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PRSA 2019 New Professionals Summit Series

Careers in Progress


The 2019 New Professionals Summit Program: Chicago

PRSA’s first-ever Chicago New Professionals Summit program is being finalized. Below is the anticipated schedule:

Friday, September 6

8 a.m.–5 p.m.  


8:30–9:30 a.m.

Breakfast and Networking 

9:30–9:45 a.m. 


9:45–10:45 a.m.  

Panel Discussion: Exploring the Realm of PR: Specialties, Industries and Advice

Katrina Schwarz, Associate Director of Marketing & Communications, National Fluid Power Association


Scot Thor, Vice President of Content, KemperLesnik
Brian Price, Global Communications Partner, AXIS Capital
Hanna Porterfield, Senior Manager of Social Media, W2O Group

Description: The field of public relations is hard to pin down. A diverse panel of professionals will shed light on their current and previous roles, sharing the wide range of opportunities and exciting roles within public relations.
Young professionals should expect to leave with a broader understanding of the field and inspired to find their niche!

11 a.m.–Noon

Speaker Session: The Art of Sponsoring:Why Young Professionals Need More than Just a Mentor


Maria C. Gemskie, Senior Director at Gagen MacDonald
Miranda Creech,  Consultant at Gagen MacDonald

Description: ​What is the difference between a Mentor and a Sponsor? What is in it for the sponsor? What does this look like in practice for the Sponsor and or the Protégé? Who needs a sponsor and how many? How do I get a sponsor? Hear the answers to these question from experts who specialize in employee engagement and leadership. Learn how you can find a sponsor for professional development and how to nurture the relationship and get the most out of your sponsor for years to come.

12:15–1:15 p.m.


1:30–2:30 p.m.

Speaker Session: What Does Your Personal Brand Say About You In the Digital Age?


Krista Paniagua, Senior Program Coordinator, Career Services, Arizona State University

Description: ​A resume isn't enough. To get in the door, you need a personal digital brand strategy. So what do news directors and agency managers look for in your resume, LinkedIn and cover letter? How do you optimize them for a first interview or moving up the ranks?

2:45–5 p.m.

Workshop: Business Acumen: Becoming a More Effective Problem Solver and Strategic Communicator

Session leader:
Matt Ragas, Ph.D., Associate Professor, DePaul University
Guest speaker: Michele Mazur, VP Communications & Public Affairs, Grainger

Description: There are many important skills and capabilities expected of successful PR and communications professionals today. One way for a young professional to stand out and get ahead in their career is through becoming more conversant in the language and thinking of business. Professionals develop their business acumen so they may become more effective problem-solvers and strategic thinkers for clients and managers. In this interactive session, DePaul University professor Matt Ragas (co-author of Business Essentials for Strategic Communicators and co-editor of Mastering Business for Strategic Communicators) will explain what is business acumen, why this competency is critically important, and how young professionals can go about developing their business skills (and advancing in their careers).
Following the interactive session, Ragas will lead a conversation and audience Q&A with Michele Mazur, VP Communications & Public Affairs at Grainger.

 5:30–7:30 p.m.  


     Cocktail Networking Reception with PRSA Fellows and Local Professionals

     2Twenty2 Tavern
     222 S Wabash Ave
     Chicago, IL 60604