General (Ret.) Stanley A. McChrystal
Founder and CEO, MCCHRYSTAL GROUP
A retired four-star general, Stan is the former commander of US and International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) Afghanistan and the former commander of the nation’s premier military counter-terrorism force, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). He is best known for developing and implementing a comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, and for creating a cohesive counter-terrorism organization that revolutionized the interagency operating culture.
Throughout his military career, Stan commanded a number of elite organizations, including the 75th Ranger Regiment. After 9/11 until his retirement in 2010, he spent more than 6 years deployed to combat in a variety of leadership positions. In June 2009, the President of the United States and the Secretary General of NATO appointed him to be the Commander of US Forces Afghanistan and NATO ISAF. His command included more than 150,000 troops from 45 allied countries. On August 1, 2010 he retired from the US Army.
Stan is a senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, where he teaches a course on Leadership. He also sits on the boards of Navistar International Corporation, Siemens GovernmentTechnology, and JetBlue Airways. He is a sought-after speaker, giving speeches on leadership to organizations around the country. In 2013, Stan published his memoir, My Share of the Task, which was a New York Times bestseller; and is an author of Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World, which was a New York Times bestseller in 2015. Stan also co-authored Leaders: Myth and Reality, a Wall Street Journal Bestseller based on the epochal Parallel Lives by Plutarch.
A passionate advocate for national service and veterans’ issues, Stan is the Chair of the Board of Service Year Alliance. In this capacity, he advocates for a future in which a year of full-time service—a service year—is a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans.
Stan is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and the Naval War College. He also completed year-long fellowships at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Senior Vice President, Marketing & Communications, AMENTUM
Roela is a global communications and marketing executive with a 28-year record of advancing business strategy and building brands. She has experience in marketing, digital and social media, public relations and advocacy, M&A communications, crisis management, and corporate social responsibility.
Throughout her career, Roela has been recognized for elevating corporate reputations and creating a unified brand presence from acquired companies, advancing commercial success and employee engagement. In 2020, she was awarded WashingtonExec’s 2020 Chief Marketing/Communications Officer of the Year and named a Top 25 MarCom Leaders to Watch. In 2021, she was recognized for her leadership and contribution in expanding the global cybersecurity talent pipeline by the (ISC)2 Center for Cyber Safety and Education.
Roela is the Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing and Communications officer at Amentum, a global leader in managing and modernizing critical infrastructure, logistics, business process and engineering solutions for defense, intelligence and civilian agency customers. She is responsible for strategy and execution of Amentum’s marketing communications, advertising, employee engagement, executive communications, digital and social media, and tradeshows/events initiatives.
Prior to her current role, Roela served as Vice President of Communications at BAE Systems Intelligence & Security, a global leader in defense technology and systems integration for the U.S. government and one of the largest aerospace and defense companies in the world. Before her role at BAE Systems, she served as Chief Communications and Marketing Officer at SAIC, Chief Communications Officer of Engility Corporation, and Global Communications Director at Raytheon.
Roela holds a Master in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Georgetown University, an MBA from the University of California Irvine, and a Bachelor in Business Administration from Loyola Marymount University. Roela is one of the co-founders of VOICES, the national organization of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in communications roles. She currently sits on the Board of Trustees for the (ISC)2 Center for Cyber Safety and Education
VP, Global Communications, NIELSEN
Patricia Ratulangi is VP, Global Communications. She oversees Nielsen’s internal and external communications focused on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Pat is responsible for proactive external communications around Nielsen’s insights on diverse audiences and content such as our Diverse Intelligence Series. An avid storyteller — she brings to life Nielsen’s corporate narrative to connect and engage diverse communities by using relevant data to amplify underrepresented voices.
With more than 20 years of experience in corporate communications, Pat leads the team that engages stakeholders through storytelling, data-driven insights and social media. She is also Nielsen’s AANHPI community expert and spokesperson. In 2022, Pat won PRSA Chicago’s Diversity & Inclusion Team Champion award for her work in driving equity in the communications industry.
Pat is also a seasoned internal communications expert. She has worked closely with HR and DE&I teams to drive employee engagement through inclusive talent processes, a bias-free culture and a senior leadership group that is accountable for the diversity of their teams. She works with external advocacy groups, the Nielsen Foundation, our External Advisory Council and our internal Business Resource Groups to extend our community outreach.
An all-round communications leader, Pat has worked in public relations agencies and in-house corporate communications teams, working on complex campaigns involving media relations strategy, change management, merger and acquisition communications, social media and strategy alignment.
Based in Chicago, Pat loves the diversity of her town and exploring new cultures by being in the various neighborhoods — especially trying out restaurants. She loves cooking and getting to know people through the food they eat.
Brigadier General Patrick S. Ryder
Press Secretary,The Pentagon, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder is the Department of Defense Press Secretary, the Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia. In this role, he serves as the Department’s chief spokesperson, providing timely and accurate information to the public, Congress, and news media. He also advises Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks on public communications.
Brig. Gen. Ryder was commissioned in 1992 through the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Most recently, he served as the Director of Public Affairs for the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force. His staff assignments include serving as the Special Assistant for Public Affairs to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Director of Public Affairs for U.S. Central Command, and Director of Public Affairs for the Office of Defense Representative-Pakistan.
During his career, Brig. Gen. Ryder has led public affairs operations in numerous overseas contingency operations. He served as the PAO for the Air Force’s initial cadre at Taszar Air Base, Hungary, during the 1995 peace-keeping mission, Operation Joint Endeavor, and led 48th Fighter Wing public affairs operations in support of NATO during the 1999 Kosovo Air Campaign. In support for Operation Iraqi Freedom, he served as a strategic communications planner for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad from March–July 2004 and led the DoD Public Affairs response to highlight U.S. military humanitarian support to Pakistan during floods in 2010. While at U.S. Central Command, Brig. Gen. Ryder oversaw the command-wide public affairs operations in support of the counter-ISIS campaign Operation Inherent Resolve from 2014-2016.
vice president OF communications, BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD ASSOCIATION
Katie McBreen is vice president of communications for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), a national federation of 34 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies. Today, one in three Americans is covered by the Blue System.
With 20 years of association, political and agency experience, McBreen is well-respected in her field and known for her work in storytelling, campaign development and thought leadership. She leads BCBSA’s integrated communications function, which encompasses public affairs, strategic communications, storytelling and creative services, digital analytics, and issues management.
Prior to joining the Association in September 2021, McBreen served as vice president of communications and strategy for the Consumer Brands Association, where she spearheaded the organization’s rebrand and helped transform it into an advocacy powerhouse for the trillion-dollar consumer packaged goods industry.
Her previous experience includes communications and public affairs leadership at the National Retail Federation, as well as strategic communication campaign development at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She also worked in the White House for Vice President Cheney, coordinating key national and international events.
McBreen leads the D.C. Communicators Group, a networking forum for senior communications professionals. She is an active member of the Public Affairs Council and has served on the board’s executive committee.
An Idaho native, McBreen graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., with a bachelor’s degree in politics and a minor in Spanish. She lives with her family in Washington, D.C.
Senior Vice President, Chief Communications
& CORPORATE affairs Officer, ADTALEM GLOBAL EDUCATION
Blake Simpson has built and grown some of the world’s most iconic brands. With more than 20 years of experience, she has expertise in supporting large-scale enterprise strategies, executive leaders, employees, consumers, and communities through impactful strategic communications.
As senior vice president, chief communications and corporate affairs officer at Adtalem, Blake Simpson is responsible for the development and implementation of Adtalem’s enterprise brand and communications strategy, sharing the compelling story of Adtalem to customers, shareholders, employees, and communities worldwide.
Most recently, Simpson served as senior vice president, communications, impact, events, access, and creative at Under Armour, Inc. Prior to that, Simpson served as vice president of public affairs and communications for CKE Restaurants, Inc. where she led the teams responsible for developing and managing brand marketing; corporate, internal, and employee communications; crisis and change
management communications; and social media strategy.
Her previous work includes serving in various strategic communications leadership roles for brands such as Levi Strauss & Co., Yahoo, and NBC news. Simpson is also one of the founding members of CHIEF, a TEDx speaker, and was named to PRWeek’s 2021 Hall of Femme.
Tucker Eskew has helped lead opinion during some of the nation’s most intense public debates. He played leadership roles in both Bush-Cheney campaigns and in 2008 was counselor to the GOP vice-presidential nominee.
He served as Deputy Assistant to the President from 2001-2003, heading Media Affairs and then Global Communications.
After 9/11, Tucker served in London as the President’s wartime communications representative to No. 10 Downing Street.
Tucker began working in technology marketing and web communications in the mid-90s, when he co-founded an electronic commerce business and then started a South Carolina-based public relations and business-consulting firm.
He served eight years as Press Secretary to South Carolina Governor Carroll Campbell. Tucker began his career on President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 re-election campaign.
Tucker serves on the boards of the News Literacy Project and Goodwin House Inc., he volunteers at St. Paul’s Episcopal in Alexandria, Virginia, and he mentors students as a communication advisory council member at the College of Charleston. He graduated with a B.A. in Political Science (departmental honors) from the University of the South (Sewanee).
Head of Communications, Global Quality, TAKEDA PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY
Doreen Maciak is the Head of Communications for Global Quality at Takeda, managing internal and external communications for the global quality team. She serves as a member of the Global Quality Leadership Team as well as Takeda’s enterprise-wide Communications Leadership Team.
She is passionate about bringing quality to life through storytelling that resonates with key stakeholders across the organization, as well as developing messaging for pharma and regulatory groups. As the lead for Global Quality communications, she focuses on developing programs to drive the quality product roadmap, crisis management, talent and change management activities, and supporting the Global Quality Officer.
Doreen has 30 years of experience in corporate communications, marketing and journalism, and has worked for a variety of enterprise and start-up technology, government and pharmaceutical organizations. In her role as a contractor for the Department of Transportation, she managed a 25-person communications team based in Cambridge.
Based in north Boston, Doreen has worked for magazines, publishing companies and in public relations agencies since the start of her career. She is also an adjunct professor, teaching communications and business courses online. When she’s not working, Doreen enjoys playing golf and music – she even plays in a large jazz band for fun.
FORMER Chief Communications Officer, The Americas, EY
Suzanne has more than 25 years of leadership experience in marketing and communications. Most recently she led EY Americas Communications team across the US, Latam, Canada and Israel. Her team’s work included media relations, digital and social media, crisis and reputation management, and brand communications efforts.
Suzanne also was responsible for EY’s employee engagement and communications for EY’s workforce across the Americas, as well as the firm’s corporate reputation in the market, with clients, and with recruits. Her team partnered with award-winning agencies to inform, inspire, educate, and drive change across the organization and beyond.
During her 25 years of leadership experience in marketing and communications, Suzanne has also served as EY’s Brand, Marketing, and Communications (BMC) leader for several US regions, the US BMC Leader and Americas Internal Communications and People Engagement Leader. She previously served as the National Director of Marketing and Communications for the Reznick Group.
Suzanne holds a Bachelor of Art in Communications and Public Relations from the University of Delaware.
Founder and President, MAVEN
Brett Kunkle is the founder and president of MAVEN, a movement to equip the next generation to know truth, pursue goodness and create beauty. He has more than 25 years of experience working with junior high, high school, college students and parents.
A dynamic communicator who engages both heart and mind, Brett speaks to thousands of students and adults at churches, seminars, conferences, and college campuses across the country. He has developed a groundbreaking training experience that immerses participants in real-life engagement in worldview. MAVEN.
In addition, Brett is a Teaching Fellow at the Impact 360 Institute. He was an associate editor for the Apologetics Study Bible for Students, authored The Ambassadors Guide to Mormonism and co-authored A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World. Brett received his bachelor’s degree in Christian education from Biola University and he earned his master’s degree in philosophy of religion and ethics at Talbot School of Theology.
Brett lives with his wife and five kids in Southern California.
FOUNDER & PRESIDENT, PACE PUBLIC RELATIONS
Since Annie started Pace PR as a solopreneur in 2010, the company grew from her studio apartment with one employee (herself!) into a multi-million-dollar business focusing on business strategy, development, and public relations with a strong broadcast TV background. Today, 20 employees in multiple office locations handle over 40 clients worldwide.
Before forming PPR, Annie worked for nearly a decade as a television producer, booking for major networks such as CNN, Fox News, CNBC, MSNBC & ABC. TV is a specialty of Annie’s, combining her unique understanding of behind-the-scenes television production alongside her list of contacts. Pace PR has multiple clients on national and local TV daily, including CNBC, Fox News, HLN, MSNBC, Fox Business Network, Bloomberg TV, and many others.
In addition to landing press for her clients, Annie has experience writing for various outlets, including the Asbury Park Press, Huffington Post, Law360, PR News, and many others. She also started a successful podcast—The PR Pace—where she interviews some of the industry’s biggest players. And she is currently writing a book—”The Guide to Earned Media”—set to be published by Kogan Page in 2023.
Outside of her business, Annie served on the Board of Directors for the New York Smith College Club and the Executive Committee for the Catholic Big Sisters & Big Brothers. She is also a member of the New York Women in Communications, The Step Up Network, Ladies Who Launch, the PR Council, PRSA, PRBI, and Diversity Action and Alliance.
Annie is a Smith College graduate, where she served as the Editor-in-Chief of the weekly newspaper, The Sophian. She also received her Masters in Public Relations from NYU in 2018 and taught Introduction to Media Relations for one year at Hofstra University.
Personally, Annie and her husband, Michael, live in Manhattan, where they’re raising their adorable young daughter Rose. In her free time, Annie enjoys puzzles, audiobooks, and riding her Peloton.
PRESIDENT & CEO, PUBLICRELAY
Eric Koefoot is an experienced software executive and an internet pioneer, having either founded or served as a senior executive for early-stage internet companies since 1996. He was the founding CEO and publisher of U.S. News Ventures, a branded internet publishing company funded in part by U.S. News & World Report. Prior to that role, he co-founded and headed Five Star Alliance, an eCommerce startup which became the largest independent booker of luxury hotels worldwide.
Prior to that, Eric served in various executive roles at Washington Post Newsweek Interactive (WPNI), including CFO, VP of Business Development, VP of Strategy, VP of Operations and Technology, and VP of Sales for the division. Prior to his tenure at WPNI, he worked for nine years as a financial executive in product development at Ford Motor Company, consulted at Deloitte Consulting, and founded a startup company, PrimeSource, which provided financial and strategic consulting services to Fortune 500 clients.
Eric was the co-founder and is currently the president and CEO of PublicRelay. PublicRelay is a market-leading enterprise software company that analyzes media for people responsible for complex brands and their communications strategies. Known for its innovation, superior data quality, and actionable insights, PublicRelay unlocks the answers its clients need to build strategic business plans.
Eric has an engineering degree from M.I.T. and an MBA from the Sloan School at M.I.T.
CLIENT PARTNER/PRESIDENT, HEYMAN ASSOCIATES
As leader of Heyman Associates, Jessamyn sets standards for client work and manages major national and global searches. After nearly a decade in New York, she built the firm’s West Coast presence and has developed particularly close relationships across that technology-heavy region. She also partners on worldwide initiatives with our colleagues in Europe.
Jessamyn’s intellectual curiosity and passion for getting to know people allow her to lead searches to fill myriad executive-level roles in strategic communications, investor relations, marketing, and other specialties within those functions. She advises clients across sectors, with an emphasis on technology, healthcare, financial services, nonprofits, and higher education. She is also on the Operating Committee of the Arthur W. Page Society’s Page Up association, is on the board of the University of Alabama’s Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations, and was named one of PRWeek’s 2020 Women to Watch.
Jessamyn developed a taste for public relations while still in college through internships at Abernathy MacGregor and Burson-Marsteller and knew she wanted to spend her career around people who build brands and preserve their reputations. With more than 15 years of experience in the function of communications she’s a credible counselor to clients and candidates who keeps a close watch on where
these functions are heading.
Jessamyn is a cum laude graduate of Bucknell University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and education.
Senior Manager, Austin, TX
Zana Carbajal is a seasoned professional with over a decade of experience in various industry roles. After graduating with her BA in Advertising and Public Relations from Hawaii Pacific University, she worked as a Supervisor and Trainer at GEICO. She found her life’s work in Training — inspiring people to grow into better versions of themselves. In 2012, she began her retail technology journey in South West Florida and is currently a Senior Manager over a Business to the Business sales team in Austin, TX.
Also, Zana is pursuing her master’s degree in Global Strategic Communications at the University of Florida. She loves using her passion for the arts and media to tell inspiring stories. She co-hosts a podcast called The Strong Sunflowers and has a YouTube channel with her family called Casa Carbi. On both platforms, she advocates for her followers to live wholehearted lives so they can advocate for themselves and others.
Zana and her husband, Esteban, have four beautiful, semi-bilingual Uruguayan American children. Whether completing a workout, jamming on her ukulele, listening to an audiobook, or connecting with friends and family at a local park, Zana is always on the move to improve physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. She firmly believes that inclusion inspires innovation. She is an advocate and ally and knows that when we lead with curiosity, we can promote a culture that brings purpose and passion to all.
SENIOR CORrespondeNT, THE NEW YORK TIMES
Eric Schmitt is a senior correspondent covering national security for The New York Times. Since 2007, he has reported on national security and terrorism issues with assignments to West Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Southeast Asia. He is the co–author, with Thom Shanker, of “Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda,” published in 2011.
He was first appointed as a Pentagon correspondent for The Times in May 1990. Mr. Schmitt served this position until February 1996, and then again from Sept. 11, 2001, until 2006, covering issues of national security. Between 1996 and 2001, he worked as a domestic correspondent covering, among other subjects, Congress and immigration. From 1983 until 1984, Mr. Schmitt was the clerk for James Reston, then the senior columnist. He was named a reporter for The Times in 1983.
Some of Mr. Schmitt’s special overseas assignments at The Times include the HUD investigation in Puerto Rico the spring of 1990, the Persian Gulf War in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait from January until March 1991, the war in Somalia in December 1992, and the conflict in Haiti in September 1994.
Before joining The Times, Mr. Schmitt was an education reporter at The Tri–City Herald in Kennewick, Wash., from September 1982 until September 1983.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in International Relations at Williams College, and during that time studied at El Instituto Internacional in Madrid for a year. He attended Harvard University’s Executive Program on National and International Security in 1991, and earned a Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University for the 2006–07 academic year.
Mr. Schmitt has shared four Pulitzer Prizes. In 1999, he was part of a team of New York Times reporters awarded the Pulitzer for coverage of the transfer of sensitive military technology to China. In 2009, he was a part of a team of New York Times reporters awarded the Pulitzer for coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2017, he was part of a Pulitzer team that examined how Russian President Vladimir Putin projects power openly and covertly. In 2022, he was a part of a Pulitzer team that exposed the vast civilian toll of U.S.–led airstrikes in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
President, Engineering, Science & Technology, AMENTUM
Jill Bruning is the President of Amentum’s Engineering, Science and Technology Group, delivering engineering and technical services across the full engineering life cycle supporting scientific research and development, technology integration, digital engineering, C5I, training, data analytics, cyber security, and business process outsourcing.
Previously, Jill was President of Amentum’s Intelligence, Systems Engineering, Security, Services and Solutions (IS4) strategic business unit. Jill has been with Amentum (and legacy companies AECOM and URS) for ten years managing thousands of Amentum employees and subcontractors.
Jill served as Executive Vice President and General Manager of AECOM’s IS4 Strategic Business Unit and AECOM’s Intelligence Community Services. Jill also led the $1B+ Global Security Group (GSG) under URS’ Federal Services Division. Prior to joining URS, she served as the COO for NJVC, a technology services provider for Intelligence, Government and commercial customers.
Also, she worked at CSC for 20 years, starting as a technical researcher in cryogenics at Nichols Research (bought by CSC in 1999) and ending as a Vice President leading large classified operations. Jill began her career as a systems engineer at Chicago Bridge and Iron.
Jill holds a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois, holds two patents related to energy systems, and has published over 27 papers in cryogenic technology.
Jill and her family own a farm in rural Missouri, and she enjoys time with her five children and seven grandchildren.
Principal and Founder, NEW CAPACITY PARTNERS LLC
Jerilan Greene has a career track record of leading large-scale, international transformation through strategic, integrated communications and public engagement. Jerilan currently is a C-Suite Advisor for clients of Weber Shandwick, and she is principal and founder at New Capacity Partners LLC.
Previously, Jerilan was the Global Chief Communications and Public Affairs Officer of Yum! Brands, Inc. and Chairman and CEO of the Yum! Foundation. She led global communications, government affairs and the company’s citizenship and sustainability strategies. Jerilan chaired Yum!’s Recipe for Good council for environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy and issues, and was the lead architect for the company’s social purpose initiative: Unlocking Opportunity to Fight Inequality, which is designed to serve frontline restaurant teams and communities through equity and inclusion, education and entrepreneurship. She was the central communications and messaging architect for the 2016 spinoff of Yum! Brand’s China business as an independent, publicly traded company.
Earlier in her career, Jerilan was Executive Vice President at Edelman. Also, she held leadership positions at Deloitte, Burson-Marsteller, and Willis Towers Watson. A member of the Fast Company Impact Council and the Arthur W. Page Society, Jerilan is a two-time graduate of Northwestern University with a Master’s in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management and a Bachelor of Science from the School of Communication.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, INVENTIVE INSIGHTS LLC
J.D. Maddox is an expert on political warfare, and an academic, writer and former political candidate. He has served as a Central Intelligence Agency branch chief, Deputy Coordinator of the U.S. Global Engagement Center, advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security, and as a U.S. Army Psychological Operations Team Leader. He is now the CEO of Inventive Insights LLC, consulting on strategic communications capabilities, and he is an adjunct professor of national security studies at George Mason University.
ROBERT T. HASTINGS
Principal, ROBERT T HASTINGS & ASSOCIATES
Robert T. Hastings, Jr., is the principal and founder of Robert T Hastings & Associates, a leadership and communications consultancy focused on the aerospace, defense and mobility markets. He has more than 40 years’ experience, mostly in the C-Suite, working at the intersection of strategy, communications, marketing and government affairs.
Previously, Robert was executive vice president, Strategic Communications, at Bell where he led the company’s internal and external communications, marketing communications, branding, corporate giving, and community affairs. Robert joined Bell from Northrop Grumman where he served as vice president of communications for the Information Systems Sector.
Also, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. As the senior public affairs official and spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), he was the principal staff advisor to the Secretary of Defense and senior Administration officials for all strategic communications. Before joining the Defense Department, he served as chief of staff and vice president of communications for BAE Systems, Inc.
Robert is a retired U.S. Army officer with more than 35 years combined federal and state military experience. Robert continues to serve as a Brigadier General in the Texas State Guard. In 2009 he was awarded the DoD Distinguished Public Service Medal. He received the Public Relations Society of America Lloyd B. Dennis Distinguished Leadership Award and Silver Anvil Award of Excellence.
He is a licensed commercial pilot with broad experience in both military and civilian aircraft. Robert earned a Bachelor of Science degree in government studies from the University of Maryland and has completed executive studies at the Wharton School of Business and the University of Michigan.
Captain, Public Information Officer, LEE COUNTY (FL) SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Captain Anita Iriarte joined the Lee County Sheriff’s Office in 2006. She began her career as a civilian assigned to Planning and Research and became a certified deputy in 2007.
From 2008-2015, Captain Iriarte worked as a deputy and detective in West District/West District Criminal Investigations Division. In 2015, Captain Iriarte was promoted to Sergeant and was assigned to East District patrol as a night shift supervisor.
In 2016, she transferred to the Public Information Office. She began as a Sergeant and worked her way to her current role as Captain of the unit.
Captain Iriarte has a Bachelor’s Degree from Florida Gulf Coast University in Criminal Justice and a Master’s of Science in Management from Hodges University.
Partner, maslansky + partners
An award-winning writer and storytelling strategist, Ben helps clients solve complex problems by asking the right questions and distilling their language with clarity and conviction.
Ben is former Chief White House Correspondent for the Associated Press. During his years covering Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, Ben was honored as a “master of deadline reporting.”
Ben spent more than six years covering President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush, reporting on all facets of their domestic, foreign, and political agendas. As chief correspondent, Ben helped set the tone for the press corps and often got the first question at news conferences. Ben traveled aboard Air Force One across the United States and to more than 25 foreign countries in covering the last two presidents. He has been published worldwide.
Ben was twice honored for his excellence in reporting on the presidency. He won the Gerald R. Ford Prize in 2010, with the judges describing him as “a master of deadline reporting and an astute analyst of the meaning of President Obama’s initiatives.” The same year, Ben won the Merriman Smith Award for his gripping coverage of Obama’s tribute to soldiers returning from war in caskets.
After two decades in journalism, Ben pivoted to business, where he provides communications counsel and crafts powerful messaging for companies, causes and leaders. Ben is also a moderator, public speaker, writing coach and the author of a children’s book about how a father and his son solve life’s challenges together. His major mission in life is to make his kid laugh.
He has a rich understanding of how the news media work and how to shape a communications strategy that delivers real results.
A native of State College, Pa., Ben graduated with distinction from Penn State in 1992 with a degree in journalism. In 2018 he was chosen as a Penn State Alumni Fellow for his accomplishments across his journalism and consulting careers.
CHIEF COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER, U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Michelle Russo joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – the world’s largest advocacy organization for business – as its first CCO in April 2019. In short order, Russo transformed and modernized the communications function to develop integrated strategies and data-driven campaigns that frame the public debate, elevate issues important to the business community and drive value for its members.
Specifically, during the coronavirus pandemic, the Chamber executed a fast-moving and far-reaching communications strategy to articulate the many challenges facing employers, advocate for much-needed financial assistance, educate small business owners on available relief programs, and chart a Path Forward to help Americans.
The Chamber’s digital content also has spiked during this period with social media engagements soaring 400 percent and web traffic surging more than 1,000 percent. Finally, the Chamber has convened more than 500 virtual events attracting thousands of viewers every week.
Before joining the Chamber, Russo spent four years in London as executive vice president of Global Communications for Discovery, Inc. In addition, she led the communications and public affairs strategy for the company’s first broadcast of the Olympic Winter Games across Europe. Prior to relocating to London, she served as the company’s senior vice president of Corporate Affairs & Communications in the U.S.
Earlier in her career, Russo was a media consultant on two Presidential campaigns and served as the primary spokesperson on media issues at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under both Democratic and Republican leadership.
Russo earned a Master of Arts in Communication Management from the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, with an emphasis in business administration, from UCLA.
Head of U.S. Communications, BP
JP Fielder is an award–winning global communications leader with an expertise in corporate communications, investor relations, and
public affairs campaigns. With nearly 20 years of communications experience, he has a deep background in journalism, media relations, message development, social media engagement, and crisis communications, in addition to multiple corporate and product branding initiatives.
In his leadership role at BP, based in Washington, DC, JP leads the development of BP’s U.S. communications strategies and tactics and initiatives to deliver BP’s brand and communications to key audiences.
Fielder oversees media relations, speechwriting, digital communications, internal employee communications and special projects.
Previously, Fielder was head of corporate affairs at Exact Sciences, a company known for its colon cancer screening test. At Exact Sciences, he built and led the company’s 15–member corporate affairs team. Prior to that, Fielder was the global external communications lead for Philip Morris International, senior direct of communications at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the senior director of strategic communications at the National Association of Manufacturers.
Executive Vice President and Chief Communications
and Public Affairs Officer, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MANUFACTURERS
Erin Streeter serves as executive vice president at the National Association of Manufacturers. Erin works alongside the NAM president and CEO to set the strategic direction of the association, and she serves as the association’s chief communications and public affairs officer.
Erin has transformed the NAM’s public relations and marketing departments, expanding its size and reach to improve the NAM’s positioning and branding. Her award-winning team has empowered manufacturers to tell their stories persuasively inside and outside Washington, D.C., giving NAM member companies of all sizes a platform to share their message through all channels, including compelling visual products and targeted social media.
She was twice named one of PR News’ Top Women in PR. Her team has also received top awards for their best-in-class work products, including a 2020 Association TRENDS Gold Award for the NAM’s annual report and a 2021 PR News Award for the NAM’s pandemic response.
Prior to joining the NAM, Erin served in the Office of Public Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security. She was responsible for overseeing the Ready Campaign, the department’s primary outreach effort to enhance America’s emergency preparedness.
Earlier in her career, she served as the director of media relations for the YMCA of the USA, and as deputy press secretary to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA). In addition, she has worked as a television anchor, reporter, producer and writer for various news outlets in Washington, D.C., Kansas and Missouri.
Erin received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas, is a volunteer for various organizations in her community and serves as a board trustee for the Arthur W. Page Society. Erin lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband and three children.
JOHN BYRON HANBY, IV
President & Chief Executive Officer, ITERNAL TECHNOLOGIES
Hanby is a passionate innovator and creator of better ways to connect people, knowledge, ideas, and experiences. As the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Iternal Technologies, he has lead development of technologies to transform interactions with citizens, employees, and customers.
Previously, Hanby founded and ran the top-rated film production company in Austin, Texas for nearly a decade. In that time, he won more than 65 international film awards from The Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences while a student at The University of Texas at Austin, SXSW Film Festival, and others. Hanby graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 3 years as the top graduate of the film department at the Moody College of Communication and holds a 3rd Degree Black Belt from the World Tukong Moosul Federation.
Social Impact Advisor and Co-founder, KARP RANDEL
Jane Randel is a social Impact advisor and co-founder of Karp Randel, a consultancy designed to help corporations, foundations and individuals achieve their business and personal goals while making a positive impact on society. She is also a co-founder of NO MORE, an international initiative dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault by increasing awareness, inspiring action, and fueling culture change.
Jane is currently serving as a consultant to the NFL and NASCAR to help address issues of domestic violence and sexual assault within their organizations as well as in service to the public-at-large.
Previously, Jane was Head of Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility at Kate Spade & Company (formerly Liz Claiborne Inc.), responsible for managing the company’s corporate reputation through both external and internal communications. She led corporate, business and crisis media relations, and oversaw internal communications. Jane spearheaded Love Is Not Abuse, an award-winning, cause-marketing program aimed to generate awareness, educate the public and prevent violence against women, until the program transitioned to non-profit organization in 2012. For more than a decade, Jane served on the Board of Directors of the Fifth & Pacific Foundation (formerly the Liz Claiborne Foundation), most recently as Chair.
Jane has served as Chairman of The Seminar, the premier organization of the highest-ranking communications and public affairs executives at the world’s most influential corporations, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions and public relations agencies. She serves on the advisory board to the Chazen Fund to Address Domestic Violence, and is currently on the Board of Temple Sharey-Tefilo Israel and serves as Vice President of Communications.
Jane is a graduate of Wesleyan University and lives in New Jersey with her husband and three sons.
FOUNDER AND CHAIR,
THE NEXT PRACTICEs GROUP
Bob Pearson is Founder and Chair of The Next Practices Group, a US-based founder-driven agency collective of seven companies that form common teams to create competitive advantage for clients. Its offering incorporates analytics and data science; digital media; technology services; software; stories; and social purpose.
Bob Pearson also has played a key role in building two media firms that are ranked in the top 50 worldwide. He was employee #1 for GCI Health, where he and the GCI CEO launched a new health division, and he was involved in building an 800-person firm, W2O Group, where he served as Chief Technology Officer, President and Vice-Chairman.
Previously, Bob worked as VP of Communities and Conversations at Dell to develop the Fortune 500’s first global social media function—an industry-leading approach to the use of social media. Before Dell, Bob was Head of Global Corporate Communications and Head of Global Pharma Communications at Novartis Pharmaceuticals in Basel, Switzerland, where he served on the Pharma Executive Committee. Also, he was Vice President of Media and Public Affairs for Rhone-Poulenc Rorer (now Sanofi).
He is an author, frequent speaker, and blogger on digital marketing, as well as an adjunct professor at The University of Texas McCombs School. He is a Visiting Scholar at The University of Southern California, and a guest lecturer at the U.S. State Department’s Marketing College with a focus on digital media and how to counter disinformation and extremism. He works in a digital media capacity as a contractor for OTI/USAID and the U.S. Agency for Global Media and serves as an advisor for the Global Engagement Center for the State Department.
He has written four books—PreCommerce, Storytizing, Countering Hate, and Crafting Persuasion, and Bob currently is working on his first novel (a technology thriller).
Rebecca Lowell Edwards
Chief Communications Officer, ACLU
Rebecca Lowell Edwards is the Chief Communications Officer at ACLU. In this role, she fosters awareness and understanding of the ACLU mission to realize the promise of the United States Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees. This includes overseeing the media relations, branding, and engagement strategy functions.
Previously, she served as senior VP, global communications at Schneider Electric. Before that Becky was director of strategic communications and public affairs at the International Olympic Committee, chief communications officer for GE Oil & Gas and GE Sub-Saharan Africa, and worked as a communications consultant with Ruder Finn and Douglas Gould & Co. She began her career as a journalist, having worked as a copy editor at Dow Jones Newswires and as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal.
Her nonprofit roles include work for the Wallace Foundation, an educational foundation, and consulting work for the Ford Foundation. Currently, she serves as a board member for the Africa America Institute, the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship at Columbia University and the Page Society. Becky received an undergraduate degree in humanities from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and an MBA in media management from Fordham University.
She is married to John, a journalist, and they have two children, Rita and Jake.
Rear Admiral Paula Dunn
Vice Chief of Information, U.S. NAVY
Rear. Adm. Paula Dunn is the U.S. Navy Vice Chief of Information, Office of the Secretary of the Navy based in the Pentagon. She leads the Navy’s global public affairs Reserve force.
Her prior public affairs command leadership assignments include Navy Office of Information U.S. 7th Fleet in Yokosuka, Japan; Navy Public Affairs Support Element West in San Diego; and Navy Office of Information U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Her staff assignments include the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Navy Office of Information in the Pentagon and U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor.
During her career, Rear Adm. Dunn has led public affairs during multiple deployments and contingencies including Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Arabian Peninsula in Iraq; Operation Nomad Shadow in Ankara, Turkey; Joint Investigation Group for the sinking of ROKS Cheonan in Pyeongtaek, Republic of Korea; Operation Tomodachi following a major earthquake and tsunami in Japan and two crisis contingency missions in Middle East.
Dunn is accredited in accredited in public relations and military communication (APR+M) from the Public Relations Society of America. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Michigan, a Master of Arts in Communication Arts from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas. She is also a graduate of the Senior Executive Fellows Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the Navy War College and Joint Forces Staff College.
Former Chief Communications Officer, TYSON FOODS
Shona Sabnis is an experienced corporate affairs executive with deep experience in all aspects of communications, sustainability, and government.
Most recently, she led the global communications function for Tyson Foods, one of the world’s largest food companies and its suite of retail brands, including Tyson chicken, Hillshire Farms, Jimmy Dean and Ball Park. She formerly led the global corporate marketing function for Rio Tinto, the world’s second-largest diversified mining company, headquartered in London and Melbourne, where she oversaw all aspects of proactive storytelling. Shona also served on the Rio Tinto Group’s Sustainability and Climate Change Steering Committees.
Shona earlier served as the vice president of global media relations at Arconic, where she led media and financial communications during the spin-off of Alcoa Corporation and subsequently, a contentious proxy contest with Elliott Management. She previously served as head of media relations for Entergy Corporation and as Senior Vice President of Corporate and Public Affairs at Edelman.
She began her career in politics, serving in the Clinton Administration and on both sides of Capitol Hill. She has lived and worked in France, Canada and Brazil, and speaks French and Portuguese.
ROBERT W. GRUPP
Director, STRATCOMMWORLD; INSTRUCTOR, COLLEGE OF JOURNALISM AND COMMUNICATIONS, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Robert Grupp is President at Grupp Global Partners LLC, a management consultancy focused on strategic communications and international public relations.
He also is an instructor in the Master of Art in Mass Communications graduate program specializing in Global Strategic Communications in the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida. He currently teaches the Public Affairs Communication Course in the GSC program.
Previously, Grupp was President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations, which is co-located in the College in Gainesville. He served on the Board of Trustees of this independent non-profit for eight years.
For three decades, Grupp led communications teams and managed public affairs in corporations, multi-national organizations, and non-profit institutions. Grupp served as Vice President of Corporate and Public Affairs at Cephalon, Inc. an international biopharmaceutical company. Grupp also held leadership positions in corporate communication at Eli Lilly and Company, Dow Corning Corporation and Consumers Energy.
Grupp chairs StratCommWorld in Washington, DC. These popular professional conferences—held consecutively for the past 12 years—focus on sharing best practices in corporate, military and government communications and public affairs.
Earlier in his career, he served as editor for daily newspapers in Florida and Illinois, and he received the prestigious National Headliner Award for excellence in news-editorial journalism.
Grupp received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University. He is an accredited member and past chapter president in the Public Relations Society of America, a member of IPRA, and the Arthur Page Society.
This is the best conference that I’ve attended throughout my life and career.
Awesome! This Summit gets better every year.
Very excellent diverse topics covered in a short amount of time.
Fantastic way to network and connect.
Great opportunity to hear how strategic communications is being used across industry, government and non-profit.
Fantastic information and impressive list of speakers and attendees!
A good experience. Helpful to my career.
Fantastic event full of useful information from very different perspectives and background.
Well-run, right-sized with a robust and thoughtful agenda.
A great lineup of speakers and a wonderful venue for the conference.
A fabulous conference. Truly valuable for attendees and speakers alike.
Hats off to everyone that did such a stellar job on the agenda and event!
I was very impressed by the forum, it was a great event. I’m sorry I couldn’t stay longer.
It was an absolute pleasure to be a part of StratCommWorld. There was a remarkable energy in the room. The information environment has changed so much. You help the community see where we are and where we need to go to better reach our target audiences.