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PRSA Houston - May ePRo

Welcome to the April 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.

Surviving a Hurricane: Communicating Your Way through a Crisis

“The one thing we didn't fear was a crisis, we already had one.” - Cindy Gabriel

The defining moment for Houston's national image is the story of the day we filled up the domed stadium with less than 24 hours' notice. Madison Avenue and an unlimited budget couldn't produce the kind of positive press for Houston that its own citizens did in the weeks and months following the Katrina devastation.

Cindy Gabriel will offer perspectives and insights as the city's spokesperson on Houston's history-making role in the Katrina Crisis and subsequent recovery. She will share insights, war stories, and the amazing affect that candor and transparency can have when all else fails. She will also share some life-long communication lessons learned in this compressed-time experience about communicating in a crisis, and most importantly, communicating to prevent one.

Cindy formed Sabine Bridge Communications, a public relations firm that specializes in government and politics, in October 2007. Her experience ranges from City Hall beat reporter for KTRH Radio and KHOU-TV; writer/producer of the Dr. Red Duke Health Reports; to public relations consultant.

Register at Wire and LifeGift Organ Donation Center have committed to sponsor this event for PRSA Houston. Pier Systems will provide audio-visual assistance. Others sponsorships are available. Contact Paula Ruth, APR, at for sponsor information.

PR Day 2008—Become a Sponsor Today!

Are you looking for a great way to showcase your organization to more than 200 local and regional communications professionals in one high-impact event?
PRSA Houston’s membership and conference draw in a trendsetter demographic, and your participation gets your company and your messages in front of the most complete audience of communications professionals. Plus, your sponsorship helps augment the costs of such a tremendous event so that it’s affordable for students and PR professionals to attend, whether they work for a large company, a non-profit, or as independent consultants!

This year, take advantage of our numerous PR Day conference sponsorship opportunities. Click here to learn more about our Sponsorship Packages. Sign up now to serve as a sponsor for the PR Day conference, slated for Tuesday, September 23. Simply click here to download the Sponsor Response Form.

Many thanks to Vollmer PR for offering its top notch design team to develop the conference collateral and to LyondellBasell Industries for serving as a partner in developing our “eco-friendly” conference kits this year!

For more information, please contact any one of the following:

Excalibur Awards – Capture, Celebrate the Perfect Moment in Time

Houston communicators will gather to honor and to be honored for the best public relations strategies and tactics of the year at the PRSA Houston’s 2008 Excalibur Awards Thursday, June 12, at The Junior League of Houston.

“This year’s theme, ‘Picture Perfect’, reflects on that moment in time so perfect, it deserves to be captured forever,” said Laura Frnka, APR, event chair. “It’s that gratifying feeling when you’ve made a positive impact on behalf of your client or organization, and you know that all the planning, ‘wordsmithing’ and attention to detail was worth the extra effort.”

Gold, silver, and bronze Excalibur Awards will be presented to talented PR professionals in dozens of categories. Only one talented team will take home the ninth annual Grand Excalibur Award, recognizing the highest professional standards. KRIV Fox 26 anchor Melissa Wilson will emcee the event.

The evening kicks off with a silent auction benefiting the Public Relations Foundation of Houston. See below for more information on the PRFH.

Ticket prices, sponsorship opportunities and other details can be found on

The Houston Chapter of PRSA would like to extend a thanks to the following companies, organizations and individuals who are supporting the evening through sponsorships and in-kind donations:

The Brookwoods Group (Cutting Edge Presenting Sponsor)

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

Shell Oil Company (Throne Room/Reception Sponsor)

El Paso Corporation (King's Court)

Renaissance Public Relations Group (Hot Water Awards)

Stone Films (Audio/Visual)

SPC Creative Photography

Catch the Moment

Trini Munoz (Graphic Designer)

Never Have the Time to Make it to the City?

Mix and mingle with PR professionals who live and work in your own neighborhood. On Wednesday, May 21, PRSA Houston will host an evening of satellite socials in The Woodlands, Sugar Land and West Houston (Energy Corridor) areas. Each event will be held from 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. More information is coming regarding the exact locations, but please mark your calendars for these upcoming events. For more information contact Yvette Hamilton, Satellite Social Chair at

PR Foundation Board of Houston Awards Annual Scholarship

The Public Relations Foundation of Houston (PRFH) board of directors has awarded the fourth annual Public Relations Foundation of Houston scholarship to Jasmine Vaughan, a student at Texas Southern University in Houston. Vaughan is majoring in broadcast journalism and will graduate in May.

From left to right: PRFH Board president Susan Schmaeling, APR; Jasmine Vaughan, 2008 PRFH scholarship recipient, and Eydie Pengelly, APR, PRFH Treasurer.

The PRFH is a dedicated fund within the Greater Houston Community Foundation, serving as the scholarship arm of PRSA Houston. PRFH aims to enhance the quality of education by creating a permanent educational endowment that provides scholarships for students studying communications and/or public relations at Houston-area universities and colleges.

Advancing Your Education Can Advance Your Career

Head_shot_sm.jpgAre you looking to improving your career skills with an advanced degree? Or thinking about topping off your bachelor’s degree to get yourself that extra edge in this competitive job market? Join us on May 15 at 6:30 pm to hear Frances Brandau-Brown (right), Sam Houston State University, discuss the new master’s program. The program is a perfect fit for working professionals looking to enhance their skills and opportunities. All of the courses are offered in the evening to make it easier for people to access. The event will be held at Pierpont Communications. To register for this event and further details go to

PRSA Houstonians Around Town

Want to keep track of PRSA Houston members? Here we'll showcase events of the past month.

Margo Mateas spoke to PRSA Houston in April for both the luncheon and a half-day seminar. BusinessWire was the sponsor and Pier Systems provided audio-visual assistance.

Board member and membership chair Emilee Fontenot (left), Elmore Public Relations, greets Margo Mateas, the Media Relations Maven, with Suzanne Lammers, Stewart Title, professional development chair, after the half-day seminar which followed the luncheon. Mateas, who writes a column in PRSA's Tactics, revealed her secrets for successful media relations.

PRSA member Candace Runaas (left) was interviewed by Margo Mateas during the media relations workshop.

The annual " Who's Who in Black Houston" event was held March 20 at the Intercontinental Hotel to celebrate the success of African Americans in the community. The event featured local media celebrities, corporate leaders, and dignitaries. PRSA President Priscilla Tinsley, Communications director of public relations at Direct Energy, and Sherry Franke, APR, communications and marketing director for Metromarketing Inc., celebrate the role of PRSA members at “Who’s Who in Black Houston.”

Not shown are Pam Thorne, President and CEO of The Thorne Group, who handled media interviews for the event and Phyllis Bailey of 3D Communications, who organized the event and acted as publisher. The book may be purchased on line at

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


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.

Improve your Web Site Standing in Search Engines

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.

Would You Like to Sponsor PRSA Houston in the New Location?

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. LifeGift Organ Donation Center also has committed to sponsoring May event, and MetroMarketing will sponsor August but others are available. 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 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.

New Members

Stephanie Manning

Lauren Braden, Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau

David Nesmith, Richards/Carlberg

Tanisha Warner, Money Management International

Courtney Wilcox, Transocean

Annette Johnson, A.J.’s Public Relations & Marketing

Jason Lisovicz, University of Houston

Lindsey Williford

Steven Cowan, Houston Museum of Natural Science

Janelle Narido, Shriner’s Hospital for Children-Galveston

Gena Hyde, National Multiple Sclorosis Society-Lone State Chapter (reinstated)

Member News

PRSA Houston President-Elect Terri Larson has given birth to Megan Riley Larson on Monday, April 14. She weighed in at weighed 8 lbs. 9 oz. and was 20¾ inches long. Congratulations Terri and family! She is Vice President for Fleishman-Hillard, Inc.

Wendy Adair is now vice president, University Advancement, Texas Southern University.

Michael J. King is now manager, public relations, for FMC Technologies, Inc.

Mark Stouse is now global communications leader for BMC Software.

Connie Chavez Villarreal is communications director for Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council.

Amanda Sallee is now associate director of marketing for Theatre Under the Stars.

PRSA Houston 2008 Schedule

Mark your calendar for PRSA Houston's 2008 events.

May 7: Monthly Luncheon, Cindy Gabriel
May 15: New Pros Event: Frances Brandau Brown, Graduate Director, Sam Houston State University, “Advance your education to advance your career,” Pierpont Communications
May 21: Satellite Socials
June 12: Excalibur Awards
July 2: July Luncheon, speaker TBD—Sponsorship AVAILABLE
Aug. 6: August Luncheon, speaker TBD-MetroMarketing
Sept. 23: PR Day
Oct. 1: October Luncheon, Dr. Rochelle Larkin Ford, APR, Associate Dean of Research and Academic Affairs, John H. Johnson School of Communications, Howard University. YMCA Sponsoring.
Nov. 5: November Luncheon, Benefit for Public Relations Foundation of Houston. Speaker: Dr. Roderick P. Hart, Dean, College of Communication, University of Texas on “Politics and Popular Culture.”
December: Holiday Party (TBA)

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 June newsletter is May 22, 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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