Training in public engagement for thought leaders

a partnership of burness and mackey strategies


The Goal: empower you with the know-how to get your best ideas heard by the public.

Scholars, presidents, provosts, and other academic leaders can, even must, inform dialogue and debate on the most urgent issues of the day. Their expertise, learning, and perspective are valuable in the conversations that shape decision-making and inform the citizenry. The need for scholarly perspectives is especially critical amid today’s highly charged national cultural, economic, and political discourse.

More than that, the commentary of faculty, presidents, and other academic leaders on societal issues reminds students, alumni, donors, legislators, and the community of the benefit and value of expert knowledge.

But how do you write a commentary or speak to the media clearly, concisely, and persuasively? What are proven methods for turning complex ideas into brief arguments that connect with diverse audiences? How do you write effective op-eds? Once you’ve written a powerful piece, how do you get it published and share it widely?

We will teach you how to take all these steps, and more, to get your voice heard.


Learn from our experienced team

We practice what we teach. We’re communications experts who produce successful, results-driven strategies for our partners. And, we’re accomplished public speakers and published authors and ghost-writers who have been responsible for the writing, editing, and placement of hundreds of op-eds in major outlets across the country.

Drawing upon both practice and theory, we have taught many experts how to do get their voices heard across mainstream print and digital media and in live public settings.

Meet Our Teachers >

We Teach persuasive Communication

Decades of experience have taught us the challenges and questions that must be faced in building a compelling argument that interests audiences, editors, and readers alike. Our special focus is working with experts from colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations who want to stimulate discussion and inspire change. Whether you’re looking to be heard through a published commentary, to engage confidently and effectively with the news media, or to put social media to most effective use, we can train you in the key skills. 

Explore What We Teach >

Our Clients

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“With a deep understanding of higher education, the non-profit sector, and the craft of strategic communications, Burness and Mackey can effectively elevate any voice. That they have chosen to focus on elevating the voices of faculty and other education experts reflects another attribute they share: a commitment to advancing public discourse around the core values of American higher education.”

Josh Wyner
Vice President and Executive Director, College Excellence Program, The Aspen Institute