Speakers

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.

Read his topic description

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.

Read his topic description.

Scott McClellan

Former White House Press Secretary

Scott McClellanScott 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.

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.

Read his topic description

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.

Marcy Cohen

Vice President, Global Digital Communications, Mastercard

Marcy Cohen is Vice President, Global Digital Communications at Mastercard. She is responsible for developing and implementing digital communications strategies to drive the company’s corporate reputation. She recently launched storylab, an in-house content studio infusing storytelling with creativity, color and authenticity. She launched the company’s first branded podcast, Fortune Favors the Bold about the role money plays in our lives. Prior to her current role she was head of social media at Sony Electronics where she led a team in developing and executing digital and social media initiatives for new product introductions and corporate brand initiatives.

Read her topic description

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.

Read her topic description

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.

Read her topic description

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.

Read his topic description

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.

Read her topic description

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.

Read his topic description

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.

Read his description

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

Read her topic description

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.

Read her topic description

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.

Read his topic description

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.

Read his topic description

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.

Read her topic description

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, Care.com, 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.

Read her description

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.

Read his topic description