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Messaging Effectively: A PR & Marketing Roundtable with Laiko Bahrs, Lisa Nourse, Annie Yang Miller, and Jen Pelka

Self-promotion can feel weird, but at its core, it's about storytelling. During this discussion, four Ruby Public Relations veterans — Laiko Bahrs, Lisa Nourse, Annie Yang Miller, and Jen Pelka, all brilliant at what they do — will tell us about their trade, and how they help people share their stories and effectively market themselves. We'll discuss what works — and what doesn't — in a roundtable discussion, followed by a Q&A. Don't be intimidated if you don't know the first thing about publicity; that's what this discussion is for. 

About Laiko Bahrs

For nearly twenty years Laiko has been collaborating with culinary creators on effective and strategic storytelling though three channels: media, marketing and social media. She got her start at Women Chefs & Restaurateurs, creating local and national culinary programs and working with some of the most respected women in the industry. In the twenty years she has been in communications, she has been an independent publicist, has worked for a mid-size agency, and led in-house PR for a culinary brand. Her industry involvement includes being on the marketing advisory committee for five years at CUESA, has been a Judge for the Good Food Awards for numerous years; and for the James Beard Foundation has been a three-time Dinner and Taste America event coordinator. She joined forces with Kristine Keefer in the summer of 2016, recognizing a partner who shares a philosophy on food, storytelling and client relationships. Laiko is a long time resident of the Fillmore neighborhood in San Francisco.

About Lisa Nourse

Lisa specializes in PR for bars and restaurants that promise and deliver a good time to their guests. She founded LNPR six years ago, and has since been doing PR her way: highly personal and hands on. She’s passionate about helping companies grow and flourish, and serves their needs by creating customized PR programs that integrate marketing, events, media relations, social media, grassroots outreach, and strategic partnerships. Current and previous clients include The Beehive, The Treasury, Alba Ray’s, 25 Lusk, Old Bus Tavern, and Paula LeDuc Fine Catering. She worked with the Beretta group for 6 years, launching Beretta and the group’s slew of hit restaurants (Lolinda, El Techo, Super Duper, Starbelly).  

Prior to launching her own shop, Lisa was vice president of San Francisco hospitality PR firm Rivera PR (whose owners founded Chefs Feed) and vice president at Seattle PR agency Wilson PR where she managed the firm’s work with hotels, spas, food products, and restaurants. She interned in the White House press office of First Lady Hillary Clinton, served as Nordstrom’s first PR intern, and worked at political consulting firm GMMB, The Edgewater hotel, and Seattle PR company Firmani & Associates. Lisa graduated magna cum laude from the University of Southern California with a journalism degree and Phi Beta Kappa distinction.

About Annie Yang Miller

With more than a decade of experience at some of the largest agencies in New York, Annie Miller brings a unique perspective to the art and science of creative direction and branding communications.

Educated as a molecular biologist and trained as an advertising copywriter, Annie has created cutting-edge content for everything from multinational launch campaigns to message development and testing. Her recent client roster has ranged from major biotech companies like Genentech all the way to smaller local food brands like San Francisco’s own Bi-Rite Markets.

Outside the office, her passion projects include supporting various non-profit advocacy groups, creating site-specific art installations, travel writing, and morning runs up and down the hills of Noe Valley, where she currently lives and works.

About Jen Pelka

Jen Pelka is the Principal and Founder of Magnum PR, leading publicity for such powerhouse brands as the Daniel Patterson Group, Brandon Jew’s Mister Jiu’s, Rich Table & RT Rotisserie, Souvla, Barzotto, Mason Pacific, and Sweetgreen SF. Pelka’s career in restaurants began at Chef Daniel Boulud’s Restaurant DANIEL, where she served for 5 years across a broad range of roles—kitchen stagier, Chef Boulud’s Research Assistant, and the US Competition Director for the Bocuse d’Or under Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller. She went on to lead influencer marketing, content strategy, and media relations in-house at OpenTable, Gilt Taste, and Tumblr. She has been named Forbes “30 Under 30” for Food & Wine, Details “Digital Maverick, and a Cherry Bombe “It Girl.” She was a recurring guest as a secret diner of Bravo TV’s “Best New Restaurant”, and a guest on Season 6 of “Top Chef.” Pelka won an IACP Award Winner for Best Culinary or Brand Site in 2012 for Gilt Taste, and was a James Beard Award nominee for Best Food Coverage in a Food Focused Publication. She is also the owner of The Riddler, a female-funded champagne bar in Hayes Valley.