Panel: Assessing Impact – Collaborations for Cause 2014

The best story, sitting on a shelf, does nothing. Simply "raising awareness" without a strategic plan will accomplish little more. How can anyone hoping to affect change through their creative work plan for success and know if they are succeeding? We'll hear from a diverse group of communication experts about how they set goals and employ metrics in their outreach efforts.


Andrew DeVigal is an Emmy-award winning innovative strategist who builds bridges by connecting ideas and people together to produce meaningful and interactive stories. As multimedia editor of The New York Times, he helped transform and evolve the print newsroom into the digital and interactive era. At The Times, he conceived and directed ground-breaking story forms and processes that help shape the industry today. He's used his extensive reach into various disciplines to connect the right people to collaborate and produce extraordinary work. He recently co-founded A Fourth Act to help redefine the territories of how and why we tell stories.

Hilary Sparrow manages the production, outreach & impact initiatives and evaluation of Vulcan Productions' film and television projects. Her most recent work includes the award-winning feature length documentary, Girl Rising and the feature length documentary, Pandora's Promise, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Other projects completed at Vulcan Productions include the three-part six-hour PBS series, This Emotional Life and the web-based toolkit for middle school educators, Success at the Core. Prior to joining Vulcan Productions documentary team in 2008, Hilary was Director of Production for a Washington, D.C. based independent film company where she oversaw projects for clients such as National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, Ultra HD, Gallery HD and The Smithsonian Channel. Previously, she worked at National Geographic Television & Film where she managed productions in nearly every corner of the globe including stints in Cuba, Mexico, Costa Rica and Nicaragua where she put both of her majors (Journalism & Spanish) to use. Other highlights include managing films that documented first ascents with some of the world's top climbers, filming rare archeological finds in Egypt, and sending Sebastian Junger and photographer Reza to Afghanistan to travel with resistance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud just months before his assassination. Hilary also served as Associate Producer for "The Urban Elephant" for WNET/Nature with Producer/Director, Allison Argo. The film garnered two News & Documentary Emmys for Outstanding Cultural & Informational Documentary and Best Director. A native Tar Heel, Hilary holds a BA in Journalism and Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Melissa Ryan is Director of Photography for Nature Conservancy magazine, the award winning magazine of The Nature Conservancy. Melissa oversees and implements the photographic vision for the print, online and mobile editions. Melissa works in close partnership with freelance photographers to create and publish dynamic environmental conservation stories that reveal the connections between global natural resource use, scientific research, and the beauty and wonder of the natural world. Melissa has over 20 years of photo editing experience working on magazines, books, newspapers, and online projects. Prior to working at the Conservancy, she worked for National Geographic Books and edited 16 books on a wide range of subjects including natural history, travel, science, and culture. She began her career with a photojournalism degree from the University of Texas-Austin.

Liz Banse is vice president, communications strategist and trainer at Resource Media, a nonprofit PR firm that helps nonprofits, government, communities and foundations unlock the power of communications to advance their goals. Her practice areas span all aspects of communications planning, traditional and online media strategy and outreach, visual communications, opinion research, message development, branding, materials development and production, presentation skills and other communications trainings, organizational marketing and crisis communications. She is the author of Seeing is Believing: A Guide to Visual Storytelling Best Practices.


Russell Sparkman is a co-founder of Fusionspark Media, Inc., a communications firm established in 1999. He holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Northeastern University, in Boston, and has worked most of his professional life as a photographer and visual communications expert.

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