Bridging the Digital and the Divine
Surveys regularly show 80% of Americans consider themselves religious or spiritual. How do religion and faith play out online, and how are organizations trying to engage diverse faith audiences? In this panel, 3 highly successful faith organizations and the interactive agency that has supported them will discuss their success and frustrations as they try to bridge the digital and the divine. Patheos will share their expertise in social media engagement and talk about how to monetize content in the faith space without losing your soul. Odyssey Networks will show how they are using multiple applications, including a mobile app, to distribute content. Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) will discuss their new digital strategies, via their Webby-nominated website and social media platforms. Digitaria will bring its extensive interactive knowledge and the new technologies they use for both non-profit and Fortune 500 clients to drive engagement and dynamic user experiences.
Adrienne Baker, online communications manager for Interfaith Youth Core, is responsible for IFYC’s online content, website management, social media strategy, and visual and editorial branding.
She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in journalism, cultural studies and comparative literature; she conducted Master’s research on the digital divide at Marquette University, and is working on completing a Master's degree in new media studies at DePaul University.
Adrienne is particularly passionate about the intersection of new media and low-income populations. She brings six years of experience in professional journalism, education, non-profit work, and web management to IFYC from publications and institutions ranging from the Star Tribune, Information Management, Mount Mary College, and the Breakthrough Collaborative.
In her spare time, she's exploring the crafts of digital art and furniture design.
Dan Pawlus currently serves as Vice President of Communications for Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a youth movement organization that seeks to make interfaith cooperation a social norm, where he oversees all media efforts, website development, video/content production, and branding initiatives. Dan also co-hosts "30 Good Minutes," a weekly interfaith talk show, on WTTW 11(PBS) in Chicago. His writings on faith issues have appeared in The Faith Divide/Washington Post blog, Good Morning America’s Spirituality blog as well as Chicago Catholic News.
Dan has an eclectic professional background that includes extensive work in the entertainment business, corporate communications industry, and non-profit world. As a professional actor, Dan’s credits include hosting Way to Grow a daily talk show on HGTV, appearances in various commercials, the Broadway tour of Grease! and performances in theme parks, cruise ships and Wild West stunt shows. Dan also worked in the Hollywood television development world for the award-winning Greenblatt Janollari Studio on such shows as Six Feet Under, American Family, and The Hughleys as well as for Fremantle Media whose shows included Baywatch Hawaii, Family Feud, and The Price Is Right.
As a creative director and event producer in New York and Chicago, Dan helped develop communications and produce large-scale meetings and events for corporate clients AstraZeneca, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonalds, and ToysRUs. Prior to his IFYC role, Dan worked as the Director of Development for Catholic Church Extension Society, Senior Advancement Officer for Corporate and Foundation Relations at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and as an Annual Giving Officer for The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. His proudest accomplishment is his family that includes his wife Leanna, son Luke, and beautiful twin girls Sofia and Alayna.
Head of New Media and Distribution
Mathew Tombers is a well-respected media executive, who started his career by opening the West Coast office for A&E in 1984, when the network was only four months old. After a stint in television programming at ad agency FCB, Tombers was recruited by Discovery Communications to manage Corporate Partnerships. He was sent to help launch Discovery Channel Australia and followed that by being a member of the team that launched
Discovery Channel India.
While at Discovery, Tombers became fascinated with New Media. As Chair of the Future Media Committee for the TV Academy, Tombers helped produce the Superhighway Summit with Vice President Al Gore, an event that is considered one of the most important gatherings on the future of media.
Tombers was Governor of the Television Executives peer group at the Television Academy for four years and was Founding Governor of the Interactive Media Peer Group, the first new peer group formed by the Academy in fifteen years, developed to provide a home within the Academy for those working in New Media.
In 2000, Tombers formed InterMat, a consulting company for both new and traditional media. It was while on a consulting assignment that Tombers encountered Nick Stuart, CEO of Odyssey, who asked him to come to Odyssey Networks to help with New Media. While at Odyssey, Tombers has helped launch Call on Faith, the mobile video app and helped build a new web site. He is currently engaged in partnering Odyssey with OTT [Over The Top] solutions such as ROKU.
He is also a Past President of CINE, the organization that awards the CINE Golden Eagle. He continues as a member of the organization’s Executive Committee.
Patton Dodd is executive editor of Patheos and former senior editor at Beliefnet. His writing on religion and culture has appeared in a range of publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, CNN.com, Slate, Newsweek, Christianity Today, Books & Culture, and more. Patton holds a PhD in religion and literature from Boston University.
Paul Drohan specializes in the development of entrepreneurial initiatives, specifically those focusing on brands’ development from launch through iteration. Paul has been key in shepherding the IFYC brand as it has shifted its identity from a specific interfaith mindset to a broader youth movement with underpinnings of religious pluralism. Digitaria developed user personas that helped unify the previously amorphous IFYC brand approach, and created an outspoken campaign mindset.
Paul led brand development for IFYC, as well as ideation for IFYC’s campaign executions, such as “Better Together” and “What if.” He created and led the universal strategy and execution of the non-profit from print to digital. Paul’s passion for advertising, traditional design and brands spurred his expertise in digital brand development, target audience research, persona development and business plan modeling and positioning. In addition to IFYC, Paul has contributed to the success of projects for clients such as CoreLogic, NFL, TaylorMade, adidas Golf CrossFit, and Invisible Children, ESPN, National Geographic, Qualcomm, Subway, among others.