PR Now & Next Conference

PR Now & Next Conference

July 20-21, 2017
Price: $1395
Member Price: $1145
  • Increase your recognition—and earn bigger budgets
  • Learn new secrets of getting hired or promoted in PR
  • Fire up brand ambassadors with honest storytelling
  • Shoot videos that move audiences—and boost the bottom line
  • Get a jump on the trends shaping the PR of tomorrow
  • Pitch A-list journalists in a live "pitch tank"

Master what's now • Discover what's next • Get ahead • Stay ahead

Twitter hashtag: #prnow

Can't attend in person? Sign up for our live webcast!

Presented by:     Sponsored by:
Ragan PRSA: Public Relations Society of America PR Daily Incharged

Product Code: Y17CR0CH
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    Featuring keynote presentations from:
    Mike Erwin, director of corporate communications and social media
    Take charge of your career: Exclusive hiring trends and career advice for communicators
    Shannon Cason THE MOTH
    Shannon Cason, host and Mainstage storyteller
    Truth to power! Brutally honest storytelling is the future of PR
    Joseph Ogden, professor of communications

    Be brilliant: Turn "big idea" campaigns into tomorrow's competitive edge
    Also featuring:
    Jenn Herman, author of "The Ultimate Guide to Instagram"
    Take breathtaking Instagram photos: Secrets of a visually stunning feed
    Justina Chen MICROSOFT
    Drew Keller, content developer, video team
    Concept to can: Essential videography skills to save your job
    Michelle Mermelstein SPRINT
    Michelle Leff Mermelstein, media relations manager
    The "write" stuff: Craft a perfect media pitch in less time
    Michele Weldon, professor emerita
    Brave the media pitch tank: 10 seconds to succeed or die
    Gail Marksjarvis CHICAGO TRIBUNE
    Gail Marksjarvis, personal finance reporter
    Brave the media pitch tank: 10 seconds to succeed or die
    Kit Graham, founder and blogger
    Brave the media pitch tank: 10 seconds to succeed or die
    Stephen J. Lewis, features producer
    Brave the media pitch tank: 10 seconds to succeed or die
    Showbiz Shelly B96 RADIO
    Showbiz Shelly, entertainment reporter, co-host (The J Show)
    Brave the media pitch tank: 10 seconds to succeed or die
    Beth Nyland, lead instructor
    Cut the bull! How to write short in the age of "less is more"
    Carolyn Shelby TRONC
    Carolyn Shelby, director of SEO
    How to trend: Get into Google News with a killer headline and lead
    Tony Amrich VIRGIN AMERICA
    Tony Amrich, director of social media
    Oh, Snap! Join the Snapchat party to engage your millennial audience
    Kate Talbot Oh Snap! You Can Use Snapchat for Business
    Kate Talbot, author of "Oh Snap! You Can Use Snapchat for Business"
    Oh Snap! Join the Snapchat party to engage your millennial audience
    G. Andrew Meyer FACEBOOK
    G. Andrew Meyer, creative lead, global marketing
    Next-level Facebook strategies: Interactive ads and new tools to tell—and sell—your story
    Buddy Scalera Dell
    Sarah Luden, global communications consultant
    The future content strategist: Update today's content plans for tomorrow
    Sandra Fathi AFFECT
    Sandra Fathi, president
    State of the union: Future-proof your PR team in the era of fake news, emerging tech and "reputation as currency"
    Siobhan Aalders SHUTTERSTOCK
    Siobhan Aalders, vice president of communications
    State of the union: Future-proof your PR team in the era of fake news, emerging tech and "reputation as currency"
    Shel Holtz, principal
    Communicating in a screenless world: Get ready for chatbots, augmented reality and mixed reality
    Jill Pollack, founder and director
    "Hyperlocal" isn't hype: Tell micro-focused stories for macro results
    Peter Doherty THE WALSH GROUP
    Peter Doherty, director of public relations
    "Hyperlocal" isn't hype: Tell micro-focused stories for macro results
    Louis Gray GOOGLE
    Louis Gray, advocacy team leader, Google Analytics
    The next phase of analytics: Go beyond the numbers to transform data into action


Siobhan Aalders Siobhan Aalders is the vice president of communications at Shutterstock. With more than 15 years of strategic communications experience, she is responsible for building and maintaining a strong brand reputation for Shutterstock as a leading New York technology company with global reach. Prior to joining Shutterstock, Siobhan was the president of Capstan Communications, where she led and oversaw communications strategies for early stage technology companies and startups. Her previous roles include executive vice president of the technology practice at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, senior vice president at Weber Shandwick and director of media relations for APCO Europe. @siobhana
Tony Amrich Tony Amrich is head of social media at Virgin America. Known in the industry as "The Guest Whisperer," Amrich developed a winning process that delights customers through brand marketing and customer communications. He started at Virgin America in 2008 as a guest relations agent and quickly discovered his passion and talent for guest service. Today, he's responsible for leading social concepts for the award-winning airline, from brand marketing campaigns to B2C communications. He has led the social strategy for a number of highly-acclaimed Virgin America campaigns, including its viral #vxsafetydance video. With over 11 million views on YouTube, it's one of the most-watched safety videos of all time. He continues to execute innovative campaigns using social media trends and communications for the airline. @THEmonzie
Shannon Cason Shannon Cason has shared his stories all over the country. He's a host, Mainstage storyteller and GrandSLAM champion with The Moth. He's a regular on NPR's Snap Judgment, and was awarded first place for Best Performance of 2013. Cason has also appeared on countless podcasts and storytelling stages, including TEDx, RISK!, the Third Coast Festival and Podcast Movement, and is seen in an upcoming TV pilot. Recently, he and WBEZ released a one-hour public radio special titled "The Struggle is Real," which aired on stations around the country. His storytelling is featured in the new anthology, "The Moth Presents: All These Wonders." In addition, Cason serves as the chief educator for the Brutally Honest Storytelling workshop series. He has helped organizations, pro athletes and celebrities tell their stories more honestly. @shannoncason
Peter Doherty Peter Doherty is director of public relations at The Walsh Group, where he drives communications to engage and align with the organization's external and internal messaging. He's responsible for raising the organization's reputation and increasing its visibility by working to develop and implement strategic communication strategies across all media. Throughout his career, Doherty has been part of communications teams that have experienced mergers, rebrandings and complete overhauls of marketing tactics. At The Walsh Group he is focused on promoting the firm's numerous business lines across North America, which include aviation, commercial, education, high-rise residential, office, senior living, residential, transportation and water/wastewater. @thebiggreenw @dohertytweets
Mike Erwin Mike Erwin is director of international public relations and social media at CareerBuilder, where he also serves as a senior career advisor. Previously he was director of public affairs at the National Insurance Crime Bureau and manager of public affairs at the Insurance Information Institute. During his 23+ years of public relations experience in the private and public sector, he has also served as an account executive at Ketchum Public Relations. As a spokesperson he has been interviewed on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, NBC Nightly News, ABC World News, CBS Evening News, the Early Show, NPR and Univision. He has also had multiple appearances on FOX News, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC and FOX Business. @mverwin
Sandra Fathi Sandra Fathi is the president of Affect, and has spent the last 20 years helping technology, healthcare and professional services companies achieve their goals. Founding Affect in 2002, a public relations, marketing and social media agency, Sandra started her career as a reporter for a division of Ziff Davis and IDG Tech Network. She went on to work at a number of leading technology firms and one of the top global PR agencies. Her clients have included Apple, EDS, Ericsson, Nokia and Microsoft, as well as innovative start-ups. She is a current board member of the PR Council and has served as Chair of PRSA's Tri-State District, President of PRSA-NY and President of the PRSA Technology Section. She is a sought-after speaker for conferences and events and her expert commentary has appeared in business and industry outlets such as CNN, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc., Huffington Post and U.S. News & World Report. @sandrafathi
Kit Graham Kit Graham is a Chicago-based food and travel blogger and founder of the Windy City Blogger Collective. She is the author of The Kittchen, a site where she shares recipes, restaurant reviews and travel adventures. Her work has been featured on Better Homes & Gardens, MSN, The Everygirl, Refinery 29, Women's Health and dozens of other online publications. In 2013 she wrote her first cookbook, "The Gourmet Grilled Cheese Cookbook," an ode to her favorite meal from childhood. Originally from Maine, Graham moved to Chicago eight years ago and can be found exploring the city's constantly evolving culinary landscape. @thekittchen
Louis Gray Louis Gray is the Google Analytics advocacy team leader. A Googler since 2011, he has nearly 20 years of experience working in high-tech marketing jobs in Silicon Valley and is well known for his technology blog, @louisgray
Jenn Herman Jenn Herman is the author of "The Ultimate Guide to Instagram." She is the forefront blogger on Instagram marketing. Her blog, Jenn's Trends, was named a Top 10 Social Media Blog in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Through her blog, consulting and speaking, Herman provides tips, resources and training for small to medium-sized businesses that want to structure their social media strategies. Her business background includes administration, sales, human resources and marketing, and she enjoys bringing all these skills together to help her clients. She has been featured in Inc., Fox News, Yahoo Finance and numerous other podcasts and publications. She's the author of "The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Instagram" and "Stop Guessing: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Social Media Strategy." @jenns_trends
Shel Holtz Shel Holtz, principal of Holtz Communication + Technology, is a leader in organizational communications. For nearly 40 years he's consulted to the world's largest organizations and trained thousands of communicators. Holtz has topped the speakers' list at IABC's World Conference more than once and has always landed in the top five. Holtz is a pioneer podcaster, launching "For Immediate Release" in 2005. He's blogged since 2004, discussing communication with his many followers on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Holtz has also written six books on digital and social media. He is an IABC Fellow, a Founding Fellow of the Society for New Communications Research and a Platinum Fellow of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. @shelholtz
Drew Keller Drew Keller is a content developer at Microsoft Corp., having recently rejoined the organization after seven years of consulting worldwide with Fortune 100 clients. This new opportunity allows him to practice all phases of video production (production, direction, shooting, editing, design, motion graphics and sound design) as a member of the Microsoft Office Modern Learning and Video team. His focus is translating difficult concepts into visual narratives with engaging personal stories for both internal and external audiences. He has three decades of video production experience and more than 15 years of experience in web video production and delivery. In addition, his work with his own organization, StoryGuide, focuses on bringing great storytelling skills to content creators of all types and abilities. He also conducts research on emerging media as a faculty member at the University of Washington's Masters of Communication program in Communication Leadership. His work on over 30 long-form national and international broadcast video projects includes producing, writing, shooting and editing for PBS, BBC, ABC, Disney, Discovery/TLC and many independent and regional channels. @drewkeller
Stephen J. Lewis Stephen J. Lewis is the features producer for ABC 7 News at 11 and produces original content for ABC 7 News social media and digital platforms. He's an Emmy Award winning producer and manager with 22 years of experience in the news media in both television and radio. His highest priority is to deliver quality and innovative ideas as well as engaging content. Every day, he conceives and oversees the development of short and long form segments that result in memorable stories with a clear and focused message. Stephen is recognized as a creative and organized leader with journalistic integrity who can manage a wide range of projects. @stephenjlewis72
Sarah Luden Sarah Luden is a global communications consultant at Dell in its IoT (Internet of Things) program. She has served in a variety of other roles at Dell, including global education communications, communications senior advisor, communications senior analyst and communications senior advisor on Dell's social media and reputation team. Through her various roles, she co-founded the signature Dell Customer Advisory Program (CAP Days) and the Dell Social Think Tanks program, which bring together vocal online experts for open, interactive discussions on products, services and industry trends. Prior to Dell, she worked with Cohn & Wolfe and GCI Group.
Gail MarksJarvis Gail MarksJarvis is an award-winning financial columnist for the Chicago Tribune, a TV commentator and author of the best-selling and award-winning book, "Saving for Retirement (Without Living Like a Pauper or Winning the Lottery)." Her columns on the markets, economy and personal finance strategy run nationally. She's been named Best Financial Columnist by Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and received 16 other journalism awards. Oprah Winfrey placed her book on her "select" list, and both MSN Money and Kiplinger highlighted it as one of the great money books for young investors. She provides commentary regularly for WGN and CLTV in Chicago, and has appeared on PBS's Nightly Business Report, NPR, CNBC, PBS NewsHour, Fox Business, Talk of the Nation, CBS This Morning and @gailmarksjarvis
Michelle Leff Mermelstein Michelle Leff Mermelstein, APR, manages wireless device public relations at Sprint. She's an accomplished communications strategist with proven, measured success in positioning product lines and service offerings to drive audience interest and achieve desired outcomes. She has an extensive track record for developing and executing external and internal public relations campaigns that directly impact revenue and corporate image. Mermelstein has a keen understanding of how to create media relations strategies that secure news coverage with traditional and online media. She has more than 16 years of communications and media relations experience focused in telecommunications and healthcare. Before joining Sprint in 2008, she was a senior account supervisor with Edelman Public Relations and an account supervisor with Fleishman Hillard. She also served as a public affairs associate for the American College of Physicians, the nation's largest medical specialty society. She's an adjunct professor of strategic public relations at George Washington University and previously taught public relations at George Mason University and Marymount University. @michelleleff
G. Andrew Meyer G. Andrew Meyer is creative lead, global marketing at Facebook, Inc. His team conceives, oversees and executes innovative solutions on behalf of brands for mobile feed environments within the Instagram, Facebook and Messenger platforms. He also consults and collaborates with agencies, media partners and marketing teams. Meyer also represents Facebook in the public sphere as a speaker and panelist. An award-winning advertising writer and creative director across media platforms, he has led campaigns for brands including Corona, Samsung, Cadillac, Altoids, Morgan Stanley and Maytag.
Beth Nyland Beth Nyland, known as the "Corporate Poet," is a creative business communicator who refuses the bland and boring. She guides individuals and organizations to string words into stories that motivate people to think, believe and act. Her experience includes both agency and corporate roles, all focused on raising the quality of internal and external communications, often with global teams. In addition to serving as lead instructor on the StoryStudio Words for Work faculty, Nyland runs Spencer Grace LLC. Her client list includes Aon, Beam Suntory, FCB, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Harman Industries, John Deere, LyonsCG, Motorola, PepsiCo, Inc., Regional Transportation Authority, SmithBucklin, Society of Actuaries, Unilever and more. @bethnyland
Joseph Ogden Joseph Ogden is professor of communications at Brigham Young University and co-author of the bestselling "Strategic Communications Planning" textbook adopted by more than 200 universities. He is an expert in message design, social media strategy and data-driven campaigns. He earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Brigham Young University with a minor in music, and an MBA in marketing from BYU's Marriott School of Management. He also completed a nondegree program in negotiation at Harvard and MIT. He has consulted with leading organizations in a variety of industries including hospitality, financial services, technology, higher education and politics. A creative thinker who is constantly evolving, Ogden enjoys being a writer, musician, outdoor enthusiast, skier, hiker and occasional experimental chef. @CommsStrategist
Jill Pollack Jill Pollack is founder and director of StoryStudio Chicago—a training center for creative writers and business professionals. In addition to teaching, writing, and convincing people to admit that they can't live without great stories, Pollack oversees storytelling programs for more than 1,200 students each year. She is a frequent speaker on the power of stories, and has been included in the Newcity Lit Top 50 list of literary leaders in Chicago for the past several years. As a former theatre professional and an award-winning communications consultant, writer and editor, Jill works with organizations large and small, including the Ragan Consulting Group. @Jill_Pollack and @StoryStudio
Carolyn Shelby Carolyn Shelby is director of search engine optimization at tronc, Inc., where she and her team are responsible for implementing technical SEO and organic audience generation strategies across tronc's properties, including the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun and the Sun-Sentinel. She has been involved in developing and marketing internet technologies since 1994, when she was the co-founder and managing partner of an internet service provider near Purdue University. She's a regular speaker and trainer at search industry conferences around the world. She specializes in technical and enterprise SEO, helping organizations adjust their structure and focus to make the most of new media by integrating "search awareness" into their corporate communications and culture. @cshel
Showbiz Shelly Showbiz Shelly is the entertainment reporter and co-host for The J Show on B96 Radio. At 7:15 a.m. every weekday morning, she also takes on listeners in a pop culture quiz, the Showbiz Shelly Smackdown. She graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism with a degree in broadcasting, and worked as head of the arts and entertainment division of Northwestern's television station. She started as a B96 promotions intern in her sophomore year of college and worked her way up to the morning show. During her last 11 years as an entertainment reporter at B96, she has met celebrities ranging from Kim Kardashian to Michael Jordan, Nick Jonas to Jennifer Lopez. Shelly has also contributed entertainment scoops to ABC's Windy City Live, WCIU, FOX, CBS, TMZ and more. She blogs at Healthy With Shelly; her website is @showbizshelly
Kate Talbot Kate Talbot is a writer, marketer, speaker and entrepreneur who has built an astonishing track record helping brands engage millennials. An expert in social media and content marketing, she's created successful global digital campaigns for such big names as Virgin America and Kiva. Considered the No. 1 writer of advice on using Snapchat for marketing, she contributes her wisdom to Social Media Examiner, KISSmetrics and Engadget, and wrote the Amazon bestseller, "Oh Snap! You Can Use Snapchat for Business." She started her career in fashion and entertainment PR in New York and now applies all the tools she's learned—spanning all social media channels and influencer marketing—to help grow early-stage startups in Silicon Valley. @KateTalbot2
Michele Weldon Michele Weldon is a journalist and award-winning author of five nonfiction books, including her latest, "Escape Points: A Memoir," which was named one of the best books of 2015 by Booklist of the American Library Association and was a winner at the Great Midwestern Book Festival in 2016. She is emerita faculty in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, where she has taught for 18 years. In addition, Weldon is the director of the Northwestern Public Voices Fellowship through The OpEd Project, where she's a senior leader teaching programs and fellowships at Loyola, Brown, Princeton, Stanford, Wellesley and Cambridge, as well as for groups including Whiting and the Ms. Foundation for Women. Recently she also worked for Urgent Action Fund in Kenya. She is editorial director of Take The Lead Women, a nonprofit devoted to the mission of achieving gender parity by 2025. @micheleweldon