NYUSPS Hosts 2017 PRSA Tri-State Conference, “What Now? Maintaining Your PR Integrity in the Post-Truth Era”


As a leading provider of applied and theoretical education in the public relations industry, the NYU School of Professional Studies (NYUSPS) Division of Programs in Business (DPB) hosted the 2017 Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Tri-State Conference, “What Now? Maintaining Your PR integrity in the Post-Truth Era,” on Tuesday, October 17 at the NYU Kimmel Center for University Life.

The annual, one-day conference brought together PR professionals from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut – as well as students in the School’s MS in Public Relations and Corporate Communication – to glean insights from PR and marketing experts on issues and trends on every practitioner’s mind.

“As educators of PR professionals, we were delighted to join with one of the nation’s leading professional organizations, PRSA, in hosting this important conference,” said Martin Ihrig, associate dean of the NYU School of Professional Studies Division of Programs in Business. “Together, we are determined to educate and support first-rate communications professionals who are well versed in industry trends and ready to be industry leaders.”

The Conference kicked off with a keynote by Melissa Ben-Ishay, founder of Baked by Melissa. She recounted how she was encouraged to pursue a business in cupcakes on the day she was fired from her job. Following a serendipitous series of events, she demonstrated how a communications strategy, authenticity, great branding, and hard work can be the right ingredients for a start-up or product launch.

Following Ben-Ishay’s inspiring keynote, PRSA presented panels covering topics that included how to navigate the media landscape in the age of “alternative facts,” building a household name through the power of PR, crisis communications, the art of the pitch, diversity in PR, and truth and integrity in communications. Brands represented included Hulu, GE, Change.org, State Farm, Fox News, IBM, Uber, Casper, Shorty Awards, Edelman, among others.

Highlights include:

  • “Alternative Facts,” moderated by Chris Riotta, reporter at Newsweek, with panelists Lindsay Kaplan, vice president for communications, Casper; Ken Kerrigan, executive vice president, Weber Shandwick, and an adjunct faculty member in the NYUSPS MS in public relations and corporate communication program; and Marc Liepis, vice president for communications, Viceland
  • “Crisis Communications in the 24-Hour News Cycle,” moderated by Steve Barrett, editor-in-chief at PRWeek with Julie Townsend, vice president for communications, ABC News; Tony Loke, vice president, Weber Shandwick; and Rich Silverman, corporate communications director, MUFG Americas
  • “Building a Household Name for Millennials Through the Power of PR,” featuring Alexandra Valasek, head of consumer communications, Uber; and Bob Knorpp, strategic consultant, The Cool Beans Group, and an adjunct faculty member in the NYUSPS MS in integrated marketing program
  • “Diversity in PR – To PC or Not to PC?,” featuring April Boykin-Huchko (moderator), HR manager, Affect; and panelists Brandi Boatner, social and influencer communications lead, Global Markets, IBM; Amelia Folkes, PR brand strategist, State Farm; and A.J. Walton, Sr., communications manager, North America, Change.org.

Renowned for its MS in Public Relations and Corporate Communication degree, NYUSPS DPB provides students with the academic learning and practical skills necessary to become effective public relations practitioners.

Photo Credit: Olivo Courtesy of NYU Photo Bureau