New Chapter APR: Ian Rollins, APR

New Chapter APR: Ian Rollins, APR

Ian is a marketing and communications strategist for Samaritan Health Services, supporting Samaritan’s services in Corvallis and Benton County. His duties include media relations, internal and external communications campaigns for Samaritan initiatives, counsel to organization leadership, social media and website content management, relationships with external partners and community involvement.

He has been in public relations for 13 years, following 10 years in newspaper journalism.

Originally from Orange County, California, Ian has lived in Oregon since 1993 when he started attending Linfield College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in communications there in 1997.

He completed the APR certification process in September. As an APR, he is excited to apply the best practices and strategic thinking skills he has learned to his stakeholders and communities that Samaritan serves. He is also eager to help strengthen the public relations profession with these skills.

Steps to Inform your Communication Plan for Rural Oregon: Focus on Physical Distance, Internet Access, Service Availability   

By Michelle Walch

What challenges and opportunities do PR professionals face in rural communities? The demographics are quite different compared to urban centers. Rural communities often don’t have good internet access, (although that is slowly changing). Physical distance figures into daily lives. Services (school, health care, etc.) are often limited. How do these factors affect your communications plan?  

A little background information on Oregon’s population distribution past and present provides insight. Accessing reliable data and understanding rural and frontier life are key, but not always readily available. This article includes tools, resources, and how to get to know country dwellers, and help put together your PR plan.

Define “rural” – three federal agencies, three different ways

What designates a rural area? Turns out, even government agencies can’t agree on the definition. According to The State of Oregon’s Business Services “Defining Rural vs. Urban” PDF, there are three different federal agencies that define rural and urban. Oregon also has its own method. Oregon Health & Science University adds a definition for “frontier.” To summarize:

  • The U.S. Census describes “urban clusters” as being an incorporated area having a population of more than 2,500 but less than 50,000.  
  • The Office of Management and Budget distinguishes population at the county level. An area with an urban population of 50,000 or more is considered urban. Otherwise, it’s rural. 
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture slices up the methods of the other two agencies to define rural and urban.  
  • The State of Oregon uses a combination of the above methods to define urban and rural populations. Based on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) population, Oregon’s population is 27% rural and 72% urban.
  • Oregon Health & ScienceUniversity’s Office of Rural Health (ORH) uses the above federal agencies criteria and adds a definition for frontier in addition to rural.  Frontier is defined as six people or fewer per mile. Ten of Oregon’s 36 counties are frontier, according to ORH.
  • Rural Health Info states that Oregon is 95,997 square miles and 680,754 live in rural Oregon.

Understanding infrastructure and service availability in rural America

Physical distance and social isolation are big factors in country life. The majority of food production, manufacturing, fiber and fuel comes from rural America. Yet there is a high rate of poverty, less education, less services and less infrastructure in rural areas. Farm Credit discusses the urgent need to address these areas. Rebuild Rural Coalition points out that rural needs are different from urban settings. The Aspen Institute states that accurate data about rural issues is lacking, as well as media coverage being inaccurate about rural realities.

Rural areas are diverse, and rural voices are diverse. A tourist attraction establishment may see policies different from a rancher. While rural America faces the same challenges as those in urban areas, the ways to handle them are different from the city, according to an article in The Conversation. Less population means less services, including health care, mental health services, and legal assistance. 

Going the Distance

Generally, country dwellers have to travel to get to services, which can be a barrier to healthcare access, especially for the elderly (Rural Health Info). A commute could be anywhere from 5 miles to 50 miles, and that takes time, reliable transportation, etc. Occasionally there is public transportation, depending on the area, varying in service hours and days.  

Diverse population considerations

How diverse is Oregon? According to the 2010 Census Quick Facts, 2.2% are Black or African American; 86.7% are white. Racial distribution in rural Oregon is largely Hispanic. For example, 8.5% Hispanic in Clackamas County, and 33% in Malheur, according to the Oregon Health & Science University’s Office of Rural Health Maps.  

What shaped Oregon’s racial demographics? Exclusionary laws established early in the state’s history, later thrown out, established Oregon as a white state.  

Sundown laws thwarted African Americans (and possibly other people of color) from being within the city limits of some towns in Oregon. This attracted white Missouri farmers who came to Oregon in the 1800s. Back home, they couldn’t compete with farmers who were slave owners, with their advantage of involuntary free labor, yet they also didn’t want to be around African Americans.   

Hispanic/Latinx in history goes back to the sixteenth century, with the exploration of California and Oregon. In the 1800s, Mexico became independent from Spain, then the U.S. conquered Mexico’s northern territory, what is now California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and indiginous cultures (Oregon Encyclopedia). A part of the cultural acquisition included Spaniards and Mexicans who worked as vaqueros (cow herders and horsemen) and mule packers. Oregon Encyclopedia states that, as of 1860, 20 Mexicans lived in Oregon City. It’s unclear how many of Latinx origin were actually settled in Oregon prior to 1850. 

Oregon’s racial and ethnic composition is, as of 2010: 78% white, 12% Latinx, 2% African American, 2.1% Multiracial, and 1% other (Oregonlive).

Steps for professional communicators 

When preparing to work with businesses and institutions based in rural and frontier settings, PR professionals (those based in urban areas and/or whose staff has little to no experience living in rural settings) can take the steps typically used: Research, Action planning, Communicate, Evaluate. Keep in mind population, physical distance, and service availability (or lack thereof).

Remember, rural dwellers’ lives may be structured differently than urbanites. A recent PRSA conference outlined steps PR professionals can take to understand the rural population they are serving including attending town halls and meeting local elected officials and community members to understand the concerns of local residents.

Using the above resources can help PR practitioners learn about those living in the countryside. Some general assumptions can be made about income, health, education, access to health services and more. Using these steps to understand rural and frontier lives will help PR firms lay the groundwork for your rural communication plan.

Recovery takes time, but it happens

Recovery takes time, but it happens

Written by Brad Hilliard, APR, President of PRSA Oregon

PRSA members and fellow communicators,

First and foremost, my heart and prayers go out to every one of you who have been forced to evacuate from the disastrous wildfires burning across Oregon and southwest Washington. My hope is that you and all of your loved ones are safe. I hope all of you are able to find the support you need in this difficult time.

Here in Salem, we have been fortunate. The nearest evacuation zone is about 10 minutes from my home. The skies are orange and filled with smoke and ash, but the fire line is holding. I feel stressed by the amount of work on my desk, worried for those displaced and those searching for their loved ones, and thankful to be in my home right now.

As a PR professional, I have managed wildfire recovery communications across several states for 10 years. I have been on the ground after the fires, helped guide reporters and elected officials through disaster zones, and have run several media events from evacuation centers, but I have never had to do it this close to home. Wildfire this close to where I live, work, and play gives me even more respect for the work of all those involved in the recovery process.

Here is what I have learned from my experience: Recovery takes time, but it happens.

It takes time, but the fires will be suppressed, the smoke will clear, and the ash will wash away. We will experience sadness over the realization that things will never be as they once were, but we will recover. We will work through this disaster, help each other pick up the pieces, and rebuild what was lost. It will not be the same. Some things will be better than before, some things will not. But, we will recover.

One of the gratifying parts of my job is connecting people to the resources they need to recover. No matter what level of evacuation you are in, there are resources available and tasks you can do to prepare for recovery. The resources below will help you do just that, regardless of where you live.

wildfire.oregon.gov – The State of Oregon’s wildfire recovery site. It hosts current fire and air quality updates, county updates, evacuation center and lodging resources, insurance resources, and disaster preparedness tips.

https://dfr.oregon.gov/insure/home/storm/Pages/wildfires.aspx – This is my department’s wildfire resource page, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. It provides tips and steps to take for each evacuation level and throughout the entire recovery process.

Wildfire recovery takes time, but it happens. Take time to care for yourselves and the people you care about. Check in with your friends. Lend a hand to help someone who needs it. Finally, if you need help, ask for it.

On behalf of the PRSA Oregon board, our hearts are with you.

Have a blessed day,
Brad Hilliard, APR
President
PRSA Oregon

Portland communicators mourn passing of KJ McAllister

Portland communicators mourn passing of KJ McAllister

By Tom Unger, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA

The Portland area communications industry was shocked to learn of the untimely passing of long-time marketing and public relations professional Katherine “KJ” McAllister, who died July 25 at age 72.

The announcement was made by her family in an obituary published Aug. 23 in The Oregonian.

KJ worked as an account marketing manager for Hewlett Packard for 23 years, according to the obituary. She then opened her own agency, KJM Public Relations, in 2008. 

According to the agency web site, KJ “created and executed marketing and PR strategies for diverse companies from global Fortune 500 companies to startups.”

KJ received multiple prestigious awards, including HP’s CEO Star Award and multiple Achiever Awards, for her outstanding ability to execute and drive marketing and PR objectives, the web site states.

“She has developed ‘Best in Class’ programs and gained significant recognition for the quality of her work,” according to the site.

KJ served one year on the PRSA chapter board and then later served for many years as president of the Oregon-Columbia IABC chapter board. Everyone who knew her will remember her enthusiastic and warm personality.

“KJ joined the board when I was PRSA chapter president in 2010,” said Dave Thompson, APR, who retired in 2018 from Oregon Department of Transportation. “She immediately created a vision for the Communicators Conference that led to one of our best-attended conferences. 

“Her energy was unlimited,” Dave continued. “I had the pleasure of collaborating with her as she led the IABC chapter over the next few years, and that chapter’s professional development was outstanding during that time. Saying she ‘will be missed’ is one of the greatest understatements I could make. She not only made us better, she made us FEEL better!”

Glenn Perkins, who retired earlier this year from Wells Fargo, got to know KJ very well from his years of volunteer service on the IABC chapter board.

“This news just stuns me. So very sad,” Glenn said. “I last saw KJ shortly before last Christmas, just prior to my retirement, at which time I transitioned the Oregon Columbia IABC chapter’s treasury and accounts to her (as the chapter’s current president). Although the chapter had again been dormant for a while, she had plans for restarting the professional development luncheons on a quarterly basis in the spring. Of course, the pandemic put a stop to all that.

“I’ll always consider myself fortunate for having known KJ as a fellow Oregon Columbia chapter board member and a friend for more than a decade,” Glenn continued. “Over the years as the chapter’s treasurer, I worked closely with her on the planning, promotion and hosting of various chapter activities and events. Suffice it to say, I often witnessed her unyielding passion for event promotion, framed by her skills and talent for managing successful events, and all in the name of leading and building-up the chapter. Whenever conducting brainstorming sessions for a chapter event, KJ inevitably would at some point emphasize the need to make the event ‘sparkle.’ Perhaps that memory is how I’ll best remember her… always going for the sparkle, no matter what.”

KJ was a treasured member of The Link for Women networking group, said Eileen Kravetz, executive director of the Tualatin Hills Park Foundation.

“I met KJ at an event and we happened to sit next to each other. We became fast friends,” said Eileen. “She was kind and helpful, always offering to introduce me to someone or make a connection. She often invited me to sit at her table during an International Association of Business Communicators event, always supporting and connecting me.

KJ greeted everyone with a smile, which highlighted her inner spark and enthusiasm for life, said Eileen.

“Many of us at The Link will truly miss her. She was the loveliest of friends and an absolute joy,” Eileen added.

The family held a private funeral. The family is asking that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Oregon Humane Society or Special Olympics Oregon.

Those who knew KJ can leave condolences for the family at:
www.springerandson.com and/or sign the online guest book at www.oregonlive.com/obits.

You’ve realized you’re racist. Now what?

Blog written by Taraneh Fultz, APR and PRSA Oregon Board Member

Hi. My name is Taraneh Fultz, I use she/her/hers pronouns and I’m a racist.

Not what you were expecting? Well, that’s the point. White people benefit from systemic racism, and we – not black people – need to do the uncomfortable, sustained work to correct it. That starts with calling out the elephant in the room and eating that pachyderm one bite at a time.

I’m at the start of this journey. Self-awareness was regularly called out as a strength in performance reviews, and I have a tendency towards empathy with people and situations foreign to my own experience. In my 38 years on the planet, that narrative became part of my core identity, as much as being a woman, a mother, a daughter of an immigrant, or a strategic communications professional. Having that identity shaken – especially during a pandemic, when my mental wellbeing is already tenuous – is rough. But it’s necessary.

Fortunately, my organization put together a curated list of resources to help us along our own journeys. It’s not an exhaustive list, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed and are looking for guidance, here’s a good place to start. Pick one thing, reflect, change a behavior or a way of thinking, create that habit, and then move on to the next thing.

The bottom line? The journey is the destination. As with any other significant change, you’re going to struggle. It will get easier, but it will never be easy. And as we all know, work worth doing never is. Good luck, and I’ll be rooting for you.

Read

Watch

Better Together

Let’s talk race

Written by PRSA Oregon Diversity & Inclusion Committee

The tragic death of George Floyd has energized the Black Lives Matter movement across this nation and the world. White people are being forced to listen and see examples of systemic racism in the mainstream media, on public opinion platforms and in their neighborhoods for the first time in decades. Compound the deep racial tensions with a pandemic that is infecting Black people and people of color disproportionately right now, and we as public relations professionals have a high-stakes level of complexity to communicate as we guide our organizations and businesses. 

Having go-to resources to access quickly are key to our daily tactics and long-term objectives. PRSA Oregon’s Diversity and Inclusion committee offers members tools they can count on to be timely and relevant. Here are a few examples:

Audio

Here’s a podcast series by Kimberle Crenshaw, an American civil rights advocate, who explores equity issues that are occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a May 12 episode, she and her guests examine the central role that ideological whiteness plays in the U.S. response to COVID-19. Meanwhile, in a May 19 podcast, guests discuss vote suppression, state violence, vigilantism and fatal public health experiments in the state of Georgia.

Web 

Why is it so hard for people from the dominant group to talk about racism? There are social barriers. There is fear. It’s an uncomfortable topic. Talking about race and racism risks being called a racist. These are just some of the reasons white people don’t talk about race. Here’s a Washington Post news story and tips to start this conversation in a time that is demanding white people to pay attention and take action.

Video 

Dr. Robin DiAngelo is a lecturer, author and 20-year trainer on racial and social justice issues. She frequently lectures about White Fragility — defensive moves that the dominant group makes when confronted with race. Fear, guilt and anger are some of the behaviors that often shut down conversations, making it impossible for dialogues across racial groups, while protecting the white status quo.

A little bit of everything

Here’s a full list of anti-racist resources from movies, podcasts, books and videos to kid’s books and organizations to follow on social media.

 
 
Let's talk race
 
Event: Communicators’ role in interrupting racism in the workplace
 
Join PRSA Oregon’s Diversity and Inclusion committee in a forum to coach communicators in interrupting racism in the workplace on Tuesday, August 11, at 11:30 a.m. PST! Serilda Summers-McGee, MBA, M.Ed, founder of Workplace Change, will share tips through case studies and answer your questions about racism in the workplace.
 
Tickets are on sale now! Register on Eventbrite.
APR Accreditation

Three members of PRSA Oregon Chapter earned their APRs

PRSA Oregon offers a complimentary Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) prep course for chapter members, led by experienced coaches to guide Oregon chapter members through the program.

The APR asserts professional competence; communicates professional expertise, plus personal and professional dedication and values; reflects progressive public relations industry practices and high standards; and sets professionals apart from their peers, positioning them as a leader and mentor in the competitive public relations field. 

Congratulations to our three PRSA Oregon members who have earned their APR in 2020: Eric Johnson, Tom Fuller and JC Vannatta.

 

Eric Johnson, APR, PRSA Oregon Chapter Membership Co-Chair
City of Roseburg

Three members of PRSA Oregon Chapter earned their APRsEric is the Communications Specialist with the City of Roseburg, where he serves on the management team. Eric’s duties at the City include implementing a comprehensive strategic communication plan, including media relations, website content, writing and designing print publications, managing the City’s social media efforts and electronic communications. Additionally, he is responsible for community engagement with citizens as well as internal systems that promote City employee communications.

Before working at the City of Roseburg, Eric was the Public Relations Coordinator at Explore Lincoln City, where he honed his skills as a PR professional in the tourism marketing industry. Outside of work, Eric is an active member of the PRSA Oregon Board of Directors, where he serves as co-chair of the membership committee. Eric is also an avid runner, reader, gamer and cat dad.

Eric received his APR in December 2019 after many months of studying and preparing. Throughout the process of achieving accreditation, Eric has learned to think strategically about long-term public relations planning and looks forward to putting that knowledge to the test in Roseburg.

 

Tom Fuller, APR
Oregon Department of Transportation

Three members of PRSA Oregon Chapter earned their APRsTom is the communications manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation. Tom oversees a group of professional communicators across the state that assists the agency in communication planning, messaging, public outreach, education, web, social media, video and graphics, and media relations. Tom is a 20-year veteran and Emmy®-winning television journalist and communications professional with over 19 years of experience in state government. He has won numerous public relations awards including a 2017 Award of Excellence and the “Best of Show” award for the 2016 National Association of Government Communicators Blue Pencil Awards. 

Tom serves on the board of directors for the National Association of Government Communicators. Tom also serves as the chair of the state of Oregon E-governance Board, which oversees the Oregon.gov website. Tom holds an accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America. 

He is a national speaker on content and visual engagement strategies as well as communications planning and measurement. Tom holds a BA degree in Communications Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In addition, he is the published author of five books on Oregon history and a licensed drone pilot. 

 

JC Vannatta, APR
TriMet

Three members of PRSA Oregon Chapter earned their APRsJC is the managing director of communications, marketing and customer experience for the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon or TriMet. As managing director, he oversees the agency’s media relations, social media, employee communications, creative services, marketing & advertising, community outreach, sales and customer experience. 

JC is no stranger to transit having worked nearly 20 years in transit in various communications capacities at three different transit organizations – two of those being in Chicago. JC also has the scars from working in the broadcast news industry where he worked for seven years as a television news reporter and producer. 

JC holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from Montana State University. He doesn’t own a car and uses transit to get where he needs to go! 

Get started on your accreditation!

The Oregon PRSA Chapter has a long history of success in helping members get their accreditation. Classes are offered online via Zoom. We work with a team of coaches and professionals to help you be successful, including, but not limited to, Mara Woloshin, APR, Fellow PRSA; Chuck Williams, APR; Dave Thompson, APR; Stacy Keen, APR; Patti Akins, APR and Jean Kempe-Ware, APR. The next session is planned for February 2021, unless we have members who would like to study for their accreditation sooner. For more information, please contact Patti Atkins, APR ([email protected]).

Why be a Member of PRSA Oregon?

Why be a Member of PRSA Oregon?

Why be a Member of PRSA Oregon? By Judy Asbury, APR Why are you a member of PRSA and PRSA Oregon? Why pay the dues, why get involved? I asked myself that recently. What am I hoping to learn as a member, what am I hoping to gain? I came away with these answers: 1) […]

Building Expertise, Authority and Trust Among Generation Alpha

Building Expertise, Authority and Trust Among Generation Alpha

Building Expertise, Authority and Trust Among Generation Alpha

by Anna Nelson (Washington State University)

Generation Alpha, those born between 2010-2024, are predicted to be the largest generation in history, estimated to reach 2 billion by 2025, according to generationalpha.com. The oldest of Gen Alphas are coming of age and have strong purchasing power. Other generations, such as millennials and Gen Z, have made significant contributions to our current zeitgeist through their purchasing power; think Fortnite, Minecraft and virtual reality in our everyday lives. Where will Gen Alpha’s purchasing power take us?

Gen Alpha has coexisted with screens since birth – a screen is only a pocket’s distance away. They have an unprecedented understanding of technology because they’ve been immersed since a young age. And Gen Alpha also has notoriously short attention spans, making it difficult to catch their eye with products and campaigns. Mark McCrindle, Australian social researcher of Gen Alpha, predicts that they will be the most formally educated, tech-savvy and globally wealthiest generation to date (https://generationalpha.com/). This holds tremendous power in understanding Generation Alpha, as they will likely be product-driven, but more difficult to advertise to. Lastly, despite their young age, Gen Alpha has a strong passion for sustainability, according to Hotwire, with 38% claiming recycling is very important, compared to only 22% of millennials and baby boomers (https://www.hotwireglobal.com/feature/genalpha3).

So, how can you build expertise, trust and authority with the emerging generation?

I think that boils down to a few points that companies and campaigns must implement if they want to be successful with Alphas – authenticity, honesty, curating a new digital experience, customization and sustainability. Marketing initiatives will have to be transparent with this new audience. Because of higher levels of education and an unprecedented understanding of technology, Gen Alpha will not accept anything at face value. Brands, companies and campaigns will have to put their money where their mouth is when targeting the youngest generation.

Authenticity

 

Companies will need to go beyond simply making claims to Gen Alpha and visibly prove their product’s value. This trend emerged with millennials and Gen Z, which can be observed through the increase of reviews and customer feedback. Alphas will likely take their need for authenticity to the next level. Companies and brands will need to show their authenticity in the real world by being transparent in their initiatives for equality and diversity, as well as giving back. Companies that cannot show authenticity should not expect trust or respect from Gen Alpha.

Honesty & Transparency

Honesty and transparency go hand in hand with authenticity. Companies need to prove to the new generation that they are worth Alphas’ time and money. This goes beyond just avoiding superlative claims about a product that are exaggerated or untrue, but also into the territory of corporate transparency. For example, make the actions and composition of your diversity committees public, showing people that employees are being compensated equally, regardless of gender and race and openly admit to mistakes that the company has made. Gen Alpha will likely expect companies to hold themselves accountable, and if that is not something they see happening, they will choose another company. To develop authoritativeness and trust with Gen Alpha, make a commitment to transparency and honesty.

A New Digital Experience

Think back to when brick-and-mortar stores attempted to stay relevant in the retail world by competing with online shopping through creating an in-store shopping “experience.” This will likely be an expectation of Alphas due to their complete immersion in technology. Creating a “new digital experience” will set your brand, company or campaign apart by giving them something they have been craving – something new or revolutionary in the world of tech. Think along the lines of shopping through VR or VR product trials. Curating a unique digital experience will allow for brands to build authoritativeness with Gen Alpha.

Customization

Gen Alpha grew up in a world with customization at their fingertips – storybooks with their name and likeness inserted into them, cards with personalized messages recorded into them and toys modelled after them. This will likely lead to a desire for increased customization across all products. In addition to customizable products for the consumer, campaign managers should look at how can they cater to the customization desires of Gen Alpha. Campaigns, in general, will likely need to become more niche to properly serve younger audiences and get their attention. To build expertise with Gen Alpha, think along the lines of, “how can I serve the individual, as well as the larger audience?”

Sustainability & Giving Back

Environmentalism and sustainability are already well documented as important issues for Gen Alpha. Alphas growing up in the politically-torn world of climate change and seeing the negative effects of a changing climate will likely only become more passionate and outspoken on the issue. As these issues come to the forefront of their minds, companies must build trust with Alphas by making transparent commitments to sustainability. This generation will desire more than a company’s commitment to cutting back their carbon footprint, but will also expect donations, engagement and interaction with climate justice organizations as well as politicians. Developing expertise and trust with Gen Alpha will directly align with sustainability.

Authenticity, transparency, digital experiences, customization and sustainability are healthy and positive changes for companies to make, even if they are difficult and long-term changes. Gen Alpha, more educated and technologically inclined than ever, will expect positive changes from brands, no matter where they expect to see them.

PRSA Oregon Awards Top Honors to Three Emerging PR Professionals

PRSA Oregon Awards Top Honors to Three Emerging PR Professionals

For two decades, the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) has called upon our the PRSA Oregon chapter to jury the Jack Ewan Award for Outstanding Public Relations Senior. This year, we were also invited to judge the Liz Cawood Award for Service to UO PRSSA and the Community.

A member of the faculty from 1964 until his retirement in 1985, Ewan is credited with building the UO’s public relations courses into an accredited major. He was responsible for the founding of the first Public Relations Student Society of America Chapter (PRSSA) at the University of Oregon, the first in the Northwest District.

The Jack Ewan Award is presented each year to the outstanding senior member of PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America), University of Oregon Chapter. The award recognizes both achievement and potential in a senior student and is named in honor of Jack Ewan, Professor Emeritus, and founder of the University of Oregon Chapter of PRSSA. The award is sponsored by the Oregon Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

The Liz Cawood Award is also presented each year to a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America, University of Oregon Chapter, for outstanding commitment to service to PRSSA and the community at large.  The award is named in honor of Liz Cawood, first UO PRSSA professional advisor and a founding member of the Greater Oregon Chapter of PRSA. The award is sponsored by Cawood.

Liz Cawood, president of Cawood, a communications and PR firm in Eugene and a longtime supporter of the SOJC, worked with Ewan to found the Greater Oregon PRSA chapter as well as the UO PRSSA chapter.  She says she fondly remembers “talking with Ewan about public relations strategies.”

This year’s jury for each award comprised Patti Atkins, APR, PR consultant; Liz Cawood, APR, President at CAWOOD;  Sally Ridenour, APR, Chief Content Strategist at Oregon Department of Transportation; Dianne Danowski Smith, APR, Fellow PRSA, President of Publix Northwest PR – PA; David Thompson, APR, integrated PR practitioner; Andrea Watson, APR, Communications and Public Affairs Supervisor at Tualatin Valley Water District; and Mara Woloshin, APR, Fellow PRSA of Woloshin Communications. Danowski Smith chaired the jury and serves on the 2020 PRSA Oregon chapter board.

In this academic year, a tie was declared between the top tow two excellent candidates, each receiving a monetary award as part of the esteemed designations for the Jack Ewan award. Each displayed excellent academic performance as well as strong goals for their post-graduation lives. The winners were announced and formally awarded at the 2020 J-School’s commencement ceremony on June 20th.

The 2020 Jack Ewan Award for Outstanding Public Relations Senior was awarded to UO SOJC seniors Ariana Gaspar and Kyra Hanson. Both were honored for strong academic focus and for their outstanding leadership at UO’s PRSSA chapter.  For Ariana, a judge noted “Ariana also described the importance of the U of Oregon’s PRSSA chapter, where she ‘found a community.’ She has taken every opportunity to not just join, but join in the meaningful experiences and new roles the PRSSA chapter afforded her. As a senior, she is now part of the chapter’s leadership team.” Ariana has landed an internship at Quinn-Thomas

The judge added Ariana’s “future goals are inspiring. She wants to help organizations understand their purpose and positively impact their communities; and she wants to challenge the public relations industry to be more inclusive and promote diversity.”

For Kyra, judges called out her accomplishments as an honors student as well as the PRSSA chapter’s vice president. “Her work in PRSSA show she is also a storyteller with a passion to exceed. Her storytelling ability will help change the world. From analyzing a corporate entity practicing discrimination to her solid background in academics, she is well equipped to succeed in public relations. Her experience at Allen Hall and in the PRSSA chapter will serve her well. I was also impressed that she was able to accomplish so much and earn an honors degree. She clearly has the intelligence, academics, experience and savvy to be an excellent communicator in any field that she may choose.”

The 2020 winner of the Liz Cawood Award for Service to UO PRSSA and the Community is Amelia Bennett. Along with Kyra, Amelia has landed a coveted internship at The Hoffman Agency, based in Vancouver, Washington.  One judge noted, “Amelia developed great leadership skills through her time in the PRSSA Chapter. As an event director and the 2019-‘20 chapter president, she was able to work on easing the burdens of other students, who can’t afford membership. I was particularly impressed by her reference/recommendation who described the confusion around selecting a new staff advisor and how Amelia was able to step up to help keep the chapter going forward. It sounds like it was a great year of learning and adventure. The chapter was able to improve their visibility on campus, as well as develop a diversity and inclusion scholarship to begin next year.”

PRSA Oregon thanks the esteemed judges and congratulates Ariana, Kyra and Amelia. We can’t wait to see your stars arise!