Notes from Philly

By: Chris Smith, Greater Fort Worth PRSA President

PhillyPhoto-IndependenceHallLRSay “cheeeeeeeese.” Click. Another photo taken of friends, colleagues or speakers. Say cheese again, but this time to go along with your traditional Philly cheeseteak. Then think “cheesy” for just a second when you first see those outlandish Mummers costumes.

Fun, photos and food certainly made the trip memorable, but add to that the latest and greatest in professional development and the result was exceptional value from this year’s PRSA 2013 International Conference in Philadelphia.

My own personal experience reflected the conference theme, “One World: Connection. Community. Collaboration.” That is, I truly felt “connected” to my peers through thought-provoking conversations and warmly received by new colleagues and senior-level practitioners freely offering sage advice.

On top of it all, our Chapter shined with Gigi Westerman, APR, being named a new PRSA Fellow, and Julie Wilson, APR, receiving the Lloyd B. Dennis Distinguished Leadership Award. Additionally, Margaret Ritsch, APR, shared her expertise on an Educator’s Academy panel about starting a student agency.


Indeed Fort Worth was well represented. Other members attending the conference or pre-conference were Carolyn Bobo, APR, Fellow PRSA, Doug Newsom, APR, Fellow PRSA, and Holly Ellman.


Consider attending next year’s conference in Washington, D.C. to build upon your own professional career. There’s simply no equivalent when it comes to professional public relations conferences.

Below are takeaways from my own perspective this year, but to find out what others experienced and thought, do a Twitter search with the #PRSAICON hashtag. There are plenty of blogs and videos already popping up to give you a sense of being there.

  • “Brands are now people and people are now brands.”
  • “Social media risk training is the new sexual harassment training of our era.”
  • “I can work from anywhere with technology.”
  • “Be authentic. Be who you are.”
  • In video communication, you need a mix to get out your message. The media mix is ESPO (earned, shared, paid and owned).
  • “Be resilient in the face of adversity.”
  • “The role of a leader is not to know everything, but how to find the answers for what your team needs at that moment.”
  • In presentations, use the 10.20.30 principle: 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30-point font.
  • Your brand is a combination of “functional and emotional” value.
  • “Public relations is about collaboration, co-creation.”

GFW PRSA Luncheon: What PR Pros Can Learn from Improv Photos

Four Day Weekend entertained attendees at the GFW PRSA Luncheon on August 14 at Colonial Country Club. The group taught attendees the skills needed to combine creativity with commerce to create harmony in the workplace.

Frank Ford and David Wilk of the comedy troupe Four Day Weekend share with the GFW PRSA’s August luncheon crowd how the tenets of improvisational comedy make good business sense – especially when it comes to corporate culture.


GFW PRSA member Phil Beckman gets a lesson from Four Day Weekend’s David Wilk on the importance of establishing a shared history with teammates.


David Wilk of Four Day Weekend leads several GFW PRSA members through an exercise aptly named, “Ad Exec.”

For she’s a jolly good fellow! Event honoring Gigi Westerman, APR, Fellow PRSA

Gigi-WestermanLRFor she’s a jolly good fellow! Fort Worth’s newest inductee into PRSA’s College of Fellows — Gigi Westerman, APR, Fellow PRSA — will be honored along with the chapter’s five other fellows Monday, Nov. 4, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the third level of Reata downtown. Cost is $15 per person and includes appetizers and one drink.

Please Note: This date differs from the one originally published.

Volunteers Needed for UTA Communication Day

CollegeStudentsLRThe Greater Fort Worth Chapter is hosting a booth at an event for UTA students called Communication Day on October 31st. We need volunteers from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. to staff the booth. Volunteers will talk about PRSA, the benefits of joining, and any other related topics. Also, the university hopes to connect students with internship opportunities. Therefore, the volunteers are welcome to highlight the internship programs at their place of employment. And, all chapter members are welcome to send information about their internship programs (for example, job descriptions, application procedures / guidelines and business cards) for distribution to students. For more information, contact contact Mindia Whittier at