Fall 2018 Print

The 2018 Annual Meeting Takes Place on Thursday, Nov. 15 at Cole’s

Kevin Heffernan Presents: “Your Politics on Your Business Card: Exploring the Positive and Negative Effects of Taking a Public, Emotional Stand

Don’t miss the chapter's annual meeting taking place on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 5:30 p.m. at Cole’s, 1104 Elmwood Ave., third floor banquet room. Networking is at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 6:30 p.m. The 2019 PRSA Buffalo Niagara Board of Directors will be voted on, along with a keynote by Kevin Heffernan, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Rise Collaborative. His presentation, “Your Politics on Your Business Card,” will discuss what’s at stake when you use your business’ power to step into the political arena.

Please visit to register. Don’t miss the early bird member rate of $35 - a savings of $10. After Nov. 6, the ticket price goes up to $45.


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Looking to Get More Involved, Make a Difference and Become a Leader?

If you’re looking for networking opportunities or a way to add even more value to your membership, we have several leadership positions available.

  • Co-Treasurer: Shares the leadership of the finance committee to help manage the chapter’s finances.
  • Programming Chair: Leads programming committee in selecting timely, relevant topics, speakers and locations for professional development programs.
  • Diversity Committee Members: Educates practitioners on the issues of diversity and skill sets needed for communicating with all audiences. Works with high school and college students to expand representation of all populations within the workforce.

For more information on these opportunities, please contact Chapter President Devon Jerla,

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Our Chapter is Looking for an Administrative Assistant

We are in need of an administrative assistant for the chapter.

The chapter assistant works remotely for about 15-20 hours per month, providing administrative support and assisting with programs, database management and all of our committees.

We encourage members to apply, and they will receive a free PRSA administrator’s membership if they are offered and accept the position.

The job posting is available at Please urge your friends and colleagues to apply by submitting a résumé and cover letter to 

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A Member’s Glimpse into the 2018 PRSA International Conference

By Jackie Molik Ghosen, APR

After taking a couple of years off to attend American Marketing Association conferences, I went to this year’s PRSA International Conference (PRSA ICON) in Austin, and I am pleased to say it was one of the best I’ve attended.

First, the keynote speakers were excellent. In the opening session, marketing guru Jonathan Mildenhall, former CMO of Airbnb, inspired us to reflect on “our purpose,” and encouraged us to build a better world through creativity, diversity and authenticity. Sharing examples from his time at Airbnb and Coca Cola, he demonstrated how to use our drive to create change.

On Monday morning, we heard from former labor secretary, economic advisor and thought leader Robert B. Reich. And if you think that sounds like a big snooze, guess again. He was funny, wicked-smart, self-deprecating and inspiring. He talked about why we need to restore The Common Good (also the name of his new book) to what we do in politics and as a society, and I left feeling like there might be hope for us all.

On Tuesday, we enjoyed a double-header with talks from Ann Handley, influential social marketer and author, who spoke engagingly of the need to create what she calls “ridiculously good content” using a clever metaphor based on Charlotte’s Web. Next was a motivating presentation from Aria Finger, millennial marketing expert and CEO of, which she helped grow from 100,000 members to more than six million in 131 countries. She regaled us with high-energy tales of how she and her organization use cause-related marketing to galvanize young people (and some older people too, at least in my case) to make an impact in the world.

In addition to the keynotes, the conference sessions were outstanding. Multiple tracks in marketing comms, leadership and management, big data and measurement, reputation and crisis management, tactics and special interests made it easy to specialize if you were so inclined. Personally, however, I hopped around to all the tracks. The biggest challenge was choosing which sessions to attend, and there were several times when I had two or three selected and had to make last-minute decisions. My favorites sessions were a “Hack-a-Comm” featuring three consecutive, rapid-fire 15-minute sessions offering tips for PR and communication industry leaders; a session entitled “Strategy, Soul and Statistics: How to Create Business Value and Impact Forever”; and a fun session on using improv skills to become a better communicator.

Finally, one of the most valuable components of any PRSA conference is the networking, and PRSA ICON 2018 exceeded expectations. An opening reception, multiple breaks, a networking lunch and some section happy hours and events made it easy to talk with colleagues from all over the country in virtually any industry and specialty. It’s always a bit of a reach for me to enter a roomful of strangers, but this is a terrific group and I’ve made great friends and solid business acquaintances at these events. In fact, this year, I reconnected with a friend I first met at a PRSA leadership rally in 2008. He couldn’t attend the full conference, but he drove up from San Antonio, and we caught up over a nice dinner before joining some of the after-hour section events.

Overall, it was three days of productive learning and some fun to boot. If you’ve never attended PRSA ICON, or if you haven’t gone to one lately, I highly recommend it. Next year’s event will be in lovely San Diego, so don’t miss it!

Editor’s Note: Jacqueline Molik Ghosen, APR, who has attended at least six PRSA national conferences, has been an active member of PRSA since 2002. Ghosen has served on the chapter’s board of directors in several roles, including president, treasurer, Northeast District liaison and chair of the Nominating committee. She also served on the Membership committee for 15 years (12 years as co-chair). She is an assistant dean and director of communications for the University at Buffalo School of Management.

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Triple Savings When You Join PRSA Through the End of the Month

If you or someone you know is thinking of joining PRSA, November is the best time to come on board!  Through the end of this month, you can join PRSA Buffalo Niagara and you’ll receive three memberships for the price of one.

In addition to your PRSA National membership, which connects you to more than 21,000 public relations and communication professionals, you’ll receive a free Buffalo Niagara Chapter* membership (so you can get to know your local peers) AND a free Section* membership (to connect with specific industry colleagues). Plus, we’ll waive the $65 initiation fee.

Use the promo code FALL18 when you sign up at PRSA and you can save at least $110 on this once-a-year deal!

PRSA Perks

Aside from opportunities to network with Buffalo professionals, join committees and attend local events/programs, there are plenty of national PRSA perks:

  • 24/7 access to PRSA’s members-only online community, MyPRSA, where you can share insights and ask questions of your fellow PR professionals
  • Member discount programs for a wide variety of goods and services
  • Discounted registration to training programs and webinars
  • Access to the PRSA Jobcenter
  • Subscription to Strategies & Tactics, the industry-specific publication

To learn more, visit our website or contact Grace Gerass, membership chair, at

*Certain restrictions apply.

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Three Chapter Members Participate in 2018 PRSA National Assembly, Leadership Rally

Mike Barone and Marcene Robinson represented our chapter and attended the PRSA 2018 National Assembly on Oct. 6 in Austin, Texas. Officers were elected, bylaw proposals voted on and the State of the Society address was given.

Mike and Marcene shared a synopsis at our October chapter board meeting. Both of the by-law proposals proposed by the board were overwhelmingly passed.

  1. Member in Good Standing. The first defined what it means to be a "Member in Good Standing." This includes adhering to the Society’s Bylaws or applicable policies and procedures, and the Code of Ethics, as well as paying one’s financial obligations (i.e., dues). It is expected that members in good standing will work collaboratively, and civilly, to strengthen the Society and will not engage in any activities or behaviors that put the Society in financial or structural jeopardy, or that will bring discredit to the Society, its members, or the profession of public relations or communication.  
  2. PRSA Grievance Policy and Proceduce. The second added specifics regarding PRSA’s Grievance Policy and procedures, including details that could lead to suspension, termination, expulsion or discipline of membership for such things as felony convictions or a refusal to pay dues. 

Four other bylaw amendment proposals submitted by two non-board members did not pass and received very little support.

At the conclusion the purpose of the Assembly was discussed, including the best use of time during the annual event. Many would like to discuss and take positions on such global issues affecting our industry as freedom of the press, legislation re: lobbying activities and other topics that impact the membership broadly, as opposed to just debating bylaws.

The State of the Society, given jointly by PRSA Chair Anthony W. D’Angelo, APR, Fellow PRSA, and PRSA’s CEO, Dr. Joe Truncale, reported that PRSA has approximately 32,000 members, more than 100 chapters, 10 districts and 14 sections. Fifteen new PRSSA chapters were added in the last year, and the society as a whole experienced modest, low-single-digit growth in the past year. 

However, leadership believes that growth should be larger, since PRSA is being outpaced by considerably larger growth within the PR industry.  As a result, National is evaluating the value it provides members, with an emphasis on what it needs to change to better serve members and address their future needs, rather than focusing on past accomplishments.

  • As a start, they recently launched Speaker's Bureau to help identify experts which chapters could invite to their functions, and/or through which members may offer their own services as a speaker.
  • Also, two dozen free webinars have been offered, and they remain archived and accessible anytime. 

In addition, Buffalo Niagara President-elect Stacey VanBlarcom, APR, (pictured above) represented our chapter at the Leadership Rally, where she and other chapter leaders discussed best practices in programming across the nation. She also learned about the many resources PRSA offers its new leaders and boards to serve their members.

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