President’s Message: Calendar Year 2016 Brings Inspiration, Change and Growth

PRSAPresidentJKWith spring 2016 among us, our chapter has experienced continual growth – both in membership, programming, and on our board -and via new value added opportunities. It’s an affable time for communicators –all the way from the south suburbs of Chicago to the St. Louis Metro East area (in Illinois) to join our PRSA- Central Illinois (PRSA-CI) chapter to learn, network, and volunteer.

In February 2016, PRSA-CI had the opportunity to expand our knowledge of social media analytics and crisis communications through speakers Joe Yun, leader of social media analytics for Technology Services at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and Nate Hartmann, chief creative strategist for Yellow Box. Yun leads the team that collects and analyzes social media content that involves UIUC and social media content produced by university employees. Hartmann worked as a consultant for the university, and has extensive expertise in combining earned, social and paid media in campaigns. Our chapter continues to recruit speakers in the digital arena, and we look forward to maximizing professional development opportunities for our event attendees.

Last month our chapter also introduced a new mentorship program among PRSA-CI members to help students, graduates or new Central Illinois residents better understand their chosen industries, to serve as a sounding board to navigate our career path and unanticipated challenges. We’re excited that several experienced and seasoned PRSA-CI members, including many of our board members, volunteered to support chapter members and become mentors. Furthermore, our chapter introduced publishing opportunities, in our newsletter, for members to summarize our events and describe what they learned and how they plan to apply it in their career. Our chapter also unveiled our new LinkedIn Group page for members to share best practices, learn about new career and development opportunities, and ask questions or share contacts.

Our chapter board has also grown in size and geographic reach. The PRSA-CI board has added three new members this year, including Stefanie Santos McLeese, CEO of Santos McLeese, L.L.C. as our chapter’s new membership chair, Elizabeth Kerns, assistant professor of communications and public relations at Olivet Nazarene University as our new communication chair, and John Wirtz, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign as a new board member.

As a chapter, our membership numbers and regional influence continue to rise. In fact, I’m very pleased to report that we have reached more than 100 followers on our PRSA-CI Facebook page! If you haven’t done so yet, please “like” our Facebook page, and learn more about industry news and upcoming events. I’m also very proud to announce our next chapter event on April 28 in Peoria will feature Jack Modzelewski, global president, business development and partnerships, and senior partner of Fleishman Hillard. You won’t want to miss this rare opportunity.

Thanks again for your continual support and involvement in our chapter, and we look forward to bringing you the best programming, speakers, venues, networking environment, and professional development opportunities throughout 2016.

Warmest regards,

Josh Kauffman, MBA, APR
PRSA-CI President
System Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Hospital Sisters Health System

Job Alert: Assistant Director, University Relations, Washburn University

Position Announcement

Assistant Director, University Relations
Recruitment No. 6570216

Human Resources seeks candidates for the Assistant Director, University Relations position in University Relations.  The employee reports to the Director, University Relations (Director).


Media relations:
According to assigned area(s) of responsibility and in a timely manner, manage, solicit, coordinate, prepare and disseminate information in the form of news releases to appropriate media outlets at the local, regional, state and national levels to provide information about Washburn University (WU) to the public.  Issue in timely fashion news releases to hometowns of students to publicize individual and/or group achievements, such as scholarship awards, organization officers, academic competitions, leadership achievements.

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NEWS: 2016 PRSA Central Illinois Board Announced


Contact: Josh Kauffman
Chapter President, Central Illinois PRSA

Local Professionals Named to Regional Board of Directors
Central Illinois PRSA Poised for Stronger Service to Communication Professionals

BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Jan. 28, 2016 – The Central Illinois Public Relations Society of America (CI PRSA) chapter announced its 2016 Board of Directors slate this month. The board is comprised of highly experienced public relations professionals who practice the craft throughout the central Illinois region, including communities such as Bloomington-Normal, Peoria, Springfield, Champaign-Urbana, Decatur, Charleston, and many more. The board is tasked with providing strong programming, educational opportunities, networking, and enriching the member experience.

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Social Media Strategies Dinner on March 2

Central Illinois PRSA Chapter presents… There are good days and bad days:  How social media and web analytics are used by a public university to inform reputation management strategies and tactics.

On Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 6:00 p.m., PR professionals from throughout Central Illinois will come together in Bloomington, IL to hear from social media experts. The cost for the program is $30 for members of PRSA and students or $35 for non-members. A buffet dinner will be provided during the event and parking will be free. The event will be held at the ISU Alumni Center (1101 N. Main St., Normal, IL 61761).

If you are interested in attending, email Chris Stroisch at by February 26. You can also learn more on the Facebook event page or by downloading the event flyer: PRSA March 2016 Meeting

More details about the event:  Social media has played an important role, creating both good days and bad days for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this past year. The March Central Illinois PRSA chapter meeting will feature a panel to discuss many ways social media and web analytics have been used to shape the university’s response to crises and to engage external publics.

The panel will feature Joe Yun, leader of social media analytics for Technology Services at the university, and Nate Hartmann, chief creative strategist for Yellow Box. Yun leads the team that collects and analyzes social media content that mentions the university and social media content produced by university employees. Hartmann worked as a consultant for the university, and has extensive expertise in combining earned, social and paid media in campaigns.

The panel will be moderated by John G. Wirtz, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Public Relations in the Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising at the University of Illinois.

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January 2016 Board Strategic Planning Session

The 2016 Board of Directors for Central Illinois PRSA Chapter met on Saturday, January 16, 2016 from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. in Springfield, IL to identify goals, meeting speakers and overall direction of the organization for the coming year.  We are excited to share all of our ideas in the coming months and cannot wait to see you at our next meeting.

planning2 Planning1

PRSSA Chapters in Illinois


Did you know that Illinois public relations students are well represented across the country?  The following schools have official PRSSA chapters that are recognized by PRSSA national.

  • Bradley University  (Central IL PRSA Sponsored)
  • Columbia College of Chicago
  • DePaul University
  • Eastern Illinois University (Central IL PRSA Sponsored)
  • Illinois State University  (Central IL PRSA Sponsored)
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Roosevelt University
  • Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
  • Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  (Central IL PRSA Sponsored)
  • Western Illinois University  (Central IL PRSA Sponsored)

Additionally, Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL has a new club as of Fall 2015 who are working towards PRSSA affiliation.

Winter 2015 Newsletter

McClure Earns Accreditation in Public Relations

Chapter member, Kendra McClure, associate professor of communication at Parkland College in Champaign, has successfully completed the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations, entitling her to use the APR professional designation. The announcement was made by the Universal Accreditation Board (UBA), a consortium of nine professional communication organizations, including Public Relations Society of America, that directs this competency certification program.

The Accreditation program aims to improve the practice of public relations by assessing competence in 60 areas of knowledge, skills and abilities associated with the profession.

McClure has worked in public relations for ten years, with five years at Parkland. Prior to that she served as an intern at Fleshman Hillard and St. Louis Art Museum. She earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations (magna cum laude) from Valparaiso University and a master’s in communication studies from Eastern Illinois University.

Continue reading “Winter 2015 Newsletter”