April 2017 Print

Letter from the President

Do you know what a PIO is?  It means "Public Information Officer," and is part of the emergency response system used by fire departments, police and other organizations. 

Why should you care? If an emergency occurs at or near your business, these institutions will use a standard Incident Command structure, and interact with your organization through that system.  

If you aren't familiar with Incident Command or the PIO role, our April program can help you.

Sergeant David H. Lund of the Appleton Police Department is the featured speaker. His presentation will share how institutions communicate with each other and the public during emergencies. Full program information is found below.

You may recall when Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger made headlines a few years ago. Shortly after taking off on US Airways Flight 1549 in New York, both jet engines suddenly became inoperable. Sully safely landed the plane on the Hudson River, saving all 155 people on board. 

 Sully said: "...for 42 years, I've been making small, regular deposits in this bank of experience, education and training. And on January 15, the balance was sufficient so that I could make a very large withdrawal." 

Are you open for lunch on April 18?  Register to attend, and make another deposit into your crisis communication bank.

Angela Brumm, APR

President, PRSA Northeast Wisconsin 

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Upcoming Events

The Communicator’s Role as PIO in an Emergency Situation

Do you have an emergency management plan? Do you know what structure state and local government entities use in emergency situations? Do you know how you fit into that structure?

Emergency situations like an active shooter, mass casualty event or severe weather can happen to any of us at any time. As a communicator, are you prepared to serve as the public information officer (PIO) on behalf of your company?

On Tuesday, April 18, Sergeant David H. Lund II, Support Services Specialist and PIO for the Appleton Police Department, will discuss the role of the PIO in the incident command structure.

Incident command is an emergency response strategy that is practiced by FEMA, law enforcement, hospital systems, state and county emergency management departments and is considered the standard in emergency preparedness.  If your business experiences an emergency, emergency entities will use this structure and terminology in addressing the situation. Will you know what it means?

Typically, the PIO within incident command is responsible for all communication with stakeholders during an emergency situation. The PIO will work with emergency management PIOs to hold press conferences, communicate with impacted families and more.

Sergeant Lund will walk us through the incident command structure and specifically speak to the PIO’s main responsibilities during an emergency. Join us from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. at The Marq for a program that you truly can't afford to miss.


$25.00 PRSA Member
$30.00 after 07:00 pm April 13

$35.00 Non-Member
$40.00 after 07:00 pm April 13

$15.00 Full-Time Student
$20.00 after 07:00 pm April 13

Register Today!


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All About APR!

You've heard of this thing called "APR." But what exactly is it?!

The APR process is an exercise in success. Self-assessment activities along the way—as well as the formal assessment elements themselves—inevitably communicate strengths, limitations, and requirements. You’ll come away with a clear understanding of your PR skills in the form of valuable personalized information to apply toward advancing your present role and future career.

April is APR month, so there's no better time than now to find out more about accreditation. Contact our chapter's accreditation chair, Cassie Wenzel, APR, at 920-242-3024

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A big shout-out to the UW-Oshkosh PRSSA Chapter for receiving the Pacesetter award from PRSSA National! 

The Pacesetter recognizes a Chapter's success in the areas of membership, national participation and/or Chapter development. UW-O's chapter received this award because they increased Chapter membership by 74 percent this semester, completed a PRSSA National Initiative, and strengthened their relationship with our PRSA Chapter.

Only a handful of chapters in the country receive this honor each year, so this is a noteworthy accomplishment! Congrats to all the members of the UW-O chapter for representing our area so well!



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Ethics Corner

“Can we claim to have acted in the client’s or public’s best interest if we have not prepared for crisis?”

Wow. That's pretty direct, eh? This is the question posed by two authors I discovered in my research about crisis communications and ethics [Source: T. Pauchant and I. Mitroff, Transforming the Crisis-Prone Organization (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, p. 5-6)]. 

I had not thought of preparation as an ethical component of crisis communication. Sure, we want to be prepared with a good monitoring process, a clear response/mitigation plan and organization, and an organized communication function. I thought of that simply as "good form," as a British colleague used to say.

Until I ran across this statement, I did not consider the ethics of preparation. Now that my eyes were open, I had to dig a bit deeper to learn how to make this concept visible. Here's what I found.

I found I'm not the only one who asks, "What's the question?" In fact, an organization called the Ethics & Compliance Initiative outlined six questions in a 2015 report to its members, all of them clearly in our public relations wheelhouse:

  1. The crisis team: Is someone in the room who will uphold company values?
  2. What values will our stakeholders expect us to honor in a crisis?
  3. Do we have the right values to guide us in a crisis?
  4. How will our people and culture react to crisis?
  5. How will we know when we’ve recovered from crisis?
  6. Have we established trust with external audiences?

Fortunately, the report included actions we can take to address these questions. They are:

  1. Review corporate values
  2. Conduct periodic ethics training for employees who serve on the crisis team
  3. Conduct a comprehensive stakeholder review
  4. Review crisis comms plans and outline ethics-related messages
  5. Conduct a culture assessment
  6. Make systematic “deposits in the credibility bank”
  7. Plan to be a thought leader if a crisis occurs
  8. Have additional resources at the ready

These are not unilateral actions. As #8 states, it's essential for us to involve leaders of other functions in crisis preparation and practice. Your executive team, operations team, financial, legal, supply chain and risk management leaders all play roles. It is our job to bring the preparation question/challenge to our decision-makers and to assist them – and others – to develop answers.

When it comes to crisis preparation and the ethical questions involved, we have to ask ourselves another age-old question, "If not us, who? If not now, when?" For more information about PRSA's Code of Ethics, see the Ethical Standards Advisories at

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New Members

Meet new chapter member, Joanna Wavrunek!

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

I work for the Dairy Business Association as a Social Media Specialist.

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

I graduated from University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in December 2015 majoring in Communication Studies with an emphasis in rhetoric and public advocacy. Throughout college, I worked as a radio personality for Midwest Communications and as a facilitator for the National FFA Organization.  

3) Describe your typical day.

Each day varies depending on the social media conversations – that’s why I love my job! I continuously monitor dairy farming content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. I create and promote positive information that bust myths and informs customers about the dairy community. My favorite part is showcasing dairy farmers’ passion, accomplishments and efforts.       

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

I am excited for the opportunity to network with public relations professionals and learn from their experiences.

5) Any hobbies?

I enjoying working on my family’s dairy farming, outdoor activities (running, biking, swimming) and attending tractor pulls in the summer with my fiancé.


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Member Anniversaries

Congratulations to these folks in our PRSA Northeast WI chapter, who are all celebrating membership anniversaries in April!

Samantha Baudhuin, Hillstrom PR - 6 years

Noelle Cutlter, Leonard & Finco PR - 1 year

Sara Steffes Hansen, Ph.D., UW-Oshkosh, 21 years

Ana Nennig - 2 years

Tom Schoffelman, APR, Independent Printing - 28 years

Jessica Wettstein, Faith Technologies - 10 years



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