PRSA Hawaii's February program shifts gears to a roundtable discussion on PRSA National's current efforts to modernize the definition of public relations.  As society, consumer behavior, and the media landscape continue to change, so have our roles a public relations professionals in the eyes of our bosses, clients, and media colleagues.  

PRSA's current definition is as follows:

Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.

Is this still accurate? Should it be updated?

This discussion will be moderated by Kristen Bonilla, APRDuke Gonzalez, APR, and B.J. Whitman, APR, Fellow PRSA. Each are experienced public relations professionals and are currenty involved with PRSA on the national level. More about each of them below. They will lead the discussion among attendees covering topics that include:

  • What is public relations?
  • How has public relations changed in the past 20-30 years, and how have these changes affected its overall scope and value?
  • How has public relations remained the same since that time?
  • How would you define public relations?
  • How would your clients, employers or employees define public relations?
Downtown at the HiSAM
250 South Hotel Street, 1st Floor
(corner of Hotel and Richards streets across from the Capitol)

7:30 a.m. - Registration
8:00-9:00 a.m. - Program

COST (coffee and pastries included): 
FREE - PRSA Hawaii Chapter Members & PRSSA Student Members
$5 - PRSA National Members
$15 - Non-Members

Ample parking available in downtown Honolulu at Alii Tower (off Alakea Street) which is one of the more reasonable lots. You might also try metered street parking in the area. There is no parking at the Hawaii State Art Museum (HiSAM)

Seating is limited to 30 attendees for this program and RSVPs will be taken on a first come, first serve basis. RSVPs received after capacity will be placed on a waiting list.

Please RSVP to programs@prsahawaii.org. PRSA National and Non-Member payment (cash or check only) can be made at door on day of the event or can be mailed in advance to: PRSA Hawaii, P.O. Box 3566, Honolulu, HI 96811. There is no credit card payment option for this program.

For more information, please contact Programs Chair Nathan Kam via email or call 808-539-3471.

Reservation and Cancellation Policy:
Advance registration will close at 3 p.m. on the day prior to the event. After that, a $5 walk-in fee will apply. Due to out-of-pocket expenses incurred, no refunds will be issued for cancellations received after the deadline; and no- shows will be invoiced.



Kristen Bonilla, APR
Public Information Officer
University of Hawaii 

Kristen is currently a public information officer at the University of Hawaii, a position she has held since 2001. In this position, she is responsible for strategic communications, media relations, issues management, creative writing, social media and event planning for the 10-campus university system.

An active member of PRSA since 2001, Kristen served as Hawaii chapter president in 2009 and currently serves as the chapter's accreditation chair and assembly delegate. She is also active at the district level and serves as the 2012 PRSA Western District Chair.

Kristen has previously held positions as PRSA Western District Secretary and PRSA Hawaii Chapter Secretary, Treasurer and Newsletter Editor. She was a member of the 2003 PRSA Western District Conference planning committee, and served as an advisor to the founding Board of Directors of YPR, the young public relations professionals group established as part of PRSA Hawaii.

Kristen was recognized by PRSA Hawaii in 2003 with the Hokupa‘a Award for the Young PR Professional of the Year, and has earned numerous other awards for her work from both PRSA Hawaii and IABC Hawaii. In 2008, she earned the APR designation as an accredited member of the chapter.

Duke Gonzales, APR
Corporate Communications Specialist, Senior
U.S. Postal Service 

Duke has served as the Corporate Communications Specialist, Senior, for the Honolulu District of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) since September 2004. In that capacity, he is responsible for all public affairs, media relations, community relations and employee and marketing communications for USPS in Hawaii and the Pacific Basin. His communications plan in support of the District's product launch for its Aloha From Hawaii Large Flat Rate Box in 2009 was recognized by the Hawaii chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) with a Koa Hammer Certificate of Excellence in 2010.

Gonzales has served as a public relations practitioner for more than 25 years. Prior to joining USPS he served as the director of public relations for the Shriners Hospital for Children in Honolulu for 13 years, and in similar positions for the University of Hawaii Alumni Association, the Waikiki Aquarium and the now-defunct Hawaii Islanders minor league professional baseball team.

He has been a member of the PRSA Hawaii chapter since 1998, and has served in various leadership positions on the chapter's board since 1999, including chapter President in 2004. He also served as an officer on the PRSA Western District board in 2005 and 2006, and is currently serving his second term as the chapter's Assembly and Western District delegate.

Gonzales achieved his Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) in 2002. He received his bachelor's degree in journalism, with a public relations emphasis, from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

BJ Whitman, APR, Fellow PRSA
BJW Public Relations

As public relations executive for three decades, BJ has made significant contributions to the travel and tourism, hospitality, education and maritime industries. As a member of PRSA, she has held leadership positions at the Chapter, District, and National levels. She was a PRSA National Board Member from 2010-2011 and is currently co-chair of the Membership Engagement Committee.

She has repeatedly demonstrated her dedication to the profession and the professional through her work across industries with students, as a guest lecturer to local universities and providing internships in which she successfully mentored more than 350 students. She continues to act as advisor and mentor to former interns as they pursue careers in destinations worldwide.

BJ was the first female hospitality public relations professional to achieve the APR and Fellow PRSA in Hawaii. She has received prestigious awards from the Hawaii Chapter that include the Gregg W. Perry Award for extraordinary contributions to the profession. She has also been recognized by the Hawaii Hotel Association as the Manager of the Year and she received the Public Relations Top Performance Award from Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

She has been an executive for or consulted with a wide range of clients, including Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, Macy's, Island Air, Waimea Valley, American Savings Bank, First Insurance, Pasha Young Brothers, LTD., Dillingham Maritime Pacific Division, and more than 20 non-profit organizations.


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