2022 CN Winter Symposium

The Counselors’ Network Winter Symposium is an annual event that provides high-level professional development designed to encourage productive idea sharing and dialogue among FPRA’s most experienced professionals. The 2022 CN Winter Symposium will be held in Sarasota and will include nationally recognized speakers, fun and informative outings, a welcome reception, breakfast on Friday and Saturday, lunch on Friday, dinner Friday night and free Wi-Fi.

As always, the speakers are top-level PR professionals who will share their expertise and lead interactive discussions. We’ll discuss key issues on the horizon, from communicating messages that can be divisive, to finding ways to attract and retain talent, to being prepared for the impacts of employee activism on your reputation, to strategies that work on inclusion and diversity. The speakers on these topics have experience and qualifications to ensure confidence in their advice and generate high-level discussions. Register now to join your CN colleagues for this unique Winter Symposium experience.

Health and Safety

While we are delighted to be back in person for the CN Winter Symposium this year, we want you to know that your health and safety remain our top concern. Please be aware that seating will be as distanced as possible in the classroom sessions. However, during meals and at other times, social distancing may not always be possible. We encourage all attendees to wear masks or maintain distance, as appropriate.

The Embassy Suites by Hilton Sarasota practices enhanced health and safety measures including disinfecting surfaces, providing hand sanitizer and requiring staff to be vaccinated. You can find details on Embassy Suites’ CleanStay program here.

Book your room at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Sarasota

This new hotel is within walking distance of restaurants and Sarasota’s downtown area and within a 10-minute drive of Lido Beach, The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. Check in time for the Embassy Suites is 4 p.m., and checkout time is 11 a.m. Contactless check-in and check-out are available.

CN Winter Symposium room rate: $189/night

Parking: Valet is the only available parking. FPRA rate is $10 per day – a discount of $20 per day!

Deadline to Book to the Symposium Rate: January 6, 2022

2022 CN Winter Symposium Topics & Speakers

Radical Inclusion: Bold Actions to Accelerate Diversity

(This session is for Counselor’s Network members and candidates only. LeadershipFPRA participants will attend a separate session at this time.)

The population shift, a heightened awareness of racial and socioeconomic disparities and the COVID-19 pandemic created a unique combination of circumstances that caused companies to focus more intentionally on driving change for historically underrepresented groups. Naturally, this juncture drives a critical need for the public relations field to curate teams, craft messages and influence initiatives that better resonate with every client or company stakeholder.

Corporate diversity initiatives started in the 1960s amid the Civil Rights Movement and continued in the ’80s and ’90s to mitigate and settle civil rights suits. Today, with the business case being well-documented, diversity, equity and inclusion are on the agenda of most company leaders and are, therefore, a focus for communications counselors and leaders. Amid a peak in social and political divisions, bold actions and radical inclusion can unite us and expedite progress in an increasingly diverse world.

In this session, Pat Ford and Carmella Glover will provide U.S. data insights into the current state of diversity for the profession and share industry-specific resources that have proven effective in moving the age-old needle.

Presented by

Patrick Ford, Professional in Residence, University of Florida and former Worldwide Vice Chair and Chief Client Officer for Burson-Marsteller

Pat Ford is a professional in residence at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. He teaches courses in Corporate Reputation, Crisis Communications and Corporate Communication Essentials. Pat was with Burson-Marsteller for 29 years, most recently as worldwide vice chair and chief client officer. He also served as US CEO, Asia-Pacific chair, global Corporate Practice chair and US Corporate Practice chair. Pat specializes in corporate reputation management, senior executive communications, media strategy and issues and crisis management. His clients have included world-class companies in the automotive, energy, express delivery services, financial services, food and beverage, management consulting, pharmaceutical, technology and telecommunications industries.

He serves as immediate past chair of the Diversity Action Alliance, a coalition of the leading organizations in the public relations profession, whose mission is to accelerate action on recruitment, retention and representation of diverse talent at all levels in the PR/communications profession. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Public Relations (IPR), an international organization that supports PR research and education. In 2016, he was awarded IPR’s Alexander Hamilton Medal, its highest award, which “honors PR professionals who have made major contributions to the practice of public relations, including effective use of research.” In recognition of Pat’s longstanding, passionate commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in public relations, the PR Council and PRWeek presented him with their Diversity Distinction in PR Award as 2016 Diversity Champion of the year for the agency side of the profession.


Carmella Glover, President, Diversity Action Alliance and Director of DE&I at Page

Carmella Glover is President of the Diversity Action Alliance  (DAA) and the Director of DE&I at Page. At Page, she provides strategic direction for member and staff DE&I initiatives. In partnership with the DAA Board, she oversees operations, programs, budget and strategic planning to further the organization’s mission to accelerating progress in meaningful and tangible achievement in DE&I in the field for people of color.

Carmella was the first-ever Executive Director of the PRSA Foundation. She oversaw budget, compliance, programs and operations for the charitable arm of the PRSA – also focused on DE&I. She also has more than ten years of corporate experience from L’Oréal USA, Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson. Before transitioning into diversity communications, she designed the organizational strategy and led a team of supply chain managers at L’Oréal U.S.A. She was accountable for the successful launch of luxury skincare products netting $100+ million in new sales annually, which required collaboration with Marketing and PR business partners. These cross-functional partnerships were the impetus to her transition into communications. Being the only female engineer and often the only Black leader in a room of decision-makers, she quickly discovered the synergy between her skill and purpose.

In May of 2019, Carmella was the recipient of the Logos Institute Rising Leader Award and a keynote speaker at the New York University School of Professional Studies May 2019 commencement. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology and a Master of Science degree in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from New York University.

Your Personal Brand: Position Yourself as a PR Strategist

(This session is for LeadershipFPRA participants only. CN members and candidates will attend a separate session at this time.)

Building a strong network leads to success in career development, job opportunities, potential customers and business partners. But it all begins with a solid personal brand. Learn about the components of creating your own brand and position yourself for strategic growth in your career and your business. In this session, you will explore the components to help you develop your brand statement as well as a personal brand action plan.

Presented by

Erin McLeod, President & CEO, Senior Friendship Centers

Erin McLeod is President & CEO for Senior Friendship Centers (SFC), a regional nonprofit with a $15M+ annual budget that has served seniors, families and caregivers since 1973 and has a mission to promote health, dignity and quality of life throughout the journey of aging. She began in 2004 as SFC’s communications director, became chief operating officer in 2006, senior VP in 2012, and was appointed president and CEO in January 2016.

Erin holds her degree in public relations from the University of Florida and has completed nonprofit management and development/fundraising coursework. Her broad career experience includes consulting, healthcare, hospitality, public speaking and nonprofit.

She currently serves as Treasurer for the Florida Council on Aging Board of Trustees and is a board member of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Doctor’s Hospital of Sarasota (HCA Florida Healthcare), and Stratum LIFE (PACE). She also serves in an advisory role for the membership committee of the Aging Society of America.

Yes, I Work There: Retaining and Inspiring Today’s Workforce

Attracting and retaining a dedicated workforce has never been an easy task. For the foreseeable future, it is definitely a challenge for businesses worldwide. Whether it is a result of shifts in the labor market as demand for workers rises, or aging and retiring workers or demands for better pay and flexible working arrangements, an ongoing quest is how to find, inspire and motivate employees to want to remain with your organization.

If you’ve heard or experienced stories of people simply not showing up for interviews, ghosting contacts after the interviews or leaving after only a few months on the job, you’ll want to be a part of this discussion.

Todd Beckwith will share the incredible story of his work within the medical cannabis industry with the national and internationally-recognized MüV™ Brand product and MüV Dispensaries, and he’ll talk about the company’s success in building fierce brand loyalty among their employees. You’ll be able to apply his takeaways in your workplace including successful diversity through shared corporate values, being good corporate citizens, and the generational dynamics and motivators that help MüV attract and retain team members.

Presented by

Todd Beckwith, Director of Corporate Affairs, AltMed Enterprises and MüV Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

A native of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Todd is a graduate of Florida State University, with nearly three decades of marketing and business management experience. He has held marketing leadership roles for both Fortune 500 and start-up companies and has established a consistent record of delivering record-setting results for initiatives under his leadership.

Todd served for nearly a decade with Merck Pharmaceutical where he held a director level position on the senior product management team leading new product development and launch teams. Within the medical cannabis industry, he has been involved in the development of more than 50 medical cannabis products and launched the national and internationally recognized MüV™ Brand of medical cannabis products and MüV Dispensaries.

Lunch with Pat Ford:
Takeaways from Two Decades at Burson-Marsteller

Safeguarding Reputation in the Age of Activism

Before darkness fell on the January 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, reports began surfacing of individuals who were spotted among the protestors being fired by their employers. The workers say they were merely exercising their First Amendment rights. Their employers saw something different — people whose words and actions that day were incompatible with corporate values and put their reputations and relationships with customers, investors and other stakeholders at risk.

Do employers have a right to take action against workers for activities outside the workplace? Where do employees’ free speech rights begin and end? And how can employers strike the correct balance between treating workers lawfully, respecting diversity of thought and protecting their good names against calls for public cancellation and potentially embarrassing lawsuits?

Crisis veteran Jon Goldberg will discuss the patchwork of laws that govern employees’ rights to speak out on political and social issues, why attempts to ban political and social discourse in the workplace are doomed to fail and how to neutralize the growing legal and reputational dangers to help us keep our organizations out of the public spotlight, safe from cancellation and out of court at the same time.

Presented by

Jon Goldberg, Founder and Chief Reputation Architect at Reputation Architects 

Jon Goldberg is the founder and Chief Reputation Architect of Reputation Architects Inc., a strategic communications and management advisory firm focused on building, protecting and restoring reputations in a world of diminished trust and unprecedented stakeholder power. Jon founded Reputation Architects in 2009 after more than 25 years as an advisor to corporate executives and boards, a senior leader at some of the world’s most prominent communications firms, and a front-line spokesman for major corporations and non-profit organizations. His reputation, risk and crisis management experience spans the gamut.

Before founding Reputation Architects, Jon worked for Porter Novelli, Edelman and J. Walter Thompson, and was a principal media spokesman for The Prudential Insurance Company. A frequent speaker, author and commentator on reputation risk management, crisis and litigation communications, Jon is a member of the executive committee and 2021 chair of the Public Relations Society of America’s Counselors’ Academy and co-chair of PRSA’s national Civility Task Force. Trained as a journalist, Jon holds a BA degree in journalism as well as an MBA in finance, both from New York University.

Tour of Siesta Key Rum Distillery and Tasting Room

We’ll tour the Siesta Key Rum distillery and have the opportunity to sample the award-winning small batch rums.

With remarks by Troy Roberts, Founder, CEO and Head Distiller, or Nicole Caplan, Director of Operations.

When No One Agrees: What Research Reveals on Communicating Divisive Issues

(This session is for Counselor’s Network members and candidates only.)

This session will address both the causes and consequences of exposure to information that we disagree with. Good information is key to making good decisions, and information is better when we are willing to hear multiple perspectives. However, especially in politics, many individuals are reluctant to engage with ideas that are counter to what they already believe.

Dr. Myiah Hutchens, an expert in diverse perspectives, will address the biases that audiences often have when approaching counter-attitudinal information and what strategies can be used to make those conversations more productive.

Presented by

Myiah J. Hutchens, Ph.D., Associate Professor & Associate Chair, Department of Public Relations and Graduate Coordinator, Public Relations Research & Theory MAMC, College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida

Dr. Myiah Hutchens is a political communication scholar whose research centers on how communication functions in democratic processes – that is, to help or hinder political processes. Her research generally focuses on what leads people to seek out diverse perspectives – particularly views they disagree with – and how individuals then process that disagreement. She has more than 40 publications which can be found in the top journals in communication, and her work has been cited nearly 2,000 times. She is a former head of the Communication Theory and Methodology division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and currently sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Communication, Communication Research and Communication Methods and Measures.

Improv Tools for PR: Engagement, Humor & Teamwork

(This session is for Counselor’s Network members and candidates only.)

We’ve all had our sanity challenged over the last few years. In this session, we’ll learn how the tools comedians use for improvisation can also be used to help PR practitioners tackle everyday challenges. From staying present and engaged, to keeping your sense of humor to working with your team, creative improv skills can be used to encourage productivity, enhance creativity and deepen relationships. Plus, laughter reduces stress, and we could use a little of that!

Presented by

Scott Novotny, Comedian, Entertainer & Improvisation and Stand-Up Comedy Instructor

A cross between Red Skelton and Robin Williams (with a dash of Goofy), Scott Novotny has been entertaining audiences for over 30 years. Scott has appeared on MTV, America’s Funniest People and Comedy on the Road. He headlines comedy clubs and theaters and has performed for over 1,000 holiday parties and corporate events, including opening in concert for Jay Leno, Joan Rivers, the Smothers Brothers and Weird Al. He has a theatrical and improvisational background and has written for Saturday Night Live and the cartoon strips “Close To Home” and “Strange Brew.”

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