Real World: Conference Program

2014 Real World Program

Real World PR 2014's conference programming includes panel discussions and interactive seminars focusing on building PR skills, personal branding, professional development, and various specialties within the industry. Most importantly, each year we build on and improve session content based on input and requests from past conference attendees.

It is not required to register in advance for individual conference sessions. However, once a room fills up, the session will be closed.

Session One (9:00 - 9:50 am)  - Choose One Breakout Session

Corporate World, Agency or Non-profits?

Presented by: Alicia Thompson, APR, Edelman; Andy McGowan, UPS; Darrya Lipscomb, Metro Atlanta American Heart Association
Moderator: Angie Clawson

An ever-present question in the minds of many young professionals is if you should begin in an agency, a corporation or a non-profit. This session will explore the differences between the three fields and help you determine which path is a better fit for your working style or where you see yourself in the future.

PR Niches

Presented by: Gustavo Machado, Kaiser Permanente; Tiffany Greenway, Chick-fil-A; Elizabeth McMillan, APR, Fiserv; Kirk Englehardt, Georgia Tech
Moderator: Rebecca Dill

While many practitioners are generalists, there are a number of specialty areas in which a PR practitioner can work. We call them "niche areas” such as Food and Beverage, Healthcare or Technology. Learn more about some of the most common niches to help you determine if one might be right for you.

Personal branding, social media and working/life balance

Presented by: Katrina Blauvelt, APR, The Home Depot; Stephen Brown, APR, Cohn & Wolfe; Gina Laughlin, Delta Air Lines
Moderator: Melissa Medori, APR

Get the inside scoop on how to make your personal brand stand out to hiring managers, how they use social media to learn more about job candidate and the importance of having work/life balance.


Session Two (10:00 - 10:50 am)  - Choose One Breakout Session

Corporate World, Agency or Non-profits?

Presented by: Annette Filliat, APR, Boys & Girls Club; Victoria McGhee, APR, Ogilvy PR; Elizabeth Olmstead, Cox Enterprises
Moderator: Stephen Brown, APR

In which setting do you best fit? An ever-present question in the minds of many young professionals is if you should begin in an agency, a corporation or a non-profit. This session will explore the differences between the three fields and help you determine which path is a better fit for your working style or where you see yourself in the future.

Crisis Management: Navigating a Crisis via Digital & Social Media

Presented by: Patty Gregory, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; Paul Dusseault, APR, Fleishman-Hillard; Jon Sullivan, Aflac
Moderator: Elyse Hammett, APR

UPS, Taco Bell, Abercrombie & Fitch – big or small companies, and whether it originates via social or traditional media, we’ve all seen recent crisis situations unfold digitally. With social channels, citizen journalism and a real-time news cycle, today's crisis is a completely different animal. Learn from those in the trenches during a crisis situation on how to respond via digital media and social chatter.

Secrets from the HR Gatekeepers: Get the interview, land the job

Presented by: Tia Jackson, Porter Novelli; Nelson Little, Georgia Aquarium; Jesse Owens, Georgia Power
Moderator: Melissa Medori, APR

Job searching can seem like a full-time job in of itself. So be prepared to get the job you want by utilizing the time it takes to land a job wisely. It’s more than just a great résumé and internship experience – get the inside scoop on portfolio tips, interviewing techniques, salary negotiations and business dress etiquette from the ones doing the hiring.


Session Three (11:00 - 11:50 am)  - Choose One Breakout Session 

I’ve Graduated and/or Landed the Job, Now What?  

Presented by: Justine Holcomb, APR, Manheim; Caroline Sanfilippo Huston, IHG; Jamie Cwalinski, MSL Atlanta 
Moderator: Neil Hirsch, APR

Preparing for post-graduation can seem daunting. Should I pursue a master’s degree or other advanced degree? Who can I confide in during my first PR job after college? How can I look ahead to advance my career? While there’s no "right” path to success, this panel will explore the many options students and young professionals will face.  

Today’s Media Relations 101 (Traditional & Social): Breaking through the clutter  

Presented by: Jacob Hawkins, Georgia Power; Angie Clawson, Atlanta Community Food Bank; John Bachman, WSB-TV; Valerie Butler Guyton, CNN 
Moderator: Jasmine Hoffman, APR

Understanding the media as it continues to evolve and building relationships with journalists can be tough. Get the inside scoop from PR pros and local and national reporters on what grabs their attention, the best way to communicate with them, and how to build trusting relationships with them.  

Entertainment, Sports & Lifestyle PR: Unplugged   

Presented by: Crystal Drake, APR, Feld Entertainment; Matt Garvey, Vice President, Communications, Chick-fil-A Bowl; Chad Shearer, CW PR
Moderator: Gary McKillips, APR, Fellow PRSA and Melissa Medori, APR

Interested in a fast-paced entertainment, sports and lifestyle environment where you could be working with a famous athlete, celebrity or planning the next big event? Our panelists will show us what goes on behind the curtains by sharing the challenges and benefits of these dynamic fields.

Keynote Luncheon and Networking (12:00 - 1:40 pm)

Strengthening Corporate Culture by Engaging Employees: Learn How GE Uses Communications to Align Its Businesses and Employees

Presented by: Gary Sheffer, Vice President, Corporate Communications & Public Affairs, General Electric

GE works on things that matter with the best people and best technologies taking on the toughest challenges in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. With 300,000 employees globally, one challenge GE has is unifying employees to a common goal of working on things that matter, including their individual and collective roles and responsibilities to achieve business success. GE is a matrix-based organization of eight businesses with communications functions supporting each and their respective products and services. It’s one of the world’s largest and most diverse companies. How are communications used to engage employees, align businesses and create a culture that inspires building, powering, moving and curing the world? Not just imagining, but doing?

Join us for a special luncheon meeting with guest speaker Gary Sheffer, vice president of communications and public affairs for GE. During the luncheon, Sheffer will discuss: ·

  • Creating focused internal communications initiatives to drive alignment efforts across the businesses
  • Both the challenges and opportunities that exist in ensuring that all employees are creating and contributing to a GE culture that is consistent regardless of product or location
  • Leveraging communications to change perceptions internally and externally

Sheffer oversees external and internal communications and provides strategic communications advice to GE executives on issues related to culture, reputation and strategy. Prior to joining GE in 1999, Sheffer spent 17 years in journalism and government communications, including serving as a press aide to two New York governors, and working as a reporter and editor at several newspapers winning several awards for his reporting.

Sheffer is chairman of the board of the Arthur W. Page Society, a membership organization for senior public relations and corporate communications executives. He also serves on the board of the Institute for Public Relations and is a member of the board for Columbia's University's master's program in strategic communication.


Resume Critique & Career Fair (1:40 - 3:00 pm)

It’s the question many interns and job applicants have: What do I put in my portfolio and resume, so it stands out? Students will have the opportunity to have their resume and portfolio critiqued by seasoned public relations professionals. They will also have the opportunity to talk to real world professionals about potential opportunities at their organizations during the career fair.