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ePro - September edition


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

In place of the September Monthly Luncheon…PR Day 2005!
Less Than Two Weeks Away; Last Day to Register September 12

We’re down to a mere week before P-Day - PR Day 2005, that is. The registration deadline is quickly approaching.  Register now before you miss your chance to attend Houston’s premier PR professional development conference.

Headlining this year is James Arnold, APR, Fellow PRSA, who will discuss management and leadership of the PR function and integrated communications in his presentation, “You Bet Your Company.”

Also scheduled are Terry Hemeyer (Crisis Communications), Ann Iverson (Branding), John Sturtevant (Writing Workshop), Jeffrey Ory (Campaigns on a Budget), Kyrie O’Connor and John Wagner (Blogs), the Fundamentals of PR panel and the media roundtable session.

Tony Wyllie moderates the luncheon panel, which will discuss, “Proving PR Value.”  Panel participants include:

  • Christine McGee, APR, vice president, marketing, Weatherford International Ltd.;
  • Graham Painter, senior vice president, communications, Sterling Bank;
  • Steve Stuyck, vice president, public affairs, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, and; 
  • John E. "Ned" Walker, senior vice president - worldwide corporate communications, Continental Airlines.

College students may now submit their original news releases for a chance to attend PR Day 2005 at no charge. 

The scholarships, donated by El Paso Energy, Marathon Oil, Toby Stark Public Relations, LLC, Terri Larson and Business Wire, will be awarded to the college students that submit the most comprehensive and well-constructed news release based on the PR Day 2005 schedule of speakers.

Deadline for entry is September 5, 2005.  To qualify, all news releases must be under 400 words, have no grammatical errors and contain accurate information.

All news releases should be e-mailed to and  Winners will be informed by September 8, 2005.



PR Day 2005 Top Ten Reasons to Attend:

10. To see PR Day co-chairs jump on sofas while declaring their love for PRSA.
 9. Two words: James Arnold; Two degrees: APR, Fellow PRSA; One 
beneficiary: YOU
 8.  Did we mention cheap? Full-day professional development conferences normally run $400-$500.
 7. That colleague of yours you've been meaning to catch up with - she'll be there.
 6. Oh my goodness - there are new publications and papers out there? Where ever shall I meet these reporters? Media roundtable to the rescue!
 5. Branding session does not include hot irons. Promise.
 4. If Jeffrey Ory can fly in from New Orleans and James Arnold can fly in from New York, you can commute in from The Woodlands.  Or Katy.  Or Sugar Land. You get the idea.
 3. Out of office message can include: Playing hooky? Not me. I'm at a PR Day 2005.
 2. Hey, all proceeds to go to a nonprofit organization, which pours the money back into your professional development. Not too shabby.
 1. PR Day is like Christmas - it only comes once a year. Top-notch speakers, networking and door prizes - all in the name of your professional development.

PR Day is scheduled for September 14, 2005 at the Hyatt Regency Downtown. Registration is still available online at  Any questions?  Please contact Melanie Brenneman at (713) 871-1900 or, or Susan Richardson at (713) 296-3915 or

Special thanks to the following PR Day sponsors:

Printing Sponsor: CenterPoint Energy, Proving PR Value Luncheon Sponsor: Vollmer Public Relations, Lanyard Sponsor: Business Wire, Notebook Sponsor: Aquent, Premier Breakfast Sponsor: FMC Technologies.

Additional Sponsors: A&E Graphics, Bacon's, Burrelles Luce, Enbridge Energy Company, Inc., MediaLink, Multivision, Piland Design, PrimeZone Media Network, PR Newswire, RoadShow Media, Schipul - The Web Marketing Company, The Hauser Company, US Newswire, Vulcan Information Packaging, VMS, XL Films and XL Multimedia.

Reserve your sponsorship today by visiting

PRSA Houston Partners Again On 2006 Awards Contest

PRSA Houston is partnering once again with the Texas Public Relations Association (TPRA) to sponsor the 2006 Silver Spur/Best of Texas Awards Competition.

Chapter members may enter at the "member" rate and the chapter will receive a share of the contest proceeds.

The Silver Spur/Best of Texas Awards Competition is the only statewide contest for Texas public relations practitioners and recognizes excellence in programs, projects and tactics.

Entry deadline for the 2006 competition is 5 p.m. Jan. 26, 2006.  Silver Spur and Best of Texas Awards will be presented at the annual awards banquet, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006 during TPRA's Annual Conference in Austin.

Information on the contest and conference should be available at by mid-September.  In the meantime, for more information, email or contact Julie B. Fix, APR, at (281) 494-6097.

As Promised…Chris de Santis Notes Available online

If you missed the July luncheon on generational differences in the workplace with Christopher de Santis, you missed a jam-packed information session.  Even if you were there, you may have wished you brought a notebook.  New Pro Holly Caughron of the United Way took some copious notes and has offered them, with Chris's permission and review, to be posted on the Web site.  You can find them here:

Have You Voted?  C’mon, Be a Contributing Member!

Chapter by-laws require one-third of PRSA Houston members to cast ballots in order to have a valid election, so your vote is extremely important.

We are electing four new members for the Chapter's 12-member board of directors and electing two new Assembly Delegates. A total of 11 Chapter members are seeking the four open board positions, and five others are competing for the two open Assembly Delegate spots, so the race is hot and heavy.  Some candidates may even be campaigning!   All positions are elected for three-year terms beginning in January 2006.

To protect the integrity of the election votes, all members are asked to login with their username and password when prompted.

If you do not know your username and password, click here.

To log-in and access the survey, click the link below. You will need to enter the code: ect2005 when prompted.  You must have "cookies" enabled so that one vote can be registered from every member number.  All votes are anonymous.  If you have problems voting, please contact Paula Ruth at or at (281) 870-1717.


All votes must be cast by 5 p.m. on Monday, September 12.  Election results will be announced at PRSA Houston's annual meeting on September 14.

New Pros Events On the Calendar!

PRSA Houston New Professionals invite you to Kaplan on Tuesday, September 20 to learn more about preparing for your future in Public Relations.  Megan Swiatkowski will discuss going back to school for your MBA and a member of PRSA will discuss getting your APR.  Sign up for the event here:

New Pros will be hosting a writing workshop on October 27th at 6:30 p.m. at The Westin Galleria.  Further information will be posted to in the near future.



Brings Your Friends and Family to Moody Gardens for a Day of Fun and Exploration. 

Jerri Hamacheck will speak with the New Professionals members from 1 - 2 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 15.  Your friends and family can enjoy Moody Gardens during Jerri's presentation on what it’s like to work in Event Attraction/Entertainment Public Relations.  After Jerri's presentation, you will be able to rejoin your group for a fun-filled day at Moody Gardens. 

Moody Gardens has offered a tremendous discounted rate for our group.  The ticket price for a day pass will only be $19.00.  The pass will allow one admission to each attraction including Palm Beach (seasonal), the Rainforest, Discovery Museum, IMAX 3D film, The Ridefilm, the Aquarium Pyramid and the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat.  Children 3 and under are free.

When making your reservation for our speaker, please also register each friend or family member who will be coming to Moody Gardens with you.  We will need to give a guarantee number to Moody Gardens.  We want to make sure they have enough of our discount tickets available.  Please make sure to register online for this event, but do not pay for this event online.  You will pay for your tickets at Moody Gardens.  Register here: 

PRSA Houston Job Bank

The PRSA Houston Job Bank now has an E-Newsletter of positions that have been listed on the Job Bank in the past month.  If you are interested in receiving the e-newsletter, go to and select the Job Board Notification button.  Simply provide your name and e-mail address to receive the newsletter at the beginning of each month.

Questions? Contact Susan Schmaeling at

PRSA Houston Member News

Welcome, New Members! 
It's a pleasure to have you with us.

  • Kelly Adams of BKD, LLC
  • Don F. Armstrong
  • Habiba Ewing of Shell Trading Gas & Power
  • Gigi J. Lee of the Houston Airport System, and
  • Andrea Woronuk of Bridgeway

Kelli B. Newman, APR, vice president and co-owner of Newman & Newman productions and chair of the Houston PRSA Public Service Committee, has been added to the National PRSA Speakers Bureau.  Kelli makes presentations regularly on broadcast public relations and the Power of Emotion in communications.

And, a number of our members are making moves:
Long-time member and Web Site Chair Lisa Martin is manager, corporate & employee communications, for Lyondell Chemical Company.  Richard Wheatley, APR, has become manager of media relations and emergency response at El Paso Corporation, and the chapter’s current president, Cindy Suggs, is corporate communications manager for Universal Weather and Aviation.

Changing Jobs?
If you have changed a job, please remember to change your PRSA information at both the national and local levels.  Because we periodically download national's membership list, it overwrites any changes you/we have made to the local directory and makes registration on PRSA Houston's site difficult at the member rate unless the national list is also correct.  Likewise, if you know national has an incorrect email address for you or has spelled your name/email wrong, you may have difficulty receiving Houston Chapter emails or accessing the Web site.  If you would like, you may email any directory changes to and we will try to take care of the changes necessary at both locations.  We are trying to weed out duplicate directory listings as well, so if you know there is more than one listing for your name, please alert us to the correct one.  That will speed the process and help reduce bounced-back emails as well.  Of course, you also will want to let the ePro editor know of your promotions and new positions.

Speaking of Membership…
If you have been thinking about joining PRSA, now's a great time.  From Sept. 1 through the end of October, PRSA is offering free Houston Chapter dues for one year to members joining at the full rate of $290 ($225 for national dues and $65 initiation fee).  Former members who have been inactive for at least one year may also participate, but the offer does not apply to Associate membership.  The special membership applications are available at under the "Cultivate Your Career" PDF application.
You may also apply online at, but you must mention the code
CHAP2005 in the area marked "special promotion code" to receive the special rate.  Now's a good time to tell your friends how much you value PRSA membership.

Register Now for Strategic Communications Planning Workshop - October 14!

The strategic approach to public relations is the answer for practitioners who too often find themselves in a reactive mode, unable to plan, or say “No” to unwarranted demands on their time.  There are strategic planning techniques that can and should be adapted to the many-varied situations faced in professional life.

Peter H. Hollister, APR, Fellow PRSA, will offer unique insights when he appears in Houston to lead a half-day Strategic Communications Planning workshop.  Join Peter along with friends and colleagues from Houston’s public relations profession on Friday, October 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel Houston – Downtown.  Participants will learn strategic communication techniques to help practitioners become more strategic, more prepared to offer solutions and counsel, and more valuable to key decision makers.  Sponsors include Schipul – The Web Company and Continental Airlines; sponsorships opportunities are available for this professional development workshop.

Peter H. Hollister is Principal and Senior Counsel with Hollister, Trubow & Associates, a communications consulting firm he co-founded in 1986.  During his career as a professional communicator, Hollister has worked for the military, in the corporate sector for a public utility, in the not-for-profit sector as a vice president for three universities (University of New Hampshire, Northern Kentucky University, and The Union Institute) and as a consultant to management.  He was inducted into the Public Relations Society of America’s College of Fellows in 1992 and was awarded the Florida Public Relations Association’s highest accreditation, Certified Public Relations Consultant (CPRC)

The cost of the event is $40 for PRSA members and $50 for nonmembers when you register before October 12 online.  On-site registration will be available at the cost of $50 for PRSA members and $60 for PRSA nonmembers.  A breakfast buffet will be provided.  Register here:

PRSA Houston Invited to Join National Kidney Foundation Walk Sept. 18 in Honor of Chapter Member David Monroe

Elly Trickett, deputy editor of PR Week, on behalf of the National Kidney Foundation, invites the PRSA Houston community to join a team of walkers in the National Kidney Foundation's Southeast Texas chapter walk at Sam Houston Park on Sunday Sept. 18, 2005, to honor member and friend David Monroe.

Elly is the fiancée of David Monroe, a veteran of the Houston public relations community, who passed away on Sept. 26, 2004, from an aneurysm at age 31.

David worked at de La Garza Public Relations in Houston and then went in-house to work first for Himalaya, and then for Cornell Companies.  During this time, he also was active in PRSA Houston, and volunteered his PR services to the Southeast Texas chapter of the National Kidney Foundation.

To walk with Elly on Team David, please go to and register, then enter “David Monroe” in the team name section.  Email Elly at to let her know that you will be joining them.

For those who would like to contribute but are unable to come to the walk, there is a dedicated fundraising Web site to make donations in David’s name at  

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) on PRSA Houston’s “Chapter News” section of the Web Site Alerts Members to Latest News

Just like PRSA’s national headquarters, PRSA Houston’s online Chapter News section features an RSS feed that delivers news releases, notices and other daily news content to its subscribers.  RSS (which stands for Really Simple Syndication) provides short abstracts of updated Web content and allows users to receive news updates without having to search through the entire site to find the latest news.

Top newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times offer RSS feeds to their online subscribers.  This RSS feature has become an important part of Internet technology, simplifying the amount of work that a communication professional must do to gather their daily news updates.  To view the RSS feed, the user needs to choose an aggregator (also referred to as a channel or reader) that searches for and picks up new information.  There are many different RSS aggregators; a list of them can be found at  To download the aggregator, the user needs to follow the directions specific to the aggregator’s Web site.

Once the aggregator has been downloaded, the user can subscribe to the RSS feed.  This is done by clicking on file, adding the aggregator when prompted and then pasting the URL into the aggregator. 

For the national chapter, the PRSA Media Room allows members to choose what type of Society news they wish to receive.  Users can select RSS feeds on Advocacy, Diversity, Professional Development, International News and Events.  Each area has its own RSS feed and can be accessed by clicking on the RSS icon located next to each category on the Media Room's upper left menu bar.   

PRSA Houston Enjoyed Themselves at the August Monthly Luncheon

The August luncheon featuring Jackie Martin attracted a good cross-section of the PR community.  Among those attending were Kristin Pacheco (in black) of Sullivan Group Productions, who co-chaired the Excalibur Awards, and Margaret O'Brien-Molina, Communications and Government Relations Officer for American Red Cross, Southwest Service area (in shawl).

Among those listening to Jackie Martin were board candidates Julie Fix, APR, Fix & Associates, and (in distance) Bill Zander, Texas Children's Hospital, who co-chaired Excalibur.  In the forefront is Robyn Howard, Employee Benefit Solutions.

Catherine Burch Graham, APR, (left) Lifegift, a candidate for Assembly Delegate, Leslie Friedman, Vollmer Public Relations, and Katie Ramsey, Fleishman-Hillard, talk with Jackie Martin after her talk in August.


Cindy Suggs, APR, president of PRSA Houston, hams it up with August luncheon speaker Jackie Martin, former CEO of the United Way, after the luncheon.





Wendy Burkeen, APR, of KHOU-TV introduces the luncheon speaker.


Aren’t You Coming Out to PRSA’s International Conference?

Register by September 9 to secure Early Bird rates to the 2005 International Conference in Miami Beach, FL.  The conference will take place October 22  - 25 and features a deluge of great speakers and programs including Ted Turner, Anna Quindlen and Jonathan M. Tisch.  Check the site for details and registratation:

Press Primer with Melanie Brenneman

Christine Hall of the Houston Business Journal adheres to one edict when it comes time to write: make sure it is "strictly Houston, strictly business."  For the past three years, Christine has covered the media and marketing beats in addition to writing the Focus sections for the HBJ.

 I sent you a great expert but they didn’t make the cut.  Why?
We don't like to use the same sources all the time, so it's not the end of the world if your client doesn't make it into a certain article (you just have the hard job of convincing THEM that).  Just let us know that your client is available if we do another story in the future. You never know when we need a last-minute quote for something else.

Kiss and tell. What’s the worst PR endeavor you’ve come across?

The worst one I have ever seen was a big, reputable firm that expected me to take the time to answer a questionnaire about a client I had never heard of, nor was even in our coverage area.

Ok – the best?

I like ones that get right to the “who, what, where, when and why” - especially why would business readers in Houston be interested.

Want to quiz Christine Hall herself? Corner her at PR Day 2005, September 14, at the Hyatt Regency Downtown. She’ll be at the media roundtable.

You can also reach her at Here’s a tip – she’s an early bird and likes her calls and e-mails first thing in the morning.  Me? I don’t talk until at least 9 in the morning. And that’s because I have to. 

Sponsors – We Thank You!

PRSA Houston would like to thank all of the PR Day sponsors including the following Friends:
Printing Sponsor: CenterPoint Energy
Luncheon Sponsor: Vollmer Public Relations
Conference Notebook Sponsor: Aquent Premier
Masters Breakfast Sponsor: FMC Technologies
Lanyard Sponsor: Business Wire
Exhibitors: A&E Graphics, Bacon's, Burrelles Luce, Enbridge Energy Company, Inc., MediaLink, Multivision, Piland Design, PrimeZone Media Network, PR Newswire, RoadShow Media, Schipul - The Web Marketing Company, The Hauser Company, US Newswire, Vulcan Information Packaging, VMS, XL Films and XL Multimedia.

We also would like to thank Bayou City Public Relations for stepping up as the first sponsor for the Oct. 5 program featuring Marti Gazzier, director of corporate reputation for BP on their crises this year.  In addition, thanks to Administaff for being the first sponsor for the Nov. 2 program featuring PRSA's 2005 National President Judy Phair. 

We are still looking for Holiday Party sponsors in December, when there will be no speaker and the function will be an after-hours event.

For $500 as a regular monthly luncheon sponsor, 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 at These sponsorships help PRSA to 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 seven so far this year.

Discounts are available for sponsoring multiple luncheons. 

ePro is the electronic newsletter of the Houston chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA Houston), and is a tool for you.  The deadline for submitting items for the October newsletter is Wednesday, September 21, 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