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Helena Angell

Helena Angell

Professor of the Practice, Wake Forest University

Breakout 2: Friday, June 2 | 2:30 p.m. 

"Tribalism in the 21st Century" 

In the age of The Internet of Things, humanity has the opportunity to meet in safe space and share solutions to international issues, as evidenced by the Covid-19 vaccine development, where scientists around the world worked together. A bright moment in time! The larger reality is that digital platforms develop, perhaps encourage, vast tribalism, where people separate into an “us versus them” mentality, increasing divisiveness and a lack of understanding. Interestingly, Marshall McLuhan, a 1950s media guru, predicted that people would tribalize and divide in this “global village,” despite every opportunity to do otherwise. Where does this lead us? What solutions present themselves? How can we redirect interactions to establish more understanding, acceptance, and sensible leadership? Especially in the digital realm? This workshop is designed to provide a fresh, meaningful, and self-examining moment on how to build community and increase acceptance and understanding of diversity within our digital platforms.

Takeaways: 1. A more robust understanding of humanity’s penchant towards tribalism and how to identify sensible communication methods to address this behavior 2. Leadership best practices in our digitized world, incorporating inclusivity and understanding of diversity 3. Recognition of one’s own tribal affiliations and engagements and the meanings these connections convey.


Helena Angell, PhD, has over 25 years of teaching experience in higher education, and has lectured at Wake Forest University, Rollins College, the University of Florida, West Virginia University, and other venues. Dr. Angell has developed 24+ graduate and undergraduate media-related courses and enjoys the opportunity to interact with students and colleagues. Her PhD in Mass Communication was completed at the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville, FL. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and a Master of Arts in Mass Communication, both degrees also from UF. Dr. Angell’s academic specialty areas are media literacy, semiotics, and persuasion.

In addition to her teaching career, Dr. Angell has developed communications campaigns for a variety of clients. She is a business entrepreneur, working as a commercial property owner and financial portfolio manager, and lives in St. Augustine, Florida.