September 2020 Newsletter Print

President's Corner

When I was young, I always wished for a horse. So when my friend with a hobby farm in Casco wanted a friend for his horse, we decided to go “halvsies” on Willow, the beautiful paint who has graced our lives for the last 5 years. The other day, as my daughter and I trekked out to visit her, clouds rolled in. I muttered to myself, “I checked the forecast and didn’t see any rain. Great, now it’ll be wet and muddy in the paddock, and we won’t even be able to stay very long.” As we got closer, the rain started – and an amazing double rainbow appeared. In the back seat, my 7-year-old gasped and said, “Wow, are we lucky or what?!”

I was struck when I heard her say that. In a year that’s been so challenging for so many reasons, it’s been a while since I’ve heard anyone (including myself) talk about feeling lucky. I certainly count my blessings on the daily, but to me, that sentiment struck a different chord.

But those words echoed loudly in my ear when I began thinking about this year’s PRSA Northeast Wisconsin PRemier Awards! Not only do I feel lucky that we have wonderful co-chairs (Todd McMahon and Hillary Anderson) planning an exciting virtual event, but because we have so many amazing communicators in this area who deserve to be lauded for their work—especially in this last 12 months.

We’ve pared down the awards to focus on just three honors: Communicator of the Year, Young Professional of the Year and the brand-new Lifetime Achievement Award. Take a few moments to reflect on those titles, and I bet you’ll think of at least several people you know who should be recognized with them. And I bet you also feel lucky! Lucky to know them, lucky to be inspired by their talent and perhaps lucky to call them a friend or colleague.

This month, I encourage you to take a few minutes to nominate at least one person for one of these honors. The process couldn’t be easier. All we ask is you send us a few short paragraphs that describe this special individual and why he/she deserves to be celebrated. (More info can be found later in this newsletter.)

As we say sayonora to summer, here’s hoping more literal or metaphorical rainbows spark some joy (and luck!) for us all in the new season!

- Erin Elliott, APR

President, PRSA Northeast Wisconsin


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The PRSA Code of Ethics lists six professional core values that PRSA members and, more broadly, all public relations professionals should follow. These values provide the foundation for the Member Code of Ethics and set the industry standard for the professional practice of public relations. These five core values are: Honesty, Advocacy, Expertise, Independence, Loyalty and Fairness.

Over the next several months, I’m examining each of these values in more detail.


We serve the public interest by acting as responsible advocates for those we represent. We provide a voice in the marketplace of ideas, facts and viewpoints to aid informed public debate. (PRSA Code of Ethics)

What does this mean? As PR professionals we need to be responsible advocates, contributing to informed public discussion and knowledge by doing the following:

  • Providing proper attribution of all sources
  • Representing clients/employers whose causes align with our own professional and moral values
  • Pushing for a representation of multiple voices in public debate
  • Following all relevant government regulations

As Courtney Lukitsch, founder and principal at Gotham PR, wrote in a 2017 blog, “A reliable source, a truthful narrator, a persuasive set of arguments based on fact, a solution to a public-facing challenge—as well as compelling evidence—all contribute to a great story.

It is the expert PR practitioner who is a skilled strategic and creative tactician that unites client advocacy and public interest. As someone who has a voice, it must be backed by solid facts and a clear rationale. It’s a matter of integrity.”

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Upcoming Events


We are excited to offer a special opportunity to learn from America’s Crisis Guru ®, Jim Lukaszewski. He has graciously offered to host webinar opportunities at no cost for PRSA chapters this fall, and we are honored to have him speak about “Becoming a Trusted Strategic Advisor” on September 22.

This presentation is based on Jim Lukaszewski’s Jossey Bass bestseller, Why Should the Boss Listen to You? The Seven Habits of a Trusted Strategic Advisor, The Trusted Strategic Advisor Manifesto, and his forthcoming book How to Become a Number One Number Two in Your Organization and Career.

What’s in this course for you? You will learn how to get your boss and other leaders to listen to you earlier and more frequently. Lukaszewski will touch on 10 areas of personal and professional consideration and reflection necessary to become a trusted strategic advisor. You will learn what management really wants from advisors, and how to apply the “three options strategy” in giving advice and convincing management to act. 

Lukaszewski will also cover the biggest mistakes advisors frequently make, and more. Don’t miss this presentation if you’re interested in becoming more influential in your career and your organization. 

About the Presenter:

James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, Fellow IABC, APR, Fellow PRSA
PRSA BEPS Emeritus
America’s Crisis Guru®

Jim Lukaszewski  is one of America’s most visible corporate go-to people for senior executives when there is trouble in the room or on the horizon. As America’s Crisis Guru®, Lukaszewski is known for his ability to help executives look at problems from a variety of sensible, constructive and principled perspectives. He is known for taking a business approach rather than traditional PR strategies by teaching clients to take highly focused, ethically appropriate action. 

He believes that all questionable, inappropriate, unethical, immoral, predatory, improper, victim-producing and criminal behaviors are intentional. All ethical, moral, compassionate, decent, civil and lawful behaviors are intentional. The choice is clear and always yours. 

Lukaszewski has written 14 books and hundreds of articles and monographs. His newest book, The Decency Code, The Leaders Path to Integrity and Trust was published by McGraw Hill in March 2020.

Jim has been a student of the pathology of management and leadership misbehavior for more than 40 years. He has used this knowledge in real time to guide the recovery of over 300 companies, domestic and international, through over 400 victim producing events. Lukaszewski believes that while every organization experiences a variety of difficulties and challenges as they operate, those that suffer serious adverse circumstances do so as the result of their intentional decisions, acts, and omissions. 

He has received most of the significant US professional recognitions from public relations organizations and academic institutions. His profile appears in Wikipedia, and more than 20 editions of Who’s Who. Corporate Legal Times once listed him as one of 28 experts to call when “All Hell Breaks Loose.”

His work in Public Relations Ethics began in 1984 when he was appointed to the Board of Ethics and Profession Practice of the Counselors Academy. In 1994 he was appointed the PRSA National Board of Ethics and Professional Standards. In 2016 The PRSA National Board appointed Jim BEPS Emeritus. He remains an active but ex-officio member of BEPS.

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When COVID-19 forced campus closures last spring semester, our UW Oshkosh PRSSA chapter decided we wanted to continue meeting virtually to stay connected. Weekly meetings had always been something our members looked forward to, and we were right in the middle of planning our annual campaign submission for the National Organ Donation Awareness Competition (NODAC) held by Rowan University. For next second half of the spring semester, our chapter members set aside an hour each Wednesday evening to meet virtually, ultimately executing a successful campaign and earning us an honorable mention in the competition. 

As the fall semester approaches, our executive board has been working hard to implement a variety of programs for our members including virtual Q&A's with industry professionals, simulations, professional development workshops and discussions about our future NODAC campaign. With so many changes in campus life, our goal is to create a welcoming, steady environment for students interested in learning about public relations.

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Bookmark This

Black Lives Matter: Workplace Edition

The PRSA SE WI Diversity & Inclusion Committee is presenting a series of free Black Lives Matter-related virtual events. This three-part series will address what it means to be Black in the workplace, the actionable steps leadership must take to make their organizations more inclusive, how allies can advocate for Black colleagues, and how we can continue the conversation into our personal lives.
REFLECTION: Where Do We Stand
Sept. 9
The Black Lives Matter movement has brought to light the systematic racism that Black people experience in America. Let’s shine the light specifically on the Black experience in the workplace. In part one of this series, we will reflect on where companies are in their workplace diversity and inclusion efforts.

  • Tammy Belton-Davis, Founder & Principal, Athena Communications
  • Rodney Ferguson, CEO, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
  • Peavy Holmes, Assistant Director - Life Underwriting, Northwestern Mutual
  • Moderator: Lindsey McKee, D&I Committee chair, PRSA SE WI

INCORPORATION: Creating the Inclusive Workplace
Sept. 23
We’ve reflected on where we are in our workplace inclusivity. Now let’s examine the concrete actions companies should take to recruit, retain, and advance Black workers.

  • Morgan Phelps, Founder, Colorful Connections
  • Dr. Cedric Burrows, Assistant Professor, Marquette University
  • Moderator: Lindsey McKee, D&I Committee chair, PRSA SE WI

ADVOCACY: Being a Voice for Diversity & Inclusion
Oct. 5
For this final part in the series, we’d like to consider how we can speak up and be advocates for change in our workplaces and even in our personal lives and communities.

  • Panelists to be announced
  • Moderator: Lindsey McKee, D&I Committee chair, PRSA SE WI


Each part of the series will take place from Noon to 1 p.m. with a virtual networking option from 1 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Each program will include a panel discussion, small group breakouts, group report-out, and final remarks. Following your registration, a link to the webinar will be sent close to each event date. In lieu of a registration fee, please consider donating to the National PRSA Multicultural Endowed Scholarship Fund. A donation is not required for attendance.

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Don't Miss Out!

October 5-8, 2020
Virtual conference

The much anticipated 2020 Midwest District Conference is jam packed with helpful information for communicators and public relations professionals. The content is set to be a masterful mix of modern and traditional practices to help you excel in your career.

Coming to you virtually is four mornings of programming and networking. Each day brings three new sessions and topics. Register for the full conference now. 

October 5: Presented by Drake University

We’re kicking things off strong with a day of digital. Starting with our keynote speaker, we’ll dive into the power of digital and how to optimize your communications. You’ll then participate in an interactive presentation on search engine optimization. Wrap the morning by learning how to take a holistic approach to your communications across all digital platforms.

You may register for the full conference (best value) or the October 5 sessions

October 6: Presented by Hy-Vee

Start day two by networking with other attendees before jumping into an impressive show of COVID-19 external communications followed by key takeaways from internal communications throughout the pandemic. Wrap the day with a session on communications in education.

Register for the full conference (best value) or the October 6 sessions

October 7: Presented by Corteva

After networking with peers, brush up those writing skills with our early morning session. Next, improve your video skills and bring your stories to life. Lastly, learn how to get down to the creative problem and put storytelling to work for real social impact.

Register for the full conference (best value) or the October 7 sessions

October 8: Presented by Principal

Engage in the final networking session of the conference before joining us for key insights surrounding diversity and inclusion in 2020. Follow those important lessons with lessons from editors from Meredith on PR best practices. Wrap the conference by hearing from an impressive political communications panel that is sure to be both interesting and informative.

Register for the full conference (best value) or the October 8 sessions

Register by September 21 to take advantage of the best pricing options. The conference is free to students. All facing financial hardship are encouraged to apply for a financial hardship scholarship

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PRemier Awards

This year’s virtual celebration will take place Tuesday, Nov. 17, starting at noon. All are invited to join us virtually at lunchtime to celebrate this year’s Communicator of the Year, Young Professional of the Year and the recipient of the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award.

As a reminder, project-based awards won’t be part of this year’s 11th edition of the PRemier Awards.

Communicator of the Year

The Communicator of the Year award will be presented to an individual who has demonstrated communications excellence. This award will honor an outstanding professional’s contribution to a body of work in public relations, marketing, media relations or general communications in the past year (2019-20).

More information about the Communicator of the Year award can be found here.

Young Professional of the Year

The Young Professional of the Year award will be presented to an individual 30 or younger who has demonstrated communications excellence. This award will honor a working student or professional for his or her particularly effective work in the areas of public relations, marketing, media relations or general communications in the past year (2019-20).

More information about the Young Professional of the Year award can be found here.

Lifetime Achievement Award

The inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award honors an outstanding professional’s contribution to a body of work in public relations, marketing, media relations or general communications throughout the span of his or her career.


Submit a Nomination

There is NO FEE to nominate an individual for these awards. Nominations can be submitted by PRSA Northeast Wisconsin Chapter members and non-members. Self-nominations are accepted and encouraged.

Please email your nomination(s) to [email protected] no later than Sunday night, Oct. 4.

When submitting a nomination, please identify in your email:

  • The award category
  • The name of the person being nominated
  • The organization with which the person being nominated is/was employed or affiliated
  • A brief writeup (a few paragraphs are fine!) for why you are nominating this person for this award
  • Your contact information (as the nominator)

The PRSA Northeast Wisconsin Awards Committee will review all entries and select a winner in each category. Finalists and/or their nominators may be asked to provide additional information.

Winners will be notified in late October and honored during the 2020 PRemier Awards virtual ceremony Nov. 17. Additional event details will be announced this fall.

Questions? Contact the Awards Committee at [email protected].

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Member Anniversaries

Tara Brzozowski, Director of Public Relations at Element, since 9/7/2010

Tammy Van DenBusch, Media Relations & Communications Specialist at Nsight, since 9/2/2009

Andrea Hay, Director of Communication at Green Bay Water Utility, since 9/18/2018

Kristine Nicolini, Assistant Professor at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, since 9/8/2016

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