Partnership gone wrong: If, when and how to walk away

In successful partnerships, both brands win. But how do you know when a collaboration isn’t working? And when do you walk away? Panelists from around the globe—and both sides of the agency/client partnership—will join moderator and Mitchell President Sarah Clark to discuss managing expectations and navigating your brand through a crisis.

You will walk away from this session with:

  • Perspective from both sides of the equation, with panelists from agency and client backgrounds.
  • Recommendations for approaching your next collaboration opportunity with the right balance of caution.

Format: Panel
Career LevelBusiness leader
Date and Time: Monday at 3:30–4:30 p.m.

Sarah Clark 2017 Square CropModerator / Sarah Clark / Arkansas, U.S.,
is the president of Mitchell, an award-winning public relations firm headquartered in Fayetteville, Arkansas, U.S., with offices in Chicago and New York City. Clark is one of the top strategic communications professionals in the country, with more than 25 years of experience in corporate communications and an exceptional track record in protecting corporate reputations and redefining perceptions in key areas of business.



Panelist / Christi Woodworth / Oklahoma, U.S., is the vice president of public relations for the Oklahoma City-based national headquarters of SONIC®, America’s Drive-In®. Woodworth is responsible for public relations support of marketing, franchise development, social impact, including SONIC’s award-winning Limeades for Learning® cause branding program and community relations, as well as franchisee communications. As chair of SONIC’s crisis management team, she guides the brand’s crisis preparedness to protect customers, employees, stockholder and the brand. 



Panelist / Rob Morlino / California, U.S., is the head of public relations, Nokia Technologies for Nokia Technologies. Morlino leads media relations and product & technology, corporate, executive and internal communication. Oversee agency selection and management, launch event planning and product messaging, digital and social media strategy and serve as spokesperson at technology and industry events globally.



Panelist / Marleen New / Arkansas, U.S., is the senior director of global partnerships and alliances, joined Heifer International in 2003. She leads the team responsible for coordinating and leveraging global private sector partnerships efforts by establishing and maximizing relationships with multi-national and national corporate partners through value chain strategic alliances, cause-related marketing, and workplace giving programs.  Marleen works to ascertain the needs of both the farmers Heifer works with and private sector actors, to identify ways for both parties to gain business value through value chain opportunities that create wealth for small-holder farmers.


Panelist / Jacquie Toppings / Washington D.C., U.S., is the director of brand public relations, at Hilton, where she develops public relations strategy and tactics that enhance the image of Hilton Hotels & Resorts, the flagship brand of the company, DoubleTree by Hilton, Curio Collection by Hilton and Tapestry Collection by Hilton. Toppings is responsible for growing brand awareness, driving consumer preference, aligning brand stories globally, supporting brand business objectives and reinforcing communications and marketing positioning, primarily in the consumer media landscape. She joined Hilton in 2012 as director, brand public relations, supporting Embassy Suites by Hilton.