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February ePRo - Find Out What a Chocolate War Means for Your New Media Branding Effort

Welcome to the February 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.

What Does a Chocolate War Mean for Your New Media Branding Effort?

Find out on Feb. 6 for this Valentine’s month speaker. We welcome back PRSA Houston’s 2004 President, Dan Keeney, APR, as he relays his adventures as a blogger and shares his "chocolate war story." Keeney's blog posts concerning the Noka chocolatier and subsequent representation of the company began a war of sorts. It may have implications for your company’s brand, should the new media consider your company or its actions something to blog about.

You won’t want to miss this luncheon to hear the whole story. Keeney is the president of DPK Public Relations, a Texas-based firm specializing in crisis communications planning, crisis communications response and crisis recovery as well as media relations, marketing communications and spokesperson training. A 21-year veteran of the communications field, Dan is a four-time winner of the public relations field's highest honor, the PRSA Silver Anvil Award. He is also one of the longest advertisers on PRSA Houston’s Business Directory.

When: Wednesday, Feb. 6, 11:30 a.m.
Where: Briar Club
            2603 Timmons
            Houston, TX 77027

Click here to register now!

PR Newswire, Oasis Luxury Townhomes and SnapStream Media, Inc. have committed to sponsorships. Others are available for this luncheon and all PRSA activities.
Contact Paula Ruth, APR at 281-870-1717 or e-mail her at for more information.

Looking for the Perfect Volunteer Opportunity?
A Note from Priscilla Tinsley, PRSA Houston President 2008

The year is off to a great start!  The first board meeting of year presented an agenda full of great ideas and initiatives, and the room was full of energetic and enthusiastic board members, assembly delegates and committee leaders. The group proudly reported on the significant progress their committees are already making. You'll be hearing more about these programs and events soon, so stay tuned!

We are always looking for volunteers to help with the various chapter activities, and several committee leaders have expressed interest in expanding their committees to incorporate additional volunteer opportunities. Also, as all of us have very busy schedules, we are looking to provide volunteers with very specific roles in order to make volunteering more manageable - and ultimately more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Interested in getting active, but wonder what would be the best fit for you?  There are a number of opportunities!  

  • If you enjoy writing and would like to expand on that opportunity? Volunteer to write for ePRo, the chapter newsletter.
  • If you like to plan events? Join the PR Day, Excalibur Awards or Professional Development committees.
  • Interested in helping the chapter attract and retain members? Look into joining the Membership committee.
  • Are you looking to help the chapter find jobs for our membership and fellow colleagues? Then the Job Bank committee is where you should volunteer.
  • Would you like to meet and greet everyone at our monthly meetings? The Greeting and Nametag committees could use your help.
  • Are you a new PR professional? Then we have the group for you! Join the New Professionals group to get connected.
  • Looking to serve as a liaison to local universities or other communication-based organizations? The University Relations and Alliances committees fulfill those needs.
  • Interested in helping to incorporate diversity into all aspects of the chapter? The Diversity committee is for you.
  • And, if you are an APR and looking to prepare others for that important step? Then the Accreditation committee is where you should focus your efforts. 

There's definitely something for everyone. Feel free to contact any of the chapter leaders to learn about how you can get more involved.

Thanks to everyone for their hard work and commitment to the chapter!

Get Ready for PR Day 2008

Planning for PR Day 2008 is underway with the first full committee meeting scheduled for Thursday, February 7, 2008, 12:00 to 1:30 p.m., at the Health Museum.  Want to join in on the fun? It’s not too late! If you are interested in serving on this year’s committee, please contact any of the PR Day 2008 chairs:

Jennifer L. Evans, (713) 942-7054, ext.272 or
Tricia Bentley, (713) 970-2100 or
Sherry Franke, (713) 316-6300 or 
Historically, PR Day has attracted more than 200 Houston–area public relations professionals and associates. Key to the success of this one–day event is PRSA’s ability to attract and provide unique and valuable programming. If you are interested in making a presentation or promoting your organization at PR Day 2008, this is your opportunity to shine! Stay tuned to for future updates as the committee rolls out this year's Request for Proposals and PR Day sponsorship packages.

Reminder! PRSA Houston Debuts at Briar Club for 2008

PRSA Houston’s debut at the Briar Club on Jan. 9 was met with favorable comments. Members were pleased with the food and ample free parking in a Briar Club lot across Timmons from the Briar Club. After a bit of adjustment with the windows on a bright day, members were pleased to have an unobstructed view of the speaker. 

This move enables PRSA Houston to maintain the luncheon price at $30 for members. Valet parking is free, and the Briar Club also offers a large lot across the street for those who prefer self-parking. The facility is located off Westheimer between Weslayan and Buffalo Speedway. 

Thank you to our first sponsors of the new year, PR Newswire, Business Wire and Oasis Luxury Townhomes, who stepped forward to sponsor luncheons in February and coming months. Other sponsorships are available. Contact Paula Ruth, APR, at 281-870-1717 or

PRSA Houstonians Around Town

Want to keep track of PRSA Houston members? Here we'll showcase events of the past month.
At last month's luncheon, Steve Mark of the Houston Dynamo told a large gathering that the Dynamo will bring the MLS Championship Cup to public relations events and that the players also are willing to participate in community events. He outlined the steps the team had taken to promote itself so far. A great crowd came to hear him speak.

Emilee Fontenot (center), PRSA Houston membership chair, Elmore Public Relations, and Kelly Papinchak, PRSA Houston vice president, Brookwoods Group, chat with Michelle Hempton of American Advertising Federation-Houston Chapter during the Jan. 25 meeting of Houston Society of Association Executives that focused on a recent study of 16,944 individuals on their "Decision to Join" organizations. PRSA Houston President Priscilla Tinsley, Direct Energy, and Paula Ruth, APR, PRSA Houston Chapter Administrator and HSAE Secretary, also attended the presentation to gain new information on what is important to members that could be applied at PRSA Houston.

PRFH Scholarship Deadline Extended to February 1

The Board of Directors of the Public Relations Foundation of Houston has extended the scholarship application deadline to Friday, February 1, 2008 at 5 p.m. PRSSA students from Sam Houston State University, Texas A&M, and University of Houston are encouraged to apply for the $1,000 scholarship.  To apply, simply visit the Foundation page on the PRSA Houston Web site,, to review the scholarship requirements and download the application. The scholarship winner will be notified of their selection on February 21, 2008. 

Questions? Contact Susan Schmaeling, APR, President, Public Relations Foundation of Houston, (713) 349-0780 or via e-mail at

Volunteers Needed for Girl Scout PR Workshop on
February 9, 2008

The Houston Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) empowers local Girl Scouts to earn the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) Public Relations Interest Project Award. Volunteers are needed to assist with the first workshop of the year on Saturday, February 9, 2008, at the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, 3110 Southwest Freeway, Houston, 77098 (Board Room, 3rd floor) from 1 to 4 p.m.

Girls will create press kits to publicize themselves, interview public relations practitioners about their daily responsibilities and learn about public relations campaigns.

If you are interested in volunteering for the workshop on Saturday, February 9, 2008, please contact Kelly Papinchak at or 713-241-4263.

Brookwoods Group to Sponsor Excalibur Awards

We are pleased to announce that Brookwoods Group has committed to be the Presenting Sponsor for PRSA Houston’s Excalibur Awards.  The gala event and silent auction for the Public Relations Foundation of Houston will be staged June 12 at the Junior League of Houston.  Michelle McCormick, Toby Stark Public Relations, is chairing the Awards Entries, and the call for entries should be posted on the PRSA Houston Web site soon.  The event portion is being chaired by Laura Frnka, APR, Pierpont Communications. Other sponsorship levels should soon be available. Watch the Web site this month for more information.

APR Training Approaching

Interested in adding “APR” to your list of qualifications? Mark your calendar for the April 19, the date of the next APR JumpStart workshop. Look for more details in the next newsletter.

Advertise Your Business in the Business Directory

Former PRSA Houston President Dan Keeney, APR, DPK Public Relations, recently renewed his business directory listing.  If Search Engine Optimization is important to you, then you’ll want your Web site linked to PRSA Houston at which typically ranks in the top five in searches for “public relations & Houston.” For $100, you get a year of exposure.

Would You Like to Sponsor PRSA Houston in the New Location!

Our luncheon sponsors make it possible to bring in speakers from around the country and still maintain a break-even luncheon price for our members. We are grateful to have PR Newswire and Oasis Luxury Townhomes sponsor our February 6 luncheon.  Please call Paula Ruth, APR, at 281-870-1717 if you are interested or email her at In return for your $500 at lunch, we offer the following opportunities:
  • Mention in promotional e-mail sent to database of subscribers
  • Mention and text link in ePRo, the PRSA Houston newsletter
  • Text/Logo link on PRSA Houston Web site 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
  • Opportunity to speak to the luncheon gathering (no more than 3 minutes)
  • One lunch registration at the President's table
  • One set of paper mailing labels for all 450 PRSA Houston members or one-time use of electronically provided membership list (if desired)

For larger sponsorships, tables are available.

Check Out the Job Bank

New jobs are posted each week and sometimes filled that fast as well.  Check the job bank frequently and respond quickly when an interesting job is posted. We hope to re-activate our jobs newsletter. If you would like to receive this, you can log into the Web site and add the jobs newsletter to your list of e-mails.

Reminder!  Luncheon Policy Change on Nametags

The PRSA Board has approved a policy change. Only the PRSA Houston members who have reservations should have a permanent name badge at the luncheon.  All walk-ins will need to use handwritten paper nametags.  So, PRSA Houston members have two reasons to register in advance, a lower price and a permanent nametag available. Of course, we will continue to bill those who do not show nor pay for their reservations.

New Members

Tonya Britton, Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau

Larry Pierce, Kinder Morgan (relocation)

Eric Herrera, Frog Dog Communications (reinstated)

Claudia Morlan, Elmore Public Relations

Tere Perry, Hilton Americas-Houston

Candace Runaas, Runaas Resources Public Relations

Vicynthia Shanta Mauney, Mauney Business Communications (reinstated)

Marlene McClinton, City of Houston Airport System

Roderick Weatherly, HHH Investment Corp./BMT (reinstated)

Member News

Ashley Wehrly is now director of corporate communications for Compass Bank.

Steve Campbell is now vice president for investor relations at Newfield Exploration.

Brookii Wootton is now director of investor relations for Noble Drilling.

Teresa M. Wong is now with BHP Billiton.

Ryan Rice has opened Ryan Rice Public Relations.

Upcoming Events

Mark your calendar for PRSA Houston's 2008 events.

February 6: Dan Keeney, APR, Chocolate Warfare in New Media
March 5: March Luncheon
April 2: April Luncheon
May 7: May Luncheon
June 12: Excalibur Awards, Junior League of Houston 
July 2: July Luncheon
August 6: August Luncheon
September: PR Day (TBA)
October 1: October Luncheon 
November 5: November Luncheon
December: Holiday Party (TBA)

Newsletter Deadlines

Do you have a PRSA-related event approaching or news that you would like to include in the ePRo? Keep an eye on the below 2008 deadlines to ensure your submission is received in time.

March ePRo - Thursday, February 21, 2008
April ePRo - Thursday, March 20, 2008
May ePRo - Thursday, April 24, 2008
June ePRo - Thursday, May 22, 2008
July ePRo - Thursday, June 19, 2008
August ePRo - Thursday, July 24, 2008
September ePRo - Thursday, August 21, 2008
October ePRo - Thursday, September 18, 2008
November ePRo - Thursday, October 23, 2008
December ePRo - Thursday, November 20, 2008
January 2009 ePRo - Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008
Contributions are welcome. Send any submissions to Stephanie Pertuit.

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 March newsletter is February 21, 2007. We love hearing your thoughts and news, so send generously to Stephanie Pertuit.

Stephanie Pertuit
(713) 663-0164
Author: Stephanie Pertuit
Phone: (713) 663-0164
Category: newsletter | Sub Category: newsletter