Pre-conference workshops

Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019

9-12:15 p.m.

Build an army of employee advocates and establish your leaders as experts online and beyond

Social media has leveled the playing field and enabled organizations of all sizes to better connect with their audiences. However, building and boosting your brand online in a crowded digital landscape is no easy feat. Your workforce holds some of your organization’s most important and compelling stories and when activated to be your organization’s brand advocates, can raise the torch more effectively than many PR and marketing campaigns. Consumers, stakeholders and employees also seek greater transparency and access to organizations’ executives and leaders, so it’s growing increasingly more important to establish leaders’ voices online through content and interactions that combines branded messages with personality, insight and authenticity. In this interactive workshop, Ragan Consulting Group affiliate consultant Carlos Gil will show you how to help your employees and executives transform into your organization’s newest and most effective faces of social media marketing—along with ways you can immediately start gaining credibility and attention.

You’ll learn:

  • Elements of an effective employee advocacy program
  • Ways to gain buy-in for your advocacy and social media training programs and how to get internal stakeholders actively involved
  • How to incorporate fun and personality into your corporate content
  • Tips for leveraging Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram for earned media opportunities and driving brand awareness (and website clicks) through employees’ online activity
  • How to transform your organizational culture to embrace social media, along with steps for attracting top industry talent

There will be a 15-minute break during this workshop.

Carlos Gil
Affiliate consultant
Ragan Consulting Group
Read bio
12:15–1:15 p.m.

Networking lunch

(provided onsite)

1:15-4:30 p.m.

From concept to production: How to humanize your organization through video storytelling

Video has become a “check the box” medium for many communicators, filling employee inboxes with mediocre noise. Although no video is the same, the thought and production process needed to bring one to life is—and it’s something you can master. In this interactive workshop, Justin Allen, head of video and digital strategy for Ragan Consulting Group, will show you the eight simple steps he and his team use to bring all productions to life—from television shows and commercials to internal communications videos.

You’ll learn: 

  • A proven and highly effective eight-step video creation process, leading you from initial idea to scripting, production, post-production, posting and measurement
  • Why your shot list is crucial to the production process (and how to make it better)
  • When, how and why to say “no” to a video concept
  • Tips to help you unlock your creativity and make stories come alive
  • Five formats that are better than the talking head

There will be a 15-minute break during this workshop.

Head of video production, affiliate consultant
Ragan Consulting Group
Read bio
Track 1: Employee Communications Best Practices

Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019

7:45-8:45 a.m
bonus breakfast session

Create an email strategy to get and keep employees engaged

Email is a crucial component of internal corporate communications programs, whether for executive communications, company news or employee benefits information. It’s not enough to just include email tactics, however. If you want to capture and keep employees’ attention and contribute to a positive employee experience, crafting a strategy based on objective data is essential. Join Michael DesRochers, founder and CEO of PoliteMail, in this bonus session and glean insights from an analysis of nearly half a billion emails. He’ll walk you through measurement insights you can use to improve your email communications efforts as you enjoy complimentary breakfast.

You’ll learn:

  • Best practices from the top 20% of corporate communicators and what they are doing differently
  • What makes an email more likely to be opened and read
  • How targeting and timing affect email readership
  • What you should know about images and links
Founder and managing director
PoliteMail
Read bio
9–10 a.m.
Opening keynote

Embrace your inner nerd: Using data as your communications superpower

“Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound!" Most of us know how to create content, but you can make your content super by focusing on the sexy side of science. By learning more about information psychology, brain science, and technology trends, you can  influence communication efforts across multiple platforms and audiences, both internally and externally, that work best for today’s quickly moving digital environment.

Kristin Graham, principal of culture and communications at Amazon, will share insights about our ever-changing audience(s) and how to anticipate their needs and be more nimble in your messages and content. Through a collection of “nerd facts,” you’ll learn how to craft bite-sized content and stretch your comfort zones to get people’s attention and interaction.

Principal of culture and communications
Amazon
Read bio
10:15–11 a.m.

Use video to connect employees with your organization’s leaders 

Your organization’s executives and leaders can carry your brand image, inspire employee motivation and ultimately help you reach your communications goals—if you can connect them to your workforce. That means you have to grab employees’ attention long enough to tell your leaders’ stories and share crucial messages and updates. Chip Midnight, business consulting specialist for Nationwide, will share the project that started out as an idea to train Nationwide’s 35,000 associates on SharePoint but bloomed into much more: Roughly 170 broadcast shows in 2017 scaling to more than 450 shows in 2018 and more than 550 shows scheduled in 2019, featuring leaders from across the organization and boosting both employee and leadership communications. He’ll reveal lessons learned from turning an employee training challenge into a thriving studio that regularly offers features, replaces many in-person meetings, increases internal engagement and retention, and saves the organization thousands of dollars each year.

You’ll learn:

  • How to think like a producer when crafting leadership and executive content
  • Ways to tackle tough subjects and boost employee engagement through transparency
  • The types of two-way executive communications and conversations that can inspire and engage viewers
  • Tips for using SharePoint to distribute your content, along with other tools (including Yammer) that can help you create a thriving digital workplace
  • How to measure success through analytics, surveys and informal feedback
Business consulting specialist
Nationwide Insurance
Read bio
11:15 a.m.–noon

Capturing hearts and minds at work: Employee experience and the digital workplace

Forbes reported that 2018 was the “year of the employee experience”—the advent of an era in which team members’ encounters would be the “preeminent corporate priority.” However, many organizations are still discovering what employee experience is, how it relates to the organizational culture, and why it’s important to corporate communications efforts. Elisha McCallum, director of global communications at Finning International, and Bill Kirst, senior principal of operations excellence at West Monroe Partners, will discuss why “employee experience” is more than a buzzword—along with crucial elements of a successful change management strategy.

You’ll learn:

  • Ways to boost engagement through a digital workplace
  • How to communicate change to a global audience — and move them to action
  • Secrets of cultivating adoption of a digital-first mindset
  • How to support new ways of working and avoid common pitfalls
Senior principal of operations excellence
West Monroe Partners
Read bio
Director of global communications
Finning International
Read bio
Noon–1 p.m.

Networking lunch

(provided onsite)

1–1:45 p.m.

How internal communications and innovation go hand in hand

How can you ensure that your employees’ work is not only boosting the bottom line, but also making a difference for your organization and the community it’s in? Internal and employee communications is more than pushing information to your workforce. Instead, by creatively telling your organization’s stories, defining your culture to contain behaviors you want your organization to exemplify and leading by example in terms of creative solutions, you can inspire employees to produce outstanding ideas, projects and more. Jonny Oser, internal communications director at Facebook, will show you how to embrace the adage, “feedback is a gift”—and how you can push for innovation and societal impact within your organization, even if you’re not a technology company.

You’ll learn:

  • Ways to encourage employee feedback and implement that in effective workplace solutions
  • How to make your mission and values an actively growing foundation of your culture
  • Tips for driving innovation, interaction and productivity through technology and tools
  • How to encourage your employees to not only meet their goals, but also take risks and make a business impact within your organization
  • Steps for brainstorming ideas that generate iconic features such as Facebook’s “like” button
Internal communications director
Facebook
Read bio
2–2:45 p.m.

Harness technology to cultivate outstanding executive communications

It’s crucial that employees understand and live your organization’s mission and vision. With the help of technology, your organization’s leaders can foster a culture of connectivity and innovation, inspiring employees to get involved. These tools and resources can also ensure your employees receive current information, updates and changes, and can help you stand out against the plethora of messages they receive each day across their devices. John Cirone, director of leader and employee communications at Microsoft, and Christina Torok, senior product marketing manager at Microsoft, will show you how the many facets of Microsoft 365 can boost your leadership communications and better foster a workplace of interaction and involvement.

You’ll learn:

  • Microsoft’s approach to executive and employee communications
  • Ways to better reach your workforce through Q&As, town halls and more
  • Tips for integrating Microsoft Teams, Streams and Yammer into your internal and employee communications efforts
  • Lessons learned from harnessing technology to increase interactions between employees and executives
Senior product marketing manager
Microsoft
Read bio
Director of leader and employee communications
Microsoft
Read bio
2:45–3:15 p.m.

Networking break

3:15–4 p.m.
Panel

Working together to overcome internal communications challenges

Effective employee communications and engagement efforts require support and insights from stakeholders across your organization, which means breaking down silos and working together to ensure that employees’ needs and behaviors are kept in mind, business goals are answered by communications efforts that make the most sense, and both campaigns and messages are regularly evaluated to ensure that results do more than clutter employees’ inboxes and annoy them instead of informing and inspiring them. In this panel of experts, you’ll get an opportunity to ask questions and find insights to answer the challenges you grapple with most.

You’ll learn:

  • Ways to best measure messages and campaigns to prove what works—and what doesn’t
  • Secrets for uncovering solutions for common pain points, no matter your department or focus
  • How to work together with leaders throughout your organization and unify your communications
  • Tips for setting yourself up as an employee communications expert whom others seek out for advice
President and CEO
Institute for Public Relations
Read bio
Program manager, enterprise business management
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Read bio
Senior director of employee communications and engagement
Expedia Group
Read bio
Senior manager of culture, change and communications
Deloitte
Read bio
Director of PR
Children’s Mercy Kansas City
Read bio
4:15–5:15 p.m.
Special keynote

Creating a culture of storytelling and innovation

There is no shortage of content for today’s consumers or employees, and communicators are fighting for attention spans as the media landscape becomes increasingly cluttered. As we’re bombarded by information, visuals and data, stories about people accomplishing amazing things can break through the noise and help communicators’ messages stick. Steve Clayton, chief storyteller at Microsoft, will share how he and his Innovation, Culture & Stories team help shape Microsoft’s brand image and showcase the company’s innovation through internal and external storytelling. You’ll learn how he’s built a team of storytellers who drive compelling narratives and insights, and how you can find and tell your organization’s most important tales.

Chief storyteller
Microsoft
Read bio
5:30-7:30 p.m.

Networking cocktail party, courtesy of Microsoft

Join us for a fun networking event at Microsoft’s Visitors Center. Enjoy great food and drink as you dive into conversations with industry peers and explore the world of Microsoft. Learn Microsoft’s history, take a new LinkedIn profile photo and test an Xbox game in this interactive space.

Friday, Oct. 4, 2019

8:30–9:30 a.m.
Opening keynote

Why communicators must lead the charge for diversity and inclusion

It’s time to increase diversity within your organization—whether that’s through inclusive employee communications, PR and marketing efforts that welcome instead of offend, or media training that keeps your executives up to date on today’s hot-button issues and concerns. As a communicator, you’re the best person to make this happen.

Janet Stovall, manager of executive communications for UPS, will make the business case for bringing diversity and inclusion into your business goals—along with how you can best communicate concerns, offer ideas and become accountable for the commitments you make to your workforce, partners, consumers and other stakeholders.

Manager of executive communications
UPS
Read bio
9:45–10:30 a.m.

Reimagining internal communications with innovation and technology

Effectively communicating with internal audiences requires you to reach people in ways that are intuitive, interesting and relevant. When you’re catering to multiple audiences whose day-to-day experiences differ widely, communicators must constantly innovate by drawing inspiration from our everyday, nonwork lives. How do we use technology to communicate? What content do we choose to seek out or click on? To do this, you must learn about your employees and give them easy access to information—along with a reason to want to come back for more. Natasha Gaffoglio and Allison Owens from the internal newsroom at Taco Bell will share how their team has completely reimagined employee communications, harnessing technology to target hard-to-reach audiences and becoming obsessive about analytics to enable strategic decisions.

You’ll learn:

  • The modern channels, tools and resources that increase engagement
  • How to best deliver information to a dispersed and diverse workplace
  • Tips for creating bite-sized content that’s actually entertaining
  • Why you should obsess over your data
  • How to “democratize” data to help internal partners make the best decisions
Associate manager of internal communications
Taco Bell
Read bio
Senior manager of internal communications
Taco Bell
Read bio
10:45–11:30 a.m.

Takeaways from the World Cup: How Nike activated employee engagement

Session description coming soon.

Senior director of editorial and experiences, global employee communications
Nike
Read bio
11:45 a.m.–noon

Conference prize drawings and closing announcements

Noon–1 p.m.
Closing keynote

Elevating the role of social media to drive emotional brand attachment

Establishing emotional connections with consumers is no longer "nice to have”—it's an integral part of building your organization’s brand. Social media marketers have known this for years. We spend countless hours trying to correlate social KPIs to business objectives and hosting social media education road shows—all to influence colleagues on the importance of customer engagement.

Eric Gray, senior director of content engagement at Universal Orlando Resort, will take you on a journey that includes a therapy session for social media managers and a research discussion about consumer engagement. He’ll highlight how Universal Orlando is using emotional storytelling and most importantly, inspire you to pursue not just social media engagement, but driving emotional brand attachment.

Senior director of content engagement
Universal Orlando Resort
Read bio
Track 2: PR and Marketing Best Practices

Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019

7:45-8:45 a.m.
bonus breakfast session

Create an email strategy to get and keep employees engaged

Email is a crucial component of internal corporate communications programs, whether for executive communications, company news or employee benefits information. It’s not enough to just include email tactics, however. If you want to capture and keep employees’ attention and contribute to a positive employee experience, crafting a strategy based on objective data is essential. Join Michael DesRochers, founder and CEO of PoliteMail, in this bonus session and glean insights from an analysis of nearly half a billion emails. He’ll walk you through measurement insights you can use to improve your email communications efforts as you enjoy complimentary breakfast.

You’ll learn: 

  • Best practices from the top 20% of corporate communicators and what they are doing differently
  • What makes an email more likely to be opened and read
  • How targeting and timing affect email readership
  • What you should know about images and links
Founder and managing director
PoliteMail
Read bio
9–10 a.m.
Opening keynote

Embrace your inner nerd: Using data as your communications superpower

“Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound!" Most of us know how to create content, but you can make your content super by focusing on the sexy side of science. By learning more about information psychology, brain science, and technology trends, you can  influence communication efforts across multiple platforms and audiences, both internally and externally, that work best for today’s quickly moving digital environment.

Kristin Graham, principal of culture and communications at Amazon, will share insights about our ever-changing audience(s) and how to anticipate their needs and be more nimble in your messages and content. Through a collection of “nerd facts,” you’ll learn how to craft bite-sized content and stretch your comfort zones to get people’s attention and interaction.

Principal of culture and communications
Amazon
Read bio
10:15–11 a.m.

Implement PR and marketing strategies that work—even if you’re starting from scratch

It’s never too late to embrace the power of strategic communications within your organization, but it can be tough to know where to begin. Over roughly 80 years, Vancouver Clinic grew to 350 providers representing more than 40 specialties—all without a marketing communication department. That changed three years ago, when the clinic hired its first director of marketing and strategic communications. Since then, Vancouver Clinic has harnessed the power of communications backed by research and measurement, engaging both patients and doctors in storytelling efforts that have strengthened its brand and helped it to grow. Whether you’re implementing a new campaign or process within an existing department or starting from scratch, Madi Kozacek-Hantho, social media marketing manager at Vancouver Clinic, and Chastell Ely, director of marketing and strategic communications at Vancouver Clinic, will share insights based on PR’s “R.A.C.E.” model that can help you launch effective communications efforts.

You’ll learn:

  • How to use industry leaders to validate research and establish brand pillars
  • How hundreds of physician owners gained visibility into the action planning process—and ways to do the same with your organization’s stakeholders
  • Communication tactics that will elevate your organization’s brand promise
  • Steps for gathering metrics and sharing evaluation measures that can impress your leadership team, prove ROI and gain future buy-in
Director of marketing and strategic communications
Vancouver Clinic
Read bio
Social media marketing manager
Vancouver Clinic
Read bio
11:15 a.m.–noon
Panel

Fundamentals of outstanding branding and earned media buzz

Grabbing headlines, racking up news media mentions and boosting social media conversation about your organization is music to PR and marketing pros’ ears. As the print and digital media landscapes grow more crowded with branded content and messages, however, only savvy efforts will stand out and garner attention (and ROI). At the same time, you have to make sure your communications are in line with your brand voice and mission, lest you create confusion (or worse yet, a crisis). In this interactive panel, you can ask communications experts how best to grab the lion’s share of coverage as you make your mark for your organization.

You’ll learn:  

  • The importance of storytelling—from content creation to pitching journalists
  • Ways to ensure your brand voice and messages come through audience-centric campaigns
  • How to create excitement and sizzle, even when you have no news to announce
  • Tips for avoiding common media relations and branding pitfalls
SVP, West Coast food and beverage lead
Edelman Seattle
Read bio
Former SVP of communications and public affairs
Zillow
Read bio
Aviation communications manager
Sea-Tac Airport
Read bio
Director of communications
Seattle City Light
Read bio
Director of PR
Children’s Mercy Kansas City
Read bio
Noon–1 p.m.

Networking lunch

(provided onsite)

1–1:45 p.m.

How savvy and data-based strategic communications can earn you a seat at the table

Today’s PR and marketing pros can’t just be outstanding communicators who understand business objectives. Instead, they must be business people first with a communications prowess to show stakeholders how PR and other efforts are crucial aspects to their organizations’ successes. To accomplish this, aim to include best practices to a strong strategy that’s based on data and an understanding of your audience—along with analytics that show how much you’re boosting the bottom line. Therese Van Ryne, director of global PR for Zebra Technologies, will discuss the current challenges facing communicators of all kinds—and how you can overcome them, excelling in corporate communications, branding, media relations and more.

You’ll learn:

  • How to produce a strategy (and corresponding messages) from data and analytics
  • How data can help you better understand and target your audience
  • Ways to set measurable and achievable goals—along with how to report your successes along the way
  • Tips for getting the most out of your budget and gaining executive buy-in from early stages through the close of your campaigns
Head of global PR, thought leadership and corporate social responsibility
Zebra Technologies
Read bio
2–2:45 p.m.

Now showing: Responding (or not) to public and news media backlash

A negative experience or misquote can quickly spiral into your organization being thrust into the limelight, and not in a good way. PR and corporate communications pros must be ready to stop crises in their tracks and understand what to do when that’s not possible, but the same statement won’t play out successfully in all scenarios. From errant headlines, to no-win situations and executive comments that can quickly turn your PR efforts inside out, Ryan Noonan, director of corporate communications for AMC Theaters, will show how he and his team responded, or didn’t respond, to different sticky situations—and how you can prepare yourselves for several kinds of crisis responses.

You’ll learn:

  • How to correct false news before the narrative gets away from you
  • Tips for knowing when to respond and when to stay silent
  • Ways to defuse emotions and increase trust with statements that are on-brand and authoritative
  • How to be transparent and responsive in different crisis situations
Director of corporate communications
AMC Theaters
Read bio
2:45-3:15p.m.

Networking break

3:15-4 p.m.

Drive business priorities by putting your media relations strategy to work

In today’s business world, media relations go deeper than garnering placements, highlighting announcements and managing issues: It’s also a major component of educating audiences about your organizations and its offerings. Media relations should be an integral part of your organization’s communications mix, and ensuring your outreach strategies support and drive business objectives is crucial to success. Johnny Smith Jr., national senior director of marketing and communications at leading nonprofit health system Ascension, will share pages from his team’s playbook in building a robust media relations strategy to enhance brand awareness across 22 states and the District of Columbia and educate health care consumers about its most important business drivers.

You’ll learn:

  • How to build a media relations strategy that supports and advances your organization’s business objectives
  • Steps to ensure media relations is integrated in your organization’s planning process for brand and product strategies from beginning to end
  • How to develop a national media relations strategy that’s also adaptable to local market outlets
  • Ways to track and measure success—and what analytics you should include
National senior director of marketing and communications
Ascension
Read bio
4:15–5:15 p.m.
Special keynote

Creating a culture of storytelling and innovation

There is no shortage of content for today’s consumers or employees, and communicators are fighting for attention spans as the media landscape becomes increasingly cluttered. As we’re bombarded by information, visuals and data, stories about people accomplishing amazing things can break through the noise and help communicators’ messages stick. Steve Clayton, chief storyteller at Microsoft, will share how he and his Innovation, Culture & Stories team help shape Microsoft’s brand image and showcase the company’s innovation through internal and external storytelling. You’ll learn how he’s built a team of storytellers who drive compelling narratives and insights, and how you can find and tell your organization’s most important tales.

Chief storyteller
Microsoft
Read bio
5:30-7:30 p.m.

Networking cocktail party, courtesy of Microsoft

Join us for a fun networking event at Microsoft’s Visitors Center. Enjoy great food and drink as you dive into conversations with industry peers and explore the world of Microsoft. Learn Microsoft’s history, take a new LinkedIn profile photo and test an Xbox game in this interactive space.

Friday, Oct. 4, 2019

8:30–9:30 a.m.
Opening keynote

Why communicators must lead the charge for diversity and inclusion

It’s time to increase diversity within your organization—whether that’s through inclusive employee communications, PR and marketing efforts that welcome instead of offend, or media training that keeps your executives up to date on today’s hot-button issues and concerns. As a communicator, you’re the best person to make this happen.

Janet Stovall, manager of executive communications for UPS, will make the business case for bringing diversity and inclusion into your business goals—along with how you can best communicate concerns, offer ideas and become accountable for the commitments you make to your workforce, partners, consumers and other stakeholders.

Manager of executive communications
UPS
Read bio
9:45–10:30 a.m.

Humanizing marketing through creativity

In today’s digital age, we’re constantly served content and bombarded with PR and marketing messages. Communicators must create content that stands out against the crowd and speaks to the human experience, or risk being another talking head of corporate speak and marketing promotions. Adu Adu, social media marketing manager at Google, will show you how content, design, PR, strategy and social media are crucial pieces to the marketing puzzle seeking to capture attention and fulfill organizations’ business goals.

You’ll learn:

  • How to create authentic marketing content and campaigns that break through the noise of a cluttered online landscape
  • Top tools and resources to create outstanding digital content, regardless of your budget
  • Steps for marrying creativity with a marketing strategy that boosts the bottom line
  • Ways to understand your target audience and where they come from to create messages that resonate
  • How to capture attention online, whether you work for a large organization or are a team of one
Social media marketing manager
Google
Read bio
10:40–11:30 a.m.

Creating a unified crisis communications plan across your organization

When a social media storm, backlash over an insensitive product or other crisis arrives at your organization’s door, it takes more than a few savvy statements to stop criticism and negative headlines. If you don’t act fast and have your team and leaders on board, a poorly coordinated response can bring your organization’s reputation crashing down. Jenna Reck, director of communications at Target, will share the necessity of a well-rounded crisis communications strategy that relies on preparation, coordination and clear escalation to bring everyone in your organization together to protect your brand.

You’ll learn:

  • How to effectively work together and prepare your entire organization for a crisis
  • Ways to best work together across stakeholders for a unified crisis response that bolsters your brand and reputation
  • Tips for identifying and mitigating risks ahead of time
  • How you can effectively and quickly distribute your messages and information, with transparency, both internally and externally
Director of communications
Target
Read bio
11:45 a.m.–noon

Conference prize drawings and closing announcements

Noon–1 p.m.
Closing keynote

Elevating the role of social media to drive emotional brand attachment

Establishing emotional connections with consumers is no longer "nice to have”—it's an integral part of building your organization’s brand. Social media marketers have known this for years. We spend countless hours trying to correlate social KPIs to business objectives and hosting social media education road shows—all to influence colleagues on the importance of customer engagement.

Eric Gray, senior director of content engagement at Universal Orlando Resort, will take you on a journey that includes a therapy session for social media managers and a research discussion about consumer engagement. He’ll highlight how Universal Orlando is using emotional storytelling and most importantly, inspire you to pursue not just social media engagement, but driving emotional brand attachment.

Senior director of content engagement
Universal Orlando Resort
Read bio
Track 3: Social Media Best Practices

Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019

7:45-8:45 a.m.
bonus breakfast session

Create an email strategy to get and keep employees engaged

Email is a crucial component of internal corporate communications programs, whether for executive communications, company news or employee benefits information. It’s not enough to just include email tactics, however. If you want to capture and keep employees’ attention and contribute to a positive employee experience, crafting a strategy based on objective data is essential. Join Michael DesRochers, founder and CEO of PoliteMail, in this bonus session and glean insights from an analysis of nearly half a billion emails. He’ll walk you through measurement insights you can use to improve your email communications efforts as you enjoy complimentary breakfast.

You’ll learn:

  • Best practices from the top 20% of corporate communicators and what they are doing differently
  • What makes an email more likely to be opened and read
  • How targeting and timing affect email readership
  • What you should know about images and links
Founder and managing director
PoliteMail
Read bio
9–10 a.m.
Opening keynote

Embrace your inner nerd: Using data as your communications superpower

“Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound!" Most of us know how to create content, but you can make your content super by focusing on the sexy side of science. By learning more about information psychology, brain science, and technology trends, you can  influence communication efforts across multiple platforms and audiences, both internally and externally, that work best for today’s quickly moving digital environment.

Kristin Graham, principal of culture and communications at Amazon, will share insights about our ever-changing audience(s) and how to anticipate their needs and be more nimble in your messages and content. Through a collection of “nerd facts,” you’ll learn how to craft bite-sized content and stretch your comfort zones to get people’s attention and interaction.

Principal of culture and communications
Amazon
Read bio
10:15–11 a.m.

Harness LinkedIn to build your brand, network and bottom line

With more than 575 million registered users worldwide, every communicator should have an active presence on LinkedIn. You can use the power of largest social media platform for professionals to more effectively establish your expertise and voice, build your personal and employer brands, connect with industry peers and even increase your net worth. However, simply creating a profile isn’t enough. Lauren Thomas, senior manager of communications and social media for Intuit, will show you how to best present yourself, your organizations and your executives on LinkedIn, along with ways to stand out from the crowd to attract new opportunities.

You’ll learn:

  • Secrets of all-star LinkedIn profiles that stand out and attract attention
  • Tips for building your network and engaging in ways that are authentic and social, without being spammy or salesy
  • Ways to make your personal profile or company page more dynamic with multimedia content including livestreaming, videos and presentations, along with little-known platform features such as LinkedIn QR Codes and LinkedIn Salary 
  • Tactics to help you create and share content that establishes you and your leaders as industry experts
  • How LinkedIn can fit into your social media strategy—for both yourself and your organization
Senior manager of communications and social media
Intuit
Read bio
11:15 a.m.–noon

For your eyes only: Secrets of social media success

Communicators in today’s increasingly digital media landscape understand the importance of social media, but many organizations still struggle with how to establish an online presence that is relevant and creative without making common mistakes or clashing with its current reputation and image. Carolyn Reams, founder and former director of the CIA’s social media strategy, will show you how providing information to interested audiences and growing your online following is possible, regardless of your industry or regulations.

You’ll learn:

  • How to humanize your organization, no matter your industry (or secrets)
  • Ways to gain attention and take advantage of current trends in ways that make sense to your organization’s mission and voice
  • The three types of audiences and how to best deliver content to each
  • Tips for getting executive buy-in, including presenting the case for social media and getting your team involved in digital content efforts
Founder and former director of social media
CIA
Read bio
Noon–1 p.m.

Networking lunch

(provided onsite)

1–1:45 p.m.

Boost social media content and engagement through influencers—no matter your industry or audience

As more organizations seek to create thriving online communities and distribute content to raise their profiles and reputations in audiences’ minds, tapping into the power of influencers is crucial for providing authentic voices to your brand image. Ellen Gerstein, director of digital content at Pfizer, will show you how to uncover and work with influencers both within and outside of your organization to humanize your stories, stay current on top trends and strengthen your reputation.

You’ll learn:

  • Tips for identifying and working with influencers across platforms on mutually beneficial campaigns
  • Ways to encourage employees to become ambassadors and champion your stories as influencers
  • How influencer campaigns fit into social media strategies enhances community-building efforts
  • How to avoid common influencer pitfalls—especially in a regulated industry
  • Digital content lessons from influencers on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn
Director of digital content
Pfizer
Read bio
2–2:45 p.m.

Digital content strategies to succeed in a fast-paced social news cycle

Though consumers are more likely to trust news media and broadcast outlets than brands for news and information, gone are the days of headlines breaking in print newspapers or on TV news. Instead, most people hear their news, along with viral trends, from Twitter. Sarah Holm, digital and social communications manager for Ford Motor Company, will show you how the company has unified its online voice and worked to deliver news to global audiences crafted with them in mind—and how you can hit that sweet spot (at the right time), too.

You’ll learn:

  • How to leverage digital-first content distribution strategies to complement traditional pitching strategies.
  • Ways you can share assets and stories with other departments in your organization to align efforts and best boost your brand.
  • Strategies to tailoring your messages to global and diverse audiences across channels and platforms.
  • How to unify your online presence when you have many accounts and entities representing your overall brand.

 

Digital and social communications manager
Ford Motor Company
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2:45–3:15 p.m.

Networking break

3:15–4 p.m.

Capture attention online with short-form content that sizzles

As the digital media landscape becomes more crowded, consumers’ attention spans are shrinking. You have just three to six seconds to draw a reader or viewer in. Are you making the most of it? Gone are the days of posting longer content across social media platforms, especially if that video, image or text is doused in marketing speak. Instead, you have to make every second of the short time you have count in order to effectively relay your message and make it stick. Megan Toth, senior social media lead at NBCUniversal, will showcase examples from such NBC hit shows as “Jay Leno’s Garage,” and reveal how to move from “snackable” content to short-form content that resonates with and excites your audience—along with inspiring them to act.

You’ll learn:

  • Secrets for tailoring content to specific social media platforms and grabbing users’ attention
  • How to channel restrictions and challenges into creativity as you brainstorm stories that stand out against the noise
  • Ways to relay your message quickly yet authentically
  • How to optimize your content for mobile devices
  • How social media is changing TV’s traditional 30-second ad format to six-second spots
Senior social media lead
NBCUniversal
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4:15–5:15 p.m.
Special keynote

Creating a culture of storytelling and innovation

There is no shortage of content for today’s consumers or employees, and communicators are fighting for attention spans as the media landscape becomes increasingly cluttered. As we’re bombarded by information, visuals and data, stories about people accomplishing amazing things can break through the noise and help communicators’ messages stick.

Steve Clayton, chief storyteller at Microsoft, will share how he and his Innovation, Culture & Stories team help shape Microsoft’s brand image and showcase the company’s innovation through internal and external storytelling. You’ll learn how he’s built a team of storytellers who drive compelling narratives and insights, and how you can find and tell your organization’s most important tales.

Chief storyteller
Microsoft
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5:30-7:30 p.m.

Networking cocktail party, courtesy of Microsoft

Join us for a fun networking event at Microsoft’s Visitors Center. Enjoy great food and drink as you dive into conversations with industry peers and explore the world of Microsoft. Learn Microsoft’s history, take a new LinkedIn profile photo and test an Xbox game in this interactive space.

Friday, Oct.4, 2019

8:30–9:30 a.m.
Opening keynote

Why communicators must lead the charge for diversity and inclusion

It’s time to increase diversity within your organization—whether that’s through inclusive employee communications, PR and marketing efforts that welcome instead of offend, or media training that keeps your executives up to date on today’s hot-button issues and concerns. As a communicator, you’re the best person to make this happen.

Janet Stovall, manager of executive communications for UPS, will make the business case for bringing diversity and inclusion into your business goals—along with how you can best communicate concerns, offer ideas and become accountable for the commitments you make to your workforce, partners, consumers and other stakeholders.

Manager of executive communications
UPS
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9:45–10:30 a.m.
Microsoft skills session

Driving employee engagement, productivity and communications with Microsoft’s modern intranet

Driving employee engagement, productivity and communications with Microsoft’s modern intranet

The intranet is the heart of the modern workplace. With Microsoft’s Office 365, organizations can re-imagine their intranet portals, creating digital employee experiences that transform employee engagement and communications. In this interactive skills session, you’ll participate in building a modern intranet page in minutes based on real-world scenarios. As part of this exercise, you’ll learn how to share vision, knowledge, resources and services by integrating features such as Yammer and Stream to connect people across your organization, and will walk away armed with best practices and actionable steps to improve employee experience and drive results that matter.

You'll learn:

  • How to get the right news and information to the right audiences, across devices
  • SharePoint, Yammer and Stream integrations that empower leaders to connect with employees
  • Artificial intelligence and rich content management capabilities that power dynamic, personalized, social and actionable portals
  • How to boost employee retention, customer satisfaction, sales metrics and overall profitability
Senior program manager for core services and engineering team
Microsoft
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Senior manager of employee communications, tools, and advocacy
Microsoft
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10:45–11:30 a.m.
Panel

What’s next for social media platforms, content and pros

There’s no denying the power of social media, but not all platforms, content or tactics are created equal. This rings especially true as more and more PR and marketing pros clamor for consumers’ eyeballs (and wallets) through catchy headlines, hashtags, videos and more. As social media platforms’ algorithms continue to change, and it becomes even harder to get into your audiences’ news feeds (much less entice them to click through and read or purchase), you must stay up to date on both the mind of your fans and what’s hot online. In this interactive panel, you can ask your most pressing social media questions and receive ideas and takeaways from experts across industries and organizations.

You’ll learn:

  • How to craft audience-first content that doesn’t scream your marketing messages
  • Ways to beat the noise and produce a steady stream of content that people want to read/view
  • Secrets to overcoming algorithms that can bury your social media posts
  • How to optimize your social media efforts for small and mobile screens
Social media manager
T-Mobile
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Digital media manager
NHL Seattle
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Director of digital engagement
University of Washington
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Social media program manager
Port of Seattle
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Director of PR
Children’s Mercy Kansas City
Read bio
11:45 a.m.–noon

Conference prize drawings and closing announcements

Noon–1 p.m.
Closing keynote

Elevating the role of social media to drive emotional brand attachment

Establishing emotional connections with consumers is no longer "nice to have”—it's an integral part of building your organization’s brand. Social media marketers have known this for years. We spend countless hours trying to correlate social KPIs to business objectives and hosting social media education road shows—all to influence colleagues on the importance of customer engagement.

Eric Gray, senior director of content engagement at Universal Orlando Resort, will take you on a journey that includes a therapy session for social media managers and a research discussion about consumer engagement. He’ll highlight how Universal Orlando is using emotional storytelling and most importantly, inspire you to pursue not just social media engagement, but driving emotional brand attachment.

Senior director of content engagement
Universal Orlando Resort
Read bio
Webcast agenda

Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019

All session times in Pacific time.

9–10 a.m. Pacific time
Opening keynote

Embrace your inner nerd: Using data as your communications superpower

“Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound!" Most of us know how to create content, but you can make your content super by focusing on the sexy side of science. By learning more about information psychology, brain science, and technology trends, you can  influence communication efforts across multiple platforms and audiences, both internally and externally, that work best for today’s quickly moving digital environment.

Kristin Graham, principal of culture and communications at Amazon, will share insights about our ever-changing audience(s) and how to anticipate their needs and be more nimble in your messages and content. Through a collection of “nerd facts,” you’ll learn how to craft bite-sized content and stretch your comfort zones to get people’s attention and interaction.

Principal of culture and communications
Amazon
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10:15–11 a.m. Pacific time

Use video to connect employees with your organization’s leaders 

Your organization’s executives and leaders can carry your brand image, inspire employee motivation and ultimately help you reach your communications goals—if you can connect them to your workforce. That means you have to grab employees’ attention long enough to tell your leaders’ stories and share crucial messages and updates. Chip Midnight, business consulting specialist for Nationwide, will share the project that started out as an idea to train Nationwide’s 35,000 associates on SharePoint but bloomed into much more: Roughly 170 broadcast shows in 2017 scaling to more than 450 shows in 2018 and more than 550 shows scheduled in 2019, featuring leaders from across the organization and boosting both employee and leadership communications. He’ll reveal lessons learned from turning an employee training challenge into a thriving studio that regularly offers features, replaces many in-person meetings, increases internal engagement and retention, and saves the organization thousands of dollars each year.

You’ll learn:

  • How to think like a producer when crafting leadership and executive content
  • Ways to tackle tough subjects and boost employee engagement through transparency
  • The types of two-way executive communications and conversations that can inspire and engage viewers
  • Tips for using SharePoint to distribute your content, along with other tools (including Yammer) that can help you create a thriving digital workplace
  • How to measure success through analytics, surveys and informal feedback
Business consulting specialist
Nationwide Insurance
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11:15 a.m.–noon Pacific time

Capturing hearts and minds at work: Employee experience and the digital workplace

Forbes reported that 2018 was the “year of the employee experience”—the advent of an era in which team members’ encounters would be the “preeminent corporate priority.” However, many organizations are still discovering what employee experience is, how it relates to the organizational culture, and why it’s important to corporate communications efforts. Elisha McCallum, director of global communications at Finning International, and Bill Kirst, senior principal of operations excellence at West Monroe Partners, will discuss why “employee experience” is more than a buzzword—along with crucial elements of a successful change management strategy.

You’ll learn:

  • Ways to boost engagement through a digital workplace
  • How to communicate change to a global audience — and move them to action
  • Secrets of cultivating adoption of a digital-first mindset
  • How to support new ways of working and avoid common pitfalls
Senior principal of operations excellence
West Monroe Partners
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Director of global communications
Finning International
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1–1:45 p.m. Pacific time

How internal communications and innovation go hand in hand

How can you ensure that your employees’ work is not only boosting the bottom line, but also making a difference for your organization and the community it’s in? Internal and employee communications is more than pushing information to your workforce. Instead, by creatively telling your organization’s stories, defining your culture to contain behaviors you want your organization to exemplify and leading by example in terms of creative solutions, you can inspire employees to produce outstanding ideas, projects and more. Jonny Oser, internal communications director at Facebook, will show you how to embrace the adage, “feedback is a gift”—and how you can push for innovation and societal impact within your organization, even if you’re not a technology company.

You’ll learn:

  • Ways to encourage employee feedback and implement that in effective workplace solutions
  • How to make your mission and values an actively growing foundation of your culture
  • Tips for driving innovation, interaction and productivity through technology and tools
  • How to encourage your employees to not only meet their goals, but also take risks and make a business impact within your organization
  • Steps for brainstorming ideas that generate iconic features such as Facebook’s “like” button
Internal communications director
Facebook
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2–2:45 p.m. Pacific time

Harness technology to cultivate outstanding executive communications

It’s crucial that employees understand and live your organization’s mission and vision. With the help of technology, your organization’s leaders can foster a culture of connectivity and innovation, inspiring employees to get involved. These tools and resources can also ensure your employees receive current information, updates and changes, and can help you stand out against the plethora of messages they receive each day across their devices. John Cirone, director of leader and employee communications at Microsoft, and Christina Torok, senior product marketing manager at Microsoft, will show you how the many facets of Microsoft 365 can boost your leadership communications and better foster a workplace of interaction and involvement.

You’ll learn:

  • Microsoft’s approach to executive and employee communications
  • Ways to better reach your workforce through Q&As, town halls and more
  • Tips for integrating Microsoft Teams, Streams and Yammer into your internal and employee communications efforts
  • Lessons learned from harnessing technology to increase interactions between employees and executives
Senior product marketing manager
Microsoft
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Director of leader and employee communications
Microsoft
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3:15–4 p.m. Pacific time
Panel

Working together to overcome internal communications challenges

Effective employee communications and engagement efforts require support and insights from stakeholders across your organization, which means breaking down silos and working together to ensure that employees’ needs and behaviors are kept in mind, business goals are answered by communications efforts that make the most sense, and both campaigns and messages are regularly evaluated to ensure that results do more than clutter employees’ inboxes and annoy them instead of informing and inspiring them. In this panel of experts, you’ll get an opportunity to ask questions and find insights to answer the challenges you grapple with most.

You’ll learn:

  • Ways to best measure messages and campaigns to prove what works—and what doesn’t
  • Secrets for uncovering solutions for common pain points, no matter your department or focus
  • How to work together with leaders throughout your organization and unify your communications
  • Tips for setting yourself up as an employee communications expert whom others seek out for advice
President and CEO
Institute for Public Relations
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Program manager, enterprise business management
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
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Senior director of employee communications and engagement
Expedia Group
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Senior manager of culture, change and communications
Deloitte
Read bio
Director of PR
Children’s Mercy Kansas City
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4:15–5:15 p.m. Pacific time
Special keynote

Creating a culture of storytelling and innovation

There is no shortage of content for today’s consumers or employees, and communicators are fighting for attention spans as the media landscape becomes increasingly cluttered. As we’re bombarded by information, visuals and data, stories about people accomplishing amazing things can break through the noise and help communicators’ messages stick. Steve Clayton, chief storyteller at Microsoft, will share how he and his Innovation, Culture & Stories team help shape Microsoft’s brand image and showcase the company’s innovation through internal and external storytelling. You’ll learn how he’s built a team of storytellers who drive compelling narratives and insights, and how you can find and tell your organization’s most important tales.

Chief storyteller
Microsoft
Read bio

Friday, Oct. 4, 2019

8:30–9:30 a.m. Pacific time
Opening keynote

Why communicators must lead the charge for diversity and inclusion

It’s time to increase diversity within your organization—whether that’s through inclusive employee communications, PR and marketing efforts that welcome instead of offend, or media training that keeps your executives up to date on today’s hot-button issues and concerns. As a communicator, you’re the best person to make this happen.

Janet Stovall, manager of executive communications for UPS, will make the business case for bringing diversity and inclusion into your business goals—along with how you can best communicate concerns, offer ideas and become accountable for the commitments you make to your workforce, partners, consumers and other stakeholders.

Manager of executive communications
UPS
Read bio
9:45–10:30 a.m. Pacific time

Reimagining internal communications with innovation and technology

Effectively communicating with internal audiences requires you to reach people in ways that are intuitive, interesting and relevant. When you’re catering to multiple audiences whose day-to-day experiences differ widely, communicators must constantly innovate by drawing inspiration from our everyday, nonwork lives. How do we use technology to communicate? What content do we choose to seek out or click on? To do this, you must learn about your employees and give them easy access to information—along with a reason to want to come back for more. Natasha Gaffoglio and Allison Owens from the internal newsroom at Taco Bell will share how their team has completely reimagined employee communications, harnessing technology to target hard-to-reach audiences and becoming obsessive about analytics to enable strategic decisions.

You’ll learn:

  • The modern channels, tools and resources that increase engagement
  • How to best deliver information to a dispersed and diverse workplace
  • Tips for creating bite-sized content that’s actually entertaining
  • Why you should obsess over your data
  • How to “democratize” data to help internal partners make the best decisions
Associate manager of internal communications
Taco Bell
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Senior manager of internal communications
Taco Bell
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10:45–11:30 a.m. Pacific time

Takeaways from the World Cup: How Nike activated employee engagement

Session description coming soon.

Senior director of editorial and experiences, global employee communications
Nike
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11:45 a.m.–noon Pacific time

Conference prize drawings and closing announcements

Noon–1 p.m. Pacific time
Closing keynote

Elevating the role of social media to drive emotional brand attachment

Establishing emotional connections with consumers is no longer "nice to have”—it's an integral part of building your organization’s brand. Social media marketers have known this for years. We spend countless hours trying to correlate social KPIs to business objectives and hosting social media education road shows—all to influence colleagues on the importance of customer engagement.

Eric Gray, senior director of content engagement at Universal Orlando Resort, will take you on a journey that includes a therapy session for social media managers and a research discussion about consumer engagement. He’ll highlight how Universal Orlando is using emotional storytelling and most importantly, inspire you to pursue not just social media engagement, but driving emotional brand attachment.

Senior director of content engagement
Universal Orlando Resort
Read bio

Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019

Pacific time

All session times in Pacific time.