Join us for frank2020.
February 4 -7, 2020

Once more, with feeling…

frank is back for its seventh year, and at this gathering we’re going to play with your emotions.

Or at least how you can intentionally use emotion in your work. We’ll dive in, as frank does, with the research-informed insights and actionable examples from the field. Plus plenty of time to explore, connect with old friends or make new ones in the funky Floridian February escape so many look forward to throughout the year.

Awe. Fear. Pride. Anger. Love. Hope.

What role do these play in the chasm between awareness and action? How do emotions inspire action or apathy? Are we more likely to act out of hope or despair? Pride or anger? And what role do our emotions play in connecting us or pushing us apart?

We’ll explore each — and more — in depth during our curated main stage talks. Then head off to “Recess” a few times each day for smaller group discussions. Have a Recess idea? Submit it here by Dec. 15.

All frank2020 events will occur in downtown Gainesville, Florida.

Book your stay

The frank headquarters is the Hippodrome State Theater and the Hampton Inn and Suites in Downtown Gainesville. We also have a block of rooms at the the new AC Hotel Marriott and the Holiday Inn.

Hampton Inn and Suites – 0.1 miles away
(2 minute walk)
AC Marriott Gainesville – 1.2 miles away
(25 minute walk or shuttle)

Holiday Inn – 1.1 miles away
(22 minute walk or shuttle)

Here are some of the speakers at frank

Comedian and Activist

Lizz Winstead

Lizz Winstead has built her amazing career hilariously responding to the world. As co-creator and head writer of ​Comedy Central’s​ “The Daily Show,” Winstead has forever changed the way people get their news. As co-founder of Air America Radio, she hosted her own show called  “Unfiltered”, sharing the mic every morning with the amazing Rachel Maddow and Hip Hop legend, Chuck D. As a stand-up she continues to tour, bringing her rapid response brand of comedy to theatres across the country and in 2014, was initiated into the Harvard Lampoon.  

Winstead has now taken her satirical brilliance one step further, combining it with her passion for reproductive rights to form her latest passion project, ​Abortion Access Front​, a non profit organization made up of comedians, writers and producers who create videos that use humor and outrage to expose sexist, anti choice politicians in all 50 state legislatures. AAF also spends 4 months out of the year doing shows across the country and providing support to independent abortion providers and local activists helping them to remove the stigma around abortion.  

In addition to performing and her activism, Winstead authored ​Lizz Free Or Die,​ a funny and touching book of personal essays, that ​Elle​ magazine called, ​“Sharply witty and iconoclastic” 

Winstead’s talents as a comedian and media visionary have been recognized by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Entertainment Weekly’s 100 Most Creative People issue among other print media. Winstead continues to appear on ​Comedy Central, HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher​ and NPR, as well as her regular commentary on ​MSNBC. 

Winstead has a lot to say about politics and current events, and when she says it, it is always insightful and hilarious! 


Erica Ciszek, Ph.D.

Erica Ciszek’s research, teaching and service are closely tied to commitments of advocacy and social change. Through rigorous qualitative methods and development of critical theory, Ciszek’s research examines the intersections of public relations and social change. Her work encompasses a triadic focus: (1) activism as public relations (conceptualizing social movement organizations as strategic communicators); (2) public relations as activism (conceptualizing public relations practitioners as organizational change agents); and (3) activism and strategic communication (considering how key stakeholders engage with communication materials aimed at them). 

Historically public relations and activism have had a contentious relationship within the practice as well as within the academy. Ciszek’s research is part of a thread of pioneering scholarship in public relations that is part of what Moloney and McKie (2015, p. 154) call “the activist turn” in the discipline. 

Before launching her academic career, Ciszek worked as a strategic analyst for Mullen Advertising and Public Relations. Additionally, she has worked in strategic analytics, market research and contributed to LGBT newspapers and magazines. As someone with professional experience in strategic communication working with nonprofits and Fortune 500 companies, Ciszek recognized the lack of diversity and representation that often characterizes the fields of public relations and advertising. Through her research and teaching, Ciszek is committed to making a space for marginalized voices and perspectives that have historically been written out of research. Her research has been published in the top journals in the field, including the Journal of Communication, as well as advocacy journals such as the Journal of Homosexuality

In addition to academic venues, Ciszek’s work, “LGBT advocacy in the digital age: Participatory media and the empowerment of an LGBT public,” has been translated by the Freedom House into Russian for distribution online. 

Activist and Filmmaker

Marjan Safinia

Marjan Safinia is an Iranian documentary filmmaker whose films examine identity, community and social justice. But You Speak Such Good English explores the first-generation immigrant experience from an insider perspective. Seeds, tells the story of ten brave teenagers from the world’s most troubled conflict zones living side-by-side for one life- changing summer. Collectively her films have played at over 100 international film festivals and been broadcast in North America, Europe and across the Arab world. Most recently she produced and directed work for Google Founder Sergey Brin, the Obama administration, and Hillary Clinton’s Next Generation. Until 2018, Marjan was the longest-serving President of the Board of Directors of the International Documentary Association (and the only woman of color to ever lead this organization.) She co-hosts the pre-eminent online documentary community, The D-Word, and is a regular juror, programmer, speaker and connector of all things documentary.


Hans Park

Hans Park is the Strategic Design and Research Manager at the UN Refugee Agency’s Innovation Service. His work is concerned with leading creative direction activities within the team and supporting management of a range of innovation projects, primarily related to Artificial Intelligence, strategic communications, inclusion and diversity

Activist and Communicator

Shanelle Matthews

For more than ten years, Shanelle has partnered with social justice activists, organizations, and campaigns to inspire action through storytelling and communications. From the Sierra Club, to the ACLU, to the Black Lives Matter Global Network, she’s collaborated with political influencers and changemakers to transform complex ideas into persuasive political messaging that inspires people to action.

To strengthen the field of strategic communications, in 2016, Shanelle founded the Radical Communicators Network (RadComms), a go-to hub for cutting edge skills-building, values-aligned political education, and cross-movement collaboration for grassroots social justice communicators. By providing training, professional development, and networking, RadComms serves as a conduit for communicators to disseminate frameworks, information, critical inquiry and analysis into more mainstream and academic communications spaces.

Additionally, to close a gap in progressive media training for impacted communities, Shanelle developed Channel Black, a tailored training program that prepares progressive spokespeople to make critical, real-time interventions on racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and power in the United States through the media.

In the fall of 2017, Shanelle joined The New School, a University in Manhattan as its inaugural Activist-in-Residence. Today, she is faculty there in the social justice scholarship program. She holds a degree in Journalism and New and Online Media from the Manship School of Mass Communications at Louisiana State University.

When she’s not working, Shanelle designs craft cocktails based on her favorite Black feminist books. She lives and plays in Brooklyn with her dog Nala.

Photographer and Activist

Aundre Larrow

Aundre is a Florida native, Brooklyn-based portrait photographer who has spent the last few years shooting editorial and lifestyle content for his clients. He most recently shot the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with The North Face, NY Fashion week and a portrait project about Amendment 4 in Florida. Throughout the years, he has always pursued the truth that can be found in portraiture and his current work is the next chapter of that.

Founder, SoulBuffalo

David Ford

Founder and CEO of SoulBuffalo, an expedition company with operating experience in over 80 countries, servicing the Fortune 500. We’ve spent the last four years heavily focused on purpose-driven expeditions aligned with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, each with the mission to drive large scale systemic change in the world. 


Debbie Almontaser

Dr. Debbie Almontaser is an internationally recognized, award-winning educator, speaker and authority on cross cultural understanding. She is an influential community leader and the Founder and CEO of Bridging Cultures Group, Inc.

Dr. Almontaser was the founding and former principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy in Brooklyn, NY. A twenty-five year veteran of the NYC Public School System, she taught special education, inclusion, trained teachers in literacy, and served as a multicultural specialist and diversity advisor. Currently, she is the Board President of the Muslim Community Network ( She frequently lectures, serves on panels, and facilitates teacher and public workshops on cultural diversity, conflict resolution, Arab Culture, Islam, Muslims in America, interfaith coalition building and youth leadership at schools, universities, libraries, museums, faith-based organizations, churches, synagogues, as well as national and international conferences.

Quick Gathering Schedule

In town Tuesday, 2/4? Join us for the Welcome Rally, 6-9 p.m.



11 a.m. – Welcome Lunch
1-2:15 p.m. – Opening and frank talks on AWE
2:15-2:45 p.m. – Break
2:45-4 p.m. – frank talks
4-5:30 p.m. – RECESS 1
6:30-10 p.m. – Progressive dinner



9-10 a.m. – frank talks on FEAR
10-11:15 a.m. – RECESS 2
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – frank talks on PRIDE
12:30-1:45 p.m. – LUNCH
2-3:15 p.m. – frank talks on ANGER
3:15-3:35 p.m. – Break
3:35 – 5 p.m. – frank talks on LOVE
7-10 p.m. – frank Puzzle Hunt



9 – 9:45 a.m. – frank talks on MORAL EMOTIONS
9:45-11 a.m. – RECESS 3
11:15-12:15 p.m. – frank talks on HOPE
12:15-12:30 p.m. – Closing Ceremonies
12:30-2 p.m. – Recovery Lunch

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