Bringing together perspectives from across the Midwest.
PRSA Anti-trust Statement
PRSA’s policy is to comply fully and strictly with all federal and state antitrust laws. Meetings and programs held under the auspices of PRSA must be conducted in a manner that avoids the fact or appearance of conduct that may violate the antitrust laws.
Participants are not to discuss industry-wide or individual company prices (current or projected) or matters relating to pricing such as costs, profits, contractual terms and conditions (e.g., discounts, credit terms), wages/salaries, market allocation, market shares/sales or clients/customers, or other competitively sensitive information.
Compliance with the antitrust laws is a requirement for PRSA membership and responsibility for compliance rests with each member. Participants in PRSA meetings and programs have an obligation to terminate any discussion, seek legal counsel’s advice, or, if necessary, terminate any meeting if the discussion might be construed to raise any antitrust risks.
Session #1 (8:00 - 9:30 a.m.) - Why Your Social Responsibility Story Matters
Today, consumers and B2B customers alike care more about just the products your company produces. We'll discuss the importance of companies telling their social responsibility story and how public relations practitioners can help make that happen.
Session #2 (Noon - 1:30 p.m.) - Once Upon a COVID Time… Storytelling Strategies, Shifts and Solutions
The pandemic emphasized the importance of communications collaboration to keep businesses and organizations not only relevant in a rapidly shifting landscape, but afloat. Destination Madison, the travel and tourism entity for Madison, WI, was faced with the challenge of keeping a local travel industry alive when travel was halted in 2020. In this session, you’ll learn how layering storytelling across PR, social media, digital and marketing platforms can lead disparate audiences to the same conclusion and close the book on a successful communications campaign.
Session #3 (3:00 - 4:30 p.m.) - Holy Shift: Heart First to Crack the Big Quit Code
The Great Resignation is moving full steam ahead. How can we crack the Big Quit Code? Join David Grossman, CEO of The Grossman Group, for a discussion about “the big shift” as employees’ expectations of their leaders and organizations change dramatically as a result of the pandemic. David will draw upon his 30+ years of leadership consulting and insights from more than 30 leaders he interviewed on leading during the tumult of 2020. This session provides practical, actionable strategies and tips for meeting an unprecedented leadership litmus test by leading with “Heart First” to engage and retain employees after the year that changed everything.
Session #4 - (5:30 - 6:30 p.m.) - How to Create a Pathway Through PRSA: A support system to earn your APR and become a Fellow
Our Midwest District is full of role models who serve as an important support system for your career. During our How to Happy Hour, you'll meet members who can help you create a pathway through PRSA including how, when and why to earn your APR and become a Fellow. The session may inspire new goals and paths for your continued professional development at every stage of your career.
Session #5 (8:00 - 9:30 a.m.) - The ROI of DEI: Building Diversity & Equity into An Organization
Business research shows a direct connection between greater diversity in a workforce and increased output and profitability. While some see it as a buzzword or fad, Diversity and Inclusion offers bottom line benefits to organizations. Having a variety of different viewpoints and experiences to draw from means organizations can limit their blind spots and better serve customers, employees, vendors and investors. This panel will discuss real world applications and benefits of D&I efforts in for-profit and nonprofit organizations throughout the Midwest, and offer tips on improving (or starting) D&I in your workplace.
Session #6 (Noon - 1:00 p.m.) - Instagram 101: How to Grow & Optimize Your Account
In this virtual lunch hour session, nano influencer and travel/lifestyle blogger Sarah Elizabeth will share tips and tricks to optimize your personal or professional Instagram account. Sarah will explain how to use hashtags and Instagram features such as reels, Q&A, giveaways, and other strategies to grow your account. In addition, she will break down the benefits of utilizing influencers and user-generated content to make your posts on Instagram consistent, effective and easy. Sarah will also touch on the benefits of integrating TikTok with Instagram.
Session #7 (3:00 - 4:30 p.m.) - Incorporating a Futuristic Mindset into Planning & Programs
The future is happening now. Little changes and small leaps are transforming our future. Are you ready to communicate the impact of change to the stakeholders of your organization? To employees, investors or customers? Imagine a not-so-distant future where driverless vehicles and drones are delivering products to the front doors of their customers. Where customized genetics-based treatments wipe out diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer's. Where you're working alongside a robot assistant at work (or at home!). Where digital currencies such as Ether and Litecoin are used as often as the dollar, euro or yuan. In this session, we’ll learn how to start developing the mindset of a futurist, and to explore major trends that are likely to change our workplaces, our relationships with others, and our culture. Based on extensive interviews with professional futurists, Dupont will share why communications professionals need to start thinking like a futurists and how their skills will be vital to helping business leaders communicate the changes before them.
Session #8 – (5:30 - 6:30 p.m.) - How to Make Your Personal Brand Stand Out in an Era of Communication Overload
When we think of the term 'brand,' we often think of it as related to a business's branding or marketing. But when Kelli Williams thinks of the term 'brand,' she also thinks of the word related to how she represents herself, how she shows up in the world, and as the filter she applies to determine which opportunities are right for her. Kelli's personal brand shows up in her emails, social media, articles, interviews, event presentations, and interpersonal interactions. Join the discussion to learn how you can use your personal brand to stand out and shine through in the age of communication overload.
Session #9 - (9:00 - 10:30 a.m.) - Wellness & Working During a Time of Constant Change
We’re about 18 months into the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us assumed by now that we’d see the coronavirus and its impact in our personal and professional lives in the rearview mirror. Instead, more people need to get vaccinated, the economy could be better and the discussion about work from home (WFH) and/or going back to the office continues. This discussion will feature experts including: Anna Lynn of the Children and Family Division of the Minnesota Department of Health; Leonard Lee, Principal of Perfectense and former MPR reporter; and and Jennifer Hellman, COO and Principal (and incoming CEO) at Goff Public who will provide the information you need to be healthier, more resilient, improve your performance at work and your overall quality of life.
Session #10 - (Noon - 1:30 p.m.) - Employee Communications: Lessons Learned Communicating through COVID
The most important audience for any organization is its employees. From sending employees home to work remotely to returning to the workplace and everything in between, the COVID-19 pandemic brought numerous challenges and opportunities for communicators. Join us to hear from a panel of public relations professionals about how they've kept their organization's employees informed and engaged throughout the pandemic, and their top takeaways as we turn the corner toward a new normal.
Session #11 - (2:00 - 3:30 p.m.) - Color of Communications
The Vision of this panel is to speak with several Woman/Man of Color to discuss topics centered around being a Woman/Man of Color in the room during corporate and private communications. A moderated discussion with a Q & A session will be held with the hopes of encouraging and strengthening other Woman/Man of Color within the area of communications.
Session #12 - (5:30 - 6:30 p.m.) - How to Build Your Network through PRSA
We’ve all heard the advice that networking is important for our careers. It really does take a village to have a successful career; people who provide you with information, connect you to others, help you get your job done, advocate for you, mentor, guide, and sponsor you. To create the type of network that supports your ambition, your efforts must be intentional and purposeful. In this “How to Happy Hour” we’ll explore how to build a network that works for you through involvement with PRSA at the chapter, district and national levels and hear from others about what has worked for them.
Session #13 - (8:00 - 9:30 a.m.) - Countering Misinformation
The prevalence of misinformation and disinformation in today’s world are a threat. Deception, whether intentional or inadvertent, is growing daily. Its effect on the public relations profession is a challenge each of us faces on a nearly daily basis. How does the PR professional detect the misinformation and counter it in the everyday practice of our profession? Members of the College of Fellows will discuss this growing hazard and share strategies to combat its destructive menace facing society, our companies, employees and clients.
Session #14 - (Noon - 1:30 p.m.) - The Pandemic Effect on Crisis Communications
The last 18 months has altered our definition of a crisis; the raging pandemic, skyrocketing unemployment, civil unrest and vaccine/masking controversy have created a population that reacts quickly to the slightest provocation. Add in the power of social media (the ability of people to share their grievances online with lightning speed) and it doesn’t take much time for a company’s reputation to be damaged. The need for crisis communication has never been higher. So, what’s it like to manage a crisis situation within a global crisis? How has the pandemic changed crisis communication strategies? And how do you prepare for the new norm? In this discussion, panelists will share their experiences as well as the lessons they have learned since the pandemic began.
Session #15 - (3:00 - 4:00 p.m.) - “Leveling Up” Post Pandemic: Practical Business Skills for Advancing Your Career
The pandemic has shown that effective strategic communication is a critical business imperative. Business savvy communication professionals are increasingly being sought out as advisors and counselors to organizational leaders. In this session led by Dr. Matt Ragas, director of the professional communication graduate program at DePaul University, attendees will gain practical business skills for advancing their careers. Attendees will come away with actionable ways to “level up” their business acumen, a critical competency for rising communication leaders in a post-pandemic world. As a bonus, one lucky attendee will be selected to receive a complimentary copy of Matt’s new book with colleague Ron Culp, titled, Business Acumen for Strategic Communicators: A Primer (Emerald Publishing, 2021)
Session #16 - (5:30 - 6:30 p.m.) - How to Make the Leap from Employee to Independent Practitioner
Join us for a festive virtual happy hour to discuss the current state of the industry and opportunities for independent PR consultants in the post-pandemic economy. J.W. Arnold, APR, Fellow PRSA, a former two-time chair of PRSA’s Independent Practitioners Alliance, will serve as our guest “mixologist,” sharing his fun “recipes” for success. Whether you are a seasoned veteran or considering launching your own future business, “Cosmopolitan” or “Old Fashioned,” he’ll share recipes for success. Get “straight up” advice with plenty of useful tips “shaken or stirred” into the mix. Most importantly, don’t miss this opportunity to network with other pros from the Midwest District.
Session #17 - (8:00 - 9:30 a.m.) - Expanding Your Content Beyond Traditional Methods
In this session, a prestigious group of panelists will discuss how to get the most out of your valuable content including expanding on traditional methods and going beyond into new channels and unique avenues. Learn new ways to reach and connect with your priority stakeholders from these amazing professionals who are embedded in some of the best companies and agencies in the Midwest.
Session #18 - (Noon - 1:30 p.m.) - Best Practices for Producing Virtual & Hybrid Presentations & Events in an Era of COVID
Business isn't and never will be the same again because of COVID. In the past 20 months, we have learned how to effectively work from home and use technology to conduct meetings and even conferences and trade shows (like this one). Several Midwest companies have been at the forefront of using technology to keep workers, customers and clients connected. Milwaukee-based Plum Media quickly pivoted from being a video production house to live event production with a focus on audience engagement. The company will share tips and tricks it learned and perfected during the pandemic shutdown to help communicators create top-notch events that are fully on-site, hybrid or virtual -- and won't break the budget.