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PRSA Houston News, Events April 12, 2011

Hello [firstname],

This Month: Free APR Training Resources

April 17-20: Attend APR Bootcamp in Houston

All April: Half-price Webinars All April

May 6: Career Day, Internship Fair in the Woodlands

PRSA 2010 National Financial Report

May 4: How Do You Create Customer Evangelists?
Nothing is better than word of mouth advertising, but how do you get your customers to say good things about you? Find out how Southwest Airlines does it from Linda Rutherford, vice president of Communication and Strategic Outreach.

Rutherford oversees Employee Communications, Public Relations, Creative Services, Emerging and Multi-Media, Corporate Outreach and Preparedness, Community Relations and Charitable Giving. Prior to joining Southwest Airlines in 1992, she was a reporter for several Dallas-area suburban newspapers as well as with the Dallas Times Herald, and she began her career with Newsweek magazine in New York. More about Rutherford




Date:           May 4, 2011
Time:           11:30 p.m.
:      Briar Club 2603 Timmons Lane, Houston, 77027
Sponsorships are available for this and every event in 2011. Contact Paula Ruth, APR, for more information.

April 15: Final Deadline to Submit Excalibur Award Entries
PRSA Houston invites you to participate in the 2011 Excalibur Awards for Excellence Program. Late entries will be accepted until 5 p.m. on April 15. All late entries will be assessed a $60 late fee per entry. No entries will be accepted after 5 p.m., April 15.
This annual competition honors outstanding professional accomplishments in the development and execution of comprehensive public relations programs, individual communications tactics and recognizes outstanding individual and team achievements.


Bigger, Better Than Ever

Based on feedback from last year, PRSA Houston has improved the Excalibur Awards for Excellence program to provide an even bigger bang for your buck:


  • $20 discount for Early Bird entries (Deadline has past.)
  • No charge for PRSA members to make Special Award nominations
  • Simplified nominating process for Special Awards
  • Expanded Special Award categories to include awards for agencies and teams
  • Special Award winners will be recognized in the Houston Business Journal
  • Average minimum scoring to qualify for an award
  • Streamlined the entry binder from 3" to 1"
  • Special recognition logo for Special Award winners to use in their email signatures or on their Web sites 

Low-cost Participation

While other awards competitions entry fees and awards dinner ticket costs have increased, thanks to our sponsors' support, PRSA Houston has been able to steadily maintain participation costs for the last several years.


2011 Excalibur Awards website



Contact:       Meagan Stangle, 713-243-8879.
Thanks to our presenting sponsor

Ten Steps to Award Winning Contest Entries

Want to ensure your entry will be award-winning? Review these tried and true tips presented by Julie Fix, APR Fellow PRSA.

June 23: 2011 Excalibur Awards Gala – A Night with the PR Stars of Houstonwood
Lights. Camera. Action! All year you’ve worked hard to meet deadlines and complete projects with excellence. You’ve set the stage and beat seemingly impossible challenges. Now, it’s time to take your place in Houston’s walk of public relations fame. It’s time for you to shine as the star you are at the 2011 PRSA Excalibur Awards Gala, A Night with the PR Stars of Houstonwood.

This is your year! We are waiting on you.



Date:           June 23, 2011

Time:           6 p.m. - Cocktail Reception/ PR Foundation Auction

7 p.m. – Excalibur Awards Gala


Location:      The InterContinental Houston


The Excalibur Awards for Excellence and Gala applauds the visionaries who make it all happen, the movers and shakers behind the scenes. Gold, Silver and Bronze Excalibur Awards will be presented to talented PR professionals. Additionally, one entry will receive the 12th Annual Grand Excalibur Award, an engraved steel sword recognizing the highest professional standards we strive to attain on behalf of our customers, clients, corporations and shareholders.


Contact: Tricia Bentley, 832-247-6539.

Seeking Sponsors to Share Our Stage

Discounts available until May 1


PRSA Houston is thankful for its business partners whose sponsorships have helped shape the Excalibur Awards for Excellence into Houston’s premier public relations awards program. Your company can demonstrate its commitment to the future of communications by participating as a sponsor.


Act before May 1, and receive a discount on your sponsorship or table.


Contact:       Ed Davis, 281-250-4871.


PR Foundation Auction Supports PR Future Leaders
A Silent Auction is held during the Excalibur Gala and benefits the Public Relations Foundation of Houston. Contact Ania Czarnecka if you are interested in contributing an item for the auction.


Nominations Being Accepted for 2011 Legacy Award 


PRSA Houston is now accepting nominations for the 2011 Legacy Award, an annual award recognizing a distinguished professional for outstanding lifetime achievement in the field of public relations. The award will be presented at the 2011 PRSA Houston Excalibur for Excellence Award, Thursday, June 23 at the Intercontinental Hotel.


Candidates for the Legacy Award should meet the following criteria:


  • be a current or a former PRSA Houston chapter member; and
  • have at least 25 years of experience in public relations.

Chapter members are encouraged to nominate a colleague, mentor or role model who meets these criteria. The award may be given posthumously. Nominations should demonstrate the candidate's leadership and expertise in the field of public relations through:


  • outstanding service to his/her company, community, organization or educational institution;
  • outstanding service to PRSA Houston;
  • honors, awards and recognition, accreditation; and
  • advancing the body of knowledge and public image of the profession through teaching, writing, speaking, mentoring, and/or PRSA volunteer/leadership positions.
Nominate a candidate
Submit a letter or brief summary highlighting the candidate’s qualifications by Friday, April 29, 2011 to Stephanie Dedeaux, APR. Submissions should not exceed two pages in length and will be reviewed by committee appointed by the PRSA Houston board of directors. 


Former Legacy Award Winners

2010: Kris Taylor, APR

2009: Julie B. Fix, APR, Fix & Associates

2008: Phillip Taggart, APR

2007: Dr. Bob Heath, APR

2006: Graham Painter, APR

2005: Guy Brown, APR

2004: Will Osterloh, APR, Fellow PRSA

2003: Gayle McNutt, APR, Fellow PRSA

2002: Sabra Gill, APR, Fellow PRSA

2001: Tom Stewart, APR, Fellow PRSA

2000: Ralph Frede, APR, Fellow PRSA

1999: James W. Hart

April is Accreditation Month at PRSA

If you are interested in earning your APR, April is full of opportunities to learn and get started.


April 12. 2 p.m. - Free APR Online Prep Course

Click here to sign up.


April 28, 2 p.m. - Free APR Webinar

Learn how to Accelerate Your Career in Public Relations. RSVP here.


Getting Ready for the Readiness Review is available for playback through June 8. (Affordable and eligible for maintenance points!)

Aug. 17-20: APR Bootcamp in Houston

Register by July 13

Register today for the APR Boot Camp in Houston, Aug. 17-20, 2011. This four-day intensive program, brought to you by PRSA, in conjunction with PRSA Houston, will present and allow qualified candidates to prepare and take part in the Readiness Review™.

If advanced from the Readiness Review™, candidates may then take the computer-based Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations on August 20 at a local Prometric testing site.


The bootcamp is designed to provide a setting that will meet the needs of busy professionals whose schedules don’t permit extensive preparation time. The first three days of the Boot Camp will take place at the United Way of Greater Houston.


Candidate pre-requisites include:

  • Must be a PRSA member and/or a member of a Universal Accreditation Board participating organization
  • Approved application and Examination fee of $385 must be received by PRSA National
  • Must register for the Boot Camp one month in advance (required to clear Prometric examination authorization)
  • Download and complete the Readiness Review Questionnaire one month in advance of the Boot Camp

Register by July 13!

Registration fees for members of UAB Participating Organizations:

Day 1
– Readiness Review Preparation                        $80

Day 2 & 3 - Computer-Based Examination Preparation   $270

Full three days                                                     $350

More information about the Accreditation process


Contact:       Kelly George, APR


All April: Four Half-price PRSA Webinars

During the month of April, PRSA is offering deep discounts on select professional development webinars. Get access to some of the industry’s thought leaders
for 50 percent off the original price of the event!

Register now (Use promotion code PDSL411.)

The limited-time promotional rate of $75 applies to webinars:

April 12, 3–4 p.m.

Mobile Marketing: A Primer for PR Professionals

Find out what you need to know before you take your product or brand mobile. Learn who is mobile and how you can reach them, and how to develop a mobile strategy. Also, develop an understanding of trends that will impact mobile marketing in the near future.


April 14, 3–4 p.m.
Master the Art of the Storyteller: Move People to Act With ‘the Most Powerful Form of Human Communication

Gain insight into how to make your message memorable and enhance communications to create a buzz for your ideas. Learn how to reframe the five W’s to tell a story, a seven-second rule that will help determine whether your material is really an anecdote and the secret to organizing your material into a powerful story.


April 19, 3–4 p.m.

Creating Your Own Measurement Dashboard: Identifying the Right Metrics and How to Display Them

Learn how to develop your own key performance indicators (KPIs), establish baselines, collect and evaluate all available measurements and set realistic targets for the metrics you select.

April 26, 3–4 p.m.

Grow Word-of-Mouth Movements: People are the Killer App

Discover how your brand can build and grow a movement. Also, learn how to turn product conversations into passionate conversations, encourage your customers to be brand ambassadors, measure word-of-mouth ROI and allow your fans to share brand ownership.

All webinars are on East Coast time.

May 6: PRSA Houston to Host Career Day, Internship Fair

PRSA Career Day and Internship Fair will take place at the Lone Star College University Center in The Woodlands, May 6, from Noon to 5 p.m.


The event will be open primarily to college juniors and seniors from Texas A&M, University of Houston and Sam Houston State University. Attendance is limited to the first 45 who register.


Participants will be able to attend workshops designed to build résumés, move cover letters to the top of the HR pile and hone interview skills. Attendees will then get the chance to put those new found skills to the test as they meet with Houston area PR firms, corporate communications and nonprofit communications teams at an Internship Fair.



Date:           Friday, May 6, 2011

Time:             12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Location:       Lone Star College University
3232 College Park Drive, The Woodlands, TX 77384


Contact:       Ed Davis, 281-250-4871.


Internships, Presenters and Sponsors Still Needed

If your company is planning to hire summer interns, looking to add additional junior staff or need to fill positions with graduating students, you won’t want to miss this opportunity. Reserve your booth now, and plan to meet some of the best and brightest aspiring communicators from area universities.

Do you have cover letter, resume and interview pet peeves? We’re still seeking panelists and speakers for the workshops.

Do you have a great product or service 20-25 year-olds just shouldn’t live without and want a low-cost marketing opportunity? Contact Ed Davis to discuss marketing opportunities at this event.


PRSA's 2010 Financials in Perspective

William Murray, CAE, PRSA president and COO of PRSA

PRSA’s recently concluded 2010 financial audit is now available online. Please take a moment to review it, when you can.


The “bottom line” shows that PRSA realized a modest surplus from operations of $73,000 last year. In addition, investment returns added $197,000 to PRSA’s reserves, otherwise known as its net asset balance or “rainy day” fund. This information is supported by the unqualified opinion issued by certified public accounting firm PKF, PRSA’s independent auditor.


As a result, PRSA was able to meet its annual financial goal of returning 1 percent of budgeted expenses to the Society’s financial reserves. Will we be able to meet this goal again in 2011? I’m not sure.


Returning even this small surplus amid a difficult economy and increased market pressures required aggressive cost-cutting, which we did by rebidding contracts, reducing staff, freezing salaries and implementing cost-efficient technologies. Over the past several years, we’ve cut $1.5 million from our operating expenses.


At the same time, we continued to increase the scope and number of member benefits. We also kept the cost of our member dues constant, despite a more than 21 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) since our last dues increase.


For now, our 2011 budget forecast anticipates being unable to afford the minimum 1 percent contribution to our financial reserves in 2011. It’s for this reason that the Business Model Task Force, engaged by our Board of Directors, is currently evaluating the Society’s financial condition and will be recommending ways to ensure our financial health into the future. I hope to have an update on their work for you in the weeks and months ahead; if you have any thoughts or question in the interim, I encourage you to email me directly.

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