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January ePRo: Start the New Year with a PRSA Luncheon

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.

PRSA Houston Welcomes the New Year
A Note from Priscilla Tinsley, PRSA Houston President 2008

Happy New Year fellow PR colleagues! Unbelievable that it's already 2008! I just wanted to take this opportunity to tell you all how excited I am for the year and how much I appreciate all of the support I've already received.

Several of you participated in November's 2008 Planning Session, and from that meeting we received a great deal of positive feedback, constructive advice and lots of great ideas to implement this year. The board, committee leaders and volunteers have already started putting together great programs and professional development opportunities for our membership - and if you're still looking to get involved, it's not too late. We have a great opportunity and a responsibility to address the needs of today's PR professionals, but we can't meet those needs without your help.

I want to encourage all of you to volunteer and to be vocal – if you have an idea, suggestion, observation or want to get involved in an area – speak up and let us know. Our ultimate goal is to build on our organization, making it better, stronger and more valuable to you, our members – and we can't accomplish that without your input and support.

I am truly looking forward to my term as president, and sincerely appreciate your vote of confidence in my leadership. Thank you for your commitment to the organization. I look forward to working with all of you this year!

Garnering Interest in Something New
January Luncheon: Selling Soccer in Houston
How do you interest a city in something new? That's the challenge the Dynamo faced bringing soccer to Houston. Join PRSA Houston at our new Briar Club location on Jan. 9 to hear how former TV sports personality Steve Mark faced challenges and overcame them to produce extraordinary season ticket sales and corporate sponsors for the new team. To register for the event, you can sign up here.

Sounds like an event your company would want to sponsor? There's still time! Contact Paula Ruth  at 281-870-1717 or to find out more.

Protecting Reputations in the Age of Blogs
February Luncheon: Chocolate Warfare in the New Media

On Feb. 6, learn from Dan Keeney, APR, how to protect your company's reputation in the age of social media. Dan Keeney, APR is the president of DPK Public Relations, a Texas-based public relations firm specializing in crisis communications planning, crisis communications response and crisis recovery as well as media relations, marketing communications and spokesperson training. Last year, DPK was hired to defend a chocolate company from a
business-threatening new media attack just as it entered the all-important
Valentine's Day marketing period.  You won't want to miss hearing how they
headed this one off.
Sounds like an event your company would want to sponsor? There's still time! Contact Paula Ruth  at 281-870-1717 or to find out more.

Reminder! PRSA Houston Moves to New Location for 2008

PRSA Houston will move to the Briar Club, beginning Jan. 9. This move will enable 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 Wesleyan and Buffalo Speedway. You won’t want to miss the debut on Jan. 9, featuring Steve Mark of the Houston Dynamo. Sponsorships are available.  Contact Paula Ruth, APR, at 281-870-1717 or

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: both lower price and permanent nametag available. Of course, we will continue to bill those who do not show nor pay for their reservations.

Start Off the New Year by Sponsoring PRSA 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 LyondellBasell Industries, RTS Marketing Research and Two Hyde Park for sponsoring our December holiday party. 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.

Silver Spur/Best of Texas Awards Competition
Deadline Approaching – Enter Today!

"Just a few more hours, that's all the time I've got…."  If you're a Broadway musical fan you may recognize that line from My Fair Lady.  But as a PRSA Houston PR pro, it also applies to you.  The “First Call” deadline for entering the 2008 Texas Public Relations Association Silver Spur/Best of Texas Awards Competition is 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17.

New to the contest this year is a “Last Call” deadline: entries will be accepted through 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24 with a $50/entry late fee.

Don't miss the deadline and pass on having your work recognized as among the best in Texas public relations.  Entry information is available at or contact Julie B. Fix, APR, Contest Manager, at 281-494-6097 or

The 2008 SS/BOT Awards Competition is sponsored by TPRA and the Austin, Central Texas, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio PRSA Chapters.  That means PRSA Houston members can enter at the "member" rate and that PRSA Houston receives a share of the contest proceeds.  The more PRSA Houston member entries, the bigger the share for our chapter!

Silver Spur/Best of Texas Award winners will be honored at the Annual Silver Spur/Best of Texas Awards Banquet Saturday, March 1 at the St. Anthony Hotel in San Antonio. The banquet will be held in conjunction with TPRA's Annual Conference, Feb. 29 – March 2. (See for details.)

Christmas Celebration

To share holiday wishes this season, PRSA Houston members gathered at Two Hyde Park. The event served as a great way to catch up with old friends as well as make new ones. Among the leadership recognized at the PRSA Houston Holiday Party on Dec. 11 were (left to right) Eydie Pengelly, auction chair and Foundation Board member; Catherine Burch Graham, APR, university relations chair and PRSA Houston board member; Karen Blanchard, APR, membership chair and PRSA Houston board member;  Lisa Walsh, PRSA Houston 2007 President; Priscilla Tinsley, PRSA Houston 2008 President, and Christy Lee, 2007 Excalibur Awards event chair.

Several members came to mix and mingle with Houston's PR finest. To the right you can see PRSA Houston new member Lisa Dimond Vasquez (left) and her mother, former PRSA Houston president Margot Dimond, APR. Together they recently opened DoubleDimond Public Relations.

In this photo, new members Jennifer Rozelle (left) and Ken Hudson visited at the December Holiday Party held at Pam Francis Photography's studio, Two Hyde Park. Pam Francis donated the space to PRSA Houston for the event which was catered by The State Grille. LyondellBozell Industries and RTS Marketing Communications also sponsored the event.

Recognizing Our 2008 Chairpersons and Committee Members

PRSA Houston could not achieve the success it has without its dedicated members. For that reason, we'd like to recognize those who have already committed to aiding the chapter.

Karen Blanchard, APR
Leslie Friedman
Saki Indakwa
Pam Thorne (Advisor)

Professional Development
Suzanne Lammers

Emilee Fontenot
Bill Zander

Stephanie Pertuit

Nancy Beaty

Job Bank
Mike Wysatta
Rose Rougeau
Lady Oliver

Greeters - Sherry Franke, APR
Nametags - Paula Smead

Excalibur Award
Event - OPEN
Award Entries - Michelle McCormick

PR Day
Jennifer Evans
Tricia Bentley
Sherry Franke, APR

Accreditation Committee
Stephanie Dedeaux, APR
Jim Lowry, APR
Laura Frnka, APR

University Relations/PRSSA
Ariana Montelongo
Andrea Cohen

Petri Darby, APR

Lisa Martin-Walsh

Melanie Brenneman

New Professionals
TBD by New Pros

Shanta Mauney

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.

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.

Member News

Suzanne Haugen has been named public relations manager for Administaff.

Sharon Saunders is now vice president for University Relations at Houston Baptist University.

Shari G. Stafford, is now manager of community affairs for Southern Union Company.

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

Lyondell Chemical Company is now LyondellBasell Industries and the employer of 2007 PRSA President Lisa Walsh and 2008 Assembly Delegate Aaron Woods, APR, among PRSA members.

Welcome to New Members

Lisa Dimond Vasquez, DoubleDimond Public Relations

Rebecca Koch, ChildBuilders

Joni Baird, Washington Mutual

Gayle Hargrove, BP

Michael Marr, BP

Upcoming Events

Mark your calendar for PRSA Houston's 2008 events.

Jan. 9: Steve Mark, Houston Dynamo
Feb. 6: Dan Keeney, APR, Chocolate Warfare in New Media
March 5: March Luncheon
April 2: April Luncheon
May 7: May Luncheon
June: Excalibur Awards (date to be announced)
July 2: July Luncheon
Aug. 6: August Luncheon
September: PR Day (TBA)
Oct. 1: October Luncheon 
Nov. 5: November Luncheon
December: Holiday Party (TBA)

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 February newsletter is Friday, January 25, 2008. 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