The Communications Network Annual Conference

ComNet — The Communications Network annual conference. 


Second Stage

We're trying something new at ComNet18.  This year we have a Second Stage where we will host three special, more intimate, keynote experiences.  Our aim is to put you and your questions front and center with some of the most thoughtful, innovative, and accomplished thinkers working in comms for good.


Thursday 11:00am

What's in our way?: What Research tells us about what we are all up against

Second STAGE Leaders:

Nat Kendall-Taylor , CEO,  FrameWorks Institute

Nat Kendall-Taylor, CEO, FrameWorks Institute

Shaun Adamec , President & Founder,  Adamec Communications

Shaun Adamec, President & Founder, Adamec Communications


Second STAGE Description:

As a network of communicators for good, we come to this convening with unique perspectives on the issues we care about and are committed to addressing. Years of research on American culture shows that the issues we work on have more in common than we might think.

There are a set of cultural myths that run under all of our work and challenge our efforts to engage audiences, build support, and make change on our causes. These myths are deep and durable, but because they challenge all of our work, there is power in working collectively to address them through the messages we create and the stories we tell.

This session will examine the nature of these cultural obstacles, the ways in which they inhibit audience engagement and action, and what we can do to collectively confront them. Participants will witness these cultural models by examining the research, real life examples of where they have stopped good work in its tracks, and evidence-based message frames that can give rise to new ways of seeing the importance of our social issues and supporting the actions that will solve them.

This session is part of our Storytelling and Narratives Track.

Key Takeaways:

  1. The ways in which three specific cultural myths inhibit the public’s ability to engage with our issues, understand the nature of the societal problems we work on, and support our solutions.

  2. What 15 years of research can tell us about our culture and the obstacles our messaging meets when deployed to the public.

  3. Evidence-based techniques and frames we can deploy to help the public understand our causes and support the solutions we offer.


Thursday 3:00pm

Live Stories Change Lives - a Storytelling Showcase

Second STAGE Leaders:

Tracey Miller Segarra,  Host/Producer,  “Now You’re Talking!” A Storytelling Show

Tracey Miller Segarra, Host/Producer, “Now You’re Talking!” A Storytelling Show

Dana Merwin , Program Officer,  International Documentary Association

Dana Merwin, Program Officer, International Documentary Association

Corey Rosen , Writer/Marketing Executive,  Tippett Studio

Corey Rosen, Writer/Marketing Executive, Tippett Studio

Meg Ferrill , Storyteller

Meg Ferrill, Storyteller

Second STAGE Description:

We know that true stories, well told, can change hearts and minds and connect us as a community. But how do master storytellers grab our attention? What exactly is it about compelling personal stories that makes us remember them long after the storyteller has gone? Come hear four accomplished storytellers share intimate, hilarious, heartbreaking personal stories that will leave you in tears and lift you up with joy. And then go behind the scenes with the storytellers as they break down the elements of their stories and how they craft them for maximum impact.

This session is part of our Storytelling and Narratives Track.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Experience the raw power of masterful storytelling by listening to four compelling, personal true stories.

  2. Learn how a story’s scenes, authenticity, vulnerability and overall arc draw in an audience and make the narrative memorable.

  3. Participate in a Q&A with the storytellers to drill down into how the storytellers crafted their stories.


Friday 10:15am

Catching the Wave

Second STAGE Leaders:

Chad Nelsen , CEO,  Surfrider

Chad Nelsen, CEO, Surfrider

Jade Floyd , VP, Marketing and Communications,  The Case Foundation

Jade Floyd, VP, Marketing and Communications, The Case Foundation


Second STAGE Description:

A case study conversation unpacking how a powerful communications strategy helped the Surfrider Foundation mobilize a local grassroots effort to “Save Trestles” featuring Surfrider CEO Chad Nelsen in conversation with Jade Floyd of the Case Foundation.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Every nonprofit and foundation needs to embrace communications as change strategy.

  2. Communications can educate, inspire, galvanize and gather disparate groups together.

  3. Building and mobilizing coalitions is critical and requires smart communications.