Entry tips for the 5th Annual Worthy Awards!

By Carolyn Bobo, APR, Fellow PRSA

The Worthy Awards are back! The annual contest, like those held by other chapters, gives area communications, marketing and public relations professionals an opportunity to honor and celebrate creativity, strategic thinking and professional ability.

Worthy entries will be judged by professionals like you who understand the challenges of time, budget, staff and other factors that go into efforts to support our organizations or clients. Don’t be shy; identify your best efforts and enter them. But be sure to allow plenty of time to think about your work from beginning to end and prepare a strong narrative to showcase your project.

Terminology and tactics have changed over the years, but the fundamentals of our profession remain the foundation for contests: research, planning, execution and measurement. Read the entry form closely and be sure to explain:

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

Some tips for entrants:

Explain any type of research. A textbook campaign includes qualitative and/or quantitative research, but that isn’t always feasible or necessary. Judges know this, but they expect your entry narrative to show your knowledge of options and professional literacy. The judges want to know that you observed the public or market, and then thought about how to reach it. Use textbook terminology. For example, best practices review, media audit, literature search, anecdotal reports or even a brainstorming session may be described as secondary, informal research.

Explain the strategic purpose of your entry. Was your intent to create name recognition, influence behavior, increase sales, raise funds? Describe any factors about the program or tactic that will help judges understand your decisions. Judges are not likely to be familiar with our market and geographic area, so be sure to include details about population, annual sales, number of employees, consumers, etc., that help them understand the scope of your efforts.

Explain which tactics were chosen and why.

Remember that the judges won’t know that your tactic was spot-on unless you tell them. If your work required extraordinary skills or a budget challenge, be sure to say so. If media relations are part of your entry, be sure to note that we work in the fifth largest media market in the country (Nielsen) and that there is fierce competition for mass media attention.

Describe how the target responded and how you learned about its response. Program evaluation and measurement may be a replication of preliminary research or 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; 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.” 

Or, if the goal 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.

Remember that evaluation results must must must match your stated goal or purpose, i.e., “Why our work mattered.”

Good luck!

(Carolyn has been a member of Fort Worth PRSA since 1999 and was previously a member of contest-hosting chapters in New Mexico and South Carolina.)

May 2016 Member Spotlight: Tracy Greene

May 2016 Member Spotlight: Tracy Greene

Tracy Greene, Public Information Officer, Amon Carter Museum of American ArtName: Tracy Greene

Job Title/Company: Public Information Officer, Amon Carter Museum of American Art

College/Degree/Graduation Date: TCU, Bachelor of Science in Advertising/Public Relations, 1999

Hometown: Dayton, Texas

Position within GFW PRSA (i/a): Hospitality Chair

Childhood ambition (what did you want to be when you grew up?): Broadcast journalist

Current livelihood (what you’re actually doing as a grown-up): Nonprofit public relations

First PR job: Communications coordinator at the Fort Worth Zoo

What you know now that you wish you’d known then: So many things!

  • The traditional media landscape will dramatically evolve in your career, so it’s best to get on board sooner rather than later. (When I started in PR, most people still read the newspaper, and a tweet was a bird call!)
  • It’s called media relations for a reason–the relationship is critical, even more so than a perfectly written news release.
  • You’ll do your best work on a small budget! Creativity goes a long way.

BestTracy Greene (2) piece of advice you’ve ever received: Two things come to mind. Trust your gut; your instincts are almost always right. Always have someone proof your work.

Greatest professional or personal accomplishment:

  • Planning and promoting a baby shower for an elephant, which generated international awareness for the Fort Worth Zoo’s elephant conservation program (professional)
  • Running a half-marathon after a leg injury delayed my first attempt (personal)
  • Raising kind and compassionate children (personal–and a work in progress)

If you weren’t in PR, you would be a: professional resume writer.

Desired legacy: I want to be remembered as someone who made a difference to my family, friends, coworkers and community.

Why did you originally join PRSA: To learn more about the profession and meet novice and seasoned colleagues

Finally, tell us about your hometown and what makes it cool: My hometown is very small–only about 7,000. There were more people at TCU (even in the mid-90s) than in my hometown!

March 2016 Member Spotlight: Laken Rapier

March 2016 Member Spotlight: Laken Rapier

Laken Rapier - headshotName: Laken Avonne Rapier

Job Title/Company: Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator, Justin Brands, Inc.

College/Degree/Graduation Date: University of Kansas / Bachelor of Science in Journalism / May 2013

Hometown: Flower Mound, Texas

Position within GFW PRSA (i/a): I help tweet during luncheons and events on occasion 🙂

Childhood ambition (what did you want to be when you grew up?): Growing up, I wanted to be a chef. I loved watching Food Network and insisted on visiting Emeril Lagasse’s restaurant in Orlando during a family vacation to Disney World and Universal Studios at age 8.

Current livelihood (what you’re actually doing as a grown-up: Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator

First PR job: I handled press and communications for a Member of Congress on Capitol Hill.

What you know now that you wish you’d known then: Identify what works for you, in order to be and give the best that you can. Recognize that sometimes you need a break or change of pace to make sure you’re always coming at your work in the most creative and energetic way you can, while giving not just 100%, but the best 100% you can give.

Laken RapierBest piece of advice you’ve ever received: I’ve received a lot of good advice. Here are some of my favorites that I remind myself of often: Actions create opportunities. Listening is very different from hearing. Use all your vacation days, because everyone needs time to recharge.

Greatest professional or personal accomplishment: One of the accomplishments I’m most proud of is having an article I wrote nominated for a Hearst Award.

If you weren’t in PR, you would be: An attorney

Desired Legacy: My desired legacy is to be bigger than myself. I hope when I’m not present people still know what’s in my heart.

Why did you originally join PRSA? I joined PRSA after attending a few events with some coworkers. I found it was a great way to meet other PR professionals in the community, while continuing to learn and keep up with industry trends.

Finally, tell us about your hometown and what makes it cool.Flower Mound is a sleepy town, so much in fact that people I went to high school with made a music video about it lacking excitement. Is that cool?

March 2016 Membership Mixer

March Mixer 2016
It’s time for Greater Fort Worth PRSA’s annual March Membership Mixer!

Join us Wednesday, March 23, from 5:30-7 p.m. on Bar Louie’s rooftop patio for a night of drinks, food and relaxing. Members who bring a guest will be eligible for door prizes from local restaurants. The cost is $5 per person. Register today: www.cvent.com/d/0fq281/1Q.

 

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 worthyawards.com.

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