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Monthly Luncheon: Sages & Seekers

Hear from some of Houston's top public relations leaders as they share secrets of success at an unusual meeting that is known to be popular.  This mentoring luncheon provides networking with PR thought leaders "up close and personal," so that you can ask questions and get answers.

Designated sages at each table will share insights and facilitate conversations with other seasoned professionals about what it takes to get ahead in these challenging times and the trends they see on the PR horizon.

Bring your questions and get ready for a lively small-group discussion with one of our distinguished guests:


Speaker Various
Betsy Ballard is Chief Communications Officer at the Houston Food Bank, the largest source of food to hunger relief charities in 18 southeast Texas counties. Through food pantries, soup kitchens and other agencies, each week the Food Bank feeds 137,000 people who struggle with the pain and indignity of hunger. ...

Betsy Ballard is Chief Communications Officer at the Houston Food Bank, the largest source of food to hunger relief charities in 18 southeast Texas counties. Through food pantries, soup kitchens and other agencies, each week the Food Bank feeds 137,000 people who struggle with the pain and indignity of hunger. This summer, the Food Bank will move to a facility that is four times bigger than its current warehouse. Betsy plays an integral role in the renovation project. During her time at the Food Bank, Betsy led the development of a new brand and created a communications program to build support for the organization’s mission. The Houston Chapter of the American Marketing Association awarded the Houston Food Bank with Marketer of the Year, Social Services Category. Betsy’s career in nonprofit communications began in 1994 at United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast, then moved to the University of Houston-Downtown in 1999. She worked in the pre-dawn hours anchoring radio morning news for much of the first 17 years of her career.

James T. Campbell is the System Executive of External Affairs for Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. He formerly was a Senior Vice President in Fleishman-Hillard’s Houston office. Prior to joining FH in 2007, Campbell enjoyed a 20-year career with the Houston Chronicle as a general assignments, police and city government reporter, and as a senior editorial writer with a focus on public-policy issues. Campbell also served as the newspaper’s Readers’ Representative addressing issues related to the Chronicle’s coverage, standards and accuracy. He wrote a weekly column and blogged extensively. He also served as assistant Outlook editor for the Chronicle, writing and editing numerous editorial and opinion pieces. Prior to the Chronicle, Campbell worked at the now-defunct Houston Post. Campbell’s work as a reporter and columnist earned him numerous writing awards from among others, the Associated Press Managing Editors Association of Texas, National Association of Black Journalists, The Press Club of Houston and the Hearst Corp.  Campbell also was the editor of Focus, a lifestyles magazine that targeted African-Americans. He also served as sports information director at Texas Southern University, earning recognition for that school’s athletic department and athletes.

Mike Cinelli, Baker Botts L.L.P.

Cinelli is associate director for public relations at the international law firm Baker Botts L.L.P. During his 30-plus years as a journalist and media relations executive, he has worked with senior management in the airline, banking and academic fields to develop, implement and execute effective strategic communications programs. At Baker Botts, he is constantly consulted by firm management and lawyers on public relations and media issues.



Jennifer Evans, Principal of JL Evans Communications, is a PRSA Houston board member and former officer with more than 17 years of experience in public affairs, media relations, marketing and CSR/philanthropy. Her Houston-based consulting practice, JL Evans Communications, represents clients across many industries including professional services, non-profit, energy, education, health, retail and consumer products. When she made the decision to become a solo practitioner several years ago, it was done with a conscious effort to partner with other local independent practitioners. In this way, JL Evans Communications is able to keep the consulting practice lean and mean, while providing high level talent and expertise to clients. In early 2010, JL Evans Communications was invited to represent the Houston/Galveston markets for PR Consultants Group, Inc., a national affiliation of public relations firms. This affiliation provides resources for JL Evans’ clients with multi-market U.S. and some international support. Jennifer is an adjunct professor at the University of Houston. Her leadership with winning teams includes a PRSA Bronze Anvil, as well as a Crystal Award from AMA.

Frances H. Jeter, Group Vice President, Internal and External Affairs Spectra Energy Corp, is responsible for internal and external communications, crisis communications, branding and graphics, communications services, stakeholder outreach and sustainability. Before joining Spectra Energy, Jeter served as chief marketing officer for Bracewell & Giuliani, LLP, where she was responsible for the firm’s strategic business development and internal and external communications. She previously served as vice president of public affairs for Duke Energy Gas Transmission, a predecessor of Spectra Energy. Jeter has more than 25 years experience in marketing, public affairs and business and nonprofit management. She served as assistant vice president of institutional advancement for Rice University, and as associate director for external relations for the university’s James A. Baker III Institute of Public Policy. She also served as director of personal gift planning at the University of Houston System. Jeter served as director of marketing and customer service for the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County. She was manager of government relations for Geosource, Inc., and has worked in marketing at Exxon and Westinghouse Electric Corp.

David B. McKinney, ABC, APR, retired in July 2011 as senior manager of communications for the U.S. Downstream businesses of Shell Oil Company, based in Houston. He joined Shell in 1980 and held assignments in the Midwest, East Coast and Southwest regions of the U.S. A former newspaper reporter, McKinney has taught at the university level as an adjunct since 1999 in the areas of mass communications, and PR management, campaigns and writing. He is a contributor to several communications textbooks. McKinney is accredited by both the PRSA and International Association of Business Communicators. He was PRSA/Houston professional of the year in 2007 and the IABC/Houston communicator of the year in 2008.


Ward Pennebaker is a principal at Pennebaker, a Houston-based branding, corporate communications and strategic marketing firm. He created the Strategic Guardrails process and has applied it with clients around the world to help them clarify their positioning, change their corporate cultures to better align with their business objectives, and craft and communicate the messages that impact growth. He is a frequent speaker on branding, marketing, and effective communications.




 Graham Painter, APR is executive vice president of Corporate Communications for Sterling Bank and its parent company, Sterling Bancshares, Inc.  He is responsible for the bank’s corporate branding, public relations, media relations, advertising and employee communications. Prior to joining the bank he was vice president of public affairs for CenterPoint Energy. While at Houston Lighting & Power Co. and Reliant Energy, CenterPoint Energy’s predecessors, he also managed public relations programs in Europe and South America. He has worked in corporate public relations for more than thirty years.Graham is a past president of PRSA Houston, and a recipient of its Legacy Award. He is a former president of the Texas Public Relations Association and was named Outstanding Texas Public Relations Practitioner by TPRA in 2006. He is the former chairman of the board of trustees of the Public Relations Foundation of Texas.  He is a founder and past president of the Houston-Harris County Immunization Partnership

Full Description
Organizer Paula Ruth, APR


Wed, Aug. 3, 2011
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
(GMT-0600) US/Central

Event has ended


Briar Club
2603 Timmons
Houston, TX 77027