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The PIO and the Right to Know – A 2018 Communications Summit

February 15, 2018 @ 8:15 am - 4:15 pm

Wayne State University & DTE Energy Present:

The PIO and the Right to Know – A 2018 Communications Summit 

Mission critical guidance for the Public Information Officer

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Wayne State University Student Center

5221 Gullen Mall, Detroit, MI 48202

8:15 – 8:45 a.m.

Check-in, Continental Breakfast

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.

Opening Remarks

9:10 – 10:00 a.m.

Keynote Address

Craig Fugate, Former FEMA Administrator under President Barack Obama

Hear from a man with a reputation for being “the calmest guy in the room” throughout a career of coordinating the response to dozens of hurricanes, droughts, tornadoes, wildfires and tropical storms. Craig Fugate ran the Federal Emergency Management Agency under Barack Obama and received national recognition for his “whole- community response” – the idea that everyone, including the private sector and private citizens, plays a role in emergency response.

10:00 – 10:15 a.m.


10:15 – 11:15 a.m.

Crisis Communications – What We Know

Matt Seeger, Dean of the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts at Wayne State University

Look across the spectrum of natural and man-made disasters, and gain and understanding for the critical role communications plays in helping us understand, manage, plan for, respond to, and learn from these events.

11:15 – 12:00 p.m.

The PIO: Roles, Best Practices and Legal Requirements*

  • Panel discussion with Dr. Laura Pechta, Health Communication Specialist at the Division of Emergency Operations for U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lance Gable, Associate Professor of Law at Wayne State University
  •  Moderated by Matt Friedman, Founding Partner at Tanner Friedman

    Want to avoid being a case study for a poorly handled crisis? Hear from the pros on how to develop clarity around roles and processes, mitigate backlash, connect with impacted communities through proactive, transparent and authentic communication, and effectively manage legal risks and requirements amid a crisis.

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Lunch and Networking

1:00 – 1:30 p.m.

Storytelling as a Framework During Crisis

Janet J. Schroeder, Communication Officer at the Department of Public Utilities for the City of Toledo

Either own your story, or your story will own you. Learn how the City of Toledo built and sustained a narrative around during the Toledo water crisis to regain the public’s trust.

1:30 – 2:00 p.m.

Social media: Fake News, Real Crisis

Dr. Rebecca Harris Burns, Global Head of Social Center of Expertise at General Motors

In a world of citizen journalism, speculation and rumors are inevitable. While you cannot stop false allegations from occurring, you can minimize the impact. Learn tips to respond quickly, enlist communications partners and regain control of the narrative.

2:00 – 2:15 p.m.


2:15 – 3:00 p.m.

Working with Journalists: Advice from Folks Who Know

  • Panel discussion with James David Dickson, Breaking News Reporter at The Detroit News, Vickie Thomas, City Beat Reporter at CBS Radio, WWJ, Detroit, and
    Amy Lange, Reporter at WJBK Fox 2 News
  • Moderated by Lee Wilkins, Professor and Chair of the Communications Department at Wayne State University

    How should you work with journalists in a crisis? Let’s ask them. Local reporters give their take on how to partner with media to disseminate relevant, accurate and timely information to a mass audience.

3:00 – 3:45 p.m.

Working with Communities*

  • Panel discussion with Eric Jones, Executive Fire Commissioner of the Detroit Fire Department, Peter E. Auger, City Manager of the City of Novi
  • Moderated by Paula Silver, Vice President of Corporate Communications at DTE Energy

    A crisis can have a resounding impact on a community. How do you understand and assess the needs of your community, and forge partnerships across the community to address those needs?

3:45 – 4:15 p.m.

Closing Remarks

4:15 – 6:00 p.m.

Networking Reception

Network with fellow attendees at Wayne State University’s McGregor Memorial Conference Center, 495 Gilmour Mall, Detroit, MI 48202. Refreshments will be served.

Printable Agenda (Updated 1/29/2018)

Wayne State University Map



February 15, 2018
8:15 am - 4:15 pm
Event Category:
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