After Zagreb, Belgrade, Dubai, Prague, Moscow, Baku and Almaty, the Corporate Communications Experience is finally coming to Sofia from 28 February – 1 March 2013.

Featuring presentations by some of the world’s biggest PR experts, the Sofia Corporate Communications Experience will enable you to create a cutting edge PR and communications strategy in times of economic certainty and recession.

The Corporate Communications Experience in the past two years has become Europe’s most talked about communications event. First held in Belgrade in March 2010, as of today, the event has been visited by over 2000 delegates in five different countries. 

For our Bulgarian edition we have gathered a speaker panel whose work is changing the global PR world.

Colleen Harris

Official SpokespersonWiliam and Kate'Royal Wedding

With more than 25 years’ experience ranging from the British Royal Household, via Downing Street, to international NGOs, Colleen Harris has a strong track record of working in high-profile media and communications roles. This professional experience is complemented by a broad portfolio of trusteeships and non-executive director roles in the arts, education and health. Colleen held a senior communications position in the Prime Minister’s Office before being appointed Press Secretary to HRH the Prince of Wales, and was the first Black member of the Royal Household. She handled the media for The Prince of Wales during some of the most turbulent years, and also media-managed the emergence of Princes William and Harry into the public eye. Her career has included senior posts in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office, and the Cabinet Office as well as in non-departmental Public Bodies. She has worked in Britain and abroad as a consultant with private companies, non-profit organisations and UN agencies, including the World Health Organisation. Colleen’s work in a wide variety of contexts has taught her about managing individual reputations, as well as how to use brand-development techniques to help clients identify and take full advantage of their strengths and skills – equipping them to define their own public profiles, and achieve personal and business success. Colleen’s board-level and executive experience has given her a good appreciation of how to inspire and lead teams, as well as insight into the qualities that CEOs and boards look for in high-level executives.

Wendy Gold

Head Digital CommunicationsMicrosoft International

Mary Jo Jacobi

Former Executive VP External Relations And Communications, BP America (until June 2011) And Former Chief Reputation Officer, HSBC And Leman Brothers and the only person in the world that has worked for two US presidents, the UK Queen and the UK Prime MiniBP America, HSBC And Leman Brother

Mary Jo is formerly Executive Vice President at BP America & Gulf Coast Restoration Organization. She is also non-executive Chairman of The idm Group, a non-executive Director of Mulvaney Capital Management and Chairman of the Forensic Science Service’s independent advisory group. She also chairs the advisory board of Family Office Advisors and is an advisor to the Meyer Partnership. Previously she led reputation management and public affairs for Royal Dutch Shell, Lehman Brothers, HSBC Holdings and Drexel Burnham Lambert, and she devised and executed the award-winning global brand strategies for both Lehman and HSBC. Mary Jo was a non-executive director of Tate & Lyle plc and was the first woman to chair the Board of Directors of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. She subsequently served on the Board of the Ladies European Tour. In the public sector, in 2005 Mary Jo was appointed a Civil Service Commissioner by Queen Elizabeth II. She is also a member of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Wilton Park Advisory Council, whose supporting foundations in the US and UK she chairs. She was appointed Assistant Secretary of Commerce (Minister of State) by President George H W Bush and was Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, who also appointed her to his Advisory Committee on Trade Negotiations. Her career began in Washington on the staff of the US Senate Commerce Committee. Mary Jo is a US-UK Fulbright Commissioner, a non-executive director of the American Council on Germany, a member of the International Advisory Board of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Global Prosperity and a non-executive director the National Youth Music Theatre and Benjamin Franklin House. A Visiting Fellow of the Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation and Leeds University Business School, Mary Jo also provides commentary on American public affairs and international relations for British and European broadcast media outlets

Patrick Jephson

Former Private Secretary, Princess Diana And Author, Shadows Of A Princess

Born and raised in Ireland, Patrick has a masters degree in Political Science from Cambridge University. Commissioned into the Royal Navy, he served at sea and ashore all over the world before being selected for duty in the Royal Household. For eight years he was Equerry and the first and only Private Secretary (Chief of Staff) to HRH The Princess of Wales. He was appointed Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO) for personal service to the Sovereign.His work for Princess Diana involved daily contact with officials at all levels up to head of state. He organised Diana’s public duties and journeyed with her to destinations on five continents encountering personalities as diverse as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, President George H W Bush, Mother Teresa, Luciano Pavarotti and the Emperor of Japan. After Princess Diana’s death he took up full-time writing, his first book Shadows of a Princess becoming a New York Times bestseller. He has subsequently written widely for newspapers and magazines and contributed to leading TV programmes on both sides of the Atlantic. Brands and clients have included AirPartner, Beretta, Dubai Marketing, the European Azerbaijan Society, Ferrari, Harrods, Hawker Beechcraft, Holst Associates, Independent Decisionmakers Group, Jet Republic, Kendall Group, Luxury Marketing Council, Luxuria, Metamorphosis, PrivateFly, the UK Ministry of Defence, the Ritz, Family Office Advisors, and White Concierge.

Donald Steel

Global Crisis Expert and Former Chief Communications AdvisorBBC

Donald Steel is a specialist in reputation and issues and crisis management, and works with companies in the UK, Europe and Asia Pacific. He was until earlier this year the BBC's Chief Communications Adviser and was for 11 years the Corporation's Chief Media Spokesman. In this role, he was responsible for the management of some of the biggest media stories of the decade, from the murder of the TV presenter Jill Dando, a terrorist bomb attack on BBC's London Television Centre and the kidnapping of the BBC journalist Alan Johnston to the furore in the Arab world over the BBC and Sky TV's decision not to screen a charity appeal for the people of Gaza on impartiality grounds. He is widely regarded as an expert in the reputation and crisis communications fields and is a frequent speaker on the the topics, including at the London School of Economics. Recent and forthcoming engagements include London, Amsterdam, Prague, Madrid, Belgrade and Skopje, and he will shortly begin an extensive speaking tour of Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore and Hong Kong. The BBC Academy, Europe's largest broadcasting training facility, made him its first Associate Fellow in 2010 and he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2009. In addition to his own practice, he has just been appointed Associate Director at Johnston Associates, the UK's leading aviation PR firm, based at London Heathrow. He is also retained as a communications adviser to the BBC.

Andre Manning

Global VP External CommunicationsRoyal Philips Electronics

Andre Manning is an experienced and results oriented communications leader who has held various international communications leadership positions within Philips. During the late nineties he lived and worked in Prague, Czech Republic to build up a communications network in Central & Eastern European. In 2001 Andre moved back to Amsterdam to join the corporate media relations team and worked on financial and strategic communications. Three years later his role expanded to lead a team overseeing all communications for the Philips Netherlands organization while he also served as the Deputy Head of Philips’ global media relations team. In 2005, Andre and his family were asked to move to the United States to work in New York at the US headquarters of Philips. Within two years he successfully improved Philips’ reputation in the United States and two years later he became the global communications head of for the USD 10 billion global healthcare business, headquartered in Andover, Massachusetts. Under his leadership his team managed to improve the quality and the quantity of the healthcare communications outcome for three consecutive years. In the summer of 2009 Andre moved back to the company’s headquarters in the Netherlands to lead the network of 50 communications professionals around the globe. In his new position he is the communications advisor of the Philips Board of Management while he improved the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of the function and introduced a new PR agency, including a new PR measurement system, within the first months after his arrival.

Alan Oliver

Director External RelationsNationwide

Alan oversees Nationwide’s Policy & Public Affairs and Media Relations teams. He is responsible for formulating the organisation’s response to emerging market and regulatory issues, as well as engaging with the media to ensure they understand Nationwide’s approach and rationale towards its customers and business operations. He has held this role since 2005, and prior to this has had a long and varied career with the Society, covering a broad range of areas including the retail network, finance, internal communications and corporate responsibility.

Annemie Ress

Global HR DirectoreBay

Thierry Nicolet

Senior VP Press RelationsSchneider Electric

Thierry Nicolet has been leading the Press Relations activities of Schneider Electric for over 4 years now, covering 50 countries, and managing a 5 million euros budget. With 10 employees globally to manage a network of local Marketing Communications Managers, PR Managers and over 40 PR Agencies, he made the company's world wide impressions triple in the past 4 years. Prior to his current position, Mr. Nicolet lead the Press Relations expansion world wide for more than 5 years at APC (until its acquisition by Schneider Electric) by setting up and analysing key performance indicators, engineering global robust processes and by providing guidelines, assistance and coaching to Marketing managers and their selected PR Agencies. Mr. Nicolet has over 19 years of Marketing Communications experience after graduating in Business Administration and International Trade from European Business School Paris. Fluent in French and English and conversational in German, he entered APC as an Inside Sales Engineer and rapidly expressed an interest for Marketing Communication to become Marcom Manager for France, UK, The Nordics, Middle East and Africa. He then got involved with product marketing after which he also headed the Direct Marketing, Email Marketing and Customer Retention activity for the whole region to finally take the role of PR Director for EMEA. This wide scope of responsibilities has given him an extensive proficiency in Marcom demand drivers which he now uses to support Schneider Electric’s strategies, messages and solutions introductions.

Stephen Jolly

External Affairs And Communications DirectorCambridge University

Stephen Jolly is a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge; a Fellow of the Cambridge Judge Business School and since 2005, has been Director of External Affairs & Communications for the University of Cambridge. He was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge, the University of Sussex and the University of British Columbia, Canada, where he held both a Commonwealth Scholarship and a Killam Fellowship in the late 1980s. A former instructor at the British Defence Intelligence & Security Centre, Chicksands, he was a Visiting Fellow in Psychological Warfare at the International Centre for Security Analysis, Department of War Studies, King's College, London (1999–2002). Jolly is a member of the Cambridge University Military Education Committee and an honorary Captain in the Cambridge University Officers' Training Corps (CUOTC), whose alumni are known colloquially as Light Blue Volunteers.

Zoe White

Director, Global HR Communications and International Public RelationsHertz Corporation


Day One: Sofia Corporate Communications Experience

08.30    Registration and Morning Coffee

09.30    Chairman’s Opening Remark And Welcome Speech By The President Of BDVO

10.00    Opening Keynote Presentation
The Shift In Perception: From Princess Diana’s Death To William And Kate’s Wedding

Colleen Harris, Official Spokesperson, William And Kate’s Royal Wedding And Former Press Secretary To HRH Princes Charles, William and Harry

10.40    Social Media And PR: Using Social Media To Strengthen Your PR Activities

Wendy Gold, Head Of Digital Communications, Microsoft International

11.20    Networking And Refreshment Break   

11.50    Effectively Managing Reputation Across Digital & Social Media To Build A Positive Online Brand

Stephen Jolly, External Affairs And Communications Director, Cambridge University

12.30    Case Study From Nationwide: Crisis Management In A Social Media World
Alan Oliver, Director External Communications, Nationwide, UK

13.10    Lunch For Speakers And Delegates

14.10    People And Innovation: Successful Strategies To Boost Your Internal Communications And Employee Engagement

Annemie Ress, Former Global People And Innovation Director, eBay and Founder, Purple Beach

15.00    “Joined Up” Social Media: What Are The Winning Strategies For Effective Internal Collaboration: Hertz Case Study

Zoë White, Director, Global HR Communications and International Public Relations, The Hertz Corporation, UK

15.40    Networking And Refreshment Break

16.20    PR Measurement At Schneider Electric: Boosting Sales Through PR

Thierry Nicolet, Global VP Press Relations, Schneider Electric, France

17.00    Closing Keynote: The 5 Skills Of The Communications Professional 3.0

Andre Manning, Director, External Communications, Philips

17.40    End Of Day One

Day Two: Sofia Corporate Communications Experience

08.30    Morning Coffee

09.30    Opening Keynote Presentation
Sharing In 40 Minutes What I Learned In Nearly 40 Years In Reputation Management

Mary Jo Jacobi, Consultant, Corporate Director and TV commentator,  Former Presidential Advisor And Corporate Chief Reputation Manager, BP America, Royal Dutch Shell, Lehman Brothers, HSBC Holdings

10.10    The Importance Of Reputation Management For CEOs And Senior Managers              

Patrick Jephson, Former Private Secretary, Princes Diana And Author, Shadows Of A Princess, UK

10.50    Networking And Refreshment Break

11.30    Crisis Simulation Workshop

In this fully interactive one day workshop , Donald Steel explains the 10 fundamental rules of crisis communications and the important of the "Golden Hour".   This is followed by a fully interactive workshop in which delegates are invited to work in teams to handle a challenging and rapidly developing crisis.  No experience of crisis communications is needed for this demanding but enjoyable session!

  • Learn the 10 fundamental rules of crisis communications
  • How to avoid the pitfalls
  • Learn how your organisation can prepare itself for a crisis
  • The vital importance of "The Golden Hour" in securing your organisation's reputation in a crisis
  • The dangers and opportunities created by social media

Led By:
Donald Steel, Former Chief Communications Advisor, BBC And World’s Most Renowned Crisis Expert, UK

17.30    End Of Conference



At the P World we are all about creating unique experiences for our customers. By supporting The Corporate Communications Experience you will be in direct contact with your target market and generate business for your organisation. By being part of this event you are guaranteed to be noted and put on the business map.

As a sponsor you will benefit from a dedicated PR campaign in the build up to the event and our unparalleled direct marketing campaign where your solutions are promoted extensively across the region through targeted e-shots, hard copy mailings and our experienced telemarketing team.

At the event itself our job is to personally introduce you to senior buyers, influencers and decision makers through pre-arranged one to one meetings, networking events and keynote speaking opportunities.

We have an experienced and thoroughly professional team here that will ensure we generate real ROI for your company.

For more information on how you can get involved in this event as an exhibitor or a sponsor, please email Kosta Petrov on


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