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

Pat Hansen: Outstanding Member of the Year

pat hansen prsa suburban chicago

Pat Hansen received PRSA SCC’s “Outstanding Member of the Year” award for 2013. The Suburban Chicago Chapter is fortunate to have Pat on the board of directors. As the chapter continues to change and grow, Pat offers her insight and ideas to help members create an organization that benefits the profession.

pat hansen prsa suburban chicago
Pat Hansen, APR
Thank you for the chapter’s recognition as the 2013 Outstanding Member of the Year. I’m very humbled.

Contributing to the Suburban Chicago PRSA chapter and being on its board of directors for three years has been rewarding. That’s why I make the extra effort to travel some 60 miles each way to chapter meetings and have committed to another three year term on the board. You see, I enjoy the dynamic group of individuals in the chapter and feel that each adds to the chapter experience.

In addition, our local Suburban Chicago PRSA Chapter simplifies networking. It supports the development of individual skills. It helps individuals prepare for PRSA Accreditation, an important recognition of their talents and abilities. It provides a supportive setting for professionals who enjoy being with others in the field.

That is very important on a personal and professional level. The introduction of new technology and new tools is driving the evolution of public relations at a rather quick pace. Staying current is critical. Being a part of the PR community is essential.

Pat Hansen, APR, Counselor, Hansen Communications, Kankakee, IL

April is Accreditation Month

APR_logoApril is Accreditation month at PRSA, a time to learn how Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) can take your career to the next level. APR is a voluntary certification program for PR professionals. Earning your APR demonstrates your commitment to the profession and to its ethical practice by advancing the Readiness Review process and passing the computer-based APR Examination. Continue reading April is Accreditation Month

PRSA Midwest DistrictThe 1980s, rock ‘n’ roll, bad hair and PR have more in common than you might think. But don’t just take our word for it. Join the Midwest District Conference in Springfield, Missouri, June 18-20 to hear breakout session speaker Rodger Roeser share how his experience as a 1980s rocker proved insightful for running successful PR programs today. Continue reading

Call for Womenetics POW! Awards

Sponsored Post
Womenetics Announces Call for Nominees For the 2014 POW! Awards


Womenetics calls on the Chicago community to nominate female leaders of extraordinary purpose and impact for the 2014 POW! Awards. Honorees are identified as women who transform vision into action, surmount challenges, break down barriers, spark innovation and attain success in the workplace and the community.

Past POW! Award honorees are at the helm of notable organizations such as CNN, Popeyes,Edelman, The Coca-Cola Company, Merrill Lynch, Ernst & Young LLP, Zurich, Northern Trust and the Women’s Business Development Center.

POW! Award recipients are key forces of nature and prudent risk-takers in business, public policy, academia and society. To date, 57 women have been inducted into the Womenetics POW! Awards hall of fame, and through sharing their success stories and career insights, Womenetics continues to inspire women to stay in the pipeline and take a seat at the table. Womenetics is eager to induct the next group of game changers, trailblazers and catalysts and appreciates the support of the Chicago community in
helping us recognize these women.

Nominees will be evaluated for the following criteria:
• Business acumen
• Demonstrated leadership ability
• Documented impact in the workplace and/or community
• Record of achievement that demonstrates intentionality and goal setting
• Distinguishing personal qualities

Womenetics will recognize award recipients for their purposeful leadership at the 2014 POW! Awards community luncheon to be held on March 19, 2014 in Chicago and April 30, 2014 in Atlanta.

Womenetics is accepting nominations through Friday, January 10 for Chicago nominees. Nomination forms are available at the Womenetics website,

Welcome from New Chapter President

stephanie gandseyDear PRSA Suburban Chicago Chapter members and prospective members:

I hope everyone’s 2013 ended on a high note and you are ready to tackle 2014 with personal and professional goals.

I would like to thank Immediate Past President Debra Bethard-Caplick for working tirelessly on the Suburban Chicago Chapter. Through her leadership, the chapter was able to grow to over 100 members and rebuild its image. Debra inspired me to take on a leadership role within the chapter and I am thankful for the knowledge she passed on to me and for the support she has given me during my service as Secretary and President-elect. Debra will continue to be part of the chapter and is going to concentrate on membership, while also providing guidance to the board.

I am excited to take on this new role as President of the Suburban Chicago Chapter. I have more than 8 years of experience in a public relations/marketing communications role at both nonprofit and corporate organizations. My passion for public relations and marketing communications type work began back in eighth grade when I was on the yearbook team. Not only did I have to write the articles for the yearbook, but I also had to lay out the yearbook–using the paste-up method! Today, I am fully submerged in digital public relations, while understanding when traditional methods are needed.

Our new board members will be announced at our first meeting of the year. We are all committed to making the Suburban Chicago Chapter of PRSA an excellent resource for your career goals. From training to networking, we strive to offer current topics to our members in order to enhance your career.

Please, feel free to contact me with any suggestions to improve our Chapter. Also, if you are looking to have a leadership role on the board, we have several opportunities available. See below for links to my social profiles.

Here’s to a new year, with new ideas that advance the profession!

Twitter: @sgandsey

Stephanie Z. Gandsey

FREE Chapter Membership for a year when you join PRSA National!

PRSA_RGB_234781The PRSA Suburban Chicago Chapter wants to welcome everyone back from our summer hiatus. We have three wonderful programs and plenty of after hours planned for the rest of 2013 before it’s head first into 2014. If you have been thinking about becoming a member, now is the time since PRSA National is offering free Chapter membership to those who join PRSA National by September 30.

What are some of the perks to joining?

• Free webinars through PRSA National on a variety of PR/MarCom Subjects
• A Network of professionals
Tactics and Strategist publications
• Reduced costs to Chapter Programs
• Local Networking

To take advantage of this offer by September 30, visit How to Join PRSA.

New Monthly Program Location: D.O.C. Wine Bar in Lombard!

After several years in Elk Grove Village, the PRSA Suburban Chicago Chapter is changing locations to better serve our members. Based on a survey this past fall, the Lombard area was convenient for many members. With close proximity to several major highways and businesses, we are hoping to continue growing our chapter.

The chapter conducted a search with area chambers of commerce to find the best location that met our requirements for space and cost. The D.O.C. Wine Bar in Lombard was able to offer the best options for our monthly program. Instead of a set meal, attendees have the choice between three meals the night of the program. Also, the room has its own bar, allowing for better networking before and after the program.

Meeting Room at D.O.C. Wine Bar
The meeting room offers a fun, professional atmosphere for our monthly programs.

At this point in time, we are contracting with D.O.C. Wine Bar for four months. We look forward to your feedback on the new location.

Prices (includes program, meal, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverages) for 2013 are:
Members: $35
Non-Members: $45
Students: $30
Retired Members: $32

PLEASE NOTE: There is a $5 fee for walk-ins, please register online now.

D.O.C. Wine Bar
is located in the Yorktown Shopping Center at:
326 Yorktown Shopping Center
Lombard, IL 60148

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Next PRSASCC Job Club Meeting Nov. 3rd

The PRSASCC Job Club is a new service offered by our chapter to recent college graduates and veteran professionals alike, whether members or nonmembers. Our goal is to help every public relations professional achieve employment, whether that be with an agency or getting freelance work or trying to find an entry level position.

The holidays are approaching, and we’re going to show how to survive the job search during this time. We will continue to talk about job search strategies and update everyone on our progress for the Ron Richman project, our PR Serving America project to give participants current experience to include in their portfolios. Our project is going to give Ron Richman the gift of life by helping him find a kidney donor. You can read more about Ron and his search for a donor on his Facebook page, and elsewhere on our website.

We want to make sure people have a great resume and the skills to back it up. We are currently meeting once a month with weekly meetings on Google+. We hope to see you soon!

Our next scheduled meeting is November 3rd, so feel free to join us:

Nov. 3rd at noon


Glen Ellyn Park District

185 Spring Ave
Glen Ellyn, IL

Don’t forget we have weekly meeting on our Google hangout. Just email us to find out more about it!