Communications Advisory Board makes spring visit, tours construction

Fourteen board members and guests visited campus April 8 to share their professional insight and receive an up-close look at the school’s facilities expansion.

With Sunshine Overkamp (right) looking on, Angela Connor discusses her role as executive vice president of media and audience engagement for Capstrat during the Communications Advisory Board’s spring 2016 visit. 
​Fourteen members and guests of the School of Communications Advisory Board visited campus April 8, sharing their expertise, discussing trends in their industries, and speaking in nearly a dozen classes. In the afternoon, the board received a first-hand look at the school’s facilities expansion, touring Dwight C. Schar Hall and Snow Family Grand Atrium – in hard hats and safety vests, of course.

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

In the board’s morning session, Communications Dean Paul Parsons led a discussion regarding the school’s recent achievements and current challenges, addressing enrollment data, Communications Fellows scholarships, and faculty selection and retention.

Afterward, the board members and guests dispersed to lead conversations in 11 classes, including courses in the Department of Sport and Event Management and the Interactive Media master’s program. The board members discussed a variety of topics during their 70-minute talks, focusing on the evolution of their organizations and professions over the past five years.

During the luncheon program, Elon University Provost Steven House provided an academic update on the university’s strategic plan, recapping points of interest specific to the School of Communications. The provost then gave the floor over to three communications majors to share their recent learning experiences and extra-curricular opportunities.

Communications Dean Paul Parsons wields a sledgehammer during a light-hearted moment at the April 8 luncheon.
Ciara’ Dixon ’16 kicked off the presentations by discussing her participation in the American Advertising Federation’s Most Promising Multicultural Students program, and Meredith Stutz’ 16 followed with a recap of her weeklong reporting experience in Ireland thanks to her Pulitzer Center Student Fellowship. Jonathan Deaton ’16 concluded the student talks with a summary of his TED2016 lecture and his film, “Joining the Conversation,” which examines the relationship between millennials and their knowledge of nuclear weapons.

In its afternoon sessions, the board spoke with Jim Piatt, vice president for university advancement, who shared the thinking behind the university’s next campaign and its focus on student scholarships. Members were then briefed on the floor plans and branding of the school’s facilities expansion before heading out to see the construction in person.

Board members who participated in the spring meeting were:

Brad Brinegar, chairman and chief operating officer of McKinney, an advertising agency based in Durham

Ann Camden, senior vice president of G&S Business Communications, an independent public relations agency based in New York City with offices in Raleigh

Angela Connor, executive vice president of media and audience engagement for Capstrat, one of Raleigh’s largest communications firms

Tim Franklin, president of The Poynter Institute, a journalism education and training center in St. Petersburg, Florida

Claudia Jepsen, vice president of marketing at This Old House Ventures, based in New York City

Jeff Blumb was one of two invited guests at the Communications Advisory Board’s spring visit. The former director of public relations for the Green Bay Packers is now a partner at Nation Consulting, a Wisconsin-based public strategies firm.
Eric Kraus, executive vice president of communications and public affairs at Clean Harbors, Inc., a provider of environmental, energy and industrial services

Jack MacKenzie, president and CEO of Mn8 Creative, a Los Angeles-based media consultancy

Sunshine Overkamp, chairman of Overkamp Overkamp-Smith, a consulting firm in Atlanta that specializes in strategic planning and crisis communications

Gayle Sierens, former news anchor at NBC affiliate WFLA-TV in Tampa, Florida

Craig Waller, president at Pace, a global content marketing agency based in Greensboro

Ken White, news director at WOWK-TV, a CBS affiliate in Charleston–Huntington, West Virginia

Norby Williamson, executive vice president for production, program scheduling and development at ESPN headquarters in Connecticut

Invited guests included:

Jeff Blumb, a partner at Nation Consulting, a Wisconsin-based public strategies firm

Jennifer Dunne, director of communications for BDT & Company, a Chicago-based firm offering investment banking services