MavPRSSA hosts Midwest Regional Conference


By Angela Eastep

“Branding is fundamental. Branding is basic. Branding is essential. Building brands builds incredible value for companies and corporations,” said Scott Goodson, a Forbes contributor and founder of StrawberryFrog advertising agency.

Branding can make or break a company or organization. That’s why students from all majors are encouraged to attend “Building Blocks of a Brand” Regional Conference hosted by the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). The conference will be held April 17 to19 at the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center on the Dodge street campus.

Fred Cook, CEO of Golin International, will kick off the conference at an opening reception on Friday at 7 p.m. Cook will discuss aspects of his book, “Improvise – Unconventional Career Advice from an Unlikely CEO.” He has worked for Golin International for 25 years and is the “unlikely CEO” because he barely graduated from college, never took a business course, had no corporate connections, didn’t own a suit and rode a motorcycle.

Another highlight of the conference is Dr. Joseph V. Trahan III, APR, and PRSA Fellow, an internationally recognized media trainer and crisis communication expert, will discuss how to restore a damaged brand. Among his public relations experience, Dr. Trahan is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), former member of the National PRSA Board of Directors and National PRSSA Faculty Adviser. Trahan will also offer personal branding tips in a resume and portfolio critiquing session on Sunday morning.

The conference schedule is as follows:

Conference Schedule

Friday, April 17:

5:30 pm: Registration

6-8 pm:  Welcome reception (light hors d’oeuvres, beverages)

7-9 pm:  Conference Opening

              Hugh Reilly, Professor, Director of the School of Communication


              Kickoff Speaker: Fred Cook, CEO Golin International

Saturday, April 18:

8:15-9:00 am: Complimentary Breakfast

9:05-9:15 am: Update from Heather Harder, PRSSA National Committee President

9:15-10:15 am: Session 1 – The Importance of Company Culture

             Speaker: Jay Wilkinson, CEO, Firespring

10:15-10:30 am: Break

10:30-11:30 am: Session 2 – Entrepreneurial Sector: How to start or create your brand

            Speaker: Mariah Nimmich, Public Relations Marketing Manager, Bulu Box

11:35-12:30 pm: Session 3: How to change your brand  

            Speaker: Greg Daake, Principal and Creative Director, DAAKE

1:30-2:30 pm: Session 4 – Travel and Tourism Sector: How to stand out from the crowd

            Speaker: Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce – Panel Discussion

2:30-2:45 pm: Break

2:45-3:45 pm: Session 5 – Corporate Communication Sector: How to create a cohesive brand

             Speaker: Calli Hite, Sr. Communication Manager, Union Pacific

4-5 pm: Session 6 – How to handle a brand crisis

            Speaker: Dr. Joseph V. Trahan III,; President, Trahan and Associates

Sunday, April 19:

8:30-9:30 am: Complimentary Breakfast


– Professional headshots

– Resume and portfolio reviews

Topic: Building your personal brand from student to professional  

          Speaker: Dr. Joseph V. Trahan III, APR; President, Trahan and Associates

Pre-registration is $25 per registrant through the conference website, which covers attendance for all three days, a complimentary continental breakfast Saturday and Sunday mornings and lunch on Saturday. Registering day of the event will be $35 per registrant.

UNO PRSSA is one of 10 schools chosen to host a PRSSA Regional Conference in Spring 2015. “Building Blocks of a Brand” is the chapter’s third regional conference hosting, undertaking a major professional development opportunity.