The Professional Speechwriters Association
PRESENTS ITS 2020

PSA World Conference

A Week of Timely Inspiration, Urgent Instruction and Crucial Conversation

Professional Speechwriters Association

October 19-23

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Every year since 2014, speechwriters have gathered from around the world to trade ideas and experiences with other members of their tiny but powerful profession.

This year, the speechwriting world will come together again—this time virtually—for a crucial conversation about our profession in the wake of the most tumultuous year any of us have ever lived through.

Still in the throes of cultural and economic upheaval, and just two weeks before the U.S. presidential election, speakers and participants will be answering such fundamental questions as:

What is speechwriting now?

What must speechwriters learn to remain essential communication workers? Best practices, communications innovations, tech tips and career strategies for this time.

How can speechwriters contribute to a more constructive political language at this furious moment, and in its wake?

And can speechwriters create a common rhetorical philosophy that will help, as the Greeks urged so long ago, to make gentle the life of this world?

From this convivial, festival-style World Conference week of presentations and intimate collegial conversations, speechwriters will take renewed confidence, crucial new skills, useful connections (and reassuring reconnections).

Tour your professional world without leaving your home and regain your vision of the future of leadership communication, and your place in it.

AGENDA

(All Times ET)

Monday preconference workshop (optional)

11:00-2:00

Virtual Communication College: Everything You Need to Know to Make Your Leader as Compelling from a Distance as in Person

The single most important skill a speechwriter can learn right now is how to make their leader a better onscreen communicator. This means a different style of writing, delivery coaching, and even tech know-how that used to be the purview of others—but must now be among the core competencies of any leadership communication professional:

  • Speechwriting Versus Scriptwriting: How to Write More Conversationally to Build an Authentic Connection, Long Distance. 
  • How to Use Virtual Tech to Get the Best Effect. Everything you need to know about lighting, audio, cameras and backgrounds. 
  • Delivery: The 10 Mistakes Your Speakers Are Probably Making and Tips for Making Them Stop 

Go into this session a speechwriter struggling to help your speaker get better on video, come out a confident practitioner of virtual leadership communication. 

All delivered in an interactive session by star trainers Nicole Lowenbraun and Jeff Davenport, from Duarte—the legendary Silicon Valley firm that revolutionized presentation design, and provides content and delivery coaching to some of the most influential speakers in the world. 

Tuesday

11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Keynote Panel: Speechwriting, As We Know It—A Gut Check for a Profession, and a Clear-Eyed View Toward the Future

Since the inaugural World Conference of the Professional Speechwriters Association seven years ago, the concept of truth has been damaged to the point of mockery. Traditional speeches have been made temporarily obsolete by a global pandemic and speechwriters have had to redefine themselves and retool their skills for a whole new kind of leadership communication. Speechwriters’ clients are now looked to for leadership on issues seemingly far afield from the organizations they run. And the already troubled nation that led the world in compelling rhetoric has cracked into pieces.

It’s time to take stock.

PSA founder and executive director David Murray reveals results of a new State of the Profession study, and leads a panel from the PSA Advisory Council, the Executive Communication Council, the UK Speechwriters Guild and the European Speechwriter Network to discuss the viability of speechwriting in a virtual age—and how speechwriters must change.

Bring your ideas, too; this panel will be interactive.

1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

Among Friends—Networking, with Industry Colleagues: In a roomful of virtual roundtables in an onscreen environment that looks very much like the Fisher Colloquium where speechwriters usually convene at Georgetown University, you’ll sit face to face with speechwriters in your speechwriting sector—whether you’re corporate, government, university or nonprofit—and share your specific experiences and concerns, your needs and your plans for the future.

Special Independent Speechwriters Biz Dev Workshop: Gotham Ghostwriters founder Dan Gerstein moderates a wide-open “Ask Us Anything” panel, where superstar independent speechwriters Rosemary King, Teresa Zumwald and Cheril Clarke share how they’ve pivoted—and, how they’ve stood their ground—to stay sustainable since everything changed.

Wednesday

11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

The New Best Practices in Leadership Communication

It’s a best-practice bonanza full of practical and innovative solutions to the very most urgent questions:

  • Keynote Conversation: Leadership authenticity—what does it mean now, and how can speechwriters and speakers achieve it? With Mary C. Daly, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and Justine Adelizzi, the speechwriter who helped her create and deliver the concept of “3D Public Servants,” and the stunning speech of the same name. The two women will talk about the making of the speech—and what has happened in the wake of its delivery.
  • How to make your leaders attractive to organizers of virtual conferences (and compelling, once they get there)? From the very beginning of the pandemic, UPS’ already strategic exec comms pros set out to make sure their leaders were positioned to remain visible and effective in the new environment. Exec comms manager Janet Stovall and creative development manager James Rowe have transformed speeches at UPS for the virtual landscape, and they’ll teach how to do the same at your organization.
  • Executive communication now: What is it, and what must it become. In this rapid-fire panel, some of the world’s leading executive communicators in the world—members of the Executive Communication Council from Target, Verizon, Cox Automotive, AARP, UPS, Splunk and McDonald’s—will share their new best practices so they can become your new best practices. Moderated by ECC member advisor Sharon McIntosh.
  • And what about you—and your career? Dare to be deliberate. Most working speechwriters and exec comms folks are anxious about the future but far too overworked to think for a second about managing their careers. Recruiter Angee Linsey specializes in exec comms recruiting, and she’ll tell you how to manage your job differently—even now—for your own good, and for the good of your organization.

2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.

Among Friends—Shoptalk, Trading Skills You’ve Built for Advice You Need: Moderated conversations in which you share with your colleagues the necessity-born inventions you’ve made over these demanding months, while learning what they’ve picked up, too.

Thursday

11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Political Rhetoric, and You

Less than two weeks before the U.S. presidential election, what are our leaders and candidates saying, and how are they sounding—and what influence can the speechwriting community exert? 

  • We’ll hear about the state of European dialogue from a panel of international speechwriters led by Isabelle Gaudeul-Ehrhart, speechwriter to Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission. 
  • And prominent Washington speechwriters Mary Kate Cary (Bush 41), David Kusnet (Clinton) and Lindsay Hayes (Sarah Palin, Romney 2012) will people a panel moderated by Robert Schlesinger and Jean Card, the hosts of the podcast about polite political dialogue, Bipodisan. All to discuss the state and the future of political rhetoric around the world and in America in this most unsettled time.

Friday

1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.

The Long View of Leadership Communication

Before today we’ll have applied our intellects, restocked our communication tool chests, vented our spleens. Now let’s fill our souls with deep purpose, deep feeling and faith in the future.

  • The rhetorically learned U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black issues a moral call to speechwriters of all political stripes, in every sector to use their most powerful human tool—responsible communication—to bind wounds, to build consensus, to create constructive conversation and to heal a society. We’ll hold fierce to his closing keynote, “Responsible Rhetoric: A Moral Issue and a Social Survival Strategy.” 
  • PSA executive director David Murray will do a short reading from his forthcoming book, An Effort to Understand
  • And then musical rhetoricians Mette Hojen and Jonas Wiik will play us out with a literal grace note, from their “Work in Tune” program that demonstrates what music can teach writers and leaders about the deepest kind of communication.

3:00 p.m.-???

Among Friends—Closing Cocktail Party

In the States, it’s happy hour, or close enough for a Friday. In Europe, it’s evening. And in Asia-Pacific, it’s Saturday morning! Everyone’s allowed, and encouraged, to build a cocktail and let your hair down. We’ll toast the Cicero Speechwriting Award winners as we traditionally do, and then send you on a virtual Washington pub crawl, to find old friends or make new acquaintances, in happy palavers at virtual versions of The Tombs, The Bulldog Tavern, Clyde’s, Martin’s Tavern or the Old Ebbitt Grill.

SPEAKERS

Justine Adelizzi

Justine Adelizzi

Justine Adelizzi is the Executive Communications Manager at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, where she advises the CEO and oversees speechwriting and other thought leadership initiatives. She previously served as a speechwriter for senior leaders at the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Barry C. Black

Barry C. Black

On June 27, 2003, Rear Admiral Barry C. Black (Ret.), Ph.D., D.D., was elected the 62nd Chaplain of the Senate. Prior to Capitol Hill, Chaplain Black served in the U.S. Navy for over twenty-seven years, ending his distinguished career as the Chief of Navy Chaplains. The Senate elected its first chaplain in 1789. In addition to opening the Senate each day in prayer, Chaplain Black provides counseling and spiritual care for Senators, their families, and staff—a combined constituency of over seven thousand people. He has authored five books beginning with his autobiography, From the Hood to the Hill (2006), The Blessing of Adversity (2011), Nothing to Fear (2017), Make Your Voice Heard in Heaven (2018), and Bible Wisdom for Better Living (2019). He is married to the former Brenda Pearsall of St. Petersburg, Florida. They have three sons: Barry II, Brendan, and Bradford.

Jean Card

Jean Card

Jean (Jeanie) Card’s political views have been shaped by the two halves of her life: Growing up in a blue-collar, small-business family in rural Vermont; and living and working in our nation’s capital. Her time in Washington, D.C. has included six years in the executive branch of the U.S. government as a politically appointed speechwriter in the George W. Bush Administration. Today, Jeanie is a public relations consultant specializing in ghostwriting and coaching (for both writing and public speaking). She has also written extensively under her own name, including four years as a weekly contributor to the U.S. News & World Report opinion page.

Mary Kate Cary

Mary Kate Cary

Mary Kate Cary is a Senior Fellow at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center and an adjunct professor in UVA’s Department of Politics, teaching political speechwriting. Ms. Cary served as a White House speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush from 1989 to early 1992. For over two decades, she has continued to write speeches for a variety of national business and political leaders. From 2009 to 2017, Mary Kate Cary was a contributing editor at U.S. News & World Report, writing a biweekly column on politics.  In 2017, she co-founded and hosted the political podcast “Bipodisan.” Since 2004, Ms. Cary has been an Advisory Board member of the George and Barbara Bush Foundation, and she was part of CNN’s international coverage of President Bush’s state funeral in 2018. In 2014, Ms. Cary was the executive producer of “41ON41,” an award-winning documentary about President Bush 41 which premiered internationally on CNN.

Cheril Clarke

Cheril Clarke

Cheril Clarke is a multi-faceted writer whose body of work encompasses a unique blend of creative and business writing. She began her career 20 years ago as a creative writer and has since penned several novels, short stories, children’s books, poetry collections, and award-winning stage plays. As a business writer, Cheril is the founder of Phenomenal Writing, LLC, an executive communications agency that provides speech and ghostwriting services to executives and entrepreneurs. With a background deeply rooted in creative writing, Cheril has the unique ability to easily connect with audiences of all types. She has written speeches and corporate communications for clients worldwide. Her business writing has most recently been noted by The Washington Post and USA Today.

Mary C. Daly

Mary C. Daly

Mary C. Daly is the President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. As a participant on the Federal Open Market Committee, she helps set American monetary policy that promotes a healthy and stable economy. Since taking office in October 2018, Dr. Daly has committed to making the San Francisco Fed a more community-engaged bank that is transparent and responsive to the people it serves.

Jeff Davenport

Jeff Davenport

For the last six years, Jeff Davenport has enjoyed coaching dozens of Fortune 500 executives to tell their stories clearly. He is the co-author of Duarte’s Captivate™ Public Speaking Workshop, which he frequently facilitates, and as a coach, Jeff is an expert at helping his clients relax and find their voice. He emphasizes trust, authenticity, and having fun with the experience. Jeff knows that if he can get you to enjoy the ride, your audience will enjoy it, too. In addition to speaking, Jeff has a passion for writing and storytelling. He’s written a series of television movies that were produced by NBC, has created presentations for some of the best-known brands in the world, and has won a Cicero speechwriting award. Jeff holds a master’s degree in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California.

Isabelle Gaudeul-Ehrhart

Isabelle Gaudeul-Ehrhart

As speechwriter to the President of the European Commission, Isabelle Gaudeul-Ehrhart’s daily quest is to find the words and stories that will resonate with audiences on a continental scale. Building the leadership of the first woman President of the European Commission, weaving together complex policies and the rich cultural heritage of Europe, reaching out to audiences with diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds are some of her favorite challenges. Isabelle notably led the network of the European Commission speechwriters and is the founder of www.logospathosethos.eu, a website dedicated to the art of speeches in Europe today.

Dan Gerstein

Dan Gerstein

Dan Gerstein is founder and CEO of Gotham Ghostwriters, the country’s premier ghostwriting agency. A graduate of Harvard College, Gerstein has been writing and communicating professionally for more than 30 years. He started his career as a local sports and news reporter at the Hartford Courant. He then went on to spend 11 years as a speechwriter and communications strategist on Capitol Hill and for two presidential campaigns, serving as a senior advisor to Senator Joe Lieberman from his home state of Connecticut. In 2004, Gerstein moved to New York to become a political consultant (primarily working with issue advocacy groups) and commentator. Known for his independent, thoughtful analysis, he has served as a contributing columnist for Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and Politico. He has also appeared regularly on television as a political analyst for Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, WNBC-TV, and NY1. He is proud to be a co-founder of the Professional Speechwriters Association and speaks regularly about the ghostwriting and speechwriting professions. He lives in New York City with his wife Simona and their dog Ugo.

Dr. Lindsay Hayes

Dr. Lindsay Hayes

Dr. Lindsay Hayes is the President and CEO of Free the Facts. Previously, she served as a writer and communications consultant in the White House, the U.S. Senate, a Cabinet-level agency, and on several political campaigns. Hayes was the director of speechwriting for Romney-Ryan 2012 and part of the McCain-Palin writing team in 2008. Through her firm, Redpath Writing, she has assisted corporate, political, and non-profit clients with a wide range of projects, including former Speaker of the U.S. House Paul Ryan’s NYT bestseller The Way Forward. Hayes holds a B.A. from Boston College and received her master’s degree and Ph.D. in political communication from the University of Maryland, where she taught undergraduate courses for over a decade.

Mette Hojen

Mette Hojen

Mette Hojen is a public speaking coach, keynote speaker and author of Business Rhetoric – How to turn your words into gold. Mette works as strategist and performance trainer for European top CXO’s. She’s co-founder of Work in Tune.

Brian Jenner

Brian Jenner

Brian Jenner is the founder of the European Speechwriter Network, which has hosted 19 international conferences in the past 11 years. He has worked as an independent professional speechwriter for over 20 years. He is the author of five books including Eloquence – A Treasury of Speechwriting Advice and Trade Secrets – Jokes, stories and quotations for desperate speechwriters. He is based in Bournemouth in England.

Rosemary King

Rosemary King

Rosemary King, PhD, is a sought-after leadership communication consultant. She served as speechwriter for Defense Secretary Robert Gates and two chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers and General Peter Pace. She lives in Portland, Oregon. She’s on the faculty of the Professional Speechwriters Association’s twice annual Speechwriting School, and is a founding instructor of the PSA’s Military Speechwriting Training.

David Kusnet

David Kusnet

After working as a speechwriter for Democratic presidential nominees Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis, David Kusnet showed that the third time really is the charm when he served as chief speechwriter for Bill Clinton in the 1992 campaign and the first two years in the White House. Published early in 1992, Kusnet’s book, Speaking American: How the Democrats Can Win in the Nineties was seen as the “messaging manual” for the first Clinton campaign, advocating an economic populism that is still timely today. He is also the author of Love the Work, Hate the Job: Why America’s Best Workers Are More Unhappy than Ever and To Build New York: 100 Years of Infrastructure, as well as co-authoring America Needs a Raise with former AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and Talking Past Each Other: What Everyday Americans Really Think (and Elites Don’t Get) about the Economy.

Angee Linsey

Angee Linsey

In 2008, Angee Linsey created Linsey Careers, a boutique executive search and career coaching firm, with the goal of helping companies find and retain outstanding marketing and communications talent—and helping outstanding practitioners in this field find amazing new opportunities, and manage their career with intention. She is the author of Dare to be Deliberate – Level Up Your Communications Career, a guide for mid-to-senior communicators. Based in Seattle, Angee enjoys traveling the world as well as staying close to home enjoying all that the Pacific Northwest offers.

Nicole Lowenbraun

Nicole Lowenbraun

Nicole Lowenbraun is an executive speaker coach and content developer at Duarte, where she helps business professionals improve their corporate communication skills in a variety of settings (on stage, in meetings, virtually, in training rooms). Her coaching includes both style & delivery instruction, as well as content development and is conducted in-person or virtually, one-on-one or in a group setting.

Sharon McIntosh

Sharon McIntosh

Sharon McIntosh is president of And Then Communications. With more than two decades of communications experience, she has a passion for creating and executing new ideas to drive employee engagement at Fortune 500 companies. Now she’s turning her attention to helping other organizations great and small do the same. Most recently she served as PepsiCo’s vice president of Global Internal Communications, overseeing the company’s efforts to connect with its more than 274,000 employees worldwide. Before joining PepsiCo in 2004, Sharon spent seven years at Sears. Prior to Sears, she worked at Waste Management, publishing more than 14 annual reports for various business units, managing shareholder meetings, drafting senior executive speeches and handling media relations.

David Murray

David Murray

David Murray is founder and executive director of the Executive Communication Council and also the Professional Speechwriters Association. He’s editor and publisher of Vital Speeches of the Day magazine. And he’s the author of the forthcoming book, An Effort to Understand: Hearing One Another (and Ourselves) in a Nation Cracked In Half (Disruption Books, 2021). He lives in Chicago, with his wife Cristie Bosch and daughter Scout Murray.

James Rowe

James Rowe

In the spring of ’92, James Rowe shelved his surfboard and sold his Honda CRX to finance a summer job working on the soap opera, As the World Turns in New York City. Since then, Rowe has worked for more than 25 years as an award-winning producer, director, writer and editor in film and video production. Today, Rowe has taken his storytelling to the web, as Creative Director for the UPS Executive Communications team. He works with a brigade of talented writers, designers and editors to create and curate content for Longitudes, UPS’s thought leadership blog. Since joining the team, he’s brought podcasting and video to the site, launching UPS’s flagship podcast, Longitudes Radio. Currently, the podcast ranks in the top 15 percent of all podcasts produced in terms of popularity. In addition to Longitudes, Rowe develops leads creative for executive speaking events, live events and social campaigns for UPS Communications.

Robert Schlesinger

Robert Schlesinger

Robert Schlesinger was a longtime journalist and commentator before going into business as a ghostwriter and editorial consultant. He was previously Managing Editor for Opinion at U.S. News & World Report, where he both oversaw and contributed commentary on politics and current affairs. His work has also appeared in such publications as NBC News’ Think section, The Washington Monthly, The Weekly Standard, Salon.com, The American Conservative, Mother Jones, Campaigns & Elections, The Washington Post, The Washington Examiner, People and The Hill, among others. He previously worked at The Boston Globe, The Hill and the Center for Public Integrity. His book White House Ghosts: Presidents and Their Speechwriters, a narrative history of presidential ghostwriters from FDR through George W. Bush, was published to critical acclaim in 2008.

Janet Stovall

Janet Stovall

Janet Stovall is executive communication manager at UPS. Prior to joining UPS, Janet founded and served as principal of The Point Communications, a marketing communications and PR consulting firm. For more than 20 years, she developed, implemented, and managed marketing strategies and executive positioning projects for leading U.S. companies, advising, scripting, ghostwriting articles, books and presentations for some of the country’s leading thought leaders. Her work has been published extensively in Vital Speeches of the Day and has garnered numerous awards. She is a frequent speaker on issues of diversity and inclusion, and her TED Talk on that subject has been viewed more than 1.5 million times.

 

Jonas Wiik

Jonas Wiik

Jonas Wiik is solo trumpet player at The Royal Danish Orchestra, international trumpet soloist and assistant professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. Jonas coaches top CXO’s in personal performance. He’s co-founder of Work in Tune.

Teresa Zumwald

Teresa Zumwald

Opening her own shop in 1989 was an experiment that’s never ended for Teresa Zumwald, a speechwriter, speech coach, communications consultant and three-time corporate history book author at Zumwald & Company, LLC. Since 2012, her client speeches have won 16 awards including 10 Cicero Speechwriting Awards from Vital Speeches of the Day. Recently she collaborated as the writer of a business book, authored by an executive, that was published in 2020. Teresa earned a B.A. in journalism from The Ohio State University and later trained under an international speechwriter and speech coach. Among her speechwriting and leadership communication clients are board chairs, CEOs, presidents, vice presidents, entrepreneurs and subject matter experts, and a former chairman of the board of two global manufacturing companies based in Europe.

SPONSORS

Founded in 2014, Disruption Books is an independent publisher focused on nonfiction thought leadership. We publish innovative nonfiction that will start conversations, shift perspectives, and influence outcomes. Our books present big ideas from leaders in diverse fields such as politics, philanthropy, business, and activism. We seek authors who are looking to shake things up.

Gotham stands alone as the first and last word in ghostwriting—a one-stop solution for any author or speaker looking for help telling and selling a story. Whether they’re working on a big-think book, speech, article, memoir, corporate or family history, cookbook, or screenplay, our clients all have one thing in common—they’ve found the right partner for their project.

FAQ—How Does a Virtual Conference Work, Exactly?

What is a virtual conference?

The Professional Speechwriters Association seeks to make this remote-learning conference as interactive and convivial as its beloved in-person event held annually at Georgetown University in D.C. Through innovative tech and the most thoughtful planning, World Conference participants will come away from this event with the professional knowledge they need and the feeling of belonging that the conference has become known for.

How do the “Among Friends” networking sessions work, exactly?

Pretty much the way networking goes at the in-person conference. You walk into a virtual “room,” you see who’s sitting at virtual “tables,” you ascertain what the people at the tables are talking about, and you decide where to “sit.”

Can several people from my company login to the virtual conference at the same time?

No. This event is restricted to only one login, so only one computer can be connected to the webcast at any time. You can have multiple people in a room viewing the virtual conference, but not multiple people watching from their individual computers.

What if I miss a part of the conference?

Links to all sessions are available a day or two after the session, and viewable anytime between the conference and the end of the calendar year, 2020.

REGISTER

Cancellations Policy
No refunds on cancellations less than 30 days before the event. Within 30 days, your payment will be credited toward a future Professional Speechwriters Association event.

$995 2020 PSA World Conference, October 19-23


($746 for members of the Professional Speechwriters Association. Discount is automatically applied to cart when current members are logged in.)

 

$295 Preconference Workshop on October 19

($221 for members of the Professional Speechwriters Association. Discount is automatically applied to cart when current members are logged in.)

 

Phone registrations please call 312-585-6383.

Credentials to access the event will be sent the week of October 12.

$295.00$995.00

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