Category Archives: Membership


If you are a recent graduate with a major in public relations, communications, marketing or a related field of study, you are qualified for a free one-year association membership ($60 value) as part of a scholarship available from the PRSA Greater Cleveland Chapter.

Enjoy the networking, professional development, internship and membership benefits available to PRSA members.

The Chapter has 12 scholarships available thanks to the generosity of two firms—Sonnhalter and Falls Communications. An awards committee will review all applications.

Submit your application today to Include your college, your major and home address. Be sure to tell us why you deserve a scholarship. Mention whether you were a PRSSA member—a sure fire tie-breaker. The deadline to apply is July 1, 2020. Act now! The decision of the awards committee is final.

For more information and an application kit, click here. If you have any questions, please email Beth Thomas at

(Please note: While the national PRSA dues ($60) are being paid for, any winners would still be responsible for the $35 annual dues to the Greater Cleveland Chapter. )

–Ed Stevens, Stevens Strategic Communications

I Love My Section: Public Affairs and Government

By Jenn Elting, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

For public relations professionals wanting to develop their careers within a specific industry, PRSA offers Professional Interest Sections. These groups help members connect with others in the same fields, oftentimes experiencing the same issues unique to your specific industry.

Personally, I love my section: Public Affairs and Government (PAG). Whether connecting online or in-person at a Section Conference, it’s as if I’ve met my people. My tribe, so to speak. Whether we represent city, county or state governments; branches of the military or public safety forces; public utilities; federal departments or agencies; trade associations or various organizations, we all share the same struggles – and the same stories – and can rely on each other for support, for ideas, for advice.

In addition to PAG, there are 13 other sections available to PRSA members.

For anyone interested in attending a 2019 Professional Interest Section Conference, here are some upcoming opportunities:

For PAG’s summit, the Call for Presentations is currently open through Jan. 11. For more information, visit today.

I Love My Special Sections


By Ed Stevens, APR

I have been a member of PRSA since 1992. While my roles on the boards of the Greater Cleveland and NW Pennsylvania Chapters were fulfilling, my membership in a number of special professional interest sections was just as rewarding and more closely allied with the clients and industries I serve. Besides frequent section events in conjunction with PRSA’s international conference, the sections also produce valuable standalone conferences, workshops and seminars.

Travel and Tourism. Since my firm represented so many organizations in the food/food service category, the travel and tourism section was a natural fit. We visited outstanding restaurants, culinary institutes and exchanged war stories from Chambers and entertainment centers across the United States. I found these people to be some of the most engaging personalities in PRSA.

Counselors Academy. If you want to push the needle in your firm or organization, this is the section for you. You learn from great speakers in fantastic locations and from each other. If you want to measure your mettle against others in the PR community, join the Counselors Academy.

Health Academy. I got very close to PRSA’s NYC headquarters staff and healthcare professionals with awesome credentials. Very impressive. Working as a co-chair for a health academy conference, I learned how exciting it is to be part of a PRSA section with professionals who really care about both the health of America and the PR environment.

Technology. This section seemed to have some challenges. However, the workshops our firm attended or webinars we chose were very valuable. I was least active with this section. Which leads me to say this about participation with any section – as well as PRSA itself – is that you get out what you put into your section.

PRSA itself is sometimes its own best-kept secret. Open the door to all PRSA offers. Hit the website.

New Pros: Growing Professionally & APR


By: Rachel Burns, Analyst Relations Specialist, Hyland

Conference Personal and professional growth was a number one goal. That’s what a PRSA mentor told me once. This included their goal to receive their Accreditation in Public Relations (APR). This is also a goal for many PR professionals who find value in it for their own personal and professional growth.

So what is the APR? First, it’s internationally recognized and, as defined on, the APR integrates timeless communications principles with contemporary strategies and tactics. If you’re wondering if earning your APR is for you, here are a few benefits for you to check out:

  • The ability to take your professional skills to the next level and identify strengths and opportunities for continued growth
  • Showcase your commitment to excellence to your current and potential employers and colleagues
  • Receive direct access to top public relations leaders who will help guide you through the process
  • Access to tools needed to distinguish yourself in the PR profession

In addition to earning your APR, conferences are a great way to grow professionally and personally – building knowledge in the industry as well as building a strong professional network. Below are a few industry conferences for new pros to explore.

Do you have any success stories from attending a conference? Do you have any others that you’re attending and would recommend we add to our list? Leave a comment or find us on social and let us know!

As always, PRSA Cleveland board members are available to meet or help answer any questions.

Independent Practitioners Section Provides Camaraderie

By Amber Shulman, APR, Candid Virgo Communications

I have been a member of the Independent Practitioners Alliance (IPA) Section for nearly five years. I joined just about the same time I started my own practice, which proved to be quite an adjustment for me, after spending over 20 years working for employers.

As a sole proprietor, it’s important to me to be able to connect with others for camaraderie, support, and information; much like I did with my coworkers. I have found my section membership to be tremendously valuable, as it gives me the opportunity to do so.

The IPA Section boasts nearly 300 members who are able to connect via the PRSA IPA Forum, personally by email or phone, and through in-person meetups, the Section plans surrounding PRSA regional and national conferences.

The Section also hosts monthly webinars, at no cost to members, on topics that pertain to running a public relations business as an independent. It can be challenging! The ability to connect is paramount, as independents often have lots of questions pertaining to not only PR topics and best practices working with clients, but also the business side of things: health insurance, time tracking and accounting tools, etc.

I also serve on the Section’s executive committee and have gotten to know other independents from across the country. We have a lot of laughs and it’s been a great source of professional support.

I encourage you to look into a section that pertains to your work. Visit PRSA’s website here to view all the professional interest sections available to members. Most sections cost $60 per year and offer much value for the price.

How are we doing? Tell us by May 1!

By Rachel Kerstetter, VP of Membership, PRSA Cleveland

I’d like to invite you to have a direct impact on the programs and services available to public relations and communications professionals in Northeast Ohio by simply taking a few minutes to give your opinion.

Our survey is open now through May 1, and should only take 10-15 minutes to complete. As a thank you for your feedback, you will be entered into a drawing for a free PRSA Greater Cleveland chapter membership.

Take the survey now at

PRSA Greater Cleveland aims to connect professionals in our region with excellent programming, training, mentorship, peer support and so much more. In order to make sure we’re delivering the best possible benefits to you, whether you’re a member of the chapter or not, we want to make sure that we know what you need and want.

Thank you for your input and please feel free to reach out to me with any questions at