2018 Annual Meeting
Portland, Oregon
29 July ~ 1 August


Agenda PDF

To see full speaker bios, visit

Sunday, July 29

3-4 p.m. ~ Registration/Check-In (also Sunday 7-7:30 p.m. and Monday 7-8:30 a.m.)

Oregon Room

4-5:30 p.m. ~ New Member Orientation
Idaho/Alaska Rooms
This is a great opportunity to meet CCPIO members and officers, and get an introduction to CCPIO, including its history, committees, core competencies, website and listserv.

5:30-7 p.m. ~ Reception at Hotel
Oregon Room
Mix and chat with members and settle into West Coast time while enjoying refreshments.

Evening Dine-Around
Dinner on your own or informally join your CCPIO colleagues for dinner at nearby restaurants.

Monday, July 30

6-8:30 a.m. ~ Breakfast Buffet
Multnomah Grille, Hotel
Use a voucher to have breakfast at your convenience in the hotel.

7-8:30 a.m. ~ Registration/Check-In

Oregon Room

8:30-8:45 a.m. ~ Welcome
Oregon Room
CCPIO President Leah H. Gurowitz, Oregon Host Todd Sprague and former Oregon Chief Justice Thomas A. Balmer will welcome attendees to Portland.

About the Speaker: Justice Balmer joined the Oregon Supreme Court in 2001 and served as Oregon’s 43rd chief justice from 2012 to 2018. He continues to sit as a justice on the court.

8:45-9 a.m. ~ Opening Session
Oregon Room
A video will feature attendees’ highs (or lows) for the year using headlines to tell their stories.

9-10:15 a.m. ~ Communication Strategies & Messaging for Success
Oregon Room
Learn how a strategic focus on goals, audiences and key messages can translate into results, and take away tips for responding to fake news when your court or organization is the subject of the false information.

About the Speaker: Gary Conkling is a principal and co-founder of CFM Strategic Communications, a leading public affairs firm in the Pacific Northwest and a three-time winner of the prestigious Silver Anvil award for effective communications strategies and messaging to achieve specific goals.

Core Competencies: Generating publicity, Fostering Positive Court-Press Relations, Combating Negative Press

10:15-10:30 a.m. ~ Break

10:30 a.m.-Noon ~ Using Artificial Intelligence & Other Technology to Improve Access to Justice
A leading technology industry expert will provide an overview of artificial intelligence and its application in the legal and other fields. A panel then will discuss how AI and other technologies are being developed to aid courts in their mission to improve access to justice and engage better with the citizens they serve, especially in rural communities. Finally, learn how to communicate about all of this to the public.

About the Speakers:
Stacey Marz is director of the Alaska Court System Family Law Self Help Center. She oversees the statewide program for self-represented litigants in family law cases and manages the court’s self-help websites and forms development.

Robert Standefer is technology advisor for the Office of the President at Microsoft. Robert has been in the information technology industry for 25 years in expanding roles: software engineer, software architect, enterprise architect and CTO. He is passionate about how technology can improve the human condition, augment human intellect and expand human capabilities

Core Competencies: Education, Community Outreach

Noon-12:30 p.m. ~ Lunch
Oregon Room

12:30-1:15 p.m. ~ Luncheon Speaker: Listening to Build Trust & Promote Justice
Oregon Room
Oregon Supreme Court Justice Adrienne Nelson will share the goals, logistics, challenges and lessons learned from a series of listening sessions she organized to give circuit court judges firsthand feedback from the community about issues of diversity, fairness and access to justice. 

About the Speaker: Justice Nelson was appointed to the Oregon Supreme Court in 2018, making her the first African-American to sit on the state’s highest court and any appellate state court. In 2006, she was appointed as a trial judge on the Multnomah County Circuit Court in Portland, making her the second African-American female judge in the state of Oregon. She is a sought-after speaker on topics including diversity, inclusion, equity, community engagement, leadership and professional development.

Core Competencies: Community Outreach, Fostering Positive Court-Press Relationships, Education, Coordinating Press Events

1:15-1:30 p.m. ~ Break

1:30-2:45 p.m. ~ Breakout Session One: Choose from four topics, which repeat next session

1. Improving Your Photography
Halsey Room
Attendees will learn how to make their photographs more interesting and eye catching. The discussion will focus on how to use framing, equipment, filters, cropping and other techniques to make pictures stand out in print and social media.

About the Speaker: Darren Toms is the community outreach coordinator for the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas in Cleveland. He’s the point person for local media, coordinates community education programs, produces an employee newsletter and hosts a podcast about the court. He’s a recipient of the Radio-Television News Directors Association Edward R. Murrow Award.

Core Competencies: Education, Internal Communications, Publications

2. Preparing PIOs & Judges for On-Camera Interviews & Public Speaking
Idaho Room
Learn tips and tricks to prepare for a media interview or on-camera presentation, such as what to ask before the interview and how to dress, perfect your demeanor and delivery, think like a reporter, and know what questions the media will ask. You’ll also learn the differences between doing an on-camera interview and speaking to a group (on-camera or in person).

About the Speaker: Sara Miles is the public information officer for the 20th Judicial Circuit in Southwest Florida and president-elect for the Florida Court Public Information Officers Association.

Core Competencies: Media Relations

3. Speechwriting 101: It’s Not What You Want to Say. It’s What They Need to Hear.
Alaska Room
From a televised State of the Judiciary address to a Kiwanis Club keynote, public speaking is a great way to help judges connect with the public. You’ll learn speechwriting dos and don’ts for every client and every audience.

About the Speaker: Christine Bertelson is the public information officer for the St. Louis County Circuit Court. She’s a member of the Supreme Court of Missouri’s Civic Education Committee and the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness. She was a journalist until 2009, when she went to work for Missouri Gov. Jeremiah “Jay” Nixon as chief speechwriter, communications director and senior policy advisor.
Core Competencies: Education, Community Outreach, Legislative/Governmental Relations

4. Video Production Basics

Oregon Room
This session will show you how to use video as an effective tool to connect with your audiences and create high-quality content for judges, court staff and the legal community. With the rapid evolution of technology, smartphones and tablets now are being used to produce television shows, educational videos and social media content. These powerful mobile devices are user-friendly and easy to transform into high-definition video production systems for as little as $200.

About the Speaker: Cary Casola is the executive producer and founder of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts’ Video Production Services. He leads a small team of video production specialists who create news, informational and professional development videos for judges, judiciary employees and the public. They send camera teams around the nation using equipment ranging from expensive broadcast-quality cameras to simple iPhone video rigs to tell the judiciary’s story.

Core Competencies: Education, Community Outreach, Internal Communications

2:45-2:50 p.m. Relocate to Breakout Session Two

2:50-4 p.m. ~ Breakout Session Two: Choose a second option from same four topics

4-4:15 p.m. ~ Break

4:15-5:30 p.m. ~ Newsletter & Publications Roundtable
Oregon Room
CCPIO members will share their tips for producing a newsletter for your court, focusing on content, tech tools and budget.

About the Speakers:

Chris Bonjean is the director of communications for the Illinois Supreme Court. He implemented the first newsletter for the Illinois Judicial Branch and created a daily summary of court news called the Media Monitor. He previously served as director of communications at the Illinois State Bar Association and as an editor at the Chicago Sun-Times.

Julie Van Hook is the management analyst II for the Communications and Public Affairs division for San Bernardino Superior Court. She manages the court’s Twitter account and

coordinates all communication activities for internal and external publications, including a new weekly internal newsletter, a quarterly publication and the annual State of the Court report.

Core Competencies: Publications, Internal Communications

6:30 p.m. ~ Evening Dine-Around
Gather in the hotel lobby at 6:30 p.m. to join your CCPIO colleagues for dinner at nearby restaurants.

Tuesday, July 31

6-8:30 a.m. ~ Breakfast Buffet
Multnomah Grille, Hotel
Use a voucher to have breakfast at your convenience in the hotel.

8:30-10 a.m. ~ Public Relations & Communications Planning
Find out how to use practical, project-based advice from a roundtable of your CCPIO colleagues to create a public relations and communications plan, including how to approach small-scale plans for events or projects and what to do if your court has limited communications resources.

About the Speaker: Craig Waters is an attorney and the director of the Public Information Office at the Florida Supreme Court. As the founding president and current executive director of the Florida Court Public Information Officers, he serves as the statewide liaison under Florida’s Court Communications Plan, which was adopted in 2015 by the Florida Supreme Court.

Panelists: Geoff Fattah, Tricia Knox, Krisanne LoGalbo and Rhonda Stearley-Hebert

Core Competencies: Media Relations, Fostering Positive Court-Press Relations, Education

10-10:30 a.m. ~ Break

10:30-11:30 a.m. ~ Using Social Media to Engage & Activate the Community
You’ll get practical advice from a leading digital strategy expert and a seasoned communications pro on using social media to engage your key audiences and spur them to take action that will help you meet your communication goals.

About the Speakers: Lauren King is a social media and digital communications expert based in Portland, where she is currently a communications associate at Brink Communications. Brink is a local agency focused on positive community change. She creates social media strategies and content for clients in industries such as health care, environmental sustainability and public transportation.

Leslie Carlson is an idea-generating machine, constantly developing creative angles and opportunities. As the resident strategic lead and ultimate dot-connector at Brink Communications in Portland, Leslie has combined her passion for social justice with her political experience to tap into the collective consciousness.

Core Competencies: Community Outreach, Education

11:30-12:50 p.m. ~ Lunch & CCPIO Annual Business Meeting

12:50-1 p.m. ~ Break

1-2 p.m. ~ Crisis Communications & the Courts
A panel of CCPIO members will provide first-person accounts of difficult public relations situations affecting their courts and share lessons learned when attempting to restore public confidence in the courts.

Crisis #1: Former Lee County Judge Jay B. Rosman was one of six men who found themselves embroiled in a prostitution sting. Sara Miles will talk about handling the fallout when Rosman resigned in February after being charged with soliciting a prostitute and resisting arrest in Naples, Fla.

About the Speaker: Sara Miles is the public information officer for the 20th Judicial Circuit in Southwest Florida. She currently serves as president-elect for the Florida Court Public Information Officers Association.

Crisis #2: As elected officials, all judges and justices in Ohio are independent agents when it comes to public relations. Ed Miller will discuss PIO procedures in Ohio when a crisis involves independent members of the judiciary. In the past year in Ohio, a county judge was the victim of an ambush shooting, a judge jailed a defense attorney for wearing a hot-issue political button, and a justice garnered national attention and caused a rules crisis by calling a news conference to outline his goals as a gubernatorial candidate – without formally filing for the office.

About the Speaker: Edward K. Miller is the director of public information for the Supreme Court of Ohio, overseeing a 14-member staff that supports the public understanding of the Court and the Ohio court system and informs the legal and judicial communities of current news and information.

Crisis #3: Steve Davis will talk about Judge Edward Jacobson and his ghost-written rulings.

About the Speaker: Steve Davis is the Judicial Branch communications director for the Iowa Supreme Court and is responsible for media relations, internal communications, public information and outreach. Before joining the courts, Steve worked in the non-profit world and as a journalist.

Core competencies: Crisis Communication, Combating Negative Press, Legislative/

Governmental Relations,

2-3:05 p.m. ~ Communications During a Natural Disaster
Learn how to communicate when it really matters – before, during and after natural disasters. Communication is a challenge in our workplaces at the best of times, but during a hurricane, mudslide or wildfire, when basic infrastructure and communication tools can be dramatically impacted, the challenges can be overwhelming. This session will provide straightforward tips on how to communicate in the worst of situations.

About the Speakers: Melissa Muir is currently the human resources manager for Seattle Municipal Court. She is also president of the Northwest Chapter of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals. Melissa has provided training in crisis communications and workplace violence awareness and prevention.

Karen Dalton is public affairs officer for the San Diego Superior Court. She previously was public information officer for the City of San Diego’s Fire-Paramedic Program. She has coordinated court communication efforts during major California wildfires and a regional power grid failure.

Ryan Ike is the external affairs director for the Federal Emergency Management Agency Region X office. His develops communications strategies to engage and inform agency stakeholders in the 271 federally recognized tribal nations and the states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Ryan is also certified to lead all federal interagency communications during a major disaster response operation.

Core competencies: Crisis Communications, Internal Communications, Social Media

3:15-3:45 p.m. ~ Transit to Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse for the District of Oregon
Depart the hotel lobby promptly at 3:15 p.m. to walk as a group to the TriMet transit service.

3:45-4 p.m. ~ Clear Security & Assemble for Tour at Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse
1000 SW 3rd Ave., Downtown Portland

4-4:30 p.m. ~ Guided Tour of Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse
Lobby, Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse
Tour one of Portland’s tallest buildings, which visitors have given 5 stars on Yelp!

4:30-5:30 p.m. ~ Face-to-Face Listserv: CCPIO Sharing Session
Courtroom 9, Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse
This annual session is always a great opportunity to get firsthand insights and great ideas from your CCPIO colleagues. Come prepared to ask questions, discuss problems and seek advice from your peers.

5:30-7 p.m. ~ Reception
16th floor balcony or lobby (depending on the weather), Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse

Wednesday, August 1

6-8:30 a.m. ~ Breakfast Buffet
Multnomah Grille, Hotel
Use a voucher to have breakfast at your convenience in the hotel.   

8:30 to 9:45 a.m. ~ Using Data, Visuals & Infographics to Tell a Story: Trends, Tips & Tools
Oregon Room
You’ll come away with tips and tools for effectively telling court stories.

About the Speaker: Lynne Palombo of the State of Oregon Law Library is a librarian and longtime journalist. She worked alongside reporters and editors at Oregon’s largest newspaper and online media outlet, the Oregonian/OregonLive, to research, develop, illustrate and share stories and make data more compelling and understandable for readers.

Core competencies: Media Relations, Generating Publicity, Fostering Positive Court-Press Relations

9:45-10:30 a.m. ~ National Girls Initiative & Judicial Responses to Girls’ Needs
Oregon Room

This session will take a look at the communication challenges and successes involved in advancing the work of the National Crittenton Foundation and the National Girls Initiative.
NGI is committed to ensuring that when girls come into contact with the juvenile justice system, it is rare, fair and beneficial.

About the Speaker: Jeannette Pai-Espinosa is president of the National Crittenton Foundation and director of the National Girls Initiative, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice. She has more than 40 years of experience in advocacy, education, public policy, strategic communication, program development and direct service delivery.

Core Competencies: Education

10:30-10:45a.m.  ~ Break

10:45-11:45 a.m. ~ Cool Tech Tools
Oregon Room
Back by popular demand, this session will give attendees an in-depth look at the software, tools, websites and gadgets that tech gurus use to communicate on behalf of their courts.

About the Speaker: Michael Sommermeyer is the court public information officer for Nevada’s Appellate Courts and the Administrative Office of the Courts. He’s responsible for publicizing court programs, community outreach and media relations.

Core Competencies: Education, Community Outreach, Internal Communications

11:45 a.m.-noon ~ Break

Noon-1 p.m. ~ Lunch & Featured Speaker: A Conversation with Phillip Margolin: Attorney & Legal Thriller Author
Oregon Room
Portland resident, lawyer and best-selling fiction writer Phillip Margolin will discuss the intersection of writing, law and the courts. He is the author of more than 20 legal thrillers and several short stories, all of which incorporate some aspect of the courts and law. Margolin will discuss how his legal career informs his writing and the different ways he uses courtroom drama to build suspense. Q & A session to follow.

About the Speaker: From 1972 to 1996, Margolin was in private practice specializing in criminal defense at the trial and appellate levels. He has appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Ninth U.S. Court of Appeals, the Oregon Supreme Court and the Oregon Court of Appeals. His criminal cases included approximately 30 clients charged with homicide, several of whom faced the death penalty. He published his first book, “Heartstone,” in 1978; shifted to full-time writing in 1996; and has published two dozen bestsellers.

 Core Competencies: Community Outreach, Education, Publications

1-1:15 p.m. ~ Break & Book Signing with Phillip Margolin
Oregon Room
If you buy one of Phillip Margolin’s books in advance, he will be happy to sign it for you.

1:15-2:15 p.m. ~ How Brand Strategy Can Help Improve Support for the Judicial Branch
Learn how to translate marketing thinking and strategies into effective communication for the courts.

About the Speaker: Communications and branding expert Lee Weinstein is the founder of Weinstein PR in Portland. He is a former Nike public relations leader who has worked with a wide range of clients and held senior communication roles with top elected officials in Oregon, including a governor and U.S. senator.

Core Competencies: Education, Fostering Positive Court-Press Relations, Generating Publicity

2:15-2:30 p.m. Closing Remarks & Announcement of 2019 CCPIO Annual Meeting Location


Published By
Michael S. Sommermeyer

Michael S. Sommermeyer serves as the Court Public Information Officer for Nevada’s Appellate Courts and the Nevada Administrative Office of the Courts.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar