Social Media Summit

2023 Social Media Summit

The theme of the forum this year will be Empowering Government for the Digital Future and will focus on best practices around social media including AI and Chat GPT.

For questions, contact

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) is Central Ohio’s voice. As a regional council with more than 80 local governments and community partners, we provide nonpartisan data analysis, community resources and long-range planning. Together, we drive the future prosperity and sustainability of the Central Ohio region.

9:00 a.m.Welcome & Greetings

William Murdock, Executive Director, MORPC

Eileen Leuby, Membership Services Officer, MORPC 


9:05 a.m. – Overview of the Day

Níel Jurist, APR, Senior Director of Communications & Engagement, MORPC


9:15 a.m.Breakout Sessions Round I

  • Introduction to AI: Cathy McPhillips, Chief Growth Officer, Marketing AI Institute  
  • Best Practices in Social Media: Elspeth Paige-Sack, CEO, Hunter Marketing 
  • How Local Governments Can Integrate Chat GPT Into Their Communication Strategies: Mayor Tom Johnson, Village of Somerset and Trace Johnson

10:30 a.m.  – Break 


10:45 a.m.Breakout Sessions Round II

  • Introduction to AI: Cathy McPhillips, Chief Growth Officer, Marketing AI Institute  
  • Best Practices in Social Media: Elspeth Paige-Sack, CEO, Hunter Marketing 
  • How Local Governments Can Integrate Chat GPT Into Their Communication Strategies: Mayor Tom Johnson, Village of Somerset and Trace Johnson 

11:45 a.m. – Food Trucks and Networking 


12:45 p.m.  – Panel Discussion

Moderator: Niel Jurist, APR, Senior Director of Communications & Engagement, MORPC


  • Cathy McPhillips, Chief Growth Officer, Marketing AI Institute
  • Elspeth Paige-Sack, CEO, Hunter Marketing
  • Tom Johnson, Mayor, Village of Somerset
  • Trace Johnson

1:15 p.m.Recap and What’s on the Horizon

Niel Jurist, APR, MORPC Senior Director of Communications & Engagement 


1:30 p.m. Summit Concludes 


Featured Presenters

Níel Jurist, APR

Senior Director Communications & Engagement, MORPC

Níel Jurist is the senior director of MORPC’s Communications & Engagement Department. In this role, she serves as the agency’s chief communications officer and oversees the agency’s public information, engagement, diversity & inclusion, membership, and events programming.

Níel’s career spans nearly 20 years of experience in marketing, public relations, DE&I, and communications. Prior to MORPC, she served as the spokesperson for the mayor’s office and public information manager for the police department for the City of Gahanna. Much of Níel’s career has been devoted to public service, where she held similar positions at the Ohio Treasurer of State’s Office and the Ohio Senate. In addition to her tenure in government, she also held similar positions at the YMCA of Central Ohio, Franklin County Children Services, and served as the assistant director of diversity and inclusion for the United Way in Central Ohio.

Níel received her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Ashland University and is also a proud graduate of The Ohio State University, with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. She holds an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), as well as certifications in crisis communication, media training, measurement and analysis, and risk reputation management.

Tom Johnson

Mayor, Village of Somerset

After retiring from a career in international banking, Mayor Thomas Johnson returned to his roots and has helped to drive investment to Perry County and Ohio’s Appalachian region. Since his election in 2009, Somerset has received more than $15 million in public and private grants, impacting civic infrastructure, economic development, arts and culture programming, and historic and nature preservation. In addition to serving as mayor, he is also an Executive in Residence Emeritus at Ohio University, where he has helped the university more intentionally focus its attention on addressing the disparities that exist between Appalachian Ohio and the rest of the state and nation. He currently serves as a board member of the Ohio Arts Council, the Greater Ohio Policy Center and as co-chair of the Perry County Access to Healthcare Working Group. He previously served as chairman of the board for Hocking Technical College and has been appointed to the Association of Ohio Commodores.

Trace Johnson

Mr. Trace Johnson is an inventor, born and raised in Newark, Ohio where he currently resides. At the age of 13, Trace was homeschooled, during which time he worked a job framing houses across Licking County. Having learned construction principles and how to read plans, he decided to pursue a career in architecture. 

Shortly after, Trace began working in the food and beverage sector when he started an internship at a Kroger dairy plant where his father was a cheese maker for 45 years. It was this time in the manufacturing environment that spurred the creation of his early inventions. 

Since then, Trace’s work has expanded, and so has the scope. Trace’s Ohio Companies are net exporters of goods in the technology sector. This includes his prized Blueway Water Recycling Systems and Sensor Array product lines, which help companies in the food, beverage, pharmaceutical, and energy sectors save millions of gallons of water per year.

Outside of professional ventures, Trace serves on the boards of several community organizations. He has a special interest in preserving history, where he continues to use those early architecture skills, and in advancing non-traditional forms of education for technical skills. He and his fiancée Hannah are currently restoring a family home in Newark where they will be married in September.

He is honored to have been appointed to the Executive Order of the Ohio Commodores and offers his efforts toward the economic growth of his community, the State, and the greater prosperity of its citizens. 

Cathy McPhillips

Chief Growth Officer, Marketing AI Institute

Cathy McPhillips is Chief Growth Officer at the Marketing AI Institute, overseeing marketing, growth, and customer experience, including MAICON and AI Academy for Marketers. Previously, Cathy led marketing at Content Marketing Institute and Content Marketing World, managed community growth for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, and owned her own strategic digital marketing business focused on restaurants and the service sector. She started her career at two Cleveland advertising agencies. Cathy was a Ohio University Jerry L. Sloan Visiting Professional in Public Relations, is a Folio: Top Women in Media, and a MarTechExec Woman You Need to Know in Martech.

Elspeth “Elle” Paige-Sack

CEO, Hunter Marketing

With ample experience in marketing, sales and engagement roles at the Director level, Elle is a dynamic leader with an award-winning track record of consistently exceeding strategic goals. She brings an entrepreneurial attitude and creative, resourceful and data-driven lens to both traditional advertising and new media. Elle loves training and leading diverse teams in innovative marketing solutions. Elle and her husband, Jeff, are proud parents of a baby girl and two Jack Russell Terriers.

Food Trucks On Site


Mexican Street Food

Explorers Club

Eclectic, Comfort Food, Latin American

Red Head Chef

Greek, Burgers, Cheesesteaks

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