2017 Leadership & Executive Communications Conference

2017 Leadership & Executive Communications Conference

Sept. 18-19, 2017: Washington, D.C.
Price: $995
Member Price: $845

Pre-conference workshops: Monday, Sept. 18 | Main agenda: Tuesday, Sept. 19

  • Run your executive communications strategy like a news desk to respond to the 24/7 nature of communications today
  • Craft speeches that convey your speaker's authentic voice and move audiences to action
  • Repurpose your executive communication content for different platforms—from a speech to a blog post, LinkedIn article, op-ed or tweet
  • Keep leadership communications relevant in a world of shrinking attention spans and information overload

Twitter hashtag: #RaganExecComms

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

Presented by: Sponsored by:  
Ragan Communications, Inc.  
Product Code: Y17CS0DC2


Tuesday, Sept. 19

9-10 a.m.
Opening Keynote
Lessons learned from first lady Michelle Obama on how to write a powerful, memorable and authentic speech
Sarah HurwitzSarah Hurwitz, former head speechwriter for first lady Michelle Obama, will share lessons learned from her years as a White House speechwriter about how to craft moving, memorable and inspiring speeches. Citing real-life examples from her time in the White House, Sarah will offer advice on how to tell vivid stories, make compelling arguments and convey deep truths that can move audiences to action.

During this keynote you will learn how to:

  • Employ powerful, authentic language instead of tired slogans and soundbites
  • Tell vivid, memorable stories that will move your audience
  • Make a persuasive argument that motivates audiences to take action
  • Edit yourself effectively
  • Use words to convey your speakers' deep emotions
Sarah Hurwitz is the former head speechwriter for Michelle Obama.

10:10-11 a.m.
Executive communications in a time of change
Oscar SurisOscar Suris, head of corporate communications at Wells Fargo, shares his experiences of managing leadership communications in times of changes and challenges. During the past year, under the leadership of a new CEO, Wells Fargo has worked to address improper sales practices (announced in September 2017) and rebuild trust with multiple stakeholders.

Oscar has led his team through these challenges and others, and will share practical strategies, including:

  • How to be disciplined about strategies, messaging, and execution in crisis communications
  • Managing communications while experiencing leadership changes
  • Connecting leadership communications to a larger strategy and plan
  • Deploying leadership communications for maximum effectiveness
  • Using authentic communications to build trust with stakeholder groups
Oscar Suris is Wells Fargo's head of corporate communications. @OscarSurisWF

11:10 a.m.-noon
Shape-shifter: Becoming the right communications partner for any executive
Mary GibsonSome working relationships are instantly easy—you connect on multiple levels, and providing the right content and plans is almost intuitive. But organizations and careers don't stand still, and executive communicators need to be able to quickly and effectively adapt to support new leaders with widely varying styles.

During this session, Mary Gibson will turn you into an executive shape-shifter, teaching you to:

  • Build the right executive communications plan for the right executive
  • Quickly identify traits and tendencies in your executive that you can use for stronger communications
  • Avoid putting your executives in uncomfortable situations
  • Make it easy—and enjoyable—for your executive to communicate
Mary Gibson is the director of executive and employee communications at Honeywell. @mtgnorcross

Noon -1 p.m.
Lunch (provided on site)

1-1:50 p.m.
Building a better executive communications presence
Liz CoffeyYou know the saying: The only constant in life is change. To stay relevant, organizations need to embrace change. So do their leaders' communications, which have the power to both demonstrate and drive change. Join Liz Coffey, manager, executive communications/global internal communications for McDonald's Corp., as she reveals how one of the world's most recognizable brands is evolving its leadership communications alongside its organizational culture—and how you can do the same.

In the session you'll learn how to:

  • Strike the right tone with executive communications—leaders are human too.
  • Use graphics and dynamic content to enhance your message and your audience's understanding of complicated topics
  • Use more progressive communications vehicles to send a signal about the direction you're headed in
  • Get leadership buy-in to communicate in new ways your audiences will notice
Liz Coffey is the manager of executive communications and global internal communications at McDonald's Corp.

2-2:50 p.m.
Multiple communications platforms, one unifying purpose
Lisa GibsonAs the communications landscape continues to change at rapid speed and marketers look to leverage multiple channels to create “surround sound” stories, one unifying purpose still rings true: Your message should be compelling and authentic to the brand, organization or person across every platform. Lisa Gibson, executive communications lead & senior business manager at Microsoft Canada, will lead attendees through a series of global case studies that highlight new ways to engage influencers in experiences that make them more empathetic to the audience you are trying to reach, and ultimately create an emotional connection to your brand.

In this session attendees will learn:

  • The art of crafting a strategic storyline that rises above channels, and how to amplify your story in a “tradigital” world
  • Tips and techniques to develop an executive speech that can easily be transformed into Twitter content or amplified through a Facebook Live event or a Skype For Business meeting
  • Takeaways that inspire you to stretch beyond what you are currently doing as a communications practitioner
Lisa Gibson is the executive communications lead and senior business manager at Microsoft Canada. @Gibsonpr

3-3:50 p.m.
Get to the point! How to coach your speakers—and yourself—to make points clearly and convincingly through effective public speaking techniques
Joel SchwartzbergGreat public speakers aren't born; they're trained. Leveraging his professional and competitive experience, Joel Schwartzberg, senior director of strategic and executive communications for the ASPCA, will share nuts-and-bolts techniques for becoming a more confident and competent public speaker. Attendees will have the opportunity to practice what they've learned and participate in skill-building exercises that connect with their expertise.

This interactive workshop will cover how to:

  • Identify, sharpen and effectively sell a point
  • Captivate and engage an audience
  • Use "Power Periods," volume and pauses to enhance points
  • Walk, gesture and position one's body to convey strength
  • Avoid weak habits like uptalk, vocal fry, and power fail
  • Interact effectively with both notes and PowerPoint presentations
  • Mitigate public speaking anxiety
Joel Schwartzberg is the senior director of strategic and executive communications at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). @thejoeltruth

4-5 p.m.
Closing keynote
Castles in the air: Lessons from the Disney way to present
Cappy SuretteWalt Disney was not only a visionary and creative genius, he was also an extraordinarily persuasive and articulate communicator. By looking at Disney's career and his creative philosophy, we can see how a marriage of the artist's mind and a way with words can be a potent tool for leaders in any industry. Cappy Surette, leader of the executive communications team at Walt Disney World Resort, will share stories that demonstrate how effective storytelling can be a powerful communications tool for any organization.

During this closing keynote, you will hear:

  • Essential elements of compelling storytelling that can take your communication programs to the next level
  • The power of story in persuasive communications with key stakeholders
  • How to navigate the creative process in developing powerful communication strategies
Cappy Surette is senior manager, executive communication for Walt Disney World Resort.