May 2017 Print

President's Report

As American culture continues to evolve, new social norms are adopted in society.

Sometimes those changes are conscious – choosing to do all our Christmas shopping online, calling Uber instead of driving, or ordering dinner through a home delivery app, like Waitr.

Other changes may be more subtle, like the new words that creep into our vocabulary and soon come to dominate conversations. For example, three of the top new words added to the Merriam-Webster and Oxford dictionaries in 2012 were “twittersphere,” “Facebook” and “LOL.”

Unfortunately, while much around us continues to change, our PRAL organization has remained constant – we’re still doing business much the same way we have the years prior.

And while that consistency has its merits, it nonetheless has limited our ability to recruit, develop, and promote greater professionalism in the local public relations industry as we would prefer.

That’s why the PRAL Baton Rouge Chapter is venturing into an exciting new platform of programming, networking and professional development opportunities for our members.

Beginning in July, we will forgo the traditional monthly lunch meetings during most months to offer more variety and more opportunities for meaningful involvement:
     · on-location tours and programming that may include opportunities for friends and family members to participate
     · morning coffee press discussions that allow low-cost, more intimate interaction and networking with community and business leaders
     · evening wine press discussions that allow small group discussions with community and business leaders in a very casual atmosphere
     · better developed panel discussions and workshops with key media personnel

At the same time, we will continue to make available opportunities for members to plug into study groups and to access resources that can help them attain national accreditation in public relations.

We also have plans to institute a local awards program to better recognize the volume of quality public relations work that is being produced in the Baton Rouge area.
Change can be exciting. It can be scary. Often, change is welcomed. Sometimes change is difficult.

But more than anything, change is necessary!

As our organization ventures into this new dawning of programming and social adaptation, I would ask for your feedback and that you make a special effort to participate and invite others to join us.

Let’s make PRAL the best professional organization it can be. Or in new slang, the “GOAT.” LOL!

Delia A. Taylor, APR
PRAL Baton Rouge Chapter President

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Next Meeting

People Who Think - How a Louisiana firm played a key role 
in the Trump for President campaign's success

Register Now!

After more than 18 years of bringing about victories for its clients in Louisiana and nationwide, People Who Think's political division, Innovative Politics, entered the history books this fall, as it celebrated with the Donald J. Trump for President campaign team following the momentous victory. Innovative began working with the campaign after the Republican National Convention and played an key role within the advertising team, producing more than half of President-elect Trump's nationally aired television ads. 

Jay Connaughton, managing partner of People Who Think, served as a media advisor and provided ad strategy and messaging insight for the campaign. In his presentation, Jay will detail his and the rest of the Innovative team's work and experiences on the campaign trail, as well as how People Who Think helped bring about the historic victory. Jay will provide an overview of People Who Think's history and the work it has done for its many corporate and political clients over the years, and he will also detail the steps he has taken to develop People Who Think into one of the fastest growing businesses in Louisiana and the nation. 


Jay Connaughton
People Who Think - Managing Partner

Jay Connaughton served as a Media Advisor to President-Elect Trump’s campaign. Connaughton is a leading national political ad strategist who has worked on many major campaigns over the last 20 years. His creative strategies have helped shape and win elections for Republican US Senators, Congressmen and elected leaders at all levels of State Government. Connaughton is managing partner of People Who Think, an advertising agency with three core divisions: Innovative Advertising, Innovative Politics and Fridge.

Under Connaughton’s leadership Innovative Politics has grown into one of the regions largest advertising firms and one of the country’s most successful boutique creative political firms. They’ve amassed a record of impressive victories across the Southeastern United States including campaign, caucus and issue advocacy experience, plus six different presidential races, US Senate races and Congressional campaigns.

In addition to winning elections, Connaughton’s work wins awards too. Over 15 National Pollie Awards, including sweeping direct mail in 2008 winning 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th place & Best Viral Video of the Year. Jay Connaughton’s work has scored more than 100 Addy awards, including a National Addy award, two Best of Show Awards, and a People’s Choice Award.

Innovative Politics continues to thrive with 30 employees and clients from all over the US with concentrations in Louisiana, Atlanta, North Carolina and Washington DC.

Jay Connaughton met and married his wife Jennifer when they both led the Republican Party of Louisiana to some of the most significant in state history. Together, with Jay running the political shop and Jennifer managing the finance department, they shattered previous fundraising records and gave the GOP their biggest gains ever in the State Legislature and helped elect only second Republican Governor in a hundred years.

Jay is a native of Louisiana and is a proud LSU alumnus. He and his wife Jennifer have three children.


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APR: A Valuable Step in YOUR Career

APR: Identify your strengths. Resolve your weaknesses.

You have the degree. You've practiced the skills. So, what's next?

Dig deeper into PR practice and fine-tune your professional proficiency. With years of professional experience and industry knowledge, the process of earning your APR offers a unique opportunity to examine your profession and hone your hard-earned professional skills. In the competitive PR and communications career market, you can distinguish yourself—communicate your superior breadth of experience, depth of industry knowledge, and passion for PR with just three letters.

Ready to take the next step?

Whether you are just considering working on your APR or already committed, the PRAL Baton Rouge Chapter offers one-on-one and small group support as you navigate the process. Resources, such as recommended texts, APR mentors and a comprehensive study guide, are just a click or phone call away. As your APR chair, I am happy to answer your questions, walk you through the process or connect you with valuable (and free!) resources to help you earn those letters. 

Sadie D. Wilks, APR

(225) 788-6215

Don't take my word for it... Hear what others have to say about earning their APR:

How Earning Your APR Can Help You — and the PR Profession, Too by Samantha Villegas, APR

Why the APR has a Great ROI by Jacque Coe, APR

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Welcome New Members

Membership Benefit: Networking

4 Secrets to Better Networking

Throughout my many years as a member of the Public Relations Association of Louisiana, as well as my multiple tenures on the PRAL board, members consistently say the opportunity to meet and learn from their peers is the top reason they join the group. 

Traditionally, networking has meant face-to-face introductions and conversations that occur before, during and after a formal get-together such as a meeting, seminar or other event. Yet, traditions change and in our fast-paced work life today, more of us are relying on social media apps to be our go-to for networking.

Still, if you take the time to come to a monthly meeting or attend an educational event, are you getting the most from this opportunity to meet others? Probably not. A recent article in Entrepreneur recognized this and offers four tips to help us become better networkers.

1. Start Listening – When looking to network with potential customers or other businesses, you need to be up to speed on the goals and concerns you share. Regardless of whether you're meeting potential clients/partners at an in-person event, or online, you need a firm understanding of relevant topics to make a good impression. Prepare beforehand.

2. Get Involved – Valuable connections can form just about anywhere. It’s only a matter of getting out there. The best way to do this is by immersing yourself in groups that play to your, or your prospective contacts’, interests.

3. Small Talk – The value of small talk is an underrated factor in networking. Whether it’s personal or professional, small talk can serve as a bookend for comings and goings while allowing smoother transitions between roles. Aside from simplistic icebreakers like: “How is your family?” or “Nice weather we’re having,” the trick is finding topics outside of professional talk that lead to meaningful conversations.

4. Stay in Touch – Networking events tend to have a strong energy, causing people to get wrapped up in the moment. It’s important to realize that the goal of these mixers is to build long-lasting professional relationships. Reconnect as soon as possible. Send a LinkedIn request or email letting people know you enjoyed their company. Make frequent efforts to keep in touch. 

--Bob Johannessen

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Member Spotlight

Angela deGravelles

PR Consultant, deGravellesPR, Since 1978

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

*Getting started in business, I was very young and organizations, businesses, agencies, didn't take me seriously. It took five years until they realized I wasn't giving up!

*In PR, I handled a student  gun threat at a high school with national, local, and regional media. Always tell the truth. Held press conferences 2x a day. Consistent, daily communication is a must. 

 What is your guilty pleasure (TV show, sweet treat, etc.)?

Soft serve homemade vanilla

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

Start a foundation for works of good, using a major part of the principal for annual giving; build a small modest lake house with no one within miles and plenty of woods; and, of course, travel to Ireland often. 

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__________

Fly! Slowly.

What’s your most useful skill?

I can talk to a doorknob. But, I guess writing and creativity would really be it!

Three favorite foods: hummus, boiled crabs, and gumbo of any type

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

Back to my 30s, when my children were all school age.  

What’s the greatest business lesson you’ve ever learned and from whom?

The federal government paid for me to be trained in Myers Briggs personality assessment. It improved my client skills and my marriage! 

What personal quality do you value the most about yourself?

Ability to listen and to use dreams for the creative process in my work.  

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

Strong programming especially how to integrate digital into PR strategies. Build a stronger mentor program.

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

Pictures. Computer. Wallet.

You have to live the rest of your life at the beach or in the mountains. Pick one.

Mountains, absolutely.

Favorite part of your job?

Love working to solve problems and to use my creativity to build others' success. Also, I am blessed to work on social issues, like mental health, historic preservation, university strategic planning.  

Greatest accomplishment

Ability to make friends and keep them, close. 

What are your favorite apps? 

Samsung Health app that tracks steps, heart rate, pulse etc., Google changed our lives, right?

What talent would you most like to have?

I would love to sing in a choir; it is a great way to pray. And, I would love to draw.

Who are your heroes?

My 101-year-old mother-in-law Virginia (she went back to school at age 65 and became a psychologist); Jackie Ducote, who taught me PR at Public Affairs Research Council in my first job at age 22; and Sr. Dolse, a spiritual advisor supreme.

Give us some words to live by.

1) Cherish the 8 beatitudes. 

2) There is ALWAYS a solution.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?

I relish sitting on my front porch and savoring the sounds. 

What would you like people to know about you that they probably don’t?

I have worked with major developers in the city to create communication products for new town developments, like The Preserve at Harveston, the Village at Magnolia Square, and other real estate projects too. 

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