December 2019 Newsletter Print

President's Corner

Tis the season for…well, everything. When you’re at work, you’re probably frantically trying tie up all the loose ends before riding off into the year-end break. When you’re not at work, you’re either crossing things off your holiday to-do list or popping into a seasonal get-together.

But don’t miss the moments of magic in the madness. I got hit by one of those this morning in the most unexpected of places: the drop-off line at school. After hurrying my daughter out the car door, I usually steal a quick glance back at her before rushing off to work. But today, I heard another little girl call out, “Glad you’re back, Frankie!” and stopped to watch a little longer. My daughter was out the last two days with the flu, which I’m sure is a common occurrence in 1st grade classrooms this time of year. But this young lady was so quick to welcome her back, so cheerily and genuinely. As I watched them walk into school together, talking animatedly, my heart grew three sizes.

It was a poignant reminder that the best things about this season are the people we share life with. And as I reflect back on the life of our PRSA Northeast Wisconsin chapter in 2019, I realize what a gift my fellow professionals have been to me this year. We’ve had wonderful presenters and lively conversations at our programs. The awards committee planned a 10th anniversary event that left me (and our winners!) on Cloud Nine for days. Our APR study group produced stimulating discussions and one new accredited professional. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Truly, our chapter leadership team accomplished amazing things, but the generous spirit in which they did it was even more impressive. I am so grateful to each and every one of them for their passion, dedication – and friendship.

We recently gathered our 2019 and 2020 leaders to chart our chapter’s course in 2020, and that meeting left me feeling even more excited about what’s to come. We recently debuted a refreshed website – check it out, and then check back early in 2020 to learn more about upcoming events and opportunities!

Of course, we always have room at the table If you want to get more involved in the life of the chapter next year, please reach out to me at [email protected] or (920) 819-2675.

Thank you for your participation in PRSA this year. I wish you a joyful (and restful!) holiday. Be sure to engage with us in 2020 for a prosperous new year!

- Erin Elliott, APR
President, PRSA Northeast Wisconsin

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Transitions: Out with the old, in with the new! 

I’m stepping down as our Chapter’s Ethics Officer next month and welcoming Tom Schoffelman, APR, to the role. 

When Tom and I met recently to discuss the transition, he asked if there was an overarching goal I had strived for. I have always wanted our members to know three things: (1) We do, in fact, have a Code of Ethics; (2) The Code is timely and relevant, regardless of where we practice; and (3) We have help to support us if/when we face an ethics challenge. 

I’m leaving this platform by reprising one of the first columns I wrote. In that piece, I answered the questions that were on my mind and, I expected, were on yours: What's an ethics officer? What are the roles and responsibilities? What are the resources available? Who defines ethics?  

What I shared then is relevant today: 

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, "Ethics is as ethics does." Each of us demonstrates how we Do the Right Thing Every Day in every communication decision we make about who, what, when, why, where and how we do – or do not – communicate. 

The PRSA Code of Ethics (PDF) sets out principles and guidelines that uphold the core values of the ethical practice of public relations, including advocacy, honesty, loyalty, professional development and objectivity. 

The ethics officer is a local resource for PRSA Chapter members who have questions about the Code or about how the Code might apply in a particular situation. 

PRSA's ethics focus is on education, not enforcement. This is supported by an array of online ethics resources. These include case studies, on-demand webinars, ethical standards advisories (ESAs), articles and blog posts. 

Direct support is available for any member via email through the Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS). 

It has been a pleasure and an honor to bring these resources and case studies to you via these newsletters. I hope you found something helpful in them. 

As always, if you’re looking for more info on PRSA Ethics, follow the breadcrumbs from > home > about > ethics. 

Jim Streed, APR
2019 Chapter Ethics Officer
J Streed Communications
Email: [email protected]

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General News

With the upcoming new year, we wanted to enter 2020 the best way possible, so we revamped our website! Take a look at our new homepage features and layout. We hope you like it!

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Member News

A warm welcome to our newest member, Kali Thiel!

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

I work for Concordia University, Wisconsin. We enroll approximately 7,000 students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. If you haven’t heard of us, a couple of our big claims to fame are that we hosted President George W. Bush as a commencement speaker during his presidency, our Mequon-based campus is entirely connected by tunnels (students literally would never have to step foot outside), and we have the largest MBA program in the state of Wisconsin!

My role at Concordia is Director of University Communications. I maintain the newsrooms for both our residential campuses, online learners, and center locations, I play a main role in pitching news stories, I contribute to our crisis communications efforts, and I take on a variety of other odds and ends.

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

I graduated from college with my degree in secondary education and taught English at a parochial high school in Wisconsin for about five years before I decided that my passions really lie in being a practitioner rather than a teacher.

My local newspaper took a chance on me and hired me as their education reporter with no formalized educational background in the field. I seemed to take to it like a fish in water though, and about three years after I started at The Sheboygan Press I received an invitation to apply for my current position at Concordia.

3) Describe your typical day.

There are very few days that don’t include writing, which I love. I like to tell people that I treat our university’s blog like it’s my own little community newspaper. I make sure we have a thorough line-up of engaging articles scheduled and I’m regularly watching analytics to check on the health and efficacy of our efforts, and to spot any red flags before they blow up into major issues.

I can usually be found eating lunch in our campus cafeteria (those candid hallway/meal conversations produce the best leads on stories!).

When I’m not writing or assisting on photo shoots, I’m nurturing a pitch. I aim to pitch at least one story a month and I’m proud to say that our media placements have drastically increased since I came on board at Concordia.

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

I plan to pursue my APR certification and soak up as many professional development opportunities as I possibly can. I also love the idea of being part of a group of professionals who are eager to challenge one another and lift each other up so we’re all continually improving. My “orientation” to PRSA was attending the 2019 ICON in San Diego. I was so endeared to everyone I met at the conference and was pleased to see the obvious camaraderie, humility, and energy that exuded from everyone.

5) Any hobbies?

Oh man, hobbies. I have too short of an attention span for hobbies! My most recent “hobby” was DIY-ing my front porch. I sewed pillow slips with my 5 year old (her first sewing project!), distressed a bench, reupholstered a chair, learned how to use a power washer, and did a lot of painting.

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Member Anniversaries

Stephanie A. Dlugopolski, APRJohnsonville Sausage, 22 years

Sarah M. IvesNeuroscience Group, 5 years

Susan BaranczykJ. J. Keller & Associates, Inc., 2 years

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