2012 Communications Conference: Speakers

Shari Ellertson

Shari EllertsonShari Ellertson serves as Director of Policy Analysis and Planning at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Her role is focused on documenting institutional effectiveness, accountability reporting, and institutional planning and assessment, including support for accreditation, strategic planning, and other continuous improvement efforts. Ellertson holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Iowa State University, a Master of Science in Counseling and Student Affairs from Minnesota State University Moorhead, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from North Dakota State University. She completed a postdoctoral appointment at the Research Institute for Studies in Education at Iowa State University. Her areas of expertise include: student learning outcomes assessment, program evaluation and planning, faculty development, and student success initiatives. Ellertson has presented at numerous conferences, including AIR, NASPA, ACPA, and CASE, most recently on the topics of assessment in student affairs and effective collaborations between institutional research and university communications offices. She also has extensive experience designing and delivering faculty and staff development workshops on a variety of pedagogical and assessment topics. Ellertson is a member of the Association for Institutional Research and serves as a Teagle Assessment Scholar through the Center of Inquiry at Wabash College.

Chris Grivas

Chris GrivasChris Grivas is an organizational and leadership development consultant focused on increasing the creative capacity of individuals, teams, and organizations. His clients have included Ernst & Young, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, and New York University, among others. He holds a Masters Degree in Creativity from the International Center for Studies in Creativity in Buffalo, NY. His book "The Innovative Team" offers new tools for creative problem-solving for teams and team leaders - or anyone who wants to kick-start innovation in their workplace or their lives.

Sara Meaney

Sara MeaneySara Meaney is a partner at Hanson Dodge Creative, America’s leading active lifestyle agency, where she is responsible for the organizational development, maturity and growth of the social media and public relations practice and its programs. She is also significantly involved in the agency’s new business development efforts. She blogs about the business implications of social media, marketing and public relations and the evolution of communications. Sara was named to the Business Journal’s 2010 Forty Under 40, is a frequent keynote speaker, webinar presenter, event emcee and university guest lecturer at the undergraduate and graduate-level. Sara is a graduate from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and has completed executive level continuing education programs at Harvard Business School and Kellogg School of Management.

David A. Owens

David OwensDavid A. Owens is the professor for the Practice of Management and Innovation, Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management. He is the author of the new book Creative People Must Be Stopped! Six Ways We Stop Innovation Without Even Trying. Owens has consulted for NASA, The Smithsonian, Nissan LEAF, Gibson Music, American Conservatory Theater, Alcatel, Tetra Pak, Tennessee Valley Authority, Cisco, LEGO, The Henry Ford Museum and many other organizations. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, London Guardian and San Jose Mercury News, as well as on NPR's Marketplace.

Jeffrey Pohorski

Jeffrey PohorskiJeffrey Pohorski has directed and edited projects for PBS, World Vision, InterVarsity, History Alive! and Habitat for Humanity. He has also served as a director of photography for The History Channel, A&E, Fox Television, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, motion pictures and music videos.
A graduate of San Jose State University, Jeffrey first worked as a photojournalist, crafting photo essays for newspapers and magazines. Wanting to expand the scope of his images in order to reach a broader audience, Jeffrey eventually joined 2100 Productions, where he began shooting documentaries and the occasional drama. Though he started to produce and edit these videos, he eventually became production manager at 2100. Still, his desire to tell stories was not being fully realized. He left 2100 Productions to attend Vancouver [Canada] Film School to learn specific film industry skills and develop a network in dramatic films. After moving back to the U.S. in 1997, Jeffrey launched his own production company, SKUNKFILMS, Inc. Pohorski joined the UW-Whitewater staff in March of 2010 and continues to work on freelance projects around the world.

Donna Vincent Roa

Donna V. Roa

Donna Vincent Roa is managing partner & chief strategist for Vincent Roa Group LLC, a WBENC-certified, strategic business and science communication firm that advises CEOs and senior executives on how to achieve excellence in high-stakes communication, position brand communication as a key enterprise asset, and maximize communication resources. An accredited communicator and a certified sustainability and CSR practitioner, she is a master strategist and process expert who designs best in class portfolios for domestic and international organizations. Executives hire Donna to link communication excellence to the bottom line. She was a former United Nations senior communication officer, a World Bank and UNICEF communication consultant, and the keynote speaker at the first class of graduating social marketers in Cajamarca, Peru. A recipient of the AWC-DC 2011 Matrix Award for her accomplishments in global communication, she was also a finalist for the Washington Women in PR Woman of the Year Award, a past president of the largest US chapter of IABC, and a former City of Rockville Environment Commissioner. She is an author and speaks frequently about branding and strategic communication.

Stephen Ward

Stephen WardStephen Ward has enjoyed a broad career that has included journalism, government communications, and private sector marketing. For nearly 15 years he has worked in public higher education administration, where his work in public relations and branding has helped build reputations and enrollments and earned several national honors. He was the executive director and assistant to the chancellor for university relations and communications at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and has been an instructor in the West Virginia University Integrated Marketing Communication program since 2006. He currently serves as executive director of university communications at University of North Carolina Charlotte.