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Workshop Speakers 2017

    Patrick T. Reardon will lead us through a step-by-step look at how to think about, research and write a feature story. This workshop will focus particularly on the interconnectedness of reporting and writing and on the need for the reporter/writer to work to synthesize the material and develop new insights, new ways of thinking about the subject. The result is the story.
    Patrick T. Reardon is a feature writer and a former urban affairs writer for the Chicago Tribune. He is the author of three books, “Daily Meditations (with Scripture) for Busy Dads,” “Starting Out: Reflections for Young People” and “Love Never Fails: Spiritual Reflections for Dads of All Ages,” all from ACTA. He also wrote several chapters in the 1997 book, “Chicago Days: 150 Defining Moments in the Life of a Great City,” and contributed chapters to “Christmas Presence: Twelve Gifts That Were More Than They Seemed,” “Hidden Presence” and “Diamond Presence,” all from ACTA. His poems have appeared in many periodicals. A lifelong Chicagoan, he is married to Cathy Shiel-Reardon, a school social worker. Their children, David and Sarah, are both enrolled at Boston University.

    Kevin Shanley 
    Workshop: The Virtuous Cycle of Digital Marketing
    WHEN: Thursday, 9:15 – 10:30 a.m.

    Kevin Shanley is the principal of Shanley and Associates, the leading marketing agency exclusively serving religious publishers. Kevin has had engagements with over 40 members of the Associated Church Press, Evangelical Press Association, and Catholic Press Association. Shanley and Associates also has a strategic partnership with Cambey and West, one of today’s leading fulfillment agencies also serving religious magazine and newspaper publishers. Shanley and Associates brings 38 years of marketing experience to the table. Their services include: fundraising, periodical audience development, fulfillment, and advertising sales. Kevin started his career as the marketing director for Claretian Publications in 1979.


    Heidi Thompson 
    Workshop: The Virtuous Cycle of Digital Marketing
    WHEN: Thursday, 9:15 – 10:30 a.m.

    Heidi Thompson is an organizer, marketer and publishing executive with more than 25 years of experience working with faith, community and social justice groups to leverage the science of marketing for the liberation of all God’s creation. She was the publisher and CEO of Religion News Service and served as the vice president for marketing and publisher of Sojourners magazine. She is currently providing marketing consulting services to more than a dozen Christian publications in coordination with Shanley + Associates, a Chicago-based marketing agency serving religious publishers. Heidi has a B.S. in Journalism from the E.W. Scripps School at Ohio University and an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communication from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.


    Tim Nafziger 
    Workshop: Towards Thicker Engagement: Case studies on converting online readers to donors
    WHEN: Thursday, 10:45 am to 12:00 pm

    Tim Nafziger has been building websites for nonprofits since 1999 and specializing in the Drupal since 2004. From 2008 to 2014 he served on staff with Christian Peacemaker Teams, first as outreach coordinator and then as interim assistant director (2012-2014). In January 2015 he co-founded Congruity Works, a web development firm that specializes. Nafziger is also a writer and photographer and has blogged for The Mennonite magazine since 2006. He lives in the Ojai valley in southern California with his wife Charletta.


    Eboo Patel 
    Keynote Address
    WHEN: Thursday, 12:15 pm – 1:45 pm

    Patel is a leading voice in the movement for interfaith cooperation and the Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a national nonprofit working to make interfaith cooperation a social norm. He is the author of Acts of Faith, Sacred Ground and Interfaith Leadership. Named by US News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009, Eboo served on President Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council. He is a regular contributor to the public conversation around religion in America and a frequent speaker on the topic of religious pluralism. He holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship. For over fifteen years, Eboo has worked with governments, social sector organizations, and college and university campuses to help realize a future where religion is a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division. More at:


    Heidi Schlumpf 
    Workshop: 5 Tips for Writing Profiles with Personality
    WHEN: Friday, 9:15 to 10:30 a.m.

    Personality profiles continue to be a standby feature in newspapers, magazines, broadcast and online media, but too often they fall flat or fail to engage the reader. This workshop will offer five tips to improve profiles through angling, research and storytelling techniques the presenter learned while writing a book-length biography. Writers and editors will discover how to give more personality to written profiles, as well as ways to present profiles using multimedia.

    Heidi Schlumpf has worked as a magazine editor, freelance writer and journalism professor. She is the author of “Questing for God,” a biography of feminist theologian Elizabeth A. Johnson.


    Christian Piatt 
    Workshop: Extend your Reach by Podcasting (In-Depth on Podcasting)
    WHEN: Friday, 9:15 – 10:30 a.m.

    Christian Piatt is an author, editor, speaker, musician and spoken word artist. He co-founded Milagro Christian Church in Pueblo, Colorado with his wife, Rev. Amy Piatt, in 2004. Currently he serves as the Director of Acquisitions and Author Development for CrowdScribed, and as the Director of Growth and Development for First Christian Church (DOC) in Portland, OR. Details at


    Matt Paolelli
    Workshop: Flat Francis, Digital Catholic Summer Camp, and More: Social Media Campaigns That Work
    WHEN: Friday, 9:15 to 10:30 a.m.

    Matt Paolelli is the manager of digital communications for Catholic Extension, a non-profit organization that raises funds for poor Catholic dioceses around the country. Paolelli earned a bachelor’s degree in newspaper reporting and a master’s degree in new media journalism from the Medill School of Journalism. He later worked at Medill as a teaching technologies specialist, where he instructed students and faculty in multimedia software, Web technology and content management systems. He then worked as a Web content producer for Northwestern University Relations, where he produced hundreds of multimedia news features as well as created and managed the University’s social media presence.

    As a freelance reporter, Matt wrote extensively for The Daily Herald and his work has also appeared in The Chicago Defender, The Chicago Journal, The Northwest Indiana and Illinois Times, Medill Magazine and Northwestern Magazine. He also produced a half-hour documentary that aired on the Big Ten Network.

    He currently teaches freshman courses in the basics of journalism and multimedia reporting as an adjunct professor at Medill and is the proud recipient of the 2014 Medill Students’ Choice award. He has also been named to the Associated Student Government Faculty Honor Roll for the last three school years. When he’s not doing any of that, he’s rooting for the Chicago Cubs and the Northwestern Wildcats or posting on his blog. You can also follow him on Twitter @payolelly.


    Dr. Ganoune Diop
    Keynote Address
    WHEN: Friday, 12:15 pm to 1:45 pm

    Dr. Diop is Director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty for the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church. Before his election in July 2015 at the 60th General Conference Session in San Antonio, Texas, he served as the church’s liaison to the United Nations in New York and Geneva, and as its representative within the international community of civic and political leaders. More at:


    Rob Wildeboer

    Rob is the Senior Editor of News for WBEZ, heading up the daily news operation.

    Much of his work in the last couple of years as a reporter has focused on prisons, expensive institutions that are subject to little public oversight. Rob spent much of 2012 seeking access to the prisons in Illinois, waging a very public battle with Gov. Pat Quinn. The governor had refused to let reporters into the facilities, citing safety and security. However, when WBEZ threatened to sue the governor and the Department of Corrections the state relented and hosted tours that attracted dozens of reporters from across the state. Rob’s efforts were featured in several publications, including a cover story on prison reporting and access in the Columbia Journalism Review. Details: