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PRSA Houston - April ePRo

Welcome to the March 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.

April Luncheon & Seminar: Margo Mateas, The Media Relations Maven

You’ve seen her in PRSA’s Tactics and in conferences offered nationally.  PRSA Houston is bringing the Media Maven, Margo Mateas, here for a lunch and afternoon seminar on April 2 at the Briar Club.

Excitement is brewing from those who’ve taken her seminars—some of which were offered through PRSA. “She’s the best,” one practitioner told PRSA Houston. If you work with media and want some insight into pitching those national media stories, this is definitely an event you won't want to miss. Margo promises the information she covers in the seminar will enhance, not repeat, the tips she gives during the luncheon. You will want to attend both.
To register for both the lunch and the seminar (from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), click here. If time constraints only allow you to go to one, you can also register for the lunch only or the seminar only.
Thank you to Business Wire for sponsoring this event. To inquire about sponsorship opportunities for this and other luncheons, contact Paula Ruth, APR, at

More About Margo

Margo Mateas is an award-winning writer, 20-year public relations industry veteran and former newspaper and radio journalist who trains public relations practitioners to secure coverage in The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, CNN, Oprah, USA Today, Time and more. Besides Tactics, Margo’s Web site draws more than 60,000 unique visitors each year from all over the world. Her e-mail pitching tips and 10 Commandments of Smart Media Relations are included in the best-selling textbook, Public Relations Writing: Form & Style. She is also a frequent contributor to the Public Relations Strategist and Publicity Insider. She is the recipient of the Advertising Club of America's ADDY award, as well as PRSA's Polaris award. Margo is also the author of an eagerly-awaited book on media relations and pitching tips.

Prior to starting The Public Relations Training Company in 2001, Margo chaired an agency-wide task force on Media Relations Best Practices and traveled coast to coast training staff for Weber Shandwick Worldwide, a leading global public relations firm. Under her guidance, the agency scored more press coverage than ever before, meeting an entire year's worth of media metrics in just three months. She also served as a troubleshooter for key accounts including Toshiba, Mentor Graphics and Unisys.

Coming May 7
Cindy Gabriel, Houston’s Joint Hurricane Housing Task Force is going to present "Failure was Not an Option." 

New Member Immersion Orientation

Join PRSA Board members, committee chairs and other new members for a quick introduction to PRSA Houston! The orientation is free and will be Wednesday, April 2, at 11:15 a.m. prior to the April luncheon. The event will be set up near the ballroom at the Briar Club for ease of access to the luncheon. Information will be available for committees, programs, volunteer opportunities and professional development. Come out and meet your local PRSA chapter.

Steaming Ahead
A Note from Priscilla Tinsley, PRSA Houston President 2008

We've built a lot of momentum so far this year with our well attended monthly luncheons and interesting and informative speakers, and it is very exciting to see all the flurry of excitement around planning our two largest events of the year—Excalibur Awards and PR Day. The committees have been meeting regularly, the e-mails have been fast and furious and phone calls numerous. The bottom line is that I know all of you will be very pleased with the outcome of these events once they all come to fruition.

It is the goal of the board to ensure that everyone gets the most value out of their membership. The board, committee leaders and volunteers spend an inordinate amount of time planning events and developing programs designed to provide you, the membership, with opportunities to interact with your peers and provide avenues to enrich your career.

If at any time you are dissatisfied with your experience, please share that with me and any of the chapter leaders and we will work hard to remedy the situation to your satisfaction.

Due to his incredible work schedule managing two offices in two cities, Mike Breslin, APR, unfortunately had to relinquish his board seat. He will be greatly missed and we've wished him well, but also recognize that his resignation leaves an open seat on the board. We are pleased to announce that Emilee Fontenot (currently this year's Membership Chair) will be filling Mike's seat on the board. Having worked with her for the past several months, I find her to be hard working and dedicated to the chapter - and will be a wonderful asset to the board.

Please join me in welcoming Emilee, and read on to see all of the exciting activities that are currently happening and learn more about how you can get involved. And as always, thanks to everyone for their hard work and commitment to the chapter!

Call for Volunteers

For those of you interested in using your event planning and networking skills, the Satellite Social committee could use your help. If you would like to facilitate a social this year, then this is the activity for you as planning is underway. Feel free to forward any ideas you may have on event locations, venues, etc… and, if you live in the Kingwood and Clearlake/Pearland areas, there is a specific need for a volunteer to help with the coordination of these socials.

If this sounds like the opportunity for you, contact Yvette Hamilton at 832-969-0977 or

In addition, there are a number of volunteer opportunities available for those of you looking to get involved!

  • If you enjoy writing and would like to expand on that opportunity, then volunteer to write for ePRo – the chapter newsletter.
  • If you are looking to expand your knowledge of the Web and are interested in keeping the chapter "linked," then the Web Committee could use your help.
  • If you are a new PR professional, then we have the group for you. Join the New Professionals Committee and get connected.

For more information about these committees and others, feel free to contact any of the chapter leaders to learn more!

Get a JumpStart on Accreditation
Registration Open for Intensive Workshop

JumpStart 2008 is an all-day, intensive workshop intended to help prepare anyone interested in pursuing accreditation. The workshop is scheduled for April 19 at the Village West Clubhouse, 11538 Piping Rock, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

If you want to advance your career in public relations, consider pursuing the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations. The chapter offers several resources to members pursuing accreditation. In addition to formal programs such as the JumpStart 2008 workshop, the Accreditation Committee will also help candidates connect with each other to study and prepare in informal study groups.

Accreditation is an ideal way to enrich your industry knowledge, achieve a standard of education and distinguish yourself in an increasingly competitive industry. If you aren’t considering accreditation in the near future, the JumpStart workshop is a great professional development course to help refresh your understanding of essential PR knowledge skills and abilities. Guidelines from the Universal Accreditation Board suggest that candidates have a minimum of five years experience in public relations. However, if you feel ready before that time, you can apply.

The accreditation process includes:
  • Application and fee payment online at
  • Candidate preparation, which may be self-study, local classes or the Online Study Course offered by PRSA
  • Candidate portfolio development in preparation for the Readiness Review
  • Readiness Review, where the candidate presents his/her portfolio to a panel of Accredited professionals
  • Computer-based Examination, which can be scheduled at any time at a local Prometric Testing Center. A multiple-choice test is administered and results are available within two to four weeks.
JumpStart 2008 will be led by Julie Fix, APR. Fix is president and principal of Fix & Associates, Inc. Public Relations. She also is an instructional assistant professor at the University of Houston, teaching public relations and communications courses. She is Director of Undergraduate Studies for the School of Communication, internship coordinator and faculty advisor to the UH PRSSA chapter. A member of PRSA since 1991, she was accredited in February 1996.

The registration fee for JumpStart 2008 is $50 and includes workshop materials, meals and parking. Click here to register today. If you’re interested in learning more about JumpStart 2008 or Accreditation, contact Stephanie Dedeaux, APR at

PR Day 2008 is Coming!

Change is good, right? What if you aren’t leading the change? What tools do top communications professionals need to flourish in times of change and transition?

Join your PRSA Houston colleagues as we tackle these questions and more at our upcoming PR Day, a day-long conference on September 23 at the Westin Galleria Conference Center.

Request for Presenters – Respond Today!

PRSA Houston is seeking public relations and communication professionals, educators and experts in related fields to present at this year's PR Day. You can click here to download the presentation proposal form if you work in one of the following fields: CMO, CEO, CFO, economist, social scientist, futurist, management consultant, journalist, blogger, technologist, editor, specialist in interactive communications and design, marketing communications, technology, research or measurement.

Questions or great ideas for presenters? Contact Tricia Bentley.

Sponsorships and Expo Slots – Available Now!

Interested in becoming a sponsor or partner? To join this year’s sponsorship team, reserve an Expo spot and/or learn more about the benefits of sponsorship, contact Scott Scheffler, APR, or Kelly Papinchak.

Announcing the 2008 PR DAY Team

CHAIRS: Jennifer L. Evans, Tricia Bentley and Sherry Franke, APR.

COMMITTEE: Lydia Baehr, Sabra Batts, Nancy Beaty, Susan Coker, Anne Deuermeyer, Lisa Dimond Vasquez, Lainie Gordon, APR, Bridgette Hall, Lindsay Isaacs, Ariana Montelongo, Kelly Papinchak, Scott Scheffler, APR, Susan Schmaeling, APR and Ron Trinidad.

Want to join this winning team? Contact Jennifer Evans for more information. PR Day in the past has attracted hundreds of Houston-area public relations professionals and associates. The key to the success of this one-day event is PRSA’s ability to attract and provide unique and valuable programming.


Save the Date for Excalibur 2008

On Thursday, June 12, the Houston chapter of PRSA will honor "Picture Perfect" public relations professionals at its annual Excalibur awards dinner. This "Picture Perfect" evening will take place at the Junior League—home of the famous orange rolls!  If you're interested in getting involved with Excalibur, please contact Laura Frnka, 713-627-2223 or

Excalibur Awards Deadline: April 9

Did you do Excalibur Award winning work last year?  What better way to show
your clients (and your boss) that your work is among the best than to win an
award judged by PRSA peers in the Nebraska Chapter.  The deadline for
entries is April 9. Awards will be presented June 12 at the Junior League
of Houston. Click here for more information or to download the entry form.


Help Wanted: Donations to Silent Auction Benefiting PR Foundation of Houston

Help make this year’s silent auction “Picture Perfect” by donating items to raise scholarship funds. This much-anticipated June 12 happening—held during the Excalibur Awards event—draws Houston’s most in-the-know crowd and is great publicity for your clients and you!

We’re specifically looking for:
  • Golf packages at area courses
  • Electronics (MP3 players, cameras, games)
  • Tickets to Houston Symphony, Opera, Ballet
  • Portrait photography packages
  • Certificates to area restaurants, wine bars, clubs
  • Salon and spa packages
  • Sporting goods and sports tickets

Contact Eydie Pengelly, APR, at or Susan Schmaeling, APR, at for more information.

PRSA Houstonians Around Town

Want to keep track of PRSA Houston members? Here we'll showcase events of the past month.

Suzanne Lammers, Stewart Title, (left) professional development chairman for PRSA Houston, joined Candace Runaas and Assembly Delegate Sally Evans, APR, for the inaugural teleseminar. This program enabled PRSA members to participate in a nationally produced teleseminar for the low price of $20. Thanks to PRSA Houston Board member Melanie Brenneman of DataCert for donating the conference facility and Internet connection.
Traci Duez, Break Free Consulting, asked the 92 audience members to request their free analysis of their thought patterns. Duez, who spoke about the science of axiology said people hold back 40 percent of their productivity by the way they think. Out of the 12,000-50,000 thoughts per day, more than 90 percent are thoughts people have thought before, making them habits because of rethinking. She identified better ways to deal with others and to accomplish more.
PRSA 2008 President Priscilla Tinsley, Direct Energy (right), thanked Pamella Thorne, The Thorne Group, program committee member; speaker Traci Duez, Break Free Consulting, and Travis Harper for PR Newswire, the March sponsor. Jackie Whitley of PR Newswire was not able to stay for the photo. PR Newswire sponsored in both February and March.
Do you have pictures you want to include in this section? Please submit to

Enjoy a Night Out with New Pros

Come join your peeps for a Spring Mixer/Social with PRSA’s New Professionals at Mak Chin’s. Network with new and seasoned Houston PR professionals. The event will be Thursday, April 17, 2008 5:30 p.m. at Mak Chin’s (I-10/Shepherd) 1511 Shepherd Drive Houston, Texas 77007.

Free for all PRSA members and guests. For more information about New Pros, contact David Casey at 713-560-9721.

PRSA Southwest District Conference
Event almost here, Sign up today!

Public Relations in the New Media World
PRSA Southwest District Conference
April 9-11, 2008 * The Peabody Little Rock * Little Rock, Ark.

Join us in Little Rock, Ark., for the 2008 Southwest District Conference, held at The Peabody Little Rock in downtown Little Rock. Hear from some of the industry's best about how public relations practitioners can thrive in the new media world. Registration is now open. Members can find all the details at, so be sure to check it out! Earmark your professional development funds now for engaging breakout sessions, motivational keynote addresses and some great R&R at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center.

This year’s district conference is set to offer public relations professionals at all levels some exciting sessions on how to thrive in today’s fast-moving new media world. Keynote speakers include Duncan Wardle, vice president of global public relations for Disney Parks, and Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman. Both of these outstanding PR pros will discuss how they’ve taken the industry to new heights. Break-out sessions will provide public relations professionals with the tools they need in today’s new media world (see details at Session highlights include:

  • Social Media Relations
  • Communicating to the Coveted Baby Boomer Woman
  • A Simple Recipe for Poison: Dangerous Social Media and Networking Advice
  • Online Social Networks and Public Relations (or How Frozen Peas Broke the Wall)
  • iWriting Techniques
  • Life at the Cross-Section of Search Engines and Public Relations
  • “What’s Old is New Again: Building Corner Grocery Store Relationships with Social Media Marketing
  • Employment Engagement
  • Machine Gun Your Audience with Social Media
  • The Future of Communications
  • Katrina, Crisis Communications and New Media
Although there will be plenty of professional development opportunities, networking and enjoying a taste of “The Rock” is high on the list too. Check out the Web site for more information about these fun events:
  • Wednesday evening early-arrivers cocktail reception at The Peabody Little Rock, hosted by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Wednesday evening Dine-Around-the-Town (Arkansas members will host you at some of their favorite dinner spots)
  • Thursday evening guided tour and reception at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center (one of the country’s most visited presidential libraries, with spectacular views of the city)

Early registration is just $250 for this three-day event. Log on to to register for the conference, including a pre-conference APR course and PRSSA session. Hotel information on securing your room at the beautiful Peabody Little Rock is also available, as well as flight information on the easy-to-access Little Rock National Airport!

If you haven’t been receiving the Southwest District Conference e-blasts, e-mail to join the e-mail list.

Membership Promotion

PRSA National's current promotion is “A Taste of PRSA”. Join for $225 national dues and they will waive the initiation fee (a $65 savings). Houston Chapter dues are $55. Here is the Web link for the promotion: If you have questions please e-mail Emilee Fontenot at or call 281-253-3635.

Public Relations Foundation of Houston Announces New Trustees

Susan Schmaeling, APR (right), has been named president of the Public Relations Foundation of Houston (PRFH) board of trustees for 2008.

The PRFH 2008 board of trustees are:

Henry de La Garza, APR, de La Garza Public Relations
Catherine Burch Graham, APR, LifeGift Organ Donation Center
Susannah Moore Griffin, Sterling Bank
Julie B. Fix, APR, Fix & Associates, Inc.
Suzanne Lammers, Stewart Title
Terri Larson, Fleishman-Hillard
Ariana Montelongo, LifeGift Organ Donation Center
Eydie Pengelly, APR, Eydie Pengelly Marketing Communications
Scott Scheffler, APR, Marathon Oil Corp.
Susan Schmaeling, APR ,
Susan Schmaeling Public Relations and Marketing
Priscilla Tinsley, Direct Energy
Lisa Walsh, LyondellBasell

Formed in 2001 by the Houston Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the Foundation supports educational excellence by helping prepare high school and college students for careers in public relations and communication. The Foundation awards student scholarships and distributes funds to educational programs that support public relations and communication.

In April 2008, the Public Relations Foundation of Houston will award its fourth $1,000 scholarship to Jasmine Vaughan, journalism major at Texas Southern University.

Upcoming TSU Career Fair

The Texas Southern University Office of Cooperative Education and Placement Services in conjunction with the Tavis Smiley School of Communication will soon be having their Communication Week 2008. One of the events for the week is a career fair scheduled for Wednesday, April 9, 2008 from 10am-2pm in the Sterling Student Life Center, Tiger Room, 3rd floor, on TSU's campus.

If you are interested in participating in the career fair, please contact Ms. Roberson in Career Placement, 713-313-7346 or Vanya Gamble in the School of Communication, 713-313-6889. This initiative is very exciting because it will allow your organization to promote any part-time, full-time or internship opportunities that may be available. Further, it will show your commitment to the rich and diverse TSU community. We are seeking 20-25 employers to participate in this event. The cost of the event is a $75 donation for up to 3 recruiters. The logistics, for this event, are still being worked out with more information to follow; however, if you are available, please let TSU Career Placement know as soon as possible.

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; firstly, for a lower price and secondly, for a permanent nametag. Of course, we will continue to bill those who do not show nor pay for their reservations.

Check out the Job Bank

The job bank committee has decided to send an e-mail newsletter of new jobs posted about once per month. If you would like to receive this e-mail, you can go to your registration on and add the jobs newsletter to the list of emails you receive. 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.

Advertise Your Business in the Business Directory

PRSA Houston Board member Karen Blanchard, APR, recently added Naumann Blanchard as a new listing in the Business Directory. Sharon Dotson, APR, renewed Bayou City Public Relations. 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 thank PR Newswire for sponsoring our March luncheon. Business Wire has committed to sponsoring our April and May events, but others are available. 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 1600-plus subscribers
  • 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 three 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.

New Members

Christi Dunn, Dynegy, Inc.

Joanne Fontenot, Texas Children’s Hospital

Ileah Ivy, Vollmer Public Relations

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