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PRIMA 2017 Conference in Wilmington, North Carolina

2017 PRIMA Conference, Wilmington, North Carolin


September 14th & 15th
Wilmington, North Carolina

PRIMA will hold its 2017 Conference on the fantastic North Carolina coast in Wilmington September 14-15. Cape Fear Community College will be our host college and we will enjoy seeing the campus and experiencing the culture and food of Wilmington.

Informative, relevant seminars are planned during the two-day conference. Anyone who is involved in public relations, information, or marketing for any constituent of the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) is encouraged to attend the conference. There is no charge to join PRIMA, however there is a registration fee for the upcoming conference.


*This schedule is subject to change

  • All Attendees
  • Concurrent Session (room 527)
  • Concurrent Session (room 528)

Thursday, September 14th

8:45am - 9:30am



9:45am - 10:45am

Writing for the Web: A Team Approach to Creative Content & Consistent Brand Management

presentation details

Download the "Writing for the Web: A Team Approach to Creative Content & Consistent Brand Management" Presentation

Given the sheer number of pages on any institutional website, collaboration and communication are key to developing creative content while maintaining consistent brand management. UNCW will share the key concepts behind the strategies the Office of University Relations uses to collaborate with content managers across campus.

room 527


  • Andrea Weaver, Deputy Director, Office of University Relations, UNC Wilmington
  • Molly McKeown, Director of Web Communications, UNC Wilmington

Andrea Weaver, Deputy Director, Office of University Relations, UNC Wilmington

Andrea has more than 25 years of experience as a writer, editor, speechwriter and communications project manager. At UNCW, she serves as deputy director of the Office of University Relations. Andrea joined UNCW in 2004 after serving as website editor and acting director at Meredith College. Her previous roles include stints as a reporter for two daily newspapers and director of public relations at two private universities. Andrea is an active member, and former president, of the College News Association of the Carolinas. She holds a bachelor's degree from the School of Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and a webmaster certificate in design media from N.C. State University. Her professional accomplishments include four awards for speechwriting from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), a Telly Award for video production, and a Web site content/design award from the Raleigh Public Relations Society.

Molly McKeown, Director of Web Communications, UNC Wilmington

As Director of Web Communications, Molly McKeown is responsible for general oversight, style standards and coordination of content and design for the UNC Wilmington website. She works closely with colleagues in the Office of University Relations to present messaging for top-level pages, and with the campus webmaster and the Office of Information Technology Services to provide guidance on best practices to the more than 300 web content contributors who maintain university web pages.

Molly has more than 25 years of communications and public relations experience in higher ed, corporate and nonprofit settings. She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Human Environmental Science from The Ohio State University, and completed a webmaster certificate in design media from NC State University.

Does your multi-media communication turn heads?

presentation details

Download the "Does your multi-media communication turn heads?" Presentation

Download the "Does your multi-media communication turn heads?" Video File

The American attention span is now 8 seconds, down from 12 in 2000! Are you concerned about communicating with "pure play digital natives", finding engaging new ways to reaching younger students or refashioning your message? AMS representatives will share their research and insights on reaching your diverse audiences, including Gen Z and millennials. The AMS team will talk about textback, "snackable content", and other ways to most effectively deliver your college's compelling stories.

room 528


  • Sheila Leburg, Vice President of Strategic Marketing, CareerFocus Consortium of Community Colleges
  • Dr. Larry Whitworth, Executive VP for Academic Marketing Services, CareerFocus Consortium of Community Colleges

Sheila Leburg, Vice President of Strategic Marketing, CareerFocus Consortium of Community Colleges

Sheila Leburg has been helping community colleges craft their marketing message for more than 15 years as part of the CareerFocus Consortium, and has experience working with colleges of all shapes and sizes, large and small, urban and rural.

Dr. Larry Whitworth, Executive VP for Academic Marketing Services, CareerFocus Consortium of Community Colleges

Dr. Larry Whitworth, retired president from Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, MI.

11:00am - 12:00pm

Keynote: Getting Students, Keeping Students. And Making them Feel the Luuuv.

presentation details

Download the "Keynote: Getting Students, Keeping Students. And Making them Feel the Luuuv." Presentation

Enrollment is our bread and butter, but more and more students shop for colleges, change mid-stream and disappear. Is it Us? Is it Them? Dr. Pamela Cox-Otto, Community College Whisperer and 35-year veteran of "the good fight", will talk about the National Trends, the chaos of change, and how marketing can help with the heavy student lift of "getting 'em" and "keeping 'em."

Windell Daniels Hall (side 1)


  • Dr. Pamela Cox Otto, CEO, Interact Communications

Dr. Pamela Cox Otto, CEO, Interact Communications

With a wealth of experience and a willingness to do things differently, Dr. Pamela Cox-Otto takes a unique approach to college marketing. She has been developing communications strategies for more than 20 years, infusing her clients' campaigns with pride and personality.

Pam draws on her depth of experience and knack for finding patterns to breathe new life into two-year college marketing campaigns, from coast to coast. She specializes in branding and image campaigns, recruitment efforts, and government relations projects, and has written books on college branding and web practices. She is an in-demand keynote speaker, covering topics from marketing and communications trends to political advocacy.

Pam takes a "let's do this together" approach to college marketing, synthesizing her prodigious experience in the field with the unique needs and strengths of her clients. The results are dynamic solutions that remain vital, long after the campaign work is complete.

"We solve problems and offer solutions," says Pam. "You don't just pay for a stack of paper that sits on somebody's desk."

As a founding partner of Interact Communications, Pam leads a versatile and proficient staff that's committed to serving the unique needs of America's two-year colleges. Under her guidance, Interact has developed wildly successful branding, statewide image, government relations, and political advocacy campaigns, often against precipitous odds.

As a former television reporter and college professor, Pam conveys an expositive, often showman-like method in all of her projects, and has a rare aptitude for cross-generational communication. She continues to travel the country as a speaker, academic presenter, and author, focusing on the specific challenges and solutions of two-year community and technical colleges.

"Whether I'm teaching classes, making a presentation to college presidents, or developing a marketing plan for a college board, the emphasis remains that I'm finding out what people need to know, and developing the models to enable problem solving and communications," says Pam.

12:00pm - 1:30pm

Lunch & Welcome

Windell Daniels Hall (side 2)

Facilitator: Jim Bristol

Today's lunch is graciously sponsored by CareerFocus Consortium of Community Colleges

1:45pm - 2:45pm

The Value of Video

presentation details

Video is a very powerful communications tool in today's world. The Value of Video demonstrates the best way to communicate your story. No other form of media engages the human senses more than video. With the right combination of human conversation, action, visual images and sound, you can create an unmatched emotional impact with your audience using video

room 527


  • Jesse Bradley, Director of Media Production, UNC Wilmington

Jesse Bradley, Director of Media Production, UNC Wilmington

Jesse (pronounced Jess) graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, his hometown, with a degree in video production. For the past 17 years he has been producing commercials, promotional videos, fundraising films, corporate videos and feature-length documentary films. He has been recognized for his work winning 10 Telly Awards, a CAB award and winner of two film festivals for Best Documentary. He is now the director of media production in the office of university relations at UNCW, where he manages the video production and photography department, proudly telling the stories of the UNCW community.

Strategies: From Three to Me...

presentation details

Download the "Strategies: From Three to Me..." Presentation

Chreatha Alston, Director of Engagement Services, discusses various collaborative and money-saving marketing strategies that she utilizes at the System Office. Sometimes when life throws you lemons - you must make #lemonade.

room 528


  • Chreatha Alston, Director of Engagement Services, NC Community College System

Chreatha Alston, Director of Engagement Services, NC Community College System

Chreatha Alston, the Director of Engagement Services, has been employed with the System Office for 8 years. In her first role, she served as the paralegal for General Counsel, Shante Martin, for 3 years and was promoted to the Engagement Services area under Linda Weiner, former VP of Engagement and Strategic Innovation, in 2012.

Currently, Chreatha is the sole communications and public relations arm for the System Office; a role that has been both rewarding and challenging. She manages social media, messaging, publications, media relations, speech-writing as well as the System Office website.

Chreatha holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration, a Bachelors of Business Administration, and two Associates Degree (Paralegal Technology and Computer Engineering). She lives in Chatham County and is the mother of two boys, a sophomore at Winston-Salem State University, and an 8th grader.

3:00pm - 4:00pm

Sponsor Speed Dating

This session will give you direct face-time with every conference sponsor in the comfort of a small group environment. Each sponsor will have about 5 minutes to explain their product or service. This will let you allow you to decide whether you want to swing by their booth for more information.

Windell Daniels Hall (side 1)

Facilitator: Dennis Watts

4:15pm - 5:15pm

Herding Cats or Managing Social Media Without Losing Your Mind

presentation details

Download the "Herding Cats or Managing Social Media Without Losing Your Mind" Presentation

Managing social media is a lot like herding cats. You don't have time, you don't have resources and everyone wants to do their own thing. At this session, battle-worn social media strategists will share with you the hard-learned practical lessons and tools they have developed to herd the cats and create a social media strategy that works when you don't have full-time dedicated resources. You'll take away tools and guidelines that will help you herd your own cats.

This session will benefit staff at all levels who manage social media at their institution.


  • How to respond to "My class/program needs a Facebook Page."
  • How to create a policy that works for you
  • When to delete a post
  • What is the right blend of engagement vs selling
  • What's the value of listening
  • How to use and create tools that can save your sanity and your schedule.
  • Lessoned learned

Windell Daniels Hall (side 1)


  • Amy Calhoun, Marketing Coordinator, College of DuPage
  • Laurie Jorgensen, Director, Market & Create Services, College of DuPage

Amy Calhoun, Marketing Coordinator, College of DuPage

Amy wants to live in a world where all the content she writes goes viral and every hashtag equals a paycheck bonus. As a marketing coordinator, she's been seen directing traffic in campus parking lots, learning mad photography skills for Instagram and trying to harness that traditional ad buy into a series of "engaging" social media posts. See Amy's next viral post on Twitter @CollegeDuPage or Instagram @CollegeOfDuPage.

Laurie Jorgensen, Director, Market & Create Services, College of DuPage

Laurie Jorgensen has led the Marketing team at College of DuPage for more than eight years as the Director of Marketing. College of DuPage is a single-campus community college serving more than 27,000 students each term.

Laurie leads the 28-member marketing team responsible for the College's branding, digital, broadcast and print advertising, website, social media, direct mail, email and multimedia communications as well as STEM Outreach. During her tenure at COD, she has instituted the College's first integrated marketing campaigns, led the team that redesigned, the college website; launched the campus-wide rebranding program and recently developed the College's first ever STEM Outreach program.

Prior to joining COD, Jorgensen served as Director of Creative Services for the University of Chicago Alumni and Development Office and has more than 20 years of corporate marketing, branding and communications expertise.



5:30pm - 7:30pm

Cocktail Hour

Courtyard by Marriott, Emerald Room

Hors d'oeuvres and open bar sponsored by Target Printing.

6:30pm - until

Riverboat Cruise (Optional & Extra)

Meet in Lobby of Courtyard Marriott

$10/per person, pre registration is required, contact Cheryl Hemric ( for details.

There is an extra cost for the shuttle but, the shuttle is cheaper than parking on Water Street at $3/hour.

Friday, September 15th

8:30am - 9:30am

How to Avoid Becoming a Marketing Dinosaur

presentation details

Learn the essential tips from national marketers on how a community college marketing director can stay relevant in today's quickly changing marketing environment. New technologies are changing the way marketers have to think and work and the change is not slowing - but speeding up. This session will explore how a marketing director can stay current and still stay afloat given a day of never ending surprises and fires to put out. Key issues to be discussed with participants include:

  • Learn how to continue to study throughout your career and stay up to speed
  • Key marketing trends and predictions for the future and the impact for a community college marketer
  • Advice from top marketing professionals about how to succeed today and tomorrow and tactics to make the most of that advice in your own marketing department

room 527


  • Kathi Swanson, Ph.D, President, CLARUS Corporation

Kathi Swanson, Ph.D, President, CLARUS Corporation

Dr. Kathi Swanson understands how community colleges operate and shares that knowledge nationally with humor and insight. As President of CLARUS Corporation, Kathi continues to be on the cutting edge of new technologies used in marketing. Kathi has been working with community colleges for more than 27 years - helping them stay current with their advertising tactics and assisting them in understanding their markets. Her work with more than one third of the community colleges in the country provides insight into best practices in marketing for community colleges. With a Doctorate in Marketing from Texas A&M University, Kathi brings fine-tuned information gathering skills as well as a wealth of information regarding best practices for community colleges across the country.

Informing Internal Audiences: An EPIC Undertaking

presentation details

Download the "Informing Internal Audiences: An EPIC Undertaking" Presentation

As part of the ten-year reaffirmation process, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools requires each college to develop a Quality Enhance Plan, or QEP. A QEP is an institutional plan for ongoing improvement in a particular area. Every employee must be aware of their QEP, and demonstrate that knowledge during the accreditation visit. How do you inform 2,000 employees at seven locations? Better yet, how do you get employees excited about it, so that they're not dreading it as "just another institutional initiative?" An all-user email is not going to cut it! And by the way, when members of the reaffirmation committee come for their site visit, they could ask students what they know about it as well! Wake Tech's QEP called EPIC got high marks from the reaffirmation committee, after an "epic" effort to inform staff, faculty and students. This session will look at some of the best ways to communicate and promote a large initiative to internal audiences. Come with your ideas as well!

room 528


  • Laurie Clowers, Vice President, Communications and Marketing, Wake Tech Community College

Laurie Clowers, Vice President, Communications and Marketing, Wake Tech Community College

Laurie Clowers is Vice President of Communications and Marketing at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, NC. At Wake Tech, she oversees all internal and external communications, including marketing, public relations and digital communications. She was named Wake Tech Staff Person of the Year in 2009. Prior to joining Wake Tech in 2007, she was an award-winning broadcast journalist, most recently working as an anchor/reporter at the top-rated WRAL-TV in Raleigh. Originally from Connecticut, Laurie received a B.A. in Mass Communications from the University of Massachusetts and an academic minor in Spanish while studying at the University of St. Louis in Madrid.

9:45am - 10:45am

Avoid a Crisis by Planning for One

presentation details

Download the "Avoid a Crisis by Planning for One" Presentation

Nothing can thrust you into the spotlight faster than a crisis. When an unexpected event or tragedy occurs, within minutes your students, vendors, employees, colleagues and most importantly -- the media -- are watching and waiting to see what you will say and do. How will you respond?

room 527


  • Debbie Elliot, President, Talk, Inc.

Debbie Elliot, President, Talk, Inc.

Whether she's handling crisis communications for an embattled client or launching a national publicity campaign, Debbie manages all Talk's clients with a cool head and sound strategy. Since 1985, she has implemented award-winning campaigns for a diverse list of clients ranging from real estate and biotech to manufacturing and health care.

Debbie holds a Bachelor of Arts from UNC-Chapel Hill in journalism - which means a keen understanding of the media and the creativity of a copywriter. Debbie also brings a discerning eye and fresh ideas to each project, ensuring Talk's clients consistently stand out from the crowd and rise above adversity.

Elliott is an active member of the community and has served as a board member for numerous non-profits, including Phoenix Employment Ministry, Thalian Association, Wilmington Chamber, Cape Fear Community College Foundation, Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington Downtown, Inc. and Historic Wilmington Foundation. Elliott is also co-founder and president of Cape Fear 50 Club, a social club for business owners and CEOs in southeastern North Carolina.

Transformation: How A Revamped Brand Can Change a Community College

presentation details

Download the "Transformation: How A Revamped Brand Can Change a Community College" Presentation

Have you ever looked at your community college logo and felt like you needed something new? Do you ever struggle with how to help your leadership team understand the difference between a logo and a brand? Dom and Rod will talk about just how a revamped brand can completely transform your community college, getting people excited again to be a part of the staff, faculty and campus. They should know -- they spent months working with Carver Weaver of Durham Technical Community College to completely revitalize the Durham Tech brand. Using that case study, they'll share what challenges you may face and tactics for turning those challenges into successes.

room 528


  • Domenick Rella, Founding Partner, Creative Director, Engine Brandmakers

Domenick Rella, Founding Partner, Creative Director, Engine Brandmakers

Engine Brandmakers is a small branding agency based in Durham that has been responsible for reinventing the brands of several prominent organizations, including Durham Tech, Durham County government, the Durham Chamber of Commerce, and Mechanics & Farmers Bank. The two men behind the brands are Domenick Rella, creative director and resident wanna-be hipster, and Rod Brown, partner, president and account director. Dom and Rod have more than 50 years combined experience working with such brands as Kodak, Audi and Gold's Gym. Together, they've developed a fairly straightforward way of looking at brands and the best ways to communicate them -- and how good branding can fundamentally change your business for the better.

11:00am - 12:15pm

Best Practices

Windell Daniels Hall (side 1)

Download the "Buck Slip Advertisement McDonalds" Mike Gavin Talked about

Download the "McDonalds Tray Liner" Mike Gavin Talked about

During this session we encourage group discussion about questions or topics presented by other colleges. You also have the opportunity to share exciting new ideas you have been implementing.

Facilitator: Morgan Steele

12:15pm - 1:00pm


Windell Daniels Hall (side 2)

1:15pm - 2:15pm

A One-Hour Dive into Creating and Executing a Digital Marketing Plan

presentation details

Download the "A One-Hour Dive into Creating and Executing a Digital Marketing Plan" Presentation

If there's one thing we've learned during all our years of partnering with community colleges, it's this: You do and offer a LOT at your college. But when it comes to marketing, that incredible variety can make things tough. Nearly every community college faces a shared challenge: knowing where to find your niche audiences, and how to leverage all the various digital channels at your disposal to reach them.

Many marketers see the value of consistent messaging and integrated digital marketing strategies (as opposed to purely tactical campaigns). But for all the talk about eliminating silos and creating unity, actually creating a plan is where many get lost. Where do I begin? How do I prioritize a limited budget? How much should I spend on social advertising versus pay-per-click versus content marketing to best motivate my audience? If these questions resonate, you need a plan.

This session teaches our process of selecting and aligning your school's marketing investment across a focused set of digital channels to engage audiences through each stage of the funnel.

  • Discuss how to make the most of a finite marketing budget by investing in the tactics that will provide the greatest return.
  • Identify strategies for selecting the best digital marketing channels that can actually reach your niche audience.
  • Examine the "sales funnel" within higher education enrollment marketing.

room 527


  • Tony Poillucci, Creative Director, VisionPoint Marketing
  • Edward Herrelko, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships, VisionPoint Marketing

Tony Poillucci, Creative Director, VisionPoint Marketing

As a Senior Strategist and Creative Director, Tony does a little bit of everything. He is heavily involved in the early stages of projects that require strong strategic direction, decision-making and consensus-building. When projects move into the design phase, Tony puts on his Creative Director hat. He enjoys collaborating with VisionPoint's designers and our client partners to find the best creative solutions. Tony graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art & Design with a B.F.A. in Graphic Design.

Edward Herrelko, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships, VisionPoint Marketing

With over 15 years of experience as a VP of Enrollment Management and as a VP of Academic Affairs, Edward Herrelko brings an understanding of both how higher education works and the importance that savvy branding, marketing, and advertising can impact an institution's growth. At VisionPoint marketing, Edward is our resident "insider" and has experienced many of the same issues, challenges and problems our clients' face, making him a valuable sounding-board for them. An expert in reaching non-traditional (adult) students, Edward speaks at numerous conferences on topics such as marketing educational programs and building websites that work for non-traditional students as well as traditional students.

How to Reach Potential Students: Digital Video and Audio Advertising Strategies

presentation details

Download the "How to Reach Potential Students: Digital Video and Audio Advertising Strategies" Presentation

This presentation will focus on ways community colleges can use digital advertising, particularly video and audio, to attract future students. This will include a review of the latest opportunities, examine how age groups consume video and audio differently, and use this knowledge to effectively reach these age groups online.

room 528


  • Dan Verrillo, Media Planner/Strategist, Media Placement Services

Dan Verrillo, Media Planner/Strategist, Media Placement Services

Dan Verrillo has more than 30 years of experience working in media, including more than 15 years in television and 15 years in media planning and buying. He has extensive experience working with community colleges and higher education institutions in N.C., developing and implementing effective media strategies and plans. He has worked with Media Placement Services in High Point, N.C. since 2006.

2:30pm - 2:45pm

Business Meeting

Windell Daniels Hall (side 1)

2:45pm - 3:00pm


Windell Daniels Hall (side 1)


Union Station
Cape Fear Community College

502 N Front St
Wilmington, NC 28401

Floor Plan


CFCC’s campus offers surface parking lots and parking decks, which are available depending on the time of day and day of the week. Visit CFCC’s Parking For Visitors website for details about visitor parking spaces including maps and rates.

Downtown Wilmington offers several off-campus public parking facilities along with on-street metered parking. The Wilmington Convention Center Parking Deck, located on the corner of Nutt and Hanover Streets, is walkable to Union Station and features a maximum of $13 daily fee.


  • Career Focus, Consortium of Community Colleges
  • Clarus Corporation
  • College Inbound
  • Gate House Media
  • Media Placement Services & Spider Digital
  • Seventh Point
  • Springer Studios
  • Target Printing