Department of Transportation’s Zoo Interchange Communications Strategy

On March 15, members of the Department of Transportation’s Communication Team spoke to PRSA members about the challenges of communicating the massive Zoo Interchange Project. They provided an overview of the project and some strategies and tactics they use for communicating to the many target audiences they have. Here is a link to their informative presentation. PRSA would like to thank member Brian DeNeve for making this event happen.


Organizations with Multiple PRSA Members Take Advantage of Group Membership Option

With PRSA’s current group membership promotion, organizations that sign up a team of five or more members for the first time receive free Professional Interest Section membership and waived initiation fee.Mentor program kickoff 2014

Several organizations with members in the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter of PRSA take advantage of the Group Membership benefit offered through PRSA. Organizations with at least five members are eligible. Group membership benefits include single invoicing, ease of adding new members, transferability of membership and best pricing on PRSA events.


Notice of 2016 Annual Meeting

All members are hereby notified that the Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America will be:

Tuesday, December 7, 2016 at 6:00 pm  at:

Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, 2220 N. Terrace Ave., Milwaukee

The following item of business will be brought before the members:


Election of 2016 Officers and Directors

The following persons have been nominated by the Chapter’s Nominating Committee:

President – Sara Rude

President-Elect – Patrick McSweeney, APR, Fellow PRSA

Treasurer – Jeff Dardis

Director at Large – Emily Bultman

Assembly Delegate – Holly Haseley

Assembly Delegate – Michael Pflughoeft, APR, Fellow PRSA

Previously elected and also serving will be:

Immediate Past-President – Heidi Fendos

Secretary – Phill Trewyn

Director at Large – Kelly Savage, APR

Director at Large – Meg Hemmelgarn

Director at Large – Don Klein

Assembly Delegate – Audra Jacobs

Ethics Officer – Karren Jeske, APR

Membership Officer – Tim Olsen, APR


Sponsor our PR Palooza event

PRSA is seeking sponsors for its PR Palooza holiday party on Wednesday, Dec. 7 from 5-8 p.m. at Villa Terrace. Plan now to be a part of this great industry event and fun night of networking. Sponsorship opportunities are as follows:

PR Palooza 2016 Presenting Sponsor: $1,000

Sponsor benefits:

  • Logo included in PR Palooza ads in The Milwaukee Business Journal (up to 2 ads to promote this event will run in November)
  • Sponsorship mention on blog & social media sites (Facebook and Twitter) and on Chapter Web site with logo
  • Link from PRSA Chapter Web site program page to sponsor’s site
  • Logo in all PR Palooza e-blasts
  • Five (5) admission tickets to the event
  • Signage recognition at the event
  • Verbal recognition at the event
  • Ability to have sponsor brochure/information available at event
  • Second “sponsorship” support recognition at one PRSA monthly meeting in 2015

PR Palooza 2016 Supporting Sponsor: $ 500

Sponsor benefits:

  • Sponsorship mention on blog & social media sites (Facebook and Twitter) and on Chapter Web site with logo
  • Link from PRSA Chapter Web site program page to sponsor’s site
  • Logo in all PR Palooza e-blasts
  • Two (2) admission tickets to the event
  • Verbal recognition at the event
  • Ability to have sponsor brochure / information available at event

To secure your sponsorship, please email Kelly Savage at

PRSA service opportunity: Sept. 29 at Repairers of the Breach

The weather may be fine now, but in a few short months it will be icy cold – and the homeless will be looking for a safe, welcoming place to stay. For many years, Repairers of the Breach, Milwaukee’s only daytime refuge and resource center for homeless adults, has met a vital need in our community. You’re invited to support this worthwhile organization though an upcoming afternoon of service through PRSA of Southeastern Wisconsin.

This opportunity is an extension of the ongoing PR, marketing and social media strategy offered to Repairers of the Breach by PRSA’s Community Outreach Committee. Volunteers will be asked to clean and organize the center.


3 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29

Repairers of the Breach, 1335 W. Vliet St.

Note: If you can only help part of the time, that’s okay!

 RSVP to Don Klein by Thursday, Sept. 22, at


Luncheon recap: Perfecting the art of an essential, yet often ignored skill: Speaking effectively

By Lauren Gonn

CindyLaatschWe often don’t realize that the way we communicate every day, both verbally and through our body language, can make a big difference in any situation. The tone of our voice and even certain hand gestures can completely alter a conversation for better or worse. Cindy Laatsch, DTM, program quality director at District 35 Toastmasters, discussed how to master speaking effectively with these techniques at our April luncheon.

When speaking, it’s important to come across as sincere. If you don’t act like you believe what you are saying, your audience won’t either. Some key tips to help get your listeners more attentive to what you are saying include: the use of visual aids, hand gestures, making direct eye contact and speaking louder yet with a calm tone. At the same time, you don’t want to freak out the audience by overdoing any one of these techniques.

Evaluating your message before presenting is crucial when giving a good speech. Thoughts you should go over include:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What does your audience want to know?
  • What may your audience object to?
  • Will your audience be prepared for your objective after you speak to them?

Some issues people come across when speaking are using too many “filler words,” overusing some speech techniques and having an actual fear of speaking. Filler word examples include the use of: like, um, oh, right, basically, etc. The words “like” and “um” are some of the most commonly used filler words. We often use these words as a way to fill in the dead silence and think about what we are going to say next. Taking the time to practice what you are going to say can help avoid the use of these words.

Sometimes people can practice all they want and still feel uncomfortable speaking. The term “glossophobia” is literally the fear of speaking. Of course, practice makes perfect, but someone who has this fear needs to really face the fear head on in order to move forward. Cindy gave a great example of this. She referred to the cows vs. bison example. During a storm, cows tend to go run and hide because they’re afraid of the thunder. If bison are around a storm, they tend to run after the noise of the thunder and face their fear head on. Don’t be a cow; learn to overcome the bad tendencies of speaking.

If you’re someone looking to practice on your speech techniques, there is a program called the Toastmasters International ( This program is an amazing opportunity to polish your speaking skills and receive feedback from your peers.

Developing the next generation of corporate communicators at Marquette University

By Sarah Feldner

When considering the corporate communication function of an organization, discussion often starts with questions of corporate reputation, employee engagement, shareholder relations, issues management and key issues of the day.

As communication professionals, we know that we add value to corporate enterprise, and we work to ensure that the C-suite understands the value of this enterprise. But what if we reframe our questions and shift our focus? What happens when we start not with how communication strategy leads to business outcomes, but rather start with desired business outcomes and then work back to communication strategy?

These were the questions posed by Cree CEO Chuck Swoboda at the annual Corporate Communication Summit at Marquette University.

Swoboda offered a CEO’s view of communication function. Hearing what a CEO thinks about communication provided a view of the work that often does not get addressed. Communication conferences often tap the best minds in chief communication officer roles and provide invaluable insights into the profession. Yet this approach can be akin to us talking to ourselves. Bringing in the CEO view allows us to hold a different kind of mirror up to our work.

What we learned from Swoboda is not that our work is off track, but rather he underscored the need to think in terms of business strategy – framing communication as a business strategy itself. This view fits with the Arthur W. Page Society’s latest report on the CCO role. In this, the CCO works directly with the C-suite and acts as a business leader.

A renewed and strengthened focus on business outcomes as the driver of communication necessitates a different kind of professional. A solid foundation in communication skills, concepts and perspectives continues to be essential but not sufficient. Professional communicators need to hone their understanding of business fundamentals to get ahead.

We are actively engaging in these conversations at Marquette and thinking about the next generation of corporate communicators. The intersection of communication and business outcomes is where we situate our newest graduate degree program, the master’s degree in Corporate Communication.

Just as business outcomes need to drive communication strategy, our program combines the expertise of two of our colleges, the Graduate School of Management and the Diederich College of Communication, into a single program. To learn more, visit

Luncheon recap: Changing behaviors through social marketing

By Lauren GonnDOR_logo_tag

Prescription drug abuse is one of the nation’s leading killers. Sadly, 70 percent of people get these drugs from friends or relatives, and 44 people die every day from a drug overdose in the United States. In many cases, painkillers and other prescription drug use, lead to the abusing of other drugs like heroin. According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Wisconsin is the second leading state in the U.S. with the most prescription drug abuse.

Annie Schwartz, director of communications and trainer at Wisconsin Department of Justice, and Laura Monagle, vice president of client services and public relations at Affirm Agency, presented at the February luncheon.

Annie and Laura gave us three takeaways from their presentation regarding prescription drug abuse:

  • To inform us what the Wisconsin Department of Justice does
  • To explain the definition of social marketing
  • How to use social marketing techniques the right way to raise awareness

The Wisconsin Department of Justice created the “Dose of Reality” campaign to enforce a change, provide treatment and create prevention measures. Annie and Laura explained they used shocking situations to get people’s full attention and achieve the campaign’s goals.

They created TV PSAs of true stories of prescription drug abuse in Wisconsin. You can view the spots on their YouTube channel here.

The target audience is all ages, but specifically teens and young adults who seem to have the highest rate of abuse. The point is to provide the target audience with information on who is at most risk and why, what the myths are with prescription drugs and who is more likely to take these drugs.

The “Dose of Reality” campaign is the beginning of a prevention effort through social marketing. As said during Laura and Annie’s presentation, this effort will take years to evolve and commitment from everyone involved (parents, medical community, business community, law enforcement, etc.).

The Wisconsin Department of Justice currently has two media partners: Fox6 in Milwaukee and WKOW in Madison helping promote this campaign. Close to 50 percent of all TV spots aired are donated for these PSAs created.

To learn more about the WI Dept. of Justice, please visit their website.

Luncheon recap: 8 trends in content marketing

By Lauren GonnTrends in content marketing

Chuck Frey, director of Online Training at the Content Marketing Institute, presented 8 trends in content marketing at our January luncheon.

These trends require a strategic approach and a need to focus on audience needs (instead of products or brands). The 8 trends Chuck shared are:

1. Less content, greater impact
This trend reminds us to be concise in our writing. Focus on the main goal and get straight to the point so that your audience can soak up the main aspects of the content.

2. Focused content distribution
Focusing on fewer social media platforms and placing more effort on just a few will help with targeting those specific audiences. In other words, “focus and own it” with one or two channels, and grow from there.

3. Branded content
Consistently published content should be customer-focused.

4. Delivering a true mobile experience
Most mobile content is actually just rearranged desktop content. This trend reminds us to create unique mobile experiences for our consumers. Whether this is through apps, links or websites, develop something that creates a better user experience and stands out from the rest.

5. The rise of ad blockers
The goal of this trend is to create content experiences without ads that will be blocked by users. Chuck predicts that banner ads will eventually disappear since most people tend to be irritated by these ads, meaning we need to get creative when it comes to attracting our audience and producing ads.

6. Accelerating changes in social media business models
This trends involves driving people to your own media. In other words, you have to “pay to play” if you want to spread content to more outlets, but you can use the content you own to get your message out.

7. Audience building
This should be a big priority for all content marketers. It’s important to drive your target audiences to your website. In order to do so, you must target your ads to match your audience’s personas.

8. Thinking like a publisher
This is a clearly defined “editorial mission,” where there is a well-developed business model and processes to produce content efficiently. Content marketers can learn a lot from their publishes.