A Declaration of Communication Leadership

Communication leadership is not just our graduate program’s namesake. It’s a behavioral model for today’s world — anywhere in the world.

In consultation with our community, we’ve created this declaration, intended as a guide for those who seek to spark change in the service of humanity.

These are the core tenets of communication leadership:

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1. Storytelling

Communication Leaders embrace the power of story as the instinctual way in which people process information. Using universal storytelling principles, we create meaningful content across changing media and platforms. We inform and inspire. We use stories strategically to advance our goals and our organizations.

Example: Frankenfish, A Farmed Alaskan Salmon Story

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2. Technology

Communication Leaders adapt to emerging technology. We understand that technology is a valuable set of tools, but not an end in itself. We align technology with human needs and values to ensure that innovation is inclusive and does not amplify existing inequity. We respect individuals’ boundaries, privacy, and ownership of their data. We support thoughtful decision-making around the adoption and deployment of technology.

Example: Central District Music Tour

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3. Values

Communication Leaders are principled in how we connect with people. We value emotional intelligence so that we can read the needs and motivations of others. We act ethically and are conscious of the primary and secondary impacts of our work. We hold ourselves to principles of integrity, accountability, and transparency. We believe all our work must be guided by clearly articulated values.

Example: Machine Learning, Human Values

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4. Responsibility

Communication Leaders recognize our power to effect change, and embrace the responsibility that comes with that power. We are aware of our social position, privilege, and implicit biases. We seek a diversity of voices for guidance and authority. We advocate for the vulnerable and prioritize accessibility, inclusion, and equity in all of our work.

Example: The Principles of Inclusive Design

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5. Community

Communication Leaders build, strengthen, and serve communities. We see digital communication as a reflection of interpersonal communication, and recognize the relationship between online and offline communities. We value human connection, and approach all communication as a collaborative process.

Example: Seattle Gulf Cooperation Council

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6. Advocacy

Communication Leaders are persuasive advocates. We understand audiences, consumers, and constituents. We know how to synthesize ideas, marshal an argument, and foster consensus. We are strategic in our thinking, and are engaged with the “why” behind what we are advocating, as well as the “how” behind implementation.

Example: Ocean Link Northwest

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7. Leadership

Communication Leaders support fellow humans through times of transformation. Our fast-changing world requires us all to be lifelong-learners with self-awareness and humility. We believe listening, service, and a global mindset are key elements of effective leadership. We will co-create the new stories, whose shared meaning will inspire a better future.

Example: The True Meaning of Leadership

hepworkA Declaration of Communication Leadership