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Speakers 2015

Caroline Boyden, a web developer and accessibility advocate, has been doing some form of web development since 1996. She worked for Berkeley’s College of Letters & Science from 2004-12 before joining the web platform services team in 2012. She was a volunteer member of the web access working group from its founding in 2005.

Pablo Buffagni is the founder, creative director, and head chef at BBQ Agency, inspired by fun and productive meetings in which he serves tasty Argentinean asados. His groundbreaking advertising work, media integrations, social media, and nontraditional campaigns have generated impressive results for big brands. He has worked for many major agencies in both Argentina and the United States, including JWT, DDB, Bromley, Conill Saatchi & Saatchi, and Grupo Gallegos. A three-time winner of the Best US Hispanic Creative Director Award, Pablo also won the First Gold Film Lion for a U.S. Hispanic agency at Cannes and represented the states as a juror in the outdoor category in 2012.

Lee Caraher is the CEO of Double Forte, a San Francisco PR and marketing services firm,  and an experienced speaker who blends applicable insights with inspiration and humor. Her book, Millennials & Management: The Essential Guide To Making It Work At Work, details how to build a constructive, productive work environment. Lee serves on the boards of KQED and Grace Cathedral and lives on the peninsula with her husband and two sons. Visit her website or find her on Twitter at @leecaraher.

Bethany Cordell, a native of Montana, moved to Berkeley last year after completing her M.B.A. at Kansas State. She has worked in social media and sports marketing for six years in various organizations and currently serves as the director of digital marketing and social media for Cal Athletics. An active member of the collegiate marketing community, Bethany has given multiple social media presentations throughout the years.

Alex Coughlin has been working in communications and web in higher education for over seven years, nearly four of which have been with UC Berkeley. Following a stint earning his M.A. and lecturing on rhetoric at Colorado State, Alex moved to the history department at Berkeley, where he coordinates electronic and print communications. His professional interests lie in the intersection of higher education and digital communication, while his personal interests include snow, camping, cooking, and gardening. A regular bike commuter, he lives in Albany with his wife and cat.

Amy Cranch has been working for 23 years as a writer, editor, project manager, fundraiser, and PR executive for higher education, museums, and health and social service organizations. She is a principal editor in UC Berkeley’s university relations department, where she manages a variety of high-level communications to build awareness and support for Cal. Outside of work, you will most likely find Amy on a dance floor, stage, or yoga mat.

Audrey Crane has worked in high tech for 15 years for companies and clients such as Netscape, Sun Microsystems, eBay, Kelley Blue Book, and Docker. She is a partner at DesignMap, a consultancy that helps leading technology companies build products that make our ‘everyday’ better and easier.

Jennifer Denton has been at Berkeley for nearly four years, first as a “Jen of All Trades” communicator for Recreational Sports, and now as a client relationship manager with Student Affairs. She has focused on communication management and strategy, as well as experiential and social media marketing. Before Berkeley, Jen spent time with Marriott International, a Bay Area startup, and the California State University, but has found a home in communications and serving students right here. Jen holds a bachelor’s degree in media communications from Sacramento State. She lives on the tropical island of Alameda with her husband and puppy, Nora, and enjoys running, gardening, crafting, and riding on the back of her husband’s Harley.

Michael Emerson Dirda is a writer for and advisor to UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks. He has previously worked with Stanford, Yale, Penn State, NYU, Harvard, IAS, and the College Board. A staunch advocate of side projects, he runs a packaged goods business, hosts a podcast series, and occasionally builds jokey websites. He’s interested in the internet’s impact on how organizations communicate with their constituencies.

Anna Gazdowicz has worked at UC Berkeley since she graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2005. She joined central IT’s web platform services team in 2013, where she coordinates campus web accessibility efforts and performs operations and support work for IST Drupal and Open Berkeley.

Lucy Greco has been working on various forms of accessibility for over 30 years. She is a strong advocate for disability and disability access.

Bernadette (Bernie) Geuy is a design strategist and the user experience (UX) lead for the Student Information Systems (SIS) project, which will soon replace such key online applications as BearFacts, TeleBEARS, CARS, and myFinAid. She was previously the product manager for CalCentral. A double Bear with two Berkeley degrees, Bernie is interested in design innovation, strategic planning, visual communications, UX, service design, and sketching.

Claire Holmes is the associate vice chancellor of the Office of Communications and Public Affairs for UC Berkeley. She oversees media relations, internal communications, issues and crisis management, visitor and parent relations and supports the Chancellor and his Cabinet with strategic communications programs. Prior to joining UC Berkeley in May 2008, she was vice president, national media, public relations and stakeholder management for Kaiser Permanente. In this role, she led and directed national public relations and media relations for Kaiser Permanente, the largest not-for-profit integrated health plan with more than 8.4 million members, 150,000 employees and 14,000 physicians nationwide. Before assuming this position, she served as vice president of corporate communications, where she led the national internal communications activities and programs for Kaiser Permanente. Previously, she owned a consulting agency for 10 years that served national and regional clients such as Charles Schwab, IBM, Pacific Telesis, Pacific Gas and Electric, Bellcore, Chevron and Bank of America. In 2010, she was named PR Person of the Year by the national organization, PR News, and has won a number of international awards from the International Association of Business Communicators and the Public Relations Society of America. Follow her on Twitter at @ClaireBerkeley.

Stefanie Kalem came to UC Berkeley in 2014 after working in nonprofit arts marketing and weekly journalism. She has written extensively for Jezebel, East Bay Express, Oakland Magazine, Creative Loafing, and Shojo Beat, and is the former editor-in-chief of the late, great Kitchen Sink, a Bay Area arts-and-culture quarterly. Stefanie is honored to collaborate daily with such a wide variety of experts in supporting our prestigious university.

Ram Kapoor is executive director of marketing and digital communications for the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at UC Berkeley. In his marketing role, Ram is revisiting the messaging and identity standards of the university, while also providing support for campuswide initiatives such as Cal Day. In his digital role, he manages the university’s main websites—from the UC Berkeley gateway site to the NewsCenter and The Berkeley Blog. He also runs social media for the university—Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and more. In his past life, Ram was an advertising copywriter/creative director, with awards at Cannes Lions, New York Fests, London International Awards and Asia Pacific Awards. In a future life, he would do it all over again. Follow him on Twitter at @heyram.

Yuki Kimura helps manage and maintain several university websites, including the Gateway (, News Center, Berkeley Blog, and Berkeley Brand sites. She also builds front- and backend functionality for a variety of applications and websites, most recently the new Gateway site and CMS and Cal Day. Prior to joining Berkeley in 2013, she was a lead developer for a commercial web agency in Boston.

Melani King has been on the Public Affairs web team since 2001, back when the Gateway was very gold and very narrow — 600 pixels wide. Aside from HTML/CSS editing, Melani also administers the Digital Gallery, maintains the online campus map, builds and maintains some WordPress sites, and handles some multimedia projects.

Terrence McNally spent 20 years as an actor, director, and screenwriter (Earth Girls Are Easy, starring Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, and Jim Carrey) before realizing he wasn’t fulfilling his vision. Now a strategic communications consultant, speaker, writer, and coach for foundations, nonprofits, public agencies, and progressive businesses, Terrence helps clients develop more engaging narratives and stories. He hosts a radio interview program on the Progressive Voices Network on TuneIn, envisioning “a world that just might work.” His interviews often appear in print at

Kathleen Lu manages the web platform services team in IST’s architecture, platforms, and integration department. She joined IST three years ago as the principal designer with the software engineering group. Previously, she was the communications and project manager in Berkeley’s central human resources department.

Patrick McMahon is the senior designer and head digital strategist for the Graduate Division’s fundraising, outreach, and service-oriented websites, applications, and communications. He has extensive experience with educational, nonprofit, and tech industry web projects. Patrick is currently leading the Graduate Student Professional Development Toolkit.

Jeremy Rue is a lecturer of new media in the Graduate School of Journalism. He has worked as a multimedia journalist for the Oakland Tribune; as a multimedia producer, photographer, and instructor for a Carnegie-Knight funded reporting fellowship; and as a photojournalist and print reporter for various newspapers in the California Central Valley. He is co-author of the forthcoming Principles of Multimedia Journalism.

Adam Singer is the analytics advocate at Google, a marketing, media, and PR industry speaker, startup adviser, and blogger. He previously was the digital director for a 300+-person global consulting team and has provided online marketing strategy to a variety of industries, including marketing technology, healthcare, manufacturing, and advertising/subscription-based web startups.

Christina Sponselli joined UC Berkeley to help launch the @cal Alumni Network, Prior to Berkeley, she was a consultant in KPMG Consulting’s high tech division, a content director at several start­ups, and a journalist at Health and Parenting magazines.

Chris Van Nostrand is the director of marketing for the Berkeley Resource Center for Online Education (BRCOE), where he oversees program development for new online degrees and recruiting strategies for existing ones.  Prior to relocating to the Bay Area with his family, he served as the associate director of admissions at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School, where he also earned his M.B.A. in marketing and organizational behavior.

Dorothy Zhuomei, a leadership and career coach, works with M.B.A. students at the Haas School of Business to help them clarify their career visions, cultivate an authentic voice, build their network, and develop leadership capabilities. She has an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management and years of experiences in management consulting, biotechnology, startup, and social impact. Dorothy enjoys dancing, reading about psychology and mindfulness, and delicious food.