Memphis Chapter President Holden Potter Mourned

Members of the PRSA Southeast District join with members of the Memphis Chapter in mourning the recent loss of Memphis Chapter President Holden Potter. He passed away Dec. 23 at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis following a brief illness. According to family members, a memorial service is anticipated at Calvary Episcopal Church after Jan. 4. Holden will be remembered as a skilled communicator, energetic organizational leader, and dedicated community servant.


PRSA SE District Celebrates Successful 2012

District Officers gathered with chapter leaders at the 2012 district leadership rally in Charlotte. (L-R) Loudermilk, Flores, Edwards, Norman, Riechert, Davis.

District Officers gathered with chapter leaders at the 2012 district leadership rally in Charlotte. (L-R) Loudermilk, Flores, Edwards, Norman, Riechert, Davis.

PRSA SE District officers for 2012 are ending a successful year for the Southeast District, and incoming officers for 2013 have exciting plans for the new year. For example, a district leadership rally – for incoming chapter officers throughout the district – is planned for the fall of 2013, to be hosted in Nashville. Chapter officers will share best practices and gain inspiration and skills for effective local chapter leadership.

The district leadership rally held Nov. 2 in Charlotte, N.C., was attended by chapter officers from most chapters in the region. A similar rally was held in Birmingham in 2011 and in Atlanta in 2010. These events include keynote speakers and breakout sessions for chapter presidents, presidents-elect, secretaries, treasurers, ethics officers, accreditation chairs, program chairs, and other committee leaders.

The PRSA Southeast District Conference held in September 2012 in Chattanooga was well received by more than 130 chapter members from throughout the district. The Lookout Chapter hosted the conference, lining up exciting keynote speakers and networking receptions at the Chattanooga Aquarium and the Blue Cross/Blue Shield headquarters.

The next district conference – for all district PRSA members – is planned for spring of 2014 and will be hosted by the Charlotte Chapter in Charlotte, N.C.

A Twitter account was established for @seprsa, and a “Southeast District PRSA” page was added on Facebook.

District officers for 2012 were:
• Chair: Chuck Norman, APR, North Carolina
• Chair-elect: Mitch Edwards, APR, Alabama
• Treasurer: Natalia Flores, APR, Charlotte
• Secretary: Kelly Davis, APR, South Carolina
• Immediate Past Chair: Melanie Davis, APR, Alabama
• Director-at-Large (2-yr term, 2011-12): Kevin Lusk, Lookout
• Director-at-Large (2-yr term, 2011-12): Penny Cothran, APR, South Carolina
• Director-at-Large (1-yr term): Stephen Loudermilk, Georgia
• Director-at-Large (1-yr term): Vickye Hester, APR, Memphis
• Web/E-newsletter: Bonnie Riechert, APR, Fellow, Nashville

Norman is owner/principal at S&A Cherokee, Raleigh-Durham, N.C. Edwards is SVP of marketing, sales and business development at HighGround Solutions, Birmingham. Flores is director at Fusion Communications, Charlotte, N.C. She’s a native of Argentina. Kelly Davis is owner at Davis Public Relations and Marketing, LLC, Columbia, S.C., and is a director-at-large on the national board of directors of PRSA. Melanie Davis is assistant director of communications at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Lusk is communications/membership/development manager at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society. Cothran is communications director at SC Bankers Association, Columbia, S.C. Loudermilk is global director of media and analyst relations at LexisNexis, Alpharetta, Ga., and is the incoming chair of the PRSA National Tech Section. Hester is communications specialist at Methodist Bonheur Healthcare, Memphis. Riechert is chair of the department of public relations at Belmont University, Nashville.

Charlotte Chapter Featured in PRSA Tactics December Issue

The Southeast District’s Charlotte Chapter is featured prominently in PRSA’s December 2012 issue of Tactics. The article, “The Charlotte Chapter’s Role in the DNC,” on page 10, describes the contributions and experience of the 27 Charlotte Chapter members who were among 400 volunteers working with the Democratic National Convention Sept. 2-6 in Charlotte.

“The greatest challenge was helping coordinate media interviews for more than 15,000 media representatives from around the world,” according to the article by Sharon Harmon, APR.

Volunteering her skills and expertise at the DNC was “an exciting, hectic and fascinating experience,” said Janet C. Hart, APR. Hart helped book and facilitate TV interviews with speakers as they walked off the podium. Other volunteers reported on speeches and collected quotes for the blog and for social media sites including Facebook and Flickr. Contributing to the “worldwide media event” will be remembered as “one of the major highlights in all of our public relations careers.”

PRSA Nashville Launches Scholarship Endowment Fund

Nashville Chapter President Todd Smith and CFMT President Ellen Lehman formalize the new endowment.

Nashville Chapter President Todd Smith and CFMT President Ellen Lehman formalize the new endowment.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Dec. 12, 2012 – The Nashville Chapter of Public Relations Society of America announced today the creation of the PRSA Nashville Scholarship Endowment Fund, established in testament to the chapter’s commitment to the future of public relations in Middle Tennessee.

The fund is a component fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, a charitable organization connecting generosity with need, and will be permanently endowed, ensuring the chapter’s resources will be available to support deserving students in Middle Tennessee for years to come.

“PRSA Nashville has been privileged to provide an annual scholarship to students for more than a decade, and as the chapter continues to grow we wanted to strengthen our commitment to the next generation of communicators,” said Chapter President Todd Smith. “We are energized by the educational dreams that will be realized thanks to our endowment. This is a real milestone for public relations in Middle Tennessee.”

The scholarship will be awarded annually to one or more full-time public relations student(s) demonstrating academic excellence and an active engagement in their own professional development toward becoming successful PR practitioner(s). Applicants must also be enrolled in a college or university with a PRSSA Chapter officially affiliated with PRSA Nashville’s chapter. Schools currently include, but are not limited to, Austin Peay State University, Belmont University, Lipscomb University, Middle Tennessee State University, and Western Kentucky University.

“For years, PRSA has helped grow and nurture the quality and quantity of professionals providing public relations expertise throughout Middle Tennessee. Now, through the creation of this new scholarship, PRSA Nashville’s long-term impact on the future of our community’s public relations professionals is secure,” said Ellen Lehman, president of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. “The Community Foundation is honored to help PRSA support deserving students — now and always!”
PRSA Nashville currently offers professional development opportunities and sets standards of excellence for a membership comprised of public relations professionals across myriad industries.

The scholarship selection process will be handled by The Community Foundation based on criteria set forth by the PRSA Nashville Board of Directors and will begin accepting applications in January 2013. An application will be available online at Contributions to the PRSA Nashville Scholarship Fund of The Community Foundation are fully tax-deductible. Gifts can be made online,, or by check to The Community Foundation, PO Box 440225, Nashville, TN 37244.

About PRSA NashvilleThe Public Relations Society of America is the world’s largest organization for public relations professionals. The Nashville chapter is in its 54th year and has more than 180 active members. For additional information on the Nashville chapter of PRSA, please visit PRSA Nashville can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

About The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee oversees more than 850 charitable funds, providing customized philanthropic solutions with flexibility for donors, nonprofit organizations and the community. In the past 21 years, The Community Foundation has distributed more than $600 million to community programs and institutions. It is located at 3833 Cleghorn Avenue, #400, Nashville, Tennessee 37215. For more information, call 615-321-4939 or visit


Southeast District Officers Elected for 2013

District officers for 2013 were announced this week after unanimous election by presidents of chapters throughout the Southeast District. Mitch Edwards, APR, ( served as chair-elect in 2012, and will take office as chair.

Other officers for 2013 will be Kevin Trowbridge of the Nashville Chapter, chair-elect; Eva Hornak of the North Carolina Chapter; secretary; Steve Loudermilk, Georgia chapter, treasurer; Christina Thigpen, APR, Charlotte Chapter, director at large (two years); Becky Huckaby, APR, Volunteer Chapter, director at large (two years); Amy Coward, APR, South Carolina Chapter, director at large (one year); Kristiina Braden, Lookout Chapter, director at large (one year); and Greg Broy, APR, Nashville Chapter, web/e-newsletter chair.

A former president of the Lookout Chapter, Trowbridge ( is an instructor of public relations at Belmont University. Hornak ( is communications manager at S. T. Wooten Co. Loudermilk ( is global director, media and industry analyst, Lexis Nexis.

Thigpen ( is director of marketing and public relations, Bissell. Huckaby ( is director of public relations for Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority. Coward ( is vice president of public relations, Palmetto Health Foundation. Braden (, is communications consultant at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. A former president of the Memphis chapter, Broy ( is director of communications and marketing, American Cancer Society.

Members of the nominating committee were Edwards; Chuck Norman, district chair in 2012; and Melanie Davis, immediate past chair. Edwards is SVP of marketing sales and business development, HighGround Solutions, Birmingham.