Chicago’s Fast Tracking Millennials in PR

BPRS Chicago invites you to join us for a panel with Chicago’s Fast Tracking Millennials in PR, marketing, and communications.When: February 28th, 2017
Where: Early Society, 77 W Wacker, Chicago IL
Time: 6-8 pmregisternowOur panel is talking careers, misconceptions, and driving change in an industry struggling with diversity on every level. If you’re looking for motivation, advice, inspiration, and real-talk you need to be part of this discussion.Are you thinking I’m not a millennial so this isn’t for me? Think again! There is a lot that veteran professionals can learn from millennials, but there is an even bigger need for the two groups to come together to impact our future visibility in this industry.  We want you in the room and hope to see you there.Our speakers include:L’Oreal Payton (@LTintheCity) – Media Relations Manager, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago & Northwest Indiana
Brian J. Packer, M.A. (@BPack2) – Account Supervisor, Flowers Communications Group
Martina L. Smith (@MartinaLSmith) – Marketing Manager, The Alumni Society & Founder, Social PixPod
Paul M. Patterson (@MrPaulPR) – Marketing and Communications Manager, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, American Bar Association
Kiera S. Ellis (@KieraEllis) – Deputy Press Secretary, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

$20 Members (All 2016 memberships expired Dec 31st, 2016)
$30 Non-Members
$15 Students

Not a member of BPRS Chicago yet, or need to renew? Do it today!  Reminder: All previous local memberships expired Dec 31, 2016.

By becoming a member you’ll get the best rates at our full line-up of programming for the entire year.

2017 Kicks off With a Free Personal Branding Webinar

The NBPRS Chapters of Detroit and Chicago want you to join us for our first programs of 2017.


Register for this FREE webinar and put yourself on a path toward the career advancement you desire.

Whether your end goal is the top of the corporate ladder or thriving as a business owner, your personal brand is instrumental to your success.  In this power packed one-hour session, attendees will get tips and exercises on how to identify your brand, strengthen it, and manage it like a top-tier client.


Pam Perry (@pamperry), PR Coach and Award-winning Communications Professional.

Kaplan Mobray (@kaplanmobray), Best Selling Author, Motivational Speaker and Career Consultant.

Raschanda Hall (@raschandahall), President of BPRS Chicago and Director of Global Media Relations for Business Wire, A Berkshire Hathaway Company.

Excited about the webinar but need some insight right now? Check out these great investments you can make in yourself with resources from our speakers:

10ks-pbThe 10ks of Personal Branding, Kaplan Mobray  – Learn how to focus your life’s goals with your life’s actions to create a powerful package called “you.” This book is filled with easy-to-follow instructions and valuable tips on developing your personal brand.  Get life-changing tips, advice for professional advancement, clarify your career focus, and tools to “own” your career!

pam-perry-mentoring-sm600Pam Perry Mentoring Program. Get 6 months of mentoring from Pam Perry. Build your platform, get your message out to the masses, get maximum exposure, and increase sales.


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 Presents: Life Inside a Fortune 500

Update: May 12— SPEAKER ADDED
RSVP for this event is mandatory.


Come out to meet and hear more from our speakers:

—NEW— Morris Smith, Public Affairs and Communications Manager with Coca-Cola
Twitter: @msmit4940

Rahsaan Johnson, Director of Public Relations with United Airlines

Twitter: @rjgetsetgo

Rahsaan Johnson has a track record of corporate communications success — planning and executing communications strategies to support business growth and brand development. He has served as the Public Relations Director of United Airlines for nearly six years. Johnson leads development and execution of external communications initiatives to promote United’s investment in customer experience, marketing, sales, loyalty, eCommerce and network. He also has a passion for adventure and doing what others think can’t be done.

Markeisha Marshall, Senior Manager of Public Affairs of AbbVie

Markeisha Marshall has spent more than 12 years working with powerhouse brands, corporations and executive officers to craft traditional and digital communication strategies to launch products, reinforce ideals and drive target audience engagement. She recently joined AbbVie as a senior public affairs manager. She previously served as a senior strategic communications manager at Walgreen Co. leading communications as a core member of corporate executive’s leadership teams including Healthcare Commercial Market Development, Digital and Information Technology and Supply Chain.

Heidi Barker, Former VP of Global Media Relations of McDonald’s Corporation

Twitter: @heidibmedia

Heidi Barker was the Vice President of Global Media Relations for McDonald’s Corporation. She led the team in identifying bold ways to represent McDonald’s through traditional and social media by advancing McDonald’s reputation with influential journalists and stakeholders. Heidi helped manage some 20,000 media inquiries a year and is responsible for creating messages to elevate the McDonald’s brand. Heidi also specialized in crisis communications, prepares management for media events, and served as a McDonald’s spokesperson.

Additional speakers will be announced soon.

$20 Members
$30 Non-Members
$10 Students – (A current valid student I.D. must be provided at event check-in.)

The Secrets of Career Growth







By Tamara Foster

Last week I attended a panel hosted by the Black Public Relations Society of Chicago. The panel was titled, “Making the Right Strategic Moves for your Career.”  When you make the decision to go to college, you think that growing professionally happens naturally and in a linear, progressive path.  That was my expectation for my career at least.  After experiencing much indecisiveness, road blocks and speed bumps, it was refreshing to learn from the panel that every day can be a day of career revival as long as you have the right attitude, control and are equipped with necessary tools to navigate career opportunities and hurdles. The panel shared several nuggets that I refer to as the secrets of career growth but the two that resonated with me the most were – number 1, you need advocates and number 2, ask for what you want.


Life can get you down and so can the day to day responsibilities of your position. On some days you may hear more negative feedback than positive and this can take a toll. To keep your career energy up, you need advocates. You need a career team. You need a team of people who will give you honest feedback yet build you up, make you feel good and help you take advantage of those pivot points in your career. Advocates will help you see the silver lining and when it’s time to take advantage of career opportunities, they’ll advocate for you.

SuccessBPRSThe Ask

When people are overlooked for opportunities, we often think it is favoritism (which it could be, don’t get me wrong) or a complete injustice for whatever the reason. In reality, the person who is being recognized or promoted more than likely walks into that situation asking and expecting it. They often times demand it.  If you want or need something, you must ask for it. Ask confidently. Be intentional. Take control of your career.

Additional golden topics discussed were the value of your network, how to effectively develop and manage relationships and how to position yourself for your career goals; very valuable information. Unfortunately, I can’t share them all so I recommend that you stay committed to your growth through education, events and networking such as attending professional events like this one.

“If you want to achieve greatness stop asking for permission.” – Unknown

Watch the BPRS calendar of events and educational opportunities listed on Stay connected and follow BPRS on Twitter and Facebook.

Making the Right Strategic Moves for Your Career


 Wednesday, April 20th
5:30 – 7:30 pm
DePaul University – Daley Building
247 S. State
LL 102
Chicago, IL 60601

Whether you are weighing a choice between two job opportunities, deciding whether to strike out on your own, or considering if you need to change careers all together, there will come a time when most of us may find ourselves at a professional fork in the road. BPRS Chicago invites you all to join us for a panel discussion that will tackle things like:

How long should I stay in one position? At one employer?
Do I want to work in a PR agency or in-house with a company or organization?
How do you know if you’re ready to start your own agency?
How can I stay attractive to recruiters?
How do I ask for a raise?
Is it ok to quit a job without one? When?
When is it time to stop doing paid internships?

Members – $20
Non-Members – $30
Students – $10
Still not a member?  Join BPRS Chicago today and starting benefiting from our discounts and access to great content!

A good decision is an informed decision. Our panelists will tackle these questions and many more in an effort to help you learn as much about the various opportunities in PR and share insight on how their decisions have impacted their career paths. Our speakers will include:


MODERATOR AND PROGRAM SPONSOR – Tina Carroll Dugas, Sr. Associate – Bloom, Gross & Associates, Inc





Clarissa Beyah-Taylor, Global Communications Leader – GE Transportation





Travis Kessel, Vice President of Recruitment – Edelman Chicago





Melody Thuston, Manager,Connector – Golin




headshot Jetta

Jetta Bates Vasilatos, Managing Director – Twist Global




This panel is sponsored by:


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).


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!