December 2017 Print

Letter from the President

It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve as the 2017 president of PRSA Central Iowa. As the only Chapter serving Iowa, we have the pleasure of connecting professionals across the state as we support and advance the public relations profession. I’m pleased to report our Chapter is experiencing tremendous momentum due to the efforts of our engaged and dedicated board of directors, committee chairs and members.

Some of the highlights for 2017 include:

  • Development of a three-year strategic plan. Throughout the course of the year, we’ve developed a 2018-2020 Strategic Plan. This is the first strategic plan that our Chapter has created in many years – if not in its history. To gain a more thorough understanding of the status of the Chapter and opportunities for future direction, quantitative and qualitative surveys and a strategic planning session with board and committee members were conducted in the first quarter of 2017. The research – combined with findings of recent annual membership surveys – yielded many valuable observations. The plan will serve as an important roadmap as we position the Chapter for sustainable growth and success through education, thought leadership and leadership development. We’re putting the final measurement goals in the plan, and we will soon share it on our website. I’m excited about the plan, and I hope you will be, too! As you review the plan, please reach out if you would like to be more active in the Chapter.

  • Programming and membership growth. We experienced consistent and steady growth in our monthly program offerings, with strong ratings on the speakers and topics being shared. We've welcomed 39 new members to our chapter to date in 2017. Overall, we had a net gain of 15 members in 2017 – or approximately 10 percent. Whether you are a new or a longer-term member – thank you! We value your membership support and participation in Chapter activities. 

  • Successful OctoPRfest. We welcomed 115 professionals to OctoPRfest, Iowa's daylong strategic communication conference, at Mercy Medical Center in downtown Des Moines. This year's event featured speakers from across the nation, and we were pleased to host 68 non-members throughout the day. We look forward to continuing our great conversations and networking at future PRSA events. Of course, the event would not have been possible without the generosity of our many sponsors. Special thanks to Lessing-Flynn, Two Rivers Marketing, Wellmark, Principal, Meredith, Strategic America, Thelen Public Relations, Drake University, Trilix, Sigler, Straub Marketing, Mercy and Faller, Kincheloe & Company.

I have thoroughly enjoyed interacting with you as Chapter President during the year. I’m continuously impressed with the enormous public relations and communications talent we have in Iowa. It’s an exciting time for our profession, and Central Iowa PRSA will be in outstanding hands next year with Dr. Kelly Bruhn, APR as your president. 

Best Regards,

Ann Foster Thelen


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Upcoming Events

Join Us For A Holiday Social!

The PRSA Central Iowa Holiday Social will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 13 from 5-7 p.m. at Two Rivers Marketing (106 E 6th St, Des Moines, IA 50309). Come and enjoy a fun and relaxing get together with fellow PR colleagues while enjoying snacks, beverages and games.

The social is FREE, but anyone attending is encouraged to register so we have an accurate count for food and drinks. Please register here.

A freewill donation of non-perishable food items, personal care items, or cash is suggested. All items will be donated to DMARC.

Guests should park in the Two Rivers Marketing parking lots between East 5th and East 4th streets, then enter the building on the west side.

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Volunteer Opportunity

Committee Volunteers Needed!

With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering are huge to you, your family, and your community. It can help reduce stress, present networking opportunities, allow you learn new skills and improve your overall health and well-being. And, PRSA Central Iowa has an opportunity for you to get involved!

The OctoPRfest and awards committee is looking for volunteers. Volunteers will have the opportunity to assist in the coordination of OctoPRfest by working on communication pieces, soliciting speakers, help awards chair coordinate awards and work closely with the sponsorship committee.

If you would like more information or are interested in volunteering, please contact Teresa Roof, APR, at


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APR Prep Course

APR Course Begins in January

Don't miss this opportunity!

One of the benefits of being a member of the Public Relations Society of America is the opportunity to earn your Accreditation in Public Relations.

The Accreditation in Public Relations credential certifies your drive, professionalism and principles, setting you apart from your peers and positioning you as a leader and mentor in the competitive public relations field. Building on the foundation of your educational degree, the APR keeps you current on today’s best practices and applications in the ever-evolving communications world.

A prep course is scheduled to begin in January. It will provide an overview of the topics covered in the APR Study Guide and will be led by Central Iowa Chapter APRs.

The course will be held on five Saturday mornings, starting January 21 and ending February 17. The registration fee is $50 and sessions will be held at Drake University.

Register online by clicking here.

Have questions and want to learn more? Contact Patricia Howard, APR at


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Congratulations to our following 2017 PRSA Central Iowa scholarship recipients:

Our Professional Development Scholarship recipient was Patricia Howard, APR. Pat is the chapter's Accreditation-Elect officer this year for PRSA Central Iowa board. She will use the $500 for a nine-month leadership series she is doing at Iowa State University where she is a communications manager.

Recipient of the Ferne Bonomi and Dr. Henry Milam Undergraduate Scholarship was Sarah Mondello, a senior at Drake University who is studying PR, writing and graphic design. Drake’s PR department recently selected Sarah as a nominee for PR News’ 2017 PR Intern of the Year International award, with winners to be announced in December. Sarah has been a member of Drake’s PRSSA chapter since her freshman year and has served on committees and as the chapter's Treasurer and Secretary.


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Drake University is proud to announce that two seniors were named finalists in the PR News annual PR People Awards.

Maddy Gildersleeve has been nominated as Student of the Year and Sarah Mondello has been nominated as Intern of the Year. The national awards ceremony will take place in Washington, D.C., in December.


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New Members

Welcome New Members!

We've welcomed 39 new members to our chapter to date in 2017. Welcome to our following new members:
  • Stephanie Filer, Manager of Special Gifts and Partnerships, Animal Rescue League of Iowa
  • Jessica Willett, Instructor of Communications, William Penn University
  • Rachelle Biderman, Director of Masters in Strategic Communications, MA program, University of Iowa
  • Ashley Pech, Marketing Coordinator, Animal Rescue League of Iowa
  • Julie Heiliger, Director of Brand Marketing and Corporate Communications, The Scoular Company
  • Phillip Nicolino, Senior Marketing and Communications Manager, The Weitz Company
  • Annette Reason
  • Amber Bryant, Account Manager, Lessing-Flynn
  • Kaitlyn Carpenter, Senior Public Relations Specialist, Ruan Transportation Management System
  • Nancy Wiles, Marketing Communications Vice President, Farm Bureau Financial Services
  • Sarah Moss, Director of Marketing and Communications, Dordt College
  • Megan Olson, Communications Coordinator, Trilix Group


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Milestone Anniversaries

In each issue of this newsletter, we recognize PRSA Central Iowa Chapter members who are celebrating milestone PRSA anniversaries. Congratulations to the following individuals who will celebrate milestone anniversaries this month:

25 Years

  • Kevin Waetke, National Pork Board


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The PRSA Central Iowa Job Bank has a list of many current positions available in the Des Moines metro. If your organization is interested in posting a position, rates are $25 for member postings and $50 for non-member postings. Members can also post unlimited jobs for an annual cost of $100. For posting your job or getting Job Bank questions answered, contact Erica Turner

Below are some of the listings on our website:

2018 Internship, Tournament Adminstration - Principal Charity Classic

Media Relations Coordinator - HCI Care Services & Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa

Vice President, Corporate Communications - Central Iowa Power Cooperative

PR Supervisor - Two Rivers Marketing

Social Media Strategist - Principal Financial Group

Senior PR/ Content Strategist - Principal Financial Group

Communications Intern - Landus Cooperative


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Contact Information

Make sure you're keeping your account information up-to-date. Login into your PRSA account to check or update your information.


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Upcoming Learning Opportunities

Plan your 2017 career advancement and training with the following professional development opportunities:

Case in Point

12/14: Leadership in the Age of Disruption - How GE Power is Transforming Its Communications and Culture to Adapt to the Digital Era


12/5: Cut Through the Clutter in PR

12/11: Setting Business Goals for 2018

12/12: 6 Tips on How to Identify and Generate Positive Stories

Click here to view the entire library of on-demand webinars.


3/22/2018 - 3/23/2018: Secrets of a Media Relations Master

4/4/2018 - 4/6/2018: APR Boot Camp

Section Conferences

4/11/18 - 4/13/2018: Counselors to Higher Education (CHE) Senior Summit

4/25/18 - 4/27/18: Health Academy Conference

5/6/18 - 5/8/2018: Counselors Academy

5/16/18 - 5/18/18: Employee Communications

6/3/18 - 6/6/2018: Travel & Tourism

6/14/18 - 6/16/18: Public Affairs and Government (PAG)


You can check out all PRSA professional development opportunities here.

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Meeting Minutes

To access minutes, you must be logged in to the Central Iowa PRSA site. From there, go to the "Member Area" on the right side, then use the left-hand navigation to access "Board Meeting Minutes." Scroll down the page to find the most recent meeting minutes. The website will prompt you to download the minutes.

This is a great way to stay informed of chapter happenings.

View available minutes



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Connect With Us

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