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Storytelling for Start-Ups: How Small Food Brands Can Make Big Noise

November 13, 2018 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm | $30

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What is public relations in today’s crowded communications environment? Why is it important for small brands looking to carve a point of difference in and/or make it to mass in the marketplace? In this workshop with Laura Shulman (Founder, Food Future Strategies) and Jody Menaker (Communications Director, PepsiCo North America Nutrition), we’ll explore how to effectively utilize multi-channel/platform storytelling, third party credibility, building advocacy, and basic tenets to effective storytelling. We’ll take a look at successful case studies, as well as workshop your brand’s story!

About the presenters:

Laura Shulman is the Founder of Food Future Strategies (FFS), a consultancy focused on building future-forward communication and marketing strategies to accelerate growth of entrepreneurial-minded brands and companies that are at the forefront of food.

Laura has nearly 20 years of experience working with global food and nutrition companies, commodity groups and associations to solve business challenges through insight-driven strategies and creative ideas. Her experience and expertise cut across the food spectrum, including consumer marketing, influencer engagement, nutrition strategy, reputation management and thought leadership positioning.

Clients she’s worked with include Kraft, Campbell Soup Company, Oreo, Frito Lay, PepsiCo, Quaker, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Dairy Management, Inc. and ADM.

Before launching FFS Laura built and ran the Food and Nutrition Practice for FleishmanHillard Chicago. She has also held senior executive roles at Edelman and Weber Shandwick. Prior to her PR career, Laura was a television reporter and anchor.

Jody Menaker

Communications Director

PepsiCo North America Nutrition

As Director of Communications for PepsiCo North America Nutrition, Jody Menaker has the unique opportunity to raise awareness of the Fortune 500 Company’s health and wellness agenda, which includes creating grassroots, engagement programs with key industry stakeholders such as food entrepreneurs, thought leaders and health care professionals.

Since taking on the role in late 2017, Jody has developed and executed a corporate reputation plan for North America Nutrition that included curated, salon discussions on ways to advance the future of food; targeted media relations efforts; and thought leadership opportunities. In addition, she led the development of the first-ever, large-scale program to intersect with Registered Dietitians on behalf of the key, better-for-you, NAN brands: Quaker, Naked, KeVita and Tropicana.

Prior to her current role, Jody was a tenured member of the Quaker Oats Communications Team for seven years, ultimately taking on the lead communications role for the iconic brand. In her time with Quaker she contributed to both internal and external communications initiatives that netted notable achievements like launching the Quaker Oat Center of Excellence, a nutrition-influencer effort aimed at elevating the benefits of the oat; collaborating with cause partner Common Threads on their first-ever breakfast curriculum; and developing a multi-stakeholder communication plan to communicate the complex milling process of gluten-free oats.  Her efforts drove billions of earned media impressions across top outlets like The Wall Street Journal, Today Show, Fast Company, Ad Age and Mashable, to name a few.

Prior to Quaker, Jody spent 12 years at the Chicago office of Weber Shandwick where she managed the strategic development and implementation of public relations and social media programs for blue-chip clients including The Milk Processor Education Program, Mars Petcare and Unilever.

Born and raised in Chicago, Jody enjoys living in River North with her husband Mike, keeping up with the Chicago food scene and scouring local-area shelters for her next pet.


November 13, 2018
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm




ICNC – First Floor
320 N. Damen Avenue
Chicago, IL 60612 United States
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