College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Past Forums

(2016) Political and Policy Communications: Impact, Ethics and the Art of Persuasion

October 25, 9:30am to 12:45pm

The Johnson Center, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

What do politicians say to get elected and what changes when they assume office? How do businesses effectively and ethically communicate their policy priorities to regulators, elected officials and the public? Where do journalists and the media fit into the equation? What role do professional communicators play and where does one find these jobs?

On November 8, all eyes will be fixed on the Presidential election. At the 2016 Communications Forum, George Mason University will take a closer look at political and policy related communications and what we can expect in the years to come.

Featured Speakers and Panelists Include:

-Gov. Martin O'Malley, Opening Keynote Speaker

-Mark McKinnon, No Labels Co-founder, Co-creator of Showtime's The Circus, Closing Keynote Speaker

-Torie Clarke, Senior Vice President of Global Corporate Affairs, SAP

-Linda Qiu, Staff Writer, PolitiFact

-Arzu Tuncata Tarimcilar, Board Director, GAMA Holding

-Professor Emily Vraga, George Mason University

-Michael Shear, White House Correspondent, New York Times- Moderator

Following the presentation, students will be invited to participate in a unique speed mentoring session with top professionals currently working in the field of strategic communications. This session will be moderated by GMU Alum and NBC 4 Anchor and Reported, Angie Goff


2016 Forum Flyer


News At Mason:

Industry Experts Inspire Students to Create Positive Change at Communications Forum 

Event Video:

Student-Written Media Releases:


Credit: Anne Nicotera, Mimi Albano, and David Miller

Also, view this slideshow from GMU Creative Services.





(2015) Content marketing: The art of storytelling across media platforms

Content marketing is so broad that it eludes definition even by its most ardent practitioners, but the term includes essentially any form of content (a Facebook post, a celebrity Q&A, a feature‐length documentary) created by or on behalf of a brand with the hope that it will attract an audience on it’s own merits - as opposed to traditional advertising, which has the far smaller ambition of gaining notice from a captive audience before the ad break ends, or the page gets flipped, and the real content begins.” Michael Meyer, Columbia Journalism Review

This hot trend is the focus of the fifth annual industry symposium hosted by the Department of Communication Insight Committee. Students will engage with thought leaders and senior communication professionals to explore the power of storytelling, its implications for influencing behavior, and the broad opportunities and ethical challenges it poses for today’s graduates.

Schedule of Events

  • 9:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m., Introductions & Defining Content Marketing: Michael Meyer, senior writer, Columbia Journalism Review
  • 9:45 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., Keynote address: Kathryn McCarthy, chairman and CEO, ThinkGeek and GeekNet
  • 10:35 a.m. – 11:25 a.m., Panel discussion with: Bill Aydelott, director-producer-cameraman, Waverly Motion Pictures, LLC; Gary Goldhammer, storyteller and digital communications strategist, H&K Strategies; and Linda Smith, digital marketing strategist, Sage Communications
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m., Speed mentoring Q&A session with students

The Insight Committee is a volunteer advisory board to the Department of Communication, comprised of experienced leaders in professional communication. The group annually sponsors an on-campus event to provide students access to and advice by leading professionals.

2015 Forum Flyer


(2014) #AllThingsSocial

In order to identify the most useful and current theme for the Department of Communication’s fourth annual career symposium, the Insight Committee talked to students, faculty, and communication professionals. Social media was the clear winner. #AllThingsSocial will examine social media and integrated digital communication as a global phenomenon and opportunity for today’s graduates.

The symposium will be held in Dewberry Hall on October 28 from 9:00am to 1:00pm and is open to all members of the student body and faculty. 

This program will have three sections:

1. Keynote Address

Keynote Speaker

Aaron Sherinian, VP for Communication and Public Relations at the United Nations Foundation

Watch Sherinian’s TEDx Talk about the 5 Revolutions of this generation.


2. Panel Discussion


  • Lauren Green, director of Social Media, Northrop Grumman Corporation 

  • Andrew Bleeker, global practice leader-digital – Hill & Knowlton Strategies 

  • Lindsey Spindle, Chief communications & brand officer, Share our Strength 

  • Angie Goff, News 4 weekend anchor/GMU alum/social media activist 

  • Jill Moss, Democracy Fellow, digital media, ICT, & Social Media-USAID

3. Student Roundtables

Students will sort into six tables, one for each panelist. The panelists will lead discussion for 12 minutes and then switch tables, so students will have the opportunity to speak with all the panelists.

2014 Forum Flyer


(2013) Taming the Communication Beast

Join us at the free forum for all Mason students!

The forum will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Dewberry Hall of the Johnson Center.  

Mason students will have the opportunity to engage with many of the nation's leading communication professionals during a special student career forum October 22. Taming the Communication Beast, a University/Industry Forum will examine the challenges and opportunities created by media convergence, non-stop connectivity and instant, on-demand mobile access. 

Symposium coordinator Patrick Fn'Piere, a member of the Insight Committee, said the forum will help students learn how they can prepare to be a meaningful player in the changing media landscape. "These students are in the midst of a watershed period in communication. Opportunities are vast for graduates to enter and excel in today's social-mediated environment because they've grown up with this technology," he said. NBC-TV's Chief White House Correspondent, Chuck Todd, will present the keynote address, followed by a panel discussion lead by former White House Press Secretary, Mike McCurry. The panelist are professionals in public relations, corporate communication, government public affairs, non-profits and associations. The panelists include:

  • Mike McCurry, former White House press secretary
  • Anne Gearan, diplomatic correspondent, the Washington Post
  • Maureen Knightly, director of communications, U.S. Peace Corps
  • Scott Murphy, associate director for social media, mcgarrybowen advertising agency
  • Lindsey Spindle, chief communications & brand officer, Share our Strength
  • Andrew Bleeker, global practice leader-digital, Hill & Knowlton Strategies
  • Lauren Green, social media and corporate communications, Northrop Grumman

The agenda concludes with a speed mentoring session, during which panelists will meet with the students and rotate amongst them to answer questions.

2013 Forum Flyer


(2012) Business & Professional Communications: A View from the Street

Join us at the free forum for all Mason students!

The forum will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Dewberry Hall of the Johnson Center.  

Mason students will have the opportunity to engage with many of the nation's leading communication professionals during a special student career forum October 22.

Keynote Address: Anthony Williams, CEO, Federal City Council and Former Mayor, Washington D.C.

Roundtable Discussion: Careers in Communications

Moderator: Rich Moore


-Robert Gaudian, MediaForce PR

-Chad Tragakis, Sr. VP, Corporate Practice, Hill+Knowlton Strategies

-Dianne VanBeber, VP, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications, Intelsat

-Skylar Zwick, External Communications & Program Director, Entertainment Industries Council

"Speed Mentoring" Session

Moderator: Penelope Longbottom, Longbottom Communications


-John Blacksten, Director, Office of Media & Public Relations, GMU

-Robert Gaudian, MediaForce PR

-Nick Mitsis, Senior Account Executive, Environics Communications

-Rich Moore, Rich Moore, Inc.

-Tara Ruszkowski, Principal, Ruszkowski & Associates

-Chad Tragakis, Sr. VP, Corporate Practice, Hill+Knowlton Strategies

-Crystal Yauch, Director of Proposals, Copper River IT

-Skylar Zwick, External Communications & Program Director Entertainment Industries Council 

2012 Forum Flyer


(2011) Careers in Communication: Mapping Your Career Strategy in a Digital World

-Wednesday, October 26th 

-8:30am to 2:00pm

-The Edwin Meese Board Room, Mason Hall

This symposium will provide an insight into the current communication employment market, hiring trends and the range of jobs available in the field. Learn what employers seek in new hires and how to map your own strategy to finding a job. If you are planning a career in communication, you need a keen understanding of the rapidly-changing marketplace and the skill sets that will help you gain that first job and advance in a highly-competitive field. Speakers include leaders in public relations, corporate communication, government public affairs, non-profits and associations. You'll have the opportunity for Q&A's with successful, experienced communicators and the opportunity to learn what strategies led to their success. 

Special Guests: 

Jim Clifton, Chairman & CEO, Gallup

Tom Hoog, Vice Chair, Hill & Knowlton

Cassandra Carr, Senior Advisior, Public Strategies

Richard Florida, Author, "Rise of the Creative Class"

2011 Forum Flyer


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