December 2020 Newsletter Print

Letter from the President

PRSA Iowa Annual Report for 2020

This year was certainly unique and presented a variety of challenges. Even so, our PRSA Chapter’s Board of Directors moved forward and made significant progress. Here are some of the highlights:

  • PRSA Midwest District Conference: Our Chapter was scheduled to host the 2020 in-person PRSA Midwest District Conference. Led by president-elect Katelin Brown, the planning committee successfully modified it to a four-date virtual conference. Representatives from PRSA Chapters in our eight-state district participated with 144 full conference registrations and 11 individuals who registered for daily sessions. The survey results were overwhelmingly positive. The event was profitable, meaning we could use the funds for items like our annual scholarship program.

  • Programming: After an in-person meeting in February, we pivoted to virtual programming for the remainder of 2020. We finished the year with four quarterly programs and three Friday FYI webinars. Altogether, 412 members and guests participated in our 2020 PRSA Iowa programs.

  • Metro Marketing Mixer: In January, we partnered with the American Advertising Federation, American Marketing Association, National Agri-Marketing Association and the Social Media Club to host more than 225 marketing and communication professionals. The second annual networking event raised about $700 for Food Bank of Iowa through non-member ticket sales.

  • Awards: Our annual PRIME awards program generated 54 award entries. The online award entry system continued to be popular for both entrants and judges. Our chapter also recognized five individuals for the annual Awards of Excellence program.

  • Scholarships: In November, we awarded three scholarships: the $500 Advanced Degree Scholarship, the $500 Professional Development Scholarship and the $1,500 Ferne Bonomi and Dr. Henry Milam PRSSA Scholarship.

  • PRSA College of Fellows inductee: Chapter member Kevin Waetke, APR, was inducted into the PRSA College of Fellows, an honorary organization within PRSA comprised of more than 350 senior professionals and educators, each of whom has left a significant footprint on the public relations profession. Kevin is the Associate Vice President, Corporate Marketing at Sammons Financial in West Des Moines. To qualify for admittance, the public relations professional must have at least 20 years of experience, hold the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential and have demonstrated superior professional performance in the practice/teaching of public relations. Kevin is the fourth member of our Chapter to receive this honor.

  • New diversity and inclusion board positions: Our Chapter added two new board positions to promote diversity and inclusion among our members and in our programs. I’m happy to report that Tara Deering-Hansen is our Chapter’s first Diversity and Inclusion Chair. Nicole Lawrence is the Diversity and Inclusion Chair-elect. We welcome these women to the board and look forward to their leadership in the coming years.

  • Strategic planning: This year was the third and final year of our 2018 to 2020 strategic plan. We successfully accomplished much of what we strived for in 2017 when the plan was drafted. Now, we’re moving forward with our next three-year plan where we hope to continue to strengthen our organization through member retention, member recruitment, member satisfaction, continuing education opportunities and more.

  • Membership: We will finish 2020 with 189 members, which is down from 203 at the end of 2019. All things considered, we fared much better than some other PRSA Chapters in our district. I give credit to our membership chair, Abby Bottenfield, for continuing to reach out to prospective members and encouraging them to join PRSA. Our Chapter continues to have one of the highest percentages of members who have achieved their Accreditation in Public Relations (APR). Approximately 30% of our members are accredited. Thank you to our accreditation chair, Christina Gayman, APR, and accreditation chair-elect, Dr. Kelly Bruhn, APR, for leading our chapter’s APR learning sessions.

  • PRSSA support: Our PRSSA liaisons worked hard to continue supporting our affiliated PRSSA chapters at Drake University, Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa, the University of Iowa, Simpson College and Wartburg College. Our Chapter doubled its financial support for these Chapters from $500 to $1,000. This allowed PRSSA members to attend educational programs (early 2020) or use the funds toward their PRSSA annual dues. I received several emails from students thanking our Chapter for the financial support.

  • Sponsorships: Even with the economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19, our Midwest District Conference planning committee was still able to generate $3,750 in sponsorships. This money went toward funding the virtual program and paying speaker fees. Also, Wellmark continued its support of our Chapter with a generous $1,000 donation and quarterly sponsorship.

  • New name: Last but not least, we changed our Chapter name to better represent our membership. As of Dec. 1, 2020, our new name is PRSA Iowa. This change reflects input from our members who are located throughout Iowa.

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your president in 2020. Although it wasn’t the year we planned, our Board of Directors stayed positive and we made the most of our programming efforts to stay true to our mission. I look forward to remaining active in the Chapter and supporting the ongoing work of our 2021 Board of Directors, including President-elect Katelin Brown. 

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2021 Board of Directors

Last month, PRSA Iowa voted to approve the 2021 Board of Directors. Thanks to all who voted for time and consideration. Find the newly approved board members above or on the PRSA Iowa website.

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Upcoming Events

2020 Celebration of Communicators

This year, communicators have been in the spotlight quite a bit. Join your fellow Iowa communicators to network and discuss all the challenges, changes and triumphs from 2020. Bring your coffee and come along for this virtual meet-up.

Details to be provided 24 hours before the event. Sign up here.

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APR News

Join Our APR Bootcamp in 2021

PRSA Iowa is pleased to offer our annual Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) Bootcamp in early 2021. This credential demonstrates 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. Interested? Contact [email protected] for details.

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Ethics Column

Though the year is ending, there are still plenty of ways to learn about and practice ethics in your professional life. Kathy Krafka Harkema, APR, has some suggestions on how to end the year on a high note.

Challenge yourself, thank the leaders in your life and make time to reflect as you move forward.

Read more on the PRSA Iowa blog.


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Member Updates

Welcome, New Members!

Dr. Eric Kwame Adae, Drake University
Chelle Lehman, University of Iowa
Karen Meinders, Corteva Agriscience  

Member Anniversaries  

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

Thirty years

  • Kristie L. Wildung, APR, Central Iowa Water Association

Five years

  • Jessica Maldonado, PolicyWorks
  • Lisa Schmitz, Des Moines Area Community College

One year

  • Lindsey Drilling, M2K Branding & Communications
  • Katrina Sletten, Two Rivers Marketing
  • Lauren Vespa, Two Rivers Marketing

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Job Bank

There are great communication jobs all around Iowa. See current openings on our Job Bank.

Director of Marketing
HomeServices of Iowa - (Iowa Realty)

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Connect With Us

Right now, digital platforms are the best place to connect with PRSA 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

Looking for new professional development opportunities in the new year? Now is a great time to join PRSA.

Now through the end of the year, new and reinstating (former) members will receive a $50 Amazon gift card and waived initiation or reinstatement fees. Use code HOLIDAY50. Visit for details.

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