About Us

The COMS Project (Communications, Opinion, and Message Strategy Project) is the central communications, opinion research, and messaging strategy resource hub for the Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice (RHRJ) community. The COMS Project team convenes and collaborates with advocates, pollsters, and experts from across the RHRJ field to develop, analyze, and research message strategies. We facilitate information sharing and coordination across the field. We provide and improve evidence-based communications tools that build public support for abortion and reproductive health access. The COMS Project is committed to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in its research methodology, message development, and messages.

How does the COMS Project serve the RHRJ community?

We create, collaborate on, and disseminate coordinated messages by partnering with organizations from across the RHRJ community to develop message strategies, analyze impact, and share findings broadly. 

We provide our expertise to organizations conducting opinion research.

We collect, analyze, and distribute relevant media and opinion data to our members.

We keep our community updated on the latest RHRJ communications, opinion research, and message strategies through webinars, written briefs, in-person convenings, trainings, media scans, and online data sharing.

Message development process: The COMS Project uses a collaborative message development process that relies on input from across the field. Messaging needs are identified through conversations with advocates in the RHRJ community and an annual survey of the RHRJ landscape. After a topic or issue is identified, we convene a working group of leaders across the RHRJ movement and other allies as appropriate. We are intentional in prioritizing inclusivity in our message development process by ensuring participation reflects the communities impacted. The working group comes together to pinpoint the messaging and opinion research needs, inform the development of a research project with input throughout the process, and provide input and feedback on the messages. After the messages are shared and used in the field, we may reconvene the working group to identify and update messages before re-disseminating to the RHRJ community.

Gender-Inclusive language: The COMS Project works with numerous organizations and leaders across the RHRJ community, and we recognize that when it comes to talking about gender identity and abortion, RHRJ organizations have varying strategies, constituencies, and audiences. As we develop messages for the field, we strive to accommodate this breadth of approaches. As with any message guidance, we encourage you to modify our messages to fit your organization’s constituents, values, and communication style. For assistance in discussing these issues within your own organization please refer to this resource.

The COMS Project current materials include examples of gender-neutral and gender-inclusive language and we are updating older materials. We appreciate your feedback as we go through this process.

Meet the team.

Alphabetical Order

Mary Alice Carter, Sr. Strategist

(she/her)

Mary Alice (aka MAC) has been developing media campaigns, training spokespeople, crafting messages, navigating crisis communications, and going toe to toe with repro opposition for nearly three decades. Her superpowers are crafting quotes that reporters actually want to use and making complex issues relatable and personal. She lives in NJ with her partner, two kids, a duo of shelter dogs and one cat who is less than pleased with the dogs. She is happiest when someone thinks she’s taller than she is.

Margaret Conway, CEO/Founder

(she/they)

ConwayStrategic’s founder and fearless leader, Margaret has a knack for implementing cutting-edge strategies. With a mental Dropbox of movement history and opinion research, Margaret spearheads our creative campaigns on tough issues, while entertaining us with stories of her wife & daughter or pictures of her dogs.

Nicole Lewis, Sr. Program Manager

(she/her)

Nicole Lewis has nearly 20 years of experience in the political, corporate and nonprofit sectors providing administrative and project management support.  At ConwayStrategic she serves as a writer and a project manager, with a knack for clever turns of phrase and tracking social media memes. Her commitment to social justice is matched by her talent for making sure the job gets done.

Catherine Lozada, Principal & Co-Director, COMS Project

(she/her)

Catherine knows her way around reporters and organizations alike. When she isn’t co-directing the COMS Project with Kate, she is strategizing on the best ways to get our clients’ messages out there. A former reporter and communications director in the mental health field, Catherine also spent nearly ten years at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Her specialties included health, entertainment, and Latino media, including Spanish-language media. When she’s not working, she’s usually playing and reading books with her daughter or creating astrology charts (and yes, she always knows when Mercury is retrograde).

Renitta Shannon, Consultant

Renitta fights stigma and works on behalf of communities that society most often tries to marginalize, using both the tools of communications and policy. When she is not fixing things in Georgia State House as a legislator, Renitta serves as a senior strategist for the COMS team and provides message trainings, facilitates working groups and informs message development for the RHRJ community.

Kate Stewart, Principal & Co-Director, COMS Project

(she/her)

Kate uses her polling powers for good and brings her wealth of public opinion research, policy, and communications expertise to advance reproductive issues and social justice. In fact, Kate takes her love of politics so seriously she became the Mayor in her hometown of Takoma Park.