• Forward 2016

    The Premier Brand Storytelling Conference

    Building Genuine Connections

    June 15, 2017 – The Revere Hotel – Boston, MA


About Forward 2017

We all long for genuine connection. To feel that someone gets us, and we get them. To know that we can trust and be trusted. Customers are no different. Forward 2017 celebrates connections: The ones we make with others through story, by speaking their language, not our own.

Once again, marketers, writers, producers, and creatives converge in Boston. Together, we’ll explore:

  • New storytelling formats that entertain and build empathy
  • How AI can help marketers build personal connections
  • Why the time is right for brands to become trusted news sources
  • The creative process and the creative mind
  • What it takes to build a technology stack that supports sustained brand storytelling

Don’t miss this truly exceptional opportunity. Together, we are transforming marketing and building genuine connections with our audiences.


Background Image
Background Image


Julie Snyder

Co-Creator & Producer of Award-Winning Podcast SERIAL

Julie Snyder has been the guiding force behind two of the most successful ventures in audio broadcasting: she is the co-creator of the podcast Serial, which debuted in October 2014 and has been downloaded more than 175 million times, making it the most listened-to podcast in the history of the form; and for many years, she was the senior producer of the public radio show This American Life, which is heard by more than 4 million listeners each week.

Background Image


June 16, 2017

Robert McKee

Screenwriter & Fulbright Scholar

For years, marketers have been sneaking into Robert McKee’s Story seminars to learn the craft of storytelling from the person who taught more than 60 Academy Award winners.

Well, it’s time to put away those dark glasses. On June 16, Robert and Tom Gerace will bring Storynomics, a one-day storytelling seminar designed specifically for marketers, to Boston. Most marketers understand WHY story is such a powerful form of communication.

You’ll now have the opportunity to learn HOW to incorporate story form into your marketing strategies – giving you what you need to reach increasingly skeptical and discerning audiences.


It’s rare that a conference delivers on its promise—this conference delivered.

– Tricia Griffin, VP, Dignity Health

Background Image


Mary  Mazzio

Documentary Film Director of I AM JANE DOE & Olympic Athlete

Mary  Mazzio,  an  award-winning  documentary  film  director,  Olympic  athlete,  and  former  law firm  partner,  is  Founder  and  CEO  of  50  Eggs,  Inc.,  an  independent  film  production  company dedicated  to  making  socially  impactful  films.

Mary  wrote,  directed  and  produced  the  highly-acclaimed  films, Underwater  Dreams, TEN9EIGHT,  The  Apple  Pushers,  A Hero  for  Daisy, Contrarian,  Apple  Pie, and Lemonade  Stories. Her  newest  film, I  am  Jane  Doe,  narrated  by Academy  Award  nominee,  Jessica  Chastain, opened  in  select  cities in February 2017.


Tom Gerace


Tom Gerace is founder and CEO of Skyword, the leading content marketing technology and services company.

Read More

Phil Alongi

Alongi Media Solutions

Phil Alongi is a multiple Emmy Award-winning media executive with 30+ years of network television experience.

Read More

Omar Al-Sinjari


Omar Al-Sinjari, Senior Manager, Digital Marketing Operations and Technology, is a digital marketing Swiss Army Knife.

Read More

Liz Alton


Liz Alton, a Skyword Contributor, is a freelance content marketing writer and content strategist that works with creative agencies, Fortune 500 brands and venture-backed startups.

Read More

Sho Balkian

Dignity Health

LA native, SF local, analogue by birth, digital by design, Sho Balkian is helping lead the digital content strategy at Dignity Health.

Read More

David Beebe

Beebe Content & Co.

David Beebe is one of the entertainment and marketing industry’s leading content marketers, branded content producers, and sought after keynote speakers

Read More

Bridget M Burns

Tom's of Maine

Bridget Burns works as the Social Media Strategist for natural personal care company, Tom’s of Maine.

Read More

Nick Cifuentes

Dignity Health

Nick Cifuentes is a digital strategy professional, with over 15 years of progressive experience leading global cross-functional teams in the conceptualization, implementation and operations of digital strategy tenets.

Read More

Allen Gannett


Allen Gannett is the CEO and founder of TrackMaven, the all-in-one marketing analytics platform. 

Read More

Michael Grimes

Hill Holiday

One of the first recruits to join Hill Holliday’s emerging content department back in 2010…

Read More

Kyle Harper

Digital Marketer

Kyle is a writer turned digital marketer who helps brands approach storytelling strategically.

Read More

Eric Herman


As Skyword’s Director of Brand Partnerships, Eric helps brands transform their marketing efforts through brand storytelling. 

Read More

Andy Hiller

The Bernett Group

Andy Hiller joined The Bernett Group as Managing Director following nearly 40 years as a political reporter and analyst.

Read More

Pam Jones


With nearly two decades of online marketing experience in both the B2C and B2B arenas, Pam Jones is a firm believer in customer-centric content.

Read More

John Mihalik


The Chief Technology Officer at Skyword, John has over 20 years of experience in the software engineering industry.

Read More

Dee Mostofi

Dignity Health

Dee leads public relations for Dignity Health, one of the nation’s largest health systems.

Read More

Rob Murray


As President of Skyword, Rob is responsible for the go-to-market teams at Skyword including sales, marketing, strategic services, and writer services.

Read More

Chris Phoenix

Phoenix Media Group

Chris Phoenix is the founder and CEO of Phoenix Media Group, a New York City based agency founded in 2010.

Read More

JD Singh

Dignity Health

JD Singh is a seasoned professional with over 8 years of experience with leading strategic and innovative leadership in SEO, SEM, Social Media and CRM marketing technologies.

Read More

Reuben Staines

Samsung Business

Reuben Staines leads the development of strategic content for Samsung Business, based in Ridgefield, NJ.

Read More

Angela Tague


Angela Tague is a Skyword Contributor. She writes web marketing content for major brands including Fidelity, Overstock, Purina, Tom’s of Maine and Parenting.

Read More

Mary Ward

Ion Interactive

As the Vice President of Account Services, Mary Ward oversees Ion Interactive’s Creative Services and Accounts teams, helping customers create engaging interactive content experiences.

Read More

Andrew Wheeler


Andrew C. Wheeler is Vice President, Services for Skyword. He brings more than 13 years of experience in digital marketing and agency relations.

Read More

Forward 2017 Agenda

FORWARD — JUNE 15, 2017

  • 7:30 – 8:30 AM Registration & Coffee
  • 8:30 - 9:45 AM Forward 2017 Opening Keynotes

    Mary Mazzio, Award-Winning Filmmaker
    Tom Gerace, Founder & CEO, Skyword

  • 9:45 - 10:15 AM Networking Break
  • 10:15 - 10:55 AM How to Use Interactive Content to Tell Your Story & Accelerate the Buyers Journey

    Mary Ward, VP of Account Services, Ion Interactive

  • 10:15 - 10:55 PM Reimagining the Patient Experience: Content Marketing & Digital Experience Design

    Sho Balkian, Digital Content Manager, Dignity Health
    Nick Cifuentes, Senior Director, Digital Engagements, Dignity Health
    Dee Mostofi, Director, Public Relations, Dignity Health
    JD Singh, SEO Manager, Dignity Health

  • 10:15 - 10:55 AM Brands and Their Contributors: Working Together to Build a Cohesive Social Media Presence

    Bridget Burns, Social Media Strategist, Tom’s of Maine
    Lauren DiZazzo, Associate Community Manager, Skyword
    Christine Kayser, Senior Content Strategist, Skyword
    Angela Tague, Freelance Contributor

  • 11:00 - 11:40 AM The Science of Story: Learning How Great Creatives are Turning Ideas Into Stories

    Michael Grimes, SVP, Director – Editorial Strategy, Hill Holliday
    Chris Phoenix, CEO & Executive Producer, Phoenix Media Group

  • 11:00 - 11:40 AM Skyword Platform Tips & Tricks: Content Marketing Made Easier

    Andrew Wheeler, VP, Content Services, Skyword
    Jim Fisher, Product Manager, Skyword
    Marc Wasserman, Customer Success Manager, Skyword
    Allie Chartoff, Associate Director, Content Services, Skyword

  • 11:00 - 11:40 AM The Content Marketing Death Spiral

    Allen Gannett, Founder & CEO, TrackMaven

  • 11:50 - 12:50 PM Lunch on the Revere Rooftop
  • 1:00 - 1:40 PM Plenary: Building A Brand Newsroom

    Phil Alongi, CEO, Alongi Media Solutions
    David Beebe, CEO, Beebe Content & Co.
    Andy Hiller, Managing Director, The Bernett Group

  • 1:40 - 2:10 PM 2017 Breakthrough Awards

    Andrew Wheeler, VP, Content Services, Skyword

  • 2:15 - 2:55 PM Machine Learning & The Human Endeavor: How AI is Being Applied to the Future of Marketing

    John Mihalik, CTO, Skyword

  • 2:15 - 2:55 PM Content Choreography: An Inside Look at Samsung’s Omni-Channel Content Program

    Reuben Staines, Senior Director, Content Marketing, Samsung Business

  • 2:15 - 2:55 PM Creative Track: Creating Trends, Not Just Following Them: How IBM & Other Top Brands Have Earned Thought Leadership Status with Content

    Molly Berry, Community Manager, Skyword
    Casey Nobile, Editorial Director, Skyword
    Pam Jones, World Wide Digital Marketing Strategist, IBM
    Kyle Harper, Digital Marketer, Freelance Writer

  • 2:55- 3:20 PM Networking Break
  • 3:20 - 4:00 PM Aligning Technology Stack and Content for Digital Transformation

    Darryl Gehly, EVP, Skyword
    Omar Al-Sinjari, Senior Manager, Digital Marketing Operations and Technology, McKesson

  • 3:20 - 4:00 PM Beers with Engineers: Getting a First Hand Look at Skyword's Product Vision

    Jim Fisher, Product Manager, Skyword
    John Mihalik, CTO, Skyword
    Cara Rickard, User Experience Architect, Skyword

  • 3:20 - 4:00 PM Cultivating Your Individual Voice: When a Publication Looks Beyond Brand Tone

    Tom Hardej, Editorial Director, Skyword
    Ben Chamas, Senior Editorial Manager, Skyword
    Laurie Mega, Content Director, FEN
    Liz Alton, Skyword Contributor

  • 4:10 - 5:15 PM Forward 2017 Closing Keynote

    Julie Snyder, Producer, Serial Podcast
    Tom Gerace, Founder & CEO, Skyword
    Rob Murray, President, Skyword

  • 5:30 - 8:00 PM Forward 2017 After Party, on the Revere Rooftop


  • 8:00 - 9:00 AM Registration & Coffee
  • 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM Session 1 - The Marketing Crisis: The Need for Story
  • 10:30 - 10:50 AM Break
  • 10:50 - 12:30 PM Session 2 - The Introduction to Story
  • 12:30 - 1:30 PM Lunch
  • 1:30 - 3:00 PM Session 3 - The Complete Story
  • 3:00 - 3:20 PM Break
  • 3:20 - 5:00 PM Session 4 - Story at Work: Applying Story to Marketing and Sales
  • 5:00 - 5:30 PM Q&A with Robert & Tom

Forward 2016 Attending Brands


Join Us at Forward 2017

Where – The Revere Hotel

This year Forward is being held at Boston’s newly renovated The Revere Hotel. This luxury hotel offers the Downtown experience of Boston, located near the city’s theater district and historic Back Bay. Complete with skyline city views from guest room balconies, an onsite fitness center, and heated pool, this venue will serves as a refreshing retreat from your daily routine.

Who Attends

Marketers from all over the country attend Forward to help elevate their marketing and learn the framework of purpose-told story. Our speakers hail from the world’s leading brands with focuses on content marketing, strategy, brand, operations, and more. At Forward we are inspiring all marketers to take charge of their brand story and reach their audience in a meaningful, authentic way. We hope you’ll join us!

Register Today!


Proudly Sponsored by

Background Image

Sponsor Forward 2017!

Learn about our sponsorship options today and get your brand in front of marketing decision makers from leading brands.

A Look Back at Forward 2016