After canceling the 2020 Buzz Advocacy Summit due to COVID-19, we are excited to announce we will be resuming our in-person Summit in Annapolis, MD in 2021 from October 27th-29th!
The most valuable industry learning happens when like-minded communications and advocacy professionals gather to share their experiences, collaborate to overcome common obstacles, and strive to elevate the practice of modern public affairs.
For this reason, we launched the inaugural Buzz Advocacy Summit in 2016, and the event was a resounding success. After canceling the 2020 Buzz Advocacy Summit due to COVID-19, we are excited to announce we will be resuming our in-person Summit in Annapolis, MD in 2021 from October 27th-29th.
Unlike a typical conference, our approach is for the best in the industry to teach the best in the industry. This is why all invitees are asked to participate as a presenter, roundtable facilitator, or session moderator.
As participants rather than mere attendees, we become invested in each other’s learning, helping to boost the quality of the summit experience for all involved.
A different kind of industry event…
Creating a unique learning experience requires doing things a little differently. This is why the Buzz Advocacy Summit:
Watch our Summit experience video to see why you should participate in the Buzz Advocacy Summit!
The Summit Experience
Hear what other participants had to say about the Buzz Summit:
Inviting a small group to the discussion of high-level advocacy strategies, from a variety of perspectives and approaches, was a brilliant idea that was executed seamlessly.Jessica Cooper, National Federation of Independent Businesses
The Buzz Advocacy Summit has the most engaging and interactive format beyond the typical and tired conference structure. The featured speakers, deep-dive breakouts, and demonstration sessions all compelled us to challenge and question what we thought we know and how to improve and stand out in a world where everybody wants their stories heard.Katherine Merullo, American Dental Association
It was a very productive conference and we have already begun to implement some of the takeaways I brought back to DC. Glad to have attended, participated, and shared.Michael Lewan, The Recording Academy
If you want a conference that isn’t traditional, where everybody is participating, and you’re always learning from someone else, and not just from the people on stage, then this is the conference to go to.Ory Rinat, The Heritage Foundation
Governor Calvert House
58 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401
This beautiful and historic venue is located directly across from the Maryland State House, and a 5 minute walk to the Waterfront.
Organizations that have participated in the Buzz Advocacy Summit.
- Competitive Enterprise Institute
- DC Public Library
- DC Strings Workshop
- Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, LLP
- Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute
- United States House of Representatives
- University of San Francisco
- USA TODAY Sports
- Washington Improv Theater
- AAA National
- Alzheimer’s Association
- American Academy of Neurology
- American Academy of PAs
- American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
- American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
- American Cleaning Institute
- American Dental Association
- American Diabetes Association
- American Farm Bureau Federation
- American Forest & Paper Association
- American Gastroenterological Association
- American Health Care Association
- American Heart Association
- American Hospital Association
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
- American International Group
- American Kidney Fund
- American Library Association
- American Medical Association
- American Nurses Association
- American Optometric Association
- American Petroleum Institute
- American Retirement Association
- American Society for Microbiology
- American Trucking Associations
- American Urological Association
- American Wind Energy Association
- Americans for the Arts
- Association of American Medical Colleges
- Association of American Railroads
- Baltimore Gas and Electric Company
- BAYADA Home Health Care
- BP America Inc.
- Center for Audit Quality
- Center for Civilians in Conflict
- CF Industries
- Children’s Hospital Association
- Council for Opportunity in Education
- Council for Responsible Nutrition
- Credit Union National Association
- CVS Health
- DaVita Kidney Care
- Distilled Spirits Council
- Entertainment Software Association
- Feeding America
- Ford Motor Company
- Friendship Public Charter School
- General Motors
- Grain Foods Foundation
- Grant Thornton
- Habitat for Humanity
- Healthcare Leadership Council
- Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association
- Hemophilia Federation of America
- Higher Learning Advocates
- Horizon Pharma
- Human Resources Professionals Association
- Human Rights Campaign
- International Franchise Association
- International Paper
- Johnson & Johnson Industries Inc
- Liberty Mutual
- Molina Healthcare
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- National Association of Chain Drug Stores
- National Association of Home Builders
- National Association of Manufacturers
- National Association of Realtors
- National Association of Secondary School Principals
- National Federation of Independent Business
- National Grid
- National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
- National Kidney Foundation
- National Marine Manufacturers Association
- National PTA
- National Restaurant Association
- National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
- National Transportation Safety Board
- NCTA – The Internet & Television Association
- Novo Nordisk
- Nurse-Family Partnership
- Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
- Partnership for Public Service
- Prudential Financial
- Public Affairs Council
- Safe Kids
- SBA Office of Advocacy
- Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine
- Society for Neuroscience
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- The Association for Advanced Life Underwriting
- The Fertilizer Institute
- The Home Depot
- The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
- Thejll-Moller Communications
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Western Governors University
- Women in Government Relations
- Youth First Initiative
- Beekeeper Group
- Congressional Management Foundation
- CQ Roll Call
- Davies Public Affairs
- L2 Political
- MV Digital Group
- NextWave Advocacy
- RAP Index
- State and Federal Communications
- VoterVoice, a FiscalNote Company
THEME: “The Future of Advocacy and Communications”
Is the future of communications and advocacy a scary place filled with deep-fakes, co-opted data, artificial intelligence run amok, and automated interactions in place of real people? Or is it a hopeful landscape where permission-based data helps to build engaged communities, artificial intelligence advances transparency, and automation encourages supporters to share personalized stories?
Whatever the implications, significant changes to our industry are inevitable. This year’s summit will explore how we can prepare for and adapt to whatever the future may bring. Your voice is an important part of this conversation. Join fellow practitioners who are constantly challenging themselves to advance their programs, find new and creative ways to deliver messages to stakeholders, and build awareness of their cause.
To learn more about the Summit, please check out the agendas from previous years.
Pre-Summit: Tuesday, October 26th come in one night early to beat the morning traffic and/or join other early arrivals for a casual reception with food and drink.
Day 1: Wednesday, October 27th starts with check-in and a light networking breakfast that opens at 8:30 AM with an opening keynote session at 9:50 AM. Programming concludes at 5:30 PM and is following by a networking reception and dinner.
Day 2: Thursday, October 28th begins with a hot breakfast that opens at 7:30 AM and programming beginning at 9:00 AM. Programming runs until 3:00 PM at which point participants have a break until the gala reception at 6:30 PM.
Day 3: Friday, October 29th starts with a hot breakfast that opens at 8:00 AM and programming at 9:00 AM. All sessions wrap up by 12:30 PM, allowing participants to beat the traffic back home.
Wednesday, October 27th, 2021
|8:30 am – 9:50 am||Check-In & Pre-Summit Networking|
|9:50 am – 11:15 am||Opening Keynote: The Future of Media and Storytelling with Shawna Thomas and David Gregory|
|11:15 am – 11:30 am||Networking Break|
|11:30 am – 12:30 pm||DEEP DIVE BREAKOUT 1 Advocacy in a Highly-Charged Partisan Environment||DEEP DIVE BREAKOUT 2 The Art of Animation for PACs and Advocacy|
|12:30 pm – 2:00 pm||[Outside the Industry]: Generation TikTok (Lunchtime Speaker) with Dave Jorgenson|
|2:00 pm – 3:00 pm||DEEP DIVE BREAKOUT 1 Self-Produced Media||DEEP DIVE BREAKOUT 2 The Future of Fly-ins|
|3:00 pm – 3:15 pm||Networking Break|
|3:15 pm – 4:10 pm||Networking Roundtable Discussions|
|4:10 pm – 4:20 pm||Transition Break|
|4:20 pm – 5:30 pm||General Session: Comedy Gold: Using Humor to Convey a Message with Chris Coccia|
|5:30 pm – 7:00 pm||Evening Cocktail Reception|
|7:30 pm – 9:00 pm||Local Annapolis Restaurant Dining|
Thursday, October 28th, 2021
|7:30 am – 9:15 am||Breakfast|
|9:00 am – 10:15 am||General Session: Our World Changed: How Will Advocacy?|
|10:15 am – 10:30 am||Networking Break|
|10:30 am – 11:25 am||Industry Topic Roundtable Discussions|
|11:25 am – 11:30 am||Transition Break|
|11:30 am – 12:30 pm||DEEP DIVE BREAKOUT 1 How Advocacy Organizations Actually Use Data||DEEP DIVE BREAKOUT 2 Engaging Stakeholders in Rural or Underserved Communities|
|12:30 pm – 1:50 pm||[Outside the Industry]: Digital Wellness and Mastering Work-Life Balance (Lunchtime Speaker) with Meico Whitlock|
|1:50 pm – 2:00 pm||Transition Break|
|2:00 pm – 3:00 pm||DEEP DIVE BREAKOUT 1 The Future of Advocacy Training||DEEP DIVE BREAKOUT 2 PACs Under Attack|
|3:00 pm – 6:30 pm||Explore Annapolis|
|6:30 pm – 10:30 pm||Summit Spooktacular Reception and Dinner|
Friday, October 29th, 2021
|8:00 am – 9:45 am||Breakfast|
|9:00 am – 10:10 am||General Session: Building a Virtual Ambassador Engagement Program|
|10:10 am – 10:15 am||Transition Break|
|10:15 am – 11:10 am||DEEP DIVE BREAKOUT 1 What Would You Do? Real Life PR and Advocacy Challenges||DEEP DIVE BREAKOUT 2 Communicating With Intergenerational and Diverse Communities|
|11:10 am – 11:15 am||Transition Break|
|11:15 am – 12:30 pm||Closing Keynote and Panel Discussion: The Impact of Social Media’s Political Ad Bans with Amy O’Connor and Katie Harbath|
Our Advisory Committee is comprised entirely of industry practitioners who have a demonstrated passion for public affairs and advocacy. The Advisory Committee will be tasked to challenge traditional thinking, to recommend topics and presenters that are at the leading edge of innovative advocacy, and to find featured speakers from outside our industry who can offer new and unique perspectives.
|Lauren Cantrell||Government Relations and Advocacy Projects and Events Manager||Habitat for Humanity|
|Jessica Cooper||National Grassroots Director||National Federation of Independent Business|
|Eileen Denne||Director, Corporate Communications||American Academy of PAs|
|Rachel Feinstein||Senior Manager, Government Affairs||Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association|
|Jennifer Fox||Assistant Vice President, Political Affairs||Finseca|
|Joe Franco||Vice President, Grassroots||LeadingAge|
|Andrew Fullerton||Government Relations Manager||National Kidney Foundation|
|Chris Golden||Director of Rapid Response and Paid Media||FWD.us|
|Trey Hawkins||Deputy Chief Advocacy Officer||Credit Union National Association|
|Joe Joiner||PAC Director||CTIA|
|Adam Katz||Assistant Director, Advocacy Engagement||American Society for Microbiology|
|Erin O’Neill||Vice President||American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network|
|Katherine Merullo||Manager, Public Affairs and Advocacy Communications||American Dental Association|
|Katelyn Moga-Gesing||Program Manager, Public Policy||Amazon|
|Cody Lyon||Managing Director, Advocacy and Political Advocacy||American Farm Bureau Federation|
|Amy Shope Manzi||Director, Grassroots Advocacy||American Heart Association|
|Deirdre Middleton||Director, Strategic and Advocacy Communications||American Optometric Association|
|Brian Lehman||Director, Public Affairs||Association of American Medical Colleges|
|Ashley Lerner||Grassroots Manager||General Motors|
|Jim MacGregor||Director, Campaign Services and Member Mobilization||National Association of Realtors|
|Sarah McDonald||Director, Policy and Political Programs||The Home Depot|
|Sarah Nordstrom||Associate Director||Boehringer Engelheim|
|Laura Ness||Director, Government Affairs||BAYADA Home Health Care|
|Thao Nguyen||Vice President of Advocacy||Feeding America|
|Allen Segal||Director, Public Policy and Advocacy||American Society for Microbiology|
|Sarah Shinkman||Program Director||New England Hemophilia Association|
|Jon Simons||Associate Vice President, Digital Advocacy||NCTA – The Internet & Television Association|
|Gabe Snow||Director of ACRE||National Rural Electric Cooperative Association|
|Suzanne Swink||Head of Content & Creative Communications||BP America Inc.|
|Emily Wagner||Director of Communications||National Head Start Association|
|Sarah Weissmann||Associate Director, Grassroots Engagement||The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research|
Our 2021 Hosts & Sponsors
You won’t see booths or hear sales pitches at the Buzz Advocacy Summit but you will meet with a curated selection of sponsors who understand that knowledge sharing and listening to practitioners is essential to create superior advocacy tools and services.
Beautiful Historic Annapolis, MD
Annapolis, MD is a hidden gem. Located less than 35 miles from the Washington, DC Metro Area, Annapolis, MD is far enough for a retreat-style getaway, yet close enough to travel there without much hassle.
Please purchase your tickets early to get discounted pricing.
The Summit fee includes 2 nights of accommodations, commencing on October 27th, 2021. to ease your morning arrival, our first session will commence at 9:50 am, with registration opening at 9 am. Welcome refreshments will be provided.
Please note that ALL ticket options include more than programming but also the cost of accommodations, receptions, meals, snacks/drinks, and professional notes from the program.
For out of town guests, and those who want to get a jump-start on the first day of the Summit, you can purchase a room in our hotel block for October 26th, 2021 (the evening before the Summit). All early arriving guests are invited to a reception that evening at a local bar.
To ensure the safety of all attendees at this year’s Buzz Advocacy Summit, we will be requiring all participants to be vaccinated in order to attend this year’s event. In order to move forward with an indoor event during this time we needed to take the necessary precautions to make sure that all attendees remain safe and healthy.
Additionally, to put everybody at ease, we have updated our cancellation policy. In the event that you need to cancel for any reason, full refunds will be available at any time.
If you would like to pay for your ticket by credit card, please visit the Eventbrite registration page (fees apply). To avoid the Eventbrite fees, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can send you an invoice.
The Buzz Advocacy Summit includes:
- two nights hotel accommodation at The Historic Inns of Annapolis
- welcome refreshments on the first morning (assorted breakfast treats)
- two hot breakfasts
- two lunches
- two dinners
- two evening cocktail receptions
- coffee and snacks
- professional notes from each session
While the Summit may be close to home for most participants, this is intended as a convenience so invitees may avoid extensive travel to a far-flung destination. We want to preserve a retreat-style feeling to promote networking, shared experience, and to allow for an ongoing and informed discussion about the future direction of our industry. This is why hotel accommodations are included within the Summit fee, to encourage us to stay on-site together throughout the Summit. This also helps defray some of the costs of the event as meeting room space is included in the hotel room block.
Of course, if you would prefer not to stay on-site overnight, we just ask that you commit to attend each day of Summit sessions. Unfortunately, no refund is available for unused hotel accommodations.
When planning the inaugural Buzz Advocacy Summit we wanted a destination that would be far enough away from DC to encourage a retreat-style atmosphere, yet close enough for an easily commutable end-of-the-week event. You don't need to hop on a plane to get to this summer destination! We also had the opportunity to secure a beautiful hotel in the center of Historic Annapolis, MD that is easy walking distance to the waterfront.
We believe that something important changes when you become an active participant in an event. When you aren't just learning from others, but are also sharing your thoughts and ideas. There are numerous excellent industry conferences that offer attendees a chance to soak in knowledge without necessarily joining in. However, we want this Summit to be different. We want the best in the industry to teach the best in the industry, and your involvement is essential to that goal.
For those less comfortable with the spotlight, there are a number of opportunities to participate in a smaller group setting including as a roundtable facilitator or networking session moderator. Please let the host know your preference and we will try to accommodate your request.
Panelists will present at moderator led keynote or breakout sessions. Topics will be determined in advance and some preparation may be required including providing slides or other materials. Panel moderators will coordinate with panelists ahead of the event.
Roundtable facilitators will conduct a roundtable discussion on selected topics during our roundtable breakout session. Roundtable facilitators will assist with preparing materials on their selected topic as well as a discussion guide for their session.
Networking session moderators, will coordinate our networking speed dating session. They will host each networking group and will encourage interaction among participants.
Our only emphasis is on advanced advocacy learning among peers. Plan to bring your creativity, but leave the suits at home!
We have attendee accommodations booked in two of the Historic Inns of Annapolis- the Governor Calvert House and the newly renovated Robert Johnson House. Both are on State House Circle and very easy walking distance from each other.
We chose Annapolis because it is within easy driving distance for most attendees. If you'd like to participate in a carpool, please let us know and we will happily help coordinate it - please just reply to this email.
For those driving themselves, there is valet parking at the hotel, but other parking options include the Noah Hillman Parking Garage (150 Gorman Street) and South Street Parking Lot (101-199 South Street).
You can also Uber from DC for approximately $45 with UberX.
There is always a lot of interest in the Summit, so we limit attendance to a maximum of two individuals from an organization. This also keeps our content fresh and diverse.