The School of Communications Advisory Board provides professional expertise to the faculty, internship and career networking to students, and program support to the school. Media professionals and corporate executives—many of them current or former Elon parents—come to campus each semester to share their expertise in classes. In fact, many students say the Advisory Board visit is a highlight of the semester. In turn, the faculty benefits from a discussion of media and communication trends that may impact curriculum, the internship program and the job market for seniors. Additional support comes in the form of annual contributions and development efforts to enhance the School of Communications.
Brian Williams (national chair) is anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News.” He is the most highly decorated evening news anchor of the modern era. He has received 12 Emmy Awards, 11 Edward R. Murrow Awards, and the industry’s highest honor, the Peabody Award. Williams is a former Chief White House Correspondent for NBC News who became “NBC Nightly News” anchor in 2004, receiving special praise for his 2005 coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. In 2006, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He has moderated seven presidential debates and hosted NBC’s weekly newsmagazine “Rock Center with Brian Williams.” He attended both Catholic University and George Washington University. His wife, Jane Stoddard Williams, is host and producer of “Bloomberg EDU,” Bloomberg Radio’s weekly look at education, and a member of the President’s Advisory Council at Elon.
Michael Radutzky (chair) is senior producer for “60 Minutes” and, in 2012, also became executive producer of creative development at CBS News. He joined CBS in 1984, became a producer for the “CBS Evening News” in 1988, and came to “60 Minutes” in 1995. He worked most closely with correspondent Ed Bradley until Bradley’s death in 2006. Radutzky is an 11-time Emmy recipient, producing many of the newsmagazine’s biggest stories featuring Michael Jackson, the Oklahoma City bomber, the Duke lacrosse rape allegation, and the pilot who landed his plane in the Hudson River. In his role as executive producer of creative development at CBS News, Radutzky’s assignment is to find innovative ways to create and distribute content across cable, broadcast and other platforms. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.
Adele Ambrose is senior vice president and chief communications officer for Merck & Co., based in New York City. She is responsible for Merck's global communications with the news media, employees, financial community, stakeholders and the general public. Her team manages product public relations, corporate advertising and merck.com. Prior to joining Merck in 2007, she was a corporate officer and executive vice president for AT&T Wireless, a newly public company with 21 million customers, and previously was vice president of public relations and corporate media relations at AT&T. She served as the company's chief voice for nearly a decade, handling high-profile corporate restructurings, CEO transitions, business divestitures and acquisitions. She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh.
Roger Bolton is president of the Arthur W. Page Society, the professional association for senior public relations and corporate communications executives. Previously, he was senior vice president of communications at Aetna, a $35 billion provider of health care benefits, with responsibility for all internal and external communications, advertising, brand management and corporate public involvement. Before Aetna, Bolton was IBM’s director of corporate media relations and director of communications for the IBM server and software. Prior to his business career, he was assistant secretary of the Treasury for public affairs under President George H.W. Bush, assistant U.S. trade representative for public affairs under President Reagan, and special assistant to President Reagan in the White House. He is a graduate of Ohio State University.
Ann Camden is senior vice president of Gibbs and Soell, an independent public relations agency based in New York City with offices in Raleigh, Chicago and Basel, Switzerland. In her current role, she leads employee engagement practice, building comprehensive programs that help establish the culture and brand at client companies and G&S. Camden joined the firm’s Chicago office in 1993 and transferred to the Raleigh office in 1996. She oversees client work in public and media relations, crisis communications management, and tactical programs such as collateral production, digital media, trade show/event management, product, service and corporate launches. In 2011, she was named a Triangle Woman Extraordinaire by Business Leader. She is a graduate of Purdue University.
Julie Carey is the northern Virginia bureau chief for NBC News4 in Washington, D.C. The station, WRC-TV, is NBC owned and operated and houses the Washington bureau of NBC News. Carey has been covering northern Virginia since joining News4 in 1992, ranging from political coverage to reporting on the trial of sniper suspect Lee Malvo. In the 1990s, she provided daily coverage of the impeachment trial of President Clinton. In 2009, she had a brief role as a news reporter in the movie “State of Play” starring Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck. Prior to joining News4, Carey reported for KSDK-TV in St. Louis, WTHR-TV in Indianapolis, and KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she began her career. She is a graduate of Indiana University. Her husband, Michael Tackett of Bloomberg News, also is a new advisory board member.
Kelly Carlton is creative director of motion design at Trailer Park, a movie trailer post-production studio and advertising agency based in Hollywood. Clients include 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, ABC, Disney, Paramount and Warner Bros. For 11 years, he was art director and creative director for motion graphics at Intralink Creative, where he led a team of motion graphic designers doing feature main titles, trailers, corporate logo design and animation. Projects included “The Dark Knight” and “The Da Vinci Code.” He served as vice president at DevaStudios before joining Trailer Park in the creative director position in 2011. His division specializes in content for film advertising, television marketing and branding, gaming, corporate identity, main titles and home entertainment. He is a graduate of Georgetown College and earned an MFA at the University of Cincinnati.
Rich Cervini is senior vice president of production and technical operations at CBS Television Distribution. In 2012, his duties expanded to include West Coast shows in production such as “Entertainment Tonight,” “Dr. Phil” and “Judge Judy.” Cervini’s career began as a broadcast engineer at WOR Radio-TV in New York City. He became director of broadcast operations at WNBC-TV before joining King World Productions as director of technical operations and eventually becoming vice president of production and technical operations. King World was a production company and syndicator of television programming in the United States until its 1999 incorporation into CBS Television Distribution. At that time, Cervini became vice president and then senior vice president at CBS Television Distribution. He is a graduate of Adelphi University.
Michael Clemente is executive vice president of news at Fox. In that role, he oversees all news operations for the most-watched cable network. Clemente joined Fox News in 2009 following 27 years at ABC News, most recently as a senior executive producer of the ABC Digital Media Group where he served as executive producer of ABCNews.com and ABC News Now, the first-ever live 24/7 broadband wireless news channel. Previously he was senior producer for “20/20” with John Stossel, Elizabeth Vargas and Barbara Walters and senior producer for “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.” He also spent two years at CNN in Washington, where he oversaw live and breaking news coverage out of Washington and helped grow CNN’s signature talk shows of that era including "Crossfire” and "Inside Politics." He is a graduate of American University.
Nina Easton is Fortune magazine's Washington editor, covering people and policy in the nation's capital for a readership of more than 5 million since 2006. Easton also is a regular Fox News panelist. She is the author of the political history “Gang of Five: Leaders at the Center of the Conservative Ascendancy” (2002), praised by the Washington Post for telling the story of post-Reagan conservatism "more inventively, exhaustively and entertainingly than anyone else.” Easton was a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and its Sunday magazine for 10 years, with her work receiving the National Headliners Award for best magazine writing and the Sunday Magazine Editors Award for investigative reporting. From 2003-06, she was deputy chief of the Boston Globe's Washington bureau. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of California at Berkeley.
Tim Franklin is a managing editor in the Bloomberg News Washington bureau, one of the largest news organizations in the nation's capital. He joined Bloomberg in 2011 after serving as founding director of the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana University. Franklin began his career at the Chicago Tribune, where he rose from reporter to associate managing editor, eventually overseeing the sports and business sections. He went on to become the top editor at the Indianapolis Star, Orlando Sentinel and Baltimore Sun. The Sun won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize during his 2004-08 editorship. Franklin twice has served as a Pulitzer Prize jurist. He is national co-chair of the Freedom of Information Committee for the American Society of News Editors. He is a graduate of Indiana University.
Anders Gyllenhaal is vice president of news for the McClatchy Co., the third-largest newspaper publisher in the United States based on daily circulation. He oversees the Washington bureau, foreign news bureaus and McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. Gyllenhaal is the immediate past chairman of the Pulitzer Prize Board and served on the Pulitzer board from 2001-10. He joined The News & Observer, based in Raleigh, in 1991 and worked as metro editor and managing editor before becoming executive editor in 1997. In 2002, he became editor and senior vice president at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis-St. Paul. In 2007, he was named executive editor of The Miami Herald until becoming McClatchy’s vice president of news in 2010. Gyllenhaal is a graduate of George Washington University.
Ellen Weaver Hartman, APR, is president and CEO of Hartman Public Relations, based in Atlanta. She has built strategic communications campaigns for some of the world’s best-known brands including Coca-Cola, MasterCard and Kraft, and her crisis communications management includes food-borne illnesses, environmental disasters and product recalls. Before establishing her own agency, Hartman was president of the Atlanta office of Weber Shandwick and Fitzgerald PR for eight years. She also was a vice president at AFC Enterprises, Fleishman-Hillard and Manning, Selvage & Lee and worked for Coca-Cola in the area of financial communications. She is a former president of the Georgia chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and received PRSA’s national community service award in 2008. Hartman is a graduate of the University of Mississippi.
Stavros Hilaris is chief information officer for The Switch, a company that allows customer-controlled video switching services throughout the country and internationally. Previously, Hilaris served as chief technology officer for National Geographic Global Media, where he oversaw technology strategy, software development and operations for the National Geographic Society’s magazines, movies, television, digital media and interactive platforms. Prior to joining National Geographic, Hilaris was senior vice president of technology at Ascent Media, founded Mediavision to engage in business and technical consulting, and held senior technology and management positions at Japanese communications provider Vectant and CBS Television, among others. Hilaris has strong international experience in Europe, Asia and Latin America. He is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University, where he also earned an MBA, and has a graduate engineering degree from Polytechnic Institute of New York University.
Tom Howe is director and general manager of UNC-TV and the chief executive responsible for UNC-TV's 12-station public television network. More than 4 million viewers watch UNC-TV each week. Howe came to UNC-TV in 1992 and launched the statewide weeknight magazine “North Carolina Now,” oversaw the conversion to digital television, and has significantly increased original programming, statewide viewership and annual contributions. Previously, Howe was an executive at KCTS in Seattle for 10 years. During his career, he has supervised programs that have received a Peabody Award and a national Emmy. In 2003 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters. Howe is a double graduate of San Diego State University with both undergraduate and graduate degrees.
MJ Jacobsen is vice president of communications for the National Geographic Society. She oversees a staff that manages communications for the society’s programs and products, including magazines, cross-platform editorial campaigns and the National Geographic Bee. Founded in 1888, the National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations, reaching about 370 million people each month through its magazines, the National Geographic Channel, books, videos, maps and interactive media. Before joining the society in 1987, Jacobsen was an on-air reporter at WJLA-TV and WTTG-TV in Washington, D.C., KPHO-TV in Phoenix, WTVF-TV in Nashville and WOWK-TV in Charleston, W.Va., and taught journalism at Arizona State University. She is a graduate of American University.
Claudia Jepsen is executive director of marketing and brand development at This Old House Ventures, based in New York City. A 28-year veteran at Time Inc., the world’s largest publisher, she has held leadership positions in creative services, sales development and marketing at iconic brands including Time, Life, People, Money and Fortune. In her current role, she oversees a team responsible for growing the print, digital, television and social media advertising base of America’s No. 1 home improvement brand. Under her watch, This Old House defied the worst housing crisis since the Great Depression, experienced substantial revenue growth, and was named to Advertising Age’s coveted Magazine A-List in 2011. Jepsen is a graduate of the University of Colorado.
Allen H. Johnson III is editorial page editor of the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C. After six years as editor of the weekly Winston-Salem Chronicle, Johnson joined his hometown paper, the News & Record, in 1987 as features editor. He became sports editor in 1992 and editorial page editor in 1999. In that capacity, he leads editorial board meetings, writes a weekly column, writes or edits most editorials, and screens letters to the editor. Johnson has taught journalism courses at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, UNC Greensboro, Winston-Salem State, North Carolina Central and North Carolina A&T. He also taught a short course in newspaper management for newsroom executives in Zambia. He is twice a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill with an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree.
Eric Kraus is senior vice president and chief communications officer at Bacardi Ltd., with headquarters in Bermuda. He is responsible for overseeing internal and external communications, corporate social responsibility, philanthropy and government affairs on a global basis. Bacardi's portfolio comprises more than 200 brands and labels of rum and other spirits. Previously, he was senior vice president of corporate communications and public affairs at Covidien, a $12 billion healthcare products company; a vice president at Gillette where he was instrumental in negotiating the sponsorship of Gillette Stadium, home of the NFL’s New England Patriots; and a vice president at Procter & Gamble. Before that, he was a Boston Herald reporter, account executive at PR agencies, and public relations manager for Miller Brewing Co. He is a graduate of Boston University.
Mary Beth Marklein is the higher education reporter for USA Today. She has covered higher education full time for USA Today since 1987. Before that, she was a freelance Washington correspondent for the Baltimore Sun and San Francisco Chronicle and contributed to a number of other publications. In 2001, she had a summer sabbatical at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study the role of technology in higher education. In 2004-05, she taught journalism to college students in Romania as a Fulbright scholar. In 2007, she received a fellowship from the Hechinger Foundation for Education and the Media to write about community colleges. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and earned a master's degree from American University.
Sunshine Overkamp, APR, is chairman of Overkamp Overkamp-Smith, a consulting firm in Atlanta that specializes in strategic planning and crisis communications. She previously served as vice president of the Council on Foundations in Washington, D.C., senior vice president of the United Way of America, and as a journalist. Among her honors is an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, election to the Honor Roll of Women in Public Relations, and being named most admired practitioner of nonprofit public relations by pr reporter. She has served on the national board of the Public Relations Society of America, chaired the Ethics Promotion Committee, and served on the Universal Accreditation Board. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and has an MBA from Pepperdine University.
Byron Pitts is national correspondent for ABC News in New York. Prior to moving to ABC news, he was chief national correspondent for the “CBS Evening News” and a “60 Minutes” contributor. Pitts became a CBS News correspondent in 1998, based in Miami, Atlanta and then New York City in 2001. He was one of the lead reporters of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack and received a national Emmy for his coverage. As an embedded reporter covering the Iraq war, he was recognized for his work under fire within minutes of the fall of the Saddam Hussein statue. He became chief national correspondent for CBS News in 2006. Pitts is author of a 2009 book, “Step Out on Nothing: How Faith and Family Helped Me Conquer Life’s Challenges,” about having a debilitating stutter as a child and being functionally illiterate until about age 12. He is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University.
Tony Quin is founder and CEO of IQ, an advertising agency with digital and interactive media at its core. Headquarters are in Atlanta with offices in New York City. Clients include Allstate, Microsoft, Under Armour and Wells Fargo. Quin came to the United States in his 20s to work at Leo Burnett Advertising in Chicago. After stints at both NBC and ABC in New York, he moved to Los Angeles where he produced television pilots, specials and series and was executive vice president of Film House, an advertising agency. In 1995 he founded IQ television group, which subsequently became IQ Interactive and now is simply IQ. The agency has accumulated more than 200 awards, including the Grand Prize at Cannes Cyber Lions for its Volkswagen work. Quin, co-founder and board chairman of the Society of Digital Agencies, was born and educated in London.
Lee Rainie is director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Prior to launching the Pew Internet Project in 2000, Rainie was managing editor of U.S. News & World Report. The Pew Internet & American Life Project, based in Washington, D.C., is a nonprofit “fact tank” that studies the social impact of the internet. The project has issued more than 350 reports based on its surveys that examine people’s online activities and the internet’s role in their lives. All reports and the project’s data are available for free. Rainie is co-author of a 2012 book published by the MIT Press about the social impact of technology. He also co-authored a book series with Elon professor Janna Quitney Anderson about the future of the internet. Rainie is a graduate of Harvard University and has a master’s degree from Long Island University.
Rick Rogala is senior vice president of sales for Nexstar Broadcasting, a group of 50 television stations across the United States. In this role, he develops and implements sales strategies and analytics to optimize the value of Nexstar’s on-air and online media. Rogala began his career with Blair Television and served in sales management roles in St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Dallas. He served as general manager of television stations in Indianapolis, Tampa, Cincinnati and Grand Rapids. Rogala joined Nexstar in 2005 as vice president and general manager of KARK-TV in Little Rock. He moved to Media General’s WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio, for two years before returning to Nexstar. He also produced motivational messages heard daily on more than 300 radio stations across the country. Rogala is a graduate of Ohio University.
Gayle Sierens is the daily news co-anchor at NBC affiliate WFLA-TV in Tampa, Fla. She began her career in sports broadcasting as a weekend reporter and then weekday sports anchor. Sierens was honored with a Florida Emmy for sports reporting in 1984. She also became a freelance play-by-play announcer for ESPN. While with NBC Sports, she did play-by-play for a 1987 NFL game between the Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs – and still holds the distinction of being the only woman to do play-by-play for a regular season NFL game. At WFLA, she transitioned from sportscaster to news anchor in the mid-1980s and won an Emmy for news reporting in 1991. Prior to joining WFLA-TV, Sierens was with WFSU-TV in Tallahassee, Fla. She is a graduate of Florida State University.
Michael Tackett is managing editor of the Washington bureau for Bloomberg News, helping to oversee 250 reporters and editors in the nation's capital. Before joining Bloomberg in 2008, Tackett was Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune, where he spent 28 years as a reporter, assistant city editor, national correspondent and political writer. He directed coverage of the rise of Barack Obama. He previously served at national editor for U.S. News & World Report. Tackett is a recipient of the White House Correspondents Association Award for National Reporting for a series on the influence of lobbyists. He is a graduate of Indiana University. His wife, Julie Carey of NBC4 in Washington, D.C., also is a School of Communications Advisory Board member.
Michael Vadini is founder and CEO of TITAN Technology Partners, based in Charlotte. The company is a leading provider of IT strategy, IT outsourcing solutions and enterprise professional and managed services. Vadini also produced a television series on North Carolina entrepreneurs and served as executive producer of two feature-length films. TITAN is a service firm that performs more than 1,000 projects for 250+ firms throughout the United States. Prior to founding TITAN, Michael founded PRIMA Consulting and spent seven years in the management ranks of the telecommunications industry with Ameritech and Cincinnati Bell Information Systems. Known for his entrepreneurial mindset, Vadini is a frequent speaker in the areas of IT and business strategy and business transformation. Vadini is a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College.
Ken White is news director at Fox Charlotte, which has been ranked as the highest-rated Fox News affiliate in the nation. White began his career as sports director at WAKA-TV in Montgomery, Ala., and worked as a political reporter and assignment manager at WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh, assistant news director at WXII-TV in Winston-Salem, and a news director at KTBS-TV in Shreveport. White then came to Fox Charlotte (WCCB-TV), where he developed and launched news programming at the station. White has received multiple Emmys and Associated Press awards. He is a national Delta Sigma Chi award winner and served as president of the Radio Television News Directors Association of the Carolinas from 2003-07. He was named News Director of the Year by RTNDAC. White is a graduate of the University of South Florida.
Trey Wingo is the host of NFL Live and co-anchor of SportsCenter on ESPN. Wingo began his career in 1987 as a sports producer for NBC’s News at Sunrise in New York, became a sports reporter and anchor in Allentown, Pa., and became a sports director in Binghamton, N.Y. Wingo joined ESPN in 1997 following six years as sports anchor at KSDK-TV in St. Louis. At ESPN, he serves as host of the five-night-a-week NFL Live, host of NFL PrimeTime that airs after Monday Night Football, serves as an anchor of the daily flagship program SportsCenter, contributes commentaries for ESPN Radio, and anchors the network’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament coverage. He has lent his voice to NFL video games and is the play-by-play voice on the new EA video game NFL Tour. He is a graduate of Baylor University.