Layton Williams

Engagement Strategist - Industry Education Lead

Layton Williams took a winding and nontraditional route into the world of journalism. Before finding her way to Hearken, she worked as a middle and high school educator in Texas, then attended seminary and worked as a Presbyterian pastor in downtown Chicago before becoming the Audience Engagement Editor at a faith-based advocacy publication called Sojourners in Washington D.C..

The thread tying all of these professional pursuits together is Layton’s passion for story, and her conviction that good storytelling can connect people and transform the world.

At Hearken, she can provide guidance on curriculum development and trainings, workshop design and implementation, and people-first engagement strategies that strengthen and serve the broader community.

In addition to her work at Hearken, she explores her passion for people and stories through writing, traveling, and ministry efforts in Charleston, SC.  Ask her about Brunch Church or her book, Holy Disunity!

She loves both cats and dogs, especially her cat Gryffindor, and she rejects false binaries. She also loves sloths.

A selection of news partners Layton has helped:

  • Sojourners - Layton worked as Audience Engagement Editor at Sojourners, a Christian social justice publication and advocacy organization based in D.C.. Her work there focused on email strategy and list growth, social media strategy, search engine optimization, web data analysis, and social ad strategy.

Layton can help you with:

  • Connecting with your audience - with a background in ministry and community development, Layton has particular gifts for helping foster powerful and mutual relationships. She can help you devise strategies for helping your audience get to know you, and brainstorm ideas for how to help your audience get to know one another.

  • Social media strategy - in her role previous to joining Hearken, Layton helped oversee social strategy for Sojourners on platforms including Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, and she personally managed their Facebook account. She can help you think through how to leverage your social platforms to invite your audience into participation in your Hearken efforts.

  • Support for solo engagement evangelists - In her previous role, Layton was the only person in her newsroom whose full-time professional focus was on audience engagement.  That means she has skills communicating to other newsroom staff--from reporters to editors to marketing folks--why audience engagement is worthy of investment.

  • Engagement efforts for niche audiences - Layton has previous experience working with a religious social justice publication which, naturally, had a particular niche audience. She is familiar with how to develop outreach strategies tailored to particular audiences, especially those united around a common issue, experience, or belief.