Forward 2018 Speakers and Sessions

2018 Agenda

Doing Good: How Eastern Bank Helps People Prosper
  • Tom Gerace, Founder & CEO, Skyword
  • Paul Alexander, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Eastern Bank

As one of three companies that led the lobbying effort to pass Massachusetts’ Transgender Anti-Discrimination Law, Eastern Bank has lived up to its history of serving the underserved and being an outspoken advocate in the community. Join CMO Paul Alexander as he shares the journey of this 200-year-old financial services company. Through the story of the brand’s relaunch, learn how to win in the marketplace and the workplace by demonstrating that the right thing to do can also be the smart thing to do.

Building a High-Performing Content Engine: B-to-B Best Practices
  • Christine Polewarczyk, Service Director, Content Strategy and Operations, SiriusDecisions

B-to-B audiences require more and higher-quality content than ever before. But many organizations still struggle to deliver content efficiently and effectively at scale. In this session, SiriusDecisions will explain the best practices organizations should adopt across strategy, people, process, technology, and measurement to achieve an optimized, high-performing content engine. Grounded in industry benchmarks, best practices, and actionable process frameworks, attendees will walk away with the knowledge they need to transform their B-to-B content engines from constant challenges to competitive differentiators.

How IBM Security Built a World-Class Site Through Internal SME Contributors
  • Jennifer Tullman Botzer, Digital Marketing Manager, IBM Security
  • Rachel Logan, Senior Content Strategist, Skyword

IBM Security’s thought leadership site,, has accomplished something many content marketers try but few succeed at: leveraging their own internal SMEs as their primary writers without sacrificing publishing cadence or editorial quality. A panel of IBM-ers shares what they’ve done to encourage and enable over 500 IBM employees to create world-class content that IT professionals rely on every day.



The Unsung Hero of Content Marketing: Original Research
  • Clare McDermott, Chief Research Officer, Mantis Research
Are you publishing more and more content, but seeing static or diminishing results? Looking for a new idea to inspire your content team? It may be time to try out original research. Journalists love research because—when done well—it offers a credible, new perspective on a particular issue or idea. Quality research is fantastic at winning backlinks, the Holy Grail of content marketing. And research can fill up your editorial calendar with fresh ideas and insights.
Sound great so far? Now a bit of sobering news: while research can be a super-effective part of your content marketing program, it’s a tactic that requires care and respect. You’ll need some know-how related to strategy, survey design, data cleaning and analysis, and storytelling.
In this session, we’ll review why research works so well, how to approach original research thoughtfully, what research pitfalls to avoid (particularly if you’re taking the DIY route), and inspirational projects from a range of companies and industries. Walk away with a grab-bag of ideas from others who have successfully executed original research projects.

Key takeaways:

  • Uncover the essential questions you need to answer when starting an original research project
  • Understand the steps involved in any research project–from traditional reports based on large-scale quantitative surveys to original insights from 3rd-party aggregated data
  • Walk away with many ideas from others who have successfully executed original research


How Content Shapes Research and Development
  • Christine Del Castillo, Senior Content Designer, Fidelity Labs

First you build the product, then you sell the product. That second part is where storytelling comes in—at least, that’s what conventional thinking would have us believe. But at Fidelity Labs, creating a valuable, viable new service for the self-employed involved content strategy from the beginning. The written word played a crucial role in every part of the product design process, from early user testing to finding areas of interest, to the creation of design principles, to guiding product decisions. And on the go-to-market side, sharing content with potential customers enabled the team to gauge interest in the product, assess brand resonance, and uncover the interests, concerns, and motivations of independent professionals.



Content Marketing Strategy: Why an effective content strategy is essential for marketing transformation, and how to do it right
  • Darryl Gehly, EVP, Skyword

While people are rejecting advertising at alarming rates, some marketers have discovered how to deploy content to establish an engaged, always-on audience who is actually receptive to marketing messages.

Content, done well, creates the new great customer experience that drives engagement, conversion, and affinity.

The challenge to marketers is creating original content at the pace and quality needed to satisfy the needs of your target market.

It’s actually more simple than you’d expect.

Join Skyword’s EVP Darryl Gehly to discuss how brands are creating memorable, authentic stories that drive business. Find out how you too can create storytelling destinations designed to both engage audiences and meet the business bottom line.

Laying the Foundation For Enterprise Content Operations: How Sage and Wiley Leveraged Technology and Process to Easily Scale Content Across Channels and Across the Globe
  • Melissa Romo, Global Head, Social Media & Content at Sage
  • Catie Starr, VP of Marketing for Wiley
  • Dirk Shaw, SVP, Director of Content Experience at Olson
  • Matias Wigozki, Senior Director of Customer Success at Skyword

In this panel session you’ll be steeped in the challenges associated with scaling original content across 40+ content destinations and  in 5 different countries. Come learn why the teams at Wiley and Sage partnered with Skyword. Learn about content needs at large enterprise including: streamlining content operations, recruiting creatives around the globe, and managing the full lifecycle of content ideation — all while creating business value for the enterprise.



Plenary Session—What “It” Is
  • Lynda Barry, Author & Artist

Why do people wish they could write, sing, dance, and draw, long after they’ve given up on these things? Does creative activity have a biological function? There is something common to everything we call the arts. What is it? It’s something I call an “image,” something that feels alive and is contained and transported by something that is not alive—a book, or a song or a painting—anything we call an “art form.” This ancient “it” has been around at least as long as we have had hands, and the state of mind it brings about is not plain old thinking. This talk is about of our innate creative ability to work with images and what the biological function of this thing we call “the arts” may be.



Leveling Up: How ADP Measures and Demonstrates the Business Value of Content
  • Stacy Landis, VP, Content Marketing, ADP
  • Jill Taksey, Sr. Director Content Development, ADP

Every one of us is trying to secure executive and enterprise-wide support for our content strategy. Join Stacy Landis and Jill Taksey of ADP to explore ​how ​they’ve identified KPIs, established goals and created a reporting cadence with their Skyword team to provide internal visibility to blog results. ​Stacy and Jill will also offer best practices around how a centralized content function can partner across business units and functions to create audience-first content aligned to business objectives.




How We Built an Audience for the Endless Thread Podcast Through Great Audio Storytelling
  • Ben Brock Johnson, Host and Producer of Endless Thread Podcast, WBUR
  • Amory Sivertson, Producer for New Programming, Producer of Endless Thread and Modern Love Podcasts,  WBUR

Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson are podcast producers for WBUR. Join this session to learn how they dive into the recesses of the internet to discover ephemeral stories worth telling and recreate them into great audio stories with staying power.

The pair collaborate on Endless Thread, one of “The 50 Best Podcasts to Listen to Right Now.” In collaboration with Reddit, Endless Thread delves into Reddit’s boundless communities to explore some of the most compelling stories the internet has to offer, including revelations about our shared experience and powerful, personal stories.

Amory is also a producer on Modern Love: The Podcast, produced by WBUR and based on the New York Times’ popular series of weekly reader-submitted essays.

Content Marketing ROI: How to Create a Fully Accountable Content Strategy
  • Michael Brenner, CEO, Marketing Insider Group

You understand the power of content marketing. But how do you prove that what you are doing is delivering real results?

We all feel the pressure from the business to achieve our goals. Our internal teams keep asking us to produce more content, while our customers’ buying behaviors continue to change. What if you could learn the secret to creating a content strategy that bridges the gap between your customers, your brand, and your business?

During this session, you will discover how to think differently about the stories you should tell and the content you should produce. You will walk away with:

  • A foundation for building your business case across the company
  • The roadmap to publishing and measuring content at each stage of the buyer journey
  • Process for setting and tracking goals for your content
  • Specific content marketing ROI examples from brands just like yours
Beers with Engineers: Open Forum on What’s Next for the Skyword Platform
  • Matias Wigozki, Sr. Director of Customer Success, Skyword
  • Keith Kost, VP of Product, Skyword
  • John Mihalik, Chief Technology Officer, Skyword
How Vistaprint is Transforming Its Brand Through Storytelling
  • Sarah Nunes, Director Brand Communications, Vistaprint
  • Leona Frank, Senior Manager Brand, Content and Social, Vistaprint

Storytelling has grown to become one of the most exciting and important tools to drive brand affinity and connect with customers on a deeper, more meaningful level. Using Vistaprint as a case study, we will share why brand need a story-focused approach, why a good story is never enough, how to overcome silos for more impactful, results and how to measure success.


  • Why brands adopt story centric marketing
  • How Vistaprint makes story-centric marketing work
  • How to get others on board
  • How to measure success
Ensuring Your Martech Stack Delivers: Best Practices From Student Loan Hero
  • Tracy Odell, VP, Content, Student Loan Hero

The tech stack seems to be on every marketer’s mind these days, but what happens when the tech stack doesn’t deliver? Enter the marketer’s dilemma: Technology has promised to break down marketing silos, but unless there’s widespread buy-in first, technology always falls short. Join this session to learn how to create a culture of communication that allows your tech stack to deliver on its promise. Tracy Odell, VP at Student Loan Hero, shares her past and current experiences on leveraging her organization’s tech stack to streamline communication, increase collaboration, and reach team KPIs.

Forward 2018 Closing Keynote - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates
  • Rob Murray, President, Skyword
  • Wes Moore, American Author & Entrepreneur

“The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his.” –Wes Moore

Two Baltimore boys named Wes Moore were born in the same neighborhood less than a year apart. One grows up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated veteran, and White House Fellow. The other becomes a convicted murderer serving a life sentence. The Other Wes Moore is a story so compelling, it became an instant New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling book and is now an upcoming major motion picture from Executive Producer Oprah Winfrey.

Forward 2018 After Party

It’s time to celebrate! Join us at our annual after party. We’ll have drinks, food, and games and announce raffle winners.