By the time we’re together in Washington, it’ll have been three years since the last murmuration of global speechwriters.

So there’s little need to emphasize the importance of this reunion of the silent profession: We all feel it.

We flock together to learn new skills that the world demands of us now—and to remember the timeless value of good rhetoric.

To learn from colleagues who are making a great impact with their work.

To connect with colleagues, for safety and comfort, and to fly for a couple of days in formation—visual, visceral proof that in our lonely striving for a better world through better leadership communication, we have wing mates.


(All Times ET)


Preconference Workshops (Optional)

Workshop A (9:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.)

Crisis Communications: A Speechwriter’s Guide to Preparing Strategically and Acting Effectively

Used to be, a crisis demanding timely and effective top-level leadership communication came along once every few years. As such events are far more frequent now, responsible speechwriters must ready themselves as trusted advisors and helpful aides to calibrate leadership communication correctly.

“Between self-destructive blabbering and self-defeating silence,” says leadership crisis guru Helio Fred Garcia, “there’s a lot of room to maneuver.”

Garcia is here to help you find that space—before the crisis comes. In this workshop, you will learn:

  • Constructive conversations to have with leaders, attorneys and other advisors ahead of a crisis, about a “decision criteria” on when and what to communicate.
  • A template for a leader’s statement that can be drafted and delivered at the very outset of the crisis, when time is of the essence.
  • All the elements that a corporate apology must have—and how to get it past the lawyers.
  • A blow-by-blow guide to how speechwriters should talk with leaders during a crisis to get to a communication response that maintains trust in the organization while not increasing legal liability.
  • How restore trust once it has been lost: The language of redemption, and the trust drivers it must address.

You’ll walk out of this session much more professionally prepared for what(ever) is coming next.

Workshop B: (1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.)

Humor Is Serious Business: How to Make Your Boring Boss Funny, Without Getting Anyone Fired

There’s a reason speechwriters and their leaders want to use humor in speeches. Humor can make a point more memorable, help diffuse a difficult situation, expose the flaw in an opposing idea. Most importantly, humor can help characterize a leader as someone people just might want to follow.

So why are so few speeches funny? Fear. Fear of silence. Fear of embarrassment. Fear that you just don’t know how to “write funny.”

At the end of this session, you will. Speechwriters and go-to Washington humorists Chandler Dean and Eric Schnure will show you how to bring humor to speeches and use wit to make messages more meaningful.

You will leave with the skills you need to get low-risk, high-reward laughs. In this workshop, you will:

  • Learn the golden rule(s) of humor and why getting laughs means being liked.
  • Use the “clustering technique” employed by late night comedians and writers.
  • Apply the art of improvespecially when scripted.
  • Realize how research—against all odds—is a humor writer’s best friend.
  • Identify the “line,” and how to avoid crossing it.
  • Learn how to be funnier than you ever thought you could be—and how to make your boss funnier than an executive should be.


8:30 a.m.-9:00 a.m. • Breakfast and Conversation

9:00-9:15 • Opening remarks by PSA Executive Director David Murray and AARP Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff Kevin Donnellan

9:15-10:30 • Immortality, Achieved: An Audience with Brenda Jones, Longtime Speechwriter to Congressman John Lewis

Brenda Jones was dubbed “The Wordsmith and Whisperer to John Lewis,” in The Atlantic. But when she started working for the Congressman back 2003, it was her very first speechwriting job. And though he was a civil rights icon, Lewis wasn’t quite the national moral figure America would come to know over the next 16 years of her tenure. As Lewis’s speechwriter and communications director—and eventually his book collaborator—Jones came to sync so well with him that the two of them needed only a few words between them to understand what kind of words a speech needed. What they achieved together is a stunning and moving best-case scenario for a speechmaking team. Brenda Jones will share their secrets with her speechwriting sistren and brethren, in hopes they might apply them in service of other great leaders and other righteous causes.

10:30-11:00 • Candid Collegial Conversations. Let’s skip the small talk: Over the last three years, what did you learn about speechwriting and leadership communication—and your relationship to this work?

11:00-12:00 • Writing and Managing Virtual Presentations: How to Go from Good to Great, in a Format That Isn’t Going Anywhere

You’ve likely been supporting your leaders in remote presentations for a couple years now. But are you doing it as effectively as you can? You’ll find out in this session, with Patti Sanchez, chief strategy officer of the legendary Silicon Valley design firm Duarte, Inc. Sanchez will share insights she learned while researching and writing Duarte’s new guide, Presenting Virtually: Communicate and Connect with Online Audiences. You’ll learn to: choose the right presentation format for every communication situation; create content that engages hearts and minds even in this flat medium; design clear and effective slides that rivet eyeballs to the screen; step up your speaker’s tech setup; and teach your speaker the absolute must of making the absolute most of voice and gestures. And along the way: You’ll learn how to become a more effective online presenter and communicator yourself.

12:00 p.m.-12:45 p.m. Lunch with Industry Colleagues. Scribe, find your tribe, at labeled tables full of colleagues from specific sectors in business, government, nonprofit, university and independent speechwriting.

12:45-1:15 • Speechwriter, Spiel Thyself! A Crowdsourcing Idea Frenzy

One-minute work hacks, from the only other people in the world who do what you do. If you had one hard-earned tip to share with your speechwriting colleagues, what would it be? Think on it—and bring it to share.

1:15-1:30 • Break

1:30-4:00 • Breakout Sessions, for Your Craft & Career: Six Sessions in Two Tracks


Craft Track: What Every Speechwriter Should Know About Wikipedia

Everyone wants a Wikipedia page for themselves, their CEO, or their organization, yet few people know what it takes to create one. Wikipedia’s requirements are exacting, says writer Jonathan Rick, who helps clients navigate Wikipedia. You need to develop a case, using only sources that Wikipedia recognizes, explaining why your client warrants inclusion in a global encyclopedia. The same principle applies if you want to edit an existing page. In this session, you’ll learn the six rules of Wikipedia sourcing—and how to help your client meet the standard.

Career Track: The State of the Independent Speechwriting Market

What’s the going rate for a 20-minute speech? What kinds of speeches are clients farming out to freelancers these days, and why? What other kinds of work do they need? Can speechwriters get into the book-ghostwriting game? Is this a good time to go independent? Whatever your questions, you’ll learn what’s what from the two people who know more independent writers—and more clients—than anyone on the planet: Gotham Ghostwriters founder and president Dan Gerstein and Washington Writers Network founder and president Rob Noel.


Craft Track: Comfort, Respect, Honor and Inspire: The Art and Science of Writing Unforgettable Eulogies and Tributes

One of the most reliable aspects of a speechwriter’s work is finding words to deliver at funerals and memorial services. How do you find the right balance between acknowledging grief and the pain of loss, and bringing a sense of hope? How do you produce a speech that honors the deceased in an authentic way, while also enabling your client to show compassion, empathy and leadership? Speechwriter Graham Shelby has written many eulogies, primarily for Louisville Mayor (and former U.S. Conference of Mayors President) Greg Fischer—including the first public eulogy for Muhammad Ali, which was broadcast around the world. He will share what he has learned.

Career Track: The State of the Art of the Independent Speechwriting Game

Independent speechwriting—nobody has done it more successfully for longer than Teresa Zumwald. Nobody has done it more purposefully or happily than Rosemary King. And nobody has done it more fearlessly than Justine Adelizzi. These three role models will tell you their secrets to sustainable, independent speechwriting, and answer every question you have—how to find good clients, how to keep them—and how to do maximum-meaningful work that fills your soul and your coffers, both.


Craft Track: How to Spread the Wisdom of Your Institution, One Three-Minute Talk at a Time

At Ohio Wesleyan University, chief communications officer Will Kopp initiated i-Cubed, a program in which a lineup of 10 faculty members, selected by students, present three-minute lectures on topics of their choice. Since its inception in 2016, the annual i³ event has packed in standing-room crowds and has become one of the most popular happenings on campus. Videos of the presentations have been viewed more than 200,000 times. Kopp will share what he’s learned in helping these presenters with writing and rehearsing, and show you how you might do something similar in your own organization.

Career Track: Humble Servants with a Superiority Complex: How to Manage Your Own Ego, Too

A requirement for every good speechwriter is an ability to put one’s ego aside in service of a larger goal—namely, a content and confident speaker. But what does this look like in practice? Sociolinguist Gwynne Mapes shares insights from her three-year study on speechwriters and their work, demonstrating how it is possible (and even advisable) to claim expertise and creative skill/integrity while still serving the needs of the principal. Based on deep original research, Mapes will tell you how some of today’s top speechwriters not only manage speakers’ egos, but also their own.

3:50-4:00 • Reconvene in Brickfield

4:00-5:00“Smart brevity”: Is this the new speechwriter’s mantra? (Or not?)

Thirty years ago, speechwriters were grudgingly learning how to weave pithy “sound bites” into long speeches, so they’d be quoted on TV and in print. Now in the age of Twitter—and after the acceleration of Zoom—just how are speeches supposed to be constructed, and how short do they have to be? We’ll ask Roy Schwartz, the co-founder and president of Axios, a company that has made a place in the media landscape by providing “smart, efficient news worthy of your time, attention and trust.” Probably, most speechwriters—and speakers—would love to have their oral communication described that way, too. But at what cost to substance—and to the rhythm and mood and that also helps bond a speaker to an audience and audience members together? Speechwriter and leadership communication consultant Kristen Daly will interview Schwartz about his concept of “smart brevity”—and we’ll all discuss how it applies to us.

5:00-7:00 • Drink Together, Think Together: Cocktails with Your Colleagues, sponsored by the Cicero Speechwriting Awards. On a glorious rooftop patio overlooking the Washington Mall, members of the Discretion Profession will swap stories, share laughs, drown sorrows and celebrate one another’s success as we toast the winners of the 2022 Cicero Speechwriting Awards. Perennially, one of the happiest moments of the speechwriting year.


8:30 a.m.-9:00 a.m. • Breakfast and Conversation

9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m. • What Is Speechwriting Now? A PSA Town Hall

At the inaugural PSA World Conference, in 2014, there was an open debate about whether we had even given the fledgling organization the right name. Wasn’t “speechwriter” becoming an antiquated term? Wasn’t “speechwriting” too narrow a role? Shouldn’t we call it something like the Society of Leadership Communicators? And whatever the organization was named, what could it and its members do to make their work easier and more fulfilling and more effective?

It’s time to have that conversation again: With a panel of star speechwriters, we’ll discuss:

  • “Career-pathing,” for speechwriters: How speechwriting can serve as a springboard to a more ambitious communication career.
  • Alternatively, can speechwriting be a career-long specialty in this age of talking points and video presentations and panel chats?
  • Ask not what the PSA can do for you—ask what you can do, for the PSA. At our ninth annual World Conference—and trembling on the eve of our 10th—what should this organization’s leaders and its members be doing for the next decade, to continue to make this professional house a better (and more modern) professional home.

Come with opinions, come with ideas—and come ready to express them.

MODERATOR: Eric Schnure, former speechwriter to Vice President Al Gore, former speechwriter to GE CEO Jeff Immelt, co-author, The Political Speechwriter’s Companion. PANELISTS: Jim Reische, chief communications officer, Williams College; Jackie Fearer, head of culture and engagement communications, Iron Mountain; former VP of executive communications at Fidelity Investments; Isabelle Gaudeul-Ehrhart, former speechwriter to the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and owner of the rhetoric website logospathosethos.eu; Michael Franklin, co-founder, Speechwriters of Color; and Julie Lasson, CEO communications associate, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.


10:45-11:45 • Writers of the Lost Art: A Locknote Address, on the Future of Speechwriting

The pandemic has left us all wondering what the future will look like for speechwriters. How has the COVID experience changed our profession? Will we still have a role in a post-pandemic world, or is speechwriting indeed a lost art? Well, the legendary speechwriter and our conference host Boe Workman ought to know something about the staying power of speechwriting, for he has been CEO communications director at AARP for 30 years and four CEOs, including current CEO Jo Ann Jenkins, who will introduce him. Boe will draw upon his vast experience as a speechwriter and his deep knowledge of rhetoric to give us the long view, arguing that even though our profession continues to evolve, speechwriters provide an essential rhetorical perspective that leaders will continue to value, as long as civilization endures.

11:45-Noon • Closing Remarks, by PSA Executive Director David Murray


Justine Adelizzi

Justine Adelizzi

Justine Adelizzi is an award-winning speechwriter, executive communications strategist, and the founder of FEARLESScomms. Justine serves as a trusted advisor to executives at the highest levels of the public and private sector, writes for national and international audiences, and has prepared speakers for events like SXSW and Aspen Ideas. In 2021, Justine founded FEARLESScomms, a communications, coaching, and consulting firm dedicated to creating better leaders and better leadership storytelling. She prides herself on helping executives and entrepreneurs find their voice and become the most confident, authentic, and effective versions of themselves.

Kristen Daly

Kristen Daly

Kristen Daly is the Principal/Owner of KDaly Communications LLC in Boston. She has spent the past three decades in the communication industry. After television she took her storytelling passion to public relations as Vice President of a boutique agency representing luxury brands, nonprofits and professional athletes. Today Kristen is a sought after partner for CEO’s and executives who trust her with their brands and reputations. From speechwriting to message development to media training and presentation delivery, KDalyCo works with a variety of professionals in a wide range of industries. Kristen is known for her no-nonsense approach, direct style and proven trademarked methods that cut through the noise and deliver results. She is a proud member of the Professional Speechwriters Association and the winner of several leadership and industry awards for her work. She is also a frequent speaker and moderator. Kristen is a graduate of Framingham State University where she holds a bachelors degree in Communication and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Chandler Dean

Chandler Dean

Chandler Dean is a Director at West Wing Writers, where he co-leads the speechwriting firm’s humor practice—writing jokes, satire, toasts, and roasts for celebrities, business leaders, and high-profile politicians. Outside of work hours, Chandler’s humor writing has been published in The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Reductress, and Hard Drive. His online content has garnered tens of millions of views across YouTube and Twitter, and has been featured in The New York Times, Vulture, and TIME. Prior to his time at West Wing Writers, Chandler worked for late night shows like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.

Kevin Donnellan

Kevin Donnellan

As Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff, Kevin Donnellan provides the link between the CEO and AARP’s Executive and Leadership Teams, working to enhance organizational development, build constructive internal and external partnerships, oversee the implementation of AARP’s enterprise strategy, solve management problems, and deal with sensitive issues before they are brought to the Chief Executive. He is responsible for all internal communications, executive positioning and public outreach functions of the enterprise. And, he also serves as a key liaison with AARP’s Board of Directors, as well as the Boards of AARP Services, Inc., and AARP Foundation. During his 35-plus years at AARP, Mr. Donnellan has led many of the organization’s most visible and impactful programs, including AARP’s legislative, advocacy, training and communications programs. He is recognized broadly for his understanding of the interplay and nuance of business, politics and social change. Prior to joining AARP, Donnellan was Executive/Legislative Assistant to US Representative (and former Vice-Presidential candidate) Geraldine A. Ferraro. He currently serves on several Boards and chairs the Ideagen Impact and Thought Leader Council.

Jackie Fearer

Jackie Fearer

Jackie Fearer is an award-winning speechwriter with 20+ years of experience in executive, internal, client, and industry communications. Beginning her career as a teacher and a newspaper editor, Jackie went on to specialize in leadership communications at Fidelity Investments for 24 years. From 2017 through 2020, Jackie was an executive communications consultant, working with corporate clients in a number of industries, including biotech, financial services, life sciences, publishing, and technology. In 2021, Jackie joined Iron Mountain as head of culture and engagement communications. Jackie is a member of the Professional Speechwriters Association and has served on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Business Communicators and for Veterans Legal Services.

Michael Franklin

Michael Franklin

Michael Franklin is the co-founder of Speechwriters of Color, owner of Words Normalize Behavior LLC, and a Communications Associate at Black Futures Lab. A graduate of Howard University, Michael’s expertise centers around bringing people together and helping others tell their stories through coalition building, targeted outreach, and inclusive communications practices. Michael has previously worked with The Collective PAC, Fenway Strategies, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. His words have been seen or quoted in various media outlets including BBC News, Washington Post, LA Times, and more.

Helio Fred Garcia

Helio Fred Garcia

For more than 40 years Helio Fred Garcia has helped leaders build trust, inspire loyalty, and lead effectively. He is the president of the crisis management firm Logos Consulting Group. Fred is in his 34th year on the New York University faculty, where he has been named Executive MBA Great Professor. He teaches crisis management in the Executive MBA and MS in Risk Management programs, and crisis communication in the MS in Public Relations and Corporate Communication program. He is also on the graduate faculty of Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, where he teaches ethics, leadership, and crisis management. He has written five books on crisis, leadership, and communication.

Isabelle Gaudeul-Ehrhart

Isabelle Gaudeul-Ehrhart

How to grab the audience’s attention, engage in conversation, and win hearts and minds? These are the questions that have driven Isabelle Gaudeul-Ehrhart throughout her career from print journalism to speechwriter to the President of the European Commission. Today in the European Parliament’s Thinktank, where she founded and leads the Speaking with impact community of practice, she helps speakers and leaders to speak with impact. She pursues her passion for word power and power words on her website: logospathosethos.eu.

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. 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, their daughter Ella, and their dog Ugo.

Jo Ann Jenkins

Jo Ann Jenkins

As CEO of AARP, Jo Ann Jenkins leads the world’s largest non-profit, nonpartisan membership organization with nearly 38 million members. Since 2014, Jo Ann has transformed AARP into a leader in social change empowering all people to choose how they live as they age. Under her leadership, AARP has won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, has been recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies, and has been named to the Washington Post’s Top Workplaces and Fast Company’s Best Workplaces for Innovators. Her best-selling book, Disrupt Aging, (with Boe Workman) has become a signature rallying cry for revolutionizing society’s views on aging. In 2019 and 2021, Fortune named her “One of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.”

Brenda Jones

Brenda Jones

Brenda Jones is an award-winning political communicator, speechwriter and author who worked in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, DC for nearly 16 years. She was the primary speechwriter and lead communications strategist for the late Rep. John Lewis and was dubbed “the John Lewis whisperer,” by Roll Call magazine. She is the author of a four-book series on political women called Queens of the Resistance about the lives of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Chairwoman Maxine Waters, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released in 2020. In 2015, she was named “One of the 20 Most Powerful Women Staffers on Capitol Hill” by National Journal magazine. In 2012, she won an NAACP Image Award for her book collaboration with Lewis called Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change. The book went on to reach The New York Times Bestseller List in 2020.

Rosemary King

Rosemary King

Rosemary King, PhD, is a sought-after independent speechwriter and 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’s the cofounder of the Professional Speechwriter’s Association’s Military Speechwriting School. Her clients have included Starbucks, Toyota, Feeding America, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, ABC News, and the City of Portland, Oregon, where she lives.

Will Kopp

Will Kopp

Will Kopp began writing speeches full time in the 1990s at Battelle Memorial Institute and Ohio State University. His speeches, opinion pieces, and articles for leaders in higher education and science and technology have been published and quoted widely. He has continued to keep his hands in speechwriting, and since 2004, he has led broader communication and branding initiatives in a variety of media. He currently is Chief Communications Officer at Ohio Wesleyan University, overseeing all communications and serving as editor of the alumni magazine and as web strategy and content leader. Will is a long-distance runner and walker, completing 60-plus marathons and several long hikes, including a 177-mile walk along the border between Wales and England.

Julie Lasson

Julie Lasson

Julie Lasson is a speechwriter and executive communications professional at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Her work received a 2022 Cicero Speechwriting Award in the Banking and Financial Services category. She began her speechwriting career at the Office of the President at Yeshiva University but enjoyed writing and delivering speeches long before then. She holds an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a B.A. from Yeshiva University.

Gwynne Mapes

Gwynne Mapes

Gwynne Mapes is a postdoc researcher and lecturer at the University of Bern, Switzerland, where she also completed her PhD in Language and Communication in 2018. Her research falls under the domain of critical sociolinguistics and discourse analysis—she focuses on language in the context of social class; food; material culture; authenticity; (new) media; and most recently, (political) speechwriting. Dr. Mapes has presented/published widely on these topics at academic conferences and in journals such as Language in Society and Journal of Sociolinguistics. Her first book, Elite Authenticity: Remaking Distinction in Food Discourse (2021) was published this past year by Oxford University Press.

David Murray

David Murray

David Murray is founder and executive director of the Professional Speechwriters Association and the Executive Communication Council. He is an award-winning journalist and is editor and publisher of Vital Speeches of the Day, one of the world’s longest continuously published magazines. Murray is author of several books, including this year’s communication blockbuster, An Effort to Understand: Hearing One Another (and Ourselves) in a Nation Cracked in Half (Disruption Books, 2021). He lives with his wife Cristie Bosch and daughter Scout Murray, in Chicago.

Rob Noel

Rob Noel

Rob Noel is an award-winning speechwriter and communications advisor who has worked with senior leaders across business and government, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue, Docusign CEO Keith Krach, and Senator Marco Rubio. He is the president of Washington Writers Network, an agency of more than 100 of the top writers in Washington, D.C., including speechwriters to the past six U.S. presidents, journalists, columnists, and many others. Rob also teaches speechwriting at George Washington University. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Jim Reische

Jim Reische

Jim Reische is Chief Communications Officer at Williams College. Jim previously served in similar roles at St. John’s College and Grinnell College. Before that he was, successively, executive editor of the University of Michigan Press and senior editor and assistant campaign director at Michigan’s Office of University Development. In addition to his writing support for college officers, Jim has published under his own byline in Call to Action, Inside Higher Ed’s blog for communications professionals, and in The New York Times. He has co-chaired CASE’s national conference for media relations professionals several times and co-facilitates a higher education speechwriters’ group affiliated with the Professional Speechwriters’ Association. He also co-organizes the biennial meeting of communications leaders in NESCAC, the New England conference of liberal arts colleges and universities.

Jonathan Rick

Jonathan Rick

For 15 years, Jonathan Rick has helped individuals and organizations navigate Wikipedia. He’s collaborated with a wide variety of clients, ranging from business leaders, politicians, and celebrities to Fortune 500 firms, government agencies, and to nonprofits. For 10 years, Mr. Rick has also taught business writing at the University of Maryland at College Park. In his spare time, he swims on a Masters team. He does not play Wordle.

Patti Sanchez

Patti Sanchez

Patti Sanchez has over 30 years of experience in developing transformative communications for brands and causes. She is the author of Presenting Virtually: Communicate and Connect with Online Audiences and co-author of Illuminate: Ignite Change Through Speeches, Stories, Ceremonies, and Symbols. As Chief Strategy Officer for Duarte, Inc., Patti develops products for the training business and teaches leaders how to create authentic connections with their audiences and influence change through persuasive communication.

Eric Schnure

Eric Schnure

Eric Schnure is an independent leadership communication strategist who served as Director of Executive Communications at GE and now helps high-profile leaders across sectors become more effective communicators. A sought-after humor writer in Washington, Schnure began his communications career in the White House in 1993 as a speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore. He teaches speechwriting at American University and Johns Hopkins University and conducts popular workshops all over the world. He is the co-author, along with Bob Lehrman, of The Political Speechwriter’s Companion, 2nd Ed. (SAGE, August 2019).

Roy Schwartz

Roy Schwartz

Roy Schwartz is the co-founder and President of Axios, a media company focused on breaking news and invaluable insights across business, politics, technology and the world. Axios helps readers and viewers get smarter, faster across the consequential topics reshaping our country and lives. Schwartz also serves as executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning docu-news series “Axios on HBO.” Under his leadership, Axios was listed as one of Fast Company’s “World’s Most Innovative Companies 2018” and announced as Washington Business Journal’s “2021 Fastest Growing Companies.” Schwartz is the former chief revenue officer for POLITICO. Schwartz was born in Israel and grew up in England. He has a bachelor’s degree and M.B.A. from the University of Maryland.

Graham Shelby

Graham Shelby

Graham Shelby writes for several leaders in Kentucky state government, including Governor Andy Beshear, Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman and Cabinet Secretary Eric Friedlander. He previously served as speechwriter to Louisville Mayor and then-U.S. Conference of Mayors president Greg Fischer. Graham has also written for numerous business leaders and candidates for office as well as the NY Times and Reader’s Digest. He’s also a Moth storyteller and story slam host who has appeared on NPR’s The Moth Radio Hour.

Boe Workman

Boe Workman

As the Director of CEO Communications at AARP, Boe Workman serves as the chief speechwriter for CEO, Jo Ann Jenkins. He was also the chief speechwriter for AARP’s three previous CEOs dating back to 1993. He has received more than 50 awards for speechwriting including 11 prestigious Cicero Speechwriting Awards and three APEX Grand Awards. His speeches have appeared in Vital Speeches of the Day, the Business Speaker’s Almanac, Representative American Speeches, and numerous business and industry publications, as well as textbooks. He is co-author of Jo Ann Jenkins’ national best seller, Disrupt Aging: A Bold New Path to Living Your Best Life at Every Age, and of 50+: Igniting a Revolution to Reinvent America, by Bill Novelli. He has edited several other books and has authored numerous articles and book chapters. He has also taught at the university level. Boe currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Professional Speechwriters Association and is a founding member of the Executive Communication Council. He received his Ph.D. in speech communication from Indiana University.

Teresa Zumwald

Teresa Zumwald

Opening her own shop in 1989 was an experiment that’s never ended for Teresa Zumwald, a speechwriter, speech coach, executive communications adviser and three-time corporate history book author at Zumwald & Company, LLC. Her speeches have won 22 awards including 15 Cicero Speechwriting Awards from Vital Speeches of the Day. Among her clients are board chairs, C-suite leaders, entrepreneurs and subject matter experts from the Fortune 500 and other U.S. and international firms including the former owner of two global manufacturing companies based in Europe. She recently collaborated as the writer of a business book, authored by an executive, that was published in 2020 for stakeholders of a private corporation. Teresa earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and later trained under an international speechwriter and speech coach.


AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and social connectedness. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

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.



AARP’s National Office
601 E Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20049


The PSA has secured a limited room block at the Hampton Inn Convention Center, a short nine-minute walk to our conference space at AARP’s National Office. To reserve under the room block, please click here to book online or call 202-842-2500 and reference “Professional Speechwriters”. We cannot guarantee room availability after the cut-off date of Saturday, September 10, 2022, or once the discounted room block is sold out.


From Reagan National Airport, AARP’s National Office and the Hampton Inn Convention Center are conveniently reached by cab or car, and economically reached by taking the Metro.

Chinatown/Gallery Place 
(Red, Yellow & Green Lines) 
630 H St NW 
Washington, D.C. 20001


Parking is available in nearby pay-to-park garages—both underneath the AARP offices at 601 E Street – LAZ Parking, and directly across the street at 600 E St NW – ParkChirp.


The World Conference is in person this year, but is there a virtual version?

Yes, you may register for a virtual version of the conference, and access all conference sessions live online. You’ll be able to participate in Q&A sessions with speakers. And there will be Zoom networking groups, to have the same discussions with fellow virtual participants that in-person participants are having in the room.

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.

Will the virtual sessions be recorded, so that I can view them later?

Yes indeed. Links to all session recordings are available the week after the conference, and viewable anytime until the end of the calendar year, 2022.

What happens if there’s a COVID spike or a variant that makes an in-person event not viable?

In that event, the conference will be converted to virtual and held the same week. In-person registrants will be refunded the difference between the in-person registration fee and the (less expensive) fee for the virtual conference.


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.


(Registration for in-person participation closes on Tuesday, October 4. Registration for virtual participation may be processed through Friday, October 7.)

Members of the Professional Speechwriters Association receive a 25% discount on all registration products (discount is automatically applied to the cart when current members are logged in.)

Phone registrations please call 312-585-6383.


Important Note:

By attending this conference, all attendees must follow the COVID-19 Safety Protocols put in place by the host location, AARP, at the time of the conference.  AARP’s current protocol, which is subject to change, is described below.

AARP is committed to providing a safe environment in all of their facilities. AARP currently requires all visitors to use CLEAR Health Pass to complete a daily health screening and provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or link a recent negative COVID-19 test result before entering any AARP location.

CLEAR Health Pass provides secure, digital proof of COVID-related health insights via a free mobile app.  Any updated protocols and details on how to download and access the CLEAR app will be shared with registered attendees in advance of the conference.

*Please note, AARP does not view or collect your health information. CLEAR follows all HIPPA standards.


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