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News & Views

Personal Branding Webinar Recap

BPRS ChWEBIANRRECAPicago and NBPRS Detroit, recently hosted a joint webinar, “Creating the Ultimate Brand: You!”

Our speakers, Pam Perry and Kaplan Mobray, offered best practices, advice, and exercises for building a strong personal brand. If you missed it we invite you to WATCH THE FULL RECORDING.

Thank you to our webinar sponsor:

Business Wire, is a global leader in press release distribution. Check them out at www.BusinessWire.com

Please send your questions, comments, and feedback to us at info@bprschicago.org.

#PowerPR: NBPRS Conference Success

The 2016 NBPRS conference was a success.  Two full days of networking, programming and community advocacy.

PR practitioners from around the country joined us for this year’s conference held at the MidAmerica Club in downtown Chicago October 27-28th.

In the words of our organization’s National President, Neil Foote, “We learned. We networked. We laughed.”  If you missed out here’s a chance to take a social look back at #PowerPR: Playing to Win.   Then be sure to reach out to your local chapter leadership and get involved.  We’d love to have your help planning our next event.


BPRS Wants Your Help For An Upcoming Promotional Video

We are excited to request your participation in our video to promote the National Black Public Relations Society #PowerPR Conference being held in Chicago this year!


Please record yourself with an Iphone or similar device with the following settings:

– Phone should be in horizontal landscape position vs. up and down
– Frame yourself from the waist up at 24sps, 1920×1080
– Provide final version in QuickTime Mp4 format

Start off each question by actually reading the question first. Pause before you answer the following:

1. How has BPRS helped you in your career?
2. What shifts in today’s PR landscape are keeping you up at night and what can NBPRS do to help you overcome this issue?
3. What do you hope to gain from attending the National Black Public Relation Society’s Conference this year?
4. What do you commit to doing after attending #PowerPR this Fall? Start each statement with “I will…”

Before sending, please be certain to check your sound level so folks who view this will be able to hear you!

Send your completed video to chicagobprs@gmail.com by 10/29/16.

A HUGE SHOUT OUT to Edelman Chicago and their video production team for their support in pulling this together.

Join Us for the NBPRS 2016 Annual Conference Oct 27 &28


 This is learning and engagement for all levels. Whether you’re entering your first job, transitioning from another profession, or a mid- or senior-level communicator, the conference is designed to provide you with insights, skills, and networking opportunities to take you to your next level.

You will learn:

  • How PR strategists help newsmakers to deliver quote-worthy messages
  • Hiring secrets from top recruiters controlling the gateway between you and Fortune 500 companies
  • Strategies for building successful PR consulting practices in niche markets
  • Shifts being made by social media platforms that will energize your PR strategies and job hunt
  • How crisis communicators strategically move their clients out of the line of fire
  • Strategies used by top executives to navigate the political complexities of corporate and agency worlds and break through glass ceilings

Here’s just a peek of what we’re planning:

Thursday, October 27, 2016


303 W. Wacker Drive

Calling all non-profit organizations and community leaders! You’re invited to a daylong workshop on Thursday, October 27, to learn strategies for communicating during a crisis. Crises gaining national attention—such as Black Lives Matter, the Flint Water Crisis, the Orlando massacre, Dallas sniper attacks—require organizations and community leaders to unite. What happens next is in your hands…how will you respond? Learn strategies to ensure you and your organization are called upon as an expert, your message is being heard, and the media gets it right.

8:30 a.m.  Registration / Continental Breakfast

9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.  – Opening Remarks.

9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

  • Police and PR – Empowering police, community relations, and communications

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Lunch

12:30 pm  –2:30 p.m.

  • Small Business and African American Contractors, Advocacy & Diversity & Arbitration


3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

  • Presidential PR and 2016 Presidential Vote
  • Social Media Strategies for Community Groups and Nonprofits

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Meet and Greet Reception (Invitation only)

Meet our keynote speakers, presenters, and sponsors

Friday, Oct. 28

Mid-America Club

200 East Randolph Drive, 80th Floor, Aon Center, Aon

8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Registration

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Welcome and Opening Remarks

9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. – Up Close and Person – Covering the White House

Award-winning journalist April Ryan shares insights and perspectives on covering the White House since 1987, particularly the historic presidency of Barack Obama.

10:00 a.m. – 11:00  a.m.

Recruiters’ Roundtables

Getting a job, keeping a job and rising through the ranks into senior management.

  • Senior Level
  • Mid Career   
  • Entry Level  


11:15 a.m.  – 12:15 p.m.


Here’s your chance to learn from leading executives who will provide strategic insights, case studies and strategies on the following subjects.

  • Social Media
  • Sports & Entertainment
  • Global PR

12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Network Awards Luncheon


CEO Perspective

2:45 P.M. – 3:35 P.M.

A conversation with senior executives of major PR firms to discuss strategies for success in the industry, how digital media and diversity is affecting their strategies.


3:45 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Playing to Win Sessions

A series of fast-paced talks on best practices, tips and tricks

We’re bringing in experts so that you learn from the best. 

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Education & Development
  • Crisis Communications
  • Storytelling (in print, online, on air, via social)


5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Getting In, Moving Up, Making a Difference

Wrap up session with leading change management executive


BPRS June Program Recap: Publicists, Celebrities and Entertainment PR

The Secrets of Career Growth







By Tamara Foster

Last week I attended a panel hosted by the Black Public Relations Society of Chicago. The panel was titled, “Making the Right Strategic Moves for your Career.”  When you make the decision to go to college, you think that growing professionally happens naturally and in a linear, progressive path.  That was my expectation for my career at least.  After experiencing much indecisiveness, road blocks and speed bumps, it was refreshing to learn from the panel that every day can be a day of career revival as long as you have the right attitude, control and are equipped with necessary tools to navigate career opportunities and hurdles. The panel shared several nuggets that I refer to as the secrets of career growth but the two that resonated with me the most were – number 1, you need advocates and number 2, ask for what you want.


Life can get you down and so can the day to day responsibilities of your position. On some days you may hear more negative feedback than positive and this can take a toll. To keep your career energy up, you need advocates. You need a career team. You need a team of people who will give you honest feedback yet build you up, make you feel good and help you take advantage of those pivot points in your career. Advocates will help you see the silver lining and when it’s time to take advantage of career opportunities, they’ll advocate for you.

SuccessBPRSThe Ask

When people are overlooked for opportunities, we often think it is favoritism (which it could be, don’t get me wrong) or a complete injustice for whatever the reason. In reality, the person who is being recognized or promoted more than likely walks into that situation asking and expecting it. They often times demand it.  If you want or need something, you must ask for it. Ask confidently. Be intentional. Take control of your career.

Additional golden topics discussed were the value of your network, how to effectively develop and manage relationships and how to position yourself for your career goals; very valuable information. Unfortunately, I can’t share them all so I recommend that you stay committed to your growth through education, events and networking such as attending professional events like this one.

“If you want to achieve greatness stop asking for permission.” – Unknown

Watch the BPRS calendar of events and educational opportunities listed on www.bprschicago.org. Stay connected and follow BPRS on Twitter and Facebook.

BPRS Chicago Elects New President and Expands the Board

Raschanda Hall, the director of global media relations for Business Wire, and a long-time board member of BPRS Chicago has been elected unanimously by the board to serve as the next president. Hall most recently served as the chapter’s Executive Vice President and Programming Committee Chair.

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“The PR industry is in a state of transformation and BPRS-Chicago members are eager to adapt,” said Raschanda Hall, incoming chapter president. “I am excited to lead a board dedicated to strengthening opportunities for African-American PR, marketing and communication professionals. These practitioners seek career development and support to grow their entrepreneurial businesses. We will give members what they need to create and navigate pathways to success at every stage in their careers through programming, networking, mentoring, advocacy, and access.”

Additional members of the 2016-17 board of directors includes:

Immediate Past President – Jetta Bates, President and Founder, Twist Global. Bates was previously BPRS Chicago executive vice president, and vice president of publicity.

Executive Vice President – Karyn Brianne (Watkins) Lee, Marketing Manager –Specialty Health, Walgreens.

Vice President Membership – Travis D. Kessel, SVP – Recruitment, Edelman.

Vice President of Publicity – Dionne Williams, Owner, D. Williams Public Relations Group.

Treasurer – David Rudd, Director – Corporate and Community Communications, University of Chicago. Rudd previously served as President of BPRS Chicago

Parliamentarian – Fredika Atkins, D.B.A., Medicare Marketing Manager, WellCare Health Plans, Inc., A Medicare Plan.

Board Members-at-Large – Jerry Thomas, Founder and President, Jerry Thomas Public Relations, and Jenelle Alexander, Senior Account Executive, Resolute Consulting.

This new board kicks off their terms with an aggressive programming calendar and a March membership promotion. You can get more membership details at Bprschicago.org and register now for their March 24th event hosted by Edelman Chicago. “So What? Tips and Tricks for Media Pitching Across Platforms”

Coaching the Coaches: Media Training Tips and Best Practices for PR Practitioners

Free Webinar
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Noon – 1 PM CT


Webinar Image

As communication practitioners, we know having the right message is only part of the battle. Message delivery is the key. Without the proper training and preparation, spokespeople, brand ambassadors and well-intentioned employees can miss great opportunities to move the brand forward, or worse, invoke crisis.

However, not every organization has the budget to bring in outside media trainers. Alternatively, some may not see the value in media coaching or have concerns about looking too rehearsed.

During this FREE webinar our speakers will address these issues and share best practices, tips and tricks to:

* Stay on message
* Speak in soundbites
* Tackle tough questions
* Create great quotes
* Recognize and leverage different interviewing techniques

So register today and join us for an informative session.

Our coaches:




Al Orendorff – Senior PR Strategist and Reputation Management Expert (@alorendorff)





Andrew Moyer – Vice President, Crisis & Issues, Edelman (@andrewdmoyer)




MODERATOR: Raschanda Hall – Director of Global Media Relations, Business Wire and Executive Vice President for BPRS Chicago (@raschandahall)

* Images by Stuart Miles & stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This webinar is sponsored by:




Become a BPRS Chicago Member:
Programming, networking, advocacy and access; Four great reasons to join BPRS Chicago!


BPRS Chicago Webinar Helps PR Entrepreneurs Thrive

by Raschanda Hall, Vice-President of BPRS Chicago


If you missed our webinar on “Surviving the Early Years as an Independent PR Consulant,” you may want to stop what you’re doing now and watch it. Tip: Just complete the registration process to access the recording.

You can also check out this Storify for a brief recap and download the slides from our speakers.

If you’re not a member of BPRS Chicago, or if it’s time to renew, do it today. More great programming is right around the corner and we want you to join us.

BPRS Chicago Open Call for Speakers, Topics and Meeting Hosts


BPRS Chicago is brainstorming and we want your ideas for panels, workshops, webinars, and speakers. If you have a topic in mind, post it. You can also email us at chicagobprs@gmail.com

If you represent a company, PR agency, or local venue that you want the top PR people in Chicago know about, consider hosting a BPRS Chicago meeting or event.  We would love to hear from you.