President’s Column – April 2013

Chris Smith, Greater Fort Worth PRSA President

ChrisSmithPortraitLRThe Worthy Awards competition gained great momentum in just its second year, as Committee Chair and Board Director Margaret Ritsch, APR, shared the news post-deadline about the number of entries impressively surpassing established goals.

“It’s already clear that the Worthy Awards has become a very competitive contest,” Ritsch said. “Clearly, the market was ripe for a new awards program for public relations professionals in North Texas.”

Some communicators also attribute its early success to the 2011 folding of the Texas Public Relations Association, which also held an annual awards competition.

In any case, you won’t want to miss the presentation of these awards honoring Fort Worth’s most inspiring, influential and innovative communicators. Plan now to attend our Worthy Awards Gala held this year on April 25 at the Fort Worth Club. Tickets are going fast, so visit the website now to register.

In other news, do you know what APR stands for?
A. APR = April abbreviation per AP Style
B. APR = Annual Percentage Rate
C. APR = Accreditation in Public Relations
D. APR = American Poetry Review

Actually, APR stands for all of the above. However, if you work in the public relations field, then you know that “C” is the most relevant answer.

APR hails as a mark of distinction for public relations professionals who demonstrate broad knowledge, strategic perspective and sound personal judgment. Veterans say you become more marketable and earn higher pay with an APR. See if it’s so on April 10. Because our chapter wants to shine a light on the benefits of earning the prestigious credential, this month’s program will feature APR Committee Co-Chairs Sandra Brodnicki, APR, and Linda Jacobson, APR, plus others who have earned the APR or are currently going through the process.
Come hear what all the fuss is about and prepare to be enlightened – as always, right?


A mark of distinction

APRLogoLRGreater Fort Worth PRSA wants to shine a light on the benefits of earning an APR by introducing LAMP, the Local APR Mentorship Program developed for the Fort Worth chapter. Hear from those who have gone through the accreditation process and hear from others who have moved past contemplation to commitment. An APR is more than three little letters behind your name; it is a mark of distinction for public relations professionals who demonstrate broad knowledge, strategic perspective and sound personal judgment. This year’s co-chairs of the APR Committee, Sandra Brodnicki, APR, and Linda Jacobson, APR, will lead the program. For more information about obtaining an APR, visit

Wednesday, April 10 • 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Colonial Country Club (3735 Country Club Circle, Fort Worth, TX 76109)

Complimentary valet parking provided!

Click here to register.


  • GFW PRSA Members – $25
  • National PRSA Members – $30
  • Non-members – $35
  • Students – $20

Walk-ups: Add an additional $5 to the above prices

To account for additional costs associated with walk-ups and other meeting services, the Greater Fort Worth Chapter of PRSA uses the following reservation policy: Online reservations are due no later than 5 pm the Friday prior to the luncheon, and cancellations must be made by 5 p.m. the day before the luncheon. No-shows will be billed or a representative may attend in that person’s place at no additional charge. Walk-ups are accepted for an additional $5 if space is available.

Speaker Bios:

Linda Ld Jacobson, APR
LindaJacobsonLinda Ld Jacobson, APR, is an accredited public relations professional who currently oversees marketing and public relations for a communications and signal engineering firm based in Fort Worth, Texas. During her career, she has overseen the delivery of marketing, communications and strategic planning services for Fortune 100, 200 and 500 transportation clients, including managing day-to-day communications for BNSF Railway on a $2.5 billion initiative. She also was responsible for strategic communications for GE Transportation when that company expanded their locomotive manufacturing to North Texas and handled safety and security messaging for American Airline pilots after 9/11. Jacobson has won numerous awards for branding, communications and design, and in 2011, she received a Bronze Anvil award from the Public Relations Society of America for her strategic tactical work.

Sandra Brodnicki, APR
SandraBrodnickiSandra Brodnicki, APR, is president of Brodnicki Public Relations, Inc. a marketing communication consulting firm that focuses on helping organizations solve business problems using a direct, phased approach to understand the unique challenges organizations face and to determine a strong course of action. A former newspaper editor, reporter and columnist, she works closely with every client to move business forward by creating communication strategies tied directly to organizational goals for measurable results. In addition to the Best of Show honor, she has won numerous communication- and business-related awards since launching her firm in 2003. In 2013, Sandra will continue to co-chair of the chapter’s APR efforts.


And the winner is…

Are you Worthy? Find out at the 2013 PRSA Worthy Awards Gala.

Worthy-AwardsSiteHonoring the best in strategic communications, the Worthy Awards are presented to Fort Worth’s most inspiring, innovative and influential communicators. Don’t miss the presentation of these awards at the 2013 Worthy Awards Gala.

Thursday, April 25 • 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The Fort Worth Club (306 West 7th, Fort Worth, TX 76102)

Celebrated local journalist Bud Kennedy will serve as Master of Ceremonies at the event and will present the coveted “Communicator of the Year” award. Don’t miss this fantastic soiree at the historic Fort Worth Club located in the heart of downtown.

Click here to register.

Cost: $75 per person & $50 for students
Tables (of 8 or 10 seats) may be purchased for $500.

Worthy Award Advertisers:


Survey results provide roadmap for 2013 programming activities

In January, the Greater Fort Worth PRSA chapter surveyed its membership about expectations and interests for 2013 programming events including luncheons, professional development workshops, mixers and more. We sent out 182 invitations to the survey, and 57 of you responded, giving us a healthy 31 percent response rate. First, thank you. And second, please know that your chapter leadership has taken your comments to heart.

We learned some interesting things about what’s interesting to our chapter members. Nearly 75 percent of you say you’re looking for education when it comes to your local PRSA programs; while networking and interaction with our peers is important. You’re also looking for the “how-to’s” and those nuggets of wisdom that push you to pursue your career even more effectively and passionately.

When it comes to luncheon programs, some of your top interests were social media strategy; case studies / war stories from our chapter members; promoting digital literacy within our organizations and developing our own personal brands and career paths as public relations professionals.

For professional development workshops, again respondents stressed the importance of learning more about social media strategies and measurement techniques. Our members are also interested in hearing from local media about the state of the newsroom in 2013, along with making more effective presentations and training others to do the same.

In addition to providing feedback on topics for speakers and workshops, respondents also provided valuable feedback about timing of evening events and mixers, which will help several of our committee chairs plan appropriate events that generate value for our members.

Please know that we’re listening, and so far we’re on the right track for 2013. Our first professional development workshop, held last month, focused on the intricacies of social media and was a great success for our chapter by all measures. You can also rest assured that the next half-day workshop, scheduled for October, will certainly focus on one or more of our membership’s top recommended topics. And this month’s luncheon program focuses on how public relations professionals can develop crucial internal relationships that earn them a seat at the leadership table – another key area of interest.

Moving forward, our chapter’s board of directors will continue to use your feedback as our guide for planning effective programs and events for the rest of the year. We’ll also report back to you at the end of 2013 for an assessment of how we measure up. And in the meantime, if you’re struck by an idea for a great program, send it my way: I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

President’s Column – March 2013

Chris Smith, Greater Fort Worth PRSA President

ChrisSmithPortraitLRAre You Worthy?

Do you have what it takes to be a communications professional?
Long hours, lots of meetings, emails, phone calls, computer desk work and unnerving presentations may eventually earn you that paycheck – always a good thing – or maybe even a pat on the back from the boss via an email you’ve saved for posterity. But what else? What about professional acknowledgment for that portfolio you’re constantly nurturing for that next big promotion?

Do yourself a favor: Get some professional “street cred” and earn some recognition from your peers, where it really counts. Enter The Worthys, an annual communications awards program with entries reviewed and judged by your peers in another state.

Maybe you’re like I was for the past several years, always delaying the task of entering competitions until the deadlines passed. Takes too much time. The boss probably won’t want to fork over $75 for an entry. I’ve already proven myself. Sound familiar?

As a PRSA board member though, I felt an obligation to support our first competition and accordingly, found an hour or two to grab just one thing I did in 2011 and enter. Thanks to the guidelines written by PRSA Fellow Carolyn Bobo, APR, my entry was organized and thought-out. I had done my due diligence as a responsible, supporting board member and maybe even learned something in the process. Then I won. Just one entry in one category and now I could show clients (and potential clients) that my work had merit beyond what the resume showed. My peers had deemed it so.

Board members Gigi Westerman, APR, and Sandra Brodnicki, APR, are firm believers that entering competition is worth the time and effort. Their entry, “Money School,” a financial education program offered by two prominent local non-profits, earned the Worthy’s inaugural 2012 Best of Show award. Gigi says that just the application process alone requires a good amount of self-reflection in order to present judges a compelling entry. “You have to cut to the chase and explain what you did and why you did it clearly and concisely,” she said.

VP of Membership Richie Escovedo adds, “It’s a smart way to see where your materials might be lacking or where there are areas for improvement. The recognition is great, but the analysis is also a worthy endeavor.” No pun intended.

Convinced? Good. Time to look back at your 2012 accomplishments and enter NOW. The deadline is right around the corner on March 8. To enter, visit:

Worthy Award Entries Due March 8
Work from 2011 and 2012 is eligible for entry in one of the seven strategic communications programs or 28 tactic categories of the Worthy Awards presented by the Greater Fort Worth Chapter of PRSA. Campaigns, which require evaluation, have a two-year entry time frame, and tactics have a one-year time frame. There also are  categories for academic contributions to public relations. For tips about how to prepare a competitive entry, visit

The Worthy Awards recognize the very best in strategic communications in our region. The chapter also will honor the Communicator of the Year, a leader outside the public relations profession who exemplifies open, effective communications.

Visit to enter your work and submit Communicator of the Year nominations by March 8, 2013. Winners will be announced April 25, 2013 at the Worthy Awards celebration dinner at the Fort Worth Club.

For questions, contact Jahnae Stout at or Margaret Ritsch, APR, For sponsorship opportunities, contact Rita Parson at