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So What? Tips and Tricks for Media Pitching Across Platforms

Panel & Workshop

Thursday, March 24th, 2016
Edelman – 200 E Randolph
Chicago, IL 60601
5:30-7:30 PM


Join BPRS Chicago for an interactive evening to learn valuable tips and tricks for pitching media across platforms. Come out to hear from industry veterans as they provide the insider perspective for getting your clients and stories pitched at the right times, to the right outlets. Following the panel, attendees can look forward to a live pitching workshop. This is an event to hone skills, network and above all, LEARN! Tickets information can be found below.

Come out to meet and hear more from the following panelists and moderator Raschanda Hall:

BPRS Chicago Media Pitching Panel


JUST ADDED Corilyn Shropshire, Business Reporter, Chicago Tribune

Corilyn Shropshire is a business reporter for the Chicago Tribune. She has covered retail, philanthropy and the workplace. She also wrote several profiles of Chicago business leaders, including comScore Chairman Emeritus Gian Fulgoni and Urban League of Chicago CEO Andrea Zopp. Before joining the Tribune in 2011, she wrote about pop culture and social media at the Houston Chronicle and covered Pittsburgh’s burgeoning tech economy for the Post-Gazette. She lives in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood with her husband, daughter and dog

Mary Datcher, Senior Editor of the Chicago Defender

Mary has built her career as a diverse media professional. While she currently holds the post of senior staff writer and editor of arts & entertainment for the Chicago Defender, she has worked in print, radio and the music industry. Her well-rounded experience provides an insider’s view on tailoring the pitch to meet the needs of clients and publications.

Vanessa Abron, Independent Public Relations Consultant

Vanessa honed her public relations skills at notable agencies and companies such as Nielsen, Johnson Publishing Company and Hill&Knowton before striking out on her own. As an independent public relations consultant she provides her clients with strategic counsel on how to maximize their opportunities for exposure while building their profile and increasing their clientele.

Stacia Crawford, Founder of Stay Ready Media 

As a former television producer and chief media strategist for her own company, Stacia knows both sides of the pitch. She has in-depth knowledge of how to craft stories, build the narrative and prepare the client. Her behind the scenes experience positions her as an expert in diverse media strategy.

Corilyn Shropshire,

Corilyn currently serves as a business reporter for the Chicago Tribune, and previously wrote about pop culture, social media and the tech economy for both the Houston Chronicle and Pittsburgh’s Post Gazette. She has developed a true knack for sifting out the worthy story from numerous leads and pitches.


$20 Members
$30 Non-Members  (Not a member yet? Take advantage of our March Membership Promotion and get up to $15 off your annual membership)
$10 Students – (A current valid student I.D. must be provided at event check-in.)

This event is sponsored by:

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Coaching the Coaches: Media Training Tips and Best Practices for PR Practitioners

Free Webinar
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Noon – 1 PM CT


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As communication practitioners, we know having the right message is only part of the battle. Message delivery is the key. Without the proper training and preparation, spokespeople, brand ambassadors and well-intentioned employees can miss great opportunities to move the brand forward, or worse, invoke crisis.

However, not every organization has the budget to bring in outside media trainers. Alternatively, some may not see the value in media coaching or have concerns about looking too rehearsed.

During this FREE webinar our speakers will address these issues and share best practices, tips and tricks to:

* Stay on message
* Speak in soundbites
* Tackle tough questions
* Create great quotes
* Recognize and leverage different interviewing techniques

So register today and join us for an informative session.

Our coaches:




Al Orendorff – Senior PR Strategist and Reputation Management Expert (@alorendorff)





Andrew Moyer – Vice President, Crisis & Issues, Edelman (@andrewdmoyer)




MODERATOR: Raschanda Hall – Director of Global Media Relations, Business Wire and Executive Vice President for BPRS Chicago (@raschandahall)

* Images by Stuart Miles & stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This webinar is sponsored by:




Become a BPRS Chicago Member:
Programming, networking, advocacy and access; Four great reasons to join BPRS Chicago!


May Program: Surviving The Early Years as an Independent PR Consultant

Wednesday, May 20th
Noon – 1:15 PM CT


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Launching your own business and surviving the early years as an independent PR or social media consultant is no easy task. Our panel participants represent varying lengths of experience. Whether you are thinking about starting your own firm, have recently started your own firm, or are tying to figure out how to expand your business there is something here for everyone.

Join us. Ask questions. Grow and learn.

Here are a few things we will discuss:

  • Things to do in the first six months
  • Best practices for pricing your services and getting paid
  • Managing cash flow(or the lack thereof ) and the sales cycle
  • Finding clients and dropping clients
  • When to hire, when to partner, and when to just say no
  • Resource favorites of successful PR independents

Wynona Redmond, President, Wyn-Wyn Communications

Alonzo Brown (@zotheshowhost)
President/CEO, GoodCompany

Tammy Belton-Davis (@tammyathena)
Principal Consultant, Athena Communications, LLC

Jerry Thomas (@jerrythomaspr)
Founder and President, Jerry Thomas Public Relations


Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

BPRS Chicago Hosts April 30th Writing Workshop

BPRS Chicago has teamed up with the writing team at Golin for an interactive clinic to improve your writing in the most critical areas for PR and Marketing professionals.

This workshop is appropriate for communicators on all levels, and a MUST if you are responsible for creating content for your organization.

One night, four workshops:

  • Crafting Key Messages
  • Writing for Executives
  • Social Media Writing
  • Copy Editing


When: April 30, 2015
Where: Golin, 875 N. Michigan Ave, 26th Floor
Time: 5:30-8:30 pm
Cost: $40 Members/$50 Non-Members/$20 Students

Register today!

Professionals can use discount code SAVE10 by April 3rd and we will take $10 off your early-bird registration (not valid off student registrations).


BPRS Chicago March Panel: Women in Digital You Should Know

In honor of Women’s History Month BPRS Chicago is bringing you a discussion with “Women in Digital You Should Know.”  Join us on March 26th at Sprout Social, 131 S Dearborn St., 10th Floor from 5:30-7:30 pm. 
Register Today!  $10 Members, $20 Non-Members, $10 Students

We’re talking to the best, and the brightest, women in the Chicago area who live and breathe all things digital. Where is it headed? How do we maximize opportunities for our clients? How do we channel the power of social to chart our own paths?

This will be a candid and interactive discussion aimed at providing true takeaways to increase your effective use of digital marketing for your employer, your clients, and your personal brand.

Kimberley Rudd, president of Rudd Resources LLC, a communications consultancy for non-profit organizations and small businesses – @Writedancespeak



Mana Ionescu, Founder & President, LightSpan Digital – @manamica





Tatianah Green, cCommnunications and Social Media Manager, YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago – @TforTrendsetta





Zondra Hughes, CEO, Six Brown Chicks – @ZondraHughes




Sarah Nagel, Social Marketing Specialist, Sprout Social – @sprout_sarah





Luvvie Ajayi, Award-winning writer and digital strategist – @iLuvvit




sproutsocial Sprout Social provides social media engagement, publishing and analytic tools for leading brands including AMD, Nokia, Spotify and UPS. A powerful platform for social business available via web browser, iOS and Android apps, Sprout enables brands to more effectively manage social channels, collaborate across teams and provide an exceptional customer experience. Headquartered in Chicago, Sprout is a Twitter Certified Product, Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer and Google+ Pages API Partner. Learn more at sproutsocial.com

Get a sneak peak at our April BPRS Chicago program:
Want to improve your writing and the way you look at content creation overall? We’ve got you covered! Join us April 30th for the BPRS Chicago Writing Workshop.

Become a Member:
Programming, networking, advocacy and access – that’s what you’ll get when you join BPRS Chicago.  Join today.

PR Pros Invited to Learn “Scandal”- Worthy Tips at NBPRS Conference

It’s no secret that Scandal is one of the hottest shows on television these days. While the sharp writing and smart storylines have everyone buzzing, it is the quick and strategic crisis communications plans that have captured the attention of PR professionals. During this year’s National BPRS Conference and Career Fair in Atlanta, our chapter has partnered with our Philadelphia counterparts to present “Notes on a Scandal: What PR Pros Can Learn from ABC’s Hit Drama.”

We’ve assembled an all-star team of crisis communications experts who will take a deeper look into the top PR lessons you can learn from the show.

  • Virgil Dickson, PR Week (moderator)
  • Steven Behm, Edelman
  • Corey Ealons, VOX Global
  • Clarissa Beyah-Taylor, GE Healthcare

Lessons include:

1. The importance of relationship building in crisis communications.

2. How to win at negotiations.

3. Why the legal team is not the PR team’s enemy.

4. Employing a multi-layered team.

In addition to our panel, there will be several other sessions on topics ranging from entertainment media to the buying power of African-Americans. NBPRS will kick off the conference with a welcome reception on October 3, followed by professional development sessions on Friday and Saturday, October 4-5.

In addition, a career fair will be open throughout the conference giving you the opportunity to meet with recruiters and HR executives from local and national corporations and PR agencies.

The best news? You can still register for this career-building event! Today is the last day to register at early bird prices. Check out the agenda here and head over to the event page to sign up!

2013 NBPRS Conference and Career Fair

BPRS Chicago is proud to announce that Atlanta, GA will host the NBPRS 2013 Conference and Career Fair. Join us Thursday, October 3 – Sunday, October 6, 2013 at Georgia Power Headquarters.

Themed The Network @ Work: Leading, Learning & Leveraging Our Legacy, the conference will offer solutions for the practice of public relations with a focus on effectively leading through change and transitions. Against the backdrop of today’s ever-changing market and the continuous learning that’s required to stay in front of trends, we will leverage the legacy of our predecssors to strategically advise today’s clients. You’ll enjoy the workshops, insightful general sessions, significant networking events, and career and business opportunities.

Join the nation’s largest gathering of PR professionals of color for two days of networking with peers, celebrity key note addresses, an awards program and education sessions such as:

  • Mastering the Market, the Message and the Medium
  • PR Insights from Number One Brands
  • The Power of Pop Culture, Entertainment & Sports on Today’s Consumer
  • Taking Your Seat at the Table: Serving on corporate & non-profit boards as a path to success
  • Brand U: How to ruin your career in 140 characters or less
  • Tools for Transformational Change: How to tap your network to reboot your life and your career


SPECIAL RATE ON HOTEL ROOMS:  Lodging is available at the Hilton Atlanta for the low rate of $119 per night for single/double rooms. The deal ends on August 30th, so don’t delay!  Make your hotel reservations here:


For more information please visit the conference event site.

The Ties That Bind: From Journalism to PR… and Back

July 17, 2013
Columbia College
33 East Congress
6-8 p.m.

With shrinking newsrooms, a 24-hour news cycle and the public’s unquenchable thirst for content, things have changed tremendously in the fields of public relations and journalism. In today’s economy, news organizations are turning to current and former public relations professionals who are strong writers and creative thinkers to create content for their offline and online publications. And it’s not just newsrooms that are branching out.

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that the field of public relations will grow by 23 percent from 2010 to 2020, and the public relations industry offers a plethora of opportunities for journalists and former journalists. BPRS Chicago and NABJ Chicago have teamed up to take a closer look at the similarities between the professions.

During this joint forum, we will get up close and personal with an esteemed panel of pros who have toed the line between the two professions to carve out career opportunities.

Speakers Include:

Jerry Thomas, President, Jerry Thomas Public Relations
Maudlyne Ihejirika, Reporter/Editor, Chicago Sun-Times
Jim Williams, News Anchor, CBS2 Chicago
Maureen Jenkins, Global Internal Communications,McDonald’s Corporation
Ron Childs, Executive Editor, Chicago Defender
Deborah Shelton, VP – Healthcare Media,GolinHarris
Lynn Norment, Lynn Norment Media

Paid BPRS Chicago and NABJ Chicago Members: Free
General Public: $10

A Conversation with Bill Whitman

Join BPRS Chicago as we host our first meeting of 2013! Listen in as we bring you the first of many conversations with high-ranking PR executives who will talk about thriving and surviving our ever-changing industry.

This month, we’ll feature: A Conversation with Bill Whitman: Surviving and Thriving in the Ever-Changing PR Industry

INTERVIEWED BY : Michon Ellis, CEO & Managing Partner, LimeGreen

Thursday, January 31, 2013

6-8 pm
Bella Bacinos, 75 E. Wacker

$10 Members*
$25 non-members*

Purchase tickets here. Members receive a discount code to use during registration by confirming their membership through Raschanda Hall, Membership Chair or calling her at 312-223-1037.

*You must cancel by Noon on January 30th to receive a refund.

More About Bill Whitman
Bill Whitman, Jr. is an independent Public Relations and Marketing Communications consultant, specializing in corporate communications, executive leadership counsel, brand and reputation management. Bill currently serves as Managing Director, U.S. Headquarters, for Burson-Marsteller. In his current role, Bill provides senior leadership counsel and support to current and prospective Burson-Marsteller clients.

Bill has more than 30 years of global brand-building, Corporate Communications and Public Relations agency experience. He is an experienced communications leader and expert in Corporate Communications, Public and Media Relations, Crisis & Issues Management, Public Affairs, Stakeholder Engagement and Brand Management. As a senior communications leader and trusted advisor Bill has worked with and counseled C-suite executives regarding global and national business matters, including
the World Economic Forum, the White House Health & Wellness Initiative, the Executive Leadership Council and the Wall Street Business Roundtable.

Most recently, Bill served as the Chief Communications Officer for McDonald’s USA. In this capacity, as a member of McDonald’s U.S. Senior Leadership Team, he was responsible for Management and Internal Communications, Public and Media Relations, Social Media, Stakeholder Engagement, Public Affairs, System Alignment as well as Crisis & Issues Management for more than 600,000 employees, 14,000 restaurants and more than 2,400 franchise-owners in the United States.

Prior to his tenure with McDonald’s Corporation, Bill was an independent Public Relations and Marketing Communications Consultant with Fleishman-Hillard International Communications. In this capacity Bill provided senior leadership communications support and counsel to several global, national and local agency clients, including Anheuser-Busch Companies, Walmart, Dell Computer, McDonald’s Corporation and the St. Louis Rams.

Prior to Fleishman-Hillard, Bill served as Director, Communications & Public Affairs for Exxon Corporation. In this capacity, he was responsible for Regulatory Affairs, Safety and Regulatory Compliance for Exxon USA. Bill also served as the Corporate Liaison to several Federal, State and Local Regulatory Agencies.

NBPRS 2012 Conference Recap

NBPRS Luncheon Keynote by Karen Taylor Bass #nbprsconf

PR professional Karen Taylor Bass keynoted the luncheon at the 2012 NBPRS conference in Washington, DC. In just 45 minutes she taught the attendees how to think like a rock star, market authenticity, network, and most importantly–how to reinvent themselves.

Storified by Kiratiana · Fri, Nov 02 2012 10:22:26

She’s everything: a PR expert, a motivational speaker, an author, radio host and a brand new mommy. 
Karen Taylor Bass.comKAREN TAYLOR BASS has set the standard in providing public relations consulting, coaching and spirited motivational talks to entreprene…
Her biggest client was Jill Scott, who she worked with for seven years to build her into the megastar you see now. In order to land Scott as a client, she claimed her. A meeting in VIP at a NYC concert allow Bass to Bass to convince Scott to work with her. 
The @prexpert stalked Jill Scott for three months so that she could work with her. She claimed her as a client. #nbprsconfKiratiana
"As PR folk, we know how to use an opportunity" – Karen Taylor Bass @prexpert #creativity #determination #brandKisha Barton
Bass started with one question: So what is a brand? 
Your brand is the consistent experience you deliver. @TheBrandNewMom Karen Taylor Bass #nbprsconfBlack PR Society/ATL
Kisha Barton, @kbartonpr – President of #BPRSNY & Karen Taylor Bass, prexpert at the #NBPRSConf http://instagr.am/p/RVGnuTE9n_/Black PR Society NY
Karen Taylor Bass just shouted out @elaynefluker’s Chic Rebellion at #nbprsconf http://instagr.am/p/RS6Ew6xLS3/Amanda Littlejohn
Killing it at #NBPRSconf> Karen Taylor Bass, author of best-selling e-book “You Want Caviar but Have … http://m.tmi.me/yyG8CNorm Bond


After seven years of working with Jill Scott and several record companies, Karen Taylor Bass was on top of the world. She had everything- money, house, clients- everything except husband and a family. Within seven years she reinvented herself from the megastar publicist, to a brand new mommy and PR expert. Reinvention was the biggest takeaway from the presentation. 
Reinvention doesn’t happen when you’re ready; it happens when it’s time. @TheBrandNewMom Karen Taylor BassBlack PR Society/ATL
Reinvention doesn’t happen b/c ur ready. It happens b/c it’s time. #NBPRSConfT. Stevenson
When you are re-inventing….you have to be yourself. Stop re-packaging! Be the Real You! @prexpert @BPRSNY #nbprsconfKisha Barton
REINVENTION does not happen when you say you are ready, it happens when it’s time for you to do something different. – @prexpert #nbprsconfKiratiana
Facing death will help you squeeze every ounce of vitality out of life. #lifeperspective #reinvention #nbprsconfJeremy Marquard

Karen Taylor Bass’ Nuggets of Career and PR Wisdom 

If people aren’t laughing at your dreams, your dreams are too small. Dream bigger, gargantuan dreams. #nbprsconfAmanda Littlejohn
People remember when you give them something they didn’t think about! @prexpert @BPRSNY #nbprsconfKisha Barton
You don’t always have to say something…to say something. Let your brand speak for you! @prexpert @BPRSNY #nbprsconfKisha Barton
Be authentic. Let people know the real you every time they meet you. #nbprsconfAmanda Littlejohn
Keep your pitch simple…leave room for conversation afterwards. @prexpert @BPRSNY #nbprsconf #pitch #brandKisha Barton
She wears a "hat" = wigs. & she just took it off to show her comfort with her own brand. @ @ @prexpert gone girl! #NBPRSConfT. Stevenson
Network is net worth – @prexpert #NBPRSConfJ.A.B.
When you end things, end them with integrity – Karen Taylor #NBPRSConfJ.A.B.
Mentorship is underscored again at the #NBPRSConf I love the consistent themes.T. Stevenson
When #rebranding don’t play it safe. Get uncomfortable. Think like a rock star. #nbprsconfAmanda Littlejohn
Make sure you’re marketable all the time, that great job you have today may not be there tomorrow @prexpert #nbprsconfRaschanda Hall
You are only as good as the people you know! #network #relationships @prexpert @BPRSNY #nbprsconfKisha Barton

The Audience Reaction 

The presentation by Karen Taylor Bass touched a nerve with many people in the room. 

Listening to my kindred spirit – for real. Karen Taylor Bass #nbprsconfJetta Bates
Killing it at #NBPRSconf> Karen Taylor Bass, author of best-selling e-book “You Want Caviar but Have … http://m.tmi.me/yyG8CNorm Bond
@prmaven17 @prexpert Amen spoken like a true ROCKSTAR #nbprsconfDarisha K. Miller
Hearing that my friend Karen Taylor Bass @prexpert aka @TheBrandNewMom is holding it down as a speaker for @NBPRS @ #NBPRSConf Love my KTB!Christopher

The Book: You Want Caviar But Only Have Money For Chitlins

@TheBrandANewMom signs her book: You Want Caviar But Only Have Money for Chitlins, after her #NBPRSConf speech http://pic.twitter.com/QzPDXzTFDawn Kelly
You Want Caviar But Have Money For Chitlins – Taylor Made …BEST SELLING eBOOK. NOW AVAILABLE in soft cover: YOU WANT CAVIAR, BUT HAVE MONEY FOR CHITLINS A Smart PR Guide for Those on a Budget …

Karen Taylor Bass and Chic Rebellion TV 

Since transitioning from being just a publicist, Bass is now a television host focusing on motherhood. You can check out her videos on Chic Rebellion TV. 

Malinda Williams on motherhood and more | Chic Rebellion
Brand: Mom S102 – Mommy Roundtable, Doulas and Babies after 40chicrebelliontv
Nice! We luv the love! “@Kiratiana: @chicrebellion is getting some love at the #nbprsconf. I just saw the press release about it this week!”chic rebellion
Karen Taylor Bass just shouted out @elaynefluker’s Chic Rebellion at #nbprsconf http://instagr.am/p/RS6Ew6xLS3/Amanda Littlejohn
National Black PR Society Don’t forget to check out the National Black PR Society 
The National Black Public Relations Society | An Advocate for Black …NBPRS – the foremost organization for African-American professional image makers and strategists.