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Meet the Speakers

Jon Adame

Jon Adame, General Counsel, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R.-TN). Jon Adame serves as General Counsel to Senator Marsha Blackburn, where he advises her on all tech-related issues across her committee assignments (Commerce, Judiciary, Armed Services). He previously worked for her on the House Energy & Commerce Committee. Jon graduated from the University of Colorado School of Law, and received his B.A. from the University of New Mexico.




Jeremy BlackburnJeremy Blackburn, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Binghamton University, State University of New York. Jeremy Blackburn joined the Department of Computer Science at Binghamton University in fall 2019 as Assistant Professor. Jeremy is broadly interested in data science, with a focus on large-scale measurements and modeling. His largest line of work is in understanding jerks on the Internet. His research into understanding toxic behavior, hate speech, and fringe and extremist Web communities has been covered in the press by The Washington Post, the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, the BBC and New Scientist, among others.


Stuart Brotman, School of Journalism & Electronic Media, University of Tennessee. Stuart N. Brotman is the inaugural Howard Distinguished Endowed Professor of Media Management and Law and Beaman Professor of Journalism and Electronic Media at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. This academic appointment is the only one of its kind in the world. He has served in four Presidential Administrations on a bipartisan basis and has taught students from 42 countries in six separate disciplines: Communication, Journalism, Law, Business, International Relations, and Public Policy. He also has advised private and public sector telecommunications, internet, media, entertainment, and sports clients in more than 30 countries on five continents.



Adam BrownAdam Brown, Executive Strategist, Salesforce. Adam Brown, (BS/AD ’94) was CCI’s 2015 Advertising Alumnus of the Year. He is executive strategist for Salesforce, named the World’s Most Innovative Company for the past four years by Forbes. He and his teams develop the world’s leading marketing, sales and analytics tools used by hundreds of thousands of companies around the world. Adam is also co-host of the Podcast with best-selling author Jay Baer. The show was named best podcast/audio series of 2015 by the Content Marketing Association and is downloaded or streamed over 70,000 times a month.


Cody BuntainCody Buntain, Assistant Professor and Director of the Information Ecosystems Lab,  Department of Informatics, Ying Wu College of Computing, New Jersey Institute of Technology. Cody Buntain is an Assistant Professor of Informatics and director of the Information Ecosystems Lab at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, where he studies social media and online political engagement, especially during disasters and times of unrest. This work includes modeling coordinating actors, mis-/disinformation campaigns, ideological bias, and ecosystem-wide effects of platform moderation strategies.



Joan DonovanJoan Donovan, Research Director, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, and Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Dr. Joan Donovan is the Research Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. Dr. Donovan leads the field in examining internet and technology studies, online extremism, media manipulation, and disinformation campaigns. Dr. Donovan’s research and teaching interests are focused on media manipulation, effects of disinformation campaigns, and adversarial media movements.


Rick DuceyRick Dusey, Managing Director, BIA Advisory Services. Mr. Dusey will discuss the financial side – hedge funds and other investment companies buying and then decimating newsrooms, and the vicious circle of fewer reporters and less news driving consumers to social media.







Erin Exum, current Director of Communications at Vroom (UTK JEM ’10). Erin spent 10 years in the NFL doing media relations and public relations with the Jaguars, 49ers and Raiders. She worked with executives, players, and coaches on building their brand, honing their PR skills, along with a variety of other communication skills. After working with the Raiders, Erin spent two years as the U.S. Communications Manager at StubHub, focused primarily on sports and music.




Michael FarrisMichael Farris, Business Intelligence Lead at Country Music Association. Farris is an experienced researcher and strategic thinker that uses his skills to develop actionable solutions. In the sports and entertainment industry, Michael led strategic consulting and research services for over 70 best-of-brand partners in seven countries. His experience includes conducting fan research, constructing ticket packaging and pricing models, and developing marketing plans to drive revenue for partners throughout the sport and entertainment industry.



Casey Federbusch, 2015 graduate of the Communications Design BFA program at Washington University in St. Louis. Although she started out in general digital media across a variety of accounts like IBM and JP Morgan Chase Asset Management, she eventually found her niche and love for social media advertising. Most recently Casey was a Media Strategist at Cycle, an agency that specializes in influencer marketing, where she helped plan and execute influencer campaigns for a variety of clients including Nike/Footlocker, Wells Fargo, Panera, Adobe Student, and European Wax Center. When not spending all of her working hours on Facebook and Pinterest, you can find her cheering on the Mets or using her accidental second major in Art History to explore the insane number of museums NYC has to offer.


Rob FriedenRob Frieden, Telecommunications and Law, Penn State University. Rob Frieden holds the Pioneers Chair in Telecommunications and Law at Penn State University. He is a leading analyst in the field of telecommunications and Internet infrastructure and has authored many comprehensive works on international telecommunications, Internet law and policy, cable television, and communications law. Professor Frieden has published over 100 journal articles and four books on various telecommunications topics.




Mark HarmonMark D. Harmon, Professor, School of Journalism & Electronic Media, University of Tennessee. Dr. Mark D. Harmon teaches courses in news writing, news reporting, media and democracy, communication theory, and public opinion. Dr. Harmon has worked as a TV news producer, radio reporter, and host of a radio news interview program. He also has published guest columns in scores of periodicals, ranging from daily newspapers to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Currently he is a regular columnist for Tennessee Lookout. He is a former congressional candidate and former Knox County Commissioner and has several projects in the works concerning political communication.


Guy HarrisonGuy Harrison, Assistant Professor, School of Journalism & Electronic Media, University of Tennessee. Dr. Harrison’s research focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion in sports media. His first scholarly book, On the Sidelines: Gendered Neoliberalism and the American Female Sportscaster is due to be released later this year. Before entering academia, he worked in sports information/collegiate athletics media relations at a pair of NCAA Division II institutions, serving first as a sports information assistant at Nova Southeastern University before becoming an assistant athletic director at Eckerd College. Dr. Harrison was also the play-by-play voice for many of the teams he covered, which included soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball, and softball.


Ben Horne, Assistant Professor, School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee. Dr. Horne joined SIS in August 2020, and combines his background in computer sciences and information sciences to focus his research on safety in online spaces – particularly as it pertains to news and information consumption. Horne has a professional background in information technology, and is coming to SIS after graduating with his Ph.D. in computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was also a research assistant. His bachelor’s degree is from Union University where he double majored in computer science and business administration.


Joy JenkinsJoy Jenkins, Assistant Professor, School of Journalism & Electronic Media, University of Tennessee. Dr. Jenkins will provide a scholarly perspective about the challenges facing news organizations along with the rise of social media as a primary way to get news, even though social media are not highly trusted as news source.






Tiffany KernsTiffany Kerns, Vice President, Community Outreach at Country Music Association (UTK alumna, Pol Sci ‘07). Kerns works with The CMA Foundation to create, develop and implement CMA’s community outreach initiatives, including, but not limited to, the Keep the Music Playing (KTMP) music education program and CMA EDU, CMA’s college/university outreach program. Oversee PSA campaigns and related promotional programming.




Soon See KimSoon Mee Kim, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer for Omnicom Public Relations, a part of Omnicom Group, the worldwide leader in marketing communications. A dreamer and a doer, Soon Mee drives purposeful action. She is a proven leader and creative problem-solver with a passion for workplace culture, supporting the talent life cycle, and confronting systemic bias. Her forte is in uncovering and articulating the reasons why people should care about complex issues. Formally and informally, her favorite roles are that of mentor, coach and student.



Hannah Lagoski, @plantbasedho3 on Instagram (UTK AD ’20). Hannah is a recent University of Tennessee grad currently working as a freelance social strategist helping small businesses take charge of this now essential form of communication. Along with assisting her main clients, Total Fitness Kickboxing and Flying Panda Beverages, Hannah creates Instagram content focused on environmental education, self love, and community growth. Through this, she has discovered the possibilities for nano influencers, such as herself in niche markets, to collaborate with leaders in their field.


Jessica MendozaJessica Mendoza, Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist and trailblazer Jessica Mendoza joined ESPN in 2007 and in 2015, and became the first woman to serve as an analyst for nationally-televised MLB games. She has since become one of the leading voices in ESPN’s Major League Baseball coverage. She has continuously made history as a Major League Baseball analyst, becoming the first female ESPN MLB game analyst on television, the first female analyst for a nationally televised MLB Postseason game, and the first female analyst for a Men’s College World Series telecast.

Beth MowinsBeth Mowins, a play-by-play announcer who has nearly 30 years of experience calling a vast array of sports for ESPN and CBS Sports. In 2017, she became the first woman play-by-play announcer for a nationally-televised NFL game when she called an opening-week Monday Night Football game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Denver Broncos. Since then, Mowins has also called games for the NFL on CBS and is the preseason television voice of the Las Vegas Raiders. A native of Syracuse, New York, Mowins has also called college football, basketball, volleyball, softball, and soccer for ESPN and is a 2009 Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame.


Mary OverendMary Overend, Director, Marketing & Consumer Engagement at Country Music Association (UTK AD ‘09). Overend is a marketing professional with 10 years of B2C experience in non-profit, healthcare, retail/ecommerce and entertainment industries. Demonstrated ability to think creatively, operate efficiently, collaborate across teams and oversee multiple projects from concept to analysis while maintaining a high attention to detail.




Ed PattersonEd Patterson, Managing Director, Head of Global PR for State Street (Journalism/PR 1989). Accomplished global public relations, public affairs and corporate communications leader with 25 years experience in public relations, media relations, crisis communications, executive communications, speech writing, analyst relations, public company communications, corporate social responsibility, diversity and inclusion strategy and communications, and digital communications.



Matthew PittmanMatthew Pittman, Assistant Professor, School of Advertising & Public Relations, University of Tennessee. Dr. Pittman joined the ADPR faculty in 2019. Prior to UT he taught at Rowan University and was a strategic social media consultant. He got his PhD from the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in 2017. He studies social influence and cognition, mostly within the context of sustainable campaigns and social media.


Rachel RednorRachel Rednor, the photographer, copywriter and community manager behind the popular instagram account @lolabarksdale featuring her 7 year old French Bulldog. She is an Executive Director and COO in Fixed Income at Morgan Stanley in New York, where she has worked since graduating from Syracuse University with a dual degree in Advertising and Finance. Managing Lola’s account (and the myriad in-real-life relationships that have come from it) is a creative outlet for Rachel, who has learned the ins and outs of brand partnerships, navigating the algorithm and optimizing content for engagement. Rachel lives in Brooklyn with her husband and, of course, Miss Lola Barksdale herself.


Ray SuarezRay Suarez, Co-host of the weekly radio program World Affairs, presented by the World Affairs Council of Northern California and KQED FM. He has just completed an appointment as the McCloy Visiting Professor of American Studies at Amherst College in Massachusetts. Mr. Suarez will address the consequences of the demise of journalism on journalists, as well as the implications of misinformation/disinformation on social media for democracy and the free press.




Jamie SusskindJamie Susskind, Vice President of Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Consumer Technology Association (CTA). In that role, she coordinates CTA’s advocacy strategy and represents the association before Federal agencies and the Administration for policies to encourage the growth of innovative consumer technologies. Susskind oversees a portfolio of regulatory issues, including cybersecurity, the Internet of Things, equipment authorizations and standard setting, consumer protection, spectrum, and broadband and infrastructure deployment. Additionally, she helps manage CTA’s relationships with third-party advocacy groups to promote CTA’s policy agenda.