2019 QuickStart Registration |Open Now through August 30

The East Central District of PRSA is offering its annual QuickStart Leadership Conference Friday, September 13 – Saturday, September 14 in Columbus, Ohio at the offices of Fahlgren Mortine. QuickStart is a one-day conference that gives ECD chapter leaders an opportunity to ask questions and learn from each other before assuming leadership positions in upcoming years. In an effort to help develop our student leaders, we will also be inviting ECD PRSSA chapter presidents to this event to show a clear line to leadership roles within PRSA. This year’s theme: Future Facing is a nod to developing future leaders of PRSA through both PRSA chapter leadership and PRSSA chapter leadership. 

If you are already familiar with QuickStart and want to skip straight to the registration details here they are – if you need a little more convincing then please read on – we have some good stuff below: 

Registration and Payment Deadline: August 30, 2019

Location: Fahlgren Mortine ▪ 4030 Easton Station, Suite 300 ▪ Columbus, OH

Hotel: Courtyard Columbus Easton ▪ 3900 Morse Crossing ▪ Columbus, OH

Conference Schedule/Social Sharing: https://www.facebook.com/events/622995591499275/

Conference Registration: https://forms.gle/XmWWbrGHAJrcXRoH6

More Fabulous Details: 

QuickStart is FREE to ONE chapter leader (the first 10 registrants *one offer per chapter* will receive a $150 travel scholarship, which can help offset hotel or gas costs) – after that, the cost is just $50 per PRSA member, $40 per PRSSA member (hotel and travel separate). Registration link is here: https://forms.gle/6MQNqzQH6wSz5sZe7 

The 2019 conference, will feature the topics of: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; How to Build, Train, Manage, and Maintain an Inclusive Board; Being Deliberate: Diversity & Inclusion in PRSA Chapters; The State of Advocacy Organizations; Diversity and Inclusion Efforts at PRSSA Level: Recruiting and Maintaining Millennial & Gen Z; and What if we created a PR, social media, influencer relations and executive thought leadership program for our PRSA Chapters?

In addition to being able to engage with leaders from our district’s 17 PRSA chapters, we have the honor of hosting prominent guests from PRSA national in the areas of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Educators Academy, Membership, and more! Our full schedule can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/events/622995591499275/  – don’t forget to share our FB event!!

Still not convinced?? 

We start with happy hour!! The fun begins with a cash bar happy hour networking event at Bar Louie on Friday, September 13, from 5:30 p.m.- 8 p.m – heavy apps co-hosted by our friends from the Central Ohio Chapter. On Saturday, the one-day conference kicks off at 7:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast. We’ll wrap up and have you on your way no later than 4 p.m. 

You can get those APR credits!! APRs can claim two (2) maintenance credits for participation in the conference. Always a bonus!

This is totally walkable! All events are held in the Easton Town Center in Columbus. Hotel reservations can be made through our room block at the Courtyard Columbus Easton either online here, or by calling the hotel directly at: 614-416-8000; or if you prefer, contact Marriott Reservations at 1-888-236-2427 directly. 

The nitty gritty: 

Please note: it is important to make your hotel reservations before September 6, 2019. After this date, the hotel cannot guarantee availability of rooms in our block. Courtyard Columbus Easton is conveniently located within walking distance of Bar Louie and Fahlgren Mortine office, where the QuickStart conference will be held. Please check the room policies for all matters hotel related.

Register and remit QuickStart payment by Friday, August 30, 2019. Late registrations will be considered on an individual basis based on venue capacity. This is a great opportunity to prepare you and your chapter for a successful 2020!  If you know who your chapter president is for 2020 or have other chapter leaders who may be interested, please forward this email to them.

Please message Adrienne Wallace, 2019 QuickStart chair at: adrienneAwallace@gmail.com with any questions, comments, or concerns. We look forward to seeing you there!


Recognize your chapter “MVP”


By Andrea Clark, APR

We all have them: the amazingly dedicated individuals who find time for their “day jobs,” families and friends, communities AND PRSA.

They care deeply about the profession and their peers, and often get involved first at the chapter level, graduate to the district level and often engage at the national level – whether on the board or through committees, special projects or conference. These seemingly tireless folks are usually the ones who also write papers or articles educating and informing about public relations, and make time to mentor others who strive to make an impact through strategic communications.

Do you have someone like this in your chapter? Most of us do. Shining a light on their dedication and commitment can be an incredibly powerful motivator for others, and these PR champions deserve our recognition.

That’s why every year the East Central District (ECD) presents the Platinum Award to one outstanding professional from one of our 17 chapters. Named after former national PRSA board member; ECD PRSA board chair and Detroit PRSA Chapter President Donald P. Durocher, APR, Fellow PRSA, the Platinum Award recognizes a practitioner who has achieved a distinguished service record and is clearly identified as a role model for others.

The ECD has been privileged to have so many talented and committed practitioners calling our district home. In 2018, the board recognized Rick Batyko, APR, Fellow PRSA, of the Greater Cleveland Chapter with the Platinum Award. Rick serves on the PRSA National board, and has also served at the district and chapter levels.

Batyko reinforced the importance of the Platinum Award. “As PR practitioners, we delight in earning recognition for our organizations and clients through professional awards from esteemed associations like the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). We do not seek the spotlight for ourselves,” Batyko said. “The PRSA East Central District (ECD) Platinum Award is one of our profession’s ways of turning the spotlight on the professional whose career achievements and community contributions set her or him apart. It is a high honor bestowed upon one professional each year by colleagues across six states and 17 PRSA chapters. Few awards in our profession mean as much to an individual as the ECD Platinum Award.”

Each chapter is encouraged to nominate one leader from their ranks. All applications are due by Friday, Aug. 30 to Andrea Clark, APR at andrea.clark@kellogg.com. For more information about the award and criteria, see this link.

Photo caption, from left to right: Bob Rotatori from the Greater Cleveland Chapter, Batyko and John Palmer from the ECD Board.


Honoring two of our greats…

I opened my email one day to find an invitation to an event I never imagined happening.  Marilyn and David Shank were closing the doors on Shank Public Relations Counselors after 30 years…and I was invited to the party!

My history with them goes back longer than any of us will admit, but I met them in the late 1980s when I served on the East Central District (ECD) Board of Directors with David Shank, APR, Fellow PRSA, who was then chair of the District.  It was my first exposure to the East Central District and one that would open many interesting doors over the years of our friendship.

In August 2000, I became the first administrator of the East Central District and have since had the privilege of working for both Marilyn Shank, APR, and David when each served on the East Central District Board of Directors, David for the second time, through the various offices and as chair.  They brought new and exciting programs to the ECD and the chapters it serves, keeping the District on the cutting edge of leadership within PRSA. During his first term as chair, David was responsible for designing and implementing the QuickStart leadership conference model that we still use today and it was a “first of its kind” event for a PRSA District. Marilyn took the QuickStart conference beyond our 17-chapter, six-state border, by developing the “QuickStart in a Box” program that has been implemented by a number of PRSA’s other nine Districts.

Both have been leaders and mentors to their 100+ interns and many other professionals across the country.  Listening to the recap of their career highlights was impressive and taught me even more about them as people and as consummate professionals than I already knew.  Still, I had to laugh when I got to the party.  As a good association executive and public relations person, I had sent my RSVP, indicating I’d be there.  However, none of the name tags on the table were mine.  Seems they didn’t believe I’d make the nearly five-hour drive from West Virginia to Indiana to celebrate them!

The East Central District Board of Directors honored them with a gift certificate to an iconic Indianapolis restaurant (thanks to Andrea Farmer for the idea!).

On behalf of your friends in the profession, may you enjoy retirement and the time with your family and those two adorable grandsons (and the soon-to-be third grandchild)!

Thanks for the excuse to wear my Fellows medallion!!!

ECD Administrator Diane Slaughter, CAE, APR, Fellow PRSA



Giving Back – Creating a Flourishing Community

By Vanessa Lansdale, Alumni GVSU PRSSA

Anniversaries come and go every year, but instead of getting gifts for an anniversary, how about giving back? That’s what the Grand Valley State University PRSSA chapter did for its 10-year anniversary celebration.

The Grand Valley Chapter of PRSSA, GVSUPRSSA, along with its nationally affiliated, student-run public relations firm, GrandPR, celebrated their 10-year anniversary with an alumni networking spectacular hosted by partner firm 8ThirtyFour Integrated Communications. Between the months of January and March, students from both organizations partnered with 10 different nonprofits in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area as a way to say “thank you” to those who have contributed to the organizations’ success.

Tasks included collecting and re-packaging feminine hygiene products for Be A Rose, donating supplies for GR HQ, assembling sack suppers for Kids’ Food Basket, and more. “The community here gives us so much; we have amazing partnerships with agencies and firms, mentors, our West Michigan Public Relations Society Chapter, and many nonprofits and businesses in the area. When thinking what we could do to celebrate the first decade of GrandPR, we couldn’t think of a better way than to give back,” said GrandPR’s CEO, Sabrina Antcliff.

Being involved first-hand with GrandPR and GVSU PRSSA’s 10-year anniversary celebration, I had many takeaways from this experience. Here are a few:

Community partnerships are to be treasured.

Oftentimes, we take the people around us for granted. Sending a simple thank-you card, inviting a student to your event, or even grabbing coffee with a colleague who you haven’t talked to in a while all strengthens your network. Building networks and partnerships are key in making the community around you grow.

Celebrations don’t need to have gifts.

The gift of time may be the most valuable thing you can give. While volunteering at the different nonprofits with GVSU PRSSA and GrandPR, I could see how my time was directly impacting other individuals. Instead of giving a gift, consider giving your time or an experience to someone. That time may be more valuable to them than you know.

I challenge you to ask yourself, how can I make a difference in my community? How can I use my talents to benefit others? Whether it’s mentoring an individual or volunteering at an organization, together, we can create a flourishing community.


Why spend thousands of hours a year mentoring young people?

By Adrienne Wallace, Ph.D.

When I was just a little seedling in undergraduate studies, I recall writing a thank you note to a professional after she spoke to my fundamentals of public relations class. What was so shocking about that note was that I actually got a note back! However, to my horror, instead of being inspiring or challenging, it was openly hostile and threatening. In this note, she called me “overly emotional” and “saccharine,” essentially calling me a kiss ass! I was afraid I blew it by simply extending gratitude to her for taking time to visit my class.

What I didn’t understand exactly then, but now understand, was that I was looking for a mentor in this woman. I was trying to express gratitude for her time in an attempt to develop a relationship with her, but boy was I barking up the wrong tree. She was conveying to me that my gratitude was a “weakness,” and I frankly couldn’t disagree more. I knew in my heart and my bones that this “professional” was wrong on so many levels. This interaction made me first cry, but then it made me angry, and then I became determined to do better for others than this woman did for me.

So why do I do it? Why spend thousands of hours a year mentoring young people?

Gratitude drives me to mentor others.

Despite people sometimes believing the contrary, no one “makes it” in this life without the help of others. I feel that if I can demonstrate gratitude and inspire gratitude in others in the early stages of young pro careers, and that personal interactions, even the early or beginning ones (like the kind needed for networking) can be less intimidating and, dare I say it, even fun. By creating an environment where kindness chokes out the darkness, the playing field can be somewhat leveled to the point where we can all engage in meaningful, thoughtful and mutually beneficial ways. We shouldn’t be cutting each other down (and women know how to cut the deepest, don’t they?). The truth is we need each other, and if you cannot mentor positive interactions and coach sound professional development, then get out of the way. The rest of us have a world to inspire.

Maintaining relevancy drives me to mentor others.

Nothing keeps you as fresh in a profession than having meaningful dialogue with folks who are different from you. The longer I’m a professor the further away from the current college-going generation I get (for the most part). In order to be a better practitioner I need to know what’s coming down the pipe. In order to be a better connector in the classroom, I need to know what drives, moves or scares my students. In order to help fight injustice in the workplace, I need to understand how other people think. And so on. My thoughts are a result of my personal experiences, and they are not the only experiences. Exposing myself to the issues of others helps me becomes a more empathetic professor and professional.

Building and maintaining a network drives me to mentor others.

A mentor/mentee relationship should not be quid pro quo; however it does work both ways. I’m not so naive that I cannot wrap my mind around the possibility of working for professionals a generation or two younger than me. The people I mentor have connected me to their own networks, recommended me for positions, and informed me of new opportunities. While I have not as of yet capitalized on this information for myself, this network has helped me pass along opportunities to others. Since I work with young professionals so often, I typically get job postings and internship opportunities before they are posted public. This is very valuable to my mentees and advisees. Just today, I had a former intern send me a job description about a week before it becomes public, so she is using her network to connect to my network in order to pre-screen qualified graduating seniors for an entry-level job. That’s plain smart. I’m happy to help move this information through the system. You can’t beat the networked approach to hiring.

The future of my profession drives me to mentor others.

I didn’t have a strong female mentor early in my career. I fumbled and stumbled through the first five years of my career. The future of equality and quality depends on professionals mentoring the next generation of pros. If I (we – all of us really) don’t help the up-and-coming generation get their foundation solid now, who in the world will we be forced to collaborate with later? There are a lot of haters out there that like to complain about how this generation can’t do this or that, or complain that they do certain things and not others, but you know what…we’re part of this problem. Their perceived or actual failings and deficiencies are actually OUR failings and deficiencies. Gen Y/millennials are STARVING for our attention, they want to be helped and mentored toward success. They are eager to learn and have so much to teach us if only we would just pay attention to the signs. To maintain ethics, professionalism, sound tactical implementation, creativity, strategy and problem-solving in public relations means I have to demonstrate to the next generation of practitioners how to do it well and how to not screw it up. Then they are able to add their personal style to this tribal knowledge and be better than us/me/we. We can’t start them out at a deficiency just because it bothers us. We have to be better than that.

The secret to mentorship that often goes overlooked is that it’s not a one-way street. It’s not just the mentee that benefits; the mentor also benefits. Being entrusted as a mentor has grown my own career and added a richness to my own life that I honestly didn’t even know I was missing until I started mentoring young people. Very early in my career I stumbled upon this Hindu proverb and it struck a chord within me: “They who give have all things; they who withhold have nothing.” You could say I embraced it as my personal mantra. I do believe that I have all things.

If I can do it, you can too. Can you imagine the power of mentorship if we each mentor one that mentors one that mentors one? Help me build a mentor army, won’t you?

Author’s note: A version of this blog first appeared in a print edition of West Michigan Woman Magazine, it has been since been modified and edited.


2018 Platinum Award Winner: Rick Batyko, APR, Fellow PRSA

Every year PRSA Chapters within the East Central District (ECD) region are given the opportunity to submit a nomination from their membership for consideration of the District’s top practitioner recognition, the Platinum Award.

This year five nominations were received. The PRSA ECD Board was impressed with the quality of all the applications. After careful review, the Board selected Rick Batyko, APR, Fellow PRSA, of the Greater Cleveland Chapter as this year’s honoree.

Rick has more than 30 years of Fortune100 and nonprofit public relations, marketing and brand management experience. Currently, he is serving as senior vice president for marketing, communications and development for Team NEO in Cleveland. Prior, he has served as director of communications for Babcock & Wilcox; as a director of communications and brand management for AlliedSignal; as manager, e-media and news management at Honeywell International; and prior to Team NEO as an officer and vice president for marketing and communications at The Cleveland Foundation. He began his career in PR leadership roles with Rio Grande University and Lake Erie College.

“I’ve had the good fortune to serve on the East Central District board with Rick in the past and have appreciated his support and leadership as a national board member,” said ECD board chair Andrea Clark, APR. “This is a well-earned recognition.”

Batyko is a graduate of Ohio University’s E. W. Scripps School of Journalism with a major in public relations, and received his Master of Arts in public relations from Kent State University in 2012. He holds his Accreditation with the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and is an adjunct faculty member at Kent State University’s College of Journalism and Mass Communication, teaching courses in the Masters of Public Relations program.

Rick is on the PRSA National Board of Directors representing the ECD region, and was recently voted in to continue on the Board at the national assembly.  He is a past president of the Greater Cleveland and the Akron Area Chapters of the Society and past chair of PRSA’s East Central District’s Board of Directors. He has presented at a number of PRSA’s international and regional conferences, chaired or held positions on several national committees and has been a delegate at six national assemblies. He served on the 2013 College of Fellows Selection Committee, co-chaired the 2014–16 College of Fellows Strategic Planning Committee, a member of the PRSA Investment Committee, and a Champion for PRSSA.

For his service to the profession, Batyko was inducted into PRSA’s College of Fellows in 2009. In 2013, PRSA Greater Cleveland Chapter presented him with its Lighthouse Award, which acknowledges a senior-level practitioner for contributions to the field and the community.

His writings have appeared in an ABC-CLIO book on advertising titled, “We Are What We Sell” (2014); in a University of Akron Press book on community-building economic development titled, “Under the Rustbelt” (2015); and in a Praeger book titled, “Debates for the Digital Age” (November 2015). He is editing for ABC-CLIO (Greenwood imprint) an encyclopedia of the global digital. He has been published in the Public Relations Journal and in other outlets. His thesis, “The Impact of Japanese Corporate and Country Culture on Crisis Communications: A Case Study Examining Tokyo Electric Power Company,” was published to OhioLink in 2012.

Batyko’s son, Bobby, is a graduate of Kent State University in public relations and is working for a nonprofit in Oberlin, Ohio. His daughter, Erica, is also a graduate of Kent State University in public relations and is working for a full-service advertising agency in Cleveland, Ohio. His wife, Mary, teaches for Akron Public Schools.


Photo credit: Team NEO

Why PRSA Still Matters to Me

By Dr. Steve Iseman APR, Fellow PRSA

The “What’s in it for me” question drives the world – and that’s human nature.

But in terms of our professional organizations and affiliations I think as people age, both in their lives and in their careers, the question gradually shifts from “What’s in it for me?” to “What’s in it for others?” And that’s certainly been the case during my years of involvement with the Public Relations Society of America.

In the early days folks value most what they can learn from participating in PRSA that would benefit their careers. At first they are looking for programming that will help improve their skills. Later PRSA often becomes the source for the connections and the network they need to advance their careers. And later on the focus frequently shifts to seeking information about becoming better strategic thinkers, planners and managers. And all of these are great benefits of a professional organization like PRSA.

This was certainly the case with me, but as I became better at all of those things I realized, as many folks do, that public relations is more than just telling our stories, persuading our publics or building our brands. Public relations with its emphasis on open, honest, ethical communication really does provide the best hope for, 1) Cosmic Balance, 2) Universal Harmony and, 3) Preservation of Life in the Free World as we Know it Today.

I recognize that I’ve been lucky to work in a field that does so much good for so many. But with that recognition comes responsibility. And to me that responsibility has always been to find ways to stay involved with PRSA – advising students, counseling others, mentoring colleagues and working to strengthen public relations education. I’m happiest when I’m doing things to help others improve their skills, develop their networks, become better strategic thinkers and understand the critical role that public relations has in our world – in short to be able to live the same rewarding life focusing on the “What’s in it for others?” question that I’ve enjoyed so much for so many years.

Dr. Steve Iseman APR, Fellow PRSA, is Professor Emeritus at Ohio Northern University.


New president, new opportunities, new challenges

Mary Hemlepp, APR, Senior Communication Strategist
Kentucky Community and Technical College System

A new president brings a great deal of excitement to an organization, along with opportunities and challenges to its public relations professionals. When the Kentucky Community and Technical College System’s (KCTCS) new president took the reins nearly four years ago, one of the first steps our Marketing and Communications Department took was to develop a plan to introduce him to internal and external audiences. Then, we worked with him to determine the voice and tone of his writing.

A little history of KCTCS, which has 16 colleges across Kentucky. We have just turned 20-years-old, and for the first 16 years, we had only one president. When he retired and Dr. Jay Box took the position, we knew we had to rethink our communications to fit his style.

Dr. Box had been the system chancellor, president of one of our colleges and served in other leadership roles with KCTCS. This was a plus because we knew him and his speaking style. Another plus was he served on several state and national boards and committees, so he already was well-known in some circles. He also was a community college graduate and had been a faculty member, which gave us some messaging opportunities internally as well as externally.

One of the first things he did was to give a vision speech to internal audiences. He wrote it, so that provided us some insights into how he writes and speaks. Dr. Box is a Texan. His style is down-to-earth and approachable, so we used that as a starting point.

We wanted to create a voice that not only shows his open style, but also his depth of knowledge without sounding authoritative or condescending. We wanted to make sure his voice was relatable to students, business leaders and the public.

After some deliberation and several tweaks, we all agreed on these voice characteristics:

  • Approachable
  • Conversational
  • Empathetic
  • Knowledgeable
  • Authentic

In addition to his voice characteristics, we’ve been working on his visibility throughout Kentucky and the U.S. Some of our best opportunities for Dr. Box come from public radio and public television, which reach statewide audiences. Additionally, a statewide business publication and most media markets are amenable to interviews and op-eds. He has a blog, but so far, the number of followers is low. Twitter followers, however, continue to grow.

We send newsletters from the president to several thousand stakeholders who’ve opted in, and we are working on a new, more targeted version of that for key influencers. He has a website, which we are in process of upgrading and incorporating into our new content management system.

Nationally, our president is called on by higher ed publications for interviews or quotes about issues affecting community colleges or higher ed in general. These are the types of opportunities we want to expand, and we continue to try to build relationships with those outlets.

Internally, one of the first branding steps we took was a college tour. He visited our 16 colleges where he had town hall meetings with faculty, staff and students. He also met separately with local business leaders, elected officials and media. This was the first time many people had met him, so the town hall format and small group meetings showcased his personality well.

Other internally focused branding includes quarterly KCTCS News videos in which we pair Dr. Box with a former television anchor who hosts the program. Dr. Box does other videos throughout the year, including a yearly holiday message.

We still have plenty of work to do even though we’re four years into his presidency. At the top of our list is to continue building relationships with legislators and business leaders throughout Kentucky. Right behind that is more national exposure. His involvement in Rebuilding America’s Middle Class and the American Association of Community Colleges give us a leg up, but we continue to look for additional opportunities to brand our president. The next thing on our list is a podcast.

If you have tactics that worked for you, I’d love to hear about them. Email me at mary.hemlepp@kctcs.edu.

Mary Hemlepp, APR, is a member of the Thoroughbred Chapter in Lexington, Ky.


Yesterday’s Sage Advice, Today’s Work Hacks

Nancy Wiser, APR, Fellow, PRSA, President, Wiser Strategies

Most careers move through several stages. My informal breakdown includes the exciting “Newbie Stage,” the more profitable “Advancing Pro Stage,” and finally, the astonishing “I’ve Been Around Forever Stage.”

I’m in the middle of the third phase. I must admit, it’s a little scary sometimes when I do the math and realize just how long I’ve been in the working world. Recently I was in the car traveling with a couple of team members and before I could stop myself, I calculated my tenure and blurted the number out. Then I quickly said, “Don’t tell anyone I’ve been working that long!”

It’s passed quickly, perhaps because of the variety of roles I’ve been fortunate to experience. My professional career began in therapeutic recreation. Four years later, I was given the opportunity to become director of community relations with Eastern State Hospital. While in high school and college I was a lifeguard and swimming instructor for six years.

So, after 40+ years of full- and part-time employment (please swear you won’t tell anyone!), I’ve gathered many tips about working. Or, using today’s vernacular, I know a lot of “work hacks.” Some of them came from the excellent bosses I’m fortunate to have had and other mentors who took the time to help me.

Here is a sampling of sage advice I value most:

  • “If you don’t have anything to do, pick up a broom and sweep the floor.” That was advice from my first boss, my dad, to my older brother. But, I include it here because it was said for me to hear as well. Dad established a screen printing business before screen printing was cool and we hung out there and helped him when he had large jobs. I learned a great deal from him and attribute my work ethic to his industriousness. Without his example, I may not have taken the risk of starting my own business.
  • “Don’t answer questions you aren’t asked and keep your answers brief.” This came from Butch, my boss when I was a recreation therapist at the state psychiatric hospital. Officials were conducting a periodic review and I thought I was being loyal when I offered information about how Butch made sure we always had adequate staff for our programs. Little did I know he’d been telling them how understaffed we were. Oops. Indirectly, his advice is always a part of media training programs we conduct.
  • “Remember that people who appear to be talking to themselves are actually having a very normal reaction to stimuli that’s very real to them. Their response is rational considering what they are experiencing.” This reminder was shared by a psychologist who talked with visiting groups about the mentally ill people we cared for. I’ve remembered that often when I thought someone was way off base.
  • “The role of the public relations professional is behind the scenes, not in the forefront,” said Lance, a consummate professional. At the time, I thought this was a little strange, especially because I was such an exuberant and outgoing person and bursting to be in the middle of things. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized it is usually true. Even when we are the spokesperson or leading a program, we are representing our organization, not ourselves.
  • “I don’t know if you’ve ever thought of looking for a different job, but this would be a good time to start a search. “ A personnel director spoke these words to me in kindness. Public relations and marketing positions often are highly political and it’s easy to be a victim of people in high places coveting your job for themselves or their friends. This was the case in one of my positions and Leonard gave me the heads up. It wasn’t a shock to me because I’d already figured out the situation, but the advice coming from him motivated me to take job hunting seriously. Fortunately, I was able to find my next dream position before the ax dropped. The moral to this story is to cultivate relationships wherever you work so someone will tell you what you need to hear even if it’s hard.
  • “They haven’t hit rock bottom yet. When they do, they will be ready to listen more closely and implement the strategies we are outlining.” My firm represented an insurance company in a fight with the state attorney who had sued the company. The client’s public policy advisor was one of the most strategic thinkers I’ve ever worked with. It’s often hard for companies to take aggressive positions to defend themselves until there are no other alternatives. Eventually, they were ready to listen.
  • Speaking of strategic thinkers, Tom Preston, APR, Fellow, PRSA, once said, “Elected officials are not your friends. They can be your allies, but they are not your friends however they like to position themselves.” In other words, don’t rely on them to do what’s in your best interest or even to follow through on what they may have expressed as their position on an issue. They will always do what is in their best interest or that of their constituents.
  • “People just need an excuse to do what you want them to do.” This is my saying, and, indeed, my advice. If you want people to act in certain ways, give them the excuse they need. Why do thousands of people flock to Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington (or others around the country) to watch “horse racing as it was meant to be”? They do it because it’s an excuse each spring and fall to pull together the latest fashion, gather with friends, drink adult beverages and enjoy a beautiful day in the Bluegrass watching majestic Thoroughbreds run. The vast majority of attendees don’t follow racing and many don’t even bet. But, they don’t miss Keeneland because it’s a ritual and they want to be a part of this iconic seasonal event.

Work hard, even when there’s not much to do. Don’t over communicate. Plan for the worst but be prepared for people to resist. Realize that not all promises will be kept. Listen to friends’ warnings of rough seas ahead. Understand what motivates people and you can give them an excuse to do what you want them to do.

These are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned and tried to apply. What are some of your favorite work hacks?


Don’t Be Slow to Register for QuickStart!

By Jennifer Flowers-Kolf, APR, PRSA ECD Chair-elect; QuickStart Chair

Did you know 48 percent of Americans live within 600 miles of Columbus – making it less than a day’s drive away for almost half of the country? It’s certainly a convenient meeting spot for most of our 17 East Central District (ECD) chapter leaders and a great location for the PRSA ECD’s annual QuickStart conference on Sept. 14-15, 2018.

PRSA’s ECD is one of 10 PRSA districts in the U.S., and represents more than 2,700 members in 17 chapters in six states. The QuickStart conference is the only opportunity the district currently has during the year to bring chapter and district leaders together in one place.

Registration for ECD QuickStart is currently open to all ECD chapter leaders. The first 10 registrants will receive a $150 travel scholarship this year, which can offset hotel or gas costs (one per chapter). ECD chapter and district leaders can register here by Saturday, Sept. 8. Reservations at PRSA ECD’s hotel room block for QuickStart can be made by Wednesday, Sept. 5 via this link.

But, QuickStart isn’t all learning and business. We also have a little fun with a special kick-off welcome reception at Bar Louie on Friday, Sept. 14 – the night before the conference – at 5:30 p.m.

So, if you’re taking on a chapter leadership position in a PRSA chapter within one of these ECD district chapters, then we want to see your smiling face in Columbus Sept. 14-15:

  • Bluegrass Chapter
  • Central Michigan Chapter
  • Central Ohio Chapter
  • Cincinnati Chapter
  • Dayton Area Chapter
  • Detroit Chapter
  • Greater Cleveland Chapter
  • Hoosier Chapter
  • Northwest Ohio Chapter
  • Northwestern Pennsylvania Chapter
  • Pittsburgh Chapter
  • River City Chapter
  • Thoroughbred Chapter
  • West Michigan Chapter
  • West Virginia Chapter
  • White Pine Chapter

Contact me at JFlowe28@forddirect.com if you have any questions and we will see you in Columbus soon!

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