We’re pleased to welcome all of the following Keynote and Concurrent Session Presenters:

This year’s Keynote Speakers include:

Wednesday, June 7, 1 p.m.

“Trading Places”
Joanna Gleason — Actress and Storyteller 

Actor, author, artist, dancer…storyteller. Joanna has built a marvelously versatile career in which she has continuously redefined herself via various storytelling formats. She has masterfully portrayed roles on Broadway (including “Into the Woods,” for which she won a Tony) and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels;” blockbuster movies like “Boogie Nights,” “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” and “Hannah and her Sisters;” and TV series such as “The West Wing,” “The Good Wife,” and “ER.” Today, Joanna is also a teacher, guiding students from multiple disciplines — actors, dancers, singers, and musicians — in developing their storytelling skills.  Communication is key, she says, with one’s fellow actors, with the audience. The notion of being in service to the composers, writers, choreographers, designers, to the viewers, listeners, readers, is infused in Joanna’s teaching. These skills are vital to all of us in university advancement as well.

Thursday, June 8, 9 a.m.

“Marketing Campaigns and Engagement: Your Strategic Roadmap”
Ashley Budd — Director of Digital Marketing for Alumni Affairs and Development, Cornell University

Ashley Budd is a digital strategist and designer working primarily with higher education and non-profit organizations. Through speaking, writing, and research, she offers insights into contemporary issues in enrollment, fundraising and communication technology. Ashley is director of digital marketing for alumni affairs and development at Cornell University. Prior to joining the digital team at Cornell, Ashley spent more than five years at her alma mater, Rochester Institute of Technology, where she led social media strategy for undergraduate admissions. Ashley serves as producer and host on the Higher Ed Live network where she explores innovations and trends in higher education. Ashley speaks before national non-profit groups and appears regularly at higher education web professional conferences including Confab Events, NACAC, CASE, and HighEdWeb.

Friday, June 9, 9:30 a.m.

John Poppo: Chairman of the Recording Academy/GRAMMYs
Board Chairman of the Recording Academy, the world’s preeminent music organization, best known for producing The GRAMMYs. John is a 30-year veteran of the music business. He is a producer, engineer, mixer/remixer, arranger, musician and artist manager who has worked with such icons as Michael Jackson, *NSync, Mariah Carey, Madonna, Diana Ross. He is also the founder of the production and artist development/management company Pop Productions in Westchester County. A proud Fredonia alumnus, John serves and develops the Recording Academy’s four pillars: Membership (recruitment)/Awards, Music Education, Philanthropy & Charity, and Advocacy — all of which parallel the work we do in higher education.

Friday, June 9, 10:45 a.m.

“Building Bridges: UB’s Tappan Zee Bridge Panel”

We’ll be closing our conference with a panel discussion featuring three SUNY alumni, all of whom are playing major roles in the redesign and construction of the famed Tappan Zee Bridge, located just steps from our conference hotel. University at Buffalo alumni Troy Calkins, John Kowalski and Craig Teepell will discuss their roles in bringing life to this $4 billion project — the largest bridge project in state history — in a panel discussion moderated by former Buffalo News Business Editor Grove Potter.

Troy Calkins is currently the Project Controls Manager for HNTB Corporation on the New NY Bridge project. In this role, he is responsible for all cost, schedule, reporting and contractual matters. Previously, Troy worked on the MTA Capital Construction’s East Side Access project (ESA), a $10 billion project connecting Long Island Railroad with Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. While working on East Side Access, Troy was Construction Manager on the largest and most complex heavy civil and underground contracts ($1.75 billion). Troy holds a BS in Civil Engineering from SUNY Buffalo and is a licensed Professional Engineer in New York State.

John Kowalski is the Commercial Manager for the NYS Thruway Authority on the New NY Bridge project.  He is a 1983 civil engineering graduate of the SUNY Buffalo and a licensed professional engineering New York. John formerly was employed by the NYS Department of Transportation for 30 years where he held a number of positions in bridge design and construction in the Buffalo region, and served as Deputy Project Director for the Route 9A Reconstruction project in Lower Manhattan following the 9/11 attacks. He was appointed as Commercial Manager of the NNYB project in 2013 where he is responsible for all contractual management of the design-build contract. This role includes management of the project payments, scheduling analyses, dispute and claims management, budgeting, civil rights compliance, project-labor agreement, risk analysis, and management of engineering services by outside consultants.

Craig Teepell is the New NY Bridge project’s Deputy Construction Manager. He has been a part of the bridge replacement effort since 2007, having previously served as NNYB Project Controls Manager as well as Highway/Transit Engineering Manager for the Tappan Zee Bridge/I-287 Corridor Project.  Prior to joining the NYS Thruway Authority, Craig was part of the NYS Department of Transportation Major Projects group. Craig also contributed to the reconstruction of Lower Manhattan as Engineering Coordinator for the Route 9A Project. In 2005, he took a year’s leave to work in Louisiana to contribute to the Hurricane Katrina recovery, functioning as the Transportation and Infrastructure Lead for long-term recovery of Plaquemines Parish, ground zero of the storm. Craig started his career as a project manager for a deep foundation contractor. He holds a BS from SUNY Buffalo.

Grove Potter is a News Content Manager in the Department of Communications at the University at Buffalo, where he writes about economic development and science. Prior to joining the university staff, he was the Executive Business Editor at the Buffalo News for 16 years. In that role, he oversaw coverage of Buffalo’s economy as it battled back and began to flourish, helped tremendously by Gov. Cuomo’s “Buffalo Billion” economic development initiative. He is a graduate of the University of Vermont, and holds an MBA from the University at Buffalo. He is also the proud father of three UB graduates.


This year’s Concurrent Session Presenters include:


CONCURRENT SESSION 1: Wed., June 7, 2:30-3:15 p.m.


“#BONDFire and the Power of Student Collaboration at Homecoming”

  • Jana Putzig, Alumni Relations and Annual Giving Coordinator, Hudson Valley Community College
  • Amy Sheldon, Graduate Student, University at Albany
  • Michelle Ouelette, Assistant Professor of Public Relations, SUNY Plattsburgh
  • Kerry Chapin-Lavigne, Associate Director of Alumni Relations, SUNY Plattsburgh


“News, Literacy and the Role of Higher Education in Combating Fake News”

  • Jonathan Anzalone, Assistant Director of the Center for News Literacy, Stony Brook University

“Inside the Next Generation Newsroom: How to Quickly Spot the Best Opportunities to Promote your Faculty”

  • Peter Crescenti. Media Relations Manager, SUNY Farmingdale
  • Ben Nadler, Product Manager, The Associated Press
  • Peter Evans, Co-Founder and CEO, ExpertFile


“Turning Words into Money:  The Art of Successful Grant and Proposal Writing

  • Emily Hutchison, Assistant Vice President of Development, SUNY Potsdam


“Introduction to SUNYCUAD”

  • Patrick Hennessey, Director of College-Community Relations, Westchester Community College
  • Carol Leven, Assistant Vice President for Communications, SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology

“15 Lessons for Leaders”

  • Vinnie Cazzetta, Vice President for Advancement, SUNY Orange


“‘No, YOU’RE Crying:’ How Stony Brook Turned a Cinderella Experience into Social Media Gold

  • Chris D’Orso, Assistant Director, Enrollment Communications, Stony Brook University

CONCURRENT SESSION 2: Wed., June 7, 3:30-4:15 p.m.


“Alumni Engagement Scoring

  • Cynthia Shore, Senior Assistant Dean, Alumni and External Relations, University at Buffalo School of Management
  • Hailley MacDonald, Associate Director, Alumni Engagement and External Relations, University at Buffalo School of Management


“Making College Great Again: What a Fact-Challenged Billionaire Narcissist Can Teach Higher Education Professionals about Messaging, Marketing and Defying Expectations”

  • Frederic Pierce, Director of Communications, SUNY Cortland


“The Art of Raising a Good Development Officer: Career Advice for Development Officers and the People Who Manage Them”

  • Nancy Griffin, Development Officer, SUNY Potsdam
  • Diana Pollard, Executive Director, Dutchess Community College Foundation
  • Larry Lichtenstein, Associate Vice President, University at Albany


“Achieving Results Through Applied Project Management”

  • Ellen Kelly, Associate Director, Strategy and Planning, Research Foundation for SUNY


“Practically Applied Virtual Reality for Higher Education”

  • Ryan Coyne, Chief Executive Geek, Explorify3D.com

“Creating Compelling Video for Social Media Platforms”

  • Al Leibman, adjunct instructor, City University of NY: Borough of Manhattan Community College/John Jay College; Freelance videographer; Founder of nonprofit Cause in a Classroom

CONCURRENT SESSION 3: Thurs., June 8, 10:15-11:00 a.m.


“The Legends (Or Myths) of How We Engage our Boards: An Open Forum”

  • Mona Ouimet Vroman, Director, Alumni Relations, SUNY Potsdam
  • Maureen Winney, Director of Alumni and Student Relations, SUNY Empire
  • Rachael Hunsinger Patten, Executive Director of Development, Alumni Relations and SUNY Adirondack Foundation


“A Mixed Method Approach to University Communications”

  • Ryan Deuel, Director of Media Relations and Strategic Communications, St. Lawrence University

“Purchase College: Brand Refresh”

  • James Gallagher, Creative Director, Purchase College


“Building Bridges: UAlbany’s Collaboration Between Development and Student Affairs”

  • Brian Rudolph, Associate Director, University at Albany Fund
  • Cindy Riggi, Assistant Vice President, Student Affairs, University at Albany

“Developing Your Program while on the Path to Campaign ReadinessA Case Study”

  • Diana Pollard, Executive Director, Dutchess Community College Foundation
  • Michael Stein, Associate, Constellation Advancement, LLC


“Rekindling Your Flame: Preventing Burnout”

  • Kerry Gotham, Director of Alumni Engagement, The College at Brockport


“Using Social Media Analytics to Optimize Results”

  • Chris S. Cornell, Director of Social Media, WOW Production Services

“Multimedia Storytelling as Marketing”

  • Laurie Kaiser, Staff Writer, Public Relations, Buffalo State College
  • John Myers, Video Journalist, Buffalo State College

CONCURRENT SESSION 4: Thurs., June 8, 11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


“Future Trends in Alumni Engagement”

  • Laura Lincoln, Director of Alumni Engagement, SUNY Oneonta


“The Elements of Style for Higher Ed”

  • Bonnie Eissner, Editor/Writer, The Graduate Center, CUNY

“Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire: Issues Management at the University at Buffalo”

  • Kate McKenna, Director of Issues Management, University at Buffalo


“Matching a Donor’s Story with Priorities for a New Campaign: A Case Study from SUNY Delhi”

  • Maureen McKenna, Chief Advancement Officer, SUNY Delhi
  • Joel Smith, former Vice President for College Relations and SUNY Cobleskill
  • Kat Banakis, Senior Vice President, Analytics, Grenzebach Glier and Associates


“Project Management Tactics: A Successful Presidential Inauguration”

  • Patrice DeCoster, Executive Assistant to the Provost, SUNY Empire State College
  • Ruifang Hope Sun, Associate Professor and Coordinator for the Advanced Graduate Certificate Program in the School for Graduate Studies, Empire State College


“From Story to Video: How Hue Brought Generation Z to Life”

  • Alex Joseph, Managing Editor, Hue magazine, The Fashion Institute of Technology

Reimagining and Rebuilding a Website: Insights on Process and Product”

  • Sandy Dylak, Director of Communications and Creative Services, Purchase College
  • Kristi McKee, Associate Director of Communications, Purchase College


CONCURRENT SESSION 5: SUNY Roundtables, 2 p.m.


“Three Million Strong: How SUNY System Can Support Alumni Engagement”

  • Lauren McCabe, Special Assistant, University Relations and Policy, SUNY


“SUNY-Driven Media Conversation: A brief review of 2016-2017 headlines and a look at what’s to come in 2017-2018”

  • Holly Liapis, Press Secretary, SUNY


“Excelsior Scholarship Program: How it will work and its effect on campus’ development initiatives”

  • Angela Wright, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Government Relations, SUNY
  • Christine Fitzgibbons, Director of Strategic Development, SUNY


“Stop, Collaborate and Listen. SUNY’s Got the Tools to help Improve your Outcomes”

  • Taras Kufel, Assistant Director of Digital Engagement, SUNY System Administration