The Michigan State University Strategic Communication M.A. Program faculty attended the StratCommWorld conference in Washington D.C. last month. MSU StratCom was a sponsor of this year’s summit that assembles a global group of high-level speakers and delegates from corporations, the military, government, the Intelligence Community and NGOs.
StratCommWorld is unique in the sense that its focus is on networking and its smaller group size allows for personal connection with globally minded experts and communication strategies that challenge the status quo.
One of the speakers this year was James Clapper, who is a retired lieutenant general of the United States Air Force and former Director of National Intelligence. Michigan State’s own Shawn Turner, Professor of Strategic Communication, and a National Security Communication Analyst for CNN, sat down with him on the panel to talk about the importance of leadership communication and brand strategy in the intelligence community.
“I think a major element of Jim Clapper’s success is his understanding that just because we are communicating with our audiences, does not mean that we are connecting with our audience,” said Turner. “So many of us who have worked with Jim over the years have hand-written notes from him thanking us for our hard work and contributions to the mission. He’s the kind of leader who uses individualized communication to show employees that he sees their hard work and that he understands that they have a life outside of the office.”
Clapper has held several key positions within the United States Intelligence Community. He served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 1992 until 1995.
Turner explains that the key takeaways from their conversation was that leaders and organizations have a responsibility to be as open and transparent with audiences as possible. Additionally, communication leaders should ideally have a seat at the head table, in order to lend their voice to the important issues being discussed.
Shawn Turner leading the conversation with James Clapper
As the information environment continues to evolve, events like the StratCommWorld conference represent a great way for communication professionals from industry, academia, and government to stay connected.
The conference reinforced the importance of innovation in communication strategy, diversity of ideas, and the value of sharing ideas with other communication professionals.
There was a remarkable energy in the room and each session offered valuable insight into how communication professionals are navigating a wide range of challenges.