Congratulations to Patsy Thomas, 2015 Communicator of the Year!

Patsy Thomas, president of Mental Health Connection of Tarrant County, will receive the Communicator of the Year Award from the Greater Fort Worth Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America at the fourth annual Worthy Awards dinner on Thursday, Nov. 5, at the Fort Worth Club. The Worthy Awards celebrate the region’s best in public relations and communications. Members of the critically acclaimed comedy group FOUR DAY WEEKEND will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the awards presentation.

A keystone of the Worthy Awards, the Communicator of the Year Award is presented to a leader outside the public relations profession who exemplifies open, effective communication. A committee selected Thomas as Communicator of the Year in large part due to her ability to communicate and create partnerships with public and private agencies, as well as individuals in need of behavioral health services and their family members.

The Mental Health Connection of Tarrant County was founded in response to a tragedy in Fort Worth. In 1999, a man entered Wedgwood Baptist Church on a Wednesday evening and began shooting. He killed seven and wounded several others before killing himself. Then Mayor Kenneth Barr asked a group of mental health agencies to develop and implement a plan that could address the mental health issues faced by the killer in an effort to keep anything similar from happening again. The group became Mental Health Connection of Tarrant County and in 2002, Patsy Thomas became its full-time paid president. Today, Thomas is still the only paid staff person of an unparalleled community collaboration that is considered one of the most successful organizations of its type in the country.

When many saw “evidence-based practices” as threats, Thomas created a series of symposia designed to bridge the gaps among research, policy and practice. Nearly 200 people attended each, and more than 150 volunteered to participate in Learning Communities responsible for identifying evidence-based practices that would work in Tarrant County. As a result, mental health agencies in Tarrant County are now staffed by more than 100 individuals who provide a number of evidence-based therapeutic practices that had not been available in Tarrant County before. Because of Thomas’ efforts, 54 providers from 13 local agencies are now trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Among the evidence-based practices now available in Tarrant County are several that address childhood trauma. Thomas led the communication effort that resulted in the mental health community focusing on this all-important area.

Due to Thomas’ communication and persuasion skills, approximately 900 individuals at 13 agencies are being trained to help teens become more resilient. She also spearheaded development of a public awareness campaign on recognizing trauma in children.

As one nominator said, “Because of Patsy and her ability to unite people, Tarrant County’s mental health system is one of the strongest in the country.” Her ability to collaborate with leaders throughout the community, the state and the country has resulted in more than $50 million in state and local grants designed to build a better mental health system in Tarrant County.

This year, several strong nominations for Communicator of the Year were received. The following nominees are eligible to be nominated again next year: Dr. Kent Brantley, for his heroic model as a crisis communicator when he became the first person with the Ebola virus to return to the United States; Wayne Carson, Ph.D., CEO of ACH Child & Family Services; Ellen and Tom Harris, founders of the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation to help prevent suicides; Marty Leonard, business owner, board member of the Tarrant Regional Water District and community volunteer; Gary Patterson, head coach of Texas Christian University’s nationally ranked football team; and Janet St. James, former medical reporter for WFAA-TV, who told her personal story of battling invasive breast cancer.

Previous Community of the Year award winners are former Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Walter Dansby (2014), Mayor Betsy Price (2013) and former Councilman Joel Burns, who received the inaugural award in 2013.

In addition to the Communicator of the Year Award, GFWPRSA plans to present more than 50 awards to area public relations and communications professionals for strategic communications programs and campaigns, including Best of Show. The evening begins with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m. and dinner at 7, followed by the awards presentation. Individual tickets are $75 for members, $85 for nonmembers and $50 for students. Tables of 10 are available for $650 at

The program is sponsored by the Fort Worth Business Press, PAVLOV, Crown Printed Products & Services and Glen E. Ellman Photography.

November 2015 Luncheon

Multicultural Audiences: How to Effectively Communicate with America’s Fastest-Growing Consumer Group

Presented by: Raquel Daniels, chief strategy officer at OCG PR

Join the Greater Fort Worth PRSA Chapter on Wednesday, Nov. 11, as Raquel Daniels, chief strategy officer at OCG PR, discusses the key elements necessary to communicate and develop long-term, meaningful relationships with multicultural audiences, the largest and fastest-growing consumer group in the U.S.

Shifting global demographics continue to change the economic landscape, increasingly prompting organizations to seek specialized communications programs for diverse populations. Understanding these challenges is key to developing effective multicultural marketing campaigns.

As these groups continue to grow and dominate the consumer marketplace, their influence is rapidly creating a “new mainstream culture” that’s young, tech-savvy – and worth paying attention to because of its tremendous buying power. In order to sufficiently engage this population, communicators must say goodbye to traditional methods and begin developing culturally relevant approaches.

This program will provide ideas on how to foster meaningful connections with diverse audiences, including:

  • How to develop a broader perspective about multicultural communications and marketing
  • How to connect with the hearts and minds of the audience
  • How to formulate ideas to make your communications relevant



Raquel Daniels Bio Pic OfficialRaquel Daniels is chief strategy officer at OCG PR. As CSO, Daniels drives decisions that create medium and long-term improvement for the organization. Daniels is a skilled leader, practitioner and storyteller who connects brands with the hearts and minds of consumers. With more than 15 years of experience in strategic communications, she delivers insightful solutions and develops unique strategic connections between the brands OCG PR serves and their targeted consumers. Daniels’ experience extends from strategic communications and brand marketing to non-traditional marketing and targeted media placement for Fortune 500 brands’ multicultural marketing programs, including Southwest Airlines and Blockbuster. Prior to OCG, Raquel was vice president of diversity and multicultural marketing at a Dallas-based marketing and media agency.

Daniels loves health and fitness activities and spending time with her husband, Leo, and 6-year-old son, Ian.




October 2015 Luncheon


“Moving PR Measurement Forward”
October 21 – GFW PRSA Half-Day Professional Development Program & Luncheon
Presented by: Marianne Eisenmann, inVentiv Health Public Relations Group

Join the Greater Fort Worth PRSA on Wednesday, Oct. 21, for a half-day professional development program and luncheon featuring Marianne Eisenmann, head of research and analytics at inVentiv Health Public Relations Group, who will join us from New York City to discuss “Moving PR Measurement Forward.”

Nearly everyone agrees on the value of PR measurement, but doing something about it can still be a challenge. This session will focus on identifying steps you can take to put measurement into action, including applying the Barcelona Principles and PR standards, using an integrated approach to measurement, measuring relationships and incorporating best practices for practitioners at all levels.

Click here to register!

The morning program will consist of:

  • Revisiting standards: Barcelona Principles 2.0
  • Setting measureable objectives
  • Establishing benchmarks
  • Achieving actionable measurement
    • AVEs and the AMEC Valid Metrics Framework
    • Integrated measurement
    • Measuring intangibles
  • Exploring PR measurement standards for traditional and social media

The lunch session, titled “Measurement Rules,” will include:

  • Barcelona Principles 2.0
  • Putting the Principles into action
  • Best practices in evaluating PR programs


  • 8 a.m. – Seminar Registration/Networking
  • 8:30-11 a.m. – Professional Development Seminar (approximately 11-11:20 a.m. Q&A followed by room changeover for luncheon)
  • 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m. – Luncheon Registration/Networking
  • 12-1 p.m. – Annual Membership Meeting & Luncheon Program

Marianne Eisenmann - headshotAbout Marianne Eisenmann
Marianne Eisenmann is head of research and analytics at inVentiv Health Public Relations Group, where she leads a team that focuses on research as the foundation for the development of communications strategy and planning and commits to delivering evidenced-based public relations. She and her team work with leading global companies, such as Amgen, Boehringer Ingelheim, J&J, Novo Nordisk and Pfizer.

An established thought leader in communications research and measurement and an elected member of the Institute for Public Relations Measurement Commission, Eisenmann led the development of the standards for traditional media measurement and, together with her co-authors, received the 2014 Jackson Sharpe Award for research testing their reliability. She received the Jack Felton Golden Ruler Silver Merit Award, an AMEC Communication Effectiveness Award and PR Daily’s Best PR Research Award, for her METRIC Model for measuring engagement. She was also included in PharmaVOICE’s 2012 list of the “100 Most Inspiring People” in the life sciences industry.

Eisenmann’s career in communications and public relations has had an international focus, including positions in Washington, D.C.; Beijing, China; Hong Kong; and New York. She has an MBA from George Washington University and a BA from St. Lawrence University in New York State. She is a member of the IPRA United Nations Department of Information Advisory Group and the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication.

September 2015 Luncheon


Ethical Decision-Making for PR…and for Life

Presented by: Samra Bufkins, APR, Public Relations Lecturer for the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas
Sponsored by: Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce

FWC 2008 LogoAnybody can memorize a code of ethics, but do you really know how to make ethical decisions? Join the Greater Fort Worth PRSA on Wednesday, September 16, as Samra Bufkins, APR, presents an interactive program that will walk you through a solid framework for making sure the business decisions you make will be ethical, regardless of what code of ethics you follow.

Click here to register!
Thank you to the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce for graciously sponsoring this month’s GFW PRSA luncheon!

Samra Bufkins - photo (1)About Samra Bufkins, APR
Samra “Sam” Bufkins, APR, has more than 25 years of strategic communications experience in the healthcare, environmental, energy, petrochemical, shipping and electricity industries, encompassing public relations, crisis communications, issues management, fundraising, internal communications and governmental relations. She has worked for agencies, nonprofits, a state agency and Fortune 500 companies, and she is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America.

Bufkins is now a lecturer in strategic communications for the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas, where she teaches the capstone course in ethics required of all PR and advertising majors and the capstone public relations strategic planning course. She also supervises PR internships. Bufkins enthusiastically incorporates social media strategies and applications into her classes, and also developed (and still teaches) the first strategic social media class at UNT, bringing in nationally known speakers and technical experts. Her teaching philosophy involves combining theory with practice while mentoring and coaching students as if they were junior employees of her PR firm or corporate communications department. She is a member of Kappa Tau Alpha, and is the faculty advisor to the UNT chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America and the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity. She is social media advisor to the NT Daily and Swoop, the student-run advertising and public relations agency. She was the recipient of the 2014 Honor Professor award, a student-nominated award presented by the Student Government Association to faculty recognized for exceptional service to students.

Bufkins also served as Accreditation Chair for the Dallas PRSA chapter from 2007-2010 and as Ethics Chair for the Dallas chapter from 2010-2014. She holds a bachelor’s degree in television production, journalism and English from the University of Kentucky, and a master’s degree in public relations/marketing from the University of North Texas. She has been accredited in public relations since 1996.



The Fourth annual Worthy Awards – Entry Tips and Information

The Fourth annual Worthy Awards
Entry Tips and Information
By: Carolyn Bobo, APR, Fellow PRSA

The Worthy Awards are designed to provide area communications, marketing and public relations professionals with an opportunity to celebrate creativity, strategic thinking and professional ability.

Don’t be hesitant about entering. Think about your activities between January 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015, and go for it.

Here are some tips for preparing your entry.

A solid entry will address these points:

  • What was done?
  • Why did it matter?
  • How was it measured?

Carefully Read the Entry Parameters
The judges (Cleveland’s PRSA chapter) will look at each required area and base their scoring on how well the four entry areas are explained. Entrants should address each required point, and thoughtfully explain their good work so that it is excruciatingly clear to judges not familiar with our area.

Rationale (Tactics) and Research (Campaigns, Projects)
Explain any type of research, and why it was used. A textbook campaign would include formal, original research, but that isn’t always feasible or necessary. Judges know this, so entrants should clearly describe what was done. For example, a brainstorming session, a review of media clips or discussions with clients may be described as secondary, qualitative research … literature review … content analysis … anecdotal reports.

Objective/Purpose (Tactics) and Planning (Campaigns, Projects)
Why did you do what you did? Possible reasons are to increase sales, raise funds, create name recognition or influence public behavior. Describe any factors about the project/tactic that will help judges understand the purpose and the market. Note that the purpose must – absolutely must – match the outcome. Read on to the Evaluation section.

Execution (Campaigns, Projects)
Explain which tactics were chosen and why. When there are several tactical options, the entrant should state, for example, that “these tactics were selected to expand the reach of our message,” identify and justify each tactic.

Remember that the judges won’t know that your decisions and efforts were special unless you tell them.

If your entry states “TV station XYZ sponsored the event,” you must explain that “TV station XYZ rarely supports activities in Fort Worth.” Or, “TV station XYZ sponsors only three events per year, and we convinced the station to choose ours.”

Another hypothetical example: If your target market/public prefers electronic media over print, your entry should state, “Secondary research found that our target demographic prefers to receive electronic communications.” Such data may be obvious to you, but your entry narrative also must make your decision obvious to the judges.

Execution (Tactics)
Here’s where to explain who wrote the copy, designed a magazine, edited content, provided photos, approved the budget and negotiated with a vendor. The tactics section of The Worthy Awards is an explanation of who did what. If an unusual price or component was negotiated, say so, so the judges will understand your extra effort.

Results (Tactics)
Tactics are created to meet a specific need, and are skillfully and professionally prepared. An evaluation of effectiveness and impact, based upon defined objectives, can be simply stated. However, the results must – absolutely must – match the purpose. If the purpose was “to generate five media stories,” the result must show five (or more) media reports. If the purpose is “to raise awareness,” the results must show a measurable increase in awareness.

Evaluation (Campaigns, Projects)
Explain how the targeted market, public or audience responded and how you learned about its response. This is the time to include quantitative data and analysis. Such measures may be a replication of preliminary research or measures of other activities. For example, measures can be election results, a sales increase, ROI, donor or donation increase, or the number of participants/responses that exceeded expectations. Include as much measurable and anecdotal response as possible, and describe future plans.

If comprehensive research was not needed, say so. For example, “More than 5,000 people in our target public responded to the activity. We expected only 3,000, so we did not repeat our preliminary research to measure interest in the topic. However, we will analyze the experience of these respondents to plan future campaigns related to this issue.”

Information below on Communicator of the Year will be available soon. Please check back.

Good luck to everyone. See you at the Nov. 5 awards presentation.

Please feel free to contact us if you have questions or would like more information: