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May ePRo - Discover Secrets to Making Fortune''s "100 Best Companies to Work For" List

Welcome to the May 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.

May 2nd Luncheon: Secrets to Making Fortune''s "100 Best Companies to Work For" List

Each year companies and non-profits strive to be on Fortune Magazine "100 Best Companies to Work For" list. Being selected to this elite group is one of the hottest promotional tools companies are using to attract the best workers, increase employee retention rates, and solicit new customers and shareholders.

We have invited representatives of Texas Instruments, 2007 #87; EOG Resources, 2007 #83; and The Methodist Hospital System, 2007 #9; to join us for a panel discussion about what it takes to make the Fortune "100 Best Companies to Work For" list.

The process of applying and landing on this coveted list can be grueling as human resource and corporate communication professionals navigate convoluted guidelines and potential internal roadblocks. The ultimate accomplishment is improved business practices and a more friendly work environment that helps increase employee productivity.

Joining us on Wednesday, May 2, at 11:30 a.m. at the Courtyard on St. James Place will be:

Panel Members
Patricia L. Edwards
Vice President, HR, Administration and Corporate Secretary, EOG Resources

Stefanie Asin
Director of Communications, The Methodist Hospital System

Betty Purkey
Manager, Work/Life Programs, Texas Instruments

Carolyn Mayo
President, Vollmer Public Relations

When: Wednesday, May 2, 11:30 a.m.
Where: Courtyard on St. James,1885 St. James Place, Houston, TX 77056
Register now:

Sponsorships are available for this luncheon and all PRSA activities. Please call Paula Ruth, APR at 281-870-1717 or e-mail her at for more information. This event is separate from the "Best Places to Work Forum"  hosted by the Houston Business Journal on May 16. You may want to attend both. For information on the HBJ event, go to

PRSA Houston Presents “Social Media and Public Relations”

If you’re not already blogging, or monitoring blogs for mentions of your company, odds are good that you will be doing exactly that in the near future. Blogs and other internet-based technologies are quickly changing the face of business communications and public relations, and how we go about measuring the impact of a PR campaign.

So mark your calendar for July 11, 2007, when Josh Hallet, an internationally recognized expert in the use of Web and internet-based technologies for business communication, leads a workshop on social media and how it can be used effectively and strategically in public relations. Hallet will also speak at a luncheon following the workshop. This will serve as PRSA Houston’s July luncheon and meeting.

Hallet has been involved in emerging internet communication technologies for more than ten years and works closely with public relations practitioners and corporate communicators to integrate these technological tools into organizations’ public and media strategic planning. He is a Fellow//Board Member of the Society of New Communications Research, as well as a member of the Information Architecture Institute, and the Florida Public Relations Association.

What: Social Media and Public Relations
Who: Josh Hallet
When: Wednesday, July 11
    Workshop: 8 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
    Networking: 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    Luncheon: 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Where: The Courtyard at St. James Place, 1885 St. James Place
How: Register online at

Workshop and luncheon: PRSA Houston members: $100; Non-members: $115
Workshop only: PRSA Houston members: $75; Non-members: $85
Luncheon only: PRSA Houston members: $30; Non-members: $35

Pre-registration is recommended as seating is limited.

Sponsorships are available for both the workshop and luncheon. For more information, please contact Terri Larson at  More information on Josh Hallet is available online at

Excalibur Event to be Staged June 21

Thank you to all contenders who submitted entries for the 2007 Excalibur Awards. Entries submitted have topped our budget estimates. They are now in the hands of the judges in the Cincinnati Chapter. So, what should you do while you wait? Why not think about sponsoring the gala event? Hill & Knowlton Public Relations has agreed to be presenting sponsor. We are delighted to announce that the Houston Chronicle has committed as a media sponsor with ads before the event to promote it and afterwards to thank top sponsors and honor those recognized. The Exalibur event will occur in the Galleria Ballroom of the Westin Galleria.

Inclusion in the ad will be a benefit for our major sponsors. The deadline for the first ad is coming soon. Please commit to us by May 13 for possible inclusion.  The sponsor levels are posted at

April Luncheon Highlights

Thank you to everyone who attended the April luncheon, ''Guilty Until Proven Innocent.'' We learned from an expert, Joe Householder, about dealing with relentless media in the face of controversy.

In this photo, April luncheon sponsors join PRSA President Lisa Martin-Walsh, Lyondell Chemical Company, after the luncheon. Among the sponsors are (left to right) Jackie Whitley, U.S. Newswire; Rodolfo Guerra and board member
Catherine Burch Graham, APR, LifeGift Organ Donation Center; Lisa
Martin-Walsh, Ed Schipul, Schipul-The Web Marketing Company; and Sam
Holtzman, chief executive officer of LifeGift Organ Donation Center.

Speaker Joe Householder, Public Strategies, talks with David Mincberg, aide
to Mayor Bill White and president and chief executive officer of Flagship
Properties Corp., after the April luncheon.

Assembly Delegate Sally Evans, APR, asks speaker Joe Householder a question
at the April luncheon.

PR Day Planning

The next PR Day Planning meeting will be at 6 p.m., April 30, at Goode Company Taqueria. Among those involved in the early stages are (left to right)
Suzanne Lammers, Emilee Fontenot, board member Bill Zander of Texas
Children''s Hospital, David Casey, and Tricia Bentley of Vollmer Public Relations

Shop at the Galleria. Buy at the PRFH Auction.

We’re collecting an assortment of “in-demand” items for this year’s PR Foundation of Houston silent auction. Bring your shopping list and credit cards to this much-anticipated June 21st evening event at the Westin Galleria Hotel.

Here’s just a sample of the items we’re offering:

  • Sony video iPod
  • Astros baseball tickets
  • City-wide family membership for a year at the YMCA of Houston
  • Weekend stay at the Houstonian Hotel and Spa
  • Afternoon of sailing
  • Opera tickets, museum memberships
  • Restaurant certificates, spa packages, wine/beverage baskets
Have an item to contribute? Contact Eydie Pengelly at or 713-467-2718 for more information.

Calling all APRs

Thank you to David Casey, for agreeing to be the liaison with Houston Communications Alliance. We are still seeking an accredited member as chair of the Accreditation Committee and the Ethics Committee. Please contact Lisa Martin-Walsh at or Paula Ruth, APR at

National PRSA Leadership Opportunities

The 2007 PRSA Nominating Committee has begun the annual process of recruiting the very best candidates for positions on the 2008 Board of Directors. They are looking for talented, dedicated leaders–like you–who are willing to give their time and talent to make a real difference in our Society and our profession.

The positions open for nomination this year are:

  • Chair-elect
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Director, North Pacific District
  • Director, Southeast District
  • Director, Southwest District
  • Director-at-Large
  • Assembly Delegate-at-Large (two positions open)
  • Assembly International Delegate-at-Large (two positions open)
Candidates for officer or director positions must be members in good standing and APR. In addition, they must have served as a voting delegate in at least one national Assembly, a Chapter president, a Section or District chair, or a national committee or national task force chair.

Candidates for the Assembly Delegate and International Delegate-at-Large positions must be accredited or a current officer at the Chapter, District, or Section level.

For more information on the nominating process, please go to;nominating%20process.html, send questions to, or call Donna Jonas, 212-460-1403. Candidate applications are due on Monday, June 11, 2007, due by 5 p.m. (in the time zone in which the candidate resides).

PR Foundation Board of Houston Awards Annual Scholarships

The Public Relations Foundation of Houston (PRFH) announced today that the Board of Directors has awarded the third annual Public Relations Foundation of Houston scholarship to Amy Leigh Sckittone, a student at Texas A&M University in College Station. Sckittone is majoring in public relations and will begin her senior year at the university this fall.

The scholarship committee of the PRFH selected the winning candidate for the Ralph Frede Scholarship at the University of Houston. The committee selected Charlotte Hutchinson as the scholarship winner. Hutchinson will enter her senior year this fall and is majoring in public relations.

The PRFH is a dedicated fund within the Greater Houston Community Foundation. The foundation is the scholarship arm of the Houston chapter of the Public Relations Foundation of Houston. The mission of the PRFH is to enhance the quality of education by creating a permanent educational endowment that provides scholarships for students studying communications and/or public relations at Sam Houston State University, Texas A&M University and the University of Houston. For more information, please visit .

Speaking of Houston Communications Alliance

PRSA Houston is part of the Houston Communications Alliance, sponsoring two networking events for public relations professionals. Both events will be at the Courtyard on St. James. The first will be the evening of June 14, and the second will be Nov. 29. Both of these will be free functions that begin after 5 p.m.

Do People Know What You Do?

Tell them by listing your business in the PRSA Houston Business Directory.  So often we are called for referrals for public relations firms, but if we don’t know what types of clients a firm has, it is difficult to recommend them. Small firms without large staffs that handle all kinds of clients might especially benefit. People also look to PRSA for information on photographers, graphic designers, printers, research firms and other services commonly used by public relations professionals. For $100, you can advertise your firm for a year on our Web site at Register on the site, if needed, then simply pay with a credit card.

Be a Luncheon Sponsor in 2007

Thank you to LifeGift Organ Donation Center and U.S. Newswire who sponsored our April lunch. Thank you also to Schipul-The Web Marketing Company for being the AV sponsor. We have opportunities to be involved in all of our upcoming luncheons. Our luncheon sponsors make it possible to bring in speakers from around the country, occasionally, 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.

Sponsorships also are available for other events. We thank Hill & Knowlton Public Relations for stepping forward as the Presenting Sponsor for the Excalibur Awards and to the Houston Chronicle, our media sponsor. We already have been getting inquiries from prospective sponsors for other top sponsorships, some of which are out-of-state, so please commit soon to be in the invitation for the June 21 event. The levels are posted on the Web site.

PR Practitioners Share Career Tips with New Pros Group

PR practitioners representing the non-profit, agency and corporate aspects of public relations were recently on hand to field questions from PRSA’s New Pros group on the career secrets and work philosophies that can make or break a PR career. The goal of the panel and discussion event was to educate recent graduates and young professionals on the essential tools needed to break into the business and sustain a successful PR career. The panelists included:

  • Graham Painter, APR, Executive Vice President, Sterling Bank
  • Sally Ramsay, Senior Vice President, Pierpont Communications
  • Latha Thomas, Vice President of Marketing & Communications, Houston Museum of Natural Science

A special thanks goes out to our panelists for their participation. The Greater Houston Community Foundation graciously hosted the event. Be sure to check out other upcoming events from the New Pros group at  

(From left) Erin Blatzer and Latha Thomas of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Chris Lopez of the Greater Greenspoint Management District, Todd Holloman of the City of Houston, Graham Painter of Sterling Bank, Sally Ramsay of Pierpont Communications and Emilee Fontenot.

Can’t get enough of Cinco de Mayo?

Join the New Pros at their “Diez de Mayo” social! If you don’t have plans for Cinco de Mayo, the New Pros group has the answer for you! The New Pros’ “Diez de Mayo” social will be held at Los Cucos Mexican Restaurant, 5851 Westheimer at Fountainview, on Thursday, May 10, 6 p.m. Come take part in this festive event as we connect our members to existing PR resources and opportunities while building a peer-based network of new professionals in Houston’s PR scene. The event is free. Food and beverage costs are the responsibility of the individual.  For more information, visit Register today at

Find Your Best Employees at

Job opportunities have been posted on the PRSA Houston website at every week. 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.

New Members

Andrea Dahlke

Katherine Powell, Sr. Acct. Exec, Sheepdog Inc.

Nicole Scanlin, Vollmer

Dave Scallan

Jeffrey C. Wade, HP

Member News

Our colleague and friend Gretchen Truitt died on March 3 of breast cancer.  A Summa Cum Laude graduate of University of St. Thomas, Gretchen was a freelance writer and editor for medical and business organizations. She is survived by her husband, Dr. M. Everett Truitt and her three children. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the American Diabetes Association or a charity of the donor’s choosing.

Thomas G. Overton passed away late Thursday after a long battle with cancer. Tom has been a member of PRSA Houston since April 1, 1990, and chaired the Excalibur Awards event. He has been the director of public affairs at the University of St. Thomas following many years with the former Panhandle Eastern system. He is survived by his wife, Judy, and two sons, Nathan and Matt, who are students at Lamar University and University of St. Thomas. Thank you to the PRSA members and supporters who have reached out to support the family at this time.

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 June newsletter is May 23, 2007. We love hearing your thoughts and news, so send generously to Stephanie Pertuit at

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