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Speakers

Agency/Client Relations

Darla Price
SVP Executive Account Director, McCann 

With almost two decades of experience in the advertising field, Darla is known to inspire her teams to deliver excellent work and is always the first one to fight for brand building ideas.  Darla has spent the last four years at McCann running the global Microsoft Windows and Surface businesses, where the brand most recently won Clio Advertiser of the Year for 2017. She’s currently running the HomeGoods and Lockheed Martin businesses at the agency.

Before joining McCann, Darla spent many years at Saatchi&Saatchi both in NY and abroad. Before that, she spent over two years in Southeast Asia, where she was the first African American to work for the company’s Singapore and Mumbai offices.  While there, she saw the P&G Head&Shoulders business off to reach its' $1billion mark for Asia-Pacific and later ran Pampers and Ariel.

In addition to her role as a Business Leader, Darla also serves as Chair Emeritus of the IPG Women’s Leadership Network, the holding company’s initiative to help advance women within the network.  Darla is also certified as an Executive Coach and provides coaching to individuals both inside and outside of her agency, to help them develop in their careers, with a passion around helping women and young people of color who want to be successful in the business.  She’s a proud alum of Temple University.

Mike Gross
Senior Vice President & COO, AKCG

Mike Gross, APR, is a partner at AKCG - Public Relations Counselors where he serves as Senior Vice President and COO. Mike supports the team by providing strategic planning, issues/crisis counseling and media relations. 

 

Prior to returning to the firm, Mike was senior vice president of a suburban Philadelphia public relations firm where he led robust integrated communications programs for a variety of clients. Mike was responsible for maintaining client relationships and for developing new strategies for each of the firm’s clients. He has served clients in the healthcare, education, energy, pharmacy, hospitality, publishing and banking industries, among others.

 

Mike has been instrumental in winning awards from the Philadelphia and New Jersey chapters of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and from the PRNews in the national NonProfit PR Awards competition. He led his team to win a Bronze Anvil, an esteemed national award from PRSA, as well as the “Best in Show” awards in PRSA Philadelphia’s Pepperpots Award program (twice) and PRSA New Jersey’s Pyramid Award program.

 

Mike is a past president of the Philadelphia chapter of the PRSA.  He currently serves as the Chair-Elect for PRSA’s Mid-Atlantic District, which supports nine PRSA Chapter’s across four states and Washington, D.C. Mike received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Rowan University.

Brittany Harmon
Director of Client Experience, Weber Shandwick

Brittany Harmon is a Director and Philadelphia Practice Lead at Weber Shandwick. With 10+ years of experience in PR, the majority being in healthcare, Britt has recognized strengths in launching products/regulatory milestones, fostering social influencer engagement, creating and executing integrated consumer awareness campaigns and building strong advocacy and professional relations across the globe.

 

Brittany has been at the helm of multiple award-winning, national disease education awareness campaigns, managing multichannel partnerships with prominent U.S. advocacy/non-profit organizations. She’s brought her expertise and skills to clients across U.S. and global therapeutic areas, including diabetes, gastroenterology, dermatology, food allergy, women’s health, oncology and consumer healthcare/OTC. Be sure to ask her about her pre-pharma days – where she supported multiple non-profits in the Philadelphia-area and even dressed as Kirby the Krimpet to support Tastykake’s CSR program.

 

Prior to joining the Weber Shandwick team, Britt worked at Ruder Finn and Tonic Life Communications.

She recently served as an interim global communications leader for AstraZeneca’s diabetes portfolio. In this role, Brittany led corporate and product communications efforts for multiple market approvals.

 

During the summer, Britt volunteers her time at a Delaware-based non-profit organization for space and science education – Commander Harmon reporting for duty!

 

Brittany holds a B.A. in English and journalism from the University of Delaware.

Emily McKain
Firm Director, PRowl PR

Emily is currently in her senior year at Temple University and will graduate with a degree in Strategic Communications/Public Relations and Human Development and Community Engagement. She is the Firm Director for Temple University's first and only student-run public relations firm. She oversees all accounts including several Temple-related clients and Heart-to-Heart, a non-profit organization in Philadelphia.

In addition to PRowl, Emily has worked with Jumpstart Philadelphia, an early childhood education non-profit in North Philadelphia that serves to fill the kindergarten readiness gap. Currently serving as the Volunteer Coordinator, she helps plan and execute events to engage community members in programming activities.

Kory Aversa
CEO & President, Aversa PR & Events LLC

Kory is an award-winning, seasoned public relations pro, event planner and social media guru with 20+ years experience in the nonprofit and small business sector. He hails from Utica and Albany, New York, and graduated from Utica College of Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations (minor Political Science).

 

Since moving to Philadelphia, he has been a champion in the nonprofit community. Service projects have included work with United Way of SEPA, Plays & Players Theatre, People-Pet Partnership, Safeguards and Delaware Valley Legacy Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation. In 2012, Kory was chair and founder of the new Nonprofit Resource Committee for the Philadelphia Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. In 2013, he was elected to the board of directors for PRSA and continues to help oversee the Nonprofit Resource Committee.

 

In his spare time, Kory enjoys blogging (Phillylovesfun.com), eating lots of cupcakes, playing with his pup and travelling. He also plays flag football with the Greater Philadelphia Flag Football League.

Fake News and Ethics

Adam Dvorin
Media Director, Winning Strategies

A former reporter who remains a journalist at heart, Adam Dvorin combines newsroom experience with public relations sensibilities in his role as Assistant VP for Media Relations with the New Jersey-based communications firm, Winning Strategies.

 

Dvorin works with all Winning Strategies account teams to develop earned media strategies and lay out a game plan for attracting coverage. He personally handles top‐tier media outreach, representing agency clients to national and leading regional outlets. Keeping the agency ahead of media trends, Dvorin also navigates the balance between traditional and online media, reporters and bloggers and agency-generated news content.

Dvorin owns a successful track record of achieving placements in outlets such as CBS News, USA Today, ABC News, MSNBC, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, Newark Star-Ledger, Baltimore Sun, Philadelphia Inquirer, the Associated Press, NBC News, Weather Channel, CNet, CNN, Fox News
Channel, CNBC as well as network affiliates in New York, Washington, D.C.
and Philadelphia.

 

Dvorin holds a B.A. in Communications from Rowan University, and currently serves as the Chairman/Immediate Past President of the Philadelphia Public Relations Association. He serves as an adjunct public relations instructor at Temple University’s Klein School of Media and Communication.

Cherri Gregg
Community Affairs Reporter, KYW News Radio

Cherri Gregg reports on a variety of public affairs and social justice related issues and often files stories for CBS-3. But Cherri is a rarity within the world of journalism -- she is also a licensed attorney. She puts her law degree to work, providing analysis and extensive coverage on many highly publicized community legal issues. Cherri spent months covering the implementation of Pennsylvania’s voter ID law, filing reports for both KYW Newsradio and CBS-3. She’s reported on the US Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act, same-sex marriage, immigration reform, juvenile justice, criminal justice reforms and other community issues. In 2013, Cherri traveled to Washington, DC to cover the second historic inauguration of President Barack Obama, filing live reports from the steps of the US Capitol. As an award winning journalist, one of Cherri’s mission is to highlight diverse perspectives, positive people and cultural events in the greater Philadelphia area. In 2013, she launched an original Black History Month series for KYW Newsradio, “Philadelphia GameChangers,” which highlights individuals and organizations making a positive impact in the African-American Community.

 

Cherri has a B.S. from Boston University, a J.D. from Howard University School of Law and a M.J. from Temple University’s College of Communications and Theater. She is the past president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists and is a member of the Pennsylvania and Georgia Bars. Cherri was named one of The Philadelphia Tribune’s Most Influential Leaders in 2015, one of the Philadelphia NAACP’s Most Influential Black Women and PABJ’s Journalist of the Year in 2013.

Jason Mollica
Professional Lecturer, American University

Jason Mollica is an award-winning, seasoned strategic communication professional with over 20 years of experience as a journalist, news producer, and PR professional. Jason started his career as a journalist working for WCAU-TV in Philadelphia, Pa. 

 

As a public relations professional, Jason has experience working on both the agency and client side of the business. He has worked in-house as the Assistant Director of Communications at Niagara University, receiving a MarComm Award for his work with campus publications. On the agency side, Jason has worked with a wide variety of clients in the areas of manufacturing and environmental communications, retail, finance, healthcare, economic development and the nonprofit sector.

He has been a featured contributor for Marketwired's blog, as well as the Ad Age 150-ranked "PR Breakfast Club," Ragan Communications' "PR Daily," Nasdaq’s MarketInsite, and Muck Rack. Jason has also appeared on FoxNews.com, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), Al Jazeera International, InvestigateTV, WIVB-TV, WKBW-TV, Tribune Broadcasting, and Spectrum News for his expertise in the area of social and digital media, crisis communication and political communications.

 

In addition to his impressive professional experience, Jason has taught as an adjunct lecturer at both American University’s School of Communication and at the University of Maryland, where he created a course on social networking and social media analytics.

 

Jason received his undergraduate degree in Communication from Temple University and his master’s degree in Communication from Purdue University.

Gabriel Escobar
Editor and Vice President, The Inquirer

Gabriel Escobar is editor and vice president of the Philadelphia Media Network and its three platforms, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Daily News and Philly.com.

Escobar has extensive experience as both a reporter and news manager. He spent 16 years at The Washington Post, as a reporter on the local and national staffs, a foreign correspondent based in South America and as city editor. At the Inquirer he has worked as managing editor, deputy managing editor for Metro and as assistant managing editor for news.  Escobar also worked at The Hartford Courant, the Philadelphia Daily News and The Dallas Morning News, where he was an editorial writer, blogger and columnist.

 

Escobar was born in Bogota, Colombia and grew up in New York City. He has a BA in creative writing from Queens College, CUNY, and a masters in journalism from the University of Maryland.

Matt O'Donnell
News Reporter, 6ABC

Matt was born in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, and has also lived in Minnesota, Virginia, upstate New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Despite his rapidly changing home addresses, he has always cherished living in the Delaware Valley where he has now resided for more than three decades. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in English/Journalism and a Political Science minor.


It was the extra stuff that Matt always points to in explaining how he managed to find a job in broadcast journalism. While at Delaware, Matt was a reporter, editor and columnist at The Review, the campus newspaper, plus he served as news director for the campus radio station WVUD-FM where he interviewed then-Senator, Joe Biden. 


Matt's first real TV job was in Binghamton, NY at WICZ-TV. He was an on-air reporter/news photographer/video editor/line producer/TelePrompTer operator/news tape operator/script-ripper/copy editor/studio camera operator/fill-in anchor/etc. Matt joined 6abc in late 1996. Matt spent eight years as a street reporter, and swears he has done at least one story in every single community in the viewing region. 

Lauren Bullock
Assistant Professor of Instruction, Temple University

As Assistant Professor for Instructor, Lauren Bullock is responsible for teaching undergraduate leadership and public relations courses in the Klein College of Media and Communication. With 15 years of experience in higher education leadership development and public relations, she brings an expertise in group and team communication, purpose, meaning and values in the workplace, and leadership theories that advance women leaders. On the undergraduate level, Bullock teaches Communicating Leadership, Leading Groups and Team Building, Communicating Organizational Change, News Writing and Media Relations, and Public Relations Writing.

 

Prior to joining the Department of Advertising and Public Relations in July 2018, Bullock served for six years as the Program Director for the Office of Leadership Development (2012-2018) and for four years as the Coordinator of Student Activities in the Office of Student Life at Ambler campus (2008-2012).

Prior to working at Temple, Bullock worked in athletics administration at the University of Texas at Austin and Florida State University. During her time at FSU, she served as the primary sports information contact for the 2006 NCAA Division I National Champion men’s track and field team. While at UT-Austin, she worked with the two-time Big 12 champion women's soccer program and the reigning, national champion women's track and field team. She also handled sports information duties for the men’s cross country and track and field programs, and the women’s cross country team.

 

Bullock is a 2003 graduate of Temple’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management and a 2005 graduate of the College of Education at Florida State University. Currently, she is enrolled in the Leadership and Change Ph.D. program at Antioch University. Bullock is no stranger to Klein education programs as she completed a minor in Journalism, Public Relations and Advertising in 2003 and the graduate certificate in Strategic Communication in 2015. In Spring of 2010, she completed the graduate certificate program in Diversity Leadership offered through Temple’s College of Education.

 

A native of central New Jersey, she is a member of the Association of Leadership Educators (ALE), and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) organization. She served as the financial secretary for the Philadelphia chapter of the Association of Black Women in Higher Education (ABWHE).

Diversity Panel

David Brown
Assistant Professor of Instruction, Temple University​

David W. Brown has helped guide the strategic direction for nonprofit and other mission-focused organizations throughout his more than 30–year career. At Temple, he is a visiting assistant professor of instruction in the School of Media and Communication and serves as faculty advisor of the student chapter of the Black Public Relations Society. 

 

A graduate of Duquesne University—where he majored in Journalism—Brown is also a graduate of Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (now Palmer Theological Seminary), where he earned a master’s degree in Theology with a focus on Public Policy.

 

Brown is a past Pennsylvania Communication Association Speaker of the Year and was inducted into the Public Relations Hall of Fame by the Philadelphia Public Relations Association (PRSA), the oldest independent public relations organization in the country. He is the only living practitioner of Color in the Hall. Brown is also the 2016 recipient of the Public Relations Society of America’s David Ferguson Award for Outstanding Contributions Education and is the first African American to be honored as such. Additionally, he received the 2016 Ofield Dukes Educator Award, conferred by the National Black Public Relations Society. 

 

Brown also has the distinction of being the only person to have served as both president of PRSA’s Philadelphia chapter and the Philadelphia Advertising Club. He was also named a 40 Under 40 leader and one of the region’s top minority business leaders by Philadelphia Business Journal.

Tiffany Tavarez
Vice President of Community Relations, Wells Fargo

Tiffany Tavarez serves as Vice President of Community Relations at Wells Fargo where she implements the company’s corporate responsibility objectives & priorities through strategic philanthropy, stakeholder engagement and team member volunteerism across the Northeast (PA, NY, NJ, DE, CT). Her experience includes working in community relations, philanthropy and program development for PECO, Comcast, Temple University & the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage.

She has been recognized by numerous organizations including the Philadelphia Business Journal, LEADERSHIP Philadelphia, IMPACTO, Femme & Fortune, Hispanic Media LLC, AL DIA Newsmedia, Influencing Action Movement, Friends of the Urban Affairs Coalition, Joan Shepp, New Jersey Council of County Vocation Schools & the United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey including three proclamations from Philadelphia City Council for her civic leadership. Most recently, she was awarded the 2018 Emerging Leader Award by the Forum of Executive Women and the Born to Make HERStory Amazing Woman Award by the Office of Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and the National Youth Foundation during their 2018 Inaugural Philadelphia Girls Rally.

Tiffany Tavarez serves on Governor Tom Wolf’s Pennsylvania Commission for Women, Temple Contemporary Advisory Council; Philadelphia Global Identity Advisory Board and Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and Esperanza. In addition to being the first person in her family to attend college, she was also the first person to earn a full-tuition scholarship to Temple University’s Tyler School of Art where she earned her BFA. She later earned her MA from University of the Arts. 

Michael Kaye
Communications Manager, Autism Speaks

Michael Kaye is currently the Communications Manager for Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization in the United States. His expertise is grounded in brand marketing, corporate reputation and media relations, and he has worked at leading communication agencies including Edelman, Weber Shandwick and Ruder Finn.

 

Outside of the office, Michael is an adjunct instructor at Mercy College teaching introductory public relations and a guest speaker at New York University. He is also a Digital Communication Volunteer for the Human Rights Campaign.


Michael graduated from the University at Albany with a bachelor’s degree in communication and sociology, and later earned his master’s degree in strategic communication from American University, where he graduated cum laude. He also earned a certificate in Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace from the University at Pittsburgh.  

Richelle Payne
Partner, Ascendant Group

Richelle Payne is an award-winning writer whose 25 years of experiences working as a journalist, corporate spokesperson, and college English instructor create an exciting mix of expertise crafting messages that inspire people and ignite business results. CEOs, retired athletes, megachurch leaders, first-time authors and other high-profile personalities ask her to help them figure out the strategic branding actions that will protect and grow their reputation and revenues. She shows them how to reach across diverse, complex, global markets to spark changes in attitudes and inspire audiences to take action.

 

Some past projects include: the expansion of the T.D. Jakes School of Leadership; fundraisers for Dallas’ Potter’s House; global sales leadership meetings for Verizon Enterprise Solutions; showrunner for the Knight Foundation’s BMe kickoff at the Franklin Institute; book marketing and bestseller strategy for first-time authors Dondré T. Whitfield of OWN-TV’s “Queen Sugar” and Birmingham-based megachurch leader Van Moody; recruiting strategy and collateral for St. Augustine’s College; media relations for Houston’s Lakewood Church and their acquisition of the Compaq Center; and issues management for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s multi-city arena tours.

 

She is president emeritus for the National Black Public Relations Society, Inc., and has served on the board of directors for the Hampton Jazz Festival, Hampton Bay Days, and Dress for Success Dallas. She is a graduate of Leadership Frisco (Texas), Class IX, and currently chairs her family’s scholarship fund at her childhood church in suburban Pittsburgh. She graduated with a B.A. in English from Hampton University and the M.A. in Corporate Communication from Duquesne University. She earned the CCP (certified communications professional) designation from the AWC Matrix Foundation.

Special Events

Ike Richman
President, Richman Communications​

Ike Richman is President, Ike Richman Communications, a firm that specializes in Public Relations, Media Relations, and Crisis Communications for the Live Sports and Entertainment industry.

 

His clients include Live Nation Philadelphia, Oak View Group Facilities, ABC-TV’s hit comedy, The Goldbergs, Healthy Kids Running Series, Still Strong Foundation, National Night Out and the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation.

 

Prior to opening his own communications firm, Richman spent nearly 29 years with Comcast-Spectacor, specializing in Public Relations, Media Relations and Crisis Communications. During his nearly three-decade career, he managed all external communications for the company’s three businesses - the Philadelphia Flyers, the Wells Fargo Center and Spectra. He is well established in creating and delivering important and impactful business messages locally, regionally, nationally, and throughout the sports and entertainment industry.

 

He is a 2005 Philadelphia Public Relations Association Hall of Fame Inductee, the 2014 Distinguished Terrapin Alum from the Maryland School of Journalism, and the 2016 Sally Berlin Police Athletic League Spotlight Award winner.

 

He serves on the Board of Directors for the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, the Police Athletic League, the Shirley Povich School of Sports Journalism Advisory Board at the University of Maryland, and the Advisory Board of the Ed Snider Center for Enterprise and Markets.

 

Richman is named in memory of his grandfather Ike Richman who was the original owner of the Philadelphia 76ers. The late Ike Richman purchased the Syracuse Nationals and moved them to Philadelphia and created the 76ers in l963.

Fred Stein
Senior Partner, The Creative Group

Fred is senior partner in The Creative Group, Inc., established in Pennsylvania as a special events production and meeting planning firm. Dedicated to the creation, production, implementation and promotion of programs throughout the world, the company has successfully staged over 3,400 major special events and meetings in numerous cities throughout the United States and indeed around the world.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Fred was educated in the Philadelphia public school system and Temple University with a B.S. in Communications in 1972. In 1983 he became Chief of Staff in U.S. Congress where he managed three offices in Philadelphia and Washington D.C. prior to starting his own business to produce special events beginning with the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution.
With events around the country from the grand opening of the Paris Las Vegas Casino and the Miami Performing Arts Center and the 300th anniversary of Mobile, Alabama, we have also enjoyed regional spectaculars such as the visit of the Pope in Philadelphia to the Eagles super bowl parade and ceremony.


Fred started the event management program at Temple University in the Fox School of Business School of Hospitality Management where he taught the graduate course for seven years, since he founded it. In 2010 he brought his expertise to Drexel University where he initiated the event management track at Goodwin College for hospitality management.

Professional Development

Ryan Wall
Assistant Account Executive, Brian Communications​

Ryan Wall is an Assistant Account Executive at Brian Communications, where he works on a variety of accounts in the healthcare, nonprofit and education industries. He also handles the agency’s social media strategy (@BrianComms on Instagram and Twitter) and serves on the Intern Committee. Ryan is a 2018 graduate of La Salle University, where he served as president of his school’s PRSSA Chapter. His senior year and was recognized as the recipient of the PPRA Dr. Jean Brodey Student Achievement Award and PRSA Philly Anne Sceia Klein Award for Professional Promise. You can connect with him on Twitter at @ryan_wonderwall.

Linda Burkley
President, Ardis Communications

Linda Burkley is the President of Ardis Communications, a boutique public relations firm specializing in creative collateral, strategic campaign development and media/leadership/communications training for small businesses and non-profit organizations. A skilled facilitator and experienced practitioner, she is also a Lecturer in Public Relations at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA.

 

Prior to a move to Central Pennsylvania from the Pittsburgh area, Linda served as an Associate Professor in the Communication Department of Slippery Rock University. Before entering the education field in 2002, Linda spent almost 14 years with the Butler County Chamber of Commerce, where she served in a variety of capacities, including eight years as CEO. She is a graduate of the Institute for Organization Management and founded the Chamber’s Leadership Butler County Program in 1992. Linda also served as the Chief Clerk and Director of Administration for the County of Butler, the first woman appointed to the position.  

 

Linda was named one of Pennsylvania’s Top 50 Women in Business by Governor Edward G. Rendell in 2008, in recognition of her professional achievements, leadership abilities and service to the community.  She was named a Distinguished Alumni of La Roche College in 2015. She has been published in numerous local and state publications and is the co-author of an off-Broadway play, “The Man in the Window.”

 

Linda received the prestigious APR in 2005, an accreditation conferred by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).  She has served as President of the Central PA PRSA Chapter and chaired numerous PRSA committees for both the Central PA and Pittsburgh chapters, including the accreditation panel.  

 

Linda holds a B.A. in English and a minor in graphic design from La Roche College (1987) in Pittsburgh, and an M.A. in Organizational Leadership from Duquesne University (2004).  She is currently pursuing her doctorate in communications.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Gregg Feistman 
Assistant Chair for Public Relations & Associate Professor of Practice,Temple University​

As Assistant Chair for Public Relations, Gregg Feistman is responsible for directing the Public Relations major and specializes in public relations, reputation management, strategic communications planning, corporate sponsorship, crisis communications, media relations, and organizational communication. 

 

Feistman has also served as a graduate student capstone advisor, and is the faculty advisor for both Temple’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA)—one of the oldest and top 10 chapters in the country—and Temple’s nationally affiliated student-run PR firm, PRowl Public Relations. He is also a member of the Faculty Senate and hires, mentors and coaches adjunct PR faculty. He is an active member of the Philadelphia Public Relations Association, a long-standing member of the Philadelphia chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, and has been widely quoted in numerous consumer, business, and PR trade media. Feistman has also been a contributing writer to Public Relations Tactics and has presented at conferences, including the annual Public Relations Society of America’s international conference. He holds certification from the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program, online teaching from Temple University, and is certified in Google Analytics. 

 

Feistman’s more than 35 years of business and PR experience includes past membership on the Philadelphia Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Board of Directors and a multiple recipient of the Philadelphia PRSA Pepperpot and Drumbeater awards. He received Temple’s Outstanding Faculty Service Award in 2014, the Klein College of Media and Communications’ Faculty Award for Service in 2012, and an Outstanding Service Award from the Department of Strategic Communication in 2011. In 2010, he received PRSA’s prestigious Anthony J. Fulginiti Award for Commitment to PR Education. 

Scott Tattar 
Instructor of Communication, Drexel University

Scott became a fulltime faculty member at Drexel University in the Department of Communications in 2016. Previously, he taught as an adjunct at both Drexel and Temple.

Over a 30-year business career, Scott became of the region's most recognized and respected PR professionals.  He gained media relations, public affairs, community relations, investor relations, product publicity, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and crisis/issues management experience from work with such clients as Taco Bell, The Rothman Institute, The American Legal Institute and Bar Association, Preferred Real Estate, The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, Pfizer, The EuroTunnel, The Philadelphia International Auto Show, WXPN, Applebee’s, Hatfield Quality Meats, Reliance Insurance Company, The Please Touch Museum and the Philadelphia Streets Department.  

In 2007, while Senior Vice President at LevLane in Philadelphia, Scott established the first Corporate Social Responsibility practice in the Philadelphia region. This agency discipline was founded on the premise that business is a key driver for sustainable social change.  

From 2004 through 2005, Scott served as the president of the Public Relations Society of America (Philadelphia Chapter). He was appointed to Philadelphia Mayor John Street’s PR Task Force in 2000.  He began his career as a reporter at the York Daily Record.

Scott earned his B.A. in English from York College of Pennsylvania, where he was a four-year varsity soccer player.  He furthered his education with graduate studies in English at Villanova University. He received the 2001 Frank X. Long Award for excellence in creative writing, the 2012 DeAnn White Award for excellence in community service and the 2018 Anthony Fulginiti Award for excellence in education --- all from the Public Relations Society of America (Philadelphia Chapter).  


 

Engaging Influencer Campaigns

Jill Curcio
Assistant Account Executive, MSL Group​

Jill Curcio is an Assistant Account Executive at MSL Group, an integrated communications agency, in New York City. Her work is a mix of creative PR and marketing specializing in consumer brands, specifically Proctor and Gamble’s Always and Tampax products. She works in both international and local markets, which taught her the importance of knowing your audience and paying attention to detail.

Clarissa Ford, Communications Specialist, Hunter

Clarissa is currently a Communications Specialist at Hunter, a mid-sized consumer agency in NYC. She enjoys working in an urban environment and gaining exposure to a large media market while serving clients in the health and beauty space.

 

Clarissa studied strategic communication with a concentration in PR and a minor in sport management. At Temple, she served as the firm director for PRowl Public Relations, Temple’s nationally affiliated student-run firm. She was an active member of the Philadelphia Public Relations Association (PPRA) and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).
 

PR in the Age of the #MeToo Movement

LiRon Anderson-Bell
Assistant Professor of Instruction, Temple University

LiRon Anderson-Bell is a strategic communication and digital media veteran with 20+ years experience across entertainment, consumer products and the pharmaceutical industry. Her specialties are public relations, crisis communication, and digital and social media marketing.

Ms. Anderson-Bell's professional background includes roles at MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Comcast Cable, Okayplayer.com, Bristol-Myers Squibb, CDNOW.com, The ROZ Group, WURD Radio, Time Warner Cable, The Terrie Williams Agency, and Manning, Selvage & Lee.   

Ms. Anderson-Bell earned a Masters of Business Administration from the Fordham Gabelli School of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania. She also holds a Certificate in Accounting, Finance and Programming for the Operational Manager from The University of Denver.   

She has served on executive and/or advisory boards of the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society, the National Association of Multi-Ethnicity in Communications, New Life Family Development Center and MiND/Independence Media. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and resides in Philadelphia with her husband and children.

Mary Austen
President & CEO, Tierney

Mary has nearly 30 years of experience leading strategic communications for major brands including Viacom, Marriot Hotels & Resorts and Disney along with consumer experience for brands like McDonald’s, Verizon, General Motors and TD Bank.

Mary believes in helping our clients drive results, but is equally passionate about leading by example and giving back. She contributes her time generously to many important missions through board service for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Girl Scouts, Main Line Health, Lafayette College and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

Her professional and philanthropic contributions have been recognized time and again including as the 2009 Women of Heart award from the American Heart Association, the 2010 Paradigm Award from the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the 2012 Women in Leadership Award from the Salvation Army, the 2013 Women’s Initiative award from the United Way and the 2013 Police Athletic Award.

Afia Ohene-Frempong
External Communications Manager, PECO

Afia Ohene-Frempong began her career in Marketing and Public Relations nearly two decades ago as an Associate at BrownPartners Multicultural Marketing in Philadelphia, connecting services and brands to underserved, minority markets. Her writing and media relations work has since spanned a wide range of industries including academia, social and government services, restaurants & hospitality, arts & entertainment, medical, pharmaceutical and more. Born and raised in the Greater Philadelphia area, Afia returned in 2016, after 9 years in New York and Los Angeles, with an eye on making a positive impact in the community that raised her. She is now the External Communications Manager at PECO where she oversees advertising, media relations and customer communications for Pennsylvania’s largest electric and natural gas utility company.

Megan Smith
Founder/President, Brownstone PR

A native of Washington, D.C. and 2005 graduate of Temple University with a B.A. in Journalism, Smith is the principal of Brownstone PR. Founded in 2007, Brownstone PR is a full-service media/public relations, strategic partnership development, and community relations firm. What’s more, Smith and Brownstone PR have received great media attention – with Smith positioned as an expert on items ranging from business development and finance to community relations outreach, and Brownstone PR mentioned in conjunction with nationally recognized companies and brands. Smith currently serves on the Boards of the National Academy Foundation, Green Tree School, the African American Chamber of Commerce, PA, NJ, DE, and Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, and is a member of the Friends of the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center and the National Urban League. 

The Convergence of Advertising and Public Relations 

Martha Gaston
President, Philly Chapter of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)

I started my communications journey with a well-rounded, liberal arts education and an English-Creative Writing degree. Through internships and various professional positions, I've experienced a wide range of communications tools: editing and creating newsletters and company magazines; social media; media relations; byline article writing; content partnerships; executive communications.

I use tools from news releases, in-person interviews, byline articles and strategic events to meet PR objectives in long- and short-term projects and further the goals of the companies for which I work. I'm adept at establishing relationships with media professionals that benefit all parties, and I'm also a habitual copy editor who finds it fun to fix dash placement and I can't help but edit everything I read -- from menus to novels.

Among my top media placements: Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, New York Times, Inc., CNBC.com, The Street, The Washington Post, Ad Age, USA Today, American Banker, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, New York Daily News, Atlanta Business Chronicle, Philadelphia Business Journal.

Nina Scimenes Rodebaugh
President, Philadelphia Public Relations Association (PPRA) ​

Content is king and data is royalty! I enjoy diving deep into the analytics to see what performs well. Data for public relations is an area that I have been focused in over my career to show ROI in campaigns. I taught a course last fall at Temple University about data for public relations and will be teaching it again next fall.

Alan Tempest, Executive Director, Philly Ad Club

@phillyadclub Executive Director, proven marketer, tested leader. Admirer of the art of #communications.

Analytics

Samantha Gower
Senior SEO Associate, SEER Interactive​

Samantha Gower (@samanthafgower) is a Senior SEO Associate at Seer Interactive (@seerinteractive), a digital marketing agency headquartered in Philadelphia. With her education and skill-set firmly in Public Relations, Sam transitioned to Search Engine Optimization specializing in outreach and influencer relations. Sam's day-to-day is never the same but always revolves around how she can connect her client's solutions to aid users in their personal online journeys through data analytics. You can catch Sam on Temple's campus teaching Analytics for PR.

Steve Ryan
Director of Communications and Marketing, Willistown Conservation Trust

I wanted to be a French professor. So, of course I’m in communications & marketing. I started out as a newspaper stringer and that got me hooked. The research, the storytelling. Boring assignments were the best; being double-dog-dared to find a cool lede. That led me to freelancing, where I wrote about diecast toy cars. Seriously. But that landed me my first real job in the toy business. It’s not like the movie Big, in case you were wondering.

 

So, I took a break, worked in nonprofit for many years. Then decided to try the world of publicly traded companies. It was fun. Did a lot of travel. But it lacked soul. And one too many M&As later and I returned to nonprofit. Now I work for Willistown Conservation Trust. That has soul – preserving habitat, conserving land, supporting sustainable agriculture, protecting local waterways and contributing to conservation science. I love going to work again.

 

I've done a bunch of stuff: marketing communications, integrated corporate communications, change management, PR, brand management, crisis communications, advertising, speechwriting, public speaking training/coaching, executive communications, photography, event planning and management, direct marketing, magazine columnist.

Lastly, I have strong opinions about vocalized pauses,
asyndetonand the serial comma.