March Bulletin 2010


Detroit Chapter Public Relations Society of America  |  March 2010


Join the PRevolution at PRSA 2010 Michigan Conference

Paula Tutman announced as the facilitator for the Michigan film industry panel

PR Evolution Logo

The PR profession is evolving. The definition of media is changing. Every day is an adventure with new technologies shifting the way we think, work and live. So don’t sit idle. Don’t accept mediocrity. Join the PRevolution and learn about the latest trends and challenges in the public relations industry.

The program for the PRSA 2010 Michigan Conference, PRevolution: Creating Stability in a Shifting Landscape,” includes two thought-provoking keynote addresses and 10 breakout sessions. Updates include:

  • Paula Tutman of Local 4 News will facilitate the session titled “Lights, Camera, Action – The Role of Public Relations in the Developing Michigan Film Industry” featuring a panel of Michigan film industry experts.
  • Kelly Gasior, Trinity Senior Living Communities will facilitate a panel of new, mid-level and seasoned professionals in the session “From Backpack to Briefcase – Unleashing the Potential of a Multi-generational Profession.”
  • Jennifer Flowers, APR; Susan Schwandt, APR ; and Sandra Hermanoff, APR, Fellow PRSA will host a round table discussion titled, “APR and PRSA Fellows: Why become accredited or advanced?” They will answer questions and offer insights on taking the next steps to earn an APR or join the College of Fellows.

View the conference program for a full look into what you will hear from other Michigan communication leaders including Michigan-native and Emmy Award winning journalist Ed Gordon, Biggby Coffee Founder and CEO Bob Fish, Domino’s Pizza Vice President of Communications Tim McIntyre, and many more!

PRSA 2010 Michigan Conference, the premier event for communication professionals in Michigan, provides a learning venue for you to benchmark your communication programs, exchange ideas and network with other skilled communications professionals working at corporations, agencies and non-profits from throughout Michigan. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Register today!

Also, be sure to meet our sponsors and do your part to sponsor a student to attend the conference for free!

American Cancer Society Logo The Changing Media Environment: Challenge and Opportunity for PR

Tuesday, March 16
8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. – Panel discussion to follow breakfast and networking
American Cancer Society
20450 Civic Center Drive in Southfield


The Changing Media Environment:
Challenge and Opportunity for PR March 16

The rollercoaster effects of the economy have impacted an already shifting media landscape significantly in the past year and raised many questions from the PR industry, including:

Are media outlets using new criteria for stories as a result of staffing changes?

  • How do these overworked staffers want to be pitched?
  • How has the changing media environment created new PR opportunities?
  • How are media outlets using blogs and online video?
  • How has social media impacted traditional media?
  • What will the media landscape look like next year? In five years?

American Cancer Society bringing the world to life adJoin PRSA-Detroit and the New Professionals for an open-audience discussion with a diverse media panel facilitated by Margaret Blohm, APR, founder, Margaux & Associates. Panelists include:

  • Rob Davidek, news director, WWJ-AM 950
  • Bill Shea, reporter, Crain’s Detroit Business
  • Dan Zacharek, futures producer, WXYZ Channel 7
  • Our fourth scheduled panelist, Randy Essex, Deputy Managing Editor/Business and Civic Affairs, Detroit Free Press, will not be able to be with us because of a death in the family. Our thoughts are with him and his family.

The program will be held Tuesday, March 16 from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the American Cancer Society, 20450 Civic Center Drive, Southfield. Attendees may park in the guest parking lot directly in front of the main entrance.

Any questions, please contact Nancy Skidmore, 248-545-6499.

This event is SOLD OUT. We are at capacity and cannot take any more reservations.

PRSA-Detroit launches “Honors Code” ethics program to
help members do the right thing

By Cynthia Carey, APR

In a business world where many corporations and individuals have succumbed to unethical behavior, PRSA-Detroit is making a commitment to help members remain ethical in their communications practice.

This month, PRSA-Detroit was the first chapter to launch an ethics “Honors Code” program. The program is designed to keep ethics top-of-mind among members and encourage them to commit to ethics education, as well as to provide a tangible representation of members’ pledges to abide by the PRSA Code of Ethics.

“To be the first local chapter to launch a formal ethics ‘Honors Code’’ program demonstrates the commitment of PRSA-Detroit’s Board of Directors to the ethical practice of communications among its members,” said Hope Brown, APR, co-chair of the PRSA-Detroit Ethics Committee and director, John Bailey & Associates. “We’re confident PRSA-Detroit members will be eager to demonstrate their shared commitment and will take the initiative to enroll in the program.”

Since its March 1, 2010 launch, the program has already gained the interest of several PRSA-Detroit members, including Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System and Airfoil Public Relations in Southfield – the first corporate department and PR agency, respectively, to enroll in the program.

Program participants will receive a toolkit containing a variety of ethics resources and information that can be reviewed as an individual practitioner or in a group setting within a larger organization. For an organization to receive a certificate of completion, a majority or all members of the organization’s communications staff must participate in the program. Individual practitioners can partner with other PR professionals to form study and discussion groups.

Once the materials have been thoroughly reviewed, participants will have until Sept. 30 to sign and submit to Brown a copy of the PRSA Member Code of Ethics pledge. Certificates will be presented at the chapter annual meeting in November and can be displayed in participants’ offices; included in new business presentations; and posted to an organization’s Web site and social media channels.

For additional information or to enroll in the “Honors Code” program, e-mail Hope Brown, APR.

From the President’s Desk

By Rich Donley, APR

Photo of Rich Donley From the Olympics to Tiger and Toyota, timing is everything. Your reputation depends on it.

On the world stage, February was filled with professional and company successes and failures – the good, the bad and the ugly. It is a reminder what a difference time makes and how your brand and reputation can change in an instant.

The good – The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games was a spectacular show of skill, strength and stamina. Many were living out their dreams and experiencing life, while others were experiencing defeat and even death. Timing is everything in sports. It wasn’t a matter of minutes, but hundredths of a second between medaling, gaining notoriety and endorsements or going home empty handed. There is no second chance, well, at least not until 2014.

The bad – For Tiger Woods, the delay between his car accident in November and his first public appearance to respond (beyond statements posted on his Web site up to that point), it wasn’t a matter of days or weeks, but three long months. Was it too little too late? Only family, friends and sponsors were in attendance. No reporters. No questions. Reporters were blamed. Where were his public relations counselors? Or was it left in the hand of publicists and “spinsters” to stage an event? Is there a chance he will recover?

The ugly – For Toyota, in the midst of vehicle recalls, uncertainties and testimony on Capitol Hill, there were long delays in hearing publicly from Toyota’s top executive, Akio Toyoda, about the company’s sudden acceleration issues. There has been a flurry lately of company statements, ads and Op-Ed pieces, but is it too late? Did the public relations counselors have a seat at the management table? Were their recommendations heeded? Did cultural differences and legal limitations impact decisions to embrace public relations? Can Toyota rebuild trust?

Timing is everything. As public relations counselors, especially in the midst of crisis communications, it is imperative to be proactive, responsive and honest. You can’t hide behind written statements and press releases. Otherwise, there is speculation and lack of credibility. Rumors become reality. Others control your message. Your brand and reputation become tarnished.

As PR practitioners, we must have a seat at the management table and serve as counselors and be willing to risk it all for doing what is right. We need to continue educating what public relations is and what it isn’t. We must adhere to the PRSA Code of Ethics, which includes the professional values of advocacy honesty, expertise, independence, loyalty and fairness. We must uphold these in everything we do and say – for our companies, colleagues, clients, competitors, communities and other constituents we serve.

Timing is everything. You might not get a second chance.

Great times. Great programs.

February also brought great times for attendees at two chapter programs.

  • Biggby BobFive-time Emmy award-winning producer Shawne Duperon certainly engaged audience members and took them out of their comfort zone during her edgy presentation covering media training, interviewing and pitching, as well as tips on communicating, adhering to the cycle of reciprocity, being comfortable with being uncomfortable and asking for permission.
  • The fun and learning continued with casual networking and sharing experiences during “Lattes with Legends” with John Bailey of John Bailey and Associates Inc., Edd Snyder of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and upcoming state conference presenter Bob Fish (Biggby Bob), co-founder and CEO of Biggby Coffee.

There’s plenty of time for professionals to attend, network and learn in the coming months. For more information and to register, see articles within this newsletter and our Web site. Programs include:

  • A new professionals program with media from Crain’s Detroit Business, WWJ Newsradio 950 and WXYZ-TV;
  • An award-winning APR prep session for members seeking accreditation;
  • “Coffee, (S)Cones and Conversation,” a membership mixer;
  • Our one-day, low-cost but high-valued PRSA 2010 Michigan Conference, “PRevolution: Creating Stability in a Shifting Landscape” and afterglow – space is limited so register today;
  • The three-day Ragan Communications/General Motors Corporate Communicators Conference, with a special discount for PRSA members using promotion code PRSAD.

Hope to see you at an upcoming event. Don’t forget, the time is now to engage.

A “new” PRSA Open golf outing is set for Sept. 15

By John Austerberry, APR

The PRSA Open is back!

After a one-year hiatus, the Open, which long has been one of the chapter’s most popular and anticipated annual events, has been revamped to deliver all the fun and camaraderie of the traditional Open, but at half the cost and half the time away from the office. Due to the tough economic conditions last year, the PRSA-Detroit Board of Directors decided to suspend the Open for 2009. Now with the stirrings of an economic recovery, the Open is a welcome return to the chapter’s 2010 events.

The 2010 Open will be played on the Strategic Fox course at the Fox Hills Golf and Banquet Center in Plymouth. The course is a full-featured, 18-hole, par-three course that will provide a stiff challenge for seasoned golfers, but will give all players a chance to post a good score. In a review on, Jason Scott Deegan calls the Strategic Fox, “arguably the second-best par-three course in the Midwest behind the Threetops course at Treetops Sylvan Resort in Gaylord.”

The venue allows us to cut the cost per player in half from $150 to $75. It also allows us to complete play in about three hours, so we can hold the event in an afternoon. That means players don’t have to skip out of work for the whole day. The outing includes grilled barbecue lunch, two beverages on the course and an open bar after play.

The number and cost of sponsorship opportunities also will be reduced, while still delivering an outstanding value for the sponsoring companies and individuals. Details on the sponsorship options will be communicated in the near future.

While the Open has been substantially retooled, its mission remains unchanged. The Open raises funds for the PRSA-Detroit Scholarship Fund. Even with signs that the economy is starting to recover, the two scholarships awarded annually may have a greater impact than ever before on the education and careers of two deserving students.

PRSA Open Golf Outing

Wednesday, Sept. 15
Registration, 11 a.m.; lunch, 11:30 a.m.; shotgun start, 12:30 p.m.

Strategic Fox course at the Fox Hills Golf and Banquet Center, 8768 North Territorial Rd., Plymouth, MI

$75 per player, $300 per foursome


Walsh College Logo

Master of Management in 33 credits.


Training the media trainer

Shawne DuperonFive-time Emmy award winning producer Shawne Duperon took us out of our comfort zone at the Feb. 16 program, hosted by Walsh College. We were sitting in each other’s seats, singing to strangers and laughing as Shawne “Trained the Media Trainers.” Her tips included asking permission to coach your spokespeople to create a comfortable environment and a reminder that it’s a cycle of reciprocity. It’s our job to make our spokespeople so good and easy to work with, the reporter calls us every time. To paraphrase one of our attendees, the session showed you can always learn something new from an expert who doesn’t take the task too seriously.

Ragan Communications, General Motors present Corporate Communicators Conference May 5-7

Revitalize your communications, company and career at the annual Ragan Communications’ Corporate Communicators Conference. This year’s conference, hosted by General Motors, will be May 5-7, at the Marriott Detroit at the Renaissance Center.

You’ll discover how to: engage employees during a time of change and growth; blend marketing and public relations for successful social media campaigns and engagement; write a Web 2.0 press release; protect your professional reputation and brand; and more. You can choose sessions from three tracks, including a specialized public relations and social media track – perfect for those looking to blend timeless PR strategies and new media applications to earn more ink and marketing power.

Take advantage of the PRSA-Detroit discount. Save $200 (even after the early bird deadline) when using code PRSAD. Call 800-878-5331 or register online.

Membership opportunities available
for new and existing members

New Members

PRSA National has a special offer that may be of interest to you and/or your colleagues. As you may recall, National sponsored a membership drive during the month of February. National has announced another new promotion for March and April. Those who join or rejoin during this two-month promotional period will receive free Chapter dues for the year 2010. This offer is for new members or reinstated members who have been inactive for at least one year. Associate members are not eligible for this promotion. Be sure to use the promo code SPRING2010 on your application form. Since Detroit Chapter dues are $80 per year, new and reinstated members will realize an $80 savings!

Please click here for the membership application. If you have any questions, contact Membership Co-Chairs: Barb Bartos, APR, (248) 515-3004, or Maria F. Ward, (248) 417-7266. If you or someone you know is interested in joining PRSA and would enjoy a bargain, now is the time!

Membership Mixer: Coffee, (S)Cones and Conversation

On Thursday, April 1, PRSA- Detroit is hosting an opportunity for new, potential and existing members to meet chapter officers while learning about marketing and public relations efforts for small business entrepreneurs. “Coffee, (S)Cones and Conversation” will be held from 8-9 the Coffee Beanery, 28557 Woodward Avenue in Berkley (four blocks south of 12 Mile Road on the west side of Woodward).

Attendees will enjoy complimentary coffee, scones and conversation. Berkley Chamber of Commerce Director Julie Melrose, Berkley Communications Coordinator, Nancy J. Line and owner/operator of the Coffee Beanery, Dan Cleary, will be on hand to discuss ways to keep local businesses top-of-mind for customers and residents.

We invite you to join us for this special event. This is a great way for new, existing and potential members to meet informally with chapter leadership. See the attached flyer and share it with a friend. Join us on April 1 at 8 a.m.!

Legends charge PRSA-Detroit Chapter
members to change the perception of PR

By Schanel Moses

PRSA-Detroit members gathered for an informal chat with PR legends John Bailey, chairman, John Bailey and Associates Inc., and Edd Synder, vice president of public relations and marketing, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, at the Lattes with Legends event at Biggby’s in Madison Height on Feb. 25. Hosted by Bob Fish, affectionately known as Biggby Bob, members received career advice and got a sneak peek at Bob’s upcoming session at the PRSA 2010 Michigan Conference.

Fish, a graduate of Michigan State University, opened the first store in East Lansing in 1995. Biggby has grown from one store in East Lansing to a franchise with 99 stores statewide, 33 stores in metro Detroit. Fish loves connecting with customers and at least twice a week he visits stores, offering customers free drinks and taking suggestions. On this visit, a customer requested a pistachio-flavored drink.

“That may work for Christmas. It’ll be green, though,” he warned the customer.

He advised PR professionals to understand their clients’ brand; its core values; and remain true to that philosophy throughout all communications channels including social media.

“When I opened the first store in 1995, the first two years, I worked the milk steamer. While I worked the milk, I talked to customers. It allowed me to have a dialog with customers over the counter. Social media is an extension of that conversation over the counter.”

Synder and Bailey answered questions on a variety of topics from Tiger Woods to Toyota. One thing remained constant – PR professionals must always encourage clients to do what is right.

“It’s important to remember that we are counselors,” said Synder. “If you go to a doctor and he diagnoses a problem, he’ll give you options, but would recommend option A. If the patient chooses option B, herbal remedies instead of chemo, it’s difficult to put your whole heart into it when you don’t agree with the choice your client makes.”

In the wake of the Woods press conference and the Toyota hearings, the image of the public relations professional as controlling spin doctors was resurrected. PR professionals serve as counselors to our clients.

“We counsel people on how to get their thinking right,” said Snyder. “We help people define what they would say about themselves. I liken it to a cocktail party. What two or three things do you want people to know about you?”

It is up to PRSA to point out the differences between a counselor and publicist.

“We need to continue to push this organization and take a leadership role in educating the public,” said Bailey. “We need to keep fighting to get PR understood more.”

Welcome new members!

PRSA Detroit extends a warm welcome to the following new members.

Vito Curcuru
Pilz Automation Safety L.P.

Scott Curtis
United States Navy

Kristen Kaszeta
Think Detroit PAL

Allison Vincent
Nexteer Automotive

Worth Noting

Lisa Heil has joined Identity Marketing and Public Relations as an account assistant. Heil will provide research assistance, copywriting and media relations support to the firm. Prior to joining Identity, she served as an entertainment marketing intern with Los Angeles, Calif.-based Creative Artists Agency. Heil earned a dual bachelor of arts degree in Communication Studies and Psychology from the University of Michigan.

Anndrea Draves and Rebecca Amboy have joined The Quell Group as a production specialist and an assistant account executive, respectively. Draves specialized in print production working on international projects at BBDO Detroit in Troy. She also was an account executive in Traverse City at WPBN-TV. Draves’ new role will expand on her past production experience with the incorporation of multimedia projects. She has a bachelor’s degree in advertising from Michigan State University. Amboy will assist Quell’s investor relations and professional services account teams in all aspects of market communications. Amboy was most recently with The Rossman Group in Lansing, as well as with Rachel Dalton Communications in Dublin, Ireland, and Capital Area United Way in East Lansing. She has a bachelor’s degree in advertising with a specialization in public relations from Michigan State University. Tanner Friedman has been selected to provide media relations, messaging, marketing, and social media counsel to the Made in Michigan Movement in support of The Michigan Experience event. Designed to provide a boost to the Michigan economy, The Michigan Experience will be the keystone annual event of the Made in Michigan Movement. It will take place Oct. 16 and 17 at Rock Financial Showplace in Novi. Also, Don Tanner, founder and CEO of Tanner Friedman and former radio personality and programmer explores the changes in radio and pop music over the past 30 years in a new edition of his book, “No Static at All – A behind the scenes journey through radio and pop music.” Originally published in 2005, the latest version offers readers an updated “behind-the-scenes” glimpse at what it’s like to climb behind the microphone and up the ladder from small to major market radio while reviewing radio’s roots, reinventions and resilience.


March 16 – The Changing Media Environment: Challenge and Opportunity for PR, a panel discussion with local journalists, 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m., The American Cancer Society, 20450 Civic Center Drive, Southfield.

April 1 “Coffee, (S)Cones and Conversation” , 8 a.m.— 9 a.m., Coffee Beanery, 28557 Woodward Avenue Berkley.

April 7 – Wayne State University’s PR Alumni and Student Recognition Luncheon, McGregor Memorial Conference Center on the campus of Wayne State. For more information and to RSVP to the luncheon, please visit

April 22 – PRSA 2010 Michigan Conference – Rock Financial Showplace, 46100 Grand River, Novi.

May 5-7 – Ragan Communications’ Corporate Communicators Conference – Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center.

May 6 – Strikes for Scholarships Bowl-a-Thon, 4:30 p.m. — 8 p.m., Bowlero Lanes, 4209 Coolidge Hwy., Royal Oak. Note: $20 for individual bowlers and$100 for a team of 5 bowlers. Watch your email for more details.

September 15 – PRSA Open Golf Outing, Registration: 11 a.m., Lunch, 11:30 a.m., shotgun start, 12:30 p.m., Strategic Fox course at the Fox Hills Golf and Banquet Center, 8768 North Territorial Rd., Plymouth.