PRSA Pittsburgh PR Summit

Navigating Turbulence

PRSA Pittsburgh is pleased to announce its annual PR Summit will take place on Tuesday, October 3rd. This year’s theme is “Navigating Turbulence: Real-Life Crisis Management in Pittsburgh, Preparing for the 2024 Election, and How Artificial Intelligence Will Change PR.”

As we prepare for the 2024 election and grapple with how rapid advancements in AI will impact our industry, members will learn how to adapt and upskill for the future of PR. We will also hear from local experts on case studies of local crises and the skills needed to adapt quickly and effectively while keeping unique sensitivities in mind.

The PR Summit will consist of three unique panel discussions and a breakout networking session hosted at Alloy 26 in Nova Place. See below for panel topics and speaker information.

#PRSummitPGH || Celebrating 70 Years of PRSA Pittsburgh! 

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How AI Will Change PR & Your Career


ChatGPT and generative artificial intelligence are the most disruptive forces to hit the public relations industry since the internet. For PR professionals, the burning question of how AI will fit into the future of our profession is front and center. In Aaron’s talk, we explore if the technology will replace communications practitioners, or if seasoned PR pros can use it to work smarter and enhance their work? Newsrooms are short-staffed, budgets are increasingly tight, and public relations teams are consistently asked to do more with less. So how can you strike the right balance?

Key Topics: 

  • Tangible ways PR practitioners can implement AI 
  • Potential pitfalls of AI and headwinds the PR industry may face 
  • Insights into the essential skills required to leverage AI effectively
  • What forward-thinking agencies are doing right now

Speaker Info:

  • Aaron Watson, CEO of Piper Creative, a Pittsburgh marketing agency that provides video, audio, and strategy, has been using AI to accelerate their work, tell great stories, and grow revenue.

Ahead of the Curve: Mastering PR Strategies for the 2024 Election


For many reasons, the 2020 election cycle was a pivotal time in American history. According to Berlin Rosen, the 2022 midterm election cycle shattered records, becoming the second most expensive political cycle of all time, behind only the 2020 presidential election. With control of the White House and both houses of Congress up for grabs, we should expect 2024 to set a new record.

In addition to a pricey election, tactics used by political campaigns in recent years have brought new challenges to companies and brands. How does the ever-changing political world align with the evolving media landscape for the 2024 elections? What should companies and agencies start preparing now for the heat the election might bring in 2024?

Join us as we delve into the complexities of the upcoming presidential election and explore its potential impact on internal and external communications. Drawing from key lessons learned in past election cycles, we will equip you with invaluable insights and practical strategies to anticipate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in 2024.

**Please note, this is intended to be a nonpartisan discussion that is meant to inform and prepare public relations professionals on strategy. This is not intended to be a political debate.**

Key Topics:

  • When to participate in media interviews, issue public statements, send company-wide communications, etc.
  • Limiting the damage of political targets against your company/brand amid cancel culture and misinformation
  • Preparing your experts for media interviews when every word matters
  • How to stay true to your company’s mission and earn trust among your stakeholders when mistrust is at an all-time high

Speaker Info:

  • Keegan Gibson, Senior Director, Ceisler Media & Issue Advocacy 
  • Monica Malik, Vice President of Public Affairs Market Manager Western Pennsylvania, Citizens
  • Caitlin O’Connor, Director of Public Relations and Communications Initiatives, Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission
  • Moderator: Steve Radick, BCW 

PIVOT! Overcoming and Adapting to Real-Life Crises Situations in Pittsburgh


Your organization’s next crisis is on the horizon – it’s inevitable. The question is, are you ready for it? No company or brand is immune to high-profile incidents. Whether it’s a minor matter such as a power outage, or a high-profile event such as a bridge collapse, we hear from some of the most seasoned PR professionals in the Pittsburgh region about their real-life crises, how they were managed, and their best pieces of advice for others in the industry. 

Key Topics:

  • How to prepare in advance for moments of crisis as a communications team 
  • How to deploy or adapt crisis communications plans to meet the moment 
  • How to prepare for and best work with media
  • How dealing with national news topics differ from local stories 

Speaker Info:

  • Adam Brandolph, Director of Public Relations, Pittsburgh Regional Transit (Port Authority) 
  • Nicole Ford, Reporter, WPXI-TV
  • Mike Manko, Communication Manager and Public Information Officer, Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office
  • Hollie Geitner, Communications Director, Duquesne Light
  • Moderator: Emily Beatty, Allegheny Health Network

What is PRSA Pittsburgh’s PR Summit?

PR Summit is an annual conference, and the largest professional development event, hosted by PRSA Pittsburgh and geared toward professionals and students in the field. It’s an opportunity for individuals to learn more about how trends in the industry are influencing the work and experts in the Pittsburgh area.

Why Should I Attend PR Summit?

As members of PRSA Pittsburgh, we are at the frontlines of guarding against the spread of misinformation. This year’s PR Summit will help to educate and inform from a variety of expert opinions to equip the region’s PR professionals with the tools needed to maintain the integrity of the day-to-day news cycle.