December 2018 Print

Letter from the President

2018 is nearing its end. Looking back over the course of the year for PRSA, there are many moments that come to mind. Connecting with our peers at Hinterland Brewery in the Titletown District on a beautiful summer evening on the patio. Learning together about podcasting and tapping into digital influencers, then digging into ethics for the everyday. Amping up our skills with social engagement; including analytics, social listening and content curation. Celebrating our peers and their diligent and thoughtful work during the annual PRemier Awards. Honoring Communicator of the Year - and for the first time ever, a Young Professional of the Year. All in all, it was a wonderful year. 


2019 will bring new leaders and a continued vision to advance the profession and the professional in Northeast Wisconsin. I remember sitting around the table with PRSA leaders in September 2017, starting to focus on the goals for the chapter for 2018. One of my goals for the year was to work to strengthen the PRSA Northeast Wisconsin Chapter and to encourage our members to create deeper connections with one another. I know that this work will always be a work in progress and must always have strong leadership to move forward.  


Of course, it’s always a good reminder that our organization is only as strong as the people within it. If you want to get more involved, from sharing an idea you’d like to see to joining a committee, reach outThe chapter is successful because of you being a part of the community. 


Thank you for allowing me to serve. It has been an honor.  


Yours in service, 

Melissa Sabel 

President, PRSA Northeast WI Chapter

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Upcoming Events

Thinking Differently About Social Media in 2019

PRSA's first event of 2019 is one you can't miss...especially if you're looking to elevate your organization’s social media presence in the new year! Join us for lunch at The Marq on February 19 and begin to think differently about social media in 2019. Ronnie Coyle, Marketing/Digital Marketing Instructor for NWTC’s College of Business will be our presenter.

Please bring your laptop or portable device for this interactive session. Ronnie will share with us better ways to tell our story on social media and increase reach and engagement in 2019. He will also address how we can help others tell our story, and how word-of-mouth comes into play.

Register today!

About Ronnie Coyle:
Ronnie is a teacher who loves to learn. He’s a marketing/digital marketing instructor at NWTC, hosts a campus radio show, and is always talking about social media content ideas with colleagues and community members. He is a husband and father of two boys, and always on the run. His family is his passion, and marketing his mission.


$25 PRSA member
$30 after February 14

$30 Guest
$35 after February 14

$15 Student
$20 after February 14


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PRemier Awards

PRSA Northeast Wisconsin's Annual PRemier Awards ceremony was held on Dec. 4. Congratulations to this year's six winners! We were proud to celebrate the exceptional work of our local PR practitioners.

Please join us in congratulating the following winners:

-Noelle Marr of Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc. won a PRemier Award of Merit for Burger Fest Event Publicity
-Rachel Sonnentag of O'Connor Connective won a PRemier Award of Merit for Cotter Funeral Home and Crematory Messaging & Branding Campaign
-Sara Romeneski of Hillstrom PR won a PRemier Award of Excellence for the United Dairy Industry of Michigan Spokesperson E-news Campaign
-Brian Nicol of Howard-Suamico School District won a PRemier Grand Award of Excellence for their Referendum Campaign
-Chloe Gerathy of Northern Michigan University was named 2018 Young Professional of the Year
-Corrie Campbell of the The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help was named Communicator of the Year

Thanks to all who entered and attended!

We're already making plans for 2019 so be sure to be thinking about the PRemier Awards as you work on great projects in the new year!

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UW Oshkosh PRSSA Chapter Wins First Place Nationally With “Cycle of Life” Campaign

In October, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh PRSSA chapter earned first place for their National Organ Donation Awareness Competition (NODAC) campaign, “Cycle of Life”. This prestigious award was presented during the PRSSA National Conference in Austin, Texas. The competition consisted of entries from more than 60 universities.

The UWO PRSSA chapter knew they wanted to highlight Wisconsin native Bill Conner’s story about organ donation within the campaign. Conner’s daughter died tragically on a family vacation in Mexico and the family made the decision to donate her heart to a young, 18-year-old man in Florida. Conner set off on an epic 2,600 mile bicycle ride across the country from Wisconsin to Florida to meet the donor recipient and to hear his daughter’s heartbeat.

To raise awareness about this important issue, the chapter invited Conner to speak on campus to tell his story. They also hosted free cycling courses and resources to sign up for the national organ donation registry on the day of the event.

Chapter President, Brianna Colebourne said, “Our chapter feels that Cycle of Life was a genuine campaign focused on bringing even more positivity and grace to the conversation around organ donation.” Colebourne noted that the cycling theme helped relate organ donation to a story that millions of people across the world followed.

In addition to placing first in NODAC, the UWO PRSSA chapter also was awarded a Star Chapter award and a Gold Key award. The Star Chapter is distinction given to local chapters that have achieved specific chapter and professional development goals. The Gold Key was awarded to recent graduate Alicia Kahl for her excellent dedication and leadership within the chapter.

Members of the chapter were more than proud to accept the prestigious NODAC award and look forward to implementing another successful campaign this coming April.

The chapter would like to extend a special thank you to the members of the PRSA Northeast Wisconsin chapter for their ongoing support which makes experiences like this possible for students.

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Ethics Corner

You better watch out: Social media has come to town

The headline of a recent article in the PRsay Blog caught my eye: “Social Media Overtakes Print Newspapers as News Source.” Author Greg Beaubien cites these results from a Pew Research Center study:

  • 20 percent of U.S. adults said they often get news from social media, compared to 16 percent from print newspapers.
  • Television remains the most popular way Americans receive news, though its use has fallen since 2016.
  • News websites are the next most common source, followed by radio, social media and print newspapers.
  • Combined consumption of news on websites and social media stands at 43 percent for U.S. adults, compared to 49 percent for television.
  • On TV, local news is most popular, with 37 percent of respondents saying they often see news there, compared with 30 percent for cable-TV news and 25 percent for network news.

If you are interested in more detail, the article goes on to describe the demographics of survey respondents. While that’s important, it’s not relevant to my point today.

The reason the headline caught my eye is that it underscores the importance of understanding the ethical use of social media in our practice of public relations. The social channels are agnostic to ethics, so as readers/listeners/viewers increase their reliance on them for news and information, it is up to us to ensure they are used properly.

For guidance on the ethical use of social media, check out PRSA’s Ethical Standards Advisories about Disclosure (PDF) and Ethics and Social Media (PDF).

And if you have any questions about these resources or ethics in your own practice, feel free to drop me a line ( or contact PRSA’s Board of Ethics and Professional Standards at

Here’s wishing you all a safe, joyous holiday and New Year!

Jim Streed, APR
2018 Chapter Ethics Adviser

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New Members

We have two new PRSA Northeast Wisconsin Chapter members to introduce today! First up, Lori Nachtwey!

1) Where do you work?

I work at the Wisconsin Humane Society Green Bay Campus (formerly the Bay Area Humane Society.) We merged on Jan. 1st of 2018. We now have five campuses in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Green Bay, and Door County and also operate a Spay/Neuter Clinic in West Allis. We annually serve over 40,000 animals here in Wisconsin. We are also still a privately held 501(c)3 Non-Profit and do not receive any government or state funding like many people assume we do. 


2) What is the role in your company?

I am the Marketing Coordinator and I have been here for 5 years now. I have held many roles though here since I started. I have experience in fundraising, grant writing, social media management, public relations, and event planning. Since we merged, my role has been split into three separate roles and now allows me to concentrate more on just the Marketing and Communication for the Green Bay Campus. 


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

I completed my school a little later in life. It took me a while, but I completed what I set out to do anyway! I have a degree from NWTC in Marketing and Graphic Communications. I also have a Bachelors Degree in Business and Communications from UWGB. 


3) Describe your typical day.

I don't think in non-profit there really is a typical day? Haha! Your day can change on a dime. Some of the normal tasks I do are monitoring and posting on social media, bringing animals to the media for exposure, funneling through website questions and maintaining any other communication pieces such as catalogs and brochures. 


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

Meet new people that also work in the Marketing and Public Relations field so that we can share resources and become more effective in our positions! 


5) Any hobbies?

I am undoubtedly more of a summer person. I can't wait to go camping again. I love getting together with friends and family and hanging around the campfire. I also love to just sit and listen to live music outside. I look forward to having a white Christmas, but after that, bring on summer! :) 


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New Members: Part II

We also welcome Kara Leiterman to PRSA Northeast Wisconsin! Learn more about Kara:

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

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College . My role at NWTC is Public Relations — media relations, social media, crisis communications and reputation management.  

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

I graduated from St. Norbert College with BA in Communications. After college, I began my career in television news. I spent 10 years in news— mostly in the Twin Cities— before I made the leap the other side with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and later Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. My husband is from Allouez, which led me back to the area. I landed at NWTC in 2015.

3) Describe your typical day.

Typical day… I check the news of the day, TV Eyes, Meltwater and social media. I usually check in with contacts around the College about potential story ideas. Depending on the day, I might have meetings, news releases, social media or plans to write or stories to pitch to local media.

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

I am hoping to network, make friends, build relationships and learn from each other.

5) Any hobbies?

Geez, hobbies? I have a 2 and 3 year old! But I really enjoy spending time with my husband and our two girls. I recently got back into yoga and running. (I can’t blame the baby weight on my two year old anymore.)

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Member Anniversaries

Congrats to these 3 people, who are all celebrating membershp anniversaries in December!

Susan Baranczyk, JJ Keller - 2 years

Sarah Ives, Neuroscience Group - 4 years

Vaya Kiel, Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce - 1 year



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