Refining Our Stories: Everything We Know About Crafting Winning Messages

Refining Our Stories: Everything We Know About Crafting Winning Messages

Session Type(s): Training

Training Tag(s): Communications

Starts: Saturday, Aug. 20 10:00 AM (Eastern)

Ends: Saturday, Aug. 20 11:00 AM (Eastern)

We all want to see progressive change happen ASAP. But too often we lose the messaging battle to the right—by reacting within the boundaries they set, leading with numbers and policy instead of with values, or failing to unite behind simple stories that resonate emotionally. The truth is we know what works, but we don’t have consistency in messaging that across our ecosystem. By refining our ability to tell winning stories, together we will become a more successful movement. In this workshop, you’ll learn the key elements of every effective story, examine cases in which stories worked or didn’t, and leave with a draft message for your organization or cause that is concise and adaptable to various media channels.


Kate Catherall


Kate Catherall is the Founder and Principal of Slow Clap. Passionate about building capacity for progressive causes, Kate Catherall brings over 15 years of leadership experience in public engagement, advocacy, and electoral politics.

Most recently, Kate served as Chief Engagement Officer at Avalanche Insights, where her team led survey research and guided narrative development for national organizations on a range of key issues including clean energy, reproductive freedom, gun violence, gender equity, and affordable housing.

Kate is the Co-founder and formerly Senior Partner of Arena, an organization that convenes, trains, and supports the next generation of progressive candidates and political professionals. She now serves the organization as Board Chair, and continues to train at Arena Academies. Since 2017, Arena has helped to elect 61 candidates to Congress, state, and local offices, and has trained more than 2300 campaign professionals through Arena Academy. Arena is focused on supporting a more diverse leadership pipeline: 59% of Arena Academy graduates are women, and 53% are people of color.

Prior to founding Arena, Kate was a Senior Vice President at 270 Strategies, where she consulted on public engagement strategy, behavioral research, and organizational design for candidates, advocacy organizations, and philanthropies. At 270, Kate worked on a wide range of issues, from civic engagement to food security to public health to elevating the teaching profession to international conflict resolution.

Kate has trained leaders in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, with participants hailing from more than 40 countries. She got her start as an organizer on Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, and has since worked with dozens of campaigns and candidates up and down the ballot including rising stars like Lauren Underwood, Cory Booker, Lina Hidalgo, and Andy Kim.

Kate resides in Oakland, California with her partner Conrad and her retriever mix, Louie. She spends as much time outside as possible, and loves film, music, writing, travel, forest bathing, and pizza.

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Will Packer


Will — an educator, organizer, creative, and policy nerd — has spent over a decade helping other humans develop themselves and exploring the power of true stories to make our world fair, for once. Before joining Avalanche Insights, Will was Director of Story and Strategy for Vot-ER, which empowers healthcare workers to get their patients and colleagues ready to vote, researched policy for Arena, an organization that convenes, trains, and supports the next generation of Democratic candidates and campaign strategists, and directed content and production for Resistance School, a free online video training platform for political and community organizing.

For nearly eight years, Will worked in high-poverty public charter schools in New York City. He developed teachers, managed lobbying efforts, designed and led “applied civics” and “personalized math” programs, and taught hundreds of 7th graders mathematics. Experienced in both the legislative and executive branches of government and on both state and national campaigns, Will began his career as a field organizer for the 2008 Obama Campaign in Columbus, Ohio, where his turf turned blue for the first time since LBJ.

A native of Manhattan, Will holds an M.P.A. from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, an M.B.A. from The Wharton School, an M.A. in Teaching Mathematics from Relay Graduate School of Education, and a A.B. in political science from his beloved Brown University. Will’s oldest interest is music — he’s released two albums with his band Night School — and his newest is tennis.

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