Beginning a Career in Public Relations

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Becoming Accredited in Public Relations (APR)

The designation “Accredited in Public Relations (APR)” signifies a high level of professional experience and competence among public relations practitioners. Becoming accredited is definitely something to put on your task lists as newcomers to the field.

The APR exam was designed for professionals with at least five years of paid experience in the full-time practice or in the teaching of public relations and who have earned a bachelor's degree in a communication-specific field or have equivalent work experience.

Earning the APR mark of distinction signifies that a public relations professional is committed to the profession and to its ethical practice.

PRSA Houston APR chairs Amy Kaiser and Aaron Woods, APR, are proud to present Scott Scheffler, APR, external communications specialist with Marathon Oil, and Dennis Winkler, APR, president of Winkler Public Relations, as Accredited Professionals following their successful completion of the APR examination process.

The Houston Chapter will schedule its next study course in the Fall, but encourages those who are interested to begin preparing now! You may visit for complete information about preparation tools, facts, and procedures for taking the Accreditation exam.

Amyoffers this advice, too: "Although a five-year experience is recommended to take the exam, it is not required. But, please keep in mind that the exam is DESIGNED for a seasoned professional, and it's virtually impossible to pass the exam on book knowledge alone -- the exam will ask questions that do not appear in ANY of the study materials!"

Thanks, Amy and Aaron!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Junior Blogging Moving Up the Ranks

Many thanks to Contributing Author Jeremy Pepper for his article on Friday highlighting "junior bloggers." I appreciate Jeremy's mention of my blog, and also those of five other colleagues across the country.

I was a bit unsure about my credibility upon joining the blogosphere, wondering, "what will I have to say and who will listen?" I quickly realized that in the past three years, I've absorbed a LOT of information and knowledge that helped me and hopefully, in turn, I could help others who are just beginning a career in public relations.

I've certainly experienced tremendous growing pains in just the three shorts years I've spent in public relations, yet I look forward to many more!

Having resources like other "junior" bloggers to share ideas with is amazing. Keep the great ideas coming!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

PRSA Houston University Relations Committee Supports Efforts to Bring PR Club to Texas Southern University

Joining the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) while I was completing my degree at the University of Houston was one of the best investments I made as a student. I became active in the organization first as the PR Director and then later served a year as president. In addition to learning valuable leadership skills and understanding the dynamics of team work, I was able to network with professionals already in the field while I was still a student. Our leadership team attended PRSA Houston Board meetings and luncheons, as well as hosted a Regional Activity through PRSSA where we invited speakers from the industry to address attendees.

I'm telling you all this because I am working through PRSA Houston's University Relations Committee to help bring a PRSSA Chapter to Texas Southern University (TSU). While the TSU department of communications works to implement the three courses that are not in the curriculum to make the chapter official, PRSA Houston is working with TSU students to begin a PR Club on campus so students can begin to learn about the profession, as well as developing leadership skills.

PRSA Houston is modeling the efforts of PRSA Southern Arizona, whose efforts to establish a PR Club at the University of Arizona have been quite successful. I'll highlight those efforts in an upcoming post.

Please post your comments and ideas for TSU here!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

On Message with John Wagner - Wagner Communications

Today I am higlighting a very knowledgeable public relations practitioner, John Wagner. I met John in 2002 after graduating from the University of Houston, and I believe he is someone we all can learn from as we strive to be at the top in our field. In our interview below, John speaks about PR agency experience and how you know if it's right for you, as well as gives his thoughts on public relations, the profession and how technology affects our profession.

As principal of Wagner Communications, John helps companies of all sizes communicate more effectively with key audiences. Prior to founding his own firm, Wagner was senior vice president and general manager of the PR group at Bates Southwest Advertising & Public Relations, where he managed all day-to-day client activities for one of Houston’s largest communications firms.

While at Bates Southwest, he also developed and led the agency’s media training course, and personally taught more than 50 executives how to communicate more effectively with various audiences. He is also an experienced corporate writer and editor, and has won more than 30 major awards for his work, including two prestigious Gold Quills from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).

John has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. He is an active member of the PTA at Settlers Way Elementary in Sugar Land, and often volunteers at the school, most recently tutoring second-graders in reading.

And now...My interview with John:

Kelly: John, given your extensive background in public relations and communications, what aspect of your career have you enjoyed the most so far, and why?

John: The best part of my career has been the people I’ve worked with, without a doubt. I’ve had the good fortune of working with some great folks through the years, and I’ve been part of some really cool teams that managed to do good work while having fun. Most of my friends today are former coworkers. Not sure what that says about me … maybe I should get out more. :)

The other aspect of my career that I’ve enjoyed is the opportunity to learn about a lot of different businesses and industries. I’m a naturally curious person and I love the challenge of learning new things. When you work for an agency, you’re always being challenged. One day you’re working on a mobile phone account, the next day you’re learning everything there is to know about quartz countertops, and the next you’re trying to understand the intricacies of liquefied natural gas. And on it goes. If you don’t like that kind of variety, agency work isn’t for you.

Today, as principal of Wagner Communications, I have the added benefit of being my own boss, and being in control of my own future. I have a lot more freedom and flexibility in terms of the work I do, the clients I have, the way I operate, etc. It’s great. I feel very fortunate.

Kelly: Because you focus on messaging, where do you think companies, both small and large, go wrong in their messaging and communications with internal and external publics?

John: It’s a two-part gap, really – content and consistency.

The first issue is that corporate messaging is often too sanitized to be useful to people. Executives and even many PR people are comfortable with corporate-speak, but it really inhibits true communication. It’s not real, and the public is savvy enough today to recognize it – even as many corporate people continue to try and hide behind jargon and fancy phrasing.

Companies want to control the message, but that has never been possible and it’s becoming even more of a pipe dream today. The reality is that the conversation belongs to the consumer, and the businesses that come to understand that fact will be successful. Those that don’t will struggle. I firmly believe that.

The other issue is that companies don’t communicate enough. Businesses of all sizes should constantly be looking for ways to reach out and engage the people who are important to them, whether it’s employees, customers, prospects, the community -- really, anyone who is interested in the products, services or operations of the company. It’s not about issuing news releases … it’s about finding ways to create meaningful conversations between people. And that involves listening, too.

I always tell clients that communications is a process, not a one-time effort. It takes time and energy. And you can’t stop.

Kelly: can you share with us your thoughts on the PR practitioner being placed in the role as the “conscience” of an organization?

John: I think it makes perfect sense. The PR professional has the proper skill set and understanding of the brand, the marketplace, the audiences … without the competing pressures that other departments face to make sales quotas or keep expenses low or what have you. It’s a tough role to play, there’s no doubt. I think we’d all like to believe that we could stand up to a strong-willed executive and challenge improper behavior or change the company’s direction. The reality is that the communicator’s power only goes so far.

That’s why the best combination is a CEO who understands the importance of PR and a strong PR pro to advise him or her. The communicator can be the conscience to influence the CEO, and the chief executive has the authority and power to change policy. Without that kind of leadership, the role of the PR group as change agent or conscience is diminished. I think you saw that play out in many of the recent corporate scandals.

I also believe that we are entering a time and place where transparency is going to play much larger role in the public’s perception of companies – and in their choices of who they do business with. Consumers are increasingly interested in whether companies are “doing the right thing” and operating appropriately. And smart businesses are responding by being more open. As PR pros, we need to encourage and nurture that movement toward transparency. It’s as simple as using plain language in news releases and as complex as investing in corporate citizenship reporting.

Kelly: John, for those who want to get a seat at the management table, what advice do you offer?

John: Well, I worked for a wise and capable CEO once who told me that he never worried about his next job … wherever he was, he put all his efforts into doing the best job he could. As a result, he was promoted through the ranks and eventually made it to the top spot.

That’s pretty good advice for some folks, I guess. But I also think that it helps young people to visualize the future and have a long-term objective to work toward. So my advice would be first, master your craft – specifically, writing and communicating – because without those skills you won’t be perceived as a top performer.

Then, I believe it’s important to become a businessperson in addition to being a PR pro. That is, you must learn how businesses make money, how executives think and plan and react, how markets work, what consumers want and need, and so on. You need to read – a lot. Wall Street Journal. Business Week. Blogs like On Message from Wagner Communications. :)

I also believe you have to be a sponge. Learn to observe and mimic the people you respect, and to recognize the warning signs of people who don’t progress. Learn everything you can about every aspect of your business. Ask questions. Listen more than you talk.

Finally, you have to earn respect. In the agency business, it’s easy to become a backstabber or complainer. It’s the nature of the business in some ways. Avoid that at all costs. Learn to be a team player. Do what you say you’ll do. Be trustworthy.

When you combine your skills with your knowledge of business and the respect you’ve earned, you’ll suddenly find you’re a leader. And people are looking to you for advice, for help, for answers, for counsel. You’ll have earned your seat at the table.

Kelly: How do you believe technology has affected the PR and communications industry and are practitioners keeping up, in your opinion?

John: I think the biggest change is how technology is affecting the audiences we are trying to reach, to be honest. The world is a different place than it was 10 years ago, that’s for sure. And it will be even more different in another 10 years. People don’t need the Houston Chronicle … they can read the New York Times online. They don’t need local radio … they can listen to their iPods. They don’t watch TV news. They care more about what their friends are saying than what some PR person or politician is trying to sell them. They don’t want to be marketed to … they want to discover products and services on their own.

There’s no such thing as mass media, that’s for sure. Everything and everyone is a niche. It’s not enough today to send out a news release or create a 30-second ad. In fact, in many cases, those are the least effective ways of communicating today.

And really, I don’t think the communications industry is aware of the massive changes that have occurred, to be honest. They just don’t get it yet. It’s still business as usual at many agencies, for example.

It’s not just about new tools that have been created. It’s about the very nature of what “corporate communications” means. Companies on the leading edge – and there aren’t many – are doing things radically different than the rest of the world. The communication comes from within the organization – employees talking, via blogs or podcasts or what have you – to the world, putting a human face on the company. The CEO answers his own e-mail. The company involves consumers in every aspect of its business, from design to marketing.

It’s people-to-people communication versus the old, top-down, corporate-control style. In that environment, PR functions behind the scenes, facilitating the communication but not trying to control or drive it.

Here’s another example. We’re seeing people create rogue ads for products they are passionate about. They have the technology to create and distribute media around the world, quickly and inexpensively. Who controls that? Who’s in charge? The consumer is.

The same goes for blogs. You wouldn’t believe the number of hits my blog gets from people who are searching for information on companies … search engines drive them to my site because I’ve written about the companies they are researching. I’m just a small-time blogger but I can influence a lot of people with what I write. Multiply that by 10 million, 12 million blogs and what do you have?

The consumer is in charge. And most PR people have no clue because they are spending eight hours a day or more trying to get a hit on the 6 p.m. news. I’m not trying to be critical, just being honest about what I see.

The good news is that PR pros are quick studies, and they can – and will – catch up in a heartbeat. So I’m very positive about the future of our profession. I think our work will be radically different in 10 years, but I believe the changes are for the best. We’re moving from an era of obfuscation and control to one of transparency and real conversations. That’s a very good thing.

And there we have it - wise words from a wise practitioner. Be sure to read John's blog daily!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Diversity and the Public Relations Profession

I just finished reading a June 10, 2005 article on by T.J. DeGoat entitled, “The PR Industry’s Diversity Problem.” The article discusses the results of the 2004-05 survey of multicultural PR practitioners in the United States. The survey was co-authored by Lynn Appelbaum, APR, Associate Professor, Chair, Department of Media and Communication Arts, The City College of New York, and Rochelle Ford, Ph.D., APR, Assistant Professor, Advertising and PR Sequence Coordinator, Howard University. The survey was underwritten by RF Binder Partners.

While the article is copyrighted (and most online content is subscriber-protected), I will share with you a summary and invite your comments. But, first, a few thoughts…

Diversity is not an issue reserved just for mid and/or senior level public relations practitioners or for the public relations industry exclusively. Diversity touches all aspects of our lives and is not limited to the obvious factor of ethnicity alone. We also are diverse in our levels of experience in the industry, our ages, our gender, our geographical locations, the type of public relations we practice, our ideas, thoughts and approaches and the list goes on.

For those new to the public relations profession or those considering a career in public relations, we need to be aware of our diversity challenges and seek to meet them with open minds and a sharing of thoughts and ideas. I am three years into my career and just last month took on the role as chair of PRSA Houston’s Diversity Committee and am honored to work with a diverse group of professionals representing all levels of experience, gender, industry and so forth.

PRSA National has a strong diversity initiative and I believe that PRSA Houston, being located in as diverse a city as Houston, should address diversity and work to incorporate diversity initiatives into all facets of the chapter. Many students can address this within their own PRSSA chapters, as well.

Let’s acknowledge diversity and embrace the ideas and thoughts of our colleagues and those we support within our profession, but let’s not be diverse for diversity’s sake. What I mean is let’s not set a quota to attract XYZ number of Hispanic members, for example, and say, “OK, we’re diverse – mission accomplished. Next.”

While one can’t argue with numbers, we must look beyond and address what we do as a chapter or an organization or a business that will attract a more diverse audience. Are we asking those key audiences what they think of us? Do they know we are here?

The article reports that the survey questioned 132 black, Latino and Asian-American professionals and was conducted online in October 2004 and January 2005. The article reports a 10 percent response rate.

The article reports that the PR industry is “overwhelmingly white and exclusive,” citing “discrimination, lack of mentoring and little interest in diversity among industry executives” as a few problems uncovered in the survey.

Nearly 82 percent of the participants were women, which is representative of the industry's makeup, according to Appelbaum. Three-quarters of respondents were black, about 23 percent were Latino and about 1 percent were Asian American.

Also last week, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that Hispanics accounted for about half the U.S. population growth from 2003 to 2004 and the U.S. Hispanic population reached 41.3 million as of July 1, 2004, according to national estimates from the Census Bureau.

The Census Bureau also estimates the number of Asians in the United States at 14 million, up 3.4 percent. Following Asians in terms of growth from 2003 to 2004 were native Hawaiians and other Pacific islanders; American Indians and Alaska natives; and whites.

Back to the article...About half of respondents reported being treated unfairly in the workplace and 40 percent said they had experienced overt discrimination. The most common problem (reported by 62 percent of respondents) was the perception that people of color have to be more qualified for positions than their white counterparts. Additionally, 60 percent of those surveyed said practitioners of color are put on slow-moving career tracks.

About the results, Appelbaum is quoted as saying, "This is a wake-up call for the PR industry to take significant steps to address diversity. While we have begun to talk about how to diversify our work force, industry professionals and HR staffs must take action if we are going to effect meaningful change."

Let the action begin.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Public Relations Blogs of Note

I'd like to take a quick moment to mention two blogs I believe are noteworthy for those beginning a career in public relations.

John Wagner of Wagner Communications posts daily to his blog - On Message From Wagner Communications.

Prior to founding his own firm, Wagner was senior vice president and general manager of the PR group at Bates Southwest Advertising & Public Relations, where he managed all day-to-day client activities for one of Houston’s largest communications firms. While at Bates Southwest, he also developed and led the agency’s media training course, and personally taught more than 50 executives how to communicate more effectively with various audiences.

As principal of Wagner Communications, John helps companies of all sizes communicate more effectively with their key audiences. His primary focus is on developing creative editorial work such as newsletters, marketing collateral, Web sites, news releases, speeches, video scripts and more.

Check back soon for an interview with John!

John pointed out the nice links from Tom Murphy's PR Opinion Blog to both mine and John's blog. Thanks to Tom for helping spread the word about PR Blogs!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Resumes 101 - The Basics

Today's tips for job hunting are focused on your résumé itself. Your résumé may be your first introduction to a potential employer, but you want to strive to network as much as possible and ensure potential employers have a face to put with the résumé.

First, consider the contact information you are providing on your résumé.

Do you provide a professional email address, i.e. not a “cutesy” one like Gain the respect of potential employers and always always use your first and last name in your email address. They also are more likely to remember you that way, too!

Make sure that if you provide a cell phone number that the voice message is courteous and professional. Opt to not have music playing in the background. If you have roommates that may answer the phone, be sure they know you may be getting calls for a job interview.

When considering what skills to list, only list those software applications you can operate if given the keyboard during an interview. Same with languages - only list those in which you are fluent.

When listing internship experiences, try to include as many results as possible, such as my work on ABC campaign increased participation by XYZ percent.

And before listing your references, ask their permission and give your contacts the heads-up that they may receive a call because you are applying for a job at XYZ company.

Please post your résumé questions or comments here to share with others!

Happy Job Hunting!

Monday, June 06, 2005

A Conversation with Peter Roussel, former Deputy Press Secretary to President Ronald Reagan and Public Relations Consultant

Tonight, I am honored to share with you public relations and political career advice from Peter Roussel, former Deputy Press Secretary to President Ronald Reagan. Peter has more than 35 years of experience in business, government, politics and media.

Peter Roussel, former Deputy Press Secretary to President Ronald Reagan and Public Relations Consultant; author of Ruffled Flourishes

From 1981-1987 he served in the White House as Deputy Press Secretary and Special Assistant to President Reagan, where his very first assignment was to handle media relations for the landmark historic appointment of Sandra Day O'Connor as Justice to the Supreme Court. From 1974-1976, he served in the White House as Staff Assistant under President Ford and as assistant to then chiefs of staff Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Cheney. From 1969-1974 he was press secretary to President George H. W. Bush when Mr. Bush served as U.S. Congressman, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Chairman of the Republican National Committee. From 1992-2003 he was a managing partner of Neumann Roussel Public Relations.

Mr. Roussel is a 1965 graduate of the University of Houston, where he was honored in 1983 as a Distinguished Alumnus. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post and numerous other publications. He is the author of the recently published novel, Ruffled Flourishes, acclaimed by national media, and which draws on his experiences as a press spokesman at the White House.

And now, Peter Roussel:

Kelly: Peter, Who or what influenced your decision to become involved in public relations, and later, politics?

Peter: Being the son of a drama, music and film critic (my father served in that capacity for The Houston Post, 1933-66) I early on became aware of the impact of public relations. In those days, however, those practicing the profession were often referred to as "press agents." I was intrigued by the way my father often interfaced with these individuals, many of whom represented film companies, theatres or other arts enterprises. This interest ultimately led to my first job out of college in 1966 as an intern at an advertising agency. That was a fateful intersection in life for me because that agency, in addition to business clients, also occasionally created the advertising for political campaigns. The work there ultimately led to my meeting a young congressman from Houston named George Bush which, in turn, led me to a fascinating career in Washington,. D.C., ultimately including two tours of duty in the White House.

Kelly: What lessons did you learn early in your public relations career that you can share with us?

Peter: The lessons I learned early in my PR career are the ones that have been the anchors of my entire career: work hard, always be thinking creatively (we are, after all, in the idea business), harbor a passion for writing, and above all, maintain a sense of humor.

Kelly: And what advice do you have for new professionals beginning a career in public relations?

Peter: These same criteria always have worked for me -- working hard, thinking creatively, enjoying writing and maintaining a sense of humor. I think they can do the same for anyone else seeking to pursue this profession.

Kelly: What is your most memorable moment serving under former President Ronald Reagan?

Peter: During my service as a special assistant and deputy press secretary to President Reagan (1981-87) I was fortunate to be present at, and eyewitness to, many historic and memorable moments. Certainly one that stands at the forefront is the opportunity that was placed in my lap my very first day in the Reagan White House--to go to Phoenix, Arizona and handle media relations for the historic appointment of Sandra Day O'Connor to the United States Supreme Court.

Kelly: Where did you get the idea for the name of your book, Ruffled Flourishes, acclaimed by national media, in which you draw on your experiences as a press spokesman at the White House?

Peter: The title for my novel, "Ruffled Flourishes," is a variation on "Ruffles and Flourishes." The latter is one of the two pieces of music that is played upon the entrance of the President of the United States at ceremonial events. The second piece of music played is "Hail to the Chief." My book title is a metaphor for the often hectic aura that in my experience I found often surrounded the press-presidency relationship.

Peter continues his book tour and speaks about his book and White House experiences often, and with humor.

Friday, June 03, 2005

An Interview With Christine Hall, Houston Business Journal

This evening's post features an interview with Christine Hall, Focus section and media and marketing industry reporter for the Houston Business Journal. She joined the HBJ three years ago from Lexington, Kentucky. Prior to that, she was a graduate student at The Ohio State University where she worked for Business First of Columbus, an affiliate paper.

Christine Hall, Focus section and media and marketing industry reporter for the Houston Business Journal.

Kelly: Christine, where did you attend college and what did you major in?

Christine: I went to Murray State University in Murray Ky. and The Ohio State University for graduate work. I majored in print journalism at both and have a Spanish minor.

Kelly: What are your responsibilities at the Houston Business Journal?

Christine: Most of my time is spent as the reporter for the Focus sections where I write trend stories. The other half is spent on the news side covering the media and marketing industries.

Kelly: What is a typical day for you like at the HBJ?

Christine: When is it ever a typical at a newspaper? :) Usually I come in, check e-mail, return phone calls, get story ideas and write stories. Somewhere in there I have lunch.

Kelly: What is the one thing (or more!) you ask of PR professionals when they pitch you a story idea?

Christine: Make sure the story is relevant to the publication and find an angle that will make it appealing for the reporter to want to write it and for the reader to want to read it. Just because you are pitching a story on a business doesn't mean it is automatically news. Also, know what the publication does. For example, if you know the paper doesn't cover events, don't call up and ask if they are going to send a reporter out to cover one.

Kelly: What can PR professionals do better to make your job easier?

Christine: A piggy-back to question 4, know your client, what aspects of their business that is news, and don't be afraid to tell them when you think a story won't fly in a certain publication. They might take is easier from you up front than after you called up the media who told you it wasn't a story.

Kelly: So, what are you reading right now?

Christine: At the moment I am in the middle of reading Bob Woodward's article in the New York Post on "Deep Throat." For fun, a very non-journalism book - Sue Grafton's "F is for Fugitive."

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Lacey Barlen Selected as First Recipient of the Public Relations Foundation of Houston Scholarship Through PRSA Houston

Tonight I'd like to spotlight Lacey Barlen, a 2005 graduate of Texas A&M University, who was selected as the first recipient of the Public Relations Foundation of Houston Scholarship in the amount of $1,000 to further her studies in communication or public relations.

Lacey Barlen, recipient of the Public Relations Foundation of Houston Scholarship - PRSA Houston

At Texas A&M, Lacey received a bachelor of arts degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations. Her GPA is an impressive 3.78. Lacey also has been accepted to the Master of Human Resource Management program at Texas A&M.

She has served as President of the Texas A&M PRSSA Chapter since September 2004.

And now, a conversation with Lacey:

Kelly: Lacey, Congratulations on being named the first recipient of the PRFH Scholarship through PRSA Houston! Are you excited?

Lacey: I am extremely honored to be the recipient of the first PRFH Scholarship and I know that it will help me to achieve my dreams. The funds will allow me to expand my knowledge of public relations which will greatly benefit my career. I hope that one day I will be able to support students in the same way that they have helped me.

Kelly: Share with us why you chose to pursue a career in public relations.

Lacey: I chose to pursue a career in public relations because I want to wake up every day knowing that I am doing something that I love. I can guarantee “those mornings” will arise when I would rather listen to my blaring alarm clock than actually get out of bed and turn it off, but I hope that following my passion will minimize those occasions. I realized that PR and I were meant for each other the first day of Mrs. Mitchell’s principles class [at Texas A&M University]. She said that PR is impossible to define, but when she described the many facets of the field, she created a dream job where I could make money doing things that incorporate my strengths with the things that I love.

Kelly: How do you define public relations?

Lacey: Public relations is a fast-paced field that requires the ability to do many different tasks to attain a favorable public opinion of an organization or product.

Kelly: I’m sure you’ve learned many valuable things about yourself during your time as a student. Anything in particular you would like to share with our readers?

Lacey: Although I’ve asked myself why I decided to take fifteen hours, join the honor society, chair a management group project, and be the president of PRSSA in one semester; I would have it no other way. I have always taken on as much as I could handle and I’ve learned that to be successful, I must work effectively under pressure, manage my time well and prioritize. I have also discovered that I cannot do everything alone and that good leaders learn to work through other people. Public relations practitioners work through others to accomplish their goals by forming relationships with publics and media to advance their cause.

Kelly: What do you like best about public relations?

Lacey: I enjoy public relations because it is like a game to me. Pitching the media is like dangling bait on a hook and waiting for a bite. I also like the strategy that is behind planned events, press releases and campaigns. The continuous changing and adapting that it is involved also entices me because I despise boredom. Someday I want to run my own PR firm and work for small businesses so that I can see how my efforts help them. I am a start-to-finish kind of person, and I like the results-oriented aspect of PR that involves assessing the effectiveness of campaigns and media placements.

Kelly: What are your plans now?

Lacey: I’ve decided to get my Master’s of Human Resource Management because I know that it will strengthen my teamwork skills. It will also give me a greater understanding of the dynamic business world that will make me an asset to any company. A career in public relations requires an understanding of the media and an ability to write which I learned while receiving my undergraduate degree in Journalism. The next step is learning how to communicate effectively and think like a manager which I will learn in the management program. I made the choice to become a public relations practitioner because I want to go home everyday knowing that my work helps others and that I love my job.

Congratulations again to Lacey! She will be honored at the PRSA Houston Excalibur Awards on June 9 at the Downtown Aquarium.

The Public Relations Foundation of Houston was formed to support educational excellence by helping prepare high school and college students for careers in public relations and communication. The group will award student scholarships and distribute funds to educational programs that support public relations and communication.

Public Relations Events in Houston June 2005

I'd like to take a few moments to share with you upcoming public relations events in Houston during June. Networking opportunities are critical to building a career in public relations, and if you're already employed, you've learned the value of continuing to expand your network.

If you're new to PR, you may want to check out PRSA Houston's New Professionals Group Social on June 7 at Baker Street Pub in the Rice Village. You may register online at

Volunteer opportunities are available at PRSA Houston's Excalibur Awards on June 9 at the Downtown Aquarium. This evening recognizes top public relations talent in Houston and rewards those agencies and individuals who are the creative engines behind PR campaigns, events and media relations in Houston. For more information, contact Bill Zander at (832) 824-2627 or

Later in the month, PRSA Houston's New Pros will host a professional development seminar to welcome PRSSA graduates to PRSA. On June 23, 2005, Cristina Tolpo of Quest Personnel Resources, Inc. will present "Find Your Future: Tips for Successful Job Hunting." The event will take place at Kirksey Architecture, 6909 Portwest, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their resumes and portfolios for review. To register, visit

I look forward to meeting you!