Luncheon recap: The “It’s Aaron” Campaign

By Lauren Gonn

Even if you are not from Wisconsin, if you have not heard of Aaron Rodgers then you are living under a rock. Aaron Rodgers is currently the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, Super Bowl MVP (after 2010 season), named the Associated Press Athlete of the Year in 2011, and was also voted MVP for the 2011 and 2014 NFL seasons.

Attorney David Gruber has been practicing law for over 30 years, and has focused mostly on his personal injury law firm. David founded Gruber Law Offices more than 28 years ago, and is a family man with a passion for helping others.

Together, these two incredible men have created a campaign that brings awareness to organizations in Wisconsin, who are changing the world. David Gruber was joined by John Cary, Executive Director of the MACC Fund, for our September 16th PRSA luncheon.

So far, the campaign has worked with G9 (childhood cancer awareness), Milwaukee College Prep (a free K-8 public charter school), and Camp Hometown Heroes (help children who faced the loss of loved ones who were in the U.S. military). So how does this campaign bring awareness? A series of videos were formed for each of these organizations, featuring inspiring children and adults who helped found each group. Aaron Rodgers and David Gruber have also made it a priority to speak publicly whenever they get the chance in order to convey a message/awareness.

As Aaron and David would say, they are “shining a light” on some amazing organizations and bringing attention to 100,000s of people. Their continuous relationships with the families of these organizations show the true compassion they have for everyone involved.

Check out for videos produced specifically to bring awareness, and how you can help out. You may have also seen these videos as previews on television. Currently, there are no plans set in stone for the future of “It’s Aaron,” but David Gruber mentioned that they are always brainstorming and keeping in touch with the local organizations.

Data Visualization: Get Some Data in Your Life

By Lauren Gonn

CKDY0bKWoAA_ktY.jpg-largeKevin Crowe joined us for our July luncheon, explaining the ins and outs of data visualization. So what is data visualization? It is considered to be the presentation of data in a pictorial or graphical format. In other words: charts, pictures, graphs, video and other tools used to get a point across.

Crowe talked more specifically on data journalism, stating that many people see it as the future of journalism. In reality, it has already been used for centuries in many ways. Basically using statistics, design, computer science and much more to determine an issue and report it to the public.

This scientific approach to reporting combines surveys and analyzes demographics in order to test and draw conclusions. There are different forms of data journalism and different kinds of data. Some of the forms Crowe focused on are “quick-turn dailies,” web applications and months/years investigations. The dailies are open source (free) tools, like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for example, that provide specific information on a subject often. Most data has a documentation on how, when, and where to use it.

CKDa8cbUwAEiVHE.jpg-largeUsing homeowner property as an example, let’s say you want to know how much you are paying in taxes, and how much your home is worth compared to your neighbor. The different kinds of data that would be involved in this topic are: metrics on property assessors, assessed values for different countries, contact info for assessors, data on when different municipalities did property re-evaluations, etc.

Data visualization allows you to break down this information in detail, figure out what it is you are trying to decipher and in a way that appeals to everyone.

Judges Still Needed for Partnering Chapter’s Awards Program

PRSA Southeast Wisconsin partnered with the Greater Kansas PRSA Chapter to judge our awards’ programs this year. The Greater Kansas Chapter judged our Paragon Awards this May and now we need your help to judge its awards. We have created judging options we hope fit your schedules.

Option 1: Tuesday, July 14, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Bader Rutter

  • Bader Rutter will host a judging event from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. on Tuesday, July, 14 at its office located at 13845 Bishop’s Drive in Brookfield. PRSA Southeast Wisconsin will provide pizza for attendees and Bader Rutter will provide meeting space and beverages. Participants will need to bring their own laptops and provide their email addresses in advance to Samantha Andrews.

Option 2: Thursday,  July 16, 1:30-3 p.m., Potawatomi Hotel & Casino’s Innovation Room

  • If you can stay a few hours after our July 15 luncheon we will have a group judging event at Potawatomi Hotel’s Innovation Room. Participants will need to bring their own laptops and provide their email addresses in advance to Samantha Andrews.

Option 3: Judge awards remotely before Aug. 7

  • If you cannot attend our group judging events on July 14 or July 16, but would like to help judge awards remotely, please email Samantha Andrews. Remote judges will be assigned entries to judge prior to Aug. 7.

Questions? Please email or as soon as possible so we can make meeting plans and count on your support.

What’s in it for you?

Not only will you learn more to apply to your public relations practice by judging awards, but your time commitment can apply as credit toward the APR recertification requirement.

Thank you for your support of our PRSA Chapter.

Top 3 PR Articles of the Week: Friday, June 5, 2015

Another week has passed, and while the weather doesn’t quite feel like summer yet, the PR world is still hot with news. This week, the top three articles cover keeping secrets at work, why your brand should be on Pinterest and Facebook’s algorithm. Enjoy!

Why it’s dangerous to keep your team in the dark Read>>>

Why now is the time for brands to go all-in on Pinterest Read>>>

Why Facebook’s algorithm matters: because 60% of millennials get news there Read>>>

Kristin Rabas (@krabas)
Sr. Public Relations Advisor
Aurora Health Care

Milwaukee’s PR professionals shine at 2015 Paragon Awards

The Public Relations Society of America Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter held its annual Paragon Awards banquet on May 21, 2015 at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. The awards program celebrated high-level work in public relations and honored accomplishments of over 10 local agencies and companies in 16 categories, including media relations, social media, integrated communications and community relations among others.

Larry O'Brien of Bader Rutter

Larry O’Brien of Bader Rutter

Bader Rutter of Brookfield, Wis. received the coveted Best of Show award for its work with Zoetis on the Hoof-Tec New Product Introduction. The creative “Too Much Metal” campaign introduced a new footbath product to dairy farmers and veterinarians used for bathing cow hooves. The product uses up to 40 percent less copper sulfate. Results included an increased awareness of 50 percent in just nine months after the campaign and increased product sales. Print and online placements attracted nearly 1.5 million impressions. The launch news release received 447,848 impressions, and this was the most-clicked story of the March Inside Dairy Wellness e-newsletter.

Other Best of Show finalists included Bader Rutter for its work for Sauder, BVK for its work with Weddings by Funjet and Hawai’i Health Connector, and Celtic, Inc. for its work with Edvest.

This year’s entries were judged by the Greater Kansas PRSA Chapter and were evaluated based on five criteria: objectives, research and planning, execution, budgets and results.

Chapter president Bill Bussler

Chapter president Bill Bussler

“It’s wonderful to see the volume of great public relations work produced right here in Southeastern Wisconsin,” said Bill Bussler, chapter president. “Our members are creative, resourceful and savvy. The work featured at the Paragon Awards gets better each year, and we look forward to continuing to see the outstanding work our members produce.”

Stephanie Klett, recipient of the Communicator of the Year award

Stephanie Klett, recipient of the Communicator of the Year award

The events also recognized two established professionals for their admirable work in the local community. The Communicator of the Year award was presented to Stephanie Klett, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. Under her leadership, the Department of Tourism has earned an unprecedented 65 regional, national and international awards.

Carol Weber, recipient of the Dorothy Thomas Black award

Carol Weber, recipient of the Dorothy Thomas Black award

The Dorothy Thomas Black award was presented to Carol Seeger Weber, APR, director of communications and marketing at the Wisconsin Dental Association. Carol is a member of the board of directors for the chapter, serving as director-at-large. She also is a past president of the chapter.

The PRSA Paragon Awards were created in 1983 to honor public relations professionals on their exceptional work. A complete list of winners is included below.

You can view event photos on our Facebook page:



  1. Communicator of the Year Award: Stephanie Klett, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism
  1. Dorothy Thomas Black Award: Carol Seeger Weber, APR, director of communications and marketing at the Wisconsin Dental Association
  1. Best of Show:
  • Winner:
    • Bader Rutter – Zoetis, Hoof-Tec New Product Introduction
  • Finalists:
    • BVK – Weddings by Funjet Launch
    • BVK – Hawai’i Health Connector
    • Bader Rutter – Sauder Social Media Program
    • Celtic, Inc. – Edvests’ Big Apple Giveaway
  1. Social Media Campaigns:
  • Award of Merit
    • BVK – Guitars for Vets
    • BVK – Foresters
    • BVK – Funjet Vacations, The Funjet Insider
    • BVK – Mystik Lubricants
  • Award of Excellence
    • BVK – CITGO Fueling Good
    • BVK – Hawai’i Health Connector
    • Bader Rutter – Sauder Woodworking
    • BVK – Weddings by Funjet
  1. Community Relations:
  • Award of Merit
    • State Farm – Neighborhood Assist
  1. Public Service:
  • Award of Merit
    • State Farm – Celebrate My Drive
  1. Integrated Communications – Government/Nonprofit:
  • Award of Merit
    • Laughlin Constable – 2014 Wisconsin Department of Tourism Campaign
    • Bethesda – Peoria Community Engagement Campaign
  1. Integrated Communications – Business/Industry:
  • Award of Merit
    • American Transmission Co. – Helps Landowners to Grow Smart Campaign
    • Wisconsin Dental Association – “Own Your Smile” Oral Health Literacy, Public Awareness Campaign
  • Award of Excellence
    • Bader Rutter – Zoetis, 2014 Honoring Caregivers Program
    • Bethesda – Peoria Community Engagement Campaign
    • Celtic, Inc. – Edvest’s Big Apple Giveaway
    • Bader Rutter – Zoetis, Hoof-Tec Product Introduction
  1. PR Tactic (Media Relations) – Release/Other:
  • Award of Merit:
    • Laughlin Constable – Wisconsin Association of Nurses on behalf of Pfizer, School Nurses Vaccination Effort – No Shots, No School!
    • Bader Rutter – Case IH, Media Event/Farm Progress Show
  • Award of Excellence:
    • KOHLER Engines – Trade Editor’s Conference
  1. PR Tactic (Media Relations) – Press Kit; Services/Events:
  • Award of Merit:
    • Laughlin Constable – Wisconsin Tourism Media Kit
  • Award of Excellence:
    • Cramer-Krasselt – Appvion, Inc., Alpha Free Multimedia News Release
  1. Poster:
  • Award of Merit:
    • Cramer-Krasselt – Evinrude, The Power to Choose
  1. Newsletter:
  • Award of Excellence:
    • Laughlin Constable – Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association, Spreading the Word e-newsletter
  1. Special Events
  • Award of Merit:
    • Cramer-Krasselt – Evinrude, Club Evinrude
  1. Brochure
  • Award of Excellence:
    • Carroll University – General Brochure
  1. Social Media Tactic
  • Award of Merit:
    • Cramer-Krasselt – TIKI Brand Outdoor Entertaining Blogger Program
  1. Online E-news
  • Award of Excellence
    • Bader Rutter – National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Council,

PRSA Young Pros – Mentor Program Updates

Following the successful wrap up of the 2014-15 Mentor Program, the upcoming season is well underway! Thank you to Evan Zeppos, APR and Jerry Topczewski, APR for the wonderful insights they shared regarding crisis communications.

This is our 4th year of building mentor/mentee relationships and we’re expecting more participation than ever. As we continue the work and evolve to best serve those involved, there will be a few changes and additions to the coming season.

The first change is within the profile survey to match mentors and mentees. Along with basic information, interests, and areas of expertise, the survey will also compile information about the expectations of the mentor/mentee and the program.

In an attempt to create more opportunities to foster connections, this year there will be four mentor events instead of the previous three. These events are strictly Mentor Program events and are separate from our chapter’s monthly luncheons and Young Pros events.

The biggest change this year is the addition of a newsletter. Every month, mentors and mentees will receive an email compiled with ideas and information, aiding the process of creating a truly mutually beneficial relationship. Included in the newsletter will be potential articles to discuss, webinars to watch, places to meet, and more. Ideas and suggestions on content are always welcome.

The final change is the option to rematch halfway through the program. If you want to network further than your first assigned mentor and grow your network, you will have an option to do so. This will take place between the second and third events.

Please contact Christine Piela with any questions or comments. As Mentor Program Chair I look forward to the upcoming season!


Top 3 PR Articles of the Week: Friday, May 15, 2015

We’re already half way through the month of May and summer is upon us. However, as PR professionals, we can’t let the pending warm weather distract us for too long. So for this week, the Top 3 PR Articles examine struggling iconic brands, Snapchat video ads and changes in TV coverage. Enjoy!

From McDonald’s to Barbie, iconic brands are struggling Read>>>

Snapchat debuts video ads for 2 cents a view Read>>>

Fast Company
How Periscope, Meerkat and Snapchat will change how TV covers news, sports and weather Read>>>


Kristin Rabas (@krabas)
Sr. Public Relations Advisor
Aurora Health Care

Top 3 PR Articles of the Week: Friday, May 8, 2015

It looks like we’ve finally escaped winter! Before you get out and enjoy the beautiful weather, check out this week’s articles about Snapchat, hashtags and why there’s a growing gap between reporters and PR professionals. Enjoy and Happy Mother’s Day this weekend to all our moms out there!

Snapchat shows the power of its platform, hires star CNN reporter Read>>>

PRSA Tactics
Tag, you’re it: How to create a hashtag crisis strategy Read>>>

The Washington Post
Why the PR industry is sucking up Pulitzer winners Read>>>

Kristin Rabas (@krabas)
Sr. Public Relations Advisor
Aurora Health Care

PRSA Young Pros – The Upcoming Year

The PRSA Southeastern Wisconsin Young Pros committee is excited to share plans for the upcoming year. The Young Pros welcomes five brand new committee members including Erica Rasmussen as chair, Nick Herff handling communications and social media, Kate Kazan coordinating events, Greg Brey as treasurer, and Christine Piela taking on the 2015-16 Mentor Program. The committee’s primary focus is to develop the chapter’s young professionals to produce the next generation of successful Public Relations experts.

The Mentor Program is currently wrapping up a successful 2014-2015 season with a networking social on crisis communications that will take place on May 7th. Details can be found on the PRSA Southeastern Wisconsin website.

The 2015-2016 season will provide innovative ways to start conversations and share knowledge. Christine is working with previous mentor program chairs to provide the best mentor/mentee experience possible. Be on the lookout for more details coming soon!

Our first panel discussion on April 23rd was a success! Several PR professionals spoke to the benefits and challenges on receiving their accreditation. Future Young Pros events include panel discussions, networking and socials, some of which will be joined by other Young Pro organizations such as the Milwaukee Press Club, Ad 2 Milwaukee and more.

As always, stay up-to-date by joining our email list at and connecting with via Twitter @PRSAWisYP.

Top 3 PR Articles of the Week: Friday, April 24, 2015

Yay for Friday! This week, the top three PR articles of the week are all about two powerhouse companies and how they’re influencing the worlds of advertising and news. Check out the stories below about Google’s changes to how you search on your phone and how the Washington Post is using Amazon as a role model for ad targeting. Enjoy!

The Washington Post takes an Amazon-inspired approach to native ad targeting Read>>>

The Washington Post
Google is about to dramatically change how search works on your phone Read>>>

USA Today
5 things to know about ‘Mobilegeddon’ Read>>>

Kristin Rabas (@krabas)
Sr. Public Relations Advisor
Aurora Health Care