News

Blue Ridge Chapter members are invited to post news releases here about professional achievements, or re-post news releases from your own organization.
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  • 10 Nov 2014 8:34 AM | Scott Ramsburg (Administrator)

    ROANOKE, VIRGINIA, November 10, 2014 The Blue Ridge Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) held its 13th annual Summit Awards Gala on Friday, Nov. 7, at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center.  The Summit Awards are an annual recognition of the best in public relations and communications efforts by professional public relations practitioners in Southwest Virginia.

    VIEW A LIST OF AWARD WINNERS

    The Summit Awards include 16 categories which allow individuals or agencies to submit their work in a variety of areas, with most divided into modest or average budgets.  A record 73 entries were received and submissions have the opportunity to receive either a Gold or Silver Summit Award.  This year’s entries were judged by the Madison, Wis. Chapter of PRSA and were evaluated in the areas of research, planning, execution, and evaluation. The entire competition is open to all professional public relations practitioners in Southwest Virginia and membership in PRSA is not required. 

    Overall Summit Awards and Gala sponsor was Businesswire. ND&P sponsored the design for call for entries. Robertson Marketing Group was a gala event sponsor.  All Star Impressions sponsored the Best in Show awards.

    Congratulations to all 2014 Summit Award Winners.  For more information, contact Chapter Awards and Recognition Co-Chairs Shelly Whitaker at 540.561.8452 or shelly.whitaker@advanceautoparts.com or Josh Meyer at 540-857-6311 or jmeyer@virginiawestern.edu.

    PRSA is the world’s largest association of public relations professionals. Since 1992, the Blue Ridge Chapter, serving Central and Southwest Virginia, has strived to bring professionals together to enhance the practice, provide an exchange of experiences and ideals, and promote professional development. For more information on local programs, visit our website at www.prsa-blueridge.org.


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  • 09 Apr 2014 7:30 PM | Charles Lionberger (Administrator)

    You go to college and work for years to become a successful lawyer and run a small IT consulting company only to give it all up to chase your dreams at Walt Disney World and, in the meantime, become a digital communications expert.

    Sound crazy?  Not to our June luncheon speaker.

    The Blue Ridge Chapter of PRSA is proud to announce Lou Mongello, widely recognized Walt Disney World author, expert, host, speaker and historian, will be our guest speaker for the June 12 luncheon at Hotel Roanoke.  Mouse Fan Travel, one of the nation’s premier agencies for Disney-related travel, is sponsoring the luncheon.  Mongello also will be the featured guest at Mouskemeets, a new Disney fan event taking place on Friday, June 13, in Roanoke.

    In pursuing his dreams, Mongello also has become a nationally known speaker and expert on how to use social media and podcasting to engage stakeholders in the digital world to then create opportunities to engage stakeholders in the real world for what Lou calls a “handshake and a hug.”

    Mongello has been a featured presenter at some of the nation’s most prominent digital media conferences including BlogWorld & New Media Expo, Social Media Marketing World, TBEX, and the Podcast Movement conference.

    He is the host/producer of the WDW Radio show (http://WDWRadio.com), which has been named Best Travel Podcast for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. With well-established online communities and a trusted brand, WDW Radio shares the magic of Walt Disney World through its numerous media channels - audio podcast, live video broadcasts, video segments, blog, email newsletter, discussion forums, special events, live events, and more.

    Mongello is the author of the Walt Disney World Trivia Books, 102 Ways to Save Money For and At Walt Disney World, and the author/narrator of Audio Tours of Walt Disney World. He is the founder of the Dream Team Project, which sends children with life-threatening illnesses to Disney World. Mongello also makes regular TV appearances and is a featured speaker who shares the magic of Disney and/or the power of social media.

    Mouse Fan Travel is sponsoring the June 2014 luncheon, which begins at noon at Hotel Roanoke and Virginia Tech's new North End Center, and is open to the business community.

    For more luncheon details and to register to attend the location of your choice, visit www.prsa-blueridge.org or contact Chuck Lionberger, PRSA Blue Ridge president-elect and program chair, at clionberger@rcs.k12.va.us or 540-815-4667.

  • 20 Mar 2014 11:27 AM | Charles Lionberger (Administrator)
    On Thursday, April 10, beginning at noon at the Holiday Inn - University Blacksburg, the Public Relations Society of America, Blue Ridge Chapter will hold the second event in its 2014 Luncheon Series. The featured speaker is Matt Baron, a noted national speaker in the field of communications. In his presentation, Matt brings numbers to life and shares how even the math-averse can use them to inject life into stories and gain an edge on others vying for media coverage. With “Go Figure,” Matt also covers some of the most common math-related mistakes that can undermine a communicator's credibility and damage their relationship with clients and journalists alike. Plus, he caps it all with practical, empowering tips and tools that will help communicators not only secure media placements but gain a reputation as a go-to resource and mathematical maven.

    Since 2001, Matt Baron has traveled throughout the country to train thousands of journalists, publicists and other professional communicators on topics ranging from deadline reporting and interviewing techniques to numeracy, or mathematical literacy.

    Matt’s column, “By the Numbers,” was syndicated by Copley Newspapers in the late 1990s and for three years he was the statistics researcher and writer for Sports Illustrated for Kids. Fittingly, he counts Scott Flansburg, aka “The Human Calculator,” among his favorite clients since he launched his PR practice, Inside Edge, in 2005.

    Also a longtime journalist, Matt’s work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Time, USA Today and numerous other publications. He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

    Virginia Tech and ND&P will sponsor the April luncheon.

    PRSA is the world’s largest association of public relations professionals. Since 1992, the Blue Ridge Chapter has served public relations professionals in central and southwest Virginia by bringing professionals together to provide an exchange of experiences and ideals, and to promote professional development.

    For more information on local Blue Ridge PRSA programs, visit the chapter website at www.prsa-blueridge.org or contact chapter President Melinda Mayo at melinda.mayo@roanokeva.gov.
  • 04 Feb 2014 9:13 AM | Charles Lionberger (Administrator)
    When most public relations professionals face a crisis, they work to keep it out of the media. But what do you do when you need the media to help end the crisis? That is the topic of the February professional development luncheon of the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

    In our instant age of communication, balancing speed with accuracy and key messaging can be a challenge even for the most seasoned of PR professionals. Corinne Geller (Va. State Police) and Teresa Hamilton Hall (APCO) will explore a 2010 Roanoke County incident where every second counted in regards to informing the public and saving a young teen’s life. Learn about the impact of social media in gaining investigative information, tracking a murder suspect, searching for a missing girl, meeting media demands, and, ultimately, helping bring about a happy ending.

    Join us February 13 at Noon at the Hotel Roanoke to learn more about leveraging the media to save lives.

    Register today at http://www.prsa-blueridge.org.
  • 14 Jan 2014 5:39 PM | Scott Ramsburg (Administrator)

    Scott Ramsburg and Laura Neff-Henderson, APR, were recognized at the Dec. 12 membership luncheon for their commitment and service in 2013 to the Blue Ridge Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

    Illuminator Award – Scott Ramsburg

    The Blue Ridge PRSA Illuminator Award was presented to Scott Ramsburg, business and information manager for Roanoke County Parks, Recreation and Tourism. Ramsburg also serves on the Blue Ridge PRSA board of directors as director at-large.

    Created in 2001, the Illuminator Award is presented to a member who energizes the organization with his or her positive attitude and bright ideas, among other contributions. Ramsburg was credited for sharing his website management expertise and leading the transition of the chapter website to a new content management system.

    “Scott not only shed light on the technical process, but skillfully led the transition to a less-expensive, feature-rich system, saving the chapter more than $500,” said Heidi Ketler, APR, Blue Ridge PRSA immediate past president.


    Sparky Award – Laura Neff-Henderson, APR

    The Blue Ridge PRSA Sparky Award was presented to Laura Neff-Henderson, APR, employee communications manager for Virginia Tech. A Blue Ridge Chapter past president, Neff-Henderson is currently the New River Outreach Committee chair and Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) chair. She also is active on the national front as an at-large member of the PRSA board of directors and as a member of the board of PRSA’s employee communication section.

  • 14 Jan 2014 5:38 PM | Scott Ramsburg (Administrator)

    Family Service of Roanoke Valley was selected out of 16 non-profit applications to receive pro bono public relations assistance through the Blue Ridge PRSA Public Service Committee.

    During the two-year-commitment ending Dec. 31, 2015, members of the public service committee will deliver their professional expertise to advance the mission and goals of Family Service of Roanoke Valley (FSRV).

    “The Blue Ridge PRSA board of directors had a difficult decision – as all of the applicants were deserving of our assistance,” said Melinda Mayo, 2014 president of the Blue Ridge PRSA. “The final decision was based on the organization we believe we could be of greatest service to during this time period.”

    FSRV is a dynamic, multi-service agency helping a diverse population of clients that spans the area’s economic, ethnic and cultural divisions. Its mission is to improve life and restore hope to the most vulnerable, from the youngest children to the oldest adults, through prevention, counseling and support services.

    “As a 112-year old organization, it’s important to periodically rebrand ourselves to remain current, visible and relevant,” said Sharon Thacker, FSRV’s president and chief executive officer. “FSRV offers a broad and diverse range of programs and services, and we’re hoping the Blue Ridge PRSA can help us with strategies for increasing public awareness.”

    Specifically, FSRV identified the need for an external communications plan that will elevate its social media presence, for an electronic quarterly newsletter and for an email distribution list. Desired outcomes include the recruitment of more volunteers and greater financial support to operate services. Additionally, FSRV is hoping to recruit volunteers to help with community, donor and client research using surveys and focus groups.

    “Clearly, FSRV recognizes the importance of PR in advancing its mission and values, and its public relations needs are at the core of what we do – strengthening key relationships,” said Heidi Ketler, APR, chair of the public service committee.

    Ketler noted the esteemed history of FSRV as a pioneer in local human service programming for the Roanoke community since 1901. In addition, the organization has a strong leadership team and a recently approved, three-year strategic plan.

    Participation in this Blue Ridge PRSA Public Service Committee initiative is open to members of the professional organization. Community support is welcome. For more information, contact Heidi Ketler at hketler@verizon.net. Visit the Blue Ridge PRSA website at www.prsa-blueridge.org and on Facebook. Visit Family Service of Roanoke Valley at www.fsrv.org and on Facebook.

  • 30 Nov 2013 11:38 AM | Melinda Mayo

    PRSA Blue Ridge Luncheon Series Concludes with ‘The Fearless Future for PRSA’

     

     

    ROANOKE, VIRGINIA -- On Thursday, Dec. 12, beginning at noon at the Hotel Roanoke, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Blue Ridge Chapter will hold the final event in its 2013 Luncheon Series. The featured speaker will be Joseph Cohen, incoming chair of the National PRSA organization for 2014 and a senior vice president at MWW in New York, one of the top five global independent public relations firms in the industry. In his presentation, “The Fearless Future for PRSA--A Look at the 2014 to 2016 Strategic Plan,” Cohen will share how practitioners and the public relations industry must adapt to changing times.  

     

    As a member of the leadership team of MWW's consumer marketing practice, Cohen has helped establish best practices while guiding communications, integrated marketing, and digital/social media strategy for such major brands and organizations as Sara Lee/Hillshire Brands, Zumba Fitness, Gold's Gym International, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM and Sbarro Italian Eatery.

     

    His expertise spans the food/restaurant, consumer packaged goods, retail, health/fitness, sports marketing, entertainment and non-profit sectors.  His account experience also includes The Palm Restaurant Group, Bally Total Fitness, Everlast, and Go Bowling! (marketing communications for the bowling industry).

     

    Cohen has won numerous industry awards including PRWeek’s “40 Under 40” (2013), "PR Team Leader of the Year" at the PR News PR People Awards (2010), and recognition by PRWeek on its list of Ten Rising Stars (2006). He holds a bachelor's degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

     

    The sponsor of this PRSA chapter luncheon is ND&P, a full-service advertising, public relations and digitial agency serving national clients from offices in Roanoke, Richmond, Tennessee and North Carolina.

     

     

    PRSA is the world’s largest association of public relations professionals. Since 1992, the Blue Ridge Chapter has served public relations professionals in central and southwest Virginia by bringing professionals together to provide an exchange of experiences and ideals, and to promote professional development.


    For more information on local Blue Ridge PRSA programs, visit the chapter website at
    www.prsa-blueridge.org. You may also contact chapter President Heidi Ketler at hketler@verizon.net or President-Elect/Programs Chair Melinda Mayo at melinda.mayo@roanokeva.gov.

     

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  • 11 Oct 2013 1:22 PM | Scott Ramsburg (Administrator)

    The Blue Ridge Chapter, Public Relations Society of America is conducting a search for a local non-profit organization in need of public relations support.The chapter’s commitment with the selected non-profit will start Jan. 1, 2014 and continue through Dec. 31, 2015.

     Our chapter Public Service Committee helps local non-profits, but doing what we do best – public relations/communications.  For the past two years, ending Dec. 31, 2013, our Public Service Committee has worked with New Horizons Healthcare to improve overall communication strategy.  The following are the committee’s key objectives:

    • Update overall communication plan to incorporate expansion of services, construction of new facility, and technology enhancements
    • Encourage more interaction and find sources for social media content
    • Develop public relations campaign about the opening of New Horizons new facility

     Previously, the Blue Ridge PRSA provided pro bono public relations support to Literacy Volunteers of the Roanoke Valley. 

    Applications to receive support from Blue Ridge PRSA are due November 4, and can be found at the following website: http://www.prsa-blueridge.org/Resources/Documents/Blue%20Ridge%20PRSA%20Non-Profit%20Application%20Package_101013.pdf
  • 26 Sep 2013 9:45 PM | Melinda Mayo

    Harnessing the Power of Digital Media

     

    ROANOKE, VIRGINIA -- On Thursday, Oct. 10, beginning at noon at the Hotel Roanoke, the Public Relations Society of America, Blue Ridge Chapter will hold the fifth event in its 2013 Luncheon Series. The featured speaker will be David Almacy, a senior vice president in the Washington, D.C. office of Edelman, who will share best practices for using digital media to maximize its advantage to your company or organization.  

     

    Almacy brings more than 15 years of experience at the intersection of government, media, public relations, marketing, politics and digital communications.  His clients have included Hilton Worldwide, Adobe, Samsung, Walmart, Microsoft, PepsiCo, Cigna, National Mining Association, BSA|The Software Alliance, BAE Systems, Inc. and the American Petroleum Institute.

     

    Prior to joining Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm, Almacy was the White House Internet and E-Communications director under President George W. Bush.  In that role, he managed online communications strategy, served as an official spokesman for Internet press and bloggers and acted as a liaison to the federal government Web manager community. He was also the primary owner of the White House website (WhiteHouse.gov) and spearheaded its comprehensive redesign in March 2007.

     

    His additional background and experience includes stints with the Republican National Committee, Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, Washington Business Journal, C-SPAN, GovTech Solutions and the U.S. Department of Education.  Almacy is a native of Bethesda, Md.

     

    The sponsor of this PRSA chapter luncheon is Access, a full-service advertising and public relations firm in Roanoke. Special higher education sponsors are Liberty University School of Communication and the Virginia Tech Department of Communications.

     

    PRSA is the world’s largest association of public relations professionals. Since 1992, the Blue Ridge Chapter has served public relations professionals in central and southwest Virginia by bringing professionals together to provide an exchange of experiences and ideals, and to promote professional development.

    For more information on local Blue Ridge PRSA programs, visit the chapter website at www.prsa-blueridge.org  or contact chapter President Heidi Ketler at hketler@verizon.net.

     

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  • 25 Jul 2013 1:24 PM | Melinda Mayo

    Tools to Amp Up Your Influence

     

    ROANOKE, VIRGINIA--On Thursday, Aug. 8, beginning at noon at the Hotel Roanoke, the Public Relations Society of America, Blue Ridge Chapter will hold the fourth event in its 2013 Luncheon Series. The featured speaker is Brian Duvall, CEO of Duvall Media, who will reveal two universal laws of human behavior that we must leverage if we wish to reach Expert status, build credibility and trust, and influence people with positive intention. He will also share some of the online tools used in his practice to help clients “Amp Up Their Influence.” This luncheon is open to the business community.  

    “We influence people all day long ... mostly unintentionally ... for either a positive or a negative outcome,” says Duvall. “We even influence others when we do nothing ... by reinforcing their notions about us as colleagues, business leaders, parents, etc. In the business world, if you wish to influence others then it's absolutely critical that you build credibility as a leading expert or authority on your subject in your market.”

     

    Duvall has been helping businesses grow, extend their reach and amp up their influence since the mid-1980s when he was a producer/director on award-winning corporate video projects throughout the east coast. He later served as the CEO to two chambers of commerce where he helped launch more than 200 small businesses, led the restoration of the Carriage House at Longwood Park and was named one the region’s “Top 20 Under 40” in 2002. He went on to serve as the CEO of an international extreme sports company where he launched a popular blog with a global readership, built a national retail network and opened new markets in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.

     

    Delta Dental of Virginia is the sponsor for the August luncheon, which will be simulcast for members and guests participating from a luncheon at Virginia Tech's new North End Center. The company

    provides easy-to-administer, cost-efficient dental benefits for more than 1,800,000 members in thousands of groups, as well as individuals. As the country’s most extensive provider network, Delta Dental of Virginia’s focus on preventive care, award-winning customer service, and state-of-the-art technology all add up to an incredibly effective dental benefits program. The Delta Dental of Virginia Foundation works to improve the oral health of all Virginians through financial support of research and education programs that provide access to care for the underserved.

     

    PRSA is the world’s largest association of public relations professionals. Since 1992, the Blue Ridge Chapter has served public relations professionals in central and southwest Virginia by bringing professionals together to provide an exchange of experiences and ideals, and to promote professional development.

    For more information on local Blue Ridge PRSA programs, visit the chapter website at
    www.prsa-blueridge.org  or contact chapter President Heidi Ketler at hketler@verizon.net.

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