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Communications Advisory Board returns for fall visit

Eleven board members and guests visited Elon on Oct. 6 to hear about the priorities and future of the School of Communications and to share their professional insights with students and faculty.

Eleven members and guests of the School of Communications Advisory Board visited campus on Oct. 6, discussing trends in their respective industries, examining the school’s upcoming priorities, receiving an update on recent student accomplishments, and speaking with five undergraduate classes.

Barri Friedman Rafferty, president of the global public relations firm Ketchum, led a presentation in Associate Professor Ben Hannam’s "Visual Communication" class.

​Photos of the board's visit are available on the school's Flickr page.

At an afternoon luncheon, board members enjoyed an all-student program celebrating a year of student accomplishments in news, design, advertising, cinema and the school’s Imagining the Internet Center. Some specific highlights included Elon Local News' first-ever all-Spanish broadcast, a communication design student’s national SPJ award, and Elon’s top-three finish in the 2017 Coca-Cola and Regal Films program. Student presenters were Maya Eaglin ’19, Perry Elyaderani ’18, Lucia Jervis ’19, Diego Pineda ’19, Stephanie Hays ’18, Alex Hager ’19, Mackenzie Clarken ’18, Lillian Engel ’19 and Azzurra Catucci ’18.

A student in Professor Janna Anderson’s “Reporting for the Public Good” class records the discussion between Ken White (from left), Jack MacKenzie and Michael Clemente.

​The board’s visit kicked off with a morning session with Communications Dean Paul Parsons, who detailed the school’s recent self-study and upcoming visit from a site team representing the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. Elon University President Leo M. Lambert later provided an update on the university’s ongoing initiatives.

Elon alumna Colleen Herndon Penhall ’98 returned to campus on Oct. 6 to discuss her role as the top communications executive for Lowe’s Companies, Inc.

​Before breaking for the luncheon, advisory board members dispersed to five classes, discussing their industries, their brands and what they look for in new employees. While all the conversations were lively, Professor Janna Anderson’s “Reporting for the Public Good” class took on a press conference atmosphere with students taking notes and video clips of the discussion between longtime television executives Michael Clemente, Jack MacKenzie and Ken White.

Elon juniors Lucia Jervis (left) and Diego Pineda anchored the first-ever all-Spanish "Elon Local News" broadcast last spring. The duo discussed their accomplishment at the Oct. 6 advisory board luncheon.

​In the afternoon, the board participated in a drone workshop with Senior Lecturer Randy Piland, a certified drone pilot. Piland divided the presentation into two parts: an aerial demonstration and a classroom portion that talked about the equipment’s legal, ethical and practical issues.

Afterward, board members toured the new facilities for the school’s M.A. in Interactive Media program and met with David Copeland, A.J. Fletcher Professor and director of the graduate program, and Associate Professor Amanda Sturgill, who leads iMedia fly-ins during Winter Term.

Board members who participated in the fall 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
  • Michael Clemente, founder and CEO of Point West Media, a firm that designs strategies for television, online and digital companies
  • Angela Connor, executive vice president of media and audience engagement for Ketchum, a top-five, global public relations firm
  • Bill Kanarick, chief strategy officer for Publicis.Sapient, a global marketing and technology services company
  • 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
  • Ken White, a television news consultant and former news director at Fox Charlotte and WOWK-TV in Charleston, West Virginia

Invited guests at the fall meeting were:

  • Gary Engel, network promotions strategist and former vice president of marketing analytics at A+E Networks
  • Colleen Herndon Penhall ’98, vice president of corporate communications for Lowe’s Companies, Inc.
  • Barri Friedman Rafferty, partner and president of Ketchum, a top-five, global public relations firm


Tommy Kopetskie,
10/10/2017 2:10 PM