Debra Peterson, APR, leads external communications and community relations for CenturyLink, a global communications, hosting, cloud and IT services company that currently ranks #159 on the Fortune 500. Debra previously held management positions with EMBARQ and Sprint. Her professional experience includes major corporate events and sponsorships, governmental affairs and employee communications.
Currently treasurer of the PRSA national board, she serves on the national Board of Directors Executive Committee, chair of the Finance Committee, board liaison to the Investment Committee and oversees the Audit Committee.
Her extensive PRSA national, section, chapter and committee experience includes serving on PRSA’s national Revenue Model Task Force and the national Audit Committee.
She served on PRSA’s national Board of Directors from 2011-2013, serving on the Finance Committee all three years, in addition to her role as the board liaison to the Accreditation Marketing Committee in 2013.
She served for two years on the national Board of Ethics and Professional Standards, two years on the national Nominating Committee, and was national Section Council co-chair. She served in several leadership positions on the Corporate Communications Section Executive Committee, including chair, chair-elect, past chair and secretary.
She also served for five years in leadership positions with the Greater Kansas City chapter of PRSA, including president, president-elect, past president and secretary. She has served as an Assembly delegate seven times.
She is a recipient of the Roger Yarrington Public Relations Professional of the Year award by the Greater Kansas City chapter of PRSA.
Garland Stansell, APR, joined Children’s of Alabama in the spring of 1994. Children’s of Alabama is the third largest pediatric medical center in the United States. Children’s is comprised of the 380-bed Children’s Hospital, a network of pediatric outpatient clinics, and 13 pediatric primary care practices throughout Alabama.
Garland has more than 30 years experience in public relations, marketing, health promotion, advocacy and development. At Children’s, he is responsible for the development and implementation of strategic public relations and communication programs and initiatives to serve the information and promotional needs of the medical divisions, business units, and fundraising and advocacy activities of the health system. This includes oversight of messages and media for internal and external audiences.
For eight years, Garland was responsible for strategic planning, management and direction of Children’s Community Development department. These responsibilities included the management of internally and externally initiated year-round special event fund raising, Children’s Miracle Network, cause-related marketing programs, and annual direct mail initiatives. Prior to joining Children’s of Alabama, he served as Vice President of Public Relations and Development for Alabama Goodwill Industries and as Assistant Director of Corporate Communications for BancBoston Mortgage Corporation, Alabama Office.
Garland is a Birmingham, Alabama native and received his Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications, Public Relations and Business from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Masters in Public and Private Management from Birmingham Southern College.
Professional, community and civic involvement:
Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
2017 - PRSA National Board of Directors, Secretary
2015-2016 PRSA National Board of Directors, Member at Large
Served as PRSA Assembly Delegate (Alabama Chapter, Health Academy section, PRSA National Board)
Past President and Board Member, PRSA Alabama Chapter
Past National Chair and Executive Committee Member, PRSA Health Academy
Past PRSA Sections Council Co-Chair
Shelby County Arts Council, Board Member
Shelby County Education Foundation, Past chair and Board Member
Alabama Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Past Chair and Board Member
Samford University, Journalism and Mass Communication Adjunct Faculty 2011-2012
Samford University, Journalism and Mass Communication Advisory Council
Communication Advisory Board, United Way of Central Alabama
Leadership Shelby County – Youth Leadership Advisory Committee
2004 Class, Leadership Shelby County
2005 Class, Birmingham FBI Citizens’ Academy
Amy Coward is a 1980 graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Advertising. She completed her Master's Degree in Public Relations at the University of South Carolina in 1987. Since 1980, Coward has worked in public relations primarily in the non-profit sector, where her campaigns have supported millions of dollars in fundraising.
Coward is an accredited public relations practitioner (APR) and Fellow PRSA. She has won several awards for her work from the South Carolina Chapter of PRSA. She has supported PRSA through her membership and leadership of the Southeast District Board where she formerly served as chair. During her tenure with the Southeast District Board, Coward led the Affinity Call program and developed and implemented a Leadership Rally for chapter leaders.
Coward is past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Board for the Central South Carolina Chapter and has served on the Board of Trustees at Shandon Methodist Church in Columbia, SC. She also serves as guest lecturer at the University of South Carolina.
Coward is currently the Vice President of Public Relations for Palmetto Health Foundation.
With nearly 25 years of experience in both agency and corporate communications In New York City and the Midwest, Sonja Popp-Stahly, APR, has an extensive background in strategic planning, consumer marketing, media relations, social media, digital communications, internal communications and issues management.
Sonja joined Eli Lilly and Company, a 42,000-employee global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Indianapolis, in 2007, currently working in Global Employee Communications as the communications lead for an enterprise-wide internal program that requires driving employee awareness and behavior change. She previously held positions in Digital and Social Media Communications as well as Global Business Communications.
Prior to Lilly, Sonja was a Team Leader and Account Manager at Hetrick Communications in Indianapolis for seven years, representing health care, professional services, education and consumer products clients at the national, regional and statewide level.
Before moving to Indianapolis in 2000, Sonja worked in agency and corporate public relations in New York City for seven years. She was the Public Relations Manager for Sara Lee Hosiery, overseeing national communications for the Hanes, Donna Karan and DKNY hosiery brands. Sonja also was an Account Supervisor at DeVries Public Relations in New York, representing numerous consumer products, including Procter & Gamble, Nabisco and Nestle brands.
An active member of PRSA for 24 years, Sonja served on the PRSA National Board of Directors from 2013-2016. She is a past member of the PRSA Health Academy Executive Committee and the PRSA Hoosier Chapter Board of Directors. She is a past President of the PRSA Hoosier Chapter and a former PRSSA National Professional Adviser. When she was a student/pre-professional, she served on the PRSSA National Committee and she's a career-long member of Champions for PRSSA.
Sonja graduated magna cum laude from Ball State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/public relations and minors in marketing and German. She is Accredited in Public Relations (APR) by the PRSA-affiliated Universal Accreditation Board. Her programs have received numerous awards, including the PRSA Silver Anvil Award, the PR industry’s highest national honor. She also has been inducted into the PRSSA Hall of Fame.
DETAILED WORK HISTORY:
ELI LILLY AND COMPANY (Indianapolis, IN)
* Information Security Communications Lead, Global Employee Communications (July 2015-present)
* Director, Digital Media Communications (June 2013-June 2015)
* Communications Manager, Lilly Bio-Medicines, Global Business Communications (July 2010-May 2013)
* Communications Manager, Global Product Communications (May 2007-July 2010)
HETRICK COMMUNICATIONS (Indianapolis, IN)
* Account Manager/Team Leader (June 2000-May 2007)
SARA LEE HOSIERY (New York, NY)
* Manager of Public Relations (September 1998-June 2000)
KAPLOW COMMUNICATIONS (New York, NY)
* Public Relations Consultant (June 1998-August 1998)
MWW GROUP (East Rutherford, NJ)
* Account Supervisor (February 1998-May 1998)
DEVRIES PUBLIC RELATIONS (New York, NY)
* Account Supervisor (June 1997-February 1998)
* Senior Account Executive (January 1996-June 1997)
* Account Executive (July 1994-January 1996)
* Junior Account Executive (December 1993-July 1994)
* Account Assistant (June 1993-December 1993)
DETAILED EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND:
Ball State University - Muncie, IN
B.A. Journalism (May 1993)
Majors: Public Relations and Magazine Journalism
Minors: Marketing and German
GPA: 3.85/4.00 - Magna Cum Laude
Outstanding Young Alumnus Award - Ball State University Department of Journalism (1997)
Universal Accreditation Board
Accredited in Public Relations (2001)
2002 - present: RAD Strategies Inc., President and Owner
Full-service marketing communications and digital engagement agency
2000 - 2002: Rose/Glenn Group, Associate Director of Public Relations
Full-service advertising, marketing and public relations agency
1999-2000: Wells Fargo Bank, Nevada, Statewide Public Relations Manager
Responsible for all public relations and merger communications
1994-1999: KPS3, Public Relations Manager
Full-service advertising, marketing and public relations agency
1992-1994: Hamilton Company, Technical Writer
Advancing the Profession
National Board: As a current Director (North Pacific District) on the National Board, serving the second year of my two-year term, my desire to serve the association continues. Two areas stick out to me during my time as advancing the profession. During my two-year term as the Chair of the Brand Marketing Task Force, we were charged with ensuring the society’s brand was positioned for the future in relation to the professional. The year-long research study provided confirmation of the association’s direction and also helped to support the Strategic Plan. The other is in serving on the Strategic Planning committee. The process provided a complete and comprehensive view of the society, it’s direction and future opportunities. By serving on the National Board, it has elevated my professional career and has given me an opportunity to give back by reaching out to my local chapter, through the district and more importantly, nationally through the connections I’ve made by being an advocate for the profession.
District and District Council: I served the North Pacific District for five years in addition to serving on
the District Council. As a member of the District Council, I spearheaded the draft of the Business Case
for Districts that was approved in 2014 by the PRSA National Board. I also served as a conduit for my
local chapter through opening lines of communication with District encouraging leadership to be
PRSA Local: I continue to support and remain involved with my local chapter. In addition to developing
relationships with current and incoming presidents, I have moderated two meetings and one workshop
session as well as provided resources for chapter speakers.
PRSA General: After completing 10 years of service to my local chapter, I was encouraged by
fantastic mentors on a National and District level to remain involved with PRSA. I served as a Silver
Anvil judge in 2007, 2009 and 2012 while continuing to cultivate my leadership journey that continued on the District level.
PRSSA Students: My local chapter has a great relationship with our PRSSA University of Nevada,
Reno Chapter. Over the years, I’ve served as a mentor and make it a point to meet with students helping with connections locally, regionally and even nationally for their career advancement.
Through RAD Strategies: Over the years, my agency has hired interns from the University’s PRSSA
program. In addition, we encourage our team to become involved with PRSA and develop their
leadership skills through leadership development programs. All of which further their skills and
equip team members to become strong professionals.
Ronele M. Dotson, APR is founder and president of RAD Strategies Inc., celebrating 15 years of business in 2017. Focused on the integration of marketing, communication, social networking and new media strategies, Ronele brings 24 years of communications, networking and innovation to the agency’s clients.
She holds a certification as an Accredited Public Relations (APR) professional and is a proud graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno.
Ronele founded her own highly successful firm in 2002 focusing on her strengths in innovative strategic
planning and above-and-beyond customer relationship management. Among Ronele’s portfolio of
achievements is her work in the tourism industry, specifically the promotion of the Reno-Tahoe region
on a regional and national level.
Ronele is on the National Board of Directors for the Public Relations Society of America serving on the Leadership Academy Task Force, the Strategic Planning Committee and the Finance Committee (2016 and 2017). Previously she chaired the 2015 and 2016 PRSA Brand Marketing Task Force, charged with the society’s branding research study and implementation strategy. Ronele also serves on the Nevada Women’s Fund Board and is the 2017 Marketing Chair.
Work completed on behalf of RAD’s clients has garnered several awards including receiving a 2017 Bronze Anvil along with numerous Silver Spike Awards of Excellence from her local PRSA chapter.
Faith, family and friends are her priorities and help to keep her balanced.
Debra Bethard-Caplick, MS, MBA, APR, is a founding partner of Quicksilver Edge Strategic Communications, a boutique public relations firm providing veteran expertise to clients with a focus on healthcare, governmental and generational communication issues. The the firm's name, Quicksilver, is another name for liquid mercury and is a humorous nod to the evolving hair color of the partners and the firm’s responsiveness. She is an adjunct PR instructor at DePaul University, a past chair of PRSA Midwest District and president of PRSA Suburban Chicago and the chapter's longtime PRSA Assembly delegate. She is a life member of the International Association of Business Communicators, the Immediate Past Chief Ambassador of the Illinois Jaycees, and travels the country as a trainer and public speaker on communications issues.
In addition to her Silver Anvil and Gold Quill Award-winning client work, she serves as the professional adviser to the PRSSA chapter at Olivet Nazarene University, #PRLove!, blogs on the fun and foibles of the public relations profession at www.APRwriter.com and collects memorabilia on PR history. She's currently working on a book on public relations for the non-communications executive, and is happy to debate the value of the Oxford comma with anyone.
She lives with her husband and five “furry children” (dogs) in Chicago and in her spare time goes camping and fly fishing in her vintage 1968 Ritz Craft camper with the Sisters on the Fly, a women’s outdoor adventure group where she is Sister #5726.
Debra earned her B.S. degree from Illinois State University in 1988, and her M.S. in Management-Public Relations and MBA degrees from the University of Maryland in 2007. She has been Accredited in Public Relations since 2001.
Category: Midwest District Director
As vice president of strategic communications, Kevin Waetke leads internal and external
communications efforts for the National Pork Board based in Des Moines, Iowa. With other
members of the Board's senior management team, he plays a critical role in defining and leading
the national communications strategy, and delivering clear and consistent messages to America’s
pork producers, national media, opinion leaders, consumers and other key audiences. Waetke
grew up on a century hog farm in eastern Iowa and uses this experience daily in his interaction
with the 15 producer board members of the Pork Checkoff, as well as with the numerous producer
committees that are led by volunteer pig farmers.
He joined the Pork Checkoff in 2013 and in that time assisted the National Pork Board in defining
and implementing its new vision, mission and five-year strategic plan. With a combination of
agriculture and communications experience, he is excited to be part of a team that shares the
story of U.S. pork production and helps to shape the dialogue and build relationships with the
industry's key players on a national and global level.
On a national level, Waetke is currently a member of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance
communications committee, where he co-leads a sub-committee focused on research and
message development. People have an emotional connection with food and currently the U.S. food
production industry is facing ongoing cynicism and criticism about how food is produced. The
USFRA is an organization of 100 farm and agriculture-related industries with a sole mission of
sharing the story of modern agricultural production. Waetke helps to shape this story through the
development of communications tools. He travels the country in support of USFRA and the
National Pork Board, speaking to organizations and participating in the ongoing dialogue about
food production, agriculture, social responsibility and consumer outreach.
Prior to joining the National Pork Board, Waetke spent 10 years leading communications in the
U.S. financial services industry. He previously worked at life insurance and annuity leader Aviva
USA, and, prior to that, as the communications director for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. At Aviva
USA, Waetke was the Assistant Vice President of corporate communications and had dual roles
of building the Aviva brand in the U.S. following its acquisition by London-based Aviva plc, and
defending the life insurance and annuity business model from critics.
During his seven years with Wells Fargo – from 2003 to 2010 – he directed national media
relations outreach during the height of the U.S. financial downturn. During those years, Waetke led
the development of community outreach and education programs designed to assist homeowners
in modifying their housing debt. The balance of his final three years at Wells Fargo were spent in
daily communications with major national news media including the Wall Street Journal, USA
Today, the Associated Press, National Public Radio, national television networks (NBC, CBS,
ABC, CNN) and the Reuters and Dow Jones newswires.
Professionally, Waetke has also led public relations for Maytag Corporation (Newton, Iowa) in
2003, just prior to its acquisition by Whirlpool. He was director of corporate communications for
MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company (1997-2003) and was recognized for his crisis
communications and emergency preparedness. He began is PR career in health care at Mercy
Medical Center (1992-1997).
He is also a former news reporter and assignment editor for WHO-TV (1986-1991), and also
worked in television news at KWWL-TV (Waterloo, Iowa), WQAD-TV (Moline, Illinois) and KWQCTV
(Davenport, Iowa). Waetke credits his years as a news reporter in shaping his professional
public and media relations skills, and his ability to distill complex information into easily
understandable concepts. The ability to connect with individuals on a personal basis and then
share their stories through words and video are the building blocks of proactive communications.
In 2013, he served as an adjunct professor to the Drake University School of Journalism and Mass
Communications, teaching a course in crisis communications and reputation management. He
has both graduate and undergraduate degrees in Journalism and Mass Communications from
Drake University, Des Moines.
Waetke is married and has two children from a previous marriage and two step-children. He and
his family live in Johnston, Iowa.
Category: Midwest District Director
Significant strategic communications experience. Focused on strategizing, planning, directing and implementing public relations, marketing, digital communications and social media initiatives across a variety of industries, including consumer products, real estate development, retail, financial products and services, health care, timber, energy, professional services, manufacturing, education, agriculture and more.
Executive Vice President - Public Relations
July 2012 – Present
Manage and grow agency team while leading public relations strategy or projects for dozens of clients, including Quarles & Brady, The Corners of Brookfield, Rio Tinto, Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association, Lung Cancer Alliance, GE Healthcare, U.S. Cellular, Kohler Co. and others.
Executive Vice President
Zeppos & Associates - Public Relations
July 1994 – July 2012 (at which time firm was acquired by Laughlin Constable)
Positions at Company Included:
Director of Client Services
Senior Account Executive
Clients represented include MillerCoors, Krispy Kreme, Wisconsin Gas/Guardian Pipeline, 7-Eleven, Eli Lilly, b.d.'s Mongolian Grill, Second Harvest of America, Milwaukee Public Schools and many other businesses and organizations.
Assistant Director of Community Relations
Milwaukee Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence
Apr 1992 – July 1994
Hold a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Wisconsin, with double majors in Journalism and Political Science.
Category: Midwest District Director
Janelle Guthrie, APR, is the communications director for Washington’s Employment Security Department, the state agency that partners with public and private organizations to connect employers with a skilled workforce, collects unemployment insurance taxes and provides a safety net for workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
She manages a team of eight communications professionals, develops the agency’s strategic communications direction and advises the Commissioner and leadership team on their internal and external communications needs.
She serves on multiple interagency teams, including those working to help publicize efforts to fight fraud, increase veterans’ employment and develop an employee value proposition that will attract and retain a strong state government workforce. She’s also a member of the communications steering committee for the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, a group she helped re-establish when she joined the Employment Security Department.
Janelle started her public relations career as a lobbyist for a 60,000-member agricultural organization in Olympia, where she taught members how to advocate for their issues, wrote regular columns for the organization’s newsletter and helped raise awareness for the group’s issues before the Washington State Legislature.
She then joined the Washington State Legislature as a public information officer in the state Senate, where she handled the communications needs of five Senators, including drafting talking points, news releases and newsletters as well as planning town halls and media tours. She also developed the caucus’ first website, served on bipartisan teams to support workplace volunteerism and giving, and help lead the YMCA Youth Legislature team from the Olympia area.
She left the Legislature to join the Microsoft Corp. as executive communications program manager. In that role, she managed internal communications strategies for Microsoft’s top executives, including conducting quarterly “Executive Chat” broadcasts from the Microsoft studios to employees’ desktops, writing articles for the Micronews and hosting monthly “Executive Brown Bags” with executives and employees.
Senate leaders recruited her back to serve as communications director, where she joined the leadership team, helped develop the caucus strategy and managed as many as 14 public information officers, constituent relations staff and interns.
She left the Senate to join the Office of Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna in 2005, where she served as media relations manager, then communications director and eventually as deputy chief of staff of operations, overseeing the communications, human resources, information technology, facilities and financial services divisions of the office. As communications director for McKenna, Janelle led teams in implementing initiatives to fight underage alcohol abuse as well as methamphetamine, tobacco, and prescription drug addiction. She also helped McKenna promote transparency in government, prevent identity theft and raise awareness about domestic human trafficking.
She was active in the National Association of Attorneys General communications committee and helped plan several NAAG Public Information Officer summits. In 2011-12, she and her counterpart from Iowa led a bipartisan team of communicators who developed the NationalMortgageSettlement.com website and executed the communications strategy to announce the historic multistate mortgage settlement that provided more than $50 billion in direct relief to borrowers and payments to states affected by wrongdoing in the mortgage industry.
A leader among state attorneys general communications professionals with a solid reputation in local public relations thanks to her involvement in PRSA, she retained her role as communications director for the Attorney General’s Office in 2013 when Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson took office. She and her team helped him through his transition and well into his first term before she left to join the state’s Employment Security Department in July 2014.
Janelle’s commitment to community service and leadership dates back to high school where she served in a variety of leadership positions, including senior class president. Janelle was active in the Society of Professional Journalists’ student organization, was a leader in her sorority and served three years on her college newspaper before graduating with honors from Washington State University, majoring in Communications and Political Science.
She joined the Public Relations Society in 1996 and led the Olympia Communicators group for several years before agreeing to lead the PRSA Puget Sound Chapter South Sound group. She joined the PRSA Puget Sound Chapter Board in 2003, served as membership liaison, nonprofit seminar liaison, programming chair and sponsorship chair then became chapter president in 2008 and served as ethics officer, volunteer coordinator and nominating committee chair in the final year of her board term.
After completing her term in 2009, the North Pacific District nominating team recruited her to join the district board in 2010. She became district chair in 2011 then led the National District Council in 2012, the same year she served on the National Nominating Committee, representing the North Pacific District.
Janelle joined the PRSA National Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS) in 2013 and also served as her chapter’s National Assembly Delegate from 2014-16. She’s currently co-chair of the BEPS chapter outreach committee and a member of the PRSA Puget Sound 60th Anniversary Gala Committee.
In her free time, she volunteers in community and professional organizations. She’s a sustaining member of the Junior League of Olympia, a national committee chair for the International Association of Workforce Professionals (IAWP), and communications/marketing chair for both the Thurston County Relay for Life to raise funds for the American Cancer Society and Thurston County United Way Women United.
Over her career, she’s won multiple public relations awards. She was named to the Business Examiner’s 40-under-40 in 2010 and won the 2016 International Association of Workforce Professionals Administrator of the Year award and its 2017 Individual Award of Merit.
She lives in Tumwater, Washington, with her husband and their cat.
Category: North Pacific District Director
For nearly three decades, Michelle Egan has applied her strategic communication skills to advance the reputations of government, non-profit and private sector organizations. Her career includes public relations positions at Junior Achievement, Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, the Anchorage School District and Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.
Accredited in 2001, Michelle has volunteered with PRSA for 15 years and was president of the Alaska chapter in 2016. Michelle mentors others in the workplace and in the public relations community; as professional advisor for the University of Alaska PRSSA chapter, she’s enjoyed helping students grow into successful PR practitioners.
Michelle’s passion for the community and social justice runs deep as she volunteers her time with Special Olympics, Campfire USA, Catholic Social Services, and Covenant House. She is sought after as a public speaker and trainer and is considered an expert on topics such as message development, crisis communications, ethics and advising leaders.
EDUCATION AND ACCREDITATION/DESIGNATIONS
B.A., Psychology, Boston College, summa cum laude, May 1988
M.A., Strategic Communication and Leadership, Seton Hall University, with honors, March 2012
Accredited in Public Relations since 2001
Member, College of Fellows, 2016
Corporate Communications Director, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, Anchorage, Alaska
I direct internal and external communications for company of 800 employees, charged with operating the TransAlaska Pipeline System. Reporting to the president and serving on the six-member executive team, I am responsible for all aspects of formal company stakeholder, media and government relations, crisis communication and philanthropy. I advise the executive team on strategic communication issues, develop the board-approved communications strategy and oversee a budget of $3.5 million. I supervise staff of seven as well as government relations and consulting contractors. I serve as a member of the Crisis Management Team during critical incidents. Issue and crisis management is a key responsibility given the iconic nature of TAPS and a history that includes the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.
October 1998-July 2008
Communications Director, Anchorage School District, Anchorage, Alaska
As a direct report to the superintendent and member of her cabinet of six key leaders, I oversaw communications for the 82nd largest public school district in the US. I managed a budget of $2 million and staff of 11, carrying out community, media, government and employee relations. My department included two print shops, the district switchboard and a cable TV station. I developed and implemented customer service and communications training for 90 district schools and deployed the district’s first telephonic parent notification system. I initiated a research program measuring stakeholder satisfaction. Strategic communication efforts resulted in steady growth in public satisfaction. I oversaw crisis communications through two labor strikes, a major school fire and several school violence incidents.
June 1995-September 1998
External Programs Director, Anchorage Economic Development Corp, Anchorage, Alaska
I managed communications for the organization marketing Anchorage to businesses on a local, national and international level. I created and published corporate marketing materials, including brochures, proposals and feasibility studies. Most materials were translated into several languages. My media relations program resulted in frequent print, radio and television coverage. I initiated and implemented a change in the logo and positioning statement and developed brand standards. I coordinated special events involving up to 600 attendees.
August 1989-May 1995
Program Manager (1989-1991), Director of Operations (1991-1994), Development Director (1994-1995), Junior Achievement of Alaska, Anchorage, Alaska
Hired to bring economic education to Alaska’s rural communities, I developed and implemented an outreach program that touched every region in Alaska. I recruited, trained and managed more than 200 volunteers annually. I carried out PR activities, including frequent public speaking, writing news releases and PSAs, publishing newsletters and participating in trade shows. Promoted to director of operations, I oversaw the staff of three. As development director, I managed fund raising, organized events and wrote grant proposals.
Alaska State Chamber of Commerce, board member (2009-2016)
Catholic Social Services, board member (2007-2016), development and advocacy chair
Council of Great City Schools, PR Executives, member (2000-2008)
National School Public Relations Association, member (1998-2008)
Public Relations Society of America, Alaska Chapter, volunteer (2001-2016), board member (2003-2006; 2009-2016), president (2016)
Special Olympics Alaska, volunteer (1999-present) media and VIP liaison, auction emcee
The Imaginarium, board member (2004-2008)
*additional detail in pro-bono section
Category: North Pacific District Director
Taraneh (terre-UH-nay) Fultz, APR, got her start in public relations at the age of 17, when she was recruited by a publicist at Terry Hines and Associates who’d seen her using her high school newspaper’s film and television beat to build relationships with Bay Area film critics. That internship sparked a lifelong love of the profession, as well as a commitment to mentoring new professionals.
Taraneh works at Cambia Health Solutions (2015-present) where she manages integrated marketing communication strategy for the trade association and labor and trust lines of business in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington markets. Key association clients include City and County Insurance Services, Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish County, Associated Industries, GeekWire, and Costco Wholesale. She is also the chair (and former programming chair) of Cambia's Women's Employee Leadership Lab, which celebrates its fifth anniversary this year.
Taraneh is accredited in public relations by the Universal Accreditation Board, holds a certificate in project management from Portland State University and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations from the University of Oregon. The Portland Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America awarded her their 2007 New Professional of the Year. Taraneh, who has both American and Iranian citizenship, lives in Portland, Ore., with her native Oregonian husband, Joe, and two dogs, Oliver and Josephine. Find her on Twitter @taranehfultz.
ADDITIONAL PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE (post university)
Marketing Communications Specialist, Swagelok Northwest, 2012-2015
Public Relations Coordinator, ClearEdge Power, 2010-2011
Account Manager, Woloshin Communications, 2007-2009
Marketing Communications Specialist, PECO Manufacturing, 2006-2007
Proposal Manager, Merchandising Technologies, Inc., 2006
Co-chair, Communicators Conference, 2007 and 2008
Category: North Pacific District Director
Megan Brown, APR is a 1989 graduate of the University of Texas, College of Communications with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism. She began her non-profit career with the American Red Cross and joined the American Cancer Society in 1996, managing fund raising and public relations efforts. She has held numerous positions with the American Cancer Society with increasing levels of responsibility and scope, including her current role as regional director of marketing. Brown’s experience includes leading the development and managing implementation of strategic communications plans supporting fund raising and mission program implementation across a six-state geography.
American Cancer Society:
Senior Director, Field Communications, Mid-South Division, 2014 - 2017
Director, Communications Strategy Integration, 2013 - 2014
Sr. Director, Communications and Marketing, 2006 – 2013
Division Director, Communications and Marketing 2002-2006
Regional Director, Communications and Marketing, 1998-2002
Development Representative, Mid-South Division, Region 2, 1997-1998
American Red Cross:
National Specialist, Health and Safety, October 1992 – February 1996
In 2009, Brown was selected by the American Cancer Society as a leadership coach and certified to coach organizational leaders as a member of the Nationwide Coaching Cadre. In addition, she received leadership coaching for one year. In 2011, she was selected for the two-year Nationwide Leadership Development Program through a competitive, nationwide nomination process.
Brown has been a member of PRSA since 2001, serving as an assembly delegate and director-at-large for the chapter’s board of directors. She earned accreditation in public relations in 2006. Brown is a recipient of the 2012 J. Carrol Bateman Award of Excellence and the 2014 Harvey I. Cobert Award for significant contributions to the profession of public relations and the Volunteer Chapter. Brown also served as accreditation chair for the Volunteer Chapter, 2012 - 2016.
Category: Southeast District Director
M. Eilene Wollslager, PhD, APR
Dr. Eilene Wollslager is an assistant professor of public relations and journalism at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. She has been teaching communication at the university level since 2003. She holds a PhD in communication studies from Regent University, a master’s degree in communication studies from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX and graduated magna cum laude with an undergraduate degree in broadcasting and broadcast business from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri.
Dr. Wollslager had a 20-year career in media and public relations before returning to academia. She has her Accreditation in Public Relations from the Public Relations Society of America. Her work experience includes public relations positions for USAA, the National Pork Producers Association, HCA-affiliated hospitals, and religious organizations. Dr. Wollslager’s media career included on-air positions at Texas Pubic Radio, Radio Kansas, KXCV-Maryville, MO, Iowa Pubic Television and KQTV in St. Joseph, MO. She also worked as an automotive and real estate editor for the "Shreveport Times."
She served on the Board of Directors of the San Antonio PRSA Chapter for the past three years. She was the Vice President of Programming and now serves as a liaison with the OLLU PRSSA chapter. She was an At-Large delegate for the 2016 PRSA International Leadership Assembly. Dr. Wollslager served as a judge for PRSA chapter awards, on APR Readiness Review Boards and as an APR mentor.
She is an active researcher in crisis public relations, the history of women in public relations and computer-mediated communication.
Category: Southwest District Director
Kristen Turley, APR, currently serves as communications specialist for Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P., an oil transportation and storage company based in Tulsa, Okla. She has more than 20 years experience in both corporate and agency environments for various industries, including oil and gas, consumer electronics, publishing and more.
Turley graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Northwestern -- St. Paul in Minnesota in 1996. She is an active PRSA volunteer, having served on chapter, district and section boards in various roles. She currently serves as past president for the Tulsa chapter for the second time, accreditation co-chair and professional development chair. Turley is also a graduate of Leadership Tulsa, class 35.
Category: Southwest District Director
Bob “Pritch” Pritchard, APR, Fellow PRSA, Captain, U.S. Navy, (Retired), has more than 25 years of professional experience as a public relations practitioner and more than 15 years experience as a public relations educator. He assumed his present position in August 2009 teaching public relations in the Gaylord College and advising Lindsey + Asp, the College’s Nationally Affiliated student-run advertising and public relations firm. He is also Faculty Adviser to the Stewart Harral PRSSA Chapter at OU.
In May 2015, he joined The Golding Group (www.thegoldinggroup.com) as partner and chief strategic counsel. When not teaching, he brings more than 40 years of experience in public relations, “big picture” communications thinking and executive mentoring to bear to help businesses and non-profit organizations attain long-term, sustainable growth.
Before joining the Gaylord faculty, Pritch was a tenured associate professor and public relations sequence coordinator at Ball State University. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, he served as Faculty Adviser for the Nationally Affiliated, student-run firm, Cardinal Communications, selected as the top student-run firm in PRSSA in 2008. He also advised the Ball State chapter of PRSSA.
In 2004, he was named the outstanding PRSSA Faculty Adviser. He was Ball State University’s Outstanding Junior Faculty Member for the 2005-2006 academic year.
Pritch was inducted in the PRSA College of Fellows in 2004. He has been very active at the national level, having served on more than a dozen PRSA task forces and committees, including the 2017-2019 Strategic Planning Committee and the Conversion & Retention Task Force. He’s been a member of the PRSA Educational Affairs Committee since 2005 and is past chair of the PRSA Educators Academy (2005-2007). In 2013, he was selected as the PRSA Outstanding Educator and was the 2011-2015 PRSSA National Faculty Adviser.
At the Chapter level, Pritch has served as ethics officer, director of professional development and assembly delegate for the Hoosier Chapter and as accreditation chair for the OKC Chapter.
An expert in crisis communication, he has published numerous articles in national trade publications and academic journals and presented dozens of papers at academic conferences.
In 2002, as the crisis communications expert on The Rendon Group training team under DOD contract, Pritch helped develop a crisis communications structure and a process to improve the crisis management capabilities of the Colombian armed forces. He also trained key members of the Colombian Armed Forces General Staff, Colombian Chief of the Air Force staff and Colombian Chief of Naval Operations staff on how that structure and process worked and on the principles of effective crisis communications.
In 2008 and the first half of 2009, he led a $2.5M Department of Homeland Security cooperative agreement to provide advanced crisis communication training to 9-1-1 managers, Public Information Officers, Agency heads and crisis management decision makers.
Pritch received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Phillips University in 1974 and a Master of Arts in Public Relations from Ball State University in 1988.
Pritch was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy in 1974 and immediately started pilot training. He was awarded his Wings of Gold in August 1976. Following initial training in the A-7E Corsair II at NAS Lemoore, California, he was assigned to Attack Squadron TWENTY-FIVE, where he served until March 1978.
After being medically grounded, he reported to the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) where he served as the Public Affairs Officer (PAO) until June 1980. He was accepted for change of designator to 1650 (Special Duty, Public Affairs) in March 1980. His first public affairs assignment was as an instructor and Public Affairs Officers Course coordinator at the Defense Information School, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana.
In June 1983, he reported as the Assistant PAO, U.S. Sixth Fleet, Gaeta, Italy, where he served for two years. Among the crisis communications challenges he faced in this assignment were the terrorist bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, and the subsequent air strikes in that country.
He was then assigned to the Navy News Desk in the Office of the Chief of Information, Department of the Navy in the Pentagon from June 1985 to June 1988, where he served as principle spokesperson for a number of sensitive Navy issues including the attack on the USS STARK and the capture of the Achilli Lauro pirates.
That assignment was followed by two years as the PAO, Commander, Naval Air Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, where he was responsible for all public relations matters involving the men and women, aircraft carriers, aircraft and air stations in the Pacific.
In 1990, he was assigned as PAO, Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, the first public relations expert assigned to the Navy SEALs. During that time, he successfully planned and executed the media relations plan that allowed the SEALs story to be told upon returning from Desert Storm. He also planned and executed a family information and support network that kept spouses and families up to date on SEAL deployments, a first for the SEALs.
In June 1992, Pritch reported for duty as the Deputy Chief of Public Affairs, United States Pacific Command, Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, where he served until September 1995. Here, he was responsible for all U.S. military public relations activities for an area of jurisdiction that covers more than fifty percent of the world's surface, sixty percent of the world's population, thirty-six countries, twenty territories, and ten possessions of the United States.
Pritch was promoted to Captain in 1995 and assigned as Chief, Public Affairs, United States Strategic Command, Omaha, Nebraska until July 1999. There, he directed all U.S. military public relations activity for the nation’s global strike and strategic deterrence forces.
He culminated his naval service as the Director of Public Affairs for United States European Command, Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany, from August 1999 until his retirement from the Navy in August 2001. There, he directed all U.S. military public relations activity throughout the European Command's 91 countries and 13 million square miles in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.
Category: Southwest District Director
Sam Sims, APR has been part of the US Fleet Tracking family since 2009 and joined full time as the Director of Public Relations and Marketing in 2010 after serving as the account director within a national public relations agency. His primary role for the organization is to achieve the company's business objectives through fostering communications between the organization and all of its target markets.
Sam's lengthy career in public relations and marketing has been honed through architectural, engineering, energy, medical, science, technology, and arts industries where he has realized successes in communication planning, development, media relations and crisis situations.
He is heavily involved in the public relations industry and is a Director of the Public Relations Society of America’s National Board since 2016. Sam is a Past Chairman for PRSA's Technology Section, a Past Chairman of PRSA’s District Council and a former Chairman of PRSA’s Southwest District. He is a Past President of the Oklahoma City chapter of PRSA, and continues his local leadership capacity by serving as the Website Co-Chairman, which he's held since 2000.
Sam's commitment to his career was accentuated in 2005 when he received national accreditation in public relations from the Universal Accreditation Board.
He was named one of the “Achievers Under 40” by Journal Record magazine in 2007, one of the "Forty Under 40" by OKCBusiness in 2005 and selected “Outstanding Young Professional in Public Relations” in 2003.
As a featured speaker at conferences and association meetings for more than 15 years, Sam shares his knowledge of communications strategies and techniques within emerging technologies. Sam is committed to growing and developing his community, where he serves in leadership capacities among the board of directors for the United Way of Canadian County and is a past board member of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Orchestra League and Red Bud Classic. He also serves on the Heartline Development Committee. Sam is a former marketing committee member for the Arts Council of Oklahoma City and for the United Way of Central Oklahoma.
Category: Southwest District Director
Joseph Abreu, APR, is an award-winning public relations professional who has served as the Communications Manager for the Clerk of the Circuit Court of St. Lucie County. In his role, he is responsible for external, internal, strategic and crisis communications, as well as media relations and reputation/brand management. Joseph currently sits on on the boards of the Fort Pierce Area Council and the St. Lucie County Leadership Alumni Council, and he is an honorary member of the Port St. Lucie Bar Association. He is a 2015 graduate of Leadership St. Lucie class and a 2009 graduate of Palm Beach County's Leadership Focus class.
Prior to being recruited to St. Lucie County, Joseph worked at the Clerk and Comptroller's and Tax Collector's offices of Palm Beach County. Prior to joining the public sector in 2008, he directed communications, special events and development for Compass, one of the largest gay and lesbian community centers in the country. He began his career working for a variety of boutique PR firms before joining Edelman Public Relations Worldwide in Miami. Joseph has been a proud PRSA member since 2003, and was previously a PRSSA Alpha Chapter member at The University of Florida. He is a Florida native and now lives in Port St. Lucie with his husband of 11 years.
Bachelors of Science in Public Relations, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Accreditation in Public Relations, Universal Accreditation Board
Clerk of the Circuit Court, St. Lucie County
Communications Manager since March 2013
• Implemented and managed internal and external communications, social media, websites, public affairs, media relations, crisis communications, video production/editing, branding, external and employee events, marketing campaigns, strategic plans, sponsorships/promotions, charitable giving, and employee professional development programs
• Revamped office’s website, securing an average increase of $25,000/month in case payments and $2,000/month in Self-Service Center court packets sales
• Helped institute online juror check-in system with redesigned jury summons
• Trained staff on media law, FOIA, media relations, and public records exemptions to improve accuracy of document processing and media relations
• Secured national and local awards, including the National Association of Counties’ Achievement Award in Fiscal Management; the Government Finance Officers Association’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting and Popular Annual Financial Reporting Award; Outstanding Achievement Award in websites by the Interactive Media Council; the United Way’s Paul J. Hiott Award for Community Volunteerism; and the St. Lucie County Human Resource Association’s Best Place to Work Award
Tax Collector, Palm Beach County
Civic Engagement Manager Oct. 2012 - March 2013
• Directed award-winning public affairs campaigns designed to expand outreach and education efforts among thousands of county citizens and key community opinion leaders and stakeholders
• Introduced new strategies designed to maximize educational efforts and change attitudes and behaviors about the Constitutional Tax Collector’s office
• Represented the agency, educating the public about its services and the effects of county & state policy initiatives
• Managed public affairs inquiries by the Constitutional Tax Collector, the Florida Tax Collector's Association, community leaders, agency stakeholders, and other elected or appointed officials
• Wrote copy for all external communications, including collateral materials and electronic communications to more than 17,000 people
Clerk & Comptroller, Palm Beach County
Senior Communications Strategist Jan. 2008 - Oct. 2012
• Developed and implemented strategic communication and marketing plans, including media relations/publicity, employee relations, special events, crisis communications, community relations, and sponsorships/promotions
• Implemented numerous community outreach and education initiatives designed to improve efficiencies and customer relations while creating awareness about the office, county finances and/or court services.
• Developed and streamlined office’s visual brand to effectively communicate agency values and identity to key publics
• Managed multiple award-winning special events campaigns, garnering record-setting publicity for the office
• Managed media relations for international, national and local television and print media
• Wrote, edited external and internal communications and speeches for the office
• Designed and created ad copy for collateral materials and presentation videos to promote the office and assist customers
Compass, LGBT Community Center of the Palm Beaches
Communications & Events Manager Feb. 2004 - Jan. 2008
• Implemented and managed internal and external communications, social media, websites, public affairs, media relations, crisis communications, video
• Managed communications and development departments responsible for producing multiple annual community events and activities, raising nearly $500,000 with a total of 15,000 in attendance
• Developed award-winning public relations campaign to maximize exposure for the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's traveling exhibit, resulting in nearly five million media impressions and the expansion of services through nearly $250,000 in donations and pledges
• Produced and edited multiple community print and online publications promoting the center and its services with a total circulation of 750,000 annually
• Managed all media relations and event promotions with major radio and television stations, and print publications
• Managed the center programming, member activities and fundraising efforts
Jan Mitchell & Associates, Inc., Pompano Beach
Account Executive July 2003 - Feb. 2004
• Organized media promotions and publicity for independent films, ensuring more than 10,000 media impressions weekly
• Wrote client proposals and reports outlining media coverage and public impressions
• Conducted research on independent films through study groups, interviews and surveys at private screenings
Edelman Public Relations Worldwide, Miami
Assistant Account Executive May 2003 - Nov. 2003
• Assisted in the development of strategic communications plans for companies in the entertainment, health care and service industries
• Wrote media releases and advertorials designed to secure coverage for clients, including Cancun Convention &Visitors Bureau
• Developed media lists and client reports
Category: Sunshine District Director
With more than 20 years of experience in communications, Annabel Beyra has led integrated programs for companies in a wide array of industries including technology and consumer electronics, travel and tourism, real estate, healthcare, food and beverage and logistics and transportation.
In 2005, Annabel was named a “Heavy Hitter in Public Relations” by the South Florida Business Journal for her work in creating strategic public relations campaigns that help companies meet their communications goals.
During her time as vice president of public relations for GrupoUno International, a full-service marketing communications firm, Annabel’s clients included Palm Latin America, Samsung, Yahoo! en español and DHL. At Fusion, she has represented such clients as VMware, AOC, Medtronic and CBRE.
Annabel has demonstrated her mastery of strategic communications by earning the Accredited in Public Relations designation from the Public Relations Society of America. She has served PRSA’s Miami chapter in numerous leadership roles including 2011 chapter president, assembly delegate and 2016 district conference co-chair.
Beyra earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a Master of Science in Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. She also studied at Florida International University.
Category: Sunshine District Director
With more than 30 years as a public relations, marketing communications, public outreach, and crisis
communications counselor, Cathy Morley Foster has extensive experience with leading companies
and organizations on developing strategic consumer, business-to-business, and socially responsible
programs. She has communications expertise for government agencies, non-profits, and the
environment, plus technology, healthcare, and consumer products.
For the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Cathy co-led the statewide earthquake
preparedness program. For CALSTART, an advanced transportation consortium, she co-led the launch
and ongoing communications of this important statewide initiative. She also has worked with the Santa
Monica Bay Restoration Project, California Coastal Commission, California Rangeland Trust, and the
U.S. EPA, in addition to McDonald’s, Consumer Credit Counseling Service, and Baskin-Robbins Ice
At Fleishman-Hillard, Cathy orchestrated public relations programs for seasoned and start-up technology organizations, including BEA Systems and Captus Networks. She has expertise in creating customer advocacy/reference programs for Cisco, Citrix, Alcatel-Lucent, Maxtor, and Sun Microsystems. For Cisco, Cathy also helps guide the public relations program for its industry-leading security products, solutions, and services, considered one of the company's most important lines of business.
Cathy is past president of the PRSA San Francisco, served as vice president, professional development, and helped launch the chapter's Young Professionals organization. She is past chair and treasurer of the San Francisco Public Relations Round Table, the oldest public relations organization in the U.S. She was vice president for Los Angeles Advertising Women, and served on the executive board of the Counselor's Section for PRSA Los Angeles.
Cathy served on the public relations boards for International Starlight Foundation and Women in
Technology International. She has received numerous awards, including those from PRSA San
Francisco, PRSA Los Angeles, Publicity Club of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Advertising Women, and
The Holmes Report. Additional honors include Team Player Award from Fleishman-Hillard, and Special
Contributor Award, University of California, Berkeley: Cal Men's Swimming & Diving.
Cathy has spoken at PRSSA's International Conference and at University of San Francisco, University of Southern California, Mt. St. Mary's College, and Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising.
Cathy was graduated cum laude from University of Southern California, with BA degrees in public relations and humanities. She was active in PRSSA, Mortar Board, and Kappa Alpha Theta, serving as chapter president.
Cisco Systems, San Jose, CA 2010-Present
Senior Public Relations Consultant, Security Business Group and Cisco Security Solutions
• Develop strategy, programs to support product/solution, services launches, Annual and Midyear Security Reports, executive thought leadership program for one of company's most important lines of business.
Program Manager, Voice of the Customer Marketing, Security. Plan, manage customer co-marketing and reference program as part of global team.
Activa PR, San Francisco, CA 2010-Present
Senior Consultant. Provide strategic public relations counsel, writing (news releases, case studies, bylined articles), media relations to enterprise technology companies. Clients: Cisco, Saba, M86, Searchmetrics, RedSeal.
Morley Foster Consulting, San Francisco, CA, 2010-Present
Principal. Strategic PR/marketing program development, writing, media relations for global B2B, consumer organizations in technology, healthcare. Clients: Cisco, California Rangeland Trust, Marin General Hospital, John Muir Health, Island Earth Farmers Market.
Fleishman-Hillard/UpStart Communications (Omnicom), San Francisco/Emeryville, CA 1997-2010
Vice President. Head of FH Customer Leverage Practice. Led UpStart consumer tech practice, ran major accounts for deep-tech public relations firm; part of management team, active in new business, FH culture task force liaison, national awards team. Clients: Citrix, Alcatel-Lucent, Fair Isaac, Captus Networks, Visa, HP (Novadigm), Sun, BEA, Cable & Wireless, Maxtor, Fujitsu Interactive, Women in Technology International.
• Broadened customer reference specialty group, playing key role enhancing client PR, marketing, sales for Citrix, Alcatel-Lucent, Maxtor, HP/Novadigm, Cable & Wireless, Sun.
White+Company (BBDO/Omnicom), San Francisco, CA 1995-1997
Vice President, Client Service. Headed client service, PR of integrated marketing firm’s tech, health care clients, plus new business, management. Clients: GTE Mobilnet, Access Health, Digital Sound, The Bulldog Group, Real Value.
• Directed integrated marketing program, 10th anniversary for GTE Mobilnet (now Verizon Wireless), addressing business churn.
Laufer Associates, Los Angeles, CA 1992-1995
Vice President. Headed account staff of public relations/marketing communications firm working with socially responsible companies, organizations; active in new business, management. Clients: California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, CALSTART (advanced transportation consortium of tech, automotive companies, utilities), City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation, IMAX Theaters, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project.
Donna F. Tuttle, Inc., div., Ayer Tuttle, Los Angeles, CA 1991-1992
Vice President/Management Supervisor. Headed daily operations, account activity for public relations division of ad agency, specializing in travel/tourism/hospitality. Clients: Doubletree Hotels, Olson-Travelworld, Iberia Airlines.
Gelman & Gray Communications, Inc. (former consumer division, Bob Thomas & Assoc.), Los Angeles, CA 1985-1990
Senior Vice President, (1987-1990), Vice President/Account Director (1985-1987). As part of management, directed client programs, staffing, budgeting, policy/administration, new business for $2M public relations firm. Clients: Ralphs Grocery Company, Lawry's California Center, Marina Hotels, McDonald's.
Bob Thomas & Associates, Inc., Redondo Beach, CA 1984-1985
Vice President/Account Director. Directed consumer, business-to-business accounts. Clients:
McDonald's, Ashton-Tate, Ralphs, Sitmar Cruises. Active in new business, operations.
Bernheimer & Kline, Inc. (now Golan-Harris), Los Angeles 1978-1984
Vice President/Account Supervisor, (1981-1984), Account Executive (1978-1981).
• Ran top clients of $1M firm, including Baskin-Robbins, Mattel, Spruce Goose, Italian Trade
Commission, KABC Talk radio. Assisted with new business, operations. Public Relations Consultant, Los Angeles 1977-1978
Bob Thomas & Associates, Redondo Beach, CA 1977
• Developed, executed programs for consumer clients Anheuser-Busch (theme parks), Biltmore Hotel, Penndel, Western Harness Racing.
The Broadway Department Stores, Los Angeles 1975-1977
Assistant Public Relations Coordinator
• Assisted in developing, executing public relations/special event programs for 40-store chain in five states.
University of Southern California, Los Angeles 1975
Director, 50th Annual Student News Day
• Created on-campus program for high school and community college students to hear keynote speaker, participate in breakout sessions on various journalism topics, led by USC journalism professors.
BA, Public Relations (School of Journalism), Humanities (Letters, Arts & Sciences), Cum Laude,
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1975
Management, related courses at UCLA, Loyola Marymount University, 1970s/1980s
Category: At-Large Director
A southerner in San Francisco, Scott joined Oracle's marketing communications team in June 2016. In this role, he develops and executes strategic communications campaigns for the Oracle Partner Network and its cloud ecosystem.
Prior to Oracle, Scott was employed (04/2013 to 03/2016) by the integrated communications firm Eastwick, which was acquired by HotwirePR in October 2016. While at the firm he worked with a wide variety of high-tech marketing and communications clients (both B2B and B2C) including lynda.com, TechShop, Zuora, CentraLite Systems, Nasdaq's Entrepreneurial Center, Dell Software and more. Client industries include software as a service (SaaS), energy, education, Internet of Things (IoT), consumer and finance.
His background includes a broad scope of marketing and communications skills, including project management, media and analyst relations, content marketing, web design, ad placement and the like. Storytelling is his forte.
Prior to Eastwick, Scott worked with companies such as Cirque du Soleil, ExxonMobil, Sempra Energy, and Hard Rock Hotel & Casinos for Red Square Agency (12/2010 to 03/2013).
**Advancing the Profession**
Scott began his service with the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) in 2008 when he volunteered to serve as the National Assembly delegate for the University of Southern Mississippi PRSSA Chapter. Then, in 2009, he was unanimously voted in as Chapter President. During his term as President, Scott more than tripled the Chapter's revenue, helped to organize and host the Chapter's first-ever PRSSA Regional Conference, and celebrated the Chapter's 30-year anniversary -- all the while going to class, interning part-time and working with the student-run firm.
In 2010, Scott was elected to serve on the PRSSA National Committee as the Vice President of Career Services. While on the National Committee, Scott made connections and spoke at local, regional and national events on behalf of the society. He personally reviewed hundreds of resumes and cover letters from students across the country. Near the end of his term, he began mentoring the incoming board members and became more active in the local professional chapter.
While there was no local PRSA Chapter in Mobile, Alabama, Scott maintained his PRSA membership and in 2011 became involved in the local chapter of the Public Relations Council of Alabama (PRCA, a member organization of the Southern Public Relations Federation). Volunteering with PRCA, Scott immediately began leveraging PRSSA connections in helping the chapter programs committee find speakers. Former PRSA National Board Chairs Gary McCormick, Mickey Nall and others came to speak at his request. In 2012, he lead the PRCA programs committee as Chair, and in 2013 he was asked to serve as Chapter President. His term was cut short, however, by a career move that took him to California.
Concurrent to his role as President of PRCA Mobile, in 2013 and 2014 Scott served as a PRSSA Liaison for the New Professionals Section Committee. This was a two-year post in which he helped to close the gap between PRSSA and PRSA.
Upon landing in California, Scott continued his involvement with the new professionals section and began volunteering with the Silicon Valley chapter. In 2014, he was asked to serve as the Mentorship Chair for the Silicon Valley Chapter. In this post, for two years, he managed mentorship programs and served as the professional advisor to PRSSA Chapters at San Jose State University and Santa Clara University.
Scott was elected to serve as President-elect and Networking Chair of PRSA Silicon Valley in 2016, in which he was personally responsible for the Chapter's oversold flagship event, Media Predicts, in it's 10th anniversary.
Now in 2017, he serves as President of the Silicon Valley Chapter and in an Ex Officio role as Senior Counsel to the Chair on the PRSA Board of Directors. In addition to his advisory role with the national board, he serves on the investment and thought leadership committees, and was recently selected to serve as the chair of a newly-developed technology committee.
He mentors three students in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has served many times as a scholarship and awards judge for both PRSSA and the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communications (AMEC).
Scott is a 2010 graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in journalism and an emphasis in public relations.
Category: At-Large Director
I began my career in public relations working for an agency in Nashville, Tennessee, following many public relations internships in college (General Electric, Boeing Defense & Space, and East Tennessee Children's Hospital). Following a successful experience with PRSSA, I became involved with the PRSA Nashville Chapter in January 1995. I have held numerous committee positions, completed the officer track and served as President of the Nashville Chapter in 2013. In my PRSA experience, I developed and executed the first PRSSA tour of Nashville, engaging the four chapters we supported at that time with the members and their employers to provide the students a real world experience. As president-elect in 2012, I helped the president establish a permanent PRSA Nashville scholarship fund with our community foundation which ensures that a scholarship will always be available to a student from one of the now five PRSSA chapters that we sponsor. I have taught PR classes at Western Kentucky University and served as the faculty/professional adviser since 2013. I have written letters of support for PRSSA chapters to compete for the Tehan Award, which the Belmont University PRSSA chapter won. I have spoken at PRSSA meetings and classes for Belmont University, Lipscomb University, The University of Tennessee and Western Kentucky University. I also serve on the board of visitors for The University of Tennessee College of Communication and Information. I adhere to and uphold the strongest ethics and have even resigned from a job because of an ethical issue. My belief has always been that my personal brand and trustworthiness is more important than compromising my ethics or values.
In August 2006, I completed the Lipscomb University MBA program with concentrations in healthcare management and nonprofit management. I have used the opportunities provided to me since to incorporate solid PR principles into the executive inner circle as most of my positions have reported to the CEO and earned a spot on the executive management team. The best marriages of my undergraduate PR degree with my MBA have been in smaller nonprofit settings where the communications function is one of my primary responsibilities. I am perhaps most proud of launching a nonprofit organization which serves as the key facilitator to place Tennessee residency trained primary care physicians in rural and underserved communities in Tennessee. In my current job, I am able to use those same skills and lessons learned for Tennessee psychiatry residents, whom I hope will work in Tennessee once their medical training is complete.
Although my positions and responsibilities have morphed and expanded during my career, communications underpins everything I do...how I approach a financial decision, a human resources decision, community or partner development, well, everything. As a chief operating officer, I have the luxury of connecting all of the parts and ensuring that the communications is fluid and consistent through all process and all departments. Perhaps most importantly of all, thank goodness we know how to write!
Category: At-Large Director
COX COMMUNICATIONS VIRGINIA, Chesapeake, VA
Director, Public Affairs (2012-present)
Develop strategic communications plans to support commercial and residential product sales and enhance the company reputation. Provide strategic leadership for all external communications including community outreach, media relations, and crisis and issues management for Virginia’s statewide footprint including markets in Hampton Roads, Northern Virginia and Roanoke. Align regional communications activities with corporate goals and objectives. Lead a team of six public affairs professionals. Lead Cox Virginia’s corporate social responsibility initiatives and the Cox Charities philanthropy. Manage a $3.2 million budget. Co-chaired the Cox Virginia Diversity Council for four years aligning with national diversity goals.
SENTARA HEALTHCARE, Norfolk, VA (2005-2012)
Director, Corporate Communications (2007-2012)
Manager, Corporate Communications (2005-2007)
Direct corporate communications, providing strategic leadership for all internal and external communications for a complex not-for-profit healthcare system operating more than 100 sites of care including 10 acute care hospitals in with 24,000 employees and operating revenue of $5 billion. Develop strategic communications plans to support Sentara products and services and enhance the company reputation. Lead employee and physician communications, media relations, issues and crisis management and merger communications through six mergers. Align field/local communications with corporate goals. Lead a team of eight in Hampton Roads, with matrixed leadership of five team members at field facilities across the state; manage freelancers and PR firm of record. Lead public relations activities for Optima Health, the Sentara health insurance plans, including development of communications strategy for new market and product launches.
THE CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia Beach, VA (1998-2005)
Media and Communications Manager
Serve as senior manager of the Media and Communications division of the City Manager’s Office; develop public communication policy and strategy; provide strategic communications counsel and support to the City Manager, Executive Team, Mayor and City Council and city departments and agencies. Lead public relations, media relations, marketing, and issues and crisis management; align messaging to 6,000 employees; lead division emergency media operations planning; lead four communications professionals.
NORFOLK STATE UNIVERSITY, Norfolk, VA (2002-2003)
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Mass Communications and Journalism
Develop curricula and instruct graduate and undergraduate students in public relations and integrated marketing communications courses at the seventh-largest historically black university in the nation.
PENN STATE COLLEGE OF MEDICINE AT THE MILTON S. HERSHEY MEDICAL CENTER, Hershey, PA (1993 - 1998)
Director of Community Relations, The Penn State Geisinger Health System (1997-98)
Manager of Public Information and Media Relations (1994-97)
Public Relations Coordinator (1993-94)
Develop and implement a strategic community relations and external communications plan for a billion-dollar healthcare system with a service area encompassing two thirds of the state; manage special events, speakers bureau, tour program; support employee communications for the health system and Penn State’s College of Medicine’s 14,000 employees; promote research innovations to local, state and national media; lead employee communications through one of the first mergers in the country of an academic medical center and not-for-profit health system. Lead four professional staff.
YWCA OF GREATER HARRISBURG, Harrisburg, PA (1991-1993)
Community Relations Director (1992-93)
Community Relations Coordinator (1991-92)
Develop and implement a community relations and external communications strategy and serve as lead fundraising/development professional.
DELTA DENTAL OF PENNSYLVANIA, New Cumberland, PA (1990-1991)
Marketing Communications Assistant
Create marketing communications materials and provide support to sales team.
Master of Journalism (1998)
University of Pittsburgh
Bachelor of Arts, Journalism (1989)
Admitted to Kappa Tau Alpha National Honor Society (Journalism) (1989)
Accredited in Public Relations (APR), Public Relations Society of America/Universal Accreditation Board (2000)
Category: At-Large Director
RITA TATEEL is President of The Celebrity Source and has been working in the field of entertainment PR and marketing for close to 30 years. Her agency specializes in matching celebrities with corporate and non-profit campaigns and special events, with access to thousands of stars from film, television, music, sports and fashion, in addition to digital influencers and experts from other industries.
Ms. Tateel started her professional career in the non-profit sector. At age 19 she became the youngest director of an
after-school day care program in the city of Los Angeles and after several years in that position decided to pursue her
under graduate degree in Child Development.
After receiving her Bachelor’s degree, Tateel was accepted into the double master’s program at Hebrew Union College and Washington University in St. Louis, graduating in 1980 with both a Master’s Degree in Jewish Communal Service (MAJCS) and a Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW). The primary focus of Ms. Tateel’s course work was leadership and organizational development.
Upon completing her graduate work, Tateel was immediately hired by the Jewish Federation of St. Louis to head up their leadership development programs for the Young Professionals Division. In 1982 she returned to the west coast and began working for the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles. There she also directed the organization’s Young Professionals group, worked extensively with various boards and committees and eventually became Director of Training & Education,teaching lay volunteers how to raise funds.
Rita Tateel first started meeting celebrities when her position also included being director of the Federation’s speakers bureau. When Tateel eventually decided to leave the organization she was recruited by an acquaintance who started an agency matching celebrities with non-profits. She became a partner and president of Celebrity Connection and in 1988 decided to leave to start her own company, The Celebrity Source.
Most of The Celebrity Source scope of work falls under the umbrellas of public relations and marketing. Over the years, clients of agency have included many divisions of the Walt Disney Company, People Magazine, USA Today, Fox Sports Net, DreamWorks SKG, Nestle, Coca-Cola, ABC, Nintendo, Toyota Motorsports, Mitsubishi, Kodak, Mattel, Purina, Nickelodeon and Allergan, to name a few.
The Celebrity Source has also been hired by some of the top non-profit organizations in the country including Habitat for Humanity, March of Dimes, Special Olympics, American Red Cross, California Department of Health, U.S. Air Force, Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS and the American Diabetes Association.
Ms. Tateel has been interviewed and quoted as a celebrity expert in numerous publications and media sources including CNN, The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, Playboy Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, N.Y. Times, N.Y. Post, PRWeek, USA Today, Complete Woman Magazine, Daily Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, E! Entertainment Television, “EXTRA!,” Financial News Network, A&E and "Entertainment Tonight" among many others. One source said, "She approaches her work with high integrity, honest communication, patience, professionalism and a full understanding of both the needs of the celebrities and the clients she serves." One of Tateel’s clients calls her “the celebrity whisperer” because she is so skilled at getting celebrities to say “yes.”
Rita Tateel has been a long-standing member of the PRSA-LA Board of Directors, stepping down in 2016 after 13
years of service. In 2005, Ms. Tateel helped launch PRSA’s Entertainment & Sports Professional Interest Section, served as cochair of the section in 2005 & 2006 and has served on the section’s Executive Committee to present time. She currently serves on PRSA's national membership committee and is Chair of PRSA's newly created Professional Development Committee.
Rita Tateel is a member of the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, and California Festivals Association. In 1992 she helped found the Association of Celebrity Personal Assistants (ACPA) and currently serves on the board as Director of Membership.
Rita Tateel is also a dynamic and entertaining speaker who specializes in educating her audiences about the “art and
science” of working with celebrities. She is a frequently requested guest lecturer at UCLA, USC, Loyola Marymount
University plus other universities and professional organizations. Tateel has been a speaker, moderator, or panelist for
PRSA and PRSSA International Conferences in ’03, ’04, ’06, ’07, ’09, '15 and for the 2016 PRSA Western District Conference.
Ms. Tateel teaches a PR course at UCLA Extension about working with celebrities and explains to her students that her Master’s Degree in Social Work, but in particular her B.A. in Child Development, come in very handy when working with celebrities.
Rita Tateel lives in Los Angeles with her solar contractor husband, Ted Bavin, and their cats Honey and Brie. Few know, however, that she also won a first place trophy for disco dancing.
Further details about Rita Tateel may be found at Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rita_Tateel.
Category: At-Large Director
Monica Ackerson Ware, APR
Integrated Association Solutions
3462 Parkwood Drive, DeWitt, MI 48820
Direct: 517-749-2322 ~ Office: 517-624-2911
• Nationally accredited communication professional with 20+ years of diverse expertise in public policy, public relations, fund development and association service.
• Strategic association leader with experience guiding the reinvention of associations with budgets under $100,000 to more than $1 million. This includes rebranding; improving internal and external communications; enhancing educational opportunities; revitalizing stale events; building relationships with key partners; and the creation of diversified revenue programs including sponsorship programs, trade shows, PAC events, and directory and magazine advertising sales.
• Two-time recipient of the Michigan Society of Association Executives Diamond Award for Diversified Revenue. Signifies excellence in creating and implementing sponsorship and non-dues revenue programs.
• Committed to teamwork and providing right-size solutions to prevent employee churn.
• Named by peers as the 2017 Central Michigan PRSA PACE Maker of the Year.
Integrated Association Solutions Dec. 2015 - present
Owner/Innovator/Developer of Right-sized Solutions
• Provide comprehensive association management services to Michigan Road Preservation Association, including conference planning, technical services, and daily operations.
• Provide fund development solutions to clients including design and implementation of conference sponsorship programs; execution of major trade shows, including heavy equipment and main stage; conducting advertising sales for directory/magazine; and designing and implementing a full range of non-dues revenue (development) programs.
• Deliver comprehensive public relations services for organizations large and small.
County Road Association (CRA) of Michigan Nov. 2007- Jan. 2016
Communications and Development Manager
• Collaborated with the leadership team to develop and implement the Association’s public relations and fund development strategies.
• Responsible for management of all internal and external communications, including digital platforms, web, email marketing and social media.
• Provided public relations resources, training, and counsel to 83 county road agencies.
• Coordinated workshops and delivered presentations at conferences to educate the membership on emerging PR trends and the execution of local road millage campaigns.
• Established and grew diversified revenue programs, including sponsor programs, the CRA Road Show, and advertising opportunities now generating $200,000 annually.
• Designed and implemented PR campaigns that tell a story and help audiences connect with Michigan’s county road agencies.
• Developed messaging and creative government relations projects to educate lawmakers, the media and the public on the legislative positions and policies of the Association.
Fletcher, Evans and Associates, LLC Jan. 2007- Nov. 2007
• Coordinated fundraising activities for clients on a contractual basis.
• Prepared and delivered presentations on various subjects including developing a strategic fundraising plan, campaign fundraising, and campaign finance compliance.
Courtesy Ford and Courtesy Lincoln Mercury Feb. 2007- May 2007
Director of Marketing
• Designed and implemented marketing plans for the sales, service, parts and body shop divisions of two busy dealerships; including the introduction of an outside sales strategy to build relationships between the dealership and employees of local businesses.
First City Corporation, River Wind Apartments May 1998- May 2007
• Responsible for the operations of a 24-unit Rural Development apartment community.
Michigan House of Representatives
State Representative Kevin Green, Majority Whip Jan. 2005- Jan. 2007
Chief of Staff
State Representative Gary Woronchak Jan. 2003- Dec. 2004
Chief of Staff
State Representative Paul DeWeese, M.D., Majority Whip Jan. 1999- Dec. 2002
Chief of Staff
State Representative Dan Gustafson, Minority Floor Leader Jan. 1996- Dec. 1998
• Developed and implemented incumbency plans; including media relations, brand and image development, legislative plans and management of constituent relations.
• Prepared legislation for introduction and managed bills throughout the legislative process; including preparing detailed analyses, co-sponsorship memos, requests for committee action and committee testimony; and negotiated points of difference with legislators, staff, interest groups and state departments.
• Facilitated Republican whip counts for the 1999-2000 and 2005-2006 legislative sessions. Trusted with confidential caucus information.
• Selected by Director of House Business Office to help develop staff training programs.
• Organized committee agenda and prepared policy for the House Committee on Senior Health, Security, and Retirement (2003-2004). Coordinated activities of the Health Policy Subcommittee on Costs (2005) and the House Republican Task Force on Access to Health Care (1999), including drafting final reports.
• Managed daily operation of the office including human resources, constituent relations, coordinating special events, drafting specialized mailings, database management, and administration of the office budget.
• On a volunteer basis, coordinated political fundraising for legislators and leadership PACs.
• Served three members to end of Legislative careers and the fourth to the end of the first term.
Michigan Republican State Committee Aug. 1995- Jan. 1996
• Assisted in coordination of state committee meetings and 1995 Mackinac Conference.
Education and Certifications:
Hope College; Holland, Michigan 1995
• Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Communications
• Washington, D.C. Honors Semester, Spring 1995
• Internships: Herman Miller, Inc. and U.S. Congressman Vernon J. Ehlers
• Hope College Dean’s List
• Pi Kappa Alpha, National Political Science Honor Society
• Kappa Beta Phi Sorority
Accreditation and Certifications:
• A.P.R. - Nationally Accredited Public Relations Professional, Public Relations Society of America, 2011- present.
• C.P.S.T. - Child Passenger Safety Technician, by Safe Kids Worldwide, 2007-present.
Category: At-Large Director
PRSA needs me. I am an African American female, PR trailblazer that's two parts humble, three parts moxy armed with ten times the enthusiasm needed to serve PRSA in this capacity. As a tenured professor with 18 years of teaching experience, 10+ years of industry experience, I'm prepared to join a team that wants to take any organization that I am a part of to the next level. Need proof?
Masters of Business Administration, Illinois Institute of technology
Masters in Education, Loyola University Chicago
BA, Marketing Communication, Columbia College Chicago
Born in Stuttgart, West Germany and raised on the South Side of Chicago, my initial dreams were to become a singer. Fast forward to my senior year of college, at which time I was named as the FIRST recipient of the PRSA Multicultural Scholarship offered by the Chicago Chapter. This occasion allowed me to ‘hit the ground running’ at several global agencies such as Burrell and Porter Novelli among others upon graduation. And though I have received numerous other awards over the years, the PRSA scholarship remains at the top of my list because it opened the doors to a great career—perhaps not a shared sentiment among African Americans in other media.
My ambassadorship as the inaugural winner of the PRSA Chicago Chapter Scholarship set me on a trajectory for success in the PR field that I wish to pay forward. This is a journey that began with my established mentor/protégé relationship with Cheryl Procter-Rogers (former PRSA National President), who not only presented me with the scholarship but now serves as a friend and confidante. My involvement with PRSA has steadily increased over my nearly 20 year membership with the organization and includes involvement with the Betsy Plank Center; serv ice as a PRSSA advisor and most recently my role on the PRSA Chicago Board of Directors, to name a few. I also regularly attend both local and national PRSA events, most specifically the annual PRSA International conference.
My role as an award-winning PR practitioner at several global agencies including Burrell Communications Group and Porter Novelli early in my career serves as a major influence on my current position in Academia where as a tenured professor. I am afforded the opportunity to counsel students interested in the PR field. I am also fully vested in developing and teaching courses in the communication arena that fall under the multicultural tenet.
During my 17-year tenure as an educator and administrative leader at Columbia, my trajectory includes teaching, faculty and student advocacy and scholarly innovation. My teaching repertoire spans the areas of marketing, advertising, public relations and television including courses that I have developed such as Marketing to Women and Hip Hop Cultural Trends in Advertising. On a national scale, I am a highly sought after speaker whose efforts to educate and motivate members of marginalized groups is regularly noticed by peers, in both academia and industry alike. My signature presentation suite--Women who R.O.A.R.R. (Reject Oppression and Reclaim Respect), is a series of uniquely developed workshops that range from depictions of female “leaders who can” to the necessity for proper depiction of women in the media. Her expansion of this area of scholarship appears in the self-published book, “Unleash the Leader Within You: How to Achieve
the Success that You Deserve,” where she serves as a contributing author.
A self-professed ‘life-long’ learner, my educational background includes a BA in advertising and fiction writing (Columbia College); an MBA (Illinois Institute of Technology) and a M.Ed. (Loyola University Chicago) where I have also complete all doctoral coursework in the same program. I am certified in the Art of Leadership (Lake Forest College of Management), Advanced Advertising (University of Illinois—Urbana) and Toastmasters International. A professional speaker and member of The National Speaker's Association, I am regularly invited to deliver keynote addresses, lectures and workshops in the areas of media, diversity and leadership around the globe.
Beyond Columbia, I serve as President, Alliance for Women in Media, Chicago Chapter (awmchicago.org) which under my leadership over the past year has developed several signature programs including The Media Hall of Femme, which honors female trailblazers in the Chicago Media field. As a result of efforts like these, the Chicago Chapter has DOUBLED its membership under my direction; International Delegate, The Public Relations Society of America, where I serve on the Global Affairs Committee; and Immediate Past Chair, The Executive Women's Committee, The Metropolitan Club Chicago, where I have implemented another signature event--The Woman of the Year Award which is now being considered for adoption by The ClubCorp, one of the largest private club organizations in the nation. Further, I am a 25-year member of The American Marketing Association; A 19-year member, The Public Relations Society of America and a 25-year member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Other memberships include The International Leadership Association, The American Association of University Women, The National Speakers Association, and The Chicago Advertising Federation.
Category: At-Large Director
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Applicants for PRSA 2018 National Board of Directors
The following PRSA members have submitted applications for both officer and director positions on the PRSA 2018 National Board of Directors. The applicants, along with any petitioned candidates, will be presented at the PRSA Leadership Assembly on Sat., Oct. 7 prior to the PRSA 2017 International Conference in Boston, Mass.