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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

October is Global Diversity Awareness Month

 
The public relations industry has continued to evolve with technology and time but now more than ever we must evolve our role as advocates. Global Diversity Awareness Month is a perfect time to reflect, equip and reassess how we can show up as allies that champion diversity through inclusive and equitable communications.
 
The PRSA Oregon Diversity and Inclusion Committee has created Actionable Tips and is hosting a Leadership DEI event on Oct. 28 to help equip members to craft more inclusive communications.

 

PRSA Oregon is Committed to Promoting Diversity and Inclusion

The Diversity and Inclusion Committee has jump-started our chapter’s efforts to build, foster and enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion within our communities. Their work focuses on the idea that the communication field is stronger and more effective when it reflects the broad diversity that exists in the United States. Visit the Committee’s web page to learn more about their work at www.PRSAOregon.com/better-together/
 

The Diversity and Inclusion Committee aims to:

1. Provide members with educational and professional diversity programming.
2. Diversify membership and areas of chapter participation.
3. Share diversity-focused resources for members and visitors.
4. Serve as a liaison to PRSA’s National Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

PRSA Oregon’s Diversity Statement:

PRSA Oregon is committed to building a diverse, inclusive and equitable society. We understand and uphold these values as chapter members, through our work and while serving our communities. We believe this commitment will strengthen the public relations profession and help us thrive as individual practitioners.
 

Meet your 2019 Committee Members

Jaimee L. Fox, M.A., APR, Committee Chair, Director of Advancement
Dianne Danowski Smith, APR, Fellow PRSA
Nicole Early
Vicki Guinn, M.S.
Tracey Lam, APR
Erin Merz, M.A., APR

On Health and Wellness: My one tip to prepare for conferences

by Mark Mohammadpour, APR

The PRSA International Conference (ICON) is October 20-22 in San Diego. Every year I attend, I learn new things, meet new people and leave inspired to play a larger role in advancing the profession and the professional.

The reality of conferences like ICON, however, is that we are sitting a lot, eating (too) well, and forgetting to take care of ourselves. If you want to prioritize your health and wellness during conferences like ICON, I have one tip: spend 15 minutes before your trip to prepare.

Business travel can increase stress. Managing what to pack, finalizing travel logistics, and organizing the meeting schedule are just three examples we see our stress levels rising!

To compound the issue, once we arrive, long days at conferences cause our guard to be let down at night, which can lead to poor eating decisions. We forget that the following morning, our body might not recover right away, we’re already on the back foot and by the time we get home, we feel like we’re back at step one.

Before you leave for your next trip, spend 15 minutes and answer two key questions:

  • How will you prepare for your meals? Spend a few minutes before your trip and research when and where you’re going to eat. 
  • Are you scheduled to have dinner at a specific restaurant? Research the menus online and determine what you want to eat before you arrive, so you do not need to add another decision while you’re traveling.

  • How will you make time to incorporate exercise? The hotel that hosts ICON has a map that includes one-, two- and three-mile walking/running routes, so I am already prepared before I head to San Diego. I also bring a resistance band on my trips, which I use in my room with simple dynamic stretching exercises to loosen up my body before I start my day. These exercises warm up my muscles and makes me feel accomplished and mentally and physically prepared for the day ahead.

If you spend a few minutes preparing for your upcoming business trip, you will be all set mentally and physically for a great time.

I look forward to seeing you at ICON!

About the Author
Mark Mohammadpour, APR is a strategic communications executive, certified personal trainer and health coach. His company, Chasing the Sun, offers health coaching tailored for public relations professionals. Mark will be presenting a workshop at ICON, titled “Living Our Best #PR Life Through Fitness, Health and Wellness.” Visit chasingthesunpdx.com, email him at [email protected], listen to his podcast at anchor.fm/markmoh, or follow him on Instagram or Twitter.

*Photos courtesy Celeste Wechter Photography

*Top photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash

Speakers needed for January North Pacific District Conference!

The professional development program topics for the 2020 district conference to be held in San Francisco in January were approved by the board, and organizers are looking for speakers and panelists who can contribute their expertise and perspective to these subjects. If you think this could be you, please complete the speaker submission form.

The submission window will remain open until all vacancies have been filled.

Learn more about the PRSA North Pacific District HERE.

From Our President: A Great Start to 2019!

It’s been a productive start to 2019 for PRSA Oregon’s board of directors. I’m excited about the enthusiasm, energy, and great work being done by the chapter’s leaders and committee volunteers.

The PRSA Oregon board just finished its 2019 strategic plan. That plan is a built around a vison of PRSA Oregon as a thriving statewide chapter.  It includes four priorities that will guide our work and investments this year: membership value, engagement, leadership and excellence.

One of the board’s most important priorities as a thriving statewide professional association is to serve our members and support their professional development. We are committed to delivering quality programs, events and activities that are relevant and timely, that serve your professional interests, and provide value for your investment. Especially important is to ensure the chapter’s professional development activities are accessible by members throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Our members want to build professional networks, belong to something larger, and to make a difference.  An old proverb says, ‘you reap what you sow.’ What you give to your career and profession comes back to benefit you. It means being seen and heard and getting involved.

Here are some options to consider:

  • Volunteer for a PRSA committee .
  • Volunteer for our signature Communicator’s Conference on May 3.
  • Make time to attend a PRSA event, meet new professionals, and grow your network.
  • Advance your skills through contributed articles for the chapter newsletter.
  • Share your wisdom and experience through PRSA Oregon’s professional mentoring or APR readiness review.

The chapter offers many ways for you to connect, be involved and make a difference. Take that next step! It will make a difference—to your career, to our chapter, and our professional community.

The board of directors is committed to effective leadership and being good stewards of our chapter resources.  We strive to be the best leaders we can be, to mentor emerging leaders, and to use continuous quality improvement to evaluate and adapt our practices for the best results for our members and the organization.

Join us in advancing your career and helping to make this a great year for PRSA Oregon and the communities we serve.

Be sure to connect with PRSA Oregon on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and PRSAOregon.com.

Warmest regards,

Julie Reed, M.S., APR
President, PRSA Oregon

Rhonda Morin, APR: Accreditation boosts credibility tenfold

By Jean Kempe-Ware, APR
Member, PRSA Oregon Membership Committee and APR Coaching Team

As a member of a Maine Wilderness Rescue Team and an emergency medical technician, she hung by ropes off cliffs and carried the injured on litters down mountains.

As a cyclocross racer, she navigates barriers, jumps off platforms and sprints through mud and has won multiple state titles and a bronze medal in a national championship.

And last fall, Rhonda Morin, executive director of communications and marketing for Clark College Foundation in Vancouver, WA, achieved another goal: Accreditation in Public Relations (APR).

“I can fix your wheel, fix your public relations problem and fix your broken arm … all in the same hour,” Rhonda laughs. “I know how to help people in crisis.”

From elephants to APR … a 20-year journey

During her 20-year career in communications and public relations, Rhonda organized a trip for international journalists to Zimbabwe, where she witnessed elephants in the wild. She worked as a journalist for niche magazines and in corporate communications for Maine Public Broadcasting. Currently, she edits Clark Partners, a 28-page alumni magazine.

In 2015, she received the platinum/gold award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District VII for Best Practices in Fundraising Campaigns for Clark College Foundation’s $20 million campaign.

Why did Rhonda pursue APR at this stage in her career?

“Chuck Williams, APR, (PRSA Oregon’s APR guru) called me. He was kind, direct and persistent. ‘See you in February,’ he said.”

But Rhonda hesitated.

“I am curious and a lifetime learner. I have attended countless conferences and workshops in my career and thought I knew everything about public relations. I wondered what more I could learn. Plus, I’m a person who completes things. I hold my free time precious, and I knew the process would take time.”

After attending the APR orientation session, Rhonda knew she was in for the long haul.

“What I learned was above and beyond my expectations. The chapter’s APR sessions helped me put the puzzle pieces together. Everything I learned was applicable to my line of work.”

Rhonda gives up three races to study

Rhonda set a deadline to complete the process. She worked on her oral presentation at work during down time.

“That process helped sharpen my presentation skills,” she notes.

To study for the APR computer exam, she hunkered down for three solid weekends and for a few hours after work for about four weeks.

“Fall is my busy season. I race almost every weekend. I gave up three races to study for the APR test. That’s a big deal to me,” Rhonda said.

Rhonda’s credibility goes up tenfold

Was it worth it?

“As soon as I told my supervisor I was pursuing my APR, my credibility went up tenfold. Colleagues started coming to me to ask high-level questions. My credibility is higher than ever,” she says.

But, she notes, with accreditation comes responsibility. “You are now the voice of ethics and reason. You need to say, ‘Wait. Why do we need this?’ when someone suggests a tactic. ‘What is the goal? What is the objective?’”

Rhonda’s advice

Rhonda encourages fellow PRSA chapter members with at least five years of experience to pursue APR.

“You are busy. You have family. You have obligations. I had races. You’ve got to fit it in,” she says. “If you are serious about your career, if you want to jump to the next level, if you want credibility, if you want to boost your confidence, APR is how you do it.”

APR Orientation: Saturday, Feb 16

PRSA Oregon offers a series of free Saturday morning classes to help chapter members prepare for and successfully complete the accreditation process. The course begins with an orientation session Saturday, Feb. 16, location to be announced. Email [email protected] or [email protected] for more information.

 

Dealing Honestly With Media When Your Client Doesn’t Want To Say Anything

By Vicky Hastings, APR
@vickyhastings

Why is it hard for some organizations to be transparent with media?

Honesty is always the best policy, as everyone knows. Not only do consumers prefer brands that are truthful, the PRSA Code of Ethics calls for it.

Many of us have faced situations in which an employer or client doesn’t want to comment on a controversial topic when queried by media. You, too, may be tapped to “keep us out of this story.”

What’s a PR practitioner to do?

If it’s a legal or personnel issue, and your organization has a policy of not publicly commenting such matters, you can say that with complete integrity.

But in other cases, it’s more complicated. Saying “no comment” is a comment it itself − one your client may not want to see when published.

Here are some alternatives:

  • Advocate for transparency so the organization can shape the outcome rather than allowing others to manage the message.
  • Be ready with a pre-approved reactive statement to be shared only when asked by media.
  • Advise that if the company is addressing the issue on social media, those comments may be included in the media story because reporters gather information everywhere. When asked by media for a for a point of view, share the social statement.
  • If leadership is unwilling to go on record after you’ve recommended taking the interview, authentically decline. You can tell the journalist “no one is available to comment” or “sorry, but we are unable to participate in this opportunity.”
  • Remind your client that they came to you to build visibility and they’re being giving an opportunity to share their point of view. Perhaps over time they’ll become more comfortable publicly taking a stand.

When unsure what to do, turn to the Code of Ethics for guidance on ethical practices. Honesty and integrity are among a successful PR practitioner’s most important assets.

Ethics and decision-making go hand in hand. Next time you’re challenged with making a tough choice at work, consider the six core values in PRSA’s Code of Ethics: Advocacy, Honesty, Expertise, Independence, Loyalty and Fairness. This is the second entry in a six-part blog series spotlighting these values.

 

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