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PRSA Blue Ridge Member Testimonials

Sarah Baumgardener
Environmental Communications Coordinator
Western Virginia Water Authority


"Seven years ago, I was new to the public relations field. The Blue Ridge PRSA offered me invaluable professional development and networking opportunities, and peers with whom to consult and gain confidence in my career. I highly recommend the professional lunches as an opportunity to learn PR best practices from professionals here in the valley, as well as distinguished guest speakers.”

Rachel Spencer
Senior Associate
Access Advertising & Public Relations

"The connections I've made through my PRSA membership and years on the Board have proven to be invaluable. I've had the opportunity to meet and get to know so many professionals and peers in the region that I might not have met otherwise, and consequently have been able to collaborate on many exciting projects.

"My peers in PRSA are some of the brightest individuals I’ve ever met, and I appreciate the chance to learn from them as well as share my own opinions and insights. 

"PRSA is a tremendous group of individuals and a great value for the networking and professional developments it offers."


Susan Bland
Communications Manager
Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech

"I’m a member of the Blue Ridge Chapter because I strongly believe in the value of learning and sharing ideas with my peers. While PRSA offers many benefits for its members, for me, the most important benefit is the engagement I receive at the local level."


“One of my favorite experiences since being involved with the local chapter was the media speed dating event. Working in the New River Valley, my face-to-face time with Roanoke reporters is very limited. This event allowed me to meet many of the reporters I pitch to via e-mail or phone and helped me hone my skills of communicating important messages about my organization quickly and succinctly.”

Jeffrey S. Douglas, MS, APR, Fellow PRSA
President, Douglas Communications L.L.C.; and Adjunct Professor, Department of Communication, Virginia Tech

“At first, I wanted to say my induction into PRSA’s College of Fellows in New York City in 2004. But really my most memorable and meaningful experience was organizing a daylong public relations continuing education event at the Boar’s Head Inn in Charlottesville, featuring the late great Patrick Jackson back in 1995. The event was a resounding success that really raised our flag and earned us a $3,000 profit."


“Pat was one of the giants of the modern public relations profession. I got to know Pat and subsequently hired him to speak at several other national conferences I organized in the late-90s and early-2000s."


“His legacy lives on through PRSA’s annual Pat Jackson Award for Distinguished Service to PRSA.”


Todd Burns
Corporate Communications Manager Appalachian Power 

"I’ve been in the profession for more than 20 years, and PRSA has helped me through the different phases of my career."


“Initially, PRSSA helped spark interest in the field and opened doors for internships that opened doors for full-time work. As a professional, honing my skills through PRSA learning opportunities keeps me sharp."

“When I was first given the chance to take on big PR issues, the Summit Awards provided validation not only for me, but also for my employers, that I was doing quality work."


“And, as a hiring manager PRSA helps connect me to potential interns or future co-workers. PRSA is a resource that has transcended my career.”

Amy Whittaker
Public Information Officer
Roanoke County


“I joined PRSA in 2004 and have found invaluable benefits to my membership."


“I feel fortunate that our chapter consists of the top public relations practitioners from southwest and central Virginia. Networking with them has allowed me to develop partnerships and gain best practices."

“I’ve also found that our professional development programs have provided more insight and increased my knowledge of the field of public relations, helping me to grow in my career."

“My membership in PRSA is a great investment.”


Thomas Becher, APR
Senior Vice President, ND&P

“Continuing to stay active in PRSA at the local level is a great way to stay involved and give back. Membership has enabled me to stay current on new trends, meet potential employees and take my leadership skills to the district and national levels. While my focus is currently on supporting other chapters in the Mid-Atlantic district, my PR roots are firmly planted in the Blue Ridge chapter."


“In addition to the knowledge and fellowship of membership, the greatest value for me has been earning the APR designation, which has helped me to build solid knowledge and understanding of my profession and valuable respect among clients and colleagues.”

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