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Rebranding Islam in America


This panel will bring together leaders of the Muslim American community, PR and brand strategists who can foster the sensitive dialogue between religion/politics and public relations/branding. As the controversy of the The Ground Zero Mosque heightened, the issues of religious freedom and tolerance garnered credible support from both sides of the fence, but there is one thing every will agree on: The terrorists own the share of voice of Islam. Perhaps the majority of Muslims in America condemn these terrorists, but the terrorist voice is getting all the attention—creating fear in the US and beyond. Stopping terrorism in America and the views Americans have of their fellow Muslim Americans cannot be resolved by a better brand campaign, but it surely wouldn't hurt. In this era of accessible information, does Islam need a new brand identity? Can we create a campaign using modern communiques of social media and messaging that clearly divorces Modern Islam in America from the terrorists? This controversy will define us as Americans and as human beings and to open up this dialogue is one of the most important issues of this decade. As a granddaughter of a holocaust survivor, Alona Elkayam, hopes that people will speak up for their fellow Muslim Americans if these Muslims are willing to speak up for themselves.



Alona Elkayam Founder 321 Takeoff/Huffington Post

Alona is a cultural sweetspotter, branding/ trend commentator and speaker. She runs an award-winning integrated brand building and reinvigoration firm called 321 Takeoff and has been building integrated experiences for over 15 years. Her firm has built some of the most recognized brands of the decade using her 360 BrandSlam® methodology. She writes a weekly culture/trend column for the Huffington Post called Best and Worst Dressed Brands of the Week which gives a frank unsolicited perspective of how brands fit in to our lives. In 2008 she opened another company called Far From Timid that designs patterns for wallpaper, fabrics, rugs and we are now non-exclusive open for new manufacturing and cobrand partnerships. Alona is an ING NYC Marathon finisher, an accomplished painter, and amateur Ping Pong player that talks way too much smak. She received her BA from American University and continued her education at School of Visual Arts. She is also fluent in Hebrew and French. She is currently enrolled in NYU's Intellectual Property Law Certificate Program. Come to my panel on Tuesday March 15 11am.

Daisy Khan American Society for Muslim Advancement

Joel Mowbray Journalist

Michael Maslansky CEO maslansky luntz+partners

Michael is CEO of maslansky luntz + partners, a research driven communication strategy firm that specializes in language. Michael is the author of "The Language of Trust: Selling Ideas in a World of Skeptics" and is one of corporate America's leading communication strategists. Based on a belief that "it's not what you say, it's what they hear," Michael helps clients craft the right language to address reputation, brand and product communication challenges. Michael's clients include PepsiCo, Microsoft, Starbucks, Bank of America, eBay, Shell, Pfizer and Amgen as well as a range of industry associations in Washington. In addition to ml+p, Michael sits on the Advisory Boards of a number of companies in the social media, technology and consumer products industry. MIchael is also a member of the Board and former president of Previously, he was a mergers and acquisitions attorney with Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Michael is a graduate of Columbia University Law School and the University of Pennsylvania.

Zeenat Rahman Dir of Policy Interfaith Youth Core

Zeenat Rahman is the Director of Policy at the Interfaith Youth Core, working closely with the White House and other federal agencies to advance youth-led interfaith cooperation. She’s been at IFYC for half its life, and has clocked over 250,000 airline miles to advance the mission of the organization. A regular contributor to the Chicago Tribune, she has also appeared on CNN, Washington Post, and other media outlets. At the University of Chicago, her graduate work focused on Muslim youth identity, an issue close to heart as a second generation Muslim American. When she’s not travelling for IFYC, she can be found promoting a play she co-created on Muslim women named The Hijabi Monologues.


Tuesday March 15



Austin Convention Center

Room 9ABC

500 E Cesar Chavez St




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