June 28, 2017 - EST

"Cause-Marketing and Immersive Storytelling," a Venable-hosted program presented by the Grassroots Professional Network

This event has already occurred.

Storytelling has become an essential tool for communications professionals who want to engage audiences around their brand, organization, or cause. This panel discussion will explore the intersection of cause-marketing and immersive storytelling. Topics include:

  • story identification and development for traditional and immersive storytelling (AR, VR, 360),
  • engaging audiences with stories in a digital environment,
  • tools and trends in storytelling.

Participants will leave with new ideas for communicating their messages in a powerful way that can motivate their audiences to take action. 

Moderator: Po Yi, Partner, Venable LLP

Po Yi is a partner in Venable's nationally recognized Advertising and Marketing Group with significant experience in private practice and as in-house counsel. Po's practice focuses on digital media, branded entertainment, advertising and marketing, intellectual property licensing, and sponsorships in sports, music, and film, with regard to transactional matters and regulatory, intellectual property, and general counseling and compliance. Po's clients include major brands in the financial services and consumer products industries, and advertising and media agencies, as well as traditional media, digital media, and technology companies (including early-stage companies).


Ben Roffee, Digital Director, Huffington Post's RYOT

Born in Venezuela and raised in Southern California, Ben received a job offer in 2014 that ultimately changed his life. RYOT, an up-and-coming immersive media company, hired Ben as the Culture & Social Editor. He has since advanced to RYOT’s Digital Director, helping to create immersive stories and engage audiences with experiences that bring attention to issues that are happening all over the world. Ben Roffee is currently serving as the Harrison/Omnicom Innovator-in-Residence at the WVU Reed College of Media.

Geah Pressgrove, Assistant Professor, WVU Reed College of Media

Geah’s work examines the ways in which key communications variables influence relationship quality, behavioral outcomes, and loyalty, primarily in the nonprofit, corporate social responsibility, community, and political contexts. For the past year Geah and her students have been working with Ben to explore the role of immersive storytelling in connecting audiences to the stories of rural West Virginia. In her presentation, she will share this case study, lessons learned, and tools to get started in connecting audiences to stories in this emerging digital space.

Kel Elkins, Science Visualizer/Aerospace Engineer, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Kel works in the Scientific Visualization Studio, creating technically accurate visualizations based on data from NASA missions.

Prior to joining NASA, he was an aerospace engineer at Analytical Graphics, Inc., where he made computer animations of several aerospace-related news events, many of which have been broadcast on national/international news reports.

Kel holds a Bachelor's degree in Rocket Science from Penn State University and a Master’s degree in Computer Graphics and Game Technology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Bryan Fratkin, Founder and CEO, Whistle Stop Digital

Whistle Stop Digital is the maker of the award-winning advocacy, grassroots, and PAC software platform SparkInfluence. A native Washingtonian, Bryan has recently led sessions at Dreamforce, the Reed Awards, and the Advocacy Conference, discussing the changing nature of grassroots, stakeholder engagement, and data-driven advocacy. Bryan currently sits on the board of the Whirlwind Johnson Foundation and Grassroots Professional Network.

This event is hosted by Venable LLP and produced by the Grassroots Professional Network and the Reed College of Media at West Virginia University.