Meeting Today’s PR Challenges 2019 Schedule

8:30 to 9:00 a.m. – Breakfast and Registration


Kelly Karns Owner Erie Food Tours

9:00 to 9:45 a.m. — Low Budget, Big Reach:Small Business Advertising in the Digital Age

No formal business training or marketing experience? No large advertising budget? No problem! Kelly Karns, owner of Erie Food Tours, will share how her business grew from a teacher’s side hustle to five-star rated business and top-ten local attraction through the use of social media and digital advertising.

Karen Beardsley Public Relations Manager UPMC 

10:00 to 10:45 a.m. — From Surgeries to Snow Babies: The Birth of a Great Pitch

Sometimes you have to dig for the best stories in your organization. Karen Beardsley knows this as well as anyone. Join the 2016 NWPA PRSA Public Relations Person of the Year as she shares how she finds stories and crafts media pitches while also detailing UPMC Hamot’s now-famous “Snow Babies” story.

*UPMC Hamot’s “Snow Babies” media relation submissions earned a Gold Award at the 2018 Niagara Awards.

Anne Lewis Marketing Manager Red Letter Hospitality

11:00 to 11:45 a.m. — The Rise of Red Letter

At Red Letter Hospitality, one of the goals is to “be innovative and a cutting edge hospitality leader.” But that does not happen overnight. Join RLH Marketing Manager Anne Lewis as she shares how Red Letter has built its brand to become a regional leader in hospitality.


Joseph Cephas Vice President, Communications & Brand Experience American Society of Interior Designers | ASID

KEYNOTE LUNCH TALK 12:00 to 1:20 p.m. — Perception Shift: Changing a National Conversation

Controlling the narrative surrounding a company is imperative for any marketing communications professional. What do you do when the public perception has been tainted? As a seasoned marketing communication leader, Cephas has inherited this situation… twice. He’ll take the audience through the branding campaigns and media strategies that shifted the national conversation for two very different associations.


Hannah Kirby Owner Ember+Forge

Gisele Littrell Owner Tipsy Bean

1:30 to 2:15 p.m. — Finding a Brew (Brand) that Fits You

Maybe you’ve noticed: coffee is BIG in Erie right now. Several new shops have opened in the last couple years, and two of the most successful ones are Ember + Forge and the Tipsy Bean. Join the owners of each establishment as they detail how they’ve built the brand behind their coffee shops.

Caleb Dixon Emergency Management Coordinator Millcreek Township Office of Emergency Management

2:30 to 3:15 p.m. — Serious to Hilarious: It’s Not as Easy as You Think

It’s easy to be serious but having a funny, lighthearted media presence is a learned skill. It can be difficult to manage your own expectations on the response to your posts. Caleb Dixon will show you how he responds to upset residents, politicians, and even other agencies, all while maintaining a positive attitude.

Enjoy a Penn State tradition!

3:15 to 4:10 p.m. — Speed Networking Session and Berkey Creamery Ice Cream!

Student attendees visit with local PR and Mar-Comm professionals. Every five minutes, they will visit a new table and meet with a new professional.