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Perspectives Blog: Chapter News

Minnesota PRSA Announces Leadership for 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011   (0 Comments)
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Minnesota PRSA has announced a new leadership roster for 2011. Minnesota PRSA is the 10th-largest chapter of PRSA, the world’s leading organization for public relations professionals.

“For more than 60 years, Minnesota PRSA has been committed to demonstrating the value of strategic and ethical public relations to the broader business community,” said Brooke Worden, APR, president of Minnesota PRSA. “Our newly-elected board of directors for 2011 brings extensive public relations experience to lead our profession into the future.”

Minnesota PRSA is comprised of nearly 400 members who represent business and industry, agencies, independent practitioners, military, government, associations, hospitals, schools, professional services firms, education and nonprofit organizations.

The 2011 Minnesota PRSA executive committee includes:

President – Brooke Worden, APR
Brooke Worden is a vice president in the financial services group at Weber Shandwick’s Minneapolis office. During her 11 years at the agency, she has delivered programs for many of the firm’s marquee financial services and government clients, including Prudential Retirement, Allianz Life, CIGNA Retirement, ING, the Business Roundtable/Pension Coalition, the U.S. Treasury, the U.S. Mint, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Census Bureau. Currently, she leads the financial services work for a major national insurance company.

Worden and her teams have received awards at the Minnesota PRSA Classics, a program which recognizes outstanding individual components or tactics of programs or campaigns that incorporate sound planning, execution and evaluation. Worden has also received Bronze Anvil awards and a Silver Anvil award from PRSA. A member of Minnesota PRSA since 2000, Worden served on the Classics Committee from 2001-2003 and is a former co-chair of the organization’s Professional Development and Networking committees. In 2005, she earned her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR),The APR designation demonstrates a public relations practitioner’s competency in the knowledge, skills and abilities required to effectively practice public relations.  Worden was elected to the board of directors in 2006 and served as a Minnesota PRSA delegate to the PRSA National Assembly in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Prior to joining Weber Shandwick, Worden was a management consultant in the financial services industry practice group at Accenture and a reporter at Twin Cities Business. In 2010, Brooke was named one of “25 Women to Watch” by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal and to PR Week’s “40 Under 40” list of early influencers in the public relations profession.

Vice President– Brant Skogrand, APR
Brant Skogrand, a public relations professional with 17 years of experience, is seeking his next opportunity. He most recently was a vice president at Risdall McKinney Public Relations (RMPR). Before working at RMPR, Skogrand worked as a senior media relations specialist at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a not-for-profit Fortune 500 financial services membership organization. He has provided media relations counsel, public relations planning, employee communications expertise and writing and editing skills to clients and companies for 17 years.

Prior to Thrivent Financial, Skogrand worked for Thomson Reuters, Tunheim Partners and The Musicland Group. He holds a master’s degree in business communication from the University of St. Thomas, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. He formerly was the professional adviser to the PRSSA chapter at the University of St. Thomas, the foremost organization for students interested in the public relations and communications. He has served as treasurer, secretary, director of communications and director of student relations on the board of directors as well as co-chair of the student relations committee.

Treasurer – Tracy Carlson, APR
Tracy Carlson is a media relations supervisor at Padilla Speer Beardsley. Her successful media relations efforts have contributed to several campaign awards including: a National PRSA Silver Anvil, a National PRWeek Award, Minnesota PRSA Classics Best of Shows and several Minnesota PRSA Classics. Carlson received a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, summa cum laude, from St. Cloud State University. Previously, Carlson worked in the communications divisions of the Little Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Boys & Girls Club of Central Minnesota. Carlson has served on the Minnesota PRSA board the past three years, serving as board liaison for the Communications committee. Previously, she was board liaison for the Classics committee and the co-chair for the Student Relations committee for five years. Carlson also serves as secretary on the Helping Paws board of directors.

Secretary – Anna Lewicki Long, APR                        
Anna Lewicki Long is the communications director for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs where she is responsible for all statewide public relations, marketing and advertising efforts. Long previously worked at Mall of America in the corporate PR department. She currently serves as a public affairs officer in the Minnesota Air National Guard and has conducted missions in Croatia, Bosnia, Central America, Norway and Germany. After 9/11, she spent six months as chief of media relations for First Air Force under NORAD. Over the course of her military career, her unit has received more than a dozen awards, including an Emmy in 2008, the Air Force award for photojournalism, two Bronze Quill awards and a Northern Lights award. Long has a background in journalism and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communications and has completed the Department of Defense’s Public Affairs Officer Training program. Long helped launch the Alphabet Bash, a Twin Cities networking event for marketing, advertising, communications and creative professionals, on behalf of PRSA and has co-chaired the PRSA Programming Committee. Anna has served on the Minnesota PRSA board since 2009.

Ethics Officer – David Kostik, APR
David Kostik, APR, is president of Kostik Associates Inc., a Minneapolis-based firm that provides public relations, fundraising and strategic planning counsel to a variety of nonprofit organizations. Kostik has extensive experience as a senior public relations professional in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. His work has been honored locally and nationally by the PRSA. He has been a member of PRSA (and the Minnesota Chapter of PRSA) since 1975. He earned his accreditation in 1986. Kostik served as president of the Minnesota PRSA in 1991. He joined the board as ethics officer in 2009 for a three-year term.

Immediate Past President – Candee Wolf, APR
Candee Wolf is marketing and communications director for American Dental Partners (ADPI) and its local dental affiliates, including Metro Dentalcare. She oversees public relations, marketing and communications for more than 40 dental practices in Minnesota and provides strategic counsel to more than 27 ADPI dental groups in 18 states. Wolf has created and launched communications programs at UnitedHealth Group, North Memorial Health Care and Strother Communications Group. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in communications. Wolf’s work over the years has garnered several Classics awards. She is an active Minnesota PRSA member, having served on the board of directors for four years and with the Classics Committee for five years, two as co-chair.

The 2011 Minnesota PRSA board of directors includes:

Melanie Boulay Becker, APR
Melanie Boulay Becker is the owner of Boulay Becker Communications which provides strategic public relations counsel to corporations, non-profits and higher education institutions. Her two decades of experience includes seven years at Padilla Speer Beardsley, one of the nation’s leading public relations firms. Previously, she served as director of communications for the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota. Boulay Becker served on the Minnesota PRSA board in 2009-2010 and has been a PRSA member since 1987. She has previously served Minnesota PRSA as a board member from 1998 to 1999 and as a committee co-chair for five years. She has received two Classics awards and a University of Minnesota Communicators Forum Gold Award for her work. Boulay Becker has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and French from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Pat Effenberger, APR
Pat Effenberger is a member of the editorial board at the Pioneer Press, and also handles community relations for the company, with an emphasis on the paper’s literacy and education programs in the community. Over the years she also has handled corporate communications, including media and public relations and community partnerships. She is a graduate of the College of St. Catherine and a PRSA member since 2002. She received her APR designation in 2003.

Kelli Harms, APR
Kelli Harms is a public relations and marketing specialist at Winnebago Industries, Inc., a leading U.S. manufacturer of motor homes, based in Forest City, Iowa. For the past 10 years, Harms has worked toward furthering Winnebago Industries’ well-known brand reputation through media and community relations, product promotion and product placement in the TV and film industries. Prior to joining Winnebago Industries, Harms also worked in the nonprofit and financial sectors, with special emphasis in writing, editing and promotion activities. Harms also serves on various community boards and brings public relations and marketing expertise to those organizations. Harms earned her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in communications/public relations from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), Cedar Falls, Iowa. In 2009, she joined Minnesota PRSA’s board of directors as a liaison to the Accreditation and JobMart committees.

Linda Kohl, APR
Linda Kohl has been associate vice chancellor for public affairs for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system since July 1997. Previously, she was director of Minnesota Planning, appointed by Governor Arne H. Carlson in 1991. Before joining the state, she was a reporter, editor and columnist for the Pioneer Press for more than 18 years. She is responsible for overall operations of the public affairs office, including public and media relations, marketing, speechwriting and system publications.

Leah Otto, APR
Leah Otto is a consultant specializing in marketing and public relations strategy. Otto has served an array of small businesses and helped launch Minute Clinic. Leah’s roles have required her to wear many hats including TV spot and interactive marketing production at Best Buy. Otto also helped create and launch the original award-winning “Peanuts on Parade” campaign in St. Paul. Leah holds a master of business communication. She previously served as co-chair of the Minnesota PRSA Accreditation committee, during which a record number of candidates earned accreditation..

Jason Sprenger, APR 
Jason Sprenger is public relations manager for FICO (formerly known as Fair Isaac Corp.), and leads all North American business-to-business public relations activities for the company. Prior to joining FICO, Sprenger was public relations manager at Xiotech Corp., and he also has freelanced and worked for local firms Tunheim Partners, Fast Horse Inc. and Kohnstamm Communications. Throughout his career he has specialized in: developing and driving impactful media relations programs; establishing and building brands through traditional and new media channels; and delivering counsel and campaigns that show the value of public relations and communications and integrate them further into everyday organizational operations.

Sprenger has served in leadership roles in Minnesota PRSA since 2005, and has chaired the Professional Development and Networking, Communications and 60th Anniversary committees. He speaks and guest lectures frequently around the Twin Cities. He judged the Bronze Anvils, other PRSA chapter awards and Minnesota PRSA student scholarship competitions. Sprenger earned his APR designation in November 2009.

The 2011 nominating committee includes Brooke Worden, APR; Candee Wolf, APR; David Hakensen, APR; Janice Hennings, APR; and Theresa Palmersheim, APR.

Minnesota PRSA 1660 Highway 100 South, Suite 500-309 Minneapolis MN 55416 Phone: 952-237-9258 Email:

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