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PRSA Houston - March 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.

March 5 Luncheon:  Understanding How People Think Can Improve PR Strategies

Ever wonder why people like certain types of music and movies over others? Why they prefer one brand of toothpaste to another; one brand of cereal to another? And even more, what makes one reporter more interested in your story idea than another? Join us at the next meeting of the Public Relations Society of America, Houston Chapter, when we explore “Master Mind Leadership and Communication: Improving Your Communications by Understanding Human Thought Processing,” with Traci Duez, CSAC, Coach, Facilitator and Speaker. She will help us gain a better understanding of how humans think and perceive, and explain the thinking that forms the foundation for, and leads to, behavior. We’ll learn how our value or thought biases influence our decisions and actions.
Date: March 5, 2008
Where: Briar Club, 2603 Timmins
Speaker: Traci Duez, Break Free Consulting


April 2: Media Maven Margo Mateas

You’ve seen her in PRSA’s Tactics and in conferences offered nationally.  PRSA Houston will bring the Media Maven, Margo Mateas, here for a lunch and afternoon seminar on April 2 at the Briar Club. This is a joint effort between the Programs Committee and the Professional Development Committee. Watch the website for more details and put the date on your calendar now! If you work with media, you won’t want to miss it. Sponsorships are available.

E-mail Paula Ruth,APR, for more sponsor information

Excalibur 2008 Committee Gets Things Rolling

Save the date! 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!

This year's Excalibur Committee has been working hard behind the scenes to get things rolling. A group of very talented and enthusiastic PRSA Houston members are working on different aspects of the event to ensure its success:

  • Shelly Chetty, SPC Creative, is donating her talent as photographer
  • Stephanie Dedeaux, APR, El Paso, will put her PR skills to work in promoting the event
  • Laura Frnka, APR, Pierpont Communications, is chairing the event portion of Excalibur
  • Christy Lee, InkSpot Communications LLC, is lending her experience as last year's Excalibur chair
  • Heather Martin, PRSSA chapter president at University of Houston, has volunteered to assist with decorations
  • Michelle McCormick, Toby Stark Public Relations, is chairing the awards portion of the event
  • Kimberly Nichols, CAMAC, is working on securing a Master of Ceremonies 
  • Sally Ramsay, Pierpont Communications, is an honorary member of the committee, providing her guidance and experience with PRSA
  • Susan Schmaeling, APR, Susan Schmaeling Marketing and Public Relations, is organizing the silent auction for the PRSA Foundation 
  • Priscilla Tinsley, Direct Energy and 2008 PRSA Houston chapter president, is providing her moral support and guidance
  • Marlene Weyand, Renaissance Public Relations Group, is heading up sponsorships

Stonefilms has already signed up to be the AV sponsor for the event. Please stay tuned to the Excalibur portion of the PRSA Houston Web site ( for information on entries and sponsorships. If you're interested in getting involved with Excalibur, please contact Laura Frnka at 713-627-2223 or

Don't Miss This Year's Southwest District Conference
Join your fellow chapter members in Little Rock for great speakers and some fun R&R

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 ($119 per night rate if reserved by March 9), 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.

Learn about the Circle of Life for an Independent PR Practitioner

Join us on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 from 1:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. for a teleconference on the Life Cycle of an Independent Practitioner.  It will cover topics from starting, growing and selling your business. PRSA Houston’s Professional Development is making this national Teleseminar possible at a low cost by enabling practitioners to gather at DataCert for the call.  Registration for a member is $20, non-member is $25 and student is $15 until March 11. Please register at  For additional information please contact Suzanne Lammers at 832-661-7309. Sponsorship opportunities are available by calling 281-870-1717 or e-mailing

DataCert Conference Room
3040 Post Oak Blvd. Suite 1900 
Houston TX 77056 
Phone: (832) 369-6157

National Teleconference: Panel Discussion
This 90-minute interactive teleseminar features three accredited leaders in the PR profession who are in various stages of the life cycle of an independent practitioner.

Kelly Jackson Davis, APR, is the president of Davis Public Relations and Marketing, LLC, a full-service independent public relations firm based in Columbia, S.C. Her business, which was founded in 2004, serves clients in a variety of industries with a special emphasis on healthcare and public policy. Davis is the 2008 chair of PRSA’s Independent Practitioners Alliance and a past president of the South Carolina Chapter of PRSA.

Jon Pushkin, APR, founded Pushkin Public Relations in 1997. He is a senior-level public relations practitioner with extensive experience in strategic planning, media relations, brand development and marketing communications for healthcare, nonprofit and corporate clients.  He served as the 2007 chair of the Independent Practitioners Alliance and is a past president of the Colorado Chapter of PRSA. 

Gina M. Seamans, APR, built and operated Accent Public Relations, her own successful consulting practice, from 1998 through mid 2007. Last year, Seamans sold her firm to a former employer, JohnstonWells Public Relations, one of the largest public relations firms in the Rocky Mountain region. As a senior counselor at JohnstonWells, Seamans continues to manage her former Accent PR clients, as well as provide support for JohnstonWells’ client teams.

PRSA Houston Hosts Public Relations Interest Project Award Workshop for Girl Scouts

Close to 60 Girl Scouts between the ages of 11 and 17 took part in a four-hour workshop on Saturday, February 9, 2008, to learn about the public relations profession.

Sponsored by PRSA Houston, the workshop teaches Girl Scouts the basic terminology of the profession and helps them recognize aspects of public relations that they see and hear in their every day life. Natalie Young, Vinnika Johnson, Vannessa Wade and Kelly Papinchak led the workshop.

An exciting part of the workshop, which was launched in 2005, is an image discussion, during which Girl Scouts list both well-known and no-so-well known aspects of Girl Scouting. The girls then work in teams to put together a small campaign to increase awareness for one concept or program.

For example, one group focused entirely on promoting the sailing program that exists through the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, which has opportunities for girls to become Mariners once they pass the Red Cross Basic Sailing certification. All opportunities are offered at Camp Casa Mare in Seabrook. Other groups chose to focus on the travel opportunities that Girl Scouting brings, as well as the opportunities for camping, backpacking and rock climbing. The theme of the day: Girl Scouting is More Than Cookies!

One of the workshop participants said that her favorite activity was making her own press kit. She also wrote, "This really [helps] me with my Silver Award project. I really didn't know about [public relations], but now I do."

The Girl Scout Silver Award is the highest award for girls between the ages of 11 and 14 and represents a girl's accomplishments in Girl Scouting and her community as she grows and works to improve her life and the lives of others. More than 200 Girl Scouts have completed the PRSA Houston workshop since 2005.

If you would like to volunteer for the next workshop, please contact Kelly Papinchak at or 713-241-4263.

JumpStart 2008 Coming in April
Julie Fix, APR leads 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, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. The location will soon be determined.
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. 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.
Registration for JumpStart 2008 is $50 and includes workshop materials, meals and parking. If you’re interested in learning more about JumpStart 2008 or Accreditation, contact Stephanie Dedeaux, APR at

PRSA Houstonians Around Town

Want to keep track of PRSA Houston members? Here we'll showcase events of the past month.
About 106 gathered to hear Dan Keeney, APR, DPK Public Relations and PRSA Houston's 2004 president, humorously relay his story of blogging and dealing with the new media. Dan greeted PRSA President Priscilla Tinsley after the event which was sponsored by PR Newswire, Oasis Luxury Townhomes and SnapStream Media. If you missed Dan's presentation, you can see the notes at this link:

Reminder! For Those with Special Diets

Please remember to note any special dietary concerns when you register, including religious observances.  When a large number of people make last minute changes as the food is served, it can be difficult for the chef to accommodate since we are no longer in a facility that has a restaurant.  The Briar Club is trying to vary our menu so that each month PRSA Houston does not eat the same meal.  As we chose the new location, variety was important because so many people complained the previous location always served the same entrée.  Pleasing everyone is not always possible as just as many people do not like or are allergic to one food as another.

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, Oasis Luxury Townhomes and SnapStream Media for sponsoring our February 6 luncheon. PR Newswire also is sponsoring the March event. 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
  • 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.

Advertise your Business in the Business Directory

Valo Communications posted a new listing in December and Double Dimond Public Relations recently added their listing. 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.

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 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.

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. PRSA Houston members have two reasons to register in advance, including lower price and permanent nametags. Of course, we will continue to bill those who do not show nor pay for their reservations.

New Members

Lady Oliver, Girl Scouts

Ryann Cashman, Vollmer Public Relations

Ariel Wilson, Spectra Energy Transmission

Wayne Larson, APR, City of College Station

C. Dawn Ritchie, Warren and Ritchie LLC

Ron Trinidad

Melinda Henderson, American Cancer Society

Mauren Kunz, Vollmer Public Relations

Teri Stuart, George Ranch Historical Park

Jennifer Walker, American Cancer Society

Member News

Michelle McCormick delivered Leila Dianne Thorne on Feb. 10.

Terri Larson is now Vice President at Fleishman-Hillard.

Marvin Brown, APR has joined El Paso Corporation as Principal.

Courtney Galle is now the Marketing & Public Relations Manager for The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

Shelly Chetty is opening SPC Creative specializing in photography.

Gena Hyde is Communications Manager for National Multiple Sclerosis Society Lone Star Chapter.

Teresa Wong is Manager of Public Affairs and Corporate Communications for BHP Billiton.

Leslie K. Friedman is now Director of Public Relations for the Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa.

Sherry Franke, APR is now Marketing and Communications Director for Metromarketing Services, Inc.

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 April newsletter is March 20, 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
Category: newsletter | Sub Category: newsletter