PRogress Report | October 2019

Thank you for your commitment to our PRSA-WV chapter this year. It has been a year of transition, but you have been engaged and eager to participate. For that, I am grateful! Let’s keep it going!


Our professional development programming as part of our POWERFALL is in full swing! Building on the momentum of our September session on crisis communications, our October program includes a day-long, professional development event hosted by Fairmont State University. Early bird reduced pricing of $40 for the day is available through 11:59 p.m. tonight. To sign up, please visit

Looking ahead to November, we are pleased to partner with our award-winning PRSSA chapter at West Virginia University to welcome Marly Leighton from Do Something to speak. The program will be held at the WVU Media Innovation Center on the Evansdale Campus. Mark your calendars for Wednesday November 13. Registration details coming soon!


Over the summer, we issued a call for volunteers to fill two vacancies on the PRSA-WV Board of Directors. At the August business meeting, the board approved the selection of Brett White and Jennifer Goddard, APR, to fill those vacancies through the end of the year. Thank you both for your willingness to serve our chapter!

If you’re interested in serving PRSA-WV on the board or through committee positions, please email Emily Myers-Duke by October 15, 2019, detailing your interests for 2020.

PRSA Diversity & Inclusion Month

October is PRSA Diversity & Inclusion Month. PRSA has announced participation and learning opportunities during the month:

October 10 – 6 p.m. (ET)
Twitter chat: Transforming the Landscape
Join the discussion at #PRDiversity

October 29 – 4 p.m. (ET)
Webinar: From the Classroom to the Boardroom
Presented by Shanita Baraka Akintonde, MBA, M.Ed., DTM, PRSA 2019 D&I Committee Chair. The session will provide an “insider’s view” of what she has learned from undergraduate public relations students.

2019 Awards Season

THANK YOU! We had another successful awards season for PRSA-WV.

Our annual Crystal Awards celebration saw a change of venue for the first time in decades, and PRSA-WV responded with a higher attendance than last year. More than 60 people attended our event on June 19 at Touchdown Terrace, located at WVU’s Milan Puskar Stadium. Our chapter presented numerous awards to outstanding students, individuals, agencies and practitioners.

Our sponsors for the 2019 event included Appalachian Power, Charles Ryan Associates, the Greater Morgantown CVB, GuardianBridge and Homestead Communications.

Congratulations to:

  • Owston & Owston, the “Best of West Virginia” award winner;
  • Practitioner of the Year Dr. Rita Colistra, WVU Reed College of Media;
  • Educator of the Year Dr. Geah Pressgrove, WVU Reed College of Media;
  • Young Professional of the Year Blaithe Tarley, Greater Morgantown CVB; and
  • Jessica Sharps and the Communications Team at Fairmont State University, who were recognized with the John Hunter Womack Chapter Service Award.

Many thanks to our 2019 Awards Committee members, including Brynna Butler, APR, Rachel Coffman, Jordan Pence and Blaithe Tarley, who worked hard to organize the event. Thank you to everyone who attended.

PRSA Reciprocal Judges Pool

More than 20 PRSA-WV members signed up to support our reciprocal judging assignment for PRSA-Arkansas ARcom Awards. Judging took place over three weeks spanning July and August. Thank you to everyone who participated! Your talents, time and contributions to fulfill this important responsibility for our chapter are deeply appreciated.

If you’re interested in serving on the Awards Committee or participating in future judging opportunities, please let me know!


We are planning for 2020 and we need you!

Do you have an idea for Professional Development, a Lunch & Learn session, or just an opportunity the Chapter should know about? We want to hear it!

Please email our President-Elect Rachel Coffman with your recommendations.