Join us for MPRC's 2017 Annual Conference - Keeping it Real in a New PR Era. We'll kick off with keynote speaker Peter Rose– Vice Chairman of Sard Verbinnen & Co. in New York and close this busy day of informative workshops with one of New York's 10 hottest comicsLeighann Lord!

Thursday, October 26 | 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Harraseeket Inn, Freeport


OTT Communications, a division of OTELCO, is a premier provider of business communicationtechnology and high speed Internet in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and servesresidential customers in six states.


8:00 AM - 8:45 AM | Registration, Networking & Continental Breakfast

8:45 AM - 9:15 AM | Welcome & MPRC Annual Meeting

9:15 AM - 10:00 AM | Opening Keynote  Sponsored by People's United Bank

Relevance in a Post-PR World–State of the Industry

Peter Rose | Vice Chairman, Sard Verbinnen & Co., New York

"The key is relationships."

In a world where marketing and PR continue to converge and content creation remains the de facto silver marketing bullet du jour, do relationships really matter anymore? Are we as public relations professionals still relevant in the new digital and media landscape?

Peter Rose, leading advisor to Blackstone and communications professionals from some of the world’s largest companies, says yes and that relationships are more important than ever. Join Rose for a state of the state discussion, including the business case for public relations, what PR practitioners need to stay relevant, and how to elevate reputation, transparency and ethics as hallmarks of a cutting-edge company.

10:00 AM - 10:15 AM | Coffee Break

10:15 AM - 11:00 AM | Group Session Sponsored by USM's Communications & Media Studies Program

Syndication, Viral Stories and Good Storytelling

Suzette Martinez Standring | Author, Columnist, TV Host, Producer

What do editors love? A novel viewpoint can lead to column syndication. A good story can go viral. Find out what compels readers whether the writer does PR, writes columns, or reports news. How do you turn a calendar item into a news feature? Learn the elements of a good pitch and discover the use of emotion and five sensory zest in writing to fuel widespread coverage and a faithful readership.

Suzette Martinez Standring is a nationally syndicated columnist with GateHouse News since 2008, and is the award-winning author of The Art of Column Writing and The Art of Opinion Writing, which are used in university journalism classes. She is the past president of The National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the 2017 recipient of its Will Rogers Humanitarian
Award. Visit for more.

11:00 AM - 11:15 AM | Break

11:15 AM - 12:00 NOON | Breakout Sessions

Buy In—the Case for Support and How to Ask for It Sponsored by Fluent IMC
Andrea King | Chief Operating Officer & Associate Publisher, Maine Magazine/Maine Home + Design
Kristin Melville | Development & Outreach Director, Hospice of Southern Maine
Katie Shorey | Business & Community Development, People’s United Bank

Ainsley Wallace | Vice President, USM Foundation

Money can’t buy success. Many think it’ll buy progress for the organization and services for its clients. In the end, it’s really the relationship with the donors that matters not the dollars. But competition for donor dollars, corporate sponsorships and goodwill from the private sector is at an all-time high as marketing budgets contract and more nonprofit outfits enter the market.  From kicking off a capital campaign to planning a major event to simply engaging the community, sponsors and donors help defray the costs of execution and support your good work. Learn from those who know who to ask and how – including developing a compelling case for support, identifying enticing sponsorship levels and benefits, and what donors consider when making the decision.

Stop Doing Stupid Stuff: How to Use PR Measurement
to Achieve Powerful Results  Sponsored by Husson's New England School of Communications
Katie Delahaye Paine | Senior Measurement Consultant, Paine Publishing

With tight budgets and a growing proliferation of tools and techniques to get messages out there, PR pros are increasingly faced with tough decisions on where to put their resources. Only by figuring out what really matters, and then developing specific metrics to measure the programs, can the right choices be made.

While many people may perceive measurement as a boring, dry topic, Katie consistently leaves her audiences not just informed but entertained. Her talks are a balance of storytelling (including case studies) and practical how-to advice, so attendees can confidently put good measurement programs into practice right away.

Katie Delahaye Paine, aka The Measurement Queen @queenofmetrics, has been a pioneer in the field of measurement for three decades. She has founded two measurement companies, KDPaine & Partners Inc., and The Delahaye Group. Her books, Measure What Matters (Wiley, March 2011) and Measuring Public Relationships (KDPaine & Partners, 2007) are considered must-reads for anyone tasked with measuring public relations and social media. Her latest book, written with Beth Kanter, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using Data to Change the World, is the 2013 winner of the Terry McAdam Book Award. Visit for more.

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM | Lunch & Networking

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM | Group Session  Sponsored by Machias Savings Bank

The Real Story about Fake News

Moderated by:
Cliff Schechtman | Executive Editor, Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram

Donna Brassard | Publisher, Mainebiz

Daniel Panici, Ph.D. | Assoc. Professor of Comm. and Chair of Comm. and Media Studies, USM
Andy Serwer | Editor-in-chief, Yahoo Finance

During the 2016 Presidential election, fake news became a buzzword spouted in tweets by then candidate Donald Trump. With misleading stories spreading like wildfire across news feeds, how do we combat these falsehoods and get our message across to the public? How do we stand out as public relations professionals and uphold our core values of accuracy, impartiality, and transparency? How big is the problem anyway and how can you spot fake news?

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM | Break—time to get a drink and get ready to laugh!

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM | Closing Performance  Sponsored by flyte new media

Dict Jokes, Facebook's Hate Button and the Urban Erma

Leighann Lord - A Very Funny Lady!

Close out the annual conference with alternate definitions of words you’ve probably never heard of, reasons why Facebook should have a hate button, and ruminations and wordplay from heads-up comedian Leighann Lord. Harlem’s official comedian comes to the Harraseeket to spin a lighter side of word play, current events and other elements of our craft as we conclude our year and look ahead.

Leighann Lord is one of New York’s 10 Hottest Comics and one of the top 15 comedians in Queens according to It’s Queens Magazine, Leighann Lord has been seen on Lifetime, AspireTV, Comedy Central, HBO’s Def Comedy All-Star Jam and ABC’s The View. She’s performed for U.S. troops stationed in Europe, the South Pacific, and the Middle East. Leighann’s comedy album, I’ve Got Connections, is played heavily on Sirius satellite radio. She has been a radio/TV co-host on the Emmy-nominated Star Talk with Neil de Grasse Tyson. Leighann is a contributor to the Huffington Post and is the author of Dict Jokes: Alternate Definitions for Words You’ve Probably Never Heard of But Will Definitely Never Forget, Leighann Lord’s Big Book of Book Titles: When You Just Don’t Have Time to Read a Whole F**king Book, and Real Women Do It Standing Up: Stories from the Career of a Very Funny Lady. Follow @LeighannLord at

3:30 PM - 3:45 PM | Closing Remarks

3:45 - 4:30 | Networking


OTT Communications, a division of OTELCO, is a premier provider of business communication technology and high speed Internet in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and serves residential customers in six states. From phones in the 1800s, to fiber today, OTT Communications and the OTELCO family of companies has been serving rural business and residential customers with state-of-the-art communications technology in Alabama, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont, and West Virginia.  Headquartered in Maine, the company was an industry leader in Hosted PBX telephone technology 10 years ago, and supports 10,000 seats nation-wide.  Most recently, OTT launched a Software Defined Networking product, SiteLink SD and VoiceLink SD, that securely extend the company’s SiteLink and VoiceLink VLAN products to include off-net remote locations.  OTT has a strong commitment toward bridging the digital divide through both rural fiber infrastructure improvements and the underwriting of free computer courses in it service footprints.

Mainebiz is Maine’s premier business news source, covering business news from Fort Kent to Kittery. With its website (, Daily Report, Weekly Report and Real Estate Insider via email, as well as its flagship print publication, Mainebiz continues to expand its reach, bringing vital news to Maine’s business community through varied media.





People's United Bank is a subsidiary of People's United Financial, Inc., a diversified financial services company with over $43 billion in assets. People’s United Bank, founded in 1842, is a premier, community-based, regional bank in the Northeast offering commercial and retail banking, as well as wealth management and 401K Services.  People’s United Bank proudly serves the State of Maine with 27 locations and more than 200 employees.  Additionally, People’s United Community Foundation has supported over 150 nonprofit organizations across the state, focusing on community development, youth development, and affordable housing. People’s United Bank is committed to being a good neighbor by helping communities grow and thrive.

flyte new media is a web design and digital marketing agency that helps small and medium size companies reach more of their ideal customers through search, social, and email marketing. Learn more at





Machias Savings Bank is a partner beyond banking, building exceptional value for its customers and communities.



Understanding the process of communication is as important to our democracy as public speaking was for the ancient Greeks. Students and faculty consider issues involving gender and communication, multiculturalism, ethics, social media, media and public policy, and more. Learn more about Communication and Media Studies Department.








Dan Marois
MPRC Administrative Director