IRMA Conference logo 2019

2019 IRMA CHARLOTTE Conference Schedule (subject to minor changes)

Friday 10/25

Welcome Reception and Dinner

Reconnect with your fellow IRMA Members and Sponsors for the Opening Reception of IRMACon2019. Errol Laborde kicks off the evening with the President’s welcome.

Is this your first time to visit Charlotte? Emma Way, editor of Charlotte magazine, will join us at the #IRMACON2019 opening reception to dish the deets on everything local.

Emma has lived in Charlotte for the past three years with her cat, Zuri. When she’s not working, Emma loves to walk around her neighborhood, Optimist Park, or catch a local band at Petra’s or Evening Muse.

Saturday 10/26


Speed Networking

This fast-paced session is designed to acquaint (and reacquaint) attendees. See who’s here, who’s new, and who to connect with throughout the conference. Bring your business cards!


Brand Attachment: The Realm Beyond Brand Loyalty and How to Get There

Gordon Locke, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Pace Custom Content Agency. Consumers will encounter thousands of brands in a lifetime but will develop meaningful attachments to only a few of them, and there is a proven science to it. It starts with understanding the difference between that transactional brand loyalty and emotional brand attachment. This session will explain how brands move from transactional loyalty into an unbeatable, unmatched and irreplaceable true customer-brand attachment.

There is nowhere Gordon hasn’t traveled for clients in his career—well, OK, maybe not the Amazon. He’s a world traveler and often in the air heading to advise or collaborate with some amazing brands. All told, he’s a multimillion-miler with visits to more than 40 countries and cool cities with great food like Kuala Lumpur, Buenos Aires, Addis Ababa, Shanghai and Mumbai. Gordon is a native North Carolinian and has lived in Washington, D.C., Honolulu, Dallas and now Greensboro, North Carolina.

Gordon leads our client solutions partner organization, brand marketing and a team of new relationship professionals. He is a blend of right-brained and left-brained thinking. He can be wildly creative or develop a lean and mean strategy, and he serves as an advisor to a number of CMOs at any given time. Known for being easy to talk to and having a quick wit, Gordon has a formula for marketing success that includes a proven grasp of strategy, execution, culture and structure. He has a knack for listening his way into a problem and ideating his way through the complexity.

Before joining Pace, he spent 25 years getting powerful results for companies he worked for, like The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Sabre, Hawaiian Airlines and Rosenbluth-American Express, and his many clients over the years such as Rackspace, USAA, Fossil, TIAA, BB&T, Teradata, Lycra, HP Enterprise, Dell and Intuit.


Enjoy a delicious lunch and discussions with your peers at tables dedicated to Editorial/Design, Circulation, Business/Sales, and Free Association.


  • CIRCULATION – Growing the Base. What’s Working? What Isn’t? Joining us in this session will be Ken Smith of SFG and Allyson Gordon and Deb Hutchens of Wiland. Bring your questions for our Sponsor Member Experts!
  • EDITORIAL – Freelancer Soup to Nuts: Getting the Most out of the Relationship
  • PUBLISHING – Team Synchronicity


  • DESIGN – Client Ads/Media Kits/Covers – Bring your challenges and we’ll tackle them together
  • PUBLISHING – Case Study: Arkansas Life’s Near Death Experience
  • EDITORIAL – Much Ado About E-Newsletters


5-minute wrap-up of each breakout – with timer!


Hits & Misses

One representative of each member magazine presents their successes and failures from the last year. You’ll learn a lot and take away some great ideas. Take copious notes and plan to follow-up after the session.

IRMA Unplugged Dutch Dinners

Member hosted Dutch dinners. Continue networking and get to know the city. Join a small group at a recommended eatery.

Sunday 10/27


Tending the Brand: A Conversation with Our State’s Elizabeth Hudson

The editor in chief of North Carolina’s 86-year-old magazine talks about the evolution of the Our State brand and an editor’s role in steering and maintaining it. In a Q&A format, Hudson will explore how the voice, character, and mission of Our State is reflected on the page and screen, as well as across brand extensions like Our State’s retail and trips divisions. Moderated by Brian Kevin, Down East.

Followed by a Moderated panel Maintaining Relevance in a Rapidly Changing World with Gordon Locke, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Pace Custom Content Agency.

Hudson is a native of North Carolina who grew up in the small community of Farmer, near Asheboro. She holds a B.A. degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and began her publishing career in 1997 at Our State magazine. She held various editorial titles for 10 years before becoming Editor in Chief of the 80-year-old publication in 2009. For her work with the magazine, Hudson is also the 2014 recipient of the Ethel Fortner Writer and Community Award, an award that celebrates contributions to the literary arts of North Carolina.


AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT – Market & Audience Research Joining us in this session will be Ken Smith of SFG, and Allyson Gordon and Deb Hutchens of Wiland. Bring your questions for our Sponsor Member Experts!
PUBLISHING – Publisher Roundtable
EDITORIAL – Reader Engagement: Keeping Your Loyal Readers While Attracting New Ones


Continue discussion with your peers


Time on your own in Charlotte

Please refer to our Things to Do in Charlotte page. Staff will be onsite to help organize group outings.

Group outing to the U.S. National Whitewater Center! More details to come!

Group outing to the Nascar Hall of Fame! More details to come!


IRMA Unplugged Dutch Dinners

Member hosted Dutch dinners. Continue networking and get to know the city. Join a small group at a recommended eatery.

Monday 10/27


Glenn Michael Milliet, How to Be a Powerful Communicator

Glenn Michael Milliet's photoGlenn Michael Milliet, The Business Communication Expert is an international professional speaker and business communication consultant on sales, team building, customer service and business building. Communication is the foundation of business—and pretty much everything else. This session will give you tools you can immediately use to better connect with others.

Key takeaways from this presentation:
* How to communicate to connect
* How to close more sales
* How to listen with intent
* How to out position the competition
* How to own the selling advantage

Known for his fusion of street smarts and technical ability using real life stories and time tested, proven sales skills. With over 30 years of experience in consulting, speaking, and real face-to-face sales and business experience, Glenn has defined and refined the craft of sales and communications to an art form with a radically different approach.


Best and Worst Covers – Share your Experiences

We’re bringing back a favorite of conference attendees. Each member shows two covers side-by-side and the audience guesses which sold the most. There will be PRIZES!


  • ADVERTISING – Sales Revenue Ideas for Print & Digital
  • COMMUNICATIONS – Become a Better Communicator with Glenn Michael Milliet
  • EDITORIAL – Repurposing Content/Special Interest Publications

Lunch and IRMA Business Meeting



Open Space Approach to Solving Specific Problems

1×1 & GROUP DISCUSSION  – Sign up during the conference to discuss specific issues with colleagues


Group Photo

Farewell Reception and Awards Dinner