Social Media Week Fairfax returns October 18 with high profile roster of speakers and panelists

Fairfax County, VirginiaSocial Media Week Fairfax (SMWFairfax), presented by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA), will take place October 18 at Capital One headquarters in Tysons Corner, bringing together leading influencers, marketers, entrepreneurs and digitally-connected consumers who thrive in the hyper-connected world and push the boundaries of the status quo.

This year’s theme is “Closer,” focusing on the interconnection of all people in the marketplace while exploring conflicts between the community and individualism and examining innovations including artificial intelligence, virtual reality and wearable technology.

“SMWFairfax is the kind of interactive event that shines the spotlight on Fairfax County as a hotbed for emerging technologies and digital growth,” said Gerald L. Gordon, Ph.D., president and CEO of the FCEDA. “The global nature of the event is in line with our efforts to showcase the county as a place where innovation, creativity, thought leadership and diversity are assets that contribute to both the community and its economic base.”

Social Media Week is a leading news platform that curates and shares the best ideas, innovations and insight into the ways social media and technology are altering the business and cultural landscapes. More than 300 people attended the inaugural Tysons Corner event last year.

This year’s SMWFairfax keynote speakers and events will include:

  • Judy Smith, crisis management expert and inspiration for the hit TV show “Scandal” will lead a keynote conversation that examines crisis management in the digital age.
  • Debra Puchalla, senior vice president of digital programming and video for the Food Network and Cooking Channel, and Sara Levine, senior managing editor of the Food Network, will be on hand to demonstrate the ways short-form videos can be a recipe for success when it comes to making a culinary impact on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook.
  • National Geographic vice presidents Tammy Abraham and Amanda Waas will participate in “Partnerships with Purpose,” a conversation that will explain how National Geographic became the No.1 brand on social media. Svetlana Legetic, co-founder of BYT Media, will moderate the session.
  • Lanae Spruce, manager of social media and digital engagement for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will join Laura Larrimore of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Joseph Galbo of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for the discussion, “Hug Your Haters: The Art of Dealing with and Defusing Negativity Online.” Chris Dorobek, executive editor at GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER, will moderate.
  • Jonathan Aberman, managing director at Amplifier Advisors and host of the What’s Working in Washington podcast, will moderate the discussion “Future Tense: How Leading Companies Embrace Innovation,” with Caitlin McKenna of Hilton, Brinda Sen Gupta of Booz Allen Hamilton, and Neal Rothschild of Axios.
  • Washington Post reporter Aaron Gregg will moderate the panel “Playing with Matches: Does Digital Media Fuel or Burn Startups?” with Joe Falit of Yombu, Amelia Friedman of Hatch Apps and Ajay Kori of UrbanStems.

For a full list of speakers, exhibitors and registration information, please visit SMWFairfax.

SMWFairfax will also feature multiple exhibitors from the Greater Washington area, contests offering participants the chance to win prizes supplied by Amazon Web Services, ample time for networking and a 1:00 PM luncheon at the conclusion of the event.

The event was postponed from its original date due to concerns surrounding Hurricane Florence. All previously-issued tickets are good for the rescheduled date. Please contact the SMWFairfax team with any questions at

This year’s sponsors include Capital One, QBurst, Microsoft, Zoomph, Amazon Web Services, Hilton, Yext, Booz Allen Hamilton, Axios, Hatch, TransitScreen, UrbanStems, Big Parser, The Bridge, Loudoun Systems, DCVR, WeWork Labs, Yombu, National Geographic, the National Museum of African American History & Culture, Fifth Tribe, Hey Frase, MGTA, the Food Network, the Cooking Channel, Northern Virginia Community College, Technology and Gaming Labs, BYT Media, NotionTheory, iSocialFanz and Reston Limousine.

Media sponsors are DC Inno, InsideNoVa, Potomac Tech Wire and NextGov.

The award-winning Fairfax County Economic Development Authority promotes Fairfax County as a business and technology center. The FCEDA offers site location and business development assistance, and connections with county and state government agencies, to help companies locate and expand in Fairfax County. In addition to its headquarters in Tysons Corner, Fairfax County’s largest business district, the FCEDA maintains marketing offices in six important global business centers: Bangalore, Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Seoul and Tel Aviv. Follow the FCEDA on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.