Session Schedule

Below is the current outline for the 2017 State PRAM Conference. Please know, this schedule is subject to change at any point.

Sunday, April 23

1:3o p.m. Board Meeting Ogletree House, Campus
4:30 p.m. Conference Check-In Ogletree House, Campus
5:30 p.m. Opening Reception

Telling Your Own Story: Networking Tips & Tricks

We’ll kick off the conference with some good old fashioned networking, but with a twist! Dr. Lindsey Lewis will join us as she shares a few tips and tricks about how to maximize the networking opportunities and use them for continued professional development.


Ogletree House, Campus


Lindsey Lewis, PhD, Corporate Trainer and Networking Specialist with HMP Nursing

Monday, April 24

6:30 a.m. Sunrise Yoga Courtyard Marriott

Erin Barham, APR

8 a.m. Coffee Talk – Chapter Development: Starting an Awards Program & Innovative Program Planning
Matt Martin, current president of the Pine Belt chapter will provide an open forum to discuss how the chapter has created an awards program that serves as the first step of a three-tier awards program throughout PRAM and SPRF. He’ll discuss the pros and cons and how to start your own, as well as innovative program ideas that have worked in Hattiesburg.
Thad Cochran Center, Rm. 216

Matt Martin, President of the Pine Belt Chapter

Coffee Talk – Professional Development: It Takes APRo
If you’ve ever considered taking a dive into the APR process, join Erin and a few other APRs as they discuss their journey through accreditation.
Thad Cochran Center, Rm. 218

Erin Barham, APR, VP of Accreditation

9 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Keynote

It’s More than a Shirt: Creating a Community of Competitors

Apparel companies are a dime a dozen, but apparel that communicates a consistent message while building a community is rare. Join Jake as he shares how he began a lifestyle apparel company out of the back of his car and used the story of competing to grow it into a successful community of people who are dialed into competing for their lives, each and every day.

Thad Cochran Center, Ballroom I/II

Jake Thompson, Chief Encouragement Officer with Compete Every Day

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Print Isn’t Dead: Using Print Media to Tell Your Story
Contrary to the national perspective, print is not dead. From community papers to regional magazines, there is power to be found in print media. Join David, Michael and Jim as they discuss today’s media landscape and how print products have bolstered organizational messaging and served as a powerful player in the mix of media used to communicate.
Thad Cochran Center, Rm. 216

David Gustafson, Hub City Spokes
Michael Sunderman, M2 Media Corp
Moderated by: Jim Beaugez, APR

The Importance of Real-Time Content: How to Produce and Succeed

Real-time content is all the rage. From Snapchat to Instagram Stories to the Facebook Live phenomenon, organizations and brands now have real-time storytelling and current content at their fingertips. But how can you be sure it fits your goals and objectives … and more importantly, how can you know if you’re doing it successfully? Join Karla Khodanian, digital community manager for Big Communications, as she walks us through social media’s latest live trends, which brands are doing it well and how it could work for you.

Thad Cochran Center, Rm. 218

Karla Khodanian, Big Communications

11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m. Keynote: Confessions of a Cartooning Warrior

Prolific content creators are often seen as lucky winners of the genetic talent lottery. That myth is frequently debunked by professional creatives who rely on process. Join Marshall as he discusses his ideas about approaching creative work like athletic training and battling the blank page as a warrior in search of a story.

Student PRism / Student of the Year Awards

Thad Cochran Center, Ballroom I/II

Marshall Ramsey, author & cartoonist

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Jumpstart Your Content

Sometimes we have to get out the flipcharts and markers to brainstorm until magic happens but most of the time, schedules don’t allow for it. If you’re in need of a brainstorming session that will jumpstart your approach to content for web, social media, writing, and more – this is the session for you. Join Nicole and Amber as they walk participants through a hands-on approach to creating and maximizing content to its full potential.  


Thad Cochran Center, Rm. 218

Amber Ross Hartfield, Merit Health Wesley
Nicole Ruhnke, Southern Miss Alumni Association

Telling Your Story With an Agency

As public relations professionals, we’re often in charge of making decisions about large-scale projects that need to be done but don’t fit into the regular scope of the job. When those things happen, we may need to call on an agency to help us implement those projects. Join Ben, Tim, Paige, and Rob as they dive into the process of working with an agency and how it’s not nearly as complicated (or expensive) as it might seem.

Thad Cochran Center, Rm. 216

Panelists to include representatives from
The Focus Group
Maris, West & Baker
The Ramey Agency

 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. The 420-pound Tiger in the Room…and How to Be His SpokespersonIn 2010, LSU created a facebook page for Mike VI, LSU’s live tiger mascot, but there was no plan in place as to how it should be used. Ginger Guttner, director of public relations for the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, will discuss Mike’s social media journey and messaging involved in informing the public about Mike’s cancer diagnosis and treatment.  Thad Cochran Center, Rm. 216

Ginger Guttner, APR, LSU School of Veterinary Medicine

Demystifying Graphic Design and How to Work with a Designer

Ever stared at your computer screen in hopes that the flier you need to design will magically create itself because graphic design often leaves you in a puddle of tears? Fear none! Join Brittney as she covers the basics of the graphic design process, including tips on DIY graphic design for non-designers. On the flip side, she’ll also walk you step-by-step through the process of working with a professional graphic designer.

Thad Cochran Center, Rm. 218

Brittney Westbrook, The University of Southern Mississippi – University Communications

 3:45 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. Embrace the PESO Model

As an expert in digital communications and the founder of Spin Sucks, Gini Dietrich knows a thing or two about how to maximize PR efforts that create results. During this special remote session, Gini will go over the paid, earned, shared, owned (PESO) model for measurement. Participants will walk away with a refreshed perspective on how to strategically plan and evaluate campaigns.

NOTE: This session was an additional $50 per participant. It will only be open to those who added the extra session to his or her conference registration. Participants will be checked in based on registered information.

Thad Cochran Center, Rm. 218

Gini Dietrich (exclusive remote presentation for members only – must be added to conference registration)

Student Session: From Student to Professional

Curious about what happens when a student steps off of the graduation stage and into her first professional role? Join Christine, Karelia, Erin and Kayla as they hash out what

Thad Cochran Center, Rm. 216

Panel to include: Christine Murray

Karelia Pitts, The USM Foundation

Erin Garrett, APR, University of Mississippi

Kayla Farris, Presbyterian Christian School

Moderated by Kylie Boring, Visit Tupelo

6 p.m. Annual Awards Banquet Happy Hour

Silent Auction

Trent Lott Center Lobby
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Annual Awards Banquet: PRism Awards & Professional Achievement Award

Emceed by Jamie Arrington, comedian

Trent Lott Center Ballroom

Tuesday, April 25

9 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.  PRAM Business Meeting Thad Cochran Center, Ballroom I/II

Jennie Bradford Curlee, PRAM president

9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Keynote

Good Kids, Bad Kids, & Weird Kids – Building a Story to Recruit and Retain Campers & Counselors

Running a nine-week-long summer camp isn’t for the faint of heart and it certainly takes the other 43 weeks to plan and prepare for. Join Jonathan as he discusses how the good kids, the weird kids and the bad kids play a vital role in recruiting and retaining campers and counselors.

Thad Cochran Center, Ballroom I/II

Jonathan Owen, Camp Straight Street

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Channeling Hemingway: Write Drunk, Edit Sober

The art of storytelling is fundamental to the core of public relations, and writing is the foundational skill all pros must know. In this session, you’ll learn how to overcome the fear of the blank page, make your left brain play nice with your right brain and take writing ideas from concept to completion.

Thad Cochran Center, Rm. 216

Jim Beaugez, APR, Mississippi Development Authority

I Need to See Your Eyes: Telling Your Story Face to Face

Keeping pace with technological change is a must for PR practitioners, but what about interpersonal communication? Is it a thing of the past? As practitioners rely increasingly upon technology to tell an organization’s story, they must simultaneously nurture interpersonal skills. This presentation will address preparing speeches effectively, including audience analysis, speech organization, and delivery that reinforces, rather than distracts, from the message. This is a good session for those new to a career as well as for those with experience who want a refresher on public speaking.

Thad Cochran Center, Rm. 218

Patti Wade, APR, Jackson Academy

11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m. Closing Keynote

The Lyric Lit: How Storytelling Fueled the Funding For a Monumental Project

When Glenny Brock first visited Birmingham’s Lyric Theatre, the former vaudeville house had been shuttered for more than 40 years. Most of the seats had been torn out and the stage was covered in pigeon poop. Still, the venue captured her imagination. Learning Lyric history — which includes singers, dancers, comedians, cartoonists, the Marx Brothers, Mae West, dancing bears, drunk dogs and not a little drama — altered the course of her professional life. By sharing the story of the Lyric, Brock helped a nonprofit organization raise more than $11 million for its restoration.

Thad Cochran Center, Ballroom I/II

Glenny Brock, The Lyric Theatre in Birmingham