frank 2022 Interactive Leaders Biographies Home » frank 2022 » frank2022 Speakers Aaron Zieler Aaron Zieler brings a passion for social change-focused strategic communications to his work at Civil Rights Corps. He manages the media relations at CRC as well as providing support for special projects and development. Aaron came to Civil Rights Corps in January 2021 from Spitfire Strategies. There, he focused on a wide variety of social justice issues, including criminal legal reform, digital civil rights, and public health. While there, he provided digital strategy, media relations, and communication resource support for nonprofits and foundations. A native Floridian, Aaron received a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a master’s in mass communication from the University of Florida. During his time at UF, Aaron participated in the Karel Fellowship for Public Interest Communications at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and received recognition from the Society for Professional Journalists Florida Pro Chapter, along with his colleagues, for their multimedia storytelling project that examined the unexpected consequences of live-streamed video. He loves Drag Race, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Gator Football. Brandon Telg Brandon is a social entrepreneur who strives to help people grow through understanding and developing their personal stories. He combines his experience in communication with a hands-on mentoring approach to work with people and organizations to achieve their goals. He holds a Master’s Degree in Leadership Development at the University of Florida, specializing in the study of Organizational Narrative. In 2013, he co-founded Self Narrate, an organization dedicated to empowering people to tell authentic stories. Brandon’s expertise in the story process, leadership development and organizational branding has allowed him to facilitate workshops in fields ranging from business to non-profit to higher education to healthcare and beyond. He has published numerous books related to storytelling including Break Your Invisible Chains. He actively applies these skills as an Instructional Designer and Trainer as part of the University of Florida’s HR Training & Organizational Development team. Brandon is also active in the music industry. He was the Co-Director of the Changeville Music Festival from 2016-2018. He manages the songwriter Johanna Warren and co-founded and co-directs MusicGNV, Gainesville’s premiere nonprofit program supporting independent musicians. He also manages Spirit House Records, an independent record label. Diane Wong Diane Wong is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University, Newark. She is also an affiliate faculty of Global Urban Studies, American Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies. She holds a Ph.D. in American Politics and M.A. in Comparative Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration from Cornell University. Her research and teaching interests include American politics, race and ethnicity, critical urban studies, comparative immigration, gender and sexuality, cultural and media studies, and community rooted research. Her work draws from a unique combination of methods including ethnography, participatory mapping, archival research, augmented reality, and oral history interviews. Her research has been funded by grants from the Russell Sage Foundation, National Science Foundation, Centennial Center for Political Science and Public Affairs, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Humanities New York, and Cornell University’s Engaged Research Program. Her work has appeared in PS: Political Science & Politics, Urban Affairs Review, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Amerasia Journal, Politics, Groups, and Identities, Gateways, Asian American Policy Review, and a variety of edited book volumes, anthologies, podcasts, and exhibitions. Diane is a socially engaged artist, she is a member of the Chinatown Art Brigade and co-founder of The W.O.W. Project, a youth-led initiative based out of Wing On Wo & Co. the oldest store in Manhattan’s Chinatown that uses arts activism to combat gentrification. Erica Ciszek Erica Ciszek is an Assistant Professor at the School of Advertising & Public Relations at The University of Texas at Austin. Their research explores the intersections of strategic communication, activism and social change to challenge the field to think more complexly about the relationship between power and resistance. They engage in theoretically and empirically rigorous work, engaging dialogically with hard-to-reach populations and hard-to-study groups, groups that are marginalized and vulnerable and difficult to represent. Ciszek’s research has been published in the top journals in the communication, including the New Media & Society, Journal of Communication, Social Media & Society, as well as advocacy journals such as the Journal of Public Interest Communication and Journal of Homosexuality. Erin Hart Erin B. Hart is the chief innovation officer at Spitfire. She believes that strategic communication makes social and environmental change happen. She’s worked with foundations, nonprofits, government agencies and more to help engage their audiences in ways that make a difference for people’s health, the environment and social justice – every day and in times of crisis. At Spitfire, Erin directs the firm’s learning work and collaborates with clients including Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, The California Wellness Foundation, Pisces Foundation and Stupski Foundation. Erin trains and teaches, builds campaigns and manages day-to-day communications on subjects as varied as super pollutants and violence prevention. Before coming to Spitfire, Erin served as Fenton’s chief client officer and the built the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s first strategic communications department. During her time at the foundation, she refreshed the organization’s identity and built an online presence to help people better communicate the foundation’s focus and forge partnerships in science, patient care and the environment. She also worked with grantees to showcase the importance of scientific research and support work including the Earthquake Early-Warning System. Gia Nardini Gia Nardini is an assistant professor of Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. Gia’s research focuses on consumer wellbeing, triangulating the phenomenon from cognitive psychology, judgment and decision making, and sociology perspectives. She investigates the antecedents, processes, and value outcomes to improve consumption experiences; context effects to improve consumer decision making; and the processes through which we may improve access to resources for consumers. She seeks to understand the theoretical underpinnings of experiential consumption and decision making to enhance consumer wellbeing. Her work has been published in such journals as the Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Business Research, and Psychology and Marketing. She has presented at leading conferences, including the Association for Consumer Research, the Academy of Marketing Science, and Consumer Culture Theory. Hari Pulapaka Hari Pulapaka is an award-winning chef with four James Beard Award semifinalist nods as Best Chef-South and multiple Food & Wine People’s Best Chef recognition. In 2017, Hari launched Global Cooking School, LLC with the mission of offering a wide swathe of educational and consulting services aimed at making food more delicious, thoughtful, nutritious, and inclusive. His book, Dreaming in Spice: A Sinfully Vegetarian Odyssey features 251 globally inspired recipes. In 2016, Hari was recognized as a GRIST 50 fixer for his innovative and active work in food waste reduction and has helped develop food waste reduction related teaching materials for the James Beard Foundation as part of a full-use kitchen curriculum. When he is not cooking or writing about food, Hari teaching Calculus, Abstract Algebra, Cryptology, Number Theory as he is also a tenured associate professor of mathematics at Stetson University. Jaron Jones Jaron Jones is co-founder of Self Narrate, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to utilizing narrative approaches to enhance self-efficacy and personal hardiness in underrepresented populations and organizations. Outside of Self Narrate, he also serves as a Regional Diversity Leader within the aerospace and defense sector. Within that role, he oversees the successful development and execution of annual Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiatives that are aligned with key business strategy components. Dr. Jones is a nationally recognized TED speaker and story coach, author, workshop facilitator, and consultant with a focus on developing resilient and inclusive communities. His doctoral studies in leadership development focused on leadership theory and measurement, critical and creative thinking, and leadership in cross-cultural settings. Dr. Jones researched methods to enhance individuals’ self-efficacy and personal hardiness through narrative approaches and has a strong knowledge of training and development and human resource management. In all aspects of his teaching and consulting, Dr. Jones believes that excellence in education, service and research are enhanced when diversity, equity, and inclusion are practiced within our organizations. He believes that through operating inclusively, organizations can successfully prepare diverse leaders to solve global problems. Mark Horvath Everyone talks about social media’s potential to democratize and empower those less fortunate. Mark actually makes that happen. Mark, or @hardlynormal as the Internet knows him, is an internationally recognized activist who tells the story of the countless individuals without a voice– those living in shelters, motels, tents, alongside streets and under highway bridges. His platform Invisible People is one of the most revolutionary and poignant storytelling destinations we’ve ever seen on the web, reaching millions of people every month. Mark’s work is extraordinary because he not only helps solve the systemic, scaled problems of homelessness by destroying stereotypes, but he also helps singular individuals every day. Natalie Asorey Natalie Asorey is a lecturer in the Department of Public Relations at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications and a strategy principal with the Center for Public Interest Communications based in New York. Before joining UF she was head of social media at BODEN, a leading cross-cultural communication agency based in Miami, where she oversaw the McDonald’s USA scope of work as Hispanic agency of record. She led the account team and collaborated with McDonald’s communication, marketing and digital teams to develop communication and social media strategies to reach the Hispanic consumer market. Asorey also led the agency’s award-winning social listening practice, Escucha, to build brand advocacy through influencer and consumer engagement and real-time content. Previously, she worked on the Delta Dental, UnitedHealthcare, Dewar’s, America’s ToothFairy and American Academy of Pediatrics accounts. Samantha Cross Samantha N. Cross (she/her) is an Associate Professor of Marketing in the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business at Iowa State University. She studies how diverse entities, identities, perspectives, beliefs and abilities co-exist in consumers, households and the marketplace. Her work has been published in top marketing journals, including the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Psychology and Journal of Public Policy and Marketing. She currently serves on the Board for the Association for Consumer Research (ACR); on the Academic Council of the American Marketing Association (AMA) and as a special issue co-editor for the Journal of The Association for Consumer Research (JACR). Samantha received her Ph.D. in Marketing from the University of California, Irvine; her M.B.A. in International Business from DePaul University and a B.Sc. in Management Studies from The University of The West Indies. Taylor Williams Taylor Williams is a Master Corporate Trainer in Learning, Development, and Engagement at Haskell. Her passion for personal development, mental health, communication, emotional intelligence, and innovation inspire her work. She is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Florida, where she designs and facilitates classes and trainings for undergraduate and graduate students, student athletes, and MBAs. Taylor founded a communications training company and is the creative Director of Guts and Glory GNV, a live storytelling organization. She loves public speaking, and has written a book and given a TEDx talk on that topic. Her time studying and performing improv comedy, storytelling, and commercial acting informs her work. Taylor played volleyball at the University of Florida and still lives in sunny Gainesville, happily close to family. Zakyree Wallace Zakyree Wallace is a research assistant at the Center for Public Interest Communications and a current masters’ student at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. She is a community mobilizer and social impact campaigner.