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Navigating a Crisis with Legal Support — March 29

A crisis can destroy any business. Winning the legal battle, while losing stakeholder support for the brand might mean there’s nothing left to fight for.

Join Yankee Chapter PRSA on Thursday, March 29, from 4 to 6 p.m., at Nixon Peabody LLP (900 Elm St, Manchester, NH 03101), where attorney Scott O’Connell will share his experience counseling companies in crisis situations.

Protecting brands in litigation is complex, with companies defending themselves in the court of public opinion long before a court of law.

Scott O’Connell

Navigating a crisis is the responsibility of everyone involved. Teams must work together to negotiate criminal, regulatory and civil proceedings as well as the media relations and social media challenges. Unfortunately, sometimes those competing interests create silos that complicate the process.


Scott O’Connell is chair of the Litigation Department and a member of the firm’s management committee. He is a trial lawyer known for his perseverance, strategic thinking and value-driven service for clients. Scott focuses on class action and aggregate litigation and corporate governance and control contests. He is currently representing financial services, life sciences, manufacturers and healthcare companies in high exposure disputes with associated significant reputational harm in parallel civil, criminal and regulatory proceedings.

When: Thursday, March 29, from 4 to 6 p.m.

Where: Nixon Peabody LLP (900 Elm St, Manchester, NH 03101)

COST: PRSA Members: $20; PRSA Member + Guest: $30; Non-Members: $30; Students/Interns: No Charge


Leaks, Fake News, and a Free Press — NH Institute of Politics

On Tuesday, February 20, at 6 p.m. the NH Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College will host five of the nation’s top political journalists who will examine the dynamic state of journalism in an unprecedented political climate.

Dan Balz, Chief Correspondent for the Washington Post, will moderate a panel discussion with fellow veteran White House news reporters.

Participants include:

  • Hallie Jackson, Chief White House Correspondent, NBC News
  • Domenico Montanaro, Lead Editor for Politics and Digital Audience, National Public Radio
  • Shannon Pettypiece, White House Correspondent, Bloomberg News
  • Jamelle Bouie, Chief Political Correspondent, Slate.com and CBS News contributor




Meet the Media – Jan. 25, 2018

Successfully working with reporters is core to any media relations professional’s career. Join Yankee Chapter PRSA for a Media Panel that will walk you through how to break through the clutter and connect with reporters.

Much like two lawyers in a courtroom, media and public relations professionals work together in a friendly but adversarial relationship. The two sides work together to inform the public, but often from different perspectives. Building relationships with those reporters is the best way to get your story heard.

Our panelists will share their tips, outlook, and advice on how to work with them and their media outlets. Here’s your chance to ask the media how to best connect.

WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 25, 5 to 7 p.m.

WHERE: Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications, 749 East Industrial Park Drive Manchester, NH 03109

COST: PRSA Members: $10; PRSA Member + Guest: $15; Non-Members: $20; Students/Interns/Members of the Media: No Charge

Media Panelists include:

Dave Brooks, Concord Monitor and author of the Granite Geek Blog

Dave Brooks, Concord Monitor and the Granite Geek Blog

Dave Brooks is a Concord Monitor columnist and author of the Granite Geek Blog. He has written a science/tech column since 1991 and in 2006 began the Granite Geek Blog, which keeps an eye on topics of geekish interest in and around New Hampshire, from software to sea level rise, population dynamics to 3-D printing. He moderates monthly Science Cafe NH discussions, beer in hand, and discusses the geek world regularly on New Hampshire Public Radio.



Sam Evans-Brown, New Hampshire Public Radio

Sam Evans-Brown, New Hampshire Public Radio

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010 when he began as a freelancer. His work has won him several awards, including two Edward R. Murrow awards, and he was a 2013 Steinbrenner Institute Environmental Media Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University. He studied politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.



Trent Spiner, New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News

Trent Spiner, New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News

Trent Spiner is the executive editor of the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. He began his Union Leader career as an independent news correspondent. After a stint as an assignment editor at WMUR-TV, he returned to the Union Leader, where he was named executive editor in 2014. Trent is one of 25 young newspaper professionals named in Editor & Publisher’s annual listing of “25 under 35” who are making a difference in “delivering information and the truth to their communities.”



David Sakowich, WMUR-TV

David Sakowich, WMUR-TV

David Sakowich is the news assignment manager at WMUR-TV, a Hearst Television station in Manchester, New Hampshire. Since 2004, David has coordinated daily news coverage at the ABC affiliate along with special reports, “First in the National Primary” political coverage and other station events. Prior to joining WMUR-TV, David was an assignment editor at WHDH-TV in Boston from 2001-2004. David also worked as a news anchor and reporter. Since working at WMUR-TV, David and the news team have won several regional and national Edward R. Murrow awards for news, political coverage and the station’s “State of Addiction” campaign focusing on the drug epidemic in New Hampshire. David is also an Emmy nominated journalist.



Take Your Career to the Next Level

Becoming accredited in public relations (earning your APR) is a mark of professionalism that sets you apart from your PR peers. The standards are high; that’s why the Yankee Chapter is proud that about 33% of our members are accredited. Join us! We offer workshops and the opportunity to join a study group with a proven path to accreditation. Accreditation Committee Co-Chairs Jane Law, APR and Mary Ellen Hettinger, APR are working on a schedule of sessions for 2018 and can help you take the first step. Interested? See link, http://apps.prsa.org/learning/Accreditation/#.WJSuzjsrJdg then contact us.


Is It Real? Communicating in a World of Fake News, December 5

Social media has shaken the communications industry, and staying informed in an always-on media world is more challenging than ever. Any story, good or bad, can go viral at any time. Understanding how to identify fake news and ethically fight back is an important skill for every professional communicator.

Join Yankee Chapter PRSA for a discussion on successfully delivering messages in a world filled with “fake news,” followed by our annual meeting and networking with professional colleagues.

When: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2017, 3–6 p.m.

Where: New Hampshire Institute of Politics, Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH

Cost: $25: PRSA Members; $30: Member & Guest; $35: Not-Yet Members; FREE: Students/Interns/Saint Anselm Staff


Meet Our Panelists and Moderator

Randall Mikkelsen

Randall Mikkelsen

Randall Mikkelsen, Managing Editor North America, Enterprise Risk Management, Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence

Randall Mikkelsen has worked as a financial and political journalist with Thomson Reuters since he joined Reuters in 1988. He has covered many of the major stories of the era, including the fall of the Soviet Union, the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, the war on terrorism and the financial crisis.

Randall was a front-row member of the White House press corps for nearly seven years. He also covered the Justice Department, CIA and other agencies in Washington and served postings in Philadelphia and Stockholm, Sweden. As a desk editor in Washington, he handled major stories from around the globe.

He has won awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and the North Dakota Newspaper Association.

Randall has lived in Plaistow since 2009. He founded the Friends of Education at Timberlane and the New Hampshire Theater Spotlight pages on Facebook and writes press releases as a volunteer for the Seacoast Repertory Theatre in Portsmouth.

Melissa Albano-Davis

Melissa Albano-Davis

  Melissa Albano-Davis, Founder & President, Grapevine Marketing

Melissa is an inbound marketing-obsessed entrepreneur working with financial, healthcare, and higher education organizations to help them grow and thrive. She helps businesses build proven, trackable campaigns so that they know what works and what doesn’t, using that knowledge to launch remarkable programs. Melissa holds certifications in inbound marketing and SEO from Google and HubSpot. She writes a monthly marketing series for the New Hampshire Business Review and contributes to various publications. She is a member of the Entrepreneur’s Fund of New Hampshire advisory board and the Boston Women’s Leadership Council. Melissa holds a BS in Marketing from Northeastern University and has mastered the fine art of running conference calls and webinars while juggling her toddler son and his toys on her lap.

Melissa Zimdars

Melissa Zimdars

Melissa Zimdars, Assistant Professor of Communication and Media, Merrimack College

Melissa Zimdars is an Assistant Professor of Communication and Media at Merrimack College. She is currently working on a co-edited anthology of essays entitled Fake News: Mis/Disinformation in the Digital Age.




Roz Whitaker-Heck, APR

Roz Whitaker-Heck, APR

Dr. Roz Whitaker-Heck, APR, has been an associate professor and associate dean in the Division of Communication and Creative Media at Champlain College in Burlington, VT since July 2015. She also serves as the faculty advisor for the Champlain PRSSA chapter which she helped to reinstate in January 2016.

She earned a B.A. in Communication from Howard University (Washington DC), an M.S. in Media Management from Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, Va.) as well as a doctorate in Higher Education Administration from George Washington University (Washington, D.C.).  Her research project examined the tactical and strategic roles of public relations officers employed in U.S. higher education institutions.

Her professional career spans 20 years and includes time at Penn State University as a PBS producer/director; a media spokesperson for the Newport News (Va.) Public School District; as well as serving in faculty and administrative positions at Hampton University, and Old Dominion University in the state of Virginia.

She has been an active member of PRSA national since 2000 and has served in various officer positions with state chapters. She was most recently elected as a YPRSA board member.



Thinking of Earning Your APR?

Is it time to step up your game? Becoming accredited in public relations (the APR) is a mark of distinction and professionalism. The APR demonstrates your mastery of strategic communications and your commitment to the highest standards of ethics, and lifelong learning. Yankee Chapter’s Accreditation Committee, Jane Law, APR and Mary Ellen Hettinger, APR invite you to join the 30% accredited members and fellows in our chapter.

We will offer 90-minute classes on Wednesdays starting at 5:30 p.m., at the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority (NHHFA) office: 32 Constitution Drive in Bedford, NH. The charge for each session will be $15, or $50 for all four sessions.

If you’re interested, download the PRSA APR Study Guide. We’ll be working from this and also Cutlip and Center’s Effective Public Relations (11th Edition); a slightly earlier edition is also fine.

Proposed schedule:

  • Oct. 18, 2017: Introduction to the APR 

Includes how to “get on the clock” and apply

Questionnaire and portfolio. See this link: https://prsay.prsa.org/2016/12/07/apr-demystifying-the-panel-presentation/

  • Jan. 17, 2018: KSAs and Exam Preparation
  • Feb. 21: More KSAs and Exam Prep

For questions and to sign up, email info@yankeeprsa.org. To learn more about accreditation, go to www.praccreditation.org.


#empathy #2017: The New Trend in Leadership — Sept 15

In the age of hashtags, trends and social media, could empathy be the key to effective transformational leadership and meaningful business practices? Empathy is being called the hottest trend in leadership and companies are training their executives to use more empathy in the workplace, and implementing the use of customer empathy maps to better connect to customers. This session will give participants the opportunity to discuss strategies and tools that can improve organizational performance.

Meet the Speaker: Sophia Koustas

Sophia is currently instructing Organizational Leadership courses for SNHU College of Online and Continuing Education School of Business. She is fascinated when concepts taught are also encountered in real-life situations and projects. Passionate about the arts, with extensive knowledge and experience in management and organization of large and small-scale cultural events and productions. Uses a creative approach, personalized design, and strategic style that cater to the organizational needs. Great interest in Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Biomimicry as these evolve in various industries. PhD student at Northcentral University studying Industrial Organizational Psychology.

When: Friday, September 15 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Where: The NHHEAF Network Organizations, 4 Barrell Court, Concord, NH 03301

Cost: Members: $15.00 • Non-Members: $20.00 • Students/Interns: $5.00


PRSA — Advancing the Profession and the Professional

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is the nation’s largest community of public relations and communications professionals. We provide training, set standards of excellence and uphold principles of ethics for the global public relations profession. As a leading voice in the PR industry, we also advocate for greater understanding and adoption of public relations services.

PRSA’s 21,000 members represent nearly every practice area and professional and academic setting in the public relations field. In addition, more than 10,000 college students are members of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).

If you want to make contacts, be recognized for your work, enhance your professional skills, stay on top of emerging trends and otherwise accelerate your PR career, PRSA is the organization for you.


What’s in a Name? Rebranding the SNHU Arena

What’s in a Name? Rebranding the SNHU Arena

June 22, 2017 – 3 p.m.

Join Yankee Chapter PRSA at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) Arena on Thursday, June 22, 2017, at 3 p.m., for a discussion on their Naming Rights Partnership Program and the effort behind the rebranding and renaming Verizon Wireless Arena to SNHU Arena.

The partnership between SNHU and the SMG managed arena developed following a major company shift causing the existing partnership renewal deal to fall through.

The Naming Rights relationship offered a powerful marketing platform linking SNHU to a well-established and popular sports and entertainment facility. As the Naming Rights Partner for the arena, SNHU gained an additional point of contact that creates a positive and emotional bond between its brand and potential customers through a reinforced connection to popular sports and entertainment.

SMG’s Director of Sales & Marketing, Jason Perry, will share insights on how stadium branding helps create value for the Naming Rights Partner and how the arena transitioned identity.

Libby May, Senior Vice President, External Affairs and Communications at SNHU, will share how the SNHU Communications team created the Arena name, prepared internal and external messaging, and pitched media.

Members: $15.00 • Non-Members: $20.00 • Students/Interns: $5.00