The Columbia SPS M.S. in Strategic Communication program proudly presents the first Annual Winter Symposium.
Courageous Impact: Strategic Communication in a Changing World
Friday, January 20, 2023 | 9:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. ET
The Winter Symposium is an opportunity for Strategic Communication students, faculty and alumni to come together for a day of thought-provoking ideas and leadership development. This in-person conference will highlight ways in which strategic communicators can lead on matters of societal importance.
This one-day event happens each January on-campus and is required for students enrolled in The Authentic Leader.
SPS affiliates interested in attending should get in touch with Charlene Perilla-Iqbal at cp2746 [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edutarget="_blank" to register.
SCHEDULE (Eastern Time):
Coffee and tea will be provided during check-in.
- Jesse Scinto, Deputy Program Director, Strategic Communication Program, Columbia University School of Professional Studies
- Troy J. Eggers, Dean, Columbia University School of Professional Studies
Climate change is a low priority for most Americans. According to the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, only one in five “understand that nearly all climate scientists (more than 90%) are convinced that human-caused global warming is happening.” Two-thirds say they “rarely” or “never” discuss the issue with their family and friends. How can strategic communication change this dynamic? David Fenton, Founder of Fenton Communications and author of The Activist's Media Handbook, shares lessons from his work in climate communication and a lifetime of activism for progressive causes.
- David Fenton, Chair and Founder, Fenton Communications; Author, The Activist’s Media Handbook
Coffee and tea will be provided during the break.
This session provides an opportunity to discuss how communications strategies play into human rights advocacy and civilian protection work. The discussion will focus on a range of fields and scenarios, both transnational advocacy campaigns, and those in a context of local peacebuilding. Students will have an opportunity to participate and brainstorm ways that they think communications strategies might enhance human rights advocacy, while also considering some of the risks common to such campaigns.
- Erica Gaston, Ph.D., Head of Conflict Prevention and Sustaining Peace Programme, United Nations University
This session will examine the historic 2022 Kansas victory for reproductive freedom that upended conventional wisdom about abortion rights heading into the midterm elections. Participants will discuss the importance of research, language, emotion, and audience when advocating on complex issues. They will also explore the need for strategic messages grounded in shared values to connect with voters across the political spectrum.
- Ashley All ('23SPS), Families United for Freedom & Kansans for Constitutional Freedom
At the close of the 2022 legislative session in New York state, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill, groundbreaking legislation that will stop the flow of cruelly bred puppies to New York pet stores by ending the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores across the state. In this session, we’ll review this case study, learn how communications played a critical role in advancing this landmark legislation, and discuss how taking an integrated communications approach helped to drive impact and engagement with key audiences.
- Julie Hong ('12SPS), Sr. Director, Communications Insights & Strategy, ASPCA
The war in Ukraine is about more than traditional military activities, it is also about building domestic resilience in the Ukrainian people, garnering support from international groups and governments, and reducing the morale of Russian soldiers and their families. At the core of these influence activities is a robust strategic communications program which is synchronized across the Ukrainian Government and various pro-Ukraine interest groups.
- Jenn Counter ('19SPS), Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council; Vice President, Orbis Operations
- Erik Skaggs, Messaging Strategist for Information Warfare, Political Campaigns and Commercial Marketing
The fashion industry is part of your routine 24 hours a day. There is rarely a moment that goes by that you are not clothed or surrounded by textiles and fashion choices.
What is fashion sustainability, why does it matter, and how do we communicate and execute change for positive impact? In this breakout, we’ll look briefly at the lifecycle of garments from luxury to discount, the different stakeholders involved in fashion sustainability, and the different ways we have used communication that have both helped and hurt the industry. We’ll look at problems in data, what people are doing to solve these problems, and how you can help through your expertise in communications.
- Nancy Rhodes, Founder & CEO, Alternew
Lunch will be provided for all conference attendees.
The Metaverse has the potential to revolutionize strategic communication. But how do we harness the power of this new medium without amplifying the harms that previous technologies have caused? This panel will explore the ethical challenges the Metaverse poses for strategic communication professionals and our role in building safe, responsible and prosocial virtual worlds.
- Frank Oswald (‘10SPS) (moderator), Lecturer, Strategic Communication, Columbia University
- Courtney D. Cogburn, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Columbia University School of Social Work; Creator, "1000 Cut Journey"
- Jason Dailey, Director, Head of Agency, Meta
- Trishla Ostwal, Tech Policy Reporter, Adweek
Coffee and tea will be provided during the break.
This session will equip attendees to identify how their skillsets, degree, and passions can benefit their community through nonprofit board service. Board members are key public sector leaders and decision-makers on issues of great social importance. How can you make an impact as a board member? Attendees will leave this conversation with a US-based understanding of the basics of nonprofit governance, clarity on ways to find a board service opportunity, and having identified how their communications (and other) skills are relevant to community service through board governance.
- Sara Swisher-Anderson, Senior Associate, Leathwaite
Pivoting to Public Service: Changing Careers for Social Impact is a workshop session that will help you identify the best next steps for your transition to a career in social good. The session will explore different approaches to integrating public service into a career, helping you identify an area that matches your skill set and personal interests. In addition, tactics will be presented for making the transition – from how to best apply, to ways to augment your experience to make yourself a more relevant candidate.
- Dave DeLuca ('11SPS), Director, Social Impact Partnerships, The Lede Company
We are living through a pivotal time in history marked by intense polarization, tectonic workplace shifts, and constant displays of hate and injustice. In this environment, communications professionals are sought after to help guide leaders in their messaging, engage with a diverse range of stakeholders, and develop authentic, culturally sound narratives. This session will explore the small actions strategic communicators can take to better promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) in their work to foster change.
- Amber Arnold ('14SPS), Group VP, DEIJ & Corporate Reputation, MikeWorldWide
The research is clear; those who are mentored outperform and outearn those who are not. Furthermore, 76% of people know they should have a mentor, but only 39% actually have one. Based on the popular mentoring articles in Forbes, Nature, and Harvard Business Review, participants will learn how to be an inspiring mentor and help propel their mentees to success.
After this presentation on mentoring, participants will be able to:
1. Articulate the benefits of a mentoring team and pinpoint at least three people who should be on it.
2. Recognize the signs of a mentor masquerading as a tormentor.
3. Understand the overt and covert benefits of having a mentor.
- Ruth Gotian, Ed.D., Chief Learning Officer, Weill Cornell Medicine; Author, The Success Factor
This first-ever Strategic Communication showcase offers a glimpse into the exciting work produced by our master's students in the past year. Projects and Capstones were chosen for inclusion based on faculty nominations. They demonstrate an exceptionally clear link between research-based insights and audience-centered strategy, among other criteria. Lecturer Lilian Ore, Ed.D. (MC), emcees.
• “Casper: Sweet Dreams are Made of This” presented by Theodora Anastasiou, Valeria Corallo, Mira Hallock and Joseph Hanson
• “Illuminate Case Analysis and Recommendations” presented by Justine Mrsich (’23SPS)
• “Fairplay for Kids" presented by Boris Koehoorn (’23SPS)
• “Mane Solutions - L'Oréal” presented by Qianxu Ding (’23SPS) and Lorenzo Brogi-Skoskiewicz (’23SPS)
• “PBS All Arts” presented by Ashley All (’23SPS), Jennah Blau ('23SPS) and Maddy Cole (’23SPS)
Attendees are invited to join the networking cocktail reception.