NIRI Southwest Regional Conference 2019 Agenda

Sherlock Logo

IR teams are amateur sleuths when it comes to tracking elusive financial data and finding clues to craft the perfect messaging. Sherlock was known for his proficiency and observational skills. Sound familiar? IR professionals must integrate finance, strategic communications and securities law compliance, and all accomplished while juggling tight deadlines.

We invite you to join us in Austin for the NIRI Annual Southwest Regional Conference where we will spend two days collaborating with IROs in your area, sharing best practices, being inspired by Thought Leaders throughout the US and re-invigorating your IR efforts and IR program planning for 2020.

Professional Headshot Portraits

During the conference, professional photographers from Kolanowski Studios will be available to take your portrait suitable for your company’s website, LinkedIn, etc. Just head over to the Headshot Lounge that is included as part of your registration.

Headshot Lounge: Kolanowski Studio

Wednesday 8/21

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5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

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Welcome Reception

6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

Location: J.W. MARRIOTT AUSTIN Sponsored by EQS Group

Thursday 8/22

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Breakfast/Vendor Showcase/Headshot Lounge

7:00 - 8:00 a.m.

Grab a bite to eat and visit with our supporting vendors in the vendor showcase area.
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Conference Welcome

8:00 - 8:15 a.m.

Start your investigation skills with STEVE STEPINOFF, CONFERENCE CHAIRMAN, as he discusses our Texas-sized preview of a not-to-miss program on how to be an IR sleuth extraordinaire.

Steve Stepinoff, President/Partner, STEPINOFF + CROSIER

Steve Stepinoff

About Steve Stepinoff:

Steve Stepinoff has provided branding, strategic marketing and design services with numerous public and non-public corporations with more than thirty years of experience. He works with some of the most recognizable Fortune 500 Corporations to startup companies worldwide.

Mr. Stepinoff is a result-oriented and visionary leader with proven success in new market identification, strategic marketing strategy, branding, corporate identity, video, advertising, publishing, social media and account management at the highest level. Skilled in client relations and strategic marketing and planning, he has also assisted his clients with targeting new business development opportunities, new and refreshing company brands, annual reports, road show presentations, websites, company brochures, videos and trade shows.

Mr. Stepinoff has worked with his clients to gain their recognition in the US, UK, South America, Asia and the Middle East.

Mr. Stepinoff experience extends across a diverse range of business to business and business to consumer markets, including oil and gas, healthcare, federal government, power, food service, financial services, logistics, construction, and retail markets. He is a graduate of the University of Houston and has authored articles for various business publications, company websites and many other business interest groups. Mr. Stepinoff has served on the Board of Directors of The Memorial Hermann Hospital Healthcare System, The San Jose Clinic and currently on the Board of the Houston Chapter of NIRI and serving as the 2017 SW NIRI Conference Chairman.

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The Future of Investor Relations

8:15 - 9:00 a.m.


Gary LaBranche, President and CEO of NIRI National

Gary LaBranche

About Gary LaBranche:

Gary LaBranche, FASAE, CAE, is the President & CEO of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI). As CEO, LaBranche provides strategic executive leadership to advance the NIRI’s mission and goals. He represents NIRI to regulators, lawmakers, the media and other audiences.

Before joining NIRI in March 2017, he was CEO of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG). ACG serves 90,000 investors, lenders, executives and advisors to middle market companies, including 1,000 private equity firms.

An association professional for 37+ years, LaBranche has served as CEO for three other organizations and as a senior executive at the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Prior to joining ACG, LaBranche was CEO for the Association Forum of Chicagoland. At the Forum and ASAE he was responsible for identifying, developing and sharing best practices, models and innovation in association management, professional development and meeting planning. At ASAE he was responsible for the 6,000 attendee “Super Bowl of Conventions,” launch of e-learning and modernization of the Certified Association Executive (CAE) program.

He was named an ASAE Fellow (FASAE) in 1995. He was the ASAE Key Award winner for 2007, the highest award in the profession. ASSOCIATION TRENDS named him the 2012 Association Executive of the Year. He is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Association Committee of 100 and is past chairman of the Chamber’s Institute of Organization Management. LaBranche has served on ASAE’s 4 governing boards and chaired the board of ASAE’s for-profit subsidiary, ASAE Business Services, Inc. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Kogod Cybersecurity Governance Center at American University.

He is the author of 300+ articles, podcasts and columns and the book, “The Association CEO Succession Toolkit” published by ASAE in 2018. He authored the chapter, “Managing the Complex Association Enterprise” in ASAE’s Handbook on Professional Practices in Association Management, 3rd edition. He has consulted/presented to 300+ associations.

LaBranche was profiled as an innovative leader in the book, Hope: How Triumphant Leaders Create the Future, by Andrew Razeghi. He has also been featured in Strategic Transformation: How Boards Achieve Extraordinary Change.


Lee Ahlstrom, SVP and CFO, RigNet

Lee Ahlstrom, SVP and CFO, RigNet

Lee Ahlstrom

About Lee Ahlstrom:

Mr. Ahlstrom manages all financial aspects of the company, including financial planning and analysis, accounting and financial reporting, as well as managing the tax, internal audit, treasury and investor relations functions. Mr. Ahlstrom brings more than 20 years of finance and capital markets experience. Most recently, Ahlstrom served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Paragon Offshore Ltd. and as Senior Vice President of Investor Relations, Strategy, and Planning. Previously, he served in executive and leadership roles at Noble Corporation, Burlington Resources, Unocal and as a consultant with McKinsey and Company. Mr. Ahlstrom began his career at ExxonMobil where he held a variety of engineering positions.

Mr. Ahlstrom holds both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware. He also currently serves on the board of directors for the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) and holds NIRI’s Investor Relations Charter (IRC™) credential.

The Future of Investor Relations

In 2018, NIRI established a Think Tank on the Future of Investor Relations. Led by Lynn Tyson, Executive Director of IR for Ford, the Think Tank utilized a modified Delphi technique to discuss the subject in a systemic way. Surveys and interviews provided additional perspective. The process was guided by an outside consultant who specializes in foresight thinking. A face-to-face discussion, aided by a futurist, helped the group refine their thinking. The resulting White Paper provides a starting point for provocative conversations about the future of the IR profession. During this interview session, NIRI President and CEO Gary LaBranche will discuss the Think Tank and highlight some of the ideas and themes before engaging the audience in dialogue. Come prepared to think, consider and debate!

A Report of the NIRI Think Tank on the Future of Investor Relations

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Interplay Between ESG, Risk Management and IR: Influencing Success or Failure

Interplay Between ESG, Risk Management and IR: Influencing Success or Failure

Separating the material versus the noise within the world of ESG - in the broad and ambiguous ecosystem of ESG, how can a company identify the specific data points and perspectives that institutional investors deem most relevant?

This August at the NIRI Southwest Regional Conference, our expert panelists will help you focus your time and resources on the growing wave of ESG investing.

Interplay Between ESG, Risk Management and IR: Current Trends in Reporting

9:00 - 9:45 a.m.


Daniel Romito, Global Head of Investor Analytics, Nasdaq

About Daniel Romito:

As Global Head of Investor Analytics, Dan Romito’s responsibilities include overseeing Nasdaq’s Strategic Capital Intelligence team, Insight360 Analytics Platform, ESG/Index consulting and managing a global roster of advisory clients.


Ross Campbell, Director, Barrow, Hanley, Mewinney & Strauss, LLC


About Ross Campbell:

Mr. Campbell joined BHMS in 2017 from SRI Research Group, where he was president of the consulting firm, focused on assisting companies with their corporate disclosures and corporate sustainability reports. Before founding the SRI Research Group, Mr. Campbell managed the sustainability and investor relations efforts for AECOM and Denbury Resources Inc. His investment career includes serving as a senior analyst for Wells Capital Management and as an investment management senior consultant for FactSet Research Systems. Mr. Campbell earned a BA from Franklin and Marshall College and an MBA from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University.


Jeffrey Hales, PhD, Chair of the SASB Standards Board


About Jeffrey Hales:

Jeffrey Hales serves as the Chair of the 9-person Standards Board at Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). In his role as Chair, he oversees the agenda setting and due process associated with the SASB standards development and maintenance. Before serving on the Standards Board, he chaired the Standards Council for the SASB.

Jeffrey Hales teaches at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is the Charles T. Zlatkovich Centennial Professor of Accounting. He is a graduate of the accounting program at Brigham Young University and received his Ph.D. from Cornell University.

His research interests center on accounting standard setting and regulation, individual decision making, and behavioral finance, using techniques from applied game theory, experimental economics, and psychology. His research has appeared in The Accounting Review, Journal of Accounting Research, Journal of Accounting and Economics, Review of Accounting Studies, and the Journal of Financial Economics, among other journals. He currently serves as an editor for Contemporary Accounting Research. He also currently serves on the editorial boards of The Accounting Review and Accounting Organizations and Society.

During the 2009-10 academic year, Dr. Hales was a Research Fellow at the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in Norwalk, CT. In addition, he currently serves as a member of the FASB’s Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council (FASAC), the Climate Disclosure Standards Board, the Financial Reporting Council’s Future of Corporate Reporting Advisory Group.

Sponsored by NASDAQ
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Break/Headshot Lounge

9:45 - 10:00 a.m.

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Corporate Culture as the Driving Force to Success

10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Corporate culture as the driving force to success

We know dysfunctional cultures are a leading cause of failed M&A transactions - - and we have seen plenty of companies underperform or go bankrupt when core principles are sacrificed to hit short-term financial targets. Conversely, businesses built around a central purpose attract top talent, loyal customers and devoted investors. To the extent culture is central to long-term success and value creation for shareholders, IROs need to get more involved. Learn from our panel of experts on how you can positively influence your firm’s culture and prevent behavior that may lead to future downfall.


Castlen M. Kennedy, Apache Corporation

Castlen Kennedy

About Castlen M. Kennedy:

Castlen M. Kennedy, 39, was named vice president – Public Affairs in July 2015 after serving as director since 2014. Kennedy joined Apache’s Government Affairs department in 2006 and served as manager of Government Affairs from 2006 to 2011 advocating on behalf of the company before state and federal officials. She joined the Investor Relations department as manager in 2011 and later as director in 2014 interacting and communicating with Apache shareholders.

Prior to joining Apache, Kennedy served as a senior policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Energy, as a business analyst at S&B Infrastructure and as a financial analyst on the commodities desks at RWE Americas and Enron Corporation.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in finance, a master's degree in public affairs and a master's degree in energy and earth resources from The University of Texas at Austin.


Peggy Jansen, Southwest Airlines

Peggy Jansen

About Peggy Jansen:

Peggy Jansen began her career at Southwest Airlines in January 2014 as Manager Investor Relations. The Investor Relations Team at Southwest is responsible for incorporating finance, marketing, and securities law compliance into effective communication between Southwest and the investment community. They closely collaborate with Corporate Communications & Outreach, General Counsel, and many other departments within Southwest to enable consistent, transparent, and credible communication to the Company’s Stakeholders. Peggy prepares various investor communications, reviews internal and external presentations and content from across the organization for consistent messaging and voice, and manages regular and ad-hoc research and analysis projects. She is also the co-senior editor of the Southwest Airlines One Report, the Company’s annual integrated citizenship report. Peggy has played an integral role in several major cross-functional projects, including the launch of Southwest’s Heart brand in 2014, as well as the Change Network that prepared the Company’s 56,000 Employees for the launch of a new reservation system in 2017, which was the largest technology project in the Company’s history.

Prior to joining Southwest, Peggy spent seven years at Cinemark Theatres in various positions in the accounting and IT departments, where she implemented the system of record for the Company’s Sarbanes-Oxley documentation, managed a project to wire and cable every Cinemark theatre in Latin America for digital cinema, and created a strategic plan to achieve a global concept for financial systems across the entire organization. Prior to her time at Cinemark, Peggy developed expertise in Sarbanes-Oxley management and the efficient and effective design of business processes at MTV Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom in New York City, and worked in public accounting at Ernst & Young, LLP.

Peggy earned a Bachelor in Business Administration in Accounting and a Master of Science in Finance from Texas A&M University. She has been a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Texas for 16 years.


Bethany Andell, President & CEO, Savage Brands

Bethany Andell

About Bethany Andell:

As the fearless leader of Savage Brands, Bethany is revolutionizing corporate America by unleashing the inherent good in all companies. Bethany keeps Savage focused on its core purpose and fosters the team’s culture and values. She is passionate about connecting other leaders to their purpose, ensuring that their companies are culturally aligned and that their brands stand for something beyond profit.

In her recently published book, Get Your Head Out of Your Bottom Line: And Build Your Brand on Purpose, Andell, along with co-author Jackie Dryden, help executives at business-to-business companies shift their focus from solely improving the bottom line to instead prioritize the company’s long-term health, culture and non-monetary impact on the world. Bethany is an active promotor of the Conscious Capitalism movement and her firm is a founding member of its Houston Chapter. Bethany served on the NIRI Houston board for over a decade and is currently on the advisory board for IBERIABANK. Bethany is an Alumni from the Rice Business School and is President Elect of the Alumni Association Board. She is the 2018 recipient of the Rice Business School Alumni Excellence Award in Consulting and HBJ’s 40 under 40.


Kelly Whitley

Kelly Whitley

About Kelly Whitley

Kelly L. Whiley has over 20 years of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications experience with exploration and production as well as oilfield service companies in the U.S. and Canada. Joining Murphy Oil Corporation in 2015 as Vice President Investor Relations and Communications, she oversees the investor relations function as well as the communication and media relations functions. She is also responsible for leading the internal branding program, including the employee ambassador program.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Gonzaga University.


Elysa Nelson

Elysa Nelson

About Elysa Nelson

Elysa serves as a vice president based out of Pierpont’s Houston office, while also managing the firm’s San Antonio operations. She is a trusted advisor to her clients and can effectively balance the big picture business strategies with detail-oriented communications solutions. With more than 13 years of experience in nonprofit, agency and corporate communications, Elysa’s industry insights prove valuable to the clients she supports in media relations, public affairs, community relations, crisis management, digital engagement, and internal and corporate communications. She supports the firm’s media and crisis training programs for a variety of clients as well as for executive MBA programs and industry associations, and she contributes to the firm’s pro-bono efforts, working with various local organizations to further their brand awareness and fundraising efforts.

Before she joined Pierpont, Elysa worked for Fidelity Investments, executing internal and external communications strategies for various business units including community relations, Fidelity Labs, global business services and technology. She has deep expertise in a variety of fields including petrochemical, financial and professional services, and retail operations. She is passionate about the nonprofit sector and is heavily involved in her clients’ community relations initiatives.

Outside of the office, Elysa is an active participant of the Greater Houston Partnership and the National Investor Relations Institute, and volunteers regularly to support organizations focused on finding a solution to homelessness and food insecurity for children. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and public relations from Sam Houston State University.

Sponsored by Pierpont
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Activism Trend Continues to Grow

11:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Activism Trend Continues to Grow

Shareholder activism continues to evolve and grow as an investment class. Regardless of market cap or industry, your company may become a target. We will address what's new in Shareholder Activism and how to keep yourself and your company prepared in today's environment.


Jason W. Alexander, Managing Director, Okapi Partners

Jason Alexander

About Jason Alexander:

Jason regularly consults with companies on matters requiring shareholder approval. He specializes in proxy solicitation, corporate governance consulting, mergers and acquisitions, small shareholder programs and pre-escheat services. His expertise encompasses proxy and corporate governance issues.

Jason was with Georgeson Inc for over 18 years and worked on transactions for over 400 companies covering all business sectors. Jason spent over three years in Toronto with Georgeson’s Canadian business, where he was responsible for sales and operations management across all product lines.

Jason is a member of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) and the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Corporate Governance Professionals. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the State University of New York at Albany and is a frequent speaker on corporate governance and shareholder activism at a variety of conferences and industry organizations.

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Charles Haag, Partner, Winston & Strawn LLP

Charles Haag

About Charles Haag:

Charlie Haag regularly counsels public company clients on corporate governance matters, including stockholder activism, fiduciary duties and SEC filings. He also advises on venture capital, IPOs, high-yield and investment-grade debt, convertible securities, tender offers, spin-offs, reorganizations, mergers and acquisitions, and takeovers.

Charlie is a frequent writer and speaker in the capital markets and corporate governance arena. His recent presentations have focused on the IPO market and developments in corporate governance and securities regulation.

Charlie received his B.S. from Marquette University. He earned his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a member of the University of Pittsburgh Law Review. He also earned his LL.M. from Georgetown University.

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Break/Headshot Lounge

11:45 a.m - 12:00 p.m.

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The Nerd Strategy: Using Data as a Communication Superpower

12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Lunch


Kristin Graham, Communications Leader, Amazon Web Services

Kristin Graham

About Kristin Graham:

A former journalist and current technology leader, Kristin Graham has centered her career on storytelling. Curiosity wove her career from non-profits to Fortune 500s to dot-coms. She moved to Seattle in 2007 to lead communications for the travel portfolio company, Expedia, Inc.

Her background includes executive and employee communications, global recruiting, diversity and inclusion, philanthropy, learning and development, corporate events, social media, and employer branding initiatives. She is currently managing the employee communication strategy for Amazon Web Services.

Kristin holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and an MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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The Nerd Strategy: Using Data as a Communication Superpower


Join Kristin Graham on Thursday, August 22, 2019 at 12.00 pm to gain insights about today’s evolving audiences and to learn how we can be flexible to meet their messaging needs. Kristin is an employee communications leader from Amazon Web Services – the cloud division of Amazon – and plans to share a collection of “nerd facts” about how information can be made more bite-sized and how to stretch our own comfort zones. Bring your questions and ideas for an interactive conversation on how to be heard in today’s digital environment.

Let’s focus on the sexy side of science, and learn more about information psychology, attention spans and technology trends to better influence communications across multiple platforms.

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Social Media Eats The News: Crisis Management

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.


Rhonda Barnat, Managing Director, Abernathy MacGregor

About Rhonda Barnat:

As one of the country’s leading crisis management advisers, and head of the firm’s crisis management practice, Rhonda Barnat has been involved in helping corporations and non-profits through some of their most defining moments and some of the most visible issues of our time.

Rhonda is an expert in helping companies and non-profits move through an issue and return to normal with their reputations intact. She is often called upon to assemble the specialized teams that are required when a major crisis befalls an institution.

She is a frequent speaker on crisis communications and crisis management throughout the United States and Europe. In addition, Rhonda also works with clients in complex mergers and acquisition situations, including proxy contests. Other clients look to her for specialized media and presentation training as part of an overall strategic program. Many national and international insurance companies have selected her and the firm for crisis communications and management in complex situations on behalf of their policyholders. Rhonda received a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Rochester, and an M.A. from the University of Michigan.


Jennifer Murphy, Founder, Galore Consulting

About Jennifer Murphy:

Jennifer Murphy, Founder of Galore Consulting, is a highly sought-after investigator and crisis adviser with more than 14 years of experience in the investigations and security sectors. Jennifer is often part of specialized teams brought in to help organizations and individuals prepare for, manage, and recover from complex crises. She has successfully assisted organizations with managing the aftermath of some of the most significant disasters in U.S. history. A thought leader in her field, Jennifer is a Subject Matter Expert in digital threat monitoring for high-consequence disasters and speaks frequently on topics ranging from preparing for and recovering from mass shootings to risk management in the aftermath of various crises.

Jennifer began her investigations career at First Advantage’s BackTrack Reports, conducting investigative due diligence on hedge fund managers and other high-level individuals and entities. She then worked as an in-house investigator at various business intelligence and security firms in the U.S. and Western Europe, where she managed and participated in groundbreaking cases involving social media attacks, privacy violations, complex financial fraud, court-appointed monitorships, death threats, bombings, active shooter preparedness, and sex crimes.

Jennifer graduated with a B.A. in English & Textual Studies and journalism from Syracuse University. She holds an M.A. from the University of Chicago and an M.F.A. from New York University, where she taught as an adjunct professor and volunteer co-facilitator of the NYU Veterans Writing Program. She is a licensed private investigator and certified EMT in the state of New York.

Social Media Eats The News


How to tell the truth, battle back against falsehoods and protect yourself and your company online.

Join Rhonda Barnat from Abernathy MacGregor, and Jennifer Murphy from Galore Consulting at the NIRI Southwest Conference this August. As companies navigate the online news world, it becomes increasingly important to manage an online presence and protect companies from potential negative online exposure. Rhonda and Jennifer will discuss all the ways social media intersects with public company news.

Sponsored by WPNT Communications
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Networking Break/Headshot Lounge

2:00 - 2:30 p.m.

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Experts at a Table: Choose Deep Dive Topics

2:30 - 3:30 p.m.


Rivel - How the buy-side makes decisions

With unprecedented uncertainty and volatility hammering the equity markets, the longest bull market in history may be in jeopardy. IROs need a firm handle on what is driving value and investment decisions today – namely, analyst and investor preferences, trends, expectations – to craft messaging and set engagement priorities that promise to sustain as well as broaden investment interest in their companies.

This roundtable will explore the investment community’s greatest macro concerns, the sources of information they covet, the tangible and intangible metrics which motivate buy and sell verdicts and the value they ascribe to effective investor relations’ role in valuation.

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MiFID II & Corporate Access – A View from the Buy-side with Point72

It is safe to say that by now, everyone in the corporate and investment community is exhausted by the mere mention of MiFID II and the ensuing discussions about how the rules are going to affect the industry. With that in mind, let’s acknowledge the regulation as a backdrop to have an open and honest discussion about the paradigm shift in corporate access and investor engagement.

Come hear insights from Point72 about how the buy-side approaches corporate access, our relationship with the sell-side, and the ever-increasing importance of developing direct relationships with IROs and management teams for the long term.

Feel free to come armed with questions about the buy-side, hedge funds or Point72 specifically. No topic is off limits!

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Alpha IR - Communication Audits

Communication Audits will help you benchmark your IR program, set goals, develop a multi-year strategic IR plan, and internally unite your IR objectives among management and the Board to ensure success. This session will help you learn to utilize a measurable, “high ROI” approach to benchmarking your current program and setting objectives for the future.

While investor perceptions are a critical part of the tool kit, they are only one of many tools you should be considering as you look to build a truly “best practice” IR program. Come learn how senior IROs and industry veterans are building holistic measurement tools to assess and maximize the impact of their IR programs both to management and to Wall Street.

Session objectives:

  • Provide advice, counsel and real-world examples of how leading IR programs evaluate and build highly effective measurement programs
  • Review a quantitative and qualitative measurement toolbox that you can use to improve your program
  • These concepts are critical to:
    • Building a best practices IR program
    • Evaluating and refining the investment thesis
    • Effectively setting quarterly, annual, and programmatic IR goals
    • Controlling the narrative with your management and board, as well as their perception and view of your IR program
    • Informing your future compensation with goals that are more within your control

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Chris Hodges, Founder & CEO, Alpha IR Group (moderator)

Chris Hodges

About Chris Hodges:

Chris Hodges is the Founder & CEO of the Alpha IR Group, and has been a strategic IR consultant for two decades. He has counseled clients across all industries, and through various points in the business cycle, including multiple recessions and valuation peaks. He is a recognized thought leader in the IR industry having recently presented at the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), National Directors Institute (NDI), and numerous NIRI events across the country. His past work includes serving as Senior Managing Director, Industrials Sector Head at FTI Consulting. Chris was also Co-Founder & President of Ashton Partners. Chris graduated from Lafayette College with a B.S. in Mathematics and received his M.B.A. in Finance from Temple University.


Business Wire - Digital Communications

Digital IR communications play an essential role in connecting with current shareholders and potential investors. Often publishing an earnings release is a “check the box” task. Don’t miss an opportunity to reach journalists and influencers who want and need your information because you simply were doing what is required. Think bigger and bolder with some of the best practices we highlight, so your company can be perceived as more forward thinking. Create competitive differentiation by reimagining your press release and delivering the best vision of your company through incorporating best practices for financial and business content, including social media, multimedia and engagement techniques.

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Virtua - Market and Competitve Analysis and Its Value to IR

Let’s face it, as the eyes and ears of the company the role of IR is really one of Chief Intelligence Officer. Discover and share best practices for managing the sell-side, learn what is true consensus and how best to track your peer group. Increase your importance and value to the C-suite by being better informed on the important external influences that effect your stock price.

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Chris Venti, Vice President of Business Development at Virtua

Chris Venti

About Chris Venti:

Chris is Vice President of Business Development at Virtua and specializes in product development and educating IR professionals in the value of sell-side consensus estimate management and competitive intelligence best practices. Previously he worked at LogMeIn (LOGM) focusing on new customer acquisition after finishing his professional hockey career. He graduated from Boston College with a major in Communications and a Minor in Economics.

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Looking Ahead: The State of the Economy with Joe Brusuelas

3:30 - 5:00 p.m.


Joe Brusuelas, Chief Economist, RSM

Brusuelas Joseph

About Joe Brusuelas:

Joe Brusuelas provides macroeconomic perspective to help RSM clients anticipate and address the unique issues and challenges facing their businesses and the industries in which they operate. In 2015, he helped launch The Real Economy, the only monthly economic report focused on the middle market, and helps lead the firm’s cutting-edge Industry Eminence Program.

Prior to joining RSM as chief economist, Joe was a senior economist at Bloomberg, LP and the Bloomberg Briefs newsletter group. During that time, he was named one of the 26 economists to follow by the Huffington Post. Joe has over 20 years of experience in finance and economics, with emphasis on analyzing U.S. monetary policy, labor markets, fiscal policy, economic indicators and the condition of the U.S. consumer.

In addition to being a frequent author for RSM and media, Joe Brusuelas is the co-author of Forex Analysis and Trading: Effective Top-Down Strategies Combining Fundamental, Position, and Technical Analyses.

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Looking Ahead: The State of the Economy with Joe Brusuelas


Join Chief Economist Joe Brusuelas at the NIRI Southwest Regional Conference to discuss the following:

  • What types of lasting impacts will be brought on by a slowing economic growth?
  • What risks will trade tensions impose on the domestic economy?
  • Where are the opportunities in this economy as we move into the second half of 2019?

Looking Ahead, State of the Economy

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Dinner and Reception

6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Take a break and join us at Lamberts Downtown BBQ Sponsored by IHS Markit

Friday 8/23

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Breakfast/Vendor Showcase/Headshot Lounge

8:00 - 9:00 a.m.

Grab a bite to eat and visit with our supporting vendors in the vendor showcase area.
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Opening Remarks

9:00 - 9:10 a.m.

Kick off the day with STEVE STEPINOFF, CONFERENCE CHAIRMAN, to learn more about investigative IR skills.
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Innovative Ideas to Gain Exposure in a World of Declining Sell-Side Research

9:10 - 10:00 a.m.


David Heikkinen, CEO, Heikkinen Energy Advisors

David Heikkinen

About David Heikkinen:

David Heikkinen serves as Chief Executive Officer of both Heikkinen Energy Advisors and its wholly owned broker/dealer, Heikkinen Energy Securities LLC. Prior to founding the Firm in December 2012, he served as Global Head of E&P Research at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co and led the E&P Research team at Capital One Southcoast. He gained industry experience at Shell where he served in various operations and engineering roles focused in the Gulf of Mexico. He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology (formerly University of Missouri – Rolla) and an MBA from Tulane University. He holds the Series 7, 24, 63, 86, and 87 licenses.


Zach Gast, President, CFRA

Zach Gast

About Zach Gast:

Zach is President at CFRA, overseeing the firm's intellectual property and client activities including research, analytics, data, client coverage, and marketing. He previously served as Global Head of Research at the company from 2015-2019 as well as Head of the Financial Institutions Research team. Prior to returning to CFRA in 2013, Zach was with Paulson & Co. and Paulson Europe where he covered financial institutions globally. He has worked in microfinance internationally and testified before the U.S. House and Senate on small business lending and development. Zach graduated from Brown University with BAs in Political Science and Italian Studies and holds an MBA from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. He is a CFA charterholder.


David Mossberg, Founder & CEO, Three Part Advisors

David Mossberg

About David Mossberg:

Dave Mossberg is the Founder and CEO of Three Part Advisors. In addition to providing investor relations consulting services, Three Part Advisors produces IDEAS investor conferences, three independent conferences in Boston, Chicago and Dallas that are exclusively sponsored and supported by money management firms. Three Part Advisors also hosts company tours in which small groups of investors travel to visit companies in their offices in various markets across the country. Dave has more than 20 years of experience analyzing firms and advising executives. Prior to founding Three Part Advisors, He was a senior research analyst for Southwest Securities covering the telecom equipment industry and Director of Research at Hodges Capital Management. Dave also writes Mossberg's Investor Digest, a monthly subscription newsletter distributed to institutional investors. Dave received both his BBA in Finance and BBA in International Business from University of Texas at Arlington and holds a MBA from Southern Methodist University. Dave served as an interrogator/ linguist in the U.S. Army.


Chris Hodges, Founder & CEO, Alpha IR Group (moderator)

Chris Hodges

About Chris Hodges:

Chris Hodges is the Founder & CEO of the Alpha IR Group, and has been a strategic IR consultant for two decades. He has counseled clients across all industries, and through various points in the business cycle, including multiple recessions and valuation peaks. He is a recognized thought leader in the IR industry having recently presented at the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), National Directors Institute (NDI), and numerous NIRI events across the country. His past work includes serving as Senior Managing Director, Industrials Sector Head at FTI Consulting. Chris was also Co-Founder & President of Ashton Partners. Chris graduated from Lafayette College with a B.S. in Mathematics and received his M.B.A. in Finance from Temple University.


Jennifer Gordon, Director of Investor Relations, Hess Corporation

Chris Hodges

About Jennifer Gordon:

Jennifer Gordon is the Director of Investor Relations for Hess Corporation. During her four-year tenure at Hess, she has been responsible for designing, integrating and executing the Investor Relations program for Hess Midstream Partners. She sits on the Hess leadership team for Finance and Midstream and plays an active role with Hess Infrastructure Partners, a midstream joint venture between Hess and Global Infrastructure Partners.

Prior to joining Hess, Jennifer was Head of the Energy Practice for ICR, an investor-Relations Firm. In this role, she was responsible for business development and execution, successfully originating and facilitating the Firm’s largest market cap clients among the energy Majors, E&Ps and Midstream corporates. Jennifer led a team that advised on energy IPOs, mergers, private equity sales and strategic communication. Prior to this role, Jennifer held positions of increasing responsibility in energy research, trading and sales through 15 years and two continents at Deutsche Bank, where she was the first American woman to win both the Institutional Investor and UK Extel energy surveys both simultaneously and consecutively.

Innovative Ideas to Gain Exposure in a World of Declining Sell-Side Research

This discussion will focus on current sell-side and buy-side trends and how IROs can collaborate with traditional and alternative research firms to gain exposure with the investment community. It will also examine the current economic environment as it relates to the buy-side, sell-side and corporate access.

Sponsored by Alpha IR
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Break/Headshot Lounge

10:00 - 10:15 a.m.

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The Ethics of Enron

10:15 - 11:15 a.m.


Michael E. Anderson, Retired from the FBI

Michael E. Anderson

About Michael E. Anderson:

Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) Michael E. Anderson retired from the FBI on November 30, 2017 after more than 28 years of service. He worked in a variety of Executive Management roles and retired as the ASAC of the White-Collar Crime Branch, responsible for Public Corruption, Corporate Fraud, Securities and Commodities Fraud, Intellectual Property Rights, FCPA and Health Care Fraud. Agent Anderson was initially assigned to the Austin, Texas Resident Agency where he worked White Collar Crime before being promoted to the Economic Crimes Unit at FBI Headquarters. Thereafter, he was assigned as a Supervisory Special Agent in the Houston Field Office. Agent Anderson served as supervisor of the FBI Enron Task Force in Houston investigating the largest and most complex White-Collar Crime case in FBI history which resulted in the conviction of 22 individuals and over $100 million forfeited to the victims of the Enron fraud. Agent Anderson is a recipient of the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service, the highest award given by the Department of Justice, for his work on the Enron case and has lectured about Enron and ethics around the country and in Hong Kong.

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The Ethics of Enron


Join Michael E. Anderson on Friday, August 23, 2019 at 10.00 am to discuss the ethics of Enron’s leadership, culture, and accounting that facilitated unethical, criminal behavior and contributed to the failure of the seventh largest company in America. The discussion also provides a retrospective on how the FBI investigated the most complex White-Collar Crime case in FBI history resulting in the convictions of 22 people and forfeiture of more than $100 million to the victims of the Enron fraud.

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Where to Turn When You Are Asked to Cross the Line: Advice from a Leading Employment Attorney

11:15 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.





Larry is an experienced counselor and trial lawyer. He is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and represents clients in all types of labor and employment matters, including wrongful termination and employee disloyalty litigation, development of personnel policies, implementation of workforce reductions, negotiation and drafting of employment agreements and compensation packages, and investigations and administrative proceedings. Larry got an early start as a trial lawyer with a federal civil rights trial in New Orleans as a clinic student at Tulane and a Texas jury trial as a first year associate. He has tried cases to verdict, judgment and decision in state and federal court, before administrative agencies, and in arbitration.

Larry was named a Texas “Super Lawyer” more than ten times in Texas Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters (2003-2005 and 2008-2017). Larry served as President and General Counsel of HR Houston and as an instructor for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Technical Assistance Program, and he is an Adjunct Professor in Management in Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, where he previously served as President of Jones Partners. Larry is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors, the Society for Human Resource Management and other professional organizations. He is a regular speaker at national and regional human resources and legal conferences and has authored numerous articles on employment law topics. Before founding the firm, Larry was a partner at Baker & McKenzie and co-director of the labor and employment practice at Legge Farrow.

He is a graduate of Tulane Law School and the University of California Irvine and admitted to practice in Texas, California and New York.

Where to Turn When You Are Asked to Cross the Line: Advice from a Leading Employment Attorney

Executive management teams are under intense pressure to drive up shareholder returns (and their own compensation) in the face of rising threats: activist shareholders, fierce competitors, tight labor markets, increasing regulation, cyber risks, dislocated supply chains, etc. Some C-suites have been accused of shrinking under this pressure and choose improper paths to hit short-term targets, e.g. Wells Fargo, Volkswagen and Equifax. Investor relations officers (IROs) stand at the intersection of C-suite directives and external disclosure. What can IROs do to protect themselves when asked to step over the line?

What to do if you are asked to cross the line

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Closing Remarks/Door Prizes

12:00 - 12:15 p.m.

Conference Hotel Information

Join us in Austin, Texas for the SWRC 2019. Stay at the brand new JW Marriott and experience some of Austin’s favorites within steps of the hotel.

JW Marriott Austin


The conference program will take place at the JW Marriott in the heart of downtown Austin. The hotel is just a 15 minute drive from Austin International Airport and features oversized guest rooms, countless amenities, and a superior location.

Location + Contact

JW Marriott Austin 110 E 2nd St, Austin,
TX 78701 (512) 474-4777 Get Directions

Room Rates

$219 / Night Reference “NIRI Conference"

Reserve Your Room

To book your room, call 512-474-4777 or visit link and reference the “NIRI Conference” by July 30, 2019 to receive the group rate of $219/night.

Book Now


Getting There

Access the JW Marriott by car or plane. The hotel is just a 15-minute drive from Austin International Airport, or about a $30 taxi fare (one way). The hotel does not provide a shuttle service to the airport. On-site parking is available for $30 daily plus tax. Valet fee of $37 plus tax includes in/out privileges.


Registration Rates

Register before March 31st to enjoy early bird pricing. Guests may join Wednesday and Thursday night events for $100.

Early Bird

Before March 31 NIRI Member: $400

Early Bird

Before March 31 Nonmember: $500


After March 31 NIRI Member: $450


After March 31 Nonmember: $550
Register Now

Event Partners

Thank you to our chapter and event partners! You could be one! What are you waiting for? You know you want to be included in this Special Group of top IR Investigators.

For sponsorship inquiries, contact Sanjay Lad.

For information on SWRC sponsorship opportunities, click here.

Platinum Partners

ipreo logo alpha logo eqs-group logo virtua logo wpnt logo west logo

Gold Partners

buisnesswire logo nasdaq logo

Silver Partners

Q4inc logo rivel logo allianceadvisors logo equiniti logo mir logo corbin logo irwin point72 equisolve

Bronze Partners

dennard lascar pierpont okapi partners US Capital Advisors Al Petri Advisors Computer Share Cision

In-kind Partners

CPY-logo SC-logo

For Questions Regarding the SWRC Conference, contact Steve Stepinoff, Conference Chairman.