Keynote Address & Professional Speakers

Saturday, March 16 1:30-2:30 PM

Keynote Address

Shawn Turner is the President of MPACT Communication, a risk and strategy communication consultancy, and a Professor of Strategic Communication at Michigan State University.   

Turner previously served as the Chair of the Information Operations Department at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security (DMGS). Prior to joining DMGS, he was a senior national security communication executive in the U.S. government. His positions included Deputy White House Press Secretary for National Security, Director of Communication for National Intelligence at the office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and Press Secretary for Foreign Affairs for the National Security Council (NSC). At ODNI, Turner was responsible for managing and coordinating all internal and external communication on behalf of the 17 agencies and components that make up the U.S. Intelligence Community. At the White House and the NSC, he was the principal spokesperson for U.S. foreign policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He also helped develop the U.S. government’s approach to communicating intelligence reform in 2014.

Turner is a regular contributing on-air national security analyst with CNN where offers expert analysis on a range of foreign policy, defense, and intelligence issues. He also advises U.S. government agencies on effective approaches to risk, organizational and crisis communication challenges. He is the co-author of “Best Practices in Risk Communication for National Defense” published in The Handbook of Science and Technology for Homeland Security, and has been published in the USA Today, and on

Turner is a current member of the Board of Advisors for the National Security Agency, and the Executive Board of Advisors for the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law. He is also a Distinguished Terker Fellow at the George Washington University. 

In recent years Turner was named one of Washington DC’s top decision makers by the National Journal (2013), honored with the Intelligence Community Leadership Award (2015), and in 2016, He was awarded the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award for outstanding career accomplishments and exemplary service to the nation.

Prior to his civilian career, Turner served 21 years as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. He received his B.A. degree in communication studies from Texas State University and an M.A. degree in communication from George Mason University.  

Saturday, March 16, 2:30 – 3:45 p.m.

Professional Panel: “Political Character, Populism and the Future of Media” 

  • Salena Zito, National Political Reporter, Washington Examiner
  • Jeremy Mayer, an Associate Professor,  The Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University
  • Stephen Farnsworth, Director, Center for Leadership and Media Studies, University of Mary Washington, & Author of The Global President: International Media and the U.S. Government and Presidential Communication and Character.
  • Richard Sheehe, a Senior Strategist at the Merritt Group agency and a Senior Research Fellow at George Mason University (Moderator)

Salena Zito joined Washington Examiner in 2016 as a Pittsburgh-based columnist and reporter, and is also a columnist at the New York Post. She is the author of The Great Revolt. She previously wrote for The Atlantic, and spent the last 11 years at the Pittsburgh Tribune Review as both a reporter and columnist covering national politics. Before that she worked for the Pittsburgh Steelers and held staff positions for both Democratic and Republican elected officials in Pennsylvania. She has interviewed every president and vice-president in the 21st Century. In the 2016 election cycle, she interviewed 22 presidential candidates, both Democrats and Republicans 

Jeremy Mayer, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. His books include Running on Race: Racial Politics in Presidential Campaigns 1960-2000 (Random House 2002), which Washington Monthly named as one of the best political books of the year, Closed Minds? Politics and Ideology in American Universities (Brookings, 2008) (coauthored), co-editor of Media Power, Media Politics, 2nd ed. (Rowman and Littlefield, 2008), Deconstructing Reagan: A Critical Analysis of Conservative Mythology (2006) (coauthored), and American Media Politics in Transition (McGraw Hill 2006). He has written articles on diverse topics such as public opinion towards torture, presidential image management, Christian right politics, federalism and gay rights, and comparative political socialization, in journals such as Presidential Studies QuarterlySocial Science Quarterly, and The Historian.

Stephen J. Farnsworth, Ph.D., is Professor of Political Science and International Affairs and Director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington. Dr. Farnsworth is the author or co-author of six books on the presidency, the mass media and public opinion and is a 2017 recipient of the Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award. His most recent book is Presidential Communication and Character: White House News Management from Clinton and Cable to Twitter and Trump (2018, Routledge).

Richard Sheehe is a Senior Strategist at the Merritt Group agency and a Senior Research Fellow at George Mason University, serving in both capacities as a trusted adviser on strategic communications, reputation management, media relations and crisis communications.  A former national broadcast news anchor for NBC and contributing writer for the New York Times, AP, NPR and other news outlets, Richard has been in public relations since 1998 as a practitioner and educator — with previous academic affiliations at the State University of New York and George Washington University. Richard has also served as a CDC crisis and emergency risk communications (CERC) trainer and curriculum adviser since 2003,  and he’s  contributed to strategic communications and reputation management projects at multiple universities.

Saturday, March 16, 4:00 – 5:15 p.m.

Professional Panel: “Strategic Communication Campaigns in the Age of Social Media” 

Nancy Snow,  Ph.D., is Two-time Fulbright Scholar and Abe Fellow. Dr. Nancy Snow has helped to expand the presence of the world’s leading public diplomacy programs at Syracuse University, University of Southern California, Tsinghua University, and IDC-Herzliya. She is Professor Emeritus at California State University, Fullerton and Pax Mundi (“Distinguished”) Professor of Public Diplomacy at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, the first in Japan.

Snow was Cultural Affairs and Academic Exchange Specialist at the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Information Agency during the Clinton Administration. She is a contributor to over 75 books and journals, hundreds of print and online media, and author, editor, or co-editor of 12 books, including the forthcoming Sage Handbook of Propaganda and the tenth anniversary edition of the Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy. She uses the terms “gender diplomacy” and “gender diplomat” in reference to the contributions that women make in international relations.

Major General Mari K. Eder, retired U.S. Army Major General, is the former Commanding General of the U.S. Army Reserve Joint and Special Troops Support Command, former Deputy Chief of the Army Reserve and former leader of the Army Reserve Ambassador Program as well as a key figure in the development of DoD’s Employment Partnership Program. 

Major General Eder has served as Director of Public Affairs at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies and as an adjunct professor and lecturer in communications and public diplomacy at the NATO School and Sweden’s International Training Command.  In 2017 she was inducted into the Army Public Affairs Hall of Fame and received the Joe Galloway Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in strategic communication.  She currently serves as Board Secretary and Trustee with the U.S. Army War College Foundation where she authored the foreword to the College’s new Communications Campaign Planning Primer.

Major General Eder is the author of “Leading the Narrative: The Case for Strategic Communication,” published by the Naval Institute Press.  A novel is pending publication.

Monica Enqvist is the Head of Public Diplomacy, Press and Culture Department at the Embassy of Sweden in Washington, D.C. Last year, the Embassy of Sweden arranged over 90 public diplomacy and promotion activities and events at the House of Sweden in Georgetown. The Embassy focus a lot on digital diplomacy, and organize several campaigns on social media. Ms. Enqvist is also the Spokesperson at the Embassy.  

Prior to this current position, she was Press Secretary at the Office of the Minister for Trade. Ms. Enqvist worked with the Minister from 2009 to September 2014, and was responsible for all press and communication issues, and worked on many Swedish public diplomacy events held in different countries.

Ms. Enqvist also has worked as a public relations consultant and project leader at the PR agency, Mahir PR, the first agency in Sweden to focus on digital PR. She has a degree in journalism from Miduniversity in Sweden and has been a journalist – political reporting and news anchoring – for ten years. Ms. Enqvist has also led tourism projects for the municipality of Ragunda in Sweden.

John W. Rendon is CEO and President of The Rendon Group, Inc. (TRG) a global strategic communications consultancy. To date, TRG has worked in or on 127 countries. Mr. Rendon has served as Executive Director and Political Director of the Democratic Party and is considered to be one of the world’s leading pioneers in the use of strategic communications as an element of national power and one of the first thought-leaders to harness the power of emerging technologies in support of real time information management. He has served as an executive communications consultant to the White House, U.S. Department of Defense, the National Security community and to the leadership of Fortune 500 companies, among others.

Mr. Rendon has collaborated on the development of comprehensive crisis and non-crisis information operations for political and public policy campaigns in the Americas, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Middle East. He is also a participant in forward-thinking organizations such as the Highlands Forum, the Aspen Institute and Dialog and lectures on topics including Global Power shifts, Leadership in the Knowledge Age; strategic communications development and implementation, crisis management, the American Presidency information operations, information strategies, tactics and operations, especially as it relates to engaging, countering and preventing violent extremism. For the past several years, Mr. Rendon has been spending what little time he has left in Silicon Valley with start-ups helping them scale sooner and facilitating growth round financing. 

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