Rebecca Bernstein has presented globally on her Ready Aim Fire Assess approach to digital communications. As the University at Buffalo Director of Strategy and Digital Communications, she leads UB's digital presence, both web and social media. An integral part of the UB Issues and Crisis Team she collaborates closely with the Director of Issues Management, creating strategies to proactively address issues in our UB web and social landscape.
Ms. Bernstein has been a thought leader in digital for 30+ years and is recognized with more than 100 awards, including CASE Grand Gold and PRSA Bronze Anvil. Her vision has been written about in the Chronicle of Higher Education and other media.
Erika Boltz is a communicator, ally, and activist living with a disability in Jacksonville, Florida. She has spent the last nine years working toward more inclusive content and communications in higher education spaces. You may have seen her work on social media accessibility online and at conferences including the College Communicators Association VA/DC Conference, HigherEdExperts, and HighEdWeb annual conferences. Her experience in higher education covers a variety of areas including recruitment strategy, crisis, and social media communications. She is currently working with Dr. Josie Ahlquist managing projects, doing research, and producing content for higher education communicators and leadership.
Johnny Cruz is assistant vice chancellor and chief communications officer at University of California, Riverside. He leads the team responsible for the university’s brand advancement, marketing, media and public relations, creative services, content development, publications, executive communications, digital strategy, video production, and social media.
He joined UC Riverside from World Vision, where he was responsible for telling the global humanitarian organization's story through media and public relations, advocacy communications, celebrity engagement, emergency communications, and influencer relations.
Before joining World Vision, he was assistant vice president for communications at the University of Arizona. In this position, he served as the university’s chief communications officer and oversaw all institutional communications, media relations, content creation, internal communications, social media, crisis communications, and executive communications.
Previously, Johnny was the university’s director of media relations and lead spokesperson.
He also served in various brand management, marketing and communications roles at the Make-A-Wish national headquarters. At Make-A-Wish, he led the external communications division and managed national communications and marketing initiatives in English and Spanish.
Liz Gross is a data-driven researcher and scholar who specializes in creating entrepreneurial social media strategies in higher education. Her professional super power is to embolden colleges and universities and help them launch modern market research strategies using social listening. Teaching is her passion and she brings that to colleges and universities as the founder and CEO of Campus Sonar, a specialized social listening agency that matches high-value social media intelligence and engagement opportunities to organizational strategic initiatives.
Gross has more than 15 years' experience spanning the private and public sector including Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and University of Wisconsin-Waukesha. She received a doctorate in leadership for the advancement of learning and service in higher education at Cardinal Stritch University, a master's degree in educational policy and leadership from Marquette University, and a bachelor's degree in interpersonal communication from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Kelly McGrail is the director of digital marketing and analytics at University of California, Riverside. She and her team oversee all things digital for the university’s main channels. From day-to-day social posting, listening, and monitoring to website building and SEO planning – her department covers it all.
She joined UC Riverside and the education realm from Grand Rapids, MI, where she was responsible for positioning the city as America’s #1 Destination. As the director of marketing for the city’s Destination Marketing Association, she managed content across all mediums, including print, online, video, social, and otherwise.
Before her time at Experience Grand Rapids, she was the director of marketing for the West Michigan Tourist Association and a senior account manager at the global advertising firm, Campbell Ewald.
Sandy Pantlik currently serves as Assistant Vice President for Communications, University Advancement at Texas State University. She leads a team responsible for developing and implementing communication strategies that increase awareness of Texas State programs, achievements and initiatives. In her role, she oversees media and public relations efforts, executive communications, digital and social media presence, crisis and internal communications, and the publication of Hillviews magazine. Pantlik joined Texas State in August, 2018. Previously she led communications and marketing efforts at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau, Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department and the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.
Kelly Raaz serves as the digital content strategist for Texas State University with four years of experience executing social media and digital content strategies across a multitude of platforms. Together with her team, she manages multiple websites and digital communication outlets serving both internal and external audiences, focusing on stakeholder engagement and media outreach. She earned her BA in Public Relations from the University of Louisiana.
Jon-Stephen Stansel is a social media professional with almost a decade of experience managing and creating content for higher education, small business, and government social media accounts. He is currently the Digital Media Specialist for the University of Central Arkansas and has worked at Texas State University, the Texas Department of Transportation, as well as consulting for many small businesses. In addition, he has taught courses in social media management and presented at many national and international conferences including HighEd Web, the International Congress of Technological Innovation in Buenos Aires, and the Association of International Educators. He enjoys photography, reading, typography, and being an early adopter of technology.