PRSA Oregon’s premier annual professional development conference, CommCon 2019, will take place on Friday, May 3 in Portland.
Tickets at the EARLYBIRD rate will go on sale at the end of February…stay tuned!
PRSA Oregon’s premier annual professional development conference, CommCon 2019, will take place on Friday, May 3 in Portland.
Tickets at the EARLYBIRD rate will go on sale at the end of February…stay tuned!
As a member of a Maine Wilderness Rescue Team and an emergency medical technician, she hung by ropes off cliffs and carried the injured on litters down mountains.
As a cyclocross racer, she navigates barriers, jumps off platforms and sprints through mud and has won multiple state titles and a bronze medal in a national championship.
And last fall, Rhonda Morin, executive director of communications and marketing for Clark College Foundation in Vancouver, WA, achieved another goal: Accreditation in Public Relations (APR).
“I can fix your wheel, fix your public relations problem and fix your broken arm … all in the same hour,” Rhonda laughs. “I know how to help people in crisis.”
During her 20-year career in communications and public relations, Rhonda organized a trip for international journalists to Zimbabwe, where she witnessed elephants in the wild. She worked as a journalist for niche magazines and in corporate communications for Maine Public Broadcasting. Currently, she edits Clark Partners, a 28-page alumni magazine.
In 2015, she received the platinum/gold award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District VII for Best Practices in Fundraising Campaigns for Clark College Foundation’s $20 million campaign.
Why did Rhonda pursue APR at this stage in her career?
“Chuck Williams, APR, (PRSA Oregon’s APR guru) called me. He was kind, direct and persistent. ‘See you in February,’ he said.”
But Rhonda hesitated.
“I am curious and a lifetime learner. I have attended countless conferences and workshops in my career and thought I knew everything about public relations. I wondered what more I could learn. Plus, I’m a person who completes things. I hold my free time precious, and I knew the process would take time.”
After attending the APR orientation session, Rhonda knew she was in for the long haul.
“What I learned was above and beyond my expectations. The chapter’s APR sessions helped me put the puzzle pieces together. Everything I learned was applicable to my line of work.”
Rhonda set a deadline to complete the process. She worked on her oral presentation at work during down time.
“That process helped sharpen my presentation skills,” she notes.
To study for the APR computer exam, she hunkered down for three solid weekends and for a few hours after work for about four weeks.
“Fall is my busy season. I race almost every weekend. I gave up three races to study for the APR test. That’s a big deal to me,” Rhonda said.
Was it worth it?
“As soon as I told my supervisor I was pursuing my APR, my credibility went up tenfold. Colleagues started coming to me to ask high-level questions. My credibility is higher than ever,” she says.
But, she notes, with accreditation comes responsibility. “You are now the voice of ethics and reason. You need to say, ‘Wait. Why do we need this?’ when someone suggests a tactic. ‘What is the goal? What is the objective?’”
Rhonda encourages fellow PRSA chapter members with at least five years of experience to pursue APR.
“You are busy. You have family. You have obligations. I had races. You’ve got to fit it in,” she says. “If you are serious about your career, if you want to jump to the next level, if you want credibility, if you want to boost your confidence, APR is how you do it.”
APR Orientation: Saturday, Feb 16
PRSA Oregon offers a series of free Saturday morning classes to help chapter members prepare for and successfully complete the accreditation process. The course begins with an orientation session Saturday, Feb. 16, location to be announced. Email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Oregon chapter seeks dynamic, engaging, and knowledgeable presenters for its Communicator’s Conference 2019 (“CommCon 2019”). This annual chapter event also serves as the Portland, OR-area’s premier strategic communications conference, and we invite you to submit a presentation proposal that would afford you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise on a topic relevant to the audience.
Please go HERE for more information and to submit!
Submissions are due February 1, 2018, 5:00 p.m. PDT
CommCon will take place on Friday, May 3, 2019 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
DoubleTree Hotel, Lloyd Center Portland, Oregon
Theme: “Communicating Through Chaos”
Whatever the reason you volunteer – learning, networking, mentoring, career growth, social engagement, bettering the community, an overactive hypothalamus – it is, indeed more blessed to give than to receive.
Take it from your 2018 PRSA Oregon Chapter Volunteer of the Year.
“I volunteer for all these reasons and more,” said Madeline Turnock, APR, strategic communications and partnerships advisor for Concordia University-Portland. “I feel I’ve gained much more from PRSA than I’ve given, after more than 20 years of involvement with PRSA, earning accreditation, serving on the board and committees, attending events, paying annual dues, and taking more than one hiatus when life or family called.”
Turnock credits her employers, colleagues, and mentors along the way for supporting her. She also shared that this year’s seven-member Spotlight Committee was among the most rewarding experiences because each volunteer was clear about what they wanted to contribute and had time to contribute, followed through, and carved out time to get to know each other and support each other professionally.
No matter what your personal reasons may be for membership, participation, and volunteering in PRSA, continue to put your job and family first, and then take that effort one step beyond to advance the profession.
Thank you to all our PRSA volunteers for giving of their time, talent and treasure.
*Pictured at top: 2018 PRSA Oregon Volunteers in attendance at the November 28 Annual Meeting!
“I am so proud!”
Jaimee Mayfield Fox just earned her accreditation in Public Relations from the Universal Accreditation Board.
“It’s all worth it,” she says. “You have to believe in yourself. But you also have to put in the work.”
Jaimee is Multnomah County Health Department’s HR Communications Manager. She started as a county communications specialist in 2011. She began her work toward the APR in 2016. It’s less than a year-long program if you can devote the time. But Jaimee had a few interruptions along the way. She got married, bought a new home, and got a promotion.
“Ask yourself: Do you really want this?” she advises. “Life will try to get in the way if you drag it out. Put in the effort.”
Jaimee had support from the PRSA-Oregon coaches, who guided, advised and pushed her to the end. And she had crucial support from home and work.
“I couldn’t have done it without the support of my boss,” Jaimee said. “And my husband Jamal encouraged and helped me to stay focused. He continually told me, ‘You got this.’”
Jaimee’s husband Jamal Fox is property and business development manager for the city of Portland Bureau of Parks and Recreation.
Jaimee has some advice for those of you contemplating earning your accreditation.
“Take advantage of the resources the chapter offers you,” she says. “Find your study style. Make sure you know and understand how you learn. You have to study like you’re going to apply it to a real-life scenario.”
Jaimee says the computer test was hard, but not impossible.
“I was careful to make sure I stayed within time. ‘Keep going,’ I told myself. I was tired! But I just took a deep breath, and said, ‘What will be, will be.’”
She passed easily. Despite the time it took, the delays along the way and the amount of hard work, Jaimee insists the APR is worth the effort.
“This has been both a personal and professional goal,” she says. “Even going through the process was valuable. Once you apply this process, all of a sudden it makes sense.”
Your success in any field is dependent on remaining relevant, motivated and imaginative. The Accreditation in Public Relations credential certifies your professionalism and principles. And it positions you as a leader in the competitive field of public relations. The process of earning your APR exposes you to today’s cutting‐edge strategies and practices; it helps you assess your skills to identify strengths and opportunities for growth; it demonstrates your personal and professional commitment to excellence; and it provides the tools you need to distinguish yourself in this field.
“It’s exciting to use my new learning,” Jaimee says. “I have to calm myself down at work! Once you get to the other side it’s so rewarding.”
—Dave Thompson, APR, former chapter president
We devote so much time and energy to building and protecting our employer’s reputation that our own personal brand can risk becoming the proverbial cobbler’s children with no shoes.
At the recent PRSA North Pacific District conference in Seattle, Nicole Leverich made the case for why it’s so essential to actively manage your personal brand. Nicole, who serves as senior director of corporate communications for LinkedIn, offered practical tips on how to strategically maximize your LinkedIn profile.
A current, carefully curated LinkedIn profile is practically a necessity at this point, whether you’re just beginning your career or are already established.
Nicole’s presentation opened the conference, and it came full circle on the last day during a breakout session led by Kelly Guenther and Chad Lakin of the video company Shootsta. Kelly is a video specialist, and Chad is Shootsta’s vice president for North America.
How to Maximize Your LinkedIn Presence:
1. Photo. Choose a professional-looking profile photo to help bring your page to life. Don’t forget to choose a custom background photo as well. If nothing springs to mind, a cityscape is always a nice option. A unique background photo shows that you’re being thoughtful with your image and aren’t passively settling for LinkedIn’s default blue photo.
2. Location. According to LinkedIn’s tips guide, including the city where you’re based makes you stand out up to 23 times more in searches.
3. Industry. Choose the appropriate industry category (e.g., “Public Relations and Communications” or “Marketing and Advertising”), so that people can easily identify your primary field of interest.
4. Summary. Think of your summary as your elevator pitch. It’s how you want to be positioned in the minds of prospective employers/clients/contacts. It should be at least 40 words in length.
5. Experience. You don’t want your LinkedIn profile to read like a résumé. Make the descriptions of your various roles more conversational vs. a bulleted list copied and pasted directly from your résumé.
6. Media. Upload photos, videos, presentations, and other non-proprietary work samples to showcase what you bring to the table. As Nicole noted, don’t feel like you need to have been the sole contributor to a project to share it on your profile. Most complex projects take a village, which people understand.
Finding impactful work samples to share when your primary focus is internal communications can be challenging. But as Nicole pointed out, most major internal campaigns have some external-facing element that can be representative of the project.
7. Education. Fill in your degree type, areas of study, and alma mater. LinkedIn members who list educational information on their profile receive up to 11 times more views, according to a company tips sheet.
8. Skills. You can pin up to three skills to highlight as top skills that appear prominently on your profile. Be thoughtful about which skills you choose, and how you order them. This will likely change throughout your career, so revisit this section regularly to make sure the emphasis is where you want it to be right now.
9. Endorsements. Skill endorsements are votes of confidence from other LinkedIn members. They lend credibility to your profile.
If your endorsements aren’t for the skills you want to highlight, ask people you’ve had positive working experiences with if they’d feel comfortable endorsing you for specific skills. You can offer to do the same for them.
Endorsement are quick and easy to give with the click of a button.
10. Recommendations. These are written statements from LinkedIn members endorsing you. They provide detail and context that skill endorsements do not. You can ask contacts for recommendations through LinkedIn, and you can also proactively give recommendations to others.
11. Volunteering. Employers like to see that candidates give back and make a contribution to their community. Be sure to add a section listing your volunteer experience. The causes you support help paint a picture of what you value.
12. Connecting and following. Best practice is to only connect on LinkedIn with people you actually know. But for people (or companies) you admire or want to get to know, following them is a great option. Following your organization’s competitors can also yield useful insights.
Nicole recommended following these influencers:
a. Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and co-founder of Microsoft
b. Jack Welch, executive chairman of the Jack Welch Management Institute
c. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group
d. Priyanka Chopra, actress and philanthropist
e. Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn
13. Updates and publishing. Nicole likens LinkedIn updates to Tweets, and the publishing platform to blogging.
Updates (which can be photo or video as well as text) are a quick way to build your brand while sharing things you find interesting and hope others will too.
Publishing is long-form (4+ paragraphs) and should be reserved for deeper explorations of topics about which you’re passionate.
Anything you publish becomes part of your profile and is shared with your network, unlike updates. So that content should be workshopped and fine-tuned.
Nicole recommends setting as a goal 1-3 updates per week, and 1 published post per month.
In the Shootsta presentation, Kelly discussed the power of video – and how it’s easy to capture quality video on your smartphone using a few tips and tricks like the AE/AF lock, shooting horizontally, and investing in a tripod or gimbal for stabilization.
He encourages people to share video updates on LinkedIn. You can either record video directly through the LinkedIn app, or you can save it to your phone then upload it to LinkedIn.
14. Integrating with personal websites. Gone are the days of going to a job interview with a physical portfolio. More and more, companies want and expect to see a digital portfolio.
If you have one, integrate it with your LinkedIn profile. You can list your personal website’s URL in your LinkedIn profile, and you can link to your LinkedIn profile from your website. This creates a loop of information showcasing you and your work.
There are many different content management platforms, and each is different. With Squarespace, for example, you can add a social links block to your website that will display the LinkedIn icon and hyperlink to your profile. You can also choose to automatically push content you add to Squarespace to LinkedIn.
15. Check your settings. Check your LinkedIn account settings and adjust as desired. For example, you might not want your profile edits broadcast to your whole network. There’s also a feature you can enable that will discreetly let recruiters know that you’re open.
Additionally, you can customize your profile’s URL, so it’s something clean like www.linkedin.com/in/yourname.
We provide objective counsel to those we represent. We are accountable for our actions. Part three of our six-part series highlighting the PRSA Code of Ethics principles.
By Lee Weinstein
Twenty years ago, PR staff weren’t in most of the rooms where C-suite leaders were making important decisions. Today, smart organizations know that to succeed, PR not only needs to be in the room, but will provide counsel to help them make better decisions that may ultimately drive strategies.
When we take on a new client, we commit to serve them as an independent resource. We aim to tell them the truth and give them our best advice, no matter what. Our role is listen and ask, to discern and consider, and then to provide objective counsel—even if they or their stakeholders don’t like it.
We need to be able to walk clients 360 degrees around an issue without mincing words—for their benefit and our own self-protection, so we don’t get embroiled in a communications mess, or have them tell us we didn’t warn them when it happens. It is our job to share the upsides and downsides as we see them, and to be prepared for clients to disagree, or to walk away if their choice isn’t one with which we can live
I once had a manager who coached me to, “Always remember your first instinct.” It was good advice, and is something to always come back to before making recommendations. Another leader came into our organization, looked around and observed, “There’s not enough gray hair in this department.” She was right: Experiences matter in PR, and every project, announcement, issue and crisis we work on makes us better practitioners.
Independence from our own biases needs to be consciously considered as well. As counselors, what don’t we know? What view isn’t represented and being considered? Whom else should we consult? Have we included diverse voices and backgrounds?
Independent counsel and expertise is what clients pay us for, and we must be accountable to them and ourselves. If we don’t deliver the goods (and sometimes, the bad and the ugly), we’re not doing our jobs.
(Lee Weinstein is president of Weinstein PR based in the Columbia Gorge and Portland, Oregon, and PR Boutiques International, an association of more than 40 boutique PR agencies in 17 countries. He is also author of “Write, Open, Act: An Intentional Life Planning Workbook.”)
By Vicky Hastings, APR
Why is it hard for some organizations to be transparent with media?
Honesty is always the best policy, as everyone knows. Not only do consumers prefer brands that are truthful, the PRSA Code of Ethics calls for it.
Many of us have faced situations in which an employer or client doesn’t want to comment on a controversial topic when queried by media. You, too, may be tapped to “keep us out of this story.”
If it’s a legal or personnel issue, and your organization has a policy of not publicly commenting such matters, you can say that with complete integrity.
But in other cases, it’s more complicated. Saying “no comment” is a comment it itself − one your client may not want to see when published.
When unsure what to do, turn to the Code of Ethics for guidance on ethical practices. Honesty and integrity are among a successful PR practitioner’s most important assets.
It is easy to jot down a few goals each year, but how many of us actually take the time to figure out how we will accomplish those goals?
Communicators know it takes research and planning to implement an organization’s big goals, and the same is true for your personal goals. As you plan how to reach your professional targets for 2018, consider mentoring as a strategy to get you there.
Benefits for mentors and mentees
The mentor/mentee relationship can guide your professional growth and help you map out the steps to realize your dreams.
“Dave Thompson has been a fantastic mentor who helped me realize the different career paths within communications and provided many great networking and educational opportunities,” said Pete Donahue, Internal Communications Manager, Johnson Controls. “We meet regularly to review my progress toward certain career goals and I learn something new every time we meet.”
Mentees are not the only ones who benefit from this relationship. Veteran communicators find that time spent investing in someone’s future enhances leadership and helps them develop new skills.
“Mentoring develops and enhances the professional growth of both mentor and mentee,” said Dave Thompson, APR. “I think I learn more from the experience then the professionals I mentor!”
The mentoring program matches communicators based upon the needs of the mentee and the skills of the mentor. Then, it is up to the pair to establish a meeting schedule. We recommend meeting at least once a month.
To learn more about becoming a mentor, contact us at email@example.com.
Let PRSA’s values guide your decision-making
Erin Merz, M.A., APR
Ethics and decision-making go hand in hand. Next time you’re challenged with making a tough choice at work, consider the six core values in PRSA’s Code of Ethics: Advocacy, Honesty, Expertise, Independence, Loyalty and Fairness. We’re going to spotlight these values throughout the year, starting this month with Advocacy:
We serve the public interest by acting as responsible advocates for those we represent. We provide a voice in the marketplace of ideas, facts, and viewpoints to aid informed public debate.
We are advocates for our clients and employers when we put their interests first. We are responsible advocates when we also consider the interests of their publics. The foundation of our profession is mutually beneficial relationships. Consequently, we’re obligated to make a committed effort toward achieving mutual benefit. While the balancing act between institutional interest and public interest can be tricky, it’s always necessary. Don’t be discouraged when compromise is the result of a difficult decision. In fact, strategic adaptability is critical to long-term success.
Without a doubt, the recent demise of British agency Bell Pottinger will be used as a case study for what not to do when it comes to ethics in public relations. Their destructive advocacy on behalf of clients is what PRSA has been combating since its inception. Read PRSA Chair Anthony D’Angelo’s take in his letter to The New York Times.
On the opposite extreme, Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol recall nearly 40 years ago cost the company millions of dollars when it made public health and safety a priority. This classic crisis management case reminds us that putting public interest ahead of profit can pay off in the long run.