Keynote Speakers | Welcome Reception Speaker | Session Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Frank X. Shaw

Corporate Vice President, Communications, Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)

Frank ShawIn this role, Shaw is responsible for defining and managing Microsoft’s communications strategies worldwide, company-wide storytelling, including planning and execution, product PR, consumer marketing, media relations, executive communications, employee communications, global agency management and military affairs.

Frank is an avid technologist and digital conversationalist with a Twitter following of more than 26K (@fxshaw). In 2016 he was recognized by Business Insider as #1 on a listing of the 50 best PR people in Tech, and was awarded a SABRE Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in 2016.

With more than 20 years of experience in communications, Frank has led diverse teams representing government, entertainment, food and retail. Prior to joining Microsoft in 2009, he was president of the Microsoft account worldwide at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide where he held key responsibilities for all global PR, communications and influence efforts.

Frank proudly served in the US Marine Corps and is a graduate of the Department of Defense Information School. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon and is a current board member of the Seattle YMCA.

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Nicholas Thompson

Editor-in-Chief, Wired

“Nick is an accomplished editor, and his leadership at The New Yorker speaks for itself. Nick’s return to Wired, combined with his impeccable journalistic skills, will give the Wired team a tremendous advantage in covering the world of technology.” — Anna Wintour

The story of how science and tech will change our lives is one of the most important in the world. And no one’s more equipped to tell it than Nicholas Thompson. A veteran editor, he revolutionized The New Yorker’s online platform and transformed the magazine. Now, as the editor-in-chief of Wired, he’s working at the forefront of digital innovation—championing tech’s role in making the world a better place.

As the new editor-in-chief of Wired—one of the most prestigious positions in the world of technology—Nicholas Thompson is staking out a bold, optimistic vision for covering, and responding to, the changing realm of digital culture. From artificial intelligence to entertainment, privacy to social media, ethics to war, Thompson leads the news cycle—and in talks, he champions the ways tech can enhance our lives, both as a quick-witted, brilliant keynote speaker and as a charming, provocative host.

Thompson served previously as a senior editor at Wired from 2005–2010. There, he edited both National Magazine Award-nominated writing and “The Great Escape,” the story that became the feature film Argo. Thompson has also played a pivotal role with The New Yorker—first as senior editor, then as editor of the magazine’s digital platform, where he helped re-design the website, launch the New Yorker app, spark an eight-fold increase in monthly readers, and quadruple the number of new digital subscribers each month (based on his editorial focus on offering loyalty to writers, diversifying the magazine’s social media presence, and publishing “more, better stories”). He is also the author of the critically acclaimed biography The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War.

Earlier in his career, Thompson worked as a Senior Editor at Legal Affairs, as an editor at the Washington Monthly, and co-founded The Atavist, the National Magazine Award-winning publishing company. He has written on technology and politics for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, Slate, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, The New York Observer, and other publications. He has appeared on Bloomberg TV, NBC, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC, NPR, and CNN, where he is a contributing editor, and CBS, where he is a news contributor. Thompson earned the 21st Century Leader Award from The National Committee on American Foreign Policy, was a Future Tense Fellow at the New America Foundation, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He graduated from Stanford University, where he was a United States Truman Scholar.

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Scott McClellan

Vice President of Communications, Seattle University


Scott McClellan is Vice President for Communications at Seattle University, a position he has held since September 2012. From 2003 to 2006, he served as White House Press Secretary.

In his current role, Scott oversees marketing, communications and external affairs and provides strategic counsel to the university’s president and leadership team. Prior to joining the university, he advised a variety of clients on public affairs and communications strategy.

Scott’s 2008 memoir, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception, was a #1 New York Times bestseller. The Associated Press called it a “sophisticated assessment” that “makes an important commentary on Washington’s poisonous political climate.”

Before being named press secretary, Scott served as the principal deputy White House press secretary from 2001 to 2003. Previously, he was the traveling press secretary for the Bush-Cheney 2000 presidential campaign.

Earlier in his career, Scott spent several years working in Texas politics as a senior aide to then-Governor Bush, chief of staff to a state senator and campaign manager for three successful statewide campaigns.

A native of Austin, Scott is a graduate of the University of Texas. In 2005, he received the Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award, which recognizes graduates under 40 who have made significant achievements in their careers and in service to the University.

Scott and his wife Jill are the proud parents of three young sons.

Read Scott’s keynote description.

Oliver Roll

SVP, Chief Communications Officer, Cisco

Oliver Roll is an expert at getting to the essence of great storytelling. As Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer at Cisco, he leads Cisco’s award-winning Global Communications team. His focus is on engaging with Cisco’s customers, partners, employees and communities worldwide to create stories about the unique value of Cisco’s vision, people and technology.

Prior to joining Cisco, Oliver led VMware’s brand and reputation as Chief Communications Officer, where he crafted a new company narrative, developed their Cross Cloud brand and communications strategy, and designed new methodologies to measure communications impact. Prior to that, Oliver was with Microsoft for more than 20 years in numerous marketing and communications leadership positions, including leading its worldwide communications function, and communications for the Microsoft Office Division. As Microsoft Office’s chief storyteller, Oliver implemented an “always-on” communications approach across earned, owned, and paid media to successfully position the transformation of MS Office into a services organization.

Oliver holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Middlesex Business School in London, UK, and a Diplom Betriebswirt from Fachhochschule (University of Applied Sciences) Reutlingen, Germany.

Read Oliver’s keynote description.

 Janice Kapner

Executive VP of Communications & Community Engagement, T-Mobile

Janice V. Kapner is Executive Vice President of Communications & Community Engagement at T-Mobile. In this role, Janice and her team are responsible for developing and sharing the T-Mobile story with employees, customers and other influencers through public and media relations, social media, internal communications and corporate social responsibility efforts, including the T-Mobile Foundation.

Before joining T-Mobile, Janice held leadership positions at Microsoft, most notably as head of Worldwide Communications for the Microsoft Office Division. Prior to that, she held Senior Director and Director roles at various Silicon Valley companies, as well overseeing Investor Relations & Communications through one company’s IPO. Janice has received numerous awards in recognition of her work, including being named by PR Magazine as a Top Woman in PR three years in a row, PR News’ Platinum PR Professional of the Year, and is on PR Week’s U.S. Power List for the 2nd year in a row. She serves on the Board of Directors of Pet Partners, a non-profit organization focused on promoting excellence in animal-assisted therapy programs.

Janice is a graduate of California State University at Sacramento, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communications with an emphasis on journalism, and completed executive marketing programs through both Stanford and Kellogg School of Management. Janice lives in the Seattle area with her beloved family: her husband, Gary, and her dogs, Nutmeg, Cooper and Sydney.

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Welcome Reception

Chris Porter

Founder, A la Mode Pies

Growing up, my favorite thing for lunch was a frosted fruit pie. It was a treat packed with hidden sentiment as my Mom would only include one in my sack lunch on special occasions – like my birthday or the first day of school. As an accomplished cook, it meant a lot considering how much she prided herself on making things from scratch. Most nights, I would watch her in the kitchen prepare a myriad of dishes with a Midas touch. Mom taught me that patience, technique and invention in the kitchen is often rewarded with wide eyes and happy taste buds.

As an adult, my curiosity and creative skills outside of the kitchen translated into a successful career as a television news reporter and later as a director of public relations for several global PR firms. But, like my Mother, my true passion has always been deeply rooted in the kitchen.

Today, my vision for A la Mode Pies is not just to re-create Mom’s recipes, but reinvent them using imagination and high-quality ingredients. In 2009, A la Mode Pies was born out of that simple idea and has grown to be one of the fastest growing businesses in the Puget Sound region—powered, in part by savvy PR. In fact, A la Mode Pies was featured on the cover of the Puget Sound Business Journal as one of the fast growing businesses in the region for 2017. Today, A la Mode has two neighborhood locations (Phinney Ridge & West Seattle), 25 employees, a handful of well-known wholesale accounts and has been voted the “Best Pie Shop” four years in a row by the readers of Seattle Magazine. We create pies and tarts that look as good as they taste – no sprinkles, frosting or grocery store gimmicks. Quite simply, exceptional pie – the kind Mom would be proud to serve.

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Session Speakers

Gail Baker

Senior Vice President, Strategic Communications, Cambia Health Solutions

Gail Baker leads corporate and executive messaging, stakeholder and employee communications, public relations, social media and brand strategy. With a mission-driven, collaborative approach, she drives strategic communications and engagement with key internal and external constituents. She has a track record of measurable results as she supports Cambia’s vision of creating a consumer-centric health care system for all.

Before joining Cambia in 2012, Gail was director of Corporate Communication and Community Affairs at Portland General Electric where she led branding, advertising, community engagement, public relations, social and interactive media as well as customer, employee and financial communications. Prior to joining PGE in 1996, Gail held marketing and communications positions at Banc One Corporation, Stephens Advertising and the California Association for Health Services at Home.

Gail is an active member of the community and passionate about helping children, serving on various nonprofit boards and committees over the years such as CASA, The Leadership Roundtable and YWCA of Greater Portland. Gail has won the Cambia Values Award for Trust, as well as various Spotlight awards through the Public Relations Society of America.  Gail earned bachelors and masters degrees in communications from the University of North Dakota.

Read Gail’s topic description.

David Blandford, APR

Senior Vice President, Visit Seattle

David Blandford is Senior Vice President, Public Affairs at Visit Seattle, the city’s private, nonprofit destination marketing organization. Blandford overseas public policy, issues management, strategic communications and industry advocacy at the national, state and local levels. His previous experience at Visit Seattle includes Vice President, Communications between 2009 and 2017, where he oversaw the public relations department, corporate communications and industry advocacy.

David has served in Seattle’s tourism industry for more than 20 years. He also serves on the board of directors of the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) and Seafair and is an active member of the U.S Travel Association Communications Committee. He has been a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) since 1995, serving as President of PRSA’s Puget Sound Chapter in 2007.

Previously, Blandford held communications positions in Seattle and in Washington, D.C.  Blandford earned a bachelor’s degree in editorial journalism and political science from the University of Washington.

Meet David on the Sunday Foodie Walking Tour

Kristine Boyden

President, US Western Region, Edelman

As regional president, Kristine sets the strategy and facilitates key decisions that drive success for 700 employees across six offices. Working with the regional General Managers, she leads initiatives that act as a catalyst for change, including continually enhancing the approach to client service, integrating across practices and refining operations to support these advances and allow teams to deliver the best possible work. She also sits on the Executive Management Team that sets the strategy for the U.S.

Over the course of her 15+ years at Edelman, Kristine has represented clients across sectors, ranging from leading teams serving tech and commerce brands like eBay, to senior counsel for the top dozen clients for Edelman in the U.S. including Charles Schwab, Gap Inc, PayPal, GE and others. Prior to that, she ran the company’s global client relationship with HP, one of the firm’s largest clients worldwide spanning 53 markets. She has also been deeply involved in Edelman’s Global Client Relationship Manager (GCRM) program, establishing and curating best practices as well as providing strategic counsel to West Coast-based GCRM clients.

Under Kristine’s leadership, her teams have won a number of prestigious awards for programs ranging from consumer branding and corporate media strategy to digital and influencer marketing.

Read Kristine’s topic description.

Danny Chung

Chief of Staff, Military Affairs, Microsoft

Danny Chung served more than 20 years in the United States Marine Corps beginning in 1990 when he enlisted as an avionics technician repairing communication devices in F/A-18s and C-130s. Five years later, he was accepted to an enlisted-commissioning program at Oregon State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree and a commission as a 2ndLt. As a public affairs officer, his experiences include combat operations in Iraq where he commanded the 372nd Army MPAD (mobile public affairs detachment); humanitarian operations in Thailand and Sri Lanka following the international tsunami crisis, and in Pakistan following the Kashmiri Earthquakes where he served as the director of public and governmental affairs. Danny’s last assignment in the Marines was that of Commanding Officer and lead instructor at DINFOS, where he developed curriculum and instructed over 1,000 military, state and federal agency students, as well as foreign national students from partner nations around the world.

After retiring from service, Danny went to work for a technology consulting firm in Washington, D.C. as the director of strategic communications. A few years later, he was recruited and relocated to his hometown of Los Angeles, where he managed the news bureau and crisis communications for Southern California Edison. During Hurricane Sandy, Danny managed the public relations and communications for the deployment of nearly 200 linemen and 100 vehicles to the storm-stricken area to provide Con Edison, the local utility company with added support to get electricity back up and running for the residents and businesses in New York and New Jersey. Today, he continues to serve as the chief of staff for Microsoft Military Affairs in Redmond, Washington.

Danny is also a board member of the USO (Pacific Northwest Region) and an advisory board member of Operation Homefront, helping to serve those who have served our great nation.  Follow him at @JarheadPAO

Read the topic description of the session Danny’s moderating 

Reiny Cohen

Director of Communications, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance

As an advocacy communications professional, Reiny is responsible for all internal and external messaging and materials for the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, a non-profit advocacy organization working with the state legislature to ensure that everyone in Washington has access to a safe, healthy, affordable home.

Reiny came to the advocacy world by way of a career in radio with a side of activism. She spent 15 years in Seattle radio in a variety of on-air roles from morning show producer and sidekick, to news and traffic reporter, to hosting an afternoon show on the NPR affiliate, KUOW. Answering an internal call to use her communications skills for change, Reiny took a leap and tapped into her activist side to change careers: first graduating from a civic engagement and leadership program called Institute for a Democratic Future (IDF), to working on electoral and legislative campaigns, and finally landing at the Housing Alliance, where she specializes in media relations and analysis, messaging, and audience engagement. On the side, Reiny is heading into her fourth year as Program Director for IDF, mentoring future leaders to do policy and government work in their careers. She is a lifetime resident of the Pacific Northwest.

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Christena Coutsoubos

Director, Strategic Communications and Development, Building Changes

Christena Coutsoubos is Director of Strategic Communications and Development at Building Changes, where she works closely with stakeholders, staff and partners to engage passionate supporters in the vision of reducing youth and family homelessness. She excels in translating complex policy for a variety of audiences and in using data to strengthen the case for funding and policy change. Using her emphasis on storytelling, she has helped design small, focused, intimate and highly creative donor and decision-maker engagement events that lead to deeper connection and commitment.

Christena has 20 years’ experience in volunteer engagement, development, communications, program leadership and management, and direct service in the nonprofit sector. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Barnard College, Columbia University in New York City, and a Masters in Nonprofit Leadership from Seattle University.

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Linda Dahlstrom

Director of Storytelling, Starbucks Global Newsroom

Linda Dahlstrom is the director of storytelling for the Starbucks Global Newsroom. Previously, she helped create an embedded newsroom telling health, medical and science stories at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Before becoming a corporate storyteller, she was a traditional journalist for 25 years and led the health team at and NBC News Digital. Her writing career began at age 6 when she and her best friend, Barbara, founded The Animal Nature Newsletter, headquartered in a treehouse in Anaheim, Calif. It had a circulation of three.

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Doug Dawson

General Manager of Influencer Relations, Microsoft

Doug Dawson is the general manager of influencer relations at Microsoft where he oversees the day-to-day operations of Microsoft’s media and influencer relations efforts, as well as the company’s social and owned channels, including the award-winning Microsoft Story Labs. A 20-year veteran of corporate communications, prior to joining Microsoft in 2015, Doug oversaw media relations at Finland-based Nokia after PR agency stints in Hong Kong, San Francisco and Toronto. Doug holds a B.A. (Hons) from the University of Manitoba in his native Canada. He also claims to hold a Ph.D. from the School of Hard Knocks, but no one believes him.

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Elizabeth Edwards

Founder and President, Volume PR

Edwards is an award-winning communicator, speaker, and author, who founded Volume in 2001. Her mind-science practice has led to the development of a map of guidelines to the laws and effects that govern how the American mind is hard wired to be positively engaged. Edwards and her team train and support brands from Fortune 100s to start-ups with their one-of-a-kind system for success.

A graduate of Pepperdine University, Edwards worked in communication at Boeing’s Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power, and at Ogilvy PR’s telecom practice before founding Volume and starting the public relations and communication world on a path toward more scientifically precise engagement.

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Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson

Washington State Attorney General’s Office

Bob Ferguson is Attorney General for Washington State, serving his second term as the state’s chief legal officer. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and New York University law school. He clerked for two federal judges before joining the firm of Preston, Gates, and Ellis (now K&L Gates). Before his election as attorney general, he was a member of the King County Council.

As Washington’s Attorney General, Bob formed the first unit within the AG’s Office dedicated to protecting the civil rights of all Washington residents; a theme that would resonate throughout his public service. He has created separate offices devoted to the environment, health and safety of all Washingtonians, and an office to help current and former service members find pro bono legal assistance. Bob gained national attention when he won an important case for the rights of same-sex couples in Washington State–filing a consumer protection lawsuit against a Richland florist for refusing to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding. He won the largest campaign finance judgment in United States history–$18 million dollars–against the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association, an association of large corporations that attempted to shield the identity of the true source of contributions to an initiative campaign, and thereby intentionally violating Washington campaign finance laws.

An internationally rated chess master, Bob may be best known for successfully blocking President Trump’s first executive order barring travel from seven Muslim-majority nations. Within 72 hours of the executive order, Bob and his team filed suit arguing that it was a case of religious discrimination, as well as several other constitutional and statutory violations, with statements of support from global tech giants Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook and others. Last fall Bob Ferguson was honored as one of the Time 100; The 100 Most Influential People of 2017.

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Adriana Gil Miner

VP of Corporate Communications & Outreach Programs, Tableau Software

Adriana Gil Miner heads up the global Corporate Communications department at Tableau Software where she is responsible for cultivating relationships with industry experts, media, academia and NGOs to advance the mission of Tableau of helping people see and understand their data.

With over 18 years of technology marketing experience, Adriana brings together the art of storytelling, technology, and marketing to create breakthrough campaigns that build up brands. Adriana thrives on bringing new technologies to market and has worked on an array of projects from launching Samsung 3D TVs to building digital platforms at American Express to managing a top company growth program called Recurring Payments; and as CMO of Artefact, helped to put the product innovation firm on the map and launch their first spinoff company, 10,000ft.

Adriana studied Mass Communication in her native hometown of Venezuela and obtained a Master’s degree in Digital Communication at the University of Washington. She loves to travel and prides herself on discovering and nurturing up-and-coming marketer rockstars.

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Manuel Goncalves

Executive Director, Media Relations and Corporate Communications, KPMG LLC

Manny Goncalves leads KPMG’s U.S. media relations and corporate communications team, responsible for developing, managing and executing omni-channel reputation programs. A seasoned public relations and communications executive with 20 years’ of corporate and agency experience, he applies a startup mentality (experiment, measure and iterate quickly) to helping companies implement change and convey their value propositions. With deep expertise in media relations and corporate communications, he believes that innovation and disruption are key to the evolution of the communications profession – from new and exciting strategies and vehicles to the growth of the very professionals who execute them. As such, every program he and his team execute must integrate digital, social, online, metrics and data analytics into the “traditional” communications matrix. In fact, Manny argues that the new “traditional” should incorporate all of these aspects if a program is to successfully engage an ever-diverging group of stakeholders with unique communications demands and expectations. Over the course of his career, he has been a trusted advisor to C-suite executives on proactive reputation programs and crisis management across a wide spectrum of industries including professional services, automotive, technology, financial services and more. Regardless of industry or client, he stresses that communicators must be change agents who speak the language of the C-suite and who also support the business goals – all while chasing innovation based on data-driven insights.

Kelly Guenther

North American Video Specialist, Shootsta

Kelly Guenther is an Emmy-Award-winning TV reporter, producer and photographer who founded the creative agency, Guenther Group, where he’s earned dozens of Telly and Davey Awards and Emmy nominations. Now the North America Video Specialist for Shootsta, an Australian tech video disruptor that’s harnessing the cloud to bring new power to communications professionals worldwide, Kelly travels the world teaching clients how to use simple video tools to tell compelling stories.

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Carmella Gutierrez

Senior Director, National PR & Media Relations, Kaiser Permanente

Carmella Gutierrez leads national public relations, social media and research communications strategy for Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated health system. She –loves her role overseeing teams of proactive storytellers because it gives her visibility into how more than 220,000 people dedicate themselves to deliver high-quality, affordable health care and coverage that enables 12 million people and their communities across the country to thrive.

An award-winning communicator, she has more than 20 years of experience in health care and media, including roles as President and CEO at Californians for Patient Care, US Health & Human Services, Dignity Health, and the American Cancer Society, as well as roles at KUSA-TV and 850 KOA in Denver.

Carmella calls the San Francisco Bay Area home and is happy spending time outdoors with her boyfriend and their chocolate lab, hiking the beautiful hills around San Francisco and expanding her wine vocabulary with friends and family.  Follow Carmella at @carmellag

Jessica Hagy

Founder, Indexed

Jessica Hagy is an artist and writer best known for her Webby award-winning blog, Indexed. Her work has been described as “deceptively simple,” “undeniably brilliant,” and “our favorite reason for the Internet to exist.” She is a contributor to numerous publications including The New York Times, Forbes, BBC, Esquire, Redbook and more. She has also been a popular speaker at SXSW and TEDxColumbus.

She is the author of How to Be Interesting (Workman, 2013) and The Art of War Visualized (Workman, 2015), among others. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.  Her style of visual storytelling allows readers to draw their own conclusions and to actively participate in each narrative. “Her images don’t always tell us what to think; quite often, they elegantly offer us ideas to think about.” Her commissioned work frequently appears in various web formats, galleries, books, magazines, newspapers, television outlets, and advertising campaigns. Jessica lives and works in Seattle. Follow her at @jessicahagy

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Amy Hatch

Director of Communications, ChefSteps

Amy Hatch is the Director of Communications for ChefSteps, a food and technology company based in Seattle. In this role, Amy developed the strategy, messaging, media and influencer engagement campaigns for the successful launch of Joule Sous Vide and its accessory products, and is also responsible for planning PR strategy around future products and overall brand awareness. With a 15-year career in communications, Amy has expertise in everything from publishing and digital marketing to consumer tech products and apps.

Prior to joining ChefSteps, Amy led the PR effort for the bestselling Modernist Cuisine books and their foreign editions. Her agency and in-house experience includes managing communications for companies such as Microsoft and CDK.  Amy earned her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism at the University of Washington.

Meet Amy on the Sunday Foodie Walking Tour

Catherine Hinrichsen, APR

Project Director, Seattle University’s Project on Homelessness

Catherine Hinrichsen, APR manages the Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness, a communications and advocacy program funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that uses journalism, art and storytelling to connect the community to meaningful action. Among Seattle U’s storytelling projects are collaborations with StoryCorps and The Moth that yielded nationally-aired radio stories about local homelessness.

Catherine’s storytelling expertise includes 15 years as a consultant specializing in helping organizations win awards such as Silver Anvils, PR Week Awards and more. Her career spans corporate, agency and nonprofit work, and she has taught public relations courses at Seattle University, University of Washington and University of Nevada (Reno). She holds a B.A. in Journalism (public relations emphasis) and Speech Communication from the University of Nevada (Reno), and an M.A. in Communications from the University of Washington. Active in Puget Sound PRSA, she chaired numerous committees and is past board member and five-time Assembly delegate. Her heart belongs to PRSSA as a past president and national officer of PRSSA while at UNR, before the Sierra Nevada chapter was established. Until recently she co-chaired the Puget Sound PRSA chapter’s student outreach and mentoring program for four local PRSSA chapters for 15 years.

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Zack Hutson

VP, Corporate Affairs, Privateer Holdings Inc.

As head of communications, government relations and strategic philanthropy for Privateer Holdings, Zack is working to build global brands that lead, legitimize and define the future of the legal cannabis industry. Privateer Holdings is the world’s first private equity firm to invest exclusively in legal cannabis, raising more than $200 million to acquire, incubate and develop leading cannabis brands, including portfolio companies Leafly, Tilray, Marley Natural, and The Goodship.

Zack has extensive experience leading iconic brands and causes through their brightest moments and toughest challenges. Prior to joining Privateer Holdings, Zack was Director of Global Corporate Communications at Starbucks Corporation where he held multiple roles as a team leader focused on brand storytelling, global media relations, executive thought leadership for the CEO and CFO, financial communications, crisis and issue management and policy communications. As a lead media strategist and spokesperson, he regularly counseled the c-suite and interacted with top-tier media on Starbucks most high-profile matters – including three of the largest acquisitions in the company’s history, quarterly earnings reports, social responsibility initiatives, and numerous reputational challenges and crises.

Prior to Starbucks, Zack worked in San Francisco, Hong Kong and Washington DC at two of the world’s largest PR firms (APCO Worldwide and Edelman) as a strategic communications and public affairs consultant to consumer brands, industry associations and a foreign government.

Zack graduated summa cum laude from The George Washington University with a B.A. in Political Communication. He lives in Seattle where he enjoys hiking, biking and running around the Pacific Northwest.

Chad Lakin

Vice President North America, Shootsta

Chad Lakin is VP of Shootsta North America, one of the world’s fastest-growing startups. Chad has many years of expertise in design, digital media and strategy.

Since joining Shootsta in 2015, Chad’s overarching leadership, strategy and wicked charm have consequently propelled the growth of the business to astronomical lengths – really. He’s heading up the US office to help bring the power of storytelling through video, to more brands and people around the globe.

We’ve heard rumors that his appeal is infectious – we warned you

Read Chad’s topic description.

Dan Lee

Managing Director-Northwest, PR Talent

Dan is a Managing Director at PR Talent, the largest communications specialist recruiting firm in the country with an international reach combined with local market insights. Dan leads the firm’s recruiting efforts in the Northwest region.

Prior to joining PR Talent, Dan spent 16 years on the agency side in Seattle at Weber Shandwick and DeLaunay Communications doing award-winning work with a wide-range of clients across consumer, healthcare, non-profit and technology sectors.

Dan’s expertise also includes executive reputation and spokesperson training. He has worked closely coaching executives at Bank of America, General Motors, Microsoft and Nike on memorable storytelling and message delivery.

Dan’s career began as a radio sportscaster in the Midwest where he was honored by the Associated Press for his reporting and interviewing skills.

Read about the panel Dan will moderate.

Nicole Leverich

Senior Director Corporate Communications, LinkedIn

Nicole Leverich leads technology, culture and crisis communications teams at LinkedIn as part of the company’s Brand, Communications and Social Impact team. Prior to this role, Nicole lead communications at mobile analytics start-up Mixpanel, drove Google’s mobile ads marketing globally and lead communications for AdMob (a mobile advertising start-up that was acquired by Google).  Previously, she served in a variety of roles on Yahoo’s communications team and started her career at Fleishman-Hillard.  Nicole holds a BA in Journalism & Communications from the University of Oregon.

Perrin Kaplan

Principal, Zebra Partners

Perrin Kaplan is a global marketing and communications executive known for her award-winning work in tech, entertainment, gaming and virtual reality. She is principal of Zebra Partners, which opened doors following her role as vice president, marketing and communications, growing Nintendo’s corporate brand overseeing notable global phenomenon’s such as the Wii; Pokémon; DS; and the brand ambassador movement.  Considered one the best in her field, Kaplan is profiled in several books and articles and does public speaking.
Her clientele includes innovative mid-size companies and brands such as Facebook/Oculus, Intel, Microsoft, Sony, DreamWorks, Reddit, and Qualcomm. She started in the newsroom at Seattle’s NBC affiliate with stints in political communications.

Matt McKenna

Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Greenbrier

For over 7 years, Matt McKenna served as spokesperson and senior adviser to President Bill Clinton, the Clinton family, and the Clinton Foundation. He also ran Communications for Uber North America and has advised diverse corporate and philanthropic organizations such as The Carlyle Group, lululemon athletica, and WilliamsWorks on a range of issues including executive communications, crisis management, acquisitions, lawsuits, and the hiring and firing of CEOs.

Prior to joining the Clintons, Matt worked on several statewide political campaigns, most recently serving as communications director for U.S. Senator Jon Tester — both in his successful U.S. Senate campaign in and his first term in the U.S. Senate. Matt also worked in communications and opposition research for Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana, Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia, Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Gov. Tony Knowles of Alaska.

Currently Matt serves as Managing Partner of Greenbrier, a crisis communications firm he and Lane Kasselman co-founded to help companies and individuals avoid, manage and recover from crises.

A native of Bozeman, Montana, Matt is an avid mountain and road cyclist. He lives between Montana and San Francisco with his dog, Pablo. Find him on LinkedIn.

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Linda Mills

VP Communications, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Linda Mills is vice president of Communications for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of advanced airliners with annual revenues of $58 billion. Mills leads a team of communications and marketing professionals who share Boeing’s stories of aerospace innovation via global media relations, employee and executive communications, social media engagement, advertising, and other communications disciplines.

Mills, an award-winning executive with 20 years of strategic communications experience, joined Boeing from Seattle-based Starbucks, where she served as vice president of Global Communications. In her six years with Starbucks, she held various leadership roles with broad-reaching responsibility for brand communications, thought leadership, executive communications, and issues and crisis management. She led high-profile campaigns and helped launch dozens of new products and services. In 2015, industry publication PR Week named Mills as one of its “40 under 40” communications professionals.

Prior to Starbucks, Mills was a vice president at public relations firm Waggener Edstrom (now known as WE), where she managed communications for top consumer technology brands and supported new innovations such as Connexion by Boeing. Before Waggener Edstrom, Mills worked at MWW Group in Seattle and Publicis Dialog in Dallas.

Mills received her Bachelor of Science degree in journalism with a specialization in public relations and business from the University of North Texas. She also attended the University of Salamanca in Spain and studied international business and communications.

Read Linda’s panel description.

Mary Mix

Senior Consultant, Strategic Marketing Projects, Kaiser Permanente

Mary Mix leads the marketing and communications strategy for mental health and wellness at Kaiser Permanente, including campaign activation for KP’s public health awareness effort, “Find Your Words”. She feels lucky to do what she loves, and focusing on mental health and wellness in an organization committed to helping communities thrive has been an amazing experience.

Mary has been shaping and building brands across categories for over 15 years. Prior to diving into health care, she worked on the agency side and ran her own marketing strategy consultancy for clients including Athleta, Gap, Inc., Visa, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and many others. When she’s not in the office, you can find her trail running, meditating or planning her next trip to Italy.

Derek Moscato

Assistant Professor, Western Washington University

Derek Moscato is an Assistant Professor of Journalism and Public Relations in the Department of Journalism at Western Washington University, where he teaches public relations, newswriting, and public diplomacy. His research focuses on the confluence of strategic communication and public relations with environmentalism, globalization, and media ethics. He is a previous Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication scholar. His PhD dissertation, about the communication strategies used by environmental activists during the Keystone XL Pipeline debate, received the 2017 “Outstanding Dissertation Award” from the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication.

A former director of marketing and communications at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, he led the business faculty’s historic rebranding effort as a result of a record-setting donation by Ryan and Keith Beedie. He is also a former instructor of public relations writing at Douglas College.  Previous to Simon Fraser, Moscato served as public relations manager for the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, one of the world’s top 25 schools for management research. During this time, he also served on UBC’s Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics Communication Committee. Moscato is a former op-ed columnist with the Vancouver Province and Metro; and also served as Communication Officer for the British Columbia Lung Association.

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Jim Olson

Founder & President, Hanger Six Strategic Storytelling, LLC

Jim is the founder and president of Hangar 6 – a Chicago-based strategic storytelling firm devoted to helping businesses and leaders find, tell and protect their story.

For 25 years, Jim has applied the power of strategic storytelling to help restore, renew and elevate the brand reputations for some of the world’s best-known brands, including Starbucks, United Airlines, Nissan and US Airways — often at times of great disruption, transformation, crisis and change. He is also one of the world’s most tested crisis management advisers — from the crash of US Airways Flight 1549 in New York’s icy Hudson River to the terrorist suicide bombing of a Starbucks store in Jakarta.

Most recently, Jim was SVP of Corporate Communications at United Airlines. He previously held senior leadership posts at Starbucks Coffee Company, US Airways, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide and Overture – the pioneer of paid Web search. He spent the first decade of his career in the automotive industry, the majority of that time advising Nissan North America.

In 2016 Jim was recognized by The Holmes Report as one of the world’s top 100 most influential in-house communicators and in 2015 he was honored as one of the 50 most influential graduates over the past 50 years by Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications. He’s also a member of the Arthur W. Page Society, serves on the board of directors of the University of Southern California Center for Public Relations and is a senior adviser to Proof, a next-generation business and marketing analytics firm.

Jim graduated from Syracuse University with a B.S. in Public Relations and earned an MBA from USC.  Follow Jim at @Hanger6PR

Erin Patagas

Director of Marketing, Communications, Social Media & Influencer Marketing, Brookings Running

Erin Pategas leads all Public Relations, Internal Communications, Corporate Events, Social Media and Influencer Marketing at Brooks Running Company. When she joined seven years ago, her charter was simple; create and execute a communications vision that helped push Brooks to the next level. Blessed with the flexibility to test and learn and the entrepreneurial spirit of the leadership team, Pategas has orchestrated the organization’s global PR strategy, built its influencer programming, lead sports marketing and taken on responsibility for social media marketing.

Prior to Brooks Running she worked at Microsoft Xbox as part of what began as a small cross-organizational project team. As product lead, shed helped develop and was responsible for driving the global communications plan for the worldwide launch of Kinect. The team created something special, and at launch in November 2010, Kinect was a technology and games industry superstar and pop culture icon.

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Carla Sandine

Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, PATH

Carla Sandine is PATH’s Chief Marketing & Communications Officer. She leads marketing and communications for the global organization, in a newly created role to transform the NGO’s brand experience and engagement strategy.

In 2011, Sandine founded Highway Twenty, a marketing firm based in Phoenix. The agency provided customer research, brand and marketing strategy, design, and digital marketing for a wide range of corporate, nonprofit, government, and political organizations and campaigns. The women-led firm doubled to tripled agency revenue each year in business, and won over 50 new clients before being acquired in fall 2016 by the content marketing firm, Casual Astronaut.

Sandine previously served as Public Affairs Officer for the International Rescue Committee, Phoenix, overseeing marketing and communications for the refugee resettlement agency. She formerly served as outreach coordinator and spokesperson for the IRC’s Anti-Human Trafficking Program and program coordinator. Prior to her tenure with the IRC, Carla ran marketing for a health care recruiting firm, and was a digital advertising consultant.

Born into a family of entrepreneurs, Carla was named one of Arizona’s top 35 entrepreneurs under 35 in 2013 by The Arizona Republic. She frequently speaks on marketing for social good, diversity in advertising, entrepreneurship, and in 2014, was the youngest speaker at The Arizona Leadership Forum, an exclusive, statewide gathering of C-level executives. In 2015, she was named one of the Phoenix Suns & National Bank of Arizona’s Amazing Women. Carla has served in board and committee roles with Social Venture Partners, Equality Arizona, Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Planned Parenthood, Central Arizona HIV Prevention Advocates, and more. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

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Sarah Tatone

Director of External Communications, Vacasa

With more than a decade of strategic communications experience, Sarah has spent her career shaping and telling the stories of Fortune 500 and growth stage companies including Microsoft, CenturyLink,, Kettle Brand Potato Chips, SDL and MediaMath. Sarah joined Vacasa in 2016 as the first director of external communications and has led the company through many exciting milestones – three funding announcements including a 9-figure Series B, top tier media placements, the company’s first-ever social giving campaign, Home for the Holidays in addition to a fair share of crises.

Sarah has an affinity for working with fast-growth companies who are changing the game for the industries they’re a part of. She is a strong believer that strategic communications plays a big role for companies impacting the bottom line from how consumers experience the brand, how investors value the business and how current employees and future hires perceive the organization.

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Dave Thompson, APR

Public Affairs Program Manager, Oregon Department of Transportation

Dave Thompson, APR has spent the past 16 years responding to daily crises for the Oregon Department of Transportation, including winter storms, road-closing crashes, landslides, mudflows and now, a total solar eclipse. He is currently the Public Affairs Program Manager, overseeing ODOT’s spokespersons spread around the state.

Dave spent 20 years in broadcast news working as science reporter, business reporter, producer and anchor. His reporting took him to Bosnia during the 1990s war and to Romania after the overthrow of Ceauşescu.

Dave earned a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Colorado and an M.Sc. in Computer Science from the University of Toronto, Canada. He earned his Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) in 2009.

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Vanessa Yanez

VP, WW Print Communications, HP

Vanessa Yanez, VP, WW Print Communications, is charged with influence perception and preference for HP print products and services through integrated leadership and product communications.

Designed to inspire renewed interest in the HP brand/HP Print across stakeholders, her team injects creativity and “outside-in strategy” into HP events and announcements and specializes in “firsts” such as in HP’s “zero-gravity space printer” launching this April, Reinvent Togetherness for the HP Sprocket mobile printer and “The Wolf” security campaign. In 2017 the team amassed 25+ shortlists and awards cultivating best in class WW print communications team and leads one of the strongest storytelling, media, influencer and relationship teams in HP.

She joined in 2016 to run Corporate Communications and led a “best in class” corporate communications team designed to inspire renewed interest in the HP brand. Recognized for Best in Corporate Branding: Keep Reinventing, Best in Multicultural Marketing, HP’s Agency Diversity Call to Action and HP CMO Antonio Lucio as Outstanding Marketer. She was also on the core team for HP’s Reinvent Mindsets employer branding campaign.

Prior to that, at Fleishman-Hillard (FH), she led the Visa, Avaya and Fitbit accounts. During that time, she amassed almost 20 awards across lifestyle and business brands. Prior to FH she led the consumer and SMB Dell business agency-side and was one of three women who chartered the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network.

She also held in-house communications leadership roles at HP and Sun Microsystems and has an outstanding reputation in Silicon Valley having served as the president of PRSA and Advocacy Chair, where she has helped build PRSA’s reputation as a leading voice on important industry, societal and global issues. Hosting several events with top-tier publications including WIRED and USA Today, Vanessa is a leader in developing professional development programing for her peers. She is a lecturer to aspiring communications professionals at local universities including San Francisco State.

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