PR Day

Friday, October 20
Norris Conference Center - CityCentre

The full day of speakers and discussions will feature something for everyone, from students just getting started learning about the profession to seasoned PR pros at the height of their careers, organized around four focus areas: Students & Young Professionals, Tools & Techniques, Strategic Planning & Implementation, and Leadership Training.


Click here to register


Download schedule

8:00 - 8:30 am Registration/ Breakfast
8:30 - 8:45 am Opening Remarks
8:45 - 9:30 am

Panelists: Ellen Beth Levitt, Senior Health Care PR / Communications Professional; Giselle Greenwood, Editor-in-Chief, Houston Business Journal; Gary Jaffe, KIAH-TV / Houston (CW39)

Moderator: Mary Benton

"Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: How PR Professionals Can Take Advantage of the Media Evolution"

You don’t have to be a seasoned PR professional to know that working with media has changed radically over the years. With the advent of social media, traditional print and broadcast media are becoming less relevant. People choose the news they want to use. Competition is fiercer than ever. Reporters not only file stories, they post photos and videos and boil their work into 140 characters. How do we, as PR professionals, interact with media professionals trying to keep their balance on top of this evolutionary earthquake? Our media panelists, Newsfix News and Content Director Gary Jaffe; Medical Communications Expert Ellen Beth Levitt; and Houston Business Journal Editor-in-Chief will talk to us about the challenges they face, and how we can best serve them and our clients at the same time.

9:30 - 9:45 am Break
9:45 - 10:30 am Breakout Session I


Option 1 - Students & Young Professionals




 Phil Morabito, CEO, Pierpont Communications

"Agency Life: What is Working for an Agency Really Like?"

With more than 30 years of experience in public relations and marketing, Phil Morabito knows what it takes to work and succeed in an agency. From beginning his career at the prestigious Robert Marston & Associates firm in New York City to founding Pierpont Communications in Houston, Morabito has grown as a communicator and entrepreneur, while learning some hard lessons along the way. During this breakout session, he will shed light on what it is like to work for and run a public relations agency.


Option 2 - Tools & Techniques




  Juan Alanis, Director of Public Relations, Big Oak Tree Media

"How Diverse is Your Audience? Tools for Reaching a Multicultural Audience"

Local demographers say Houston is the most diverse city in the country. That provides PR professionals with unparalleled opportunity to reach audiences across racial, religious, and ethnic lines. How do you market to such a diverse population? What are the benefits of doing so? Juan Alanis and his company, Big Oak Tree Media specialize in multicultural marketing. He will answer those questions and more.


Option 3 - Strategic Planning & Implementation




  Dr. Erica Ciszek Assistant Professor in Integrated Strategic Communication, UH

"Why (Re)search Matters"

This presentation is a crash course in research basics: qualitative vs. quantitative; primary vs. secondary; surveys vs. focus groups; how to make sense of data; culling actionable insights


Option 4 - Leadership Training

Jessica Jackson Manager of HSE Global Services, Crisis Management & Security,
Murphy Oil Corporation

"Harvey Tested: Enterprise Endurance and Continuity"

Hurricane Harvey was a powerful Category 4 storm that impacted the entire Southeast Texas Region. In a four day period, many areas received more than 40 inches of rain as the system meandered over eastern Texas and the Texas Gulf Coast, causing catastrophic flooding. With peak accumulations of more than 50 inches, Harvey is the wettest tropical hurricane on record in the United States. Good business continuity plans will keep your company up and running through interruptions of any kind: power failures, IT system crashes, natural disasters, operational incidents and more; however, it is not often that a company faces all of those potential interruptions in one single incident. For Murphy Oil, Hurricane Harvey was that incident. Jessica Jackson will discuss the Business Continuity Plan that was in place and how it passed the test of Harvey.

10:30 - 10:45 am Break
10:45 - 11:30 am Breakout Session II
Option 1 - Students & Young Professionals

Ron Stone, Jr., Internal Communications Advisor, Content, Shell

"Leaving Your Comfort Zone: The Art of Networking"

You’ve probably heard that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know that can help you get a job in almost any industry, and the PR industry is no exception.  If you’re just out of school and looking for a job, or if you’re making a career shift into PR, you need to know where to find PR professionals and how to successfully network with them.  Ron Stone, Jr. can tell you, from personal experience, how to overcome any hesitancy you have to reaching out, and make connections that can help you succeed in the business and PR world. 

Option 2 - Tools & Techniques

Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social & Evolving Media, Business Wire

"Technology & PR: The Newest Communication Tech Tools - What Every PR Pro Should Know"

In this interactive session, Serena Ehrlich, director of social and evolving media for Business Wire will take a deep look at the variety of technology tools today’s PR pros can leverage to create, promote, amplify and measure stronger, more engaging news content. We’ll look at tools that impact every part of the content cycle, from planning to crafting to distribution and measurement. Attendees are encouraged to share the tools, tips and tricks they use to generate higher ROI. 

Option 3 - Strategic Planning & Implementation

Hayley Fick, Social Media Manager, NASA Johnson Space Center

"One Giant Leap: Launching Your Video Strategy into the Social Media Era"

How do you mobilize your multimedia production efforts for well, mobile? Learn how to easily adapt existing resources to capture and retain audiences on social media.

Option 4 - Leadership Training

Jane Dvorak, APR
Fellow PRSA, Owner and President, JKD & Company, Inc., 2017 PRSA National Chair

"How to Make it to the C Suite"

Moving from tactician to strategist is the essential skill-set needed to get a seat at the table. As the function that “knows all,” the role PR pros play is at the core of business success. Learn how to take a stronger leadership role wherever you might be in your career journey as you make your way to the C-Suite.


11:30 - 11:45 am Break
11:45 am - 1:00 pm

Sandy Alstadt,
Senior Manager, Customer Communications, Entergy Services, Inc.

"The Inconvenient Crisis: Lessons Learned from Historic Storms"

As one of the most experienced utility public information officers in the country, Alstadt and her communications team have dealt with the devastating aftermath of numerous natural disasters, from hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005) to Harvey (2017). Alstadt will share her top lessons learned over the past 20+ years and discuss how dealing with crisis events has changed during the past dozen years.

1:00 - 1:15 pm Break
1:15 - 2:00 pm Breakout Session III
Option 1 - Students & Young Professionals

Lonnie Haynes,
Talent Finder, Brookwoods Group

"The Competition is Real: Resume Writing & Interviewing"

In this information age, people, organizations, businesses, and media all are clamoring for attention. There’s incredible competition out there in every arena, including the job world.  Lonnie Haynes of Brookwoods Group is an expert on how you can stand out in the crowd. In this session, he’ll tell you how to grab a prospective employer’s attention, keep it, impress that employer and get that job.

Option 2 - Tools & Techniques

Ashley Small
President/CEO, Medley Incorporated

"Tools and Techniques to Engage Millennials" 

The key to success for any group is cooperation and effective communication. In the next few years, the millennial generation will make up nearly 50% of the workforce. This means companies will need to adapt their practices to accommodate their existing employees and this new group. Come attend our breakout session with Ashley Small as she discusses tool and techniques on how to engage with and inspire millennials.

Option 3 - Strategic Planning & Implementation

Heide Harrell, APR
Senior Brand Manager & PR Account Manager, Stone Ward

"Charting the Course: Keeping Your PR Plan on Track"

Research? Check. Planning? Check. Implementation...? This presentation will discuss how the perfect plan can go smoothly and what to do when it falls off the rails. Learn about the importance of having a back-up for the back-up and how to ensure your management or client is prepared for the unexpected.

Option 4 - Leadership Training

Don Mounce, APR
Southwest Regional Manager, PRSA

"APR: Become a Leader in the Profession"



2:00 - 2:15 pm Break
2:15 - 3:00 pm Breakout Session IV
Option 1 - Students & Young Professionals

Dr. Marlene Neill, APR Assistant Professor, Baylor University

"Building Buy-In: The Need for Internal Relationship Building and Informal Coalitions in Public Relations"

This presentation with provide insights into the importance of building internal relationships and informal coalitions to provide strategic counsel. The findings are based on in-depth interviews with 30 executives representing multiple departments in four U.S. companies and new research with 58 senior public relations executives. A new role discovered in the first study that justifies public relations’ membership in executive decision teams is internal boundary spanning or gathering intelligence internally across business units, and requires public relations to have a seat at multiple decision tables.

Option 2 - Tools & Techniques

Traci Mazurek
Senior Digital Manager, INK Communications Co.

Madison Scullin
Digital Specialist, INK Communications Co.

"Our Craft: Brewing Up a Successful Launch"

To bring awareness to a beloved local craft beer brand and help it differentiate itself in a saturated market, INK Communications Co. developed an integrated campaign and social media competition that combined user-generated content, media and influencer relations, and paid social media to engage new and existing fans. Playing into the brand’s playful nature, INK launched a social media competition at a creative event that drew in more than 400 attendees. Join us for this session to explore how an integrated campaign (a PR News Digital Awards finalist) brought excitement to a local beer brand and positioned it for a successful brewery expansion.

Option 3 - Strategic Planning & Implementation

Michele Putman,
Vice President of Global Channels, Agility PR Solutions

"PR Analytics: How to Measure Business Impacts"

PR practitioners know that analyzing media coverage is essential to a successful practice. It ensures communicators surface messaging strengths/weaknesses, discover trends, find influencers, better understand the competitive environment, etc. Aligning communication efforts to organizational goals requires multiple metrics, since different types of campaigns have different desired outcomes. Learn from Michele Putman of Agility PR Solutions, how PR practitioners can incorporate measurement best practices throughout their campaigns.

Option 4 - Leadership

Terry Hemeyer
Executive Counsel, Pierpont Communications

"Critical Leadership Skills You Need to be a Successful Communicator"

From the classroom to the C-Suite, Terry Hemeyer knows what makes a great leader and successful communicator. In this breakout session, Hemeyer will share how to recognize good leadership attributes in others, develop the skills needed throughout your career, and motivate yourself and others to be successful.

3:00 - 3:15 pm Break
3:15 - 4:00 pm

Sam Malone,
President, 512 New Media

 "The Sam Malone Show"

4:00 - 4:15 pm Closing Remarks


Thank you sponsors

Lanyard Sponsor

Exhibitor Sponsor



In-kind Videographer

Texas HD Video

Swag Bag Sponsor

Exhibitor Sponsor




Afternoon Break Sponsor

In-kind Sponsor



Sponsorships available:

  • Presenting Sponsor - $5,000
  • Luncheon Keynote Speaker Sponsor - $3,500
  • Breakfast Sponsor - $2,000
  • Conference Program Sponsor - $2,000
  • Individual Session Sponsor - $1,000
  • Exhibitor Sponsor - $550
  • Scholarship Sponsor - $100 each


In-kind sponsorship opportunities include:

  • Graphic Design: Conference logo, electronic Save the Date card, event posters (approximately 10-15) and printed program
  • Printing: 18" x 24" event day posters (approximately 10-15) and 150-200 conference programs 8.5” x 11”
  • Photography: Taken throughout the event for promotional and archival purposes
  • Breakfast/Luncheon Centerpieces: 25 for breakfast and luncheon tables


Click on the button below to view the full sponsorship packet, including sponsorship benefits.

If you have any questions about the sponsorships, please e-mail Dena Marks at [email protected] or Jessica Anderson at [email protected].