Join Us at the PRSSA Graduation Party

Image via AIA Pittsburgh

Join PRSA Pittsburgh on Wednesday, April 25, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Poros in Market Square to celebrate the PRSSA 2018 graduates. Join us for drinks and appetizers while networking with PR professionals.

The cost to attend for PRSSA student is $25, which will include a drink ticket, appetizers and a discount on their PRSA Associate Membership.

Upon arrival, students will receive information regarding the PRSA Associate Membership and a promo code that they will enter at checkout when registering as a PRSA Pittsburgh Member.

In anticipation of the event, a few of our board members and committee leads shared the following advice for PRSSA graduates.

“Be aggressive. It may feel like you are reaching out to too many people or too much, but keeping yourself top of mind for busy professionals will help you in the end,” said Sydney Carver, PRSA Pittsburgh Social Media/Publicity Chair.

“There are a lot of new graduates and not a lot of available positions. Working three or four internships even after graduating is common. Many will get frustrated and give up. Don’t let a boring, run-of-the-mill resume keep you from reaching your potential. Spend some time now updating your resume and online presence to set yourself apart. Even that may not be enough to get you the job, but it should at least help you get your resume printed out and put on the boss’s desk a lot more often,” said Steve Radick, PRSA Pittsburgh Immediate Past President.

We are honored to recognize PRSSA members at our graduation celebration on April 25 – before you put on that cap and gown, stop by Poros to celebrate!

Be sure to RSVP here.

Duquesne PRSSA’s Experience Hosting its Third Annual Networking Event: “Bridging Opportunities”

By Duquesne PRSSA

This semester, our Chapter has held its third annual “Bridging Opportunities” networking event on Friday, March 23, from 5:30-7 P.M. in the Duquesne Student Union. This event continues the tradition of our Chapter of holding a networking event open to the entire school each spring semester where students can interact and connect with different employers in the marketing, advertising, and public relations field.

Since this is the Chapter’s biggest event of the year, it is very important that we prioritized and executed all of the necessary steps to make the event possible. The first thing we needed to complete was the room request and order food through Parkhurst Catering. Next, we wanted to focus on outreach. We created flyers, brochures, posters, a press release in the Duquesne Duke, and an email blast to all Business and Liberal Arts school students. Lastly, we had to gather information on the companies that we were hoping would attend, create and send an invitation, and then see which companies confirmed.

On the day of the event, timing and logistics were very important. We had to make sure we picked up the catered food on time, make sure representatives knew when and where the event was taking place, and make sure other PRSSA members could get to the event. Finally, any expenses we had were written down in a spreadsheet, included with receipts, were given to the Reimbursement Center. Overall, we learned that time management is crucial.

If you don’t manage your time wisely, duties can begin to add up, causing a hectic and stressful situation. We also learned that things don’t always go as planned. We had to adjust on various different occasions, but just because you have to take a different approach, it doesn’t always mean that the overall goal will be ruined.


Students who join PRSSA at Duquesne University participate in professional development, firm tours, visits from public relations professionals and hands-on, skill building public relations activities.  In addition, our Chapter sponsors networking opportunities in the form of talks and roundtable discussions led by Pittsburgh’s top public relations professionals.

3 Takeaways from Point Park University’s Speaker Series

By Morgan McCoy

Looking back at the fall 2017 semester, Point Park University’s PRSSA Chapter is thankful to all the speakers that took time out of their busy days to spend time with our members. From non-profit to agency, these distinguished professionals gave invaluable advice, encouragement and tips.

A huge thank you to Therese Joseph (Shift Collaborative), Felicia McKinney (Point Park University), Brenda Jaros (Goodwill), Emmiley Stern (Tailored Marketing) and Jessica DiVito (Special Olympics) for joining us last semester to share your knowledge with our members. Here are three big takeaways from our guests:

It’s how you hustle

Each of our speakers shared their paths to success and each had one thing in common: hustle. When all else fails, you must know how to get back to business and try, try again until the goal is met. If you want it, you work hard for it, and we saw firsthand how well that hustle worked for each of our speakers.

Passion, passion, passion

Passion was a big point that each of our speakers touched upon. Every great communication project has a team of passionate workers that tirelessly perfect their plans to deliver maximum impact. DiVito has a passion for connecting supporters with athletes by telling their stories through newsletters and more. Seeing speakers so passionate about their causes on every level showed our members how inspiring a career in communications can be.

Networking is real

While it’s not all about networking, all our speakers encouraged our members to get out there and start getting involved so you can meet communicators in their backyard. Being involved in the community by doing something as simple as volunteering to help with local PRSA events can connect you with industry professionals. A great network can lead to great opportunities. Be kind and be genuine.

We would also like to thank Top Hat for allowing our members to visit at the end of the semester. With similar advice to the above, our members have a great understanding of the industry.


Morgan McCoy is a student at Point Park University and firm director at Bison Media. Email Morgan here

2018 Renaissance Award Winners: The Complete List

On Thursday, Jan. 25, Pittsburgh’s most talented communicators gathered together at the Senator John Heinz History Center to honor the best public relations campaigns, tactics and individual practitioners as part of PRSA Pittsburgh’s 2018 Renaissance Awards. Jeff Barton and Sam Panico, co-founders of Jam X Creative, served as the masters of ceremonies.

Entries were independently evaluated by a panel of judges from PRSA’s Dallas Chapter. The top scored entries received the ‘Renaissance Award’ distinction and the runner-ups received the ‘Award of Merit.’ Several categories had multiple winners depending on the numeric score of the judges.

The Renaissance Awards handed out more than 50 honors in total to companies ranging from agencies and corporations to professional sports teams and nonprofits, including Havas PR, Burson-Marsteller, BRUNNER, UPMC Health Plan, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, among others.

See the complete list of winners below:


B2B Campaign

Renaissance Awards

  • Top Hat, Will Work for Beer
  • Burson-Marsteller, Bank of America: Research, Relationships and Resources for Small Businesses
  • Pipitone Group, Guttman Energy Fleet Card Awareness Campaign

Award of Merit

  • Havas PR, Transitions Change Agents: Appealing to Younger Eyes

Digital Campaign

Renaissance Award

  • MarketSpace Communications, Pittsburgh International Airport: “We’ll get you there”
  • Top Hat, Will Work for Beer

Influencer Relations

Renaissance Award

  • Gatesman, Inc., Candace Cameron Bure / StarKist Influencer Program

Integrated Marketing Campaign

Renaissance Awards

  • BRUNNER, Make 90 Seconds Last a Month: The Story of the 84 Lumber Super Bowl Ad
  • Gatesman, Inc., Duquesne Light Company’s #PowerItForward Campaign

Awards of Merit

  • UPMC Health Plan, FY16-17 Individual Open Enrollment Integrated Marketing Campaign

Media Relations

Renaissance Awards

  • Havas PR, Curiosity Cube Sparks Scientific Curiosity Across the United States
  • Michael Baker International, Michael Baker International Media Relations Program
  • Havas PR, Survey Says: Parents View Kids’ Play Differently Among Generations
  • Havas PR, RESPECTAgZone: Protecting Indiana Township’s Thriving, Green Land
  • Top Hat, Will Work for Beer
  • WordWrite Communications, Steel City Rehab Debuts on HGTV
  • Burson-Marsteller, The Future is On: Leviton’s Tech Innovation Rebirth through Media Relations

Award of Merit

  • Burson-Marsteller, Fueling Education: CITGO Inspires Children to Become Lifelong Readers

New Products & Services Communications

Renaissance Awards

  • Top Hat, Will Work for Beer
  • Burson-Marsteller, Leviton Decora Smart: Making Every Home a Smart Home

Award of Merit

  • Garrison Hughes, Heinz History Center – WWII Campaign

Reputation Management

Renaissance Awards

  • Havas PR, Curiosity Cube Sparks Scientific Curiosity Across the United States
  • Top Hat, Will Work for Beer
  • Havas PR, Changing Perceptions: How National Vision is Encouraging Optometrists to Give Corporate Optometry a Second Chance
  • South Fayette Township, 175th Anniversary of South Fayette Township
  • BRUNNER, Make 90 Seconds Last a Month: The Story of the 84 Lumber Super Bowl Ad

Social Media Campaign

Renaissance Awards

  • Gatesman, Inc., #Charlie4Prez

Awards of Merit

  • Gatesman, Inc., S&T Bank Celebrates 115 Years of Relationship Banking
  • MarketSpace Communications, Children’s Community Pediatrics – “We like you, like us back”
  • UPMC Health Plan, This is What a Runner Looks Like
  • DDI | Development Dimensions International, DDI Social Media


Written Content

Renaissance Award

  • Michael Baker International, Michael Baker International Signature Magazine
  • Michael Baker International, Michael Baker International Social Media Management
  • BRUNNER, Innovation Labs
  • Havas PR, Sparking Online Conversation around Quality of Life

Awards of Merit

  • BRUNNER, Home Marketing Article Series
  • DDI | Development Dimensions International, It’s Not About Men vs. Women in the Workplace
  • Havas PR, Highlighting a YOUniverse of Bayer Innovation

Multimedia Content

Renaissance Awards

  • UPMC Health Plan, Screening with Meaning

Awards of Merit

  • BRUNNER, Lucky Leaf Recipe Videos
  • 321Blink, Zachary’s Mission – Sharing Heart Award
  • Havas PR, Clean Shades on National Sunglasses Day: Using Video Content to Educate and Entertain
  • Pittsburgh International Airport, Ready for Takeoff

Promotional Content

Award of Merit

  • BRUNNER, Atlanta Business Chronicle Promotional Content

Annual Report

Renaissance Award

  • MarketSpace Communications, Allegheny County Airport Authority – “Momentum” 2017 Annual Report


PRSA Rising Star Award

  • Breanna Stephens, Havas PR

PR Entrepreneur of the Year

  • Ben Butler, APR, Top Hat

PR Disruption Award

  • 84 Lumber

PRSA Member of the Year

  • Jordan Mitrik, BRUNNER

Communicator of the Year

  • Burt Lauten, Pittsburgh Steelers

Bob O’Gara Student Scholar

  • Maura Fenske, Waynesburg University

PRSSA Chapter of the Year

  • Waynesburg University PRSSA

Hall of Fame Award

  • Kelly Kimberland, APR, UPMC Health Plan

PR Team of the Year


Best in Show

  • Top Hat, Will Work for Beer

Leadership: Tactics December Issue Recap

By Bre Stephens

A good leader positively impacts not only an organization, but also employees — who are the driving force behind the company’s success. The December issue of Tactics helps others find their way as a leader with tips on cultivating innovative thinking, successfully managing teams, improving upon weak spots and learning tricks of the trade from other leaders.

Bright Ideas: Leadership That Encourages Innovative Thinkers

  • Brad MacAfee, CEO and senior partner at Porter Novelli, believes in creating an environment in which people at every level contribute to innovation. He outlines his six principles that drive organizational success.

In the Lead: 5 Ways to Master the Art of Team Management

  • Being a manager can be challenging, but it is also rewarding. Marissa Connelly, account supervisor at Litzky Public Relations, shares five tips that will help PR pros master the art of managing a team.

Southwest’s Linda Rutherford on Airline Industry Leadership

  • Linda Rutherford, senior vice president and CCO at Southwest Airlines, discusses her leadership style, what the PR industry is doing well and what it can improve upon in terms of leadership, and how Southwest (employees included) handled recent mishaps.

Closing the Gap: Plank Center Research on PR Leaders Shows Room for Improvement

  • According to a 2017 report card from the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations and Heyman Associates, overall leadership in PR is fairly average. Bruce K. Berger, Ph.D., professor emeritus of advertising and public relations at the University of Alabama (UA) and research director for the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations at UA, provides insight into scores for each category (leadership performance, job engagement, trust in the organization, work culture and job satisfaction) for this year’s report card, shares what needs attention and identifies steps for improving leadership in the years to come.

Leaders Learning From Leaders: Giving Back and Paying Forward

  • Elyse Hammett, APR, vice president of marketing and communications for the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, explains why sharing is the key to success and how PR leaders can learn from other leaders to create the ultimate impact.

Read the latest issue of Tactics here.


Bre is an account executive at Havas PR. Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Duquesne’s Chapter Expands its Professional Network

By Duquesne PRSSA

This semester, our chapter has taken advantage of the large amount of opportunities the city of Pittsburgh offers us. Our proximity to the vast quantity of resources in the city has always been there; however, we never seemed to utilize these to the fullest potential. We pride ourselves in conducting an agency tour in the fall and hosting our own networking event on campus in the spring. While we still plan to continue with these events, we decided to switch the normal routine up.

This semester, instead of an agency tour, we hosted and attended several professional and network-building events. We first hosted on campus an alumna of our chapter – a former president in 2015 – to speak to potential members about the benefits of PRSSA. While anyone on the current executive board could provide a list of benefits of joining, we decided that if students heard how a communications professional has, and still is, benefiting from being a part of PRSSA, it might have a larger impact.

In October, several members attended PRSA Pittsburgh’s First Annual PR Summit “Disruption and the Search for Authenticity.” This was different, yet more beneficial, than a firm tour as members were offered the chance to network with many PR, advertising, communications and journalism professionals at once in their own setting. It provided members a real-world experience away from the comfortable environment of campus.

In November, members attended the discussion panel Embracing and Overcoming Difference: Diversity and Inclusion in Marketing and Advertising hosted by Gatesman on our campus. This event was small enough to allow members to interact on a personal level with many of the professionals, including the current president of Gatesman and professionals from PNC Bank.

While we still plan on continuing next semester with an agency tour and our networking event in the spring as usual, these three simple, yet advantageous, opportunities have allowed us to be more prepared and gain more experience for hosting our own chapter event. Each year we strive to make it bigger and better, and we believe this year we have all the tools to do so thanks to the public relations community in Pittsburgh.

Starting a PR Revolution: Tactics November Issue Recap

By Bre Stephens

Those of you who attended this year’s PRSA International Conference know all about the spirit of revolution. If you weren’t able to make it, you can still learn how to start a PR revolution in this month’s issue of Tactics. Here’s a peek at the highlights from some of this year’s speakers:

Morgan Spurlock on Creating World-Changing Content

  • Morgan Spurlock, award-winning filmmaker and host of CNN’s “Inside Man,” shared how to create original content that has the power to change the world. According to Morgan, PR professionals must be willing to take criticism, have people who believe in them and their vision, and have persistence of vision.

Bea Arthur on Being Resilient and Finding Success

  • It’s a known fact that success doesn’t come easy. Bea Arthur, a therapist, entrepreneur and media personality, talked about how the secret to success is resilience.

AmyK Hutchens on Performance and Productivity

  • AmyK Hutchens, business strategist and leadership development expert, spoke to leaders about how they can foster brilliance inside their organizations.

Jay Baer on the Power of Customer Experience

  • According to author and digital marketing expert Jay Baer, customers trust people more than they trust companies. He discussed how PR professionals can harness word-of-mouth communication to bring success to their clients.

Project Bread’s Fight Against Hunger in Massachusetts

  • Maureen Halley Lederhos, director of marketing communications for Project Bread, explained how the company implemented outreach programs to help raise awareness of the amount of Massachusetts residents who lack access to nutritious food.

Read the latest issue of Tactics here.


Bre is an account executive at Havas PR. Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Learn about Cision Impact at PRSA Pittsburgh’s Holiday Party!

By Courtney Dwyer Tyson

Hi, PRSA Pittsburgh! Courtney from Cision here. Some of you may know me as your PR Newswire representative, turned Cision representative, others may not be familiar with who I am. I have been with PR Newswire and Cision for more than 8 years now, and have had the pleasure of helping organizations in the Pittsburgh market tell their stories for the past two years. I have completely fallen in love with your city, and most of all, the communicators who reside here, who I have found to be some of the most innovative and open minded individuals I’ve come across during my career.

In fact, it’s this market in particular that has consistently challenged me when it comes to equating your efforts to ROI. Whether you are expected to show value to your client, leadership team or CFO, all communicators are looking for the same thing – a way to attribute value to the things you do every day. For example, what did that story in the New York Post do for the organization? The Incline mentioned us in a blog post, we’ve got the clip, great, so what? We know that earned media is more trusted than paid, but our paid media counterparts get a larger piece of the budget because they can report on how an ad affected an organization’s revenue.

Well communicators, please know that you have been heard!

Two weeks ago, Cision Impact was launched, and for the first time ever, Cision is bringing to market technology that makes it possible for brands to measure the impact of earned media and marketing communications programs accurately. Our technology allows professionals to compile information in a detailed report, ready for delivery.

Kaila Garrison, Cision’s Vice President of Marketing (Pittsburgh native and mastermind behind our Cision Impact launch!), and I will be discussing Cision Impact in more detail during PRSA Pittsburgh’s annual Holiday Happy hour on Monday, Dec. 11, at Poros.

To learn more about how Cision will be changing the way communicators attribute value to efforts, please come join our conversation!

3 Ways to Convince an Audience Outside Your Sphere of Influence

By Claire O’Neil

Networking is a key element in public relations. It’s something that can help a company grow or acquire new clients.

But how can a company network with people who are not familiar with a company or may not have any interest in what it is? And what are the best ways to convince them on what you are trying to present? The tactics every public relations company uses focuses on the development of the relationship between the company and the client. But how exactly can you influence a client that may not be interested in your type of firm?

I asked two public relation professionals one question: What tactics do your company use to convince an audience outside your sphere of influence?

Here are three tactics they use daily:

1. Good Communication.

Whether you work in public relations or any type of media, you know communication is a requirement that creates new relationships and can turn them into long-term affairs.

The main-stream media is a great way to find and attract diverse clients through advertising. Finding information and statistics on where people are spending their free time can be a way to market material. The older generation tends to read the newspaper or use Facebook while younger generations use other social networking sites.

Communication through these channels can persuade a viewer by the advertisements. By doing this, they are able to target a direct audience which can result in getting different types of clients you may not have had before.

2. Build Trustworthiness.

Your client wants to be in good hands, so by slowly building a relationship, this can snowball into trust and acceptance.

Philip Stahl, a public information officer that works for a police department said: “We work daily to build the trust of our community and showcase our work by enforcing the law.”

The fair and impartial enforcement of these can build into trust because citizens believe they are living in a safe environment.

Paul Auriga, President and CEO of WordWrite Communications. said, “We strive to establish trust with those we work with.”

By creating a sense of security and finding comparisons among you and your client can develop a relationship and can persuade new clients to be with your company. You can do this by collecting as much information as possible on a given topic and develop a logical case on why they will be in good hands.

If a company is trusted, this can draw in more clients which can ultimately change the typical pattern it may have.

3. Have a Diverse Team.

This may be one of the most important yet obvious tool to have in a company.

How are you able to reach out to different types of clients when everyone has the same opinions and perspectives? Being able to acquire people from different places and different viewpoints can evolve a company.

“One measure of our success in relationship building comes from our diverse team, who bring different experiences, backgrounds and expertise to our clients.” Furiga said.

Having a diverse team can help by focusing on their own strengths to appeal to a specific audience. This comes to show that having several different opinions whether you agree with them or not, can make a difference in building a new and different type of relationship.


Claire O’Neil is a PRSSA member at West Virginia University. Connect with Claire on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter

Education: Tactics October Issue Recap

By Bre Stephens

In each step of our career—from college to that first job to being a part of the senior team—we, as PR pros, never stop learning.

The October issue of Tactics keeps knowledge flowing by helping readers turn challenging times into teachable moments, use personal stories to make a difference in times of need, find success as a communications consultant, turn a non-PR job into a dream career, and make a name for themselves with a personal brand.

Finding Teachable Moments in Tough Times

  • David W. Brown, assistant professor of instruction for the School of Media and Communication at Temple University, outlines his recommendations for how PR professors of any color or background can stay objective and turn today’s difficult events into teachable examples.

Storm Center: By Sharing Personal Stories, Influencers Inspire Charitable Giving

  • Scott Pansky, co-founder/partner of Allison + Partners, explains how influencers have inspired charitable giving by sharing their own personal stories in times of need, such as Hurricane Harvey.

Consulting 101: Uncommon Tips for Agency Success

  • Gary Bridgens, project consultant at APCO Worldwide, shares his tips for how a communications consultant can stand out at an agency.

Starting Out: How Bagging Groceries Can Help You Land Your First PR Job

  • Bagging groceries, mowing lawns, working in a factory—these are just a few examples of jobs some of us started out doing. David Ritchey, Ph.D., professor in the School of Communication at the University of Akron, reminds us that any type of job can help nail down that first PR job.

A Brand New You: 7 Steps to Developing Your Personal Brand

  • Your personal brand is powerful, and is just as important as a company’s brand. Jacqueline Strayer, faculty member in graduate programs at NYU and Columbia, and principal with The Sound Advisory Group, Inc, offers seven tips for honing in on your personal brand.

Read the latest issue of Tactics here.


Bre is an account executive at Havas PR. Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.