president of PNConsulting and an authority on "Surviving Crises."  His half day crisis-planning workshop will help you identify threats, assess risks, plan strategy and develop tactics to overcome whatever crisis your organization may face.

Pricing and event details can be found here on the PRSA Houston Web site. 

Print Buyers Education Conference Coming Soon

October 28-30, 2004
Park Plaza Reliant Center Hotel

Houston Print Buyers: Don’t miss this window of opportunity to attend the most  comprehensive exposition and essential conference this fall in Houston!

Print Buyers Educational Conference is a great way to understand the emerging markets, applications and technologies that are shaping the business.  This conference will highlight today’s technology and tomorrow’s approaches with practical, future-focused education and over 100 exhibitors.

Register before September 15th for substantial registration savings.  Visit the website:

For exhibit information contact: Judy Myers at PBEC, (281) 498-2433

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 November newsletter is Thursday, November 4, 2004.   We welcome 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