Mimi Bliss prepares clients to speak with confidence when the stakes are high: a media interview, speech or business presentation.
Mimi founded Bliss Communications in 1997 and provides media spokesperson training and presentation coaching for clients nationwide. Clients of Bliss Communications include Fortune 100 companies and organizations in a range of industries, including healthcare, automotive, nonprofit and government. She speaks frequently about communications topics at conferences and leadership programs.
Mimi has more than two decades of communications experience in journalism and public relations. She was an on-camera reporter for ABC and NBC television affiliates and a freelance field producer for the Today Show and NBC Nightly News. In other previous positions, she served as corporate spokesperson for a major restaurant company and managed media relations for a hospital.
A resident of Nashville, Tenn., Mimi earned a degree in public policy from Duke University.
Robb is a partner at Waller in Nashville, where he focuses on media and entertainment matters and represents content providers. He regularly counsels The Tennessean, WSMV Channel Four, The Contributor and WZTV Fox 17, and defends actions against newspapers and broadcasters across Tennessee. Robb was elected to the Governing Board of the American Bar Ass'n Forum on Communications Law in 2016, is the Vice Chair of the Tennessee Bar Ass'n Communications Law Section, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government.
Assignment Desk Manager, WTVF - NewsChannel 5
Lori Hinkle is the Assignment Manager for WTVF-TV, NewsChannel 5 in Nashville, TN. Lori has worked for WTVF for 5 years and has been in the business for 10. As the Assignment Manager, Lori is charge of all of the daily assignments for news crews. She also coordinates breaking news coverage as well as special event coverage. In 2015, Lori won an Emmy for a documentary she produced on the new Sounds Stadium and the history behind the team and Sulphur Dell.
She began her career at WIAT-TV, CBS42 News in Birmingham, AL as a news and sports reporter where she covered big events like elections and college football games. Lori quickly learned that she wanted to move behind the scenes and start the tract to management. She joined the WSMV-TV, Channel 4 team in March of 2011 where she was an Assignment Editor until November of the same year. In November 2011, she joined the Channel 5 team and has been there ever since.
Katcher Strategic Communications
Aileen Katcher, APR, Fellow PRSA
, principal at Katcher Strategic Communications
has more than three decades of marketing and communications experience with expertise in crisis readiness and management. She has worked in-house at two major urban hospitals and as a principal in two prominent public relations firms representing clients in the areas of health care, professional services, manufacturing and education.
She served on the crisis management team of a major health insurer when they experienced what was then the biggest health data breach in the country, as spokesperson for a publicly traded healthcare company that experienced unexplained patient deaths in a facility and as crisis consultant for an international manufacturer that makes flares for the U.S. military following a series of workplace explosions that resulted in employee injuries and deaths.
She is also active in the community currently serving on the Contributor and Healing Trust and Alignment Nashville boards, FiftyForward Advisory Council and the Tennessee Holocaust Commission. She is a past president of the PRSA Nashville and currently serves as the Ethics Officer and served on the national PRSA board from 1998-2000.
Maria De Varenne
News Director, The Tennesseean
Maria De Varenne is the director of news of The Tennessean. She joined The Tennessean in 2011. She previously was the editor and vice president/news of The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif. The Tennessean was named one of the top 25 U.S. daily newspapers to gain audiences in both print and digital readership. Under her leadership, The Tennessean has won numerous national and state awards. Those include: The outstanding news operation by the Tennessee Associated Press Media Editors; The Associated Press Media Editors' First Amendment Award for coverage of the Tennessee Department of Children's Services; finalist for the national Investigative Reporters and Editors award for coverage of Conservatorships in Tennessee; and The Tennessean's sports section and Tennessean.com were named in the Top 10 in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. De Varenne, grew up in Albuquerque, NM, graduated with a BA in journalism from the University of New Mexico and was a fellow at the University of Southern California's Knight Digital Media Center. She is a graduate of Leadership Nashville, a board member of the Nashville Predators Foundation, a board member of Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, a member of The Nashville Chamber's Business Conditions Council and a member of the Rotary Club of Nashville.