UTA presents Communication Day


Panel 1A: Personal Branding: Interviewing and Netiquette on Social Media

Andrew Chavez

Andrew Chavez is the Associate Director of the Texas Center for Community Journalism at Schieffer School of Journalism at Texas Christian University. He serves as media specialist for the Schieffer School and is enrolled in the school's graduate journalism program. He is also the author of the Explorations in New Media blog, a Schieffer School project that focuses on trends in emerging media. Before joining the Schieffer School as media specialist, he worked at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as a part-time night police reporter. He is a former editor of the TCU Daily Skiff and a 2008 graduate of the Schieffer School.

Ben L. Randolph

Ben Randolph serves as an account director at Agency Entourage, a digital marketing agency in downtown Dallas. Agency Entourage helps companies communicate online. Randolph is a 2001 graduate of the University of Oklahoma.

Ben is an active member of the AAF Dallas chapter, the Dallas Ad League. He sits on two of the board committees and volunteers as a DAL Mentor to young professionals in the advertising community who are beginning their careers in the industry.

Amanda Montgomery

A proud alumna from The University of Alabama, Amanda Montgomery is one of the youngest social media specialists with the firm Social Media Delivered. Montgomery assists clients in orchestrating and executing strategic, creative and successful social media campaigns. In her capacity as a recruitment supervisor, Montgomery helped build the company's intern committee.

The Dallas native is pursuing a master's degree at the University of Texas-Dallas in emerging media and communication. She is an active member of the Dallas Ad League, the Dallas Press Club, the Dallas Contemporary Foundation, the Association of Women in Communication (Dallas Chapter) and the Social Media Club of Dallas.

Andrew Yanez

Andrew Yanez is the Chief Creative Officer of Concussion. As a second grader at El Paso's Lamar Elementary School, Andrew drew a kick-ass picture of a car. No surprise, it featured shark's teeth. Recognizing his prolific talent, his teacher, the very perceptive chain-smoking Mrs. Edwards, placed the prodigy in a 7th grade art class. Seven years later, art and commerce collided when Andrew began hand painting all of the signs at the local Furr's Grocery Store. Today, his unique visual aesthetic is no longer admired by shoppers milling about the produce section, but rather by an elite group of peers who have selected his work for inclusion in Print, Graphis and Communication Arts. As an award-winning creative director, he has rocked brands including Acura, Nestle, Texas Instruments, ExxonMobil and others. As the CCO of Concussion, Andrew insists on throwing down the creative gauntlet.

Panel 1B: Exploring Alternative Branding Opportunities: Training, Development, and Leadership

Sharon Dera

Sharon Dera is the chief executive officer of The Proficience Group, a human performance improvement and organizational development firm. Dera has extensive experience in needs assessment, human performance, process improvement, staff development, managing and coaching. Her broad experience was developed by working in the retail, finance, health, government, manufacturing, hospitality and travel industries in operations, business management, customer service, sales, communications, marketing, succession planning, leadership, coaching and training.

Dera's professional experience includes the execution of training and development programs for Expedia, Hotels.com, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, AC Delco, OmniAmerican, SkillsNET Corp., EFW, Inc., Pier 1 Imports and the Autistic Treatment Center. Dera holds an M.B.A. from the University of Dallas and the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) certification from the National American Society for Training and Development (ASTD).

Jerri Grant-Robertson

Jerri Grant-Robertson is the founder of the JGR Group. "Just Great Results" is a Dallas-based personal and professional development company. With a successful history working in Fortune 500 companies, Grant-Robertson draws upon her extensive corporate background in key positions with IBM, Pitney Bowes and American Airlines. A graduate of Dallas Baptist University, Grant-Robertson is a frequent media resource and a dynamic, energetic facilitator and speaker who lectures around the United States.

Her professional associations include SHRM, Dallas HR, ASTD-National, ASTD-Dallas and several local board positions including the Frisco Arts Association. Grant-Robertson is the author of the newly released book "Wine for the mind!," endorsed by Zig Ziglar.

Rich Pendergast

Rich Pendergast is a corporate learning consultant specializing in the human side of enterprise-wide change initiatives. He designs, develops and implements experiential learning programs that provide organizations with the knowledge, skills and confidence to transition through mergers, acquisitions, reorganizations, process improvement and re-engineering efforts and culture change initiatives.

Pendergast brings 25 years of management, training and organizational development experience to his training and consulting practice. He is a master trainer, facilitator and speaker. His engaging and relaxed style facilitates honest and productive dialogue, cross-functional collaboration and continuous learning.

Panel 2A: Build your brand, show your stuff: Workshop on resume editing and portfolio development

Andrew Yanez

Andrew Yanez is the Chief Creative Officer of Concussion. As a second grader at El Paso's Lamar Elementary School, Andrew drew a kick-ass picture of a car. No surprise, it featured shark's teeth. Recognizing his prolific talent, his teacher, the very perceptive chain-smoking Mrs. Edwards, placed the prodigy in a 7th grade art class. Seven years later, art and commerce collided when Andrew began hand painting all of the signs at the local Furr's Grocery Store. Today, his unique visual aesthetic is no longer admired by shoppers milling about the produce section, but rather by an elite group of peers who have selected his work for inclusion in Print, Graphis and Communication Arts. As an award-winning creative director, he has rocked brands including Acura, Nestle, Texas Instruments, ExxonMobil and others. As the CCO of Concussion, Andrew insists on throwing down the creative gauntlet.

Panel 2B: Oporunidades Alternativas: Hispanic media today and prospects for the future

Univision 23 (www.univisiondallas.com)

Founded in 1998, Dallas-based KUVN-TV Channel 23 transmits Spanish programming for the Hispanic community in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. KUVN local news broadcasts a half hour, twice a day, seven days a week. News 23 is broadcast Monday through Friday at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. and News 23 Weekend is broadcast Saturday and Sunday at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. Univision Communications Inc. is one of the premier Spanish-language media companies in the United States. Its operations include Univision Network, TeleFutura Network, Galavisión, Univision Television Group, and Univision Online.

Telemundo 39 (www.telemundodallas.com)

KXTX Channel 39, located at Broadcast Hill in Fort Worth, serves the Hispanic community of the Dallas-Fort Worth area with Spanish programming and locally produced Spanish newscasts. Telemundo is the second-largest Spanish-language content producer in the world, and the second-largest Spanish-language network in the United States. Telemundo reaches 93 percent of Hispanic and Latino American households in 142 markets via over-the-air, cable and satellite television. Telemundo was founded by Ángel Ramos with a television station in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1954.

Al Día (www.aldiatx.com)

Al Día, created in September 2003, is the largest Spanish-language newspaper in North Texas with an average weekly distribution of 220,000. Published by A. H. Belo, the newspaper, headquartered in downtown Dallas, is the Spanish language counterpart to The Dallas Morning News. Al Día provides news with emphasis on practical and useful information for Spanish-speaking newspaper readers in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. Al Día is a general news publication offering general news, entertainment, sports and lifestyles information.

La Estrella (www.diariolaestrella.com)

La Estrella is a Spanish-speaking newspaper created in 1994. The publication serves the Dallas-Fort Worth area and is published every Saturday. La Estrella was winner of a 2004 Katie Award, and was honored by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors (APME) in 2007. La Estrella is published by the McClatchy Company. Founded in 1857, McClatchy is the third-largest newspaper company in the United States. The newspaper and Internet publisher is “dedicated to the values of quality journalism, free expression and community service.” Building on a 153-year legacy of independence, the company's newspapers and websites are defenders of First Amendment values and advocates for the communities they serve.

La Kalle 107.9 FM (www.univisionradio.com)

KESS-FM (107.9 FM), branded as "La Kalle 107.9 FM," is a Latin pop formatted radio station serving Dallas/Fort Worth. The station is licensed in Lewisville, and is owned and operated by Univision Radio, a leading Spanish-language radio group. Univision Radio owns and/or operates 70 radio stations in 16 of the top 25 U.S. Hispanic markets and 5 stations in Puerto Rico.

Panel 3: One Degree of Separation: Connecting with Alumni


Emily Hoad ('99 BA, Communication - Advertising and Communication Studies)

Emily Hoad works for Sabre Holdings, the parent company of Travelocity, developing, managing and marketing programs to build the company’s leadership bench strength in 60 countries around the globe. Hoad previously owned her own business, creating professional and personal development programs for presidents and CEOs. Hoad is immediate past president of the UT Arlington Alumni Association Board, where she built alumni relationships with campus and community while raising significant funds for student scholarships.  She also serves as chair of the Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce. As a student, Hoad was active on campus, serving as a UT-Arlington Ambassador, a Peer Leadership Trainer and as a member of the Student Alumni Association (formerly the Student Foundation). In 1997 and 1998, Hoad was recognized among the top 10 student leaders.

Michael Lee ('02 BA, Communication - Advertising)

Michael Lee is the Client Relations Consultant at ReachLocal. Michael has worked most of his professional career in media sales at publications including The Dallas Morning News, The Auto Trader magazine and ReachLocal. He is a six-time winner of the President’s Club, awarded to the top sales professional in the company.

James Geisler ('88, BBA - Marketing)

James Geiser is the Corporate Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, the largest operator of regional theme parks world-wide. Geiser leads the marketing and sales teams at all 18 Six Flags parks located across the US and in Mexico and Canada. In this role, he directs strategic communications planning, creative development, media planning, social media, promotions and group sales. As a graduate of UTA and a native of Arlington, Geiser has put his marketing degree to the test by developing creative marketing solutions and advertising campaigns that have effectively driven business results for both Six Flags and Chesapeake Energy Corporation.

An avid thrillseeker, Geiser has yet to find a roller coaster that he won’t ride.


Daniel Armbruster ('08 BA, Communication - Broadcast)

Daniel Armbruster, a 2008 graduate of UTA with a bachelor’s degree in communication and a minor in political science, is a morning anchor on KXII-TV in Sherman, Texas. Armbruster began his on-air career at KXII in 2008, starting out as a general assignment reporter in the Ardmore, Okla., newsroom. In 2009, he was reassigned to weekend anchor/reporter in Sherman, and in February of this year, joined the First News A.M. team. Armbruster’s career in broadcast news began more than a decade ago while he was still in high school. His first job was at KXII's sister station, KWTX, in Waco, Texas. He also worked at KTVT-TV in Dallas/Fort Worth as an editor while a senior at UTA.

Jessica Carrillo ('09 BA, Communication - Broadcast Journalism/Spanish)

Jessica Carrillo, born and raised in Teocaltiche in the state of Jalisco in Mexico, graduated from UTA with a degree in broadcast journalism and Spanish. She began her career in journalism as host of a local talk show on Azteca America in Las Vegas. In 2004, she became weather anchor and fill-in anchor at KBLR-Telemundo-Las Vegas. As a reporter, Carrillo covered entertainment and community stories for Telemundo’s news/magazine show “Cotorreando.” In 2007, Carrillo joined the TPC in Dallas, where she focused on weather segments and entertainment reporting. In 2009, she became main anchor and producer of Acceso Total, a weekly Spanish language entertainment news program covering events and celebrities in the entertainment industry. She is also presenting Acceso Total segments on the local newscast Noticiero Telemundo Dallas at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Communication Studies

Derrick Kinney ('93 BA, Communication - Communication Studies)

Derrick Kinney, a former UTA student body president, has served as a senior financial adviser with Ameriprise for the past 15 years. Kinney has been interviewed nationally as a financial expert by The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, Forbes, Kiplinger's Personal Finance and Consumer Reports. His financial planning team ranks in the top 1 percent of all advisers across the country. Kinney was also recently named as a “5 Star Best in Client Satisfaction Wealth Manager” for 2009 and 2010 by Texas Monthly. Kinney is frequently seen on TV as a financial expert and his financial column appears in the Fort Worth Business Press.

You can learn more about Derrick Kinney by vising his website at derrickkinney.com

Danny Woodward ('03 BA, Communication - Journalism; '05 MA, Communication)

Danny Woodward, the special assistant to President James Spaniolo at UTA, earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from UT Arlington in 2003 and his master's degree in communication from UT Arlington in 2005. He was the first graduate of UTA’s M.A. in communication program. Woodward has worked in the president's office since 2003. Previously, he worked as a staff writer at The Dallas Morning News for seven years. As a student, he served as editor-in-chief of The Shorthorn as well as the paper’s sports editor, managing editor and administration beat writer.

Communication Technology

Burin Asavesna ('08 BA, Communication - Communication Technology)

Burin Asavesna is a Senior Software Developer at Sabre Holdings. Asavesna is a versatile web technologist with a passion for building products with amazing user experiences. Asavesna specializes in full-stack application development using Ruby web application frameworks and front-end design and development. Asavesna received the Outstanding Senior Award in 2008.

Sheena Bandy ('09 BA, Communication - Communication Technology)

Sheena Bandy is a front-end developer for Fort Worth-based Concussion Interactive, where she has worked on projects such as HeartLinkPlano.com and BreastCenterPlano.com. She graduated from UTA in December 2009, cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in communication technology and English. Bandy was the recipient of the Outstanding Senior Award in 2010. Bandy maintains a website at SheenaBandy.com.

Manuel Herrera ('03 BA, Communication - Communication Technology)

Manuel Herrera is an Art Director for imc², the largest independent brand engagement agency in the United States. Based in Dallas, Manuel works on such well-known retail clients as Pizza Hut, P&G, and The Coca-Cola Company. He also an important part of the Business Development team, where he concepts and designs ideas that help win new clients.

Prior to imc², Herrera worked his way up to Lead Senior Designer at NBC-Universal, where he helped earn numerous awards, including several Broadcast Design Awards and Emmys. While at NBC-Universal, Herrera earned his Masters degree from the Cox School of Business at SMU, which he used to create one of the first interactive departments at NBC.

A graduate from the University of Texas Arlington with a B.A. in Communication Technology (2003), Manuel is currently a guest lecturer teaching CTEC 3320.


Brad Loper ('93 BA, Communication - Journalism)

Brad Loper joined the staff of The Dallas Morning News as a staff photographer in July 2001 following a five-year stint as a staff photographer/special projects page designer at the Arlington Morning News. During his career at the DMN, Loper has covered notable events, including hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005; the 2004 and 2008 Republican National Conventions in New York City and St. Paul, Minn.; the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy in 2003; and the Dallas Mavericks through more than 70 playoff games, including the NBA Finals in 2006.

In 2006, Loper was one of eight photographers from the DMN awarded The Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for the team’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Later that year he moved into his current role as a photo editor. In 2008, 2009 and 2010, Loper was named Newspaper Picture Editor of the Year in the National Press Photographers Association’s Best of Photojournalism competition. In addition, two projects for which he was the editor were finalists for The Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography (“The Bottom Line,” by Mona Reeder in 2008 and “At the Edge of Life,” by Sonya N. Hebert in 2009). “At the Edge of Life” also received a Regional Emmy for its video component, for which Loper served as editor/producer. “Choosing Thomas,” a 2009 piece also by Hebert, was awarded a National Edward R. Murrow Award for its video component, for which Loper served as editor/producer. Loper also served as an adjunct instructor teaching a level II photojournalism course in the UTA Communication Department from September 2007 until December 2008.

William McKenzie ('79 MA, Political Science)

William McKenzie is an editorial columnist for The Dallas Morning News, where he writes about politics, religion, the White House and Texas government. The University of Texas grad's columns appear in newspapers nationwide and his editorials have won a Pulitzer Prize and awards from the Texas Headliners Foundation, the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors, the Dallas Press Club, the American Academy of Religion and the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association. Before joining the News in 1991, the Fort Worth native spent a dozen years in Washington, D.C. He worked on John Anderson's 1980 presidential campaign and spent a decade editing the Ripon Forum, a progressive Republican journal of opinion. McKenzie appears regularly on NPR’s On Point show and has served as a Pulitzer Prize juror. An elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Dallas, McKenzie lives in Dallas with his wife and twins.

Public Relations:

Kathelin Buxton ('10 BA, Communication - Public Relations)

Kathelin Buxton, business development and communications director for Apex Cost Consultants, plans and strategizes marketing and public relations for the Dallas and Fort Worth offices serving the architecture, engineering and construction industry. Buxton is a member of the Society for Marketing Professional Services, and on the communication committee for the Fort Worth chapter.

Jerry Stevenson ('93 BA, Communication - Public Relations)

Jerry Stevenson has built a reputation as an industry thought leader in effective online communication and social media strategy. His multidisciplinary background includes public relations, organizational communications, human resources, marketing and corporate IT. Jerry helped EDS corporation architect one of the world's first global intranets in the 90's, as web browsers were first being used for organizational communication. Since then, he has spoken at more than a hundred conferences and seminars around the world and assisted dozens of Fortune 500 firms in the use of online communication and social media. In 2003 he was named IABC Dallas Communicator of the Year. Formerly a director in the Global HR Technology practice of Buck Consultants, Jerry has returned to his solo practice - Stevenson Consulting.

Rebecca Strong ('10 BA, Communication - Public Relations)

Rebecca Strong was an active member in PRSSA, and participated in the national Bateman Competition, creating a public relations strategy for the 2010 Census.  Since her graduation, she has built strategies and multimedia materials for the Fort Worth Opera Festival.  She is currently an assistant account executive at Open Channels Group, a growing public relations agency in Fort Worth.

Keynote Speaker Karen Borta

Keynote Speaker Karen Borta

A graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington and a member of the UTA Alumni Association, Karen Borta is a veteran journalist who joined CBS 11 News in 1995. She was also an anchor and reporter at CBS affiliate WTVT-TV in Tampa, Fla.; KRBK-TV in Sacramento, Calif.; and KCEN-TV in Waco, Texas.

Borta has received numerous awards for her work, including regional Emmys, Press Club of Dallas Katie Awards and the Association of Women Journalists' Vivian J. Castleberry Award. She was also part of the CBS 11 team honored by the Radio-Television News Directors Association with a 2006 Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence. Borta was the 2003 recipient of UTA's "Distinguished Alumni Service Award." She has also been honored by numerous charitable and civic organizations, including Mi Escuelita, Cook Children's Medical Center and the Baylor Sammons Breast Center. Borta is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

On a personal note, Borta is deeply devoted to the cause of finding a cure for breast cancer. Her mother and both grandmothers had breast cancer, and one of her grandmothers died from the disease. Because she has two daughters of her own, finding a cure is especially important to her. Borta serves as honorary co-chair for the 2000 Komen Dallas Race for the Cure and received a Macy's "Heart and Soul Award" for her work in the fight against breast cancer.

Borta and her husband, Jim, have three children — Jake, Katie and Kylie. She is actively involved at her children's school and enjoys playing tennis and reading.