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Temple University’s Public Relations Student Society of America to Host 2022 TU Invitational Conference, PuRsuing Philly, April 9

Keynote speakers Michele Besso, President of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Philadelphia chapter, and Michelle Sonsino, President of the Philadelphia Public Relations Association (PPRA)


PHILADELPHIA (Feb. 25, 2022) –  Michele Besso (PRSA Philadelphia president) and Michelle Sonsino (Philadelphia Public Relations Association president) are the lunchtime keynote speakers at this year’s TU Invitational “PuRsuing Philly, Saturday, April 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Howard Gittis Student Center on Temple’s Main Campus on North Broad Street. The conference, hosted by Temple University’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is open to students and professionals from the area. 


Early bird tickets are now on sale for $35 via Eventbrite. After Sunday, March 20, tickets will be $45 and available to purchase until the day before the event. For more information, please visit


The conference will provide engaging seminars led by public relations and communication professionals from the Philadelphia area. Expected speakers include:

  • Alexis Levant, Assistant Account Executive at Braithwaite Communications

  • Cari Feiler Bender, President of Relief Communications

  • Carla Showell-Lee, Chief Officer of Integrated Communications at SEPTA

  • Catherine Laughlin, Freelance Writer, Editor and Proofreader & Adjunct Professor of Public Relations and Advertising at Temple University

  • Garden Logan, Principal Consultant at Garden Logan Public Relations & Adjunct Professor of Public Relations at Temple University

  • Jaime Martorana, Communications Manager at Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau

  • Janel Forsythe, Coordinator at UpShift Strategies

  • Janet Dickerson, Co-Founder and Principal at Human Impact Solutions

  • Jeanie Davey, Former Marketing Manager at The Liacouras Center 

  • Justin Burkhardt, Public Relations Manager at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino AC

  • Kate Kizitaff, Communications Coordinator at Comcast Spectacor

  • Kate Wilhelm, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President at Ceisler Media & Issue Advocacy

  • Lauren Contino, Marketing Director at Brinker Simpson + Company

  • Loraine Ballard Morrill, Director of News and Community Affairs at iHeartMedia

  • Nathan Weaver, Promotions Director and On-Air Personality at iHeartMedia

  • Ransford Whaumbush, Business Development and Marketing Manager at Gregory FCA

  • Tom Logue, Director of Crisis Communications at AKCG Public Relations Counselors


The conference will give attendees a taste of what Philadelphia, the fourth largest market in the United States, has to offer to aspiring public relations professionals. Students will be able to gain insight into the world of PR with expert speakers from the industry and be able to network with them, opening the door for future internships and job opportunities.


“The theme of this year’s invitational conference is perfect for students and graduating seniors especially, as well as practitioners just starting out, to get their foot in the door,” said Christina Billie, PRSSA chapter president. “We have served countless students by emphasizing mentoring, networking and leadership in our chapter. This conference is rooted in those values, and I’m excited to see the opportunities that come from the event in April.”


The conference will explore a variety of topics, appealing to every attendee’s niche passions and interests. The field of PR has many avenues one can take such as agency, corporate, nonprofit, tourism and hospitality, sports and entertainment, fashion, government, advocacy, crisis, healthcare and technology. These topics will be discussed in tandem with the keynote session focusing on where the industry is going and career opportunities in the Philadelphia region. 


A Philadelphia sports-themed basket will be raffled off during the conference, and all proceeds will go directly to North Broad Renaissance (NBR), the charitable partner of the event. NBR is a non-profit organization that provides communication and information to city officials, neighborhood and community groups and others who are, or may, do business in Philadelphia neighborhoods. They strive to keep North Broad Street clean and safe, utilize marketing and communication tools to attract visitors, and ensure business attraction, retention and development to aid in improving neighborhoods. There will be an additional “Mad Minute” collection during the event, where attendees have one minute to empty their pockets and give whatever they can spare to this great cause. 



Temple’s nationally-recognized PRSSA is the largest and longest-standing chapter in the Philadelphia region, and one of the oldest student chapters in the country celebrating its 53rd year. The goal of the chapter is to prepare its more than 120 members for a career in the public relations field through its commitment to leadership, networking and mentorship. 


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Contact Information:


General Inquiries:



Olivia Mianulli

Conference Coordinator



Fiona Hitesman

Assistant Conference Coordinator



Rachael Dickson

Assistant Conference Coordinator



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