February 2016  

PRSA Luncheon

Student Panel: Learning About the Future of Our Profession

February 18, 2016
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Strategic America Large Conference Room
6600 Westown Parkway
West Des Moines

$20.00 PRSA Central Iowa Chapter Member
$25.00 after 11:00 pm February 15

$30.00 Non-member
$35.00 after 11:00 pm February 15

$10.00 Student
$15.00 after 11:00 pm February 15

This month's luncheon will feature PRSSA chapter representatives from Drake University, Simpson College and the University of Northern Iowa. In a moderated panel discussion, these students will explain more about any major projects their chapter has worked on, the coursework PR students are taking, desirable internships/workforce interests, and how PR students feel prepared for the workforce. Audience members will also have an opportunity to ask the students questions during the panel discussion.

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Iowa Communicator Earns CCC Designation

Congratulations to Sarah Oltrogge, communications/member relations specialist at Central Iowa Power Cooperative, who recently earned her Certified Cooperative Communicator designation. Sarah joins the ranks of over 200 electric cooperative professionals across the nation who hold the CCC designation. For over 30 years, earning the Certified Cooperative Communicator designation through National Rural Electric Cooperative Association has signified professional competence within the communication field. Earning the CCC designation involves submitting a portfolio of work for approval, then the candidate must pass a rigorous 4-hour exam covering communications related to the electric industry and the cooperative business model. Once the credential is earned, Certified Cooperative Communicators must earn annual continuing education units.

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Member News

Chapter Member Travels to New York to Receive Award

PRSA Central Iowa congratulates Emily Abbas, APR, Chief Marketing Officer at Bankers Trust, on being named to the PR News’ annual Top Women in PR list. Emily is pictured above (right) with Eileen Gannon, also from Iowa. Emily traveled to New York in January to accept the award. We asked her to describe her experience in New York.

It was my pleasure representing our PRSA Chapter at PR News’ 2016 “Top Women in PR” event in New York on January 26. While travel was dicey due to the heavy snowfall there just a few days prior, all went well and most of the 70 honorees were present at the award luncheon. The room was filled with amazing PR professionals and it was a great opportunity to network with them and their teams. While many of the recipients were from NYC, others represented Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles. This was the first year any Iowans were on the list, so hopefully we helped put the spotlight on our state and the great work being done here in our industry.

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New Members

Welcome New Members

Maryna Rath, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Wright Service Corp., West Des Moines

Erika Schrader, PR Executive, Two Rivers Marketing, Des Moines

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Milestone Anniversaries


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

1 year
Vicki Campos-Dimmer, Corporate Communications Manager, Iowa Network Services, West Des Moines

Meghan Satterstrom, Senior Employee Communication Specialist, Kemin Industries, Des Moines

Sarah M. Davelaar, Marketing & Communications Specialist, Wright Service Corp., West Des Moines

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Member Profile

February Featured Member: Jeff Huggins, APR

Jeff Huggins, APR, is founder and president of Huggins Consulting Group, LLC. Before forming his own firm, Jeff helped integrate full-scope public relations capabilities into the service offerings for leading regional advertising agencies in Des Moines, Iowa, and Cincinnati, Ohio. Jeff started his agency career more than two decades ago with an Iowa-based Young & Rubicam affiliate, CMF&Z. He also was a principal at Zimmerman, Laurent & Richardson in the late 1990s.

Q. What was most fulfilling client interaction you had in 2015?
A. Last year, a major business-to-business wholesale company hired our firm for a major branding initiative. From the initial background meeting to the subsequent strategy sessions with the executive officers of the company, it was clear they valued our experience, expertise, and counsel. It’s an extremely fulfilling client interaction to have the top executive leaders engage you as a partner and be a champion of your ideas. It represents a level of trust and relevancy that ensures a mutually beneficial long-term relationship.

Q. What is the most useful piece of advice you have ever received?
A. One piece of advice that stands out to me came way back at the beginning of my career from one of my most admired mentors, Carol Bodensteiner, then president of CMF&Z Public Relations. We had just completed a long and complicated client meeting. It was one of those meetings with lots of moving parts and a variety of complex political ramifications. Afterwards, I shared with Carol that I had struggled to track all the nuances. She then offered up some great advice that I have used ever since. She suggested that it was extremely important to listen and gather others insights, but also that as consultants it was vital that we contribute to the process. When you’re struggling to understand all the ins and outs of the issues, she explained, focus on the core communication elements. Ask questions such as, “Who are the key audiences, what are their current perceptions, what would motivate them to change?” Those basic communications questions will always move the discussion forward in meaningful way.

Q. What is your professional/PR New Year’s resolution?
A. We are extremely fortunate to experience our seventh straight year of continual growth, including record billings in 2015. With growth comes opportunity and like any successful company, we must evolve to become even more relevant to our clients. That doesn’t happen in a vacuum. So, my professional resolution is to work closely with our existing clients to identify what differentiates Huggins Consulting Group from other firms. We will be undertaking a strategic process that engages our leadership team, clients, and team members to take our company to the next level. We operating from a position of strength and the time is right to go to the next level. Suffice it to say, I’m extremely excited about the coming year.

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General News

Keep Your Contact Information Up-to-Date

Have you changed jobs, updated an email address or changed a phone number? Be sure to update your contact information with All contact information is maintained by the national PRSA organization and then shared with our chapter. If you update your information at the national level, it will be automatically updated at the state level. Updates completed at the state level are not provided to the national organization and you may be missing out!

Go to Use your membership number and password to log in.

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APR News

Slots Filling Up for APR Prep “Short Course”: April 7 – 9 in Des Moines

Interest in the APR Prep “Short Course” Thursday, April 7 – Saturday, April 9, 2016, at Drake University continues to be strong, but there are still some seats available for anyone interested in going for their Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential in 2016. This special APR study course will condense the typical eight-week APR class schedule into a three-day intensive study program. The course will be a great refresher for anyone who has taken APR classes in the past or if committing to an eight-week course is too difficult.

Please let Darin Leach, APR, or Jane Keairns, APR, know if you are interested in participating.

The APR program is designed for public relations professionals with more than five years of experience and is a tremendous professional-development opportunity offered by the national PRSA organization and Central Iowa PRSA Chapter. Our chapter continues to have one of the highest percentages of members who have earned their APR designation in the nation.

Make it a goal to go for yours this year!

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Award Judging

Need APR Maintenance Credit? Help Us Judge San Antonio PRSA Awards Entries

We've partnered with the San Antonio PRSA chapter to judge their annual awards entries. Judging will begin in April, and all entries are submitted digitally. Depending on the category you're assigned, your time commitment could vary from 2 to 6 hours at a time that's convenient for you. APRs can earn maintenance credits for judging. Interested? Please contact Kelly Bruhn.

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Upcoming Learning Opportunities

Upcoming Events

2/11: Creative PR (Webinar)

2/17: Cut Through the Clutter (Webinar)

2/18: Building Trust (Webinar)

2/23-2/24: “Master the Art of the Storyteller” (Writing Workshop)

2/25-2/26: The Visual Communications and Infographics Summit for Corporate Communications (Conference)

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Job Opportunity

Career Opportunities

Are you looking for a new career opportunity? Visit the Central Iowa PRSA Job Bank on our website to access a list of 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.

Public Relations Supervisor - Two Rivers Marketing

Communication Specialist - Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance

Communications Coordinator - Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority

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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" in the upper right corner, then use the left-hand navigation to access "Board Meeting Minutes." It 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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