2021 Page Up Annual Conference

Moving Forward With Purpose: The Communications Profession Takes Its Bold Next Step

The pandemic, sweeping calls for racial justice and a deeply divided electorate created a watershed moment for communications professionals in 2020 and beyond. In a year of many firsts, navigating the unknown became the norm as the industry grappled with the weight of communicating to and with a fractured and frightened set of stakeholders. Amid all the chaos, however, we learned invaluable lessons, took on new responsibilities and focused on what matters most: communicating with purpose and transparency.

While the pandemic rages on, there is hope on the horizon. With vaccine deployment accelerating, many are planning for the resumption of life without social distancing and mask wearing — all of which will have a profound impact on brands of all stripes. What’s more, it’s an opportunity to embrace many of the pandemic-induced changes to how, where and why we work and communicate.

This year’s conference will focus on how communications professionals rallied in the face of adversity during some of the most trying times of their careers. It will highlight how those experiences are shaping new strategies for helping brands and business leaders navigate a world of heightened demands and expectations.

Join us on October 26-28 for the 2021 Page Up Annual Conference to connect, collaborate and learn alongside your Page Up peers. If you have any questions, please contact April Murphy.

Registration & Pricing

The registration fee breakdown is tiered based upon your membership type, as follows:

  • Corporate, Agency, Executive Search: $300
  • Non-Profit, Government: $225
  • Educator: $150

This year, registration fees are both non-refundable and non-transferable. If you have any questions about your registration, please email Emily Gattuso.

DAY ONE: What does it mean to be a socially responsible organization? 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021 | Morning Sessions

All timings listed are in ET, unless otherwise noted.

9:15 –
9:30 a.m.
Welcome and Overview of Day One

Have you ever enjoyed a really compelling TED talk? Well, this will be just like one of those, but with our own Ted Birkhahn, co-founder and president of Hot Paper Lantern. 

9:35 –
10:30 a.m.
A Corporate ED&I House Divided

Political and social divisions in the United States are reflected in the hallways of organizations across America: people staunchly for increasing ED&I efforts on one end and people deeply concerned their company has gone too far on the other end. In this session we’ll talk about challenges organizations face making meaningful progress and how to navigate such a complex cross-section of employees.
10:35 –
11:25 a.m.
Social Anxiety: To Engage or Not to Engage

Whether chiming in to support or oppose a policy or comment on a tragedy connected to social issues, more than ever the public is tuning in to what corporate leaders say. And key constituents are raising expectations for corporate engagement on even the most divisive issues. This session will explore primary considerations for how to make the call on when to engage and when not to engage.
11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. Beyond the Words: Foregoing Platitudes and Driving Action

Bradley Akubuiro, Bully Pulpit Interactive 

Marcos Frommer, Honda

Carmella Glover, Page and the Diversity Action Alliance

Moderated by Kelli Matthews, University of Oregon

In June 2020, a bevy of brands issued statements about their commitment to social and racial justice. Some were called to the carpet when they issued statements perceived as inauthentic or performative. In a time where standard “corporate speak” and proclamations full of platitudes don’t always resonate, well-intentioned statements can easily backfire into substantial reputational damage.


This session will affirm the criticality of communications leaders being more than just the wordsmiths.  We will explore the importance of flagging a divergence between words and actions within our brands and how to drive the course correction.

12:20 –
12:45 p.m.
12:45 –
1:45 p.m.
BREAKOUT SESSIONS | Investors, Employees, Customers: When Everything’s at Stake(holders)

Facilitated by the following:

Terry Balluck, Kimberly-Clark

Ted Birkhahn, Hot Paper Lantern 

Rachel Potts, Caterpillar

Ethan McCarty, Integral

Allyson Park, Mars

It may be the case that you can’t please everybody, but when it comes to investors, customers and employees, well, you’d better try. The events of the past two years have forever changed the demands and expectations of these core stakeholder groups and each one represents a unique set of needs and perspectives that demand tailored and transparent communications. Unfortunately, those needs are often at odds.

So, will you engage in a stakeholder cage match or find some other way to work it out? These breakout sessions explore the distinct needs of each stakeholder group and how communicators can shape new strategies to stay ahead and build meaningful and transparent relationships with each of them.

1:45 –
2:30 p.m.
FIRESIDE CHAT: Examine the Growing Importance of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to a Corporation’s Culture, Mission and Narrative

Telva McGruder, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at General Motors 

Moderated by Craig Buchholz, SVP, Global Communications at General Motors

Advancing a culture of diversity and inclusion has become more important than ever before for companies and their reputation.  As we examine the area of corporate social responsibility, Telva McGruder, GM’s chief of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), will discuss a global approach to DEI and how it impacts multiple audiences, like customers, employees, investors and others. Hosted by Craig Buchholz, GM’s senior vice president, global communications and member of GM’s Inclusion Advisory Board, the discussion will also explore the challenges inherent in this area and the impact on our profession.

2:30 – 3:00 pm Page Up Annual Business Meeting

Page Up Chair Marjorie Benzkofer, Chief Strategy Officer, FleishmanHillard

Tom Martin, Professional Development Committee Chair, College of Charleston 

The eighth annual business meeting of the Page Up membership. During this meeting, attendees will learn about recent work, vote on governance issues and help to refine and guide the future direction of Page Up.


Tuesday, October 26, 2021 | Evening Sessions
5:00 –
6:00 p.m. 
How Do Consumers Perceive Your Corporate Purpose? 

Olivia Petersen, Vice President and Head of Communications at Morning Consult 

Do you believe companies have a responsibility to positively contribute to their local communities? Take care of their employees and treat them well? Nine in 10 consumers do. But that support changes when it comes to companies’ responsibility to activate around social issues, influence legislation, or fight and address racism. The perception of your purpose-led organization starts with your purpose-led communications. Join intelligence company Morning Consult for a discussion on the current landscape of social responsibility perception, and learn how it impacts your organization’s favorability and desirability as an employer.


DAY TWO: What does a post-COVID-19 world look like? 


Wednesday, October 27, 2021 | Sessions optimized for APAC and EMEA
4:00 – 5:00 a.m. ET

10:00 – 11:00 a.m. CET

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. GST

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. JST

6:00 – 7:00 p.m. AEST

Context Matters: Realizing Purpose With A Global Mindset 

Mark Chong, Associate Professor of Communication Management at Singapore Management University

Mark Dreyer, Marketing & Communications Director, American Chamber of Commerce China 

In this session, our speakers will introduce a concise framework (the “3As”) that companies can use to realize purpose. In addition, they will touch on how contextual factors such as the institutional environment can influence how likely companies are able to realize their purpose. Last, they will share how some companies in Asia are activating their purpose while navigating the expectations of institutional stakeholders.

5:00 – 6:00 a.m. ET 

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CET

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. GST

6:00 – 7:00 p.m. JST

7:00 – 8:00 p.m. AEST

CommTech: Second-Level Data

Daniel Jörg, Partner, Head of Digital at Farner Consulting

When talking about data today, we usually mean digital data in the forms of published articles/posts, views, likes, and clicks. We think a view or click means that our message or content is resonating with our audience. And if for once, we can’t interpret clicks, we run surveys.

Data is a key pillar of Page’s CommTech Framework, but there’s a catch. Neuroscience has proven that up to 95% of our decisions are driven by the unconscious and emotions. What insights do clicks and surveys actually give us into our stakeholder’s emotions & subconsciousness? Almost none.

Here’s the good news. There are ways to measure the emotional and subconscious forces driving your stakeholder’s behavior. Learn about them during this session.


Wednesday, October 27, 2021 | Morning Sessions
10:00 – 10:10 am Welcome: Overview of Day 
10:15 –
11:05 am
Future of Work: What Does It Look Like? 

Nick Bloom, William Eberle Professor of Economics at Stanford University

Moderated by Ethan McCarty, Founder & CEO of Integral

When it comes to workplace dynamics, Professor Nick Bloom knows a thing or two about a thing or two. In addition to being the William Eberle Professor of Economics at Stanford University, a Senior Fellow of SIEPR, and the Co-Director of the Productivity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, he previously worked at the UK Treasury and McKinsey & Company. Nick is, in a word, fancy. His research focuses on working from home, management practices and uncertainty. 

We’ll get a chance to hear his latest research from www.wfhresearch.com and pick his brain about what we Communications professionals stand to gain or lose in a hybridized world of work. He may even have a few ideas about what we can do to make a more positive impact. He is, after all, a pretty fancy fellow.

11:10 am – 

12:00 pm

Will the Future of Work Look Like the Present? Vaccines Vagaries, Confusingly Flexible Models and Steady Demand for Hand Sanitizer 

Wendy Watkins, VP, Corporate Communications of Hormel Foods 

Mike Monahan, CHRO of Grant Thornton 

Debbie O’Brien, CCO of Snowflake 

Stacey Bailey, Director of Communications, Kavli Foundation

Here’s a not-so longshot bet: employers have had a heck of a time figuring out and communicating what the workplace looks like and employees haven’t always been totally clear on it all, right? The pandemic has changed everything and there are still curve balls. This is true whether or not you have all employees back, some or none. And just when many thought they could ‘head back to the workplace after Labor Day,’ the delta variant relegated us to our kitchen-table-home-offices again. It’s what one journalist called “the hammer and the dance”—the vaccine and other mitigation efforts being the hammer, the dance being the unpleasant pas de deux between our desire to co-locate and the virus’ ability to mutate.

In this session, we springboard from the philosophical and academic to the tactical. Each of our esteemed panelists comes from very different organizations in terms of the nature of their industries, workforces, locations and culture. All will share their own decision-making processes, what they learned and what they advise us to do differently. No matter where you work, you will surely see yourself in their stories. And maybe pick up a dance move or two yourself.


Wednesday, October 27, 2021 | Evening Sessions
In-Person Regional Get-Togethers 

Pull up a chair, grab a drink and take a minute to kick back and relax with your Page Up friends and colleagues at a special in-person regional get-together in New York, Chicago or San Francisco. Please note that these meetings are complimentary, but RSVP is required. Scroll down to sign up for the event you’re planning on attending in-person.

6 p.m. ET New York

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 at 6 p.m. ET

The Smith, 956 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022 

Hosted by Ethan McCarty of Integral and Ephraim Cohen of FleishmanHillard


6:30 p.m. CT Chicago

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 at 6 p.m. ET

Tanta Chicago, 118 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60654

Hosted by Sherry Scott


4 p.m. PT San Francisco

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 at 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. PT (7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. ET)

Sens Restaurant, 4 Embarcadero Center, Promenade Level, San Francisco, CA 94111

Hosted by Jessamyn Katz, President, Heyman Associates



DAY THREE: How should senior communicators balance prioritizing employee wellbeing with personal progression?


Thursday, October 28, 2021 | Morning Sessions
10:00 – 

10:10 a.m.

Welcome: Overview of Day 
10:10 – 

10:30 a.m.

Innovation Award Presentation
10:35 –
11:05 a.m.
CCO Rising

Peter McDermott, Senior Client Partner at Korn Ferry 

Jessamyn Katz, President of Heyman Associates 

Moderated by Doshia Stewart, Vice President, Global Corporate Communications at Allegion

Want the top job? It’s yours! Well, maybe. In this session, we explore the opportunities and evolving expectations for CCOs due to dynamic shifts in the organization or the market landscape, as well as what it takes to step up into the role. Attend these sessions, take copious notes, and share what you learn with your boss to really freak them out.

11:10 – 

11:55 a.m. 

The Evolving Role of the CCO

Michael Schoenfeld, Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations at Duke University

Helaine Klasky, CCO of Activision Blizzard

Jano Cabrera, VP, CCO of General Mills

Moderated by Moyra Knight, Vice President, Global Commercial Communications at Astellas

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. How Communicators Can Help Create a Healthy Workforce for a Changed World

Kathryn Metcalfe, CCO of CVS Health

Dr. Woody Woodward, Founder and President of Human Capital Integration

Amy Shields, Director of Communications at Well Being Trust

Moderated by Jon Rucket, Senior Director of External Communications at Grant Thornton 

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, employees have shown incredible resiliency by adapting to sudden and profound changes in how we work, communicate and deliver results. But the transformation has also been traumatic and stressful for much of the workforce. And the trauma will not simply disappear as companies reopen their offices. 

Catastrophic events cast a long shadow over employees’ mental well-being; employers that proactively address this issue will not only help their employees but also garner a significant strategic advantage. And yet fostering a healthy workforce is not easy; it requires communications that shine for both strategic merit and compassion.

1:00 – 1:10 p.m. Closing Remarks 


WHEN October 26-28, 2021

TIME 9:15am-1:10pm