Skip to main content

Speakers 2016

Kathryn Bader is honored to tell the Berkeley story every day as the director of social media for the Office of Communications and Public Affairs. Before moving to higher education in 2002, she acquired a ton of communication/marketing experience in book publishing and various nonprofit work. Current career highlights include forming the UC Berkeley Social Media Advisory Team, aka Social Slice, in 2013 and collaborating with them on such campaigns as #BerkeleyMinds, #FSM50, #Campanile100 — and giving the Campanile a voice @The_Campanile on Twitter. You can find Kathryn on Twitter at @kathbader.

Peter Cavagnaro is the media relations manager at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), where he has served for the past seven years. Cavagnaro has been a lead communicator for BAMPFA’s new building project and reopening in downtown Berkeley. Prior to his tenure on campus, he spent several years in book publishing, working in the communications departments of both the University of Chicago Press and Berrett-Koehler Publishers in San Francisco.

La Dawn Duvall manages Visitor and Parent Services, a unit of the Office of Communications and Public Affairs that showcases the excellence of Berkeley through campus tours, specialized visits, parent support services and the campus’ annual open house – Cal Day. La Dawn and her team of talented professionals (including 65+ student ambassadors) welcome and serve over 1750,000 campus visitors annually, including prospective students and their families, donors, alumni and distinguished guests. La Dawn has worked on campus for over 25 years.

Andrea W. Estrada is an accomplished journalist whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country and around the world. Following a long freelance career, she joined the Office of Public Affairs at UC Santa Barbara, where she serves as director of news and media relations. In addition to overseeing the dissemination of research and other news from the university’s academic and administrative departments, she is the managing editor of The UCSB Current, the campus’s primary news site.

Richard Gonzales is National Public Radio’s National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering daily news of the region, Gonzales’s reporting has included medical marijuana, same-sex marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country. Gonzales joined NPR in May 1986. He covered the U.S. State Department during the Iran-Contra Affair and the fall of apartheid in South Africa. Four years later, he assumed the post of White House Correspondent and reported on the prelude to the Gulf War and President George W. Bush’s unsuccessful re-election bid. Gonzales covered the U.S. Congress for NPR from 1993–94, focusing on NAFTA and immigration and welfare reform.

Dr. Marti Hearst is a professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Information and Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences Department at the College of Engineering. Her primary research interests are user interfaces for search engines, information visualization, natural language processing, and improving MOOCs. She wrote the first book on Search User Interfaces.

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.

April Geffre Irwin. April is a spell caster for higher ed communications and marketing, having worked for Arizona State University and Penn State University before joining UC Berkeley a little over 2 years ago. Currently she is the Communication Specialist for Education Technology Services (ETS).

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, an Utne Award-winning arts-and-culture quarterly. Since coming to Cal, Stefanie has served as marketing lead on Big Give; overseen the redesign of the Berkeley Online newsletter; helped create and; and helped revamp such UDAR websites as,,,, international.berkeley,edu, and She is honored to collaborate daily with such a wide variety of experts in supporting our prestigious university. Read her (brief) rants about pop culture, equality, and East Bay life on Twitter @fanny_k.

Ram Kapoor is the Chief Marketing Officer for the University of California, Berkeley. Ram moved from Asia to take up the UC Berkeley role in November 2011. He launched the first ever brand platform for Berkeley in 2013 and rolled out a completely revamped website ( and digital system for campus in 2015. His team provides marketing and communications support to the entire campus, and manages the main social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and yes, Snapchat. Prior to joining U.C. Berkeley in November 2011, Ram was a highly awarded Advertising Creative Director & CEO. He held senior management roles at several global Advertising networks – including Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, Young & Rubicam, Euro RSCG and Wunderman. He worked in multiple locations across Asia with long stints in India, Singapore and Vietnam. Ram has won top awards at Cannes Lions, New York Fests, London International Awards and Asia Pacific Awards. Ram grew up in Bombay and attended IIT Kharagpur and IIM Bangalore before finding his true passion as a copywriter in Advertising. Follow him on twitter @heyram or connect with him on Linkedin.

Jana Katsuyama’s path to KTVU included stops as an anchor and reporter at WDTN-TV in Dayton, Ohio and at KBJR-TV in Duluth, Minnesota. Jana joined the KTVU news team in 2007, where she has reported from Southern California on wildfires, been teargassed covering an Occupy Oakland demonstration, and covered the aftermath of the Touhoku earthquake and nuclear disaster in Japan. Jana has earned multiple Emmy Awards, Associated Press awards in California and in Ohio for Best Enterprise Reporting and Best Writing, as well as awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Peninsula Press Club. She was part of the KTVU Ten O’Clock News team that won a National Edward R. Murrow Award.

Kim Jarboe LaPean is a connector, communicator and lady boss at UC Berkeley. She has 22 years of marketing communications experience, 17 in higher education including her current role as communications manager for University Health Services. LaPean specializes in internal communications, issues management, customer engagement, integrated strategy, branding and public speaking. Connect with her on Twitter @klapean or Linkedin.

Kriselle Laran is a vice president of digital for Zeno Group, a Daniel J. Edelman company. As a regional lead, Kriselle oversees digital, social marketing, and agency marketing for Zeno’s West Coast offices. With more than 15 years of experience in marketing and business administration, as well as a background in web design and development, she has a deep knowledge of both strategic and technological aspects of digital engagement. Recognition for her award-winning work includes Silver awards for the Bulldog Reporter Digital PR Awards for Best Word of Mouth campaign and Best Social Network Messaging Strategy. An experienced speaker at events such as SXSW, PRNews Digital PR Summit, Connect SMC and Women Who Tech, Kriselle has also been recognized as a top Twitter user to follow in the areas of marketing and social media. She has also contributed articles on social media programs, digital strategies and measurement practices to publications such as the PRNews Digital PR & Social Media Guidebook.

Roqua Montez Roqua has mixed potent communications concoctions for HP, USA Today, the San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Unified and The Tech Museum, among others. Today he spins his sorcery as Executive Director of Communications & Media Relations in Public Affairs, a role he’s held for one year.

Katy Murphy covers colleges and universities throughout the Bay Area as the higher education reporter for the Mercury News and East Bay Times (formerly the Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Times). Her coverage of UC Berkeley has ranged from human interest stories to investigative pieces, most recently about sexual harassment on campus. Her work has examined UC admissions policies, the effects of the state’s affirmative action ban and the challenges facing aspiring transfer students. She previously covered K-12 education, mostly for the Oakland Tribune, and launched a popular blog about Oakland’s public schools.

Hulda Nelson is Creative Director at UC Berkeley’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs. For three years, she has been a partner in the development of a campus identity program and comprehensive set of brand guidelines. Before joining the university, she was on the web team at Sunset Magazine, a design instructor at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University, and long-time Art Director at The San Francisco Chronicle. She is a B.F.A. graduate of Scripps College in Claremont, with further design studies at Art Center College of Design. She’s an avid cyclist and gardener who loves to hang out and travel with her husband and her son, who is about to receive his masters in Geophysics at that university on the other side of the Bay that cannot be named. You can find Hulda at @HuldaN.

Benjamin Packard found his way into documentary film as a way to educate the public on social issues. His love of documentary brought him to Participant Media where he worked on Food Inc., The Cove, and Waiting for Superman. Fusing his love of documentary film and volunteering, Benjamin then founded Retainer Media, a production company that caters exclusively to non-profits. Learn more at

José Rodríguez. José is well versed in the alchemy of marketing communications at UC Berkeley, where he serves as Editorial Director in University Development and Alumni Relations. He has filled various roles in his 21 years on campus, from editor to web director. Prior to Berkeley, he worked in public affairs and journalism.

Pat Sanders is a professor in the Department of Communications at the University of North Alabama, where she teaches in the areas of Radio-Television-Interactive Media and Journalism. She has worked as a journalist primarily in the commercial and public sectors of radio broadcasting, as a public speaker, and professional voice-over artist for over 30 years. She has won numerous awards for her journalistic work and for her work inside and outside the classroom, including the Outstanding Service Award by the UNA Student Government Association, a Faculty Alumni Award at UNA and Advisor of the Year from the National Broadcasting Society. In addition, the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence presented Dr. Sanders with a State Media Award for coverage of services for victims of domestic violence. She was also part of a team that produced pieces for Alabama Public Radio that won Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Jeremy Adam Smith edits the online magazine of the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center. He is the author of The Daddy Shift, which the San Francisco Chronicle called “amazing” and The New York Times praised as “a chronicle of a time that he predicts we will look back upon as the start of permanent change.” He also co-edited the collection Rad Dad: Dispatches from the Frontiers of Fatherhood, as well as two Greater Good anthologies — Are We Born Racist? and The Compassionate Instinct. Jeremy’s coverage of racial and economic segregation in San Francisco schools has won numerous honors, most recently the 2014 Sigma Delta Chi Award for investigative reporting and John Swett Award from the California Teachers Association. His articles and essays have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Utne Reader, The Nation, Mindful, Shambhala Sun, Wired, and many other periodicals, websites, and books.

Indu Tandon is an ex-Banker well versed in Financial Modeling, Strategic Planning, Risk and Change Management, who landed in Human Resources at UC Berkeley through a happy mix of circumstances. Her current role as Analytics Program Manager is to move the campus towards better workforce planning. Her team is responsible for analytics & metrics and affirmative action reporting. Indu draws upon the latent designer in her to come up with data visualization to succinctly communicate data insights for better decision-making. Connect with her on Linkedin.

Ellen Topp is the Director of Communications for the Division of Student Affairs at UC Berkeley. Her team communicates to students about the services, programs, and support they need in their Berkeley journey. Prior to Berkeley, she worked with numerous organizations ranging from major corporations such as Intel and Starbucks to small start-ups to research organization National Center for Atmospheric Research to grassroots organizations like Inconvenient Youth. You can find Ellen on Twitter at @EllenTopp

Todd Trumbull is a visual journalist and infographics specialist at The San Francisco Chronicle and He has worked for several news organizations including the Chicago Tribune, and he began his career at the Daily Californian while working on his B.A. in history at UC Berkeley.