Keynote Speaker: Dr. Liz Gross
How Social Listening Drives Communication Strategy
Fifty percent of word-of-mouth conversation occurs online, and it shapes how people view brands, leaders, college campuses, and government institutions. Learn how to find and leverage intelligence from conversations on social media, forums, and other online sources to effectively gauge your reputation and inform your communication strategy.
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.
Jenny Tate, University of Southern Mississippi
Jenny Tate is an experienced communication professional who serves as Associate Director of University Communications and Gulf Park Campus Communication Officer at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM). In this position, Jenny oversees the Office of University Communications’ areas of event management and operations, as well as leads marketing, public relations, news and media relations, and digital media efforts at the USM Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach, Miss. She has worked at USM since August 2014.
Jenny holds a master’s degree in Communication Studies from USM and a bachelor’s degree in Communication with an emphasis in Mass Media from Mississippi College. Prior to her role at USM, Jenny worked in the nonprofit sector for eight years in communications, marketing, and special events, where she spent three years as Chief of Marketing and Development for the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, Miss. She has served as President and Past-President of the College Public Relations Association of Mississippi in 2016-17 and 2017-18, respectively. Jenny is a graduate of the 2013-14 class of Leadership Greater Jackson, and a 2018 graduate of the Mississippi Economic Council’s Leadership Mississippi program, the second-oldest statewide leadership program in the country. She and her husband, Richard Ladner, and best dog, Pepper, reside in Gulfport.
Webb Lewis, University of Mississippi
Webb Lewis has been with the University of Mississippi for ten years and currently serves as the Digital Content Specialist for University Marketing and Communications. In addition to developing and curating the social media content calendar, Webb also is responsible for carrying out the university's strategy across all social channels, monitoring engagement and acting as the liaison between his shop and social media coordinators across campus. Webb holds a Bachelor's in General Studies and a Master’s in Higher Education both from the University of Mississippi.
Rod Guajardo, University of Mississippi
Rod Guajardo is the Director of News and Media Relations at the University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss. In this role, he manages media relations efforts for the university. He also leads a team of communications specialists and editors to tell the university’s story through earned, shared and owned media opportunities.
Guajardo joined Ole Miss in 2018 after a nearly 10-year stint in the newspaper industry serving as the editor of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo and news editor of The Natchez Democrat in Natchez, among other positions and publications in Alabama and Georgia. He grew up in Birmingham and graduated from Auburn University.
Natalie Davis, Copiah-Lincoln Community College
Natalie Davis has served as the Director of Public Relations and Sports Information at Copiah-Lincoln Community College for 21 years. She also serves as co-advisor of the Trillium yearbook.
A native of Savannah, Georgia, Davis attended Wesleyan College (Georgia) and is a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
Davis is a member and has served as past president of the College Public Relations Association of Mississippi (CPRAM) and is currently a board member. She is also a member of the National Council of Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR), College Sports Information Directors of America (CPRAM) and is a past member of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Davis is currently vice president of the Mississippi Community College Marketing Association.
She was the recipient of the Eta Omega Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa’s Faculty Scholar Award, Co-Lin’s High Performance Award, and the Ann Bradberry Award. Davis has received numerous awards from the Mississippi Press Association and CPRAM.
She and her husband, Stephen, are the parents of two adult children, Leah Glenn (John) and Paul (Katie). Davis has two grandchildren, Sam and Hannah Glenn and is expecting her third grandchild in September.
Sophie McNeil Wolf, CPRAM President
Sophie McNeil Wolf, Digital Media Manager for Mississippi Institutions for Higher Learning, loves the intersection of community, storytelling and learning, which has informed much of her work. In fact, as a child, she was pegged as the “first to know it and the first to tell it.”
She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Southern Mississippi and is currently completing her master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from the University of Mississippi. For the last 15 years, Sophie has worked in various facets of media, from newspapers and magazines to marketing/communications and has been on the ground floor of social media's rise. She has previously worked for organizations such as Visit Jackson and Millsaps College. Her work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Wall Street Journal, Mississippi Magazine, Clarion Ledger and Jackson Free Press, among others.
Sophie has served as a communications instructor with the Millsaps College Community Enrichment Series since 2015. In 2019, she graduated as part of the 2018-19 Leadership Greater Jackson class. Currently she is the president of the College Public Relations Association of Mississippi; Vice President of Programs for the Public Relations Association of Mississippi, Central Chapter; and an executive board member for Leadership Greater Jackson. She is also part of the duo behind popular media brand Find It In Fondren, highlighting Jackson’s hip art district, with her husband, Paul Wolf.