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PRSA Houston - April ePRo

Welcome to the April 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 Luncheon and Workshop: Crisis Communications

Hurricane season is fast approaching. Are you ready? Is your company prepared? Have you looked at your crisis plan since last September when Hurricane Ike struck the Houston area? Join us for PRSA Houston’s May Luncheon for a discussion on crisis management and planning with Tony Lentini, President of Lentini Creative Communications. The discussion will focus on the top five things you – and your company – should be doing right now to prepare for the 2009 hurricane season.

Professional Development Workshop, May 6, 8:30 – 11:30

Bad things happen to good people – how you handle them can damage or destroy your business, or boost your company’s reputation and credibility. Every crisis can be successfully resolved… but there is a cost. In this professional development workshop, Tony Lentini – President of Lentini Creative Communications – will lead us through the elements of a good crisis plan, identifying and training key spokespeople, crisis media relations, the use of social media in a crisis, and what should happen after the crisis.
May 6, 8:30 a.m.-11 a.m.
Briar Club
Register for workshopluncheon or both.

Presenter Bio - Toni Lentini

Tony Lentini’s crisis management experience dates to the U.S. Army in Germany, where he successfully resolved anti-noise demonstrations against a key Army border-patrol airfield and protests against the testing of laser rangefinders on military weapons systems. He later managed Middle South’s response to the Three Mile Island nuclear plant accident, preserving the company’s sizable nuclear construction program through grassroots meetings throughout the company’s multi-state service area. During his career, he has successfully managed crises involving explosions, industrial accidents, toxic gas leaks, oil spills, pipeline accidents, deaths of senior executives, terrorist threats, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, lawsuits, medical malpractice cases, discrimination charges and hurricanes.

He served as the oil and gas industry’s spokesperson on hurricanes Katrina and Rita, appearing live on national television and in the international news media before, during and after the storms. He has trained CEOs, executives and field personnel in Crisis Management and Communications and senior business executives in Media Interviewing Techniques.

Tony is a West Point graduate with a degree in engineering. He resides in Houston.
Business Wire will sponsor our May luncheon, but other sponsors are welcome. Please e-mail for information.

PRSA Houstonians Around Town

PRSA Houston and its members have been very busy in the last month. Check below to see if you've been spotted.

PRSA Houston Vice President Jen Evans (right) thanks Lindsey Brown, Clare Sullivan Jackson and Holly Clapham-Rosenow after the March luncheon. Sullivan Group Productions sponsored the March event featuring Lindsey and Holly of the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau on "Selling Houston to the World."

A diverse audience turned out to hear Holly Clapham-Rosenow and Lindsey Brown of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau and their presentation on "Marketing Houston to the World." The speakers unveiled creative work from the new ad campaign as well as results from previous efforts.

Shankman Speaks as PR Day 2009 Promises to Deliver Value!

The PR Day 2009 committee is excited to announce that Peter Shankman will be this year’s keynote speaker and will also participate in two workshops. Shankman, founder and CEO of The Geek Factory, Inc., a Marketing and PR Strategy firm in New York City, is well-known for his daily e-mails called HARO, or Help a Reporter Out, which contain a list of reporter queries. He is recognized globally for his radical new ways of thinking about social media, PR, marketing, advertising and creativity.

The PR Day 2009 program theme Delivering Value: Maximizing the Role of PR promises to have something for everyone, whether you’re just starting out, or you’ve got your fair share of war stories to tell. It will take place at the Westin Galleria on October 7. The PR Day 2009 committee is now accepting requests for presentations. To view details, you can go here.

For more information, contact PR Day 2009 Chairs Lisa Dimond Vasquez or Margot Dimond at 713-426-4111 or

Now Accepting Nominations for the 2009 Legacy Award

This June, PRSA Houston members and guests will gather at the annual Excalibur Awards to not only honor outstanding professional accomplishments, but to honor a lifetime of professional achievement with the 2009 Excalibur Legacy Award. Chapter members are encouraged to nominate a colleague, mentor or role model who exemplifies the highest ideals of professional public relations practice. Candidates for the Legacy Award should meet the following criteria:

  • Candidates should be either a current or former member of PRSA Houston. The award may be given posthumously.
  • Candidates should have at least 25 years of experience in public relations.
Nominations should demonstrate the candidate’s leadership and expertise in the field of public relations through:
  • Outstanding service to his/her company, community, organization or educational institution
  • Outstanding service to PRSA Houston
  • Honors, awards and recognition, accreditation
  • Advancing the body of knowledge and public image of the profession through teaching, writing, speaking, mentoring and/or PRSA volunteer/leadership positions
Former Legacy Award Winners:
  • 2008: Phillip Taggart, APR
  • 2007: Dr. Bob Heath, APR
  • 2006: Graham Painter, APR
  • 2005: Guy Brown, APR
  • 2004: Will Osterloh, APR, Fellow PRSA
  • 2003: Gayle McNutt, APR, Fellow PRSA
  • 2002: Sabra Gill, APR, Fellow PRSA
  • 2001: Tom Stewart, APR, Fellow PRSA
  • 2000: Ralph Frede, APR, Fellow PRSA
  • 1999: James W. Hart
Nominations and a brief summary highlighting why you’ve chosen this candidate (please limit to two pages) should be submitted by end of day May 1 to Priscilla Tinsley by e-mail at or by phone at 713-854-8555.

Market in a Downturn to Flourish in the Upturn

Phil Morabito, CEO of Pierpont Communications and a PRSA member, wrote in a recent Houston Business Journal article that visibility when times are tough helps a company to maximize its dollars and enable it to reap rewards during a recovery. Sponsorships help, but a low cost way to improve visibility is by advertising in PRSA Houston’s business directory. For $100, you get a year of exposure. PRSA members Sharon Dotson, APR, Bayou City Public Relations, and Michele Freeman of Ammerman both recently renewed their directory listings. Thank you!

It's Time for our next PRSA Houston Girl Scout PR Workshop!

The workshop will take place on Saturday, April 18, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council Program Place for Girls (3000 Southwest Freeway, Houston, 77098). We have recently changed the format and have updated the content to include Web 2.0 and will address how technology has changed the way that PR professionals communicate with our audiences.

Please RSVP your attendance to Vinnika Johnson at Vinnika will be your point of contact for the day. Because the format has changed, we will host a one-hour volunteer orientation prior to the workshop, so please let Vinnika know if you are available to volunteer on April 18.

Many thanks for all you do for PRSA Houston and the Girl Scouts!

Connect to PRSA Houston

In addition to the PRSA Houston Web site, PRSA Houston is now on Twitter, and has a group page on both Facebook and LinkedIn and has launched a blog linked to the Web site. Follow us online for chapter news, updates on events, and much more! Make yourself more visible online and improve connectivity with fellow PR professionals! Take a moment to add your Web identities to your PRSA Houston member profile. Log in to the PRSA Houston Web site and find your profile in the member directory. Click on "Add Web identities" under the photo box.

2009 Excalibur Awards - Deadlines Approaching

This annual competition honors outstanding professional accomplishments in the development and execution of comprehensive public relations programs and individual communications tactics. Gold, Silver and Bronze Excalibur Awards will be presented to talented PR professionals in dozens of categories. And one especially talented honoree will receive the ninth annual Grand Excalibur Award, recognizing the highest professional standards we strive to attain on behalf of our customers, clients, corporations, shareholders and, ourselves as the masters of our profession.

To enter your work in the Excalibur competition, download the Call for Entries and complete the Entry Form. All entries are due by April 9, 2009. Late entries will be accepted until 5 p.m. April 16, with an additional $50 late fee assessed to each entry received between 5 p.m. April 9 and 5 p.m. April 16. No entries will be accepted after 5 p.m. April 16.

Download the Call for Entries package

Download the Entry and Payment forms

Brookwoods Group is returning as Presenting Sponsor. Sponsorship of this key event will give your organization visibility with influential decision makers who communicate to their employees and stakeholders every day. For more information on sponsorship levels please contact Paula Ruth, APR, or 281-870-1717.

For information on award entries, contact Laura Frnka, APR.  For more information on the event, contact Saki Indakwa.

APR Spotlight: Emily Oberton, APR

April is Accreditation Month at PRSA. If you've been thinking about becoming Accredited in Public Relations (APR), now is a good time to get started!

APR is a mark of distinction for public relations professionals who demonstrate their commitment to the profession and to its ethical practice, and who are selected based on broad knowledge, strategic perspective, and sound professional judgment. This month, ePro talked to Emily Oberton, APR, who earned her Accreditation in 2008.

Oberton serves as a Communications Representative for Shell Deer Park Refinery and Chemical Plant and has worked in the public relations profession for seven years. After graduating from college, Oberton worked as a reporter for a local news radio station. She went back to school in 2002 to pursue a master’s degree in Public Relations. Oberton worked at a PR agency for several years and then moved to corporate PR at Shell after she received her master’s degree.

ePRo: What made you decide to become Accredited at this stage in your career?
Oberton: I wanted to become accredited because the APR designation signals that you are an ethical, professional and skilled practitioner. Also, continuing education is a high priority of mine, and I saw the Accreditation process as a wonderful opportunity to learn more about my profession.

ePRo: How did you prepare for the Readiness Review and computer-based exam?
Oberton: I read Cutlip, Center and Broom’s Effective Public Relations – Ninth Edition and the APR study guide. Many of the textbooks on the APR reading list have web sites that feature chapter quizzes. I took the quizzes for every chapter of all of the books. This helped me to identify what areas I needed to spend more time studying.

ePRo: What advice do you have for others who are considering Accreditation?
Oberton: Pace yourself. Once your application to take the exam is approved, you have a year to complete the Readiness Review and take the exam. Commit to spending a little time each day reading, studying and attending study group sessions. Don’t underestimate the difficulty of the exam. While I was preparing for the test, I wondered if I was putting too much time into studying, and I thought that completing all of the chapter quizzes was perhaps overkill. All of the studying paid off, however, because the exam was not easy.

Free Webinar!

Accreditation month kicks off with a FREE WEBINAR on Thursday, April 9, from 2 to 3 p.m. EDT. “Accelerate Your Career in Public Relations: Steps You Can Take Now to Prepare for Your Future” will help you learn how you can accelerate your public relations career even when job opportunities are scarce.

Panelists include: Helen Vollmer, APR, CEO of VOLLMER and PRSA Houston member, and Kenneth D. Makovsky, APR, FellowPRSA, president of Makovsky & Company. Click here to register:

Need more information? Any PRSA member in good standing can take on the challenge of earning Accreditation. However, it is recommended that candidates have at least five years’ experience in the full-time practice or teaching of public relations and who have earned either a bachelor’s degree in a communication-specific field (or have equivalent work experience). For more information, please visit or contact PRSA Houston Accreditation Chair Kelly George, APR, at

Membership News

Have you heard about our April promotion? New professionals who join PRSA in April get membership in the New Professionals special interest group free. Sign up at the PRSA Web site

Know someone who'd benefit from a membership to PRSA Houston? Why not invite them? Sometimes all it takes is a personal invitation to spur action.

March Highlight: Robert Allred, Robert Allred Photography

Best photography subject: My favorite subject to photograph is people, because everybody is different...I like the challenge of working with different personalities in different situations.

Reason to be in PRSA: The PRSA events that I look forward to attending are the ones the speaker comes to tell us how they solved a particular public relations problem, or their response following a crisis situation. I like to hear exactly what they did and how they did it.

How did you get into photography? I started shooting photographs in 1983 at the American Red Cross, which was my first good public relations job out of college. I learned how to photograph people and tried to show the human side of disaster situations...floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, single family and apartment fires, etc. Learning how to photograph people with dignity and respect when they might have just lost everything, is how I still try to treat people as a photographer today.

Favorite Restaurant: I can't be very specific on my favorite restaurant, but it would have to be any small town barbeque place and the smaller the town the better.

IABC Houston’s 2009 Bronze Quill is only a Month Away!

Make your reservation today! Celebrate the work of top communication professionals and students from Houston and South Texas and listen to two amazing speakers at the April 30 gala in the Downtown Hyatt Regency Hotel’s Imperial Ballroom.

The emcee for the gala, Yolanda Green, is a community pioneer, children’s advocate and media personality. Ms. Green currently serves as the community relations director and host of “Outlook Houston” for Houston’s CW 39.The event’s keynote speaker will be David Henderson, a veteran communications and media strategist, author, online publisher, and Emmy Award winning former on-air CBS Network News correspondent. He will share his compelling and timely expertise on media trends and today’s dynamic convergence of mainstream media with new media and the digital revolution driven by Web 2.0. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear two incredible communicators and spend an evening with your friends, colleagues and clients as IABC Houston recognizes the region’s best and brightest of 2008.

Members and nonmembers alike may register for individual seats or tables by visiting

We Love our Sponsors!

Thank you to Sullivan Group for sponsoring our March luncheon on marketing Houston. Board member Catherine Burch Graham, APR has committed LifeGift as a sponsor of the April luncheon. Business Wire will sponsor our May luncheon, but other sponsors are welcome. Brookwoods Group has committed to be the Presenting Sponsor for Excalibur Awards on June 18. PRSA Houston appreciates all this support which enables us to maintain prices at the levels set in 2005.

Other sponsorships are available for all the lunches this year. 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 1800-plus subscribers
  • Mention and text link in ePRo, the PRSA Houston newsletter sent to 1800-plus
  • Text/Logo link on PRSA Houston Web site for one month
  • Ability to distribute materials to all luncheon attendees
  • Table in 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; others available at member rate of $30
  • One time use of an electronically provided member list of physical addresses for all 450 PRSA Houston members.

Check out the Job Bank

Jobs and internships are being posted, so continue to check the PRSA Houston Web site for them. If you have openings, please consider posting the job with PRSA Houston. .

New Members

Zeljka Momirovic, City of Houston Airport System

Roxanne Butler, City of Houston Airport System

Farhana Jehangir, Spectra Energy Transmission

Keefe Borden, KB Communications

Angela Hopp, University of Houston

Jessica McDunn, Rice University (transfer from Honolulu)

Member News

David McKinney, ABC, APR, is now Manager of Communications-US Downstream, Shell Oil Company.

PRSA Houston Assembly Delegate Chris Bozman, APR, is now Communications Manager, Shell Deer Park.

Upcoming Events

April 9: Early Bird Deadline for Excalibur Award Submissions
April 16: Final Deadline for Excalibur Award Submissions (with penalty)
May 6: Monthly Luncheon, Briar Club, Tony Lentini, Lentini Creative Communications, Crisis Planning
May 6: Workshop, Briar Club, Tony Lentini, Lentini Creative Communications, Crisis Planning & Management
June 18: Excalibur Awards Event, Hotel Derrick
Oct. 7: PR Day, The Westin Galleria Hotel

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 May newsletter is April 23, 2009. 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