March 25–26, 2020
Washington, D.C.

Shape Strategy. Craft Messaging. Preserve Reputation.

#RaganSpeech

In today’s turbulent social and political climate, no organization or leader can avoid scrutiny from the media and other stakeholders. To maintain trust and protect reputations, forward-thinking communicators need to shape strong strategies and craft eloquent messaging about key issues. Join Ragan and your industry peers on March 25-26 in the nation’s capital for the much-anticipated annual Speechwriting & Public Affairs Conference.

Whether your audience is employees, the media, government, activists or consumers, this conference will give you the innovative and cutting-edge ideas, strategies, tactics and examples you need to gain influence with executives, address today’s hot-button issues and preserve your organization’s reputation.

You’ll hear from a distinguished roster of speakers in an information-packed two days filled with learning, networking and peer to peer brainstorming.

Confirm your seat at the table as a trusted communications advisor.

Learn how to:

  • Craft thoughtful, genuine messaging around divisive social and political issues
  • Build a social media presence that supports your brand advocacy and thought leadership goals
  • Write more concise and compelling content for public affairs campaigns
  • Infuse humor and humanity into your speeches and storytelling
  • Write speeches that capture the personality of even the most inaccessible executives
  • Execute dynamic, engaging formats for speeches and executive videos
  • Prepare for and respond to crises, legislative losses or social media uproars
  • Maintain the trust of internal and external stakeholders during times of organizational change
  • Train your executives and spokespeople to advocate effectively for your organization
  • Build successful third-party alliances that extend the reach of your public affairs programs and garner community support
  • Craft a strategy to showcase experts in your organization as industry thought leaders

Secure your spot today! Advance your career as a speechwriter or public affairs professional by serving as the strategic guide your leaders need.

Hosted by:
Host
Presented by:
Presenters
Secure your ticket today!

Attend two days of interactive workshops, inspiring keynotes and information-packed sessions.

  • March 25:
  • Pre-conference workshops *extra fee to attend
  • March 26:
  • Track 1: Speechwriting
  • Track 2: Public Affairs

AGENDA
Pre-conference Workshops
March 25
11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Build a Social Media Brand That Earns Engagement and Trust

Social media is essential when it comes to advancing your advocacy goals and positioning executives as industry experts. With the 2020 election shaping up to be one of the most watched, written about, unpredictable and highly contested events in recent history, the stakes are staggeringly high for communicators. How does your organization break through and successfully engage audiences on today’s biggest platforms while minimizing risk? Discover the strategies AARP uses to champion its brand online and gain support around key issues at stake in the election. You’ll take part in exercises to help you improve your social media brand and become a trusted source to your online audiences.

In this session, you’ll learn how to:

  • Define your key audiences and messaging strategies for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more
  • Build a rapid response/crisis response infrastructure for social media uproars
  • Develop a compelling voice and content stream that breaks through the social media noise
  • Build an authentic LinkedIn presence for executives to earn the trust of audiences
  • Adapt to Twitter’s ban on political ads—and learn how to engage influencers organically
  • Measure success and get leadership buy-in for your efforts
Senior advisor
AARP
Read bio
1:30–3 p.m.
Media Training Your Top Executives

Leaders of companies and organizations are busy. We know that—but we also know that cultivating media skills is a smart use of their valuable time. Excellent interviews don’t just happen; they take work. Gain insight into how to create and run an engaging media training program—and show leaders the importance of taking part in such training. You’ll participate in mock interviews that will help you prepare spokespeople for even the toughest questions.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Sell the need for regular media training for spokespeople of all backgrounds
  • Build trust so you can give direct feedback to leaders, including those with positional power
  • Make your training interactive and learner-friendly
  • Prepare spokespeople for various types of engagements—including internal events, and broadcast, digital and print interviews
  • Show the value of your training to those who think they have nothing to learn
  • Help your spokesperson gain confidence or give him/her a reality check
Director of media and advocacy training
American Farm Bureau Federation
Read bio
3:15 p.m.-4:45 p.m.
Expand your organization’s thought leadership with a proactive speaker’s bureau

Industry events can be the perfect platform to establish your organization as a trusted resource to target audiences—when they’re handled strategically. Discover how to optimize speaking engagements and integrate them into your broader thought leadership and marketing plans to realize maximum ROI for your executives’ time and investment. You’ll learn how to build a speaker’s bureau from the ground up and keep it humming with thoughtful event selection and relevant content. Join this session to get the tactics, templates and tools you need to ensure a successful and sustainable program.

Learn how to:

  • Clearly define thought leadership platforms and goals
  • Identify and evaluate subject matter experts across your organization
  • Audit existing content and develop more compelling synopses and sessions
  • Select engagements that put you in front of relevant audiences
  • Deliver value each time a representative speaks at an event
  • Ensure your bureau is effectively governed with the ability to grow
Senior director, executive communications
Microsoft
Read bio
5-7 p.m.
Networking reception
Track 1: Speechwriting
March 26
8:30–9 a.m.
Registration and Networking Breakfast
9–9:40 a.m.
Storytelling 3.0: How to Strengthen the Use of Stories in Your Organization to Make a Lasting Impact

Some of the most memorable speeches of our time unfolded when speakers captivated and connected with their audience through storytelling. Today, more and more organizations are embracing the idea of injecting storytelling into standard communication practices, with soul-stirring stories showing up in everything from speeches to press releases to social media.

In this session, attendees will learn how to:

  • Rally your organization and leaders around the need to embrace a storytelling culture
  • Extract memorable stories out of speakers and stakeholders during interviews
  • Structure and write a powerful story that remains in the minds and hearts of audiences
  • Inspire action by injecting storytelling into speeches, executive communications and other comms channels
Chief storyteller
National Association of Realtors
Read bio
10:40–11:20 a.m.
FIRESIDE CHAT
Advancing Your Speechwriting and Public Affairs Skills—and Bringing Humor Into a Challenging Job

In 2011, David Litt became one of the youngest White House speechwriters in history, and he would go on to serve as a senior speechwriter for former President Barack Obama. Described as “an unlikely comic muse for the president,” he took the lead on four of Obama’s White House Correspondents’ Dinners and went on to be a head writer and producer for Funny or Die. Join us for a fireside chat with the author of the New York Times best-selling memoir “Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years.’

He’ll share his insights on how to:

  • Thrive as a communicator new to the field or in a new organization
  • Fast-track your career as a speechwriter or communications advisor
  • Gain the trust of principals and help them step out of their comfort zones
  • Maintain a sense of humor in your writing even in a heated political climate
  • Understand when comedy can help or hurt your messages
Former senior speechwriter to former President Barack Obama
Read bio
CEO
Ragan Communications
Read bio
11:20 a.m.–12:40 p.m.
Lunch
11:20–noon
Peer-to-peer roundtables

Grab lunch and join peers facing the same challenges as you to brainstorm, problem-solve and make valuable connections.

Noon–12:40 p.m.
Luncheon panel
Earning Trust in the White House and Beyond During an Era of Heightened Scrutiny

Having written for the highest office in the country, these speechwriters have unparalleled expertise tackling controversial issues, breaking through to jaded audiences, and capturing the authentic personality of a speaker who seems larger than life.

Hear their stories from the White House and the campaign trail, and gain valuable insights on how to capture the hearts and minds of audiences in a turbulent political climate.

No Headshot
Speechwriter for former President George W. Bush
Read bio
Speechwriter for former President Barack Obama
Read bio
Speechwriter for former President Bill Clinton
Read bio
Speechwriter for former President George W. Bush
Read bio
12:45–1:25 p.m.
Positioning Your CEO and Organization as Trusted Sources in your Industry

When you are working on a complex issue such as mental health advocacy, having a new CEO at the helm can make getting (the right) media attention that much harder. And when headlines drive your issue to the top of the fold, it’s hard to know sometimes when to jump in or run for cover. In our minute-by-minute Twitter and Influencer news cycle, doing nothing is usually not an option. During this session you'll learn how to help leaders gain the trust of audiences and establish themselves (and your organization as a whole) as thought leaders on industry issues.

You’ll learn:

  • The risks and rewards of inserting your organization into a story
  • How to give leaders the right tools to advocate for your organization and cause
  • How to respond to industry news and reframe messages to drive change
  • Why content development is crucial to your thought leadership efforts
  • Why being fearless—but disciplined—matters
Chief communications officer
Mental Health America
Read bio
1:30–2:10 p.m.
Enhance Speeches with Technology to Create Engaging, Dynamic Experiences

Technology has changed the way we work, shop and even brush our teeth, so it’s no surprise that it’s upended the notion of what a speech can be—and what it can accomplish. It’s possible to pull tech levers to zoom in on exactly the experience you want your audience to have. We’ll answer the question, “What’s a speech, anyway?” and discover that we can enhance tried-and-true keynotes, town halls and media appearances by thinking beyond the conventional wisdom.

You will learn how to:

  • Use mobile technology, virtual reality and augmented reality to boost audience participation at events
  • Capture key moments on social media to reach worldwide audiences in real time
  • Execute your strategy with discipline so you get the most out of your investments (and avoid unnecessarily costly—or worse, gimmicky—mistakes)
  • Adopt formats that keep audiences connected to speakers from start to finish, including fireside chats, stand-ups and media interviews
Executive communications and speechwriting
Walmart
Read bio
3:15–3:55 p.m.
Five Ways to Become a Trusted Advisor to Leaders During Times of Change

You’re not just a communicator—and words aren’t your only tools. You’re an analyst and a strategic counselor who can handle complex, high-stakes issues and help your leader keep the trust of audiences during turmoil and change. How can you ensure that executives trust you to do so? Adrianne Goldsmith Romero has worked for three FBI directors: Robert Mueller, James Comey and now Christopher Wray. In this session, she’ll show you how to become a trusted advisor to any leader, in any situation.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Think, write and speak like your leader to earn their trust
  • Showcase your strategic expertise day by day and make yourself indispensable
  • Draw on your institutional knowledge to help your leaders understand key issues and trends
  • Guide your leader through choppy social and political waters
  • Help your leader establish trust and credibility even amid organization changes or crises
chief speechwriter to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray
FBI
Read bio
4:05–4:45 p.m.
Before and After: Best Practices Gleaned from Orlando Health’s Response to the Pulse Nightclub Mass Shooting

When Orlando, Florida, became the site of one of the worst mass shootings by a single gunman in U.S. history, 44 victims were brought to Orlando Health’s Orlando Regional Medical Center, and the world was watching. Knowing that managing a crisis begins long before one hits, Orlando Health’s communicators paved the way for a successful response to the tragedy and earned the organization a post-crisis reputation as one of the nation’s top trauma centers.

Since then, mass shootings have remained a terrifying threat and an issue of major debate. Kena Lewis, Orlando Health’s director of public affairs and media relations, will discuss what went into Orlando Health's successful response to the Pulse nightclub shooting, how its crisis plan has since evolved, and how her team addresses the ongoing debate around gun violence.

Director of public affairs and media relations
Orlando Health
Read bio
Track 2: Public Affairs
March 26
8:30–9 a.m.
Registration and Networking Breakfast
9–9:40 a.m.
Storytelling 3.0: How to Strengthen the Use of Stories in Your Organization to Make a Lasting Impact

Some of the most memorable speeches of our time unfolded when speakers captivated and connected with their audience through storytelling. Today, more and more organizations are embracing the idea of injecting storytelling into standard communication practices, with soul-stirring stories showing up in everything from speeches to press releases to social media.

In this session, attendees will learn how to:

  • Rally your organization and leaders around the need to embrace a storytelling culture
  • Extract memorable stories out of speakers and stakeholders during interviews
  • Structure and write a powerful story that remains in the minds and hearts of audiences
  • Inspire action by injecting storytelling into speeches, executive communications and other comms channels
Chief storyteller
National Association of Realtors
Read bio
10:40–11:20 a.m.
FIRESIDE CHAT
Advancing Your Speechwriting and Public Affairs Skills—and Bringing Humor Into a Challenging Job

In 2011, David Litt became one of the youngest White House speechwriters in history, and he would go on to serve as a senior speechwriter for former President Barack Obama. Described as “an unlikely comic muse for the president,” he took the lead on four of Obama’s White House Correspondents’ Dinners and went on to be a head writer and producer for Funny or Die. Join us for a fireside chat with the author of the New York Times best-selling memoir “Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years.’

He’ll share his insights on how to:

  • Thrive as a communicator new to the field or in a new organization
  • Fast-track your career as a speechwriter or communications advisor
  • Gain the trust of principals and help them step out of their comfort zones
  • Maintain a sense of humor in your writing even in a heated political climate
  • Understand when comedy can help or hurt your messages
Former senior speechwriter to former President Barack Obama
Read bio
CEO
Ragan Communications
Read bio
11:20 a.m.–12:40 p.m.
Lunch
11:20–noon
Peer-to-peer roundtables

Grab lunch and join peers facing the same challenges as you to brainstorm, problem-solve and make valuable connections.

Noon–12:40 p.m.
Luncheon panel
Earning Trust in the White House and Beyond During an Era of Heightened Scrutiny

Having written for the highest office in the country, these speechwriters have unparalleled expertise tackling controversial issues, breaking through to jaded audiences, and capturing the authentic personality of a speaker who seems larger than life.

Hear their stories from the White House and the campaign trail, and gain valuable insights on how to capture the hearts and minds of audiences in a turbulent political climate.

No Headshot
Speechwriter for former President George W. Bush
Read bio
Speechwriter for former President Barack Obama
Read bio
Speechwriter for former President Bill Clinton
Read bio
Speechwriter for former President George W. Bush
Read bio
12:45–1:25 p.m.
Working Across Sectors to Build Successful Third-Party Alliances

The notion that “it takes a village” certainly holds true when it comes to advancing your organization’s advocacy goals. For the American Hospital Association, that means partnering with retailers, news outlets and other health organizations to spread awareness about initiatives surrounding everything from flu shots to the impact of gun violence.

Discover how to:

  • Establish mutually beneficial relationships with the right external stakeholders
  • Reach wider audiences with advocacy campaigns by partnering with media influencers
  • Partner with outside experts to establish thought leadership on industry issues
  • Recruit other industry organizations to elevate your social responsibility campaigns
No Headshot
Vice president for digital strategy
American Hospital Association
Read bio
1:30–2:10 p.m.
Fireside Chat
Advocating for Your Organization in the Face of Financial and Reputational Threats

Even as PBS celebrates its 50th anniversary and holds one of the highest levels of public trust of any media organization, it continually faces the threat of federal budget cuts. In such a high-stakes situation, it’s crucial that the organization maintains the loyalty of its stakeholders and sustains a conversation around the importance of its work.

Learn how to:

  • Balance messaging to groups with different or even opposing priorities
  • Identify the right internal champions for your organization
  • Draw upon your organization’s history to establish credibility and trust
  • Respond tactfully to threats from government agencies or officials
Vice president, corporate communications
PBS
Read bio
3:15–3:55 p.m.
Five Ways to Become a Trusted Advisor to Leaders During Times of Change

You’re not just a communicator—and words aren’t your only tools. You’re an analyst and a strategic counselor who can handle complex, high-stakes issues and help your leader keep the trust of audiences during turmoil and change. How can you ensure that executives trust you to do so? Adrianne Goldsmith Romero has worked for three FBI directors: Robert Mueller, James Comey and now Christopher Wray. In this session, she’ll show you how to become a trusted advisor to any leader, in any situation.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Think, write and speak like your leader to earn their trust
  • Showcase your strategic expertise day by day and make yourself indispensable
  • Draw on your institutional knowledge to help your leaders understand key issues and trends
  • Guide your leader through choppy social and political waters
  • Help your leader establish trust and credibility even amid organization changes or crises
chief speechwriter to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray
FBI
Read bio
4:05–4:45 p.m.
Before and After: Best Practices Gleaned from Orlando Health’s Response to the Pulse Nightclub Mass Shooting

When Orlando, Florida, became the site of one of the worst mass shootings by a single gunman in U.S. history, 44 victims were brought to Orlando Health’s Orlando Regional Medical Center, and the world was watching. Knowing that managing a crisis begins long before one hits, Orlando Health’s communicators paved the way for a successful response to the tragedy and earned the organization a post-crisis reputation as one of the nation’s top trauma centers.

Since then, mass shootings have remained a terrifying threat and an issue of major debate. Kena Lewis, Orlando Health’s director of public affairs and media relations, will discuss what went into Orlando Health's successful response to the Pulse nightclub shooting, how its crisis plan has since evolved, and how her team addresses the ongoing debate around gun violence.

Director of public affairs and media relations
Orlando Health
Read bio
Webcast
9–9:40 a.m. Eastern time
Storytelling 3.0: How to Strengthen the Use of Stories in Your Organization to Make a Lasting Impact

Some of the most memorable speeches of our time unfolded when speakers captivated and connected with their audience through storytelling. Today, more and more organizations are embracing the idea of injecting storytelling into standard communication practices, with soul-stirring stories showing up in everything from speeches to press releases to social media.

In this session, attendees will learn how to:

  • Rally your organization and leaders around the need to embrace a storytelling culture
  • Extract memorable stories out of speakers and stakeholders during interviews
  • Structure and write a powerful story that remains in the minds and hearts of audiences
  • Inspire action by injecting storytelling into speeches, executive communications and other comms channels
Chief storyteller
National Association of Realtors
Read bio
10:40–11:20 a.m. Eastern time
FIRESIDE CHAT
Advancing Your Speechwriting and Public Affairs Skills—and Bringing Humor Into a Challenging Job

In 2011, David Litt became one of the youngest White House speechwriters in history, and he would go on to serve as a senior speechwriter for former President Barack Obama. Described as “an unlikely comic muse for the president,” he took the lead on four of Obama’s White House Correspondents’ Dinners and went on to be a head writer and producer for Funny or Die. Join us for a fireside chat with the author of the New York Times best-selling memoir “Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years.’

He’ll share his insights on how to:

  • Thrive as a communicator new to the field or in a new organization
  • Fast-track your career as a speechwriter or communications advisor
  • Gain the trust of principals and help them step out of their comfort zones
  • Maintain a sense of humor in your writing even in a heated political climate
  • Understand when comedy can help or hurt your messages
Former senior speechwriter to former President Barack Obama
Read bio
CEO
Ragan Communications
Read bio
Noon–12:40 p.m. Eastern time
Luncheon panel
Earning Trust in the White House and Beyond During an Era of Heightened Scrutiny

Having written for the highest office in the country, these speechwriters have unparalleled expertise tackling controversial issues, breaking through to jaded audiences, and capturing the authentic personality of a speaker who seems larger than life.

Hear their stories from the White House and the campaign trail, and gain valuable insights on how to capture the hearts and minds of audiences in a turbulent political climate.

No Headshot
Speechwriter for former President George W. Bush
Read bio
Speechwriter for former President Barack Obama
Read bio
Speechwriter for former President Bill Clinton
Read bio
Speechwriter for former President George W. Bush
Read bio
12:45–1:25 p.m. Eastern time
Positioning Your CEO and Organization as Trusted Sources in your Industry

When you are working on a complex issue such as mental health advocacy, having a new CEO at the helm can make getting (the right) media attention that much harder. And when headlines drive your issue to the top of the fold, it’s hard to know sometimes when to jump in or run for cover. In our minute-by-minute Twitter and Influencer news cycle, doing nothing is usually not an option. During this session you'll learn how to help leaders gain the trust of audiences and establish themselves (and your organization as a whole) as thought leaders on industry issues.

You’ll learn:

  • The risks and rewards of inserting your organization into a story
  • How to give leaders the right tools to advocate for your organization and cause
  • How to respond to industry news and reframe messages to drive change
  • Why content development is crucial to your thought leadership efforts
  • Why being fearless—but disciplined—matters
Chief communications officer
Mental Health America
Read bio
1:30–2:10 p.m. Eastern time
Enhance Speeches with Technology to Create Engaging, Dynamic Experiences

Technology has changed the way we work, shop and even brush our teeth, so it’s no surprise that it’s upended the notion of what a speech can be—and what it can accomplish. It’s possible to pull tech levers to zoom in on exactly the experience you want your audience to have. We’ll answer the question, “What’s a speech, anyway?” and discover that we can enhance tried-and-true keynotes, town halls and media appearances by thinking beyond the conventional wisdom.

You will learn how to:

  • Use mobile technology, virtual reality and augmented reality to boost audience participation at events
  • Capture key moments on social media to reach worldwide audiences in real time
  • Execute your strategy with discipline so you get the most out of your investments (and avoid unnecessarily costly—or worse, gimmicky—mistakes)
  • Adopt formats that keep audiences connected to speakers from start to finish, including fireside chats, stand-ups and media interviews
Executive communications and speechwriting
Walmart
Read bio
3:15–3:55 p.m. Eastern time
Five Ways to Become a Trusted Advisor to Leaders During Times of Change

You’re not just a communicator—and words aren’t your only tools. You’re an analyst and a strategic counselor who can handle complex, high-stakes issues and help your leader keep the trust of audiences during turmoil and change. How can you ensure that executives trust you to do so? Adrianne Goldsmith Romero has worked for three FBI directors: Robert Mueller, James Comey and now Christopher Wray. In this session, she’ll show you how to become a trusted advisor to any leader, in any situation.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Think, write and speak like your leader to earn their trust
  • Showcase your strategic expertise day by day and make yourself indispensable
  • Draw on your institutional knowledge to help your leaders understand key issues and trends
  • Guide your leader through choppy social and political waters
  • Help your leader establish trust and credibility even amid organization changes or crises
chief speechwriter to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray
FBI
Read bio
4:05–4:45 p.m. Eastern time
Before and After: Best Practices Gleaned from Orlando Health’s Response to the Pulse Nightclub Mass Shooting

When Orlando, Florida, became the site of one of the worst mass shootings by a single gunman in U.S. history, 44 victims were brought to Orlando Health’s Orlando Regional Medical Center, and the world was watching. Knowing that managing a crisis begins long before one hits, Orlando Health’s communicators paved the way for a successful response to the tragedy and earned the organization a post-crisis reputation as one of the nation’s top trauma centers.

Since then, mass shootings have remained a terrifying threat and an issue of major debate. Kena Lewis, Orlando Health’s director of public affairs and media relations, will discuss what went into Orlando Health's successful response to the Pulse nightclub shooting, how its crisis plan has since evolved, and how her team addresses the ongoing debate around gun violence.

Director of public affairs and media relations
Orlando Health
Read bio

SPEAKERS
Director of public affairs and media relations
Orlando Health
Read bio
Speechwriter for former President George W. Bush
Read bio
chief speechwriter to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray
FBI
Read bio
Executive communications and speechwriting
Walmart
Read bio
Chief storyteller
National Association of Realtors
Read bio
Vice president, corporate communications
PBS
Read bio
Senior director, executive communications
Microsoft
Read bio
No Headshot
Vice president for digital strategy
American Hospital Association
Read bio
Speechwriter for former President Barack Obama
Read bio
Former senior speechwriter to former President Barack Obama
Read bio
Senior advisor
AARP
Read bio
No Headshot
Speechwriter for former President George W. Bush
Read bio
Director of media and advocacy training
American Farm Bureau Federation
Read bio
Speechwriter for former President Bill Clinton
Read bio
CEO
Ragan Communications
Read bio
Chief communications officer
Mental Health America
Read bio

REGISTER YOUR TEAM NOW

LOCATION
Washington, D.C.

Conference Venue:
National Education Association
1201 16th Street, NW
Washington, D.C, 20036

Ragan event attendees include:

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

Join us if you are involved in:

• Corporate communications • Speechwriting • Public affairs • Internal communications • Executive communications • Leadership communications • Government relations • Advocacy • Community affairs • Diversity & Inclusion • Social responsibility • Writing and editing

REGISTER NOW

NEED MORE CONVINCING?

Here are a few excellent takeaways you’ll bring back:

  • How to proactively build a strong reputation that protects against crises and public scrutiny
  • Strategies to use social media and new technology to advance executive communications, public affairs and corporate social responsibility goals
  • How to win the trust of the media, government and the public on the issues most closely affecting your organization
  • Build a media and advocacy training program that better prepares spokespeople to take the spotlight
  • How to address political and social movements thoughtfully through genuine and transparent messaging

REGISTER NOW

Thank you to our current sponsors

Join us as an event sponsor and meet your target audience, showcase your products, present thought leadership, generate leads and boost your brand.

Here are a few examples of opportunities we offer:

Can’t attend in person? Sign up for our live webcast!
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