December 2017 Print

Letter from the President

Beth Silverman Gruber

As 2017 nears its end, I wanted to thank all of our members for a wonderful year for PRSA Buffalo Niagara! Our chapter is thriving because of all of you, our active members and hard-working volunteers who make our chapter such a success.

Our programs, on topics ranging from crisis communications and media relations to social media and ethics, appealed to a broad spectrum of communication professionals. Increasing the number of members with the APR designation was another priority, as we offered several Accreditation in Public Relations workshops. We also hosted networking events for members, prospective members, and PR students, with a special emphasis on strengthening the bonds between our PRSA chapter and local Public Relations Student Society of America chapters. Our chapter’s first-ever program geared towards young professionals and PRSSA students, Trivia Night with PRSA and the Buffalo Bandettes, was held in March at Midtown Kitchen Buffalo. It was followed up in October by PR for Puppies, a doggone great event held at Deep South Taco in which teams of PR students and professionals developed PR campaigns for shelter puppies from PAWS Animal Shelter of Albion. Our chapter’s PRSSA Liaison Committee plans to continue organizing such events in the future.

Thanks to a membership survey that we fielded this fall, we gained many valuable insights into what our members and non-members are interested in regarding programming, days of the week and time of day for programs, potential topics, communication preferences, and more! Each of our PRSA committees contributed to the survey; results came in October and will be used by our chapter’s leadership next year.

In addition to our chapter programming in 2017, our chapter is hosting the 2018 PRSA Northeast District Conference, PRxNE18, to be held June 1 at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo. The conference, entitled “Communication Convergence: The Integrated Communicator,” will feature keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and lots of networking opportunities in addition to a half-day APR workshop the day before! If you’re interested in volunteering or being a sponsor for the day-long event, contact the conference chair, Dr. Deborah Silverman, APR, Fellow PRSA, at

Diversity issues have been another priority in 2017, both in terms of increasing the diversity of Western New York’s public relations workforce and communicating with diverse audiences. As a result, our chapter has created a new Diversity Chair position on the PRSA Buffalo Niagara Board, effective Jan. 1, 2018. Rene Petties-Jones will hold the position.

On behalf of the board, I want to thank you for a great year for our chapter – and I’m looking forward to more great things to come in 2018! It’s been a pleasure serving as your president.

Happy Holidays!

Beth Silverman Gruber
2017 President, PRSA Buffalo Niagara Chapter

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Save the Date for Buffalo Reborn

The buzz about Buffalo is building, and Visit Buffalo Niagara, Erie County’s destination marketing organization, is leading the charge to promote our transformation.

Brian Hayden, Communications Manager for Visit Buffalo NiagaraSave the date Thursday, February 22, 2018, for Buffalo Reborn: Promoting a City Transformed with Brian Hayden, Communications Manager for VBN.  

In 2017, through an aggressive media relations program, VBN helped place more than 125 stories about Buffalo in out-of-town media and blogs, including USA Today, Huffington Post, the Globe and Mail, Boston Globe, Toronto Star and

Hayden will identify pitches and storylines that resonate with out-of-town writers and influencers, describe the tools VBN uses to tell its Buffalo story — and give you tactics and tools to better tell the story of your organization or clients.

Look out for registration at to reserve your spot!

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The Countdown Continues for PRxNE18!

Planning continues for the PRSA 2018 Northeast District Conference (PRxNE18), to be hosted by PRSA Buffalo Niagara.

The conference, entitled “Communication Convergence: The Integrated Communicator,” is slated for Friday, June 1, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo.

Four PRSA Buffalo Niagara members are chairing committees, including Dr. Deborah Silverman, APR, Fellow PRSA, conference chair and sponsorship subcommittee; Lisa Adams, APR, programming subcommittee; Kandis Fuller, APR, marketing subcommittee; and Grace Lazzara, logistics subcommittee. Volunteers from several chapters in the PRSA Northeast District as well as students from Buffalo-area PRSSA chapters are serving on the subcommittees.

Keynote speakers are being contacted for the morning and luncheon slots, and a call for proposals for the breakout sessions will go out to PRSA members in early January.

A half-day APR Express Workshop, to be led by Barbara Byers, APR, and Jeffrey Paterson, APR, is set for Thursday, May 31, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at SUNY Buffalo State. That will be followed by a networking opportunity that evening – a “Dine-Around” at several Buffalo-area restaurants.

Several sponsors have been confirmed, including M&T Bank, returning for a second year as the exclusive Platinum Level ($2,500); Univera Healthcare at the Silver Level ($1,000); and Pierce Communications, the PRSA Yankee chapter, and GoProvidence, all at the Bronze Level ($500). Sponsorships are still available at the Gold ($1,750), Silver, Bronze, and the new Friend of the Conference ($250) levels.

“I’m delighted by the progress we’ve made already, and I’m looking forward to the responses from potential keynote speakers and our call for proposals for the breakout sessions,” said Silverman.

If you’re interested in volunteering for the event or a subcommittee, or wish to be a sponsor, contact Silverman at

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We Asked, You Replied: Findings from Recent PRSA Surveys

In October 2017, PRSA Buffalo Niagara surveyed its members, as well as nonmembers who have participated in chapter programs. Thank you to all of you who took the time to complete it.

Read on for a summary of what we learned from your feedback.

For PRSA Buffalo Niagara Chapter members:

  • Mornings and midweek topped the list for preferred program/event times.
  • The member benefits rated most important were: guest speakers, job postings, conferences, media meet and greets, professional development programs, professional networking opportunities, the annual Sunrise Seminars, and the quality of PRSA's free webinars. 

Among members and nonmembers:

  • Primary topics on interest for programs included Writing, Strategic Planning, Personal Development, Branding, Crisis Communication, Visual Storytelling, Digital Marketing Strategies, National Expert Presentations, Content Marketing, Social Media, Analytics & Measurement, Meet the Media programs, and Media Training.
  • The three biggest sectors in which individuals worked were corporate, higher education and agency settings.
  • Email blasts were rated the top method for learning about chapter news.

Many survey respondents also took the time to share open-ended feedback about programming, membership benefits and the chapter's social media content. We appreciate your comments and suggestions, and welcome any additional feedback, concerns and suggestions you may have at

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Members on the Move

Nancy Paton Nancy Paton has been named the Higher Education Marketer of the Year by the American Marketing Association (AMA). She serves as the vice president for communications at the University at Buffalo. 
Dr. Deborah Silverman, APR, Fellow PRSA Dr. Deborah Silverman, APR, Fellow PRSA, was elected to a three-year term as chair of the SUNY Buffalo State Communication Department effective July 2018. Silverman, an associate professor of communication, serves as coordinator of the Buffalo State M.S. in Public Relations program, which will become 100 percent online in fall 2018, and as faculty advisor to the Buffalo State PRSSA chapter.
Sarah Miller Sarah Miller is now media project manager with ‎Bartercard Buffalo.

Want to include your honor or achievement in our next e-newsletter? Please email

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