Connection. Commitment. Community. Public Affairs and Government PRSA2023 Conference

Public Affairs and Government 2023 Summit

June 14-16, 2023
Minneapolis, Minn.

Sponsored by
Neighbors Public Safety Service by Ring
Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District


Be a part of the big annual PRSA event: Public Affairs and Government (PAG) Summit, an event with outstanding networking opportunities and targeted Public Affairs and Government communications programming. This year, we are thrilled to announce this year’s summit will take place in Minneapolis, Minn.

The Public Affairs and Government Summit will feature three days of professional development, idea interaction and networking among those whose talents are in high demand at the nexus of public policy, community safety and protection, crisis communications, and environmental concerns. The Summit will address the multi-disciplinary interests of public affairs professionals and provide access to valuable resources for communicators who hold public affairs roles in the private and NGO sectors as well as communicators with key roles in local, state and national governing bodies and the military.


Day One

Wednesday, June 14

8 a.m.-6 p.m.

8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Dr. Joseph V. Trahan, III, APR, Fellow,PRSA
Lauri-Ellen Smith, MPIO, APR

Join us for this one-day, high energy, interactive training designed especially for communications professionals who may not have the experience in a Joint Information Center they wish they had or who want to brush up on latest "best practices." In a collegial, safe environment, this full day combines instruction for crisis communicators - from standing up a JIC, to running an operation that involves 7/24/365 media interaction - to hands on tabletop training with scenarios "ripped from the headlines."

Led by three of the nation’s most highly respected National Incident Management communications pros, we guarantee you will:
  1. Have an intimate understanding of how, when, and why government gets involved in an incident and what that means for all agencies and organizations involved, including non-governmental.
  2. Know how to lead and manage multiple communications professionals and meet the mission objectives in both an incident and unified command during and after the incident.
  3. Take back to the office tangible lists of what to do to bring YOUR crisis communication All Hazards Plan into compliance with today's standards and expectations for transparency and providing the public we serve with all the information they need to make informed decisions.

Welcome Reception
Empowerment Permission Slip
6 -7 p.m.

Jennifer Day

Most of us are in government and public affairs because it gives us a sense of doing good and giving back to society. But what happens when we hit that proverbial bump in the road, for whatever reason and need to reassess something in our jobs or our careers. This presentation is a story of empowerment and lessons that everyone, at any level of their career, can follow. In brief and in the lessons learned from Ron Brown, former Secretary of Commerce: Is it right for our customers? Is it legal and ethical? Is it something I am willing to be accountable for? Is it consistent with my agency’s mission? Am I using my time wisely? Is the answer YES to all of those questions? If so, don’t ask permission – you already have it. Just do it! 

Dinner on your own
7 p.m.

Day Two

Thursday, June 15

7 a.m.-5 p.m.

7:30 a.m.

PAG Summit Chair and Section Chair address
8 a.m.-8:10 a.m.

Yesenia Reinoso
Jennifer Pilkey Elting, APR

National Chair Address

8:10-8:30 a.m.

Michelle Egan, APR, Fellow PRSA, Chair


8:30-10:30 a.m.

Short Break

10:30-10:45 a.m.


General Session #1
Cracking the Decency Code with America’s Crisis Guru®
10:45-11:30 a.m.

James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, Fellow IABC, APR, Fellow PRSA and BEPS Emeritus
Janelle Guthrie, APR, Fellow PRSA
Dr. Joseph V. Trahan, III, APR, Fellow,PRSA

Join three PRSA Fellows and Lloyd B. Dennis Award winners for a discussion of decency, ethics and leadership. An internationally recognized speaker on crisis management, ethics, public affairs and leadership, Lukaszewski will share how decency and civility can bring happiness to your life, reveal the seven characteristics of truly decent leaders, provide participants with an actionable model to build a decency-driven culture and answer questions about building a culture of commitment, connection and community in your organization.

Short Break
11:30-11:45 a.m.

General Session #2
The Library of Congress
11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

April Slayton
Roswell Encina
Courtney Pomeroy

The Library of Congress' mission is to engage, inspire and inform Congress and the American people with a universal and enduring source of knowledge and creativity, and its vision is to connect all Americans to the Library of Congress. In support of this mission and vision, the Library's Office of Communications regularly leverages high profile visitors and users to raise public awareness of the vast collections it holds on behalf of the American people. When pop megastar Lizzo held a concert in Washington, DC in September 2022, the Library harnessed the power of social media to invite Lizzo to the Library and share her visit, highlighting the Library's lesser known but remarkable flute collection. While it may have appeared to the public that the Lizzo at the Library story began with a Tweet, the viral success of that engagement was the result of careful planning, trust, and collaboration developed by the Office of Communications with the Library's leadership, subject matter experts and content creators.

General Session #3
Website Design
12:15-12:45 p.m.

Brett Benson

How do you redesign your website to clearly present your agency's mission and to enhance consumer engagement? This presentation walks through the steps from project design and user research, to processes to develop internal workgroups and tools. 

Lunch Break
12:45-1:15 p.m.

Keynote Address
An economy that works for all of us:
How the Minneapolis Fed communicates and engages with the public

1:15-1:45 p.m.

Alyssa Augustine
Paul Wallace

Public trust is vital to the Federal Reserve’s work managing and supporting the national economy. Learn how the broad, inclusive mission of the Minneapolis Fed translates into a communications strategy grounded in the Bank’s brand, content strategy and engagement with the public on multiple dimensions.  Hear from communications leaders at the Minneapolis Fed how this strategy translates into a proactive and inclusive communications practice that centers on people, expertise, digital engagement, content strategy and media relations to enhance public trust in the Federal Reserve.

Short Break
1:45-2 p.m.

General Session #4
Panel Discussion- What's Your Exit Strategy?
2-2:45 p.m.

Lauri-Ellen Smith, MPIO, APR

Call it WHATEVER you want: Pivot, shift, rework, downsized, right-sized, up and out or "over it" -- every PR professional's career takes a circuitous route -- not linear and not a straight line to the top. So, what is your PLAN for when you're done, had enough, have a critical illness, or simply want to take time to rethink and re-evaluate? How market shifts and employer whims don't have to dictate how you make a living and, more importantly, make a life. In this lighthearted approach to a serious topic, Smith takes a look at the career and "life cycle" of a PR professional as we discover together what REAL resilience looks like and FEELS like. Success is an internal belief, not just one celebrated with a watch and a retirement party! This conversation was recently presented at the Southern Public Relations Federation Annual Meeting in Baton Rouge, where it garnered rave reviews from attendees.

Short Break
2:45-3 p.m.

General Session #5
Walking the Tightrope of Confrontation: Navigating interpersonal conflict and providing feedback when it matters most
3-3:30 p.m.

Suzanne Singleterry

Leadership is about evolving conversations that impact change in the world around us while balancing managing up, mentoring employees, and developing relationships with the media. As communicators, we need tools to hold people accountable by communicating we care for each other while being unafraid to challenge others directly. Commitment to having honest conversations doesn’t mean we cast aside empathy or good manners - but it does mean being willing to have difficult conversations to achieve our shared goals for the benefit of our community. This presentation identifies the five conflict styles, how to escape the drama triangle, and provides a formula for giving feedback to anyone. Participants will walk away with a conscious understanding of conflict and tools to initiate finding resolution with grace.

General Session #6
Communicating During a Cybersecurity Incident
3:30-4 p.m.

Sean Driscoll

Communicating during a cybersecurity incident, or How do you send a press release when you can't open your email? Using lessons learned from a 2021 cybersecurity incident and industry best practices, this presentation will review steps government comms professionals should take now to be ready to deploy in the event that a cybersecurity incident affects any portion of their systems. The session will discuss how best to balance transparency and security in disclosing what transpiring, working with key stakeholders outside of the organization, and how to balance what lawyers want you to say with what the public will demand to know.

Short Break
4-4:15 p.m.

General Session #7
Intergovernmental Panel
4:15-5 p.m.

Jennifer Day
Rachael Gibson

This panel discussion will bring communications professionals with experience across local, state, federal and international levels of government. Events requiring multiple levels of government working together and often outside of an emergency event or JIC are becoming more common and understanding this dynamic is important. This presentation and panel will be moderated by a dynamic personality who has worked in this area and have panelists from the PAG. This type of cross government and cross organizational communication is not necessarily or is rarely thought about when developing communication strategies for events, such as environmental events. It needs to be raised so that we all can be cognizant of the need for awareness, planning and networking prior to an event. An example are harmful algal bloom events in Lake Erie that pose human health issues and require coordination across two states, many local governments and drinking water providers and local health departments, multiple federal agencies and connections with Canada. There is a need to keep the story straight.

5 p.m.

Boat Cruise
6-9 p.m.

We will take you along the southern trails of the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway and Heritage Trail, along the U of M Campus riverfront, under the stunning 35W Bridge, showcasing views of the St. Anthony Falls, the historic Stone Arch Bridge, amazing river bluffs with views of the amazing downtown Minneapolis skyline as we show you the best Mississippi River has to offer!

Sweet Social
9:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m.

Day Three

Friday, June 16

7 a.m.-3 p.m.

7:30 a.m.

8-8:05 a.m.

Opening Program
Make Waves. Create Change. In Minneapolis.

8:05-8:30 a.m.

Andrea Jenkins
Melvin Tennant, CAE

This will kick-off our day focused on “Community.” Our speakers are Meet Minneapolis CEO Melvin Tennant and Minneapolis City Council President Andrea Jenkins. They will speak on the City’s tourism campaign focused on wavemakers and changemakers. This campaign will candidly discuss what the City has been through following the murder of George Floyd and how they are handling the transformation and telling their authentic story

Introduction to Morning Session
8:30-9:15 a.m.

General Session #1
City of New Orleans and Community Visioning for Lincoln Beach
8:45-9:15 a.m.

Cheryn Robles, APR
Tricia “Blyss” Wallace 

The City of New Orleans is redeveloping an historic African American recreational beach site along Lake Pontchartrain. Join our session to learn about the City’s extensive community participation and outreach program that involves residents in developing a collective vision for the future of New Orleans’ Lincoln Beach.

General Session #2
9:15-9:45 a.m.

Short break
9:45-10 a.m.

General Session #3
Dam Disinformation
10-10:30 a.m.

Jenn Elting, APR

What do you do when a small but vocal (and well-funded) group of citizens vehemently opposes your organization’s project? The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, a public wastewater treatment and stormwater management utility in Cleveland, worked diligently to effectively balance the needs and wants of all key stakeholders throughout the pre-design process.

General Session #4
High-Profile Trial
10:30-11 a.m.

Libby Catalinich, APR

Pierce County managed a high-profile trial that saw the state of Washington suing the County's elected Sheriff. The Sheriff was charged with two counts related to false reporting of an incident with an African American newspaper delivery person. County Communications partnered with District Court and others to ensure full transparency and access to residents, media and others. 

General Session #5
Lessons Learned and Ethical Considerations of Using AI Technologies
11-11:30 a.m.

Jerome Pionk

Provide the experience of King County, Washington and their Department of Local Services recent usage of AI videos and tools for recent community engagement and public affairs campaigns. As King County continues to shape its policy and practices and consider the ethical considerations of using AI tools for government work, this case study will highlight tools, techniques, ethical consideration for connecting with communities and commitment to PRSA values. 

Short break
11:30-11:45 a.m.

General Session #6
How Communicators Manage Through Change and Grief
11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Lori Croy

All organizations go through change. Sometimes the change is good. Sometimes it’s not well received. Change can sometimes bring with it the loss of a job, certain responsibilities, influence, or sense of belonging. In this session, we’ll explore how a communicator can help their organization survive, adapt, and thrive when going through change. Change and grief have many similar responses and stages. We’ll discuss how to manage this process for ourselves and for the people we support.

Lunch and Networking
12:30-1:30 p.m.

1:30 p.m.

Registration Options

(Received by April 15)
(Received after April 15)
PRSA PAG Section Member (Full Conference)$799$899
PRSA Member* (Full Conference)$859$959
Nonmember (Full Conference)$1049$1149
Day Registration (Thursday Only)$500$599
Pre-Conference Session Only
Standing Up a Joint Information Center Under the National Incident Management System
June 14, 8am – 4pm

Bundle price - Precon + Full Conference

(Received by April 15)
(Received after April 15)
PRSA PAG Section Member $929$1129
PRSA Member$989$1189

Boat Cruise Only - 6/15 Thursday Night     6-9 p.m.

Registration for the boat cruise on Thursday only. Does not include any other programming.
All other registration options include this cruise.
Book your group rate for PRSA Public Affairs & Government 2023 Summit
Courtyard Minneapolis Downtown
1500 Washington Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55454

Sponsorship Opportunities

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