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'Your Communicator' - February Edition

Updated: Mar 12, 2020

Produced by the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

Thank you to those who attended our gathering at Three Notch’d last week. It was great to have some social time with colleagues. As much as PRSA is about advancing our understanding of our profession, it is even more about building solid relationships with one another. Trust me, those relationships come in handy when a crisis hits.

If you know of anyone who should be part of our group, please invite them to join. This is the right time – if they sign-up for membership in our chapter before March 31 for $55, they receive a free national membership (~$300 value).

Speaking of advancing our understanding of the profession, one of the best ways to do that is through judging award entries. Each time I volunteer as a judge, I pick up great ideas for future communications campaigns. Consider being a judge this year. Stay tuned for a message from Chuck Lionberger with the details.

Lastly, if you’ve been looking for a new opportunity, there are several openings in our area. Check out our Facebook or Twitter pages for positions with the City of Staunton, Roanoke College and The Homestead. If you’re hiring, let us know. We’ll help promote it on social media as well.

Best regards,

Chris Turnbull

PRSA-Blue Ridge President

PS – Several of you have indicated your interest in getting your APR (Accredited in Public Relations). A bootcamp is coming up in our region this May.


One for the money.

Our first luncheon of 2020 is in less than two weeks. It features veteran PR consultant Samantha Villegas, APR, who among other distinctions is currently a director on the national PRSA board. She’s going to give us an update on PRSA. Sign-up now. We’ll be at the Hotel Roanoke this month.

Two for the show.

With your national chapter dues, you have access to free webinars every month. There are actually three free webinars offered by PRSA National in February. If anyone is interested in watching, send me note and perhaps we can organize a watch party. I can recommend the first webinar highly. I saw the presentation at PRSA’s International Conference in San Diego last fall.

Three to get ready.

Here are some quick ideas to help you grow professionally.

  1. Are you burned-out? In case it wasn’t painfully obvious, public relations is one of the top ten most stressful professions. Here are some tips to help you manage the insanity that is our day-to-day.

  2. You’re doing it wrong. Here’s how you take notes: It may have been a while since someone taught you how to take notes. Apparently, this is the ‘best’ way. See what you think.

  3. Infographic: Is TikTok a fit for your brand? Bone up on TikTok and see if it should be a part of your communications toolbox with this helpful infographic.

Four to go.

Each month, learn more about one of our members. This month’s featured member is Tiffany Holland, Communications Specialist at Carilion Clinic.

What was your best day as a communicator?

I am new to PR and just joined my communications team about six months ago, so hopefully my best days are yet to come. So far, my favorite day has been the first day I saw the work I had done play out in real time. I worked on a presentation for employees with some of our leadership. It was a big event and when I saw the CEO delivering some of the work I helped prepare, it really connected for me the importance of my new job. I realized how I can help present important messages clearly for people -- and help the public get excited about projects we are working on. I loved that feeling and am definitely planning for more of this!

How did you find PR?

I worked for many years in journalism, including The Roanoke Times. Since the profession has been in some upheaval over the last few years and I got more burned out on it, I started to think how my skills could translate into something else. The vast majority of my job as a reporter wasn't writing -- it was researching, networking, interviewing and coming up with story ideas and how to present them, so I began looking for new opportunities. Carilion's PR team was the perfect fit for my experience and offered a lot of the type of work I enjoyed doing. It also has an important mission I can get behind, so I still feel a lot of purpose in my work, which is important to me.

Have you ever won a contest or competition? Which one?

I won first place in Business and Financial Writing at the Virginia Press Association in 2018 for several stories I wrote about southwest and rural Virginia's changing economies. I had to compete in the same category as some of the big news outlets, including The Washington Post, so that one meant a lot to me.

Is there any famous person or character you can impersonate really well? Who?

Oh boy, definitely Sarah Huckabee Sanders. I've had a lot of people, including random baristas at Starbucks, tell me I resemble her a lot. She and I are both from the same part of the country (I'm from West Tennessee), so we have similar accents and an affinity for pearls. A lot of my media friends like to bring this up, too. I really missed an opportunity to be her for Halloween two years ago, now that I'm thinking about it.

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