Communications Advisory Board returns for spring visit
Twelve board members and guests visited Elon on April 6 to learn about the priorities of the School of Communications, share their professional insights with students and faculty, and celebrate the tenure of Communications Dean Paul Parsons.
Communications Dean Paul Parsons presided over his 34th and final School of Communications Advisory Board meeting on April 6, welcoming 12 board members and guests to campus. During their daylong visit, the board members discussed trends in their respective industries, examined the school’s upcoming priorities, received an update on recent student accomplishments, and spoke with nine undergraduate classes.
Photos of the board’s visit are available on the school's Flickr page.
During the event’s luncheon, board members, guests and faculty heard from four students highlighting their recent academic and personal endeavors.
Maddy MacKenzie ’18 shared her joint research with Assistant Professor Kathleen Stansberry, exploring what employers look for in media analytics students. Rachel Hobbs ’18 highlighted her second-place finish in the PRWeek Student of the Year competition and her public relations campaign promoting the state of Delaware. Hunter Strauch ’18, a co-producer on Elon’s entry in the 2018 Coca-Cola and Regal Films student competition, detailed the project’s production process and screened the students’ finished product.
Lastly, Brendan Duff ’20, a graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, discussed his role as a media relations contact and adviser for students in the aftermath of February’s mass shooting. After sharing how the tragedy affected him personally and how his strategic communications courses prepared him for the task, Duff received a standing ovation from the luncheon’s attendees.
At the conclusion of the luncheon, President Connie Ledoux Book, Provost Steven House and Advisory Board members Jack MacKenzie and Sunshine Overkamp recognized Parsons for his contributions as the school’s founding dean.
Book revealed that the university and its Board of Trustees have named the student media newsroom in McEwen Communications Building in honor of Parsons. The Paul Parsons Student Newsroom is headquarters for the Elon News Network, which includes The Pendulum newspaper, regular “Elon Local News” newscasts and a weekly morning show, “ELN Morning.”
The Advisory Board members also announced that the school has established the Founding Dean’s Scholarship, created in Parsons’ honor, to support students in need.
Prior to the luncheon, the board engaged in an hourlong conversation with Book. In the afternoon, the board also participated in an informational session focusing on student internships and career services. Among the presenters were Nagatha Tonkins, Tom Brinkley, Ross Wade, Amber Moser and Stephanie Bourland.
Board members who participated in the spring meeting were:
- Karen Albritton, a partner at the advisory firm Newport Board Group and former president and CEO of Capstrat
- Jeff Blumb, a partner at Nation Consulting, a Wisconsin-based public strategies firm
- Joie Chen, director of Washington, D.C., programs for Northwestern University’s Medill School
- Angela Connor, vice president of business development and audience engagement at Gelia, a strategic marketing solutions firm
- Jack MacKenzie, executive vice president of Penn Schoen Berland, a global research-based consultancy
- Sunshine Overkamp, chairman of Overkamp Overkamp-Smith, a consulting firm in Atlanta
- Lee Rainie, director of internet, science and technology research for the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan “fact tank” based in Washington, D.C.
- Ken White, news director at WVVA, an NBC-affiliated television station in Bluefield, West Virginia
- Craig Waller, CEO of CYLNDR Content Agency, an advertising firm with offices in Durham, New York and Toronto
Invited guests at the spring meeting were:
- Gary Engel, network promotions strategist and former vice president of marketing analytics at A+E Networks
- Renee Kopkowski, president and partner for strat-igence Inc., a communications consultancy
- Kathy Lewis, senior vice president of communications and marketing for NYU Langone Health