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'Your Communicator'- July Issue

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

Hope everyone is having a great summer. As we approach the midpoint of the year PRSA Blue Ridge is anticipating beginning in-person events in October and December. We also are looking forward to having an in-person Awards Gala! Some things to keep in mind as we go forward to our next (and last) virtual meeting in August…

Aug.12 meeting (virtual): Speaker Joe Carpenter, Senior Associate Vice President for Advancement and Chief Communications Officer at the University of Texas Arlington, will discuss best practices in crisis communication. Joe formerly was the Vice President for University Relations and Chief Communications Officer at Radford University before taking his current position at the University of Texas Arlington, a Carnegie R-1 public research university with over 60,000 enrolled students globally and more than 5,000 employees.

Oct. 14 meeting (in person!): A panel presentation discussing the communication challenges during a global pandemic. This event will be held at the Carilion Clinic offices on Brambleton Avenue (former Shenandoah Life Insurance Building).

Thanks to everyone for their help this year as we transition back to in-person meetings in October. Have a great summer!



Thank you for being a member of PRSA. We hope that PRSA has provided you with the tools needed to be successful in this challenging environment.

If you haven’t been on lately, make sure that you check-out the myriad of professional development opportunities. In addition to a number of for-sale webinars and programs, PRSA typically offers a couple of webinars for FREE to members each month. Also, PRSA has a couple of new programs coming our way in July and August:

  • Virtual Workshop: Crisis Communications Master Class (July 19, July 22)

  • Certificate Program: Strategic Communications (August 4 – September 8)

These are great opportunities to learn new skills or take a refresher. And best of all, members get a significant price discount.

If you know of a friend or colleague who would benefit from programs like these, please encourage them to join PRSA national and the Blue Ridge Chapter.

New and reinstating (former) members will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card when they join National as a Regular member. CODE: SPRING 2021.

PRSA National is also running a Member Get A Member promotion. Prizes will be awarded for top-level recruiters: up to 9 members, recruiters receive a $30 Amazon gift card for each new member; recruit 10 or more new members and receive a complimentary ICON 2021 registration. New incoming member receives a waiver of waived initiation fee ($65) for new member. CODE: FRIEND21

If you have any questions about membership or would like to provide names of prospects for a board member to contact, please contact me at

We are looking forward to hosting some in-person events later this fall and would love see some new PR professionals join us!

PRSA Blue Ridge Member Profile: Each month, learn more about one of our members. Please consider submitting your profile for an upcoming feature. Here’s how it works.

This month, we have a chance to get to Linda Staley, Executive Communications Manager at Carilion Clinic.

What was your best day as a communicator?

With nearly 35 years in PR, I can think of a lot of good days. The highlight, though, has to be the day in the fall of 2019 at our chapter’s annual Summit Awards Gala, when the Blue Ridge Chapter honored me with its inaugural president’s award. It was so unexpected and touching to be honored in this way for chapter service by colleagues who I admire and respect. I cannot imagine my career without our Chapter or PRSA, where I have found deep and fulfilling friendships and continue to feel nurtured by the learning opportunities we share.

How did you find PR?

When I was growing up, my parents had a large collection of record albums from Broadway musicals. I remember listening for hours to the soundtracks of the Sound of Music, King and I, and Carousel. I loved singing and dancing to the music. While my sisters were learning to play the saxophone and oboe for band, I was taking ballet and tap dance lessons. I performed in our school variety shows and jumped at every opportunity to appear in plays. I had every intention of becoming a performing artist. Truth was, I really didn’t know much else. Suffice it say, my parents were not supportive. (Or maybe I just wasn’t that talented.) It was my mother who recognized that my joy of storytelling could form the basis for a successful career in public relations, not to mention a stable income. I still enjoy musical theatre and imagine one day, maybe in retirement, of joining the Rockettes.

Did you try anything for the first time in the last year? What?

With most activities over the past year curtailed “due to the pandemic,” I’ve spent a lot of time discovering the joy of cleaning and other domestic pursuits. My husband and I upsized in 2017 to a two-story Colonial – really four when you count the finished attic and finished basement -- twice the size of the small ranch we previously owned. It includes a nice-sized yard, too. So, there’s no shortage of things to do. With time on our hands and nowhere to go, I’ve become really good at Swiffering!

What’s the longest line you’ve ever stood in, and what was it for?

I waited for nearly an hour among 40,000 or so registrants to run the 35th annual Cooper River Bridge Run in 2012. The Bridge Run is one of the largest races in the U.S. The 10K (6.2-mile) course takes runners across Charleston, South Carolina’s iconic Arthur R. Ravenel Jr. Bridge, a 2.7-mile span that is completely closed to vehicular traffic on race day. That year – my sixth Bridge Run -- a record number of participants, bus delays and communication problems forced a delayed start and prompted race officials to cap registration for the 2013 race.

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