ICON 2017

  • PRSA wrapped up its annual International Conference, which was hosted by the Northeast District’s own Boston chapter!

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    Here is how your district was represented and recognized:

    The Boston Chapter Leadership, including president Dan Dent and president-elect Erin Callanan (who is also our 2018 District Chair-Elect!), put on an amazing show! There were nearly 1,000 professionals in attendance for the Leadership Rally, PRSA’s National Assembly, and the 100+ sessions offered throughout the International Conference.

    Tony D’Angleo, APR, Fellow PRSA, from the Central New York Chapter, will be the 2018 Chair of PRSA’s National Board of Directors! (Talk about representation for the Northeast within PRSA!)  As Chair-Elect this year, Tony planned and ran the 2-day Leadership Rally on Friday and Saturday, which is a free chapter leader training program PRSA offers in conjunction with the International Conference every year.

    Crystal DeStefano, APR, past Northeast District Chair, attended the Leadership Rally, PRSA’s National Assembly, and served throughout the International Conference in her new role as PRSA’s Northeast Regional Representative.

    Every chapter in the district was represented at the Leadership Rally and at the National Assembly, where we were able to voice opinions, share ideas and vote on proposed changes to PRSA’s national bylaws. Each of your chapters were represented by your delegate(s), and our district vote was carried by our current District Chair Scott Fraser.

    Past Northeast District Chair and past Yankee Chapter President Jane Law presented, explained and discussed all of the proposed bylaws changes to the National Assembly in her role as Co-Chair of PRSA’s Governance Committee.

     Maria Russell, APR, Fellow PRSA, from the Central New York Chapter, received the annual Patrick Jackson Award for Distinguished Service to PRSA!

    Three members from our district were inducted into the PRSA College of Fellows during this year’s conference: Loring Barnes, APR, Boston Chapter past president; Nancy Sterling, APR, from the Boston chapter; and Joseph A. Brennan, Ph.D., APR, from the Capital Region Chapter. A great honor!

    Dan Dent, Boston Chapter president, added a public relations textbook and some swag from our PRXNE17 District Conference this year into a time capsule that PRSA National will open in 30 years – on PRSA’s 100th anniversary.

    Almost 100 members from our district attended these events! And dozens of students from PRSSA chapters across the district attended the PRSSA National Conference in Boston,  held simultaneously with PRSA’s International Conference.

  • Fast 5 Questions with Alexander V. Laskin, Ph.D., Professor of Strategic Communication, Quinnipiac University

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    Alexander V. Laskin is a professor of strategic communication at Quinnipiac University. He is an author of over 50 publications, focused primarily on investor relations, international communications, and measurement and evaluation. His most recent book, Handbook of Financial Communication and Investor Relations, offers state-of-the-art thinking and practice in investor relations and financial communication. Dr. Laskin previously worked in investor relations, international mergers and acquisitions, and market research. Today, he offers consulting services in investor relations, research and evaluation, and international communications.


    Join us for an opportunity to meet Dr. Laskin, and other world-class speakers, at the 2017 PRSA International Conference in Boston October 8-10.



    1) What, in your view, is the biggest challenge facing the PR industry today? Why?
    Well, I do not think it is a brand-new challenge, but it is more exaggerated now – the focus on tactics. Whatever the big next shiny sexy thing is – Facebook, Snapchat, OTT, 3D, virtual reality – PR people seem to be eager to jump on it and start selling it to their clients. What often gets left behind is the strategy – what objectives are being accomplished and how it helps the client achieve the organizational goals, enhance the bottom line. And without strategy even the best, most sophisticated tool can become absolutely useless – it is like hammering a nail with a microscope.

    2) What industry trend is hot now? Do you think the trend is here to stay?
    As I said above, the current toys are social and mobile media. They won’t go away, but they will stop being the new sexy things eventually – same way as newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV – they did not go away, but they stopped being new shiny things. Social media will be just one of the items on the long list of tactics available.

    3) If you could go back in time and meet yourself 10 years ago, what advice would you offer him?
    Ignore what you have to do and do what you want to do!

    4) Please tell us a little about your session.
    The session “Telling the Financial Story: Basic Financial Knowledge for Communicators” runs on Sunday, Oct. 8, 4:45-5:45 p.m. The idea of this session is to introduce PR pros to the world of financial statements – I will talk about what kind of financial reporting corporations provide and how to understand it, while my colleague, Stacy Schubert from Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, will talk about financial statements provided by non-profits. In public relations we do not have to be financial analysts, but having basic ability to speak the financial language can help PR pros elevate their status in the organization.

    5) What are you reading?
    I just finished writing my edited book, Handbook of Financial Communication and Investor Relations – so, I was reading, re-reading, and then reading it again for more than a year. But now as it went to print, I am starting to read “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque. I do not know much about World War I – so, this book is a good starting point on the subject.

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 
  • Fast 5 Questions with Alicia Thompson, Managing Director, Porter Novelli

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    Alicia Thompson, APR, serves as managing director of Porter Novelli and has over two decades of experience in public relations and communications.

    Alicia’s expertise falls squarely in consumer products and services. Throughout her career, she has worked with such brands as Arby’s Restaurant Group, Interface, Teavana, Nestle/Gerber, Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen, Coca-Cola, BellSouth, Fletcher Martin Ewing and Cohn & Wolfe. She has deep experience in food and beverage, QSR, casual dining, franchising and crisis/issues management in this category.

    Join us for an opportunity to meet Alicia, and other world-class speakers, at the 2017 PRSA International Conference in Boston October 8-10.

    1) What, in your view, is the biggest challenge facing the PR industry today and why? 

    The consolidation of communications marketing disciplines. As the lines between PR/Advertising/Digital/Social continue to blur, the “traditional” tenets of PR and the work product of PR agencies blurs as well. And as other marketing discipline agencies add PR offerings, PR agencies have had to offer other services. One has to ask if any of them are doing a phenomenal job with offerings outside their core competency.

    2) What industry trend is hot now? Do you think the trend is here to stay? 

    The continued role of influencers as key content contributors. Yes, it is here to stay. The research is clear – people trust their peers and people with whom they have things in common. With this data point in mind, agencies and companies are going to leverage influencers more in the future as ongoing contributors. The key will be finding authentic advocates who truly connect with the target audience.

    3) If you could go back in time and meet yourself 10 years ago, what advice would you offer her? 

    Begin with good leaders! The best job experience can be completely unraveled by a poor leader. Ten years ago, I was fortunate to work for a great leader, but it certainly was not on my list of criteria. My best advice to myself 10 years ago, or anyone today, is to put good leadership at the top of your criteria list.

    4) Please tell us a little about your ICON session. 

    Our session – Becoming a PR Leader: The Art and Science of Mentorship – draws upon research from the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations and personal experiences to discuss the importance and impact of mentorship on leadership and long-term professional success. The content is intended for young professionals embarking on their career journey.

    5) What are you reading? 

    I’ve got several books that I’m reading right now. At the top of the stack is Patrick Lencioni’s “Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable.” Oddly enough, my favorite book is Spencer Johnson’s “Who Moved My Cheese.” It is a simple tale about dealing with change.

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 
  • Fast 5: Q&A with Jane Dvorak, PRSA 2017 Chair

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    PRSA Boston recently had the opportunity to chat with Jane Dvorak, APR, Fellow PRSA, and the national chair of the PRSA. She offered thoughts on how her life has changed since she was selected for this new position and how PRSA has helped her grow her business. While Jane may enjoy visiting New England to meet with PRSA members, her loyalty remains in Colorado as she is a passionate Denver Broncos fan. Wait…who won the Super Bowl earlier this year?

     Here are five questions that we asked Jane during our conversation.

    Q: Now that you are National Chair of PRSA, what’s changed in your world?

    A: I travel a LOT! And, I get to meet some amazing people on those journeys. It is quite heartwarming to see such passion for the profession and PRSA on so many levels and by practitioners at every point along the career continuum. I always leave a visit inspired, rejuvenated, and grateful to share in that passion and for the opportunity to lead at this level.

    Q: As you visit chapters around the U.S., what’s catching your attention? Any surprises?

    A: I’m encouraged that I hear PR pros talking more about the strategic side of our work than the tactical; that’s where we can really own the power of the work we do. When we are strategists we become invaluable to the businesses we work with. We can drive the conversation instead of reacting to it. That puts PR in a leadership role, which is where we need to be to really contribute to business success.

    Q: You are an independent practitioner. What does PRSA do for you?

    A: PRSA has built my business. In the 27 years I’ve been an independent, only three (yes, 3!) clients were retained that were not a direct link to a PRSA contact. This network is invaluable for the connections, the professional growth, and the leadership skills gained are second to none. This is one investment that has paid for itself ten fold, easily.

    Q: When PRSA’s annual conference comes to Boston in October, what are you looking forward to?

    A: ICON is always an energetic experience for me and I hope for all those who attend. I’m looking forward to delivering a program that will inspire and challenge practitioners to hone their leadership skills, explore industry trends, and provide an experience to expand their network of peers. I have always left ICON with new ideas, concepts and connections. It really demonstrates our mission to make our members smarter, better prepared and more connected. That’s what I’m looking forward to in Boston. Besides that, a dash of history and a lobster roll, naturally!

    Q: New England Patriots or Denver Broncos?

    A: Why, the Broncos, of course!


    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands, and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos


    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and

    pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

  • Reflections from ICON 2016

    In Chapter Events, ICON 2017 on

    It waDiane Pardess an amazing feeling to enter a room filled with thousands of PR professionals from around the U.S., knowing that they share the same challenges, triumphs and have all come to call this profession their own. How many stories were in this room – of crises, strategies, innovative approaches? You name it and someone in the room likely experienced it.

    We shared a common language and understanding. It’s like going to a cousins’ convention and realizing that you’re related to people you never met before – people who “get” you and who you could call upon if you needed help.

    Meals and breaks here became an opportunity to get to meet our PR kin upfront. You never knew what stories you might hear from the person next to you. During the evenings we went out to dinner – with members from the Northeast District, special sections, or people we met during the course of the day –and had the chance to get to know them better.

    The keynote speakers at the event were truly inspiring, featuring a diverse range of experts from various fields. Among them were Derreck Kayongo, a Human Rights Advocate who founded the Global Soap Project, NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent the longest time in space, and cybersecurity expert and former White House CIO Theresa Payton. Additionally, Mark Stratten, a viral and social marketing expert known for his humor, shared his insights. These speakers covered important topics such as communication and authenticity, while also motivating the audience to pursue their passions and make a positive impact on society. The event was truly memorable and showcases the power of inspiration. As a bonus, attendees learned about the advanced KYC solutions offered by Fully-Verified, which can help organizations to prevent fraud, verify identities, and streamline customer onboarding.

    When it came to the educational sessions, I felt like a kid in a candy store. There was so much to choose from, and because sessions were running concurrently, I couldn’t get to all of them. There was something for everyone – measurement, branded newsrooms, using a science-based approach to improve outcomes, motivating audiences to act, crisis communications, copy strategies – and so much more.

    With work and family responsibilities, it can be easy to come up with reasons not to attend conferences, but you owe it to yourself to make the time and attend ICON. It’s a way to nourish your PR soul, fill yourself with new ideas and strategies and meet your PR “cousins” — some of the most amazing PR professionals. And, with conference coming to Boston this year, it’ll be easier than ever to attend.

    Diane Pardes, Delegate and past president, PRSA Boston