frank

We Just Built the Best frank Ever

Hard to believe, but the frank gathering will turn three this February, and it’s growing up.

Last year, we brought you Steven Pinker, Sheryl WuDunn and other luminaries who have become famous in our sector. They were funny and inspiring and guess what? Not your favorite speakers. When we looked at the evaluations, you told us that your favorite speakers were people who shared their perspectives from the front lines of change. They were the people who you hadn’t heard of. They weren’t famous, but they were building and leading movements that were creating real change.

We took that to heart and looked for more people who are in the fight every day and winning on the issues that matter most. People like Brian Sheehan, who led the fight for marriage equality in Ireland. We have some luminaries, like storytelling guru Andy Goodman; Eileen Boone, who made the courageous decision to pull tobacco products from CVS stores, and Molly Crabapple, whose stunning book “Drawing Blood” about her work as an artist drawing change is lighting up Amazon.

But you may not have heard of scholar Paul Slovic, whose research offers new insight to the power of stories and empathy, or Bryan Boyer, who is developing a “carebot” for NPR that will measure how people respond to stories and act on what they read or hear. Or Naomi Ekperigan, whose scathing comedy brings to light racial and gender inequality.

We also added some new things we think you’ll love. Each of our blocks of speakers will be followed by scrums. These are opportunities for you to sit down with the speakers and other participants over a cup of coffee and share ideas.

One of the things that we think a lot about is how to send you home with a whole new group of friends who care as much about change as you do. At frank, you’ll have the opportunity to connect easily with nearly every single participant. We’ll do that two ways:

  1. You’ll be part of a 20-person Krewe who we’ll introduce you to before your pilgrimage to Gainesville. Your Krewe will be your tribe while you’re at frank — friendly faces at the happy hours, someone to sit and reflect with and people to compete with against the other Krewes. If you’re registered for frank, you’ll hear more about Krewes in the coming month.
  2. A massively fun progressive dinner. On Wednesday, you’ll be having dinner at not one downtown restaurant, but three. During each dinner course, you’ll sit down with a different group of franksters. We’ll all meet up for dessert and an epic lip-sync contest to compare notes.

We’ve also added a music, film, virtual reality and comedy festival called “Changeville” that will unfold Thursday, Feb. 25 after a street fair in the downtown plaza featuring Rolling Stone’s performer of the year, Charles Bradley. If you’re registered for frank, you can buy your ticket for Changeville at a big discount. Read more about Changeville here.

Posted on January 7, 2016

Ann Elizabeth Christiano
Ann Christiano is a former senior communications officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Professor Christiano teaches several public relations courses from a social change perspective. As the Frank Karel Chair, Christiano is in charge of all things frank.