THE WOMEN|FUTURE CONFERENCE: AN INTERVIEW WITH PANELIST APRIL WHITE
Our CEO & Founder April White will contribute her expertise as an official panel speaker at the 2023 Women|Future Conference, hosted by the Stevie Awards. As the Gold Winner of the 2022 Stevie Award for Most Innovative Woman of the Year – Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations, she will join the panel session titled, “Storytelling: Your Engine for Business Success” on Tuesday, August 1, from 1:00 pm to 1:45 pm EDT.
Over the course of two days between August 1-2, 2023, the virtual conference agenda features panels, workshops, and breakout sessions hosted by over 30 world-class speakers including CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and small business consultants.
Interested in attending? (And trust us — you should be!) Register for free here.
Read on for a special Q&A blog post, as our team chats with April about her role as a panelist and shares advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Q: Thank you for chatting with us today, April! We’re all dying to know about the upcoming Women|Future Conference. Can you tell us about your involvement as a panel speaker and share a bit about the event in general?
First of all, I cannot overstate my gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the Women|Future Conference this year. As an entrepreneur myself, I know the value a high-quality networking event can provide for aspiring business owners and established brand leaders alike. This event in particular is hosted by the Stevie Awards organization — and any savvy PR practitioner knows how well-respected that awards program is, worldwide.
The event will take place between August 1-2, and will feature an impressive lineup of speakers and attendees. The full event agenda is available to view of the Women|Future Conference website, but some of the topics I am most enthusiastic about are:
- Crafting Your Competitive Edge: Unleashing Your Brand’s Unique Positioning
- Make Your Mark: How to Build a Network With Trusted Mentors
- From Idea to Empire – Lessons in branding
And of course, the session I am most looking forward to is my own! I’ll be participating in a panel discussion on day one of the conference, titled “Storytelling: Your Engine for Business Success.” In that session, which features three of my fellow female business leaders, I’ll chat about the power of storytelling in crafting a compelling brand narrative that is built on authenticity and trust between a brand and its customers.
Q: Who are the other panelists with whom you’ll be presenting?
I am so fortunate to present alongside such an esteemed group of communications powerhouses! Ciara Ungar is the founder of CIARA & Co., a management and strategy consulting company. Jennifer Cloer is the CEO & founder of Story Changes Culture, a media platform and consulting practice. And Christina Helena is an established speechwriter and executive performance coach; she is also a fellow podcaster, as the host of My Scar is Sexy.
As event attendees will see this for themselves, I will be sharing the stage with some of the most insightful and talented women in the PR and marketing industries. It’s a must-see!
Q: How did you get involved with the Women|Future Conference this year?
The vast digital landscape can feel like a small world if you’ve been in the PR game as long as I have. As our readers and social media followers might recall, I was honored to attend the 2022 Stevie Awards in Las Vegas last year, where I received a Gold award for Most Innovative Woman of the Year – Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations.
I hate to break the “What Happens in Vegas” code, but I will share this: At the award gala, I had the pleasure of connecting with fellow award recipient Trena Blair, founder of FD Global Connections. We bonded over our shared love of strategic communications and I eventually invited her to join Trust Relations: The Podcast for a special episode. The team at the Women|Future Conference found that podcast interview via LinkedIn, and reached out to partner with Trust Relations. And the rest is history! I am currently writing a chapter for her new book and looking forward to more collaborations in the future. And Trust Relations will be an official partner at this year’s conference, in conjunction with my panelist position.
Q: You’ve been making the rounds recently as an industry spokesperson! As an official TEDx speaker, what advice do you have for executives who are interested in elevating their own speaking profiles?
Thought leadership is absolutely crucial for today’s founders and executives. With increasing scrutiny over the credibility of third-party institutions like news outlets and corporations, it’s more important than ever that business leaders cultivate a well-rounded public profile. Speaking engagements can be valuable tools in a strategic thought leadership program. (More on that here.)
My advice for executives new to the speaking circuit is this: Start small. Practice makes perfect. It takes time and training to build a strong stage presence. A good PR agency can assist with securing meaningful speaking opportunities and media training to improve your skills and opportunities — and as I often advise my own clients, that is an investment worth making. A skilled PR agency consultant can also advise on which opportunities will best reach a brand’s target market, which opportunities are worth paying for if cost is a factor, and which events can result in valuable brand connections.
Further, authenticity is key. Executives should stick to covering topics they are genuinely passionate about, within the realm of their expertise and experience. Audiences today can sense B.S. from a mile away, so speakers should tap into solid proof points, examples and personal experiences to deliver compelling advice and insights.
I’ll also share some content here, from our podcast and blog archives, with additional advice for business leaders seeking to build their speaking profiles:
- Read: What is Thought Leadership?
- Listen: Peter George: Public Speaking Essentials for PR Pros
- Listen: Off the Red Carpet with Kayley Hamilton: How to Build Confidence
- Listen: Halloween Special: Facing Your Fears in Media, Crisis and Career
Q: The W|F Conference is an event for women entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners. What advice can you share for people who are early in their entrepreneurial careers?
First, be ready to leave the day-to-day industry work behind. And second, be ready to lead by example.
When you own a PR agency — or any business — you’ll likely stop doing most of the work you once did as an employee or consultant. You’ll be delegating tasks, overseeing contracts and deadlines, managing business operations, tracking profitability, and so on. If your passion in life is the day-to-day of your industry work and you can’t imagine life without it, starting a business might not be for you. But if you are equally driven by the desire to mentor teams, meet customers’ needs, and innovate beyond the old way of doing things — it might be your moment to channel that energy into starting a company of your own.
Finally, remember that leadership is top-down. A leader’s personal challenges and shortcomings often manifest in the rest of the company, if left unaddressed. For example: If you’re defensive or have a temper, you’re likely to intimidate your teams. If you’re indecisive, you won’t inspire confidence. If you’re ego-driven, you risk inspiring a toxic workplace. Admitting mistakes and striving to do better are admirable qualities in any leader. Nobody is perfect, but every CEO or founder should be prepared to dedicate themselves to compassionate and strong leadership through perpetual self-improvement.
Q: Any final thoughts for brand leaders who are considering attending the event?
I have to take an opportunity to plug our special promotional offer! In honor of Trust Relations’ participation in the WomenFuture Conference, we’re extending a special offer. New clients interested in launching a PR campaign can access our Q3 Summer Special. The promotion includes a monthly minimum retainer of $7k for a three-month minimum contract. Interested brand leaders can register for the Women|Future Conference today to access the exclusive offer code for this special promotional rate. This offer code will be available in the Trust Relations virtual booth during the event. “Stop by” to see us there!
We understand that financial pressures are heavy for many brands during this unpredictable economic cycle — and we want to help you keep the lights on in your PR department this summer. Interested brands can reach out to work with us anytime, here.
Trust Relations Team