Hello, Springfield!

July 10, 2014

By Brant Skogrand, APR, MBC 

Joe Cohen at 2014 Midwest District Conference

Joe Cohen, APR, the national chair of PRSA, discussed PRSA’s strategic plan, the evolving role of public relations professionals, and the “seven deadly sins of PR.”

Approximately 200 public relations practitioners recently converged in Springfield, Mo., for this year’s PRSA Midwest District Conference. While storms in the Chicago area delayed those flying through O’Hare Airport, travelers persisted and were rewarded with excellent learning and networking opportunities.

The conference, with a tagline of “Firm Foundations/New Horizons,” featured three keynotes:

  • Minnesota’s James Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA, spoke on “Gaining Influence: How to Have a More Important, Powerful, Influential and Fulfilling Career.”
  • Joe Cohen, APR, the national chair of PRSA, discussed PRSA’s strategic plan, the evolving role of public relations professionals, and the “seven deadly sins of PR.”
  • Missy Maher of Edelman shared her insights on marketing to the modern family. 

More than 25 breakout sessions provided plenty of choices for attendees. Topics ranged from content marketing to social media measurement to chocolate addiction and beyond.
Approximately 20 PRSA members either already involved or interested in PRSA leadership participated in the conference’s QuickStart session. They learned how to focus their leadership qualities for chapter success from Regina Waters, Ph.D., of Drury University, who discussed best practices from around the Midwest District and heard from Cohen on the role of PRSA National.

Brian Lee at 2014 Midwest District Conference

Brian Lee, APR, instructs attendees how to measure and analyze social media efforts.

While a printed program provided an overview of the conference, attendees also were able to download the Guidebook app to create a personalized schedule and be updated about schedule changes on the fly. The app proved its use when two sessions were scratched due to the cancellation of the speaker’s flight from Chicago. 

In addition to networking opportunities throughout the day, attendees hit downtown Springfield for dinner at a restaurant of their choice and ended the evening with a gathering at Springfield Brewing Company.

The annual Midwest District Platinum Award, the district’s highest individual honor, was given to Debbie Harvey, APR. She was president of the Chicago chapter in 2012 and championed and led development of the 2012 Midwest District Conference in Chicago. Harvey works for the American Medical Association as the vice president of change strategies.

Thanks to the Southwest Missouri PRSA chapter for providing an excellent professional development opportunity!

To see tweets from the conference, search Twitter using the hashtag #prsamdc.

Brant Skogrand, APR, MBC, is the immediate past chair of the PRSA Midwest District, a past president of Minnesota PRSA, chief communications officer of Skogrand PR Solutions, and author of the small business PR book “19 Tips for Successful Public Relations.”

Congratulations to New Officers for 2014

November 7, 2013

Midwest District delegates attending the October 27 annual meeting in Philadelphia approved the slate of officers for 2014. Sorry I did not get this posted earlier! Here’s the team:

  • Chair: Lori Marble, APR (Southwest Missouri Chapter)
    Lori is Director of Marketing and Communications for Mercy Hospital in Joplin, and serves as president of the SW Missouri Chapter for 2013.
  • Chair-elect: Kellie Wostrel, APR (Nebraska Chapter)
    Kellie is Public Relations Manager at Swanson Russell in Omaha and serves as president of the Nebraska Chapter for 2013.
  • Treasurer: Jill Alexander, APR, Fellow PRSA (St. Louis Chapter)
    Jill is Senior Director of Corporate Communications for Isle of Capri Casinos in St. Louis. This will be Jill’s second year as treasurer.
  • Secretary: Karen Korsgard, APR (Central Illinois Chapter)
    Karen is Director of Client Services at Hult Marketing in Peoria. This will be Karen’s second year as secretary.
  • Immediate Past-chair: Brant Skogrand, APR, MBC (Minnesota Chapter)
    Brant is principal and Chief Communications Officer for Skogrand PR Solutions in Minneapolis. Brant also served as president of the Minnesota Chapter before moving into leadership at the MW District.
  • PRSA Nominating Committee Representative (Primary): Lewis Pryor, APR (Central Illinois Chapter)
    Lewis is AVP of Public Affairs at State Farm Insurance’s corporate headquarters in Bloomington. He is also president of the Central Illinois Chapter for 2013.
  • PRSA Nominating Committee Representative (Alternate): Herb Ritchell (Chicago Chapter)
    Herb is Director of the Advertising and Public Relations program at Loyola University, where he also oversees internships and teaches advertising and public relations courses. Herb also operates his own consulting practice.

Congratulations once again to the slate, and thank you for your service to your Chapter, the District and the Society!

2014 Midwest District Conference site is live!

September 23, 2013

Be among the first in the District to mark your calendars and bookmark this site for the 2014 PRSA Midwest District Conference, June 18-20 in Springfield, MO.

The Southwest Missouri Chapter will be our hosts next year. The planning team is already hard at work, creating an event that has something for everyone at every stage of their professional life.

The site is not open for registration yet, but there is already…

  1. an outline of the schedule (including the Leadership Quick Start that precedes the formal conference);
  2. links to a page of conference events; and
  3. information about the venue and facilities: the Ramada Oasis Hotel & Conference Center.

Kudos to the 2014 Conference planning team for being so far ahead of the curve! Be sure to visit the site regularly for updates. We’ll post them here, too, of course, so come around any time.

See you in Springfield!

We’re counting the days until Conference; Join us!

July 18, 2013

We have more than 165 Public Relations professionals registered for our 2013 PRSA Midwest District Conference next week…and registrations are still coming in. We still have room for you, too!

See the entire conference schedule and register at www.prsamdc.com.

The PRSA Nebraska Chapter has done a wonderful job of pulling the program together under our theme: Defining the Expanding Role of Public Relations. How might this affect you and your practice?

Join us in Omaha and learn more!

Today’s affinity call canceled, will reconnect after District Conference

July 9, 2013

Today’s affinity call to discuss strategic planning in your Chapter is canceled; we’ll pick up that conversation on August 13th. Watch for more information a coule of weeks ahead of that.

In the meantime, I hope you have made plans to attend our Midwest District Conference in Omaha. Click the tab at the top of this page for all the details. Be sure to follow the happenings via #prsamdc, too.

See you there!

The Conference is coming! Are you going?

May 23, 2013


Our 2013 District Conference is approaching quickly. Early-bird registration is closed, but there’s still time to register. We just added a separate page on this blog, giving lots more details and links to the program schedule, travel information and registration. Or navigate yourself to www.prsamdc.com and sign up today!

See you there?

Conference Planners Issue Call for Presentations

January 21, 2013

The 2013 Midwest District Conference planners have published the Call for Presentations in advance of the July event. If you or someone you know is interested in presenting, review the call sheet, pick up the phone or send an email today to: 

  • Kellie Wostrel, APR [kellie@swansonrussell.com] or
  • Heather Tweedy [heather@brightskyinteractive.com] or
  • Davina Leezer [davina.leezer@mosaicinfo.org]

Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity!

Midwest District Conference Gets Rave Reviews!

July 21, 2012

Judging from the Twitter chat on #PRSAMDC, the Midwest District’s 2012 regional conference delivered on its promise to provide two days of leadership education and professional development to the more than 150 PR practitioners and educators who attended.

The conference was held July 18-20 on the Water Tower Campus of Loyola University and hosted by the Chicago Chapter. From the get-go, the Twitter chat was buzzing:

“So blessed to have the chance to attend #prsamdc,” tweeted Dani Barnhizer, a member of the Hoosier Chapter. “Thanks @PRSAchicago for this opportunity & the educational/inspirational speakers.”

“Great session on mentoring the next generation from @AlisonHamer, @YPNChicagoPRSA and Regina Waters at @PRSAMidwest and @PRSAchicago #prsamdc!” posted Chicago Chapter member Erin Jordan.

 District leaders used the half-day before the conference to conduct a Leadership QuickStart. It was keynoted by Cheryl Proctor-Rogers, APR, Fellow PRSA, a longtime PRSA member, former Chicago Chapter president, former Midwest District chair and former PRSA National president, who gave her views on the importance and role of leadership in work, volunteerism and personal lives. The balance of the session gave the dozen Chapter leaders and others thinking about leadership insights into a range of topics:

  • Resources available at National and District levels;
  • Best-practices relating to programming, membership, and professional; and
  • Strategic planning and implementation.

The next day and a half was packed with general sessions, breakout sessions and networking opportunities. Thursday’s highlights included a candid conversation with Al Golin, founder of GolinHarris; a fast-paced, tag-team discussion of crisis communication case studies; break-out sessions on reputation management, branding, mentoring, entrepreneurship and measurement; and a panel discussion on working with the media. And that was just Day One! The after-session Tweet-ups were welcome breaks.

Friday brought additional insights on a range of topics: Global Brands and Social Media at General Motors; Understanding how “mobile” influences communication; Social media and emerging professionals; Ethics and transparency in social media; Employee communications that engage and build trust; Working with Chicago media; How brands engage with bloggers; and a general discussion with reps from Twitter, Facebook and Google. Talk about a power-packed panel!

Conferees adjourned after lunch and headed their various directions: Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Texas and Kentucky. To a person, they voiced great satisfaction with the conference and an anticipation of what might be in store for 2013. But that’s another story for another time.

Want more detail? See the summary from Brant Skogrand, APR (and MW District Chair-elect) on the Minnesota Chapter’s Perspectives blog.

Kudos to the Chicago Chapter and Midwest District planning teams on this fantastic event!

Registration open for 2012 Midwest District Conference in Chicago!

April 29, 2012

Register today for the Midwest District Conference, hosted our PRSA Chicago Chapter. The half-day Leadership QuickStart session starts July 18. Professional Development sessions run July 19-20. Early-bird registration runs through May via the Chicago Chapter website.

 See you there!