Shock jocks. Chair throwing. Shout TV. Hate speech. Mean tweets. Venomous comments on social media and in reader comments sections. Death threats to public figures, and to people who merely, and politely, disagree with others. The level of uncivil discourse has increased dramatically over the years, fueled in large part by social media. What can we do as professional communicators to help make our society more civil? Where do we begin?
Join Minnesota Public Relations Society of America from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27 for "Bringing the Civil Back Into Civil Discourse: What PR & Other Communications Professionals Need to Know and Do." This 90-minute virtual Zoom panel will be chock-full of useful information and tips on if, when and how to respond to uncivil attacks. There will be lots of story-telling of real-life experiences by the panelists and a Q & A. What fun! Join us!
Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021
3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Central Time
Online via Zoom.
Access details to be provided via email on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021 to people who register.
PRSA members: $10
PRSSA members: $5
Students/non-members of PRSSA: $5
IABC members: $10
Non-PRSA members and Guests: $20
Photo credit: Photo by Sam Lutz
Paul G. Omodt, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA, MBC, SCMP, Omodt & Associates Critical Communications LLC
A 30-year veteran of the Minnesota public relations and communication landscape, Paul is known for handling some of the Midwest’s biggest crisis and critical communication situations. From the 1998 Northwest pilots’ strike to the 35W bridge collapse and from product recalls to corporate restructuring, Paul’s communication skills and strategies have left a lasting impact.
A nationally recognized communications professional, Paul’s expertise is sought by a broad mix of clients from leading corporations to small businesses and non-profits who appreciate his ability to analyze an issue and provide a communication solution.
Paul is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer where his mix of practical experience, storytelling and engaging speaking style make him a conference favorite.
Paul was born and raised in Minneapolis and has long been active in the community both as a volunteer and an elected public official. A 1984 graduate of Minneapolis Southwest High School, Paul received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of St. Thomas. Paul has continued his career at St. Thomas where he has been an adjunct professor in the both the undergraduate Communications and Journalism department as well as in the Masters of Business Administration department.
Photo credit: Minnesota Historical Society
Arne H. Carlson, Thirty-seventh State Governor of Minnesota
Arne Helge Carlson, born in New York City in 1934, grew up in poverty. At fifteen, he received a scholarship to Choate, one of the nation’s top preparatory schools, which he later credited with changing his life. He graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1957 and entered graduate school at the University of Minnesota.
Carlson plunged into politics with Hubert H. Humphrey’s 1959 presidential campaign. After Humphrey lost the Democratic nomination, Carlson switched parties. In his first campaign, he was elected to the Minneapolis City Council (1965). Three years later, he lost his challenge to Minneapolis Mayor Arthur Naftalin in a close race. Carlson then served eight years in the Minnesota House. In 1978 he was elected state auditor.
In 1990 Jon Grunseth beat Carlson in the Republican primary, but allegations of impropriety led Grunseth to drop out. Less than a month before Election Day, Carlson, a moderate Republican, stepped in and beat incumbent Rudy Perpich. He went on to serve two terms.
During his first year in office, Carlson battled the legislature over how to cut nearly $200 million from the budget. His emphasis on sound management stabilized the state’s financial reserves, restored its AAA bond rating, and laid plans for its long-term financial health. Under Carlson, the legislature created MinnesotaCare in 1992, extending healthcare to nearly all Minnesotans through a tax on providers.
Never forgetting how a good education had helped him, Carlson made education a top priority. In 1991 he approved a law that established the first charter schools in the country and supported school-choice legislation. He also fought to protect wetlands, and his efforts to clean the Minnesota River earned him the National Great Blue Heron award in 1995.
Carlson returned to private life in 1999 and has remained politically active, giving speeches, endorsing candidates, and speaking out on important issues.
Photo credit: University of Minnesota
Kim Norton, Mayor of Rochester, Minnesota
Kim Norton became the first woman Mayor of Rochester, Minnesota in 2018 and took office on January 8, 2019. Most recently Kim was selected to be part of the Harvard-Bloomberg City Leadership Institute and has had educational and support opportunities providing unprecedented opportunities for our city. Additionally, she was selected to be part of the Mayors Innovation Project, a small cohort of leaders seeking support for community redevelopment expertise.
Prior to her election as Mayor, Kim won a Bush Fellowship which allowed her to complete a master’s degree at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs and experiential learning focused on leadership and energy policy. This work encouraged her to investigate communities noted for their sustainability and livability. Kim served in the Minnesota House of Representatives, representing District 25B, for 10 years. During her tenure as a legislator, Kim introduced and helped pass many pieces of significant legislation including the Destination Medical Center (DMC) economic development project, Primary Seat Belt and many other health related bills aimed a positioning Rochester and Minnesota as a premier location for healthcare. Before serving on the state legislature, Kim served eight years, including one as board chair of the Rochester Public School Board.
In addition to Kim’s solid and long history of public service and leadership, she has a record of asking tough questions, seeking out and listening to people with differing opinions, and working with the community to build bridges toward finding smart, fair solutions. Her workforce history includes self-employment, retail and non-profit work.
Kim participated in the Women in Power executive education program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School and the Rockwood Leadership Institute. She continues to serve on many local and state nonprofit boards (The Arc, Fresh Energy, KSMQ, Minnesota Children’s Museum Rochester, and Healthy Communities Collaborative) and was newly appointed to the Governor’s Young Women’s Initiative Council.
Kim is married to Randy Stone, the mother of four grown children and a stepson. She is grandmother to Zoe and Henry. She spends her personal time traveling and reading and has a special fondness for kayaking.
Heidi Kloempken, Co-President, League of Women Voters St. Paul
Heidi has lived in St. Paul since 2010 and been a League member since 2016. With a passion for education and civic engagement, Heidi's favorite League activity is registering voters at libraries and high schools. Outside of League, Heidi works as a teacher educator, enjoys reading, and loves attending baseball games.
Ron Harris, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Minneapolis
Ron Harris is the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Minneapolis where he leads the development and implementation of the City's resilience strategy with a key emphasis on racial equity, economic inclusion and climate change adaptation. Prior to this role, he served as the Senior Advisor to the City Council President where he was instrumental in researching and negotiating public policy including the city's first municipal minimum wage increase, its innovative plan for economic growth and efforts to reduce violence in community. His career has been dedicated to social justice through the lenses of civic engagement, electoral politics, public private partnership and philanthropy. He is also dedicated to developing the current and future generations of leaders in Minnesota.
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