Dianne Danowski Smith, APR, Fellow, recipient of three huge PRSA honors!

At this year’s PRSA Oregon Spotlight Awards, we will be celebrating creative, award winning practitioners. Register here for tickets to this year’s Spotlight Awards.

Dianne Danowski Smith, APR, Fellow, is named PRSA North Pacific District’s 2017 PR Practitioner of the Year, receives PRSA’s Paul M. Lund Award for Public Service and the PRSA Oregon Ron Schmidt Community Involvement Award

As a 20-plus year, award-winning public relations practitioner, Dianne Danowski Smith, APR, Fellow PRSA, turned her thoughts to the principles of engagement and empowerment she learned in her practice of public relations, to support others struggling with cancer.

Practitioner of the Year

PRSA’s North Pacific District named Smith PR Practitioner of the Year. Smith created an Oregon event called Answer2Cancer. Her remarkable work was performed while she was recovering from surgery and weak from chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Drawing on her connections, she secured sponsorships, built a consortium of support and helped host the day-long event in Portland. She ultimately raised enough funds so the event could be at no cost to cancer patients, their families and friends. As she managed the social strategy for the event, she rolled out the social channels and literally overnight, went global.

Paul M. Lund Award for Public Service

This week in Boston during the PRSA 2017 International Conference, Smith received the Paul M. Lund Public Service Award, which honors a PRSA member whose participation as a volunteer in important public activities has increased the common good and reflected credit on the society.

 

“It sounds cliché, but if you look up ‘community-minded’ in the dictionary, you will see a picture of Dianne,” said Colby Reade, APR, PRSA Oregon President. “I have never met anyone who invests so much of herself into growing and developing those around her. Dianne has tirelessly worked as a mentor to countless young professionals (myself included), helping to grow the next generation of public relations practitioners. Within our organization, she always has her hand raised to contribute to the discussion at a regional and national level. She never stops.”

Ron Schmidt Community Involvement Award

Smith also received the PRSA Oregon Ron Schmidt Community Involvement Award for 2017. This honor is awarded to a public relations practitioner who has performed exceptional service to the community, generously giving their time, talent and efforts to achieve results that help the greater good.

“There is no way to track the magnitude of Smith’s impact on our community, across the state and really around the nation. Our industry, our city and our region are far stronger because of her contributions and we are incredibly fortunate to count her as a member of PRSA Oregon,” adds Reade.

Smith serves on the 2017 board of directors for PRSA Oregon as a leadership assembly delegate, served as the 2006 president of the Portland Metro chapter and as 2004 chair of PRSA’s North Pacific District. In 2012, she was inducted into the PRSA College of Fellows.

Smith is also the recipient of the 2009 PRSA Portland Metro Chapter William W. Marsh Lifetime Achievement Award and PRSA Portland Metro Chapter Spotlight Awards for her work on both an advocacy campaign that educated Oregonians about the availability of affordable prescriptions, as well as extensive citywide campaign to promote community policing in an around Portland.

College of Fellows

The pinnacle of a professional career

Barbara Kerr, APR, Fellow PRSA, and David Remund, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, are two of the newest members of the PRSA College of Fellows. They are among 15 PRSA members who were approved by the PRSA Board of Directors for acceptance into the organization’s prestigious College of Fellows in 2015.

“Each year, we are honored to review the extensive and impressive careers of candidates for the PRSA College of Fellows, and are reminded of the hard work it takes to achieve excellence and longevity in the public relations profession,” said PRSA 2015 National Chair Kathy Barbour, APR“I thank each and every new Fellow for their dedication to the profession and to the Society.”

These distinguished Chapter members have been inducted into the PRSA College of Fellows:

  • Dianne Danowski Smith, APR, Fellow PRSA; Vice President, Publix Northwest PR & PA;
  • Kathryn D. Hubbell, APR, MS, Fellow PRSA; Owner, Adscripts, Inc. & Adjunct Professor, Marylhurst University;
  • Barbara Kerr, APR, Fellow PRSA; Chief Communications Officer, Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Ministries Corporation;
  • David L. Remund, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA; Assistant Professor, University of Oregon;
  • Tom Unger, APR, ABC, CTM, Fellow PRSA; Regional Communications Manager, Wells Fargo; and
  • Mara Woloshin, MA, APR, Fellow PRSA; Principal, Woloshin Communications 2.0

Oregon members of the College of Fellows also include Louis Capozzi, APR, Fellow PRSA, adjunct professor at Baruch College in Bend; John Charles Mitchell, APR, Fellow PRSA, adjunct assistant professor at the University of Oregon in Eugene; and Joette Getse Storm, APR, Fellow PRSA, of Bend.

Founded in 1989, the College of Fellows is a community of less than 350 senior PRSA members who have successfully advanced the public relations profession and distinguished themselves through their leadership in the public relations industry.

In order qualify for admittance into the College of Fellows, the public relations practitioner or educator must have at least 20 years of experience, hold the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential and have demonstrated exceptional capability and accomplishment in the practice or teaching of public relations. College of Fellows members also must exhibit personal and professional qualities that make them role models for other practitioners or educators. Less than two percent of PRSA members are accepted into the College of Fellows.

To learn more, email us at fellows@prsaoregon.org.

Nicole Early Named 2017 PRSA Oregon New Professional Award of Excellence Winner

The Oregon Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America is proud to announce that Nicole Early has been selected as the 2017 New Professional Award of Excellence recipient.

Presented to a “rising star” in the industry in Oregon, the New Professional Award of Excellence honors a chapter member who has entered the field of public relations within the past five years. The award is presented to a professional who has demonstrated his or her commitment to advancing public relations through career achievements, volunteerism, and the highest standards of professionalism.

A recent graduate of the University of Florida, Early has already made a significant impact on the professional community in the first years of her career. She currently serves as an Account Manager for Pac/West where she works tirelessly to drive communications on behalf of community-focused organizations and healthcare and education clients.

Outside of her day job, Early is very active in the community. A regular volunteer for PRSA Oregon, she has been instrumental in developing key resources for several chapter events and publications. An active member of her community since college, Early is constantly looking for opportunities to grow while also helping those around her to develop and thrive.

“Nicole Early is a real gift to our chapter,” said Colby Reade, APR, PRSA Oregon President. “In her day job, she sets the standard for how we hope every young professional will approach their role. She is hungry to learn, she focuses on crafting her work to a gold standard and she is never afraid of tackling a new challenge.

“But no matter how hectic the day-to-day gets, she always makes time for her community. She has invested significant time in helping our chapter develop and roll out resources specifically designed to aid young professionals as they grow in their careers and is always willing to lend her voice to the discussion of how we can grow as a chapter. And this is on top of the work she is already doing with several other community organizations. We are so proud to count her among our members.”

Early will be presented with the award at the 2017 Spotlight Awards on October 20 at the Willamette Valley Country Club.

For event details and ticket information, please visit prsaoregon.org.

 

Transition Steering Committee Report: September

Rethinking the 2018 Programming Schedule

programming planning 2018

Julie Williams, APR, leads the Transition Steering Committee as it compiles feedback from Eugene-, Portland- and Salem-area members into a proposed 2018 programming calendar.

Membership participation was encouraged and documented during the Listening Tour follow-up sessions in Eugene, Portland and Salem.  At our September Transition Steering Committee meeting, we reviewed members’ ideas about where, when and what programs would best meet their needs.

About 25 members participated in the brainstorming activity.  While that’s a small percentage of overall membership, they did represent many locations, industries, stages of career and background. And, their strategic thinking was fascinating! So many questions and valid concerns.

We factored in rationale about cost, travel, distance, time, priorities, resources, volunteer capacity, communication fatigue and more as we compiled the feedback into a proposed programming schedule for the 2018 PRSA Oregon Chapter board’s consideration.

Many thanks everyone who contributed to the process!

Along with completing the proposed calendar, which was identified as a priority output for 2017, September was highly productive:

  • The service draft shifted into its second phase and began filling committee positions, thanks to my Nominating Committee Co-ChairTaylor Long. We worked together to write new versions of all of the 37 job descriptions;
  • New chapter policies and procedures and a first-ever code of conduct are in the works, thanks to Secretary Tracey Lam;
  • Members received a summary of Listening Tour feedback in a mailer thanks to the membership committee which helped with distribution;
  • And with the in-person follow up portion of the Listening Tour  now concluded, as of the membership brunch in Eugene on Sept. 16, big props to Membership Director and Outreach Co-Chair Siobhan Taylor and the membership team.

Can’t wait to #suitup and come together as a chapter at the Oct. 20 Spotlight Awards!

Given everything we’ve accomplished together, it will be especially satisfying to celebrate this year.

Yours in Service,
Julie

Julie Williams, APR, MA
2018 PRSA Oregon President-Elect
Transition Steering Committee Chair
Outreach Task Force Co-Chair

John Mitchell Named 2017 William W. Marsh Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Distinction marks more than three decades of service to the public relations community in Oregon

Following a rigorous judging process, the Oregon chapter of the Public Relations Society of America is proud to announce that John Mitchell, APR, Fellow PRSA, has been awarded the William W. Marsh Lifetime Achievement Award for 2017.

Named for one of the foremost figures in the history of the profession in the state of Oregon, this award is given to a PRSA Oregon Chapter member who has invested significantly in developing public relations as a credible profession, accomplishing landmark professional achievements and furthering the goals of PRSA.

A lifetime Duck, Mitchell has served the public relations community as an instructor at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications for more than 30 years. For much of that time, he has invested additional time outside of his regular class load to serve as an advisor to student-run organizations such as the PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America).

In addition to his teaching, Mitchell established an exceptional reputation in the public works sector, supporting strategic communications for the Eugene Water and Electric Board. At his retirement from EWEB, Mitchell held the distinction of serving as the longest tenured communications team member in the organization’s 100-year history.

Mitchell has also been a dynamic force for change and development within PRSA as an organization. He has served as a senior leader within the governance of the PRSAGreater Oregon Chapter for many years, including regular board service (the PRSAPortland, PRSA Oregon Capitol and PRSA Greater Oregon chapters merged under the PRSA Oregon umbrella earlier this year). He has also helped raise the voice of Oregon’s PR community to a regional level while serving as the North Pacific District Chair, and the national level where has represented the state as a delegate at the organization’s National Assembly.

“The William W. Marsh Lifetime Achievement Award is really the pinnacle for the members of our chapter,” said Colby Reade, APR, PRSA Oregon President. “If you look back at the history of this award and some of the names that have been recognized, you can see that this honor is only presented to those in our profession who show up every day, focus on setting an ideal example for how a communications professional should operate, but also look for ways they can grow the profession, help their peers and aid young professionals in their growth.

“John Mitchell epitomizes what this award stands for. He has worked tirelessly for decades to advance the image of what a stellar public relations professional should be and has modeled that for countless students who have come through his classroom. Our chapter, our profession and our community are far stronger today because of his contributions and we are proud to have him as a member.”

Mitchell will be formally presented with the honor at the PRSA Oregon Spotlight Award ceremony on October 20 at the Willamette Valley Country Club. For ceremony and ticket information, please visit PRSA Oregon.

Change is in the air!

We’re wrapping up transition activities going from 3 chapters to 1 this year very soon. That means we are archiving site content this month and then redirecting the former chapter’s sites to our new site as of Oct. 31.

Old sites and pages may still show up in your search, but you’ll be redirected to prsaoregon.org.

Email webmaster@prsaoregon.org if you have any questions.

Secretary/President-Elect Application

During this year’s Listening Tour, members said:

“we need to make sure that everyone has a voice at a table” with responsibilities that make a difference for anyone, anywhere.

And that starts with our chapter leadership.

Call to Service

This year all members were considered for service as we piloted a new model. To ensure we have the broadest representation of voices, we are offering a unique opportunity to step up and apply for the 2018 Secretary/President-Elect role, helping build and lead the future of PRSA Oregon.

Application opens Sept. 25, 2017, and closes on Oct. 4, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. PST.

New Role

We’ve steamlined the two roles together as part of a revised Organizational Chart to better serve the statewide chapters’ needs. Of the 12 leadership roles for members seeking strategic planning and management experience, the Secretary/President-Elect will yield some of the most significant results.

Now, this role offers hands-on experience in the chapter’s operations that will better inform strategic planning and ease the presidency transition. View the Secretary/President Job Description.

Secretary/President-Elect requirements:

  • Due Paying Chapter member
  • APR or accreditation completed prior to 2019
  • Previous Chapter, District or Section leadership experience (anywhere in U.S) or previous nonprofit board leadership in lieu of PRSA experience
  • At least 5 years’ industry experience

Members say that serving the chapter has helped them get jobs, get connections and get training – and that now applies across all of Oregon and SW Washington.

You are invited to apply for the role of PRSA Oregon Secretary/President-Elect.

Applications are due by 10/4/17, 11:59 p.m. PST.

 


Qualified applicants will be considered and a vetted applicant will proceed to a nomination with approval of the nominating committee. Elections for next year’s leadership are coming up soon in November so that leaders and committees can hit the ground running on Jan. 1, 2018.

Not interested in leadership, but lots of offer? Contact service@prsaoregon.org to express your interest in volunteering next year.

Don’t just join, join in!

Some notes about ethics, during ethics month

by Kathy Hubbell, APR, Fellow PRSA

September is ethics month, and as with most of you, I feel a bit overwhelmed by the ethical problems we are seeing all around us. I wasn’t sure where to begin with an article about our ethical challenges and responsibilities as public relations professionals. Talking about the small challenges we face each day – Should I fudge on my time sheet to look better? Should I score points with the client by saying yes, I can pretty well guarantee this social media campaign will work? – seemed a little like rehashing old territory. We’re people who have signed onto our PRSA Code of Ethics. We’re supposed to know this stuff.

But what happens when you become aware of wrongdoing in your own organization or in a client’s organization? Should we blow the whistle, and if so, how and when? What will be the consequences to us personally?

Two good friends and colleagues, Dr. Cary Greenwood, APR, Fellow PRSA, and Mary Beth West, APR, Fellow PRSA, have written about what it is to be a whistleblower, and when to quit the battle.  Greenwood conducted a study titled “Whistleblowing in the Fortune 1000: What practitioners told us about wrongdoing in corporations in a pilot study” which appeared in the Public Relations Review (Volume 41, Issue 4, November 2015, Pages 490-500). She found that just under half, about 44 percent, of the respondents knew about some kind of wrongdoing, and of those, about two-thirds had reported it. The greater majority, 81 percent, said that reporting wrongdoing was not part of their job.  Nearly a third of those who reported and were identified suffered some form of retaliation.

West wrote on her blog, just this week, about her own experience as a whistleblower. In “What is your Whistleblower Threshold?” she described her experience in an unexpected role herself that she self-describes as investigative journalist and activist. I remember following her tale earlier in the year on her Facebook posts. She was, as always, clear and articulate, but had a seemingly intractable foe. She ended her post saying, “Survival mentality dictates that you cut your losses when you finally decide you’ve stopped caring – or the thing you cared so much about which prompted your whistleblowing is no longer worth caring about to the extent of the pain being inflicted by those who feel threatened by your challenges to their actions, over an organization that they – after all – largely control.”

Because her battle caused her enormous personal and professional pain, I can understand that last paragraph.  There comes a time when you wonder if the battle is still worth it.

There are also some battles that go on for years.  Since 2000, I’ve been involved in a whistleblowing effort as part of a protest against the military’s mandatory, experimental anthrax vaccine. I got involved when my son, then in the Air Force, was required to take the first three shots in the series, saying back then that they’d “just done that to the wrong mother’s son.” During the first few hours that I researched the vaccine online, I wasn’t alarmed. There were lots of reassurances that it was both safe and effective. Eventually, however, the truth began to surface. The Pentagon had asked the manufacturer of the vaccine which veterinarians use for cows and sheep – called the cutaneous or “of the skin” anthrax vaccine – to reconfigure it so that it could be used against aerosolized, or air-borne anthrax. The manufacturer did. The Pentagon used the new vaccine – without researching it, although in all fairness you can’t exactly spray people with anthrax and hope the vaccine works – and without testing or licensing it. It was experimental, and mandatory. To make matters worse, the manufacturer falsified the expiration dates on some lots of the vaccine; used vaccine that had become contaminated; and changed it once again without notifying the FDA.

I went to D.C. to hear testimonies before Congress from service members and veterans. With the help of the pilots leading the effort and many professionals lending their services pro bono, I formed a national group. I went back to D.C. twice to walk the halls of Congress, educating any staffer who would listen about the dangers of the anthrax vaccine. I wrote a “friend of the court” brief for a lawsuit. For a time, the vaccine was declared illegal. That lasted about two years. Then the FDA declared it to be legal, and that was that. These days, the number of shots has been reduced, the vaccine is supposedly safer, and I’m not aware of the same number of complaints. I’m mostly aware of people wanting to know how they can refuse the vaccine (if ordered to take it, they can’t.).

One of my fondest memories is from a radio interview I gave shortly after 9/11. If you’ll recall, there were post office workers in D.C. who received anthrax spores in the mail, and thanks partly to some members of our group, they had the sense to refuse the vaccine and insist on antibiotics instead (Cipro was the recommended drug at the time.). The radio station was somewhere in Ohio, and the announcer asked me if I wouldn’t want to take the vaccine if there were a threat of aerosolized anthrax. “No,” I said.  “You can actually recover from anthrax, but you can’t recover from the effects of the anthrax vaccine.” First time I’ve ever heard “dead air” for about a full minute on the radio.

My son is long since out of the military, and is just fine. He’s a pilot now, flying cargo for a company in Utah. As for me, I run a website at http://mvrd.wordpress.com , which is being redone. I discovered I can’t emotionally handle talking every day to the veterans whose health has been severely compromised or even destroyed by the vaccine. I was constantly crying for their suffering and for their country’s betrayal (this also happened in Australia and Great Britain, just FYI). But because a lot of those men and women became good friends, and because I’ve watched these last 17 years as they’ve sometimes made progress, and sometime just endured, I keep the website going.

Three of the major things I’ve learned from my own activist years are these:

  1. If you repeat something often enough and long enough, people really do believe it. No one checks the source documents anymore. The fight against half-truths, lies, alternative facts and fake news can never be dropped.
  2. If something affects people personally, they will speak out and often take action. It was because of my son that I got involved. It was because of her own battle that Mary Beth West spoke out this week. It was because she had been a whistleblower and suffered retaliation herself that Cary Greenwood changed the course of her career and became a nationally renown researcher and instructor in the field.
  3. Even if you don’t have a job at stake, which I didn’t, there can still be negative consequences to your activism. I had stepped out as a leader on the national stage concerning the anthrax issue, and as such was subjected to both intense criticism and conspiracy theories concerning my involvement – even from members of my own group. There was an incredibly painful transition when I stepped down. A lot of people who were furious that the group was disbanding had no interest in helping to run it or to contribute financially. Others were sure I had some evil intent, and spread lies all over the internet. The pain lingered for some time. Still, years later when the FDA (or someone) floated a proposal to test the anthrax vaccine on civilian children, there was a tremendous outcry and the attempt was shut down. I like to think we had something to do with that.

It is tempting and easy to turn a blind eye and say, “whistleblowing isn’t part of my job.” I’m sorry, but it is. If we are to be leaders in our profession — and I would submit that every single member of PRSA is a leader precisely because of our Code of Ethics — then we must speak out about ethics, and speak out constantly, all the time. A fear of retaliation is a genuine fear: we can’t afford to lose a job, to risk not supporting our family, to see our own reputations trashed. But sometimes we must take up the battle. If we turn a blind eye, we are part of the problem. Be authentic; be fair; be accurate; be transparent. And most of all, be ethical.

Transition Steering Committee Report: July-August

Building A Foundation For 2018

July and August were milestone months for PRSA Oregon’s transition to a regional chapter.

We launched a service draft to fill board and committee positions for 2018 after all members were invited to volunteer for a role. With this input, the Nominating Committee, including all current board members,  gathered and selected nominees starting in July.

Part two of the service draft will include all nominees for incoming board positions as additional Nominating Committee members, to weigh in and help build their teams. Our goal was to ensure next year’s leaders represent the chapter’s geographic diversity and that the new team has plenty of time for onboarding folks from all over.

This new system was prototyped by last year’s Service Committee and validated by  feedback from this year’s Listening Tour. Its benefits include leadership succession planning for the continued growth and sustainability of the merged chapter.

Also in July, the Transition Steering Committee published a full report on feedback from the Listening Tour and mailed a summary to all members in late August.

In creating the report, we saw that the Becoming PRSA Oregon Communications Plan, which included Listening Tour activities, can serve as a model for engaging membership and supporting organizational change in any chapter.

We continued the Listening Tour sessions in Portland in June and in Salem during the member welcome brunch in August. It was fun to reconnect with members and report out what we learned and how we’re adapting already. We also eagerly collected input on chapter programming for next year.

The discussion sessions have exceeded our expectations. It’s encouraging to see such a high level of engagement – exactly what our members agreed was needed moving forward. All members are welcome to join the final session, which will be part of the member brunch in Eugene on Sept. 16.

During the summer, headway was also made on updating policies and procedures and developing a draft code of conduct, along with starting planning for the chapter’s leadership elections in November (date still to be determined).

The transition from three chapters to one regional organization has been time consuming, but  rewarding. It has required the Board of Directors and volunteers to spend way less time on direct programming and way more time on setting up operational systems and best practices. Short-term trade-offs for long-term benefits.

At a recent meeting, I asked the team: “What has been most rewarding for you this year?”

Some of the responses:

  • Seeing new members and prospective members be welcomed.
  • Watching #BecomingPRSAOregon (the communications plan) unfold and be embraced by members and watching them really getting it —and feeling excited about it!
  • Seeing the enthusiasm from members and volunteers about the new service draft process.
  • Experiencing the overall enthusiasm and support for transition at statewide level.

Thanks for sticking with us during this transition time.

Yours in Service,

Julie

Julie Williams, APR, MA
2018 PRSA Oregon President-Elect
Transition Steering Committee Chair
Outreach Task Force Co-Chair
Nominating Committee Co-Chair

Listening Tour Report to Membership

Authors:  Elisa Williams, Julie Williams and Siobhan Taylor 

PRSA Oregon embarked on a Listening Tour in the spring of 2017 throughout Oregon and SW Washington to meet members and hear their input and concerns about the new, merged chapter. Listening Tour sessions were held in Bend, EugenePortland and Salem.

Here’s a recap of the report findings or read the full 2017 Listening Tour Report.

Founded in 2017, PRSA Oregon is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization and a local chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). As we become PRSA Oregon, merging membership from around the state with the majority from the former Greater Oregon chapter in Eugene, the former Oregon Capitol chapter in Salem and the former Portland Metro chapter, we are defining a new era for professional communicators in Oregon and SW Washington.

What Members Said

Several common threads emerged in all of the discussion sessions.

  • To ensure geographic diversity we need new or refined operational systems so that programming remains profitable and reaches all members. And, leadership distribution represents all of Oregon and SW Washington, including a robust pipeline of new leaders to aid in succession planning.
  • A larger, more diverse chapter makes enhanced professional development and networking possible, including a mix of local and regional events. To ensure these benefits, there must be a high level of membership and service engagement chapter-wide.
  • Connections are important. When face-to-face meetings aren’t possible, technology makes professional development opportunities and events accessible to members regardless of location. Using the latest high-touch tools keeps members’ skills current and leaders in communications.

How We’re Already Adapting

Feedback received led to several changes in 2017:

  • Spotlight Awards Ceremony will be held in Canby. The central location and timing more easily accommodates travel.
  • In July and September, a Service Draft is ensuring leadership and committee positions reflect the entire region.
  • Additional input on programming was collected this summer, as well as at the upcoming sessions on Aug. 12 and on Sept. 16.
  • Expansion of Meet the Media events is being explored to include media markets throughout the region if there is local volunteer support to host the event. Please email events@prsaoregon.org if you’d like to help set one up.

Share Your Ideas for the Future

Join us for the final Listening Tour sessions during the membership orientation at 10 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 12, at Willamette University, and at 10 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Valley River Inn, Eugene, Oregon.

For more information: Read the full 2017 Listening Tour Report or email listening@prsaoregon.org.