Need an account?

January ePRo - January Luncheon Deadline Approaching

Welcome to the January 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.

January Luncheon: How Corporate Social Responsibility & Diversity Affect the Bottom Line

Join PRSA Houston on Wednesday, Jan. 10, at the Courtyard on St. James to hear from Amy Mifflin, manager of Corporate Social Responsbility at Marathon Oil, on how Marathon Oil and others are meeting the challenge of CSR and diversity–and how doing good is good business.

No longer is it sufficient for companies to obey the laws, pay taxes, be profitable and create employment. Citizens around the world want companies to contribute to broader societal goals as well. The 1999 Millennium Poll of over 25,000 average citizens across 23 countries in 6 continents showed that two out of three citizens felt this way.
In addition, for many companies, how they are rated by external rating agenciesindexes such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, The Ethibel Investment Register and the FTSE4good in the UK - has a major impact on share market analysts’ perceptions, investor confidence and ultimately on their share price.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the business world’s response to these concerns. CSR is achieving commercial success in ways that honor people, communities, the environment and ethical values. The notion of who is a legitimate stakeholder in a business is broadening to encompass investors, employees, customers, partners, suppliers, regulators, neighbors, consumer groups, social institutions and communities.
Productive diversity is an important component of CSR. It’s a key strategy in developing business competitiveness through the access it gives to talent, creativity, productivity, awareness of market opportunities and capacity for flexibility and innovation. You’ve heard that “ideas are the currency of the future.” To be a successful ideas company, diversity is not just important–it is obligatory.

Image Resources Group and U.S. Newswire will be sponsoring January''s luncheon.

Register now:  

February Luncheon: Your Reputation is Everthing

Mike paulYou’ve seen him as a guest commentator on Fox News Channel, CNN, BBC, MSNBC, CNBC, ABC, CBS, Court TV, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Associated Press, Reuters, U.P.I., N.Y. Times, Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio and many others. Now, see him courtesy of PRSA Houston. Mike Paul, “The Reputation Doctor,” will be our featured speaker on Feb. 7 at the Courtyard on St. James Place.

Mike Paul is the president and senior counselor of MGP & Associates PR (MGP), founded by Mr. Paul in 1994. The New York-based boutique firm provides senior counseling services to top corporate, government, non-profit, sports and entertainment clients in both good times and bad. No junior employees work at the firm. Mr. Paul is known for building excellent teams of senior PR counselors and exceeding clients’ expectations. A few of the clients Mr. Paul has counseled include Citicorp, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, United Airlines, Verizon, Time Warner, Pfizer, Baxter Healthcare, Manor Care, Libby Ross Breast Cancer Foundation, Timberland, Dunkin Donuts, Duracell, The Jackie Robinson Foundation, boxing legends Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, NY Giant greats Phil McConkey and Rodney Hampton, NY Jet legend Mark Gastineau, The Queen of Soul-Aretha Franklin, New York University, State University of New York, New School University, The King''s College, American Red Cross, Young Life, City Covenant Coalition and Vigilante Advertising, BrightLine Partners, Stratus Environmental and M7 Turf. You can read Mr. Paul''s blog at Lyondell Chemical Company has already committed to sponsor Mr. Paul, but others are available. 

For information, please call Paula Ruth, APR, at 281-870-1717 or e-mail her at .

Breaking the Code: Solving Your PR Puzzle

2007 TPRA Annual Conference

What’s in your PR portfolio? Do you wish someone would decode investor relations, interpret the true value of technology in PR, or make sense of effective employee communications, or crack the code of crisis management? What’s your PR puzzle?

The 2007 TPRA Annual Conference, “Breaking the Code: Solving Your PR Puzzle,” is scheduled for Friday, March 9, through Sunday, March 11, at the Hilton Post Oak located in the heart of Houston’s Galleria. PRSA Houston is co-presenting the conference’s opening luncheon on Friday, March 9, 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

In addition to a crisis management scenario panel moderated by Gerald Baron, founder of AudienceCentral and author of two books on crisis communications, topics on the conference agenda include Decoding IR (what you need to know in order to effectively communicate financial information?, Technology in PR (digital newsrooms, corporate blogging, and much more), and much more. Stay tuned for updates.

The Best of Texas/Silver Spur Awards Banquet will be held Saturday evening, March 10. The deadline to submit entries for consideration is January 25. For more information on the Best of Texas/Silver Spur awards, please visit us online at or send an e-mail to

Many, many thanks to our sponsors: AT&T, BlueCurrent, Enbridge, EnviroMedia, Fleishman-Hillard, Marathon, Sterling Bank, Security Service Federal Credit Union, Valero, AudienceCentral, Flint Hills Resources, Sun Spot Graphics and VNR-1 Communications. Sponsorship opportunities are still available! Please contact Keith Schmidt, sponsorship chair, at, or Terri Larson, conference chair, at, for information.

Entry Deadline

Don’t forget the entry deadline for the Texas Public Relations Association’s Silver Spur/Best of Texas Awards is 5 p.m., Thursday, January 25, 2007.   All the Call for Entries information, the entry form and payment form are available at

Entries may be mailed to:

Mike Breslin, APR
Hill & Knowlton
5847 San Felipe, Suite 400
Houston, TX  77057

For information about the awards program, contact Julie B. Fix, APR, at 281-494-6097 or e-mail awards at

Winning entries will be showcased during TPRA’s Annual Conference, March 9-11, 2007, at the Hilton Houston Post Oak Hotel. 

PRSA Houston Elects Officers

The board of PRSA Houston has elected the following officers for 2007:
Lisa Martin-Walsh, Lyondell Chemical, President
Priscilla Tinsley, Direct Energy, President-Elect
Terri Larson, Fleishman-Hillard, Vice President
Kelly Papinchak, Sterling Bank, Secretary
Julie Fix, APR, Fix & Associates, Treasurer

In addition, we have a number of new committee chairs, so it is a good time to call them to volunteer. Sally Ramsay, Pierpont Communications volunteered to oversee Awards/Nominating and President’s Academy with these chairs on Awards:
Awards (Entries): Mike Breslin, APR, Hill & Knowlton, and Michelle McCormick, Toby Stark Public Relations
Awards (Event): Christy Lee, Chevron Phillips
Diversity: L.K. Herlong
PR Day: Bill Zander, Texas Children’s Hospital, and Suzanne Lammers, Pride International
Accreditation: Anne Peebles, APR, Shell Oil
Job Bank: Mike Wysatta, Ryder Scott
Membership: Karen Naumann Blanchard, APR
New Pros: Todd Holloman, City of Houston Mayor’s Office
Programs/Professional Development: Aaron Woods, APR, Lyondell Chemical Company, and Terri Larson, Fleishman-Hillard
University Relations/PRSSA: Catherine Burch Graham, APR

Returning committee chairs will be Kelli Newman, APR, and Paula Smead on hospitality; Stephanie Pertuit, newsletter; and Susan Richardson, Webmaster.  A few spots remain open. E-mail Lisa Martin-Walsh at if you are interested.

Tinsley Makes History

After 14 years of active involvement in PRSA Houston, Priscilla Tinsley, director of corporate communications for Direct Energy, has been named President-Elect. She will be the first African American to hold that position within the Houston Chapter. Tinsley joined PRSA Houston in 1992 as the younger sister of Pamella R. Thorne, who had established herself as an active contributor in a number of roles for many years. Priscilla followed her sister into public relations, where she ventured into the non-profit, healthcare and retail worlds. After spending more than five years at Foley''s, she entered the energy industry. Throughout her tenure with PRSA, she previously served on the board and has chaired a number of committees including hospitality, nametags, and the Non-Profit SIG, to name a few. In addition, she was instrumental in organizing the Houston Communications Alliance group.

Mingle Bells a Success

Thank you to all our members who attended Mingle Bells. We had a great time reconnecting with old friends, making new friends and celebrating the successes of PRSA Houston in 2006.

PRSA Houston''s 2007 President Lisa Martin-Walsh (right), Lyondell Chemical Company, presented outgoing 2006 President Sally Ramsay, Pierpont Communications, with an iPod Nano for her service to the chapter at the Mix & Mingle event at the Plaza Club.

Annual Report: Thanks to PRSA Houston for a great 2006

PRSA Houston’s leadership under its 2006 President Sally Ramsay, Pierpont Communications, celebrated a number of significant accomplishments.  

Average luncheon attendance increased 9.6 percent to 96 thanks to membership support and outstanding programs from a committee headed by Wendy Burkeen, APR, KHOU-TV Channel 11 with Angela Young, Continental Airlines, chairing the October luncheon.  

Attendance also increased 32.7 percent to 215 for the Excalibur Awards banquet chaired by Kristin Pacheco of Sullivan Group Productions and Mari Pillar of Golin Harris. The Chapter presented its first CEO Communicator of the Year Award to Harris County Judge Robert Eckels and Houston Mayor Bill White. Graham Painter, APR, Sterling Bank, received the Legacy Award.  

The Chapter offered four half day seminars and a full-day conference at PR Day to serve our members'' professional development needs. Terri Larson, formerly Enbridge Energy and now Fleishman-Hillard, chaired the professional development committee with Stephanie Dedeaux, APR, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, leading PR Day and Saki Indakwa (formerly of Texas Southern University’s Jones School of Business and now Fleishman-Hillard)  chairing our student event, called PR for the Y Generation.

PRSA Houston presented $10,434.78 to the Public Relations Foundation of Houston through proceeds from the silent auction at Excalibur Awards, proceeds from the November professional development event and the New Pros event at the Aeros!  The Foundation, under the leadership of Mabel Menefee, Halliburton, presented its second annual scholarship to a college student in 2006. Susan Schmaeling, APR, Susan Schmaeling PR and Marketing, chaired the silent auction. Terri Larson chaired the November PD event and Suzanne Lammers, Pride International, chaired the Aeros event.

PRSA Houston also presented $7,200 to four PRSSA chapters, enabling them to provide assistance to students desiring to attend PRSA’s International Convention in Salt Lake City.

Assembly Delegates Ben Wheatley, APR, Pierpont Communications; Carolyn Mayo, APR, Vollmer; and Aaron Woods, APR, Lyondell represented PRSA Houston at the Assembly in Salt Lake City.

The Chapter successfully passed by-laws amendments, after a careful review by Julie Fix, APR, Fix & Associates, board secretary.

Karen Blanchard, APR, The Padgett Group, organized a seminar series to prepare members for accreditation.

Susan Schmaeling, APR, chaired the job bank which posted at least 150 jobs for members of the profession.

Suzanne Lammers chaired New Pros which hosted monthly networking and professional development events for those with five years'' or less experience.

Stephanie Pertuit, WhiteFence; Susan Richardson, Anadarko; Cindy Suggs, APR, Universal Weather & Aviation; and Kelly Papinchak, Sterling Bank, helped create the buzz to make our events successful through the newsletter, Web and postcard communications.

Melanie Brenneman, DataCert, chaired membership which brought about 99 new members into the chapter, offsetting those who transferred, retired, became full-time mothers or otherwise left the profession.

Paula Smead and Kelli Newman, APR, Newman & Newman, coordinated greeters and nametags to assure luncheon events were welcoming.

PRSA Houston invested in the highly successful Houston Communications Alliance event in late November at the Courtyard on St. James.

The executive team of Sally Ramsay, president; Aaron Woods, APR, treasurer, Julie Fix, APR, secretary;  Petri Darby, vice president and Lisa Martin-Walsh, president-elect, were committed to keeping the committee motivated and the costs down and planning for the future.

Board members and committee chairs taking leadership among our sponsors were Chris Bozman, APR, and Anne Peebles, APR, at Shell Oil, Carolyn Mayo, APR, at Vollmer Public Relations; Terri Larson, Fleishman-Hillard; Mabel Menefee, Halliburton, Kelly Papinchak, Sterling Bank; Sally Ramsay, Pierpont Communications; Lisa Martin-Walsh and Aaron Woods, APR, at Lyondell Chemical Company; Wendy Burkeen, KHOU-TV; Bill Zander, Texas Children’s Hospital; Susan Richardson, Anadarko;  Stephanie Dedeaux, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and incoming board members Mike Breslin, APR, Hill & Knowlton, Catherine Burch Graham, APR, LifeGift Organ Donation Center. We have had many other sponsors and advertisers who we greatly appreciate, but it is a tremendous mark of leadership to see that the leadership of an organization finds it worthwhile to invest their money first. We have had a most supportive leadership team in the past year and we look forward to an active leadership team in 2007.

If every member would commit to participating on at least one committee and attending at least one event, we would have our most successful year yet.

PRSA Ready for the New Year

Several PRSA members turned out for our recent planning session. It wasn''t tropical, but 18 members of PRSA Houston''s leadership got away
recently for breakfast at the Buffalo Grill to plan the coming year.  Among
those who were there are (front row, left to right) Aaron Woods, APR; Petri
Darby, APR; Eydie Pengelly, APR; Sally Ramsay; Kelly Papinchak; Susan Schmaeling, APR; Paula Smead (seated); Saki Indakwa; Priscilla Tinsley; Mike Wysatta; back row Suzanne Lammers; Lisa Martin-Walsh; Julie Fix, APR; Kay Kendall, APR; and David Casey. Those who were in attendance but not pictured are
Susan Richardson, Michelle McCormick and Paula Ruth, APR.

Find Your Best Employees at

Whether you are adding your first employee or filling a slate of new roles, the PRSA Houston job bank is the best place to find qualified people. After registering on the site, click on “Job Bank,” then “submit a job.” Payment is generally with a credit card, though checks may also be mailed and invoicing is available upon request for members.

Be a Luncheon Sponsor in 2007

We want to thank our December sponsors Pierpont Communications and Sterling Bank, who sponsored our Mix & Mingle Holiday Party. This enabled us to honor our 2006 leadership with music and excellent food, yet charge less than we normally do for a lunch. Image Resources Group will sponsor our January 10 luncheon at the regular price of $500. U.S. Newswire will sponsor the Jan. luncheon as the first of four lunches it plans to sponsor as a special package. Lyondell is  sponsoring our February luncheon. Others are available for that and for every lunch. Our luncheon sponsors make it possible to bring in speakers from around the country, if necessary, and still maintain a break-even luncheon price for our members. Please call Paula Ruth, APR, at 281-870-1717 if you are interested or e-mail 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, we can discuss tables.

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