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PRSA Houston - December ePRo

Welcome to the December 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.

PR Day is only a few days away!

More than 20 public relations and communications professionals, educators and experts (social scientists, futurists, journalists, bloggers, chief marketing officers and technologists, as well as specialists in interactive and marketing communications, technology, research and measurement) will present at this year's PR Day conference. Veteran Washington insider, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, news correspondent Victoria Clarke, will deliver the luncheon keynote address, followed by a Q & A, and subsequently, a media panel discussion which includes local journalists. A full conference brochure is available.

Session topics for this progressive conference include blogging, government relations, integrated communications, multi-cultural public relations, broadcast media, coaching and career transition, event management, crisis communications, the power of brand, new professionals and more. PRSA Houston also will celebrate and thank 2008 supporters and volunteers at a Holiday Party, immediately following the conference.

"This year's PR Day Conference represents an outlet for PR professionals to expand their knowledge, meet some of the best names in the communications industry, network with their peers, and be introduced to the latest innovative products and advanced solutions," said Priscilla Tinsley, 2008 President of the PRSA Houston. "Practitioners from entry to senior levels will find value in this conference and will immediately be able to apply the information learned in their day-to-day jobs."

With your confirmed half or full day registration for the conference, you get a special economy rate for the holiday party. To make your late reservation now, you may visit the PR Day page or link through the homepage at

As always, we thank keynote speaker Victoria Clarke and sponsors Comcast, CenterPoint EnergyBusiness Wire and Vollmer PR. We also want to thank The Ammerman Experience, Clearpoint Creative Co., Kronberg Flags & Flagpoles, LyondellBasell, MetroMarketing, Pier Systems, PR Newswire, Vcall from Precision IR, Shell Oil CompanyToby Stark Public Relations, Snapstream Media, Spectra Energy, Venue-BambouVMS and holiday party sponsor Brookwoods Group.

Fifteen PR Day Scholarships Awarded for December Conference

The 2008 PR Day Committee recently announced the 2008 PR Day Scholarship winners. Thanks to the generosity of Shell Oil Company, The Ammerman Experience, Spectra Energy and Toby Stark Public Relations, a record 15 scholarships have been awarded to cover full-day registration costs for PR Day. The scholarship winners include PRSSA members, college students, recent graduates and other new professionals. PR Day 2008 is an outstanding opportunity for a new or soon to be new professional to learn more about Public Relations tactics and strategies in an energetic environment, surrounded by PR professionals representing numerous Houston area companies.

PRSA Houston wishes to extend a sincere thank you to our benefactors for making this opportunity available. Congratulations to our scholarship winners:

Justin Concepcion

Anna Czarnecka

Katrina M. Esco

Kimberly Garcia

Abby Haun

Amy Lamb

Renee McGruder

Rose Molina

Sarah Pendley

Sonia Reyes

Katie Rutherford

Sybil Monciváis Sánchez

Ron Trinidad

Kimberly Ward

Katie Winslow

Interested in Getting Involved?

If you would like to have some input in what PRSA Houston does next year, consider coming to the Planning Meeting from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Dec. 5, at LifeGift Organ Donation Center. Please RSVP to Paula Ruth, APR, at by Dec. 3 to say you are coming. If you can't make it, please feel free to contact Terri Larson, 2009 President, at with your suggestions.

Penny Todd, CenterPoint Energy, Responding to Ike and the Storm of Public Opinion

The big one was bound to happen sometime. As Hurricane Ike blew its angry winds on Houston, CenterPoint Energy’s public relations staff braced for the worst. Would its planning efforts be sufficient to tame public opinion even as its operations team tackled the physical needs of the community? Start the New Year with a January 7 monthly PRSA Houston luncheon featuring Penny Todd of CenterPoint Energy. Find out what plans were already in place prior to the hurricanes, what process/timeline was followed, what it did to shape public perception and what was the media strategy and tactics? Finally, how would CenterPoint grade itself on its Hurricane Ike performance? Thank you to for sponsoring this luncheon. Other sponsorships are available. E-mail Paula Ruth, APR, at

Date: Jan. 7, 11:30-1:30 p.m.
Where: Briar Club 
Register by 11:30 a.m., Jan. 5

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.

Public Relations Foundation of Houston and PRSA Houston leadership greeted Dr. Roderick Hart of University of Texas after his post-election analysis at the November luncheon. The event was a benefit for the Foundation. Shown are (left to right) 2007 PRSA Houston President Lisa Walsh of LyondellBasell Industries, 2008 PRSA Houston President Priscilla Tinsley, Dr. Hart and Foundation Treasurer Eydie Pengelly, APR. All three women are members of the Foundation Board of Directors which is currently seeking additional board members. Sponsors for the event included Dow Jones Factiva, PR Newswire and SnapStream Media Inc.

The Excalibur Awards Committee would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who came out to help with judging the award entries from the Nebraska chapter on November 8th. Thanks go to Priscilla Tinsley; Saki Indakwa; Ericka Hernandez; Lori Martin; Yvette Hamilton; Sherry Franke, APR; Terry St. John; Kiska Workman; Sally Evans, APR; Gretchen Weis, APR; Tanya Doescher; Paula Ruth, APR; David Casey; Carolyn Mayo, APR; Terri Larson; and Helen Vollmer, APR. A special thank you also goes to Vollmer Public Relations for hosting and to Michelle McCormick, Toby Stark Public Relations, for coordinating.

A number of PRSA Houston members turned out for the Houston Communications Alliance Holiday Mixer, organized by Tad Grow and supported by 18 communications organizations. It was a great time to mix and mingle, renew old acquaintances and meet new people.
New Pros Chair David Casey and newly elected PRSA Houston Board member Mike Wysatta, Ryder Scott, were among those attending.

Former PRSA Houston President Margot Dimond, APR, and Lisa Dimond Vasquez of Double Dimond Public Relations checked out the party. They have agreed to chair PR Day in 2009.

Katherine Moyer of D-Cubed Technologies, a new PRSA Houston member, talks with IABC President Theresa Parker.

Frank Agraz, FBI, stopped by the PRSA Houston table for a visit.

Ben Wheatley, ABC, APR, past president of PRSA Houston and IABC Houston, now on the board for PRSA's Counselor's Academy, visits with Pam McConathy, former president of IABC.

Welcome to New Board Member

With mixed emotions PRSA Houston bids good-by to a hardworking board member. We wish Melanie Brenneman the best as she moves to Austin with a great career opportunity. At its November meeting, the PRSA Houston board elected Gretchen Weis, APR, to fulfill Melanie’s term on the board. Gretchen had been a candidate for the board in September and received the next highest number of votes from the membership. Thanks, Gretchen, for being willing to accept this responsibility.

PRSA Houston Partners On 2009 Awards Contest

PRSA Houston will partner once again with the Texas Public Relations Association (TPRA) to sponsor the 2009 Silver Spur/Best of Texas Awards Competition.

Chapter members may enter at the "member" rate, a savings of 50 percent from the non-member rate, and the chapter will receive a share of the contest proceeds.

The Silver Spur/Best of Texas Awards Competition is the only statewide contest for Texas public relations practitioners and recognizes excellence in programs, projects and tactics.

This year’s contest has two entry “deadlines: “First Call” is 5 p.m., Jan. 22, 2008. “Last Call” is 5 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 29, 2008, and each Last Call entry must be accompanied by a $50 late fee. Silver Spur and Best of Texas Awards will be presented at the annual awards banquet, Saturday, Feb. 28 during joint TPRA/Southwest District PRSA “Communicators’ Connexion” Conference in Frisco.

Information on the contest and conference is be available at For more information on the contest, e-mail or contact TPRA’s contest manager, Julie B. Fix, APR, at 281-494-6097.

Thanks Sponsors!

Thank you so much to DowJones Factiva, PR Newswire and SnapStream Media for sponsoring the Foundation luncheon with Dr. Roderick Hart on Nov. 5. The list of PR Day sponsors who have weathered the changing date with us are listed in another story. has stepped up to sponsor the January luncheon on Hurricane Ike. Spots are available for luncheons in 2009. 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 1600-plus subscribers
  • Mention and text link in ePRo, the PRSA Houston newsletter sent to 1600-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
  • One set of paper mailing labels for all 450 PRSA Houston members or one-time use of electronically provided membership list (if desired).

Improve Your Web Site Standing in Search Engines

Newman & Newman recently renewed its ad in the PRSA Houston Business Directory. If Search Engine Optimization is important to you, then you’ll want your website linked to PRSA Houston at which typically ranks in the top five in searches for “public relations & Houston” on Google and other search engines. For $100, you get a year of exposure.

Check Out the Job Bank

Good people are always in demand and PRSA Houston is frequently the place to go for top talent. So, continue to check the job bank frequently and respond quickly when an interesting job is posted. You may also sign up to receive the monthly career newsletter listing jobs that have been posted in the previous month.

Member News

Melanie Brenneman is now Public Relations Manager for Vignette in Austin.

Katherine Moyer is now account manager for D-Cubed Technologies.

Melanie Hillis is now Melanie Samuelson. She is Senior Manager, Media Strategy at McDermott, Will & Emery.

New Members

Justin Concepcion

Cristina Castro

Melissa Carroll (reinstated), Houston Ballet

Meera Nandlal, Houston SPCA

Kuriko Hasegawa, Moody Gardens

Kathryn Hermeston, ConocoPhillips

Caleen Allen (reinstated), Houston Independent School District

Upcoming Events

Dec. 3: PR Day and Holiday Hurricane Party

Dec. 5: PRSA Houston Planning Meeting, LifeGift Organ Donation Center

Jan. 7: Monthly Luncheon. Penny Todd, CenterPointEnergy, Hurricane Ike

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 January newsletter is December 18, 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
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