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ComNet18 San Francisco

ComNet Annual Conference

ComNet18 was one of our most memorable gatherings. While the conference is over, the learning continues. We have assembled notes, videos, podcasts and transcripts for you to use (and share!) so that the knowledge showcased in San Francisco can continue to have value going forward.

Below you’ll find videos of each Keynote session and Second Stage presentation, as well as detailed notes from every ComNet18 Breakout Session.

Listen to the audio podcasts on iTunes

ComNet18 audio, videos, and transcripts were graciously sponsored by our friends at The Colorado Health Foundation. Breakout Session notes were made possible by generous support from the Kalliopeia Foundation.


We hosted Emmy-winning, show-creating, executive-producing, writer, director, and actress Lena Waithe in conversation with Joshua Johnson, Host of NPR’s 1A. In a wide-ranging conversation Waithe and Johnson talked about race, representation, and the power of truth and storytelling to change perceptions.

The inaugural Clarence B. Jones Impact Award was marked by a case study keynote from Truth Initiative’s Eric Asche. Asche spoke about Truth’s successful communications efforts to eradicate youth smoking.

David Frum, former George W. Bush speechwriter and Senior Editor of The Atlantic, spoke about the current state of our politics and communications, civic responsibility, and where we go from here.

Fred Blackwell, CEO of The San Francisco Foundation led a discussion with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, KQED’s Metro Reporter Sandhya Dirks, Angela Jenkins of Kaiser Permanente, Caitlyn Fox of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Jennifer Martinez of PICO California on the housing and homelessness challenges facing the Bay Area.

Cecile Richards, former President of Planned Parenthood, spoke passionately about activism, storytelling, narrative shift, fighting the good fight, and lessons learned from her mother, the late Texas Gov. Ann Richards.

Jeremy Heimans, Co-Founder and CEO of Purpose and Henry Timms, Executive Director of 92nd Street Y spoke about “new power” frameworks and how social good communicators can leverage this way of thinking.


Second Stages

We introduced a Second Stage at ComNet18 where we hosted smaller, more in depth conversations.

  • Catching the Wave: Chad Nelsen, CEO of the Surfrider Foundation and Jade Floyd, Vice President of Communications at the Case Foundation and Vice Chair of The Communications Network, unpack how a powerful communications strategy helped the Surfrider Foundation mobilize a local grassroots effort to “Save Trestles”.
  • Live Stories Change Lives –  A Storytelling Showcase: Tracey Segarra, Host/Producer of “Now You’re Talking!” A Storytelling Show, Corey Rosen, Writer/Marketing Executive at the Tippett Studio, Dana Merwin, Program Officer at the International Documentary Association, and Meg Ferrill share intimate, hilarious, and heartbreaking personal stories that will leave you in tears and lift you up with joy.


Breakout Sessions

We hosted 19 breakout sessions with specialized tracks focused on journalism and media today; storytelling and narratives; and diversity, equity and inclusion. Below you will find useful notes on each breakout session reviewed by breakout session presenters. 

Storytelling and Narratives

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Journalism and Media Today

Strategic Communications


  • Podcasting for Social Change presented by Will Coley of The Opportunity Agenda/Aquifer Media, and Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva of The Kitchen Sisters




Augmented Reality



Check out our ComNet18 album on Flickr to see over 700 photos of you, your colleagues, our speakers, and more.


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