Boulder Startup Week 2020 Boulder Startup Week 2020
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Why Public Relations is the Essential Front Line Worker For Your Brand

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All events will be online via Zoom.
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Leah Taylor
Cast Influence Marketing & PR, Chief Communications Officer

Leah Taylor is the Chief Communications Officer at Cast Influence, a fully remote marketing and PR consultancy supporting Series A and up startups, SMBs, dreamers and entrepreneurs from coast to coast. Her agency specializes in brand elevation through public relations, website design and development, content marketing, creative services, SEO and digital marketing. Over her two decade career, she has contributed to the rise and exit of several disruptive B2C and B2B brands including InVision, Dribbble, Bandsintown, Bonusly, iRobot, OnDeck, MURAL and Doist.

Drea Knufken
Treble PR, VP Content

Drea Knufken is the VP of Content at Treble PR, an agency specializing in seed- and Series A B2B startups and VC firms. Her organization builds and manages thought-leadership and content strategies, placing ghostwritten content into mainstream- and vertical media. She is also a longtime freelance writer, ex-Googler, and avid reader.

Michelle Zack
Techstars, Director of PR

Michelle Zack is the Director of PR at Techstars, the global platform for investment and innovation with more than 2,100 portfolio companies. Michelle leads communications and reputation management for Techstars, helping tell stories that support and encourage innovation, entrepreneurship and investment. Previously, in her nearly two decade career, Michelle worked at Weber Shandwick, Edelman and Hill + Knowlton, where she helped global brands like Lenovo, GE, Target and Shell Oil meaningfully engage people and develop communications strategies that reduce risk and maximize market opportunities.

Marissa Arnold
Grayscale Investments, Director, Communications

Marissa Arnold leads communications and PR at Grayscale Investments®, the world’s largest digital currency asset manager with more than $2.8 billion in assets under management across its family of 10 products – all of which provide access and exposure to the digital currency asset class in the form of a traditional security without the challenges of buying, storing, and safekeeping cryptocurrencies directly. With more than 10 years in technology and finance PR, Marissa helps companies achieve their goals through strategic communications. Previously, Marissa headed up PR & Communications for General Assembly, a global training company focused on 21st century skills. She has also held senior roles on the corporate communications team at the New York Stock Exchange, where Marissa primarily focused on elevating their tech and innovation story and supporting their core capital markets business. Across her in-house and agency experiences, she has supported a number of companies through media relations, message development, thought leadership, crisis communications, and executive visibility programs. Marissa earned her BA from University of Wisconsin – Madison and currently resides in NYC, where she continues to work on eliminating her Minnesotan accent.

Justin Kraft
Cast Influence, Founder

Justin founded Cast Influence in 2017 after serving in senior marketing roles in-house for 18 years. He manages strategic operations for the agency, oversees brand positioning, and informs the engagement strategy to enhance our clients reputation and awareness. He also created and hosts InfluenceNow, a marketing and business strategy program. 


Previously, he was on the board of the Colorado American Marketing Association, the marketing co-chair for the Society of Information Managers signature event, and created the Essential Executive Event in Washington DC. He has led brand activation and strategic initiatives for many companies including Live Planet VR, MHO Networks, OnDeck, Cheetah Technologies, Prize Picks, and many more. He holds a marketing degree from Metropolitan State University of Denver. 



Join via Zoom  

In March, much of the world went home as the coronavirus transformed the way we live, work, and do business. In the midst of mind-bending changes to our realities, real-time communication became paramount as events were cancelled, unemployment claims skyrocketed, and travel came to a halt.

We’re living in a pandemic where announcements now need to be in tune with issues and needs, brands need to pivot, offer discounts or extend free trial periods to keep customers, and in many cases, what companies are doing to help those on the front lines are making front page headlines.

In this session, hear from four seasoned communications experts who work with the media on a daily basis, as they share how they're adapting to enhance brand reputations. You'll walk away with a better understanding on what you can do to market your own business responsibly and compassionately.