Public Relations Leadership Forum – New York

2014 Public Relations Leadership Forum – New York

December 11-12, 2014
APCO Worldwide, 360 Park Avenue South, 11th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10010

Register Online

Co-sponsored by the Arthur W. Page Society, the PR Council and the Institute for Public Relations, the Public Relations Leadership Forum is an intense two-day seminar for high-performing, mid-career communications managers at Global 1000 companies and public relations firms.  The Leadership Forum’s major objective is to develop outstanding future leaders of public relations and communications, and to provide networking opportunities where upwardly mobile professionals can learn from national leaders in the field and from each other.

This program for tomorrow’s leaders will focus on the effective use of research in planning and implementing public relations activities and is presented by the Institute for Public Relations in conjunction with the Arthur W. Page Society and the PR Council. The event begins at 12:15 p.m., Thursday, December 11 and concludes by 2:45 p.m., Friday, December 12.  To enhance discussion, networking opportunities and learning exchange, the event will be restricted to 35 registrants.

The all inclusive registration fee of $1,950 includes tuition, an extensive set of seminar materials, a welcome networking reception and dinner Thursday evening, plus breakfast and lunch on Friday.  Individual participants are responsible for their travel to New York and for hotel lodging.

The Public Relations Leadership Forum registration cost is $1,950.

All Public Relations Leadership Forum cancellations must be made in writing and are subject to cancellation charges. This policy is necessitated by the limited enrollment restrictions placed upon the size of each Leadership Forum session. Although refunds will not be available for cancellations after December 1, 2014 organizations will be permitted to send a qualified substitute.

Group discounts are available. Please contact Jenn Moyer at (+1) 352-392-0280 or

Who Attends?

Each year the Public Relations Leadership Forum attracts some of the brightest and best developing leaders in public relations and corporate communications. Representatives of the following organizations have attended previous Leadership Forums.

Agencies: 360 Public Relations LLC, Airfoil PR, APCO Worldwide, Behan Communications, Biosector 2 – CCC, BlissPR, Burson-Marsteller, Capstrat, Chandler Chico, CJP Communications, Cohn & Wolfe, Cooper Katz, CRT/Tanaka, Davies Public Affairs, Dix & Eaton, dna13, Eastwick Communications, Edelman, Edward Howard & Company, Environics Communications, Fleishman-Hillard, Gagen MacDonald, Gibbs & Soell, GolinHarris, Hill & Knowlton, Ketchum, Linhart McClain Finlon, Manning Selvage & Lee, M Booth & Associates, Makovsky & Company, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, Padilla Speer Beardsley, Peppercom, Porter Novelli, The Powell Group, rbb Public Relations, Revive Public Relations, RF|Binder, Toni Torres PR, Spectrum Science Communications, SunStar, Text 100, Trone Public Relations, Tunheim Partners, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, Weber Shandwick and Weisscomm Partners.

Corporations: Abbott Laboratories, Allstate Insurance Company, Alticor, ArvinMeritor, AT&T, AXA Equitable, Bank of New York Mellon, Baxter International, Best Buy, BP America, Capital One, Charles Schwab, ConAgra Foods, Cordis Corporation, Corning Incorporated, Covidien, Delta Air Lines, Digital Platform, Discover Financial Services, Discovery Networks Central Europe, Duke Energy, Edward Jones, Entergy, Ernst & Young, FedEx, Frito-Lay, General Motors, Genomic Health, GM Healthcare, Hess Corporation, Honeywell, IBM, Ingersoll Rand, Irvine Company, ITT Industries, Johnson Controls, Johnson & Johnson, Kaiser Permanente, Kraft Foods, Mars, Inc., McKesson Corporation, MetLife, Nationwide, Nextel, Northwestern Mutual, PepsiCo, PG&E, Praxair, Prudential Financial, Quaker Oats, Siemens, SAS, Shell Oil Company, State Farm, St. Paul Travelers, Sunoco, Symantec, Tellabs, Tennessee Valley Authority Unisys Corporation, UPS, USAA, USG Corporation, Waste Management, WCG and Wyeth.

Registration Includes

The all inclusive registration fee of $1,950 includes tuition, an extensive set of seminar materials, a welcome networking reception and dinner Thursday evening, plus breakfast and lunch on Friday. Individual participants are responsible for their travel to New York and for hotel lodging.

Group discounts are available. Please contact Jenn Moyer at (+1) 352-392-0280 or

Program Schedule

Thursday, December 11

12 Noon Registration & Lunch

12:30 p.m. Welcome and Introductions
All Registered Participants
Institute for Public Relations
Arthur W. Page Society
PR Council

1 p.m. Highlights and Challenges Facing Chief Communications Officer Involved in Corporate Crises
Nick Ashooh, Senior Director of Corporate and Executive Communication, APCO Worldwide

2:15 p.m. Networking Break

2:30 p.m. Leading Change Through Public Relations
Gary Sheffer, Vice President, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, General Electric

3:45 p.m. Networking Break

4 p.m. The Public Relations Ethics Workshop
Dick Martin (formerly Chief Communications Officer, AT&T)

5:30 p.m. Adjourn

6 p.m. Opening Night Networking Reception & Dinner

Friday, December 12

8:30 a.m. Networking Breakfast (at APCO Worldwide)

9 a.m. Examining Emerging Online Communication Issues
David Wescott, Director, Digtal Strategy, APCO Worldwide

10:15 a.m. Networking Break

10:30 a.m. “What’s Going on Here?” – New Challenges Within Organizational Communication
Keith Burton, Principal at Grayson Emmett Partners
Gary Grates, Principal at W20 Group

11:45 a.m. Networking Lunch

12:15 p.m. Repositioning the PR Industry in a Changing Marketplace
Christopher Graves, Chairman, Ogilvy Public Relations

1:15 p.m. Stretch Break

1:20 p.m. Changes and Developments in Digital Communication
Sam Ford, Director of Audience Engagement, Peppercomm

2:35 p.m. Wrap-Up, Closing Comments and Adjourn

Note: The Public Relations Leadership Forum will conclude no later than 2:45 p.m.

Instructional Team

2014 New York Instructional Team

The instructional team for the December 11-12, 2014 Public Relations Leadership Forum in New York includes a unique blend of leading practitioners and academics including:

Nick Ashooh has more than 37 years of experience in corporate communications, serving as senior communications officer at five Fortune 500 companies across several sectors, including energy and utilities, financial services, insurance, metals and mining, and entertainment. He currently is senior director of corporate and executive communication at APCO Worldwide where his work focuses on providing corporate communication services to C-suite clients. Most recently, Nick served as vice president of corporate affairs for Alcoa where he was responsible for media relations, community relations, internal communications, marketing communications and corporate reputation, and oversaw communications challenges related to both entering and exiting sensitive markets. Prior to his role at Alcoa, Nick was senior vice president of communications at American International Group (AIG). Earlier in his career, he  spent 28 years in the utility and energy industries.

Keith Burton is well known as one of the world’s leading experts on employee communications. Now affiliated with the Brunswick Group and in the process of establishing his own firm, Burton previously spent 14 years at Insidedge, a fast-growing, global employee communications group. He has counseled Fortune 500 corporations on employee communications and many other areas. Well known throughout the nation as an expert on employee communications, Keith is a past recipient of Inside PR magazine’s All-Star award in the employee communications category. Formerly an award-winning business journalist and a correspondent for Time magazine, Keith also has worked with Ketchum, Hill & Knowlton and Boxenbaum Grates/GCI. He serves on the IPR Board of Trustees.

Kathy Cripps is President of the PR Council, the first trade association to represent the interests of the US public relations industry. Prior to accepting the Council’s staff leadership position in 2002, Kathy worked on both the agency and client sides of the business. She served as President/COO of SCIENS for ten years and was a Vice President at Burson-Marsteller. Her client side experience includes positions with The Nestle Company and Faberware. Kathy earned a BA degree in Food/Nutrition from Queens College and has an MBA in Marketing from Fordham University. She is on the board of The Lagrant Foundation and is a member of the PR Seminar.

David Wescott, director, digital strategy, directs the social media team for APCO Worldwide, where he develops and implements online outreach strategies on issues such as health care, education, energy, the environment, feminism and housing finance. Prior to joining APCO, Mr. Wescott was a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, where he was responsible for a variety of issues, including international trade, energy, small business, housing, financial services and economic development. Mr. Wescott worked extensively on Senator Kennedy’s amendment regarding access to affordable medicines to the Trade Promotion Authority Act, signed into law by President Bush in August 2002. He was also responsible for Senator Kennedy’s “LEADERS Act,” which creates a program at the Department of Education to provide support for small business incubation in academic settings.

Sam Ford is Director of Audience Engagement at Peppercomm. He was named a 2014 Social Media MVP by PRNews, is a finalist for that publication’s 2014 Digital Communicator of the Year Award and was named Social Media Innovator of the Year by Bulldog Reporter in 2011. He is a research affiliate and alum of MIT’s Program in Comparative Media Studies/Writing, co-author of Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture from NYU Press, a 2013 Strategy+Business best business book that was also voted in the “Top 10 Best Marketing Books You Read This Summer” at Advertising Age. Sam contributes to Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and Inc. and recently has written for The Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age, PRWeek, PR News and several other trade publications.

Gary Grates is one of the nation’s leading experts on employee engagement, change management and internal communications. A Partner and a member of the senior leadership team with WCG, he previously was President and Global Managing Director of Edelman Change. Before that, Gary served as North American Vice President of Corporate Communications at General Motors. His experience also includes being President of GCI BoxenbaumGrates, a consultancy specializing in change management and internal communications. He is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society and has served on the IPR Board of Trustees.

Christopher Graves is Chairman of Ogilvy Public Relations,one of the world’s largest, leading public relations networks and serves on the board of its parent company, the Ogilvy & Mather Group. Graves joined Ogilvy PR after 23 years in business news including 18 years with Dow Jones & The Wall Street Journal and CNBC. He was one of the founders of the Wall Street Journal Report on TV (now three decades old), Vice President in charge of news and programming for CNBC Asia, Vice President in charge of news and programming for CNBC Europe, Managing Director of Business Development (EMEA & Asia) for Wall Street Journal Online (, and Managing Director of Far Eastern Economic Review magazine which won magazine of the year twice in Asia during his tenure.

Dick Martin was executive vice president of public relations, employee communications and brand management for AT&T from 1997 to 2003, capping a 32-year career with the company. He was also chairman of the AT&T Foundation. Today is he a noted business writer specializing in marketing and public relations. He has written articles for the Harvard Business Review,, the Conference Board Review, Leader to Leader, the Journal of Business Strategy, and the PR Encyclopedia. He is also a frequent speaker to business and student groups. He is the author of Tough Calls – AT&T and Hard Lessons Learned in the Telecom Wars. His writings have been favorably reviewed in Fortune, The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times.

Frank Ovaitt is President & CEO of the Institute for Public Relations (IPR), an independent research and education foundation dedicated to “the science beneath the art of public relations.”™ Previously, he was Executive Vice President, Makovsky + Company and Managing Director of Crossover International, Inc. On the corporate side, Frank was Vice President-Corporate affairs for MCI and prior to that held a variety of executive positions with AT&T. He has taught applied public relations research at The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management and has guest lectured at a number of universities. Frank holds a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and an MBA from NYU.

Gary Sheffer is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Arthur W. Page Society and Vice President, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, General Electric Company. He oversees external and internal communications at GE and provides strategic communications advice to the company’s executives on a full range of corporate reputation issues. In his public affairs role, Sheffer works with external groups and individuals to foster understanding of GE policies and businesses. He joined GE in 1999 after 17 years in journalism and government communications, including serving as a press aide to two New York governors. Prior to working in government, Sheffer was a reporter and editor at several newspapers where he won several awards for his reporting.

Donald K. Wright is the Harold Burson Professor and Chair in Public Relations at Boston University’s College of Communication, the world’s first degree-granting institution in public relations. He is one of the world’s most published public relations scholars, serves on the IPR Board of Trustees, spent 24 years as a Trustee of the Arthur W. Page Society, and is an IPR Research Fellow. Don also is a founding member and past chair of the IPR’s Commission on Public Relations Measurement and Evaluation and is Editor of the IPR’s Research Journal. Prior to entering the academic world, he held a variety of corporate and agency positions in public relations and has been an active consultant for several decades. He holds a Ph.D. degree from the University of Minnesota.

Hotel Accommodations

There are a number of hotels located within easy walking distance of the APCO World Wide New York offices at 360 Park Avenue South (between of 25t&h and 26th Streets). They are listed below with their approximate room rates.

W Hotel New York – Union Square, 201 Park Avenue South (between 17th & 18th Streets). Tel: 212-253-9119. ($465).

Gramercy Park Hotel, 2 Lexington Avenue (at 21st Street). Tel: 212-920-3300. ($525).

Affinia Dumont, 150 E. 34th St. (Between Lexington & Third). Tel: 212-481-7600. ($395).

Affinia Shelburne, 303 Lexington Avenue (Between 37th & 38th Streets). Tel: 212-689-5200. ($370).

Hotel Roger Williams, 131 Madison Avenue (at 31st St.). Tel: 212-448-7000. ($345).

The Court Hotel, 130 East 39th Street (Between Lexington & Park Avenues). 212-685-1100. ($365).

Tuscany Hotel, 120 East 39th Street (Between Lexington & Park Avenues). 212-686-1600. ($435).

The Carlton Hotel, 88 Madison Avenue (Between 28th & 29th Streets). 212-532-4100. ($385).

There are many hotels located within in the mid-town area of Manhattan that are about 10-15 minutes away from APCO Worldwide via taxi or subway. These include:

Hilton New York Hotel, 1335 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue at 54th Street). Tel: 212-586-7000. ($395).

Sheraton Manhattan Hotel, 790 Seventh Avenue (at 51st Street. Tel: 212-581-3300. ($390).

Sheraton New York Hotel, 811 Seventh Avenue (at 53rd Street). Tel: 212-581-1000. ($390).

Millennium Broadway Hotel, 145 West 44th Street (Between 6th & 7th Avenues). Tel: 212-768-4400. ($385).

Sofitel New York Hotel, 45 West 44th Street (Between 5th & 6th Avenues). Tel: 212-354-8844. ($565).

Affinia Manhattan, 371 Seventh Avenue (Between 38th & 39th Streets). 212-563-1800. ($375)

Budget-minded travelers might be interested in these hotels:

Park South Hotel, 122 East 28th Street (between Park and Lexington). Tel: 800-315-4642. ($295).

Flatiron Hotel Tosi, 1141 Broadway (at 23rd St.). Tel: 212-839-8000. ($300).

Jolly Hotel Madison Towers, 22 East 38th St. (Between Madison & Park). Tel: 212-802-0600. ($280).

Park Central New York Hotel, 870 Seventh Avenue (at 55th Street). Tel: 212-247-8000. ($258).

Wyndham Garden Hotel – Chelsey, 37 W. 24th St. Tel: 212-243-0800. ($319).

Dylan Hotel, 52 East 41st Street (Between Madison & Park Avenues). 212-338-0500. ($345).

Martha Washington Hotel, 29 East 29th Street (Between Madison & Park Avenues). 212-689-1900. ($325)


Dr. Don Wright
Harold Burson Professor and Chair in Public Relations
College of Communication, Boston University (Tel: +1-617-306-4006)

Jenn Moyer
Foundation Operations Manager
Institute for Public Relations (Tel: +1-352-392-0280)