BPRS Annual Membership Runs Thru April 30th

Programming, networking, advocacy, and access – that’s what you’ll get when you join BPRS Chicago.  When you join or renew between now and April 30th you’ll receive all the benefits of memberships at up to 30% off the regular price.  So join today.

Join Us for the NBPRS 2016 Annual Conference Oct 27 &28


 This is learning and engagement for all levels. Whether you’re entering your first job, transitioning from another profession, or a mid- or senior-level communicator, the conference is designed to provide you with insights, skills, and networking opportunities to take you to your next level.

You will learn:

  • How PR strategists help newsmakers to deliver quote-worthy messages
  • Hiring secrets from top recruiters controlling the gateway between you and Fortune 500 companies
  • Strategies for building successful PR consulting practices in niche markets
  • Shifts being made by social media platforms that will energize your PR strategies and job hunt
  • How crisis communicators strategically move their clients out of the line of fire
  • Strategies used by top executives to navigate the political complexities of corporate and agency worlds and break through glass ceilings

Here’s just a peek of what we’re planning:

Thursday, October 27, 2016


303 W. Wacker Drive

Calling all non-profit organizations and community leaders! You’re invited to a daylong workshop on Thursday, October 27, to learn strategies for communicating during a crisis. Crises gaining national attention—such as Black Lives Matter, the Flint Water Crisis, the Orlando massacre, Dallas sniper attacks—require organizations and community leaders to unite. What happens next is in your hands…how will you respond? Learn strategies to ensure you and your organization are called upon as an expert, your message is being heard, and the media gets it right.

8:30 a.m.  Registration / Continental Breakfast

9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.  – Opening Remarks.

9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

  • Police and PR – Empowering police, community relations, and communications

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Lunch

12:30 pm  –2:30 p.m.

  • Small Business and African American Contractors, Advocacy & Diversity & Arbitration


3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

  • Presidential PR and 2016 Presidential Vote
  • Social Media Strategies for Community Groups and Nonprofits

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Meet and Greet Reception (Invitation only)

Meet our keynote speakers, presenters, and sponsors

Friday, Oct. 28

Mid-America Club

200 East Randolph Drive, 80th Floor, Aon Center, Aon

8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Registration

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Welcome and Opening Remarks

9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. – Up Close and Person – Covering the White House

Award-winning journalist April Ryan shares insights and perspectives on covering the White House since 1987, particularly the historic presidency of Barack Obama.

10:00 a.m. – 11:00  a.m.

Recruiters’ Roundtables

Getting a job, keeping a job and rising through the ranks into senior management.

  • Senior Level
  • Mid Career   
  • Entry Level  


11:15 a.m.  – 12:15 p.m.


Here’s your chance to learn from leading executives who will provide strategic insights, case studies and strategies on the following subjects.

  • Social Media
  • Sports & Entertainment
  • Global PR

12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Network Awards Luncheon


CEO Perspective

2:45 P.M. – 3:35 P.M.

A conversation with senior executives of major PR firms to discuss strategies for success in the industry, how digital media and diversity is affecting their strategies.


3:45 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Playing to Win Sessions

A series of fast-paced talks on best practices, tips and tricks

We’re bringing in experts so that you learn from the best. 

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Education & Development
  • Crisis Communications
  • Storytelling (in print, online, on air, via social)


5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Getting In, Moving Up, Making a Difference

Wrap up session with leading change management executive


BPRS Chicago Elects New President and Expands the Board

Raschanda Hall, the director of global media relations for Business Wire, and a long-time board member of BPRS Chicago has been elected unanimously by the board to serve as the next president. Hall most recently served as the chapter’s Executive Vice President and Programming Committee Chair.

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“The PR industry is in a state of transformation and BPRS-Chicago members are eager to adapt,” said Raschanda Hall, incoming chapter president. “I am excited to lead a board dedicated to strengthening opportunities for African-American PR, marketing and communication professionals. These practitioners seek career development and support to grow their entrepreneurial businesses. We will give members what they need to create and navigate pathways to success at every stage in their careers through programming, networking, mentoring, advocacy, and access.”

Additional members of the 2016-17 board of directors includes:

Immediate Past President – Jetta Bates, President and Founder, Twist Global. Bates was previously BPRS Chicago executive vice president, and vice president of publicity.

Executive Vice President – Karyn Brianne (Watkins) Lee, Marketing Manager –Specialty Health, Walgreens.

Vice President Membership – Travis D. Kessel, SVP – Recruitment, Edelman.

Vice President of Publicity – Dionne Williams, Owner, D. Williams Public Relations Group.

Treasurer – David Rudd, Director – Corporate and Community Communications, University of Chicago. Rudd previously served as President of BPRS Chicago

Parliamentarian – Fredika Atkins, D.B.A., Medicare Marketing Manager, WellCare Health Plans, Inc., A Medicare Plan.

Board Members-at-Large – Jerry Thomas, Founder and President, Jerry Thomas Public Relations, and Jenelle Alexander, Senior Account Executive, Resolute Consulting.

This new board kicks off their terms with an aggressive programming calendar and a March membership promotion. You can get more membership details at Bprschicago.org and register now for their March 24th event hosted by Edelman Chicago. “So What? Tips and Tricks for Media Pitching Across Platforms”