Speaker Bios

PaulaBergPaula Berg is Manager of Emerging Media for Southwest Airlines, the nation’s leading low-fare air carrier and the largest domestic airline in terms of Customers carried. Over the last three years, Paula has managed and developed the Company’s corporate blog, “Nuts About Southwest.” In 2007 and 2008, “Nuts” was named Best Blog by PR News and has been recognized in major publications ranging from Wired Magazine to The Wall Street Journal. In addition to managing the Company blog, Paula leads Southwest’s online communication and social media efforts. Prior to her work in social media, Paula was a Company spokesperson with emphasis on media relations and reputation management. Paula also supervised on-location production for three seasons of Airline!, Southwest’s reality series for the A&E Television Network.

BinderPerry Binder, J.D. is a legal studies professor at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business, where he teaches law in an optimistic and practice-oriented manner to MBA and undergraduate students. In 2008, Perry received the MBA students’ Crystal Apple Teaching Award, and in 2005 he received Robinson’s Teaching Excellence Award. Perry is the author of numerous articles focusing on litigation prevention and employee blogging issues. His current paper is entitled Facebook as a Learning Tool, and in 2006, he published Handling Employee Blogs: HR’s Seat at the Table? in HR Executive magazine. Most recently, Perry published a book of offbeat and humorous lessons from the classroom and courtroom, entitled Unlocking Your Rubber Room: 44 Off-the-Wall Lessons to Lighten and Transform Everyday Life. While Perry speaks often about the legal pitfalls of social media, he is one of the leading proponents of social media as a means to connect businesses to each other, and for public relations professionals to manage and promote a company’s message.

BloombergToby Bloomberg is a widely recognized for her expertise in combining social media with traditional marketing values (strategy, customer insights, segmentation, etc.) while maintaining the authenticity of digital conversations. She speaks regularly on the topic to organizations and at industry events. Combining 20-years of traditional strategic marketing and with the lessons learned from her adventures in over 5 years with social media, Toby’s company, Bloomberg Marketing/Diva Marketing, works with (the people in) organizations to join-in on the new conversation, from blogs, to social networking to widgets to blogger relations and beyond, without getting blown-up. Toby’s blog Diva Marketing is one of the highest ranked marketing blogs in the world according to the Ad Age Power 150. Launched in 2004, Diva Marketing was one of the first “blog brands” and Toby is frequently referred to as the “social media marketing diva.”

BraeschLieutenant Connie L. Braesch assumed her duties as the Social Media Tactical Action Officer for Coast Guard Public Affairs on June 1, 2009.  In her current assignment, she writes for the service-wide blog, Coast Guard Compass, and oversees the official Coast Guard Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr accounts.  Additionally, she produces and distributes Coast Guard policy and procedures for the use and application of social media as well as provides consultation for service communicators.

Prior to this assignment, LT Braesch attended postgraduate school at the University of Georgia earning a Masters in Mass Communication and Journalism. From 2004-2007, she was assigned to Sector Northern New England in South Portland, Maine, with an area of responsibility from Northern New York to Maine.  During this assignment, she performed several duties including Assistant Operations Officer, Incident Management Division Chief, Command Center Chief and collateral duty Public Affairs Officer. From 2001-2004, she was assigned to Electronics Support Unit Honolulu, Hawaii, as the Electronics Division Officer. A native of Omaha, Nebraska, LT Braesch first enlisted in the Coast Guard in January 1994. Before becoming an Officer, she was an Electronics Technician where she served at Coast Guard Electronics Support Detachment Key West, Florida, and LORAN Station Shoal Cove, Alaska.  She was selected for a Coast Guard commissioning program in 1999 and attended college full-time to earn her bachelor’s degree before going to Officer Candidate School in June 2001.

Aaron De Lucia is senior vice president of digital and social media at Porter Novelli and brings 14 years of communications experience both in-house and within agency environments. He is currently is helping lead Porter Novelli’s digital and social media efforts helping clients with their digital transformation and community building efforts. Aaron currently leads HP’s global social media efforts and is working to develop a cohesive and comprehensive global social media strategy for the company. He also works with clients in all industries and sectors to develop social media and community building programs, campaigns and to leverage the broad area of tools available as critical, integrated communications vehicles.

FernandezLauren Fernandez is a marketing and public relations professional in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She currently works as the marketing coordinator for the national office of American Mensa and its international philanthropic arm, the Mensa Education & Research Foundation. Lauren has more than three years of experience in both agency settings (healthcare, technology and the motion pictures industry) and association/non-profit. She is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the Social Media SIG Co-Chair for the Ft. Worth Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA.) Lauren is a student of the ASAE Leadership Academy, Class of 2010. The Academy selects 25 young association professionals for a two year program aimed at emerging leaders. Lauren holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism-Public Relations from the University of North Texas, and is active in her local community. She is a public relations blogger at laurenafernandez.com and can be found on Twitter @CubanaLAF. Lauren is a Green Bay Packers fan and wants you to know it.

Dan Greenfield is principal of Bernaise Source Media, an Atlanta-based consulting firm that blends the power of new and traditional media to promote brands and manage corporate reputations. A former EarthLink corporate communications vice president, Greenfield is a respected industry blogger, an award-winning video producer and has advised CEOs and members of Congress.

Melanie JamesMelanie James BA (Hons) Communication, MA in Journalism, Grad Cert. Tert. Teaching, MPRIA – had many years experience working as a public relations manager in the not for profit, government, tourism and financial services sectors prior to joining the University of Newcastle, Australia, as a lecturer in public relations in 2006. She is a member the Public Relations Institute of Australia and has won state and national awards for her campaigns. She is currently enrolled in a PhD program investigating the strategic construction of meaning in public relations practice but also has published on the impact of new media on the field of public relations and the use of new media in public relations education. She authored the definitive guide to PR careers in Australia.

PepperJeremy Pepper is a long time blogger who has worked in public relations for more than a decade in both traditional and what is now called social media. He has worked on campaigns dating twelve years ago that included Usenet and online enthusiast sites – what would now be called blogs – to reach the right audiences and stakeholders with news of interest. Pepper has worked with a who’s who of Fortune 500 companies, providing integrated communications counsel to such companies as Eastman Kodak, Clorox, Cisco, General Motors, Sprint, and Campbell’s Soup. Currently, Pepper is the director of communications and social media for Palisade Systems, working on public relations and social media campaigns in a B2B setting, garnering press and exposure for the corporation’s data loss prevention solutions. Prior experience includes managing global public relations for Boingo Wireless, working at Weber Shandwick, and founding his own public relations firm. Pepper continues to be an early adopter of social media technology, understanding how it works in the public relations’ ecosystem.

TedescoJohn C. Tedesco (Ph.D., University of Oklahoma) is Associate Professor and Director of Research and Outreach with the Virginia Tech Department of Communication, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in public relations and political communication.  Dr. Tedesco teaches Public Relations Theory and Practice, Public Relations Campaigns, and Issues Management at Virginia Tech and serves as a public relations consultant for non-profit organizations.  Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Tedesco served as Research Associate for the University of Oklahoma’s Political Commercial Archive.  Dr. Tedesco’s research appears in many of the field’s leading journals, including Journal of Advertising, Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, Communication Studies, Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, Journalism Studies, Argumentation and Advocacy, and American Behavioral Scientist.  He received research funding from the U.S. State Department and the British Economic and Social Research Council.  Tedesco was invited by the U.S. Embassy in Budapest and the Hungarian-American Fulbright Association to serve as featured speaker for the Communication in a Globalized World Conference where he addressed use of the Internet for political mobilization and political reinforcement in emerging democracies.

ValkovaSara Valkova is a web development specialist for Emory Healthcare, responsible for maintaining the content on the main Emory Healthcare site, including overseeing and training staff on content creation inside the web site’s content management system. She is the driving voice behind Emory Healthcare’s social media initiatives. As co-chair of the Emory Social Media Advisory Board, Sara is responsible for developing and implementing Emory’s social media tactical plan. Before Emory, Sara spent three years as an editor and English teacher in Prague, Czech Republic. She learned marketing strategy and project management from her work as a content analyst with Zyman Group. She received a bachelor’s degree in English Rhetoric and Composition from Georgia State University and has a Web Design certificate from Emory University’s Center for Lifelong Learning.

WaltersRichard Waters (Ph.D., University of Florida) is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at North Carolina State University. Before returning to academics, Waters was the Director of Communication and Development for a statewide healthcare organization in California, and he continues to consult Fortune 500 and Philanthropy 400 organizations. His research interests include the nonprofit organization-donor relationship, nonprofit organizations’ communication efforts, and e-philanthropy. Richard is a graduate of the Grady College and pulls for the Bulldawgs on Saturdays.

Tom Watson, Phd., FCIPR is Deputy Dean (Education) and Reader in Communications in The Media School at Bournemouth University in England. Before entering full-time academic life in 2003, Tom’s career covered journalism and public relations in Australia, the UK and internationally. He ran a successful public relations consultancy for 18 years and was chair of the UK’s Public Relations Consultants Association from 2000 to 2002. Tom was awarded his PhD in 1995 from Nottingham Trent University for research into models of evaluation in public relations. With Paul Noble, he is author of Evaluating Public Relations – A best practice guide to public relations planning, research and evaluation – published by Kogan Page. Tom is a member of the Commission on Public Relations Measurement and Evaluation.


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