Edwin (Ed) Bodensiek
Former Chief Client Experience Officer, Miles & Stockbridge, and Founder of the brand experience firm Cravety, LLC.

Keynote – The Great Convergence: Redefining Brand and Our Jobs In the Experience Economy


Edwin (Ed) Bodensiek made an early transition into CX while in healthcare, as the head of branding and communications for a Fortune 500 public company. In 2016, Ed became the first Chief Experience Officer in the Am Law 200, for Maryland powerhouse Miles & Stockbridge. In June 2018, Ed opened brand experience firm Cravety, LLC (Read full bio here.)

Ed believes the creative instincts and training found throughout our profession make us the natural leaders for CX. His talk will set the stage for how our profession should begin preparing for the coming convergence now: Thinking more like user brands, aiming not just to get into customer minds but customer lives.

Read more about Ed in our May Member Profile.

Tom Baden, Jr.,
Editor, The Daily Record

Session I – The Fake News Phenomenon


Thomas Baden Jr. has been editor of The Daily Record since March 2014. Previously, he was editor of The News-Times of Danbury, Conn.; editor of The Connecticut Post in Bridgeport, Conn.; executive editor of The Salt Lake Tribune; and managing editor of The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. He also was a national political writer, White House correspondent and congressional correspondent for the Newhouse News Service. He has taught journalism at Penn State University and Fairfield University and is on the board of visitors at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. He lives in Baltimore with his wife and daughter.

Colin Campbell
Reporter, Baltimore Sun

Session I – The Fake News Phenomenon


Colin Campbell is The Baltimore Sun’s evening breaking news and rewrite reporter. He covers primarily crime and mayhem in the city, with occasional forays into education, politics and other topics. He is a proud alumnus of The Daily Gamecock at the University of South Carolina. He hails from Catonsville, Md., and believes life is truly great in 21228.

Kelly Swoope
News Anchor, WMAR-2

Session I – The Fake News Phenomenon


Kelly Swoope joined the WMAR-2 News team in July 2003. Kelly anchors WMAR-2 News at 5, 6 and 11 and does a weekly story called “Cutting through the Chaos” to help busy moms sort through all that is going on.

In addition to volunteer work with the Baltimore City Health Department, Komen Maryland and Casey Cares, Kelly is active in her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta and Jack and Jill Baltimore chapter.

Before coming to Charm City Kelly worked for WFTS, the Scripps station in Tampa. She has spent the majority of her career working for Scripps.  Kelly’s first job out of school was at the Scripps station in Cincinnati.  At WCPO she worked the Assignment Desk, and as an Associate Producer. From Cincinnati, she landed her first reporting job in Milwaukee at WITI.  She worked there for six years, and then it was off to sunny Florida. 

She continues to cover some crazy news stories, but Kelly’s oddest job came well before her career, working as a popcorn girl at a movie theater in high school. 

Dr. Richard Vatz
Professor of Rhetoric and Communication, Towson University

Session I – The Fake News Phenomenon



Dr. Richard Vatz is a tenured full professor of Rhetoric and Communication at Towson University wherein he has served for over 40 years. He won Towson University’s “President’s Award for Distinguished Service,” the university’s highest honor, in 2004. In the 2009-2010 academic year, he won the Towson Student Government Association Faculty Member of the Year and was the first Towson professor to win that award.  He won the 2002 “Teacher of the Year Award” from the Student Government of Towson, and he has won four campus Outstanding Teaching Awards, the most of any faculty member. He is a Faculty Fellow at the Eastern Communication Association and has been honored by the National Communication Association through his 2012 acceptance in the “Teachers on Teaching” Seminar as well as a separate seminar on his new books.

He has a new 2017 edition of his book, The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion: the Agenda-Spin Model (McGraw-Hill, 2017), and he is co-editor of Thomas S. Szasz: The Man and His Ideas (Transaction Books, 2017), which came out months ago. He has spoken at Hillsdale College and the University of Richmond and a lengthy list of other schools and businesses.

He was the 1994 winner of the Thomas Szasz Award for dedication to civil liberties and has written a book on Dr. Szasz’s work. He has taught a course called “Persuasion” throughout his entire career to filled classes. Dr. Vatz has published articles and/or reviews in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun, Western Speech Communication, Philosophy And Rhetoric, Forbes Mediacritic, The New England Journal of Medicine [correspondence], Journal of The American Medical Association [correspondence], Law And Society Review, Psychotherapy and other journals as well. He has published hundreds of articles, reviews and blogs.  He is best known in the National Communication Association (NCA) for his articles on defining rhetoric and persuasion in “The Myth of the Rhetorical Situation” (Philosophy and Rhetoric, 1973) and “The Mythical Status of Situational Rhetoric: Implications for Rhetorical Critics’ Relevance in the Public Arena” (Review of Communication,  2009). He has served five terms on the NCA’s Legislative Assembly.

Over his career Vatz has appeared on local and national media as an analyst, including CBS national radio, CNN (including “Crossfire”), “The Phil Donahue Show” and “Larry King Live” and William Buckley’s “Firing Line.” He has provided political commentary for local, regional and national television and radio through 2018, including Fox television nationally and locally, CBS Radio, ABC Radio and Maryland Public Television for over 30 years.  He is the longest-serving member of Towson University’s University Senate, having served 39 consecutive years thus far. 

Debra Schindler
Regional Director of PR and Media, MedStar Health

Session I – The Fake News Phenomenon (moderator)


As the regional director of media and public relations for the largest healthcare provider in the Maryland-D.C. region, Debra Schindler oversees all external media and PR efforts for MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan, MedStar Harbor and MedStar Union Memorial Hospitals. Drawing on an extensive media background, Debra created the MedStar Television Network, directs a series of live interactive webcasts, serves as the hospitals’ spokesperson, conducts physician media training and drives nearly $4 million in advertising equivalency through earned media.

With 30-plus years’ experience in print journalism, broadcast news and public relations, Debra is an Emmy-nominated professional who has been recognized with such honors as the National Headliner Award and a Clarion for investigative journalism, two Asters, several Telly and MarCom awards for public relations videos, and is a Best in Show and Gold Winner recipient of the National Healthcare Marketing Report awards. Among others, Debra also received the Best in Maryland PRSA award for media placement.

Her career in journalism began at the Essex Times while still a student at Towson State University. After graduating in 1985 with a double major in mass communications and sociology with concentrations in journalism and criminal justice, she became the first female sports reporter for the Press Republican, a daily newspaper in upstate New York. Debra launched her television work as a reporter for the national Fox Television network show, America’s Most Wanted, at WTTG in D.C. and then spent eight years at WMAR, the ABC News affiliate in Baltimore.

Christine Carter
Influencer and Global Consumer Marketing Strategy Analyst, McCormick & Company

Session II – Rise of Influencer Communications: Changing the Face of PR and Marketing


“By day, I am a passionate global marketing strategist with 10 years of progressive experience driving results for innovative, category leading companies. By night, I am a mom to two members of Generation Alpha. I have become a voice for millennial moms (and uniquely, young black female professionals and mothers) and labeled a thought leader for marketing to millennial consumers.”

Christine Carter is a nationally known marketing strategist and millennial thought leader, based in Baltimore.  She has experience driving results for innovative, category leading companies. Christine has formed strategic alliances for organizations with the following companies and brands: Amazon (Whole Foods), IKEA, KIND Snacks, Popchips, Procter & Gamble (CoverGirl), Red Bull GmbH, Starbucks, The Coca-Cola Company (Honest Tea) and Under Armour. Christine has also partnered with niche brands such as 23andMe, AARP, ALDI, Brahmin, Chicco, Hungryroot, OtterBox, Orgain, and Therapedic as a social media influencer via her Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Ebony Magazine profiled Christine as a “Black, Fresh & 20-Something” Leading Voice.
Baltimore Business Journal named her one of 40 Under 40 Professionals Hungry For Success.

Christine is a voice for millennial moms (and uniquely, young black female professionals and mothers). As a result, she has appeared on many podcasts, served as a panelist at national conferences and has advised multicultural media outlets like Black Entertainment Television (BET). Christine is currently a contributor to Forbes and Huffington Post covering black millennials and millennial moms. She also contributes a health and wellness perspective to Health (which is often syndicated to partners, including RealSimple). Read more at christinemichelcarter.com.

Biz Journal: The McCormick exec who inspires Millennial moms
BeyondMom.com: Interview with Christine Carter


Jill Smokler
Founder, Scary Mommy

Session II – Rise of Influencer Communications: Changing the Face of PR and Marketing


What started as an innocent on-line baby book in early 2008 to chronicle Jill Smokler’s stay-at-home days with her children, quickly transformed into a vibrant community of parents, brought together by a common theme: Parenting doesn’t have to be perfect. In 2015, Scary Mommy was acquired by Vinit Bharara of the media company Some Spider, LLC, where Jill is currently President. Jill is also the New York Times bestselling author of Simon and Schuster’s Confessions of A Scary Mommy and Motherhood Comes Naturally (And Other Vicious Lies). Her honest take on parenting has appeared in countless publications and on television programs including The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, Bethenny and Fox and Friends.

Click for more about Jill Smokler.

Jessica Fast 
Account Director, Abel Communications

Session II – Rise of Influencer Communications: Changing the Face of PR and Marketing


Jessica leads strategy and implementation of PR programs for a group of the agency’s core clients — including UnitedHealthcare and Lyft. In 2016, Jessica was named one of Maryland’s top “20 in their 20’s” by the The Daily Record and has received numerous PRSA Maryland awards, including Best in Maryland.

Jessica earned her undergraduate degrees in Communications and Business Administration from Flagler College and later a Masters in Marketing from The Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School. 

Margaret Nam
Social Media Manager, Planit Advertising

Session II – Rise of Influencer Communications: Changing the Face of PR and Marketing (moderator)


Margaret is a social media manager at Planit Advertising by day and a food, fashion, beauty and travel blogger by night. Professionally, Margaret has executed influencer marketing campaigns on behalf of clients such as PANDORA Jewelry, Kleenex Facial Cleansing and BeYu Cosmetics.

Personally, she has been featured in Bustle, Elle Canada, The Globe and Mail and many more for her street style fashion. Margaret has partnered with brands like L’Occitane, Coach, JORD Watches, ThePeachBox, Anna Sui Cosmetics and many more.

Visit Margaret’s blog at www.lifewithmarg.com

Mac Cullen
Senior Vice President, Analytics, Weber Shandwick, Washington, D.C.​

Session III – Advanced Analytics in Public Relations


Mac brings over 12 years digital strategy and analytics experience to Weber Shandwick.  He has designed and implemented analytics and measurement programs for Fortune 500 clients as well as Governments and Associations. His experience spans digital strategy, CRM implementation, advertising, PR, crisis and advocacy programs. He currently leads Weber Shandwick’s North American clients to ensure their marketing and communications are informed by data and measured against meaningful goals.

Prior to joining Weber Shandwick, he was Vice President, Data & Analytics for Social@Ogilvy, North America where he was responsible for developing data and measurement programs for clients and helping to build the data practice for Ogilvy across North America.

Mac led the development and launch of Ogilvy’s proprietary Advocacy Index and Content Effectiveness tools, which each won multiple awards. Mac designed and implemented data analytics and social media measurement campaigns for clients such as IBM, Ford, MolsonCoors, Pfizer, Philips, BP and SC Johnson. Mac is also responsible for growing Ogilvy’s analytics practice across North America.

Prior to becoming Manager of Analytics Mac worked in Ogilvy’s Social Marketing Group. His role was to help clients understand and utilize digital and social media technology to achieve and measure against behavior change objectives.

Mac holds a bachelors degree in English from Boston College and a masters in Marketing from Johns Hopkins University.

Katie Castillo
Media Director, Golin

Session IV – Case Study: Inside an Award-Winning Reputation/Brand Management Campaign. Golin and the National Aquarium


As Media Director in Golin’s DC office, Katie brings a wealth of media, public relations and communications experience to the table.

Most recently, she was at Women for Women International as the Communications Director where she oversaw all media efforts and global exposure for the organization. Before that, Katie was at RF|Binder Partners, Inc., as a Managing Director and primarily focused on clients that had a need for national media expertise. She provided strategic media counsel, media strategy, and media outreach capabilities based on her extensive knowledge and firsthand experience with the media.

Katie’s media expertise has helped her secure national broadcast stories for multiple clients on NBC’s Today Show, CBS Early Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, ABC World News, ABC’s Nightline, CNN, and NPR to name just a few. Additionally, print media successes include coverage in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, Reuters and Fast Company.

As an Emmy Award-winning journalist, Katie served as a producer of ABC´s Nightline, PBS´s Now with Bill Moyers, and more recently, NBC´s Today Show, where her vast body of work ranged from breaking news and profiles to presidential election campaigns and investigative pieces on the influence of money on politics.  Katie was also a member of the Nightline team that won a special George Foster Peabody Award for broadcasting excellence in 2001. She is a graduate of The American University and resides in Alexandria, Va. with her son and husband.


Alexandra Ladas
Manager, Golin

Session IV – Case Study: Inside an Award-Winning Reputation/Brand Management Campaign. Golin and the National Aquarium


Alexandra Ladas is a manager at Golin, executing media relations and account support for various corporate, consumer and healthcare clients. For more than three years, she has provided day-to-day support for clients seeking reputation management and brand awareness, communications campaign support, targeted media and digital outreach and crisis communications. She is responsible for organizing account team processes and coordination while serving as the client advocate internally on multifaceted projects.

Corinne Weaver
Public Relations Specialist, National Aquarium

Session IV – Case Study: Inside an Award-Winning Reputation/Brand Management Campaign. Golin and the National Aquarium


Corinne is a public relations specialist at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, implementing media relations, message development and external communications for the animal welfare and conservation nonprofit. A member of an award-winning team, she is specifically focused on supporting strategic storytelling for the National Aquarium Dolphin Sanctuary project. Corinne has facilitated coverage with leading outlets such as National Geographic, PBS NewsHour, CBS This Morning and the Associated Press. She previously served as the media relations and advertising & promotions coordinator for the National Aquarium. Corinne holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Jeb Brown
Chairman, Yes& Agency

Session V – New Role of PR:  Meeting the Needs of Today’s CMOs



Jeb Brown is Chairman/CFO of Yes&, a marketing agency that delivers results for clients by combining online and offline communications programs with business strategy and data analytics. He is also currently an Adjunct Professor of Marketing Communications in the MBA program at the Robert H Smith School of Business of the University of Maryland, where he has taught for the past six years. Jeb has consulted with and been a management team member of several different marcom shops in the DC area, and has acquired or sold over 30 different agencies. For 25 years he was CEO of Earle Palmer Brown, a DC agency he grew into the United States largest privately owned agency before he sold the agency to privater equity in 2001. Jeb is a member of YPO Gold and is serving or has served on the boards of several start-up and established businesses, as well as industry, community, and educational boards including the American Association of Advertising Agencies and Washington & Lee University. Jeb graduate Phi Beta Kappa/ Magna Cum Laude from W&L; he has an MBA from Harvard Business School.


Robert W. (Bob) Sprague
President & CEO, Yes& Agency

Session V – New Role of PR:  Meeting the Needs of Today’s CMOs



Bob is owner of Yes&, a performance-driven marketing agency newly formed from four successful Washington DC-area firms with a combined 80 years in business. Over more than 30 years as a communications strategist, principal writer, consultant, advisor, creative director, video producer, and composer, Bob has helped clients tell their stories and solve their business challenges. Fortune 500 corporate leaders, prominent not-for-profit organizations, and federal government agencies have called upon his expertise in marketing, public relations, and organizational communications. Now Bob leads a growing team of 75 communications experts and creative talents serving commercial, association, and government clientele in verticals including healthcare, energy, transportation, financial services, and homeland security. Yes& spans the paid | earned | shared | owned media spectrum with services and products ranging from strategic communications consulting to digital marketing to live event production. He is author of articles in national publications on such topics as crisis communications, cooperative advertising, and evaluating the return on investment of communications. Bob began his career as a professional keyboardist and music director and scored advertising and films for clients including McDonalds, Subaru, the United Way, and the American Red Cross.

A.J. Guenther
Director, Public Relations, ConnellyWorks (a Yes& Agency)

Session V – New Role of PR:  Meeting the Needs of Today’s CMOs



A.J. is a seasoned public relations and marketing professional with 20 years of experience in the public sector market. The first full-time employee of ConnellyWorks, A.J. brought with him both agency and publishing experience and a strong track record of driving tangible results through campaign management, strategic planning and account leadership. Today, A.J. directs the ConnellyWorks’ public relations line of business, ensuring exceptional results for clients. He is an active participant in AFCEA, having served on the AFCEA DC Board of Directors and as Chair for its Marketing/Publicity Committee. In 2009, he was awarded the Regional Distinguished Young AFCEAN of the Year Award for his service to the DC-metro region.


Jeffrey Davis, APR
Managing Partner, Van Eperen

Session V – New Role of PR:  Meeting the Needs of Today’s CMOs (Moderator)



Jeff Davis is managing partner for Van Eperen and heads the Baltimore office, providing strategic PR and social media counsel for Van Eperen clients.

Jeff has more than 25 years of news media and national public relations experience and is Managing Director of the Baltimore office of Van Eperen, an integrated PR and communications firm based in North Bethesda.

As an early adopter, Jeff started using Facebook, Twitter (and MySpace!) for clients in 2007 and the next year the Washington Business Journal wrote about Jeff’s innovative use of Twitter for public relations. He is now a nationally recognized expert in social media, particularly how organizations can successfully integrate social media platforms into traditional communications and crisis management programs. Jeff returns to the chapter’s leadership team after serving for two years as president (1998 and 1999).

He holds a degree in journalism from Ohio Wesleyan University and was a reporter for daily newspapers in Ohio, New Jersey and Maryland before he entered public relations. He also serves as Baltimore editor for the Capitol Communicator and is co-host of two podcasts: Launch Podcast, focusing on startups and their stories, and Practically Social, a podcast about the use of social media in PR campaigns.


Lindsay Nelson
Senior Program Manager, Social Marketing, imre

Session VI – Harness the Latest Changes in Social Media


Lindsay is a Social Marketing Senior Program Manager at imre working with a team of more than 30 social, digital and creative experts to develop integrated campaigns across the web for brands like, Patagonia, Under Armour, Astra Zeneca, John Deere and PepsiCo. As a social native (signing up for MySpace before it was cool), Lindsay experienced first-hand how social media went from a group of friends to one of the most powerful marketing tools for brands and influencers alike.

Starting in the industry as a community manager and data analyst, she’s been on the ground floor seeing how channels work and drive ROI. She now dedicates her time and energy to understanding and tapping into changing consumer behavior and emerging technologies. Lindsay holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Honors History from the University of Maryland.

–Industry News