2023 Conference logo FINAL Higher Resolution Transparent

2023 Conference on Strategic

Communications & Inspire Awards

Friday, Nov. 17 – The McKimmon Center - Raleigh

Registration & Breakfast Social: 8 a.m. – 9 a.m.

Opening Keynote: 9 – 9:50 a.m.

Life of an influencer Want to be an influencer who travels the world and works for some of its biggest brands? Our keynote starts the conference with the story of Caz and Craig Makepeace. The two Australians, who together have visited over 60 countries and lived in five, picked North Carolina as their home where the travel bloggers, content creators and entrepreneurs produce This Is Raleigh and YTravelBlog. They share the story of how a former teacher and former construction worker combined a passion for travel and expertise in digital marketing to create a successful online business on travel.

Speakers: Caz and Craig Makepeace

Breakouts: 10 10:50 a.m.

Do’s and don’ts with influencers (8a) Join a discussion on how to effectively employ the talents and connections of an influencer for your next PR campaign. You’ll learn the do’s and don’ts from PR professionals who’ve run effective influencer campaigns. These are real world insights that you can put immediately to work in your next campaign.

Panelists: Trayvion Biddle, video and content specialist for Brasco; Brice Connors, president, BluePrint Business Communications; Christin Prince, entrepreneur & growth strategist.

Build Your Own Influence (7a) It’s expertise, knowledge, and experience that creates true influence. PRSA’s Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) program is a great way to elevate your communication skills. Our panel of PR professionals share how earning their APR helped build their influence and fuel successful careers.

Moderator: Sarah Hattman, APR, APR chair, NCPRSA.

Panelists: McGavock Edwards, partner/senior vp of strategy & client services, Eckel & Vaughan; Chuck Norman, APR, owner/principal, S&A Communications; Darcy Dye Bowers, APR, Self-employed Wordsmith.

Internal Influence: Take C-A-R-E of Your People (7B) Our internal influence on our co-workers is just as important as the external influence we create for our clients. In our post-pandemic, multi-generational, uber-digital world, we’ve forgotten how to “people.” This is evident in the “quiet quitting,” “quiet hiring,” and “resenteeism” trends we’ve seen tear through the workplace. History and research prove employees want to be valued and respected, and doing otherwise creates consequences. You’ll learn four steps of C-A-R-E to help improve employee retention and positively influence company morale.

Speaker: Kim Strazisar, Kim Strazisar Communications.

Breakouts: 11 11:50 a.m.

Influence of Mainstream Media: Waning or Just Changing? (7A) Sure, the front pages and six o’clock news don’t have the influence they used to, but it’s time to take a new look at how mainstream media in North Carolina is changing and the ways it still influences hearts and minds. A veteran North Carolina editor who has tracked the changing media landscape in our state will share insights on who has influence today and how they put a spotlight on the news and causes of our days.

Speaker: Eric Frederick, Editorial Adviser, EdNC

So you want to be an influencer? (8A) Albert Eckel, partner and founder of E&V Strategic Communications, will lead this fascinating discussion of how some of our PR colleagues have taken on a new PR role: social media influencer.

Speakers: Addy Miller, account specialist, E&V Strategic Communications, and Joy Caracciolo, public relations professional for Red Hat, food blogger/digital content creator.

AI’s Influence on PR: Legal and Ethical Challenges of a Powerful New Tool: (7B) This presentation offers pragmatic insights into legal and ethical concerns pertinent to the everyday use of AI. If you are using AI either as a new or experienced PR professional, learn about the perils and pitfalls surrounding privacy, discrimination, liability, intellectual property, defamation that could arise with the growing influence of this new tool.

Speaker: Cayce Myers, Ph.D., LL.M, J.D., APR. Professor and director of graduate studies, Virginia Tech, School of Communications.

Inspire Awards Luncheon: Noon 1:45 p.m.

Keynote: “I Don’t Take NO For An Answer”: While sharing aspects of her journey to becoming PRSA’s first African American president, Dr. Debi Miller, director of communications at Cone Health in Greensboro, will focus on the critical role of self-inspiration and the influence it has on not just personal success but on the ability to inspire and lead others.

Breakouts: 2 2:50 p.m.

Radical Inclusion: Advocating for Belonging (7B) "Radical Inclusion" explores the crucial role of PR professionals as influencers in addressing unprecedented inequities throughout communities and corporations. The presentation delves into the ever-evolving landscape of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, not just as a challenge but as an opportunity for PR practitioners to influence real change. You can expect to leave the session equipped with strategies proven to help brands gain insights that move them beyond messaging that misses the mark to well-thought-out comms that engage the unique perspectives of targeted demos. In addition, you’ll learn about the fiscal benefits of inclusion to business, the importance of forging authentic relationships and integrating culturally relevant messaging, and about tangible steps PR professionals can take as advocates and influencers of radical inclusion.

Speaker: Carthy Frye-Thomas, M.A., marketing and communications director, Reel Stories Creative, and president, Miami Chapter PRSA.

Disinformation: How to minimize its influence (8A) Advocacy campaigns are frequently hindered by opponents who deliberately engage in misinformation and false claims to create confusion and seed mistrust. This panel will present two case studies that demonstrate how to effectively address efforts to derail public information and advocacy campaigns. One case study involves how a small group of citizens sought to discredit the needs of an entire school system pursuing public approval for the largest local bond referendum in North Carolina history. The other case study involves how the “Keep Shack Wild” campaign utilized influencers and other strategies to successfully counter misinformation spread by federal government agencies.

Speakers: Monty Hagler, president and CEO, RLF Communications; Lucy Dunham, senior communications manager, RLF Communications; Mike Davis, Mike Davis PR, and Tim McKay, vice president of creative service, Media Partners Inc.

Closing Session: 3 – 3:50 p.m.

What’s Your Superpower? Using PR Influence for Good. What’s the point of having the influence to shape hearts and minds? Hopefully, in the end, it will do good for our clients, companies, and communities. Last year, we launched an NCPRSA giveback initiative, PR for Good. This idea is growing into an influential program for nonprofits and a needed resource that packs some serious heart and PR talent. Since its inception, the PR for Good team has elevated the profile of Gabi’s Powered by Special Abilities, a nonprofit focused on neurodiversity in the workplace and the creation of jobs for people with special abilities. Hear a special message from Gabi and how the PR for Good team used its influence to help make a difference with the power of giving back! The team will share the creative strategies that drove this pilot program forward, challenges and successes, and how this work has brought inspiration to others (just like Gabi)!

Moderator: Kiersten Williams, principal, Genesis Strategies

Panelists: Katie Spigner, account specialist, BluePrint Business Communications; Elisabeth McFarland, corporate communications manager, Egnyte Aaron Martin and social media lead, MyComputerCareer; Kristy Fair, APR, senior director, marketing & communications, Ascom Americas.

Pioneer Specialties Logo Final

NC PRSA would like to thank Pioneer Strategies and Access Wire for their sponsorships of the 2023 Conference on Strategic Communications and Access Wire, Pioneer Strategies, Brasco, Eckel & Vaughn, and Joseph Gaitens APR, AIGA for their support of NCPRSA throughout 2023.