Fred Forward Symposium Agenda


When Fred Rogers founded his production company, he named it Family Communications, Inc. because that’s what he wanted to create—healthy family communication. That goal is still essential today as we explore the fundamental question, “How do families live well with media and technology in ways that strengthen and enhance adult-child relationships?”


The goals of the Fred Forward Symposium are to provide a forum to empower parents and engage families as positive media mentors, share in developing and disseminating messages to improve outcomes for children and families, encourage participants to take action within their respective organizations, and explore the potential for new partnerships.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

 5:00-6:00 PM TEC Center – Fred Rogers Center: Technology and Interactive Media: A Whole Child Approach

Presenters: Dr. Chip Donohue, Dean of Distance Learning and Continuing Education, Director TEC Center at Erikson Institute, Fred Rogers Center Senior Fellow and Advisor, and Dr. Katie Paciga, Associate Professor of Education, Columbia College, Fred Rogers Center Early Career Research Fellow   


6:15-7:15 PM Cocktail Reception


 7:30 PM Dinner


 8:00-9:00 PM Fred Rewind: The Fred Rogers-Margaret McFarland Tapes

Presenter: Hedda Sharapan, PNC Grow Up Great Senior Fellow, Consultant, The Fred Rogers Company

Interviewer: David Hartman, Producer, Wickford Junction Productions


Fred Rogers took complex messages and made them connect. This talk  includes audio clips from the Fred Rogers-Margaret McFarland Tapes exploring how Fred deconstructed complex topics and made them accessible.

9:00 PM Dessert Reception


Monday, May 15, 2017

 8:00-8:50 AM Continental Networking Breakfast


 9:00-9:15 AM Where Are We Now?

Presenter: Dr. Chip Donohue, Dean of Distance Learning and Continuing Education, Director TEC Center at Erikson Institute, Fred Rogers Center Senior Fellow and Advisor


An organizational background outlining what we know and what we hope to discover about messaging to families, identifying our biggest challenges as we carry forward Fred’s messages to today’s families.


 9:20-10:20 AM Family Personas in Media

Panel: Dr. Kevin Clark, Director, Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity, George Mason University, and Dr. Shira Lee Katz, Kids Category Manager, Netflix

Moderator: Dr. Lewis Bernstein, Founder, Lewis J. Bernstein and Associates, LLC, Fred Rogers Center Advisor


How do we message to personas instead of demographics? Do we reach families in the same way we reach any person? What insights can we learn from successful messaging to personas?


10:20- 10:40 AM Networking Break


10:40 AM-11:40 AM Connections, Relationships, and Online Communities for Families: Growing What Works

Panelists: Antigone Davis, J.D., Head of Global Security, Facebook, and Simon Isaacs, Co-Founder, Fatherly

Moderator: Dr. Michael Rich, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Havard Medical School, Director, Center on Media and Child Health, Boston Children’s Hospital


Family and friends are often considered trusted sources of information. What insights can be learned from attempting to influence friends and family members to share positive messages with their loved ones to create change?


11:50-12:50 PM Beyond Slogans and Jingles: Lessons Learned from Commercial Messaging

Panelists: Chris McKee, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Flint & Steel, and Cooper Munroe, Chief Executive Officer, The Motherhood

Moderator: Betty Cohen, Founder and President, Betty Cohen Media Consulting


They reach families to sell a product. What lessons can be learned in commercial messaging on how to reach families?


1:00-2:00 PM Lunch


2:10-3:10 PM Across the Country and Across Communities: Lessons Learned from Businesses and Organizations in Diverse Settings

Panelists: Brian Wallace, President/Chief Executive Officer, Coin Laundry Association, and Ramón Murphy, President, Bodega Association of the United States

Moderator: Patti Miller, Director, Too Small to Fail


Businesses and organizations are often a key part of family lives. What can they share with us about these families’ realities and how we can we partner with them to address important messages?


3:30-4:15 PM How You Say It Matters

Panelists: Dr. Duane Watson, Associate Professor of Psychology and Human Development, Peabody College, Vanderbilt University, and Dr. Rafiq Dossani, RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy (CAPP), Senior Economist, RAND Corporation, Professor Pardee RAND Graduate School

Moderator: Dr. Chip Donohue, Dean of Distance Learning and Continuing Education, Director TEC Center at Erikson Institute, Fred Rogers Center Senior Fellow and Advisor


Words by themselves have little impact; it’s the feeling behind the words that give them power. What cognitive processes underlie interactions between speakers and listeners, and how does it influence behavior?


4:30-5:30 PM What Every Parent Needs to Hear: Messages Not to be Missed

Panelists: Dr. Anne Gill, Counseling Psychologist and Co-Director, Center for Parents and Children, University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Todd Wolynn, President and Chief Executive Officer, Kids Plus Pediatrics, and Joanne Goldblum, Chief Executive Officer, National Diaper Bank Network

Moderator: Dr. Junlei Li, Fred Rogers Center Co-Director, Rita M. McGinley Chair of Early Learning and Children’s Media, Professor of Psychology

Podcast: Joanne Goldblum


Fred Rogers was a believer in affirming messages for children and families. He helped parents understand that they were capable of building and sustaining a strong relationship with their children. Fifty years later, families still need positive messages. Our experts explore what families need to hear and why.


5:15-8:00 PM Cocktail Reception and Dinner

Dinner Session: That’s Entertainment: Connecting with Parents Through Children’s Media and Music

Panelists: Laurie Berkner, Singer/Songwriter, The Laurie Berkner Band, Joey Mazzarino, Writer, Director, and Puppeteer, and Brad Montague, Creator, Kid President

Moderator: David Bianculli, Founder, TV Worth Watching, TV Critic, NPR, Associate Professor, Rowan University

Podcast: Brad Montague

8:30 PM Dessert Reception


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

9:00-10:00 AM Data-driven Decisions: Insights from Brand Strategists

Panelists: Wynne Tyree, Chief Smarty Pants, Smarty Pants, and David Kleeman, Senior Vice President Global Trends, Dubit, Fred Rogers Center Senior Fellow

Moderator: Dr. Alice Wilder, Consultant, Amazon Kids Original Programming, Fred Rogers Center Senior Fellow


Research plays an important part in reaching families. What do we know about today’s families? Our experts will provide a by-the-numbers approach to marketing insights and brand strategies.


10:15 AM-Noon Expert Challenge: What Would You Do? Panelists will share their insights and practices to tackle unique communications challenges. Messages must be positively framed in keeping with the legacy of Fred Rogers and address an issue determined by the facilitator.

Moderator: Dr. Milton Chen, Senior Fellow and Executive Director, Emeritus at The George Lucas Educational Foundation, Fred Rogers Center Advisor


12:15- 12:30 PM Closing Thoughts presented by Dr. Everette Dennis, Dean and Chief Executive Officer, Northwestern University, Qatar, Fred Rogers Center Advisory Council Chair,


12: 30 PM – Conclusion of Symposium- Boxed Lunches for Departure


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