Missing Kerry Dugan

With sadness, we share that former PRSA Oregon member and longtime PR colleague Kerry Dugan died earlier this month of brain cancer/glioblastoma, at the age of 60.

Many in our community remember Kerry. Practitioner Paulette Peynet, CFRE, shared her memory, “Kerry’s mastery of public relations was superior. But, more, Kerry was a treasured colleague. He helped many people, from newcomers to seasoned practitioners. He helped our local PRSA chapter. He absolutely advanced our public relations profession as a management discipline.”

Dianne Danowski Smith, APR, Fellow PRSA said, “I knew Kerry well and am so very sorry our community has lost his light. He and I served on the PRSA PDX board together in the mid-90s, co-conducted job search workshops together in 1997-’98 for the chapter, won a Spotlight together in 2000, and then I hired him and his firm, Dugan Strategic Marketing, to work with me on two major clients from 2010 to 2017.” She added that he made a strong impression on those who knew him and was already ready to help whenever needed.

Said David Thompson, APR, “Kerry was one of the nicest, most helpful people I’ve met in the PR industry. He always had a smile and an encouraging word. He inspired me—and I’m sure many others.”

Kerry had quite a successful and multifaceted career. Early in his PR career (after modeling in NYC), he directed regional marketing for Ringling Bros./Barnum & Bailey Circus, Walt Disney on Ice, and Evergreen International Aviation. In the 1980s, Kerry learned the ropes from his mother, Mary Dugan, who was legendary in advertising. Kerry had memberships and provided board leadership to both the PRSA PDX board and the Portland Advertising Federation. In the ‘90s, he served in the City of Portland’s Emergency Management Bureau and ran for Multnomah County Commissioner in 2004. He eventually founded two agencies: Dugan Inc. Advertising and Public Relations, and most recently, Dugan Strategic Marketing.

His community outreach voluntarism was also legendary, serving in key roles for American Red Cross, MacDonald Residence/Assisted Living, Columbia River Correctional Institution, Multnomah County foster child camps, Meals on Wheels, and at Hiteon Elementary in art literacy.

Peynet added, “Those who knew Kerry will remember his stunning work on our PRSA board. He was a leader in every PRSA program: speaker recruitment, conference, professional development, Spotlight Awards, mentoring. I saw him often at UO’s portfolio reviews, meeting one-to-one with an appreciative PR student.”

She continued, “For those who knew Kerry, they will remember his precise expertise, his long list of achievements and, most of all: his humanity. Our Oregon chapter is fortunate to have had legends like Bill Marsh, John Pihas, Barbara Stallcup Miller. Add Kerry Dugan to the list of Oregon public relations treasures.”

If you knew Kerry and would like to share your remembrances with the family, email [email protected].

Breaking Down the PESO Model

Contributed by PRSA Oregon partner Allen Hall PR,
University of Oregon



The PESO model is a visual representation of the four types of media combined for a successful PR campaign. The model was created by Gini Dietrich who founded and co-authors the blog Spin Sucks and has years of communications industry wisdom under her belt. PESO stands for Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned Media. Each type of media is important to build brand awareness and see results. If all four types of media are created and maintained successfully, according to Dietrich, “it can help you establish authority… [which] means you’re a thought leader.”

Paid media refers to the sponsored content seen online, social media ads and other digital marketing options. This option does not have to break the bank. Set aside a small budget and choose to sponsor a piece of content that represents the brand well. Test out what content works well for your brand and what doesn’t. Eventually, trends will start to show about what is effective, and then more money can be confidently put into these advertisements. 

Earned media is the traditional media relations that the PR world has been doing for decades. Getting your brand’s name in print from a third-party source is obviously still an excellent way to build credibility for your brand. With the ever-growing communications field and the dwindling number of journalists, building and maintaining relationships with the press is crucial to success in earned media. 

Shared media (which some people combine with owned media) is social media. This is the content that is going on all the brand’s social platforms. To be successful, content needs to be creative, authentic and posted regularly. Brands need to be active on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for starters, be a part of conversations about the industry the brand works in and have a clear and developed brand voice that makes content stand out. Right now on Instagram especially, but also Facebook and Snapchat, stories are where users spend a lot of their time on the apps. Therefore, brands need to be creating content every day that can be added to the brand’s story. Make it interactive with a poll or a question to get users more engaged. Make sure to follow trends and work out how the brand’s voice can contribute to them.

Owned media is content that the brand produces itself. A lot of this media likely resides on the brand’s website. These are things like a blog, a podcast, photo series, stories written by people from the brand, and any other content created in-house that is not on social media. Owned media is where the brand has the most freedom to tell its own story. However, the other three types of media are essential for creating credibility. 

Intersections of Journalism and PR

Contributed by PRSA Oregon partner
Allen Hall PR,
University of Oregon



Public relations professionals come from a variety of backgrounds with an array of expertise. A common background for those currently working in PR often begins with journalism. The two fields have similar core characteristics that make the skills learned in a journalism career easily transferable to the PR world and vice versa. The following are a few of the many components journalism and public relations have in common. 


PR and journalism deal directly with communication. They also share a common audience – the public. It is the job of the PR representative as well as the journalist to serve as a public informant with pertinent information. The entire idea behind the two professions is that the public can look to these people and know they are going to be kept up to date with the news occurring around them. Whether it is an article in the local newspaper or a press release from Google, PR professionals and journalists alike are constantly sharing information with the public. 


Pitching is one of the biggest components when it comes to PR and journalism. Both professions call for the sharing of ideas and this is generally when PR professionals and journalists will interact the most. In PR, most pitching is done to the media, meaning PR professionals must convince journalists that a story pertaining to their brand is good enough to be shared with the public and categorized as newsworthy. In journalism, it comes down to pitching stories to an editor and convincing them that the story is worth letting the public know about. Being able to pitch a story and have it get picked up by a journalist or the media outlet itself is a strong skill that is constantly used in both professions. 


PR and journalism are fields in which the professional tells a story. On one hand, the PR representative is telling the story of a brand while journalists are telling the story of the people. PR generally tells that story to the public in the form of campaigns and products while journalists will use media as the primary source of communication. PR storytelling is more end goal-focused while journalism deals less with strategic communication. In the end, the core characteristic remains the same. Both professions call for storytelling as a vital skill that is at the heart of communication. 


In both PR and journalism, trust is essential. Trust between the communicator and the public is crucial for PR and journalism to survive – it is also one of the most important components in each profession’s code of ethics. In PR you must have the trust of the public in order to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship. In journalism, you must operate as a non-bias “watchdog” in order to share facts and truth with your audience. If there is ever a mistake or mix-up, professionals in both fields are expected to come forward and state their wrong because, without transparency, both professions would lose vital audience trust. 

Industry Influence: What’s On the Rise in Communications

Contributed by PRSA Oregon partner Allen Hall PR,
University of Oregon



We all know that fast pace and change defines the communications industry. Success means keeping up on the trends and new practices, self-teaching, observing peers in the field, and some failed attempts along the way. When falling behind can mean clients choose to use others’ services, staying on top of the best messaging strategies is important to us all. Here are some of the top trends PR professionals and professors say have shaped our industry the most in recent years:

More Tech

Tech continuously changes the way we disseminate information. The medium with the most recent spike in popularity is podcasts. (Check out PRSA Oregon’s affiliated podcast, PR Talk HERE) People who understand how to make successful audio media will stand out to their employers and clients. Video has also been on the forefront of brand storytelling for a while and does not appear to be going anywhere. Video can be a powerful tool, but the path to an impactful video is strategic and requires time. “PRSay” has a great blog post on the video storytelling process.

Fewer Journalists

Most of us have heard by now that there are between five and 10 communications professionals for every journalist in this country. Kelli Matthews, the director of the public relations sequence in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon, says this “makes media relations and earning coverage increasingly difficult.” According to Matthews, if you are not doing your research into journalists and the beats they cover, then you are not going to get coverage. Doing this properly can take a significant amount of time to understand the reporter, the topics they cover, and how your client can fit into it. The long process and hard work will be worth it when you can show your clients the earned media you received. 

Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash

Spread of Disinformation

Conspiracy theories and false information pose a threat to everyone in the public sphere. This spread of disinformation is causing rifts in all types of relationships. Google’s VP of Global Communications and Public Affairs Corey duBrowa says this is the biggest change and issue in our industry. We all have our own beliefs and opinions, but we have started to only consume information that supports these beliefs and opinions. “It has moved all of us so much further inside our self-created ‘bubbles’,” says duBrowa. “I worry that we only consume what we already think and believe, and we aren’t listening to one another anymore.” If disinformation is not addressed, it will impact much more than our political process. Companies can be the target of disinformation campaigns, and we as communications professionals need to be ready to combat crises that may impact our clients. 


Similarly, there is a rising trend of consumers choosing products based on brand values. More often we are seeing people boycotting brands when the brand has different values than they do or does not act by the values that they claim to have. A recent example is the backlash Chick-fil-A received when they announced they would stop donating to anti-LGBTQ charities. Conservatives felt that Chick-fil-A had abandoned their shared values, while liberals believed the change was made only to raise profits. In 2018, Marketing Dive reported on an Accenture study which found that 63 percent of global consumers preferred to purchase from purpose-driven brands. According to Matthews, “values-based and purpose-driven brands are the winners when it comes to building relationships with publics.” The brands that can communicate with the public about their mission in a genuine way will be able to curate lasting relationships with their consumers. 




PRSA Oregon’s tale of three cities

Like the flavor-packed middle of a Bunk sandwich – a PDX favorite – bookended by two prominent flavors of their own, the robust market of Portland is flanked by our state legislature in Salem to the south and by a burgeoning waterfront in Vancouver to the north. As a statewide chapter, our PRSA members span the mid-valley and extend beyond the Columbia River, throughout Fisher’s Landing and Shumway and Felida neighborhoods.

Whether you are one of our 232 chapter members who toil in our Silicon Forest; as part of our recreational, sports and apparel industries; in our health care sector; or even among our big agricultural secret: hazelnuts, you have a community in and outside of Portland proper.

Keep an eye out for upcoming events hosted throughout Salem/mid-valley and Vancouver/SW Washington and for a monthly feature series highlighting the great work throughout Oregon and SW Washington in 2020.

Here’s to our neighbors to the south and to our neighbors to the north. Happy 2020!

All the best,

Liz and Jolene, regional co-chairs, SW Washington and Salem/mid-valley

From the President’s Desk

Make the most of your membership: Join in

I have enjoyed 10 years as a PRSA member in Oregon. I have learned a lot from the society and its members, but the absolute #1 lesson I have learned is to simply join in.

I guarantee that I would not be the communicator I am today if I only used my membership for the occasional webinar or conference. By joining in, I have forged amazing relationships and fostered many professional skills that I would not have gotten from just sitting and listening.

We are members because we want to grow as professionals and connect with other communicators. To accomplish that, I invite you to make your professional development a top priority in 2020 by simply joining a committee.

We have opportunities in:

  • Professional Development – Help organize monthly events and/or serve on our Communicators Conference planning team
  • Advancement – Join the DEI committee or help us secure sponsorships
  • Membership – Serve as a buddy for new members or run our mentoring program
  • Communications – Web design, social media, and newsletter opportunities
  • Regional – Help us better reach everyone in the state by serving as lead in your community

We are working hard to make sure every communicator, regardless of location, has access to high quality professional development opportunities. I encourage you to check our newsletter, website, and social channels regularly for learning opportunities, but more importantly, I encourage you to join in.

Take it from my decade of experience. The best decision I ever made for my professional development was to simply join in.  

Don’t hesitate! Join in today!

Brad Hilliard, APR

PRSA Oregon Chapter President


PRSA Oregon 2020 Board of Directors Announced

PRSA Oregon Members elected the 2020 Board of Directors.

Board members will meet on January 11 for the annual planning retreat in Salem. 

PRSA Oregon 2020 Officers and Executive Committee:

President: Brad Hilliard, APR
Public Information Officer
Department of Consumer and Business Services

Brad Hilliard is the Public Information Officer for the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, the state’s largest consumer protection agency where he manages communications for the state insurance commissioner and regulator of financial products and services. His public relations career spans 11 years, serving as a public affairs specialist, government relations manager, media relations manager, and public information officer.

He received a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications from Middle Tennessee State University in 2000.  He reached his goal of living in the Pacific Northwest when he moved from Colorado to Oregon in 2009. 

President-Elect: Judy Asbury, APR
Assistant Dean, Communications and External Relations
Lewis & Clark Law School

Judy Asbury oversees all law school communications and manages the development team at Lewis & Clark Law School. Working closely with the Dean of the law school, Asbury creates communications designed to enhance the school’s reputation, and inspire its alumni to engage and support the school.

Prior to moving to Portland in 2016, Asbury founded the award-winning communications agency Smith Asbury Inc. in the greater Los Angeles area and managed its success for 20+ years. Asbury and her firm were recognized for strategic counsel and creative campaigns for a variety of clients in higher education, healthcare, financial, law, business, and nonprofits.

In 2012, Asbury focused on serving higher educational institutions, notably for Caltech and the University of La Verne.  

Secretary: Meghan Gardner, MA 
Vice President, PR
Matter, Inc.

As head of the Portland office for Matter, Meghan brings both an eye for detail and clarity of strategic vision to every client program. Her media relations, C-suite communications counsel, and messaging strategy skills have delivered exceptional results for brands from Netflix and Nordstrom to Avid Technologies, Acme Packets (now part of Oracle), Eli Lilly and Company, and the Business Roundtable. Here in Oregon, she oversees a team of 15 servicing clients in a variety of industries, including B2B technology, information security, financial services, manufacturing, food and beverage, consumer services, and marketing technology.

 Meghan’s career spans two decades, two continents, and both U.S. coasts. Her yoga mat comes with her everywhere she goes. And at last count, Meghan owned five library cards. She lives in Southeast Portland with her husband, daughter, and wirehaired pointing griffon (a very fine name for a very goofy dog).

Treasurer: Taraneh Fultz, APR
Integrated Marketing Programs Manager
Cambia Health Solutions

Taraneh Fultz, APR, is a fifth-generation San Franciscan (and Giants fan) who loves PR, hates the snow and makes the best baklava – ever.

Currently, she serves as integrated marketing programs manager at Cambia Health Solutions. Previous positions with the organization include field marketing analyst and senior field marketing analyst. Taraneh also chairs Cambia’s employee resource group for female employees, the Women’s Employee Leadership Lab (WELL). Her contributions have resulted in features in Portland Monthly and awards from Forbes, the Portland Business Alliance and Mogul.

Taraneh is accredited in public relations by the Universal Accreditation Board, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations from the University of Oregon and a certificate in project management from Portland State University. In 2007, she was awarded the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Portland Metro Chapter’s New Professional of the Year, and a decade later, she received the PRSA Oregon Chapter’s Olga M. Haley Mentorship Award. She has held board positions with PRSA and the American Marketing Association, including as (the first millennial) board chair of PRSA’s Portland Metro Chapter and PRSA’s North Pacific District.

Taraneh lives in Southeast Portland with her family and is a founding member of the Ambassador Board of Albertina Kerr, Oregon’s oldest non-profit. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @taranehfultz.

Immediate Past President: Julie Reed, M.S., APR
Community Benefit Strategist
Legacy Health

Julie Reed is a communications strategist and leader with experience working with government, healthcare and non-profit organizations. Reed serves as a Community Benefit Strategist for Legacy Health, Oregon’s largest locally owned nonprofit health system where she manages development and implementation strategies for community health improvement.  Previously she served as Public and Community Relations Consultant for Legacy Health where she managed communications and public relations projects, media relations and served as Legacy’s public information officer. Reed previously worked for Metro as a business strategy and public affairs manager. She serves on Franklin High School’s Parent Teacher Student Advisory Council and previously served on the boards of Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce and Children First for Oregon.

A native Oregonian, Reed holds a master’s degree in leadership from Capella University, a bachelor’s degree in communications, and is accredited in public relations from Public Relations Society of America.


Professional Development Co-Chair: Heather Back, MBA
Communications and Policy

Heather Back is a get-it-done gal with experience in cause marketing, corporate social responsibility, stakeholder engagement, and corporate communications in for-profit, nonprofit and government settings. She manages communications and policy development for Metro’s Visitor Venues — the Oregon Convention Center, Portland Centers for the Arts, Portland Expo Center and the Oregon Zoo – building awareness of their significant economic return for the region from hosting conventions, exhibits and events that draw visitors and tourism dollars into the community. Back assists with development of strategic business opportunities, government and community affairs as well as media and public

relations efforts. Travel and tourism is a deep passion of hers, having also been a publisher for visitor bureaus for Portland Monthly and San Diego Magazines. Her experience and passion provides the public-private partnership background needed to ensure the Metro portfolio of venues thrive in supporting conservation, business incubation, and cultural richness to Oregon while also bringing vast economic benefits and job opportunities to the region.

Professional Development Co-Chair: Kyra Phelps
Marketing and Events Coordinator
Humane Society for Southwest Washington (HSSW)

Along with her love for animals, Kyra’s passions include making a difference in the community through marketing and fundraising. She coordinates and plans the HSSW’s main fundraising events, Walk/Run for the Animals and their annual Dinner/Auction. She has five years of marketing and communication experience, including social media, email marketing, graphic design, online fundraising, event planning, and creating promotional plans. Kyra is excited to bring these skills to PRSA Oregon’s chapter. 

Kyra is a graduate of Eastern Washington University with a MS in Communication Studies and BA in Visual Communication Design. She and her husband recently relocated back to Vancouver after spending a few years in Georgia, where she worked at another humane society as the marketing manager. In her spare time, Kyra loves to travel and spend time with her family and friends.

Membership Co-Chair: Shawn Patrick Floss
Corporate Communications Manager
KinderCare Education

As Simon Sinek says, “start with why.” Part of Shawn’s focus as a corporate communications manager for KinderCare Education is explaining the why for executive leadership and sharing internal messaging with nearly 36,000 employees nationwide. Shawn’s passion for the craft takes him across the country each year as he works closely with the executive national board for PRSA’s Employee Communications section. 

 You can usually find him running long distances through Portland streets or hiking and golfing throughout Oregon.

Membership Co-Chair: Eric Johnson
Public Relations Coordinator, 
Explore Lincoln City

As the PR Coordinator for Explore Lincoln City, Eric has written successful pitches that have been featured in USA Today, Smithsonian.com, Men's Journal and Forbes. Eric has spent his career in the destination marketing industry and is a Travel Oregon award-winning professional.

Born and raised on the Oregon Coast, Eric is proud to call Lincoln City home for the
last 5 years. Eric has a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and an MBA from Oregon
State University. When he is not busy spreading the good word of Lincoln City, Eric
is also the Public Information Officer for the Devil’s Lake Water Improvement District, where his PR expertise has contributed to improving the lake’s health. Eric is a PRSA-Oregon member in good standing and is currently pursuing his Accreditation in Public Relations (APR). On his rare days off, Eric enjoys running, hiking, reading and enjoying a micro-brew with friends and family.

Communications Co-Chair: Gina Williams, MS
Communications Strategist, Freelance Journalist
Carpe Verbum/Carpe Lumen Communications 

Gina Williams is a Portland-based marketing communications strategist, publicist and freelance journalist. She owns Carpe Verbum/Carpe Lumen Communications. Her clients include a creative focus camera lens manufacturer, the Siena International Photography Festival in Siena, Italy, and others. As a journalist, she focuses on photography and photographers internationally, as well as arts, culture, and travel.

Williams holds a master’s degree in strategic communication from the University of Oregon and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon. She has served as PRSA Oregon board secretary and volunteer as Co-Chair and website support for the PRSA Oregon Communications Committee.

Communications Co-Chair: Christine Tully, MA
Senior Content Producer
Oregon Health and Science University Foundation

Christine Tully is a storyteller with a mission, and seeks out, crafts and shares the incredible stories of OHSU and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. She brings five years of writing and communications experience, including feature writing, social media, email marketing, project management and photography.

Previously, she worked at AAA Oregon/Idaho as the digital marketing specialist. Over one year
ago, she moved to Portland from her hometown of Spokane, Washington, where she worked as the publications editor and content specialist at Eastern Washington University.

She recently earned her master’s degree in strategic communication from Washington State University. In her spare time, she loves to hike, explore Portland, and spend time with family and friends.

Advancement Co-Chair: Jaimee L. Fox, MA, APR 

HR Communications Manager, Multnomah County Health Department
Board of Directors, PRSA Oregon 

Fox’s professional experience ranges from community service and public speaking to government and the nonprofit sector. As a versatile PR professional, Fox has progressive experience developing strategies that drive objectives and align with company values.

A native Oregonian, Fox received her bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in political science and global studies from Washington State University and a master’s degree in public relations from Michigan State University.




Advancement Co-Chair: Dianne Danowski Smith, APR, Fellow PRSA
Publix Northwest

Dianne is a longtime PRSA devotee. In 2017, she was awarded the National Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Paul Lund Award for Public Service; the PRSA North Pacific District Practitioner of the Year and the PRSA Oregon Ron Schmidt Community Involvement Award. She’s an experienced leader with a history of working in public relations, public affairs and communications and skilled in corporate communications, executive coaching, crisis management, nonprofit organizations, media advocacy, and social media strategy. She holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Oregon and certificate in E-Commerce and Marketing from Portland State University.



Regional Co-Chair: Jolene Kelly
Public Information Officer
Marion County, Oregon

Jolene Kelley has worked in local government for more than 20 years and currently serves as the Public Information Officer for the Marion County Board of Commissioners in Salem, Oregon. Her government experience includes office administration, public works, and public safety including serving as a 9-1-1 director.

As a one person shop, Jolene currently manages countywide communications efforts including media relations, social media, employee communications, public outreach, and constituent services. During her career with Marion County, Jolene has overseen the implementation of an annual report, website redesign, countywide e-newsletter program, and a customer relationship management system. She has been a member of PRSA since 2013 and is working toward her public relations accreditation. Jolene and her husband have three grown children and share their home with four rescue dogs and two rescue cats. They all agree the Chihuahua is in charge.

Regional Co-Chair: Elizabeth (Liz) Candello, Ph.D.

Integrated Strategic Communication
Edward R. Murrow College of Communication
Washington State University

Elizabeth Candello, Ph.D., Arizona State University, is a clinical assistant professor at The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication in Vancouver, WA. She has nearly a decade of experience in the communication and technology industries in the Seattle, Austin and Phoenix media markets, working with various clients, including Microsoft, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Washington Dairy Initiative and the Western Climate Initiative. Her research examines how organizations use relationships to influence health behaviors and how knowledge is produced and co-created among low-income populations. Her work includes the examination of social support and collaboration within organizations; cultural identification and minority representations; and service use among those who live below the federal poverty level. She is the founder of Aisle10.org, an organization that provides non-food items to those eligible for SNAP.

Assembly Delegate: Dave Thompson, APR
Former Public Information Officer and Supervisor (Retired)
Oregon Department of Transportation

Dave Thompson, APR spent 20 years as a TV News reporter/producer/anchor and then 20 more as a public relations executive and spokesperson for a variety of companies and industries, including Director of Corporate Communications for a pre-IPO angel-invested startup and Public Information Officer and supervisor for the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Dave specializes in strategic planning, crisis communications planning and media interview coaching. Dave has presented his series of classes on how to be interviewed to hundreds of people, including four PRSA, IABC or IAP2 chapters, three national conferences and half a dozen government agencies. Dave has provided media training to Oregon’s state executive leadership training program for most of the past decade. Dave has also co-taught FEMA’s G-290/291 Basic PIO three-day course to about 1,000 government communicators over the last ten years.

Assembly Delegate: Lise Harwin, APR
Employee Communications Manager 
Port of Portland & Portland International Airport

For 17 years, Lise Harwin made a career in media relations — pitching organizational stories ranging from life-saving at a Level 1 trauma hospital to life-affirming at the American Red Cross to life-changing in higher education. Now she’s turned her corporate raconteuring and social media savvy inward, transitioning to employee engagement and communication for the Port of Portland and PDX, America’s Best Airport. Lise most recently served as VP of Communications for PRSA’s Employee Communications section and has presented several times at the section’s annual Connect conference.


2020 Board of Directors Highlight: Brad Hilliard, President

Contributed by PRSA Oregon partner Allen Hall PR,
University of Oregon



A new year always marks a new beginning, an ambition for growth, and an opportunity for change. For us at the PRSA Oregon chapter, a new year also marks the start of a new term for our board of directors.

In 2020, we welcome our new president, Brad Hilliard, for his fourth year serving as a member on the board of directors. Having worked in the field of public relations for a span of 11 years, Hilliard has some notable career highlights, as well as personal plans for leading our chapter in another year of success.

A Passion for Public Relations

Hilliard took an early interest in public relations while attending Middle Tennessee State University, located in his home state, to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in mass communication. After taking an Intro to Public Relations course, the rest was history. His newfound interest led to three separate internships, all of which he completed while earning his degree. The knowledge and experience gained through both coursework and various internships allowed him to land his first paying public relations job at State Farm, where he worked for 17 years.

It was during his time at State Farm that he also met his wife, a Texas native, who joined him on a multi-state move around the U.S. for both of their careers from Michigan to Colorado.

The Power of PRSA

When Hillard was presented with the opportunity to move to Phoenix, Arizona, he found himself looking for a new job—knowing that he and his wife always wanted to end up in the Pacific Northwest. He utilized his resources by reaching out to the PRSA community to begin his job hunt. A friend of Hilliard, who was also a fellow PRSA member, introduced him to Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services’ communications director. Soon after setting up an informational interview, he was presented with the opportunity to begin his career with the department.

“It was an ideal opportunity, and proof that the PRSA community you build will be there when you need it most,” Hilliard said.

Hilliard currently lives in Salem, Oregon, where he serves as the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services’ public information officer. Although he has only been with the department for two years, he has helped prepare the state’s insurance commissioner to testify before the Federal Ways and Means Committee and introduced one of the nation’s first prescription drug price transparency programs.

Future Vision

Given the significant change that came with three chapters combining into one, Hilliard is hopeful about continuing the success that has come from this ambitious merge. The largest goal of 2020 is for the board of directors to “Hit their SPOT”:

“As a volunteer board, we will keep our work simple but impactful. We will continue to find ways to efficiently complete our most important tasks.

We will be precise. This means focusing on exactly what our members need and expect. 

We will be organized. We will clearly state our intentions, continue to improve our processes, and leave the chapter, like this year’s board is doing for us, in a better place than we received it.

Finally, we will be timely. We will help the chapter thrive by providing timely professional development, networking, and advancement opportunities for all our members.”

He continues, “This organization has meant a lot to me and I am honored to give back. We will take all that we have learned and built in recent years to continue building a great chapter for all of our members in 2020. I am excited to go on this journey and hope that our professionals and students are ready to, like former President Barbara Kerr said, not just join, join in.”


To our 2019 Board of Directors, thank you for a year of service and dedication to our chapter.

To our new 2020 Board of Directors, we welcome your service at the start of another decade of helping our PRSA Oregon chapter succeed.


Congrats! 2019 Spotlight Awards & Awards of Distinction Honorees

We are proud to share the achievements of an exceptional group of public relations and communications professionals and showcase their outstanding work and contributions to our industry and community.

Participation and membership in PRSA — advancing the profession in line with the standards and ethics of our association and honoring our work that upholds these values — is so important to our practice and the many organizations and communities served by this work. 

2019 Awards of Distinction Recipients

William W. Marsh Lifetime Achievement Award
Sally Ridenour, APR, Chief Content Strategist, Oregon Department of Transportation

The William W. Marsh Lifetime Achievement Award honors an outstanding leader in the field of public relations. For nearly four decades, William W. Marsh was a towering figure in public relations in Oregon. A charter member of the Portland Metro Chapter (which was merged into the PRSA Oregon Chapter in 2017), Marsh served as president in 1963.

About Sally Ridenour, APR
Sally is Chief Content Strategist at the Oregon Department of Transportation. Sally was a founding member of the Oregon Capital Chapter, and has been active in PRSA since 2000. Sally’s many years of service to Oregon public relations professionals includes filling the roles of chapter secretary, VP/professional development, assembly delegate, VP/communications, president-elect and president of the Oregon Capital Chapter, and co-chair of communications and membership in the merged PRSA Oregon chapter. Sally has also served on several committees for the North Pacific District.
Sally regularly presents media training and presentation training to state government employees. As ODOT’s Chief Content Strategist, Sally now teaches usability testing and content strategy to state and local government teams. She has also provided media relations training to the Oregon Girl Scout leadership team, and coaches graduating college seniors on interview techniques. She volunteers with Family Promise, a non-profit helping homeless families find permanent housing. Sally and her ODOT team won a Silver Anvil Award of Excellence for their internal communications work in conjunction with a complete redesign of ODOT’s website.

Ron Schmidt Community Involvement Award
Sheila Hamilton, Communicator, Author, Journalist, Podcast Producer

Ron Schmidt raised our collective awareness consciousness and commitment. For nearly 30 years, Schmidt served as an aide to Oregon Gov. Tom McCall, then as the owner of the state’s biggest and most influential public relations firm. He stood at the center of public policy in business, government and the arts.

About Sheila Hamilton

Sheila is a passionate suicide prevention advocate and a nationally recognized speaker on the subject. Sheila wrote the book All the Things We Never Knew: Chasing the Chaos of Mental Illness in 2017, chronicling her and her daughter’s personal story of living with — and loving — a spouse/father with mental health challenges. The book is also a mental health guide.

In 2019, Sheila launched a weekly podcast Beyond Well that helps people cope with anxiety, depression and procrastination, among other topics. Sheila serves on the board of Girls, Inc. and The Flawless Foundation, a mental health advocacy organization.

Sheila is a long-time journalist well known in the Portland area. She began her career in public broadcasting in the early 1980s, and later reported for Portland’s KATU-TV. Sheila worked for Alpha Broadcasting in the Portland area for more than 17 years, including morning host on KINK FM and afternoon news anchor on KXL. She also was a correspondent for KGW’s evening show Live at 7.
Just last September, Grammy-nominated new artist Lauv chose Sheila to exclusively tell his story of recovery from OCD and depression.

Olga M. Haley Mentorship Award
John C. Mitchell, APR, Fellow PRSA, University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication Instructor (ret.)

This award, named for the late Olga M. Haley, APR, reflects our chapter’s dedication to supporting members at every stage of their careers and lives. A past chapter president and legendary figure in Portland public relations, Ms. Haley was an exemplary person and professional of honor and integrity. The recipient of this award demonstrates commitment to supporting PRSA and the profession, serving as a mentor, while demonstrating outstanding
public relations.

About John C. Mitchell, APR, Fellow PRSA
 John has taught public relations at the University of Oregon for the past 33 years — half his life. He was named professional advisor for the University’s Public Relations Student Society of America in 1995, and was recognized in 2011 as a PRSSA champion for his long tenure in that role. He was also named the UO School of Journalism and Communication instructor of the year in 2011.

New Professional Award of Excellence
Eric Johnson, Public Relations Coordinator, Explore Lincoln City

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.

About Eric Johnson
Eric is the Public Relations Coordinator for Explore Lincoln City, the city’s destination marketing organization, and a Public Information Officer for the Devil’s Lake Water Improvement District in Lincoln County.

Eric earned an MBA from OSU, and is certified in project management. He has served on the Lincoln City Chamber of Commerce for the past year, and for a couple of years worked as executive director of the Cannon Beach Chamber.

Eric has served on the PRSA Oregon chapter membership committee; helped plan and execute the 2019 Communicators Conference; and led the 2019 new member “Buddy” program. Eric is a nominee to serve as membership director in 2020.

Spotlight Awards

  • 2019 Guide Dogs for the Blind
    Grady Britton – Lisa Martin, Becca Wirta, Etain O’Longaigh
    Campaign, Crisis Communications
  • Radically Transparent Strategy
    Legacy Health and Berg & Associates
    Campaign, Crisis Communications
  • PR – PATOS: Multimedia Multi-Channel approach Supporting the UO Latinx Community
    UO Communications – Tova Stabin and Lesli Larson
    Campaign, DEI/Multicultural PR
  • Play with Pride at Campus Rec
    Portland State University – Brittany Goltry
    Campaign, Event/Observance
  • Green Whiskers’ Eco-friendly Grooming for Portland’s Dirty Dogs
    Amico PR – Kelliann Amico, APR, and Green Whiskers – Greg Robeson
    Campaign, Integrated Communications
  • Manufacturing Study Launch 2018
    Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt and Quinn Thomas
    Campaign, Integrated Communications
  • Unconscious Bias Initiative: Foundation for Culture Change at OHSU
    OHSU Center for Diversity and Inclusion – Tracey Lam, APR
    Campaign, Internal Communications
  • The Olive Oil Promise
    LANE, a Finn Partners Company and International Olive Council
    Campaign, Marketing Business-to-Business
  • ENERGY STAR® with NEEM+ Manufactured Homes Consumer Campaign
    Energy Efficiency Alliance and C+C
    Campaign, Marketing Consumer Product or Service
  • Launching a Passenger Ferry Service to Address Traffic Congestion
    Friends of Frog Ferry and Coates Kokes – Sue Van Brocklin and Lance Heisler
    Campaign, Pro Bono/Public Service
  • Launch of Gun Safety Nonprofit and Efforts to Reduce Gun Violence in Oregon
    State of Safety and Coates Koakes – Sue Van Brocklin, Madeline Luce and Henry Wessinger
    Campaign, Public Affairs
  • My Oregon Future for Oregon Community College Association
    Oregon Community College Association and Quinn Thomas
    Campaign, Public Affairs
  • Heart Health Month Multichannel Campaign
    LANE, A Finn Partners Company and the Marine Stewardship Council
    Campaign, Public Service
  • What Does $1 Billion in Grants Look Like?
    M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust – Colby Reade, APR; Camille Cotton, Conner Peckham, Jennifer Larson-Cody
    Campaign, Reputation/Brand Management
  • #BBQLikeAPro Partner Promotion
    Sunshine Morrison and Linda Riedman
    Campaign, Social Media/Digital Communications
  • Reed’s Crossing: Oregon’s Largest Mixed-Use, Master-Planned Community
    Liaison Public Relations, Amico PR, Newland | Reed’s Crossing
    Tactic, Media/Blogger Relations
  • TOP’s Parrot Food Swings for the Fences: Cover Story or Bust
    TOP’s Parrot Food – Gary Rubin, APR
    Tactic, Media/Blogger Relations
  • Launch of Open Enrollment
    Coates Kokes -Sue Van Brocklin and Kevin Glenn
    Tactic, News Conference
  • The Dean’s Newsletter: Showcasing Achievements
    Lewis & Clark Law School – Judy Asbury, APR
    Tactic, Newsletter
  • Common Ground: Working Together to Help Oregonians Fulfill Their Financial Goals
    Oregon Div. of Financial Regulation – Brad Hilliard, APR; Jessica Knecht, Mark Peterson
    Tactic, Newsletter
  • InsideOregon 2018-19 Print Editions
    UO University Communications – George Evano, Ed Dorsch, Marlitt Dellabough, Melody Ward Leslie
    Tactic, Newsletter
  • Farewell to Clark’s 13th President
    Clark College Foundation – Rhonda Morin, APR
    Tactic, Podcast
  • Game of Seasons: Winter Preparation Educational Video
    Tualatin Valley Water District Communications Dept. – Andrea Watson, APR
    Tactic, PSA

Merit Awards

  • Salem Police Foundation Mobile Command Center
    Salem Police Foundation and VanNatta Public Relations
    Campaign, Community Relations
  • TriMet Hop Fastpass® Multicultural Commercials
    TriMet and Andrew Longeteig
    Campaign, DEI/Multicultural PR
  • The Future of Finance | Insurance | Collaboration
    Oregon DCBS: Division of Financial Regulation and Communications
    Campaign, Event/Observance
  • ProKarma Media Relations
    A.wordsmith for PK
    Campaign, Integrated Communications
  • Levy Restaurants: Building a Relationship with Portland Foodies
    Levy Restaurants and A.wordsmith
    Campaign, Reputation Brand Management
  • Beaverton Restaurant Week – Dine Local, Taste Global
    City of Beaverton and Dianna Ballash
    Campaign, Reputation Brand Management
  • North Coast Brewing Company Brother Thelonious Reintroduction
    Grady Britton: Lisa Martin, Kelsey Williams, Etain O’Longaigh
    Campaign, Reputation Brand Management
  • Kickin’ It In Portland: Showcasing Walkability
    Grady Britton – Lisa Martin, Becca Wirta, Etain O’Longaigh
    Tactic, Direct Mail/Direct Response
  • Unregulated ‘Emotional Support Animals’ at Airports
    Guide Dogs for the Blind and Grady Britton/Lisa Martin
    Tactic, Editorial/Op-Ed
  • Promoting Coconut Bliss’ Monumental New Packaging and Rebrand
    Grady Britton – Lisa Martin, Becca Wirta, Etain O’Longaigh
    Campaign, Marketing Business-to-Business
  • Walmart Holiday Campaign 2018
    Walmart and Quinn Thomas
    Tactic, Media/Blogger Relations
  • Willamette River Check the Rec
    City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services
    Tactic, News Release/Social Media Release
  • Fundamentals of Fall Protection
    Oregon OSHA/DCBS
    Campaign, Public Service