WMPRSA Event: Agency Partnerships

Panel Discussion: Agency Partnerships

Get the most from your PR agency partnership. Whether you’re on the client or agency side – with a large organization or small – it’s critical to start with a clear understanding of objectives, expectations, capabilities, budget and scope. And like any relationship, the chemistry should be right. Hear perspectives from a solo practitioner, large agency, nonprofit and corporation on how to avoid the pitfalls and take the right steps from the start to ensure a successful client-agency partnership.

NEW THIS YEAR! WMPRSA and AMA West Michigan are extending a special reciprocal rate on luncheons for members this 2016 season!  If you are an active WMPRSA or AMA West Michigan member, you will receive the member rate for both WMPRSA and AMA West Michigan luncheons moving forward.  It’s a win, win! Use PROMO CODE: WMPRSA when registering for either a WMPRSA or AMA West Michigan event to take advantage of this members-only benefit!  


Thursday, March 17, 2016 from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm EST Lunch/registration: 11:30 am - noon Program: Noon - 1 pm 

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Where (Note the Location Change)

BOB's Brewery 20 Monroe NW Grand Rapids, MI 49503

FEES: Chapter Members $25 Nonmembers $40 Students $20

Register Here!

Please RSVP by March 11.


Jen Gilman WMPRSA 616-821-8238 wmprsa@gmail.com

WMPRSA Announces New Board Members and Officers for 2016

The West Michigan Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (WMPRSA) is pleased to announce new board members and officers for 2016. The WMPRSA Board meets monthly to plan educational programs and special events for public relations practitioners, as well as serve the community through the “PRforGood” program. It also sponsors the annual PRoof Awards that recognize the year’s best PR programs, projects and people in West Michigan. The board works to advocate for public relations in West Michigan and promote WMPRSA’s mission to “help public relations professionals develop and sustain the essential knowledge, skills and standards that will reinforce their integral role in the effective management of organizations.”

BOARD OFFICERS (elected to serve a one-year term beginning in January 2016)

  • President: Rick Jensen, Spectrum Health
  • President Elect: Adam Russo, COM616
  • Secretary: Adam Russo, COM616
  • Treasurer: Bradley Gordon, Holland Hospital

NEW BOARD MEMBERS (elected to serve a three-year term beginning in January 2016)

  • Karen Hogan Kirchenbauer, APR, SeyferthPR
  • Kim Skeltis, APR, Blue Blaze PR
  • Sarah Pazdziora, SeyferthPR
  • Andrea Wolschleger, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Also continuing to serve on the 2016 WMPRSA board are Carl Apple (Aquinas College), Katie Halloran, APR (Mercy Health Saint Mary’s), Jane Kreha (ACSET), Amy LeFebre (Truscott Rossman), Austin Langlois (Amway), Leah Twilley (Grand Valley State University), Lyndsie Post (Davenport University), Sasha Wolff (Priority Health) and Heather Halligan (Hungerford Nichols). Jennifer Griffin (Steelcase) will serve as immediate past president.

[RECAP] 28th Annual PRoof Awards Gala

On behalf of the board of directors, thank you for attending the 28th Annual Proof Awards Gala. Approximately 160 professionals attended last night's awards ceremony to honor the achievements of some of West Michigan’s best public relations practitioners, campaigns and projects. Congratulations to our individual award winners:

Robin Luymes PR Professional of the Year Each year, the West Michigan PRSA honors one of its own with the Public Relations Professional of the Year Award.  This year’s recipient is dedicated to leading public relations activities for Davenport University.  As Executive Director of Communications he has elevated the University’s Communications Department by guiding the strategic direction of all communications. Under his leadership, the University has become a leader in communications best practices.  Robin has served as WMPRSA Board President more than once, and has sat on the Board of Directors for nearly 10 years throughout the past decade.  He’s well known within student groups, and often volunteers with GVSU PRSSA in resume proofreading or speaking engagements.

Larry Yachcik Communicator of the Year This award recognizes a community leader who has made outstanding contributions to West Michigan and who also exemplifies the practice of good public relations. Larry Yachcik, Porter Hills, has exhibited foresight and innate ability to create relationships. His embrace of creative and innovative ways of working together, even with entities that can be considered his competitors, helped him thrive during his recent transition as President and CEO of Porter Hills, a role that he assumed just one year after the company lost its CEO in a tragic car accident. His collaboration efforts include working with companies like The Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids, the Marywood Health Center, and Emmanuel Hospice.

Adrienne Wallace Newcomer of the Year The Newcomer of the Year Award is given to public relations professionals who is new to WMPRSA and has demonstrated the potential for becoming an outstanding practitioner. Adrienne joined the organization in 2012 and has already immersed herself in leadership within the chapter and the larger public relations community in a variety of ways.  Her contributions to the profession include:  The WMPRSA board, PRSSA, volunteerism, and last year’s ArtPrize entry: Lights in the Night.  She is also a contributor to numerous publications like Grand Rapids Women’s Magazine, West Michigan Women Magazine, and has led the re-boot efforts of the online magazine: The Mode Life.  She also maintains her own food blog.  As an active member of the community, she volunteers for numerous nonprofits and serves on a variety of boards including the Grand Valley State University Alumni Board and WGVU Engage.

Elizabeth Michalski Student of the Year Elizabeth Michalski serves as vice president of the Ferris State PRSSA chapter, logging more than 2,500 hours of PR work annually.  In the spring of 2012, she wrote a PR plan for the Cass City Chamber of Commerce as part of a class assignment. Then, the client brought her on board as an intern for the summer and fall of 2012 to implement the plan!  Also, she one of five students in the NATION to be selected as a finalist for the PRWeek Student of the Year award.

Shelley Irwin Media Person of the Year The Media Person of the Year Award is given to a deserving journalist, editor or publisher for their outstanding contributions to the field of journalism in the West Michigan area. Shelley Irwin is a well-known name in the West Michigan media landscape. She emcees many events, interviews leaders, sits on several boards and committees, and continues to cover both the good and bad news going on around us.  She also manages to get in a run or workout daily between gigs! Her work at the WGVU Morning Show and throughout the West Michigan community has, in one way or another, touched every PR professional in the area at one time or another.

And kudos to our newest APR recipient:

Katherine Hollaran, APR As a public relations and communications manager at Saint Mary's Health Care, Katie Halloran understands why lifelong learning is essential for professional growth. When she first learned about the APR designation in college as a member of PRSSA, she set the accreditation as a long-term goal for herself. After working in the field for several years, Katie felt that the time was right to finally seek that APR accreditation – seeing it as a way to continue to learn and advance.  Countless hours of studying later, she is another shining example of the great practitioners that lead PR in this community.

And finally, congratulations to ALL of the winners of gold and silver PRoof Awards! This year, our applicant totals were higher in most categories than in the recent past. That's cause for even more celebration! Many of the categories featured close calls, with a high number of honors awarded due to the quality of work presented.

View a full list of winners and read about the area's finest campaigns and tactics from 2012.

Nominate an Outstanding Professional

Each year at the PRoof Awards, the organization honors several outstanding individuals: a seasoned PR professional, a great communicator (but non-PR professional), a media personality, a newcomer to West Michigan, and a PR student. Consider nominating a colleague, client, mentor, intern or news media professional who embodies leadership, innovation, creativity, dedication and superb application of the profession.

Click here to complete a nomination form by April 8.

Full description of personal awards:

Public Relations PRofessional of the Year PRofessional of the Year Award honors the WMPRSA member who represented the best in public relations in 2012. As you prepare your PRoof Award entry and identify its strengths, consider nominating the WMPRSA member whose contributions to the program—or to the profession—stand out as outstanding example of the relationship between an organization and the publics it represents.

Communicator of the Year WMPRSA recognizes a community leader for outstanding contributions to West Michigan and who also exemplifies the practice of good public relations. This award is distinct from all other awards because it is given to a person who is NOT a PRSA member or PR professional, but has shown him- or herself to be an accomplished communicator, has communicated well during a crisis, or was an exemplary spokesperson for their organization. Please indicate the context of the nominee’s most significant contribution in your nomination.

Media Person of the Year This award is given to a deserving journalist for outstanding contributions to the field of journalism in the West Michigan area. As you prepare your PRoof Awards, consider the media you worked with throughout your campaign. Please illustrate the nominee’s accomplishments and most significant contributions during 2012.

Newcomer of the Year Only new members in good standing of the West Michigan Chapter of PRSA (having joined during or after 2010) are eligible for this award. The winner must be an active public relations professional of three years or less who has demonstrated potential for becoming an outstanding public relations professional. Please support with examples of the nominee’s experience and efforts during 2012.

Public Relations Student of the Year This award honors the individual PRSSA member who represented the best in public relations during 2012. Consider nominating the intern in your office, the student you’re mentoring or that person whose contributions to advancing the PR profession on campus stand out as exemplary.