Michigan Ross School of Business
Yaffe Center for Persuasive Communication

Past Speakers

Please review our past Distinguished Speaker Series on breakthroughs in persuasive communications. Our featured speakers discussed trends in the use of non-traditional advertising in response to the changing media habits of consumers.

Please visit our program schedule for dates and topics and click here for the current series.


School Year 2012-13 Speakers

Hearing stories from the field, told by the people who create new approaches to persuasive communication, is an unmatched experience. Exciting, lively, informative: please experience our Distinguished Speakers Series for yourself. See here for full reports on past speakers.  

Speaker Series on 'Applied Advertising Using Digital Tools

Tuesday, January 22, 7:00 pm, Room E1550
John Shea, Head of Sports Marketing, Gatorade
Why Gatorade made the switch to the G-Series.

Tuesday, January 29, 7:00 pm, Room E1550
Bob Wisniewski, Former Head of Starcom MediaVest University
How the digital revolution has changed how advertisers approach media planning.

Tuesday, February 5, 7:00 pm, Room E1550
Phil Raskin, Former Chief Marketing Officer at Morgan Stanley and Chief Strategy Officer at Leo Burnett
Discussion with MBA's on which ads broke through on the recent Super Bowl based on superior strategic thinking and brilliant execution.

Speaker Series on 'Leveraging Design in Marketing'

Wednesday, September 26, 7:00 pm, Room E1550
Roger Quinian, Sr. Manager, Product Design, Crown Equipment, New Bremmon, OH
How unique functionality builds Brand Loyalty

Wednesday, October 3, 7:00 pm,  Room E1550
Guiseppe Delena, Vice President, Kaleidoscope Design, Cincinnati, OH
Brand-Specific packaging case studies.

Wednesday, October 10, 7:00 pm,  Room E1150
Tania Aldous, Global Design Director, World Kitchen, Chicago
Managing and differentiating a global family of Brands.

(tentative)Wednesday, October 17, 7:00 pm,  Room E1150
Curt Bailey, President, Sundberg-Ferar Design, Walled Lake, MI

Speaker Series on 'Digital Marketing'

Monday, November 5th, 8:00 pm,  Room R0220
Brett Groom, SVP, Content Integration and Activation, ConAgra Foods
How to Integrate Digital Ideas.

Monday, November 19, 8:00 pm,  Room R0220
Jason Goldberg, Founding Partner, VP, Creative Director, Envisionit Media
Starting a Digital Agency.

Monday, November 19, 8:00 pm,  Room R0220
Greg Myrick, Account Executive, Twitter
Advertising on Twitter.

Monday, November 26, 8:00 pm,  Room R0220
Neville Manohar, Sr. Marketing Manager, Digital Marketing, Loyalty, Customer Analyst and Credit Card, Chrysler Motors
Imported from Detroit: How a Super Bowl Ad Can Drive the Numbers.

Friday, November 30, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm,  Blau Auditorium - 3rd Annual Yaffe Center Workshop on Digital Marketing
Tom Thomas – Executive Director, Marketing Intelligence, Organic Inc.
Chris Boggs – Director Search and Media Thought Leadership at Rosetta, Chairman SEMPO
From Google to Facebook: What's New in Internet Marketing.

Monday, December 5th, 8:00 pm,  Room R0220
Dr. Siddarth Shah, Director, Business Analytics, Adobe
What We're Learning About How Digital Marketing Works.

Speaker Series on 'Brand-building using Digital Media'

Tuesday, November 6th, 5:30 pm,  Blau Auditorium
Stan Joosten, Innovation Manager for Holistic Consumer Communication at Procter & Gamble
Stan leads the efforts at P&G to identify and develop innovative capabilities and services for holistic brand communication across consumer touchpoints, especially those using social media.

Monday, December 3rd, 5:30 pm,  Blau Auditorium
Scott Monty, Head of Social Media for Ford Motor Company (Global Digital & Multimedia Communications Manager).
Scott leads the development and execution of a social media strategy for the entire company, from blogger relations to marketing support, customer service to internal communications and more..

Tuesday, February 12th
Sandy Kolkey, Executive Vice President, Brand Agency Leader at Leo Burnett
On Tuesday, February 12th at 8:00pm in Room R 0230, the Yaffe Center was pleased to welcome Sandy Kolkey, Executive Vice President, Brand Agency Leader at Leo Burnett. Mr. Kolkey leads the agency's efforts on several feminine care brands for Procter & Gamble across many Burnett offices including those in Chicago, Mexico City, Greater China, Tokyo, Mumbai, Milan, and London. He spoke about his experience heading up online engagement programs, looking at past work, and discussing how to put together programs to leverage ideas. Previously, Mr. Kolkey was head of the DraftFCB office in New York City, headed up the Boeing account for FCB, and led advertising efforts at Discover Card.

Thursday, January 24th, The Michigan Theater
The Architecture of Footwear featuring Wilson W. Smith III
Nike designer Wilson Smith has created products for Cross Training and Basketball, Andre Agassi's signature line, and in 1997, as the dedicathe designed for Serena Williams, and Roger Federer. Today, as Creative Catalyst in the ZOO – Nike’s Special Other Operations, he focuses on Nike Better World projects, including the design directioed designer for Brand Jordan he created the industry leading AJ 16 & AJ 17. Later n for N7, which brings Sport and all of its benefits to USA and Canadian Native American and Aboriginal communities. Smith’s passion is in Access to Sport, aiding earthquake recovery efforts in Haiti, and adaptive design for Paralympics and other athletes with disabilities.

Fall 2011 Speakers 



Sep 21, 7-8pm, Room E1550       

Sid Ramnarace, VP of Design, Lifetime Brands, New York.

Sid leads the Design team responsible for such Housewares brands as Faberware, Mikasa, Food Network and more.  He discussed his process for Brand differentiation in a very competitive field.


Sep 28, 7-8pm, Room E1550       

Guiseppe Delena, VP of Design, Kaleidoscope Design, Cincinnati

After having spent over 20 years as a Designer at Ford Motor Company, Giuseppe now leads a consultant Design team working for a number of clients, including Proctor and Gamble and Navistar.  Giuseppe presented a Design case study on the Swiffer Brand.


Oct 5, 7-8pm, Room E1550          

Lesli Ann Mie Agcaoili, Team Lead, Colours, Materials and Finished,

Research in Motion (RIM), Canada

After graduating with her Ross MBA in 2010, Lesli moved to RIM to

develop color and materials strategies.  She spoke to the topic of

brand differentiation in a highly competitive category.


Oct 12, 7-8pm, Room E1550

Tania Aldous, Global Director of Industrial Design, World Kitchen


After over ten years with Whirlpool (and four as Design Director

for North America), Tania is now head of Design for World Kitchen

(Pyrex, CorningWare, Chicago Cutlery and more). She spoke on

OEM Manufacturers and Merchendising from a Brand perspective.


Digital Marketing


Nov 7, 8pm, Room R0210    

Developing a Digital Marketing Plan           

Jon Schulz, EVP Specific Media:

Jon is the former head of digital media at Ford. He is now EVP of Specific Media, a company which develops  custom digital media opportunities for advertisers and owner of the social media website MySpace. Jon spoke about things he's learned and how to approach developing a digital marketing plan. He's had experience with all types of marketing and advertising plans and spoke from an extraordinarily broad perspective. 

View the PowerPoint


Nov 11th, Blau Auditorium,  9:00am-3:00pm:

Social Media Workshop 

This workshop gave students a hands-on experience in the fast growing world of marketing using social media. Speakers provided a perspective of how companies are using Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and many other new tools to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of their marketing programs. 

Speakers included: 

  • Dr. Courtney Hunt: Organizational Effectiveness Consultant, Founder of Global Center for Digital Era Leadership, Founder of Social Media in Organizations Community, Principal at Renaissance Strategic Solutions

  • Ken Zasky: President of Spark Communications, a full-service agency dedicated to exploring new ways to create meaningful communications. Spark is part of Starcom MediaVest Group, a global concern with more than 110 offices in 67 countries. Ken is an U of M graduate.

  • Anisha Ahluwalia: Director at Denuo, a Publicis Groupe Company that is part of the Vivaki network.  Denuo is a 20 person group of digital savants that invent, solve, and execute within the "white spaces" of marketing (social, mobile, and gaming).  Anisha is a social media expert, digital consigliore, and idea catalyst who works with clients including Taco Bell, DuPont, AstraZeneca and MillerCoors.

  • Todd Kirby: VP Director of Strategic Research Spark Communications.  As head of research for Spark, Todd brings the consumer media perspective to bear on critical client decisions.  He's responsible for discovering, facilitating, and integrating consumer insight across all media.  Todd joined Spark after almost a decade managing research on behalf of SMG client General Motors.  His current research for E*Trade-the Spark Sports Segmentation Study- helped E*Trade craft award winning work by focusing on fantasy football.  Todd holds a joint Master's Degree in International and Intercultural Communications from the University of Denver as well as a dual degree in Communications and Psychology from the U of M.

  • Bob Wisniewski: Former SVP Media Director at Starcom MediaVest/ Dean of SMG University, Adjunct Lecturer at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism and Integrated Marketing Communications.

Nov 14th, 8pm, R0220 

Digital Marketing and Search                    

Mike Lorenc, Director of Sales, Google:

Mike will gave his, and Google's, perspective on the latest developments and trends in digital marketing.  These perspectives included what they are learning in this fast-changing category and their recommendations have changed over the last few years.


Nov 28th, 8pm, R0220            

Mobile Marketing          

Linda Daischendt, Executive Director/President, Mobile Technology

Association of Michigan:

How does mobile marketing fit into the puzzle? Linda has significant experience in the new mobile marketplace. She addressed the strengths and weaknesses of mobile, and the latest learnings about how companies are successfully integrating mobile into their digital marketing plans. 


Dec  5th, 8pm, R0220

What’s Working in Digital Marketing?              

Dr. Siddarth Shah, Sr. Director of Business Analytics, Efficient Frontier:

What's the latest learning on how various marketing tactics interact? How does search work with television? And what do the numbers suggest about how consumers react to various communication vehicles? Dr. Shah is on the cutting edge of what advertisers are learning about those issues and presented on them.

View the PowerPoint


To learn more about Digital Marketing topics such as: Overall Perspectives on Digital Marketing; Using Social Networking for Marketing; Viral Marketing; Paid and Organic Search Engine Marketing;  Mobile Marketing;  Display and Video Advertising; visit the Yaffe Center’s Digital Media Resources website linked to from the front-page of www.yaffecenter.org. There you’ll find content-filled wikis, past speaker presentation materials, and useful links on these and other topics.


Brand-Building Communications


Nov 15, 5.45-6.30pm, Blau           

A Year in the Life of a Brand Manager

Kevin Wenzel, Brand Manager, P&G: Brand Communications and



Dec 5, 5.45-6.30pm, Blau    

Building Brands through Social Currency          

Erich Joachismthaler, CEO, Vivaldi Partners



Digital Marketing

November 15, Room R0220, 8-9pm: "How To Design and Execute a Digital Marketing Plan."
Tom Beck, CEO Enlighten, and Mick McCabe, Chief Strategy Officer, Kirschenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners. Tom and Mick spoke about how digital and traditional agencies work together to go from idea stage to final plan.

November 22, Room R0220, 8-9pm: "Google's View of the Digital Advertising World."
Michal Lorenc, Director of Advertising Sales, Google. Michal spoke about how Google views opportunities in digital advertising.

November 29, Room R0220, 8-9pm: "Disney and Social Media."
Elizabeth Smith Brigham, MBA from Michigan and Social Media expert at Disney spoke about what she's learned in her years at Disney and how that company uses social media.

December 6, Room R0220, 8-9pm: "What's New and Next in Digital Advertising"
Jason Sutton, Michigan MBA and digital entrepreneur, and Sid Shah of digital consultant Efficient Frontier, spoke about the newest technology and lessons learned.


September 15, E1550, 8-9pm: Sid Ramnarace, V.P. -Design, Lifetime Brands (Long Island, New York)
Sid leads the Design team responsible for such Housewares brands as Faberware, Mikasa, Food Network and more. He discussed his process for differentiation in a very competitive field.

September 22, E1550, 8-9pm: Marianne Grisdale, Creative Manager at Teams Design (Chicago)
Marianne leads a consultant Design team responsible for creating Housewares products for many international brands. She presented a case study on one of their recent projects.

September 29, E1550, 8-9pm: Giuseppe Delena, V.P. Design - Kaleidoscope Design (Cincinnati)
After having spent over 20 years as a Designer at Ford Motor Company, Giuseppe now leads a consultant Design team working for a number of clients, including Procter and Gamble. Giuseppe presented a Design case study on the Swiffer Brand.

October 6, E1550, 8-9pm: Doug Medema, Director of Design - Bissell Homecare Products (Grand Rapids, MI)
Doug presented Bissell's Design / Brand Language and discuss how Design interacts with Marketing at Bissell.

October 13, E1550, 8-9pm: Alex Chunn, VP Concept Development at Techtronic Ind. (Hong Kong)
Techtronic Industries is the parent company of such consumer products companies as Ryobi, Milwaukee Power Tools and Hoover Floor Care Products. Alex discussed how the Visual Brand Identities were developed for their various power tool brands.

October 20, E1550, 8-9pm: Earl Lucas, Chief Designer - Ford Motor Company (Dearborn, MI)
Earl was Lead Designer on the award-winning 2010 Taurus. He presented a case study on the steps Ford took to reinvigorate the brand.


October 14th, 2010, 4448 East Hall, Decision Consortium, 3:00-4:30 PM: John Kenny, Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning DraftFCB Advertising Agency

Marketing to Crazy People: Leveraging Behavioral Psychology in Advertising Marketers are in the business of persuading people. However, while many are deeply immersed in how people make decisions within their categories, few have systematically applied the broader rules of how humans make decisions to their marketing programs. This presentation gives an overview of DraftFCB's Institute for Decision Making. The Institute's role is to apply the learnings of behavioral psychology to the development of marketing programs. Adopting the McKinsey Consumer Decision Journey, it identifies how well known principles of behavioral psychology, can be applied to different stages of the consumer decision journey, showcasing examples of marketing campaigns that have either explicitly, or unwittingly, leveraged these behavioral principles in their execution.

John Kenny is currently a Senior Vice President at DraftFCB, a leading innovative advertising firm, in Chicago. John graduated from the University of Chicago with a PHD in Political Science in 2000. He has presented at various conferences including the P&G European Shopper Marketing Conference.

Video of John Kenny's Talk

November 16, Blau Auditorium, 5.45-6.45pm: Andrea Theodore and Joanna Zucker from Procter & Gamble presented a Case Study on the Strategic re-direction of their Olay mega-brand, and the subsequent brand-building tactics used.

December 7, Blau Auditorium, 5.45-6.45pm: Michael Ahn, former President of LG Electronics North America, discussed the strategy and tactics used to build the LG brand in North America.

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  • September 30, 2009
    8:30 pm, E1550, Ross School of Business

Alex Chung, V.P. Design, Homelight Products (Formerly TTI Ltd.)
Alex leads the Design efforts for the Hoover and Dirt Devil floor cleaning products, as well as Milwaukee and Ryobi power tools. He is headquartered in Hong Kong and did this presentation via Webmeeting.

  • October 7, 2009
    Darrell Behmer, Chief Designer, Ford Motor Company

    Darryl discussed design efforts associated with the new 2011 Taurus.
  • October 14, 2009
    8:00 pm, E1550, Ross School of Business

    Carrie Russell, Design Manager, Beauty Products - P&G
    Carrie concentrated on packaging and graphic issues and talked about how her lines are differentiated from the competition.
  • TBA
    Darrell Behmer, Chief Designer, Ford Motor Company

    Darryl discussed design efforts associated with the new 2011 Taurus.


  • October 22, 2009
    3:30-5:00 pm, 411 West Hall

    "The Power of Social versus Financial Factors in Changing Environmental Behavior"
    By: Professor Robert Cialdini, Regents' Professor of Psychology and W.P. Carey Distinguished Professor of Marketing, Arizona State University

Digital Marketing Communication: Mastering The New Media

  • November 16, 2009
    8:00 pm, R2220, Ross School of Business

    "How to Put Together a Digital Plan"
    By: Robert Haverback, Director of Digital Marketing at TD Ameritrade
  • November 23, 2009
    8:00 pm, R2220, Ross School of Business

    "Web 1.X: The "Basics" Aren't Basic Anymore"
    By: Jennifer Kohler, Associate Director at Digitas
  • November 30, 2009
    8:00 pm, R2220, Ross School of Business

"Web 2.0: User Generated Content in the Social Web"

By: Alicia Dorsett, Social Media Strategist at Manning, Selvage, and Lee and Christine O'Connell, Associate Director at Digitas

View the Presentation - PDF

  • December 7, 2009
    8:00 pm, R2220, Ross School of Business

    "Web X.0: Emerging and Nascent Digital Challenges"
    Chuck Shultz, New Media Director at Starcom MediaVest Group

          View the Presentation - PPT


  • November 17, 2009
    5:45 pm, Blau Auditorium, Ross School of Business

    'BrandDigital' (Live Videoconference)
    By: Allen Adamson of Landor New York
  • December 10, 2009
    5:45 pm, Blau Auditorium, Ross School of Business

    Gatorade's Re-Branding and Innovation
    By: John Shea, Gatorade

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  • February 06, 2009

    "Digital Marketing: State of the Art, and Lessons Learned"
    By Rishad Tobaccowala, CIO of Publicis Groupe and CEO of Denuo

    > Click to view video recording

  • December 04, 2008

    "Burger King Case Study"
    By Russell B. Klein, President, Global Marketing Strategy and Innovation, Burger King Corporation

    > Click to view video recording

  • November 14, 2008

    "Building the Target Brand"
    By John Butcher, Vice President of Merchandise Marketing, Target Corporation

    Butcher explained the insights that drove Target's successful branding strategy and described how Target is responding to the challenge of maintaining brand leadership in discount retailing.

    >Click to download a PDF report on the presentation

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  • November 14, 2007
    5.30pm, Schorling Auditorium, School of Education, Room 1202
    (Limited to Ross School students)

    “Branded Entertainment” by Andrew Meurer, Marketing Director, and Samantha Avivi, Brand Manager, at Procter & Gamble.

    Three years ago, P & G, one of the world’s most influential advertisers, rocked network television by slashing its advertising budget. It replaced conventional ad spots with a more integrated approach in television, films, with celebrities and pop culture to create breakthrough campaigns. Hear how innovative thinking blazed trails for P & G.

  • October 4, 2007

    “Design, Innovation and Leadership” by Carole Bilson, VP of Global Design and Usability at Pitney Bowes Inc.

    Designers must put their skills to use and make an impact in anything they do. Bilson discussed how “design thinking” informs product innovations and general problem-solving. Dedicated, passionate designers can create the future they want, both for individuals and for their companies. Her appearance was co-sponsored by the School of Art and Design and the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA).

  • September 27, 2007

    “Your Response Ability” by Gijs Bakker, co-founder of Amsterdam’s Droog Design collective

    Working with a cadre of international contemporary designers, Droog uses low-cost industrial or recycled materials to create plain, practical products, each informed by cultural developments and the designer’s intuition. Bakker’s presentation and the products themselves embody the spirit of persuasive communication. They tickle the imagination, as well as serving a very real purpose. The objects and environments he showed are benchmarks of modern design. His appearance was co-sponsored by the School of Art & Design and the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA).

  • September 26, 2007

    “Industrial Design as the Key to Brand Experiences and Emotions” by Mark Dziersk, Business meets Design Online Editor, Fast Company, former VP of Design at Herbst Lazar Bell in Chicago and now VP of Industrial Design at Laga one80 Design.

    Those who attended heard Mark discuss cases such as Motorola (where he was intimately involved), Apple, Dove, Dyson, and others. He offered new insights in the ways companies like Apple dominate markets through brilliant industrial design

  • February 16, 2007

    "Lessons Learned in the NFL"
    By Mr. Paul Tagliabue, Former Commissioner of the National Football League

    > Click to view video recording

  • February 12, 2007

    "Using Non-Traditional Communications Effectively"
    By Derek Koenig, Chief Marketing Officer of Discovery Communications

    > Click to view video recording

  • January 26, 2007

    "Persuading Through Great Industrial Design"
    By Iain Roberts, Co-Leader of IDEO’s Consumer Experience Design Practice. IDEO is arguably the World’s most-renowned Industrial Design firm. Iain has collaborated with a long list of clients across many industries such as AT&T, Intel, Eli Lilly, Kraft, Nestle, Tetrapak, Ford & Daimler Chrysler.

    > Click to view video recording

  • December 7, 2006

    "Life After the 30-Second Spot"
    By Joseph Jaffe, President, Jaffe LLC; former Interactive Media Head at TBWA\Chiat\Day and OMD USA (see www.getthejuice.com), author of the best-selling book "Life After the 30 Second Spot"

    > Click to view video recording

  • November 30, 2006

    "Brand-building in this Cluttered 21st-Century Media Environment"
    By Jeff Hicks, President, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami

    > Click to view video recording

  • November 15, 2006

    "Search Engine Advertising: What it is and How to Use it Effectively"
    By John Kelley and Helena Beem of Google's AdWords Division

    > "Google Lands in Ann Arbor" - News Article by Adrienne Losh

  • January 30, 2006

    "The Future of Marketing Media: Innovation through Content Creation and Distribution>"
    By James Yaffe, Managing Partner of Endeavor Marketing, Los Angeles.

    Marketers are fighting media clutter, TiVo, and changing consumer media habits by moving marcom dollars away from traditional advertising into “advertainment”: the creation of branded media content, product placements, and other such innovative techniques. These new techniques were ably described by Mr. Yaffe, an expert in the thick of the action. He masterminded Martha Stewart’s deal to market co-branded homes with KB Homes, and has also put together path-breaking deals for American Express, Mattel, and AOL, among others.


Ikea Shopping Experience

Capitalizing on Sweden’s reputation for beautiful furniture design, IKEA presented consumers with a new shopping experience.