Skip to main content
  • Home
  • Keys Conference

Keys Conference

The first Keys Conference will take place March 23-24.

Since we've not been able to travel to conferences as we normally would throughout the pandemic, we're bringing one here to Morgantown! 

The conference is developed with key communicators, key recruiters, key alumni relations professionals, and student life professionals in mind along with all the folks in University Relations Enrollment Management.  


The first Keys Conference will take place March 23-24 at the Erickson Alumni Association.

For those out of town who wouldn’t want to travel in, virtual conference options will be available. All programming held in the Erickson Alumni Center’s main ballroom will likely be streamed on Zoom.

RSVP for the conference


The schedule, including presentation titles and descriptions, are subject to change. 

* Available via Zoom

Virtual access links:

March 23

9-11 a.m. – Optional workshop (sign-up required)

  • Room 110/111 Barnette
  • Developing and Strengthening Your Allyship: A Toolbox for Change (Facilitator: Marla Gladstone from CPASS)

11-11:30 a.m. – General registration

  • Stop by the front desk at the Erickson Alumni Center for a program, name tag and info about the conference

*11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Ballroom –  Lunch, conference kick-off and keynote

  • Lunch
  • Conference kickoff (Sharon Martin)
  • Keynote: The post-pandemic future of higher ed ( Jeff Selingo, New York Times best-selling author and former lead editor at The Chronicle of Higher Ed)

1-2 p.m. – Breakout sessions

  • How Marketing & Communication Combines for Long-Lasting Brand Impact (Liz Gross, CEO at  Campus Sonar)
    • Room 110/111 Barnette
    • Although they’re often blended together in the name of a single department, marketing and communication are distinct disciplines. Their essential skills, preferred channels, and ultimate purpose often differ. What they have in common are the audiences they seek to impact or influence on behalf of a brand. In this session we’ll examine how audience insights, content repurposing, and the marketing-communication continuum combine for maximum brand impact and memorability with the people you care about most.
  • The Value of Volunteers (Dayme Walther, Director of Chapters at Texas Tech Alumni Association)
    • Room 203 Board Room
    • Take a behind the scenes look at how the Texas Tech Alumni Association has utilized their volunteers over the past 15 years and why we can't live without them.
  • *Cohesive Hybrid Workforce Teams 
    • Ballroom
    • JD Williams, personal development trainer at JD Williams Training

2:15-3:15 p.m. – Breakout sessions

  • Creating Tableau Dashboards: Automate Reports, Visualize Data and Enable Deeper Insights (Liz Reynolds, Director of Data Analytics, Institutional Research)
    • Nutting Gallery
    • This presentation will introduce you to Tableau, how to develop a data dashboard, and how to visualize data. Liz will walk through developing a new recruitment-focused dashboard with the group. The University utilizes Tableau to visualize recruitment data, but the product can be used for all types of disparate data.
  • Paying for college and how to talk about it (Kate Kim, Student Financial Services)
    • Room 203 Board Room
    • Kate will go over the FAFSA and all major aid programs (e.g. federal aid, state aid, institutional scholarships), how to apply, and renewal requirements. She’ll also touch on communication to students and parents, our outreach efforts, and some best practices for talking about aid with prospective students and families. Following the presentation, you should have the basic understanding of how things work and when to refer a student to the Hub for individual concerns.
  • Crisis communications tabletop exercise (April Kaull, Executive Director of UR Communications)
    • Room 110/111 Barnette
    • After a quick overview of the crisis communications plan focused around changes to the process due to the Clery Act, April will take the group through a hands-on mock crisis exercise, which will help you to better define your role in communicating and monitoring during a campus emergency.
  • *Building a world ( Julie Winegard, WVU grad and design strategist)
    • Ballroom
    • In this session, Julie will discuss how she's navigated working in higher-ed, the corporate world, and freelancing with top brands and agencies. She will give a behind-the-scenes look into her creative process from start to finish and show how to capitalize on cultural moments and internet trends in order to resonate with a target audience.

*3:30-4:30 p.m. –  Ballroom –  Lightning talks

  • This is an opportunity to hear from your co-workers about successful projects, processes, etc. from the pandemic. The goal for those in attendance will be able to learn about these ideas and implement them yourself. The presentations will be 10 minutes each.

5-6 p.m. - Happy hour at Bartini

  • Join us for an informal get-together following the first day of the conference. This is an opportunity to meet those who may be new to the University or catch up with old friends. We’ll have appetizers available and will be in their covered outdoor area.

March 24

8:30-9 a.m.    Breakfast

*9-9:45 a.m. –  Ballroom –  Keynote

  • The ever-changing anatomy of a student in America ( Jaime Casap, former education evangelist at Google)

10-11 a.m. – Breakout sessions

  • How to improve your photos and videos (Geoff Coyle, Scott Lituchy and Brian Persinger from UR)
    • Room 110/111 Barnette
    • If you are tasked with taking photos of video clips for your role and would like a bit more guidance, this presentation is for you. Our expert UR team will discuss with you how to shoot photos and videos with the camera you already have; whether it’s a DSLR, mirrorless or your smartphone. Learn some photography rules and hear why it’s okay to break the rules.
  • Public speaking master class ( Carolyn Atkins, professor and coordinator of the Presidential Ambassadors Program)
    • Nutting Gallery
    • Dr. Carolyn Atkins will provide guidance and tips for public speaking for those who are often tasked with speaking in front of others at work.
  • *Second Generation Gender Bias: Implications for Women Leaders ( Lisa DeFrank Cole, director of WVU’s Leadership Studies program)
    • Ballroom
    • The underrepresentation of women in senior leadership positions across all sectors is clearly not a pipeline issue. Research points to bias as one reason they aren’t getting ahead. Specifically, second-generation gender bias, which often goes unnoticed, and needs to be recognized and mitigated. Women will be better able to contribute to solving the most challenging problems facing our world today when their journeys to leadership are not impeded. This session will outline the problems and provide workable solutions.
  • The Yield Imperative ( Tom Taylor, Senior Consultant and Principle at EAB Enrollment Services)
    • Room 203 Board Room
    • Even pre-pandemic, yielding admitted students was becoming increasingly challenging.  Today’s students’ journeys to enrollment are far less linear and less predictable than in the past.  How can we rethink our approaches to yield activities to respond to these challenges?

11:15-noon – Fireside chats

  • We might not have real fire, but we’ll definitely have real chats. These will be 45-minute discussions on a topic of your choice from the list below. This will be an opportunity to meet and have conversations with like-minded people.

    • Managing Overall Wellness (Ballroom or Zoom Link) - Let’s chat about different ways to improve overall well-being during the workweek.
    • Stepping Up Creativity (Room 203 Board Room or Zoom Link) - Studies show walking boosts creative inspiration. Let’s chat about how to keep creativity flowing when we feel burnt out while we get in some steps walking around campus.
    • Successful Supervising (Room 110/111 Barnette) - Let’s chat about supervising, student worker management and employee motivation.
    • Tools, Tips and Tricks (Nutting Gallery or Zoom Link) - Let’s chat about tools that help us perform our jobs, how to use them and what we’ve found works best - Smartsheet, Slack, Teamwork, etc.
    • Working in Sync  (Room 112) - Let’s chat staying connected and managing the workday when we’re not all in the same space at the same time (teams with in-person, hybrid and remote workers).
    • Fuel for the Day (Room 115) - Let’s chat cooking and recipes that boost energy, keep us healthy and are easy to prepare.

12:15-1 p.m. – Lunch

*1:15-2:15 p.m.  –  Lightning talks and conference close

  • Lightning talks: This is an opportunity to hear from your co-workers about successful projects, processes, etc. from the pandemic. The goal for those in attendance will be able to learn about these ideas and implement them yourself. The presentations will be 10 minutes each. 
  • Conference close (Sharon Martin)

*2:30-4:30 p.m. BallroomOptional workshop (sign-up required)

  • Crafting strategic messages to rise above the sea of sameness with Ologie (Doug Edwards, Executive Director of Strategy, and Nathan Thornton, Executive Creative Director)
    • During this mini-workshop, Ologie will lead activities and exercises that will help to hone in on what makes your offer different. You’ll explore new ways of looking at what your team does and how to identify and assemble the most compelling support points. You’ll walk away knowing how to build a clear positioning and a great story.
Map of WV showing Morgantown, Keyser, and Beckley locations

Our Locations