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CommuniCon 2019 Speaker Bios

Keynote Speaker


Celeste Headlee, Communication and Human Nature Expert, Award-winning journalist, and Author

Celeste Headlee

Celeste Headlee is an award-winning journalist, professional speaker, and author of Heard Mentality and We Need To Talk: How To Have Conversations That Matter. In her 20-year career in public radio, she has served as co-host of the national morning news show, The Takeaway, anchored programs including Tell Me MoreTalk of the NationAll Things Considered, and Weekend Edition and has been the executive producer of On Second Thought at Georgia Public Radio. In 2012, Headlee anchored presidential coverage for PBS World Channel. Recently, she co-hosted season three of Duke University’s Scene on Radio podcast – MEN, and this fall will co-host the PBS weekly series Retro Report, a show examining how today’s top stories connect with the past. Headlee’s TEDx Talk “10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation” has garnered over 20 million views to date.

As an NPR host and journalist, Celeste has interviewed hundreds of people from all walks of life. Through her work, she has learned the true power of conversation and its ability to both bridge gaps or deepen wounds. In a time when conversations are often minimized to a few words in a text message and lack of meaningful communication and dialogue abounds, Headlee sheds a much-needed light on the lost and essential art of conversation. Headlee is an expert in human nature, reclaiming common humanity and finding well-being and frequently provides insight and commentary on what is good for all humans and what is bad for us, focusing the best research in neuro and social science to increase understanding of how we relate with one another and can work together in beneficial ways in our workplaces, neighborhoods, communities, and homes. As a mixed-race journalist of black and Jewish descent, Headlee also speaks candidly about how to converse on race and other difficult subjects.

Headlee serves as an advisory board member for Procon.org as well as the Listen First Project. Headlee’s work and insights have been featured on the Today show, NPR, Time, Essence, Elle, BuzzFeed, Wired, Inc., The Knowledge Project, and many more.


Social Media Group Therapy


Meghan Jagnow

Meghan Jagnow

Meghan Jagnow serves as the manager for marketing and communications for Student Life. In this new role, she coordinates and supports Student Life internal and external communications, including print, social, and electronic media. She is responsible for developing and executing the strategy for all communication, branding, and marketing initiatives for Student Life.

 

Rebekah Winkler

Rebekah Winkler

Rebekah Winkler has been with UT’s Office of Communications and Marketing for 11 years and has led the university’s social media efforts since 2010. In addition to driving the day-to-day engagement and content strategy of the UT Knoxville social channels, she serves as a resource to the more than 100 social media accounts across campus. She oversees the university’s social media strategy from game days to crisis situations.

 

Sarah Zimmerman Sanders

Sarah Zimmerman Sanders serves the University of Tennessee as a communications specialist for the University Libraries, including Hodges, DeVine, and Pendergrass. Sanders uses social media to help students, faculty, staff, and the community discover what our libraries have to offer. Find out what you might be missing @UTKLibraries on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.


Promoting Your Stories to the Media


David Goddard

David Goddard

A UT alum, David Goddard communicates with students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and supporters of the Tickle College of Engineering, as well as with the general public. Before UT, Goddard spent several years as an online producer for the News Sentinel, assistant news editor for the Daily Times in Maryville and reporter for the Cleveland Banner and the Morristown Citizen-Tribune.

 

Patty McDaniels

Patty McDaniels

Headquartered in the Ellington Agricultural Center in Nashville, Patty McDaniels has spent much of her career serving the UT Institute of Agriculture, where she helps coordinate news media coverage of UTIA faculty, units, programs, events, and students. She has won numerous awards for her media relations efforts and writing from professional societies including the Society for Technical Communication (STC), the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the Association for Communication Excellence (formerly the Agricultural Communicators in Education), and others.

 

Tom Satkowiak

Tom Satkowiak

In his current role since April 2016, Tom Satkowiak provides oversight of UT’s multi-department Athletic Communications umbrella, which coordinates promotional efforts for 20 sports and more than 500 student-athletes. He has also been the primary communications contact for the Tennessee men’s basketball program for 12 years in a row.

 

Andrea Schneibel

Andrea Schneibel

Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Andrea Schneibel joined UT’s Media Relations team in August 2018. In that role she writes press releases and fosters relationships with national and international media outlets to promote UT’s latest scientific research. Before joining UT, Schneibel worked as a science journalist and PR consultant in Latin America, Europe, and the US. She is fluent in both Spanish and English.

 

Social on the Go


Ryan Reed

Ryan Reed

Ryan Reed joined the University of Tennessee Office of Alumni Affairs in 2018 as the Director of Electronic Communications. In this role, he manages the brand and content for social media and several other digital outlets. Originally from Maryland, Reed is a graduate of Towson University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communication. Prior to joining the team at UT, Reed was a digital editor at Discovery, Inc. where he produced video and flat content for HGTV, DIY Network, and Travel Channel. His background also includes stints with Garden & Gun and Smithsonian where he produced digital content and led social media efforts.


Measuring Success


Adam Brimer

Adam Brimer 

Adam Brimer is a producer in the Office of Communications and Marketing. He served as senior visuals producer for the UT System and as a photographer and videographer for the UT Foundation prior to joining the campus video production team in 2017. In a past life, he was a multimedia journalist for the Knoxville News Sentinel and a freelance photographer and assistant shooting for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Sports Illustrated, and… a few others. He’s a proud UT Knoxville (’07) and UT Martin (’17) graduate.

 

melanie edwards

 

Melanie Edwards

Melanie Edwards is associate director of Online Engagement for the UT Foundation. In this role, she collaborates with alumni and development offices across the UT System on digital strategy, including email marketing, online event management, and annual giving projects. She came to the university in 2011 following a seven-year stint at several regional newspapers as a copy editor and page designer.

 

Christie Kennedy photo

Christie Kennedy

Christie Kennedy is the director of communications for the Tickle College of Engineering. In this role, she heads up the college’s marketing and communications efforts, which include various annual print and digital publications, social media, strategic planning, and more. Kennedy graduated from UT with a degree in communications in 2003 and returned in 2010 to earn her master’s, also in communications. In between, she worked as a producer for television production company Jupiter Entertainment for six years.

 

Joe Pecor

Joe Pecor

Joe Pecor is a Digital & Field Marketing Specialist for the UT School of Information Sciences (SIS). Having worked in the digital advertising landscape for the last decade, Pecor has experience cultivating data-driven, integrated promotions with various public, private, and corporate organizations. His most recent role involves establishing the social media voice for SIS, web content development, graduate recruitment strategies, and promotion of the newly approved SIS Bachelor of Science in Information Sciences.


State of the Media


Scott Barker

Scott Barker

Scott Barker is the co-founder, co-publisher, co-editor and reporter for Compass, a subscription-based website and newsletter covering local government, politics, education, and business. He was born in Chattanooga and raised in Kingston. After an undistinguished, nomadic, and ultimately unsuccessful college career and a string of strange jobs, he became a freelance writer and eventually conned his way onto the staff at the Knoxville News Sentinel. He earned state, regional, and national journalism awards as a reporter and editorial page editor over 18 years until he became another grim journalism statistic when he was laid off in 2017. After a year in public relations, he and longtime Knoxville journalist Jesse Fox Mayshark launched Compass in September 2018.

 

Joel Christopher

Joel Christopher

Joel Christopher is executive editor of the Knoxville News Sentinel and knoxnews.com, part of the USA TODAY Network. He joined the Knoxville newsroom in February after two years leading the Louisville Courier Journal and two decades working as a journalist in Wisconsin. He’s been a journalist since 1995, beginning his career as a news and sports reporter in his native Wisconsin. Christopher created award-winning investigative and enterprise reporting teams in Louisville and Wisconsin and oversaw the creation of the USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin, a collaborative effort of 10 newsrooms across the state. Christopher is a member of the USA TODAY Network ethics advisory panel and is frequently tapped as a trainer to transform the country’s largest media company by using digital metrics to expand and engage news audiences. He and his wife and their 6-year-old son live in downtown Knoxville. His wife, Sarah Riley, also is a journalist at the Knoxville News Sentinel and knoxnews.com.

 

Brandon Hollingsworth

Brandon Hollingsworth

Brandon Hollingsworth is WUOT’s news director. In that role, he oversees the station’s daily news operations. He also hosts Dialogue, produces the biweekly series HealthConnections, and serves as local host for All Things Considered. From 2008 to 2010, he hosted Morning Edition on Alabama Public Radio. For two years before that he served as an APR bureau correspondent and Morning Edition anchor at WLJS-FM in Jacksonville, Ala. Hollingworth’s work has been heard nationally on the flagship NPR newsmagazines Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as the network’s newscast service. He has contributed to NPR’s midday newsmagazine, Here and Now, and his work has aired on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Inside Appalachia. Hollingsworth is a 2008 graduate of Jacksonville State University, and holds a B. in communications. He is a native of St. Clair County, Alabama.

 

Lori Tucker

Lori Tucker

Lori Tucker is an anchor of the hour-long 4 and 6 p.m. newscasts each weekday on WATE 6 On Your Side. She has been with WATE for more than 25 years. Tucker has been awarded for her work—most recently with “Best Television Anchor” by the Society of Professional Journalists; the Russell Cecil Award for her medical reporting, the Edward R. Murrow Award, a team award for the evening newscast, and the Joy Dirksen Baker Award for her work in educating the public about cancer. She is a graduate of Leadership Knoxville, class of 1998, and is a member of the Executive Women’s Association of Knoxville. Tucker started her career as a reporter at KATV in Little Rock, Arkansas. WOAI in San Antonio, Texas was her next stop, where she became weeknight anchor, followed by a main anchor position at KHTV in Houston, Texas. Tucker and husband Steve, who can be seen on the sidelines of most SEC football, basketball games and gymnastics competitions for ESPN, have two grown daughters, a son-in-law, and granddaughter Riley. Having worked in other TV markets, Tucker can’t imagine working and living anywhere other than East Tennessee.

 

Show and Tell, Powered by PechaKucha™


Adam Brimer

Adam Brimer 

Adam Brimer is a producer in the Office of Communications and Marketing. He served as senior visuals producer for the UT System and as a photographer and videographer for the UT Foundation prior to joining the campus video production team in 2017. In a past life, he was a multimedia journalist for the Knoxville News Sentinel and a freelance photographer and assistant shooting for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Sports Illustrated, and… a few others. He’s a proud UT Knoxville (’07) and UT Martin (’17) graduate.

 

Heather Davis

Heather Davis

Heather Davis is no stranger to wearing orange after growing up in Knoxville. As coordinator of communications and data reporting for First-Year Studies, she connects students with FYS courses and resources available during their first year at UT and supports a variety of retention programs including Volunteer Bridge, academic alert, and transition advising. Davis has 15 plus years’ experience in marketing, design, and communications. After earning her bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Middle Tennessee State University, she started in corporate communications for a healthcare technology company. Following her time in middle Tennessee, she relocated back east and managed marketing and public relations efforts for Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, a non-profit experiential education center in the national park. It was there that she realized the life-changing power of learning and hopes to reflect her enthusiasm in her work at UT and continue to make a difference in the lives of students of all ages.

 

Amanda Johnson

Amanda Johnson

Amanda Johnson has more than 30 years of experience in public relations and communications gained in the agency, corporate, freelance, K-12, and higher education fields. Currently, she is the director of communications for the College of Architecture and Design, where she manages all communications functions and provides strategic communications support for the college. She believes at the heart of a communicator’s job is a story to be told in the right way at the right time to the right people.

 

Carol Myers

Carole Myers

Carole R. Myers, PhD, RN, FAAN is an Associate Professor in the College of Nursing. She is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media at the George Washington University College of Nursing. In her presentation, Myers will discuss the paradox of nurses’ vital roles in health care and relative invisibility in the media. Myers will also showcase her work as creator and co-host of HealthConnections, a twice-monthly radio show on WUOT, the Knoxville NPR affiliate, and other media engagement.

 

Andrea Schneibel

Andrea Schneibel

Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Andrea Schneibel joined UT’s Media Relations team in August 2018. In that role she writes press releases and fosters relationships with national and international media outlets to promote UT’s latest scientific research. Before joining UT, Schneibel worked as a science journalist and PR consultant in Latin America, Europe, and the US. She is fluent in both Spanish and English.