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PRSA Houston - January ePRo

Welcome to the January 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.

A Final Word on 2008 

What an incredible year 2008 has been! When you reach the end of the year, it's my experience that three things happen: you speed up, you tally up, and then, you try to find some time to rest up – so you can start all over again. The first two are pretty much inevitable, but the third one can sometimes get by you. The point I’m trying to make is that you have all earned the right to rest up. We’ve accomplished a great deal this year thanks to your dedication and hard work. Hats off to all of you!

And while the list below doesn’t include everything, it gives you a snapshot of some of our achievements (for a full list of our 2008 accomplishments, click here):

  • The year started out right after a very comprehensive and enlightening planning session in November 2007 where Chris Riepe reviewed the results of the chapter membership survey and assisted in facilitating a planning discussion in which volunteers were very enthusiastic and full of ideas.
  • Implemented nine informational and well attended monthly luncheons, averaging 78 attendees per luncheon, an 8% increase over 2007. Our best attended luncheon featured former PRSA Houston President Dan Keeney, APR, on social media warfare, followed closely by Chris Bozman, APR on Shell’s 50-city tour.
  • Implemented four professional development events enabling attendees the opportunity to attend affordable and informational sessions. The events included a teleseminar on becoming an independent practitioner, afternoon training session featuring Margo Mateas on successful media pitching, morning session on branding panel and an evening event with New Pros on the benefits of achieving an advanced degree.
  • We ended the year with approximately 430 chapter members, an increase of more than 11% over 2007. We also reinstated new member orientations which were well received. We personally contacted each new member and those renewing thanking them for their membership and encouraging chapter involvement.
  • In May, the chapter co-wrote a “letter to the editor” for the Houston Chronicle in defense of our profession.
  • The Excalibur Awards event raised more than $10,000 and hosted about 182 members and guests. Additionally, the chapter presented 67 awards to local professionals.
  • PR Day had a wonderful turnout with about 180 people throughout the day, affording attendees with an outlet to expand their knowledge and network with peers. Additionally, 15 communications students from Houston-area universities received full sponsorship to the conference thanks to some of our sponsors.
  • And financially, the chapter is in excellent shape, having achieved its goal of having chapter reserves equal to one year of operating expenses.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to say that it has been an honor and a privilege for me to serve as your president. I have learned so much – about myself, about what it means to be a leader – and most importantly, I’ve had the honor of working with an incredible group who have taught me so much and who I can now truly call my friends.

Thank you for your hard work, your support, your incredible leadership and your friendship.

All my best,

Priscilla Tinsley
2008 PRSA Houston President

January Luncheon: CenterPoint Energy Reflects on Hurricane Ike

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. Thank you to and Business Wire for sponsoring this luncheon.

Date: Jan. 7, 11:30-1:30 p.m.
Where: Briar Club 

February Luncheon: Buzz Generation, Guerrilla 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. Sponsorships are available. Contact for more information. 

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!

PR Day and Planning Meeting in One Week

About 18 members of PRSA Houston’s leadership team turned out for a planning session the same week as PR Day. The event was hosted by LifeGift in their beautiful new facility near Reliant Stadium. The group shared their hopes and dreams for PRSA in the coming year. If you have suggestions you'd like to share for the 2009, please feel free to contact Terri Larson, 2009 President.

New Professionals SIG Needs You for Steering Committee

PRSA Houston's New Professionals SIG had a great year in 2008 and 2009 will be even better! New Pros has already started planning 2009 activities and events to help new PR professionals excel in their career tracks. The New Pros SIG is looking for volunteers to join its steering committee. The steering committee will help plan networking mixers and informational seminars for 2009. Interested individuals should contact New Professionals Chair, David Casey.

New Professionals is a subcommittee of PRSA Houston aimed at developing the careers of public relations practitioners with up to five years experience, as well as graduating students and professionals new to the industry. The group allows new practitioners opportunities to network, gain an insider's view of the public relations scene, and engage themselves in Houston's business community

Extra Code Now Required

To obtain the lowest credit card rates, PRSA Houston will now be requiring the three or four digit security code for transactions made online and at the meeting. In most cases, these numbers are found on the back of the card near the magnetic strip and are the last three digits. For certain cards, they may be found on the front side of the card. If you have any questions about this change, please contact or 281-870-1717.

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 had a great turnout for the rescheduled PR Day this year. See below for a few images of the educational networking event.

PRSA Houston 2008 President Priscilla Tinsley chats with Tony Speller, Victoria Clarke (speaker) and Ray Purser, all of Comcast, one of the major sponsors for PR Day.

Susan Schmaeling, APR, (right), 2008 President of the Public Relations Foundation of Houston, recognized companies for support of the Foundation either financially or in the silent auction with Gold Star Plaques during a presentation at PR Day. Among those recognized were Alicia Alaniz, YMCA; Carolyn Mayo, APR, Vollmer Public Relations; Leslie Friedman, The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa; Susannah Griffin, Sterling Bank; Terry St. John, St. John & Associates and Angela Young, Continental Airlines.


PR Day Chair Jennifer Evans (right) thanked Victoria Clarke, Senior Advisor, Comcast & ABC Network Correspondent, after her poignant talk about life as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs during the early days of the Iraq war. As a former assistant to Sen. John McCain, she also reflected on the recent Presidential campaign.

PRSA Houston 2008 President Priscilla Tinsley listens as John Sweney, chief executive officer of Brookwoods Group and sponsor of the Holiday Party, made a few remarks during the event.



PRSA Houston 2009 President Terri Larson, Fleishman-Hillard, presents outgoing President Priscilla Tinsley with a red handbag at the Holiday Party.
The New Professionals had fun bowling on December 16 at the newly remodeled 300 Houston. Kuriko Hasegawa, Amy Lamb, Mauren Kunz, Katie Butler, Hannah Haden and Andrea Cohen were among the New Professionals who attended. The group showed off their bowling skills. Everyone enjoyed appetizers and cocktails while networking with each other.
In this photo, you can see Katie Butler, Andrea Cohen and Mauren Kunz (left to right) getting ready to bowl.

New Professionals Chair David Casey joins Kuriko Hasegawa and Amy Lamb to bowl a game (left to right).

Free Webinar: Learn 7 Essential Social Media Techniques for PR Success

The next free Webinar - Don't Be Faceless: Learn 7 Essential Social Media Techniques for PR Success - will be held on Wednesday, January 14, 2009, from 3-4 p.m. ET. A replay option is also available.

In this session you will learn:

  • Techniques that are field tested and proven through work with dozens of clients, including some of the world's largest brands.
  • Actionable tips for how to put your knowledge to work the very next day — or perhaps even the same afternoon.
  • How to integrate social media and personality into your overall communications strategy so it complements your other efforts.
  • Tracking and reporting your success in a way about that will get your boss excited (and reward you)

To read more about the Webinar or to sign up to attend, click here.

Thanks Sponsors!

Thank you so much to our PR Day sponsors: Comcast, CenterPoint Energy, Brookwoods GroupBusiness Wire,Vollmer Public Relations, and Shell Oil Company, student sponsor. We also want to thank our Exhibitors: Clearpoint Creative, MetroMarketing, Pier Systems, PR Newswire, SnapStream MediaVcall by Precision and Venue Bamboo. Special thanks to LyondellBasell Industries for duplicating our conference CDs, Kronberg Flags and Flagpoles, Ammerman Experience, Spectra Energy and Toby Stark Public Relations for sponsoring other students. Thank you also to and Business Wire who are sponsoring 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 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
  • 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

Petri Darby, APR, of darbyDarnit recently renewed his ad in the PRSA Houston Business Directory which also welcomed Pierpont Communications as a first time advertiser. 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

Although the job bank has slowed a bit, 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.

New Members

Linda Thrane, Rice University

Christine Hollinden, Hollinden Professional Services Marketing (reinstated)

Pamela R. Merritt, Baker Atlas

William R. Tyler, NuStar Energy LP

Member News

Jason D. Cook, APR, is now Vice President for Marketing & Communications at Texas A&M University.

PRSA Houston Board member Suzanne Lammers is now Manager, Internal Communications & Corporate Responsibility, BAE Systems Land & Armaments.

PRSA Houston’s 2009 Treasurer Michelle McCormick is now Communications Manager for Bracewell & Guiliani LLP.

Upcoming Events

Jan. 7: Monthly Luncheon, Penny Todd, CenterPointEnergy, Responding to Hurricane Ike, sponsored by and BusinessWire

Feb. 4: Monthly Luncheon, Giovanni Gallucci, Social Media (Sponsorships available)

March 4: Monthly Luncheon, “Selling Houston to the World,” Lindsey Brown & Holly Clapham of the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau (Sponsorships available)

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 February newsletter is January 22, 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