PRSA-Central Illinois Winter 2016 Issue


Josh Kauffman, PRSA-CI President

With the holiday season upon us, employers and colleagues are finalizing their strategic plans for 2017, reviewing and budgeting for hiring needs, and assessing skill gaps and training opportunities to help surpass their competition. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s provides us with ample social activities to enhance our professional development and expand our networks. The PRSA-Central Illinois (CI) chapter is also proud to highlight accomplishments, upcoming events, and opportunities for our members and guests.

Distinguished Silicon Valley PR Executive Featured at Sept. 20 PRSA-CI Event

Named a top 100 PR influencer in the world, Rebekah Iliff is a columnist for Mashable, Inc., Forbes, Huffington Post and Entrepreneur.
Rebekah Iliff, chief strategy officer at AirPR – a PR technology company from Silicon Valley, was the keynote speaker at our Sept. 20 conference at the University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign (UIUC) campus. Iliff’s experience and knowledge of the technology industry, startup companies, leadership, and strategy correlated to the progressive innovation found at Illinois’ flagship university and industries and professionals across central Illinois. She highlighted best practices, challenges, and opportunities in today’s PR and media landscape.

Iliff is very active in PR and Tech think tanks, and speaks on the future of PR and marketing, social good, and women in tech for organizations, including the UN Foundation, PRSA, the National Retail Federation, Dell, Qualcomm, Experian and McGraw Hill. We’re proud and honored she accepted our invitation and presented to PRSA-CI members and guests on Sept. 20.

PR Executive from Largest U.S. Nonprofit Healthcare System to Speak on Driving Thought Leadership; RSVP Today

At Ascension, Johnny Smith has thought leadership responsibility for reputation management, media relations, and executive positioning for the $30 billion organization and its for-profit-subsidiaries.

As noted from previous emails, the PRSA – CI chapter would like to invite you to join us Thurs., Dec. 1, 2016 in Springfield with speaker Johnny A. Smith, senior director for public relations at Ascension – the largest health care system in the U.S. with more than 160,000 employees and 35,000 affiliated providers serving in 141 hospitals. Smith will highlight best practices, challenges, and opportunities with thought leadership in today’s most dynamic industries.

Smith spearheads change management communications inclusive of mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and transformational initiatives; and maintains relationships with top-tier media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, CNN, Washington Post, Reuters, Bloomberg, and POLITICO.

To reserve your seat, please register online by Mon., Nov. 28, and select your meal of choice.

2017 Slate of PRSA-CI Board of Directors

All PRSA-CI members were recently emailed our 2017 Slate of PRSA-CI Board of Directors to vote at our Dec. 1 meeting in Springfield. Please keep in mind that most of the officer positions, including president, secretary and treasurer, were elected for two-year terms Board of Directorslast year so they are not up for election this year. The positions listed below are for one-year terms. We will also be taking nominations from the floor if you would like to nominate someone else for these positions. We hope you will pre-register for the Dec. 1 event and participate in the election.

Slate of PRSA-CI Officers and Board Members for 2017:

  • President-elect – John Lyday, Fellow PRSA, APR, Morton Community Bank, Morton
  • Accreditation chair – Pete Smudde, Ph.D., APR, Illinois State University, Normal/Bloomington
  • Membership chair – Stefanie Santos McLeese, Santos McLeese, White Heath
  • Board member – John Wirtz, Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign
  • Board member – Jennifer Kaufmann, Carle Foundation Hospital, Champaign
  • Board member – Karen Brodbeck, OSF Healthcare, Peoria

Free Chapter Membership “Black Friday” Promo Under Way

The “Black Friday” Membership Promotion is currently under way.  When new members join PRSA between Nov. 21 and Dec. 5, they receive a complimentary PRSA-Central Illinois chapter membership. Ask a colleague or friend to RSVP to the Dec. 1 event and see if they would like to take advantage of this promotion.

Publishing Opportunities Available


Have a company press release, personal accomplishment, self-help or seasonable article to publish in our chapter newsletter? PRSA-CI members can email with their release or article.

PRSA-CI Social Media Engagement Levels on the Risefacebook-photo-for-website

We’re proud to report our Facebook engagement levels are at an all-time high, and the number of fans reached 127 (as of Nov. 23, 2016). Please continue to view our Facebook page for the latest information, and like, comment, and share our posts with friends and colleagues to invite them to future PRSA-CI events.

2017 PRSA-CI Strategic Planning Session Approaches; Member Feedback Welcomed

Every year, the PRSA-CI Board of Directors convene for several hours to discuss new programming, promotional and marketing opportunities,  added value for members, and to assess our strengths and areas to improve upon for the coming year.

PRSA-CI Board’s 2016  Strategic Planning Meeting

We also want to hear from our members. If there are specific topics, events or speakers you would like featured in 2017, please email by Jan. 1, 2017 for consideration. Also, if you want to take on a more active role in planning an event within your area, please let us know as well.

I wish you continued success, and quality time with your family and friends during our festive season.

Warmest regards and happy holidays,

Josh Kauffman, APR, MBA, OCM                                                                                                            President                                                                                                                                                                           PRSA – Central Illinois Chapter


Be APR and Become a Leader in the Field

As a mid-career public relations professional, you know that your success depends on staying relevant, resourceful, and inspired. Recognized worldwide, the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) integrates timeless communications principles with contemporary strategies and tactics, and distinguishes you as a leader in the field. Invest time now to position yourself for success.

The APR builds on the foundation of your educational degree, keeping you current on today’s best practices and applications in the ever-evolving communications world. Stay on the forefront of industry knowledge, continue to refine your skills and take your work to the next level by achieving—and maintaining—this important credential.

Preparation for the APR ensures you have the tools to properly navigate challenging responsibilities, the vision to execute a larger strategy and the expertise to be a thought leader. But where do you turn to get your questions answered? Where extra support is needed, APR candidates are introduced to a tremendously skilled and experienced network of mentors, providing a lifetime of guidance and expertise.

With so thorough a process, the APR credential is both a professional and personal achievement—a badge of drive, capabilities, and dedication. Receiving this Universal Accreditation Board (UAB)-administered recognition demonstrates your proficiency and alignment with the cutting-edge public relations practices and knowledge that will take you to the next level in your career. In the career market, you can distinguish yourself—communicate your superior breadth of experience, depth of industry knowledge, and passion for public relations with just three letters.

The APR process is an exercise in success. Self-assessment activities along the way—as well as the formal assessment elements themselves—inevitably communicate strengths, limitations, and requirements. You’ll come away with a clear understanding of your PR skills in the form of valuable personalized information to apply toward advancing your present role and future career.

It takes a professional—someone with exceptional experience, broad expertise, and strong dedication and values—to thrive at what you do. Profess what you know. Learn more and earn your APR today! Contact Pete Smudde, CI-PRSA’s APR chair, at or (309) 438-7339.


25 Job Openings in Central Illinois


1). Benefit Communication Specialist

Benefit Communication Insourcing, LLC

 A Benefit Communication Specialist (BCS) is responsible for the communication and enrollment of core, voluntary and supplementary group benefits with new hires and existing employees of Memorial Health Systems, as a full-time employee of BCInsourcing.

2). Graphic Designer

Statewide Association

Statewide Association is seeking full-time graphics designer to assist in planning, analyzing, and creating visual solutions for various association communications; including but not limited to: electronic monthly newsletter, membership promotions, conference promotions, publications, programs, Web, video and social media.

3). Senior Production Manager


This position will also be responsible for Production Planning, Liaison with engineering   and supply chain on a variety of continuous improvement initiatives and change management of advanced manufacturing projects.

4). Community Manager

FR MH Parks

The ideal candidate will be self-motivated, friendly, professional, with strong management and sales experience and excellent customer service skills, with at least 2 years of experience in property management. Must be computer-literate, and proficient in Microsoft Office applications.

5). Assistant News Director

Sinclair Broadcast Group

In this position, you will determine the content and flow of newscasts, direct producers, reporters, management and on-air staff in generating and writing stories, and also recommend content for our website.


6). Commercial Lines Marketing Specialist

Troxell Insurance

This position maintains extensive contact by phone and mail (electronic/postal), with agents, carriers, and division managers to facilitate appropriate and comprehensive…

7). Editor

Herald & Review

 The successful applicant will know how to practice great journalism and how to coach, mentor and develop an enthusiastic and energetic staff to create…

8). Volunteer Coordinator

Decatur Memorial Hospital

This position coordinates adult volunteers throughout the hospital and tasks and office responsibilities for the department.

9). Grant Writer

Webster-Cantrell Hall

This position will be responsible for conducting the full range of activities required to prepare, submit and manage…


10). Communications & Marketing Specialist

Cunningham Children’s Home

The appropriate candidate will have strong project management, writing, and communication skills. Cunningham Children’s Home in Urbana, IL seeks a full-time…

11). Promotion Producer


The candidate must be a highly creative and motivated person who possesses non-linear editing, good writing skills, photography, producing and storytelling capabilities….

12). Associate Director/Director of Foundation Relations

University of Illinois

The candidate must demonstrate exceptional written and oral communication skills. Engage in all aspects of proposal development, including research, writing, editing, budget…

13). Marketing Manager

Weed Man Lawn Care

The candidate must have excellent oral and written communication skills. North America’s Largest Franchised Lawn Care Company continues their successful growth and now is the perfect…

14). Community Relations Manager

Family Service Senior Resource Center

The candidate must have a professional presentation, strong organizational and communication skills. 22.5 hours a week. Part time position to promote programs for seniors in Champaign…

15). Graphic Designer & Photographer

Gameday Spirit Fanstore

The candidate must have effective communication, specifically with design team and screen printer. Gameday Spirit Fanstore is looking for a qualified candidate to bring many kinds of…

16). Creative Director

Agrible, Inc

The candidate must have excellent communication skills. Bachelor’s degree in industrial design, graphic design, interface design or related visual communications field….


17). Communication Strategist


The candidate must have a bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications or related field is required. The communication strategist develops and helps implement effective marketing…

18). Communications Specialist

Unique Advantage

The candidate must generate internal communications published through various channels in the weekly newsletter. Develop and update content on internal and external web sites….

19). Assignment Editor


The successful candidate will also be able to work across multiple platforms in this new era of journalism.

20). Communications Specialist

Talascend LLC

The position will support the senior communications rep providing assistance on a variety of internal and external communication assignments as represented in the communication…

21). Website Designer / SEO Specialist

POGO Marketing

The successful candidate will have strong communication skills, verbal and written. Establish and maintain communication with client to keep informed of project and results….

22). Graphic Design / Social Media Specialist


WebDesign309 is seeking a highly motivated individual for graphic design and social media. Candidate needs to have experience creating graphic design for both…


23). Marketing Analyst

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

The candidate must have 2+ years skilled experience in marketing and/or creative development process, including collaborating with external vendors (e-mail/ direct mail/sales material…)

24). Research Analyst

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

The successful candidate will have strong written and verbal communication skills. Conduct thorough and in-depth secondary research with internal and external resources….

25). Marketing Strategy Analyst

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

The candidate will travel to State Farm facilities, agents’ offices, and industry shows/meetings to identify future trends






Central Illinois PRSA – Summer 2016


PRSAPresidentJKOur summer season is often associated with barbeques, family outings, vacations, watching the kids at home, finalizing the budget for a new fiscal year, or starting the first chapter of the book you’ve wanted to read for some time. But, often, we could use the warm season to learn a new technical skill, perfect graphic design or video production, enhance  our social media proficiency or analytics, blogging, or to set aside time to volunteer at your favorite nonprofit organization. As we consider the plethora of options for the season, let’s recap the many popular events that already took place in our Public Relations Society of America – Central Illinois chapter and highlight new opportunities for our members and guests to become more involved.

April 28 Event in Peoria on Organizational Change Management

In the Embassy Suites in Peoria, our chapter learned from keynote speaker Jack Modzelewski, global president, business development and partnerships, and senior partner of FleishmanHillard. Without a doubt, we were inspired by his perspective and insightful stories on organization change management throughout Fortune 500 companies. With a packed room, our attendees had the unique opportunity to obtain hundreds of takeaways, and answers to their most pressing questions. We are grateful for Jack’s wisdom, and the invaluable experiences he graciously shared with us that evening.

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Free Chapter Membership Through Summer

Have you considered joining our PRSA-CI and were waiting for a membership promotion to help lower your annual costs? Now is the time! I want to personally extend an invitation for you to seriously consider becoming a member, as our free chapter promotion runs through the summer months after individuals become a national member and access hundreds of benefits and a network of more than 21,000 PR professionals across the world. To learn more about this promotion and to join today, please click here.

Chapter Progress & Opportunities

As we progress further into the summer, our chapter has experienced continual growth in membership, programming, and value added opportunities. Our chapter launched a new comprehensive website, which expands new features and information for members, and also introduced a new mentorship program to help PRSA-CI members and professionals excel in their chosen industries. To access and bookmark our new PRSA-CI website, please click here.

New PRSA-CI Mentorship Program

We have recently initiated a value-added program for PRSA-CI members to either serve as a mentor or mentee. Mentees are matched with experienced mentors who are available to coach, guide and assist other PRSA-CI members through calendar year 2016. If you are a PRSA-CI member and are interested in becoming a mentor or mentee, please complete the brief form on and describe what you are looking for in a mentor or mentee.

Communications and Social Media

Our chapter continues to offer publishing opportunities, in our newsletter, for members to summarize our events, describe what they learned and how they plan to apply it in their career. Our chapter also unveiled our new PRSA-CI LinkedIn Group page for members to share best practices, learn about new career and development opportunities, and ask questions in a forum style or share contacts.

As a chapter, our membership numbers and influence continue to rise, and we continue to partner with communication and marketing groups throughout the Midwest. In addition, I’m very pleased to report that we have reached more than 110 followers on our PRSA-CI Facebook page! If you haven’t done so yet, please “like” our Facebook page to learn more about industry news and upcoming events, and members can also join our PRSA-CI LinkedIn Group page to share best practices, contacts and opportunities. Our next chapter event is anticipated to occur in September with planning already underway. More details will be posted to our Facebook page in the weeks ahead.

Thanks again for your continual support and involvement in our chapter, and we look forward to seeing you at our event in September!


Warmest regards,


Josh Kauffman, MBA, APR

PRSA-CI President

System Director of Communications and Public Affairs

Hospital Sisters Health System


My Transition to Central Illinois, and Passion for PRSA

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In June 2015 our family of five made the move from Dallas, Texas to Central Illinois. I had become a mother for the third time and “Big Vic” – who was a ten-pound newborn – was only four months old when we boarded our one-way flight from DFW to CMI.

We can joke about this now because things have worked out and life is good. We made the choice to relocate from the bustling city to a more rural environment where our kids could run wild and free. My husband is from Monticello, just outside of Champaign, and is a U of I grad. His family is dispersed within a small radius of our home and as they say, “it takes a village to raise children.” We met in Dallas when we both worked at Southern Methodist University, he as an athletic trainer and I as a media relations specialist in the athletic department.

I’m a small-town Texas girl, so farmers and wide open spaces are familiar to me. That said, I spent my entire professional life in Dallas, home to many world-class PR firms and global companies. As one might imagine, the business landscape in Central Illinois, particularly Champaign-Urbana, looks quite a bit different. While the transition has been relatively easy for my husband (who continues to home-office for his employer) and my resilient young children, I am still figuring out where I fit into the professional mix within this market.

For the last five years, I worked as a freelance PR/communications advisor. I have retained some of my Texas-based clients and am excited to be working with some really fantastic Illinois-based companies and brands as well. Prior to life as a consultant, I grew up professionally in a variety of corporate communications roles with national and global companies.

I’ve experienced quite a bit of personal and professional change over the last few years. Through it all, the constant has always been PRSA. I served as the Membership Chair for Dallas PRSA in 2012 and am now very happy to serve as the Central Illinois PRSA Membership Chair. If we haven’t already been touch, let’s do that soon. My CI PRSA colleagues have provided an overwhelming amount of hospitality and genuine interest my professional development. Being the “new kid on the block” is not always easy, but this group has certainly made my transition as smooth as possible by providing a comfortable atmosphere where I can network and ask questions. As your Membership Chair, and as a newbie to Illinois, I would welcome the opportunity to get together for a casual lunch or cup of coffee. Let me answer any questions you may have about PRSA and let’s help each other figure out ways to solve business challenges by providing smart, strategic PR and communications solutions.

Stefanie Santos McLeese

Owner and CEO

Central Illinois – PRSA

Membership Chair



“UnSelling” author Scott Stratten to share customer engagement expertise at PRSA International Conference in Indianapolis

Marketing and social media expert Scott Stratten will deliver the closing keynote presentation at the Public Relations Society of America’s 2016 International Conference on Tuesday, Oct. 25 in Indianapolis. Named one of the “Top 5 Social Media Influencers in the World” by Forbes Magazine, Stratten has authored four best-selling business books, including “UnSelling: The New Customer Experience,” and his clients’ marketing videos have been viewed over 60 million times. Stratten joins Astronaut Scott Kelly  and cyber security expert Theresa Payton on the conference’s keynote speaker list.

Attendees can save $200 by registering for the conference by Aug. 26. Discounted hotel and travel rates are also available.



1). Media Relations Specialist

Location: US-IL-Bloomington

At COUNTRY Financial, our Media Relations Specialist builds, enhances and maintains the reputation and brand of COUNTRY Financial ® by ensuring the support of our corporate mission, objectives and vision through external communications.

2). Communications Creative Services Producer/Videographer Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. in Springfield, Illinois

Location: IL – Springfield

Make your mark in Broadcasting and Digital Media. Sinclair Broadcast Group and Sinclair Digital Solutions are dedicated to making Sinclair…

3). Digital Content Producer Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. in Springfield, Illinois

Location:IL – Springfield

Make your mark in Broadcasting and Digital Media. Sinclair Broadcast Group and Sinclair Digital Solutions are dedicated to making Sinclair…

4). Manager, Special Events (Quincy, IL)

Location: Illinois

Responsible for planning, managing, and executing special events in the field office area. Successful outcomes are defined in part by dollars raised, teams…

5). Communications Specialist

Illinois Senate Democrats

Location: Springfield, IL

$30,000 a year

Communications / Public Relations:. The Communications Department at the Office of the Illinois Senate President is always on the lookout for talented…

6). Provider Outreach Specialist


Location: Springfield, IL

Communications center, website) including maintaining the communication. Communication Manager and outlined in the Communication Plan….

7). Director, Corporate Marketing, Brand & PR

Sitel – United States

Strong leadership style and ability to prioritize and work under pressure to tight deadlines. As caring for customers becomes the differentiator that drives…

8). Program Associate

Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln

Location:  Springfield, IL

Proactively identifying ways to advance the work of the Foundation in the area of public a0nd community relations….

9). Community Relations Coordinator

Heritage Enterprises

Location: Springfield, IL

Candidates must possess a strong understanding of census development, sales, marketing, networking, public speaking, community events, and building and…

10). Visual Communications Coordinator – Marketing

Springfield Clinic

Location:  Springfield, IL

Under the direct supervision of the Marketing Manager, the Visual Communications Coordinator is responsible for working collaboratively with other Visual…

11). Marketing Assistant & Social Media Manager (Internship)

Interactive Media Inc.

Location: Springfield, IL

Know about social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat. We are looking for Marketing Assistants & Social Media Managers …

12). Marketing and Advertising Associate

Springfield Plastics, Inc

Location: Auburn, IL

Springfield Plastics, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of drainage pipe in the Midwest. We offer the highest quality pipe and fittings in the industry.

13). Event Coordinator

WHOlives – Springfield, IL

The Race Against Time events are a fun and grassroots way to raise money and awareness to help save and improve the lives of nearly 1 Billion people that suffer…

14). Senior Photographer

University of Illinois at Springfield

Location:  Springfield, IL

$20.40 an hour

Takes digital photographs of a wide variety of subjects and special events on campus for the purpose of public relations and internal communication , including…

15). Marketing Director/Admissions

Aperion Care

Location: Bloomington, IL

This individual would be responsible for public relations, event planning, and processing admissions.

16). Coordinator, Communications

Illinois State University

Location: Normal, IL

Ability to comfortably interact with individuals in the campus community and the general public. As a key member of the University’s editorial and design team,…

17). Outreach & Communications Specialist

Heartland Head Start

Location: Bloomington, IL

Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, Communications or related field. Engage in public outreach and networking as directed….


18). Communications & Outreach Coordinator

OSF Healthcare – Peoria

Strong interpersonal and team leadership skills to coordinate cross facility relationships and interactions…

19). Director of Marketing

Petersen Health Care

Location: Peoria, IL 61614

Assist with corporate and local public relations. Successful candidate will be an energetic, creative, self starter with efficient multi-tasking ability, strong;

20). Community Relations Director

Bickford Senior Living

Location: Peoria, IL


Planning is underway for our next event this September 2016 in Urbana-Champaign. Stay tuned for more details!


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”