Join Us for An Evening With Special Guest Kim Morreale

Kim Morreale, founder of Morreale Communications, joins us February 20th to provide her unique perspective on the impact of communications on policy, and address where we as communicators go from here. A former reporter and anchor for NBC-5 Chicago and CLTV News in Chicago and CBS News in Rockford, Kim founded Morreale Communications in 2006, blending her unique background in journalism and government to develop communications techniques that shape public policy, build consensus and educate the public. Kim has extensive experience in media relations, legislative outreach, public involvement, grassroots organizing, coalition building and event management. With a forward-thinking approach, Kim has led her firm to be recognized for national and international awards in setting the standard for excellence in communications.

Morreale Communications is a Chicago-based award-winning firm that utilizes a forward-thinking and innovative approach to deliver impactful communications techniques that garner the attention of opinion leaders and shape public policy. Whether it’s infrastructure, healthcare or disability advocacy, our strategic, thoughtful and tactical approach has been successfully applied to diverse industries in the public and private sectors. It is a certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), Female Business Enterprise (FBE) and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE). 

Prior to starting her own business, Kim was the Director of External Affairs at the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) where she spearheaded a statewide effort to engage state and local lawmakers on key transportation and public safety initiatives while involving stakeholders and members of the public in the development process of infrastructure improvements. As the agency spokesperson, Kim was responsible for managing the public relations for the Dan Ryan, Kingery, I-74 and Mississippi River Bridge projects. She worked with the FHWA on raising awareness of the department’s public safety campaigns and led the charge in a progressive program to identify and build stakeholder groups to include them in the process of highway planning and construction. Kim has experience working with INDOT, MODOT and local transportation agencies throughout Illinois. She has worked with the Governor’s Office on special projects related to media relations and special events, community involvement, outreach to faith-based groups and developing a statewide plan for engaging targeted constituent groups.

Kim is a distinguished recipient of the German Marshall Fellowship Award where she was one of 14-emerging leaders selected to represent the United States to build alliances and improve relations between the European Union and the U.S. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two children.

Register now! 


Nonna Silvia’s Trattoria

Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018
1400 Canfield
Park Ridge, Illinois 60068

Networking 6 pm
Dinner & Program 6:30 pm

Kick Off the Holiday Season With PRSA Suburban Chicago at Cooper’s Hawk on November 4th!

Join us to kick off the holiday season with our year ending party and Toys for Tots collection drive. We will be welcoming keynote speaker Brian Basilico, internationally recognized author of B2b Interactive Marketing and the author of “It’s Not About You, It’s All About Bacon! Interactive Marketing in a Social Media World.

B2b helps companies and non-profits market their products and services through the effective use of online tools including websites, blogs, eMail, social networking, Google, S.E.O., YouTube, and more.

Brian’s career spans over 30 years. Since his first production company in 1979, he’s produced thousands of projects for hundreds of companies, ranging from solopreneur to Fortune 100. Brian combines years of marketing experience with technical expertise, to build online campaigns that continue to produce measurable results. As a musician, technician, programmer, producer, and consultant, he has built a reputation for creativity, innovation, and translating “geek” into English. Brian is also an adjunct professor, trainer, speaker, and author of many marketing and social networking blogs and articles.

And Awards, of Course

Putting together the chapter activities for the year is a collective effort that involves many people. Each year the chapter recognizes a few outstanding members for their services to the chapter. Please join us as we recognize these members who give their time to make sure you have professional development opportunities to advance your career.

Toys for Tots Collection

Every year we invite attendees at our holiday party to bring toys to donate to Toys for Tots. Bring a toy and receive a coupon good for $5 any 2018 event. Bring 3 toys and we’ll give you a coupon worth $20 off a 2017 event!

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant
798 W. Algonquin Road
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
(Algonquin & Golf Roads)

Guests welcome at the Member Rate! Register now!

Saturday, November 4th, 2016
Networking 12 pm
Luncheon & Program 12:30 pm

Calling All Members: Content Needed for Our New Members-only Area

We are developing a special members-only area of our website to provide useful information about the chapter and the profession for our members, and we’re looking to YOU to be a resource for your colleagues. Do you have a particular expertise you can share with members? Are you interested in writing short articles on tips that you have found useful that you’re willing to pass along to others? Here’s your chance! Submit your information as a Word file or PDF to, and we’ll get it posted for you. And you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped another.

Crisis Communications in a Natural Disaster: A Conversation With W. Patrick McSweeney, APR Fellow PRSA

PR practitioners are expected to know how to plan for and execute a crisis communications program. Not everyone has the misfortune to actually experience a major crisis like natural disasters, workplace violence, civil unrest, computer system hacking or a business bankruptcy. There’s only one thing guaranteed to happen in a crisis — the unexpected. 
Are you and is your organization prepared? Now is the time to find out with Patrick McSweeney, APR, Fellow PRSA.”

Patrick applies his experience as a newspaper, radio and TV journalist to help clients effectively connect with customers, employees, community leaders, vendors, investors and others.

During the past 25+ years he has served as the spokesperson for a government agency in Florida and worked with well-known automotive, high tech, retail brands, vacation destinations and others.

He serves as public relations strategist and counselor for C-suite executives, providing crisis communications planning, message development and media relations assistance to clients. 

McSweeney began working for a weekly newspaper while still in high school, then worked on the copy desks at two major daily newspapers in Ohio and also freelanced as a news and sports photographer for the Associated Press while attending college. He then worked as a radio reporter/anchor, freelancing for National Public Radio, NBC and AP Radio News before working at TV stations in Ohio and Florida as an anchor, reporter and producer covering the military, transportation, government and politics.

McSweeney earned the designation Accredited in Public Relations (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America in 2011 and was elected to the prestigious College of Fellows in 2015. He has won many awards for his work including a Bronze Anvil Award of Commendation from the Public Relations Society of America and was a finalist for the nation’s top Corporate Social Responsibility programs from PR News. 

He is currently the president-elect for the Southeastern Wisconsin chapter of PRSA and twice served as president of the North Florida chapter (1995 and 2013). Besides giving back through PRSA, he has served as an Adjunct Professor teaching PR writing and Writing for the Mass Media at the University of North Florida and mentored dozens of college students and young PR professionals.

A graduate of The Ohio State University, McSweeney earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. He is married to his college sweetheart, Jane, and is the father of two grown sons, David and John. 



Gene & Georgetti’s
Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017
9421 W. Higgins Road
Rosemont, Illinois 60018

Networking 6 pm
Dinner & Program 6:30 pm


Send Off Summer in Style at Thirsty Thursday Unplugged August 24th

How do you follow up with the most talked about natural phenomena in decades? With a PRSA Suburban Chicago social! Let’s send summer out in style at Hofbrauhaus in Rosemont! Join us for brews and Bavarian food. Located at 5500 Park Place, Rosemont. Food and drinks on your own. See you there – grüß Gott! 



Thursday, August 24th
5500 Park Place
Rosemont, Il 60018
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm

You’re Being Attacked on Twitter – Now What?

You wake up one morning to find that your company is trending on Twitter….and it’s not good. The attacks are coming fast and furious, and it seems like you’ve become the focus of every angry person on social media. Are you prepared for this? Find out!
Vivika Panagiotakakos, Medline Industries

The new administration has changed social media forever, and brought companies a new awareness of the dangers of social media attacks. It seems that weekly another company becomes the target of online attacks. This ’new normal’ has forced crisis management to go beyond traditional public relations.

Now companies must prepare themselves if and when an attack comes through on social media from a high-powered official. Learn from Medline Industries Vivika Panagiotakakos and Caroline Matis how to stay ahead of an attack and how to roll a social media crisis management plan into your established public relations crisis management plan.

Caroline Matis, Medline Industries

Learn how to determine your company’s vulnerabilities and what could be attacked, how to create a communication tree to inform key stakeholders in the company of what happened and prepare statements based on the level of an attack. If an attack comes over Twitter, learn how to respond over Twitter and be prepared to post about positive things going on in your company.




DOC Wine Bar Lombard
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
DOC Wine Bar
326 Yorktown Centre
Lombard, Illinois 60148

Networking 6 pm
Dinner & Program 6:30 pm

Let’s Get Social at Nando’s Peri-Peri in Naperville!

US-Nandos logoSummer is nearly here, so let’s put the “social” back in social! Ditch the phones and computers, kick back and get social with Chicago area PR people at Nando’s Peri-Peri May 26th in downtown Naperville!

Join us after work on Thursday, May 26th and celebrate the start of summer with a taste of South Africa’s famous peri-peri sauce at Nando’s Peri Peri in downtown Naperville. The fun runs from 6 pm – 8:30 pm. or later. Free parking is available in the municipal garage at 43 W. Van Buren garage, and in a decked lot just east of the restaurant on Jefferson.

Come out and bring a friend or colleague! We’ll be upstairs – just come out and ask for PRSA. No tickets, dinner is on your own, how much or how little you want.

Map to Nando’s:


Year End Holiday Party Featuring a Conversation with Chicago Sky’s Lauren Niemiera

November 3rd – PRSASCC’s Year End Holiday Party!Christmas Party

Ready or not, fall is here and the start of holiday season is right around the corner. Traditionally, our chapter’s November meeting has been our year-ending holiday party. This year, we are moving our normal, second Tuesday of the month event one week earlier, to accommodate the PRSA International Conference in Atlanta during the second week of November. We have a fantastic speaker scheduled, some great awards to hand out, door prizes and our annual Toys for Tots campaign that even, so be sure to join us!

Featured Speaker:

Lauren Niemiera
Media & Communications Coordinator

Tuesday, November 3, 2015
6 pm Networking, 6:30 pm dinner
D.O.C. Wine Bar
326 Yorktowne Center
Lombard, IL 60148

$35 Members, $45 Non-Members, $25 Students, $30 Retired Members
Ticket includes dinner and program


Join Us September 8th: First Comes the Crisis, Then There’s the Apology….

Michael Shmarak
Michael Shmarak

It’s a Crisis and You Need to Apologize….Do You Know What to Say? And When Do You Say It?

It’s become routine in a public crisis: public figures and company representatives standing in front of the cameras, issuing an apology after having been exposed in some form of wrongdoing, or when something goes horribly wrong. Yet instead of helping to resolve the situation, the apology often makes things worse. Join PRSA Suburban Chicago on Tuesday, September 8th, as Michael Shmarak presents a look at the role of apologies in a crisis, and how to make them an effective tool instead of fuel to the fire.

Michael Shmarak

Michael is the Vice President/National Media Relations Director at Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock, and is also Adjunct Lecturer, Northwestern University School of Professional Studies. With more than 20 years of experience, his current and past representation of clients span several industries, including professional services, real estate, hospitality, retail, technology and investment banking.

Prior to joining Jarrard Phillips, Michael was the Vice President in charge of DKC Public Relations, Marketing & Government Affairs’ Chicago office. He was previously the Principal of Sidney Maxwell Public Relations, a Northbrook, Illinois-based public relations consultancy.  His work included senior-level client counsel, traditional and social media relations, communications infrastructure development and adversity management.  He previously served as director of Ruder-Finn’s Corporate Affairs Practice, and was Account Supervisor/Media Relations for Ketchum in Chicago. 

Michael earned an MBA from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI and received a BSBA in Marketing from The Ohio State University. 

Tuesday, September 8  • 6-8 p.m.

Uno Pizzeria in Schaumburg (Woodfield Mall)
$25 Members, $35 Non-Members, $20 Students
Ticket includes dinner and program

Eventbrite - Handling a Social Media Crisis

Quicksilver Edge Strategic Communications Wins 2014 PRSA Silver Anvil Award WindForge Kickstarter Campaign Gains National Recognition for Innovation and Creativity

chris orris receives silver anvil from PRSA

Congratulations to Suburban Chicago Members Debra Bethard-Caplick and Chris Orris for winning the Silver Anvil Award from PRSA. Debra, founder of Quicksilver Edge Strategic Communications, and Chris, an account executive for the firm, received the award in New York City. The Silver Anvil recognizes outstanding achievement in strategic public relations planning and implementation.
chris orris receives silver anvil from PRSA
Quicksilver Edge and account exec Chris Orris received the 2014 Silver Anvil Award for its Windforge Kickstarter Campaign: Saving a Game Developer’s Dream Against All Odds campaign in the Marketing Consumer Products category. Independent Canadian video game developer Snowed In Studios had a dream: to develop and launch their own video game, not merely develop the games designed by larger companies. After years of work the dream was in sight, if they could raise $50,000 through a crowd funding website, Kickstarter. But with 15 days till time ran out on their dream, they were still short by $34,000. Quicksilver Edge Strategic Communications took up the challenge to market the game and the crowd funding effort, and help Snowed In reach their goal – and did, with just 62 seconds to spare. Just two days previously, the campaign earned an Award of Excellence at the PRSA Chicago Skyline Awards. Continue reading Quicksilver Edge Strategic Communications Wins 2014 PRSA Silver Anvil Award WindForge Kickstarter Campaign Gains National Recognition for Innovation and Creativity