Board Member Spotlight: Adrienne A. Wallace, Ph.D.

This month, we are highlighting our current Chair Adrienne A. Wallace, Ph.D.

Adrienne A. Wallace is an enthusiastic communicator with over 20 years experience in both the public and private sectors ranging in scope from nonprofit, health, education, government, hospitality, politics, lobbying and finance.

Adrienne teaches undergraduate courses at Grand Valley State University mostly in the PR emphasis and has a passion for student-to-professional development. She advises the student-run PR firm GrandPR and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter at GVSU. She also serves as the Ad&PR Internship Director and GVSU’s Bateman Competition faculty advisor. Adrienne is a board member of the West Michigan Public Relations Society of America (WMPRSA), chair of the East Central District Public Relations Society of America (ECDPRSA), communications chair of the PRSA Educators Academy (PRSAEA), and serves the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) on the social media committee and is the chair of the website committee.

Adrienne received her Ph.D. in public administration with a focus in public affairs and public policy from Western Michigan University (WMU) where she focused on the intersection of public relations, participation and lobbying on the creation/implementation of public policy in the United States. She’s a Grand Rapids Westsider, amateur chef, wife to tech/PR geek Derek DeVries (Lambert & Co.) and mother to rescue beagles Rosie and Watson.

Degrees:
– Ph.D. in Public Affairs, Policy & Administration, Western Michigan University
– M.P.A. in Government & Non-Profit Administration, Grand Valley State University
– M.S. in Communications, Grand Valley State University
– B.S. in Health Communications/Advertising/Public Relations, Grand Valley State University


Home Chapter: West Michigan

What is your favorite part about being part of PRSA (National, District and Chapter levels)?

The impact we can have at all levels is really up to the individual. I like being able to get as dirty as I want in the process of leadership. It’s been my distinct privilege to work with PRSSA students at all levels of their educational and professional careers.

What do you hope to contribute to PRSA-ECD in 2020?

I’m usually involved in board work to move initiatives along and encourage collaboration within units – I like involving many people to achieve goals. Most people just want to be asked to participate and I’m not afraid to make the ask. We had two goals for ECD this year: 1 – support our chapters more efficiently, 2- more effective outreach to PRSSA chapters for deliberate student involvement in the district. So far our board initiatives have been robust and successful. Our members have needs and our board has solutions. It’s been amazing to work with these folks.

What is your favorite part of public relations (and other related communications industries)? 

I love a good crisis – that looks worse typed out. 🙂 There is nothing like being the cool-headed person, formulating solutions, in a room full of drama against the unknown future. Feeling like you can make an immediate difference in a situation is a really gracious experience.

Talk about your career. What have been some highlights and missteps, and what have you learned from them? 

I’ve made pretty much every mistake one can make in PR and every time I’ve learned from the experience and bounced back more resilient than before. There is something so powerful about experiencing a loss, an error, or whatever – that really makes you appreciate the good stuff that goes right. I think you learn more about people in times of crisis and failure than you do when everything is going smoothly. Life is pretty easy when you are untested and when there are no obstacles in the way. Having the courage to fail and recover forces us to look inward at our own mortality and answer the question, can I go on? There is personal power in that experience and it builds confidence in what is possible. I maintain you don’t know what you can do or who you are without some adversity.

What would you say to a prospective member who wants to join PRSA but is on the fence? 

It’s worth a try. Just go to a few chapter events and decide, those are low barrier to entry and usually low cost or free. What do you really have to lose?

What do you like most about QuickStart, the Diamond Awards and/or other PRSA-ECD initiatives?

I love QuickStart. I think it’s so refreshing to get to know our chapter leaders 1:1 during this time. It makes you feel less alone in the issues that your own chapter is facing as there is likely someone else with the same problem. It encourages group collaboration and problem solving in a way I’ve not been able to really feel at a national level at PRSA.

Would you like to add anything else?

One of the hallmark reasons I’ve been involved in PRSA is to mentor students in PRSSA into emerging PR leaders. We need mentors in PRSSA chapters now more than ever before. If you are not close to your PRSSA chapter locally, find out how to get involved. We can’t continue to complain or be worried about what the next gen will do or experience if we are not ourselves making action to support or aid the next level of leader in PR. I think one of the most frustrating things I experience in my day-to-day job is how hungry my students are for sound mentors and on the other side hearing how much complaining professionals do about young people. PR Pros: get over it and forge a relationship with a young person. You will learn from them as much as they learn from you.

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PRSA Cincinnati Goes Virtual to Get More Virtual!

The Cincinnati May 27 Zoom event Re-imagining Live Events with the Use of Video represents all the best about our ECD members: It answered the call for member engagement by delivering a timely topic through inter-chapter cooperation, innovative delivery, and a generosity of shared resources.  Learn more in this ECD conversation with event organizer Bridget Kochersperger, PRSA Cincinnati Chapter Vice President of Programming.

PRSA Cincinnati May 27 Zoom Event:  Re-imagining Live Events with the Use of Video

Zoom presenter Molly Berrens is the owner of the video production company Spotted Yeti Media. She talks to non-profits about turning fundraisers into virtual events. With COVID-10 she has tweaked her services to include corporate events, conference events, and training presentations.

Her genius is for combining pre-corded videos with live components. For example, an event might stage live watch parties reacting to pre-recorded speeches.

Bridget: “The biggest thing she touched on were live charitable events. How you can still meet those fundraising goals, have something that still feels special to people, and gave us some examples of what she’s worked on the last couple months. One was for the Cincinnati Opera, one for Xavier University, and another for Learning Grove, an education non-profit that turned their gala into a week-long campaign with live and prerecorded elements. You could donate throughout the whole week. Ultimately the organizers said it was their most profitable fundraiser ever. I’m sure a part of it was because of very low overhead cost.”

Deciding to go virtual:

“It’s tricky.  When this all started no one was sure how long it was going to last. But right off the bat we had to cancel our monthly event for April.  It was supposed to be a program about working with influencers. But working with influencers was going to change with this too, so it would no longer be relevant.”

The PRSA Cincinnati-Columbus Connection:

“We saw that everybody is talking about shared resources.  So, we shared a few programs with Columbus and our chapter. Columbus hosted a program about personal self-care in the age of COVID.

“We came up with May events and opened a premium Zoom account.  That came together pretty quickly. We’ve been in quarantine for two months now, and we’ve asked, are people still hungry for Zoom events?”

Scoring Molly and Spotted Yeti for the Meeting:

“I used to work for PR agency that shared a building with Spotted Yeti – both female-owned – and I kept in touch with her. She shared posts about a presentation with a non-profit leader on LinkedIn so I reached out to her. She did all the hard work I just shared the opportunity. She did it as a free event.

“She is truly very, very talented. Hopefully she will get a few phone calls out of it.”

Making if a free event:

“Everybody is struggling – financially or with how to fit in their roles. We wanted to give them this free resource. We don’t often do that, even for our members, but it felt like it was the right time to do it.”

What members learned from Molly:

“It wasn’t just focused on fundraising, but that is a common, annual event most people have. She talked about conferences and training. She had a poll about industries and touched on different types of events like award ceremonies.  At the start of the event we asked the question: “What type of events are you looking to potentially take virtual this year?” There were five options (non-profit fundraisers, award ceremonies, theatrical and arts events, trade shows, and conferences) plus “other.” The least interest was in taking theater and arts online.

Molly started the presentation by introducing the audience to her company and their concepts. She defined their approach to “Smart Video” saying, “When you think about our smart devices it all starts with end user data.”

She outlined the Spotted Yeti process of “Discover, Tell Your Story, Make an Impact, Review and Improve,” and their “full script to screen” production.  She focused her talk to chapter audience on “pivoting to video” when transitioning to virtual events.

She asked, are we starting your event with a video? Where does the emotional piece fit best in the presentation? She talked about taking advantage of the benefits of going virtual: the opportunity to increase your audience, decrease your budget, expand the event timeline and gather more data.

She put particular emphasis on a live program, beginning with the question does it need to be live? Is it streaming live, or pre-recorded and released at a certain time to give a recorded-live feel.  How it’s made could be truly live or sudo-live.

Bridgit: “We had a pretty good rate of engagement in this event. We capped it at 100 because our Zoom account only allows 100 participants. We showed 70 active participants.  That’s a lot of folks. That is more than we usually have. Offhand, it was probably the best attended event we’ve had in 10 years. Granted it was also free and we did more outreach with our neighbor chapter.”

What’s on the Virtual Landscape Horizon:

“Next we’re doing a diversity program.  It’s taking place in two parts on June 16 and June 23. It was planned in advance (of the death of George Floyd in police custody and nationwide protests). The email went out May 27 before everything happened, but it’s more important than ever.

“The first part is Implicit Bias Training, and the second is Cultural Sensitivity during COVID-19.  We’ll keep going in July with it, offering reciprocal membership rates. Someone from Columbus can get our chapter rate. We did the last one for free because we thought it was the right thing to do. 

“Our Blacksmith awards are in traditionally in November but are still up in the air.  We have the date and venue locked down but obviously everything is still unsure. Molly has really great ideas on how to take award ceremonies virtual.”

Virtual Newsgathering in time of COVID-19:

“We believe we will cancel our media event – one of our signature events – originally scheduled for October and push it to the spring. We talked about having it as a virtual event, but we weren’t sure how it would work.

“More organization are going to find balance in it (virtual news gathering). It’s more convenient for media to attend and more people are sitting and listening.”

Beyond COVID:19 – Still Virtual?

“I think a lot of our programs are going to be virtual, but people in our organization are craving interaction and we will want to get back to in-person invents. But maybe it will be a mixture. We have our social and networking events. I think they will come back primarily in-person.”

Final Thoughts:

“I think we came away from it (Reimagining Live Events with the Use of Video) thinking we had better attendance than expected. We were very happy about that, and we had board members who said it was great, timely content.

“The biggest take away for me is that people still want this content and are hungry for this content. We’re still uncertain about how the rest of the year will be – no one truly know what happen, we could end up in isolation again in November – but everybody is having to look outside the box for their clients and their organizations.”

Bridget Kochersperger

bkochersperger@gmail.com

PRSA Cincinnati Chapter Vice President of Programming

Regional Marketing and Communication Manager for Ulmer and Berne LLT

Molly Berrens

Spotted Yeti Media/823 Scott St. Covington, KY

www.SpottedYeti.com

info@spottedyeti.com

513-549-3843

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A Statement from PRSA East Central District

The Public Relations Society of America East Central District is appalled by the events leading to the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many other members of our Black community. We condemn all acts of racism. We dedicate ourselves as communicators to stand in solidarity with our Black members, Black colleagues, Black students, and the Black community at large to promote the principles of equality. We pledge our support to convene people for solutions and to listen in order to empower change in our communities. Furthermore, we resolve to do our best as advocates to bring truth to power, act always with justice, and to commit ourselves to an essential role in resolving systemic racism.

*Please stay tuned in the coming days for programming designed to help our District, PRSA Chapters and PRSSA Chapters fulfill this statement. Thank you to our 17 PRSA Chapters for contributing to this statement.

PRSA’s Statement:

PRSSA’s Statement:

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ANNOUNCEMENT: PRSA East Central District seeking administrator

Our Request for Proposal, as well as other information, is below. You may also download it directly here.

Request For Proposal: PRSA East Central District Administrator
Contact: Andrea Farmer
317.691.1366
afarmer@indonornetwork.org
June 1, 2020

About PRSA:
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is the nation’s largest professional organization serving the communications community with a mission to “make communications professionals smarter, better prepared and more connected through all stages of their career.” Membership collectively represents more than 30,000 members comprising communications professionals spanning every industry sector nationwide and college and university students who encompass the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).

About PRSA East Central District:
The East Central District represents 17 chapters in six states (Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia). The East Central District serves as a link between local PRSA chapters and national leadership. prsaecd.org

Scope of Services:
The East Central District of PRSA is in search of an individual/entity to perform administrative duties on behalf of the district, including such activities as:

● Schedule all District board meetings and send calendar appointments with supporting materials to officers and board members.
● Provide a physical mailing address for the East Central District.
● Routinely collect and organize all incoming mail on behalf of the District.
● Forward all pertinent mail (if any) to the appropriate officers on the executive board of directors for the East Central District.
● Upload digital copies of all district records (monthly bank statements, receipts, tax documentation etc.) to the district’s Google Drive, as well as the dashboard provided by PRSA National.
● Remit payments for all district financial obligations including but not limited to the following (web hosting service, officer travel reimbursements, annual QuickStart event expenses, etc.).
● Reconcile all financial statements monthly.
● Manage QuickStart attendee RSVP process and facilitate event registration, including facility arrangements, materials printing, nametags, etc.
● Prepare and send a monthly financial statement to the district treasurer one week prior to the scheduled East Central District teleconference. The treasurer will review and request changes, if necessary, and the treasurer will be responsible for submitting to the board secretary.
● File federal income tax documents on behalf of the district prior to the annual filing deadline each year.
● Spearhead district awards program, including the following responsibilities:
o Coordinate and oversee reciprocal judging program (finding judges for our awards program, and finding East Central District members to serve as judges for another awards program)
o Set up and maintain online judging portal (currently using OpenWater)
o Solicit bids for awards trophies and coordinate ordering and fulfillment process

o Work with committee to help them promote awards

● Update website as needed (working in conjunction with the digital committee).
● Other duties as assigned.

Questions:
Questions about this proposal process or the scope of services should be directed to Andrea Farmer at afarmer@indonornetwork.org​.

Proposal Submissions:
Proposals can be submitted electronically to afarmer@indonornetwork.org no later than 5 p.m. Eastern Time Wednesday, June 10, 2020.

Selection Schedule:
The East Central District is hoping to identify and select an administrator no later than July 1, 2020, and would look to begin working with the selected vendor immediately thereafter.

Budget:
In your proposal, please include your hourly rate, as well as the total number of hours each month you estimate it will take to complete the tasks mentioned in the Scope of Services section.

Evaluation Criteria:
Independent public relations practitioners and association management professionals are encouraged to submit proposals. Independent public relations practitioners should be current members of a chapter within PRSA’s East Central District. The successful respondent will provide a competitive cost of services and possess the following:

● Working knowledge of basic Microsoft Office tools, including Word and Outlook
● Basic understanding of and aptitude for using office management tools, such as Google docs, basic intranet software (uploading of materials) and more
● Knowledge of WordPress or a comparable website hosting/management platform
● Excellent communication and organizational skills
● Proven track record of experience in the areas included in the scope of services
● Knowledge of associations/association management (strongly recommended)
● Basic bookkeeping skills and knowledge of online banking methods and procedures
● Ability to pass a criminal background check

References:
References are required. Please include three professional references in your proposal.

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Board Member Spotlight: John Palmer, APR

This month, we are featuring our Chair-Elect John Palmer, APR.

John is an accredited public relations professional with 16 years of experience leading, developing and implementing public relations and communication strategies for nonprofit and private organizations. 

He is director of media and public relations for the Ohio Hospital Association, a statewide organization representing Ohio’s 236 hospitals and 14 health systems. He serves as OHA’s media spokesperson, manages public relations campaigns and supports advocacy communication and event management. Since joining OHA in 2012 he expanded the association’s presence in statewide and national media, increased member engagement and promoted OHA’s strategic initiatives in the community. 

Prior to OHA he was media and marketing communication manager for Ohio Dominican University from 2008 to 2012. He developed public relations campaigns focused on branding and reputation management, managed internal communications and implemented media relations programs securing coverage for the university’s new residence halls, a new student center and a new science center. John managed the development of ODU’s social media strategy and led a marketing committee for the institution’s centennial celebration. Before joining ODU he was with the Central Ohio Transit Authority for four years serving as media spokesperson, managing internal communication, planning community events, implementing marketing strategies for new services and maintaining COTA’s website. 

John is an adjunct faculty member at Capital University and Ohio Dominican University teaching classes in public speaking, media relations, PR campaigns, and health care marketing. 

He is a member of the Public Relations Society of America and the PRSA Central Ohio Chapter. John is chair-elect for PRSA East Central District Board of Directors. He is chair the Central Ohio Public Information Network Board of Directors, a regional coalition of public information officers. John received the PRSA Central Ohio Chapter’s 2010 Walt Seifert Award for Outstanding Service to PRSSA. He is a frequent guest speaker and mentor to PR students in the region. He is the professional adviser to the PRSSA Capital University Chapter and is adviser to Ohio University’s PRSSA student firm, 1804 Communication. John was a board member for NC4K – Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids and PRSA Health Academy. 

John earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations and journalism from Capital University in 2004. He earned a master’s degree in organizational communication from Ohio University in 2012.


Home Chapter: Central Ohio Chapter

What is your favorite part about being part of PRSA (National, District and Chapter levels)?

Having an active participation with colleagues and leaders in the public relations to improve the profession and the professional.

What do you hope to contribute to PRSA-ECD in 2020?

Working with the board to achieve stronger operational efficiencies, re-branding our annual conference to focus on chapter leadership development and establishing greater connections with our chapters.

What is your favorite part of public relations (and other related communications industries)? 

This profession gives the ability to learn new industries and to tell their stories to audiences. Today’s digital communications has enabled public relations to be a more active leader within organizations to ensure messages and content are effectively delivered.

Talk about your career. What have been some highlights and missteps, and what have you learned from them?

Time management was a learning curve but developing a routine and utilizing technology has allowed me to be a more effective resource and leader in my position. A highlight of my career was obtaining a permanent full-time position (started as a temporary position) with my first employer.

What would you say to a prospective member who wants to join PRSA but is on the fence?

Consider a more holistic view of the opportunities that PRSA membership and service presents to members. There are a wide variety of skills that I developed from my participation with PRSA including leadership, board service, volunteering, project management, financial management – budgeting preparation, and more.

What do you like most about QuickStart, the Diamond Awards and/or other PRSA-ECD initiatives?

My favorite aspect is ECD’s mission to support leadership development within the chapters and that is achieved at our programs and event throughout the year.

Would you like to add anything else?

Consider bringing your talents and experience to the leadership opportunities within PRSA and the East Central District.

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Board Member Spotlight: Jennifer Flowers Kolf, APR

This month, we are featuring our Immediate Past Chair Jennifer Flowers Kolf, APR. 

Jennifer Flowers Kolf, APR, is principal at JFK Consulting in Troy, Mich., an independent communications firm providing a wide range of services, including strategic communications planning and content creation, media relations, social media management and more. 

Previously, Jennifer was director, communications at FordDirect, a joint venture between Ford Motor Company and its franchised dealers to create a comprehensive Web presence for dealers and provide digital marketing and advertising services that help dealers sell more cars and trucks. In her role at FordDirect, Jennifer managed all internal communications for the company as well as external public relations, including media relations and social media management. She also served as chair of the organization’s charity committee called FordDirect Cares. 

Jennifer was also manager, System Communications at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Mich., one of the nation’s most renowned health care institution, and served as the vice president, director of public relations for Leo Burnett Detroit, working with key agency clients Cadillac, Pontiac and Mr. Goodwrench. 

An active member of the public relations community, Jennifer currently serves as the immediate past chair for the PRSA East Central District, which includes representing the district on the PRSA National Nominating Committee in 2020. She served as the ECD chair in 2019. Locally, Jennifer served several years on the board of directors for PRSA Detroit, including a year as president in 2012. During her tenure as president, PRSA Detroit was awarded one of only two chapter diversity awards nationwide, due largely to the inaugural launch of the Ofield Dukes Diversity Summit. She also currently serves as the professional advisor to the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter at the University of Michigan – Dearborn. 

Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising from Michigan State University in East Lansing. 


Home Chapter: PRSA Detroit 

What is your favorite part about being part of PRSA (National, District and Chapter levels)?

I have enjoyed all of the PRSA service roles I have held, but the PRSA ECD leadership experience over the past few years has been especially interesting because it has allowed for greater interactions with my fellow professionals around the region. It has also provided a great opportunity to better understand the inner workings of PRSA as a membership society nationally.

What do you hope to contribute to PRSA-ECD in 2020?

In 2020, I will be representing ECD on the PRSA National Nominating committee and I hope to ensure we have a great short list of candidates from our district to consider for the district’s open national board seat. I also plan to play a significant role in helping to revise and enhance the ECD’s bylaws.

What is your favorite part of public relations (and other related communications industries)? 

My favorite part of practicing public relations is the employee or internal communications facet of what we do. Impacting the employee audience with strategic and creative communications tactics is the underpinning of any effective external strategy and playing a role in positively affecting workplace culture and morale is very rewarding.

Talk about your career. What have been some highlights and missteps, and what have you learned from them? 

A highlight of my career has been getting to promote Cadillac’s Super Bowl campaign when the event was in my hometown of Detroit. It was exciting to work with all of the national media that came to Detroit to cover the event and take pride in playing a key part in showing off our city to the world.

What would you say to a prospective member who wants to join PRSA but is on the fence?

Don’t wait to join PRSA. Join and invest your time now vs. delaying to when you really need it as membership is like having career insurance that will carry you through stressful or difficult times in your career.

What do you like most about QuickStart, the Diamond Awards and/or other PRSA-ECD initiatives?

I love QuickStart! I have attended it three years in a row and I’ve learned so much each time. Additionally, it is great to connect face-to-face with the district members who you only get to speak with by phone at most other meetings.

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Applications now open for the PRSA National Board of Directors slot for PRSA-ECD

The call for applications to serve on the 2021 Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Board of Directors is now open, and our PRSA East Central District Board Member slot will be open in 2021. Applications will be accepted through Tuesday, May 5. If you are an active member considering if Board service is for you, be it this year or in the future, we enthusiastically recommend it as potentially the most valuable and rewarding way to engage with PRSA.

Professional development and networking, two of PRSA’s core benefits, are at the heart of Board service. You will be called on to lead at the highest levels of policy, strategy and governance, and these activities will be accomplished through teamwork with Board colleagues and members from all sectors of the organization. Board experience also gives you an opportunity to analyze our profession in a way that differs from our day-to-day job requirements as working practitioners, as you consider the profession for its own sake and for that of your professional colleagues. Where is it going? Where should it go and why? What ongoing skills development do we all need to succeed in it and how can PRSA equip its members to thrive in a constantly evolving environment?

Answering these questions often requires a shift in perspective for Board members, as Board work is not the same as PR work. Nor is it the same as leading a Chapter, District or Section. It is about helping to guide the nation’s leading professional communications organization, in concert with PRSA’s professional staff and volunteer leaders across the country. Of course, our Board members bring their professional skills and experience as strategic communicators to that task but also apply them to the arena of association leadership.

If you do that, you will grow. You will learn and guide PRSA’s structure, mission, values, strategies, challenges and members to a depth, breadth and degree of detail that will stretch you. You’ll consider not just your profession, but the profession, from a leadership perspective and with substantial responsibilities. Your network will grow exponentially, because PRSA is a team sport. And you will bring those experiences to whatever you do in the future.

Ask Board members, current and past: is the experience worth it? Listen for their insights and individual perspectives as you contemplate applying. PRSA needs the extraordinary commitment of qualified leaders to guide its future, and that’s not an easy task. If it were, working on the Board wouldn’t be nearly so valuable and rewarding.

For more information, outreach to our Past Chair Jennifer Flowers-Kolf, APR, at jenniferflowerskolf@gmail.com.

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ECD CHAPTER SPOTLIGHT: AKRON

This month’s Chapter Spotlight shines on PRSA Akron and comes just as the chapter is preparing for its biggest event of the year, the March 13 YouToo Social Media Conference. We owe our thanks to Chapter President Jennifer Kramer for providing us all the insights into her home chapter.


If you attended the ECD 2019 QuickStart Conference, you got to see Jennifer take the stage to talk about YooToo in a presentation called, “Constructing and Maintaining an Award-Winning Partnership with Future Members.” Partnering on the presentation were Kent State PRSSA members Sophia Iannelli and Venessa Gresley.
The talk was about youth, and what that enthusiasm brings to YooToo. But it was also obvious how much pride and joy Jennifer and her chapter leaders take in the conference they founded and have watched grow. It truly is “their baby.”
If you caught Jennifer at the ECD happy hour before QuickStart, you also know that the Akron chapter has faced many of the same challenges we see in chapters across our district. Jennifer and others have shown tremendous loyalty, serving repeat terms in leadership to keep the chapter vibrant. You’ll see how she arrived at her “Secret to a Happy Chapter.”

Give us a brief history of your chapter:
The Akron Area Chapter of the Public Relations Society in 2019 celebrated its 50th anniversary.
The chapter officially began in 1969 when founding president, W. Thomas (Tom) Duke, APR, Fellow PRSA, and 30 other PR professionals from Akron, Canton, Youngstown, Kent and Wooster joined to form the fledgling group.
Over the years, the Akron Chapter has experienced many periods of growth. The chapter has 94 active members—more than twice the number of its 1969 founding year. The chapter was supported during its founding by Akron-based tire companies, a luxury it no longer has with the absorption of BFGoodrich by Michelin and Firestone by Bridgestone. The strength of today’s chapter comes from the health care industry, agencies, higher education and a host of other companies, non-profit and government organizations.
The Akron Area Chapter works with students majoring in public relations or communication at The University of Akron, Kent State University, Malone University, Walsh University, the University of Mount Union and Youngstown State University. It is the parent chapter of three student organizations—the Public Relations Student Society of America at The University of Akron, Kent State University and the University of Mount Union.

Who are your 2020 officers?
Past President: Jennifer Kramer, APR
President: Jennifer Kramer, APR
President-Elect: Joni Poorbaugh
Secretary: Christine Meeker Lange, APR
Treasurer: Ron Kirksey

Describe your membership:
Of the 94 Akron Area members, 41 have 12+ years’ experience, while 53 have 10 or less years’ experience in communication. Members represent professional communicators from corporations and business (27%), nonprofits (27%), academe (19%), agencies (13%), government (8%), independent practice (5%) and professional services (1%).

What is your biggest project of the year?
YouToo Social Media Conference on March 13.
It touches programming, communication, sponsorship, membership, student chapters, the executive board and is the responsibility of all board members, regardless of role, to make it a success!
http://www.youtoosm.com/

What is your chapter’s proudest achievement? Why?
I think making it 50 years as a chapter is pretty impressive!

Did you set a specific goal you hope to achieve in 2020?  How is it progressing?

GOAL: Make the Akron Area Chapter a chapter for all members, not just primarily downtown Akron members, and seek diversity in all its phases through membership, recruitment and service.
Objective 1: Improve engagement among members living outside the Akron metro area by the end of 2020.
We established a Canton Area Committee with co-chairs serving as board members. They plan and host meetings and communicate with professionals in their service areas on behalf of the Akron Area Chapter. They have held two successful programs this year, re-attracting a group of professionals to the chapter who had previously disengaged.

Any “little known/fun facts” about your chapter to share?
Akron Area PRSA launched its website in 1998 under the leadership of then Immediate Past President Richard Batyko, APR, Fellow PRSA, and in 2009, then chapter Webmaster Michael Schwabe and then Vice President Gretchen Fri, APR, launched the chapter’s first chapter networking site on MySpace.

What’s your secret to a “happy chapter?”
“The secret to a happy chapter is to thank your volunteers genuinely and often.” – Jennifer Kramer, APR

Contact email in case other ECD chapters have a question for you: akronprsa@gmail.com

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Announcement: February 2020 Best Practice Call: Revitalize Your Chapter

Join us for our February Best Practice Call, the first of 2020’s monthly lineup of insightful speakers! It’s set for Feb. 26 at 8:30 a.m. If you’re on our email list, stay tuned for future communications about call-in information. If you’re not on our list, please send us a direct message, and we will send you the call-in information.

Becky Vogel, president of the PRSA – Northwest Ohio Chapter, will discuss how to utilize your Chapter’s membership and past board members to revitalize your Chapter. In 2019, the Northwest Ohio Chapter faced several setbacks, including low membership and event attendance, as well as an incomplete board slate for 2020. Since Fall 2019, the Chapter has turned around, with a current full board and 26 attendees at the first event of 2020. That is more than double attendance over the past few years.

Join us as Becky shares the Chapter’s best practices and more during the presentation! Learn more about the Northwest Ohio Chapter.

R.S.V.P. for the February Best Practice Call here.

Becky Vogel, PRSA Northwest Ohio Chapter President

About Becky: Becky Vogel brings 15 years experience in marketing and public relations for architects and engineers. As Marketing Director for the jdi group in Maumee, Ohio, her responsibilities include internal and external communications. She crafts materials to reach clients in markets such as automotive, manufacturing, food, commercial, education and healthcare.

She graduated from Ashland University in 2005 with a Bachelors degree in Public Communication. In 2008, she earned a Masters in Organizational Leadership from Lourdes University. Becky brings a special passion for organizational development, team building and strategic planning.

Prior to joining the jdi group in 2018, Becky spent 12 years with The Collaborative, an architectural firm in Toledo. She has served on the Northwest Ohio Chapter PRSA Board since 2014, serving five years as Treasurer.

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District Announces Recipients of 2019 Diamond Awards

See the full list of winners here.

The PRSA East Central District is honored to recognize public relations excellence in campaigns and tactics for its 42nd annual Diamond Awards competition

Within the East Central District, there are national-caliber campaigns and tactics that deserve recognition. The Diamond Awards are presented to public relations practitioners who have successfully addressed a communication challenge with exemplary skill, creativity and resourcefulness. The Diamond Awards are open to any public relations professional who is a member of the 17 chapters of PRSA East Central District and any nonmember whose place of business is within the district’s boundaries. The East Central District covers the states of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The Best of Show honoree is Owston & Owston for “WV Remembers: Beckley Annual Holocaust Remembrance Day.” The campaign was an integrated initiative creating branding, social media, media relations and more for Beckley’s Holocaust Annual Remembrance Day. This campaign also won the 2019 Best in West Virginia Campaign at the WV PRSA Chapter Crystal Awards.

The 2020 Diamond Awards program will open this spring so start preparing your submission.

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