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Second IMC Connect! Features Communication Executives, Researchers

By Katelyn Kennedy

Ole Miss students sign in at the start of the inaugural IMC Connect! in 2022. Submitted photo

The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media will welcome some of the nation’s top communications executives and leading researchers to campus for the second annual IMC Connect! on March 30-31.

On the agenda are speakers from Boeing, Graduate Hotels, Amazon, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, UPS and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Additionally, researchers from four peer institutions will attend to share their insights related to integrated marketing communications.

After a successful debut in spring 2022 this year’s event should be even better, said Andrea Hickerson, the school’s dean.

“It is an opportunity for the presenters to learn from one another and to share their insights with students,” Hickerson said. “We are very proud of how involved our students are in planning this event. They have a keen eye for detail and are planning something truly memorable.”

Graduate students enrolled in IMC 580 event planning and management course play a key role in organizing all aspects of the event. Experiential learning is a key function of the two-day conference.

“IMC Connect! has helped me to connect with professionals in the field of public relations,” said Emily Powell, a second-year graduate student from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, who enrolled in the course last spring and serves as the event’s sponsorship chair.

“I came back to help plan and organize IMC Connect! to allow graduate students to have the same networking opportunity that I had last year. This is a unique and memorable educational experience that all students should attend with tremendous takeaways.”

Throughout this conference, Ole Miss students, faculty and staff will have opportunities to connect and participate in various workshops and panel discussions centered on timely topics and trends in integrated marketing communications. Among the topics are:

  • career preparation advice
  • internal communications and employee engagement
  • maximizing messages across both traditional and social media
  • the latest industry research
  • crisis communications
  • corporate communication and branding.

The speaker lineup includes:

  • Marti Powers, vice president of communications, Boeing Defense, Space
  • Stacey Murray, vice president of marketing, Graduate Hotels
  • Natashia Gregoire, head of internal communications, Worldwide Operations Amazon
  • Elizabeth Whittington, executive communications director, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • Malcolm Berkley, president of global network communications and reputation management, UPS
  • Jeff Motley, vice president of communications, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Sonoma Raceway
  • Jennifer Smodish Anderson, senior vice president of marketing, C Spire
  • Hua Jiang, associate dean of academic affairs and associate professor of public relations, Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications
  • Glen Nowak, associate dean of research and graduate studies, co-director of Center for Health and Risk Communication, and professor at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia
  • Jonathan Schroeder, William A. Kern Professor in the School of Communication, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • María Elizabeth Len-Ríos, associate director for faculty and administration and professor of strategic communication at the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Minnesota

“IMC Connect! 2023 will foster connections not only among our students and faculty but also among various departments on the UM campus and within the greater Oxford and Memphis communities,” said Amanda Bradshaw, assistant professor of integrated marketing communications and event chair.

“We are immensely grateful for the chance to build partnerships and collaborations with many organizations, including two universities who plan to travel to Oxford to bring tables of students to our event. The generous support of these peer institutions and sponsors enables a networking event of even bigger and better proportions compared to last year’s debut event.

The students in the class are especially excited to see their efforts come to life, as they have considered every detail of the five senses in the human experience to provide an immersive event for attendees”

Boeing and Graduate Hotels are presenting sponsors for the event. Organizers invite attendees to the Boeing Welcome Dinner and Graduate Hotels Closing Reception, set for March 30 and 31, respectively. Pre-registration is required at these events, as space is limited. A full list of sponsors can be found here.

The University of Memphis and University of Alabama are sponsoring tables and plan to bring groups of students and faculty to the conference.

“It’s a showcase for our program and a chance to leverage outside expertise to make it even stronger,” said Debora Wenger, associate dean for the School of Journalism and New Media.

Ole Miss faculty, staff and students should pre-register using the official GivePulse platform to reserve a seat. Visit here for faculty and staff registration, and here for student registration.

For more information or for questions regarding remaining sponsorship opportunities, email Amanda Bradshaw at asbrads1@olemiss.edu.

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Adam Brown
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