Communicating in a Polarized World
CAPIO Conference Luncheon Keynote


As communicators, you are tasked with communicating equally to all audiences. In this highly polarized political climate – and in the age of siloed news – how do you best connect and equally engage with your target audiences on both sides of the divide?

During CAPIO 2021’s luncheon keynote, former CAPIO member and current elected official Zach Friend will facilitate a panel discussion with other nationally-recognized communicators on how to best communicate in a polarized world.

Bringing his perspective from working with cities, on presidential campaigns and currently as a Santa Cruz County Supervisor, Zach will provide relevant insights and tactics on how to reach various audiences with balanced messages that resonate in the current polarized environment.

Zach will be joined by Debbie Mesloh, Mike Madrid and Kristin Olsen to discuss how PIOs can break through the noise, build trust and communicate effectively using proven methods and strategies. They will share communications strategies gained through their vast experience managing presidential, senate, state and local government campaigns and messaging.

Debbie has worked at the highest levels of both the public and private sectors. She currently serves as a communications consultant, assisting clients with communications strategy, crisis communications and political strategy.

Mike has been changing the outcomes of political campaigns throughout the country for over 20 years. His active involvement in local, state and federal races has helped him to develop a keen insight into the successful characteristics of winning campaigns.

Kristin is a Stanislaus County Supervisor and a Partner at California Strategies, LLC, the state’s largest public affairs consulting firm. She termed out of the California State Assembly in 2016, where she represented communities in the San Joaquin Valley and Sierra Foothills while also serving as one of the top four legislative leaders.