|9:05 – 9:55 a.m.
||Panel Session: There’s a role for everyone in PR
Public relations and communications are great majors to have in college, but it can be confusing when you graduate and see so many different job titles out there. The good thing? There’s a role for everyone in PR! From account manager to influencer specialist to social media expert and more, there are many career paths you can take. This panel will explore how to know which role is the best fit for you, what skills you need for these roles and what a typical day may look like.
Nate Gilbraith, Senior Communications Specialist at Boston Scientific
As a Senior Communications Specialist at Boston Scientific, Nate supports proactive public relations programming and media outreach for product and business milestones, as well as earned media initiatives as part of integrated marketing plans.
With nearly seven years of professional experience, Nate has worked at various communications agencies with a primary focus on health care, medical device and pharmaceutical industries. He has a passion for patient storytelling, and for translating complex topics into messages that resonate with consumer and health care professional audiences. Over the course of his career, he has executed numerous integrated communications campaigns for his clients in the healthcare space. Nate is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead.
Anna Toot, Account Manager at Karwoski & Courage Public Relations
Anna Toot is a young public relations professional working as an Account Manager at Karwoski & Courage. She graduated from Iowa State University in 2020 and entered the workforce in a virtual environment, finding new ways to adapt and thrive in a fast-paced environment. Anna's experience with B2B clients has helped her find her passions in writing and social media, as well as executive amplification efforts for multiple Forbes 500 C-Suite executives. In her free time, she enjoys going to workout classes, spending time with friends and family, trying new restaurants and binging the newest show on HBO Max.
An-Hoa Nguyen, Social Specialist at Carmichael Lynch
An-Hoa Nguyen (on-wah when) is a young communications professional currently working as a Social Media Specialist at Carmichael Lynch. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and has worked a variety of roles in the public relations and advertising field. She has a passion for social media and the different ways it can assist brands in their marketing efforts. An-Hoa's areas of expertise are in social media, strategy, and engagement.
|10:00 – 10:50 a.m.
||Panel Session: How to find the right company culture for you
Finding a company that aligns with your values and has a culture that sums up your formal and informal behaviors is important. These panelists will dive into what company culture questions you should ask in the interview process and what team cultures look like in corporate, nonprofit and agency environments.
Stephanie Joranson, Vice President of Client Satisfaction and Talent at Pivot Strategies
Stephanie Joranson is the Vice President of Client Satisfaction and Talent at Pivot Strategies. In her role, Stephanie manages the hiring and retention of our talented team, holds us true to our culture and values and ensures that clients are getting the best from us everyday. Stephanie joined Pivot in January 2021. Previously, she was the Director of Internal Communications at Medtronic, a global medical technology leader. In that role, she led the company’s employee communication strategy and focused on driving understanding of Medtronic’s business strategy and priorities among employees globally. In addition, she successfully launched a new, all employee global intranet on Office 365 that brings Medtronic employees together.
Prior to joining Medtronic, Stephanie spent nearly ten years with the global communications agency Weber Shandwick. There she specialized in building and sustaining positive reputations with internal and external audiences for a variety of brands. She advised diverse corporate clients on elevating their executives as brand-builders and improving employee engagement to drive performance. She was a member of Weber Shandwick’s global Employee Engagement and Change Management (EECM) practice, leading this work in the agency’s Minneapolis office. She has led key employee communications and engagement efforts, executive internal visibility programs, employee value proposition developments, and organizational change work for nearly a dozen major brands.
Her areas of expertise include employee engagement and change management, corporate issues management, executive positioning and engagement, and storytelling. She is experienced in engaging with a variety of audiences, including corporate and channel audiences, deep local, trade and national strategic media relations, and public affairs and grassroots activation.
Prior to Weber Shandwick, Stephanie worked on Governor Tim Pawlenty’s communications team and served as the deputy communications director for the Minnesota Department of Education.
Stephanie received a Bachelor of Science degree in political science and communication from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Stephanie lives in Eagan with her husband, daughter and dachshund. She enjoys baking with her daughter, reading, walks and traveling.
Foon Chen, Strategic Communications Director at UnitedHealth Group
Foon Chen is a strategic communications professional with 12 years of experience in developing marketing communications strategies that combines the science of data analytics with the art of storytelling to achieve measurable results. Currently, she is a Strategic Communications Director at UnitedHealth Group, leading the diversity, equity and inclusion strategy for employee engagement initiatives that span across 400,000 employees in UnitedHealth Group, UnitedHealthcare and Optum. Prior to this, Foon held a variety of roles within the company and often spearheaded many firsts for the organization – like introducing a daily CEO broadcast worldwide, creating the first enterprise-wide Health Equity narrative, developing the first all-employee mobile app and revamping the external affairs employee advocacy program to become a one-stop shop education and engagement platform.
Before joining UnitedHealth Group, Foon worked in various internal and external communications roles at UnitedHealthcare, Target Corporation and Beehive PR. Foon holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a focus in strategic communications and public relations from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. In addition, Foon is part of the Board of Advisors at BackPack, a student-run marketing communications agency at the University of Minnesota focused on providing students with real-world experience. In her free time, she enjoys traveling the world, trying new restaurants and spending time with friends and family.
Kenny Devine, Account Supervisor at Padilla
Kenny Devine is an Account Supervisor in the corporate advisory group providing account management, communications strategy, crisis communications support, paid media and influencer marketing for companies such as Winnebago Industries, Armstrong Residential Ceilings, and Delta Dental. Prior to Padilla, Kenny worked on the communications teams for sport-oriented organizations in the Twin Cities including the Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Lynx and the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Kenny holds a bachelor’s degree in Sport Management from the University of Minnesota.
|11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
||Lunch and Keynote: Navigating the future of the PR industry
Let’s face it, the world of PR is always changing and many factors will continue shaping it into the future! From building a digital presence to social media trends and even collaboration tools, there are many ways to help navigate the future of PR. This keynote speaker will share what students can expect out of the PR industry, what a hybrid work model looks like and tips on how to thrive in this current industry.
Grete Lavrenz, APR, General Manager at Carmichael Lynch Relate
As general manager of Carmichael Lynch Relate, Grete runs day-to-day operations of the New York and Minneapolis offices, ensuring staff has the resources needed and each team is producing the very best work for each client. She has a history of success reinvigorating brands and getting existing audiences to reappraise them while acquiring new audiences, changing perceptions and leading to strong business results and engagement. Grete’s portfolio of work has been recognized by the PR industry’s PRWeek, PRSA, PR News and SABRE awards.
She holds a master’s degree in international public relations from Cardiff University. In addition, she received a Mini MBA from the University of St. Thomas, and she holds a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Hamline University.