Co-sponsored by the Arthur W. Page Society, the PR Council and the Institute for Public Relations, the Public Relations Leadership Forum is an intense two-day seminar for high-performing, mid-career communications managers at Global 1000 companies and public relations firms.  The Leadership Forum’s major objective is to develop outstanding future leaders of public relations and communications, and to provide networking opportunities where upwardly mobile professionals can learn from national leaders in the field and from each other.

This program for tomorrow’s leaders will focus on the effective use of research in planning and implementing public relations activities and is presented by the Institute for Public Relations in conjunction with the Arthur W. Page Society and the PR Council. The event begins at 12:15 p.m., Wednesday, November 2 and concludes by 2:45 p.m., Thursday, November 3.  To enhance discussion, networking opportunities and learning exchange, the event will be restricted to 30 registrants.

The all inclusive registration fee of $1,950 includes tuition, an extensive set of seminar materials, a welcome networking reception and dinner Tuesday evening, plus breakfast and lunch on Wednesday.  Individual participants are responsible for their travel to New York and for hotel lodging.

The Public Relations Leadership Forum registration cost is $1,950.

All Public Relations Leadership Forum cancellations must be made in writing and are subject to a cancellation charge of $100. This policy is necessitated by the limited enrollment restrictions placed upon the size of each Leadership Forum session. Cancellations will not be accepted after October 20.

For two or more attendees, please contact Jenn Moyer for a discounted rate at (+1) 352-392-0280 or

Who Attends?

Each year the Public Relations Leadership Forum attracts some of the brightest and best developing leaders in public relations and corporate communications. Representatives of the following organizations have attended previous Leadership Forums.

Agencies: 360 Public Relations LLC, Airfoil PR, APCO Worldwide, Behan Communications, Biosector 2 – CCC, BlissPR, Burson-Marsteller, Capstrat, Chandler Chico, CJP Communications, Cohn & Wolfe, Cooper Katz, CRT/Tanaka, Davies Public Affairs, Dix & Eaton, dna13, Eastwick Communications, Edelman, Edward Howard & Company, Environics Communications, Fleishman-Hillard, Gagen MacDonald, Gibbs & Soell, GolinHarris, Hill & Knowlton, Ketchum, Linhart McClain Finlon, Manning Selvage & Lee, M Booth & Associates, Makovsky & Company, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, Padilla Speer Beardsley, Peppercom, Porter Novelli, The Powell Group, rbb Public Relations, Revive Public Relations, RF|Binder, Toni Torres PR, Spectrum Science Communications, SunStar, Text 100, Trone Public Relations, Tunheim Partners, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, Weber Shandwick and Weisscomm Partners.

Corporations: Abbott Laboratories, Allstate Insurance Company, Alticor, ArvinMeritor, AT&T, AXA Equitable, Bank of New York Mellon, Baxter International, Best Buy, BP America, Capital One, Charles Schwab, ConAgra Foods, Cordis Corporation, Corning Incorporated, Covidien, Delta Air Lines, Digital Platform, Discover Financial Services, Discovery Networks Central Europe, Duke Energy, Edward Jones, Entergy, Ernst & Young, FedEx, Frito-Lay, General Motors, Genomic Health, GM Healthcare, Hess Corporation, Honeywell, IBM, Ingersoll Rand, Irvine Company, ITT Industries, Johnson Controls, Johnson & Johnson, Kaiser Permanente, Kraft Foods, Mars, Inc., McKesson Corporation, MetLife, Nationwide, Nextel, Northwestern Mutual, PepsiCo, PG&E, Praxair, Prudential Financial, Quaker Oats, Siemens, SAS, Shell Oil Company, State Farm, St. Paul Travelers, Sunoco, Symantec, Tellabs, Tennessee Valley Authority Unisys Corporation, UPS, USAA, USG Corporation, Waste Management, WCG and Wyeth.

Registration Includes

The all inclusive registration fee of $1,950 includes tuition, an extensive set of seminar materials, a welcome networking reception and dinner Tuesday evening, plus breakfast and lunch on Wednesday. Individual participants are responsible for their travel to New York and for hotel lodging.

Group discounts are available. Please contact Jenn Moyer at (+1) 352-392-0280 or


Wednesday, November 2

11:45 a.m. Registration and Networking Lunch

12:15 p.m. Welcome and Introductions

12:45 p.m. Future Tech Trends and Communication Strategies — Rowan Benecke, Global Chair of Burson-Marsteller’s worldwide technology practice

2 p.m. Networking Break

2:15 p.m. Exploring the Latest Developments in Organizational Communication Research — Dr. Rita Linjuan Men, Assistant Professor of Public Relations at the University of Florida

3:30 p.m. Networking Break

3:45 p.m. The Public Relations Ethics Workshop — Dick Martin, a nationally-recognized ethics expert and former Chief Communications Officer, AT&T

5:15 p.m. Adjourn for the Day

5:45 p.m. Reception & Dinner
The Irvington Restaurant on the Ground Floor of the W New York – Union Square Hotel at 201 Park Avenue South

Thursday, November 3

9 a.m. How One Company Successfully Used Social Media to Listen to Its Employees — Ashley Mainz, a founding member of the Social Business Team at Southwest Airlines

10:15 a.m. Networking Break

10:30 a.m. The Increasing Importance of Diversity in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. A Panel Discussion Moderated By Renee Wilson, President, PR Council. Panelists: Tony Allen, Head of the Corporate Reputation Group, Global Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Bank of America; Judith Harrison, Senior Vice President, Staffing and Diversity & Inclusion, Weber Shandwick; and, Trisch Smith, Executive Vice President & Managing Director, Edelman

11:45 a.m. Buffet Lunch

12 p.m. Why This is a Great Time to Work in Public Relations — Ray Kotcher, Non-Executive Chairman of Ketchum and Professor of the Practice of Public Relations at Boston University

1:15 p.m. Brief Stretch Break

1:25 p.m. A Conversation With Harold Burson, Harold Burson, Founder and Chairman of Burson-Marsteller

2:30 p.m. Closing Comments and Adjournment

Instructional Team

Tony Allen leads Corporate Communications for Bank of America’s Consumer Banking and Business Banking divisions, which serve more than 50 million consumers and small businesses. Tony sets the organization’s communications strategy and is senior communications counsel to the company’s Vice Chairman. He is also a key advisor to the bank’s Public Policy and Corporate Social Responsibility teams. Previously, Tony oversaw communications for Bank of America’s Deposits & Card Products and Global Commercial Banking businesses. Formerly, Tony was an executive vice president with MBNA.

Rowan Benecke is the Global Chair of Burson-Marsteller’s worldwide technology practice where he is responsible for the overall strategic direction, business management, client relations and team development of the agency’s technology practice across offices in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Rowan specializes in partnering with senior executive teams at leading global companies to change perceptions of their brands, customers and products within the context of macro and micro technology shifts that drive global business. He has more than 20 years of experience developing award-winning strategic communications programs for leading consumer and technology brands in the US, Asia and Europe. He has twice been awarded PR Week’s “Campaign of the Year” for his client work with Cisco Systems in 2013 and British Airways in 2014.

Harold Burson is the Founder and Chairman of Burson-Marsteller and has been described by PRWeek as being “the century’s most influential PR figure.” Harold has spent more than sixty years serving as counselor to and confidante of corporate CEOs, government leaders and heads of public sector institutions. As winner of numerous industry honors; a generous supporter of organizations and charities; a mentor to many; and of course, co-founder of one of the world’s largest public relations agencies, Burson-Marsteller, Harold is a truly singular figure in the world of public relations.

Judith Harrison is the Senior Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Weber Shandwick. She drives programs designed to build a multicultural workforce that embraces and values different backgrounds, powers personal and corporate success by  promoting awareness of multiple world views and respect for their importance, ensures fair access to opportunities employees need to advance and leverages differences to bring the best strategic thinking and creativity to clients. Judith develops strategic diversity and inclusion plans, drives the sharing of best practices across the U.S., U.K. and E.U., partners with diversity & inclusion leadership development and professional organizations to increase awareness of Weber Shandwick’s commitment to diversity, and leads innovative diversity talent outreach initiatives to build a strong pipeline of potential staff. She has more than 15 years of experience in public relations recruiting and human resources. Prior to joining Weber Shandwick in 2006, Judith served as senior vice president of human resources at Ruder Finn, leading the agency’s global recruiting and retention initiatives. She began her career in recruiting as vice president of the Fry Group, which provides executive search services to public relations firms and client-side constituencies.

Ray Kotcher is Non-Executive Chairman of Ketchum and Professor of the Practice of Public Relations at Boston University’s College of Communication. He served two terms as Chair of the PR Council and ten years as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Arthur W. Page Society. During his 12 years as the global CEO of Ketchum, the firm tripled in size and was twice named PRWeek’s Agency of the Year. Ketchum is now ranked as the fourth-largest PR firm in the world, according to PRWeek and the Holmes Report. With 163 Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Silver Anvils, 50 PRWeek Awards, 14 Cannes Lions, and 154 Holmes Report SABREs, Ketchum is the most decorated agency in the business.

Ashley Mainz is a founding member of the Social Business Team at Southwest Airlines and has more than ten years of social and communications experience. In her current role, Ashley is responsible for the Listening and Social Care strategies for the airline’s social business practice. Prior to this role, Ashley launched Southwest’s state-of-the-art Listening Center and has served in several other capacities within the Communication & Outreach Department. She’s a recipient of the President’s Award from Southwest Airlines and has been identified as one of the “15 to Watch” by PRNews. Ashley holds a marketing degree from the Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma.

Dick Martin is a noted business writer specializing in marketing, brand management, ethics, and public relations. He spent 32 years working in various public relations positions with AT&T, including being the company’s Chief Communications Officer from 1997 until 2003. He has written five books and numerous articles for leading publications such as the Harvard Business Review. He is a contributing editor of the Conference Board Review for which he writes a regular column. A noted blogger, he is a member of the Board of Advisors of Corporate Communication International and serves on the CCI Forum Faculty.

Rita Linjuan Men is an assistant professor of public relations at the University of Florida. Her background is based primarily in corporate communication research and consulting. Her research interests include employee engagement, leadership communication, measurement and evaluation, relationship/reputation management and social media in public relations. Dr. Men has published over 30 articles in leading scholarly journals and serves on several editorial boards and advisory committees. She holds a Ph.D. degree from the University of Miami, is an accredited member of PRSA and is active in the Page Up division of the Arthur W. Page Society. She has worked internationally with Alibaba Group and Ketchum and has served as a consultant for a number of multinational corporations and non-profit organizations.

Trisch Smith is the Executive Vice President & Group Head, Edelman Washington, D.C. Smith partners with leaders across all Edelman offices, practices, sectors and with our HR team to guide our organizational strategy and programming surrounding diversity and inclusion. Her focus includes training and development efforts, recruitment and overall engagement strategy to ensure our workforce diversity. Trisch has managed stakeholder outreach, strategic positioning, reputation/issues management and public affairs campaigns for a host of Fortune 500 corporations, non-profits and associations, including Walmart, DeBeers, Toyota, Time Warner Cable and National 4-H Council. She also helps to lead the firm’s award-winning Multicultural group, working with a wide range of clients to help raise their profile and build brand loyalty with a diverse stakeholder base.

Renee Wilson was named President of the PR Council in 2015. She came to the trade association representing the US public relations agency industry from the MSLGroup where her positions included Chief Client Officer and President of the MSLGroup in North America.She has served twice on the public relations jury for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, including as its President in 2014. Prior to joining the MSLGroup she worked for eight years at Hill & Knowlton. She is a regularly featured speaker at various international conferences and most recently presented at the United Nations International Women’s Day Conference and the SxSw Social Good Hub, 2015. She serves on the leadership council for the Young Women’s Leadership Network and is a member of the NY Women in Communications.

Don Wright is the Harold Burson Professor in the College of Communication at Boston University. He is one of the world’s most published public relations scholars and has worked full-time in corporate, agency, and university public relations in addition to being a communications consultant for more than three decades. A long-time board member of the Arthur W. Page Society and a Past President of the International Public Relations Association, he currently serves as an IPR Trustee, as Editor of the Research Journal of the IPR and as an IPR Research Fellow. His Ph.D. degree is from the University of Minnesota.

Hotel Accommodations

There are a number of hotels located within easy walking distance of Burson-Marsteller (230 Park Avenue South at 19th Street). They are listed below with their approximate room rates.

W Hotel New York, Union Square, 201 Park Avenue South (between 17th & 18th Streets). Tel: 212-253-9119. ($465).

Gramercy Park Hotel, 2 Lexington Avenue (at 21st Street). Tel: 212-920-3300. ($525).

Hyatt Union Square, 134 Fourth Avenue (Between 12th and 13th Streets). 212-253-1234 ($355).

The Marcel at Gramercy, 201 East 24th Street (at Third Avenue). 212-696-3800. ($405).

There are many hotels located within in the mid-town area of Manhattan that are about 10-15 minutes away via taxi or subway. These include:

Affinia Dumont, 150 E. 34th St. (Between Lexington & Third). Tel: 212-481-7600. ($395).

Affinia Shelburne, 303 Lexington Avenue (Between 37th & 38th Streets). Tel: 212-689-5200. ($370).

Hotel Roger Williams, 131 Madison Avenue (at 31st St.). Tel: 212-448-7000. ($345).

The Court Hotel, 130 East 39th Street (Between Lexington & Park Avenues). 212-685-1100. ($365).

Tuscany Hotel, 120 East 39th Street (Between Lexington & Park Avenues). 212-686-1600. ($435).

The Carlton Hotel, 88 Madison Avenue (Between 28th & 29th Streets). 212-532-4100. ($385).

Hilton New York Hotel, 1335 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue at 54th Street). Tel: 212-586-7000. ($395).

Sheraton Manhattan Hotel, 790 Seventh Avenue (at 51st Street. Tel: 212-581-3300. ($390).

Sheraton New York Hotel, 811 Seventh Avenue (at 53rd Street). Tel: 212-581-1000. ($390).

Millennium Broadway Hotel, 145 West 44th Street (Between 6th & 7th Avenues). Tel: 212-768-4400. ($385).

Sofitel New York Hotel, 45 West 44th Street (Between 5th & 6th Avenues). Tel: 212-354-8844. ($565).

Affinia Manhattan, 371 Seventh Avenue (Between 38th & 39th Streets). 212-563-1800. ($375)

Budget-minded travelers might be interested in these hotels:

Park South Hotel, 122 East 28th Street (between Park and Lexington). Tel: 800-315-4642. ($295).

Flatiron Hotel Tosi, 1141 Broadway (at 23rd St.). Tel: 212-839-8000. ($300).

Jolly Hotel Madison Towers, 22 East 38th St. (Between Madison & Park). Tel: 212-802-0600. ($280).

Park Central New York Hotel, 870 Seventh Avenue (at 55th Street). Tel: 212-247-8000. ($258).

Wyndham Garden Hotel – Chelsey, 37 W. 24th St. Tel: 212-243-0800. ($319).

Dylan Hotel, 52 East 41st Street (Between Madison & Park Avenues). 212-338-0500. ($345).

Martha Washington Hotel, 29 East 29th Street (Between Madison & Park Avenues). 212-689-1900. ($325)


Dr. Don Wright
Harold Burson Professor and Chair in Public Relations
College of Communication, Boston University (Tel: +1-617-306-4006)

Sarah Jackson
Communications Manager
Institute for Public Relations (Tel: +1-352-392-0280)

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