Past Communication Career Forums

The Department of Communication at George Mason University and it's Insight Committee has been holding Communication Career Forums annually since 2011. It has evolved from a small group mentoring session with members of the Insight Committee and Communication faculty to a large full-day mentoring event, including a key note speaker, panelists, and over twenty career mentors, that has amassed over 200 people in attendance.

Below are the forums that have been held since 2011:


Find Your Future: 2020 Virtual Communication Forum and Spring 2021 Mentoring Series:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Communication Forum was held virtually over Zoom and split into six themed mentoring sessions with career professionals every Friday in October and November during the Fall 2020 semester and in March and April of the Spring 2021 semester.


Fall 2021 Virtual Forum Poster:

Find Your Future 2020 Mentors and Themes


Spring 2021 Virtual Mentoring Series:

Spring 2021 Mentoring Series

Spring 2021 Mentoring Series

Spring 2021 Mentoring Series


Spring 2021 Mentoring Series

Spring 2021 Mentoring Series


Find Your Future: 2019 Communication Forum:

The 2019 Find Your Future Communication Forum was held in late October 2019.

Event Description and Theme: Gain career advice and network with some of the nation’s leading communication professionals. Interactive, small-group mentoring sessions offer an opportunity to speak to 20 professionals representing a wide range of career paths – corporate communication, media production, journalism, marketing, public relations, and more. Explore your future now! Don’t wait until you graduate.

Join Keynote Speaker Rana Novack at the Communication Career Forum on Tuesday, October 22 in the HUB Ballroom. 

Find Your Future

Keynote: Rana is a Mason Comm alum and is now the Leader of IBM’s Global Business Services North America Communications Strategy, Solution Owner of IBM’s Refugee and Migration Predictive Analytics Solution, and a Syrian American advocate for refugees and civilians in conflict. To learn more about Rana visit site

Mentoring Overview: Mentoring round table sessions begin will be led by professionals representing organizations including Mars Candy, Booze Allen, Northrop Grumman, Goodwill Industries International, Fenton Communication, NBC News, CBS Channel 9, Sage Communication, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, National Fisheries Institute, H+K Strategies, National 4H Council, Washington Nationals, the Press Secretary for the Mayor of D.C., and more! 


List of 2019 Mentors:

Table 1 Internal Communication/Interpersonal Communication

  • Kelsey Agostinelli, Mars Inc., Internal Communications

Table 2 Federal Government

  • Jeff Houston, Senior Public Affairs Specialist, Naval Criminal Investigative Service,

Table 3 Local Government/State Government

  • Susana Castillo, Press Secretary, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser

Tables 4/5 External Relations/Corporate Communications/Strategic Marketing

  • Patrick Fernandez, Booz Allen
  • Paige LaPlant, Capital One

Table 6 Non-Profit

  • Suzanne Naylor, Marketing Program Manager, Goodwill Industries International

Table 7 Trade Associations and/or Advocacy Organization

  •  Gavin Gibbons, VP Communications, National Fisheries Institute

Table 8 Political Communications

  • Derrick Robinson, VP at Fenton Communications (three years at the Obama WH)

Tables 9/10 Media Relations

  • Diana Gulotta, Director of Communications, Prince William County Public Schools
  • Lana Petruzzo, Global Corporate Communications, Senior Manager, Hilton

Table 11 Media Production

  • Molly Herman, Executive Producer/Partner, The Biscuit Factory

Tables 12/13 Journalism

  • Marcella Robertson, CBS/Channel 9 Reporter
  • Bill Lord, Formerly General Manager at WJLA, WRC

Tables 14/15 Agencies

 Public Relations (2 Tables for PR Industry Mentors)

  • Global: Lauren Herchert, H+K Strategies
  • Mid-Sized: Julie Murphy, Sage, IC Member

Table 16  Advertising/Marketing

  • Dvon Williams, Senior Director, PR & Celebrity Relations at National 4-H Council

Table 17 Sports Marketing

  • Kate Greenberg, Senior Director, Strategic Marketing for the Dream Foundation at Washington Nationals


Event Timeline: 

8: 30 a.m. Registration opens

            Networking Reception & Refreshments sponsored by Airbus

9:15 a.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks

9:30 a.m. Keynote Speaker, Rana Novack

10:00 a.m. Mentoring Round Table Sessions Begin

(six rotations, 20 minutes each, five minutes between)

                        10:00 – 10:20 round one

                        10:25– 10:45 round two

                        10:50 – 11:10 round three

                        11:15– 11:35 round four

                        11:40 – 12:00 round five

                        12:05– 12:25 round six

12:30 p.m. Adjournment



Pathways To Your Future, 2018 Communication Forum:

Pathways to your Future


The 2018 Annual Fall Forum is focusing on student career preparation with a special mentoring event, "Pathways to Your Future." Leading communication professionals will sit face-to-face with our students in small-group, interactive sessions. Each mentor represents Mason Communication Department's areas of concentration and will help show students where those studies can lead: public relations, journalism, media production, human resources, sports marketing, political communication, public affairs and more. See the list below and register now for the mentor of your choice for the first session. You'll be able to move to several other tables during the program. Kicking off the event for the keynote address is our special guest and hometown star, sports broadcaster and program host Lindsay Czarniak.

This event is sponsored by George Mason University's Insight Committee of the Department of Communication, a volunteer advisory board comprising experienced leaders in professional communication. This group annually sponsors an on-campus event to provide students access to and advice from leading professionals.

There are two components to the event: keynote and mentoring. For more information about the keynote and mentors please click here to see the 2018 program.

1.) Keynote Speaker- Lindsay Czarniak

2.) Mentoring Session  – students will rotate between tables, meeting with mentors about networking, how to search for and land jobs, allowing students to explore their passion in communication and related professions.



8:30 a.m. Registration Opens
8:45 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.  Networking reception and light refreshments
9:15 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.  Welcome and Introductions
9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Keynote Address
10:05 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Mentoring Sessions

*There will be six rounds of 20 minute mentoring sessions 


***Students: Remember to dress to impress! Please wear business casual clothing!

Pathways 2018

List of Mentors/Table Themes:

Table 1 Internal Communication/Interpersonal Communication
• Paige Healey, Manager of Internal Communications, Northrop Grumman Corporation

Table 2 Federal Government/Social Media
• Lori Lawson-Dischner, Digital Engagement Specialist, U.S. Department of State

Table 3 Local Government/State Government
• Matt Guilfoyle, Associate Superintendent for Communications and Technology Services, Prince William County Schools

Tables 4/5 External Relations/Corporate Communications/Strategic Marketing
• Logan Rice, Employee Communications Representative, Northrop Grumman Corporation
• Cameron Batten, VP US Card Communication, Capital One

Table 6 Non-Profit
• Lauren Lawson-Zilai, Senior Director of Public Relations, Goodwill Industries International

Table 7 Trade Associations
• David Greer, VP Communications, National Association of Realtors

Table 8 Political Communications
Jeff Sadosky, Partner, Forbes Tate Partners

Tables 9/10 Media Relations
• Andy Cuneo, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, Polycom
• Karlene Koh, Corporate Public Relations Representative, Northrop Grumman Corporation

Table 11 Media Production
• Laura Neal, Post Production Manager, Smithsonian Channel

Tables 12/13 Journalism
• Angie Goff, Broadcast Journalist, NBC4
• Bill Lord, formerly News Director at WUSA-TV

Table 14/15 Public Relations
• Julie Murphy, Partner & VP, Sage Communications
• Rebecca Ballard, SVP, Managing Director, Head of Communication and Culture, Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Table 16 Human Resources
• Amy Derrickson, HR Manager, Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Table 17 Advertising/Marketing
• Suann Lee, Sr. Account Manager, WTOP News,

Table 18 Sports
• Tony Wyllie, Senior Vice President, Communications, The Washington Redskins


Event Survey:


Breakfast Reception Sponsor:

 Northrop Grumman




#RealNews2017 Communication Forum:

Date: Tuesday, October 24 2017

Location: HUB Ballroom 

Time: The event will start at 9:30am but doors will open at 9:00am








Theme: #RealNews2017: The challenge of gathering, dispensing and presenting news to the public in today's social mediated world.  


This symposium will examine the complicated and very necessary process that responsible parties in different communication roles go through -- to allow students to see inside that process.  In an era of "fake news" -- where trust in the truth might be at all-time lows from various segments of the public, one might think communicators/PR professionals might be a odds with journalists and vice-versa -- but nothing could be and should be farther from the truth. The fact is that both communicators and journalists share a code of ethics -- to be truthful story tellers. Professional communicators support a particular point of view on any given subject/brand or issue -- but it must be clear and truthful. Good journalism supports complete and truthful story-telling, which means reporting all sides of an issue. Journalists, therefore, need to listen to communicators and be welcomed sources. So what does this mean students of public relations? That PR/communication professionals are incredibly important to the process of truthful story-telling -- and now, more than ever -- and must be seen as partners, not adversaries.



2017 Forum Information and Agenda:

 Comm Forum 2017 flier

KEYNOTE:   Chris Matthews

ROUNDTABLE SESSION: Theme: #RealNews2017: The challenge of gathering, dispensing and presenting news to the public in today's social mediated world.  This symposium will examine the complicated and very necessary process that responsible parties in different communication roles go through -- to allow students to see inside that process.  Experts explain how they do their jobs (amidst this social mediated world) which will allow students to learn from their experiences.  moderated panel:  panel to discuss #RealNews from the perspective of a:

  • Reporter (gathering, verifying, editing, reporting) – Jack Speer, Anchor, NPR News
  • Press Secretary (choosing, dispensing/distributing news to the public) – Kevin Hall, Comms Director/Senior Policy & Strategic Advisor, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner
  • PR agency head (choosing, dispensing/distributing news to the public – especially RE: crises) Pam Jenkins, President, Global Public Affairs, Weber Shandwick **Pam Jenkins will be replaced by Peter Carson- Managing Director of Public Affairs for North America for Weber Shandwick
  • Social media maven (how social media can help/hurt the process, best practices) – Anthony Shop, Chief Strategy Officer & Co-Founder, Social Driver **Anthony Shop will be replaced by Roy Abdo- Gallup
  • Richard Levick – Panel Moderator, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Levick
  • Mentors include:
    • Jasmine Westbrook – Digital Producer, Ogilvy Public Relations
    • Joseph Campbell – Lead Associate in External Relations, Booz Allen Hamilton
    • Kira Wilson – Public Affairs, Hill Impact
    • Ciaran Clayton – Global Media Relations, Nature Conservancy
    • Logan Rice – Public Relations Representative, Northrop Grumman
    • Marcella Robertson – Reporter, WUSA9
    • Danny Selnick – Senior Vice President, Strategic Markets, BusinessWire
    • Carolyn Cuppernull – Director of Business Development, Inmarsat Government
    • Dan Hill – Founder, Hill Impact
    • Michael Dobal – Emmy-winning Director, Producer, Videographer
    • Ann Klenk – Executive Producer, MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews”
    • Patrick Fn’Piere – Moderator, Founder and President, Public Management Group
  • Agenda

    • 9:00 a.m. Doors open
    • 9:00 a.m. Networking reception and light refreshments
    • 9:30 a.m. Welcome and introductions
    • 9:45 a.m. Keynote address
    • 10:30 a.m. Panel discussion
    • 11:30 a.m. Break/regroup
    • 11:45 a.m. Mentoring session
    • 12:45 p.m. Wrap up and adjourn


This forum is made possible by generous donations from:

Media sponsor:

Capitol Communicator Capitol Communicator Logo

Food and Beverage Sponsor:

Program Printing Provider:


Image result for levick logo


Capital Communicator article by Mason student Fareeha Rehman:


Pictures of the 2017 #RealNews2017 Communication Forum:

(Photos taken by CHSS student photographers)


#RealNews2017 Video:

-Video 1: Chris Matthew's Keynote Speech



 #RealNews2017 Recap via GMU PRSSA Blog:

(Written by Tiarra Lowery)

 #RealNews2017 Logo:


(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

Event Video:

Student-Written Media Releases:


  • Three participants
  • Two participants
  • Three people talking
  • A table of food
  • Conference table
  • Table in dewberry hall
  • Two people posing
  • Four participants at a table
  • Taking notes
  • Listening intently
  • Two people posing together
  • Three people smiling
  • One person smiling
  • Two people posing for photo
  • Chair and Dean talking
  • Dean listening
  • Big smile
  • Another big smile
  • A crowd
  • Cool necklace
  • Really excited
  • Mingling crowd
  • Students listening
  • Speaker at podium
  • Close up of speaker at podium
  • Speaker gesturing
  • Photo of image on screen
  • Students heads from the side
  • Lighting over crowd
  • The stage
  • Repeat of earlier photo
  • Podium on stage
  • Handshake
  • Speakers in chairs on stage
  • Panelists listening
  • Panelists still listening
  • Panelists in front of screen
  • Panelists gesturing
  • More panelists speaking
  • Panelist with red shirt
  • Panlists panelisting
  • All the panelists
  • Woman looking at panelists
  • Guy in hip hat
  • Three students posing
  • Two studennts
  • Panelist leaning back
  • Looking to her right
  • Two more panelists
  • Student in hat

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