Your Feedback Needed: Proposed $30 National Dues Increase

After holding steady for 10 years, the PRSA National Board of Directors has voted to ask the 2011 Leadership Assembly to approve a $30 increase in the cost of basic PRSA membership dues.  The leadership of the Suburban Chicago chapter want to hear your opinion before our Assembly delegate votes on the issue at the International Conference next month.

The explanation and rationale for the dues increase is available online here on the PRSay blog. We would like you to please read the explanation and then let us know how you would prefer that we vote by sending a brief email to:

The Next Level of Leadership – PRSA Suburban Chicago Chapter Elections

Elections AheadInterested in developing leadership skills? Want to take your career to the next level? If you have what it takes to lead a chapter of professionals, consider running for a leadership position for the coming year.   One of the great opportunities available as part of your membership in PRSA is the chance to develop your leadership skills as a chapter officer or committee chair. For younger members, it’s a way to develop management skills. For more established members, it’s a way to pass on the skills learned over a lifetime of professional practice.

If you’ve ever sat in a chapter meeting, thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could….” now is your chance. to make it happen. Available positions include:

  • President-elect
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Assembly Delegate (a three-year term)
  • Director (a three-year term)
Responsibilities for the secretary and treasurer last for one year, whereas the Assembly delegate, director, president-elect positions  extends for three. The president-elect automatically becomes president, and then subsequently immediate past president/elections committee chair, at the end of the year.
The following chair positions are also available, but don’t require election to the position:
  • Membership chair
  • Ethics chair
  • Public relations chair
  • Programming chair
  • Student relations chair

If you are interested in any of these positions, please contact Mary Beth Huffman, Immediate Past President & Chair, Elections Committee,, by October 31, 2011. Ballots will be due November 30th to, or Fax to 773-445-5998.


The PRSA Holiday Toys for Tots Collection Drive is Coming

Toys For TotsHeads up! Our holiday party this year will once again have a collection for Toys for Tots. If you wish to make a donation, bring a new, unwrapped toy to our year end chapter meeting on November 8, and the Marines will take it from there.

If you’re unfamiliar with Toys for Tots, it’s an effort created by the US Marine Corps Reserve to provide gifts for underprivileged children during the holidays. Their objective is to assist with the development of children for the benefit of them, their families and our nation’s future.

Over the 62 years of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program, Marines have distributed more than 400 million toys to more than 188 million needy children.  This charitable endeavor has made U. S. Marines the unchallenged leader in looking after less fortunate children at Christmas.  Over its 18 year life span, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation has supplemented local toy collections with more than 81.3 million toys valued at more than $487 million; plus has provided promotion and support materials valued at over $6.3 million.

Toys for Tots began in 1947, when Major Bill Hendricks, USCR and a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children.  The idea came form Bill’s wife, Diane in the fall of 1947, when she crafted a homemade doll and asked Bill to deliver the doll to an organization which would give it to a needy child at Christmas.  When Bill couldn’t find one, Diane told him that he should start one.   His 1947 pilot project was so successful that the Marine Corps adopted Toys for Tots in 1948 and expanded it into a nationwide campaign.  That year, Marine Corps Reserve units across the nation conducted Toys for Tots campaigns in each community in which a Marine Reserve Center was located.  Marines have conducted successful nationwide campaigns at Christmas each year since 1948.  The initial objective that remains the hallmark of the program today is to “bring the joy of Christmas to America’s needy children.”

Bill Hendricks, a Marine Reservist on weekends, was in civilian life the Director of Public Relations for Warner Brothers Studio which enabled him to convince a vast array of celebrities to support Toys for Tots.  In 1948, Walt Disney designed the Toys for Tots logo, which we use today.  More information on Toys for Tots can be found at

Champions for PRSSA: Supporting the Future of the Profession

Founded in 1981 by Betsy Plank, APR, Fellow PRSA, the Champions for PRSSA, formerly called Friends of PRSSA, bring together those who have special, ongoing interest in PRSSA, its student members and public relations education.


Champions Chapter Challenge

With another collegiate school year underway, Champions for PRSSA has launched its annual member recruitment challenge for PRSA members nationwide.  The CHAMPIONS CHAPTER CHALLENGE will provide one free PRSA Associate Membership to chapters for every five Champions they recruit. To join Champions for PRSSA, contact and register before December 2011.

Who Are the Champions?

Members of the Champions for PRSSA, all honored in the Champions Directory, include practitioners, educators, companies, agencies, PRSA Chapters and other organizations. Individuals who are not PRSA members are also welcome. The organization is co-chaired by Rochelle Ford, Ph.D., APR; Gary McCormick, APR, Fellow PRSA; Kevin Saghy, PRSSA past president; and Mary Beth West, APR.

The Work of the Champions

The Champions sponsor several award programs that honor exceptional Chapters, Advisers and students.

  • Teahan Awards – This program provides approximately $4,500 in awards to PRSSA Chapters for a variety of programs (newsletters, service initiatives, etc.), and to excellent Chapter Advisers and PRSA sponsor Chapters.
  • Altschul Outstanding Internship Award – A student who has completed an outstanding internship receives $300 and the internship provider receives national recognition.
  • Encourage Membership – Champions strongly encourage graduating PRSSA members to become PRSA Associate Members and co-sponsor, with PRSA, the first two years of professional membership for past members of the PRSSA National Committee.
  • Mentors and Speakers – Champions often serve as speakers for various National- and Chapter-level student events. PRSSA Chapters are also invited to contact Champions for mentoring and counsel.

Benefits of Being a Champion

The greatest benefit of being a Champion is knowing you have helped support students, Chapters and advisers that are striving for excellence; however, Champions also receive the following benefits:

  • Champions Newsletters – Sent from the co-chairs, the newsletters provide you news about Champion and PRSSA accomplishments.
  • FORUM® – PRSSA’s national newspaper, mailed three times during the school year.
  • Conference Reception – At the PRSA International Conference, Champions are invited to meet with PRSSA leadership.

In addition, Champions benefit from the outstanding students who will soon become their PRSA colleagues. Demonstrating the student Society’s leadership promise are PRSSA alumni who now serve on the PRSA Board of Directorsnational committeesand as PRSA Chapter officers.

Become a Champion

PRSA Suburban Chicago President Debra Bethard-Caplick, MBA, APR, has been a Champion of PRSSA for several years. Influenced by meeting Betsy Plank at her first PRSSA Conference as an undergrad PR student at Illinois State University, Debra has donated to the program and attended Champion’s events at the International Conference to answer career development questions from PRSSA members.  “Betsy spent a large amount of time with the students, and never treated us as anything other than professional colleagues. She inspired us all, and I try to pass that inspiration she gave us on to other students. I encourage everyone to become a Champion and support the future of our profession.”

Champions pay an annual membership fee of $50 (tax deductible) that matches PRSSA dues. To join, download the enrollment form (Word or PDF) and send payment to PRSSA Headquarters.

Stay Connected with PRSA Suburban Chapter Social Media

Social Media IconsIt’s 2011. That means having to miss a chapter event is no excuse for falling behind on chapter affairs! We’re connected as every PR pro ought to be, offering multiple ways of getting PRSA Suburban Chicago news though digital media.

For starters, there’s the newsletter you’re reading right now. Members can find this publication waiting for them in their inbox each month, ready to update their reader with PRSA news both national and local. From member accounts of international PR affairs to recaps of our latest speakers, this monthly newsletter is a quick way to stay in-the-know.

But if you’re looking for a little more interaction than an email newsletter can provide, our chapter has accounts with the Big Three of social media: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. All three will be updated whenever there’s an upcoming event, such as a chapter meeting or a social. Along with having chapter news appear conveniently in your news feed, “liking” our Facebook page (PRSA Suburban Chicago Chapter) means you’ll get direct invites to each of our events, with the option to RSVP, helping us to get a rough head count ahead of time.

Following us on Twitter (@prsascc) also provides you with updates, with the ability to share content with friends who aren’t following us. Joining our LinkedIn group (Public Relations Society of America [PRSA] Suburban Chicago) lets you participate in discussions about, well, anything us PR people like to talk about!

For general information, you can always pay a visit to our website, or ask us questions by emailing You can also keep track of our events and sign up to join them via Meetup by going to See you online, friend!

Join Us for “Imagine. Create. Inspire.” The PRSA 2011 International Conference Oct. 15–18 • Orlando, Fla.

PRSA 2011 International ConferenceBecome inspired by thousands of your colleagues at the industry’s most anticipated event — the PRSA 2011 International Conference, Oct. 15–18, in Orlando, Fla. With this magical city as the backdrop, learn the latest strategies in communications from the visionaries who imagine and create the most innovative techniques in the business.

  • Imagine the impact of public relations on your bottom line. Deepen your understanding of its value.
  • Create and define your three-day learning experience. Shape your agenda with rich knowledge from industry leaders.
  • Inspire and network with a diverse group of industry colleagues. Expand your world of information exchange.

Imagine the impact of public relations on your bottom line. Deepen your understanding of its value. Create and define your three-day learning experience. Shape your agenda with rich knowledge from industry leaders. Inspire and network with a diverse group of industry colleagues. Expand your world of information exchange. Continue reading Join Us for “Imagine. Create. Inspire.” The PRSA 2011 International Conference Oct. 15–18 • Orlando, Fla.

PRSA Offering Free Social Media Ethics Webinar to Mark September as Ethics Month

Social Media Ethics: Letting the PRSA Code of Ethics Guide Your Behavior

The Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS) will be hosting a special free Ethics Month Webinar at 1 p.m. EDT Thursday, Sept. 29. The focus of the webinar will be how the PRSA Code of Ethics can be used to guide ethical behavior in social media.

PRSA will provide insight and training for public relations professionals on social media ethics and how the PRSA Code of Ethics can help determine the proper course of action to protect you and your clients’ reputation and credibility. Current examples of unethical practices in social media will be examined.

The webinar will conclude with a Q&A segment. The webinar is FREE and open to all PR professionals, so please invite your Chapter’s members and colleagues to register here.

What:                   Social Media Ethics: Letting the PRSA Code of Ethics Guide Your Behavior (Webinar)

When:                  1–2 p.m. EDT Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011

Where:                 Online at Preregister here.

Please join us for this informative and interesting discussion addressing ethical issues in social media — and the resources PRSA has available to help navigate these challenges.


Career Fair Organizers Needed

Looking for an active way to network with employers? Need to expand your portfolio with some event planning experience? We’re looking for a team of professionals to collaborate on the planning and execution of two events designed for PR pros searching for a job. You’ll gain valuable experience and connect with potential employers in person before anyone else through your organizing work on the committee. The planning of both will provide useful experience to bring to interviews.

The first event is a career workshop to be held in mid to late October. We are featuring speakers with expertise in the most important aspects of the job search, including business etiquette, resume and cover letter writing and networking. As much as possible, we would like to make the event an interactive one, with opportunities to sharpen resumes and practice interviewing.

The workshop will be a lead-in for a job fair to take place in March. But unlike your typical job fair where attending PR pros are left to sift through jobs in sales, advertising or completely unrelated fields, we are looking to make the March event exclusive to employers offering jobs in public relations and marketing communications. Representatives from companies as far north as Milwaukee and as far south as St. Louis will be invited, and PR pros both green and seasoned will be targeted with advertising.

Positions on the committee are open to new graduates and more experienced professionals alike. If you are interested in joining the committee, please send us an email at – the committee is forming now.


Looking for Ideas!

Let’s talk!

As the economy improves, we’re working to rebuild our chapter. Now’s your chance to help create the kind of programming and activities you’ve always wanted to see the chapter do.

Get Active!

Been to a meeting lately? Come check out what’s new!

Get Involved!

There are still positions available on the board that we’re looking to fill. Our number one wish is for a Membership Vice president to focus on recruitment. Do you enjoy the interpersonal side of PR? Are you looking to expand your skill set and resume? We are also looking for someone to handle publicity for the chapter’s activities. Email if you/re interested in participating.

Introducing the New PRSA Suburban Chicago

We know what you’re thinking right about now: Wait – nothing’s different. We’ve always been the Suburban Chicago Chapter, haven’t we? Well, no, not really.

For the first several years of our existence, more senior members of the chapter will remember that we were the Greater O’Hare Chapter. Then we became the Suburban Chicagoland Chapter for the past several years. While it was a mouthful, the name did accurately describe the chapter. The problem with the name was that it was long and ungainly, particularly when typing it into a browser. And don’t even think about Twitter!

The growth of social media makes it even more important for professionals to be able to find us online. As part of our revamped web page, we learned that when people search online, they don’t use “Chicagoland” as a search term – they use the term “Chicago.” Even more important is the need to project a consistent brand to our members and potential members. Like Federal Express following the lead of

their customers and shortening their company name to FedEx, we have done the same.

So as of the March 11th PRSA national board meeting, we have dropped “land” from our name and are now PRSA Suburban Chicago. It shouldn’t take much getting used to – underneath the shorter name, we’ll still be the same chapter you’ve always known. We’ll just be easier to find online, at

And with our move last year to the Sheraton Suites – Elk Grove Village just south of the Northwest Tollway (I-90) at Arlington Heights Road, we’re easy to get to for our monthly programming meeting – and the parking is free!. So come visit PRSA Suburban Chicago at our next meeting April 12, and see what else is new with the chapter. You might go home richer by the experience!