Event Details

In economic development work we are all familiar with the tangible aspects of a project — infrastructure, incentives, workforce, etc. But as we promote our regions, it is important to remember that marketing is still marketing. To maximize the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, you should incorporate narrative. Make a connection with your target audience. Tell YOUR story. This session explores how rural EDOs and those with limited budgets can effectively utilize platforms, tools, and creative concepts to tell your unique story

A key strategy of FEDC is to provide industry-leading professional development courses and certification programs through the FEDC Research & Education Foundation. And what better time than as a pre-conference opportunity! Join us at the Sawgrass Marriott in Ponte Vedra Beach on Monday, April 15, 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM to hone your marketing and communications skills in the critical areas of Storytelling & Media Relations. Course contents will include instruction, group activities, reporting out, and reference materials.


9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Storytelling 101
Tim Mask, CEO, MWB Create
Erica Sittler, Account Director, MWB Create
12:00 PM - 12:30 PM
Lunch is provided
12:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Media Training
Nancy Blum-Heintz


  • Nancy Blum-Heintz (Managing Director of VisionFirst Advisors LLC)

    Nancy Blum-Heintz

    Managing Director of VisionFirst Advisors LLC


    Nancy brings two decades of executive-level marketing, communications, government relations and economic development expertise to VisionFirst. Most recently, she served as the National Director of Communications for the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), a leader in designing policy and implementation strategies to improve our nation’s educational attainment and workforce competencies.

    Nancy worked alongside VisionFirst’s principals as Vice President of Strategic Alignment & Communications at Enterprise Florida (EFI). In that position, she developed strategies to adhere to strict public records laws while at the same time balancing necessary client confidentiality. She also served in leadership roles at several state agencies in Florida.

    VisionFirst’s clients have come to rely on Nancy’s marketing and communications background and capabilities. She recently led the development of a multi-media marketing campaign for Triumph Gulf Coast, a $1.5 billion economic development fund to expand Northwest Florida’s economy. The strategy included message and asset development to reach target audiences and motivate behavior.

    Nancy’s efforts have also focused on workforce and education initiatives that grow talent pipelines, improve competitiveness and assist underserved populations. Currently, Nancy is leading the development and implementation of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s new Workforce Invest grant program. She is a certified JobsEQ user, combining her education outreach expertise with data analytics to assist communities in explaining and implementing education and workforce initiatives.

    Outside the office, Nancy, a true fitness fanatic, can most likely be found at the gym or spending time with her family.

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  • Tim Mask (President & CEO of Maris, West & Baker)

    Tim Mask

    President & CEO of Maris, West & Baker


    Tim began working as in intern in 1999. He was named company president in 2017 and CEO in 2019. He looks forward to the day when the indentured servitude clause in his contract expires.

    In all seriousness, Tim oversees brand planning and marketing strategy for partner clients. He is the chief supervisor and strategist for the Mississippi Development Authority/Visit Mississippi, the Mississippi State Department of Health, Visit Jackson, Entergy Nuclear, and the Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau. He also works with Visit Hattiesburg and Visit Vicksburg. Tim is a primary contact with our destination digital media partner, Advance Travel & Tourism, and helps coordinate projects with destination marketing companies such as Matador, Otocast, Lou Hammond Group (LHG), and DCI.
    Tim has been a featured presenter at various state and national conferences on marketing communications/digital media in the areas of tourism, public health, and entrepreneurism, in addition to being an alumni speaker of TEDxAntioch and TEDxWindham. He serves on the boards of several organizations including TEDxJackson and The Entrepreneur Policy Planning Group; and is on the executive committee of the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership. Tim was selected as part of the Mississippi delegation that attended the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) at The Hague in 2019.

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  • Erica Sittler (Account Director of Maris, West & Baker)

    Erica Sittler

    Account Director of Maris, West & Baker


    Erica directs project and brand management for several of MWB’s partner clients, for both economic development and tourism. In addition to working with Florida’s Economic Development Council (FEDC), partner clients include Highlands County Economic Development Commission, Charlotte County Economic Development, Lake Economic Area Development Partnership, Glades County Economic Development Council, the city of Palm Coast, and Florida Power & Light. In addition, she also oversees projects for Visit Corinth, Grenada Tourism Commission, Entergy Nuclear, HOPE Credit Union, and the Mississippi State Department of Health.
    Erica recently completed the Basic in Economic Development Course at the University of South Florida. She also is a certified grant writer and manages MWB’s grant research and writing functions. With over 20 years industry experience, Erica has a background also in project/traffic management and print production services, and handles all agency print production coordination with vendors, including specialty and large format printing, signage, non-traditional print projects, and collateral materials.

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Pre-conference Workshop Member Rate

Storytelling 101 – Build your community value proposition with key elements that resonate - Tim Mask and Erica Sittler, MWB Create
Media Training - Learn media relations etiquette for proactive and reactive scenarios both on and off camera - Nancy Blum-Heintz, VisionFirst Advisors

Member Price $299
Pre-conference Workshop Non-member Rate

Storytelling 101 – Build your community value proposition with key elements that resonate - Tim Mask and Erica Sittler, MWB Create
Media Training - Learn media relations etiquette for proactive and reactive scenarios both on and off camera - Nancy Blum-Heintz, VisionFirst Advisors

Standard Price $449


Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa

Tournament Players Club Boulevard 1000
Ponte Vedra Beach

If you have any questions please contact Jill Rae Blackman

Contact Organizer

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