The first ever PRSA Midwest Conference, Presented by Loyola University Chicago

This year, PRSA Chicago partnered with the 15 other Midwest PRSA chapters to offer two days worth of invaluable, educational sessions on July 19 and 20. The programs featured industry experts from leading brands and organizations across a variety of public relations disciplines, including digital and traditional media, crisis and issues management, consumer packaged goods, B2B, politics and more.

According to our recent Midwest regional survey, the leading topics in which today’s PR professionals have the most interest are branding, digital and social media, and crisis management. We delivered on this need through the first PRSA Midwest Regional Conference Presented by Loyola University Chicago by offering a full day and a half of engaging topics designed to inspire, challenge and educate.

Our Speakers

Over two dozen of the top public relations professionals took part in panels and discussion throughout the two days. Some of these speakers included:

– Al Golin, founder of GolinHarris
– Antonio Hernandez, corporate communications executive for ComEd
– Andy Shaw, president and chief executive officer for Better Government Association

Attendees also hear from experts at Facebook and Twitter, as well as respected Chicago media, solo PR practitioners and crisis communication experts.

A Variety of Activities

In addition to the wide variety of educational sessions, there was be a number of breakfast and lunch networking activities. Attendees also enjoyed an evening cocktail hour to mix and mingle with speakers and guests.


The QuickStart Conference took place Wednesday, July 18, from 12:00 to 5:15 p.m. This new program offered by the PRSA Midwest District helped current and future PRSA leaders navigate the organization and prepare for their leadership role. The half-day QuickStart session was designed to build upon the Leadership Rally, which PRSA National offers for incoming chapter presidents, by providing a hands-on orientation into how to lead a chapter and opportunities to share ideas and network with other incoming leaders from the District’s 15 chapters.

Conference Schedule

QuickStart – Wednesday, July 18, 2012

12:00 p.m.– 1:00 p.m. Lunch (provided for all registrants)

1:00 p.m.
Introductions & Opening Remarks

1:05 p.m. – 2:05 p.m.
“Cultivating a Culture of Leadership and Innovation”
~ Cheryl Procter-Rogers, APR, Fellow PRSA, Past PRSA National President

2:05 p.m.-2:35 p.m.
Leadership Jump-Start

2:35 p.m. – 3:35 p.m.
Best Practices from Around the District
~ Moderator: Renee Robinson, APR

3:35 p.m.-3:50 p.m. Break

3:50 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
“Leveraging National and District Resources for Success”
~ Christina Darnowski, PRSA, Director, Member Services
~ Jim Streed, APR, Midwest District Chair

4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
Developing Your Leadership Action Plan

5:15 p.m. QuickStart concludes

6:00 p.m.

Happy Hour at the Hancock Tower
Hosted by the Suburban Chicago Chapter

Conference – Thursday, July 19, 2012

7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Registration and breakfast service

9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Opening
~ Debbie Harvey, MS, APR, President, PRSA Chicago, SVP, GolinHarris
~ Herb Ritchell, PRSA Chicago Midwest District Liaison and Director
Advertising & Public Relations Program
Loyola University Chicago

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Keynote
~ Al Golin, Founder, GolinHarris

10:30 a.m. -10:45 a.m. Break

10:45 a.m.-11:45 a.m.
General Session – Crisis Communications
~ Jack Yeo, MSL Senior VP, Crisis Communications
~ John R. Brooks, APR, Director of Media Relations and News, North Park University

11:45 a.m. -12:15 p.m. Transition to Lunch

12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Lunch presentation – “Energizing Your Brand with Strategic Stakeholder Strategies”
~ Antonio Hernandez, ComEd Communications

1:15 pm – 1:30 pm Transition to Afternoon Sessions

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Breakout Sessions

“Reputational Return of Community Engagement”
~ Victoria Dinges, Vice President, Public Social Responsibility and Enterprise Communication, Allstate Insurance Company

· “Message Mapping, A Better Way to Communicate”
~ Liz Barrett, SVP and Senior Account Planner, Ketchum

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm Breakout Sessions

“Mentoring the Next Generation of PR Pros: Internships, PRSA Membership and Career Success”
~ Dr. Regina K. Waters, Associate Professor, Drury University
~ Alison Hamer, Chair, PRSA Chicago PRSSA/YPN Committee, and Account Supervisor, L.C. Williams

“The Involuntary Entrepreneur: Transitioning From Unemployment to Solo PR Practitioner”
~ Debra Bethard-Caplick, MBA, APR, Principal, Quicksilver Edge Communications, President, PRSA Suburban Chicago

“Measurement: The Evolution of Listening”
~ Johna Burke, Senior
Vice President, BurrellesLuce
~ Pauline Draper Watts, Executive Vice President, StrategyOne
~ Jack Monson, Senior Vice President, Engage121

3:30 pm – 3:45 pm Break

3:45 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. General Session – Communicating Transparency
~ Andy Shaw, President and CEO, Better Government Association

4:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. Break for Next Session

5:15 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. General Session – Working with the Media
~ Robert Feder, Media Critic, Time Out Chicago
~Bruce Japsen, Writer, Forbes and New York Times
~ Shia Kapos, Columnist, Crain’s Chicago Business

6:30 p.m. Adjourn

Conference – Friday, July 20, 2012

7:30 am – 8:30 am Breakfast

8:30 am to 8:45 am Opening
~ Abby Lovett, President-Elect, PRSA Chicago and VP, Ketchum

8:45 a.m.-9:30 a.m. General Session:
Global Brands and Social Media
~ Mary Henige, Director of Social Media & Digital Communications, General Motors

9:30 am – 9:45 a.m. Transition to Breakout Sessions

9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Breakout sessions
Understanding How Mobile Influences Communications”
~ Blagica Bottigliero, Global Director of Social Media, Motorola Mobility

“What’s the News in Social Media – Three Women Share their #sm Insights as Emerging Professionals”
~ Claire Faucett, Owner, engage5W, Springfield, MO (@engage5w)
~ Cari McLean, Manager, Social Media, HIMSS, Chicago (@carimclean)
~ Yvette Pistorio, Social Media Manager, Cision, Chicago (@cision)
Moderated by Sharina C. Smith, MSA, Senior Director, Marketing & Communications, Southwest Baptist University, Bolivar, Mo.

“21st Century Communications: Successful strategies to deliver
authentic communications that engage employees and build


~ David Grossman, ABC, APR Fellow PRSA, Founder & CEO, The Grossman Group

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

· “Ethics and Transparency in Social Media: The FTC is Watching,”
~ David Kamerer, PhD, APR, Assistant Professor, School of Communication,
Loyola University – Chicago,

· “Working with the Media”
~ Marissa Conrad, Reporter, Time Out Chicago
~ Lisa Leiter, Reporter, Crain’s Chicago Business
~ Deb Pankey, Reporter, The Daily Herald

“The New Power of Influence: How Brands are Engaging with
~ Hope Bertram, founder, Windy City Social
~ Caleb Gardner, Account Supervisor, Edelman Digital, founder of The Exceptional Man,
and contributor to
~Dan Skinner, PR/Social Media Manager at ConAgra Foods

11:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Transition to lunch

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Lunch presentation — What’s New at the Leading Social Networks
~ Melissa Barnes, Agency & Brand Advocate, Twitter
~ Tyler Hellinge, Agency Development Lead, Facebook
~ Amy Ravit Korin, Chicago Community Manager, Google Places, Google

1:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Closing
~ Debbie Harvey, MS, APR, President, PRSA Chicago, SVP, GolinHarris









Thank You To Our Sponsors

Thank you to the Midwest District Conference presenting sponsor:

Loyola University Chicago

Thank you to the Midwest District Conference sponsors:

Grossman GroupBusiness WireBig Shoes Network

NASDAQ Business Solutions

EdelmanQuicksilver Communications BurrellesLuce