May 2020 Newsletter Print

President's Corner

Like the rest of the world, I rarely know what day it is anymore. And even though I never leave the house, I end each day wondering what I did and why I couldn’t get more done. Last weekend I finally decided to count how many days I had been living like this. I was surprised it was only 38. And oh, how I wished I had instead been counting how many days were left of this life in limbo. Being able to start a clock sounds glorious.

But we all know that even if the extended Safer at Home order is lifted on May 26, the targets established in the Badger Bounce Back plan are not tied to dates. So a countdown to normalcy isn’t only impractical right now; it’s impossible. Once that reality set in, a quote I’d read in The Atlantic took on new meaning for me:

“Everyone wants to know when this will end,” said Devi Sridhar, a public-health expert at the University of Edinburgh. “That’s not the right question. The right question is: How do we continue?”

And continue, we will. For most of us, that means forging ahead in our quest to balance the personal and professional sides of our lives in all sorts of new ways. For PRSA Northeast Wisconsin, it means we are going to start connecting our area’s PR and communications pros in new ways, too.

We’ll start that this month with our first-ever virtual meeting! On May 12, spend your lunch hour on Zoom with us. UW Oshkosh’s Colin Wylie will present on a topic that’s become near and dear to all our hearts in the last six weeks: how to use technology more effectively in our jobs. (Find more info and a registration link later in this newsletter.) You probably have figured out enough tips and tricks to get by, but you’re sure to pick up new ideas that will help you maximize the power of some popular tools – while also maximizing the time in your day.

We’re offering this meeting free of charge to members and guests alike, so please feel free to invite others. I look forward to seeing many of your faces then. In the meantime, continue to be well and take care of yourself. As for me, I’m going to try to start counting my blessings instead of the days!

- Erin Elliott, APR
President, PRSA Northeast Wisconsin

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Upcoming Events

May 12, 12-1 p.m. – TO BE HELD VIRTUALLY


In March 2020, downloads of business productivity apps were up 90% from the previous year. In a matter of weeks, the way we work changed drastically and prompted adaption of former practices. Working remotely may be temporary, but what tools can professionals use going forward to increase efficiency and promote clear communication within our organizations?

During this virtual meeting, we will discuss how communications professionals can leverage technology to help solve problems. We will focus on the most popular platforms for video conferencing, project management and team communications. Best practices, tips and suggestions will be offered to help you step up your game.

Come prepared to learn how to:

  • Communicate remotely with your team or clients
  • Effectively manage projects online with multiple people
  • Look your best in your next video chat with your supervisor

There is no charge for this presentation. Simply register, and we’ll send you the Zoom meeting invite via email (as well as a pre-event survey to complete).

About the Presenter:

Colin Wylie is the Assistant Director for Marketing and Assessment at Reeve Memorial Union, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Brigham Young University in Utah. He is serving as a PRSSA-PRSA relations co-chair for PRSA Northeast Wisconsin. Colin has worked in higher education, healthcare and the nonprofit industry. In a former life, he worked in consumer electronic sales and developed a passion for emerging technology and trends.

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All I Really Need to Know About PR Ethics I Learned in Kindergarten

I recently came across a PR ethics podcast in which the host asked his guest, “What’s the best piece of PR ethics advice you were ever given?” The response at first caught me off guard, but then made a lot of sense. It reminded me of Robert Fulghum’s essay, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”

The podcast was Ethical Voices hosted by Mark McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA. McClennan was talking with Peter Loge, a professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. Professor Loge’s response to the question was, “You don’t have PR ethics. You don’t have business ethics. You have ethics. You find a way you want to be in the world, and you are that person. You’re that person at work, with your family, and everywhere else. The best advice I got was, figure out what you think a good person is, and be that person.”

And that made me think of Fulghum’s essay about kindergarten (edited for brevity and pertinence):

“ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW about how to live and what to do and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:

“Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together…”

I think we often over-complicate things in life. As Fulghum points out, what we learn in kindergarten comes up again and again in our lives. Often in far more complex forms. But it’s there. And it’s definitely there in the ethics we need to practice as PR professionals.

Consider the PRSA Code Provisions of Conduct:

  • Free flow of information: Protecting and advancing free flow of accurate and truthful information is essential to serving the public information and contributing to informed decision making. Kindergarten translation: Don’t tell lies.
  • Competition: Promoting healthy and fair competition among professionals preserves an ethical climate while fostering a robust business environment. Kindergarten translation: play fair and do not cheat.
  • Disclosure of information: Open communication fosters informed decision making. Kindergarten translation: Don’t keep secrets that will help others.
  • Safeguarding Confidences: Client trust requires appropriate protection of confidential and private information. Kindergarten translation: Don’t tattle.
  • Conflicts of Interest: Avoiding real, potential or perceived conflicts of interest builds the trust of clients, employers, and the publics. Kindergarten translation: don’t lie about why you’re doing something.
  • Enhancing the profession: Public relations professionals work constantly to strengthen the public’s trust in the profession. Kindergarten translation: Be a good person and a good friend.

Ethics isn’t complicated. It can be hard though. It can be hard to live up to that ideal of a person you want to be, especially when we’ve over-complicated the definitions. I think it’s much easier if you strip away those definitions, and think of them in terms a kindergartner would understand. Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. Tell people the information that helps them. Be a good person and a good friend. I think those are ideals we all want to live up to.

And to borrow the final though from Fulghum: “No matter how old you are – when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together. (maybe just not now during this time of social distancing!)”

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Member News

The 2020 University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Bateman team earned an honorable mention placement in this year’s national Bateman competition, sponsored by PRSA. The team, consisting of four public relations students, planned and implemented a public relations campaign for the U.S. Census Bureau to raise awareness and participation in the 2020 Census. Over 57 teams from across the country participated in this year’s Bateman campaign.

Students Alexis Ratliff, Morgaine Prather, Haley Reeson and Lydia Westedt created the  campaign, “20/20 Oshkosh: Count Osh In.” Designed to bring census awareness to UW Oshkosh students and Oshkosh area renters, the campaign’s goal was to ensure that Oshkosh residents knew the importance of counting themselves in the 2020 census.

Through their efforts, the students talked with over 600 students through classroom presentations, and reached many more through diverse communications channels and a robust, upbeat social media campaign. Despite many events during the final weeks of the campaign being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team worked hard to transition their campaign into a virtual outreach effort to help students understand how to be counted, once and only once, and in the right place. Their efforts resulted in an award-winning campaign that helped the U.S. Census Bureau reach two important key publics, UWO students and renters.

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For Your Information

PRemier Awards 2020

We can’t predict the future during these uncertain times. But our hope is that we will be able to gather again among our families, our friends, our coworkers, our PR peers in the near future.

To that end, it is our intention to hold the 11th annual PRemier Awards for the chapter this fall. We are eyeing a November event at The Marq in De Pere.

In a change for this year’s awards program with still so much up in the air around us, project-based awards won’t be selected. We will continue to honor a Communicator of the Year and a Young Professional of the Year. We also will celebrate a deserving recipient in the new category of Lifetime Achievement Award.

Stay tuned this summer for details on the nomination process for Communicator of the Year, Young Professional of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award as well as the date for the 2020 PRemier Awards when we hopefully can be back together.

- Hillary Anderson and Todd McMahon, Awards Committee

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Abby Reich

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Lydia Westedt

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Meg Wiesner

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Matthew Knoke

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Caitlyn Belson

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Jordan Finlay

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Brooke Baneck

Northern Michigan University

Molly Gaudreau

Northern Michigan University

Anthony Bowman

Northern Michigan University

Elsie Zajicek

Northern Michigan University

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Member Anniversaries

05/10/2006 Sherri S. Valitchka, Greater Green Bay YMCA, Inc.

05/22/2018 Kaitlin Jean Biersach

05/23/2018 Kara Leiterman, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

05/28/2019 Joshua Schwartz, Rocket Industrial

05/29/2019 Colin Wylie, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh—Reeve Union

05/30/2003 Renae Ann Bauer, Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross

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