About the PRWeek Conference

We hope you enjoyed the 2015 PRWeek Conference. If you were unable to attend, you can click here to view coverage of the event.

Key takeaways and topics covered

In the constantly evolving world of PR, the skills needed to stay ahead of the game are not only changing, but they are also multiplying. This year's PRWeek Conference, A Road Map to Integration: Prospering in a transformational era for PR Pros, will present keynotes, panels, interactive workshops, and more that will help you sharpen the talents you already have while you add new proficiencies and perspectives to your arsenal. Over the course of the day, you'll learn about:

  • What it takes to succeed in today's lightning-fast marketing world from Progressive CMO Jeff Charney

  • How to leverage data to optimize customer targeting and maximize ROI

  • Ways to tap into the burgeoning Hispanic market, which by 2050 will represent one-third of the US population


Jeff Charney

CMO/master of disruption, Progressive Insurance

Hoda Kotb
co-host,  Today ; correspondent,  Dateline NBC


Sally Susman
EVP of corporate affairs,


Gary Vaynerchuk
CEO and co-founder, VaynerMedia 


Lisa Mann
EVP of marketing,
KIND Snacks

Stacey Tank,  
vice president of corporate communications and external affairs, The Home Depot 


Tiki Barber

co-chairman and founder, Thuzio

Mike Paul

The Reputation Doctor


Oscar Suris,
EVP corporate communications,
Wells Fargo

Kathy Cripps

President, PR Council


Shanté Bacon

Founder, 135th Street Agency

Carolyn Johnson
head of media solutions, Google

Deisha Barnett

senior director, corporate communications,

Jeff Beringer
digital global practice leader, Golin


Amber Lee
director of operations, partner
Visual Country

Michael Gonda, VP, corporate communications, Chobani

Anda Gansca, co-founder and CEO, Knotch


founder, Praytell   

Linda Mills
director, global corporate communications and Latin America public affairs, Starbucks


Russ Dyer
VP, corporate affairs, Kraft Foods 


Andrew McCaskill
SVP, Global Communications, Nielsen

Richard Edelman,
president and CEO,

Patrick Van de Wille
chief communications officer,


Michael Farmer

chairman & CEO, Farmer & Company; author, Madison Avenue Manslaughter: An Inside View of Fee-Cutting Clients, Profit-Hungry Owners and Declining Ad Agencies

PRWeek Conference Agenda: September 16, 2015*
8:15 - 9:05am


Meet your fellow delegates in a convivial environment for the start of a brilliant day’s networking.


Opening remarks

Steve Barrett, Editor in Chief, PRWeek                                    


Why 21st century businesses need PR to succeed

In the 20th century, corporations were like fortresses designed to allow very little to come in or get out, says Sally Susman, EVP of corporate affairs at Pfizer. The pressure on corporations to open themselves further – led by the rise of the activist shareholder and fueled by social media – has multiplied the number and types of non-corporate partners with whom companies must now work. In this session, Susman will highlight PR’s crucial role as both bridge builder and transparency champion to the growing number of communities with which every corporation must engage. Through examples from her current post at the pharma leader, she will underscore the rise of the corporate affairs function, the ever-increasing attention CEOs are paying to reputation and culture, and the many ways PR is proving its impact on share price and the bottom line.

Sally Susman,
EVP of corporate affairs, Pfizer


Is the agency model broken?

Clients are slashing their agency budgets, TV advertising is in decline, consumers are blocking ads online, programmatic is cutting out media agencies, and PR firms are furiously retooling their skill sets for the social and content worlds. Is the agency model broken and, if so, what does that mean for communications and marketing?

Michael Farmer, chairman & CEO, Farmer & Company; author, Madison Avenue Manslaughter: An Inside View of Fee-Cutting Clients, Profit-Hungry Owners and Declining Ad Agencies
Andy Pray,
founder, Praytell
Patrick Van de Wille,
chief communications officer, InterDigital

Steve Barrett ,
editor-in-chief, PRWeek


Keynote: A blueprint for modern retail marketing

Interconnected retail is the key to serving customers. An optimized integrated model minimizes turf wars that stymie the collaboration needed to take brands to the next level. The Home Depot has figured this out and Stacey Tank, VP of corporate communications and external affairs, will share the blueprints. In conversation with PRWeek editor-in-chief, Steve Barrett, Tank will discuss how to overcome and recover from security breaches, create content that solves everyday dilemmas, master mobile, and merge the digital and physical worlds to build the ultimate customer experience and incentivize 2,200-plus stores to embrace social media and be part of a unified brand team.

Stacey Tank, vice president of corporate communications and external affairs, The Home Depot


Morning Break

11:20 - 11:50am

Pressure Makes Diamonds? How PR Agencies Will Evolve in the Age of Content, Data and Technology
Sponsored by Edelman

In an age where brands are either becoming content creators or choosing to own the direct relationship with content creators, can agencies still play a large role? If so, what is that role and how is it evolving? How are technology and data companies adding to the forces applying pressure to the industry? Join us for a lively debate between top executives from the agency, brand, and technology worlds.

Richard Edelman, president and CEO, Edelman
Anda Gansca,
co-founder and CEO, Knotch
Matthew McCarthy,
senior director, AXE and Men’s Grooming, Unilever

Gideon Fidelzeid,
managing editor, PRWeek


Keynote: The changing face of media relationships

From anchor and reporter, to Dateline NBC correspondent, to her current role as co-host of the fourth hour of Today, Hoda Kotb’s career has evolved in step with broadcast media. In this session, Kotb, who famously told then-NBC Universal president Jeff Zucker “You can’t scare me” before netting her current Today role, will share observations on how broadcast media has changed over the years, the power of perseverance, and some tips for marcomms pros on strengthening relationships with the media

Hoda Kotb, co-host,  Today ; correspondent,   Dateline NBC


40 Under 40 insight

Millennials are projected to spend more than $65 billion on CPG products in the next 10 years, according to  WPP's Geometry Global . PRWeek asks a panel of 40 Under 40 honorees how their own purchasing decisions and the factors that influence them have changed in recent years and how that affects the marcomms strategies they put in place at their own companies. Which apps or social channels do they use in their everyday lives – Snapchat, Facebook, Periscope, and so on – and does that effect whether or not they'll try them for their brands?

Russ Dyer ,
VP, corporate affairs, Kraft Foods
Michael Gonda,
VP, corporate communications, Chobani
Andrew McCaskill,
SVP, Global Communications, Nielsen
Linda Mills , director, global corporate communications and Latin America public affairs, Starbucks

Lindsay Stein ,
senior reporter- consumer/marketing, PRWeek




Keynote: Bringing your brand message home

Celebrity influencers and athletes – a touchdown for any brand. Tiki Barber, co-chairman and founder of Thuzio, former All-Pro running back for the New York Giants, and host of  The Morning Show  on CBS Sports Radio, has a 360-degree appreciation for this impactful marketing combination. In this session, he will highlight how  sports partnerships and  the use of brand ambassadors are becoming more localized and personal, thus providing more authentic and relevant messaging that connects with consumers where they live.

Tiki Barber,
co-chairman and founder, Thuzio


Keynote: Embracing the juxtapositions of real-time marketing

The world of modern marketing is a testament to juxtaposition. On one hand, consumers have not changed: they always have – and always will – want to love and be loved by brands. On the other hand, consumers expect to be marketed to very differently than ever before. A key result of that transformation is brands strive to put themselves in a position to be discovered by consumers at the exact right moment. Few people know this better than Lisa Mann, EVP of marketing at Kind Healthy Snacks. In this session, she will discuss how transparency, nimbleness, and an entrepreneurial spirit has enabled Kind to stand out in an increasingly crowded space. She will also share key learnings from her own journey of the evolving world of real-time marketing to help you better embrace and drive toward authentic brand discovery.

Lisa Mann, EVP of marketing, Kind Snacks


The Diversity Debate

The subject of diversity continues to be one of the most contentious issues in the PR industry. Despite significant efforts in some quarters, and reasonable progress on the client side of the industry, the amount of diverse individuals at senior levels of organizations, especially those with responsibility for agency P&Ls, is still thin on the ground. PRWeek has gathered together a diverse group of PR professionals from the client, agency, and trade association sides to debate the issue and plot a path toward real progress at all levels of the industry.


Oscar Suris, EVP corporate communications, Wells Fargo
Shanté Bacon
, founder, 135th Street Agency
Kathy Cripps, president, PR Council
Mike Paul, The Reputation Doctor
Deisha Barnett,
senior director, corporate communications , Walmart

Steve Barrett , editor-in-chief, PRWeek


Afternoon break


Social media workshops – Intensive breakout sessions in small groups /Afternoon Snack/Tea

Top tips for communicating on Twitter, Vine, and Instagram.

Session 1 - Is Twitter still relevant?

This session will take a deep dive into how brands use Twitter and what they think it is  – and is not – most relevant for. The discussion will challenge participants to decide if Twitter is a niche tool for brands to connect themselves to the cultural zeitgeist or if it is a multi-faceted platform brands should view as a staple for generating engagement around their own diverse branded content.  

Moderated by: Jeff Beringer, digital global practice leader, Golin
Sponsored by: Golin

Session 2 - Is the 30-second spot dead?

The answer, in short, is no. Join Amber Lee of short-form video and mobile/social media specialist Visual Country in a conversation about how brands can not only explore different videos lengths (short and long), but also new platforms for distribution. TV ads may be here to stay, but mobile and social video are growing, and platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram give brands a unique opportunity to get their message in the hands of customers and become part of the community. So how do you sell on social, without actually selling? Let's talk about what success on social looks like for brands using video.

Moderated by: Amber Lee, partner, director of operations, Visual Country

Session 3 - Staying on top of trends with Google

What are the major trends in audience behavior? When and where are they engaging with your brands most? Google, particularly its Trends platform, is a powerful tool to answer these and many other relevant questions. This interactive session will help you key in on search terms, video preferences, and the like that are driving consumer activity, all while empowering you to discover trends your clients, companies, and competitors are not aware of yet.

Moderated by: Carolyn Johnson, head of media solutions, Google


Recap of Social media workshops


What clients want from a modern agency

Internationally-recognized social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk co-founded VaynerMedia in 2009, and has quickly grown the social media-first digital agency into a 500+ employee team with offices in four US cities that services 100+ blue-chip Fortune 500 brands. Also a prolific angel investor and venture capitalist, Gary invested early in companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Uber, and Birchbox, and is partner in Vayner/RSE, a $25m seed fund and incubator. In this session, Gary will describe the rapidly evolving client needs agencies must move quickly to meet. He'll also explain how agencies can help brands produce concrete business results that win the attention of their C-suites and inspire ongoing commitment to smart marketing and communications.

Gary Vaynerchuk,
CEO and co-founder, VaynerMedia

Steve Barrett ,
editor-in-chief, PRWeek


Closing Keynote: Staying Ahead of the Flo

In his years as a marketer, Jeff Charney hasn't just learned about transformation, he's helped define it. Having started his career in PR, he understands how it touches all aspects of marketing in today's constantly connected world. In this session, he'll not only detail how his team has transformed Progressive's brand icon Flo, but he'll also catapult you outside his brand's walls and transform how you think about marketing. Whether you have a budget of $500 or $5,000,000, Jeff will share with you the keys to success in today's lightning-fast marketing world.

Jeff Charney , CMO and master of disruption, Progressive Insurance

Gideon Fidelzeid,
managing editor, PRWeek


Closing Remarks


Cocktail Reception

Post-conference and pre-40 Under 40 dinner


40 Under 40 Dinner and Awards Presentation

*This agenda is tentative and subject to change

Open throughout the day:

Connect Zone
Catch up on email, check in with clients or the office, network with other delegates, or relax in the PRWeek Connect Zone, open throughout the conference.

Dashboard Live: Products and Tools 
Open throughout the day, PRWeek 's Dashboard Lab presents practical demonstrations of products, tools, and tactics to help communicators triumph in an age where they no longer own their brands. Powered by user insight and experience, Dashboard shows how tools are deployed on brands, corporations, and agencies.


Contact Us

PRWeek Conferences are produced by:
PRWeek Magazine
Haymarket Media
114 West 26th Street, 4th floor
New York, NY 10001

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(646) 638-6023

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(646) 638-6141

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(646) 638-6107