The Advisory Council to the master’s degree program in digital strategy is comprised of people who broadly represent the industry. Members are leaders from a wide range of communication careers in advertising, marketing and business.
The Advisory Council role is two-fold. First, the council helps the college confirm and document the skills and capabilities that employers seek in graduates of the global strategic communication master’s degree program. Second, the council helps to ensure the program has adequate resources and a relevant, well-designed curriculum to provide students with the capabilities, knowledge and behaviors necessary to succeed in their chosen careers. The Council is chaired by the graduate director of the program.
Co-Founder & President, Feathr
Aidan Augustin is the co-founder and president of Feathr, where he oversees the sales and marketing team. A lifelong geek, Aidan’s latest fascination is the intersection of “digital” with “live” and how technology is changing traditionally high-touch or in-person experiences. Prior to founding Feathr in late 2011, Aidan was an industrial and systems engineering student in the Honors Program at the University of Florida. Though he ultimately dropped out of school to ride the entrepreneurial roller coaster, he remains a fanatical Gator fan.
Director of Interactive, 160over90
Ryan Blain is involved in the planning, oversight, and execution of digital projects across all of the agency’s clients. Ryan began his career at 160over90 as a hybrid website designer and developer, creating award-winning online experiences for American Eagle Outfitters, Steven Starr Restaurants, and University of Dayton. After more than five years of running his own interactive consultancy, designing and building websites for clients like University of Pennsylvania, Roanoke College, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Ryan returned to 160over90 to manage the agency’s team of interactive designers, user experience experts, and web developers. Ryan is a graduate of La Salle University with a degree in digital arts and multimedia design.
Account Strategist, Facebook
Elle loves nothing more than using the power of social media to build brands and inspire people to support them. She does this every day as an account strategist in global marketing solutions at Facebook, where she works closely with key nonprofit partners to build thumb-stopping advertising campaigns from the ground up and navigate cutting-edge digital strategy using Facebook’s full suite of platforms and tools. Some of her nonprofit partners include Salvation Army, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, Girl Scouts, Doctors Without Borders, Teach for America, and the Special Olympics – she’s very proud to play a part in bringing their missions to life.
Elle graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida in 2017 after four awesome years of studying journalism and marketing – while there, she brought her studies to life outside of the classroom by creating projects like a Humans of New York inspired photo-story series, launching a viral video campaign that received international media coverage from outlets like Cosmopolitan and The Independent UK, and traveling to hackathons to build products like an emotion interpreter for people with high functioning autism.
A lifelong learner with a passion for storytelling and inspiring social change, Elle makes it her mission to create work that turns the conversation from “Somebody should really do something about that” into “I AM that somebody.”
Group Account Director, McCann Erickson
After having obtained a Bachelor of Science in hospitality/travel and tourism management at Florida International University, Ryan returned to his native Trinidad & Tobago to contribute to nation-building and giving back to his country. He started by joining the Tourism & Industrial Development Company of Trinidad & Tobago, where he headed international marketing initiatives for five of the country’s tourism niche markets.
Ryan holds a senior post at the leading ad agency in the world, McCann Erickson, as group account director, leading brands from past to present like BP Trinidad & Tobago, RBC Royal Bank, Tourism Development Company, Tobago House of Assembly, e TecK, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Trade, American Airlines, Nissan, T&T Film Company, Nestle Purina Petcare and Maggi, Heineken, Green Sands, General Finance Corporation, Involve Financial, St. Lucia Tourist Board, KISS Baking, the Bermudez Group and the Massy Group.
Unbounce co-founder Oli Gardner has seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet. He’s obsessed with identifying and reversing bad marketing practices, and his disdain for marketers who send campaign traffic to their homepage is legendary, resulting in landing page rants that can peel paint off an unpainted wall. A prolific international speaker, Oli is on a mission to rid the world of marketing mediocrity by using data-informed copywriting, design, interaction, and psychology to create a more delightful experience for marketers and customers alike.
CEO & Digital Strategist, Yellow Box
Nate Hartmann is the CEO and digital strategist at Yellow Box. He received a master’s in advertising from the the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, where he concentrated his research on social media and purchase intention. He continues to conduct research in the digital space through his work at Yellow Box, and teaches classes on digital advertising and entrepreneurship at the University of Illinois. Focusing in inbound marketing and digital PR, the classes are refreshingly industry driven.
When not working on campaign strategy or teaching, he’s probably trying to find the weirdest music he can to play throughout the office.
E-Commerce Lead, Carol Hannah Bridal
Nhi is the digital engagement manager at Carol Hannah Bridal, where she manages, monitors and implements international social media and digital strategies. When she’s not spearheading a new approach to social advertising or brainstorming for the next runway show, she can usually be found trying to take the perfect Instagram.
Nhi graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in journalism. She’s worked for publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, Weddings Illustrated, Palm Beach Illustrated, the Gainesville Sun and more. She has a master’s degree in mass communications with specialization in social media.
Strategic Partner Manager, Facebook
Nona Jones is Strategic Partner Manager, Communities for Facebook, the world’s leading social networking and social media company. In her role, Nona is responsible for helping develop and drive the product strategy undergirding Facebook’s mission of giving its 2 billion members the power to build community and bring the world closer together. Nona’s work partners Facebook with communities of faith, youth-development organizations, communities of color, and women-serving organizations to broaden their reach and deepen their real-world impact.
Prior to Facebook, Nona served as Chief External Affairs Officer for PACE Center for Girls, the Florida-based, statewide network of 19 Centers where she led Federal and State Legislative Advocacy, Program Expansion, Resource Development and Brand Strategy. Immediately prior to PACE, Nona served as Public Affairs Director for Gainesville Regional Utilities where she received the American Public Power Association’s Robert F. Roundtree Rising Star Award as national peer recognition of her leadership while under the age of 35.
Nona is currently President of the Gainesville (FL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and most recently served as Secretary of the Florida Juvenile Justice Association Board of Directors and on the Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force. She is a graduate of Leadership Florida Class XXXI and the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program, a unique leadership development initiative led jointly by President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush. Nona has been profiled by ESSENCE Magazine as an Under 40 Woman to Watch and Florida Trend Magazine as one of Florida’s 30-Something All Stars. She holds a Bachelor in Communications and Master of Business Administration from the University of Florida where she has been recognized as an Outstanding Young Alumnus.
Senior Solutions Consultant, Demandbase
David is a Senior Solutions Consultant at Demandbase, where he speaks to marketers every day about the challenges they are facing and consults on marketing automation solution and strategy to overcome those challenges. Previously, he was the top solutions consultant at Marketo in 2016 and he continues to help marketers from various industries and company sizes.
David graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Business, minoring in East Asian Language & Literature and Sustainability Studies. He was also a proud member and performer of UF’s improv troupe, Theater Strike Force, and enjoys acting in short films and comedy skits when he has time.
Creative Director, 160over90
Since graduating from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2005 with an MFA in graphic design, Alex Leibold has worked with big and small agencies up and down the east coast. As creative director at 160over90, Alex works with design and account teams to build strategy, marketing plans, and the creative work. He’s collaborated with clients including The University of Florida, Comedy Central, Saucony, The Miami Dolphins, Ferrari, The Philadelphia Eagles and SpikeTV.
Regional Director, Carnegie Communications
Eric is a regional director for Carnegie Communications, a leading digital marketing firm for higher education. He works with colleges and universities in 13 states providing innovative solutions to reach prospective students. Eric joined Carnegie after spending six years leading marketing and communications efforts on university and college campuses. As director of recruitment and communications at the University of Iowa, he helped recruit and enroll the largest, most diverse, and highest-achieving class in the history of the University.
Marketing Manager, Captozyme
Account Specialist, Blackbaud
David Ross is an account specialist at Blackbaud. He helps nonprofits implement inbound marketing strategies and technology so they can more efficiently and effectively leverage the web to achieve their business objectives.
David graduated from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst with degrees in economics and psychology.
Partner/Director of Strategy, Firefli
Matthew Sams is a founding partner at Firefli, a digital strategy agency specializing in custom web design and development, content marketing, social media, and digital advertising. He oversees all strategic initiatives for clients, but at the most basic level, Matthew’s role consists of analyzing brands and strategizing the most effective ways to their reach audiences via digital means.
Matthew earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in English (with focuses on professional writing and rhetoric) from Virginia Tech. Prior to Firefli, he was the lead web content producer and a marketing specialist at Carilion Clinic, a sports writer for The Roanoke Times, and a technical writer at Virginia Tech.
He is fanatical about Hokie football, a life-long Baltimore Orioles apologist, a craft beer lover, and always on the lookout for a good concert.
Marketing Operations Manager, Sharspring
Myles is an expert in digital marketing campaign strategy and implementation. Starting as an account manager, he managed relationships with hundreds of marketing agency partners around the world to implement marketing automation solutions. In his current role, he uses his knowledge of the SharpSpring platform to drive sales by developing and executing strategies for SharpSpring’s internal marketing department. Myles received a Master of Science in Management from the University of Florida Graduate School of Business.
Chief Data Evangelist, Feathr
An honors student at the University of Florida, Walter realized early on that he loved people and had an affinity for new technologies. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Spanish, he worked briefly with 3D printers and 3D modeling software before deciding to travel the world. He’s been to over 30 countries, lived in Chile and Spain, and has a finesse for networking.
At Feathr, Walter is combining what he’s learned about travel, networking, and people with his expertise in digital marketing to improve live events. The future is all about personalization through data and it’s Walter’s mission to spread the word. Oh yeah, and Go Gators!