December 2016 Print


You’re Invited to the 2016 Holiday Celebration

Spread some holiday cheer at the 2016 PRSA Central Iowa Holiday Celebration. Enjoy holiday treats and beverages, and get into the giving spirit by bringing an item to donate to the Food Bank of Iowa (suggested items list)!

Registration for this event is not required, but encouraged. There are no registration fees for this event. Guests are welcome!

We look forward to seeing you!

PRSA Central Iowa Holiday Celebration
December 15, 2016
4:30 - 6:00 p.m.

Strategic America
6600 Westown Pkwy #100
West Des Moines, IA 50266


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Letter from the President

Rounding Out a Successful 2016

As 2016 comes to a close, the PRSA Central Iowa Chapter board is preparing to transition to next year’s new group of leaders. It’s been a privilege to collaborate with the many board and committee volunteers who worked diligently to provide programming, networking, membership services, digital/social content and much more to our members.

As a group, we have much to be proud of, including:
• An enhanced website and e-newsletter
• More robust social media and traditional media relations outreach
• A new partnership with a CPA who provides us with pro bono professional assistance for the chapter’s financial record keeping
• Educational and entertaining programming offered on a variety of days and times to accommodate more members’ schedules
• A successful OctoPRfest event, including a one-day professional development conference and annual PRIME Awards luncheon

Volunteers are vital to our chapter’s success and getting involved is a great way to network and learn. If you’re interested in serving on a PRSA Central Iowa Chapter board committee in 2017, please contact President-Elect Ann Thelen at

Thanks again to everyone who helped make this year a success!

Kristin Sunde
2016 PRSA Central Iowa President


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Board News

Introducing Your 2017 Chapter Leaders

Congratulations to the 2017 Central Iowa PRSA board and committee members! These individuals were approved by the membership and will serve the chapter from January through December of 2017. And, many thanks to the 2016 Central Iowa PRSA board and committee members for serving the chapter this past year. Your support and dedication are very much appreciated.

Congratulations to these 2017 board members:

President: Ann Thelen, Thelen Public Relations
President-Elect: Dr. Kelly Bruhn, APR, Drake University
Past President: Kristin Sunde, APR, Principal Financial Group
Treasurer: Abby Delaney, Bankers Trust
Treasurer-Elect: Laura Plumb, Lessing-Flynn
Secretary: Abby Bottenfield, Trilix
Membership: Darin Leach, APR, USDA
Program Chair: Laura Sprague, APR, Johnston Community School District
Program Chair-Elect: Ryan Johnson, APR, Two Rivers Marketing
Accreditation: Jane Keairns, APR, Principal Financial Group
Accreditation-Elect: Pat Howard, APR, Iowa State University
Delegate: Shawne Ungs, APR, Karwoski and Courage
Delegate/Ethics: Teresa Roof, APR, Wellmark
Public Relations: Courtney Shaw, APR, Strategic America
Social Media: Alison Monaghan, Happy Medium

Congratulations to the following members who have been appointed as PRSSA liaisons:
Drake University: Adam Lackey, Two Rivers Marketing
Iowa State University: Robert Schweers, APR, Iowa State University; Annette Hacker, Iowa State University
Simpson College: Jillian Sievel, Simpson College
University of Northern Iowa: Jacob Shultz, Qualmar Technology Group
University of Iowa: Morgan Von Ahsen, Cambridge Investment Research, Inc.; Steve Cherry, Cambridge Investment Research, Inc.
Wartburg College: Erin Campbell, Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives

Congratulations to these members who were elected to committee chair positions:
Awards Chair: Allison Hay, APR, Two Rivers Marketing
Networking/Social Co-Chairs: Lindsay Moeller, Two Rivers Marketing; Katelin Schwarck, Hanser & Associates
Technology Chair: Jane Murphy, Simpson College
Job Bank Chair: Erica Turner, APR, Two Rivers Marketing
Newsletter: Taylor Rookaird, Strategic America
Sponsorship: Amanda Laverman, Ruan Transportation Management Services


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ISU Recognized for Communication Excellence

University Relations team members at Iowa State have won four awards for communication excellence from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). The institutional awards, which will be presented at December’s CASE District V/VI conference in Chicago, include:

A Gold Award for General Information Videos: Short Video
A Silver Award for Internal Audience Publications: Digital
A Bronze Award for Excellence in News Writing
A Bronze Award for Excellence in Science Writing

You can see the full list of winners here.

University Relations Executive Director John McCarroll, APR; and News Service Director Annette Hacker are PRSA members.


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Scholarship Recipients Announced

After reviewing nearly 20 applications, we said congratulations to this year’s scholarship winners at the November programming event. Annually, we provide three scholarships to chapter members and PRSSA members — an advanced degree scholarship, a professional development scholarship, and a student scholarship. We didn’t have any applications for the advanced degree so awarded a second student scholarship.

Laura Sprague

Professional development ($500): Laura Sprague
Laura will use the funds to help pay registration fees for the National School Public Relations Association conference in July 2017. The conference brings together school PR professionals from across the nation, from districts of all sizes, to share insights and best practices. Laura shared that this development opportunity hits the mark for her as 99 percent of the sessions directly relate to the challenges and opportunities she faces in her role with Johnston schools. Enjoy the conference, Laura. We’re proud to support you!

Kelly Marble

PRSSA student scholarship ($1500): Kelly Marble
Kelly is a senior at Drake University and is pursuing majors in Public Relations and International Relations and a minor in Spanish. She’s been involved in PRSSA since her freshman year and has participated in the Bateman Competition, helped with the Expect the Unexpected Regional conference, is a two-time presenter at PRSSA National Conference and has served in a leadership role with the student chapter the last three years. She’s also involved with the Student Leadership Advisory Panel and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and has done five internships, including the one she’s doing now with Principal. In her application, she shared that she’s learned in PR our job is to tell the brand story, but it’s also to help people figure out what they need even if they don’t know they need it. Right on, Kelly. You’ll make an outstanding PR professional. We’re happy to support you!

PRSSA student scholarship ($500): Claire Norton
Claire is a junior at Iowa State University, pursuing a major in Public Relations and a minor in Event Management. She’s a copywriter for the communication agency on ISU’s campus, is a Greenlee Ambassador for the Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and was previously the Marketing Director for KURE 88.5 FM. She joined PRSSA in 2015, was co-chair for the 2015 National Organ Donation Awareness Competition, attended the 2015 PRSSA International Conference, and is currently serving as the President of the ISU PRSSA chapter. She recently completed a 400-hour internship with a boutique PR and Marketing firm in Dallas, TX. Her dream is to use her ambitious, positive and light-hearted approach to build relationships and she aspires to be known as a knowledgeable, trustworthy, and driven PR professional, known for her work ethic and moral compass. We’re behind you all the way, Claire. Congratulations. We’re proud to support you!


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New Members

Welcome New Member

Amy Kathleen Willey, Public Relations Specialist, SHAZAM


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Milestone Anniversaries

Members Who are Celebrating a PRSA Anniversary

In each issue of this newsletter, we recognize Central Iowa PRSA Chapter members who are celebrating milestone PRSA anniversaries. Congratulations to the following individuals who will celebrate milestone anniversaries this month:

1 year
Matthew Thornton, Assistant Professor, Drake University
Sara Sayed, Marketing and Communications Director, Midamar
Jessica Maldonado, Public Affairs Manager, PolicyWorks
Lisa Marie Schmitz, PR and Marketing Manager, Principal Charity Classic presented by Wells Fargo

5 years
Lori Ristau, Marketing & Communications, Iowa Bankers Association
Hillary Hayden Gebert, Content Strategist, Principal Financial Group


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Job Opportunity

Lots of Job Opportunities on Our Careers Page

The Central Iowa PRSA Job Bank has a list of many current positions available in the Des Moines metro. If your organization is interested in posting a position, rates are $25 for member postings and $50 for non-member postings. Members can also post unlimited jobs for an annual cost of $100. For posting your job or getting Job Bank questions answered, contact Erica Turner

Below are some of the listings on our website.

PR Manager - Two Rivers Marketing

PR Supervisor - Two Rivers Marketing

Copywriter - Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Communications Specialist - Iowa Association of School Boards

Public Affairs Manager - PolicyWorks

Account Manager - Lessing-Flynn Advertising

Digital Communications Specialist - Drake University

Community Health Communication Manager - Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Assistant Communications Director - Iowa Finance Authority 


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Upcoming Learning Opportunities

Public Relations Training Events

Plan your 2017 career advancement and training with the following opportunities.

2/1-2/2: PR Measurement Conference

2/23-2/24: Facebook Leadership Communications Summit

2/23-2/24: Master the Art of the Storyteller Writing Workshop

3/22-3/23: Catch Your Readers Writing Workshop

3/27-3/29: Social Media Conference for PR, Marketing and Corporate Communications


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2016 PRSA Leadership Assembly

Jeanine Mixdorf and Shawne Ungs attended the 2016 PRSA Leadership Assembly in Indianapolis on October 22, 2016, on behalf of the Central Iowa Chapter, voting on behalf of Teresa Roof with her proxy vote.

The following is a summary of the Bylaw votes and other highlights from the Leadership Assembly:

Bylaw Votes
PRSA National Board proposed three bylaw changes, as noted below. The proposed changes focused primarily on the governance of the national organization, including more flexibility on how and when bylaw changes and voting can occur. Their goal is to make PRSA more nimble, responsive and best set to serve members for the future.

1. Enable remote voting at assembly and remote meetings. This vote was approved and clarified wording in the current bylaws to add in flexibility for remote voting and the ability to hold a virtual annual meeting if it is not practical to hold one in person. They currently plan to continue the in-person Annual Assembly, but want electronic options for voting on bylaws and other issues as needed.
• This vote was approved by the Assembly.
• Some minor clarifications to the original wording were proposed from the floor and approved by the Assembly.
• Stay tuned for the final approved bylaw wording to come from PRSA.

2. Allow the National Board of Directors to Recommend Officers. Allow the board to select and interview candidates for officer positions and bring them to the Leadership Assembly for their consideration and approval. The final power to elect the officers still resides with the Leadership Assembly.
• This vote was approved by the Assembly.
• Some minor clarifications to the original wording were proposed from the floor and approved by the Assembly.
• Stay tuned for the final approved bylaw wording to come from PRSA.

3. Allow the Board to Revise Bylaws without Leadership Assembly approval. Updated wording would allow the Board of Directors to amend bylaws throughout the year (rather than waiting for once/year with the Leadership Assembly), while preserving the Leadership Assembly’s authority to amend or overturn board bylaw decisions at the annual meeting. This would theoretically enable delegates to focus on leadership development and strategic guidance to the Society.
• This vote was not approved by the Assembly.
• The Assembly felt that with the remote voting approval, delegates can now vote electronically on issues that needed to be taken care of throughout the year, rather than allowing the board to approve decisions without the delegates approval.

PRSA Strategic Plan
PRSA presented the association’s 2017-2019 Strategic Plan, which is focused on providing on making communications professionals better, smarter, and more connected through all the stages of their career. Focus areas include:
• Membership
• Professional growth
• Thought leadership

Following is a link to an executive summary of the PRSA Strategic Plan that provides more detail on each of these areas.

Brand Assessment
A task force evaluated whether PRSA’s brand assets are effectively positioned to support the evolving needs of today’s professionals. They found:
• Most members join to keep current with new developments/issues in the field, as well as to network/share knowledge with peers
• PRSA is a respected advocate and trusted source of education, but not widely perceived as innovative or inspiring

Outcomes from this will be 1) definition of the PRSA brand, and 2) better member support.

They introduced several new membership tools, including:
• Membership app
• MyPRSA Community (online community)
• New website (under development, will have templates chapters can use)
• About PR, providing quick access to thought capital on website and app
• Research projects
• Sharing of expertise through new feature in Tactics Q1 and quarterly districts/section calls

Assembly Presentations
The following are links to the presentations from the national assembly, if you have an interest in reviewing any of them.

Please let Jeanine or Shawne know if you have any questions or would like additional conversation about the bylaw votes or the assembly in general.

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Meeting Minutes

To access minutes, you must be logged in to the Central Iowa PRSA site. From there, go to the "Member Area" on the right side, then use the left-hand navigation to access "Board Meeting Minutes." Scroll down the page to find the most recent meeting minutes. The website will prompt you to download the minutes.

This is a great way to stay informed of chapter happenings.

View available minutes



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