Public Affairs Management Seminar

30 May, 2018

September 12, 2018
8 a.m.−5 p.m. ET
AT&T Forum
Washington, DC

Good tactics are important: Writing a head-turning press release or conducting a fly-in that shifts a policy debate. Great strategy, however, is essential: Every press release and fly-in is a means to your organization’s bigger goals. How do we become great strategists? What’s involved in framing day-to-day activities in the context of a larger ambition? How do we articulate public affairs strategy in a way that resonates across our organization and helps develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for our work? Join us at the Public Affairs Management Seminar and find out.

This program is eligible for 2 elective credits toward the Certificate in PAC & Grassroots Management and 3 core credits toward the Certificate in Public Affairs Management.


7:30 a.m. Networking breakfast

8:00 a.m. Welcome and Logistics

8:15 a.m. Setting the Stage: Public Affairs During Turbulent Times

Our principal audience – those we need to move with our public affairs efforts – is changing. Trust, authenticity and a commitment to social issues matter before stances on issues. Personalization and mobile-based communication are defaults: They want content delivered to them, wherever they are, on their terms. Power and influence flow from the bottom up.

In this session, we’ll talk about how to meet the evolving expectations of our audience:

  • Why public affairs matters – and how to make it matter;
  • Overview of structure and traits of leading public affairs departments; and
  • Macro public affairs challenges: High expectations for engagement in social issues, public affairs in times of high partisanship and more.

Doug Pinkham
Public Affairs Council

9:00 a.m. Philosophy and Approach: Creating Business Opportunities

It’s important to be a good tactician. It’s essential to be a great strategist. In the private sector, every part of an organization is responsible for achieving the company’s bottom-line business targets. Having a “license to do business” is not a guarantee. This session will help define public affairs’ critical role in defending and growing a company’s freedom to operate.

We’ll discuss how to create a clear link between public affairs strategies and tactics and an organization’s bottom-line goals:

  • Apply fundamental and sophisticated techniques for managing issues, recognizing and capitalizing on opportunities, and preventing or countering threats;
  • Map and identify the landscape, spotting or anticipating conditions that presage issues or issues themselves before they arise;
  • Design a strategic public affairs approach rooted in organizational opportunities and/or needs;
  • Identify and network with traditional and non-traditional partners for maximum issues impact; and
  • Assess and communicate the effectiveness of public affairs internally.

Chris Bender
Vice President
Public Affairs Council


Alan Brubaker
Vice President of External Affairs
Prudential Financial, Inc.

10:00 a.m. Networking Break

10:15 a.m. Philosophy and Approach: Minimizing Business Risk

Whether your organization is facing complex legal, public policy, reputational or even social issues, it’s important that you have a strategic issues management process in place. We’ll take an in-depth look at:

  • Mapping your organization’s issues of importance;
  • Understanding, assessing, planning and executing on them; and
  • Evaluating your performance.

Cathie Barton
Crisis and Risk Leader

11:15 a.m. Operations: Staffing, Budgets and More

We’ll offer solutions to the unique challenges that companies and associations face when building and maintaining a public affairs function.

  • Benchmarking staffing, budgets and structure;
  • Integrating government, communications and CSR strategies; and
  • Overcoming employee or member distrust of politics.
Bloomgren Megan

Megan Bloomgren
Vice President, Communications
American Petroleum Institute

12:15 p.m. Lunch

1:15 p.m. Trusted Advisor: Meeting the Needs of Company Leadership

One of the most common challenges in public affairs is getting the ear of company leadership and, once you have it, making a convincing case that your way is the right way to proceed. This session is designed to help you understand the expectations of your organization’s leaders – and how to exceed them:

  • Speaking the language of your executives and demonstrating ROI; and
  • Anticipating what organizational leadership needs and delivering on it before asked.

Charlene Lake
SVP, CSR & Chief Sustainability Officer


Marc Scarduffa
Vice President, U.S. Government Relations & Public Affairs
Pfizer Inc.

2:15 p.m. Strategy and Tactics: Managing Controversies and Crises

We can have a plan to minimize challenges and tough situations but they will nevertheless arise. When they do, organizations need a method of managing them that minimizes their impact and causes the least disruption possible to existing strategic plans. In this session, we’ll explore core strategies and tactics needed to managing controversies and crises:

  • Developing and deploying a rapid response plan;
  • Educating and deploying spokespeople;
  • Understanding public sentiment and tolerance; and
  • Knowing when to return to normal ways of working.
walker aaron

Aaron Walker
‎Senior Vice President, Digital Crisis

3:15 p.m. Networking Break

3:30 p.m. Strategy and Tactics: Digital Media and the Bottom Line

A recent tweet sent by Kylie Jenner criticizing the popular social network sent the company’s stock tumbling, resulting in the loss of nearly $1 billion in market value. How do organizations use social in a time where it affects the stock? When should you engage or stay silent? What’s your plan when something goes awry? In this session, we’ll talk about:

  • Crafting a digital engagement plan that’s related to business goals;
  • Having a contingency plan for when an external actor impacts your organization; and
  • Getting buy-in from internal stakeholders outside of public affairs (convincing your organization’s leaders that digital social media shouldn’t be an afterthought).
hoopes robert

Robert Hoopes
VOX Global

5:00 p.m. Networking Reception

Event Location

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AT&T Forum
601 New Jersey Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001

Closest Metro: Union Station


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Register Online

  • Members: $795
  • Non-Members: $995

Additional discounts may apply to this meeting. These discounts may include:

For multiple registrants: A discount will apply to the standard member/non-member rate for organizations that register two or more participants for the same meeting. The first registrant will pay full price, the second participant will receive a 10% discount and each additional registrant will receive a 15% discount. To register multiple participants, you may either register online or download the print and fax registration form.

Member discounts: Discounts for members are applied to all Public Affairs Council meetings.

Non-members: Join the Council today, and save by registering at the member rate and using the $200 new-member coupon you will receive. Contact our membership team for information about joining the Council.

Questions? Contact us at 202.787.5950.


Yeraldin Borray Castillo
Program Coordinator
202.787.5961 | email