2016 Speechwriters and Executive Communicators Conference

2016 Speechwriters and Executive Communicators Conference

March 15-17, 2016
Washington, D.C.
Price: $1245
Member Price: $995

Pre-conference workshops: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on March 15
Main conference: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. on March 16; 8:30 a.m.-noon on March 17

  • Craft powerful speeches that persuade, motivate and inspire audiences
  • Collaborate with your executive to write speeches that ring with passion and authenticity
  • Create an executive comms plan that works—and gets you a seat at the table
  • Coach your speakers to make points clearly and convincingly

Twitter hashtag: #raganspeech

Presented by:

Ragan Communications, Inc. Public Relations Society of America
Product Code: Y6CS0DC
  • Learn more about sponsoring this event
    Keynotes with:
    Dex Torricke-Barton Dex Torricke-Barton, manager of executive communications, Facebook
    Justina Chen Justina Chen, award-winning novelist and former executive communications manager, Microsoft
    Robbie Bach Robbie Bach, former president of Microsoft Entertainment & Devices
    Mary Kate Cary Mary Kate Cary, writer, filmmaker and former White House Speechwriter for President George H. W. Bush
    Stephen Krupin Stephen Krupin, former director of speechwriting for Obama for America 2012 Campaign
    Lindsay Hayes Lindsay Hayes, former director of speechwriting for Romney for President 2012 Campaign
    Megan Rooney Megan Rooney, deputy director of speechwriting for Hillary for America 2016 Campaign
    Fraser P. SeitelFraser P. Seitel, managing partner of Emerald Partners
    Breakout sessions with:
    GREGORY BELL, director of speechwriting
    Chart your career path: Job advice from successful speechwriters
    LIZZIE COSTELLO, senior writer and video producer
    How to launch a unique speaker series with a TED-like talk
    Matthew YoungABB
    MATTHEW YOUNG, U.S. director of internal communications
    Build an executive communications plan that actually works—and gets you a seat at the table
    Shifting gears: Tips for the occasional speechwriter
ROB FRIEDMAN, retired senior director of executive communications

    Stalking the elusive executive:  how to get access to your clients—and what to do when you get it
    Let your speaker be seen: Coach clients to "soften the script, be yourself and build trust"
    JOEL SCHWARTZBERG, senior director of strategic and executive communications
    30 ideas in 30 minutes
    From wordsmith to speaking coach: How to make yourself more valuable
  • Learn more about sponsoring this event
    Keynotes with:
    David Litt David Litt, former speechwriter for President Obama and current head writer for Funny or Die
    Lessons learned from Between Two Ferns: Use humor to make your point
    Michael Flynn Michael Flynn, former deputy director of speechwriting for Vice President Biden and current principal at West Wing Writers
    Your story is your strategy: How to capture attention and inspire action
    Breakout sessions with:
    Rachel Wallace U.S. State Department
    Rachel Wallace, speechwriter and press advisor for Secretary's Office of Global Women's Issues
    The power of the pen: 3 ways speechwriters can lead
    William Smith, leadership communications director
    Leadership communications: How to build a powerful platform that makes your boss (and you) wildly successful
    Judith Narang GENENTECH/ROCHE
    Judith Narang, senior director of communications
    A tale of two CEOs: Match your speech to the personality
    Jeff Opperman PACE UNIVERSITY
    Jeff Opperman, director of executive communications
    Why executive communication strategies differ from all other strategies
    Nina Anand, speechwriter
    Panel: How to overcome the two perennial dilemmas of (1) access to your leader and (2) the dreaded approval process
    Daniel Ginsburg KPMG LLP
    Daniel Ginsburg, executive director of corporate and functional communications
    Panel: How to overcome the two perennial dilemmas of (1) access to your leader and (2) the dreaded approval process
    Daron Christopher U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
    Daron Christopher, speechwriter
    Panel: How to overcome the two perennial dilemmas of (1) access to your leader and (2) the dreaded approval process
    Christian Nwachukwu Jr., deputy director of speechwriting
    Panel: Unlikely sources of inspiration for your speeches process
    Eric Kleiman Biotechnology Innovation Organization
    Eric Kleiman, executive speechwriter to the president and CEO
    Panel: Unlikely sources of inspiration for your speeches process
    Pre-conference workshops with:
    Douglass Hatcher MASTERCARD
    Douglass Hatcher, vice president of executive communications
    Guide to really good storytelling: The art & science of making things matter
    Rob Friedman, retired senior director of executive communications
    How to create a compelling TED Talk
    Tom Mucciolo MEDIANET, INC.
    Tom Mucciolo, president
    Visually speaking: How to make your speech shine when it's delivered the way you wrote it


Shaun Adamec Shaun Adamec is founder and president of Adamec Communications, a strategic communications consulting practice specializing in strategy, messaging, and reputation management for mission-driven organizations. Adamec has directed communications for major, international nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, including City Year, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the American Red Cross, and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. As Press Secretary for Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, Adamec served as chief spokesperson for Governor O'Malley and managed the communications efforts for 28 state cabinet agencies. He served a similar role for Baltimore City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, now the Mayor of Baltimore. Adamec served as an advisor to Governor O'Malley's 2016 Presidential campaign, including as Chair of the Education Policy Task Force.
Sophie Adelman Sophie Adelman is the speechwriter to the British Ambassador to the United States, where she leads on speechwriting for the Ambassador, and strategic messaging for the Foreign Office's network of consulates across the U.S. Prior to her work with the British government, Sophie was the speechwriter to U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski. She began her career in speechwriting as an intern at West Wing Writers, a speechwriting and strategy firm in Washington, D.C. Previously, Sophie was a journalist whose work was featured by National Public Radio, the PBS NewsHour, and The Times of London.
Robbie Bach Robbie Bach is the former President of Microsoft Entertainment & Devices. For 22 years, he worked in marketing, general management and business leadership roles at the company. As Chief Xbox Officer, he led the creation and development of the highly successful Xbox video game business. In his new role as a "Civic Engineer," Robbie believes we all have a responsibility to engage on civic issues and dedicates his time and energy to providing strategies, creative ideas, and consulting to organizations who are driving positive change in our communities. As part of his civic commitment, Robbie serves on the national board of governors for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the United States Olympic Committee. He speaks to corporate, academic and civic groups across the country and in 2015 completed his first book, Xbox Revisited: A Game Plan for Corporate and Civic Renewal@robbie_bach
Gregory Bell Gregory Bell serves as senior speechwriter to the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He came to HUD from the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he was Director of Speechwriting for the Under Secretary of International Trade. Prior to his time in the Obama Administration, Gregory worked in the non-profit sector and in New York City government. He is also the author of the book "In the Black: A History of African Americans on Wall Street", which was featured in media outlets including The New York Times, Business Week and NPR. Gregory graduated from Oberlin College. @TheGregoryBell
Mary Kate Cary Mary Kate Cary served as a White House speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush from 1989 to early 1992, authoring over 100 Presidential addresses by him. She has ghostwritten several books, two of them about the former President. Since 2004, Ms. Cary has been an Advisory Board member of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University. Mary Kate is the executive producer of "41ON41," a documentary film about former President Bush, the 41st president of the United States. In addition to making "41ON41," Ms. Cary is currently a columnist for US News & World Report, a former spokesman for the U.S. Attorney General, former deputy director of communications at the Republican National Committee, former staffer at ABC News, and a former aide on Capitol Hill. She continues to write speeches for a variety of national political and corporate leaders.
Justina Chen Justina Chen works with executives to shape TED-worthy thought leadership and compelling personal narratives so leaders communicate with clarity, consistency, and conviction. Justina's distinctive storytelling draws on her work as a communications strategist for several presidents at Microsoft as well as on her career as an award-winning novelist for young adults. Justina is the former speechwriter for the President of Entertainment at Microsoft. Her work was lauded as "a staggering reminder of the power of exquisite storytelling." When she isn't working with executives, Justina conducts storytelling workshops and keynotes leadership, social media, marketing, and internal communications conferences. Her most recent novel, A Blind Spot for Boys, is on a Booklist Top 10 list. North of Beautiful was named one of Kirkus Reviews' Best Books for Young Adults and was nominated for 9 state book awards. Her debut novel, Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies), won the Asian American Award for Literature.
Lizzie Costello Lizzie Costello is a senior writer and video producer at Children's Hospital Colorado. In her six years on the marketing and communications team, she has written for executives, directed and produced more than 80 videos, and has written articles and brochures for internal and external communications. Before Children's Colorado, Costello interned at Ogilvy Public Relations and Edelman Public Relations in Chicago, and also spent a year teaching in Seoul. Costello graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in creative writing and rhetoric.
Clare Doody As a senior writer at West Wing Writers, the nation's premier speechwriting and strategy firm, Clare Doody helps some of the biggest names in business, politics and philanthropy craft their messages. She is especially skilled at translating complicated policy issues—from healthcare reform to economic development—into powerful stories with clear human stakes. Clare is also a core member of West Wing Writers' highly-regarded humor-writing team. Governors, Senators, and Cabinet Secretaries have used her one-liners in speeches to the Gridiron and Alfalfa Clubs and other major events on the D.C. comedy circuit. (Politico's Playbook once dubbed one of her jokes "an instant classic.")

She has written under her own name for The Atlantic and The Washington Post, finding the light side of topics from the World Economic Forum to the Greek debt crisis to your local farmers market.
Mike Field Mike Field is senior communications specialist at the University of Pennsylvania. Previously director of speechwriting for the president at the Johns Hopkins University, he has more than two decades of experience designing, building, and leading effective communications programs for high-visibility leaders. He has won numerous awards for speechwriting and video writing and production.
Rob Friedman Rob Friedman is retired senior director of executive communications at Eli Lilly and Company, where, over the past 20 years, he wrote for three CEOs and other senior executives. A former editor of Speechwriter's Newsletter, Rob has instructed thousands of professional communicators from around the world.
Lindsay Hayes Lindsay Hayes, Ph.D., has served as a speechwriter and communications advisor in the White House and the U.S. Senate, at a Cabinet-level agency, and on two presidential campaigns. In 2012, Hayes served as the director of speechwriting for the Romney-Ryan campaign. In 2008, she was the senior writer for the Republican National Convention and the traveling speechwriter for vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. From 2002 through 2006, she was the speechwriter for U.S. Senator Ted Stevens. Hayes is a co-founder of Bigger Binder Media, a production company that will release its first documentary film in early 2017. Her communications firm, Redpath Writing, helps political and business leaders, opinion makers, and media figures produce speeches, books, and other written works.
Aaron Hoover Aaron Hoover is the executive speechwriter in the University of Florida President's Office. In that capacity, he works closely with UF President Kent Fuchs on speeches, presentations, videos, correspondence and other projects. He also provides communications expertise and assistance to UF's provost and vice presidents. He joined the president's office in 2011 following a 20-year career as an award-winning speechwriter, science writer and daily newspaper reporter.
Dr. Rosemary King A seasoned communications professional, Dr. Rosemary King has served as a speechwriter and communications director for national leaders in the charitable community, across the private sector, and at the highest levels of government. Career highlights include serving as a speechwriter for the Secretary of Defense, 4-star generals, members of Congress, CEOs, and nationally recognized journalists. She served 24 years in the Air Force, eight at the Pentagon. Rose's work has been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, USA Today and reached international audiences in Taiwan, Russia, Hungary, Belgium, Mexico, Columbia, Estonia, Macedonia, and Kosovo.
Stephen Krupin Stephen Krupin leads the executive communications practice at SKDKnickerbocker, helping CEOs, government leaders, and advocates tell their stories through speeches, presentations, and media interviews. He previously served as chief speechwriter to Secretary of State John Kerry, director of speechwriting on President Obama's re-election campaign, and chief speechwriter and press secretary to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Stephen also teaches speechwriting courses at Georgetown University and George Washington University.
David Murray David Murray is a writer and journalist who writes and speaks frequently on corporate, political and personal communication, mainly corporate communication and speechwriting. He is Editor of Vital Speeches of the Day, an 80-year-old collection of the best speeches in the U.S. and the world. He is also executive director of the Professional Speechwriters Association, a group of communication advisors to CEOs and political leaders across the nation and the world. He co-wrote with a young Army lieutenant colonel dying of cancer the New York Times-bestselling memoir Tell My Sons (Random House, 2013). Recently, he published Raised by Mad Men, a memoir of his ad executive parents in the 1960s.
Nate Osburn Nate Osburn is the Director of Corporate Communications at ASTM International, a global nonprofit that develops safety and performance standards for industries ranging from children's toys to jet fuel. Before that, he served for five years as an Obama-administration appointee, developing high-level communications for members of the U.S. Cabinet as senior speechwriter at the Small Business Administration and director of speechwriting at the Department of Commerce. He has written speeches and other executive communications for top leaders at the American Medical Association, the Federal Aviation Administration, and U.C. Davis Health System. @n8o
Stephen Rabin Stephen "Steve" Rabin is Senior Advisor at NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. A speechwriter and communications strategist, Rabin has a background working in the toughest of climates, including the rollout of HealthCare.gov in the Obama Administration, former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's re-election campaign and chairmanship of the Democratic Governors Association, and Governor O'Malley's successful fights for marriage equality, the DREAM Act, and a ban on assault weapons in Maryland. Prior to joining NASA, Rabin served in the Obama Administration as director of speechwriting at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), a trillion dollar enterprise with a staff of more than 100,000 employees and contractors, that oversees the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare"), Medicare & Medicaid, the Surgeon General, and HeadStart among other national priorities. For nearly six years, Steve served as chief speechwriter to Governor Martin O'Malley of Maryland. @steverabin
Megan Rooney Megan Rooney is deputy director of speechwriting on the Hillary for America presidential campaign. Previously, she was a senior presidential speechwriter for President Barack Obama; speechwriter and policy adviser to Secretary Clinton during her four years at the U.S. Department of State; Michelle Obama's speechwriter during the final stretch of the 2008 Obama for America campaign; and a senior writer at West Wing Writers, a speechwriting and strategy firm in Washington. Before becoming a speechwriter, Megan was a researcher and copy editor for the Washington Post and an intern at the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Tom Rosshirt Tom Rosshirt served in the Clinton White House as a national security speechwriter for President Clinton and as foreign affairs spokesperson for Vice President Gore. Tom was a co-founder of West Wing Writers, has written a syndicated column, and works as a writer and strategist for leaders in business, philanthropy, and academia—working in issues from education to nuclear weapons to poverty and global health. Tom majored in philosophy at Notre Dame and attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he earned a master's degree in human development. He was also a high school teacher and coach. His passions are writing, politics, global affairs, and the intersection of psychology and religion.
Mary Kate Scarafile Mary Kate Scarafile has written for Global 100 Company CEOs, national political figures, media personalities and leading academics. Currently she serves as chief speechwriter at the American Academy of Pediatrics, where she oversees speechwriting and executive communications for the Academy's CEO, president and executive committee. Mary Kate has 20 years of experience as a speechwriter and a background in corporate communications and management consulting, working with some of the world's leading companies and organizations, including Amoco Corporation, BMO, Cendant Corp., Feeding America, Hewitt Associates, IBM, Met Life, Morgan Stanley and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She has scripted national and international conferences and conventions and has written more than 300 keynote addresses that have been delivered to such diverse audiences as: BiPartisan Policy Center, The City Club of Cleveland, The Conference Board, Harvard University, National Public Radio, Northwestern University and The White House Conference on Travel and Tourism.
Joel Schwartzberg Joel Schwartzberg is the senior director of strategic and executive communications for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). He also teaches public speaking classes for Mediabistro.com and advises clients including American Express, Comedy Central, The Brennan Center for Justice, and The American Jewish Committee. Joel won the 1990 U.S. Championship in After-Dinner Speaking, the 1990 Massachusetts Championship in Persuasive Speaking, and was ranked among the top ten public speakers in America. After coaching public speaking teams at colleges including the University of Pennsylvania and Seton Hall University, Joel was inducted into the National Forensic Association Hall of Fame in 2002. He is also a nationally-published personal essayist and award-winning author. @joeljest
Fraser P. Seitel Fraser P. Seitel is managing partner of Emerald Partners, strategic communications counseling firm, which he and associates created in February 1992. PR Week Magazine named Mr. Seitel one of the "100 Most Distinguished Public Relations Professionals of the 20th Century." Mr. Seitel is a frequent television and radio contributor and an Adjunct Professor at the New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies. He served as senior vice president and public affairs director of The Chase Manhattan Bank for more than two decades, personally counseling three generations of Chase chairmen—David Rockefeller, Willard C. Butcher and Thomas G. Labrecque. As a consultant, Fraser has provided management communications counsel to hundreds of business, government and nonprofit organizations and assisted numerous executives in delivering and crafting public speeches.
Sarah Tentler Sarah Tentler is a speechwriter and executive communications professional at the Federal Reserve's San Francisco Bank. Sarah started her speechwriting career in the United Kingdom with HM Treasury's Office of Government Commerce. From there she moved to HSBC as speechwriter to the chairman and CEO of the global bank, then returned to the British government as chief speechwriter for the Cabinet Office. After leaving the UK, Sarah moved to Bahrain, consulting for private clients in the diplomatic and corporate worlds. Next up was Singapore, where she led communications for a private equity firm building social businesses in emerging economies. On returning to the United States, she worked in the US Senate before moving to the Federal Reserve's San Francisco Bank.
Dex Torricke-Barton Dex Torricke-Barton is executive communications manager at Facebook. He has written over 500 speeches and op-eds and is a New York Times-bestselling ghostwriter. Dex began his career at the United Nations in 2008 as speechwriter and spokesperson for the office of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In 2011 he became Google's first executive speechwriter, supporting CEO Larry Page, Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and other senior Google leaders. Since 2012 he has supported communications for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Dex holds a bachelor's degree in politics from University College London and a master's degree in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Oxford. @DexBarton
Matthew Young Matthew Young is the U.S. director of internal communications for ABB, a world leader in power and automation technologies. At ABB, Matthew oversees strategic internal and executive communications, pursuing a passion to drive transformational change with innovative communications. Before ABB, Matthew managed corporate communications in the health care, apparel, manufacturing, and food & beverage industries, once doing so from Mount Everest. @YoungComm