My Causerie

"All great change in America begins at the dinner table." ~ Ronald Reagan

PRSSA membership: Sign up today August 31, 2015

Filed under: ACS 213,ACS 313 — mycauserie @ 7:00 am
Photo Credit: 21innovate via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: 21innovate via Compfight cc

What are you doing Monday? One thing you should have on your to-do list is to stop by the Public Relations Student Society of America table during the Activities Fair in the Goshen today or tomorrow. The SIUE PRSSA Chapter officers will be there to answer your questions and share their enthusiasm about what PRSSA membership has done for them.

You do not have to be a public relations major to join PRSSA. Reaping the benefits of membership in 5this professional student organization can apply to anyone. Being a more effective communicator and having opportunities to expand your professional network are beneficial to any career field.

The old adage “it’s not what you know, but who you know” is more important than ever in today’s job market. As a PRSSA member, you have the opportunity to attend local, regional and national events and meet professionals from a wide range of industries: technology, finance, entertainment, sports, food, fashion…the list can go forever. Every successful business uses public relations as part of its strategic communications.

Are you thinking, “Yeah, but these are all PR people; I’m not a public relations person. I’m an accountant.” Well, when you are shaking hands with the head of corporate communications for the “dream” accounting firm you have always wanted to work for, consider the impression you are making upon that person and the fact you now have a professional connection with someone in the firm.

This year, PRSSA members have the opportunity to travel to Atlanta, Georgia for the PRSSA National Conference. Members will have the chance to meet professionals from companies like Coca-Cola, GM, Time Warner Cable Inc., Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Carnival Cruise Corporation, The Weather Channel and many more.

PRSSA members also get to meet a lot of local professionals from right here in the St. Louis/Metro East area. The Chapter brings in a variety of professionals from around the area as guest speakers for its semimonthly Chapter meetings. This semester programming topics include ethics, health care, event planning and social media to name a few.

Photo Credit: coltera via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: coltera via Compfight cc

You can jump-start your career by attending the SIUE Chapter’s fall social Sept. 9 from 6-7 p.m. This is a free event, and you do not have to be a dues-paying member to attend. There will be food, fun and prizes so be sure to stop by the volleyball court to join in on the fun and learn more about PRSSA membership.

Whether you are a freshman just starting your college career or a senior about to begin your job search, PRSSA membership can enhance your education, broaden your network and launch your career.

What are you doing Monday?


The 10,000 challenge August 23, 2015

Filed under: My Causerie — mycauserie @ 7:00 am

We’ve all heard the health tip of walking 10,000 steps a day. It’s not a magic number by any means, but it equates to the recommended amount of daily exercise by most health professionals. It gives us a goal to work toward.

My dad's awesome smile!

My dad’s awesome smile!

As I was contemplating the upcoming Walk to END Alzheimer’s, which is held on the SIUE campus, that number came to mind once again: 10,000 – 10,000 reasons to end Alzheimer’s. Now, that’s an easy goal to reach. We all have our reasons for ending Alzheimer’s. One of mine lost his fight against Alzheimer’s on this day in 2013. My dad is definitely one of the biggest reasons I support the Walk to END Alzheimer’s.

With this 10,000 theme in motion, it only made sense that my Walk to END Alzheimer’s team, fundraising goal should be $10,000 – a dollar for every step; a dollar for every reason to end Alzheimer’s. Great idea, right? I mean, it’s a win-win. Team members get the health benefit of walking 10,000 steps each day, and the Alzheimer’s Association gets the benefit of much-needed funds for research and care services for those living with Alzheimer’s. 10,000 reasons

To meet our team goal, we need team members; team members ready to “step up” to the challenge. On the surface many might think the 10,000 Challenge is a bit overwhelming, so to see how easy it would be to meet this challenge, let me break it down for you.

First, if you are thinking there is no way you can get 10,000 steps in every day, take a look at The Walking Site. It gives some simple lifestyle changes that can help you meet the 10,000 step challenge.

Second, we need to hear the 10,000 reasons why people want to end Alzheimer’s. As with many campaigns today, social media can be a great resource for raising awareness and funds. As a team member, use your online platforms to help us meet the 10,000 Challenge and share the many reasons why people want to end Alzheimer’s. With more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s and someone in the U.S. diagnosed with the disease every 67 seconds, we all have a reason to end Alzheimer’s.

Finally, we don’t just want to “talk the talk, but walk the talk.” So, let’s “talk the Walk” so we can “walk the Walk” Sept. 26! Take a look at how easy it can be to meet our $10,000 challenge!

If 20 people join The Purple PRoject, our Walk to END Alzheimer’s team, each team member would need to raise $500 to reach our $10,000 goal. That may still seem overwhelming to some, so to break that down a little further consider this. As a team member, you could reach your $500 goal by asking 25 people to step up to the challenge and donate $20! You could ask family, friends, co-workers or maybe get your own 10,000 daily steps in by walking to some of your favorite restaurants, salons or other places of business and asking for their support. See how easy it would be to meet this 10,000 Challenge?

10,000 steps. 10,000 reasons. 10,000 dollars. We can do this.

The END starts with you



Back-to-School advice for PR students August 17, 2015

Filed under: ACS 313 — mycauserie @ 7:00 am


school8Sharpen those pencils…metaphorically speaking! A new school year is upon us, and for public relations students that means writing, writing and yeah, more writing.

Hopefully, summer was not a writing hiatus for you. Whether you had a summer internship that provided you with ample writing opportunities or you used your personal blog to share your summer travel adventures with everyone, you will feel much more prepared if you haven’t put your writing, or your reading for that matter, on the back burner.

For ACS 313 students, if you haven’t looked at your blog much less posted anything since last semester, it is time to

Photo Credit: via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: via Compfight cc

dust it off. You will want to make sure all links and feeds are working and you update your “about me.” To help make your need to read more efficient, I recommend you find a few good public relations blogs to add to your news feeds. It is an easy way to stay in touch with what is happening in the public relations industry.

Last year as students set up their blogs in ACS 213, I recommended they link to Gini Dietrich’s blog, Spin Sucks. Another one that offers a lot of great writing tips such as “15 AP style rules for back to school” or 6 self-editing tips to strengthen your writing” is Ragan’s PR Daily. This site could be beneficial to you as you seek ways to strengthen your writing.

Photo Credit: Enokson via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Enokson via Compfight cc

Do not rebuff the connection between being an avid reader and a good writer. If you are not reading, the writing will be much more challenging. And reading doesn’t just mean industry-related news. Read your favorite blogs, favorite magazines – heck, read your favorite comic books if that is something you enjoy! The important thing is to read. If you don’t think this will make a difference in your writing, I challenge you to give it a trial run after your first writing assignment. Just see if “putting pen to paper” feels easier to you after a healthy dose of daily reading. Let me know the outcome.

One final piece of advice as we prepare for a new semester: talk to me! Email, call, text, post…you can even stop by

my office and talk to me – crazy, I know! But seriously, I encourage you to stay connected, build relationships and come into the class with a strong work ethic, professional attitude and a team spirit. If you do, I am confident that the two of us working together will produce a solid return on your investment – and mine! Are you ready? Let’s go!


In the meantime, pull up a chair and let’s talk.



That was the Longest Day of my Life! June 8, 2015

Filed under: My Causerie — mycauserie @ 4:25 pm
Photo Credit: K e v i n via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: K e v i n via Compfight cc

That was the longest day of my life! Admit it; we’ve all said it at one time or another. Thankfully for most of us, those days are the exception and not the rule.

Yet, for those living with Alzheimer’s and for their caregivers, every day is The Longest Day! I can remember one of the many long days that I faced as I journeyed with my dad through the world of Alzheimer’s.

I was sitting on the couch doing some school work when my phone rang. I looked down and saw that it was from Mom and Dad, which now always meant, it was Mom calling. Dad had long forgotten how to use the phone. So needless to say, I was surprised when it was Dad on the other end.

In my most cheerful voice, I said, “Well hi; how are you doing today?” There was no cheerful reply though. Dad sounded distraught.

He said, “I’m not doing very well; I sure wish I could see you.”

I told him I would come right away, but wanted to make him understand that I was four hours away, so it would take me awhile to get there. He seemed to understand. Just as he always did, he told me to drive careful. I was concerned though considering he sounded so upset, and the fact that it was him on the phone and not Mom had me worried.

I asked him where Mom was at, and he said he didn’t know where she was at; my worry meter just hit the red zone! This of course was before we learned a helpful tip from the Alzheimer’s Association that  it might be less confusing for him if we stopped referring to our mom – his wife – as “Mom.” The rationale being that when we talked about “Mom,” he may have been thinking of his mom not his wife. Looking back, this makes sense.

So, I told him I was leaving right away, and I would see him soon. I then immediately called my older sister who lived nearby and explained the situation, and she headed to their house to find out where Mom was at and to check on Dad.

As I began the four-hour drive, I got a call from my sister; all was well with Mom and Dad. Mom was right there with Dad when my sister arrived. It had actually been Mom who dialed the phone for Dad when he said he wanted to talk to me. He just didn’t know who she was. In fact, that is how their morning had begun that day.

Mom had fixed breakfast for them as usual, but she said she could tell something was bothering him, but she couldn’t get him to talk. Then as she was clearing the table, he reached out and took hold of her arm, and said something that we all knew was going to happen someday.

Dad looked up at Mom and said, “I don’t know who you are, but this is my house, and I want you to leave.”

No matter how much your head knows about this horrible disease, nothing can prepare your heart for the first time when someone you have loved for 50+ years no longer knows who you are. Mom was heartbroken…and scared. There were a lot of tears, and then he had asked her to call me.

So as I was driving, I called the Alzheimer’s Association’s helpline. I needed advice as I had no idea what I might be walking into. The disease had progressed significantly, and I was worried and scared. This was new territory for us; I needed help. I needed encouragement. I just needed the emotional support. I cried a lot as I talked with the hotline representative. I remember her advising me to just pull over for a few minutes as she was concerned about me driving under such distress. I did.

She gave me a lot of advice and tips on how to handle varying situations that I might face when I arrived home. It helped. I felt more at ease and a bit more confident. I was soon back on the road.


He loved hugs and kisses!

When I walked in the door at my parents’ home, my mom and sister were sitting in the living room. Dad was in the bedroom. When I went in to see him, he immediately sat up on the bed and said, “I am so glad to see you.” I gave him a big hug and kiss and told him I was glad to see him too. He then leaned over next to me and pointed out into the living room and said, “I don’t know who those people are out there.”

We spent the day and evening together looking at old pictures and sharing stories of times he remembered and seemed to enjoy talking about. He seemed a bit more at ease.

That was a long day…the first of many long days.

As Dad’s Alzheimer’s progressed, we often thought he was seeing me as his wife in younger years. He would even point to old pictures of Mom, and when I would ask him who that was, he would say, “That’s you.”

His awesome smile!

His awesome smile!

That was ok too. Over the course of the last two years of his battle with Alzheimer’s he would sometimes call me his wife, his daughter – even his girlfriend! That one still makes me smile because when he told me that, he was so giddy about it and had such a big grin on his face.

We had good days and bad days, but I know the good far outweighed the bad because of the resources and support I gained from the Alzheimer’s Association. That’s why I support The Longest Day and the Walk to END Alzheimer’s and other Alzheimer’s Association awareness and fundraising initiatives.

If you are facing this journey, thanks to the Alzheimer’s Association, you will have many good days with your loved one. The good days will encourage you; the good days will strengthen you, and the good days will become treasured memories. Because of the Alzheimer’s Association, I can look back on many happy days with Dad. It’s a gift I will always cherish.

Please support me in raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Association by purchasing an item from my Pampered Chef party or making an online donation here. Together we can put an end to the long days and #ENDALZ. Donate today. Thank you.



Come on; please join me this Sunday! May 5, 2015

Filed under: My Causerie — mycauserie @ 10:46 am
Photo Credit: stevenstiefel via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: stevenstiefel via Compfight cc

A few statistics that Pastor Bev shared in her e-note last week:

  • There are 160 million Americans who are unchurched
  • If invited to attend church, 31 percent said they would be “very likely” to come
  • 51 percent said they would be “somewhat likely” to come

That means 82 percent of the people who do not go to church in America are likely to attend if they are invited. Here are more statistics though:

  • Only 21 percent of active church goers ever invite anyone to church
  • Only 2 percent of active church goers invite the unchurched

Pastor Bev’s challenge to us all is to not be a part of the 21 percent or the 2 percent. Since social media allows for easy access to many, I thought that I would start with a simple online invitation. Maybe some of my Facebook friends are not currently attending church, and maybe some of my Facebook friends fall into that 82 percent.

So, I am extending the invitation to  you. Awe, come on, won’t you please join me at Highland Hope. We have some hot music! We get down! What do you say? Message me if you need a ride, and Jim and I will pick you up!





ACS Students Taking Spring by Storm April 1, 2015

Filed under: ACS 213,ACS 313 — mycauserie @ 5:51 pm

“We Are One” Diversity Speech Competition

The spring winds have nothing on the students in the Department of Applied Communication Studies at SIUE. ACS students are blowing us away this semester!

Dan Schmidt, ACS alumnus and head of the Speech Center on campus, hosted the first “We Are One” Diversity Speech Competition, and it was a tremendous success.

Three of the final four speakers were from the Department of Applied Communication Studies. Christine Shepherd is studying organizational communication and took first place in the competition. McKenzi McClain and Ricky Rush are both studying public relations and placed second and third, respectively.

Kiley Herndon

Kiley Herndon

Later in the week, Kiley Herndon, studying public relations in the ACS Department and the current PRSSA-SIUE Chapter president, was selected as the College of Arts and Sciences student speaker at the Spring 2015 Commencement ceremony.

It doesn’t stop there though. Students in the Department of Applied Communication Studies are also high achieving athletes. Haley Chambers is an interpersonal communication student and pitcher extraordinaire. She recently became the first player in school history to throw two career perfect games. She was also recently featured on a KSDK Channel 5 sports segment.

Matt Dye

Matt Dye

Wait – there’s more! ACS alumni are also undertaking creative endeavors beyond the SIUE community. ACS alumnus Matt Dye is a trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp in Nashville, Tennessee, and he is currently in the top five to win the November cover of Men’s Health magazine. You can learn more about Matt and the competition and cast your daily vote right here.

Ariel Weinman

Ariel Weinman

Alumna Ariel Weinman is the reigning Miss Rodeo Illinois and will travel the country attending rodeos, parades and special events as an ambassador for the sport of rodeo and promoting the western way of life. Ariel will also take on the role of representative for her home state of Illinois and will work to raise awareness of pediatric cancer. There are multiple sponsorship levels available if you want to support Ariel during her year as Miss Rodeo Illinois.

This spring has been a whirlwind of excitement. Seeing current and former students using their communication skills to achieve their personal and professional goals is exciting, and there are many more ACS alumni out there doing amazing work – I’m just talking about the past few months!

What’s spring got in store for you? Pull up a chair and let’s talk.


Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? February 19, 2015

Filed under: My Causerie — mycauserie @ 11:06 pm
Guess who's coming to dinner?

Guess who’s coming to dinner?

This whole notion of “radical hospitality” seems to be something God wants me to hear because it has been brought to my attention in many ways over the past few weeks.
In the previous family sermon series, I heard about the importance of spending time around the family table and about the message that is communicated when you invite someone to sit in your living room.

Our small group just completed the Max Lucado study, “Outlive Your Life,” and this theme of radical hospitality seemed to still be pulling at me. Lucado reminded us of how in the beginning, the gospel was shared from home to home, and we were asked, “Is the gospel being shared from your home?” Lucado also gave us a lesson in Latin as he wrote: “Hospitality opens the door to uncommon community. It’s no accident that hospitality and hospital come from the same Latin word, for they both lead to the same result: healing. When you open your door to someone, you are sending this message: ‘You matter to me and to God.’ You may think you are saying, ‘Come over for a visit.’ But what your guest hears is, ‘I’m worth the effort.’”

So, I decided I wanted to be more intentional about my hospitality. I used to do much better at this, but it seems life gets busy and I let that hospitality wane. I am sure part of that reason stems from my “Martha” syndrome…so much to prepare and get done…are the ceiling fans dusted? Is the tablecloth pressed? None-the-less, I was ready to try. Once a month, I would invite someone new from our church family over for dinner. Ok, I thought; I’m listening; I’m being obedient.

Ha! God can have such a sense of humor! I pick up the church newsletter and there staring back at me is Pastor’s Lenten challenge: eat one meal a week with someone new from our church family. Once a week – did I read that right? But…since I tend to have somewhat of a competitive nature, I responded, “Ok, game on!

Then last night I attended Ash Wednesday services, and Pastor said that each of us should decide for ourselves what we will relinquish this Lenten season. So I put it to prayer, and I still thinking about this notion of radical hospitality and how God is really laying this upon my heart. I talked it over with my husband this morning, and we agreed: for the next 40 days, we are giving up going out: no going to the theater, no dinner out with friends.

???????????????????????????????Instead, we will begin our practice of radical hospitality. We will invite people into our home for IMG00665-20110802-2159food and fellowship. Maybe I will use the “good” dishes; maybe we’ll roast hotdogs around a fire. Who knows! I remember reading once about how someone would even enjoy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…if someone else made it for them!

I’m not exactly sure what the next 40 days will bring, but I am going to do my best at practicing radical hospitality.

I am looking forward to the conversations around the dinner table. I am looking forward to making new friends, and I am looking forward to letting our guests hear through our actions, “You are worth the effort.”

So, do you want to join us for dinner? Pull up a chair and let’s talk!



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