Western District Conference 2016- Call for Speakers!

Share your knowledge and gain recognition by presenting at the:

PRSA’s Western District Conference 2016.

The Call for Speakers is open until 11:59 p.m. PST on Thursday, January 21.

The Orange County Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is pleased to issue the following call for speakers for the 2016 Western District Conference, April 21 – 23, 2016 at the Hyatt Huntington Beach Resort and Spa.

We’re interested in topics that focus on communication trends taking place that require public relations professionals to master new skills and adopt new ways of doing business. The lines between advertising, PR, and journalism continue to blur, along with traditional roles and job descriptions. How do PR people adjust? What are the main things we need to understand BETTER moving forward? What major things are shifting in media, content marketing and social strategies? Sessions should include:

  •       Fresh, innovative thinking
  •       Clear takeaways that attendees can implement the day they return to their offices
  •       Inspiring insights that energize the audience to see public relations challenges in new ways and take action


Get Started!

 Proposal Guidelines: The PRSA Western District welcomes proposals from senior-level independent practitioners, PR agency and corporate communications executives, and well-respected experts in related business functions, including, but not limited to, management/leadership, human resources, finance, legal, operations, and digital marketing. This is a call for speakers for breakout sessions, as described below:

Breakout Sessions:  A detailed 60-minute presentation including Q&A on a dedicated PR discipline (e.g., analytics and measurement techniques, crisis communications, employee communications, media relations, community relations, influencer outreach, social media marketing, reputation management, agency administration, content marketing, integrated media campaign planning, etc.), or a PR/communications topic related to a specific industry (e.g., automotive, apparel, consumer products, entertainment, fashion, healthcare, media, sports, technology, travel/hospitality, etc.).

Please outline the following information in a Word document, and then email your proposal to by Thursday, January 21.  Please write in your e-mail subject line: Western District Call for Speakers Proposal.

 Presenter(s) Information

Note: If chosen, the presenter's name, title and organization/company affiliation will appear in conference marketing materials as provided in this application.

  •       Name(s)
  •       Professional Title(s).
  •       Organization/Company Affiliation
  •       Mailing Address
  •       Phone Numbers:  Office and Mobile
  •       Email Address
  •       About.Me/LinkedIn Profile URLs
  •       Twitter Handle (if applicable)
  •       Biography (200 words max.)
  •       Website Address
  •       Event References:  List conferences where you have presented (at least three, with topics provided for each), as well as the name, phone number and email address of a primary contact person at each event. If available, please provide an evaluation form from at least one presentation of a similar type.


Presentation Information:

  •       Session Title
  •       Description and Content (100 words maximum)
  •       Three Learning Objectives ("By the end of this session, attendees will know how to...")


Note: PRSA does not pay for expenses, such as hotel and airfare, nor offer speaker stipends. Speakers will receive a complimentary conference registration, which includes access to all general sessions and basic meal functions.


The PR Futurist: Embracing Industry Evolution

Conference Date: April 21 – 23, 2016

Location: Huntington Beach, California

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PR Pro Honored for Service and PR Agency Honored for Best Campaign

SAN DIEGO, CA – It may be hard to imagine that decades could glide by so easily when you’re in the thick of things, but for Denis Wolcott, that’s exactly what happened with his years of volunteer service to the Public Relations Society of America.  Wolcott earned distinction on March 19, when he was selected as the PRSA Western District’s Platinum Award Honoree, which is the highest individual honor bestowed upon a PRSA volunteer in the Western District.

“We are very excited to honor a valued member of our District with such an award. Denis has been very committed to the support of the Western District, mentoring students and PRSA in general,” said Katie Coates, Chair of the Western District. “Because of Denis’s contributions to PRSA at his Los Angeles chapter, at the Western District level, and within the national arena of PRSA, he rose to the top to earn this distinction.”

Wolcott was nominated for his decades of personal service including mentoring, creating new programs for outreach and affinity, his volunteer service to the District, the chapter and National PRSA, leading both the Western District and PRSA International Conference as well as outstanding career achievements in furthering the practice of public relations.

“I am truly honored by this award.  Public relations professionals have a responsibility and duty to give back to their association, to provide mentoring and to ensure our ethical standards are maintained,” Wolcott said. “My hope is that this award inspires many more of my colleagues to contribute their time for the benefit of our profession.”

In addition to personal service, this year the PRSA Western District thought it important to add another award, this one for efforts in a campaign.  PRSA’s member training includes strategic planning where practitioners are lauded for their professional campaign efforts for delving into research, planning, execution and evaluation.  On this end of the spectrum, the Phoenix Division of the national public relations firms Allison + Partners, earned top honors for their social media campaign for client “”.  Accepting the award was Allison+Partners co-founder Scott Pansky.

“It’s an honor for our agency to be the first to receive the “Best in the West” award from the PRSA Western District,” said Cathy Planchard, Allison+Partners General Manager of Phoenix.  “This campaign embodied the power of social media and analytics with compelling, fresh content to drive deep engagement and positive perception of the FindMyPast brand.”

The agency benchmarked against other popular web brands, such as and crafted a campaign that used creativity to excite fans and increase engagement across all social media channels. Concepts included “Kiss Me” Badges, Family History Month, a Pinterest Promotion, and enhancing customer service.

Since starting work in August 2012, Allison+Partners met all planned objectives including:


  • Referrals from Facebook increased from 1,844 monthly visitors to 3,000 monthly visitors in six months by posting content that drove traffic back to the site
    • 12,631 website visits were driven from Facebook over the six-month duration
    • 75.1% of website visits driven from Facebook were new visits
  • Facebook likes increased from 996 to 40,000 within six months
    • The Facebook page achieved 40,000 likes in mid-Feb. 2013




Platinum Award Criteria:

  • Service to PRSA, particularly to the member chapter and the PRSA Western District, but may also include contributions to other chapters and PRSA National. Voting is weighted with 40% of the emphasis going to service to the Western District and 20% going to each of the remaining categories:  service to the Chapter and National PRSA and contributions to the practice of public relations.
  • Finalists must exhibit the highest standards and ethics of the profession in the practice of public relations.


Best in the West Criteria:  The PRSA Western District aims to recognize outstanding work being performed throughout five western states and 10 chapters representing more than 2,000 PRSA members. The Best in the West Award for Best Campaign or Program provides the chapter, organization, company or agency that won the “Best in Show” award at their local level to now have the opportunity to be recognized and distinguished as “The Best in the West” throughout the entire Western District. 

About the Western District:  The Public Relations Society of America has organized its membership into ten regions, called districts. These regional groupings of chapters provide helpful support, share resources and cultivate leaders for the next generation of professionals to head the association and be voices for the PR industry.

The Western District comprises ten chapters from four states including:          


The Board

The Western District is managed by an Executive Board which elects its officers each year at a meeting during the International Conference. The 2013 Western District Officers are:


About PRSA:  Chartered in 1947, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is the world’s largest and foremost organization for public relations professionals. PRSA is responsible for representing, educating, setting standards of excellence, and upholding principles of ethics for its members and, in principle, the $4 billion U.S. public relations profession.  

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APR is Gold in 2014

The APR is turning 50 in 2014. Given its continued importance to PRSA and the public relations profession, the PRSA Board of Directors is marking the milestone by investing in the program’s future.  PRSA recently announced a plan to work with the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) and a third-party expert to enhance the profile and prestige of the APR Credential.   Rest assured, abandoning Accreditation is not an option that PRSA is considering.

To assist with this project, PRSA has retained the Organizational Performance Group (OPG), an organizational development consulting firm in Hamden, Conn. OPG is familiar to PRSA, as we’ve previously engaged the company and its principal, Laura Freebairn-Smith, to conduct leadership development and team building exercises with the PRSA Board of Directors.

OPG will be using a variety of tools — including discussions with key volunteer and staff leaders, data analysis, surveys, interviews, focus groups, benchmarking and meta analysis — to explore the APR’s potential and identify avenues for improvement. Specifically, OPG will be seeking input from a variety of stakeholders from different perspectives on:

  • Strengths and weaknesses of the current APR

  • Pros and cons of maintaining the APR

  • Desired services for APR holders

  • Suggestions for improvements

  • Strategies for supporting Accreditation and marketing it to PRSA Members and employers.

A formal report on actionable recommendations to enhance the profile and prestige of the APR Credential will be provided to PRSA in August, and to the Leadership Assembly in October.

The Inland Empire Chapter is announcing its guided process will begin August 1st.  Candidates can find more information under APR on the chapter web site.

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Counselor’s Forum: Anatomy of an Election on May 21

Join us May 21 for this unqiue behind-the-scenes look at the enatomy of an election at the Avila Terrace in Riverside.

The 2013 election in the City of San Bernardino was an historic one. In recent years, the city has fallen on hard times marked by an increase in crime, homelessness and gang activity; and a decrease in property value, jobs and city services. The city declared bankruptcy in 2012, which led to an aggressive effort by a group of businesses and residents to try and change the fortunes of this once proud city.

Did the election succeed in delivering a new path to prosperity in San Bernardino? Time will tell, but this intriguing panel of speakers will dissect the election strategy. They will review the thinking behind a city-wide Recall effort that attempted to oust sitting officials;  the scandal of two council members forced to resign; and the events leading up to a run-off election for Mayor on February 4, 2014. It was an election campaign that combined tried-and-true campaign tactics with new tricks based in social media. Whether you are a political junkie or interested in the secrets behind government relations, this Forum promises to offer intriguing insights where all the secrets are revealed.

Features speakers include Michael W. McKinney, MICA-PR, Recall and Candidate Campaign Manager; Ryan Hagen, Political Reporter, San Bernardino Sun; and moderator Chris Perez with Chris Perez Consulting, Campaign Communications Director.

Register early for best pricing.

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