PRSA Charlotte

The Lead |July 2022

Message from the President  

I think most of us would agree that public relations and communications is really based on relationships. Relationships are critical when working with clients, business partners, company leaders and coworkers. And relationships with friends, mentors, and our PRSA colleagues are critical when we are learning how to succeed in the profession or even just get started.

I made the transition from TV news to PR because of one of those relationships. Nora Carr was the Chief Communications Officer for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools when I was ready to leave the "dark side" and move into something new. She took a chance on me, hired me as a media relations specialist, and even held the position for me for about six weeks when my news station wouldn't let me out of my contract. My third day on the job, she sent me to a school where a third-grader had stuffed a gun in his desk, and it went off in the middle of class. I remember being terrified about taking on that big of a challenge with almost no PR experience, but she said, "You'll be fine. Just go out there and talk to the reporters and call me if you need something." I went, and it was fine.

Years later, I asked her why on earth she'd sent me on such an important assignment so early in my career, and she said, "I can tell when someone has what it takes to do the job. Sometimes, they just need a push out the door to get started. I knew you could do it, and I pushed."

Nora gave me those pushes throughout my career and my personal life. She hired me to be the Director of Communications in Guilford County Schools, where I again had the incredible privilege to work alongside her, learning how to communicate, advocate for those who need it most, and how to manage crises quickly and smoothly. When I opened my own communications consulting business, she was one of the first to hire me to work with GCS on several projects, and recommended me to school districts, municipalities, and clients across the country.

When I worried about finding another job, she said, "Just remember, you can say, 'Nora Carr hired me three times and she'd hire me again,' and that should count for something."

She was right. Getting the stamp of approval from Nora Carr and learning how to do the work from the person who led the media response at Columbine and Moore, Oklahoma the person who has hundreds of awards, publications and is one of the first people call when things fall apart means something.

But Nora was much more than a mentor to me. She was an incredible friend, shared her family with mine, and loved my son like one of her own grandchildren. That's why it was so hard to tell him, through my own tears, that Gramma Nora had suddenly passed away from a massive heart attack on June 30.

Her passing has left a huge hole in my life, and I cannot begin to imagine how her family begins to fill the void from the loss of her giant, funny, smart personality. Those of us who had the privilege to work directly with her are feeling the loss deeply, but her teachings have spread through so many more in the PR and communications world over her six decades on this earth.

When you do a listening and learning tour when a new executive joins your company, won't run an event or news conference without a run of show, or always remember to be open and transparent when crisis strikes, you're practicing the lessons Nora taught.

It's up to all of us to continue her teachings, to remember that it's important to push yourself and be your best, and to bring others with you when you climb the ranks. Tell the truth, don't take no for an answer, and do what it takes to be a trusted advisor. Do the right thing and speak up for those who need it the most. Always bring in diverse voices and experiences; it makes us all stronger and brings new opportunities and ideas. Say thank you, recognize coworkers for great work and love deeply.

Nora Carr, Ed.D, APR, Fellow PRSA, will be missed by so many of us. She was active in PRSA for more than 30 years in the St. Louis, Charlotte and Tar Heel Chapters, co-chairing the Charlotte chapter's APR committee for several years and producing more than 20 APRs. She also received the Infinity award, our chapter's highest honor.

Nora was also the President of the National School Public Relations Society (NSPRA), where she received the President's Award. And I was honored to present her with the Barry Gaskins Service Award, the highest honor awarded by NSPRA.

At her funeral service on July 5, she was posthumously presented The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. Since 1963, North Carolina's governors have reserved their highest honor, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award, for persons who have made significant contributions to the state and their communities through their exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments.

Click here to read the touching tribute that Philip Tate, APR, Fellow PRSA, wrote to share this sad news with the PRSA College of Fellows.

And if you didn't know Nora, here are two stories you can read to get to know her a little better or just ask one of the hundreds of us who considered her a friend and mentor we'll be happy to share our experiences.

'A great loss': Former CMS leader remembered for her advocacy, passion for education

'Equity warrior' Nora Carr remembered for fighting 'passionately for children'

QCPR Awards Early Bird Deadline Extended

The early bird gets the... DISCOUNTED RATE! We have great news for those of us who planned to submit a QCPR Awards entry early but didn't get the opportunity: The early bird deadline was just extended to 5 p.m. EDT this Wednesday, June 20. Don't miss this opportunity to submit your award early and save some money. Click on the award link to submit your entries:

How to Submit a Winning QCPR Award Entry

Need some help getting started? Intimidated by the entry form? Check out the recording of Thursday's "How to Submit a Winning QCPR Award Entry" session here. PRSA Charlotte Board President and Communications Manager for Retail Business Services, Cynthia Shah-Khan, and Chief Communications Manager for Holy Angels, Shawn Flynn, shared their tips and tricks for creating a winning entry.

Get involved with the 2022 Queen City PR Awards!

We're looking for volunteers to join the 2022 QCPR Awards Committee!

If you would like to be involved in the planning and execution of this exciting event that honors public relations professionals in and around Charlotte, we'd love to have you!

Please contact Tina Helms at

Charlotte FC Event

Join Us on Aug. 2 for Off the Pitch with Charlotte FC. PRSA Charlotte, IABC and AMA Charlotte are joining forces to create this can't-miss event. Join us on Aug. 2 at Bank of America Stadium to hear from a skilled and entertaining panel from the Charlotte Football Club. They'll cover a myriad of topics, including communications, marketing, community engagement, fan culture, the business of MLS, and more from "off the pitch." You'll hear about the inner and outer workings of CFC and its unmatched success during the inaugural season!

Register here.

Power Up Your PRofessional Life
Register for the APR information session on July 27.
The PRSA Charlotte APR (Accreditation in Public Relations) committee will host an informational meeting to learn more about the APR process from 7 to 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27.
The APR credential demonstrates professional competence, expertise and the highest standards of excellence in the practice of public relations.
Register for the virtual information session to learn more about the accreditation process, the available support system and resources, ask questions and take the next step in improving your personal brand and career. We hope you can join us!

New Pros Meet Up


These members are celebrating PRSA membership anniversaries!


Debra A. Miller, Ed.D., APR, Fellow PRSA

Meghan Musgrave Miles, APR
Jerri P. Haigler, APR   Caryn Klebba
Colleen Cotter Brannan   Melanie Perlman Baron
Christine B. Ahearn   Cara McAteer
Angela D. Richmond   Erin Sanders
Natalia Alejandra Flores, APR   Jade Plaschka
Ashley Sherry Brown, APR   Kelly S. Powell
Lee Jason Freedman   Cam Coley
Tahira S. Stalberte, APR   Shawn Flynn
Nathalie Santa Maria, APR   Juan Carlos Hernandez, Jr.

The Shout Outs!

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.
Job Board
Truist Senior Communications Manager - Digital and Innovation (hybrid/flexible) 7/15/2022 7/14/2022 More Info
Truist Sr Communications Manager Retail and Small Business Banking (hybrid/flexible) 7/15/2022 7/14/2022 More Info
Truist Communications Senior Manager CSR/ESG, Community, & Foundation (hybrid/flexible) 7/15/2022 7/14/2022 More Info
INSP Intern 7/11/2022 7/7/2022 More Info
Little Diversified Architectural Consulting Inc. Digital Marketing Manager 7/30/2022 6/30/2022 More Info
Wells Fargo Senior Executive Communications Lead | General Counsel and Legal 7/15/2022 6/24/2022 More Info
If you are interested in having your job posted on our website, advertised in our newsletter or viewed on social media, click here.

Thank you to our 2022 Chapter Partners:

Gold Partner

Silver Partner
PRSA Charlotte
PO Box 35442
Charlotte, NC 28235
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