Schedule and speakers are subject to change. All events are at the hotel unless noted otherwise.

Wednesday, June 5

8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

8:30–11:30 a.m.
Emergency Communications Tabletop
The fertilizer hits the ventilator; media shows up on the scene, and your incident commander points them in your direction. Are you prepared for what’s about to happen next? Emergencies happen, and we must do our part as public information officers to make sure that our community has the right information, at the right time, so they can make the right decision. In this session, we will discuss fundamental elements in preparing as a PIO for an emergency, and then put those principles into practice in a tabletop exercise that will run from the start of activation through the first press conference. It is recommended that participants taking IS-29: Public Information Officer Awareness before attending this class.
Speaker: Joshua Lee, Director of Communications, City of Pearland

Creating Social Media Reports Leadership Can Understand
After years of managing social media for an international NGO and now her social media agency, October Social Media, where she works with local, state and federal government agencies, Sabrina Merritt is ready to pass on her social media reporting tips and tricks for more effective reporting. This hands-on interactive workshop features individual and group learning that will help you upgrade your current social media reports. Whether you put your report together manually or use social media software there is something for everyone.
Speaker: Sabrina Merritt, Founder + CEO, October Social Media

Exploring Innovation: A Tour of San Antonio’s State-of-the-Art PEG Studio
Join us for an exclusive tour of San Antonio’s cutting-edge Public, Education, and Government (PEG) studio, showcasing innovative approaches to maximizing community PEG dollars and space utilization. Led by industry experts, attendees will witness firsthand the creative strategies employed to produce high-quality programming, engage audiences, and amplify community voices. From dynamic studio setups to inventive production techniques, this tour promises insights and inspiration for optimizing your own community’s PEG resources. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore the forefront of PEG studio innovation in the vibrant city of San Antonio! (This will entail a 15 minute walk from the hotel.)
Tour Guide: David McElroy, TVSA Manager|TATOA President, City of San Antonio

1:00–1:30 p.m.
Jay Warren, CPC, Director of Communication & Legislative Affairs, City of Arlington and Ron Nirenberg, Mayor of San Antonio

1:30–2:30 p.m.
Opening Keynote
Texas from a Thousand Feet Up
Jay B. Sauceda will share the story of his six-day trip around the entire Texas border in which he piloted and photographed from a small plane. He’ll share the lessons he learned from thousands of feet above Texas and what he learned draws all Texans together across our great state.
Speaker: Jay B. Sauceda, Host, Texas Country Reporter
Keynote sponsored by Granicus

Concurrent Sessions

2:40–3:40 p.m.
AI 60 in 60: The Ultimate Efficiency Hack
Overwhelmed on where to start with AI? Get set to turn the routine into remarkable! This session is your gateway to leveraging artificial intelligence to tackle your endless to-do list and elevate your content. Enter the world of AI-enhanced efficiency and never look back at the old ways of working. You’ll receive take-home tips and new insight on how AI can super-charge your work.  
Speaker: Sara Bustilloz, CPC, Director of Communications & Marketing, City of Round Rock

Bringing the Pop into Government Culture
We’re in our local government comms era! Are you ready for it…? Join us as we explore how local governments can draw inspiration from pop culture icons to create compelling, educational, and relatable social media content. This session will inject fresh, pop-infused energy into your social media strategy, leaving you with creative ideas to redefine public service and engage with your community like never before. If you’re thinking, “My agency would never allow this,” stay with us! Not only are we sharing tons of pop culture inspiration from across the state, but we’ll show you how to build trust with your leadership and get them on board. Get ready to say “Bye, Bye, Bye” to lackluster content and “Hello, It’s Me…” to a brand-new strategy.
Moderator: Molly Fox, CPC, Director of Communications, City of Bedford
Panelists: Abby Aldrich, CPC, Content Manager, City of Bedford and Meredith Haynes, Digital Communications Manager, City of McKinney

Internal Communications & Engagement
A good internal communications and engagement strategy is important in not only making sure you have a clear and consistent message with your community and within your own organization, but it can also help ensure you have a strong working relationship with your internal teams. In this session, we’ll dive into some examples of internal communications methods that could be effective within your own organization. We’ll also offer some engagement ideas to help encourage more internal collaboration and help boost morale.
Moderator: Jarrod Wise, CPC, Communications Director, City of Lakeway
Speakers: Shannah Hayley, CPSM, Director of Communications & Community Outreach, City of Plano; Kelli Lewis, Marketing Director, City of Carrollton; and Todd Rice, Communications & Media Relations Manager, City of Prosper

3:40–4:10 p.m.
Networking Break with Sponsors

Concurrent Sessions

4:10–5:10 p.m.
What’s the Big Idea? How to Imagine, Develop and Execute Innovative Projects
Feeling inspired by all the tremendous communications projects on display during the annual conference?  Don’t know where to begin implementing new ideas in your community?  In this session, recent TAMI award finalists in our new Innovation category will share brainstorming and idea generation tips and tricks as well as how to pull inspiration from other communities.  You will leave armed to bring new, exciting communications opportunities to your communities.  
Moderator: Richard Yeakley, Public Information Officer, City of Longview
Panelists: Megan Nelson, CPC, Communications & Community Engagement Director, City of Canyon; Bailey Ragsdale, Marketing & Communications Specialist, City of Murphy; and JeremyThomas, Communication Coordinator & Community Outreach Specialist, City of Arlington

Websites – Keep it Fresh
This session will discuss best practices for keeping your website content updated, clean, and current. We will discuss writing tips to share with staff and anyone else in the organization responsible for editing website content. We will also share and explore simple steps to take to ensure departments are removing old/dated documents, how to keep photos fresh, and more.
Panelists: Alex Hartman, Digital Strategies Coordinator, City of New Braunfels and Molly Fox, CPC, Director of Communications, City of Bedford and Isaac Vasquez, Communications Manager, City of Irving

How Your TMRS Benefits Work
TMRS (Texas Municipal Retirement System) Members are invited to join TMRS staff for a breakout session that will cover retirement benefits. Topics will include vesting and retirement eligibility, benefit payment options, and the retirement application process. Staff will also provide an overview of  TMRS’ Education Team’s services and other resources for Members and participating cities. 
Panelists: Marin Emma, Regional Education Manager, Texas Municipal Retirement System (TMRS)

5:15–6:45 p.m.
Happy Hour Mixer
Drinks sponsored by 3CMA
Appetizers sponsored by Digital Resources

6:45 p.m.
TAMIO Region Restaurant Night

9:00–10:00 p.m.
Which TAMIO Region will reign supreme?  With the 2024 Olympics set to begin in Paris later this summer, TAMIO invites you to participate in a series of competitive events for fame and bragging rights. Planned competitions include both work-related and non-work-related challenges.  Those not interested in participating are welcome to come and cheer on their Region to glory! 

Thursday, June 6

7:30–4:30 p.m.

8:00–9:30 a.m.
Breakfast and Ask the Experts
“Ask the Experts” offers a rare chance to tap into the wisdom of TAMIO all-stars with years of experience. Join this dynamic panel discussion to glean insights, strategies, and practical advice from seasoned leaders in municipal communication. Get ready to ask your burning questions and leave inspired with actionable takeaways for effective public sector communication.
Moderator: Jay Warren, CPC, Director of Communications & Legislative Affairs, City of Arlington
Panelists: TAMIO Past Presidents – Will Hampton, James Kunke, CPC, Jay Socol and Belinda Willis, CPC

Breakfast sponsored by CPC (Certified Public Communicator Program)

9:30–10:30 a.m.
Morning Keynote
Intentional Enthusiasm: Igniting Change Through Entertainment
You can’t always feel enthusiasm, but you can act enthusiastic – and when you do the results are bountiful! Sonny takes you on a journey of his remarkable career in the world of radio, TV, and beyond sharing the Three Pillars of Intentional Enthusiasm – Vision, Belief, and Gratitude – and how you thrive personally and professionally when all three are fired up together. Discover how these key principles can also elevate the impact of entertainment and public service, creating meaningful change and community enrichment.
Speaker: Sonny Melendrez, TEDx Keynote Speaker | Radio Host | Media Consultant, Sonny Melendrez Communications
Sponsored by FlashVote

10:30–11:15 a.m.
Networking Break with Sponsors

Concurrent Sessions

11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Communication Tools on a Budget
Whether you’re a department of one or a big city shop, everyone needs to be able to do more with less. Join our panel of innovative communicators who have found all kinds of apps, toys, and tools – ranging from FREE to 500 bucks – that help lighten their workload while still making communications magic.  
Moderator: Brian Ligon, CPC, Communications & Marketing Director, City of Mont Belvieu
Panelists: Emily Agans, Communication & Media Manager, City of Denison; Jarvis Green, Digital Media Specialist, City of Brownwood; and Abby King, Communications Specialist, City of Mont Belvieu

Stress, Fatigue and Burnout
Our profession is one of the most stressful jobs available. In recent history, the combination of the rapid evolution of technology, the proliferation of misinformation, deteriorating trust, and the additional strain created by the COVID-19 pandemic have only added to the potential for stress, fatigue, and ultimately burnout. We are expected to maintain effective communication while experiencing an environment of potentially persistent and severe stress. To meet these expectations, we need a framework to mitigate stress and build a more sustainable career. In this session, you will learn about stress-inducing challenges, the potential impact they can have, and what we can do about them.
Speaker: Joshua Lee, Director of Communications, City of Pearland

The Power of Creativity in the Role of the PIO
Learn the value of being creative, how to package information in a creative, relevant way from one of the godfathers of Hispanic advertising, Al Aguilar. Find inspiration whether you are absolutely new to the role or a more seasoned veteran. Find value and walk away with fundamental tools and tips to be creative in new, compelling, fresh and interesting approaches to delivering the same municipal message.  Finally, as Texas represents the changing face of America, learn how to reach the growing Hispanic audience with targeted messaging  and how to be creative no matter what language or who you are talking to.
Moderator: Xochitl Mora, Director of Communications, City of McAllen
Speaker: Al Aguilar, CEO & Chief Creative Officer, Creative Civilization

Small Shops Track: PIO 101
Whether you’re building a new communications department from scratch, trying to grow your bandwidth, or are simply new to the job or your community, we’re here to help. Learn how to assess your community’s communication needs, build relationships with key stakeholders, gather and organize your assets, streamline your processes, and develop a strategic plan to move forward.
Moderator: Rachel Reynolds, CPC, Communications & Public Engagement Manager, City of Keller
Panelists: Jill Lind, CPC, Director of Communications & Marketing, Town of Trophy Club; LeaAnn Peterson, CPC, CPM, Director of Communications, The Woodlands Township; and Daniel Seguin, CPC, Director of Communications and Tourism, City of Jacksonville

12:15–1:30 p.m.
Lunch and Business Meeting
Lunch sponsored by Social News Desk

1:30–2:30 p.m.
Lunch Keynote
Adapting Employee Communication Strategies: Fostering a Culture of Engagement and Connectivity
Whataburger is an iconic Texas-based regional burger company with more than 1,000 restaurants, 51,000 employees and a superfan following. Over its 74-year history, it has built an award-winning culture among its consumers and employees (which Whataburger calls “Family Members). Like many companies expanding while adapting to a fast-moving digital environment, Whataburger was challenged with maintaining the culture and connection with its 50,000 frontline Family Members. In 2023, Whataburger launched its first-ever mobile app – called WhataLIFE – which allowed the company to begin communicating directly with hourly workers. The result: increased retention, powerful engagement and an open channel for employee feedback from the field. Vice President of Marketing and Communication Donna Tuttle will take you through the company’s journey to build and grow the WhataLIFE app and share tips and tools for other organizations looking to better connect with their employees.
Moderator: Jay Warren, CPC, Director of Communications & Legislative Affairs, City of Arlington
Speaker: Donna Tuttle, Vice President, Brand Marketing and Communications, Whataburger

Sponsored by Tripepi Smith

Concurrent Sessions

2:30–3:30 p.m.
Canva 201
You know how to do shapes, fonts, and colors… But you want more! How to give other people access to create without ruining brand standards. How to create consistency without hindering creativity. How to increase the quality and quantity of output without increasing workload. This session will teach you a few of the more advanced features available in Canva, demonstrate a team structure, and walk through the process of establishing brands.  
Speaker: Kathleen Paid, Communications Specialist, City of Pearland

Communicating in the Age of Outrage
There’s no denying that government communicators are facing an increasingly hostile environment. In this session, the panel will explore the challenges jurisdictions face. Discussions will cover the impact of geopolitics on local dynamics and the rise of social media influencers using your brand resources to increase their social reach. The panel will also address the critical importance of providing quality public information while managing your team’s mental and emotional health. This is a session filled with practical solutions and strategic perspectives, equipping you with new tools and fresh insight.
Moderator: Shannah Hayley, CPSM, Director of Communications & Community Outreach, City of Plano
Panelists: Jonathan Gurwitz, Partner, KGBTexas Communications and David Lesch, Ph.D., Professor of History, Trinity University

From Vision to Visibility: Navigating Municipal Branding Challenges
Join us for an enlightening seminar panel as we delve into the intricate world of municipal branding, including launching a new brand or strengthening your existing brand. From the strategic use of logos to the meticulous selection of colors and symbols, discover how municipalities can create a consistent and cohesive brand experience for residents and visitors alike. Delve into three case studies showcasing successful municipal branding campaigns and learn from the challenges they overcame to help them to stand out
Moderator: Christopher Shadrock, Communications Director, City of Boerne
Speaker: Melanie Morales, Creative Services Manager, City of San Antonio and Jenna Vinson, CPC, MBA, Director of Communications & Community Engagement, City of New Braunfels

Small Shops Track: Social Media
How do you effectively manage your social media accounts and engage with your online community when you have a mile-long to-do list? This session is focused on managing a content calendar, creating engaging content, deciding which platforms to tackle, moderating comments and more – all as a small shop.
Moderator: Rachel Reynolds, CPC, Communications & Public Engagement Manager, City of Keller
Panelists: Mikaela Hall, Communications Manager, City of Alvarado and Frances La Rue, Public Affairs Manager, City of Anna

3:30–4:00 p.m.
Networking Break with Sponsors

Concurrent Sessions

4:00–5:00 p.m.
Beyond the Boost: Strategies and Tactics for Effective Government Advertising
In this session, we’ll discuss the art of crafting a successful promotional plan for your next upcoming program or event.  With some new tips and tricks and a little bit of preparation, you will have staff well organized, in agreement and tasks delegated before your first ad hits the airwaves. We will also explore some cutting-edge advertising techniques and technology, explain how they work and how you can up your advertising game up in an ever changing digital world.
Speaker: Jonathan Logue, Communications Manager, City of Plano

Elevate Your Presentations
It’s time to invest in your professional presentation skill set. This session will share the do’s and don’ts for presentations including font selection, text limits, and more. Do you know what the 6 X 6 rule is? We’ll talk about that. We’ll also explore how to incorporate photos, visuals, and other media. And of course—practice makes perfect, but how should you practice? This is information you will definitely want to take back to your organization’s leadership!
Speaker: Isaac Vasquez, Communications Manager, City of Irving
Presentation Part 1 | Presentation Part 2 | Presentation Part 3

1st Amendment Activists 101 – Where Boundaries Can Be Pushed and What To Do About It
If you haven’t experienced them first-hand, then you’ve likely seen them on YouTube or social media. They are 1st Amendment activists, a group of confrontational individuals looking for sensational encounters with government officials or law enforcement officers. They do it for the purpose of provoking a reaction to test the boundaries of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. This session will provide an overview of their tactics, methods to meet the madness, and an overview of what you, and they, can, and can’t, do. 
Moderator: Greg Sowell, MBA, CPC, Director of Communications, City of Richardson
Speaker: Tommy Davis, Richardson Police Department Officer, City of Richardson

Small Shops Track: Graphic Design and Video
A small staff and tight budget don’t have to keep you from creating rich content, but we know graphic design and video production can be intimidating! This session will offer a crash course in Canva, plus video training for novices tackling A/V content for the first time, loaded with time- and budget-friendly tips and tricks from award-winning creators.
Moderator: Rachel Reynolds, CPC, Communications & Public Engagement Manager, City of Keller
Panelists: Anndrea Harris, Owner & Creative Director, Whooann Creative Studio; and Brian Ligon, CPC, Director of Communications & Marketing for the City of Mont Belvieu

6:00–7:00 p.m.
TAMI Awards Happy Hour
Sponosored by PublicInput

7:00–9:30 p.m.
TAMI Awards Banquet and Awards Presentation
Banquet sponsor – Cooksey Communications
TAMI Award Submission Program sponsor – Citibot

9:45 p.m. (ish)
TAMIO After Hours – Trivia Night

Friday, June 7

7:30–9:30 a.m.

8:00–9:00 a.m.
Breakfast and TAMIO Family Feud
Breakfast sponsored by Telephone Town Hall Meeting

9:00–10:00 a.m.
Morning Keynote
Trend Watching and Tripwires – Where We Are and Where We’re Going
Panelists will provide insights of recent state and national research looking at the rapid advancements of workplace dynamics and AI. Discussion topics will include emerging trends, challenges, and other impacts shaping the future of our industry.
Moderator: Greg Sowell, MBA, CPC, Director of Communications, City of Richardson
Panelists: Tom Bryson, CPC, Public Sector Practice Vice President, Cooksey Communications; Jacque Lambiase, Ph.D, Executive Director, TCU’s Certified Communicator Program, Dorothy White, CPC, Assistant Vice President & Account Manager, Cooksey Communications
Sponsored by Slate Communications

10:15–11:30 a.m.
Closing Keynote – A Conversation with Julian Castro
Julian Castro is not just a seasoned leader; he’s a trendsetter who has experienced communications at multiple levels – city, federal, public, and private. As the former Mayor of San Antonio, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and presidential candidate, Castro has been a driving force behind groundbreaking initiatives in education, technology, and safe, affordable housing. Join us for an engaging sit-down discussion with TAMIO President Jay Warren to explore Castro’s pioneering approaches and innovative partnerships that have propelled him to the forefront of leadership and communication. The session will conclude with a 20-minute Q&A, offering attendees the opportunity to gain valuable insights from this influential trendsetter in the public sector.
Moderator: Jay Warren, CPC, Director of Communication & Legislative Affairs, City of Arlington
Speaker: Julian Castro, former Secretary of Housing & Urban Development and Mayor of San Antonio, Texas
Sponsored by Nelco Media

11:30 a.m.
Closing Remarks

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