1. Who is a PRSA Oregon Chapter member?

Anyone who had active, paid dues to PRSA national and to the local chapters of Portland Metro, Greater Oregon or Oregon Capital rolled over to become the “PRSA Oregon (Eugene, Ore.)” member as of Jan. 1, 2017.  

  1. If I am a PRSA national member, am I also a PRSA Oregon member?  

No, not automatically. National membership is a separate dues payment from chapter membership. You’ll need to sign up for the PRSA Oregon (Eugene, OR) Chapter, if you weren’t already a member of a chapter that rolled into PRSA Oregon.  

  1. How do I become a PRSA Oregon member?

Go to to start your application. On the fourth step, under subscriptions, you’ll sign up for the PRSA Oregon (Eugene, OR) Chapter. Annual dues are $50. Your year will start and end on your sign-up date. So, everybody’s chapter annual dues renew at different times.

  1. How much are annual membership dues?

PRSA National dues vary from $60 for recent graduates and PRSSA members, who are associate members, up to about $260 for individual members. Employer and group rates vary and may have discounts applied.

As of Jan. 1, 2017, PRSA Oregon dues are $50 for renewal. Some PRSA Oregon members may still be in a dues cycle with their former local chapter and at a different fee rate. For instance, PRSA Portland Metro Chapter fees were $45 until Dec. 31, 2016. So, if a member with 10 years of PR experience renewed on Dec. 15, 2016, for national and local dues, their total dues would have been $315 through Dec. 15, 2017, paid quarterly or in full on the original date of renewal (Dec. 15, 2016).

  1. Who do I contact with questions?

Depends on your question!

Please contact the national member services team directly at (212) 460-1400 or for general questions about PRSA. Or, you may email PRSA Oregon at for any questions about dues, membership renewal, benefits, or if you’re having technical issues signing up on the national website.

If you have general questions about PRSA Oregon or our activities, please email This email address can also be used to reach  the right contact for anything from sponsorships to APR accreditation prep courses.

If you have questions about event registration, or are having technical difficulties signing up using EventBrite or PayPal, please email

  1. What are my PRSA Oregon membership benefits? How are they different from the benefits from my former chapter (e.g.: PRSA Portland Metro, Greater Oregon, Oregon Capital)?

By combining the forces of three local chapters, PRSA Oregon is able to better leverage its collective resources and offer members the benefits they’ve had in the past and many new benefits, including a whole lot more programming and a much broader professional network across Oregon and Southwest Washington.

PRSA Oregon benefits include:

  • Exposure to local colleagues and an opportunity to network and become better known in your local community.
  • Member rate on local networking and training events, conferences and other signature events.
  • Member rate for events hosted by other professional association partners, AMA PDX and PHRMA.
  • Biweekly newsletter with regional news, job alerts on business and career opportunities and original blog posts by area communications leaders and writers.
  • Access to assigned mentors and buddies, a career guide and service opportunities to build leadership, management, and technical skills and develop professionally.
  • Free APR course with one of the highest rates of accreditation completion in the country.
  • Industry awards for notable communications work and service to the industry.
  • Valuable industry connections to the combined networks of 300-plus members locally.
  1. How many local chapters are there in the national association?

PRSA has more than 100 local groups, known as chapters. PRSA chapters are based on geography and are located in all 50 states, with some states having multiple chapters. Find other chapters here.

  1. What are my PRSA national benefits?

PRSA national benefits include:

  • Free and discounted instant access to more than 70 live and on-demand PRSA webinars, which provide hundreds of leadership, writing, strategic planning and technical training opportunities.
  • Members rate on summits, bootcamps, events and conferences around the country, along with the annual association-wide international conference.  
  • Discount programs for a wide variety of goods and services, including printing and office supplies.
  • PR Case Studies featuring winners of Silver and Bronze Anvil awards that detail the best work in the public relations field today.
  • News and intelligence via the Public Relations Tactics newspaper and The Public Relations Strategist magazine, PRSA blogs and podcasts, along with email digests delivered to your inbox daily.
  • MyPRSA members-only platform with free articles and case studies, networking tools, forums, the Jobcenter website and the PRSA Member Directory.
  • Network with 21,000 members worldwide representing nearly every practice area from sports and entertainment to government and investor relations. Specific peer groups are also available through the national Professional Interest Section communities.
  1. When was PRSA Oregon founded?

The three local chapters in Oregon and Southwest Washington merged together to form PRSA Oregon as of Jan. 1, 2017. The former local chapters have a combined history of about 100 years of serving communications and public relations professionals. For instance, the Portland Metro Chapter, also known as PRSA PDX, was formed as the Columbia River Chapter in 1960 and has remained a continuously active chapter for 56 years (though it changed names over the years) with about 240 members as of 2016.

  1. How was PRSA Oregon founded?

In 2016, a Statewide Governance Committee was formed to formally evaluate the opportunities in combining local chapters around Oregon and Southwest Washington after years of related conversations among Oregon’s chapter leaders. The team, comprised of members from the three active chapters, including APRs and members of the College of Fellows. The committee led a rigorous process of gathering insights from members through a lengthy survey, including 100-plus respondents. Throughout 2016, the process of merging was expedited and required a rewriting of chapter bylaws, which were voted on by a majority of combined chapter members and approved by the vast majority of those who voted.

Thus, the impending combination of the three local chapters was announced in fall, 2016, at the Portland Metro Chapter’s annual membership meeting and the chapter officially started doing business as PRSA Oregon on Jan. 1, 2017.  (Note: For legal purposes, the national association is currently classifying us as the PRSA Greater Oregon Chapter during the transition.)

A Nominating Committee was formed to identify and recruit chapter leadership for the new PRSA Oregon Chapter, led by the Portland Metro Chapter’s President-Elect for 2017, Colby Reade, APR. The committee led a rigorous process of meeting with 50-plus stakeholders to generate a statewide representative slate of leadership candidates that were nominated and elected in November 2016. The elected board of 12 officers and directors (plus two additional assembly delegates) started work in December 2016.

In January 2017, a 12-member Transition Steering Committee was appointed to oversee the transition, led by 2018 PRSA Oregon President-Elect Julie Williams, and includes:

  • Those with direct oversight of transition-related activities: a treasurer who oversees chapter finances and accounting; a secretary who handles operations, including policies and procedures; a communications director who is in charge of rebranding and communications channels; a web strategist, who is guiding the new website; and, a membership director who leads member outreach including the Becoming PRSA Oregon listening tour that will seek input from members this spring and summer.
  • Those with institutional knowledge and a stake in our future work: a representative of the former Statewide Governance Committee (and 2017 assembly delegate), all three chapters’ Immediate Past-Presidents, as well as the Student Affairs Director and PRSSA president at the University of Oregon.

Ensuring a smooth transition is a priority for the board, but we’re realistic that some unexpected stuff will likely come up. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we get organized throughout 2017.

  1. Who runs PRSA Oregon?

PRSA Oregon is an all-volunteer run nonprofit organization. Colby Reader, APR, is president and a national assembly delegate, who oversees a 14-member board of directors, including the three immediate past-presidents from the Portland Metro, Oregon Capital and Greater Oregon chapters as officers. The board includes three other officers: president-elect (and national assembly delegate), treasurer, and secretary as well as two additional national assembly delegates. There are six directors of PRSA Oregon programs: communications, events, membership, service, sponsorship and student affairs.

  1. How can I get involved?

There are many ways to get involved as an active local chapter member including attending events, reading and commenting on our blog, following and commenting on our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram accounts, joining our Linkedin group, participating on an Accreditation Readiness Review panel, if you have an APR, and volunteering on a committee or for a one-time need.

  1. How can I serve?

We have many committees that need additional members doing various work from hosting events to interacting with students and new professionals. This is the best way to network in our community and learn about the chapter, while gaining tactical and leadership skills. We are also always in need of helping hands to pitch in as a registration table host at an event or other short one-to-three-hour tasks that do not require an ongoing commitment. Contact to inquire about service opportunities and benefits.

  1. When will chapter events happen near me?

In 2017, we’re conducting a listening tour to make sure that we have at least two events in our Eugene and Salem communities. These events are currently planned for April and June. The Communicators Conference on May 8 is an all-day conference in Portland packed with professional development and networking opportunities.In October, the Spotlight Awards Ceremony will be hosted in Portland. For more information about events near you, contact

  1. What chapter events happen each year?

Currently, we have three signature events each year – an all-day conference, an awards ceremony and our annual chapter membership meeting. Each month, there is usually a networking event and another event focused on professional development, such as our Meet the Media series or panels on specific industry topics. We also host an accreditation in public relations preparation course each year. Upcoming events are featured on the chapter’s website,

  1. Is it okay to organize an event near me?

We’re eager to ensure that there are local events that are accessible to everyone in Oregon and Southwest Washington. For now, we encourage PRSA Oregon members to grab coffee together or gather casually as a group. To organize an official chapter event, please contact the events team at During 2017, we’re conducting a listening tour to make sure that we have at least two events in our Eugene and Salem communities (currently planned for April and June) so we can learn about members’ needs, especially regarding events. If you would like us to consider a tour stop in your community, please contact and we’ll see if we can make it happen this year!

We’re All Ears: PRSA Statewide Listening Tour Visits Eugene

Author: Maritza Rendon

To facilitate the transition to PRSA Oregon, chapter officers are visiting the Eugene/Springfield and Salem communities to meet with current and prospective members to hear their needs, concerns and ideas.  

On April 4 and 5, Oregon Chapter President-Elect Julie Williams, APR, and Membership Director Siobhan Taylor visited Eugene for morning and evening listening tour sessions. A mix of current and prospective members attended the sessions, including several past presidents of the Greater Oregon Chapter, based out of Eugene.

Prospective members including myself as current PRSSA President (and also a PRSA Oregon Transition Steering Committee member) and many Univeristy of Oregon (UO)  PRSSA members, participated. We were joined by students from Allen Hall Public Relations (AHPR), the student-run agency at the UO School of Journalism and Communications. AHPR is also the current agency of record for PRSA Oregon and as part of its work for PRSA Oregon, the students provided social media coverage of the event.

In the evening session, a group of PR practitioners and aspiring professionals gathered at Falling Sky Brewery in Erb Memorial Student Union to discuss the merger, voice their concerns and ask questions. The next morning another group gathered, also on the University of Oregon campus, to offer more professionals and students an opportunity to be heard. The PRSA leaders asked for feedback on the same questions at all of the listening tour stops. There were especially engaged discussions on “what are the strengths and weaknesses of being a statewide organization?”

Several themes emerged from the Eugene discussion:

  • Accessibility Opportunities, Challenges: Janice Bohman, APR, commented that one benefit of a statewide chapter was “more opportunities for involvement, [such as] access to more resources like the Spotlight Awards to connect and participate.” However, Jim Barlow expressed that “it is going to be more challenging to connect at an individual level.” Recurring points raised in the discussion included the value and power of connections, with a desire to continue face-to-face interactions.
  • Experienced Guidance, Mentorship: Another topic of conversation mentioned by several attendees was mentorship and the value of mentorship programs. Jennifer Winters shared that when she was working to obtain her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) several mentors helped her through the process. Similarly, Bohman mentioned that when she entered the world of public relations during a career change, the local chapter was important to her because it provided a way for her to relationships and take part in support groups. Soon-to-be UO grads mentioned that mentorship and a buddy system would be helpful in the transition to the professional world and would make attending PRSA events less intimidating and more inviting.

As a prospective PRSA member, I appreciated the warm, welcoming and invested culture that was set by chapter leaders. Knowing that, as a young professional, I will have access to resources that will aid my learning and growth was motivating. But, most importantly, seeing first-hand that the value of connections will only continue to grow in a professional setting through PRSA was inspiring.

To learn about future listening tour discussions, look for related posts on the PRSA Oregon blog. You may also share your feedback by contacting



PR Working for You

For April e-news

Throughout the year, we will feature local campaigns to showcase the impact that PR has on business and the community.

This month, we highlight Quinn Thomas. The Northwest-based company won the 2016 Spotlight Award for Marketing Business to Business for its work in introducing a revolutionary product to the U.S. building community.

In 2015, Oregon-based D.R. Johnson Wood Innovations was preparing to announce the release of a new building material that had the potential to revolutionize America’s building and construction trades.

The product, Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT), is a wood building material that is stronger than steel and can be used to build skyscrapers. It has been used internationally for decades, yet was virtually unknown in the U.S. market.

The company was at the cusp of being the nation’s first certified manufacturer of CLT and was in search of a brand strategy to guide this effort. D.R. Johnson had no history of public relations or advertising outside of trade shows and trade publications. It enlisted Quinn Thomas to develop a marketing and communications strategy.

Quinn Thomas conducted market research and developed a communications strategy that established D.R. Johnson the lead expert and thought leader for this emerging technology—using earned media, public speaking opportunities, and policy advocacy to drive awareness of D.R. Johnson and generate leads for the company.

The resulting effort netted over $2.5 million in national and regional earned media coverage, elevated investment in CLT research as a policy objective in the Oregon Business Plan, and positioned D.R. Johnson as the convener or featured topic at events with state and regional business and policy leaders.

We’re All Ears: PRSA Statewide Listening Tour Visits Portland

Portland members participated in an energetic brainstorming session on March 14 to explore how PRSA Oregon should evolve now that it’s a statewide chapter.

The conversation, moderated by Outreach Committee Co-Chairs Julie Williams, APR, and Siobhan Taylor, focused on two big-picture questions: How are we better as a statewide organization?  What can be done to overcome geographic distance between members?

Collecting input on these and other questions is the goal of the PRSA Oregon Transition Steering Committee’s listening tour that will include discussions in Eugene and Salem in April. By opening up a statewide dialogue to share ideas and vet concerns, leadership will be better equipped to ensure the newly formed chapter is off to a strong start.

Three themes emerged from the Portland discussion:

  • More Access, Knowledge: A statewide chapter provides huge potential for members to be enriched by a more diverse professional network that also includes a presence on college campuses. As one participant put it, members throughout the state are likely dealing with different types of clients and issues that provide learning opportunities.   
  • Active Network: To fully reap the benefits of a statewide professional network, PRSA Oregon will need to create a mix of quality touch points for members to share ideas virtually as well as face-to-face. This discussion, in particular, generated a lot of energy. Participants said they want social events as well as problem-solving opportunities through online forums. There was widespread support for exploring how a pilot of PRSA Oregon leadership’s collaboration on Slack might be expanded to enable members to communicate.
  • Representative Leadership: Finally, there was consensus that members from all parts of Oregon and Southwest Washington, as well as all phases of career development, must continue to be represented in the chapter’s leadership. Ensuring diversity in decision-making has been a priority of the PRSA Oregon board, led by 2017 Chapter President Colby Reade. Reade also chaired the 2016 Nominating Committee which selected leaders to oversee the merger planning and execution.

While they won’t be attending future feedback sessions in person, Portland-area members who participated in the discussion were keen on hearing what others from around the state have to say. By learning from each other about new ways to work, we can “set new standards,” and “advance the profession,” one participant said.  To that end, PRSA Oregon can develop solutions that could be useful for chapters throughout the North Pacific District (spanning from southern California to Alaska) as well as throughout the country.

To learn about future listening tour discussions, look for posts on the PRSA Oregon blog. You may also share your feedback by contacting

Words from PRSA Member – Kate Virden

I recently moved back to Oregon after pursuing a Master’s in Public Relations and Corporate Communications at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. It was an incredible program and experience, but I was more than ready to be reunited with the Pacific Northwest and friendly people again. The friendliest people I have ever met are part of PRSA Oregon.

In graduate school, PRSA membership was a revered aspect that led to job opportunities and professional growth. I knew I wanted to be a member of the national and local chapter as soon as I had the chance.

My chance came when I started working at University of Western States, an integrated health care university in NE Portland as the Content Strategist. The university paid for both memberships just one day before my 24th birthday, which was a better present than I had dreamed of and a great way to kick off my new job.

Since becoming a member, I have had the opportunity to hone my social media skills by running the PRSA accounts at the Spotlight Awards last year. I was asked to be the Volunteer Coordinator for this year to help recruit new volunteers and get them just as excited about PRSA-Oregon as I am. This group of individuals are some of the nicest and hard-working individuals I have ever met with a strong dedication to service.

As a new professional in Portland, this is a group you do not want to miss out on. Hope to meet you soon!

Kate Virden

Becoming PRSA Oregon Listening Tour Visits Members

As we become PRSA Oregon this year, merging membership from around the state with the majority from Portland, Salem and Eugene chapter hubs, we want to understand your pressing needs and concerns and get to know more of our members.

All spring, we’ve been coming to you! Membership Director Siobhan Taylor and President-Elect Julie Williams, APR, MA, hosted the evening and morning visits and engaging all in a lively discussion.

Our goal: Give members at every stage of their career a chance to speak up about how a statewide chapter can best serve us all.

We visited the former chapter hubs in March/April to hear your thoughts and will be returning in June to share what we learned and our suggested plans for moving forward together as the founding members of PRSA Oregon.

In Eugene and Salem, we hosted a second session the next morning to make sure members with evening commitments aren’t left out. Those events are part of series of stops planned for collecting input and sharing feedback that include:

  • Portland: 3/14, 5:30-7:00 p.m. at Rogue Ales & Brewery
  • Eugene: 4/4, 5:30-7 p.m. @ Falling Sky Pizzeria & Public House in University of Oregon student union
  • Eugene: 4/5, 7:30-9 a.m. at Starbucks in University of Oregon student union
  • Salem: 4/18, 5:30-7 p.m. at Willamette University
  • Salem: 4/19, 7:30-9 a.m. at Willamette University
  • Eugene: 6/3
  • Portland: 6/10
  • Salem: 6/17

We understand that not all of our members live conveniently close to our stops in Portland, Eugene and Salem. A lot of you live in or near Vancouver, Tualatin, Tigard, Beaverton or Hillsboro, to name a few.

If you’d like us to consider a stop in your community this spring, please contact to see if we can arrange one!

This event series is free for members and refreshments will be provided. Stay tuned on Twitter and Instagram (@PRSAOregon), Facebook and LinkedIn to learn more specifics about tour stops and about how to register.

APR: Prepare for Luck

“I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn’t been
prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn’t have been ‘lucky.’”
— Oprah Winfrey

My journey to “lucky” began in 2011 when I managed public relations for Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Conn. I was responsible for media relations, web content, social media and member publications for the state’s largest cultural institution. While my work was a critical part of the aquarium’s overall communication strategy, the position was heavily tactical. Earning my APR allowed me to gain more advanced knowledge, skills and abilities that weren’t constant during my nine-to-five.

Fast forward to 2013. Changes in my personal life spurred a solo cross-country move to Portland. I didn’t have a job lined up and only knew a few people in Oregon. But my work experience and APR designation gave me the confidence I needed during a big — and somewhat risky — life change.

I immediately joined and started volunteering with PRSA Portland (now PRSA Oregon). I quickly formed a network of PR professionals and an informational interview led to a mid-level agency job.

Then in January 2015, I landed my current role managing communications for Portland State Campus Rec. It was exactly what I’d hoped for when I ventured west — a position that combined my personal passion for health and wellness with my career aspirations. It was my shift from tactician to strategist.

How did APR help? Oprah Winfrey said it best. My degrees, decade of work experience and APR fully prepared me for my new opportunity managing a team and serving as the trusted adviser to departmental leadership. And maintaining my APR will ensure that I’m still prepared when luck strikes next.

Erin Merz


Erin Merz, M.A., APR, manages communications for Portland State University Campus Rec. She’s been a member and volunteer of PRSA Portland since 2013 and served as COO on the 2016 board. Find her online at and on Instagram and Twitter @erinmerz.

PRSA Oregon Merger in Full Swing

If you’ve ever worked at a startup or started a family, you know that the first year is mostly about learning and making decisions to build a foundation for the future.

As of Jan. 1, 2017, the three local PRSA chapters in Oregon and Southwest Washington merged to form the PRSA Oregon Chapter, known nationally as the “Greater Oregon Chapter,” for the time being. Now we are busy creating a new and truly unified 501c6 nonprofit organization that serves the needs of all its members.

Steering Decisions and Direction

To get work under way, a 12-member Transition Steering Committee was appointed to develop an action plan. Led by 2018 PRSA Oregon President-Elect Julie Williams (me!), the committee includes board members with oversight of transition-related activities along with representatives who have institutional knowledge. Most important, this group also reflects the diversity of the combined chapters’ membership, both in terms of geography and the stages of their careers. A number of volunteers have also stepped up to help. (If you want to get involved, drop a line to

Transition Team

The Transition Steering Committee includes:

  • Treasurer Dave Thompson, APR, who oversees chapter finances and accounting;
  • Secretary Tracey Lam, APR,  who handles operations, including policies and procedures;
  • Communications Director Beverly Brooks, who is in charge of rebranding and communications channels;
  • Web Strategist David Pan, who is guiding the new website; and,
  • Membership Director Siobhan Taylor, who leads member outreach including the upcoming Becoming PRSA Oregon listening tour.

Joining them on the team are the three chapters’ Immediate-Past Presidents, Jill Peters, Loralyn Spiro and Mark Mohammadpour, APR; John Mitchell, APR, Fellow, as a representative from last year’s Statewide Governance Committee (and 2017 Assembly Delegate); University of Oregon PRSSA President Maritza Rendon; and Student Affairs Director Megan Donaldson (2016 New Professional Award of Excellence recipient) to represent the transition from college to the profession.


The 2017 Transition Steering Committee meets monthly to discuss topics and provide guidance on transition-related activities as outlined in the Transition action plan.

First Quarter Momentum

In January and February, the team began rebranding our social channels, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as this newsletter. It outlined an interim Policies & Procedures manual, designed a listening tour to hear from current members (kicking off March 14 in Portland), started building the new website (hopefully fully launched by the Communicators Conference in May) and initiated 2016 tax preparation (for three organizations – yikes!). And that’s just a few of the many projects in progress that are important to the 2017 board’s overarching goals of streamlining operations, supporting recent college graduates and retaining our members.

Ensuring a smooth transition is also a priority for the board, but we’re realistic that some unexpected stuff will likely come up. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we get organized and hope to hear from you in person at a listening tour event.

Stay in the Loop

We promise to keep you up to date on progress through the newsletter and blog. And, we encourage you to keep us in the loop! Please email us at with questions or any kinks you discover. We may take a few days to respond while we determine who can help, but we so appreciate the extra eyes and ears!


Julie Williams, APR, MA
PRSA Oregon President-Elect
Transition Steering Committee Chair
Outreach Task Force Co-Chair


PR Working for You

Throughout the year, we will feature successful campaigns to showcase the impact that PR has on businesses and the community.

This month we highlight C+C’s Better Buildings Challenge campaign, which won the 2016 Spotlight Award for video program.

Energy Efficiency Meets Reality Television with Better Buildings Challenge SWAP

It’s been called must-watch TV for the energy efficiency world—the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge SWAP which takes energy management teams from two organizations and makes a swap, looking for ways to improve each other’s energy usage and practices. And, it’s all documented for a reality-TV style YouTube series that’s garnered thousands of views.

DOE worked together with C+C, a Portland/Seattle social marketing and PR firm dedicated to environmental and social cause work, to create the campaign and won a 2015 PRSA Spotlight Award.

Objective: The team wanted to provide a unique, first‐hand look into the increasingly important roles that energy management teams play for both energy efficiency peers and the mainstream business audience—even though energy management isn’t necessarily the most exciting topic.

Strategy: The key was to reach people where they are most engaged—according to Brightcove, social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined. All video content was leveraged through multiple platforms: a dedicated campaign landing page, participant websites and social media. C+C also executed a nationwide media outreach effort, generating coverage from national media outlets.

Budget: The campaign budget was approximately $300,000 for the planning, travel, production and promotion of the video series. The team remained within budget through completion of the project.

Outcome: SWAP exceed all campaign goals. The series has more than 45 million total media impressions, and drove a 2,700 percent increase in YouTube followers. The series has also gained national media coverage from top-tier outlets like Bloomberg, Politico, The Guardian and more. In an article about SWAP season two, Fast Company called the series “great television” and “easily the DOE’s most effective vehicle in years.”

Tune into SWAP here: