PRSA Charlotte

The Lead |April 2021

President's Letter

Dear PRSA Charlotte Members and Friends,

I'm proud to share with you that through the first quarter of the year, PRSA Charlotte is performing well - delivering value for members, implementing new offerings, embarking on new partnerships and more. If you're like me, a year (or more!) into a virtual environment, you're past the point of burnout with Zoom, Teams and every other virtual platform. But don't let that stop you from experiencing all that PRSA Charlotte is offering. While the environment continues to necessitate that we engage virtually, there is a lot going on. We have active committees, best-in-class programming and intimate networking and best practice sharing opportunities. There's no better time than now to engage and make the most of your membership. To ensure we continue to meet your needs, we'll be opening up a member survey soon. We're taking special care to ensure that this is a quick and an easy way for you to provide feedback that enables us to continue to evolve our offerings to meet your needs.

As we're now in April, we're also nearing one of our marquee events of the year - the annual communications symposium. While this year's half-day event will be virtual, it will be full of the same great content that you've experienced in years past both during the two keynotes and in the breakout sessions. Through the platform, you'll also be able to network with colleagues from our chapter and beyond that maybe you haven't seen in a while. There will also be a vendor exhibit hall where you can see the latest in communications technology offerings and services. Don't miss this opportunity to connect with the vast PRSA network. If you haven't already, I encourage you to register today. Special thanks to each of our speakers and sponsors. 

I wish you and yours a happy holiday weekend, and kick off to spring break for some, and I hope to see you at a PRSA event soon!


April Program - PRSA Charlotte Workshop: Spring Cleaning Your LinkedIn Profile
When: 04/13/2021 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

There are more than 500 million members on LinkedIn, including most PR professionals. It's moved from a business connection or job-searching site to a tool to build and engage with like professionals as well as share insight, challenges and opportunities. But when's the last time you took a close look at your profile? Are you putting your best LinkedIn foot forward, or are you missing great opportunities for engagement and personal branding?

Join Amy George, APR, owner of By George Communications and Inc. columnist, for this spring cleaning workshop from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13. Grab your lunch and pull up your LinkedIn page to find out what changes you can make to refresh and reenergize your professional presence.



Members-Only Happy Hour
Let's connect! Join your fellow PRSA Charlotte members for a little bit of fun during our monthly happy hour. More information will be sent through invitations. We hope to see you there!

All happy hours are from 5:30-6:30 p.m. 

Click here for more information and to RSVP to this event.

PRSA Network Events
We've rebranding the Connect Over Coffees and enhanced the benefits for you! See details below. And grab your ticket here.


PRSA Charlotte Employee Communications Network: Friday, April 30 at 8:00am. Register here.
Half Day Symposium Featuring Renowned Speakers & Valuable Networking ONLY $80 for Members! And $100 for Non-Members

Shake off what you think you know of virtual conferences because the 2021 Communications Symposium is going to be an exciting day of connecting with colleagues in a virtual environment not just a series of tired PowerPoints. As an attendee, you will have multiple networking opportunities including 1-1 speed networking, affinity group conference rooms, direct messaging, event-wide chat, and Connect over Coffee groups sessions. 

You'll hear from world-renowned keynote speakers sharing on topics we know you're interested in right now. Learn time-tested tips on crisis recovery and smart prep to modernize your approach to crises with Gerard Braud. Finally find a reliable way to calculate the ROI of your communications to validate and demonstrate the impact of your work with sought-after strategist Angela Sinickas! Plus you'll get access to Gerard and Angela in an unbagging session to dive deeper on your questions after their presentations.

Attend breakout sessions on topics that hit key pain points and goals for PR people including:
  • recruiting and leveraging internal experts as brand ambassadors
  • humanizing our communications to be more inclusive
  • creating a culture of responsible transparency
  • and an ask-me-anything social media panel with experts from our area! 
This half-day event is jam-packed with engaging, useful content and it's being offered at a more affordable rate than ever before! This year's Symposium is only $80 for members and $100 for guests! Plus, you can save 20% when you sign up 5 or more colleagues at once. 

Register today to access this renowned lineup of speakers and gain the networking opportunities you've been craving in these stay-at-home times.

Queen City PR Awards

After a successful virtual event last year, planning is under way for the 2021 Queen City PR Awards. We hope to return to doing a live event this fall, but contingency plans are also being developed if circumstances won't allow us to gather in person. Right now, our biggest need is volunteers for the QCPR Committee, which will begin meeting this month. If you're interested in supporting one of PRSA Charlotte's signature events, please contact committee chair Barry Finkelstein at

PRSA Charlotte Member Spotlight  
Julie Smith, Marketing Communications Manager, ECS Southeast, LLP

Julie Smith began her media relations career when she moved to the Queen City in 2011. After working in a variety of contract media relations roles, Smith joined the small, but mighty marketing team for ECS Southeast, LLP, an engineering consulting firm, where she now serves as Marketing Communications Manager to support communications across all platforms. After regularly attending lunches for years, she became a member of PRSA Charlotte in 2018 and has served on the Communications Symposium Committee. Originally from Raleigh, NC, Smith has a bachelor's degree in strategic communications from Elon University.

Julie Smith's creativity and skill for story telling was established at an early age. From landing stories on CNN to implementing national social media strategies, Julie is constantly pursuing new paths and communication expeditions. She thrives on connecting with people, making a positive impact in the community and inspiring others to do the same.  Her [half] marathon runner commitment empowers her to turn challenges into opportunities. Julie sees the world through her lens of opportunity and is always searching for the subject of her next story (and chocolate). Learn more about Julie:

When did you start working in communications?
Immediately after graduating from Elon University in 2011.

What's your current role and what does a "typical" day look like for you?
As Marketing Communications Manager at ECS Southeast, LLP, I manage internal and external communications across our company. A "typical" day includes writing content, strategizing with our marketing and technical teams for whitepapers and presentations, and bringing ideas to leadership for how we can implement change and communicate messaging.

What is your favorite part of PR/marketing/communications?
I love learning people's stories and being able to inspire an audience.


Why are you a member of PRSA?
For the community, first and foremost. I also value professional development and learning so the opportunities that PRSA, specifically the Charlotte chapter, offers is second to none.

Is there anything about you that would surprise people?
I've run 6 half-marathons!

Be sure to look for Julie at the virtual PRSA Symposium taking place on April 28th. More information about the event and to RSVP here.


Inspire a friend and receive a $30 Amazon gift card for each new member up to 9 members; recruit 10 or more new members & receive complimentary ICON 2021 registration. Waived initiation fee ($65) for new member. Not valid for group membership.
Promo code: FRIEND21

Check out the largest public relations and communications focused job board, with thousands of current job listings and employers posting every day. Receive a targeted career newsletter each week, with valuable tips, resources and information on building your personal brand. Access career coaching, resume review, tips for your social media profile, online interviewing, and more.

Mentoring and Global Skills Assessment
PRSA also provides a mentor program, internship programs for students, and an online skills assessment tool to assist you in determining areas for future professional development.

Expand your network when you connect with local chapters, districts and online communities where you will meet potential employers, colleagues and experienced professionals ready to support and advise as you find your next job. Join the "In Between Jobs" or "Jobcenter" discussions in MyPRSA.


Consider becoming an independent practitioner, whether temporarily, or as a career shift. Check out the IPA professional interest section, delivering original programming including business resources, to support you in making the transition to an independent practitioner,

Are you a seasoned professional, with an interest in teaching in a college or university, investigate PRSA's Learn to Teach Program? We will connect you with our Educator's Academy and others who will help you explore the many opportunities to teach Communications.
Other discounts:
  • Enjoy exclusive discounts at Office Depot, ADP, FedEx, Hotels & more
  • Access the business insurance discount program from Gallagher Affinity
  • Save on insurance for auto, homeowners, renters, motorcycle and more from GEICO
  • Receive car rental discounts on Zipcar, Budget, and Avis
  • Qualify for business discounts through UPSĀ®
  • Take advantage of personal and corporate relocation service discounts
Being a PRSA member offers many valuable member benefits including:

FREE Monthly Webinars
PRSA members have access to a wide collection of online instructional videos, to further their skillsets in the public relations and communications communities. Each month, new webinars are presented live. Each is valued at $200, but as a PRSA member, you get access for FREE. (This is a great tool to recruit new members!) Check out the complete lineup and register today!

Member Discount Programs
Check out the wide assortment of discounts available at the PRSA Member Savings Center.

For a full list of the Member Discount Programs, please login and visit

Click the title of each opportunity to learn more!

Catch Your Readers
Apr. 5 May. 3, 2021
Master a four-part system for Catching Your Readers at our persuasive-writing Master Class -- online.

PRospects for New Pros: Finding Your Footing During COVID-19 and Beyond
Apr. 7, 2021 3:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.
Join this panel of experts to discover how you can hone and grow your skills, search for your first or next job, and network when planning for the future seems unimaginable.

The Value and the Values of Accreditation: Why an APR for Your Career
Apr. 8, 2021 3:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.
Why get an APR? You're smart, degreed, hard-working. You volunteer. You walk-your-talk. So why an additional credential? What's the big a-ha? Join Elyse Hammett, APR, to dive into dialogue on exactly why it's a game-changer, and then decide if you are a candidate for this deeply personal competition.

Independent PR Practitioners Business Boot Camp
Apr. 9, 2021 12:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.
Learn best practices setting up and successfully operating your own consulting practice, and create a basic business plan for your new company.

The Burgeoning Latinx Influencer Market
Apr. 15, 2021 3:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.
In this webinar, we will review various segments of the U.S. Latinx influencer market - from microbloggers to YouTube super stars and everything in between, as well as reference sample PR and Communications campaigns that have successfully connected with Latinx consumers through culture, language and technology.

PRSA Storytellers: Leading with Ethics and Accountability in Higher Education: The Role of Public Relations
Apr. 20, 2021 3:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.
Join this session for a conversation about accountability and ethics in higher education, including the role public relations professionals should play in ensuring those stakeholder expectations.

Bandwidth, Operations and Capacity Planning During a Pandemic and Beyond
Apr. 21, 2021 3:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.
Join this session to discover the best opportunities for agencies to improve today's common bandwidth issues.

APR Boot Camp
Apr. 28 30, 2021
This course is designed to provide a setting for busy professionals to focus on final preparations. We strongly recommend that candidates complete previous preparations through their local chapter, on their own or by taking the APR Online Course. (This is not a seminar for those beginning their APR journey.)

Equal Access: Achieving Better Representation Across the Media Landscape
Apr. 28, 2021 12:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m.
Media companies and international broadcasters are addressing inequality in front and behind the camera, microphone and news sites. Join this webinar to explore how broadcast and news organizations are addressing diversity, increasing representation of diverse groups and challenging how the world is presented to viewers.

PRSA Storytellers: What the Pandemic Proves About Leadership: Why Skilled Improvisation and Inclusion Are the Key to Our Futures
Apr. 30, 2021 3:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.
This big-picture webinar details why and how improvisation and inclusion must be at the center of every leader's philosophy and behaviors in a post-pandemic world.


Welcome to PRSA Charlotte!

Kudos & Congratulations!

Congratulations to Simone McDowell of Magenta Communications who accepted a National Committee Role with PRSA's Professional Development Committee. PRSA's extensive professional development programs offer communications professionals a wide variety of learning opportunities.
In this role, she will work with the group to support PRSA's Voices For Everyone (V4E) initiative. Some additional areas of focus include civil discourse; civic engagement; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and mis/disinformation.

Congratulations to Retail Business Services!
For the second year in a row, Retail Business Services, who has a main office in Salisbury, was again recognized as a Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality, receiving a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's 2021 Corporate Equality Index. Retail Business Services is the services company of Ahold Delhaize USA, currently providing services to five East Coast grocery brands, including Food Lion, The GIANT Company, Giant Food, Hannaford and Stop & Shop.

Have a Shout Out to share with us?
Do you have great news to share? Did you get a promotion or change jobs? Did your team win an award, or did you win recognition for volunteer efforts? Let us know! Click here to share your great news with us, so we can consider featuring it here in the PRSA Charlotte newsletter or on social media. Learn more here.


News You Can Use

Are you looking for a new job?
Please check out the PRSA Charlotte Job Bank. Open to opportunities outside of Charlotte? You can review communication roles throughout the country here.

Thank you to our 2021 Chapter Partner:

Silver Partner
PRSA Charlotte
PO Box 35442
Charlotte, NC 28235
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