Corporate Communications (Feb 05-07)

Internal and external communication professionals in the utility industry face a variety of challenges in supporting their organizations’ strategic plans, particularly as the utility workforce undergoes significant transformation, communication channels multiply, and utilities face increasing competition. This semiannual forum provides a unique, collaborative space for leaders in corporate communications to discuss these challenges and communications best practices. Recent topics of discussion include executive communications strategy, communicating with employees in the field, stakeholder engagement, crisis communication and communicating strategic plans.

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General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Dan Mitchell, Internal Communications Manager, Salt River Project

    • Program Location
    • Salt River Project - PERA Club
    • 1 E. Continental Drive Tempe, AZ 85281
    • Who Should Attend
    • Energy company corporate communications senior leadership, including directors and managers.

  • Registration Options
  • Conference Registration: $449 USD

    Registration price increases $100 after January 22, 2020. Registration allows you access to all Corporate Communications agenda items. Registration includes lunch and networking dinner on Thursday, breakfast and lunch on Friday, and all meeting materials.

  • General Cancellation Policy
  • Due to contractual obligations, cancellations received 15 business days prior to the program will receive a full refund. Cancellations received 6 to 14 business days prior to the event will receive a refund, less a $100 administrative fee. No shows and last minute cancellations, 5 business days prior to the event or less, will be responsible for the full registration fee. Substitutions from your organization for the same event are always welcome.
  • Participation Policy
  • Western Energy Institute programs and events are open to energy companies (including gas production and electric generation, gas and electric transmission and gas and electric distribution utilities). Select programs and events are open to energy industry product and service suppliers. Programs and events are closed to all media representatives and to the general public.
  • For more information contact Kristen Paul, Program Manager at 971-334-4250.


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Networking Happy Hour

Join us for a no-host happy hour to catch up with your colleagues from across the West and meet new attendees.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Registration + Networking

9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Welcome to Salt River Project + Introductions
Speaker(s): Alaina Chabrier, Associate General Manager & Chief Communications Executive, Salt River Project

Salt River Project will welcome us to their utility and kick-off the forum. Afterwards, attendees will introduce themselves. Attendees are encouraged to share their name, company overview, general role within the organization and a recent win or current challenge.

10:30 AM - 10:45 AM

Networking Break

10:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Communications in the Community + Social Responsibility Space
Speaker(s): Norma Gutierrez, Manager of Community Affairs, Southwest Gas Corporation

This session will discuss the areas that utilities invest their time and money into, in the corporate social responsibility arena. 

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Hosted Networking Lunch

Catered lunch will be provided onsite.

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Power Roundtable

Crowdsourced by you! In real time, identify the topics that interest you most.

2:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Networking Break

2:45 PM - 4:00 PM

Managing Transition to Renewable Energy
Speaker(s): Clark Miller, Associate Director, Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes, Arizona State University, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Chico Hunter, Research and Development Manager, Salt River Project

What are the challenges in communicating the new standards and goals around renewable energy? How do you navigate cost impacts and craft the right message? This session will explore those questions and more with perspectives both inside and outside of the utility industry.  

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Networking Break

5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Hosted Networking Dinner

Join us for a hosted offsite networking dinner.

Friday, February 7, 2020

7:30 AM - 8:15 AM

Networking Breakfast

Catered breakfast will be provided onsite.

8:15 AM - 9:30 AM

Developing a Voice and Navigating Executive Communications
Speaker(s): Heather Allmain, Senior Communications Manager, Clark Public Utilities, Heather Allmain, Senior Communications Manager, Clark Public Utilities

From videos to blogs, how can executives communicate effectively? Plus learn ideas and tips to help quiet or resistant leaders communicate with employees and stakeholders.

The session will include a presentation and facilitated round table. Attendees are encouraged to bring best practices, tips, and the questions that keep them up at night to share with the group. 

9:30 AM - 9:45 AM

Networking Break

9:45 AM - 11:00 AM

Internal/External Breakout Sessions
Speaker(s): Chris Armstrong, Sr. Outreach & Engagement Specialist, Seattle City Light, Jenni Lamarca, Public Education Programs Coordinator, Snohomish County PUD, Kevin Rolfe, Education Representative, Salt River Project, Dan Mitchell, Internal Communications Manager, Salt River Project, Denise Anderer, Business Applications & Projects Manager, Salt River Project

  • Internal Breakout: Best Practices for Internal Communications Roundtable – Bring examples, problems to solve, and your biggest wins. Learn content management system success stories including effective implementation and ideas on how to use the systems in innovative ways. This session will be lead by Dan Mitchell, Internal Communications Manager from Salt River Project and Denise Anderer, Business Applications & Projects Manager, Salt River Project.
  • External Breakout: Education + Communications – This session will review best practices for communicating with and educating students and teachers on the utility. Examples may include field trips, summer camps, science-based education, and community outreach. Speakers include Salt River Project, Seattle City Light and Snohomish County PUD.

11:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Networking Break

11:15 AM - 12:00 PM

Open Roundtable Discussion

Ask any remaining questions that were not yet discussed and benefit from the wealth of knowledge and experience of the group.

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Hosted Networking Lunch and Planning for Next Steps

Catered lunch will be provided onsite as we discuss the agenda for the next Corporate Communications Forum.

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (800) 321-2211 to reserve your room. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute (WEI)and use the discount code ‘WEI Corporate Communications’ to receive a special rate of $239 USD/night. This rate is guaranteed until January 6, 2020 or until the WEI room block is full.

Meet The Speakers

Clark Miller

Arizona State University, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Associate Director, Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes

Heather Allmain

Clark Public Utilities

Senior Communications Manager

Chris Armstrong

Seattle City Light

Sr. Outreach & Engagement Specialist

Jenni Lamarca

Snohomish County PUD

Public Education Programs Coordinator

Kevin Rolfe

Salt River Project

Education Representative

Dan Mitchell

Salt River Project

Internal Communications Manager

Alaina Chabrier

Salt River Project

Associate General Manager & Chief Communications Executive

Norma Gutierrez

Southwest Gas Corporation

Manager of Community Affairs

Chico Hunter

Salt River Project

Research and Development Manager

Denise Anderer

Salt River Project

Business Applications & Projects Manager