Real World: Conference Program

2017 Real World Program

Real World PR 2017's conference programming includes panel discussions and interactive seminars that focus on building PR skills, personal branding, professional development and various specialties within the industry.

It is not required to register in advance for individual conference sessions. However, once a room fills up, the session will be closed.

Opening Session, 8-9 a.m.

Behind the Scenes of Getting Hired

Real world advice on finding and landing your first job in PR

Landing that first job in PR can be challenging and overwhelming. Find out what companies do behind the scenes when they hire new college grads. We’ll kick off our opening session with a fun, interactive skit with Actor's Express. Then, you’ll hear straight from Atlanta-area human resource professionals and hiring managers about how to find the best leads, stand apart from everyone else in interviews and most importantly, land the job you want. From internships to interviews, resumes and dressing for success, you’ll leave with the insider tips and added confidence you’ll need to successfully start your PR career.

  • Moderator: Stephen Brown, APR, Cookerly Public Relations
  •  Panelist 1: Tia Jackson, Edelman
  •  Panelist 2: Anna Okula, Porter Novelli
  •  Panelist 3: Kevin Harry, Cartoon Network


Session 1, 9:10-10 a.m. (Choose one breakout session)

How to Be a PR Star

A roadmap to PR stardom in the real world

Learn how to wow your first managers and begin advancing your career from day one. Our PR pros will share insights into the early-career tactics that can make anyone a standout team member. We'll also discuss specific best practices for a smooth transition to the office, including time management and organization, finding a mentor, navigating office politics and delivering results that destine you for stardom.

  •  Moderator: Jamie Cwalinski, MSLGROUP
  •  Panelist 1: Katrina Blauvelt, APR, The Home Depot
  •  Panelist 2: Kimberly Starks, APR, Georgia Lottery Corporation
  •  Panelist 3: Sarah Weston, APR, SPR Atlanta

Exploring Different Sectors of PR
A real-life look at corporate, agency and nonprofit career paths

A career in PR offers a lifetime of excitement, challenges and rewards. But which sector is the right fit for you? We will explore the very-different environments of corporate PR departments, agencies and nonprofit organizations to help you decide what avenue may be your best entry point. Join us for a real-life look at the skills, personal work styles and business environments required by each of these unique sectors, and learn what each one can offer as you launch your career.

  • Moderator: Julie Turner Davis, Georgia-Pacific
  •  Panelist 1: Nichole Mrasek, Cox Enterprises
  •  Panelist 2: Elaine Armstrong, Goodwill of North Georgia
  •  Panelist 3: Alex Fencl, Ketchum 

A Killer Campaign
Chick-fil-A steps Into New York spotlight with first retaurant opening

Chick-fil-A, the long-time restaurant headquartered in Atlanta, has successfully expanded nationwide over several years. Its 2015 grand opening in Manhattan's thriving Midtown district was its biggest feat yet, requiring the company to create a unique, tailored strategy for entry into the city. Learn how Chick-fil-A opened its first location in our nation's biggest city with years of preparation, a full two weeks of PR execution and rapid response to crisis in the final hours before the restaurant's opening.

  • Panelist 1:Amanda Hannah, Chick-fil-A
  • Panelist 2: Rob Entsminger, Jackson Spalding
  • Panelist 3: Desiree Fulton, Jackson Spalding


Session 2, 10:10-11 a.m. Choose one breakout session)

Follow Your Passion in PR
Create a career in healthcare, public affairs and technology

  • Moderator: Elizabeth McMillan, APR, Fiserv
  • Panelist 1: Evangeline George, Uber
  • Panelist 2: Elisabeth Wang, Piedmont Healthcare
  • Panelist 3: Rocio Rivera, APR, LexisNexis Risk Solutions

The healthcare, public affairs and technology sectors offer some of PR’s most available and lucrative career paths. Join industry veterans to explore these specialized areas and discover if one is the perfect fit for you. Then, learn how to create a successful PR career path that offers years of rewarding experiences by promoting impactful products and services.

Follow Your Passion in PR
Creating a career in sports and entertainment

Lights, camera – game on! Grab a front-row seat to learn about a PR career in the sports and entertainment industries from the professionals behind the buzz. Learn how you can create a PR career path that offers exciting experiences in the areas you love, as well as the opportunity to work in high-profile businesses.

  • Moderator: Gary McKillips, APR, Fellow PRSA
  • Panelist 1: Emily Murray, Georgia Department of Economic Development
  • Panelist 2: Beth Marshall, Atlanta Braves
  • Panelist 3: Dillon Faulkner, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

Follow Your Passion in PR
Creating a career in food and beverage, hospitality, and travel and tourism

Interested in exploring and spreading awareness about your favorite lunch spots or vacation destinations? This panel dives into what you can expect and how to prepare for a PR career in the food and beverage, hospitality, and travel and tourism industries. Follow your appetite for delicious cuisine or wanderlust for travel by learning how to create a PR career path in these adventurous industries.

  • Moderator: Heather Kirksey, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Panelist 1: Alicia McNease, Georgia World Congress Center
  • Panelist 2: Renee Kopkowski, Popeye’s Louisana Kitchen, Inc.
  • Panelist 3: Caroline Huston, IHG


Session 3 (11:10 a.m. – 12 p.m.)

Round Tables
Pursue your individual interests and engage with Atlanta PR Pros in small-group conversation

For the first time, Real World PR is offering a series of small, topically-driven round table group discussions with Atlanta PR experts. The fast-paced format features 15 round tables where you can dig deeper into a variety of specialized topics more suited for your personal interests.

You MUST sign up for your top five round tables upon checking in at the Real World PR conference - each round table is available on a first come, first served basis. You will spend 10 minutes at each round table with a PR professional and a small group of your peers.

Round Tables Speakers
Is Internal Communications for Me? Gina Laughlin, Delta Air Lines
How to develop your Social Media expertise Eduardo Lopez, FleishmanHillard
Master's or MBA degree . . .Is an advanced degree right for me? Jasmine Hoffman, MBA, APR, Emory University
The Power of Networking Stephen Brown, APR, Cookerly Public Relations
How to Find the Right Mentor Alison Ilg, Ilg Communications
Taking the Nonprofit Route April Phillips, American Red Cross
Option A: #SOS! I'm Graduating, Now what? Sarah Bell, Trevelino/Keller
Option B: #SOS! I'm Graduating, Now what? Sophie Robertson, GOLIN
Option A: The Value of Internships Tyler Pearson, WellStar
Option B: The Value of Internships Kent Landers, APR, The Coca-Cola Company
Option A: #LandTheInterview Kristie Benson, APR, Southern Company Gas
Option B: #LandTheInterview Natalie Godwin, UPS
Option A: The Great Job Search Patty Gregory, APR, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
Option B: The Great Job Search Chaundra Luckett, Atlanta Community Food Bank
Building My Personal Brand Elyse Hammett, APR, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta


Keynote Luncheon & Networking (Noon - 1:15 pm)
Presenter: Andrew McCaskill, APR, Senior Vice President, Nielsen

This keynote luncheon at Real World PR 2017, PRSA Georgia’s annual collegiate conference, will explore how Millennial spending habits are influencing marketing strategies and tactics of some of the world’s largest companies.

Andrew McCaskill, APR, Senior Vice President of Global Communications at Nielsen and a member of the PRSA National Board of Directors, will give Real World student attendees a glimpse of what it’s like to work in a fast-paced industry that has to constantly adapt to consumer trends and pop culture.


Resume Critique and Career Fair (1:30 - 3:00 pm)



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