Frank Sesno
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Travels From: Washington, D.C.

Fee: 3

Fees include airfare and ground transportation for events in the United States.

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Mr. Sesno knows how to reach an audience. He has developed and mastered a performance style that is an art of the conference circuit. He was amazingly quick to grasp the issues we were trying to elucidate. I'm a fan!
GSA Office of Citizen Services and Communications

Frank Sesno

Anchor and Washington Bureau Chief, CNN (1984-2009) and Director, George Washington University's School of Media & Public Affairs
A renowned journalist who has covered some of the biggest world events of the last three decades, Frank Sesno has a reputation for fairness and integrity that few can match.
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The Obama Experiment: Politics, Policy and Prospects

From the start, President Barack Obama pursued an ambitious agenda that aimed for monumental change. He transformed health care, enacted a stimulus plan and pursued other sweeping reforms. With his second term, he confronts issues that will chart the course of the nation and determine his legacy:  America’s debt and deficit, immigration, climate change and national security to name just a few. One of America’s most experienced political journalists, Frank Sesno looks at the “Obama era” and what it means for the country. Sesno’s Washington reporting has spanned three decades. He has interviewed five presidents. He’s seen both scandal and breakthrough from the inside. In this honest, humorous, yet respectful talk, Sesno discusses the Obama presidency, a divided Congress, a polarized public and the fractious media. Amid the challenges, there is optimism as Sesno puts our current politics into perspective as part of the great, unfolding American experiment in democracy.

Experienced Moderator

Few people are as accomplished or experienced at the art of moderating discussions and debates as Frank Sesno, who combines broad expertise, genuine curiosity, warmth and humor as he draws out guests and panelists. As an interviewer, anchor, talk show host and public event moderator in forums around the world, Sesno has engaged some of the world’s leading personalities on topics ranging from world affairs to business, politics to medical breakthroughs and bioterrorism to globalization. He has conducted one-on-one public conversations with such diverse personalities as Condoleezza Rice, Jack Welch, Madeleine Albright and Yasser Arafat. He has interviewed five American presidents: George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. He has conducted high-profile panels, including a sold-out event with five former secretaries of state. Sesno’s goal is to bring out the best and most interesting facets of people, and to create a memorable and informative relationship with the audience.

A Climate for Energy: Addressing the World’s Energy Future

What do political, economic and technological trends suggest for America’s energy future? Frank Sesno has interviewed corporate and political leaders, produced documentaries and reported from around the world on global energy issues. In this speech, he discusses the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead given the economic, security and environmental issues that drive the energy debate. With new sources of oil and gas, combined with the Obama Administration’s commitment to renewable energy and “green” jobs, this is a unique moment in America’s energy policy. Sesno puts the issues in context by assessing the popular and political landscape. One of the world’s most experienced and thoughtful journalists, he looks ahead to changes in the marketplace, policy and public attitudes that are likely to change the way we do business.

Communicating Leadership

At a time of increased scrutiny, skepticism and 24/7 accountability, leadership is more challenging than ever. Effective leaders must have a mission and a vision—and be able to communicate them in ways that are compelling, clear, relevant and real. In this conversation, Frank Sesno examines what it takes to be a truly great communicator as he puts his years as an observer and practitioner of leadership communication to the test. Sesno has interviewed presidents and CEOs. He has held leadership roles and served on governing and advisory boards. His observations provide insight, humor, perspective and valuable information for anyone who wants to be an engaging, effective communicator and leader in an information-saturated age. 

The Modern Presidency

Presidents use the bully pulpit to set lofty goals—from winning a war on terrorism or cancer to walking on the moon or balancing the budget. Sometimes they succeed. Often they do not. In the end, presidents confront the limitations of politics, constitutional process and human fallibility. In this fascinating talk, Frank Sesno draws on his experience as a journalist and student of the media-driven presidency. He has covered Washington politics since Jimmy Carter swept into town on an idealistic bandwagon of clean government. He was a White House correspondent during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He anchored coverage of Bill Clinton’s impeachment. He was CNN’s Washington Bureau Chief when George W. Bush’s presidency was transformed by 9-11. He witnessed history from the West Front of the Capitol as Barack Obama first took the oath of office. Sesno has interviewed five American presidents and countless presidential aides, Cabinet secretaries and political strategists. This talk focuses on the styles, priorities, accomplishments and limitations of modern presidents and what it suggests about our politics and our future.

The Media and the Message

Today’s media environment is in turmoil. Information flies at 24/7 digital warp speed. It comes from legacy media, digital start-ups and citizen-generated social media. Leaders and citizens have new tools as they try to break through and tell their story. What’s going on? What works? How are people getting their information? Have facts become casualties to opinion and attitude? Frank Sesno brings a first-person perspective to this provocative discussion of media and message. He was on the front lines as cable news revolutionized global communication. He knows the real-time impact that live reporting can have at times of national crisis. To address the need for clear, uncontested, unbiased facts, he started FacetheFactsUSA.org, a philanthropic-supported multimedia information hub. In this talk, Sesno confronts the state of the media, the public’s need to know and the challenges that opinion leaders face in getting their message across.

Meet Frank Sesno

A renowned journalist who has covered some of the biggest world events of the last three decades, Frank Sesno has a reputation for fairness and integrity that few can match.

One of the world’s most experienced journalists, Frank Sesno provides an intriguing perspective into how today’s constantly changing headlines will affect you. With unparalleled insight and signature wit, he’ll tell you what issues are really at stake for the future and how politics, media, personality and policy fit together in a compelling national story. In addition to his presentations, there are few people who are as accomplished or experienced at the art of moderating discussions and debates than Sesno as he combines his broad expertise, genuine curiosity, warmth and humor to draw out guests and panelists. Sesno is the director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University where he leads Planet Forward, an innovative, viewer-driven website and television project focusing on innovations in energy, climate, food production and sustainability issues. He brings Planet Forward innovations to a national audience with weekly video segments on Bloomberg TV and has deep experience in environmental and energy issues, having traveled the world and reporting several documentaries on the topic. In 2012, Sesno launched an election year series, Face the Facts USA. Produced by GW’s Center for Innovative Media, the project researched and distributed more than 200 daily facts in an effort to provide clear, unbiased fact-driven information in the midst of a particularly noisy political campaign. The facts were picked up by major media organizations across the country as Sesno hosted a series of related television shows and major events. Previously, Sesno served as CNN’s Washington bureau chief where he was responsible for the network’s largest newsgathering operation—encompassing the White House, Congressional and Pentagon operations and political reporting.

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