April 2016 Print

Letter from the President

How did you know you wanted to go into public relations as a career choice?

I have to admit, my decision was a little misguided! It was the summer after my freshman year of college. I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I think my dad was a little concerned that I might be on the extended undergraduate track (meaning I wasn’t going to graduate in four years!). He told me I should consider a career in public relations. After all, he said, you’re a great people person. Having grown up in rural southern Iowa in the 1970s and 80s, I really didn’t know much about public relations, but it sounded good so I signed up for my first public relations class: PR 101.

On the first day of class the instructor walked in and asked, “Who is in here because you’re a people person?” Several hands shot up. Thinking it might be a trick question, I kept my hand down. The instructor promptly pointed to the door and said, “If that’s the reason you’re here, I suggest you leave now because you’re going to be in for a big surprise. Public relations is not about shaking hands and drinking martinis. It’s about writing – and a lot of it. So if you don’t like to write, I suggest you leave.”

That was a rude awakening for me. While I could write a good term paper (although I didn’t like doing it), I’d never written for the school newspaper nor anything else, really, for that matter. This idea of entering inot a career where I’d be writing for a living was a bit scary!

This Saturday, April 9, I encourage you to relive your reasons for entering the public relations field and to share them with current students as the UWGB chapter of PRSSA hosts a Midwest regional conference of PR students from Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan and Iowa.

Join them for breakfast from 8-9 a.m. on the UWGB campus for Pancakes with the Pros. Not only is it a free event, but you’ll be able to share your expertise with students who are learning about the PR profession. To register, send an email to

Even though my initial reasons for starting on my PR career may have been a little misguided, I am so glad I didn’t walk out of that classroom that September morning in 1985. Not only have I found that I love to write, but there is something to be said for being a “people person” as a public relations practitioner! I hope you’ll join me and the PR students from throughout the upper Midwest on Saturday!

- Tom

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Upcoming Events

Four months after Steve Scaffidi’s election in 2012 as mayor of Oak Creek, Wis., the unimaginable happened – a white supremacist fatally shot six people and wounded four others at the city’s Sikh Temple in what was described as a domestic terrorist incident and a hate crime. National media immediately descended on this city of nearly 35,000 people, and rebukes about the incident were given by President Barak Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

With this as the setting for our April program, Scaffidi, who is a public relations practitioner by trade, will discuss how his community’s response and his personal experiences related to that event have helped shape his work in public relations.

Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind presentation that explores being thrust into the national spotlight and the importance of having solid crisis communication and reputation management plans.

About the presenter:

Steve Scaffidi has worked extensively in public relations, media research and local government. He worked for more than 25 years as a project manager for the Nielsen Company, one of the largest media research firms in the world, specializing in audience research for the major U.S. television networks. As an Account Executive with Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Scaffidi is responsible for creating and editing communications and public relations efforts for clients as diverse as the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and the Green Bay Packers. He owns Marketpoint Media and is the founder of Oak Creek Cares, a donor-advised fund associated with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, whose sole mission is to raise funds to promote programs which increase the safety and security of the community.


$25.00 PRSA Member
$30.00 after 05:00 pm April 14

$35.00 Non-member/Guest
$40.00 after 05:00 pm April 14

$15.00 Full-Time Student
$20.00 after 05:00 pm April 14

Register Now

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Tips and Tricks

One of the many great perks of being a PRSA member is the learning opportunities the organization provides--and the (free!) webinars are crowd favorites. If you've wanted to shore up some of your skills (or learn some new ones!), April is the month to do it.  Here are the topics you can dig into in the coming weeks:

  • April 12: Prove Your Value: Use Measurement and Evaluation to Take Client Satisfaction to the Next Level 
  • April 14: Balancing the Art and Science of Communication: Make An Enduring Impact
  • April 21: Media Pitching for 2016: Five Ways to Change Your Media Outreach
  • April 25: Start Making Sense: Get the Gobbledygook, Jargon and Gibberish Out of Your Copy
  • April 26: Make the APR+M Work for You
  • April 28: Everything You Need to Know About the Certificate in Principles of Public Relations


Learn more and register today!

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New Members

Meet Mary Rhode, one of our newest PRSA members!

1) Where do you work? What is the role in your company?

As Marketing & Communications Manager for the Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau, I am in charge of all aspects of marketing and advertising the Fox Cities area as a tourism destination for leisure, sports and conventions. I also handle all PR efforts, social media and media relations.


2) Please share some of your education/employment background.

I graduated in 2005 from Lakeshore Technical College with an associate’s degree in Marketing. I then graduated from Silver Lake College in 2015 with a B.A. in Business Management. I started my marketing career in the hospitality industry at a golf resort in northeast Wisconsin, then made the switch to media, working for a TV station in Green Bay. I was hired at the Convention & Visitors Bureau in 2013, which got me back into the hospitality and tourism industry that I love.


3) Describe your typical day.

My typical day starts a little before 8am with a look at my task list for the day. I can’t live without both my task list and a written to-do list which help keep me organized. Once I look at those lists, I go into project management mode where on any given day, I am juggling 5-6 different projects. The rest of my typical day consists of managing our social media channels, advertising schedule and taking part in any meetings I may have scheduled.  


4) What do you hope to get out of PRSA?

As I’ve grown in my career, I’ve learned that networking is so important. By joining PRSA, I hope to meet a lot of people who share the same passion for public relations and marketing as I do. I also hope to learn and advance my PR career by attending the seminars offered by the local chapter and attending the national Travel & Tourism conference.  


5) Any hobbies?

My husband and I have many hobbies that we enjoy doing together including snowboarding, golfing, pheasant hunting and attending Brewers games. We also have a 1-year-old springer spaniel named Cabela that we love to spend time with either at home or up north at our cabin. In my other free time, I enjoy yoga and gardening. 

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Member News

Congratulations to the following PRSA members celebrating membership anniversaries in April!

Tom Schoffelman - 27 years

Sara Steffes Hansen, UW-Oshkosh - 20 years

Jessica Wettstein, Faith Technologies - 9 years

Samantha Baudhuin, HillstromPR - 5 years



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