Need an account?

PRSA Houston - June ePRo

Welcome to the June 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.

Don’t Miss Out on All the Great PR at the 2008 June 12th Excalibur Awards

Have you made your reservation for Excalibur Awards yet?  More than 150
people  have already registered to attend our gala event, June 12, at the
Junior League of Houston to find out who wins the Grand Excalibur. This
"Picture Perfect" event will recognize the best in public relations from the
past year.  In addition, we will honor former PRSA Houston President Phil
Taggart, APR, as the winner of the Legacy Award. Phil is the co-author of
"Taking Your Company Public" and the founder of a public relations firm he
later sold. We also will honor  John Hofmeister of Shell Oil Company as
CEO Communicator of the Year. Register by June 6 online at
Cutting Edge Presenting Sponsor
The Brookwoods Group 

Sword in the Stone CEO Communicator of the Year Sponsor
Pierpont Communications 

Throne Room/Reception Sponsor
Shell Oil Company

King's Court
El Paso Corporation 
Shirley Barr Public Relations
Phil Taggart, APR

Knights of the Round Table
BHP Billiton
Noble Drilling Services
Vollmer Public Relations
Ward Creative Communications
Waste Management

Court Jester Top 10  Hot Water Awards
Renaissance Public Relations Group
Landed Gentry

In-kind Donations
SPCcreative Photography
Stone Films 
Trinidad Munoz
RRDonnelly - Wetmore Printing
Catch the Moment 

We are still looking for in-kind donations for decorations, entertainment, etc.

Benefits for table sponsorships include:

King’s Court $1,500
Table for Ten with signage, Bottle of Champagne
Announced from podium
Listed on PRSA Houston Web site
Logo included on PRSA sponsor signage
Promotional materials on lobby marketing table
Table Party Photo

Knights of the Roundtable: $900
Reserved Table for Ten with signage
Listed on Web site
Table party photo
Promotional materials on lobby marketing table

Landed Gentry: $500
Two dinner tickets
Listed on Web site
Promotional materials on lobby marketing table

For more information, contact Marlene Weyand at 713-942-2502 or

Last, but not least, we are looking for some exciting items to raise funds for our Foundation! Athletic tickets, performing arts tickets, hunting, fishing, camping, beach, trips, electronic technology items such as i-pods, phones, head phones, etc. You get the picture! The silent auction, which benefits the Public Relations Foundation of Houston, is coordinated by Susan Schmaeling, APR of Susan Schmaeling, Public Relations & Marketing, and Eydie Pengelly, APR, of Eydie Pengelly Marketing Communications,

Message from the President

Greetings to everyone! Hope this message finds you all doing well as we approach mid-year! It’s extremely hard to believe how fast the year has gone. While we may be six months into 2008, we can certainly pat ourselves on the back at the number of successes we’ve had as a chapter. We’ve executed a number of initiatives including five well attended monthly luncheons, two professional development events, three New Pros events, reinstated new member orientations, held a successful public service activity with the Girl Scouts, held satellite socials in two locations simultaneously, and the list goes on. And it only gets better (and busier) the second half of the year!

Be on the lookout to hear more about the upcoming Excalibur Awards, additional New Pros activities, joint activities with the Houston Communications Alliance, PR Day, exciting speakers at our upcoming monthly luncheons and more!

Many of you may have seen the editorial The Houston Chronicle published on May 11, 2008, “Bad PR: Beware the district attorney's creation of a media office to manage the flow of public information.” The article quite negatively portrayed public relations practitioners and our roles, and as a chapter, we felt that it was our duty to set the record straight. Thanks to the valuable feedback I received from the board and other chapter leaders, together we fashioned a response that ran on Monday, May 19, 2008 (see letter below). I have to admit that it was quite startling and disappointing to read some of the subsequent blogs and responses to our letter, but I am so proud that we took a stance and defended our profession. And I’ve vowed to stop reading any further comments!

I hope to see all of you on June 12 at the Junior League to cheer on our fellow PR colleagues who are being honored for their “picture perfect” work, and to support the Public Relations Foundation of Houston’s fundraising efforts during the silent auction. The committee has worked tirelessly to ensure that this event runs flawlessly, and I’m sure it is going to be a terrific evening!

Continue to visit our Web site to read about all of the exciting activities that are coming up, and remember that there are still opportunities for you to get involved by volunteering. It’s a great way to network, further develop your skills and assist in the success of our chapter.

As always, thanks to everyone for their hard work and dedication to the chapter!

Letter to the Editor
PRSA President's Response to a Recent Editorial in The Chronicle

The Houston Chronicle’s editorial on May 11, 2008, “Bad PR: Beware the district attorney's creation of a media office to manage the flow of public information,” unfairly paints all public relations practitioners with the same bad brush – as “flaks.” Saying that PR professionals are merely mouthpieces, acting without regard to public interest, is an inaccurate generalization of a profession whose main purpose is to bring organizations and communities closer together.

In reality, as newsroom staffs continue shrinking, journalists increasingly rely on PR professionals for assistance. Fewer reporters are burdened with covering more beats. Professional communicators are trained not to stonewall reporters, even when there is little information to be shared. The media may find communication with PR representatives "time-consuming and frustrating,” but accuracy is still the standard we all must strive for, even in a 24/7 news environment.

While PR professionals are proud advocates for companies and clients and perform a valuable service, our credibility still hinges on truth and open communication. The public benefits when both sides respect each other’s responsibilities.

A strong and ethical public relations program will enhance, rather than hinder, communication with the public. And until proven otherwise, The Chronicle should give the D.A.’s office the benefit of the doubt.

Experienced  and New Professionals Benefit from Accreditation

June 7 Jumpstart Program at Briar Club from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Although this all-day workshop is designed to JumpStart PR pros on their journey toward Accreditation, it’s also a solid refresher course in PR 101 that can help those making a career shift and those who didn’t study public relations in college. 

Presented by Julie B. Fix, APR, the workshop provides an overview of the accreditation process and the "Knowledge, Skills and Abilities” (KSAs) that the Universal Accreditation Board considers critical to successful public relations practice. Then, the workshop focuses on the critical areas of research, planning, implementation, evaluation, and communications models and theories that many PR pros didn't learn in school. You’ll end the day practicing strategic planning by developing a campaign outline for an art exhibit.

With a registration fee of only $50, the JumpStart workshop is an excellent investment in your professional development.

About the presenter:

Julie B. Fix, APR, has presented Jumpstart workshops at TPRA Annual Conferences and at Houston and Dallas PRSA chapter events since 2004 and previously helped prepare PRSA Houston members for their accreditation exam. She is an instructional assistant professor in the School of Communication at the University of Houston, teaching public relations and communications courses. She also serves the School as Director of Undergraduate Studies and Internship Coordinator.

She is president and principal of Fix & Associates, Inc. , providing consulting, planning and training in the areas of community relations, issues management, crisis management, marketing communications, special events and political campaigns

Fix is a past president of the Texas Public Relations Association, the only statewide organization for Texas PR professionals, and chairman of the Public Relations Foundation of Texas. A member of PRSA since 1991, she was accredited in February 1996. She has served PRSA  Houston as Assembly Delegate, secretary and currently is treasurer.

In 2006, Fix received TPRA's Golden Spur Award, the association's highest honor, recognizing her contributions to TPRA and to the profession.

Upcoming Luncheons

Because of Excalibur, there will be no monthly luncheon in June. Mark your calendars today for these upcoming luncheons you won't want to miss!

July 2 Luncheon: Putting a Human Face on Big Oil: An in-depth look at a reputation management program at Shell Oil Company
In the aftermath of accusations of "excessive prices and profits," leaders of Shell Oil Company launched "A National Dialogue on Energy Security" in the summer of 2006 to talk to Americans about three key points:

1. Our challenge is one of supply and demand;

2. Shell is working toward sustainable solutions based on access to supply, diversity of fuel sources and energy efficiency/conservation; and

3. We all have a role to play in shaping our energy security.
In what became known as the "50-City Tour," top leaders of Shell businesses in the U.S., led by then President John Hofmeister, visited 50 cities across the country to speak with everyday Americans about energy security. They not only discussed what Shell is doing to address the energy challenge, but also asked what Americans think energy companies, such as Shell, should be doing.

Join us on July 2, 2008, to learn about the impact of the tour -- on Shell, on its reputation and on the industry overall. 
August 6 Luncheon: How, As A White House Spokesman, I Survived Helen Thomas and Sam Donaldson!

With over 40 years of business, government, political and public relations experience, including two tours of duty in the White House under Presidents Reagan and Ford, Peter Roussel is an author, magazine columnist and television & radio commentator based in Houston.  His remarks will offer insights into the press-Presidency relationship from one who lived that experience firsthand, and he’ll discuss other aspects of his career as they relate to the public relations profession.

PR Day to Feature Victoria Clarke

The PR Day Committee is delighted to announce that Victoria "Torie" Clarke has been confirmed as a keynote speaker for the Sept. 23 event at The Westin Galleria. Ms. Clarke leads Comcast's integrated strategic communications and government affairs efforts including helping to coordinate Comcast's efforts in the communications and government affairs arena with other members of the cable industry. Clarke is widely respected as one of the nation's most innovative communications strategists. She served most recently as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.
Clarke previously served as Press Secretary for former President Bush's 1992 re-election campaign, as a close advisor to Senator John McCain (R-AZ), and as Assistant U.S. Trade Representative during former President Bush's administration. Clarke has also advised many of the nation's best-known executives, has served as President of Bozell Eskew and served as Vice President of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, where she helped develop the first television ratings system and the cable industry's first on-time guarantee. She is an expert on how new technologies keep PR pros on their toes, and she is a great speaker!
Early bird registration is now available.  Watch your mail or the Web site for more information.

Great Success at the Girl Scouts Public Relations Workshop

On April 26, 2008, volunteers from the Houston Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and the Shell Toastmasters Club hosted the first-ever Public Speaking Workshop to help Girl Scouts earn the Girl Scouts of Northern California's Public Speaking Interest Patch.

Held at the fabulous Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council's newly-opened Program Place for Girls, the workshop was designed to help girls learn about the different types of speeches, as well as practice listening and non-verbal communication skills. Girls were asked to complete research about a topic of
their choice prior to the workshop. They developed speeches that they then
presented to the entire group.

More importantly, the girls learned that practicing and being prepared to speak in public helps build confidence and eliminates some nervousness. After the workshop, one girl commented, "My favorite part was working with others in making speeches and preparing speeches with professionals."

The Boy Scouts of Sam Houston Area Council also were invited to participate, but due to a conflict with a merit badge workshop, they were not able to attend.

A special thank you to the following PRSA Houston volunteers for donating their time to the workshop: Vannessa Wade, Bill Zander, Nancy Mills, APR, Nancy Elmohamad, Emilee Fontenot, David Casey and Kelly Papinchak.

One of the Girl Scouts who attended the workshop will give a short speech at the July 2 PRSA Houston Luncheon. Hope to see you there!

Award Given to Kelly Papinchak

Kelly Papinchak, Girl Scout adult volunteer, received the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. Appreciation Pin from the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council. The presentation was a part of the May 4, 2008 Council's Annual Senior Recognition Event, which she co-chaired for the second year.

The GSUSA Appreciation Pin is a national award presented to volunteers who have given outstanding service above expectations and delivered to one geographic area or program delivery audience. Papinchak launched the GSUSA Public Relations Interest Project Award Workshop in 2005, and with a team of PRSA volunteers, introduced almost 200 Girl Scouts to the field of public relations. Additionally, Papinchak and a team of PRSA Houston and Shell Toastmasters Club volunteers hosted the first-ever Public Speaking Workshop for Girl Scouts on April 26, 2008, that addressed award requirements set by the Girl Scouts of Northern California.

Papinchak also received the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council's Outstanding Volunteer Pin on February 9, 2008, at the Public Relations Interest Project Award Workshop hosted by PRSA Houston.

PRSA Houstonians Around Town

Want to see how PRSA Houston members are staying busy?  Showcased here are events from the month of May.

PRSA Houston 2008 President Priscilla Tinsley greets May luncheon speaker Cindy Gabriel, Sabine Bridge Communications, and May sponsors Ariana Montelongo, LifeGift Organ Donation Center, and Anne Deuermeyer, BusinessWire, after the lunch. Gabriel discussed the Katrina crisis and lessons learned for communicating in a crisis.

More than 12 professionals turned out for the Satellite Social in west Houston in May. Guests included (left to right) Linze Green and Ashley Minor, recent graduates of Texas Southern University; Melissa Gonzalez, CMC Construction Services; Alice Brink, A Brink & Company; PRSA Houston Board member Emilee Fontenot, Elmore Public Relations, and Hamzat Erogbogbo, who represented Tameka White at the event, and (standing) New Pros Chair David Casey, Hill & Knowlton. Not shown are Katherine Swarts, Spread the Word Communications; YooMi Koh, Fleishman Hillard; Kuriko Hasegawa, Moody Gardens; Professional Development Chair Suzanne Lammers, Stewart Title; Satellite Chair Yvette Hamilton, Direct Energy, and Travis Harper, PR Newswire.

PR Day 2008 will be Sept. 23 at The Westin Galleria with the theme of Ch-Ch-Change - Leading it, living through it and loving it! Among those planning the event this year are (seated) Jennifer Evans, The Health Museum, Tricia Bentley, Vollmer Public Relations and (standing) Sherry Franke, APR, MetroMarketing; Anne Deuermeyer, Business Wire and Lainie Gordon, APR. Not in the picture but attending the meeting was Tanisha Warner, Money Management International. The full team includes a diverse group of experienced professionals and newcomers.

Travis Harper (left) of PR Newswire and New Pros Chair David Casey, Hill & Knowlton, listen to France Brandau Brown, Sam Houston State University, during the New Pros event on graduate degrees.
 Frances Brandau Brown, graduate director at Sam Houston State University, discussed the advantages of a master's degree in communications with the New Professionals group at an event held May 15 at Pierpont Communications.

Do you have pictures you want to include in this section? Please submit to

Sponsor a Luncheon for Houston’s Most Influential Group, PRSA Houston!

How do you get exposure for your company in front of people who talk to the “right” people? Sponsor a luncheon for PRSA Houston. Our members have the ears of chief executives and small business owners all over town and some even talk to the media. 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 Business Wire for sponsoring both our April and May luncheons and Pier Systems for being the audio-visual sponsor for both. Thanks also to LifeGift Organ Donation Center for also sponsoring the May luncheon. MetroMarketing will sponsor August and the YMCA will sponsor October but we could use some others to cover travel costs (in October). 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 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, other opportunities are available.

Improve your Web Site Standing in Search Engines

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

The job bank committee has decided to send an email newsletter of new jobs posted about once per month. If you would like to receive this email, 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.

New Members

Jill Corsi, AIG

Hal Gordon

Brad Thomas, National Space Biomedical Research Institute

Cynthia Miller, Hill & Knowlton

Alicia Alaniz, YMCA

Ann Doyle, YMCA

Katie Jo Jarl, KGB Texas

Patricia Pollicoff, City of Sugar Land

Eric Gerber, University of Houston (reinstated)

Karen Clarke, University of Houston (reinstated)

Christine Hopkins, G-1 Corp.

Lori Martin, Vollmer Public Relations (reinstated)

Maria Chiappe, Agua Marketing

Amy Lamb

Sarah Palmer, U.T. M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Member News

Congratulations to Emily Oberton, APR, for earning her accreditation!

Michael King is Manager, Public Relations for FMC Technologies.

Connie Chavez Villarreal is Communications Director for Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council.

Kelli Newman, APR, vice president and co-owner of Newman & Newman, Inc., received a Bronze Remi Award at the 41st Annual WorldFest-Houston international film festival, and a 2008 Communicator Award from the International Academy of the Visual Arts, for "Teens Talk Healthy Weight", a patient/family education video produced for Texas Children's Hospital's Adolescent Clinic.

Upcoming Events

June 12: Excalibur Awards, Junior League of Houston
June 20: Houston Communications Alliance mixer, Courtyard on St. James
Paula Ruth, APR
(281) 870-9939
Author: Paula Ruth, APR
Fax: (281) 870-9939
Category: newsletter | Sub Category: newsletter