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Upcoming Schaefer Center for Public Policy Events

Do It Now 2017 Conference icon "Governing in the Era of Social Media"

William Donald Schaefer Policy Conference and Award Ceremony

Nov. 2, 2017
8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
The Belvedere
One E. Chase Street
Grand and Platinum Ballrooms, 12th floor
Baltimore, MD 21202

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Join the Schaefer Center for Public Policy for the inaugural William Donald Schaefer “Do-It-Now” Memorial Policy Conference and Award Ceremony on Nov. 2, 2017.

This public policy conference will explore the role and impact of social media on governing. The event also honors the legacy of Governor William Donald Schaefer with the presentation of the third annual William Donald Schaefer Award. Proceeds from this event will support the Schaefer Center’s self-funded policy research and professional development initiatives.

Event History

In 2015, the Schaefer Center’s Leadership Advisory Council sought to honor the legacy of Governor William Donald Schaefer and his “Do-It-Now” style as well as generate funds to support the public policy center named in his honor.  In 2015 and 2016, the Schaefer Center hosted a reception and award ceremony. Starting this year, the Center is honoring Governor Schaefer with an annual policy conference and award ceremony.

Conference Schedule

9:00-9:45 a.m. 

Opening Plenary Speaker: "How Social Media is Shaping Politics"

  • Harrison Hickman, Hickman Analytics
10:00-10:45 a.m. 

"Social Media and Citizen Engagement" (panel discussion)
Moderator: Aaron Wachhaus, Assistant Professor, University of Baltimore

  • Olga Brillman, VP of Business Operations, Protenus
  • Len Foxwell, Chief of Staff for Maryland Comptroller Franchot
  • Anthony McCarthy, Director of Communications, Baltimore City Office of the Mayor
11:00-11:45 a.m. 

"Elected Officials and Social Media: Promise and Pitfalls" (panel discussion)
Moderator: Sascha Sheehan, Associate Professor, University of Baltimore

  • Trif Alatzas, Publisher, The Baltimore Sun
  • Delegate Kathy Szeliga
  • Delegate Mary Washington
11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. 

Closing Plenary Speaker

  • Harrison Hickman, Hickman Analytics
12:15-1:30 p.m. 

William Donald Schaefer Award Luncheon and Keynote Speaker

  • The Honorable Carolyn W. Colvin, 2017 William Donald Schaefer Award recipient
  • The Honorable Catherine E. Pugh, keynote speaker

About the William Donald Schaefer Award

Annually, the Schaefer Center for Public Policy presents the William Donald Schaefer Award to a public official who embodies William Donald Schaefer’s spirit of caring and commitment to the people of Baltimore and Maryland. The first two recipients of the award were Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings (2015) and Dr. Nancy Grasmick (2016), former Maryland State Superintendent of Schools. The 2017 recipient is The Honorable Carolyn W. Colvin.

Carolyn Colvin

The Honorable Carolyn W. Colvin has a substantial record of public service. As the former Commissioner of the Social Security Administration of the United States, Ms. Colvin was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate Committee on Finance to serve in this capacity from 2013-2017. Prior service includes head of Human Services for the District of Columbia, director of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, and secretary of Maryland’s Department of Human Resources. Ms. Colvin has described her leadership style as putting people first. In an interview with The Washington Post, she noted, "Former Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer gave me the best advice, and that was to put people first and to demonstrate to people that you care about them. He always talked about the importance of being a compassionate leader and the need to serve your people well and to serve the public.That helped generate my leadership style." 

About the Speakers

Trif Alatzas Trif Alatzas is the publisher and editor-in-chief of The Baltimore Sun Media Group. He oversees the business staff and journalists at The Baltimore Sun, as well as the company’s additional daily newspapers, web sites, and community newspapers and magazines. Under his leadership, The Sun and its journalists have continued the tradition of exceptional and award-winning journalism in Baltimore, winning more than 40 national awards in the past three years.

Olga Brillman

Olga Brillman is the vice president of business operations at Protenus, a cloud-based analytics platform for electronic health records. Prior to Protenus, Ms. Brillman was Director of Communications at Baltimore-based private equity and venture capital firm Camden Partners. She has previously served in both strategic and operational roles within early stage companies, political campaigns, nonprofits, and the U.S. Senate. 


Len Foxwell

Len Foxwell currently serves as Chief of Staff for Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot. Prior to joining the Comptroller’s Office in 2007, he served as Assistant to Salisbury University’s President for Government and Community Relations, and as Director of Government Relations for the Greater Washington Board of Trade.




Harrison Hickman

Harrison Hickman is the founder of Hickman Analytics, Inc. and provides research and consulting to political candidates and officeholders, public interest groups and businesses, and other clients. Mr. Hickman has conducted political research for more than 30 years. In that time, he has worked in six presidential campaigns and in campaigns in all 50 states. He is an industry leader of opinion research, message development and testing, and targeting models.


Anthony McCarthy

Anthony McCarthy is the Director of Communications for the Baltimore City Office of the Mayor, where he leads the communications and public affairs team for Mayor Pugh. Mr. McCarthy is a journalist and public relations professional who has worked for Mayor Kurt Schmoke, Mayor Sheila Dixon, and Congressman Elijah Cummings. 


Catherine Pugh

The Honorable Catherine E. Pugh is the 50th Mayor of the City of Baltimore. Mayor Pugh has been a public servant for more than 15 years, first being elected to the Baltimore City Council in 1999and later holding office in the House in Delegates and the Senate of the Maryland General Assembly. During her service in the General Assembly, the 40th District Delegation received over one million dollars in academic scholarships for Baltimore youth and she helped pass legislation to raise the Maryland minimum wage for working families. Mayor Pugh is the founder of the Baltimore Design School and the Baltimore Marathon, as well as president of CEPugh and Company.

Sascha Sheehan

Sascha Sheehan , Ph.D., is an associate professor in the School of Public and International Affairs in the College of Public Affairs at the University of Baltimore. He serves as the director of the M.S. in Negotiations and Conflict Management program and a founding co-director of the M.A. in Global Affairs and Human Security program. Dr. Sheehan specializes in the intersection of global terrorism, counterterrorism and international conflict management.


Kathy Szeliga

Delegate Kathy Szeliga represents the 7th District, Baltimore and Harford Counties, in the House of Delegates of the General Assembly of Maryland. Ms. Szeliga served on the Environment and Transportation Committee, the Appropriations Committee, and is on the Board of Directors for the Association of Maryland Families.



Aaron Wacchaus

Aaron Wachhaus , Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the School of Public and International Affairs in the College of Public Affairs. He serves as a Faculty Fellow for the Schaefer Center for Public Policy and editor of the Journal of Health and Human Services Administration and Public Administration Quarterly. Dr. Wachhaus specializes in governance theory, anarchism, and the theory and practice of social networks in public administration. 


Mary Washington

Delegate Mary Washington , Ph.D., represents the 43rd District, Baltimore City, in the House of Delegates of the General Assembly of Maryland. Ms. Washington served as the Deputy Majority Whip, the Appropriations Committee, as well as a member of the Task Force to Study Supportive Services and Housing for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth.