help_outline Skip to main content
Philly Chapter 70th Anniversary  PRSA Philly

News / Articles

October 2022

PRSA Board | Published on 10/25/2022
October 2022 PRSA Philly Chapter Chat

President's Letter
by Michele Besso

The theme of this month’s edition of PRSA’s national newsletter, Strategies & Tactics, is “Transforming Company Culture.”

We all know the critical role that communicators play in ensuring a company is living up to its stated culture not just internally, but also externally. Especially as so many workplaces continue to navigate the nuances of virtual work, returning to the office or hybrid schedules, strategic communicators need to have a seat at the table in these conversations.

On a more personal level, every PR professional contributes to the culture of their teams. Bridget Castellini of Wordsworth Communications shared her thoughts for Strategies & Tactics on how to incorporate fun in the office.

She writes: “Yes, our workplace is a ton of fun, but it’s also hard work. But our fun together makes those more challenging days easier to face.”

Isn’t that so true?

One of Castellini’s tips is celebrating the good times—birthdays, work anniversaries, promotions, baby showers, weddings and more. When you’re thinking about how you can create a great culture for your team, recognizing extraordinary work can go a long way.

In that vein, we are thrilled to have an impressive slate of entries for this year’s Pepperpot Awards and we wish every organization the best of luck in the judging process. Nominations for the following individual achievement awards are still open until October 28:

  • Anne Sceia Klein Award for Professional Promise

  • Anthony Fulginiti Award for Commitment to Education

  • DeAnn White Award for Excellence in Community Service

  • Frank X. Long Award for Excellence in Writing

  • Maxine Elkin Award for Distinguished Service

If you or someone you know is deserving of recognition, I encourage you to nominate them HERE.

To commemorate the achievements made this year, we are looking forward to convening for the Pepperpot Awards Celebration on Tuesday, December 6 at The Lucy in Philadelphia. No one knows in advance who the winners will be, so don’t miss the chance to hear firsthand. Registration is now open HERE.

I hope to see you there and celebrate with you!

Michele Besso

President, PRSA Philadelphia

P.S. We are also looking for sponsors for this year’s Pepperpot Awards! With a premium event sponsorship or a program ad at the Pepperpot Awards Celebration, your company will be featured in event materials seen by 3,000+ PR industry professionals and you can show your commitment to ethical excellence in our profession. Get the details HERE.

Exclusive Member PRofile:
70th Anniversary Edition
FeaturingAnne Sceia Klein
by Wendy Harris, SHRM-CP
In celebration of the 70th Anniversary of PRSA Philadelphia, over the next few months the
newsletter will feature several leaders and members of the organization to share their insights about the PR field, moments from their careers, challenges they’ve faced, and advice they have for the next generation of PR professionals.

This month, we provide a Q&A with Anne Sceia Klein, APR, Fellow PRSA, founder of AKCG, and past president of PRSA, Philadelphia chapter (1978).
“I loved being president of PRSA, as we raised the level of the programing to be more thoughtful and caused people to think about how they were doing PR. We had people discuss public affairs and legal perspectives, even NBC's Edwin Newman, who spoke about grammar and redundancy, all new ideas during the late 70s.”

Q: Why did you choose public relations as a career?

A: I graduated from Penn’s Wharton School in 1964 as a marketing major. However, when I looked for jobs, there was nothing available in marketing.  The Women’s Placement Service at Penn found me a job in PR, and I stayed in that field my entire career.


Q: Who were some of your early influences in the business?

A: Frank X. Long (a former PRSA Philly chapter president); Lois Morasco (my first boss at the predecessor of SEPTA); Sylvia Kauders (Special Events director for the City of Philadelphia and long active in PPRA); legendary PR counselor Patrick Jackson (A PRSA national president and one of the founders of PRSA’s College of Fellows); and Jack Felton (two-term PRSA national president and former president and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations).


Q: What do/did you enjoy most about working in PR?

A: The variety of challenges. Doing crises and issues management, I had a lot of challenges that were thrown at me. I can remember one which won a Pepperpot Award. It was for Hahnaman Hospital. The award was for a request from 60 Minutes asking about private/public partnerships. We worked with the attorneys to craft an answer. My husband decided to put the response at the beginning of the questions. The producer was Don Hewitt, the most feared producer at the time.  After about six weeks, we decided it was time to call Mr. Hewitt who responded that 60 minutes was dropping the story and that there was nothing to report.


Q: What are some of your most memorable moments working in PR?

A: Establishing regular media briefings for Sun Oil during the Arab Oil Embargo in 1973-1974; founding and running my own well-respected PR firm for 35 years and grooming my successor owner, Chris Lukach, APR; being inducted into the PPRA and Rowan University PR Halls of Fame; being inducted into PRSA’s College of Fellows.


Q: Why did you join PRSA and how did it help your career?

A: To learn from and build relationships with other PR professionals.


Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced as a board member, chapter leader or national leader?

A: I was serving as a member of the executive board of PRSA’s Counselors Academy when I was asked to become Chair of the Academy. It was tempting, but I ultimately turned it down because I knew it would stretch me too thin and possibly hurt my firm.


Q: What do you see as some of the biggest challenges facing PR practitioners today?

A: Learning to write clearly, concisely, and logically.


Q: Who do you admire in the PR field?

A: Everyone I named in the second question. 


Q: What message do you have for young people considering a career in PR? 

A: Learn to write long-form. Texting is no substitute for a well written letter or email.


Q: If you could have changed one thing in your career, what would it be?

A: Be a better manager of people.

PRSA National Chair Visits Philly to Talk Diversity,
PR Thought Leadership

by Michael Wood, MBA

At 70th anniversary luncheon, Felicia Blow encourages members to
"change the paradigm."

(Photo Credit: Steve Lubetkin)
At a luncheon to celebrate PRSA Philly’s 70th anniversary, the chapter welcomed the national chair of PRSA, Felicia Blow, PhD, APR, PRSA Fellow, vice president of Development at Hampton University in Virginia. The chapter’s milestone coincides with PRSA National’s 75th anniversary.

In a 45-minute talk, Blow encouraged, challenged and celebrated PR professionals for the role communicators have played in every major movement in U.S. history and serving as the conscience of their organizations.

Rick Alcantara, past chapter president, opened the program by introducing 10 other past chapter presidents from over the years in attendance (Photo Credit: Steve Lubetkin).

Michele Besso, current chapter president, introduced Dr. Blow, who led the national PRSA’s development of a new Diversity & Inclusion strategy, along with a D&I toolkit and resources for local chapters and members as PRSA marks Diversity Awareness Month in October.

“We are not hacks. We are not spin doctors,” she said. “We are a profession for all ages. We are change agents who help our organizations thrive…..You change hearts and minds, and you help make this world a better place when you use your time and talents to make a difference.”
Blow said she came to Philadelphia to “elevate your thinking and expand your point of view on the many dimensions of diversity,” encouraging members to check out the D&I resources on the PRSA website.

“You have so much to offer as PR professionals in changing the paradigm.” A native of Texas, Blow said D&I is a business imperative. “D&I isn’t about black or white, or us vs. them. It’s not just race or ethnicity,” she said.  “It’s about business. Businesses that have robust D&I programs are more successful, performing better than their peers. That’s fact.”

“You are the conscience of your organizations.  Own it! It’s your power. Your CEOs are looking for your help in understanding and navigating this D&I dynamic. D&I affects every single thing we do….how we engage with our employees and our communities and the language and the images we use.”

Blow urged the members to engage in ongoing training, continually learn and improve, expand their engagement, use surveys and listening tools to guide approaches, and measure the impact of their work. “One of the ways you can change the paradigm is to help your organization…do what’s right,” she said.

“I challenge you: be intentional, be consistent, and authentic….Give a little grace when people don’t get it right."

In her conclusion, she said the PRSA National board is focused on member value, member satisfaction, member retention, and member growth. “You are at the center of our thinking always.”
PRSA celebrates Diversity Awareness Month in October
Diversity and inclusion are integral to the evolution and growth of PRSA and the public relations industry.
  • Visit the Diversity & Inclusion section of where you will find PRSA’s Diversity & Inclusion Strategy, its goals and objectives.
  • Check out the D&I Toolkit for members, which includes PRSA’s statement on D&I, a calendar of events, diversity dialogues, resources, and helpful references.
  • Get help in inclusive language: Find links to media style guides for race, ethnicity and religion with writing tips for engaging diverse audiences.
  • Learn about the PRSA Foundation, its investments in the next generation of PR practitioners, and work with employers and industry organizations to create workplace-based inclusion efforts to welcome, support and retain a diverse workforce.
  • Audit your web sites, social media pages, newsletters and publications to see if your language and images are inclusive.
Diversity and inclusion attributes impact how we approach our work, connect with others and move through the world. “Not marketing, HR or Legal, communicators can make a unique contribution to an organization’s D&I strategies. Employee engagement, in particular, is critical to successful D&I programs and creating an inclusive culture where employees feel the workplace is a safe place,” Blow said.

*FYI, we are still looking for a D&I co-chair and committee members! Please contact President Michele Besso at if you are interested in volunteering!
Perfect Your Pitch, Matt Petrillo
by Stephen Orbanek
How do you break through the noise and get your story noticed? It’s not an easy question to answer, especially in a world where reporters, editors and producers are busier than ever. As part of this monthly feature, PRSA taps directly into the expertise of the pros to better identify what they’re looking for when it comes to story pitches. In today’s edition, we catch up with Matt Petrillo, a reporter for CBS3.

One of the staples of CBS3 Eyewitness News broadcasts is Matt Petrillo, who joined the station as a general assignment reporter in March 2018. It was a bit of a homecoming for Petrillo, as he is both a Montgomery County native and also an alumnus of Temple University.

Since joining the Eyewitness News team, Petrillo has regularly covered some of the hardest-hitting stories in the city, including the surge in gun violence that has gripped Philadelphia over the last several years. He is, however, always open to cover lighter stories and welcomes outreach from PR professionals.

“I love getting pitches and meeting new folks in PR! Taking a good pitch and making it land for tv news can be easy if you know what we're looking for on 'the other side,'” Petrillo says.

When pitching Petrillo and his colleagues, he said the key is to think visually.

“In TV, we 'write to the video,' so if you're sending stats or talking about a new trend, it helps to explain how we can show the story visually in a compelling way,” he says. “Also, think like the reporter whenever possible. If there is a great tie to the Philly region, point it out at the top of the email.”

When pitching any reporter, it is common to not immediately hear back. Sometimes, that means they are not interested in your story, but it also could mean that they just inadvertently missed your email. 

That’s where a friendly nudge can go a long way, Petrillo says.

“Follow up! Reporters get a lot of emails. Sometimes, messages are missed. So sending a friendly reminder is a good way to make sure the pitch is on their radar,” he says.

Timely Announcements

It's Pepperpot Awards Month and entries are due in just a few days!!
Submit yours HERE


We are also in need of Sponsors and Program Ads for this event!!

  • Please reach out to President Michele Besso at if you or your business are interested in becoming a sponsor! 
  • All ad creative must be received by November 14, 2022 to guarantee recognition in the program.
PRSA Philly's Upcoming Events

2022 Pepperpot Awards Celebration

Tuesday, December 06, 2022, 5:30 PM until 9:00 PM
The Lucy by Cescaphe
231 S Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA  19107

The Pepperpot Awards have become a long-standing tradition for Philadelphia-area PR professionals to join in recognizing the top PR campaigns, tactics, and professionals. Each year, proud projects are submitted to be judged by a sister chapter within the Public Relations Society of America. Together we celebrate the winners representing excellence in our communications and public relations community.

Join us on Tuesday, December 6th at The Lucy in Philadelphia as we gather in-person in celebration of the 54th annual Pepperpot Awards. No one knows who the winners will be. Don't miss the chance to hear first hand.

Member registration $140 / Non-member registration $170
*Registration includes cocktail reception, seated dinner, and open bar.
PRSA National News

Professional Development opportunities from PRSA National, including webinars, workshops, on demand training sessions, case study presentations on various industry topics, and a range of certificate programs can be found HERE.
New & Noteworthy Programs
Love your PRSA Membership? Encourage a friend or colleague to join today!
Learn more here
PRSA Job Board
For those of you who may be in the hiring position, we hope that you will 
submit your openings as they become available so we can share them with our
community of PR and communications professionals.
If you are on the job hunt yourself, check out our local chapter listings.
We also encourage you to visit the PRSA National job board.
Copyright © 2022 PRSA Philadelphia, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp