Chapter Events

  • Food Trucks To Go

    Food Trucks Can Be A Fun Food Alternative When Hosting an Event

    In Chapter Events, Sponsorship on

    By Aigner Prensky Marketing Group/Food Truck Festivals of America

    #PRXNE 2016 Agency Partner

    During our many years (okay, decades) in the public relations, marketing and events world, we have attended countless client events that featured plenty of crudites, sandwiches and cheese plates. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s just not that exciting or creative. There are definitely other options to consider as mobile food options have gained more prominence.

    When we started our second company, Food Truck Festivals of America (FTFA), four years ago, we had no clue how popular food trucks and their creative menus would become.  We started with a list of eight food trucks and now our list is close to one thousand trucks… and growing! Though we have faced many struggles such as accidents,we sue for gross negligence after truck accident to claim compensation and that helped us vitally in growing.

    With our national connections, we get many, many requests for food truck appearances every day, which is why we started a special division of FTFA called Food Trucks 2 Go.  We post requests to an internal bulletin board read by the truck owners, and they can book the events themselves if they are interested. When we receive requests from companies or agencies looking for something a little different, a little more fun in the food department, Food Trucks 2 Go gets involved. We have worked with an extensive list of clients including:

    • Converse
    • Campbell’s Soup
    • Genzyme​
    • Jordan’s Furniture
    • Massport
    • MIT
    • Suffolk Downs

    There’s just something special about an event with six exciting food trucks vs. an event with six catered food stations.  Visually, it is more eye​-popping, hip and different. A ​gourmet ​grilled cheese truck serving fontina and short rib sandwiches or a BBQ truck serving pulled pork sliders with red bliss potato salad ​just beats that cheese plate every time!

    ​So if your agency or client is looking for a memorable lunch or after​-​work event, consider offering food trucks as a fun alternative.

    Aigner Prensky Marketing Group and Food Truck Festivals of America is a proud partner and supporter of PRXNE. For more information about either the agency or the fabulous Food Truck Festivals, contact Janet Prensky at jprensky@aignerprenskymarketing.com or call (617) 254-9500, or visit the Festival site at http://www.foodtruckfestivalsofamerica.com to find a festival near you.

  • Fast 5: Q&A with Dan Dent, APR, Communications Manager, Benchmark Senior Living

    In APR, Chapter Events on

    Every March, our chapter breaks bread with those among us who are accredited in public relations. It’s a good sized group, about 55 APRs among 310 members, who are invited to join what’s billed as PRSA Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Appreciation Breakfast for APRs.

    This year the event brought in members from other parts of the Northeast District, including Maine and New Hampshire. (Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York, you were with us in spirit.) Also with us were Joe Truncale, who is one year into his job as PRSA’s CEO, and Boston’s own Mark McClennan, PRSA’s national president.

    As breakfast meetings go, it was a blast, with ideas, opinions and suggestions in large supply. Discussion touched on the recent membership survey, current website rebuild, new branding program, the popular ethics app (worth a try), and the 2016 convention in Indianapolis and the 2017 convention in Boston.

    After breakfast, we caught up with Dan Dent, APR, to get his take on the value, impact, and process in earning the Accreditation in Public Relations. A member of PRSA since 1996, Dan was accredited in 2014 and served as PRSA Boston’s APR co-chair in 2015.

    Why did you decide to get your APR accreditation? Why do you think it’s important to your career?

    After so many years on the job, it was time to test myself. You can learn a lot about PR during a career, but there’s always that nagging feeling of ‘do you really have the right stuff? Is there something more you could be doing to elevate your career?’ The APR process gave me an opportunity to improve my knowledge about PR—put it to the test—and come out the other side a better professional. Just about every day, my APR helps me improve my value on the job.

    What is the process to secure your APR accreditation? What is the time commitment?

    Think of the APR process as a semester-long college course. There’s a textbook, course guide, study group, writing assignment, oral presentation and final exam. Thankfully, PRSA overhauled the APR a few years ago. It used to be all about the textbook. Now, it’s about you. You get to choose the PR program, you get to talk about your job and your role in it. It’s very real, very useable in your work life. Earning your APR is confidence building for sure, which is critical as you move up the value chain in your organization and your career. Everyone wants to work with a confident, competent PR professional, and the APR can help you get there.

    What was the toughest part of the accreditation process?

    Look, we’re all in PR because we can make things happen. We solve problems every day—weird, wonderful, bizarre, crazy-client, wacky-management problems. The toughest part of the accreditation process is getting to the point where you are all in—you are willing to test your skills against the best practices in the businesses. You need to view this as an army boot camp for your career. It will break down your skills and PR thinking, put it through a professional-grade process, and then build it up so you are better than before.

    Why should PR professions get their APR?

    Do it to give yourself confidence on the job. Do it to send a signal that no matter the role, you possess a professional standard that says I can handle this. Do it to give you a clearer understanding about what good PR looks like and how to deliver it.

    Why does PRSA Boston host an APR breakfast?

    Earning your APR means different things to different people. Yes, you will get a lapel pin, a certificate suitable for framing, special programs that are ‘for APRs only’ and, if you belong to a fun loving chapter like PRSA Boston, a nice breakfast on St. Patrick’s Day. The mini-muffins were great, and so was the networking. For anyone interested in taking the APR leap, give me a call, or contact our chair of APR. There’s a study group forming right now.

    Dan Dent is the Corporate Communications Manager at Benchmark Senior Living and Owner of Dent Communications. In 2017, Dan will serve as president of PRSA Boston, which is hosting the PRSA International Convention in October. You can reach Dan on Twitter at @DanDent1.

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos.

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

  • Mark McClennan, APR

    FAST 5: Q&A with PRSA Chair Mark McClennan, APR

    Public relations must do more than simply ‘occupy’ a seat at the C-suite table says longtime chapter member and past-president Mark McClennan, APR.

    Mark (@McClennan), who is senior vice president, social media services for MSLGroup in Waltham, recently began his term as Chair of the PRSA national Board of Directors, having been elected by chapter delegates of the 22,000 member organization. Among his priorities are ensuring that PR professionals have the resources and professional development to remain trusted advisers to the C-suite so they can hold their spot at leadership’s table.

    His term year has arrived with a bang: a recent New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) advisory opinion that will expand the definition of ‘lobbyist’ and implications that public relations practitioners would incur new regulatory compliance as a result. He is quoted in a recent PRSA release on this issue HERE.

    We caught up with Mark for a FAST 5 to ask him to reflect on the importance of PR, his priorities for PRSA in 2016, and the increasingly important role Boston is playing in the PR universe, with a visit by PRSA CEO Joe Truncale later this month and hosting the PRSA Northeast District Conference (PRXNE16, @prsane #prxne) in June.

    #1 – Where is PR today?

    PR is more important today than it has ever been. When I first joined the mantra was, “PR needs a seat at the table.” Today, for the most part we have a seat at the table. But having a seat at the table isn’t enough. We all know the dinner guest who just eats the food and is not invited back. Today the challenge is consistently reinforcing PR as a lead discipline and trusted counselor at the table. If we are not advancing sage counsel in every interaction, we are hurting ourselves, and we have enough detractors that we can’t afford to do that.

    #2 – Why PRSA?

    This is the question I get the most from non-members, and I love it. PRSA is the best and deepest resource for you to engage with to advance yourself as a professional and to help advance your career. We have 22,000 members in more than 110 chapters, and another 11,000 students and great intern candidates across 334 student chapters. This is the recruitment pipeline of our future. Within our membership we have 14 dedicated professional-interest sections that instantly connect you to professionals who are facing the same challenges you are.

    But when people ask me about the cost, I have a simple answer. The true cost of PRSA is two to four hours a month. If you are willing to invest that by getting involved and not just coming to meetings, the rewards will blow away any dues amount. And if you are not willing to invest that much time in your career, then others who are will pass you by.

    I credit PRSA with playing a huge role in advancing my career. Ann Getman taught me so much about PR research that she made a hard-charging AE seem really smart to his managers in the 1990s. Kirk Hazlett has been a mentor and friend for almost 20 years. But that is just the beginning. The more you get involved the better it gets. I have had the pleasure of being active on the local, district, section and national level. Every time I volunteer, I find the opportunities and awards more than I ever expected.

    #3 – What PRSA events are you looking forward to the most in 2016?

    The great thing about PRSA is there are so many outstanding events – and there is always one for your specific need. Locally, the PRSA Northeast District Conference (PRXNE16) in June is shaping up to be a dynamite event. We have Joe Truncale, CEO of PRSA (and a closet Red Sox fan), who visited us last week for our March Board Meeting and March Madness Mixer then attended our 3rd annual APR St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast the next day. He’s also going to be speaking at PRXNE16.

    The International Conference in Indianapolis in October is going to be outstanding. If you have never been, this is the year to go. Three days of information-packed professional development and more than 1,500 PR pros. Finally, I love the PRSA Counselors Academy Spring Conference in May. It is a multi-day session designed for senior agency executives and agency owners.

    #4 – What are some of your key priorities during your 2016 tenure as National Chair?

    My top priority is serving our members and working to increase the value that PRSA provides to them that is actionable in their daily career lives. That includes a number of initiatives, including growing the section communities (PRSA’s professional interest groups), working to improve the way we leverage technology to deliver programming and information, supporting the opportunities and development of new professionals, executing campaigns that have a positive impact on diversity and seeing where we can improve our governance model.

    Like any good PR pro, I realize that while I have my plans, outside circumstances may cause some re-calibration, as the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) did with its recent ruling. This could have a significant impact on many of our members and needs to be addressed.

    #5 – What is your PR pet peeve?

    Too often PR people are cutting themselves off at the knees when they are advising the C-suite by saying, “I went into PR because I hate math.”

    I think it’s more accurate that PR professionals want to make our society a better place. We arrive understanding that language and communications can advance a myriad of experiences that make our lives better, simply because we foster understanding, acceptance and consideration of innovative ideas and new perspectives. I can have a 20-minute debate with almost any PR person about the pros and cons of the Oxford comma or “over” vs. “more than.” But too many forget the language of business is numbers. If the C-suite hears you saying “I hate math,” it undermines your ability to act as a trusted, strategic adviser. This is a self-inflicted wound, and PR people need to stop saying it.

    About Mark McClennan

    Mark McClennan, APR, (@McClennan) is Chair of the PRSA National Board of Directors, the leading membership governance authority for the Association. Mark is senior vice president, social media services for MSLGROUP, based in Waltham, Mass. In his more than 18 years at MSLGROUP, Mark has led teams in a variety of industries, including consumer technology, financial services and gaming. He regularly advises clients on social media strategies and crisis management. His teams have been recognized with more than 45 awards for excellence in public relations, including five Silver Anvils. Mark has a B.A. in public relations and political science from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He is past chair of the Northeast District of PRSA and a former president of PRSA Boston.

    About FAST 5

    This is an interview feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

  • Katie Paine

    FAST 5: Q&A with Metrics ‘Queen’ Katie Delahaye Paine

    FAST 5 is PRSA Boston’s ‘on the fly’ Q&A with a trailblazer, influencer or newsmaker. 

    Meet Katie Delahaye Paine: PR Measurement Guru, Researcher, Author, and Lecturer.
    Katie is the speaker in the chair of our January 26th fireside chat program that PRSA Boston is co-hosting with the Publicity Club of NE. The subject: PR measurement, a must-know for any PR practitioner. From KPIs to analytics tools to using metrics to benchmark PR performance, Katie’s been leading the way for going on 30 years. Katie will be interviewed by Christine Perkett (@missusP), known as founder of PerkettPR and now with the added CEO title from SeeDepth, Inc., her fledgling PR measurement analytics firm. We caught up with Katie in between speaking trips at her New Hampshire office and pitchd this busy PRSA Yankee Chapter member our FAST 5: 

    #1 – Do you follow any PR blogs? If so, which ones?

    Yes! There are so many out there with great insights, but there are only so many hours in the day available to read them. My favorites include Josh Bernoff’s (@jbernoff) Without Bullshit and past PRSA presenter Christopher Penn’s (@cspenn) Almost Timely. I also like reading Bob Garfield (@Bobosphere) and Shel Israel (@shelisrael).

    #2 – What is the most important PR book you own (other than yours)?

    Can’t Buy Me Like by Bob Garfield, or more recently Lethal Generosity by Shel Israel.

    #3 – Tell us about an important trend that you think will impact the PR world this year.

    I think we are going to see a trend of the integration of internal and external communications. If your own people are unable to serve as brand ambassadors, you will have a much more difficult time achieving PR success.

    #4 – What are the two or three essential apps or software that any PR person should have?

    You really can’t live without Excel (specifically Pivot Tables). Google Analytics is also essential.

    #5 – Where is the one place in the world that you absolutely want to visit in your lifetime?

    I really want to cruise the Cuban coast. There are some really interesting changes happening in Cuba, and I’m excited about having the chance to be able to see some of that beautiful country.

    Katie predicts 2016 will be a tumultuous year of change in how we measure PR. Read more HERE.

    About Katie Delahaye Paine

    Also known as ‘The Measurement Queen,’ Katie has been a pioneer in the field of measurement for more than two decades. She has founded two measurement companies, KDPaine & Partners Inc. and The Delahaye Group.  Her books, Measure What Matters (Wiley, March 2011) and Measuring Public Relationships (KDPaine & Partners, 2007) are considered must-reads for anyone tasked with measuring public relations and social media. Her latest book, written with Beth Kanter (@kanter), Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using Data to Change the Worldis the 2013 winner of the Terry McAdam Book Award. Follow Katie @queenofmetrics and on Facebook. She invites email: measurementqueen@gmail.com

    About FAST 5

    This is a new feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as… winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

  • District Developments

    In Chapter Events on

    By Diane Pardes, Past President and Delegate, Boston Chapter

    PRSA Boston Chapter President  Josh Gitelson and I recently met with other chapter leaders across the Northeast in Troy, NY for an off-site planning meeting.  It was a great meeting of the minds and opportunity to share best practices and plans for district-wide activities.  Here are some of the exciting developments that were discussed in the meeting:

    • Northeast District Conference – The 2015 conference will be held in the Capital Region (Albany) in September. We’ll keep you posted as the details of the event unfold.  Also, Boston will host the 2016 PRSA Northeast District Conference – so stay tuned for the many exciting developments to come.
    • The Digital District – The district is planning to offer online professional development and information sharing programs. While this program is still in the initial stages, the goal of the Digital District is to share insights from the great talent across the district.
    • Communications – By now you might have seen the new district website – http://www.prsanortheast.org/. Be on the lookout for a district newsletter and a more active Linkedin presence.

    If you are interested in helping out with any of the above programs, please contact Josh Gitelson at josh.gitelson@rfbinder.com.

    Post Author


    Diane Pardes
    Diane Pardes is president of Pardes Communications, LLC, a full-service boutique agency. She is a delegate and past president of PRSA Boston, and is an officer on the board of PRSA Northeast District.

  • PRSA Boston: 2015 PRedictions

    In Chapter Events on

    By Amanda Fountain, Senior Account Executive, MSLGROUP

    What can public relations expect in 2015? If 2014 studies hold true, we may see increased budgets and overall growth to continue. But what can PR professionals expect from the evolution of our field?

    At last week’s PRSA Boston Chapter event hosted by Racepoint Global, a panel of local industry experts tackled the emerging trends that are expected in 2015 and beyond and shared their insights on where we can see changes. Panelists included:

    This well-rounded panel offered perspectives offered from the industry, agency and client sides. Here’s what to look out for:

    Storytelling will be faster

    At its heart, public relations is about telling a story. Stories can be told in many different ways and it has often felt like PR is competing against advertising, marketing and other similar fields. Instead, we can expect to see a convergence of digital, content, research, creative and investigative approaches to tell a story. The manner in which stories are created and shared will more closely resemble a TV newsroom – and it will be fast. Attention spans are getting increasingly short, making it necessary for PR professionals to identify the strongest story and share it quickly. For those in PR this means learning new skills, such as learning how to write a creative brief, explained Peter Prodromou.

    Analytics will be king

    Numbers are the “new black.” Measurement has to evolve and metrics that show how PR influences sales will be necessary to demonstrate ROI. Mark McClennan asserted, “PR professionals must embrace the language of business – numbers and analytics – to be successful and trusted advisers.” Likewise, Grant Ho said he measures conversion rates to benchmark against competitors. Just talking about needing metrics is not going to work anymore. We need to find a method for capturing the right analytics to show clients how our works connects to the bottom line. Analytics will be the best way to show how we are capable of moving people toward action.

    Pushing boundaries will be necessary

    We may not quite be at an “evolve or perish” stage, but innovation is key to moving forward. To stay competitive, PR professionals will need to start adopting different tactics to give their clients what they need. Clients hire us for the experience and know-how; in turn, it’s our job to push back and suggest thoughtful strategies that push boundaries and get results. Panelist Grant Ho said, “An expectation for me is for PR firms to test our understanding and push back on the client.” With the lines blurring between creative, social and media relations, it’s become necessary for PR to take on a hybrid role that can tap into many methods for sharing stories and getting results.

    Do you have your own prediction for 2015? Tell us in comments and Tweet it out using #prsabos.

    Post Author


    Amanda Fountain Color sm
    Amanda Fountain is a Senior Account Executive at MSLGROUP in Waltham.