September 2016 Print


Come One, Come All to Central Iowa PRSA’s OctoPRfest!

Dust off your dirndl and lederhosen, it is time for Central Iowa PRSA’s annual OctoPRfest Institute — a celebration of all things PR. Slated for Wednesday, October 19, 2016, at Mercy Medical Center’s downtown campus, this year’s event boasts an exceptional lineup of national and local speakers, including:

Measurement: Calculating the ROI on your Communications and 
Linking Communication Measurements to Business Goals
Angela Sinickas, President, Sinickas Communications, Inc.
You know you should measure your communications, but where do you start? This session will help you build measurements into your communication planning process in a way that you can later calculate the return on your organization's communication investment.

Panel: Leveraging PR to Put Des Moines on the Map
Tiffany Tauscheck, Chief Communications Officer, Greater Des Moines Partnership
Mindy Toyne, Owner, In Any Event
Steve Linn, Managing Partner, Iowa Craft Beer Tent
Greg Conrad, Tournament Director, Principal Charity Classic

The Next Big Thing: Driving Brand Innovation with Emerging Tech
Greg Swan, Vice President of Public Relations and Emerging Media, Space 150
It seems there is always a next big trend in media technology -- Snapchat, VR, 360-degree video, Pokemon Go, Facebook Live -- and the pace can feel exhausting. But today's marketers and PR pros must adapt and find ways to be excited about "what's next" or risk being passed by. In this session Greg Swan, Space150's VP of Social Engagement, will share a look at current trends, case studies, and best practices to help today's communicators define a framework for innovation and ways to avoid fad fatigue.

Becoming a Super-Connector
Presented by Adam Carroll, Financial Literacy Speaker, Author & Entrepreneur
There is a new movement in companies today that creates more business than the greatest sales army ever could — it’s called social capital, and if your people don’t understand how to leverage it, they’ll be left in the dust. The ability to leverage Networking P.O.W.E.R. could have a dramatic effect on your bottom line ... and the level of fulfillment in your office. In this presentation, Adam uncovers the five simple steps to building Super Connectors in every level of your company in a way that will leave the whole office buzzing with a newfound energy.

When “Who Cares?” Becomes “Who Doesn’t?”
Aaron Putze, APR – Director Communications + External Relations, Iowa Soybean Association
Timely topics revolving around agriculture that impact you and your family are almost endless. From water quality and food labeling to renewable energy, jobs and economic activity and America’s standing in the global marketplace, it’s nearly impossible to identify a food and farming issue that isn’t popular and trending. For organizations like the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA), the transition from “Does anybody care about what farmers do?” to “Everyone cares and is impacted by what farmers do” demands real-time leadership, disciplined integration throughout the organization and strategic communications and public relations. In this conversational session, discover new ways to amp up earned and owned media, stakeholder engagement, issues management and values-based leadership.

Central Iowa PRSA will also host the annual PRIME awards ceremony at this year’s Institute from noon to 1:30 p.m. Full-day, luncheon-only and afternoon session tickets are available for purchase. Register before September 30, 2016, to receive an early-bird discount! For more information and to register for this year’s Institute, visit We look forward to seeing you all at this year’s event!

Thanks for our sponsors: Mercy, Drake University, Lessing Flynn, Meredith, Two Rivers Marketing, Des Moines Social Media Club and Principal Financial Group. 


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PRSA Luncheon

Phil Roeder, Director of Communications for Des Moines Public Schools

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Cub Club at Principal Park
1 Line Drive
Des Moines, IA 50309


$20.00 PRSA Central Iowa Chapter Member
($5.00 Late fee)

$30.00 Non-member
($5.00 Late fee)

$10.00 Student
($5.00 Late fee)

Register before Sunday, September 11, 2016, to avoid late fees.

Phil Roeder

In this age of continuing changes in the delivery of news and information AND continuing uncertainty in public funding of education, the communications staff at Des Moines Public Schools is a little bit newsroom, a little bit ad agency, and a little bit rock n' roll in serving Iowa's largest provider of public education.

Speaker Phil Roeder has worked for 30 years in public relations, communications, and public affairs, primarily in and around the public sector. Today he is the director of communications for Des Moines Public Schools, overseeing a six-person team that serves as part-newsroom and part-marketing firm for Iowa’s largest provider of public education. Prior to becoming director of communications at DMPS, he also served one term as an elected member of the Des Moines School Board.

Phil’s experience includes serving as deputy chief of staff for communications for former Governor Chet Culver, as a spokesperson to U.S. Senators Tom Harkin and Max Baucus, as a deputy to Illinois State Treasurer (and former Governor) Pat Quinn, and as the public information officer for Polk County. He also is an alumnus of ZLR/Ignition and the Washington, DC office of CMF&Z.

Outside of the office, he is an award-winning photographer with works displayed at juried exhibitions as well as published in National Geographic Traveler, the New York Times, the Atlantic, Wired, Forbes, and other news outlets.

Phil attended Arizona State University and the University of Iowa. He is married to Mary Tabor, a judge on the Iowa Court of Appeals. They are the proud parents of three children: Oliver, a writer for FiveThirtyEight/EPSN in New York City; Hannah, a neurology resident at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City; and Sam, a law student at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.


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Now Accepting Scholarship Applications

Each year, the PRSA Central Iowa chapter offers three scholarships to help students and professionals in the pursuit of public relations education.

Ferne Bonomi and Dr. Henry Milam Undergraduate Scholarship: $1,500 scholarship for a PRSSA member (student scholarship)

Advanced Degree Scholarship: $500 scholarship for a PRSA member pursuing an advanced degree

Professional Development Scholarship: $500 scholarship for a PRSA member that can be used in many different ways including expenses for attending chapter or national events or monthly luncheons, to pay for webinars and training sessions, or to help in the pursuit if your APR by paying for books, study courses or the testing fee.

All applications are due Friday, September 30, 2016. Applications will be evaluated by the scholarship committee and other designated chapter members. Winners will be announced at the November Central Iowa PRSA luncheon.

To apply: Complete the forms and send a copy of your resume (and transcript if applying for the student application) to
Student scholarship ($1,500)
Advanced degree (up to $500)
Professional development (up to $500)

If you have questions, please contact Lori Vodraska at or 515-235-1126.


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PRSA Ethics Month

Provided by Shawne Ungs

As I sat down to think about ethics this month, I paused to think about my own views on ethics. I am proud that we have a healthy chapter, so that we do not have to question our members or their ethics. While I am proud of this, as the ethics officer for the chapter, I also asked if we should be spending more time on proactive activities to keep our chapter and ourselves focused on the importance of positive ethical behavior. I realized a primary reason we are so highly functioning is because ethical behavior is a stronger part of our daily lives than we consciously realize. Every day, our actions and words support our belief that ethical behavior is a top priority within our profession and our world. We make ethical choices as an ongoing part of our subconscious thinking throughout our day, each time we make a decision.

This year’s PRSA September theme, “Ethics, the Heart of Leadership” is a great way to define how we should all think of ethics. It is also a great reason why we should spend some additional time this month on the topic of ethics. As leaders, we need to take time to energize our beliefs about why we believe strong ethical behavior is so important.

Please join your fellow PR professional this month by participating in one or more of the following events as PRSA designates September 2016 as Ethics Awareness Month.

Professional Development and Educational Opportunities:
Ethics Webinar
September 8 (3 p.m. EDT): “The Art and Courage of Dealing with Ethical Issues”
Twitter Chats #PRethics

September 13 (8:30 p.m. EDT): PR Student Chat – Ethics, the Heart of Public Relations by Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA; Associate Professor, Communication/Public Relations, Curry College

September 22: (8 p.m. EDT): “Let’s Talk Ethics! Best Practices for Ethics Curriculum in Public Relations” – 8 p.m. EST

There will also be special PRSAY blog posts and Ethical Standard Advisories (ESA) authored by current and former PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS) members.

Please visit the PRSA website for complete details about these events, activities and more for PRSA’s 2016 Ethics Awareness Month.


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Board News

Seeking Board Members for 2017

If you are interested in serving on the PRSA Central Iowa chapter board of directors, please contact Ann Thelen at You can see a full list of board positions on the Board of Directors webpage.


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Member Profile

Q&A with Member Stormy Smith

How long have you been a member of Central Iowa PRSA?

I joined PRSA when I took my first public relations role in 2012.

What is the biggest value of being a member of PRSA?

I have really enjoyed the networking aspect of PRSA. It’s allowed me to meet so many other communicators and learn how we’ve each adapted our roles to fit our businesses. I would also say that personally, one of my biggest value moments came from a luncheon sponsored by Drake University’s Masters of Communication and Leadership (MCL) program. Within six months of that day, I had applied and was accepted into graduate school. I cannot say enough good things about what I’ve learned about myself and the leader I want to be because of the program. I’m actually about to graduate in December!

What advice do you have for new members to make the most of their membership?

Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to new people. When you go to luncheons, don’t sit with your friends (or not only with them) and find out more about those around you. Des Moines is a small city in the scheme of things and you never know what opportunities will arise from your connections.

Talk about being an author and how you find time to write, balancing your job and family commitments.

I read a quote today that said, “The dream is free. The hustle is sold separately.” I think that really sets up this answer well. I decided in 2013 that I wanted to write a book and since then, I haven’t stopped working 80-hour weeks pursuing my goal of writing full time. I knew I needed to build a platform. I knew I needed a trilogy out before the real money could be made. And I knew it would only be so long before we started our family and time would become limited. So I hustled. I chose writing and marketing over TV, over nights out or nights off, and really over a lot of things to get where I wanted to be. People ask me all the time how I balanced work, grad school and my writing career and I tell them the bottom line is that you have to want it more than you want those other things. And you have to be willing to sacrifice. But the rewards are there for the taking. Every step I’ve taken in my career gave me the skills and confidence I needed to become a successful self-published author. I just had to go get it.

What do you have coming, in terms of your book series, that you can share with our group?

I spent the first six months of 2016 writing a contemporary story set in Des Moines that I am currently pitching to agents with the goal of an eventual publishing deal. Now that I’m basically finished with grad school (one more class to go!), I’ve started writing book four in my Bound series (young adult fantasy). I’m targeting mid-2017 for the release.

Other than writing, what do you enjoy doing outside of work?

My husband and I are huge fans of live music, so we try to get to concerts as much as we can. We also love biking the trails in Des Moines and spending time on patios (so glad those two go together!). We recently cut cable so we’ve become Netflix bingers, too.

Last but certainly not least, Stormy and her husband, Abe, are expecting twin boys in January 2017.


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Milestone Anniversaries

Members Who are Celebrating a PRSA Anniversary in September

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

1 year
Leslie Maynes, PR Director, Two Rivers Marketing
Katie Moehn, Marketing and Communications Specialist, Wright Service Corp.
Amanda Huisman, Marketing and Communications Specialist, Wright Service Corp.
Kelly Van De Walle, Account Manager, Hanser & Associates

5 years
Jillian Elizabeth Sievel, Associate Director of Annual Giving, Simpson College

25 years
John R. Dutcher, APR, President, Dutcher & Associates, LLC


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Spragues Welcome Baby TJ

Central Iowa PRSA member and Program Chair Elect Laura Sprague and her husband Joshua welcomed their son, Thomas Jack (TJ), on August 3 at 2:58 p.m. TJ weighed in at 8 pounds, 9 ounces, and 20.25 inches long. The new family of three is doing well!


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General News

Email Verification: Say 'Yes'

We are doing a little housecleaning and will be using a system to verify email addresses we have on file. This process will be invisible to most of our members, but if you do receive a verification email, please respond so that you will continue to receive updates and information from PRSA — Central Iowa Chapter.


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Job Opportunity

Visit the Careers Page for New Job Opportunities

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 a sample of the listings on our website.

Assistant Communications Director - Iowa Finance Authority

Communications Specialist - Landus Cooperative

Director of Annual Giving - Simpson College

Marketing Coordinator - Iowa Bankers Association

Communications Specialist - The Stanley Foundation


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Upcoming Learning Opportunities

Public Relations Training Events

9/20: Effective Messaging (course)

9/22: Building Media Relationships (course)

9/22: Think Outside the Pyramid (Webinar)

9/22: Corporate Connect Call: Developing and Managing Your Company’s Online Newsroom (interactive discussion)

9/27: PR in a Snap (Webinar)

9/29: Crisis Management (Webinar)

10/11: Fundraising in a Digital Media Age (Webinar)

10/20: Lift Your Ideas Off the Page or Screen (Webinar)

10/21-10/25: PRSSA 2016 National Conference


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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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