October Newsletter Print

Letter from the President

2020 PRSA Midwest District Conference: OctoPRfest

There’s still time to register to take part in the 2020 PRSA Midwest District Conference—OctoPRfest—October 5-8. Don’t forget, if you cannot make it all four days, you can register for individual days. You can learn more and register on our Chapter website. Katelin Brown and her committee did a great job of putting together the virtual conference.

Chapter Updates

Our chapter has members from across the State of Iowa. As part of an ongoing effort to represent every member of our chapter, we’re proceeding with a name change from PRSA Central Iowa to PRSA Iowa. Other chapters have done something similar and it has been successful. Look for more information about our rebranding later this fall.

I’m pleased to share that we are adding two new positions to our board. Starting in 2021, our Chapter will have a diversity and inclusion chair, and a diversity and inclusion chair-elect. Katelin Brown, PRSA Central Iowa president-elect, has identified two qualified individuals to fill these positions in 2021. PRSA National encourages chapters to have these positions. And this is something we, as a board, believe in supporting in our chapter. We will add these positions during a vote on our bylaws this fall.

PRSA Central Iowa is a proud supporter of the 21-Day Equity Challenge. Everyone is encouraged to take part in this free program. An email each weekday will cover topics such as understanding privilege, housing and redlining, justice system inequities and more. Please consider registering and learning more about these important topics.

Ryan R. Johnson, APR


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Upcoming Events

Join us for the 2020 PRIME Awards LIVE STREAM

Though we can't be together in-person this year, please join us in recognizing some of the top work from our chapter members in our 2020 PRIME Awards. 

Join our host, "Iowa Nice Guy" Scott Siepker for a Facebook Live stream on the PRSA Central Iowa page at 9 a.m. on Friday, October 9, 2020. This year also includes a special category for COVID-19 focused campaigns and marketing tactics.

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OctoPRfest News

You still have time to register for the Midwest District Conference, OctoPRfest, hosted by PRSA Central Iowa. Coming to you virtually, this event is four mornings of programming and networking. Each day brings three new sessions and topics. Register for the full conference now or individual day passes. Read on to see what speakers will cover.

Monday, October 5: Presented by Drake University

Cutting Through the Clutter: Building Trust with Modern Digital Consumers
Steve Lerch, President and Founder of Story Arc Consulting

How PR Pros can Utilize SEO to Increase Exposure
John Kennedy, Technical SEO Analyst at Blue Traffic

Influencer Communications with Brandi Boatner
Brandi Boatner, Social and Influencer Communications Lead, Global Markets, Brand Communications Manager, IBM Corporate Communications
Social Justice Communications Lead (Temporary role as of June 15, 2020)

Tuesday, October 6: Presented by Hy-Vee

Make an Impact with Storytelling
Scott Siepker (Actor, Filmmaker, Iowa Nice Guy)

#DSMStrong: How Greater Des Moines Came Together While Staying Apart
Tiffany Tauscheck, CCE, IOM, CDME, Chief Strategy Officer, Greater Des Moines Partnership
Courtney Shaw, APR, Vice President of Communications, Greater Des Moines Partnership

Internal Communications in the COVID-19 Era
Courtney Greene, Director of Communications for UnityPoint Health
Tina Potthoff, Senior Vice President, Communications for Hy-Vee, Inc.

Wednesday, October 7: Presented by Corteva

Learning to Teach: What You Need to Know to Transition from the Profession to the PR Classroom
Moderator, Dr. Kelly B. Bruhn, APR, Associate Dean, Professor - Public Relations, Drake University School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Bob “Pritch” Pritchard, APR, Fellow PRSA, Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Tricia Hansen-Horn, Professor of Public Relations at the University of Central Missouri

Writing with Clarity
Ken O'Quinn, Communications workshop leader and writing coach at Writing With Clarity

Create Compelling Social Media Visuals
Chris Snider, Drake University Associate Professor

Leveraging Your Superpowers in Digital Spaces
Lindrea Reynolds, Personal and Business Branding Expert

Thursday, October 8: Presented by Principal

Communicators Guide to Improving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Veronica Appleton, PhD-abd, Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at The Marketing Arm
Courtney Reyes, Executive Director, One Iowa

Tips and Tricks for a Better Pitch
Meredith Editors

Campaigning During a Pandemic—How to Reach Voters (and Customers) in a Virtual Reality
Moderator, Rep. Jennifer Konfrst, APR (Drake University)
Caroline Closson, State Campaigns Team Lead for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (Washington, D.C.)
Madison Holmes, Finance Director, New Jersey Republican State Committee (Trenton, N.J.)

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APR News

Start 2021 With APR Bootcamp

As you plan your 2021 professional development opportunities, explore the value of the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR). You'll expand your professional network, build your expertise, and demonstrate your professional and personal values and dedication to ethical communication. Our Chapter will host a six-week, 100% virtual APR Prep Course Bootcamp beginning in January 2021. For details, please contact Dr. Kelly Bruhn, APR ([email protected]). 

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Member Profile

As we continue to deal with COVID-19 and its impact on our personal and professional lives, PRSA reached out to communications professionals in a variety of industries to hear about their experiences. This month, we’re featuring Mandy McWherter, communications and PR manager at Catch Des Moines.

Read about how things have continually changed since March 2020, and how the communications team handled everything along the way. Read more.

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Chapter News

Congratulations to Kevin Waetke, APR, Fellow PRSA!

The Central Iowa PRSA Chapter has a new member of the PRSA College of Fellows—Kevin Waetke, who currently serves as assistant vice president of corporate marketing for Sammons Financial Group. College of Fellows is an active, honorary organization comprised of more than 350 leading practitioners and educators, each of whom has left a significant footprint on the public relations profession. A rigorous peer review process has singled out these professionals to be among the ‘best of the best.’ Waetke is one of 15 senior practitioners named to the Fellows’ Class of 2020. In addition to an exceptional career, Waetke recently completed a term on the PRSA National Board of Directors. He has served the Central Iowa chapter in many capacities, and for years was the professional advisor to Drake PRSSA. Waetke has time and time again demonstrated his commitment to the profession, to our community, and to helping advance the profession. 

Three other Central Iowa Chapter members have previously been inducted into the College of Fellows:

  • Ferne Bonomi, APR, Fellow PRSA (Class of 1992)
  • Carol Bodensteiner, APR, Fellow PRSA (Class of 1999)
  • Dave Remund, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA (Class of 2015) 

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic will prevent Waetke and his fellow honorees from a traditional induction dinner and ceremony; that event is typically held as part of the PRSA International Conference (ICON). A virtual ceremony will be held for honorees this fall, and then the Class of 2020 will be honored along with the Class of 2021 at next year’s ICON in Orlando, Florida. To help honor our newest local Fellow, Bodensteiner and Remund enjoyed a socially distant outdoor happy hour with Waetke and his wife, Kelly, earlier this fall.

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Member Updates

Welcome, New Members

Nicole Lawrence, ClaimDOC

Member Anniversaries

Congratulations to all our members celebrating anniversaries this month, especially those celebrating the following milestones!

Twenty-Five Years
Jennifer A. Ellis, APR, UnityPoint Health-Des Moines

Twenty Years
Courtney Chabot Dreyer, APR, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.

Fifteen Years
Amy M. Horst-Hock, Wellmark Blue Cross And Blue Shield

One Year
Karen Bavender, Principal Financial Group
Demaree Donaghu, LS2group
Stacy Lynn Kausalik, SHAZAM Network
Akwi Nji
Alyssa Maureen Speake, Landus Cooperative

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Job Bank

There are great public relations jobs available right now. See the opportunities from our job board below.  

Sr Public Relations Strategist
Principal Financial Group

Strategic Communications Director - Animal Health
Two Rivers Marketing

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Connect With Us

Right now, digital platforms are the best place to connect with PRSA Central Iowa and other members. Find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Looking for advice, a sounding board or a professional resource? Join our LinkedIn group. To request membership, log into your LinkedIn account and click on the “Ask to Join” button.

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Membership Information

Your professional development is more important than ever. Central Iowa PRSA has the resources you need—and now is a great time to join.

When you join National as a Regular member ($260 annual dues), new and returning members receive a triple bonus. Get a free one-year Chapter membership, a free one-year Section membership, and a free initiation fee or free reinstatement fee.

You could save up to $165. Use promo code TRIPLEPLAY20. Refer to for details.

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