Public Relations Society or America Northeast District

Breakout Speakers

The Integrated Communicator

PRSA Northeast's annual conference hosts top speakers from a Who's Who in the communications and digital marketing industry.

Plan ahead with this at-a-glance schedule:

Thursday, May 31

Interested in accreditation? Attend our APR Express Workshop from 11:30 a.m.to 4:30 p.m. at SUNY Buffalo State and come away with full knowledge of what it takes to achieve accreditation, from the Panel Presentation to the electronic exam. Register here.

Friday, June 1

Continental Breakfast | 7:15 – 8:00 a.m.

Welcome | 8:00 a.m.

Siobhan Kent, PRSA Northeast District Chair;
Devon Jerla, PRSA Buffalo Niagara Chapter President;
Anthony D’Angelo, APR, Fellow PRSA, 2018 PRSA Chair

Morning Keynote | 8:15 – 9:15 a.m.

  • Work With Lasting Impact
    Sharon Napier; CEO, Partners + Napier

    Sharon will share her career journey as the CEO of Partners + Napier, a national agency at the forefront of the convergence of communications. Sharon’s leadership, learnings and insights into how she’s built a modern cross-functional agency will inform and inspire attendees at any stage of the career cycle. Experience visual examples of brands who are successfully harnessing data, technology and consumer-driven insights leaving a mark on business, people and culture.

Breakout Sessions | 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

  • Getting Googley: Analytics, SEO, and AdWords Bootcamp
    John Senall; Principal & Founder, Mobile First Media, LLC

    Whether you’re a one-person communications shop or a team leader, content optimization, paid Google AdWords and digital retargeting approaches can be valuable tools for integrated campaigns. Thankfully, these digital tools and skills are neither magic nor art. The basics can be learned and applied to help your organization or company achieve communication goals.

    Join us for mini tour through Google’s offerings. Learn what you need to step more confidently into the digital world and to get results for your organization or business.

  • Crisis Plans Provide A False Sense Of Security
    Dr. Frank Marra; Rochester Institute of Technology

    Crisis communication plans are an important and valuable part of the crisis management process. But research indicates crisis plans do not ensure excellent crisis public relations practice. More often than not they provide a false sense of security. Crisis plans often focus on the ability to gather and release information as quickly as possible. But preparation needs to go beyond the communication tactics included in a crisis plan. Managers often overlook a variety of factors that reduce the effectiveness of crisis communication plans. These elements are often better predictors of how well a company will respond during a crisis. This presentation will demonstrate the weaknesses of crisis communication plans and offer suggestions for strengthening crisis preparation and planning.

  • Shaping the Narrative: How the Media Tells Stories that Engage Audiences & Drive Action
    John Mackowiak; Martin Davison Public Relations/The Martin Group
    Sean Kirst, columnist for The Buffalo News
    Julie Philipp, senior engagement editor at the Democrat & Chronicle
    Carolyn Thompson, correspondent for the Associated Press
    Dave Debo, news director for WBFO News

    The media landscape continues to evolve, with the addition of new technologies, communications channels and methods for storytelling, yet newsrooms continue to drive public discourse in every community. On a daily basis, the media shapes the narratives that dominate discussions at the water cooler and at the dinner table. A panel of four reporters and editors will share insights into the key ingredients for telling powerful stories that engage audiences, and they’ll explore how the convergence of communications tools has changed their work. Additionally, with the evolving relationships between news makers, news agencies and the public, this panel will discuss how PR practitioners can most effectively work with reporters to tell stories that matter. Newsroom inboxes are inundated, social media activity is surging, and the news cycle spins faster than ever. During this panel discussion, you’ll have the chance to engage with members of the media to learn how they are navigating the challenges posed by constant change, in order to successfully connect with their audiences and yours.

  • Measuring Internal Communications Efforts
    Stacey Smith and Sean Williams; Jackson Jackson & Wagner, True Digital Communication

    Internal communications professionals have been building and measuring employee engagement for some time. We asked: How "engaged" are our employees in our organization and in what they do? How does our workforce compare to others? But in the words of legendary PR practitioner Patrick Jackson, "SO WHAT?" What does it mean that employees are on par with or slightly above (or below) others in the industry or region? And, what can we do about it? What does it really mean and how do we raise a low score or increase an already high one? 22 specific measurement standards have recently codified by the presenters along with Michele Ewing of Kent State and Julie O'Neil of Texas Christian University under the auspices of the Institute of PR's Measurement Commission. These 22 standards together define "engagement," but by measuring each standard independently, we can understand the root cause of an engagement problem or opportunity. This session will examine each of the standards and explore ways that measuring some (or all) can start a change effort all on its own.

Breakout Sessions | 10:45 – 11:45 a.m.

  • Creating a Culture of Accountability and Impact
    Gregg Dinino and Pete VonDerLinn; Partners + Napier

    Learn how the Effie Awards are a modern communications pros godsend, proving marketing ROI and providing the framework to build team trust. The presenters will share how their cross functional team developed and executed an integrated campaign for the Outdoor Advertising Association of America resulting in a $48 million increase in incremental sales. Attendees will leave inspired and informed about how working together to deliver work with lasting impact builds lasting team trust.

  • The Mea Culpa Response: Why the Absence of Diversity at the Table Can Hurt Your Communication Strategy
    Rene Petties-Jones; NFJC of WNY, Inc.

    Attendees will explore bias and how it may effect communication across many channels. Participants will delve into communication missteps and resulting backfire when issues of diversity and inclusion are not considered before public presentation. We will discuss examples and ways to encourage bridging gaps that can divide both internal communications thus impacting external audiences and how best to avoid the lame mea culpa response.

  • The Underestimated Power of Hyper-Local Storytelling
    Geri Denterlein, Denterlein; Alan Pergament, The Buffalo News; Paul Doyle, Denterlein

    In today’s increasingly dynamic media/communications landscape, the power of hyper-local storytelling should not be underestimated. Thanks to staff cuts, fake news and an increasing lack of trust in the national media, local news outlets are undergoing a bit of a renaissance, creating greenfield opportunities to tell more authentic, impactful stories for clients right in their own backyards. Incumbent, energized reporters are looking to launch their careers by telling impassioned stories. Local papers are embarking on digital strategies to curate and engage a more committed audience. Veteran journalists are embracing their roots to write for the communities they grew up in. The changes within hyper-local media are bountiful, and also highly beneficial to clients. It is this more authentic storytelling at the local level that is capable of driving true change and, in essence, has the potential to become the foundation for a broader movement. Thus, a topic of interest to the national media, which we all know is that infamous white whale for almost every client. In this session/panel, the audience will learn the ways in which PR pros can deliver client satisfaction through an earned and digital hyper-local media strategy.

  • Optimizing your Web Writing for People and Search Engines
    Sofia Tokar and Brian Piper; University of Rochester

    The best web writing is readable, actionable, accessible and findable. In this presentation, we’ll cover specific tactics and tools to help you create content that’s optimized for audiences and search engines alike. Along the way, we’ll cite industry research and best practices on usability, plain language, search engine optimization (SEO) and more. This session is ideal for both new and experienced digital communications professionals who want to write engaging, compelling content that also ranks well for high-performing search keywords.
  • Convergence: How to Connect with Marketing Disciplines for Greater Impact
    Amy Shanler, Boston University College of Communications

    While many PR professionals understand how to use PESO within a PR-driven campaign, strategic communicators tap into the power of other marketing disciplines to amplify and improve outcomes. This session will explain how PR professionals can build bridges with other marketing disciplines to extend the reach of their campaigns and achieve their results. Attendees will learn how to identify which marketing vehicles will accelerate your campaign. They will also learn how to speak the language of marketers to gain consensus and support for your initiatives. Finally, attendees will see how to tie together key performance indicates from across disciplines to be able to measure outcomes that matter. Convergence is happening in front of our eyes. For PR practitioners, this is an ideal time to embrace the blurring lines between disciplines, and create a more strategic vision for our clients and clarity for the future of our profession.
Lunch | 11:45 a.m.

PRSA Message | 12:15 p.m.

Joseph Truncale, Ph.D., CAE; PRSA CEO

Lunch Keynote | 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

  • How Headlines are Made from Washington: Lessons from the White House
    Liz Allen; Senior Vice President; Glover Park Group
    Moderated by Buffalo's WGRZ 2 on Your Side Journalist Michael Wooten.

    Social and digital media came of age between the past two White House administrations and with it, how news was consumed, spread and shared is forever reshaped. Twitter drives the day and White House press briefings have become fodder for late night sketch comedy. Liz Allen, former Deputy Communications Director for President Obama, gives us a behind-the-curtain look at a pivotal time that redefined the landscape and what it means for the future of communications.
Breakout Sessions | 1:45 – 2:45 p.m.

  • Securing Speaking Opportunities that Give Voice to Your Brand
    Amy Scarlino; Scarlino Speaker Strategies, LLC

    Executive speaking is a credible way to capitalize on the power of face-to-face connections in a world dominated by digital communications. This session will provide seven steps for developing an effective, executive speaker program that gives voice to your brand. Learn how to develop realistic goals for the program that meet your communications objectives, discover how to find keynote opportunities before the agenda is full, and understand why pitching conference managers is different than pitching other media. Drawing on more than 15 years of experience focused on executive speaker program management with Fortune 500 companies, the presenter will offer simple tips and tricks that attendees can use whether they are establishing or elevating their organization’s speaker program.

  • It's A Bird, It's A Plane...It's A PR Firm?
    Roger Rosenbaum; Brand-News-Team, Inc.

    Public relations often presents the public with specially crafted messages and images. There is no more cutting-edge content creation tool today than an aerial drone as the images it can create are powerful and offer unique perspectives. Small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) can bring brand storytelling to life. The quality of images from drones rival and even surpass Hollywood-quality content. This lively presentation will dispel myths about drones and help PR professionals understand the risks and benefits of using aerial drone content to raise interest and visibility. These questions and many more including: Can that drone spy on me? Is it legal to fly a drone over someone's house? How high can it fly? Are there rules with flying a drone in what looks like a giant open sky? Drones create breathtaking views that raise a client’s visibility. Learn what you need to know about rules, regulations and safety when using a drone for commercial purposes.

  • Stop Doing the Stupid Stuff: Using Indexes, Insights and Integrated dashboards To Show what Really Works
    Katie Delahaye Paine; Paine Publishing

    With tight budgets and a growing proliferation of tools and techniques to get messages out there, PR pros are increasingly faced with tough decisions on where to put their resources. Only by figuring out what really matters, and then developing specific metrics to measure the programs, can the right choices be made. If you've ever wondered how to measure social media, public relations, media relations and your other programs, attend this session by "the queen of measurement," and author of Measure What Matters, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit and Measuring Relationships. You'll discover the tools, tips and techniques to prove the effectiveness of your social media and public relations programs and how to set measurable objectives. While many people may perceive measurement as a boring, dry topic, the presenter consistently leaves her audiences not just informed but entertained. Her talks are a balance of storytelling (including case studies) and practical how-to advice, so attendees can confidently put good measurement programs into practice right away.
  • Improving Brainstorming Methods to Win More Business
    Keith Green, APR; Guinness World Records

    Is your creative process broken or in need of an overhaul? We've all sat in long, unproductive brainstorming sessions that frustrate participants and make you question if you have a winning idea. But no matter what the size of your agency or organization is, there is a different way to approach brainstorming. By utilizing a method called the "Six Thinking Hats" pioneered by creative and conceptual thinker and philosopher, Edward de Bono, you and your team can immediately learn how to create a balanced approach to brainstorming that will generate more cooperation and vision. Additionally, learn how this method is the basis for a recently-launched, in-house, creative agency that has generated winning campaign ideas around the globe.
  • The Perfect Video in the Perfect Place
    Frank Conjerti; Quinlan

    Throughout the last decade, plummeting hardware and software costs have made high-quality video production easy to achieve. Because of this, the quality of the story and the promotion strategy have become the most effective differentiators in the world of video. In the session, we will explore the main factors to ensuring your video production is delivering tangible results. Obviously finding the right audience is the most critical step to ensuring your video work is effective, but there are more variables that most content creators miss as they begin their campaigns: Where is the audience in the sales funnel? What is the best platform for this type of video? Where are they physically consuming the content? These answers will dictate the style, messaging and even length of the piece. Knowing where your video should live is, truly, only half the battle. (Where have I heard that before?) Video inherently outperforms static content, but it still needs to stand out. Creative risk is an essential part of successful campaigns, yet often comes with apprehension. We will evaluate first and second-hand research proving the increased performance attached to those pieces that take a more adventurous approach. The world is littered with forgotten YouTube channels and half-empty Vimeo accounts, but identifying the perfect place for your video efforts will eliminate the wasted money and timesheet entries. Video isn’t going anywhere. But if you plan your campaign correctly, you’ll know exactly where it should.

Breakout Sessions | 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

  • The State of #Sponsored Social  Lessons for Practitioners, Brands, Agencies, and Creators
    Regina Luttrell; Syracuse University and Kelly Gaggin; Strategic Communications, LLC

    Whether you call it native advertising, content marketing, influencer marketing, sponsored posts, the sponsored social category has redefined what digital word of mouth or perhaps, better called word of mouse – can be for public relations practitioners. Consumers are not only forming compensated, business relationships with the brands they love, but also creating and sharing brand-sponsored content with their personal social following. The ramifications of this trend are astonishing – and highly transformative – to the over-arching marketing landscape. Recent changes to newsfeeds on platforms such as Facebook have impeded the success of organic reach, bringing strategic sponsored social to the forefront and affecting organizations of all sizes as pros sprint to free-up budget lines and address the changes. During this session, we will share the insights gleaned from the most recent studies on sponsored social media. Attendees will come away from the session with the knowledge and tools they need to immediately enhance their strategic plans and social campaigns.

  • How Building a Powerful Brand is the Foundation of Good PR
    Danielle M. DelMonte; President, Danielle Marie Communications

    In today’s evolving marketing communications landscape, generating top notch publicity is no longer enough. Public relations practitioners must be skilled at delivering multifaceted campaigns that integrate both traditional public relations tactics and modern-day marketing strategies. This means your organization’s brand message needs to be solidified long before any pitch is made, as PR and branding must work in tandem for optimal outcomes.

    In this session, you’ll learn about specific branding tactics that can be used to leverage your public relations pitches and campaigns, and effectively shape the way your messages are perceived. You’ll be given the practical knowledge and tools for how to design a comprehensive branding strategy, including how to use earned media to build a robust online presence and how to develop creative, engaging public relations content through social media marketing, videos, blogs and other emerging digital channels.

    As wonderful as a front-page New York Times article may be, this type of publicity will be a one-hit wonder if you fail to create a powerful brand behind your message.

  • The Six Tasks of Crisis Leadership: How to Help Your Boss or Client Lead During Tough Times
    Joseph A. Brennan, Ph.D., Fellow PRSA; Communications Counsel for Higher Education

    Crises cost time, money, careers and, in the worst cases, lives. And it's not a matter of "if" a crisis will strike your organization – but "when." Every public relations professional needs to be ready to respond when disaster strikes. Our roles often include counseling CEOs and other top leaders, writing their statements and preparing them for hostile media interviews. To do this work successfully, PR pros must understand the special role leaders must play during crises. This role is distinct from crisis management, but most training focuses only on crisis management. This workshop will address that problem by revealing the six tasks of crisis leadership: sense making, decision making, meaning making, ending and accounting, learning from the last time, and preparing for the next time. Leaders who fail at one or more of these tasks often lose their ability to continuing leading. Attendees will learn what each task requires, get examples of what it looks like in action, and come away well prepared to perform it. This fast-paced, engaging workshop will be illustrated by real-world examples drawn from today's headlines.

  • Telling Your Brand Story Through Marketing Automation
    Nicole Kingsley Brunner; Manning & Napier

    As marketers, we act as our brand’s translators, which can be for something intangible, unsexy or simply misunderstood. One of the best ways to tell your brand’s story is through content marketing. It’s taking our industry by storm, but many marketers and communicators underestimate what content marketing and automation can actually do for their brand. Hear from an early adopter who implemented a content marketing and automation strategy before it was mainstream. They’ll discuss how they overcame challenges to create a scalable marketing automation program on a tight budget and in a heavily regulated industry. In addition, they’ll share their secrets to creating content that works. You’ll learn how to create content that’s educating on a topic relevant to your brand in order to build credibility and trust. This session will help you tell your brand’s story through marketing automation so you’re no longer missing out on the revenue-boosting potential of your content marketing efforts.   

Post-Conference Happy Hour | 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

After the conference is over, join The Martin Group and its PR affiliate, Martin Davison Public Relations, to unwind at its corporate headquarters, 620 Main St., Buffalo, for local craft beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvres! Sign up here for the happy hour.

(Speakers subject to change.)