Words for changemakers,

      crafted with clarity, precision and style .

Feature

Well

Stories

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Speeches, opinion writing, narratives 
and strategy
for social impact. 

feature well: \ˈfēCHər wel\ noun

 
The prime location in a print magazine, where the most important article is placed. Through engaging writing and rich illustration, the well signals the reader to settle in for an important, uninterrupted and memorable read. Verb: to be regarded positively or with favor.

Stories affect how we feel, whom we trust and what we do with that trust. A cogent story laying out purpose, values and culture builds credibility with audiences and inspires them to action. 

 

We spend so much of our time scrolling for new or significant content. Pelted with data, arguments and all manner of digital confetti, too often we feel empty and retain nothing. That's because the human mind is wired to crave and respond to stories.

 

Stories are how we find meaning. Stories are what we remember.

 

Karen Breslau, an award-winning journalist, author, speechwriter and communications strategist, helps clients tell their stories in ways worthy of the feature well. Karen works with nonprofits, startups, educational institutions and individual leaders, offering a unique constellation of writing, journalism, event planning and strategic skills, a reputation for excellence, influence and impact at the highest levels. 

“A talent for speaking differently, rather than arguing well, is the chief instrument of cultural change.”

Richard Rorty, philosopher

 

SERVICES

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Speech and opinion writing 

Standing on stage, or staring into a Zoom screen and addressing an unseen audience, can be scary. So is making an investor pitch. Or going on "60 Minutes" -- or Vice. Whether you are a young leader preparing for a breakthrough appearance, or an established leader making your case in dramatically different times, Karen works with clients on every aspect of thought leadership. Services include speechwriting, opinion pieces, designing influence campaigns, selecting strategic media and speaking opportunities, and training for interviews and public appearances, (including virtual appearances). 

Content Core

Know who you are, what you stand for and what your mission is. It's harder to stray from values and purpose that are clearly defined. Feature Well Stories creates communication roadmaps for clients. Whether the challenge is internal or external - to motivate a team, prepare for media appearances, speeches, conferences or other public moments, we offer one-stop shopping. The content core also supports development, investor and government relations teams who are telling your story to the world. Each content core is styled for optimal exposure using conventional and social media. 

live
journalism

As work becomes more virtual, people are still drawn to gather, learn and share. To take full measure of a person or an idea, we still engage in storytelling and virtual convening, even if we cannot get together IRL. Feature Well Stories designs and produces events of all sizes and for a wide variety of audiences. We provide a full range of services, including editorial direction, recruiting speakers and media relations. Whether you need a moderator, the right guest, a main stage concept, or help attracting the right audience we've got you covered. 

 
 
in the news.

In "How Safe Are We? Homeland Security Since 9/11", a book I co-authored with Janet Napolitano, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, we take a hard look at what has changed - and what new threats have emerged - in the nearly two decades since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  Published in 2019, the book is relevant in ways we didn't anticipate even when we started our work in 2017.  Each day, homeland security shortcomings are increasingly evident in tragic and troubling headlines. With "How Safe Are We?" we hope to bring context to the news and to outline a path forward for a safer country and world. You can read an excerpt here. I hope you will consider purchasing "How Safe Are We?" from your independent community bookstore, or from the publisher (PublicAffairs/Hachette Book Group) at the link below. 

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"A measured, thoughtful analysis... A clear-eyed, rational examination of a government office that plays a key and often misunderstood role in the lives of all Americans."

 

- Kirkus Reviews

"A measured, thoughtful analysis... A clear-eyed, rational examination of a government office that plays a key and often misunderstood role in the lives of all Americans."

 

- Kirkus Reviews

Recently featured in:
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about Karen.
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Karen started her career at NPR, and became a correspondent for Newsweek in Bonn and Berlin, covering the fall of the Berlin Wall, Yugoslavia's civil war, and the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. She served as Newsweek’s diplomatic and White House correspondent, covered three presidential campaigns, and was San Francisco bureau chief for the magazine. She also wrote for WIRED, MORE and the New York Times magazine.

 

After journalism, Karen was head speechwriter for the University of California Office of the President, and California communications director for the Dewey Square Group (DSG), a national public affairs firm. At DSG, she designed and led successful campaigns for clients on issues including higher education, human rights, and ridesharing public policy. She was also an editor for "The Shriver Report", an Emmy-winning, multimedia project by Maria Shriver about the lives of American women on the brink of poverty.

 

Most recently, Karen is co-author of a book with former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, “How Safe Are We? Homeland Security since 9/11” (PublicAffairs, 2019).  

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Karen holds degrees in International Relations and German from U.C. Davis, and a Master's in Political Science from U.C. Berkeley. She was a JSK Journalism Fellow at Stanford, one of 12 American journalists selected annually, and is the recipient of numerous journalism awards.  

 

PORTFOLIO.

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 Click here for my 2012 interview with Vice President Kamala Harris (then Senator Harris!) 

live JOURNALISM:
She SHARES 
As co-founder and moderator of She Shares, a popular conversation series featuring California's women leaders, Karen has interviewed guests including the First Partner of California Jennifer Siebel Newsom, California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, U.S. Senator and 2020 Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris, the late Nancy McFadden, Governor Brown's chief of staff, Intel Foundation President Roz Hudnell, and NAACP President Alice Huffman, among others. She Shares prepares the next generation of women leaders by pairing students with accomplished mentors and offering personalized career training.

Photo Credit: Diana Miller for She Shares

Watch video of She Shares with Jennifer SIEbel NewsoM, First Partner of California March 7, 2019, Sacramento
 
In her first extended interview since becoming First Partner of California, Siebel Newsom talks about dispensing with the traditional title of "First Lady," her plans to help implement Governor Gavin Newsom's agenda, her views on President Trump (and how the Democratic power couple copes with Thanksgiving dinner with her Republican relatives).  
live events: Conferences for Women 
 

Karen directed communications strategy for a  series of professional and personal development events hosting more than 40,000 attendees annually in Philadelphia, Austin, Boston and San Jose. Speakers at the sold-out conferences include Michelle Obama, Viola Davis, Amal Clooney, Anita Hill and Shonda Rhimes. Karen supervised media relations with speakers and their representatives and recruited national and regional outlets to cover the conferences. Media impressions increased substantially year over year in all markets. Karen recruited influential journalists as moderators and speakers and also hosted the conferences' monthly podcasts. 

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Credit: Getty Images,  Marla Aufmuth for Pennsylvania Conference for Women

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Thought Leadership:
Capt. Sully Sullenberger
 

Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger became a public figure overnight when he made an emergency water landing on the Hudson River on January 15, 2009, saving all 155 people on board US Airways Flight 1549. Karen worked with Sully to direct the international fame and influence that followed the "Miracle on the Hudson" toward public policy and other causes important to him. This included his work with Congress to improve commercial pilot training standards and other aviation safety measures, his advocacy for better patient safety, suicide prevention, and numerous philanthropic causes. In 2021, Sullenberger was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as U.S. representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization, following his appointment by President Biden. 

  Photo Credit: Lorrie Sullenberger 

thought leadership:
Special Olympics 
 
Karen worked with Special Olympics to design and produce the organization’s first global development summit at the 2013 World Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. With a focus on ending poverty and exclusion for people with intellectual disabilities, Karen helped Special Olympics invite world leaders to the summit, including Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik of Korea, President Joyce Banda of Malawi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, Cindy McCain and Cherie Blair, among others, to address dignitaries, athletes, spectators and world media on the role of Special Olympics in promoting human rights in the 172 countries where it operates. 
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Photo Credit: Special Olympics International

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Narrative strategy:
UC Merced

Karen worked with UC Merced, the newest campus in the University of California system, to roll out a major public-private partnership (P3) expanding the campus. Known as the 2020 Project, at $1.3 billion, it is the largest P3 of its kind in American higher education. The 2020 Project has received acclaim for its innovative, cost-effective financing and LEED-certified design. In 2017, it was named “Americas P3 Deal of the Year” by Thomson Reuters, among other awards. Karen also worked with campus leaders to share the extraordinary UC Merced story with state and national audiences. UC Merced serves UC's most diverse student body, three-quarters of whom are the first in their families to attend college.

Photo Credit: UC Merced

WRITING AND MEDIA APPEARANCES
 
In addition to "How Safe Are We? Homeland Security Since 9/11",  Karen is the author of several influential cover stories for Newsweek, WIRED and MORE magazine. She has profiled the powerful, the courageous, the creative and the quirky: Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Warren Christopher, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sarah Palin, Maria Shriver, Jodie Foster, extreme sports rehab for injured veterans and a Czech zookeeper who kept a herd of endangered African rhinos from going extinct during the Cold War. Karen's essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine , and more recently on Medium.com
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Additional photo credits:  The White House, Ben Schecter, Ivy Gordon, Dorothée Chabas, Lisa Tana

 
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CONTACT.

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