KEYNOTE SESSION: “Seeing Detroit as Detroiters See It”

Aaron Foley, Chief Storyteller, City of Detroit

The role of government communications is rapidly changing. In an era of media sensationalism, we must take back the narrative of our city’s brand through creative storytelling. We must get out of the traditional boxes and silos and start exploring the stories that make our communities more vibrant places to live, work and play. Aaron Foley chronicles how to engage diverse voices to bring a community to life and lessons learned along the way. Part inspirational, part instructional, Foley promises to challenge the status quo of government communications and journalism, and show that you can, in fact, pursue passion projects while simultaneously bringing vital information to a hungry audience.


KEYNOTE SESSION: “Becoming a Superstar Communicator”

David Pitre, President, Davis & Company

So many terrific communicators struggle to get the respect they deserve. In today’s tough business environment, it’s more crucial than ever to demonstrate the value we bring to the table as communicators. David shares the secrets of taking your work—and your career—to the next level by using strategic advising and design thinking to develop winning plans, provide dazzling insights and demonstrate measurable results. This session will provide actionable insights to help communicators across all levels of their careers become superstars and get the respect they deserve.


M5: EXTENDED SESSION: “Think Like Ink: Using Visual Notetaking to Engage Your Audience”

Dusty Folwarczny, Co-founder of Ink Factory
Lindsay Wilson, Co-founder of Ink Factory

Did you know that 65% of people learn better visually…and that our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text? Drawing while listening helps you to stay engaged and remember more information, improves your listening skills, and enhances your ability to organize and connect ideas. In this fast-paced, hands-on workshop, you’ll learn the fundamentals of visual note-taking to better engage with the world around you. The Ink Factory team has helped clients such as Amazon, Fast Company, the United Nations, Deloitte, Target and others bring their ideas to life with the help of visuals.


T4: EXTENDED SESSION: Brand YOU: Strengthening Your Personal Brand

This two-and-a-half-hour session is all about you! From developing executive presence to honing your social media image to creating a resume that will get noticed by today’s recruiters, Brand YOU packs in everything you need to build your personal brand and make your career skyrocket.


T4: EXTENDED SESSION PART I: “Getting Results Through Authentic Leadership”

Mark Will, Will Enterprises Inc./Dale Carnegie of SE Michigan, President/Master Trainer

Do you have the confidence and composure you need to be a successful leader? Your ability to influence others in productive ways depends largely on how you connect with them. This session leverages the nine Dale Carnegie principles and shows you how to determine the image you want to project, replace hesitancy with confidence, and become more assertive and in-charge. Mark has personally trained more than 4,000 people and has conducted on-site training with organizations such as Ford, GM, Comerica, Great Lake Recycling, Hartland Schools, Barton Malow, and DECA at Selfridge Air National Guard base.


T4: EXTENDED SESSION PART II: “Mini Skill-Builder Session – Ask the Recruiter”

David Braun, partner, Jobplex, Inc.

Learn how to put your best self forward for the job you really want. David answers the questions you’ve always wanted to ask a recruiter…and some you may not have thought to ask!


Becoming a Super Solopreneur: Growing Your Business When You’re All You’ve Got

Moderator: Guy Westermeyer, Founder and President, Westcomm

  • Camille Downing, President, Downing Communications
  • Robert Herta, President, Herta LLC
  • Eric Longs, Founder and President, Comet Interactive

This panel discussion is designed for current independent practitioners who are looking for practical advice on how to maintain and grow their communication business. Moderated by a one-time solopreneur who now employs a team of seven, this session offers sound advice on topics such as business development strategies, using and developing your network, scaling up (or why staying small may be better), staying ahead of trends and technology, and more. Individuals interested in going solo are also encouraged to attend.


How to be Human…in a World of Bots

Trisha Thompson, Senior Manager of Corporate Relations, Allstate

Don’t write another boring business email! With an average attention span of eight seconds, adults are craving concise yet meaningful communications at work. With limited time and resources, it’s easy to fall back on common phrases and jargon in your business communications. It takes time to first understand what business partners are trying to say and then it takes even more time to massage the “corporate speak” into communication that can be understood. Learn how to make the complex, simple. Learn how to make the technical, understood. Most importantly, learn how to be human when communicating with others.


Presenting Data Effectively: Communicating Your Findings for Maximum Impact

Dr. Stephanie Evergreen, PhD, Evergreen Data

Designing charts and graphs is about more than making things look pretty. Ultimately, we report and present information to teach our audience, to get our content firmly planted in their knowledge base, and to help them act. In this session, we’ll talk about the cognitive science behind effective information presentation and share some of the best practices and shining – yet practical – examples of stellar information visualization. We’ll focus on how to make visual sense of data and distribute it in a way that readers will discuss, remember, and love.


How “Commsplaining” May Be Hurting Your Career

Chuck Gose, Strategic Advisor, SocialChorus; Founder, Icology
Kristin Hancock, Owner, Kristin Hancock

You’ve probably done it without realizing it. You may have even done it at work, or in front of your boss. It’s called “commsplaining” and it’s an epidemic plaguing communicators. In this humorous session, two seasoned communication pros will provide brutally honest examples of “commsplains” like survey fatigue, budget cuts, short attention spans and leaders who just aren’t on board. If you’re up for an uncomfortable conversation about the real problems communicators are facing, join Chuck Gose and Kristin Hancock to learn how to take ownership and overcome the denial we all have about explaining away our challenges.


Selling Cultural Transformation to the C-Suite

Richard Byrd, Vice President Cultural Transformation, Sprinklr

Many CEOs don’t fully understand the importance of culture in building a high-performing, profitable enterprise with happy customers and employees. In this session, learn how to sell the value of culture and use it as a lever for increasing ROI and improving employee and customer satisfaction. The session also includes techniques and technology to make the case to the C-Suite for a cultural transformation plan. Speaker Richard Byrd draws on his experiences and big wins at companies such as Allscripts, Qlik, McGraw-Hill Education and Nortel Networks, as well as his current company, Sprinklr.