President’s Column – August 2014

Richie Escovedo, Greater Fort Worth PRSA President

richieescovedoLRWell, we’ve reached the half-way mark for 2014 and I wanted to share where I believe we are in the chapter and where we’re headed the rest of the year. So far, we’re on target with our 11-month programming schedule having completed six luncheons for members and guests with five to go. As a reminder, we took our customary month off in July for scheduling purposes. We pick things back up Wednesday, August 13 at 11:30 a.m. at Colonial Country Club as Laura Elkind, a Fort Worth trial attorney with over 20 years of experience, discusses the basics of defamation and invasion of privacy. Details and registration link are in this newsletter and online,

The 3rd annual Worthy Awards program and event was an opportunity to highlight excellence in strategic communication in the area. It was also a good chance to test out an online entry system. In general, our numbers for award entries were down from previous years. But that actually worked to our advantage since we encountered some challenges with the online system. Overall, it was a good learning experience and we’ll look at options and aspects to improve for next year. (I’ll take this moment to offer to anyone interested in being a part of the awards team for next year, please let me know.)

The PR After Dark events have been fun diversions from our traditional lunchtime programming to help members connect with plans for two more coming soon.

Chapter members, please be sure to read through the new opportunity by the Accreditation chairs for the upcoming APR Boot Camp.

While we’re on professional development, I want to once again thank our friends at AAF Fort Worth and Social Media Club Fort Worth for working with us on a joint event back in March. I can’t wait to share our upcoming fall professional development program in October. But to get those details early, you’ll have to attend the August 13 luncheon.

There’s more in store. We still have ethics and diversity to explore in upcoming luncheons among other topics. There will be an opportunity for community service that I hope you’ll consider helping with once the details are set.
I continue to be impressed with the work and planning being managed by all of our committee chairs and board officers. Chapter members, I hope you appreciate how much work these volunteers put in on your behalf. I’m proud to serve alongside these dedicated professionals who give of their time to help keep the Greater Fort Worth Chapter of PRSA in motion.

President’s Column – April 2014

Richie Escovedo, Greater Fort Worth PRSA President

richieescovedoLROur PRSA chapter recently held a joint program with our friends at AAF Fort Worth and Social Media Club Fort Worth to host author  / speaker Jackie Huba for a fun evening at Four Day Weekend Theater. This night on the town took well over four months to coordinate, as the organizations’ presidents met and e-mailed each other to work out details.

The groups share a few members, and we all recognized an opportunity to join forces on the March 27 event to meet our common desire to provide quality programming. We had a great time, too, as you can see by the photos on our Facebook page.

One day before, March 26, the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram and WFAA-TV announced their own partnership. A content sharing partnership.

“The news executives said their companies will share a wide range of content, including breaking news, sports, business, traffic, weather, dining and entertainment from all over North Texas. They also expect their staffs to work together occasionally on joint projects.”

Both of these partnerships, our three organizations and the two local news outlets, caught some people by surprise. They took planning. They took not being afraid to fail. Hopefully when we look back, they will have provided positive outcomes. But if it was a fail, let us fail forward with intelligence gained.

My point is, I believe we are stronger together than we are separate. Unlikely mass communication compatriots can (should?) occasionally work together for the greater good. It might be one of the things that keeps us all afloat.


Corey Lark (SMCFW president), Jackie Huba, Rene Murphy (AAF FW president), and me.

President’s Column – March 2014

Richie Escovedo, Greater Fort Worth PRSA President

richieescovedoLRBefore we get any further into this year, I want to share our chapter’s vision and direction for 2014.

VISION: Public Relations is a lead discipline in driving strategic goals and achieving excellence in every organization.

MISSION: As the preeminent association for public relations and communications professionals, PRSA empowers a diverse community of members at every stage of their career with the knowledge and resources to advocate for the profession, achieve ethical  and professional excellence, and drive the strategic outcomes of their organizations.

The Greater Ft. Worth Chapter of PRSA will use the PRSA National Strategic Plan as a starting point for its vision and will promote alignment and further PRSA’s priorities of advancing professional excellence, diversity and ethics within the industry. I encourage all of our members (and others interested in what we do) to read through our 2014 Chapter Vision Guide to see our target areas of focus this year.

March reminder: There will be no Fort Worth PRSA lunch program this month. Instead, we’re joining forces with our friends at AAF Fort Worth and Social Media Club Ft. Worth for a special event on March 27 – Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Fans into Fanatics.

President’s Column – November 2013

Chris Smith, Greater Fort Worth PRSA President

ChrisSmithPortraitLRBeing president certainly has its strategic and operational challenges, but for me, the best part of the job is giving credit where credit is due. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that success was “to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.”

Recently, some of our members have gone above and beyond in their profession, giving back and setting the bar higher for us all. Gigi Westerman, APR, Fellow PRSA, is one such person. In her Fellows nomination letter for Gigi, Past President Allyson Cross wrote that Gigi “spent many hours meeting with potential APR candidates, encouraging their efforts and reviewing their Readiness Reviews . . . as a result of her efforts, several candidates within GFWPRSA are close to achieving APR status.” Gigi was inducted last month as a Fellow at the PRSA International Conference in Philadelphia and joins five other chapter members receiving this respected designation and honor.

Another member, Sandra Brodnicki, APR, is helping others in our profession understand and demonstrate the value of well-thought-out public relations through contribution of a recent article, “Identifying Roadblocks Key to Defining Objectives, Success.” The article appears in the latest PR Measurement Guidebook (Vol. 7) from PR News Press, and it stresses the importance of evaluation in communication efforts and in our industry as a whole. In the article, Brodnicki offers her thoughts and experiences on the pitfalls that we often face when dealing with internal and external clients who may have a fuzzy understanding of how communications fits within an overall business strategy. More importantly, she lays out processes for identifying and overcoming roadblocks and proving the merits of proactive, strategic communications.

We were also excited to learn that our own Julie Wilson, APR, recently received the Lloyd B. Dennis Distinguished Leadership Award. The award recognizes exemplary public relations practitioners who have used their skills in public affairs to promote truth while demonstrating high standards of integrity and honesty in business dealing, and who have helped affect positive change within an organization. Julie’s commitment to PRSA’s principles has set a solid example for practitioners that deal with public affairs and our industry as a whole and we’re honored to have her as a longtime member and role model for our chapter.

Many thanks to those who have given and continue to give back, helping pave the way for others in our profession.

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.”