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. – 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. – 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
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: and/or sign the online guest book at

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.



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 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 ( 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 (

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.



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.


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.

Reverse Mentoring: Learn from PRSSA!

Reverse Mentoring: Learn from PRSSA!Whether you’ve been in the industry for years or have just started your professional journey, we all could use fresh perspectives, a new lens or diverse ideas to become a more complete practitioner. What better way to tap into all three than to harken back to your time in the college classroom. Remember it? That time where you could just think, uninterrupted? Well we’re happy to take you back. Follow our PRSSA members across the state as they share new perspectives with our “Reverse Mentoring Series.” That’s right, you’ve mentored so much, so now, sit back in your proverbial lecture-hall chair and listen. These tips might give you just the refresh you need.
As part of our Reverse Mentoring Series we’ll tackle one topical buzzword each month. For June, it’s sustainability. 
Many of us question whether sustainability initiatives will change as a result of COVID-19. We’ve also questioned whether social distancing, virtual connection, working from home, wearing masks are all sustainable. It’s a noun that can take on many different meanings. For Lucy Thompson, a junior at the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University Vancouver, sustainability is about stamina. Listen as she shares tips to “sustaining” your stamina in the workplace.
PRSA Oregon Partner Mac's List Offers COVID-19 Resources

PRSA Oregon Partner Mac’s List Offers COVID-19 Resources

Missing Kerry Dugan

Missing Kerry DuganWith 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

Breaking Down the PESO ModelContributed 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

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.