Meeting/Event Information

C-Suite + PR Pro Panel

October 08, 2019
11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

Carlton Fields, P.A. | Corporate Center Three at International Plaza
4221 W. Boy Scout Boulevard
Tampa, FL 33607-5780

The strategic communications field is experiencing change like never before. As a result, more executive leaders are becoming PR-fluent and forging powerful partnerships with their PR and communications professionals to help navigate the ever-shifting landscape.

In this panel discussion, hear from C-suite executives and their PR counterparts about the evolution of their relationships and the valuable results executive involvement can yield both internally and externally. You’ll also learn: 

    • The attributes of a successful partnership
    • Insights into how you can earn and maintain a seat at the table
    • Strategies for building credibility to be truly involved on the strategic level
    • How to identify and overcome barriers to being treated as strategic counselors
    • Best practices on media coaching, crisis management, and so much more!

Space is limited. RSVP today.

Meet our panelists:

Gary L. Sasso
President & CEO, Carlton Fields

Gary Sasso represents business clients in securities fraud and consumer fraud class actions and other complex litigation at the trial and appellate level, in the financial services industry, energy sector, products manufacturing industry, and services sector. Gary has tried cases in the areas of securities fraud, business contracts, product liability, professional malpractice, employment discrimination and termination, eminent domain, bankruptcy, construction, administrative law, and land use in Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Gary has argued appeals on diverse issues including business fraud, federal and state constitutional claims, product liability, personal injury, insurance coverage, national bank regulation, employment discrimination, federal occupational safety and health regulation, eminent domain, county taxation, and public utilities law.

Before joining the firm in 1987, Gary worked as a law clerk for Justice Byron R. White of the U.S. Supreme Court, and as a law clerk for Judge Spottswood W. Robinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Kate Barth
Senior Public Relations Manager, Carlton Fields

Kate Barth is responsible for the overall direction and management of Carlton Fields’ public relations department, including media relations and media training, article placements, corporate communications, and crisis communications.

With nearly 15 years of public relations and broadcast journalism experience, Kate provides high-level strategic communications counsel to C-suite executives and attorneys, including the firm’s clients. Her record of proven and measurable media relations results is evidenced by the nine national and regional PR awards she received in the past 11 years.

Kate has successfully pitched and received significant news coverage in top-tier news outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, Chicago Tribune, Tampa Tribune, St. Petersburg Times, Florida Trend, Tampa Bay Business Journal, National Law Journal, and other business and trade-related outlets.

Kate believes it is crucial for public relations professionals to help promote a better understanding of the value and importance of PR and media relations. She often presents to professional associations and regularly conducts internal presentations at Carlton Fields. She also offers her skills pro bono — aiding small businesses and other organizations and individuals in various industries including education, manufacturing, and health care.

Kate’s professional experience includes positions with the PR department of an AmLaw 100 firm, a PR and integrated marketing communications agency, and a private aviation corporation. In addition, she worked as a journalist. She is a graduate of Arizona State University’s nationally recognized Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Sam Sipes, LCSW, BCD
President & CEO, Lutheran Services Florida

Sam joined LSF in September 2007 as CEO managing more than 1,200 employees and overseeing more than 60 programs with an annual statewide budget of more than $240 million. During his tenure at LSF, Sam has led LSF’s tremendous growth efforts around the state tripling in size and impact since 2013. Sam has a background in leadership roles in nonprofit organizations, as well as experience in child welfare, social services and programs for senior citizens. Prior to joining LSF, Sam served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Lutheran Social Services of the South in Austin, Texas, which became the largest provider of children’s residential services in Texas. Sam also was instrumental in expanding residential and non-residential services to senior citizens as well as leading disaster response efforts across Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. In 2005, Sam was among the key leaders that helped organize and manage the regional and national response to Hurricane Katrina.

Sam has served on numerous boards including the Council on Accreditation of Child and Family Services, the Florida Coalition for Children, and Lutheran Services in America. He was a member of the Florida Faith-Based and Community-Based Advisory Council to identify ways to deliver services more effectively. Sam received both a Master of Science in Social Work and a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. 

Terri Durdaller, MPA
Vice President of Communications, Lutheran Services Florida

Terri Durdaller is a media strategist who has pitched stories for organizations ranging from large nonprofits to government agencies. She has earned press coverage in numerous top-tier media outlets, extending from The New York Times and NBC Nightly News to The Atlanta Journal Constitution and FOX News. Terri currently leads internal and external communications for Lutheran Services Florida where she drives public relations activities, reputation management and brand strategy. A Masters of Public Administration and Bachelor of Journalism graduate from the University of Missouri, Terri also has worked for governors of Missouri and Florida, the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office and Department of Public Safety, and the Florida Department of Children and Families. Terri is enthusiastic about her industry and devotes her free time to serving as the Chair of the marketing and communications committee for the Florida Head Start Association as well as on the volunteer committee for the Public Relations Society of America, Tampa Bay Chapter. 

Jesica D'Avanza, MPA, APR
Chief Strategy Officer, Round Square

Jesica D’Avanza, MPA, APR, is an award-winning communications leader who works at the intersection of brand and business strategy to make our world a better place. As owner and chief strategy officer at Round Square, she applies nearly two decades of experience in brand and communications strategy to transform nonprofits and mission-driven organizations for greater relevance, resonance and results. Her consultancy supports clients across health care, wellness, education, environmental and nonprofit arenas. Jesica has served in a variety of national communications and marketing leadership roles for organizations like the American Cancer Society and Muscular Dystrophy Association. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Florida State University and her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR). In 2012, PRWeek named her as one of the nation’s 40 under 40 stars in the field of public relations and integrated communications. Outside the office, Jesica enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter and is on a quest to visit every National Park in the U.S. She is also a runner and marathon coach. You can reach Jesica at [email protected] or on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Meet our moderator:

Kecia Carroll
Communications Strategist

Kecia Carroll is a corporate citizenship and communications strategist with a career divided between in-house leadership and consulting roles. She has worked with dozens of organizations -- from startups to Fortune 500 companies, professional service firms and social enterprises -- helping them build their business, their brand reputation and their impact. Serving as an outsourced communications executive, Kecia works closely with corporate leadership providing strategic direction and programmatic support in the areas of marketing, communications, business development and community engagement.

Kecia currently lives in Orlando however is in the process of relocating to the Tampa Bay-area. She is an Adult Literacy League tutor and a member of the Holocaust Education Center of Florida’s diversity & inclusion committee.

Program details:

      • 11:30 a.m. to noon: Check-in, networking
      • Noon to 1 p.m.: Program
      • 1-1:30 p.m.: Networking

Food/Beverage: Boxed lunch and water/beverages will be provided. Please indicate any dietary restrictions in the comments.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations received by noon on Monday, Oct. 7, will be accepted without penalty. After that date, registrations paid in advance will not be refunded, and those who registered but did not pay will be invoiced the full registration amount.


$30.00 Member

$45.00 Non-Member

$30.00 PRSSA Student