April 2017 Print

Communication and Current Events

Join PRAL-BR as we celebrate another year of PR excellence in the Capital Area. We will be recognizing the award recipients:

Member of the Year: Delia Taylor, APR (Taylor Media Services)

Practitioner of the Year: Ginger Guttner, APR (LSU School of Veterinary Medicine)

Communicator of the Year: Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards

First Circle Award Recipient: Angela Vanveckhoven (Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana)

We have also changed the format of the event from years past. Instead of a formal sit-down dinner, we are having a reception-style event with passed hors d'oeuvres and self-serve food stations that will allow you to spend more time mingling with your peers and networking with other professionals in our industry. We are also offering a discount for guest tickets when purchased with a PRAL member ticket, so bring along a significant other, friend or colleague who would like to see what PRAL is all about!

Beer and wine are included in the cost of registration. Register today to reserve your spot, then submit payment through Paypal link below.

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President's Report

Dear PRAL members,

I want to extend a special invitation to our members to join us for a celebration of excellence on Tuesday, April 25.  In lieu of our regular meeting this month, we will hold an Awards Reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Galatoire’s Bistro for those colleagues and community leaders who have made a positive impact on our profession and in their respective industries. The evening will be very casual, offering everyone an opportunity to network and truly get to know more about each other.

We will honor Angela Vanveckhoven, a long-time PRAL member as this year’s First Circle Award winner.  This award is considered a life-time achievement award that honors the entire body of work of a professional.  Angela has dedicated much of her work to nonprofit causes in our community, and in particular, the efforts of Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana.  The positive impact of her work is far-reaching and worthy of this honor.

Ginger Guttner, APR, will be recognized at PRAL’s Practitioner of the Year.  As the public relations director for the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and the social media “voice” of Mike the Tiger, she successfully balanced the need to release information about Mike’s cancer treatment and ultimate euthanasia to the media and general public, while safeguarding the emotional bond this community has with the school’s mascot.

Gov. John Bel Edwards is this year’s Communicator of the Year.  In a tumultuous year of violence, death and untold devastation, his calming and unifying response helped to keep matters from not escalating and allowing time for our communities to heal. 

And finally, Delia A. Taylor, APR, (yours truly) will be recognized as the PRAL Member of the Year.  I am humbled by the award and honored to be recognized for the work I’ve done in the organization.  For me, it’s been an opportunity to do what I love with people whom I really like and respect – to get an award for that feels a little like cheating!  

I hope each of you can join us on April 25.  Please take time to register now and enter into a free drawing for a Galatoire’s Bistro gift certificate.  Just think, taking time to be with your PRAL colleagues in a casual setting AND to be eligible to win a door prize – that feels a little like cheating too!!  

Delia A. Taylor, APR

PRAL Baton Rouge Chapter President

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Member Spotlight


Samantha Faulkner

Louisiana Department of Health

Press Officer

1.5 years professional experience


After growing up in New Jersey, I attended high school in The Woodlands, Texas. I came to Baton Rouge to attend college and graduated from the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication in 2015. Throughout college I had internships with Digital Texas, Merrill Lynch and AARP Louisiana. In November 2015 I began working as a press officer with the Louisiana Department of Health and have been here ever since.


What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in public relations and how did you overcome it?


When I had just started my job, I had to travel the state administering crisis communications trainings. I was not comfortable with public speaking and didn’t have the experience to back up the training. I had to put on my brave face and I got through, and it was a really great learning experience for me!


What is your guilty pleasure?


Netflix. I’ve been known to binge-watch on the weekends. I’m currently watching Parks and Rec.


 You have $1,000,000 that you must spend on yourself.  What are your first three purchases?


A nicer car, a new laptop and pay off my student loans!


Your boss gave you a six month all expenses paid vacation.  Where are you going?


A tour of Europe.


In a bizarre accident, you’ve been blessed with a super power of your choice?

Invisibility       Ability to Fly        Super Strength      X-ray Vision         Other__________


Ability to fly.


What’s your most useful skill?


I’m very good at building Ikea furniture.


What does game night at your house look like?


Lately we’ve been playing Risk, which I’m pretty bad at.


You can be transported backward or forward in time--where are you going and what year?  


The year 3000 – I want to see what the future is like!


What personal quality do you value the most about yourself?


My determination.


What one or more things would you suggest to improve PRAL?


I think it would be fun to have more social events.


Your house is on fire—what items do you go back in for?




Favorite part of your job?


Having the story come out well for an interview that I was worried about.


If you could learn anything, what would it be?


How to fix a car!


What are your five favorite apps? 


Mail, Snapchat, Duolingo, Pandora, SmartNews.


Do you prefer phone, text or email?




Where would you like to be in ten years?


In ten years I’d like to be a communications director.


What’s your secret to getting along with coworkers?


Just being nice and not grumpy.


Do you like puzzles like Soduku, jigsaw, word games?


I love Sudoku!

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