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PRSA Houston - February ePRo

Welcome to the February 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.

February Luncheon: Buzz Generation, Guerilla Marketing & Branding via Social Media & Social Networking

Do your eyes glaze over when you hear terms like social media optimization, search network community building, and search engine optimization? Have you ever wondered how all these new media terms really work and what they mean?

Join us on February 4th when Dallas-based social media expert Giovanni Gallucci, provides an overview of the emerging field of social media promotion and optimization (SMO). Giovanni will discuss best practices developed from a decade-long career building online communities, while developing the careers of well-known bloggers, podcasters, community builders and social networkers. In addition, Giovanni will provide case studies showing how businesses and organizations utilize social networks and social media outlets to establish and grow brands online, build an audience of potential clients and ring the register.

Gallucci is a self-described recovering .NET programmer turned tech evangelist who provides strategy for social media, brand development, and PR for forward-thinking companies, emerging Web 2.0 startups, celebrities and politicos. Giovanni designed, developed and deployed online communities when MySpace was no one's space, has used a Mac since before the "i" anything, and created vertical search engines when Google's founders were still undergrads.

Register today! 

Thank you to two new sponsors, Ryder Scott and Mom 2.0 Summit, for sponsoring our February luncheon. Ryder Scott Petroleum Consultants evaluates oil and gas properties and independently certifies petroleum reserves quantities in the U.S. and internationally. The Mom 2.0 Summit is an opportunity for marketers, bloggers, and "mompreneurs" to discuss ways to create smarter web-based marketing, and discover social media tools that engage your audience and build relationships.

Member Orientation Prior to Feb. 4 Luncheon

Want to get the most from your PRSA Houston membership? Attend the New Member Immersion, beginning at 11:15 a.m. at the Briar Club on Wednesday, February 4, 2009. New members and RE-INVIGORATED members are welcome to attend! It will be a quick way to (re)acquaint you with PRSA Houston and meet 2009 Board members, committee chairs and other members. Contact Emilee Fontenot if you plan to attend. Orientation is free, but please register for lunch if you plan to stay.

March Luncheon: Selling Houston to The World – Greater Houston Convention & Visitor's Bureau

Ask two dozen Houstonians what is special about their hometown, and you’re likely to get two dozen different answers. The Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau (GHCVB) leveraged the city’s diverse offerings in Houston’s first global image campaign, which features anecdotes from local celebrities that peel away Houston’s layers, offering visitors insight into the city’s untold stories. Holly Clapham-Rosenow, GHCVB vice president of marketing, and Lindsey Brown, director of marketing and public relations, will discuss the development of this campaign, working with celebrities and the strong integration needed between advertising and public relations.

Thanks also to another new sponsor, Sullivan Group, for sponsoring our March luncheon. Sullivan Group is the largest destination management company and independent meeting planner in Houston.

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.

Penny Todd, communications manager at CenterPoint Energy, responds to an
audience question at the January luncheon.  Penny described the research that was done before and after the crisis and how the team organized for the disaster.

Terri Larson (center), 2009 President of PRSA Houston, thanks Judith Swartz of Business Wire and John Phillippe for sponsoring the January luncheon. Philippe is president of Zephyr Salvo and also just launched  This is at least the fifth year that Business Wire has been a PRSA Houston luncheon sponsor..

PR Day 2009 to Take Place October 7 at the Westin Galleria!

The date and the venue have been chosen. Now it’s time to get to work on one of the biggest PRSA Houston events of the year! Join the PR Day 2009 committee to be an integral part of planning this annual event. To sign up, contact PR Day 2009 Chairs Lisa Dimond Vasquez or Margot Dimond, APR, at 713-426-4111 or The next PR Day 2009 committee meeting will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 8 a.m. at the offices of DoubleDimond Public Relations, 2180 North Loop West, Suite 210, Houston 77018. Contact Lisa or Margot for more information.

Applications for $3,000 Public Relations Scholarship Now Being Accepted

Applications from students studying public relations, communications, journalism or marketing are now being accepted for the Public Relations Foundation of Houston’s (PRFH) annual $3,000 scholarship. The form may be downloaded and the deadline for submission is Friday, March 13.

The 2009 scholarship will mark the fifth year the PRFH has given a scholarship since the PRSA Houston Chapter created the PRFH fund in 2001.

Questions about the scholarship and the selection process may be directed to Eydie Pengelly, PRFH president; Suzanne Lammers, PRFH secretary and scholarship committee leader; or to Anna Kaplan, Houston Chapter university relations chair.

Seeking Participants for Focus Groups on Mentoring

The chapter is seeking to create a meaningful, ongoing professional mentoring program beyond what has been done in the past with New Pros. We'd like to host three focus groups in late February/early March -- for senior communicators, those in mid-career and those who are in the early stages of their careers -- to talk about mentoring needs and about what a meaningful program might include. For more information, or for those interested in participating in the focus groups, please contact no later than February 6th: Gretchen Weis, APR, Weis Communications, 713-385-8912.

AMA Houston Invites PRSA Houston to The Marketer of the Year Event

Join AMA Houston on March 2, 2009 to celebrate Houston's best marketers and crown the 2008 Marketer of the Year. The Marketer of the Year is a Houston company, organization or institution that has achieved outstanding results from its marketing during 2008. Honorees will include 33 Best of Category winners and the 2008 Marketer of the Year.

The event will include Kevin Bertram, the founder and CEO of Distributive Networks, explaining the role that mobile marketing is playing in the marketing of some of the nation's leading brands....including the Obama for President campaign. One of the nation's most successful mobile technology companies, the company's proprietary mobile content management and delivery system enables innovative, customized mobile messaging solutions for such clients as Obama for America, AOL, Armani Exchange, AT&T, Avis Budget Group, BET, Boost Mobile, Cable & Wireless, CBS, D.C. United, Disney, Johnson & Johnson, Kaiser Permanente, MTV, VeriSign, Vodafone, Viacom, and the Washington Capitals.

Register online for this evening event at the Alley Theatre.

Save the Date! Accreditation Jumpstart Workshop March 7

Have you decided that 2009 is the year that you will become Accredited in Public Relations? Are you curious about the Accreditation process? Do you want to refresh your knowledge of the public relations profession? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you will want to attend the "Accreditation Jumpstart" workshop on Saturday, March 7, 2009 presented by Julie B. Fix, APR, of Fix & Associates, Inc. Public Relations. More details coming soon! To learn more about Accreditation, please visit or send an e-mail to Kelly George, APR.

PRSA Houston Teaches Girl Scouts About Public Relations

How many of us can say that we learned about the field of public relations at a very young age - even before graduating from high school? Realizing that this is not common, PRSA Houston volunteers set out in 2004 to reach Girl Scouts between the ages of 11 and 17 to help them meet the requirements for the Girl Scouts of the USA Interest Project Award in Public Relations. Since then, more than 250 Girl Scouts have discovered public relations as a possible career choice and have learned the importance of being able to communicate clearly and professionally and with a purpose.

During the three-hour workshop, which is offered two or three times per year, volunteers help girls understand the lingo of the profession, create press kits about themselves and learn about the daily responsibilities of public relations practitioners.

To reflect the changing practice of public relations as relates to social media and the 24/7 communication style we have adopted, the workshop curriculum was recently updated to include discussions about blogs, wikis and avatars. A session about online safety was also provided. Based on evaluations from previous workshops, more role-playing activities were incorporated, including scenarios in which the girls had to prepare to speak to the media during a crisis situation.

On January 17, 2009, approximately 40 Girl Scouts between the ages of 11 and 14 took part in the new workshop format, which was met with raving reviews. Feedback included comments such as, "I want more topics for role-playing," and "more time in the breakout sessions." One girl, when asked what suggestions she had for changes, responded," I loved everything."

In this photo, Girl Scouts talk to the media during a crisis communications exercise at PRSA Houston's workshop on January 17, 2009 as volunteers look on (all volunteers are visible in the picture except Kelly George and Katie Moyer).

At the end of the workshop, volunteers asked the girls to define public relations in their own words. Responses included:

"Representing and being able to communicate for a whole company" (age 14)
"Working with an organization to help it and the people" (age 12)
"Public relations is the way the actions of an individual reflect on the public" (age 14)

A very special thank you goes out to the volunteers who made this event possible - Vinnika Johnson, Katie Moyer, Katie Winslow, Dawn Fobbs, Vannessa Wade and Heather Martin.

The next workshop is scheduled for Saturday, April 18, 2009 at the Program Place for Girls (3000 Southwest Freeway).

If you are interested in serving as a workshop volunteer, please contact Kelly Papinchak George, APR, at or call 281-575-4009.

2009 Excalibur Awards

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.

Download the Call for Entries package 

Download the Entry and Payment forms

To enter your work in the Excalibur competition, download the Call for Entries and complete the Entry Form. All entries are due by April 10, 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 10 and 5 p.m. April 16. No entries will be accepted after 5 p.m. April 16.

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.

Thanks Sponsors!

Thank you so much to 24-Hr and Business Wire who sponsored the PRSA Houston January luncheon on Hurricane Ike. Thank you also to Ryder Scott and Mom 2.0 Summit for sponsoring our February Luncheon on Buzz Generation, Guerrilla Marketing and Branding via Social Media and Social Networking. We also are excited to already have Sullivan Group on board as a sponsor for March. Other sponsorships are available. 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.

Improve Your Web Site Standing in Search Engines

Pierpont Communications, the Houston Business Journal’s number 1 ranked firm, was recently listed on the PRSA Houston Business Directory. 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” on Google and other search engines. For $100, you get a year of exposure.

Check out the Job Bank

Jobs are being posted, so continue to check the PRSA Houston website for them. Jobs were recently posted for the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, Harris County Hospital District and Koch Pipeline to name a few of the more recent.

Upcoming Events

Feb. 4: Monthly Luncheon, Social Media with Giovanni Gallucci, sponsored by Ryder Scott and Mom 2.0 Summit.

March 4:Monthly Luncheon, “Selling Houston to the World,” Lindsey Brown & Holly Clapham-Rosenow of the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau, sponsored by Sullivan Group.

April 1: Monthly Luncheon, Briar Club (pending).

April 9: Early Bird Deadline for Excalibur Award Submissions

April 16:Final Deadline for Excalibur Award Submissions

Oct. 7: PR Day, The Westin Galleria Hotel

New Members

Andrea Grover, Spectra Energy

Lauren Heflin

Meagan Stangle, Hopkins & Associates

Erin Schwartz, U.T. M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Tammy Portnoy, The Center for Hearing and Speech

Member News

PRSA Houston President Terri Larson is now Program Manager-US Public Affairs for Enbridge Inc.

Lady Oliver is now Communications and Marketing Manager for Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston.

Lee Vela has been named Assistant Superintendent for Communications and Publications for the Houston Independent School District. This newly created position will oversee six communications department for the district including media relations, collateral material, printing, Web site, information centers and the television station.

Melissa Norcross Wolf is now Manager, Public Relations, for Deloitte Services LP Mid-America Region.

Our deepest sympathies go to Margaret O’Brien-Molina and her family in the loss of her husband on Jan. 22. Formerly with KTRK-TV Channel 13, Margaret worked to train many public relations practitioners for crises in a joint PRSA-Red Cross partnership that was critical to the city’s response to Hurricane Katrina.

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 March newsletter is February 20, 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