Spring 2018 Print

How to Get More Value from your Membership

Let me ask you, are you getting value for your membership? Are you making the most of the events, professional development and networking opportunities PRSA offers? I get it, between your job, personal responsibilities and career advancement, it can be hard to find the time to really engage. But trust me, that is where the real value lies.

Or maybe there’s a few changes you’d like to make within our chapter or have new ideas to share.

Either way, I encourage every member to get involved.

The PRSA Buffalo Niagara Board of Directors is calling on members to join committees and help out with the upcoming Northeast District (NED) Conference, which will be held June 1 at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo. We have plenty of ways for you to assist, no matter what level of engagement you’re interested in. Please review the list of opportunities below and reach out to with any questions you might have.

NED Conference Volunteer Opportunities

  • Day-of support
  • Registration assistance

PRSA Committee Volunteer Opportunities
*It is imperative we fill these vacancies in 2018 to ensure proper training for a successful year ahead.

E-Communications Committee Members: Looking for members who can develop social media content and advertising initiatives, revitalize our website and improve email and newsletter content. Contact Stacy VanBlarcom at

Scholarship and Sponsorship Committee Members: Looking for a chair who can lead sponsor and donor activities for the chapter in 2019 and beyond, as well as members who can secure mutually beneficial relationships with partner organizations and ensure sponsor benefits are upheld. Committee will be responsible for securing funding for the annual student scholarship through raffles, auctions, direct solicitation, giving cards or other tactics the committee deems appropriate. Contact Devon Jerla at

Programming Committee Chair and Members: Looking for a 2019 committee chair who can lead members in developing professional development and social events on behalf of the chapter. Contact Matt Biddle at

APR Committee Chair and Members: Looking for a committee chair to recruit members interested in obtaining their accreditation in public relations and steward them throughout the process. Contact Barb Byers at

Diversity Committee Members: Looking for committee members who are interested in exploring issues surrounding diversity and inclusion in the profession both internally and externally to create a more welcoming environment where all are respected and valued. Contact Rene Petties-Jones at

So, if you’re ever questioning your membership or wondering how you can gain more value – email me at Let’s talk about how this chapter can support you!

Devon Jerla
2018 PRSA Buffalo Niagara President

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Don’t miss the 29th Annual Excalibur Awards!

Join us as we honor friends and colleagues on Wednesday, June 27 at 5:30 p.m. at the Tralf Music Hall in Buffalo for the 29th Annual Excalibur Awards.

WGRZ’s Nate Benson will be emcee as we gather to celebrate the programs, projects and people that strengthen and sharpen our profession. The student awards are also returning.

Event Details:
Open bar and buffet: 5:30 p.m.
Awards presentation: 7 p.m.
Note: Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. Street parking is available. 

Congratulations to our special honorees, who will be honored during the awards presentation:
Ann R. Carden Rising Star Award: Marcene Robinson | University at Buffalo 
Board of Directors' Distinguished Service Award: Barbara Byers, APR | University at Buffalo
May C. Randazzo Outstanding Practitioner: Rene Petties-Jones | NFJC or WNY, Inc.
Outstanding Executive: Robert Wilmers | M&T Bank

Reserve your ticket(s) here, and check here for more updates.

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New Resource: PRSA Content Connection

Communications’ Latest Trends, Articles and Research

In case you missed it, PRSA has a new online resource for members called the Content Connection.

The new web page includes a wealth of information, such as tools for finding a job, information on valuable apps, a PRSA newsroom, a trending topics section, insights on technology and social media, content marketing strategies, crisis management planning, leadership tactics, and data and measurement approaches.

Check it out here!


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Board Adds Chair for Diversity and Inclusion

Get involved to make an impact

Rene Petties-Jones, Chapter Diversity Committee Chair, responds to questions reflecting on the new position the Diversity and Inclusion Committee gained at the Chapter Board table and invites others to help make an impact in this area.

Q: The Board at its December 2017 meeting voted to add the Diversity Chair as a voting member. Why was it important to do so?
A: Having diverse voices at the table is paramount to a successful diversity and inclusion initiative. With the Board recognizing and taking action to include a full voting membership to the position of Diversity Chair, it sends a loud message to the community and the PR profession that Diversity and Inclusion do matter – from the top down.

Q: What are your best hopes for making a difference around Diversity within our chapter?
A: As a group of like-minded PR professionals, I hope we can explore together, the many ways we can create a diverse chapter. The ultimate goal is to make all feel welcome in PR. As PRSA Buffalo Niagara Diversity Chair for 2018, I hope to connect with folks who have an interest and desire to further this conversation and grow our local chapter’s Diversity efforts. Let's respectively look at our differences and find our similarities to support each other in uplifting and expanding our profession and our Buffalo Niagara Chapter!

Q: What can you tell Chapter members who might like to get involved?
A: Diversity and Inclusion are common buzz words that we hear often. Many people believe that they are being respectful of diversity and don’t fully understand their own bias and the impact it may have. I see this as a great opportunity to chat and learn new trends, and discuss some of the challenges and concerns we all may experience in our professional lives. We can talk about strategy and ways to be as inclusive, respectful and understanding as possible. If this piques your interest, join the Diversity Committee today and become an active part of the solution. We’ll be sharing relevant articles on our social sites soon!

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Final Planning Underway for PRSA 2018 District Conference

By Deborah Silverman, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA
PRxNE18 Conference Chair

PRSA Buffalo Niagara is preparing to roll out the red carpet for communications professionals and students when it hosts the PRSA 2018 Northeast District Conference on Friday, June 1.

The PRxNE18 conference, “Communication Convergence: The Integrated Communicator,” is set for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo – a day filled with professional development programming and networking opportunities. The registration deadline is May 25.

Keynote Speakers
Two nationally-prominent communication professionals will offer compelling insights as this year’s keynote speakers. Morning keynote speaker Sharon Napier will discuss “Work with Lasting Impact,” sharing her journey as CEO of Partners & Napier, a national agency at the forefront of the convergence of communications. She will be joined by Pete VonDerLinn, her firm's executive creative director, who will share the strategy and process behind Effie Award-winning campaigns guided by the philosophy of "effectivity."

Luncheon keynote speaker Liz Allen, senior vice president of The Glover Park Group, will speak on “How Headlines Are Made from Washington: Lessons from the White House.” Allen, former deputy communications director for President Obama, will give a behind-the-scenes look at a pivotal time when social and digital media came of age and with it, how news has been forever reshaped.

Rounding out the national perspective on public relations will be PRSA 2018 chair and former Northeast District chair Tony D’Angelo, APR, Fellow PRSA, who will discuss PRSA’s strategic priorities; and PRSA CEO Joseph Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, who will provide an update on PRSA headquarters and programs.

Breakout Speakers and Post-Conference Happy Hour

The conference programming committee received more than 60 breakout session proposals this year – an increase of 20 over last year - ultimately selecting 18 presentations for the day’s four breakout time slots: two in the morning, and two in the afternoon. Breakout topics will include, among others, web writing for SEO, hyper-local storytelling, internal communications, branding through marketing automation, PR and social media, crisis leadership and management, branding, diversity and communication strategy, data and dashboards, executive speaking to voice brand, connecting with marketing disciplines, and brainstorming.

A happy hour is set immediately after the conference concludes at The Martin Group and its PR affiliate, Martin Davison Public Relations, 620 Main St., Buffalo, from 4 to 6 p.m.

Pre-Conference Events

For those interested in learning more about Accreditation in Public Relations, an APR Express Workshop will be held Thursday, May 31 from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at SUNY Buffalo State. The class will be taught by PRSA Buffalo Niagara’s Accreditation Chair Barb Byers, APR, and Jeff Paterson, APR. The $50 cost includes lunch and program materials. Registration is available online here.

Conference attendees interested in socializing beforehand can sign up for a Dine-Around event on Thursday evening, May 31. Participants will meet in the hotel lobby at 6:30 p.m. and then walk to nearby restaurants.


Conference sponsors include M&T Bank, returning for a second year as the exclusive Platinum Level ($2,500); SUNY Buffalo State’s new online M.S. in Public Relations Program, Corning Place Communications, and Univera Healthcare, all at the Silver Level ($1,000); GoProvidence, Pierce Communications, the PRSA Yankee chapter, the PRSA Finger Lakes chapter, the PRSA Boston chapter, and The Martin Group, all at the Bronze Level ($500); and Rich Products at the Friend of the Conference ($250) level.

Tickets, which include breakfast and lunch, can be purchased through the conference website. The conference hashtag is #prxne18. Conference presenters are listed below.




Convergence: How to Connect with Marketing Disciplines for Greater Impact

Amy Shanler; Boston University College of Communication

Creating a Culture of Accountability and Impact

Gregg Dinino and Pete VonDerLinn; Partners + Napier

Crisis Plans Provide a False Sense of Security

Dr. Frank Marra; Rochester Institute of Technology

Getting Googley: Analytics, SEO, AdWords Bootcamp

John Senall; Mobile First Media, LLC

How Building a Powerful Brand is the Foundation of Good PR

Danielle M. DelMonte; Danielle Marie Communications

Improving Brainstorming Methods to Win More Business

Keith Green, APR; Guinness World Records

It's A Bird, It's A Plane...It's A PR Firm?

Roger Rosenbaum; Brand-News-Team, Inc.

Measuring Internal Communication Efforts

Stacey Smith and Sean Williams; Jackson Jackson & Wagner, True Digital Communication

Optimizing your Web Writing for People and Search Engines

Sofia Tokar and Brian Piper; University of Rochester

Securing Executive Speaking Opportunities to Give Voice to your Brand

Amy Scarlino; Scarlino Speaker Strategies, LLC

Stop Doing the Stupid Stuff: Using Indexes, Insights and Integrated dashboards to Show what Really Works  

Katie Delahaye Paine; Paine Publishing

Telling your Brand Story Through Marketing Automation

Nicole Kingsley Brunner; Manning & Napier

The Mea Culpa Response: Why the Absence of Diversity at the Table can Hurt your Communication Strategy

Rene Petties-Jones; NFJC of WNY, Inc.

The Media Perspective on PR and Social Media

John Mackowiak; Martin Davison Public Relations/The Martin Group

The Perfect Video in the Perfect Place

Frank Conjerti; Quinlan

The Six Tasks of Crisis Leadership: How to Help your Boss or Client Lead During Tough Times

Joseph A. Brennan, PhD, APR, Fellow PRSA; Joseph A. Brennan PhD Communications Counsel for Higher Education

The State of #Sponsored Social Lessons for Practitioners, Brands, Agencies and Creators

Regina Luttrell and Kelly Gaggin; Syracuse University

The Underestimated Power of Hyper-local Storytelling

Geri Denterlein, Denterlein; Alan Pergament, The Buffalo News; Paul Doyle, Digital Media

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APR Accreditation Prep Session Planned

Ready to earn your APR? The Accreditation in Public Relations is a symbol of professionalism and a credential that signifies reaching the highest standards in public relations -- and we’re here to help you achieve this significant status.

The day before PRSA Northeast District Conference "Communication Convergence" , conference host PRSA Buffalo Niagara will offer a five-hour comprehensive session to prepare candidates for the Portfolio Presentation and the computer-based exam.

During the session, you'll also meet recent APR Stacy VanBlarcom, and hear about her experience.

"Earning your APR is as valuable in process as it is in results. Not only will you earn a credential others will recognize as a mark of your professionalism, you'll also be reminded of the value you can bring as a public relations practitioner to organizations and the individuals and communities they serve," says VanBlarcom, who also serves as President-Elect for the PRSA Buffalo Niagara chapter.

Instructors for the session are Jeff Paterson, APR, CEO of Empower, and Barb Byers, APR, director of content development for the UB Office of Donor and Alumni Communications.

Date: Thursday, May 31
Time: 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Location: Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Ave, 418 Cleveland Hall, Buffalo, NY 14222
Cost: $50 (non-refundable); includes light lunch and materials

Registration deadline is this Friday, May 25. For more information, contact Accreditation Chair Barb Byers, APR, at 716-645-3315 or

Read more and register for the session here. Come join us and get accredited!

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Share a Shout Out

We would like to spotlight you, our valuable members, with a new column each newsletter. What would you like your fellow communicators to know about you?

Have you gained a new degree or certification? Have a new job or career? Started your own business? Or anything else communications-related. Or not -- perhaps you are in community theater production. Or you’re getting or got married or grew your family! Let us know. We’ll share all the news in brief bullet points. Shout Outs will help us get to know one another better, and offer better connection and networking opportunities, too.

We look forward to hearing from you. Email Julie Kopfer or Rose Caldwell your news. Thank you!


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