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updated: 5/3/2013 10:46 AM

Free Workshop on Using Social Media in a Crisis - Attend In Person or Online on May 17

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Public Relations Council of Lake County

Recent crisis situations across the globe demonstrate the importance of social media. Not only are citizens in the crisis asking for help and passing along information they believe is valid, but public relations professionals are joining in the social media conversations to provide factual information.

On May 17, public relations professionals in Lake County have a free opportunity to learn from experts in crisis management about how social media can work in a crisis. "Crisis Communication Planning in a Social Media World," will take place from 9 a.m. to noon. Hosted by the Public Relations Council of Lake County, the workshop will be held at the University Center of Lake County, 1200 University Center Drive, in Grayslake.

Audience members are welcome to attend in person, but organizers of the annual workshop for the first time are offering attendees the opportunity to view the workshop via their own computer.

The Public Relations Council is fortunate to have keynote speaker Dr. Barbara J. Reynolds, Crisis Communication Senior Advisor in the Office of the Director at the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. At the CDC since 1991, Dr. Reynolds' communication expertise has been used in the planning or response to pandemic influenza, vaccine safety, emerging disease outbreaks and bioterrorism. Internationally, she has acted as a crisis communication consultant on health issues for France, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, former Soviet Union nations, NATO and the World Health Organization.

Speaking from a local perspective will be Sergeant Sara Balmes, Public Information Officer for the Lake County Sheriff's office. Balmes, employed 10 years with the sheriff's office, manages social media messages for the office, among other responsibilities. She has previously worked in Court Security, Highway Patrol, and the Criminal Investigations Divisions for the sheriff's office. She also was in the Selective Traffic Enforcement Unit, Evidence Technician Units and she was an Evidence Technician Coordinator.

The workshop also will include a panel of representatives from Lake County businesses and media members who will discuss their use of social media within their organizations. The panel will include Brandon Bruce, Public Relations Specialist for Six Flags Great America and Hurricane Harbor in Gurnee; Tom Keefe, Communications Specialist for VW Credit in Libertyville; Rob Elder, Editor for the Lake County News-Sun; and Teresa Schmedding, Deputy Managing Editor/Digital for the Daily Herald.

The workshop is open to the public. Please register whether you are attending in person or online through this link: or through the PR Council of Lake County facebook page. Once you are registered, a link will be sent to you for connecting to the workshop online.

The Public Relations Council of Lake County is composed of individuals from all fields of public relations. This group of professionals meets monthly to support each other in their professional challenges and advancements, and to discuss issues affecting the Lake County region.