Capital PR News - May 13, 2011 | PRSA-NCC
Home > May 2011

May 2011



Let's Celebrate Public Relations

Dear Colleagues,

May is a time of celebration for the public relations field. It is a time for graduations - from high school, from college, and from graduate schools. There are PR practitioners who are receiving advanced degrees and there are many emerging PR practitioners who are receiving undergraduate degrees.

The PR field is constantly changing, adapting, and growing. New technology is impacting how we view the possibilities of building and maintaining relationships. Now, there are so many opportunities for these graduates to consider as they enter the field. There are many of us who can offer a helping hand by offering an internship, offer a helpful ear by becoming a mentor or signing up for our PRONet evening events and gatherings for younger professionals.

There is an opportunity for each of us to continue building the PR field for the next generation of practitioners, to encourage their professional development and their acceptance of the ethical standards that guide us all. I personally know college students are eager to experience the field after years of studying in a classroom. They want to hear from us and PRSA-NCC.

Take a few minutes and see if your company or organization has an opportunity to share with an up and coming PR practitioner.

And as you begin to make personal plans for the summer, please do not forget about the many activities and workshops that PRSA-NCC has planned for you - meet the media, attend a session with noted speaker Michael Smart; participate in a writing workshop; and join us for a Nationals baseball game. For these events and more, check out our website at

Take care,

Brigitte W. Johnson, APR
2011 President

Back to Top

In Focus

Grab the Glory; Apply for a Thoth

You know you deserve it. You and the Egyptians are standard bearers. Get your entries for the 43nd Annual PRSA-NCC Thoth (pronounced "tot") Awards Competition ready for submission now, get a great discount and avoid the last-minute rush.

Named for the Egyptian god of communication, the Thoth Awards recognize the most outstanding public relations programs and components developed and produced in the Greater Washington area. Winners from corporations, government agencies, trade associations, public relations firms and non-profits, both large and small, will be selected in 35 categories for communications campaigns and tactics. Share your winning work with the community.

PRSA-NCC is now accepting entries for the 2011 Thoth Awards.  The early bird deadline is Friday, June 17, 2011 and the standard deadline is Friday, July 8, 2011.  Visit for more information on categories and rules.

If you are a senior practitioner (APR preferred) and are interested in learning more about serving as a judge for this year's competition, please contact Susan Apgood at or Jackie Fishman, APR, at Judging will take place in July.

Face to Face Meets Digital - Improve Your Networking Style

There is more to networking than simply face-to-face interaction for today’s public relations professional. The PRSA-NCC PRONet committee and Debra Silimeo, senior vice president of Hager Sharp & 2010 Washington PR Woman of the Year will host three panelists to offer insights on networking for professionals at any career level. Heather Huhman of Come Recommended, Margie Newman of DC PR Flacks and Dan Lyons of Lyons Public Relations, LLC will share tips on crafting an elevator speech, using social media platforms to connect with peers and keeping your networking skills sharp.

Refreshments and light hors d'oeuvres will be served following the panel session on Tuesday, May 24, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Hager Sharp located at 1030 15th Street, NW, Suite 600E, Washington, DC 20005 (Near Farragut West and Farragut North Metro stops). The cost is $15 for students; $25 for PRSA and WWPR members; $35 for non-members. A $10 additional fee will be charged at the door for members and non-members who are not registered by May 20. Register at the PRSA-NCC website.

Mentors Needed for Mentor Program

Each May, hundreds of students graduate from local colleges and universities with a degree in public relations or communications and they start seeking their first PR job.

Wouldn't you like to provide someone with the same help and advice you got when you began your PR career?  The PRSA-NCC mentor program is great opportunity to share your knowledge of the PR and job searching without taking much of your time. Protégés look for career guidance and suggestions for finding their first or second job through an occasional phone call or e-mail message to their mentors.  Easily sign-up as a mentor on the PRSA-NCC website and click on and fill out the Mentor Profile form.

IPRA To Discuss YouTube: A PR Must Have on June 2

With 490 million users and more video content uploaded in two months than ABC, CBS and NBC have created in 60 years, YouTube is a viral powerhouse that can provide real PR punch. IPRA's June speaker, Evan Kraus, a digital media guru, will focus on the benefits of using YouTube, explore how YouTube can be an important PR tool, and share "how to" tips for making it part of your digital media outreach and PR campaigns.

Evan is an executive vice president of APCO and the global director of APCO Online®, a service group that delivers online communication strategies for APCO Worldwide's clients. Under his leadership, this practice has become a recognized leader in helping clients use online to shape their reputation, achieve their business goals and influence issue environments. In addition, Evan spearheaded the development of APCO's Internet-based online monitoring, analysis and response process, and APCO's online outreach, communication and mobilization toolkit.

The event will be held from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Tysons Corner in Vienna and includes a buffet lunch with beverage and gratuity. IPRA meets in the Chancellor Room to the right of the lounge.

Advance registration must be received by May 31. Early bird fees are $28 for IPRA and PRSA-NCC Members and $38 for non-members and guests. Cost at the door is $33 (cash only) for IPRA and PRSA-NCC members; $43 for non-members.

Visit the PRSA-NCC website for more information or contact IPRA at

Jump Start Your Career: Find Out How to Earn Your APR on June 4

"JumpStart" is an intense, informative, and supportive experience that builds a strong foundation for achieving your APR designation. The course covers what to expect during the APR process, ethics and law, communication models and theories, research, planning and implementation, crisis communication, and media relations.

The "JumpStart" course offered by the National Capital Chapter of PRSA is consistently named among the top professional development activities by PRSA members. Find out why so many APRs have found JumpStart to be an invaluable part of their preparation on Saturday, June 4, 2011, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. The cost is $119 for PRSA-NCC members; $129 for non-members who register before May 29 and includes a study binder, breakfast, lunch and full day course. $129 for members and $149 for non-members after May 29.

For more information, or to register, visit the PRSA-NCC website.

Experts Help PR Professionals Tackle Media Measurement

By Joseph Catapano

Research, statistics, and defining focused campaign objectives drove intriguing conversation at Navigating the New Frontier of Media Measurement, a workshop put on by the Public Relations Society of America’s National Capital Chapter (PRSA-NCC) Professional Development Committee.

“There is no blanket answer for everything,” said panelist Johna Burke, who made the point during Q&A that there was not one metric or one system that would work for every organization. Members of the panel did however drive home the fact that every organization’s PR department needs to make a habit of thorough research and the collection of hard statistics to prove value to the C-suite.

The panel covered a variety of communication sectors. Barbara Coons, vice president of StrategyOne, detailed the importance of metrics in public affairs campaigns, sharing among other insights, how Washington influencers consume media differently than the general public, and therefore necessitate a slightly different style of metrics.

Traditional and social media measurement were covered in detail by the panel, including the introduction of “social analytics,” which attempts to go beyond the mindset of “social media monitoring” to include predictive analytics, network analytics, and social customer management.

All of the speakers emphasized the changing nature of PR, as it migrates from a communications function operating in a silo to a communications function that is more tightly connected to business goals. With this more dynamic role comes an increased responsibility to measure often and accurately.

The workshop was presented on Apr. 13 at the U.S. Navy Memorial & Heritage Center, and featured the following four-person panel:
•    Barbara Coons, vice president, StrategyOne
•    Johna Burke, senior vice president,BurrellesLuce
•    Scott Arenson, vice president, Golin Harris
•    Alan Chumley, senior vice president, CARMA International

A podcast of the event will be available next week at Visit the PRSA-NCC site and sign up for its Twitter or RSS feeds for the latest news.

PRSA-NCC Members Serve as Judges for Prestigious Bronze Anvil Awards

Four PRSA-NCC members volunteered several hours of their time in April to judge the PRSA National Bronze Anvil Awards.   PRSA’s Bronze Anvil Awards annually recognize outstanding public relations tactics — the individual items or components that contribute to the success of an overall program or campaign.

Aaron Ellis, APR, Ashley Michael and Fred Whiting, APR, joined Suzanne Holroyd, Ph.D., APR+M, who organized the local judging, to select the winners of the "Brochures -- 17 pages or less" category.  The team reviewed approximately 20 submissions and in the course of it, learned about waste water treatment, plants for dry climates and eye diseases, to name a few of the topics. If you are interested in being considered to serve as judge next year, contact Suzanne at

Celebrate the Start of Summer at a June 15 Happy Hour

PRSA-NCC's Association/Nonprofit committee will hold a much anticipated summer Happy Hour on Wednesday, June 15, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at Gordon Biersch in Chinatown.

The price of $25 for PRSA and WWPR members and $35 for non-members includes one complimentary drink ticket, additional special drink prices and heavy hors d'oeuvres.

Advance registration required by noon on June 15. To register or for more information, visit the PRSA-NCC website

Back to Top

New Member Spotlight

Shannon Yzquierdo  
Associate Level Consultant  
Booz Allen Hamilton

1)    Why did you join PRSA?
I joined PRSA because I want to learn to be a better communicator, network with interesting people, and be part of a professional organization.

2)    How long have you been in the PR field?
I feel as though I’ve been in public relations my entire life! My skill set is diverse, which most would think is a great thing, but in many cases, I’m limited to utilizing only a specific skill set. I thoroughly enjoyed being a Classroom Science Teacher for 8 years prior to joining the Intelligence Community. It’s common to see me teaching or training someone on the ins and outs of an organization, a database, or communicating my way of networking. I’ve worked for the FBI, CIA, NCTC, and ODNI in my 7 years in the Intelligence Community. Within each organization, I was fortunate enough to develop a great network across the Intelligence Community and the United States in a variety of positions.

In addition to working in the Intelligence Community, I enjoy volunteering for a charity called the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. I’ve shaved my head bald six times in raising money for Children’s Cancer Research through this Foundation. This is close to my heart, as children should be allowed to retain their childhood innocence without having to endure intrusive treatments, lose their hair, and fight each day to live for the next.

3)    What skills are required to do your job?
My current position, as an Analyst requires me to be detailed and follow a set of rules before making decisions. Many of the other positions I’ve held require my people skills to forge relationships across the Intelligence Community. In using my people skills, I network and provide liaison to a variety of clients. If asked, many of my former clients would tell you that I stay in touch and always reach out when I come across an article, an event, or a contact, I think would benefit their program. This networking ability and ability to form a strong connection with others has enabled me opportunities that wouldn’t have otherwise come along.

4)    What’s your greatest career achievement?
To date, my greatest career achievement would have to be coordinating the Intelligence Community Technology Exposition in 2008. I stayed very busy, met tough deadlines, and made sure every aspect of the Exposition was executed smoothly. This was my favorite position, as well, because I was provided the flexibility to be creative and use many of my skills. I interacted with Congressional Members, Directors of Organizations within the Intelligence Community, many other analysts, and a variety of individuals from many other organizations. I met some wonderful people and this event is one of my greatest achievements to date.

5)    Where would you like to see yourself in five years?
In five years, I would like to be in a position to mentor others, teach others the skills and wisdom I’ve learned along my career path, and have the opportunity to serve others via charities. I believe strongly in paying it forward and I do that every chance I get.

6)    How do you begin each day?
Each day begins at 2:30am! I’ve been told I’m very organized and sometimes a perfectionist. I suppose that could be my strength and my weakness. I drink a protein shake, pack my bag full of healthy snacks, and off I go! It’s very dark that early, so I enjoy the deer I see on my way to work, along with other nocturnal animals wandering in the early morning hours.

7)    What’s your dream job?
My dream job would be one in which I could use my diverse skill set to communicate, coordinate, liaison, network, and interact, and help people daily. Being an extrovert, I love interacting with others and this provides me with much needed energy for the multitude of interactions I might have on any given day.

8)    Who’s your role model, and why do you admire him/her?
I admire the children with cancer I’ve met through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. These children are full of courage, strength, and humility. I admire each of them for their courage to live and endure whatever hurdles are placed in front of them in such a difficult life and death circumstance.

9)    What’s the last book you read or movie you saw?
The last movie I saw was the Lincoln Lawyer! My favorite movie of all time is RUDY because I love seeing the underdog succeed!

10)    Tips for maintaining the elusive work/life balance?
Tips I would provide for maintaining a good work/life balance is don’t put yourself last, learn to say no, and carve time out of each day for those you care about most.

Have you or someone you know joined the Chapter within the last six months? If so, would you like to be in our spotlight? Just contact for a copy of the questionnaire. To view past new Member Spotlights, visit the membership section of the web site.

Back to Top

Ask A Professional

(Q) I am a public relations professional with about 10 years of experience and would like to learn more about becoming an adjunct professor. How should I start that process?--J.G., Rockville

(A)  For the mid- to senior career-level public relations practitioner, teaching can be one of the most rewarding career paths in the industry.  It provides an opportunity to share what you have learned on the job over the course of your career with those who are eager to follow in your path.  And for the experienced PR pro, it's an opportunity to share experiences that aren't usually taught in the classroom.

To teach at most area colleges and universities, you should have a Master's degree or a PhD in PR, communications or journalism.    Most schools require only a Master's for adjunct professors (part-time instructors).  Realizing that most adjuncts already have full-time jobs, schools usually schedule their courses in the evening.

The best way to get started is to go to the Web sites for all of the local institutions of higher learning.  All of them post courses in their PR program and most announce opportunities for full-time or part-time faculty.  Find out how you can apply online.  If they don't post vacancies, identify the hiring authority in each department and write to them directly.

If you don't have any teaching experience, get some.  Offer to be a guest lecturer for PR faculty on your area of expertise.  Also contact the Professional Development Committee for PRSA-NCC and suggest ways you can contribute as an instructor.  You won't get paid, but the experience is invaluable.

Brush up on your own academic and professional credentials.  Become accredited if you aren't yet.  Become a mentor to students and young PR pros to learn what their educational needs are.  And consider adult education courses to bring you up to speed on new developments in our profession.

If you dream to teach, by all means, pursue it.  I wish you well.


Fred Whiting, APR, is an adjunct professor at Hood College in Frederick, Md.

Do you have a question concerning the practice of public relations that would be of interest to others? Ask a PRofessional! Visit our Ask a PRofessional page to pose your question and receive a personal reply. Your question and the answer may appear in a future issue of the PRSA-NCC Chapter newsletter.

Back to Top