By Denise Clay
On Tuesday, April 19 from 8 AM to noon, the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society (PBPRS) presents “State of the Industry,” an event that assesses the current state of public relations locally and nationally. The event will be held at WHYY and is presented in conjunction with the local chapters of the Public Relations Society of America and Philadelphia Public Relations Association.
This year’s theme is “State of the Industry in Philadelphia: The Democratic National Convention, Philly Branding, and More.”
The groups collaborate every four years to organize the event. All groups worked hard to ensure that local public relations professionals will learn and benefit from the summit.
Continuing in the tradition of the event’s great speakers, this year the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society secured April Mellody, Deputy CEO of Communications for the Democratic National Convention Committee who will deliver the keynote address.
“State of the Industry is as a way of assessing what’s going on in local public relations, said Vincent Thompson, President of the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society.
“It’s a collaborative effort. This gives us a chance to learn from each other. It’s a good event in which you get a lot of good information,” continued Thompson.
Monica Peters, Vice President of the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society, who secured the WHYY venue, agrees.
“It was difficult for the groups to secure a venue at first. I utilized my relationship with WHYY to secure the venue, ensuring the event would happen this year. This is why collaborating is important. It’s important for local groups to work together and combine resources,” said Peters.
Previous State of the Industry keynote speakers include Judy Smith, the inspiration for the ABC’s hit television show “Scandal,” who was also secured by the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society.
Neil Foote, President of both Foote Communications and the National Black Public Relations Society (PBPRS’ national chapter) will also participate in this year’s event, noting that diversity is important.
“Like journalism itself, public relations in the Philadelphia area and around the country has its diversity issues. Many of those issues center on the topic of connections, said Foote, who will moderate the event’s Staying Out of the News: Insight from Philly’s Top Crisis PR Experts panel.
David Brown, Managing Director of The Marketing Collaborative and Temple University visiting assistant professor in the School of Strategic Media and Communication will moderate The Influence Behind Philly Brands panel.
But while it’s a chance for people to learn, the event is also a chance to take a look at the true state of the industry in Philadelphia.
“When it comes to addressing the issue of diversity, we have to include diversity in providing opportunities,” said Foote, who is also a principal lecturer at the Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas.
“Because many public relations professionals of color work for themselves or have smaller agencies, they sometimes don’t get the chance to bid on contracts for governmental agencies or other opportunities.”
“When those opportunities do occur, events like State of the Industry make sure that people are ready to seize them.”
Persons wishing to attend event can register at www.pbprs.com
SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE & REGISTRATION INFO:
9:00 – 9:45 a.m. – BREAKOUT SESSION I:
Staying Out of the News: Insight from Philly’s Top Crisis PR Experts
• Cathy Engel Menendez, Director, Communications, PECO
• Joshua Peck, Senior Media Relations Manager, Duane Morris
• Christopher Lukach, President, Anne Klein Communications Group
• Moderator: Neil Foote, President, Foote Communications, and President, National Black Public Relations Society
The Influence Behind Philly Brands
• Janeane Tolomeo, Director of Marketing, Di Bruno Bros.
• Additional panelists to come.
• Moderator: David Brown, Managing Director, The Marketing Collaborative and Visiting Assistant Professor of Instruction in the School of Strategic Media and Communication, Temple University
10:00 – 10:45 a.m. – BREAKOUT SESSION II:
We Snapped, Posted & Tweeted… What’s Next?
• Matthew Dickman, Executive Director, Corporate Communications, Comcast
• Rakia Reynolds, Founder & CEO, Skai Blue Media
From Consumerism to the FDA-How Changes in Healthcare Impact Communications
• Theresa Dolge, VP, Media Director, Tonic Life Communications
• Leah S. Sheppard, Senior Director, Corporate Marketing and Communications, Einstein Healthcare Network
• Additional panelists to come.
11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – FEATURED SPEAKER
2016 Democratic National Convention
• April Mellody, Deputy CEO, Communications, 2016 Democratic National Convention Committee, will discuss what it takes to organize and publicize a convention of such magnitude. Learn behind-the-scenes details and key takeaways, as well April’s view on the changing world of public relations. Audience Q&A to follow.
State of the Industry, April 19, 8 a.m. to noon at WHYY, Independence Mall West, 150 N. 6th St. Tickets are $70 for PBPRS, PPRA and PRSA members, $95 for non-members and $40 students. For information and for SUN readers would like the PBPRS discount visit Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society website at www.pbprs.com