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January 21, 2014

Public Relations Leaders from Mitchell Communications Group/Dentsu and Starbucks Announced as Co-Chairs of PRSA 2014 International Conference

Elise Mitchell and Jim Olson to Help Guide Planning of Annual Conference
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) today announced that Elise Mitchell, APR, Fellow PRSA, dual Chief Executive Officer of Mitchell Communications Group and Dentsu Public Relations Network, and corporate public relations leader Jim Olson, Vice President of Global Corporate Communications and Americas Public Affairs at Starbucks, will serve as co-chairs of the PRSA 2014 International Conference in Washington, D.C.

The PRSA 2014 International Conference theme is “Leading the Way: A Fearless Future for PR.” The focus of the conference will be on the need of practitioners and the profession to adapt to today’s transformative media environment.
“Elise and Jim both embody this year’s theme of ‘Leading the Way.’  They are leaders in the industry and within their respective organizations and serve as shining examples of the impact that strategic communications can bring as a lead strategic discipline,” said Joseph E. Cohen, APR, PRSA 2014 Chair.  “Their strategic guidance will be invaluable as we build a conference experience that will help attendees learn how to thrive, and to lead, in an environment where change is the norm and the role of the communications professional is ever-evolving.”
The PRSA International Conference brings together more than 3,000 public relations professionals and students each year from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds for three days of practical insight and networking opportunities. The conference is dedicated to helping public relations professionals respond to “real time” opportunities and challenges while addressing trends and new innovations.

Mitchell and Olson Exemplify Excellence in Public Relations
Mitchell is a highly accomplished strategic communications professional and business leader who made industry-
wide headlines when she sold the firm she founded, Mitchell Communications Group, and became CEO of both the agency and the new Dentsu Public Relations Network. Her entrepreneurial spirit and passion helped her build the firm, which has been named Small Agency of the Year by PRWeek and the Holmes Report and is a 2014 PRWeek Midsize Agency of the Year finalist. Over the past 15 years, Mitchell has expanded the company’s capabilities and established a team of communications experts across the country serving clients in the retail, food, travel and tourism, energy and transportation sectors. Under her leadership, the company has grown exponentially to become one of the top 10 fastest growing firms globally by the Holmes Report global rankings.

In addition to her professional success, Mitchell has given back to several public relations organizations, including the Arthur W. Page Society and the Council of PR Firms. She is a member of the prestigious PRSA College of Fellows and served as chair of the PRSA Counselors Academy in 2012. Additionally, Mitchell has been involved in two PRSA chapters—PRSA Memphis chapter, where she served as president and was named Professional of the Year, and PRSA Northwest Arkansas chapter, where she was a founding member, served as president and was named Professional of the Year.
For two decades Olson has served as a strategic communications leader and trusted adviser for some of the world’s most innovative and respected companies.  At Starbucks he is responsible for building and protecting the company’s corporate brand reputation. In 2013 FORTUNE ranked Starbucks the World’s 5th Most Admire
d Company and PRSA recognized the company’s Create Jobs for USA initiative with a Silver Anvil Award.
Prior to joining Starbucks in 2011, Olson was the Vice President of Corporate Communications at US Airways where he led internal and external communications.  During his tenure at the airline, Olson orchestrated the crisis communications response for one of the most high-profile airline accidents in aviation history – Flight 1549’s miraculous water landing on New York’s icy Hudson River in January 2009.  Olson serves on the board of directors of The LAGRANT Foundation, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of ethnic minorities in the advertising, marketing and public relations professions.  
About the Public Relations Society of America
PRSA is the largest professional organization serving the U.S. public relations community. With a mission to “advance the profession and the professional,” PRSA provides news and information, thought leadership, continuing education and networking opportunities; sets standards of professional excellence and ethical conduct; and advocates for the business value of public relations and greater diversity among public relations professionals. Based in New York, PRSA comprises 112 local Chapters; 14 Professional Interest Sections that focus on specific industries and practice areas; and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), which is active at more than 320 colleges and universities.


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