Detroit Chapter Public Relations Society of America | October 2011
By Rich Donley, APR
It is an honor to present the proposed 2012 PRSA Detroit board officer and director nominees who have been instrumental through their service and leadership to the chapter and public relations.
As the chapter’s immediate past president, I serve as the chair of the nominating committee, which evaluates the candidates and proposes the slate. Chapter members will vote on this slate at the annual meeting Nov. 3.
This year’s nominees certainly embody leadership and service to the chapter. They have been actively involved as a current board member or committee chair/member and have helped to advance the profession and professional. To be eligible for an officer position, the nominee must be a current board member and accredited.
Jessica Killenberg Muzik, APR, current secretary, is resigning from the board at the end of her 2011 term. Therefore, there are two officer positions to fill. Nominees include current board members Dan Artman, APR, as treasurer (existing term through 2012); and Debra Lacey, APR, as secretary (who is also up for re-election; this is a new three-year term).
Existing officers Jennifer Flowers, APR, will move to president; John Austerberry, APR, president-elect; and Susan Ferraro, APR, immediate past president.
Also up for re-election for director positions are: Melanie Davis, APR, new two-year term to serve remaining term for Muzik; and Kim Eberhardt, new three-year term.
Nominated as incoming directors are Jim Burke, three-year term; Jennifer Marsik-Friess, one-year term to serve remaining term for Rich Donley, APR; and Tim Wieland, APR, three-year term.
Special thanks to board Director Jocelyn Allen, whose term expires at the end of 2011. She has served the board since 2008. She will remain actively involved as co-chair of the PRSA 2012 Michigan Conference.
“Try and leave this world a little better than you found it,” wrote Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout Movement. I have appreciated the opportunity to serve on the board since 2003 and on the executive board for five of those years, including president in 2010. I certainly hope our chapter and profession are a “little better” now than when I took office.
The nominating committee strongly believes the 2012 slate of officers and directors will make our Chapter and profession even better than we are now. We appreciate your support.
Join your fellow members and colleagues for a special evening at the 2011 PRSA Detroit Chapter Annual Meeting. The event is a chance for members to network, celebrate the achievements of the past year and look forward to what lies ahead.
Highlighting the 2011 annual meeting program will be the induction of Dr. James Measell and Eleanor Wright, APR, into the PRSA Detroit Hall of Fame, and presentation of the chapter’s Robert Hefty Distinguished Service Award to Scott Simons, APR (please see related story in this issue with more details about the award winners).
Measell and Wright enjoyed long careers as public relations professors at Wayne State University and Eastern Michigan University, respectively. Both excellent instructors, they are being recognized for their dedication to their students and the profession outside the classroom.
Simons, senior specialist of media relations at DTE Energy, worked under Bob Hefty at the company and is being honored for his long and significant service to the PRSA Detroit Chapter.
In addition to honoring these esteemed colleagues, the chapter will award the PRSA Detroit Education Fund Scholarships; recognize the newly accredited members (APRs) and Ethics Honors Code participants; and elect the 2012 PRSA Detroit officers and directors.
“The PRSA Detroit Annual Meeting is a great time to reconnect with fellow professionals and honor some of the noteworthy practitioners in our chapter,” incoming PRSA Detroit Chapter President Jennifer Flowers, APR, said. “I hear many members say this is one ‘can’t miss’ annual chapter event and I agree!”
Please join us Thursday, Nov. 3 at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial, located at 32 Lake Shore Drive in Grosse Pointe Farms. The evening will start at 6 p.m. with a reception, followed by dinner at 6:45 p.m. and the recognition program at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $45 per person and can be reserved via PayPal through Oct. 27 on the chapter website. Please contact Nancy Skidmore at 248-545-6499 if you have any questions.
By the summer of 2010, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra was in trouble. Hurt by rising fixed costs, precipitous loss of donations and attendance as the Michigan economy worked to recover, and a devastating decline in endowment after the 2008-09 market crash, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra was facing a financial crisis if it didn’t cut costs. Following painful rounds of pay cuts, the elimination of one-third of the staff, and an impasse with the committee representing its orchestra members, the DSO musicians began a strike that continued for nearly six months.
Join PRSA Detroit for a program featuring Paul Hogle, Executive Vice President of the DSO. Hogle will discuss the events leading up to the strike and how communications played a pivotal role in reaching out to vital internal and external audiences. He’ll divulge how public relations helped assure the DSO’s most loyal donor base, and how transparency played a prominent role in the media coverage.
In addition, Hogle will talk about ongoing communications tools and tactics that keep employees, patrons and donors engaged through broader community and educational initiatives and greater opportunities for digital media applications.
The DSO will share lessons learned including:
Cost is $15 for members and $25 for nonmembers.
Dr. James Measell and Eleanor Wright, APR, will be inducted into the Detroit Chapter’s Hall of Fame at the Nov. 3 Annual Meeting. Former Chapter President Scott Simons, APR, will be presented with the Robert Hefty Distinguished Service Award. This article provides an overview of some of their accomplishments.
Measell was an associate professor in the Department of Communications at Wayne State University from 1970 to 1997. He began the Public Relations Student Society of America chapter at WSU in the mid ‘80s which has grown to more than 90 members, the largest in its history. The chapter was named the James S. Measell Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America in 2005 as a tribute to him. Dr. Measell taught the history portion of the Detroit Chapter’s accreditation study session for many years and taught and inspired many metro Detroit PR professionals who also have volunteered with Wayne’s students.
He currently lives in southeast Ohio and is the full-time historian for Fenton Art Glass Co., in Williamston, W. Va.
Elly Wright, APR, has left her mark on Eastern Michigan University’s public relations program throughout the years. Wright began with strong background as a newspaper journalist and magazine writer, before she brought those skills to Eastern Michigan in 1979. By 1983, she and her colleagues had created both a major in written communications and an outstanding public relations program that bridges gap between theory and practical experience.
Successful PR graduates from EMU can be found in corporations, nonprofits, and in the educational and medical fields. Due to her outstanding contributions to both students and the profession, EMU’s PRSSA chapter was named in Wright’s honor. Despite being retired, she stays involved with the students and faculty, offering helpful suggestions when needed. Wright lives in the St. Louis area.
Simons, APR, is a senior media relations specialist at DTE Energy in Detroit, where he has worked since 1991. A former Oakland Press business writer, he has served the Detroit PRSA Chapter as a hardworking volunteer in a number of leadership roles, including board of directors member, 2002-2009; 2008 chapter president; PRSA Assembly delegate several times; and was the Detroit PRSA International Conference Host Committee co-chair. The 2008 Detroit International Conference provided an important boost to the Detroit economy as well as the region’s reputation to attendees who came from all over the country. Scott also has served as co-chair of the chapter’s bowl-a-thon fundraiser since it began in 2009.
The PRSA Detroit Membership Committee has one basic goal – keep members happy. This means offering programs that excite current and prospective members and providing benefits that attract and retain public relations professionals to our society. In early September the committee reached out to current members via an electronic survey designed to gather opinions about the PRSA Detroit membership experience and use that feedback to enhance value and deliver programs and information that you prefer, with some interesting results.
The chart below indicates which topics members are most interested in exploring in future programs. Not surprisingly, social media emerges as a favored topic. However, it is interesting to note that the opportunity to meet media and corporate communications followed closely behind. Look for events featuring these topics in the future.
Other interesting findings include that members would welcome the opportunity to learn more about crossing communications boundaries by offering insights on working with marketing and advertising professionals. Programs to continue to enhance writing skills also were of interest to many members.
Survey respondents were very satisfied with the quality and price of our events. Chapter leadership has made considerable efforts to maintain quality events while keeping costs low, and this initiative has clearly resonated with members.
Overall, the survey has provided extremely valuable insight into how PRSA Detroit members feel about their experience with our chapter. We thank all of you who have responded and encourage those who have not yet participated to do so now. There is still time to make your voice heard and the Membership Committee welcomes your comments. The best part? Take the survey now and you’ll be entered to win a FREE registration for the PRSA 2012 Michigan Conference.
On May 17, 2012, hundreds of public relations, marketing and communications professionals will converge on Southeast Michigan for the biennial PRSA Michigan Conference. The 2012 conference, themed “CommLab: Where the Art and Science of Communications Meet,” is designed to be a hands-on learning experience for these professionals to learn best practices, share insights, be exposed to new technologies and approaches while expanding their network.
We are looking for engaging, thought-provoking and informative speakers that will provide our attendees with information, best practices and insight they have not heard before or that is presented in a new way.
If you are interested in presenting at the PRSA 2012 Michigan Conference, please read and complete the Call for Speakers Form and submit it for consideration by Oct. 14. Please contact Kate Eidam email@example.com with any questions.
Oct. 27 – DSO Program – 8 a.m., Max M. Fisher Music Center, Donor Lounge, 3711 Woodward Avenue, Detroit. “Preparing for the Unexpected: The DSO Shares Lessons Learned From the Picket Line”. See story in this Bulletin.
Nov. 3 – Annual Meeting – 6 p.m., at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lake Shore Drive, Grosse Pointe Farms. See story in this Bulletin.