March 2019 Print

President's Corner

I have a confession to make: I hate spring. Oh, sure – May is nice. But the only thing I associate March and April with are dirty snow piles (and now, floods!) and clothing conundrums. (Do I leave my coat and freeze…or wear it and sweat?) And I really can’t stand the time change – I need every hour in my day, time thieves! Messing with that one day throws me off for a week.

So, when I woke up last Wednesday morning, I was in a motivational slump. Yet, I ended that day feeling energized and inspired.

Did someone cast a magic spell on me? Well, kinda!

You see, I started out my day at our chapter’s APR (Accreditation in Public Relations) study group session. (You can find more info about that in the short article below from our APR Chair, Femi Cole.) Each month, a handful of chapter members who are taking steps toward this important credential meet with PR pros in our area who have already earned the acronym.

During our 90 minutes together, we review and discuss important concepts that are highlighted in the helpful study guide created by the University Accreditation Board. We talk about the different ways these fundamental elements of PR come through in our work days and careers. But my favorite part of the session is when we talk about scenarios – both from the real-world and prepared materials – and how what we’re learning applies to them. The sample questions spark lively discussion and debate! And the whole experience leaves me feeling smarter…and so excited about the power of our profession.

If you’ve ever thought – for even a fleeting moment – about pursuing your APR, I encourage you to join one of our next sessions! Those of us who regularly attend are at varying stages of the process, so there’s no pressure or judgement to be anywhere in your learning other than where you are.

I’m about ready to put the final touches on my panel presentation, and the session that dreary March morning gave me the extra oomph I needed to mark a vacation day on my calendar next week to finish it up. That means I will likely present my project yet in the next few months…and just knowing that I’ll be spending time thinking and challenging myself in these ways puts an extra spring in my step.

Hope to see you at our April session...or one soon after that!

- Erin Elliott

President, PRSA Northeast Wisconsin

Back to top

Upcoming Events

Dear PR Pro

Have you ever wanted to get inside the mind of a reporter? By taking the time to understand reporters’ perspectives, PR pros can work more effectively with media as we have the same goal: to share stories.

Through an open discussion with Emmy award-winning journalist Stacy Engebretson from NBC26 and Element Director of Public Relations Tara Brzozowski, you’ll learn the latest dos and don’ts for pitching the media, securing coverage and building mutually beneficial relationships with reporters. You can also expect to learn what today’s reporters find newsworthy in a story, along with tactics and strategies PR professionals can use to help increase media coverage.

We will see you on April 23 at The Marq! Register today!

About the Presenters:

Stacy Engebretson – Anchor, Assistant News Director, WGBA

Emmy award-winning journalist Stacy Engebretson joined the NBC26 team in 2000 and anchors NBC26 Live at 6:00 p.m. It was evident right away that Stacy was going to make her mark on the Green Bay/Fox Cities market. Coming to NBC26 after working in Wausau, she quickly made a name for herself with her on-air presence. Born in Bloomington, Minnesota, Stacy graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in Mass Communications. Stacy has also worked as an anchor/reporter for WAOW-TV in Wausau and KSAX-TV in Alexandria, Minnesota.

Tara Brzozowski – Director of Public Relations, Element

A self-described chatterbox, it’s rumored that Tara was born with a phone in her hand. It was only natural that she ended up in the marketing communications industry. With more than 15 years of industry experience, Tara specializes in strategy, media relations, event planning, social media and content marketing. In addition to socializing with just about anyone, Tara enjoys running, yoga and watching her beloved Wisconsin Badgers.


$25.00 PRSA Member
$30.00 after 5:00 p.m. April 18

$30.00 Guest
$35.00 after 5:00 p.m. April 18

$15.00 Student
$20.00 after 5:00 p.m. April 18

Back to top

APR Prep Course

Consider Pursuing Your APR

Spring is just around the corner. It’s a time for fresh growth. It’s also an ideal time for considering an accreditation in public relations.

PRSA Northeast Wisconsin offers monthly group study sessions for those interested in pursuing an APR. Sessions are open to new and veteran PRSA members.

Attaining the credential certifies a PR practitioner’s drive, professionalism and principles, setting him or her apart from peers and positioning him or her as a leader and mentor in the competitive public relations field.

The APR study sessions, led by local APRs, can help guide candidates along their journey to attain an APR credential.

Need more information? Contact APR Chair Femi Cole at or call or text him at 920-619-7810.

Back to top


The Ethics of Listening: Huh?

My father was full of little sayings and bromides that have stuck with me all my life. Every now and then, I’ll trot one out in a team meeting, only to be met by stares of disbelief. I’d like to think they’re in disbelief of my homespun wisdom, but I’m pretty sure it’s a stare that’s equivalent to rolling of the eyes!

One of his memorable quotes was, “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” It’s not his original one-liner, of course, and its ownership is debatable, but the point is well made.

What obligation do we have, as listeners, to ensure the “free flow of accurate and truthful information,” as our Code of Ethics requires?

Short answer: Help facilitate mutual understanding. But how?

Here are two ways I used to teach my students to improve interpersonal communication.

  1. Ask clarifying questions, starting with an “I” statement. There’s a four-step formula for this to help you. It goes something like this:
    1. State your feeling: “I’m confused about one part of what you said.”
    2. State Interpretation 1: “Did you mean [this] or
    3. State Interpretation 2: ”Did you mean [that]?”
    4. Ask for clarification: “Can you help me understand?”
  2. Paraphrase the speaker’s main point and ask for confirmation:
    1. State your understanding: “So if I understand you correctly, you’re saying [state it in your words]”
    2. Ask for confirmation: “Is that right?”

Done sincerely (not sarcastically), these two approaches to active listening go a long way to improving understanding. Even better, you can try these at home!

If you have other tips to improve listening, share your thoughts with me at

Jim Streed, APR

2019 Chapter Ethics Adviser

Back to top

PRSA International Conference


Saver Rate Deadline is Sept. 13, 2019. Register now and save $100!

Just announced: Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Bob Woodward To Be Keynote Speaker at PRSA’s 2019 International Conference in San Diego.

Woodward will pull the curtain back on Washington and its leaders to share stories that are sometimes surprising, sometimes shocking and always fascinating. He blends stories that are both up to the minute and from the past to provide historical context. 

Woodward speaks as he writes — crisply and concisely — and helps people get behind the spin to understand what’s really going on in the halls of power in an age of 24-hour news, social media and snarky politics.

Register now and guarantee your seat at the industry’s largest Conference guaranteed to inspire, innovate, engage and influence.

Back to top

Member News

Welcome one of our newest members, Brenda Krainik!

1) Where do you work?

I work at the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau. Our organization promotes travel to several markets including, leisure, meeting and conventions, sports tournaments and motor coach group travel. While you’ll see us out and about in the Green Bay area, most of our sales and marketing efforts happen outside of Wisconsin.

2) What is the role in your company?

I am the Director of Marketing and Communications and have been in my role for the past 12 years. I oversee the creation for all collateral materials, the largest being the 72-page annual printing of the Official Visitor Guide for Green Bay. Cross-channel advertising and publicity are key responsibilities. The visiting journalist program that I implemented six years ago has garnered $5.3 million in publicity value for Greater Green Bay and its tourism businesses. In addition, I am the co-creator of Green Bay Restaurant Week.

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

I am a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and have a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in art. My first job was as a graphic designer for a billboard and sign company. Over the last 26 years I have held sales, marketing and public relations positions at ad agencies and nonprofits.

4) Describe your typical day.

No day is ever the same. I’m busy assisting our sales team with sales materials, brainstorming ideas to enhance online presence, managing the imagery that is used in publications across the country and writing stories for print and online magazines who rely on submitted material. I do plenty of interviews with local media and those far away that use me as a local tourism expert. I work with a great team that are brand ambassadors for our community.

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

Some might classify me as a senior citizen in the public relations field. But, evolution of strategy is key. I want to stay connected to trends and tweak them to work for our organization.

6) Any hobbies?

You’ll find me sitting on the sideline as the quintessential soccer mom. Lauren, 17, and Matthew, 11, have kept me and my husband, John, packed for any weather and our bleacher chairs in hand for the past seven years. We love to cruise local waters on family boating excursions, and of course travel the U.S. As a side effect of my job, I am a foodie and lover of anything culinary.

Back to top

Member Anniversaries

Lisa Cruz, Red Shoes PR, Inc. – 21 years

Shannon Semmerling, Ask Shannon PR – 15 years

Aaron Popkey, Green Bay Packers – 13 years

Kimberly Stobb-Bresser, KickinUpDust Communications – 11 years

Chad Doran, City of Appleton – 3 years

Hillary Anderson, Associated Bank – 1 year

Allison Barnes, Leonard & Finco Public Relations – 1 year

Margaret Heffernan, ThedaCare – 1 year

Back to top