2021 Grantee Communications Gathering Agenda & Session Information

"Hypo" by Klari Reis

In the spirit of celebrating and supporting the communications professionals working at Heising-Simons Foundation grantee organizations, we invite you to join us for the inaugural Grantee Communications Gathering on October 19-20, 2021, for two days of inspiration, ideas, and connections.

Both days will feature guest speakers and opportunities to connect and learn with other colleagues. Guest speakers will present on the principles of persuasion and mobilization, latest trends and tools to expand your organization’s digital presence and engagement strategies, and wellness and self-care strategies for communications professionals. Peer-sharing sessions provide opportunities to learn from colleagues on topics like refreshing your organization’s website, producing hybrid events, crafting a communications plan, and more. Please see the full schedule below.

All sessions are scheduled to take place between the hours of 9:30am-2pm PT on both days. All sessions are optional. You are welcomed to sign up for as many or as few sessions as you would like. Join us virtually or watch the videos later by registering below.

We are committed to providing an inclusive space for colleagues to learn together. The sessions will take place on a monitored Zoom platform with accessibility support. Please let us know what you need upon sign-up, or email us at gittens@collaborativecommunications.com.

This gathering is for communications staff at Heising-Simons Foundation grantee organizations only. Please do not forward.

— Tuesday, October 19 —

9:30am–9:50am PT Welcome & CEO Remarks

Join the Heising-Simons Foundation’s Communications team as we kick off this two-day virtual gathering and preview the upcoming sessions. Heising-Simons Foundation President & CEO Deanna Gomby will deliver brief welcome remarks.

10:00am — 11:00 am PT Guest Talk: “Principles of Persuasion & Mobilization” with Anat Shenker-Osorio

Please join us for a briefing with Anat Shenker-Osorio, Principal of ASO Communications. Anat will speak about principles of persuasion and base mobilization, including examples of messaging in the field. The presentation will include time for Q&A.

Anat’s bio:
Host of the Words to Win By podcast and Principal of ASO Communications, Anat Shenker-Osorio examines why certain messages falter where others deliver. She has led research for new messaging on issues ranging from freedom to join together in union to clean energy and from immigrant rights to reforming criminal justice. Anat’s original approach through priming experiments, task-based testing and online dial surveys has led to progressive electoral and policy victories across the globe. Anat delivers her findings packed in snark at venues such as the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Centre for Australian Progress, Irish Migrant Centre, Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation and LUSH International. Her writing and research is profiled in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Boston Globe, Salon, The Guardian and Grist among others. She is the author of Don’t Buy It: The Trouble with Talking Nonsense About the Economy.

This session will be recorded.


12:00pm-12:45pm PT Plenary: More Than Words: How To Care For Each Other & Expand The Communications World

Thea Monyée, creative wellness consultant, will lead a conversation to center and humanize the role of communications professionals, encouraging support within attendees, and empowering attendees to identify with their unique gifts and abilities to move the field forward.

Thea’s bio:
Thea Monyee ́is a licensed therapist and Oya priestess in the Ifa tradition, committed to creating healing opportunities to Black/Marginalized bodies through decolonization of joy, mental health, and pleasure. She is the Founder of MarleyAyo, a creative wellness consultation company. In addition to appearances on HBO, OWN, FOX SOUL, and THE RED TABLE TALKS, she is the host of Shaping The Shift Podcast, founder of The Blacker The Brain: A Mental Health Decolonizing Campaign, Conversation, & Cohort, co-host of Dem Black Mamas Podcast, and co-creator of The Free Joy Experience. She currently serves as a contributor on a policy working group supporting the objectives of the 2021 U.S. COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, and is the author of Murmurs Of A MadWoman and Blood & Bajareque. Recently she has been featured in the New York Times and NPR discussing COVID-19, race, and mental health.


1:00 pm am-1:25pm PT Peer- Sharing Sessions BLOCK A (simultaneous sessions)
Session #1 Reflections On “Principles of Persuasion and Mobilization” Session

This will be a space to continue to reflect on Anat Shenker-Osorio’s presentation, “The Principles of Persuasion & Mobilization,” and its implications on your work. (Note: Anat will not be present at this session.)

Guiding questions or prompts will be sent in advance. This session will not be recorded.

Session #2 Producing in-person, virtual, or hybrid events

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended our ability to convene in person, ushering in a new era of virtual or hybrid gathering spaces. Come and share your latest thinking, tools, or questions about producing in-person, virtual, or hybrid events.

Guiding questions or prompts will be sent in advance. This session will not be recorded.


1:35pm-2:00pm PT Peer-Sharing Sessions BLOCK B (simultaneous sessions)
Session #3 Crafting A Strategic Communications Plan

While a communications plan is the bedrock of strategic communications, tools and approaches vary widely. Come and share what is working for you, and get ideas and inspiration from your peers.

Guiding questions or prompts will be sent in advance. This session will not be recorded.

Session #4 Disseminating Research and Reports to Key Stakeholders 

Have a burning question or insight about the ever-changing art of disseminating research and reports to key communities, policymakers, or decision-makers? Join your peers to compare notes about best strategies and tactics.

Guiding questions or prompts will be sent in advance. This session will not be recorded.

— Wednesday, October 20 —

9:30am-10am PT Peer Networking Session

Get to know your colleagues and forge new connections in this loosely structured networking session for communications professionals.

This session will not be recorded.


10:00am–11:00am PT Guest Talk: Latest Tools & Trends to Expand Your Organization’s Digital Presence

Join creative digital agency Do Big Things for a training session about the latest tools and trends within digital communications to expand your organization’s digital presence, build your online audiences, and help convert them to donors and advocates. In addition, the session will help you apply a lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion to each of your marketing and communications efforts. Note: Do Big Things plans to make themselves available for “office hours” for an additional 30 minutes after the session.

This session will be recorded.


11:00am –12:00pm PT Break

12:00pm — 12:45 pm PT Plenary: More Than Words: Creating Opportunities to Support Marginalized Communities Within The Communications Field  

Thea Monyée, creative wellness consultant, returns to lead a second conversation to amplify the stories and stressors of BIPOC people within the communications field, and outline opportunities for allyship.

Thea’s bio:
Thea Monyee ́is a licensed therapist and Oya priestess in the Ifa tradition, committed to creating healing opportunities to Black/Marginalized bodies through decolonization of joy, mental health, and pleasure. She is the Founder of MarleyAyo, a creative wellness consultation company. In addition to appearances on HBO, OWN, FOX SOUL, and THE RED TABLE TALKS, she is the host of Shaping The Shift Podcast, founder of MarleyAyo, and The Blacker The Brain: A Mental Health Decolonizing Campaign, Conversation, & Cohort, co-host of Dem Black Mamas Podcast, and co-creator of The Free Joy Experience. She currently serves as a contributor on a policy working group supporting the objectives of the 2021 U.S. COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, and is the author of Murmurs Of A MadWoman and Blood & Bajareque. Recently she has been featured in the New York Times and NPR discussing COVID-19, race, and mental health.


1:00pm—1:25pm PT Sharing Sessions BLOCK C (simultaneous sessions)
Session #5 Reflections On “Latest Tools & Trends to Expand Your Organization’s Digital Presence”

This will be a space to continue to reflect on Do Big Thing’s presentation, “Latest Tools & Trends to Expand Your Organization’s Digital Presence,” and its implications on your work. (Note: Do Big Things will not be present at this session.)

Guiding questions or prompts will be sent in advance. This session will not be recorded.

Session #6 Launching or Refreshing Your Website

For many initiatives and organizations, a comprehensive and updated website has become central over the past two years. Come and share insights or questions you might have about creating, re-imagining, or maintaining your project or organization’s website.

Guiding questions or prompts will be sent in advance. This session will not be recorded.


1:35pm-2:00pm PT Peer-Sharing Sessions BLOCK D (simultaneous sessions)
Session #7 Public Awareness and Advocacy Campaigns

Join your peers to discuss which campaign strategies and tactics have worked for your organization, and what has proven more challenging in the current environment.

Guiding questions or prompts will be sent in advance. This session will not be recorded.

Session #8 Media Relations & Outreach

Do you have expertise or questions about the latest ways to reach out and build relationships with journalists? Come join us!

Guiding questions or prompts will be sent in advance. This session will not be recorded.

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