Shel Holtz to Keynote Sixth Annual YouToo Social Media Conference Focusing on Social Visualization, 

Want a FREE seat? Tweet or retweet anything about the conference using #YouToo2013 until Friday, April 12, and you could win. Read contest details.

Communication expert Shel Holtz will discuss social visualization strategies and tactics as the keynote speaker at the Akron Area Public Relations Society of America’s YouToo Social Media Conference on Friday, April 19, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Kent State University’s Franklin Hall.

“The rise of social visual communication, with platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, require communicators to think about how images can convey messages, tell stories and engage audiences when they stand alone,” Holtz said. “Gamification also presents communicators with new ways to engage audiences, adding game elements to more mundane activities. The question for both is, how do communicators apply them so they won’t just be another shiny object in the communications toolkit but rather help move the needle?”

Five-time winner of IABC’s Gold Quill award, Holtz has nearly 35 years of experience in organizational communications in corporate and consulting environments. His experience includes corporate public relations, crisis communications, media relations and more. Holtz also has expertise in strategic communications planning, communications research and the integration of technology into communications strategies. He speaks frequently on different topics, such as strategic organizational communication and the application of online technology. Holtz just celebrated his eighth year of podcasting with For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report.

Kevin Dugan will serve as the opening speaker at the social media conference. Dugan is the director of marketing at Empower Media Marketing and founder of the Bad Pitch Blog. He has won six national awards for his work in public relations. Dugan is an expert in social media, marketing communication, public relations and media relations.

The conference, co-hosted by Akron Area PRSA and the Kent State Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), also will have breakout sessions in the morning and afternoon as well as panel discussions by experts discussing social visualization more in-depth. Other speakers include:

  • Luke Armour, assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and coordinator of Flash Communications, Kent State University
  • Carolyn Fertig, digital producer, Marcus Thomas, LLC
  • King Hill, senior vice president, Marcus Thomas, LLC
  • Allison Peltz, Social marketing strategist, Rosetta
  • David LaBelle, director of photojournalism in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Kent State University
  • Scott Linabarger, senior director, multichannel content marketing, Cleveland Clinic
  • Katelyn Luysterborg, social marketing specialist, Rosetta
  • Amy Martin, vice president of marketing and communications, The Centers for Families and Children
  • Heidi Modarelli-Frank, vice president/public relations, Marcus Thomas, LLC
  • Phong Nguyen, art director, Marcus Thomas, LLC
  • Kelly Piero, corporate communications, Diebold Incorporated
  • Jenn Yokley , manager of corporate communications, Quicken Loans Arena

Students can attend the conference for just $40.

“As a student who has attended past conferences, I can say from experience the YouToo Social Media Conference is a great way to network with professionals and learn more about the industry,” said Taylor Titus, a senior public relations student who is the student co-chair of the event. “I also gained a lot of tangible knowledge I can use now in my school work and future career. The conference is a great experience for upcoming young public relations professionals, and I highly encourage you to attend.”


Students will benefit additionally from this year’s student-only development track at the conference. A student-only morning breakout session provides a unique Q&A with Holtz as he talks about how he got into the industry and relates his experience to the students. An afternoon wrap-up session hosted by the Akron Area PRSA Young Pro’s group for students will help put the day in perspective by helping students apply what they have learned during the conference to their school work and internships.  View the entire schedule here.


Benefits for attending the conference include:

  • Learning about the latest trends in social visualization.
  • Networking with professionals from around the Northeast Ohio area.
  • Gaining hands-on experience for students from the student-only development sessions.

To register for the YouToo Social Media Conference, visit Registration closes at noon on Thursday, April 18. Also, find YouToo on Facebook and Twitter.

The Akron Area Chapter of Public Relations Society of America is part of the world’s largest organization for public relations professionals helping to advance the profession and the professional. Its nearly 115 local members represent business and industry, counseling firms, independent practitioners, military, government, associations, hospitals, schools, professional services firms and nonprofit organizations.

The Public Relations Student Society of America is a national public relations organization that provides professional development opportunities for students. PRSSA aims to develop highly qualified future public relations professionals. The organization has more than 10,000 members at hundreds of universities across the country. PRSSA Kent is an active student organization on the Kent State Campus.


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