The balancing act: Purpose, politics and polarization

Thursday, April 4, 2024

6 p.m. 7:30 p.m. PT

Wallis Annenberg Hall (ANN), Auditorium and forum

The 34th Kenneth Owler Smith Symposium, USC Annenberg’s annual overview of the public relations industry, is scheduled for April 4, from 6 – 7:30 p.m. This year’s theme is “Purpose vs. Polarization,” a discussion about the evolution of corporate reputation and how polarization is impacting how communicators engages with various audiences. The program will feature corporate leaders from companies and agencies whose work is making a positive impact on their brands and society. 

This program includes:

  • KeJuan Wilkins, chief communications officer and executive vice present, NIKE
  • Fred Cook, director of the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations and chairman emeritus at Golin, sharing results of USC’s 9th annual Global Communication Report
  • A panel discussion about how purpose and polarization are colliding to make managing a corporate reputation more challenging than ever before, with members of the USC Center for PR Board of Advisors and other panelists. See below for details. 

The event will begin promptly at 6 p.m., followed by a Q&A session. A hosted reception for USC Annenberg students and alumni, and PRSA and IABC guests will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Annenberg Forum. RSVP will be required. Food and beverages will be provided. 

As with previous years, the Center for PR will reserve auditorium seats for PR and journalism classes interested in attending. Please reach out to Ron Antonette at