Subscribe: Beginning a Career in Public Relations
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade A rated
Language: English
communications  day  girl scouts  girl  houston  new  professionals  prsa houston  prsa  public relations  public  relations  time 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Beginning a Career in Public Relations

Beginning a Career in Public Relations

This Blog was created to serve as a resource for students and new professionals beginning their career in public relations.

Updated: 2015-09-16T17:06:43.463-05:00


Learning to Enjoy Speaking in Public


On April 26, 2008, volunteers from the Houston Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and the Shell Toastmasters Club hosted the first-ever Public Speaking Workshop to help Girl Scouts earn the Girl Scouts of Northern California's Public Speaking Interest Patch.

Held at the fabulous Program Place, the workshop was designed to help Girls learn about the different types of speeches, as well as practice listening and non-verbal communication skills. Girls were asked to complete research about a topic of their choice prior to the workshop and developed speeches that they then presented to the entire group.

Most importantly, Girls learned that practicing and being prepared to speak in public helps build confidence and eliminate a little of the nervousness. After the workshop, one girl commented, "My favorite part was working with others in making speeches and preparing speeches with professionals."

A special thank you to the following PRSA Houston volunteers: Vannessa Wade, Bill Zander, Nancy Mills, APR, Nancy Elmohamad, Emilee Fontenot, and David Casey. Also a thank you to Yolanda Bynum of the Shell Toastmasters Club for taking the time to be there and work with the girls.

Yolanda (speaking in the photo above) placed first in the Toastmasters Division Q International Speech contest on April 26. She will now compete in the Toastmasters District 56 International Speech competition. The name of her speech is ""One Day You'll Thank Me." Congratulations, Yolanda!

Extra: One of the Girl Scouts who attended the workshop will give a short speech at the July 2 PRSA Houston Luncheon. Hope to see you there!

Girl Scouts Recognized for Achievements


It's no secret that I am a strong supporter of the Girl Scouts organization. This year's Annual Senior Recognition Event for the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council took place on May 4, 2008 at the lodge of Camp Agnes Arnold. In attendance were more than 120 Senior Girl Scouts, their family members and friends. This was my second year to chair the event, and I was pleased to have Sophia Carmon as a co-chair.We worked with a Girl Planning Board comprised of 12 young ladies (11 are pictured here) who gained valuable event planning experience, as well as leadership hours. The theme the girls delivered on was “Honoring Our Precious Jewels," and what a fun event! During the ceremony, Girls were honored for receiving their Gold Award, being a graduating senior, and/or celebrating 10 years of Girl Scouting by receiving their 10-year pin. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. This award is achieved by less than 5% of all girls who join Girl Scouting.There are seven requirements that must be completed to earn the coveted Gold Award. 1. Build a Framework: The girl must take into consideration what she is currently involved in, amount of school work during the year and any other commitments that might impede time that she would have to work on the Gold Award. She will then create a timeline to discuss where she can fit her pre-req modules into her daily life. This gives her a guide to follow.2. She will decide on three Interest Project Patches and one Studio 2B focus book that she is interested in and will take those to completion. When she has completed her patches and focus book, she will need to find a leadership project and complete 30 hours of leadership either in the community, her school or within the scouting framework. 3. Complete the Girl Scout Career Award. For the Career Award, the Girl Scout has two options; the first would be to really focus on her future, her career options and what University she could attend that would allow her to complete her chosen degree. She would do this by visiting numerous Universities, speaking with professors, working with college counselors, attending college fairs, trade fairs, researching degree options, housing options, job shadowing or securing an internship with someone that has a career that she is interested in pursuing. The goal in this option is for a girl to select the right career and the right University that will have everything she needs to be successful.The Second Option is called “FAST TRACK.” A girl may elect to either secure a paying job or create her own business. If she “Fast Tracks” she must secure employment in a career/start a business that she is interested in as an adult or at a minimum be able to learn valuable skills such as communication and leadership skills that she will be able to use in her Career. She must log a minimum of 40 hours in either option before she goes to the next step.4. Complete the STUDIO 4B Challenge. This Award does not have any hours associated with it but has four steps that must be completed. The Challenge Award Focuses on the Assets as well as the needs in the girl’s community. She challenges herself to find out things that could be improved in her community and then network to find community minded people who she can enlist to help her.5-7. These final steps focus on a Girl Scout’s decision about what community Leadership project she will create and develop that will become her Gold Award Project. She will go through the council approval process and for the next few months she will be working very hard to accomplish the outline she has developed for her Leadership project while using all the skills she has learned in scouting. The project will take determination, communication, patience, sacrifices, ingenuity and sweat to complete the minimum requirement of 65 hours. I am very proud of all of the girls that were honored on May 4 and was extra happy to learn that a few of them are considering careers in public relations and communications! [...]

University of Houston PRSSA Chapter Spring Banquet


(image) I visited the campus of the University of Houston yesterday evening to attend the UH PRSSA Chapter's Spring Banquet. I have a special place in my heart for this chapter, as I served as President in 2001-02. I am proud of this year's officers and the amount of effort they have put into making the chapter a success. The challenges of running a chapter on a largely commuter-based campus are still there, but from what I saw last night, the officers and members have embraced this and are making it work for their membership. (That's me in the middle with Katie Moyer on the left and Katie Winslow on the right -- both are amazing PR students!)

The enthusiasm in the room was very encouraging, and the excitement of graduating and looking for a job reminded me of what I felt like six years ago when I was in those very same shoes - both nervous and excited at the same time.

Priscilla Tinsley, president of PRSA Houston, was the guest speaker and did an awesome job providing tips for students who will soon be entering the "real" world - primarily to remember that finding the perfect job does not always happen right away, but by being true to yourself, you will find the perfect fit (even if it takes a few jobs to find out where you belong).

Julie Fix, APR, was recognized for the support she provides to the chapter on an ongoing basis. Julie is also on the board of PRSA Houston, in addition to owning her own public relations company and serving as a professor in the School of Communication at UH. Also there was Catherine Burch Graham, APR, of Houston-Based LifeGift and also a member of the Board of Directors of PRSA Houston.

I wish all the graduates great success in their job searches and am sure that the new PRSSA officers will continue to do an incredible job!

When Words Are Not Enough: American Cancer Society Launches


The American Cancer Society has joined the Web 2.0 era by opening a place for people who are passionate about the fight against cancer to share their video online.

The project, called, is a high-quality platform for anyone to upload, view, or share their experience with cancer. For example, former smokers can share cessation tips, the recently diagnosed can share their cancer journey and survivors can share their victory with others.

Check it out at

Girl Scouts Learn About Public Relations


(image) Close to 60 Girl Scouts between the ages of 11 and 17 took part in a four-hour workshop on Saturday, February 9, 2008, to learn about the profession.

Sponsored by PRSA Houston, the workshop teaches Girl Scouts the basic terminology of the profession and helps them recognize aspects of public relations that they see and hear in their every day life.

I am especially thankful to Natalie Young, Vinnika Johnson and Vannessa Wade for their leadership in making this workshop possible.

An exciting part of the workshop, which was launched in 2006, is an image discussion, where Girl Scouts list both well-known and no-so-well known aspects of Girl Scouting. The girls then work in teams to put together a small campaign around increasing awareness for one concept or program.

(image) For example, one group focused entirely on promoting the Mariners Program that exists through the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (see image at left).

Other groups chose to focus on the travel opportunities that Girl Scouting brings, as well as the opportunities for camping, backpacking and rock climbing. The theme of the day: Girl Scouting is More Than Cookies!

I would like to thank Melinda Gaskill, program manager for the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, for recognizing me with the Council's Outstanding Volunteer Award at the start of the workshop and to all the girls who signed my special photo frame and took part in the presentation. I believe in the mission of Girl Scouting and enjoy every second of every workshop that I have helped develop.

We are already planning another PR Interest Project Award Workshop for the summer that will focus on the newly-opened Goodykoontz Museum of Girl Scout History. Please let me know if you would like to volunteer!

Almost December...


Staying in this saddle is harder than I seems like only yesterday that I unlocked my blogger account and here I am with only two posts since then. As the holidays near, I think of things that I am thankful to have in my life, and my degree in public relations is definitely among the top three (after family and my health). In my current position, our department receives calls and emails from employees, network groups and others asking for the direction of the communications team on all kinds of projects. From the United Way campaign to employee promotions of all types, there is a demand for the expertise of communications professionals. I have watched a true team of professionals at work -- from research to planning to implementation to evaluation -- it's all there! To me, it seems that PR professionals are finally being viewed as true strategists. Yes, there are some tactics thrown in there that we all have to do, but I truly have seen a shift in the way the profession is viewed since I graduated five short years ago.

Writing remains at the heart of the profession. If you can't spell out your plans in a clear language and receive buy-in and approval, you won't get very far. I am building on this concept for a presentation I am sharing with students at Texas Southern University on December 6 as part of the Tavis Smiley School of Communications Open House. While I've only been out of school a short while, I am always eager to share what I have learned with those who are eager to begin a career in communications.

I also hope to see everyone at the PRSA Holiday party on December 11 at Two Hyde Park.

Trying to Stay in the Saddle


Getting back in the blog saddle was quite an ordeal and now I must stay in the saddle.

I am finding each and every day that I am extremely dependent on technology, and I am even becoming impatient when I don't get an immediate response to an email or IM. My Blackberry service was out this morning when I woke up, and I really felt as though I wasn't "complete" until it started functioning properly. I frantically tried to send myself a message only to find that I couldn't connect to the company address book. I asked my fiancé to email me, and his Blackberry unresponsive as well. The world was ending, it seemed.

Why are we so dependent on these little devices? For me, I like to know what messages are waiting for me BEFORE I arrive at the office so I can begin thinking of solutions and responses on the drive in. If I can safely respond while waiting at a red light, admittedly, I will. Anything to get rid of one email in my world of Getting Things Done by David Allen. I am very proud of myself for leaving my Blackberry behind while on vacation over the Labor Day weekend. So, I can live without it, but prefer to stay connected as much as possible. It's hard to imagine what people did before email. I act as though I don't know what I did before email. I am a lagger when it comes to technology, so I didn't sign up for my first email account until 1998, and I rarely checked it. I didn't get my first Blackberry until 2006 if you can imagine that. My family is already arranging to confiscate the Blackberry's the night before the wedding!

I'm applying these same principles to planning our wedding, and it's amazing how much better I feel about an event that is supposed to be stressful and crazy. I like to plan ahead and this is definitely one of those instances when it pays off. We are a year away from the wedding and already have the ceremony and reception sites booked, selected and secured our photographer and videographer; arranged for the musical selections at the ceremony and reception; and my bridesmaids have their dresses.

I am happy to know that my background in public relations and communications can apply to my personal life as well. Here's to Getting Things Done!

Back in the Blog Saddle Again


While attending PRSA Houston's social media luncheon earlier this week, I felt a lot of pressure (followed by determination) to "unlock" my blog. While excuses are excuses, I managed to lock myself out of my Blogger account for quite some time (which prompted me to review my username selection process and also reminded me that I should have updated my email address with Blogger before closing my SBC email account).

Fortunately, my email account at Schipul - The Web Marketing Company is still active - and was a backup address on my account. I thank the team at Schipul for forwarding me the email with the coveted link to now associate my blog with my gmail account (which I had to create before I could use Blogger) and reset my password. Whew.

Apparently, my login information has become even more important than my social security number.

Short story long - I am back to blogging.

In taking all these steps to access my blog, I was reminded of how dependent I have become on technology (and in turn, how impatient I can be at times, too!)

If I lose my blackberry signal for one minute while in the elevator, I fear I have missed the most important email yet. If the Web page I am visiting takes too long to load, I close out of the browser. If the password retrieve message tells me that my username is not found and my password is incorrect, I almost break my keyboard.

I bring up technology because I am on assignment in the internal communications department at Shell Oil through Brookwoods Group. While I have only been in this position for two months, I have learned how critical technology is to public relations, specifically employee communications. From writing and posting articles to the Intranet, to preparing and sending a weekly e-newsletter to employees, I am immersed in technology.

When I wasn't able to log into our external newsletter tool last week to deliver the newsletter, I had to rush home to send from there to meet the deadline.

I am having a great time at Shell and am learning so much in the process. The communications that I prepare are sent to almost 26,000 employees in the United States - not a small number by any stretch of the imagination. I've learned it's so critical to check and double-check every link and every sentence before pressing the magical send button, because once a message is sent, you've reached the end of the road.

I encourage everyone who is new to PR or studying PR to take advantage of any and all opportunities to learn all you can about social media, the Internet and all things technology.

Greetings from the TPRA Conference in Austin


I just ran into my dear friend David Casey with GolinHarris at the TPRA Conference here in Austin and he reminded me I haven't written in my blog in some time so the guilt has gotten the best of me. I'm back in my room in between sessions and wanted to share with everyone the "Top 10 Communications Rules of the Road" presented with Kirk Watson, former Austin mayor. Mr. Watson was exactly on message and gave a lively and entertaining presentation from which all communications professionals can learn.

1. Throw away the labels - we're often labeled by our political affiliations, our beliefs, our jobs - just throw them away (see also #8)

2. Create the opportunity to HEAR - why do we call these meetings of the public "hearings?" No one is hearing - they all are arguing! Communications professionals must constantly communicate - our audiences have short memories, and we must listen - truly listen - to be effective.

3. You'll never meet everyone's concept of perfection, so DON'T TRY! But also, don't demand that others conform to your concept of perfection.

4. Be biased toward ACTION - there is value in failure. Ask yourself, "What can I learn from this?" Do not be afraid to try new things. Regardless of the outcome, learn from it.

5. HOPE MATTERS. Ask yourself, what is the hope I am creating with my message.

6. Have a short-term focus with a long-term vision. Live in increments of time, whether it's one year or two years, but make sure in 40 years, you've achieved your long-term vision. Always live for the "right now" and be sure to "succeed today."

7. Know your core values and core assets. Be willing to admit your weaknesses, even if only to yourself.

8. Avoid nitpickers, naysayers and know-it-all's. You can't always wait for the "better deal," regardless of what others may tell you.

9. Create new and different constituencies. Don't create unnecessary enemies - you won't agree with others 100% of the time, and vice versa.

10. Find the POWER in the situation. No matter how negative the circumstances may be, find the power in the situation.

10.5 Don't believe your own bull! If you are the only one who thinks you are right, it may be time to reevaluate your position.

The conference is great; the speakers are out of this world!

Happy Holidays!!!


Wow! What a busy month I have had learning about the world of banking! I'm settling into my role at Sterling Bank and already have several BIG projects on my plate! Sterling Bank has 40 offices in the Houston, Dallas and San Antonio areas, and takes great pride in its communities. In the Houston area, we just completed a clothing and blanket drive for the homeless through the SEARCH Project, and on March 26, 2006, the Bank is sponsoring the 13th Annual Tour de Cypress, one of the bike rides available for training for the MS 150. All proceeds of the Tour de Cypress benefit the Caring for Children Foundation of Texas.

On April 20, 2006, Sterling will serve as a sponsor of the March of Dimes' WalkAmerica event, so I'll be involved in that project, as well!

Also exciting for me is the opportunity to serve on the silent auction committee for the American Cancer Society's Starlight Gala, which will take place on April 1, 2006. This is an event for young professionals produced by young professionals so please be sure to mark the date on your calendar. Here's a link to last year's event - A bit of history: In 1996, the American Cancer Society Junior Board hosted the first Starlight Gala, creating an event that would introduce young professionals between the ages of 25 and 45 to philanthropic fundraising. Since 1996, the Starlight Gala has raised more than $800,000 for the Houston chapter of the American Cancer Society!!

I promise to update everyone more often now that I am a bit settled at Sterling Bank. Please post your comments and let us know what challenges and successes you are having in public relations.

Happy Holidays!


New job, new responsibilities and a new chapter


After a short break and a trip to Washington, D.C. for the Business Women's Network Women and Diversity Conference, I'm back and beginning a new job tomorrow at Sterling Bank. My time at Schipul - The Web Marketing Company was extremely enriching, and I am thankful to Ed Schipul and the entire team for teaching me about myself, technology and the world. I'm excited about this new chapter in my life and meeting new challenges. More later!

Strategic Planning: Peter Hollister's Advice to New Professionals


On October 14, Peter Hollister, APR, Fellow PRSA, of Hollister, Trubow and Associates, presented a strategic planning and thinking workshop and many new professionals were in attendance!Throughout the workshop, Peter emphasized that PR professionals are perhaps more correctly referred to as Relationship Managers because what we do is all about relationships and our work as PR professionals should be outcome-oriented.Peter said that quite simply, the difference between long range planning and strategic planning is that long range planning is outdated by the time it is completed, but strategic planning is ongoing and does not have an end date. Always, always keep your plan in a loose-leaf binder - it's going to change!! Below are Peter's answers to a few of my questions relating to new professionals and the strategic planning process:Kelly: How can someone just beginning his or her career in public relations work to demonstrate value to senior PR professionals and management?Peter: I think there are several ways a new pro can demonstrate value. All of the obvious bear repeating - good energy, positive attitude, good work ethic, willing to go the extra yard, being accurate in both research and production and being a team player. Equally important, the new pro, like the seasoned pro, can be a strategic thinker and contribute to decision-making and production in a strategic manner. The new pro may not become a strategic planner for some time, but strategic thinking can be applied from day one.Kelly: What contributions can new professionals make to strategic planning, since many of us are on the tactical side of PR, such as press release writing and distribution?Peter: Even on the tactical side of PR - media releases, publications, event planning, etc. - the difference between an effective product and one that is not effective is often strategic thinking. A media release that is produced after going through the strategic thinking test - why are we doing this; who is the audience; what is the message; what objectives are we helping to reach; are we impacting a relationship goal; are we supporting the organization's mission; are the resources available - will be a more impactful media release than one that is simply "produced."Kelly: What advice do you offer to new PR Pros who wish to have that coveted seat at the management table as we advance in our careers?Peter: Patience, perseverance and strategic thinking. When management believes you are strategic and can offer sound advice and counsel, you will be brought to the table. You won't get to the table if management perceives you as a tactician, despite how good you might be.Kelly: Can you provide a recap of recommended reading for those who were not able to attend the session?Peter: If I could reduce it to two books, I would recommend Ronal D. Smith's "Strategic Planning for Public Relations," and Andy Bruce and Ken Langdon's "Strategic Thinking."Kelly: Any other thoughts or advice?Peter: Two final thoughts. First, don't rush to management's table. Getting there is half the fun. Do lots of tactical things, experiment, innovate, find the tasks that really get you excited and excel. Once you get to management's table, you won't have the time for the fun things. Second, sometimes good tacticians do make it to management's table, but usually to receive orders. The strategists at the table participate in the decision making that results in tactical orders.Peter H. Hollister is principal and senior counsel with Hollister, Trubow & Associates, a communications consulting firm he co-founded in 1986. During his career as a professional communicator, Hollister has worked for the military, in the corporate sector for a public utility, in the not-for-profit sector as a vice president for t[...]

CNN Weekend Anchor Renay San Miguel Highlights PRSA Dallas Media Day October 28, 2005


I had an amazing opportunity to listen to CNN Headline News Anchor Renay San Miguel on Friday at PRSA Dallas' Media Day. Renay delivered a brilliant keynote that addressed his views on the changing world of PR, journalism and technology.

Renay is a weekend anchor for CNN Headline News based in CNN's headquarters in Atlanta and has more than 26 years of journalism experience. During the war in Iraq, he helped staff the CNN/U.S. military desk and interviewed CNN military analysts and outlined military operations using maps and satellite imagery. Renay also participated in Headline News' coverage of the war in Afghanistan in 2002. During his PRSA talk, he said that the moment war broke out, there was a silence in the news room that he will never forget.

Before he was a Headline News anchor, Renay provided technology updates for Headline News and CNN/U.S.

When asked who his "toughest" interview was, Renay said it was Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. The interview took place at the 2002 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and apparently Bill was having a bad day and yelled at Renay and walked away from the interview. Renay is a tough guy and of course, can handle it, but the funny part of his story was when he explained the reaction of his 27-year old assistant, who said, "Dude, you just got yelled at by Bill Gates!"

Renay also has interviewed Apple CEO Steve Jobs, commenting that whoever the PR person is who told Steve to name the iPod what it is must be doing very well.

As a journalist, Renay did not seem to be bothered by the likes of bloggers and podcasters working to report the news as they see it. Renay jokingly said, "they'll have to pry the microphone from my dead hands [before I give it up]," indicating that journalists and bloggers and PR professionals can co-exist peacefully.

Indeed, while bloggers are allowed to inflect their opinions and political views into their writings, journalists are supposed to remain unbiased and report the truths. And as Renay emphasized, journalists are people, too, and while they have their own views and biases, they are not supposed to come out in interviews and reports.

When asked if he would consider the job of press secretary of the United States, Renay let out a laugh. He said he'd rather have a job that he could look forward to during the day, indicating that Scott McClellan doesn't appear to have a lot of fun up there on that podium.

On a serious note, when asked about his thoughts on why the PR profession is not more diverse, Renay responded that it's a question most definitely in need of discussion. He also pointed out that his profession is in need of more diverse reporters and anchors, and in the prime time spots. Renay said, "I am ready for some competition."

Renay's presentation was awesome and thought-provoking and he really did an incredible job in captivating the audience. He represented CNN and his profession extremely well.

PRSA Houston New Pros Launches Successful PR Program with local Girl Scouts


Time really flies! Last weekend marked the second workshop hosted with local Girl Scouts of the San Jacinto Council. I personally am very excited about this launch, as this program has been in the works since my days at Houston's Museum of Printing History, where I first learned that Cadette and Senior Girls Scouts had a public relations interest project award, one of many that the Girls can earn. View the entire news story here from August 27, 2005, where Wall Street Journal Education Correspondent June Kronholz visited with PRSA Houston members and Girl Scouts.

The PR Interest project requires Girls to learn the language of the public relations profession, as well as talk with professionals in the field to learn more about the profession. Last weekend's workshop included close to 50 Girls from several different troops who all left with more knowledge of the profession and even ways in which they can use public relations to advance themselves on college applications and their resumes.

(image) Next step is for the Girls to complete a service project in the area of public relations by partnering with a local nonprofit or working to get an article published in a local or school paper.

Many thanks to PRSA Houston New Pros Community Service Liaison Cheyenna Smith for her great work, as well as Holly Caughron, Suzanne Lammers and Erin Blatzer for volunteering to work with the Girls at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Stay tuned for more on this exciting project!

The search is on for PRWeek's 2006 Student of the Year!


Hi everyone,

AWESOME opportunity from PR Week! The winner will receive a paid internship with Weber Shandwick and $5,000!

The competition, sponsored by Weber Shandwick, is asking students to devise a campaign for Royal Caribbean.

A shortlist will be announced early next year, and the five finalists will be brought to New York, where they will pitch their campaigns to a panel of judges. The five students will also attend the PRWeek Awards on March 2.

The winner will receive a paid internship with Weber Shandwick and a $5,000 cash prize.

"The competition is a rewarding experience for participants," said Andy Polansky, president of Weber Shandwick. "Over the past six years, through our sponsorship of this program, we have strengthened our ties with many universities and connected with future practitioners and industry leaders."

Joshua Morton, the 2005 winner, interned at WS in Chicago. He attends the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The deadline for entries is November 21, so apply now and Good Luck!

Comment on Commentary: For Future Journalists, it's Cash Not Causes


Comments by a journalism professor about the public relations profession have sparked today's post. In a recent commentary by Connie Schultz, columnist for The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, she writes that she has spent a lot of time with journalism students whose "hand-wringing professors still believe something other than salary should be the divining rod for choosing a career."

Schultz quotes one professor who says, "we're losing so many hard-news students to public relations, advertising and marketing. They just want to make money."

Schultz writes that one journalism professor told her that "hordes of women are opting for the softer -- and more lucrative -- career in public relations. A lot of them want to be `event planners,"' she said.

Continued Schultz...

"She nodded at my raised eyebrows. 'Seriously,' she said. 'They want to plan parties.'"

First of all, women are not the only ones opting for a career in public relations and I've yet to experience a "soft" job. I'm not a seasoned professional by any means, but I've not met or read of a single public relations professional who plans parties for a living. Do we work with event planners? You bet. Do we host events on behalf of our clients as a component of our public relations campaigns? You bet. Do these events create awareness (through the media) for the causes we or our clients represent? You bet.

Journalism professors should teach their students about all aspects of public relations -- research, planning, strategy, implementation, evaluation -- and not misrepresent our profession by claiming we 'plan parties.' Even if this is an attempt to deter journalism students from "crossing over" into a public relations career, it's not accurate. And aren't both professions dependent on truth and accuracy?

Book Recommendation: Real Life Notes: Reflection and Strategies for Life After Graduation by Kenneth Jedding



Are you in that space between school and work, worrying about finding a job, if it's the right job, and not only that, but are you stressing from issues stemming from family and relationships?

Kenneth Jedding, author of Real Life Notes: Reflection and Strategies for Life After Graduation, is here to help you stop worrying about parents, relationships, and yes, even career issues.

I first met Kenneth when I served as UH PRSSA President in 2001-02.

Kenneth was a guest speaker at our Chapter's Regional Activity on campus, and he brought valuable words of wisdom to those of us on the verge of graduation.

His book also has helped me in other areas of my life, as well. Read more at Kenneth's book also appears on the book list.

I have a special offer for you - Kenneth has agreed to allow my blog readers to purchase the book for $6.00. Here's how:

Mail your check with the words "Kelly's Blog" in the memo of the check, to:

Double Rose Books
PO Box 180
New York, NY 10276-0180.

Close to 1200 copies of Kenneth's book were given out at graduation at New York University's Steinhardt School of Education earlier this year to all graduates and masters graduates with their diplomas, and also to 1500 graduates at Loyola Marymount in LA. Get your copy now - you won't be disappointed! And be sure to share your strategies for life after graduation with our readers by posting a comment.

Happy Reading!

Houston Advertising Federation Luncheon Oct. 19 --- Sally Hogshead on "Radical Careering"


Busy time of year - many, many networking and learning opportunities, so let's get to it!

"Passion is not a luxury in your career. It’s an imperative."

From the "Hog Blog" on September 28, 2005

Don't miss the opportunity to hear Sally Hogshead's ( presentation on "radical careering" on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2005 at the Junior League of Houston. This presentation is sponsored by the Houston Advertising Federation.

Sally is a creative director and author and lives in LA with her two young children and her husband Rich, who is a stay-at-home dad.

At age 27, Sally opened the celebrated boutique agency, Robaire & Hogshead. Clients included Target, Remy Martin, and Condé Nast. In 2001, she founded the West Coast office of Crispin Porter + Bogusky. In her dual role as Creative Director/Managing Director, Sally created and led work for MINI, Rock the Vote, Fine Living Network and Ikea.

Sally's work has won hundreds of awards. In addition to being featured on "Best Ads on TV," she was a Creative Director/Copywriter on the $100,000 Grand Kelly campaign for MINI Cooper. (Word is that Sally is perhaps best known for her notorious "Salerita" margaritas (lemonade + ice + crushed mint + vodka, served in a sugar-rimmed glass).

Recent clients include Godiva Chocolates, Avery Dennison, Harry Winston Jewelers, and Hard Rock Hotel. Sally graduated from Duke University in 1991 with a major in Sociology and three minors.

You won't want to miss this presentation! Register online at

WHEN Wednesday, October 19, 2005 11:30 AM - 1:15 PM
WHERE Junior League of Houston 1811 Briar Oaks Drive Houston, TX 77027
COSTS: Member Registration $25.00; Non-Member Registration $40.00

The Aftermath of Hurricane Rita


The city of Houston is returning to normal following the evacuations in anticipation of a major hit from Hurricane Rita. Houston Mayor Bill White and his Team were faced with numerous challenges in that an evacuation of this caliber has never before been attempted in the city's history. Was it smooth? Not quite. Were we prepared with supplies such as food and gasoline? No. But when the storm hit, those in the areas of highest impact were in a safer location. Mayor White is to be commended for his clear communications in getting the right info out to the media. The plans to bring Houstonians back seems to be working well and gasoline is flowing to pumps in the city. Please keep those in the Texas-Louisiana border in your thoughts as they prepare to rebuild.

Have you heard about


Thanks to an article by Keith O'Brien in PR Week, I learned about, a service created by PR pofessor Robert French at Auburn University.

Professor French offers free blog hosting to public relations instructors, students and working professionals. I encourage everyone to check it out and start a blog, if you have the time and interest! While blogging is not for everyone, if you're committed to keeping it current, your blog can serve as a great resource to your colleagues, and even as professor French points out, to prospective employers.

Just today I heard from Janna Ball, who is interning with She sent this link to her fabulous blog, where this week she is focusing on preparing your portfolio. Read all about it here:

Best of luck, Janna, and congrats on entering the blogosphere!

Team David Remembers PRSA Houston Member David Monroe at National Kidney Foundation Walk on Sunday


More than 40 walkers turned out on Sunday to walk in remembrance of PRSA Houston Member David Monroe, a veteran of the Houston public relations community, who passed away on Sept. 26, 2004 from an aneurysm.

David was born with a kidney defect, and after several surgeries as a newborn, led a full and healthy life. David had a kidney transplant in his early 20s.

In Houston, David worked at de La Garza Public Relations and then went in-house to work first for Himalaya, and then for Cornell Companies. During this time he also was active in PRSA Houston, and volunteered his PR services to the Southeast Texas chapter of the National Kidney Foundation.

Prior to the Walk, Elly Trickett, David's fiancée, and Rhonda Kelly, David's sister, addressed the crowd and spoke of David's commitment to the public relations profession and the National Kidney Foundation. I did not know David personally, but appreciated the opportunity to learn about him from his family and friends and walk in his memory. Please remember David in your thoughts.

Podcasting, RSS -- What does it all mean for public relations professionals?


Public relations practitioners must stay on top of changing times and changing technologies to best serve their organizations and audiences. Presenters at PRSA Houston's PR Day on Wednesday, Sept. 14, emphasized this need, as well. Appropriately themed "Breaking New Ground: PR Tools for Changing Times," this year's PR Day challenged practitioners to stay ahead of the curve on new technologies and tools and to use them creatively to advance their companies, clients and organizations.

In line with this theme, a podcast of the PR Day luncheon is available online at PRSA Houston members and friends can download the podcast for future listen on an iPod or similar device, or they can listen to the session on their computer using Windows Media Player or Quick Time, for example.

Podcasting is a form of RSS (that stands for Really Simple Syndication) and is nothing more than making audio content available for download through a Web site. You care because more and more, downloading to iPods, phones and even your desktop is being pushed and sold everywhere we turn!

RSS is nothing more than presenting Web site files in a very basic format so that other sites can easily interact with that data. For example, my blog has an RSS feed - - and many of the top news sites offer this as well, such as Time Magazine's Top Stories -

What does all this mean? If you install an RSS feed reader, such as Mozilla Firefox's Sage (, you can easily enter in the RSS feeds for all the sites you want to "track," and you can click through them in one place, and if a particular blog post or story catches your attention, simply click through to the site to read it in its entirety.

Public relations practitioners care because they should monitor news sites and other sitees critical to the success of their organizations through RSS feeds. One topic of discussion at PR day was blogs, led by John Wagner of Wagner Communications and my boss, Ed Schipul, of Schipul - The Web Marketing Company. John and Ed teamed up to deliver a compelling discussion on blogging and PR. Members of PRSA Houston can download the session as a podcast at

Both agreed that it was detrimental to an organization to ignore what bloggers are writing and that PR professionals should be on top of the blogs and what is being said about their organizations. While blogging is not for everyone or for every organization or company, bloggers are here and have a strong voice.

Check back for more on technology, PR and what you can learn to stay on top of an ever-changing industry!

Communities Coming Together to Aid Hurricane Victims and Survivors


The outpouring of community support for the victims and survivors of Hurricane Katrina has been amazing, from the housing taking place at Houston's Astrodome and Reliant Center to the efforts in other states to send supplies, donations and volunteers to aid those affected in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. Be sure to check with your local Red Cross office or city offices and Web sites for a list of priorities and how you can most contribute.

PRSA National offers advice on its Web site, as well as provides details on the PRSA/Red Cross Program entitled "The Power of Two." The program involves trained public relations professionals who serve as volunteers during local and national disasters. PRSA and the American Red Cross established this program after Sept. 11, 2001, as a way for public relations professionals to use their skills to help in crisis situations. Click here to read more about the PRSA and Red Cross Power of Two program. And click here to see this program in action.

If you have two hours, two days or two weeks of time to give, you are asked to sign up for training at

No matter how you choose to help, let's not forget that we may depend on others for this very same help in the future.

“Prepare, Prepare, Prepare” – Words of Wisdom from Bernadette Morris, founder and chairman of Sonshine Communications


Bernadette Morris, founder and chairman of Sonshine Communications and president, owner and founder of Black PR Wire, Inc. called me from her cell phone last Tuesday afternoon while in traffic in Miami to have a conversation about PR, her career experiences and PRSA Houston’s PR Day, where she will serve as luncheon emcee on September 14.Sonshine Communications is a full service public relations, marketing and advertising agency in Miami with billables in excess of $3.5 million, making it one of the largest Black-owned PR agencies in America. Bernadette also is the owner and founder of Black PR Wire, Inc., a premier news distribution company for Black media in the United States and the Caribbean.She told me that she got to the office “late” that day because it was 4:45 a.m. when she arrived. She said, “My days usually start very early (I'm in the office between 4:30 - 5 AM), and they end relatively late (usually around 7 PM). I involve my entire family in my work life and that helps keeps somewhat of a balance.”Bernadette said she has been involved in public relations since her college days and said the “defining moment" that prompted her to her start her own company was when she was presenting campaigns for the college deans to review as if her college's PR department was an agency. At the time, Bernadette was Associate Dean of Public Affairs at a local community college.“It was such a joy to see the excitement of the client - the deans - as well as the creative team. I knew I could transform that synergy beyond the college setting,” she said.It was this thought that caused her to never look back.When asked what advice she would give to today's public relations students, Bernadette said she encourages students to “prepare, prepare, prepare” for their futures.“I encourage students and professionals alike to really know their market and to be creative as possible. Step over your weaknesses to make them strengths and most importantly, prepare to culturally diversify yourself – learn to personally connect with other cultures.”She continues, "Diversity is the art of identifying the unique and ever-changing cultures of today's society. A person really must embrace diversity with an open mind and a willing heart to connect with others and commit to change - because in the long run, it will produce a better and more creative you."Bernadette says above all, she advises public relations professionals at all levels to have FUN.Bernadette said that she values the idea of mentorship and encourages all public relations practitioners, especially those new to the field, to seek mentors.“My innermost circle of admirers includes my parents, who are now with the Lord, and great mentors like U.S. Congresswoman Carrie Meek (retired), and Eduardo Padron, president of Miami-Dade College. Both have demonstrated the true essence of perseverance and endurance regardless of the obstacles that may appear to hinder your pathway to success,” said Bernadette.Bernadette's company's motto is to be your B.E.S.T. - whereby you Bless, Edify, Share and Touch!Don't miss the opportunity to meet Bernadette in person at PRSA Houston's Media Day on September 14 at the Hyatt Regency Downtown.[...]

PRSA Houston's PR Day Promises to Deliver Top-notch Speakers and Knowledge September 14, 2005


Even if you don't live in Houston, you won't want to miss PRSA Houston's PR Day on September 14, 2005 at the Hyatt Regency Downtown (1200 Louisiana). Full-day, half-day and luncheon registration options are available on the site at

This year's theme is "Breaking New Ground: PR Tools for Changing Times." We all know that the landscape of public relations is constantly evolving and this event will teach public relations practitioners of all ages new tools and theories that will break new ground in the PR field.

Featured speakers include:

Kyrie O’Connor, Deputy Managing Editor/Features at The Houston Chronicle

John Wagner, principal of Wagner Communications

John Sturtevant, The Writing Workshop

Luncheon Panel Moderator: Tony Wyllie - Vice President of Communications for the Houston Texans

John E. "Ned" Walker - Ned Walker is senior vice president of Worldwide Corporate Communications for Continental Airlines, Inc.

Also of interest to students and new professionals is the Fundamentals of PR Panel Discussion which takes place at 2:30. View the entire list of speakers and sessions here: