Past Events

Chasing the Dragon: The Fight to Communicate the Opioid Epidemic

The rise in opioid overdoses in Ohio increased by more than 30% in 2016, and the opioid epidemic continues to have a profound impact across the state. Discover how experts in Northwest Ohio are addressing this issue and communicating effectively with the public. You’ll learn best practices and lessons learned, and you’ll leave with tips you can use if you ever need to share your message during a crisis.

Friday, March 16, 7:30 – 9 AM 
Toledo Lucas County Public Library
325 N Michigan St, Toledo, Ohio 43604

Networking beings at 7:30 AM / Presentation begins at 8 AM

$20 for members
$10 for students
$30 for guests
$10 for a non-breakfast option

Please RSVP to


Sherrif John Tharp, Lucas County Sherrif

On January 7, 2013, John Tharp was sworn in as the 45th Sheriff of Lucas County, Ohio.  Being elected Sheriff, culminated his many years of law enforcement experience, beginning with his 25 year career with the Toledo Police Division. During his tenure with the Toledo Police Division, Sheriff Tharp was assigned to Field Operations, Narcotics Squad, Drug Task Force, and the Homicide Squad. Sheriff Tharp was raised in Toledo, Ohio.  He graduated from Libbey High School and continued his studies at the University of Toledo, where he earned Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Education.

In July of 2014, Sheriff Tharp launched an addiction unit, the first of its kind in the nation, to work with heroin overdose victims and their families.  Attorney General Mike DeWine designated the unit a statewide model and pilot program.  The addiction resource unit was recently named D.A.R.T., or Drug Abuse Response Team.

Sheriff Tharp’s service to his country is one of his proudest achievements.  Serving his Country in the United States Army, Sheriff Tharp was a Combat Medic during the Vietnam War.  As a result of this service, he was awarded the Bronze Star. Community Service has been an important part of Sheriff Tharp’s life.  Involvement in organizations such as the Old Newsboys Goodfellows Association, The Police Athletic League (PAL), and Read for Literacy are just a few examples of his commitment to the area’s youth and senior population.

In 1997, Sheriff Tharp began his career with the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office.  Initially named the Director of Court Services, he subsequently became the Commander of the Administrative Services Section.  Included in his duties were assignments to Homeland Security, Great Lakes Northern Border Initiation, Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the Lucas County Joint Task Force.

Melissa Voetsch, Channel 13 WTVG

I’m doing what I love to do! Tell the stories of people living in Northwest, Ohio! I’m honored to say I’ve been working in television news in Toledo for over 20 years. 13ABC is filled with the best journalists I’ve met in my entire career. The people here have a dedication and passion for telling the best stories with integrity and class. Who could ask for more! My area of expertise has been in medical reporting, but I’m enjoying branching out into other areas of investigative reporting. Please feel free to forward me any story ideas you might have at

Outside of work, I cherish time with my 3 beautiful children, Madeline, Cole and Gabrielle. I also have the privilege of co-founding a volunteer organization called Agility Angels. We use trained therapy/agility dogs to help children with Autism develop social skills and self-esteem. I also enjoy sitting on the board of trustees of the Great Lakes Collaborative for Autism, where we work to fill service gaps for families living with Autism. I’m proud to say I helped co-found Give Autism the Boot, a yearly collection with area rescue worker organizations that has raised almost a million dollars to date to fund programs serving our families and their beautiful children in our area!

I grew up in Buffalo, New York and graduated from the SI School of Journalism from Syracuse University.

Northwest Ohioans are wonderful people and I consider it an honor to live and work in such a beautiful part of this country!

Nate Kehlmeier, Midwest Recovery Center

Nate was born and raised in Genoa, OH. He is a 2000 graduate of Genoa High School. His Addiction started with pain pills and quickly progressed to Heroin. He has been clean and sober since January 18, 2008. He has been working in the Addiction field since 2009 and currently works for Midwest Recovery Center in Maumee, OH. He is a member of St. John’s Church in Genoa, OH and is very active in the community helping those struggling with addictions.




Tuesday, February 27, 5:30-7:00pm

Make a great first impression online with a new professional headshot!

Join the Northwest Ohio Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America for networking, free appetizers and a professional portrait.

Here’s your opportunity to get a portrait by well-known photographer Dave Stamm, owner of New Look Headshots.

Represent your best personal brand with a quality photo. (No selfies on LinkedIn, please!)

Please RSVP for a portrait by Thursday, February 22.

  • PRSA Members $25
  • Non-Members $30

Not interested in a photo? Please come for networking, appetizers and the cash bar. Please register for a free ticket.

Tuesday. February 27. 2018

Manhattan’s Pub ‘n Cheer
1516 Adams Street
Toledo, OH 43604

Niche Communications

Let’s get specific! A journey into the specializations of communications and marketing.

Friday, December 8, 2017
Doors open at 8:00am; Program starts at 8:30am; Concludes at noon
Toledo-Lucas County Library — Main Library
325 Michigan St., Toledo 43604

Join the Public Relations Society of America Northwest Ohio Chapter for a half-day professional development seminar.

8:30 – 9:15am – The Power of Pink: Powering Mission Through a Movement – Discover how to make the most of your event with Race for a Cure

9:30 – 10:15am – Non-profit Communications with Judy McFarland, President & Chief Executive Officer of Thread, Inc.

10:45 – 11:30am – Let’s get specific – A panel discussion with PR professionals from across the field

The morning will include a hot breakfast from Pam’s Corner and opportunities to network and build relationships with other public relations, media and advertising professionals in Northwest Ohio.

$30 for PRSA members
$40 for non members
$20 students


The Power of Pink: Powering Mission Through a Movement

Each individual registration for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in September completes a six-month process of marketing, public relations, media relations, social media, and reputation management. Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio Marketing and Communication Manager Desmond Strooh walks through Komen Northwest Ohio’s strategy of using a large-scale event to further the organization’s vision: “A world without breast cancer”. He offers insight into how Komen Northwest Ohio capitalizes on the short-term high-visibility of the local Race for the Cure Series to drive year-long mission directives.

Non-profit Communications 
With Judy McFarland, President & Chief Executive Officer of Thread, Inc.

As a corporate executive with more than 30 years of experience in strategic marketing communications, branding, content marketing, digital advertising, and public relations, Judy serves as the President and CEO of Thread Inc., a multi-faceted business consortium that includes Thread Marketing Group, FLS Group, eMerge Document Management and VIS Alliance. Judy leads her team by putting an emphasis on building strong client relationships while providing cutting-edge marketing technology solutions that deliver measurable and sustainable results.

When it comes to supporting nonprofits and providing niche communications services, Judy dedicates both her personal and professional time. On December 8th, Judy will talk about this niche and walk attendees through best practices and key case studies.

Judy currently serves on the board of Humane Ohio and has been nominated to serve on the boards of Advocating Opportunity (advocacy for trafficked and exploited people) and Make-A-Wish. She has also served on the boards of the Advertising Club of Toledo, Junior Achievement of Northwest Ohio, the Toledo Area Humane Society, and on the executive marketing committee for Chicks for Charity and her local church. Judy has been an ambassador for Lourdes Luminations and The Valentine Theatre. She is a member of the American Advertising Federation and the Sylvania Chamber of Commerce.

Furthermore, Judy encourages and empowers her staff to be active in their professional and personal community networks. Participating and contributing to the professional and the community’s wellbeing is a core value that Judy nurtures with Thread employees. In fact, more than 40 local organizations are enriched by Thread staff members such as The Press Club of Toledo, the Public Relations Society of Northwest Ohio, Leadership Toledo, Goodwill Industries of Northwest Ohio, Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity, Good Grief of Northwest Ohio, and Connecting Kids to Meals – just to name a few.

Sharing knowledge and expertise is a big part of Judy’s effort in supporting the communications profession, her peers, and future generations.

Two Black Eyes for the NFL: Ethical Issues Surrounding Domestic

Friday, Sept 15, 2017 

Networking beings at 7:30 a.m. / Presentation begins at 8 a.m.

$20 for members
$10 for students
$30 for guests
$10 for a non-breakfast option

This presentation is a critical analysis of the NFL’s communication efforts to protect its reputation, but lessons learned from these crises can be applied to all organizations facing ethical dilemmas. How can we, as communication experts, best represent our organizations while balancing our social responsibility to the public? Best practices will be shared.

Dr. Rentner was instrumental in launching the NFL Journalism Sports Media Boot Camp at BGSU, a three-day workshop for current and recently retired NFL players transitioning from football to careers in media. This March marked the fifth boot camp. She is co-editor of the book, You Make the Call: Case Studies in Sports Communication, to be published by Routledge in 2018. The book includes a chapter that discusses ethical issues surrounding domestic violence in the NFL.

Please RSVP to and indicate if you are a member, a guest, or a student and if you plan to purchase breakfast.