SDC mailchimp-01.jpg

Scroll to read about some of this year's SPEAKERS!

Athletics Panel

Kurt Svoboda

Associate Athletic Director for External Communications & PR, U of M Athletics

Svoboda, Kurt_2015_small.jpg



Kurt Svoboda has worked in college athletics administration for 19 years, spanning communications, marketing, operations, multimedia, technology and event presentation. He is currently the Associate Athletic Director in charge of external communications and public relations at the University of Michigan. Svoboda leads the communications team in executing digital initiatives and facilitating relationships between the public and U-M athletics – including University communications, Big Ten Networks, marketing, development, ticketing, facilities, multimedia, alumni and event operations. 

Prior to U-M, Svoboda served as the Senior Assistant Athletic Directorat Stanford University, the nation's most successful Division I program with 36 sports and 900 student-athletes. Before Stanford, Svoboda oversaw public and media relations as well as video and multimedia unitsat Harvard University, the nation’s largest intercollegiate athletic program. Svoboda holds degrees from Colby-Sawyer College and Harvard, and resides in Ann Arbor with his wife, Joanna and son, Jaxon. 

Dion Dargin

Communications Coordinator, New York Giants

Dion Dargin Head Shot.jpg



Dion Dargin is an Eastern Michigan University graduate with 6 years in the athletics industry. He got the initial opportunity to work in sports through volunteering in the sports information department at EMU. He's excited to have the opportunity to be able to pour into students that come from backgrounds and circumstances similar to his. He's proud that his journey includes attending Eastern Michigan and that’s the reason he accepted this panel position.

Seth Stillman

Alumni Relations and Communications Assistant, Cleveland Cavaliers




Seth Stillman is an Eastern Michigan University graduate with over 4 years in the athletics industry. He's been with the Cavaliers for almost 2 years and previously served as a Special Projects Assistant.

He accepted a panel position out of his love for EMU and the opportunity to educate on the industry to his Alma Mater. He's excited to chat with current students on what it's like to work in sports and give any direction that might help, as that's what EMU did for him! #TRUEMU

Ellen Trudell

Corporate Communications Manager, The Detroit Lions

Trudell_Ellen 2018 GSC85420.jpg



Ellen, a two-time Emmy nominee, graduated from Central Michigan University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s of Applied Arts in Integrative Public Relations, with minors in Leadership and Public Affairs. As an undergrad, she interned with the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau on their public relations team and spent a semester as a legislative intern in Lansing, Mich. before working full-time for the Michigan Senate Democrats. Her career in sports began as a media relations intern for the 2012 Detroit Lions season where she supported the day-to-day operations of football communications, including player and coach transcripts as well as contributing to the weekly game release.


Before returning to the Detroit Lions full-time in May 2015, she was a 2014-2015 Challenge Detroit fellow working with a host company and as a consultant to Detroit nonprofits. In her current role as corporate communications manager, Ellen handles non-football public relations efforts of the Detroit Lions including marketing and fan engagement, stadium PR, corporate partnerships, community relations and more. When she is not telling the story of the Detroit Lions, Ellen spends time volunteering, attending concerts (looking forward to getting back to that!) and reading.

entrepreneur Panel

Brittni "Bee" Brown 

Owner and Principal Publicist, The Bee Agency




Resolute in her conscious truth-telling and delivery, Brittni “Bee” Brown is the award-winning publicist who has the unmatched ability to unite passion, precision and the perfect pitch. Named as a “Top 25 African American PR Millennials to Watch” by Huffington Post, Bee’s strategic trifecta has elevated brands to national and international recognition as owner and Principal Publicist of The Bee Agency since 2011, deeming her a power player in the hard-hitting industry. As the human voice behind innovative and socially responsible brands for nearly a decade, Bee’s mastery of brand awakening, consciousness and integrity in the face of unflinching activism, has permeated throughout the ethos of the Detroit community in such a way that the authentic essence of black stories, voices, and identities are culturally cemented, protected and justified.

Adam Ritchie

Principal, Adam Ritchie Brand Direction




Adam founded Adam Ritchie Brand Direction in 2007. His practice has attracted clients on four continents, spanning 20 categories from treadmill desks to snack foods. Adam’s work explores the inventive and transformative qualities of PR, and has yielded the world’s first album on a beer can, a team of pregnant comic book superheroes and influencer-inspired product lines. He advocates for public relations to drive product development, and seeks to reshape perceptions and the practice of PR from its past as an organization’s mouthpiece to its future as an organization’s creative engine.

graphic design Panel

Jason Beale 

Motion Graphics Designer, Hulu

Screen Shot 2020-11-18 at 9.40.25 AM.png



Jason Beale graduated from Ringling College of Art and Design with a BFA in Motion Design and has been working professionally for about 6 years now. He worked as a product designer at Apple for 2 years creating Apple Clips. He worked at Hulu for approximately 2 years as well, first as a contractor and now full time. A few notable projects of recent: Animation Lead for Call of Duty League broadcast package, Animation Lead for HBO Boxing broadcast package, Created the Toyota logo signature animation, Product designer for Apple Clips app, and worked on the Super Bowl 50 graphics package. 

Athena Aquino

Brand Designer, Cravings by Chrissy Teigen




Meet Athena. She is a brand designer at Cravings by Chrissy Teigen, where she executes the brand vision through their website, social, and packaging. She is a community-driven artist, focusing on creating empathy and inclusivity through her work for clients. She is currently attending Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. When she's not designing, she's either tending to her plants, dancing, or consuming all things sweet. 🧁 

digital summer clinic Panel

Eric Wortman 

Principal Account Manager, Google




Eric Wortman is a Principal Account Manager on Google’s Ticketing & Live Events team. He has worked with the major US pro sports leagues, NCAA athletic departments, Broadway musicals, and ticketing platforms such as Ticketmaster. Prior to working at Google, Eric managed a team at iProspect on the General Motors account.

An Ann Arbor townie and graduate of Eastern Michigan University, Eric is an active member of the local digital marketing community. If not busy playing soccer he is more than happy to meet for a coffee and chat about marketing or sports.

Kylie Gilligan

Field Manager, Center of Digital Engagement.




Gilligan is a senior at Eastern Michigan University studying public relations and communication. She was previously an intern for the Center of Digital Engagement's Sumer Clinic before taking on the role of field manager. In addition to her work with the CDE, she is a marketing intern for tech-focused matchmaking service TechStak.

Jorel McCree

Account Manager, Pinterest

Jorel McCree Headshot.jpeg



Jorel McCree is an Account Manager at Pinterest and a proud EMU grad. Prior to Pinterest, Jorel was an Account Manager at iProspect (Dentsu Aegis Network) specializing in Paid Social and Search Strategies for multiple GM brands. When I'm not working you'll find me hanging out with family, volunteering, or binging a new series on Netflix.