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Alumni & Friends

SJMC Alumni Society Board

The SJMC Alumni Board is made up of 10 to 12 members who serve in 3-year terms. Members are drawn from the SJMC alumni community and represent both the journalism and strategic communication industries.

The board meets monthly to coordinate a number of programs designed to keep alumni connected to the school, including the Alumni Mentoring Program , the Alumni Award for Excellence and the Above the Fold Award.

See the board's constitution and bylaws.

2014-15 Board Members

Officers

Mary Tan, B.A., ’93, president
Mary TanMary Tan is the communications director for the City of Brooklyn Park. As part of her duties, she handles media relations, crisis communications, strategic messaging, social media and video production. She is also the editor of the city newsletter, Park Pages, and is producer and host of the city's television show, Brooklyn Park Now! Previously, Tan was a television reporter and anchor for 13 years who worked in cities all over the country, including Las Vegas, Atlanta and Minneapolis. She is a former president of the Asian American Journalists Association – Minnesota Chapter, a member of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Community Board and a member of the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators. She is a freelance writer for the Asian American Press and an occasional guest host on the television show, Life to the Max, a show that showcases people who live life to the fullest.
 
Contact Mary at mary.tan@brooklynpark.org for more information about:

 

Amy Nelson

Amy Nelson, M.A., '01, vice president
 

Amy Nelson is features editor at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the daily newspaper based in St. Paul, and also managing editor of the company's affiliated Spaces magazine. For the newspaper, Nelson coordinates, edits and leads two teams of reporters and editors — the arts and entertainment reporters and critics and the features reporters focusing on style, food, relationships, health, technology, parenting and consumer issues. She also edits the Travel section pages and is in charge of the popular Eat section. For Spaces magazine, she assigns, edits and coordinates editorial content for the high-end glossy magazine focusing on interior design and home trends. Nelson served as the newspaper's first social-media editor, helping build the brand's various social media feeds, and often serves on panels and as a guest speaker on social media and other challenges facing the newspaper industry.


Contact Amy at anelson@pioneerpress.com for more information about:

  • Working in the newspaper industry
  • Digital media and how it is changing the newspaper industry
  • Social media/building your brand
 
Jim Hammerand, B.A., '07, secretary/treasurer
Jim HammerandJim Hammerand is digital editor at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, an online and print news organization that focuses intently and exclusively on the Twin Cities business community. He manages MSPBJ.com and the Business Journal's presence on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Hammerand was a political reporter and then policy editor at the Minnesota Daily while studying print journalism at SJMC and management at the Carlson School of Management. He has also reported for the Star Tribune, ABC News Network, Faribault Daily News (where he was the Associated Press New Journalist of the Year for Minnesota dailies) and Northfield (Minn.) News.

 

Contact Jim at jhammerand@bizjournals.com or on Twitter at @mspbjHammer for more information about:

Members
 
Carolyn Ahlstrom, B.A., '06
Carolyn AhlstromCarolyn Ahlstrom is a senior strategist at Colle+McVoy, where she provides strategic leadership across five brands for Novartis Animal Health, one of the agencies largest accounts. Prior to Colle+McVoy, she worked at local agencies Martin Williams, Carmichael Lynch, Fallon and Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Boulder, Colo. She has worked on a wide range of award-winning brands like Volkswagen, Domino's, Harley-Davidson, Rubbermaid, Boston Market and Calphalon. While enrolled in SJMC, Ahlstrom was an avid member of the National Student Advertising Competition.

Contact Carolyn at carolyn.ahlstrom@gmail.com for more information about:

  • Working at an advertising agency
  • Strategy and account planning
  • Qualitative and quantitative research
  • Integrated marketing
  • Gopher footbal
Heather Arntson, B.A., '05; M.A., '09
Heather ArntsonHeather Arntson is a senior digital marketing specialist at General Mills, one of the world's largest food companies in Minneapolis. In this role, she's in the digital brand lab working on innovation projects across different General Mills brands. Prior to joining General Mills, she spent several years at Carmichael Lynch working in media, research and strategy. She's worked on a wide range of clients and projects from Subaru, Tractor Supply Company, Harley-Davidson and Korbel Champagne. She's also spent time at Colle+McVoy in its media department, working on Explore MN Tourism and MN Lottery, and at Fallon in its planning department, working on NBC Universal.

 

Contact Heather at heather.arntson@gmail.com for more information about:

 
Matt Burgess, B.A., '00
Matt BurgessAfter graduating from SJMC, Matt Burgess received his portfolio certificate from Miami Ad School and began working on Best Buy's holiday and Geek Squad campaigns. Then, Burgess moved on to Campbell Mithun to work as a copywriter on such accounts as Burger King, H & R Block, Land O' Lakes, Nature Valley and Partnership for a Drug-Free America. In 2008, Burgess joined OLSON where he is now a creative director. His clients include the University of Minnesota and he has won numerous awards for his work, including Effies, OBIEs and FCS Portfolio Awards.

 

Contact Matt at mburgess@oco.com for more information about


Shireen Gandhi, B.A., ’96
Shireen GandhiShireen Gandhi, APR, is vice president of health care public affairs for Weber Shandwick, a global public relations firm. She is also a licensed attorney in Minnesota. Gandhi serves clients in the health care space with a particular emphasis on associations, health systems, hospitals and physicians. Her areas of communication expertise include quality and patient safety, labor relations, government investigations, grassroots outreach, partnerships and engaging influencers. Prior to Weber Shandwick, Gandhi was a vice president at the Minnesota Hospital Association for more than eight years. She also serves on the board of directors for Portico Healthnet, an organization dedicated to connecting low-income individuals with health care services. She is a past-president of both Minnesota PRSA and the Minnesota Health Strategy & Communications Network. She holds her J.D. from Hamline University School of Law.

Contact Shireen at SGandhi@webershandwick.com for more information about:

Chad Haldeman, B.A., '08

Chad HaldemanChad Haldeman is the founder the president of Generate Consulting, a management consulting firm with a focus on sales operations and performance improvement. Haldeman is able to leverage his Fortune 200 experience to help small and mid-sized companies drive revenue and scale their sales operations. Generate plays the role of trusted adviser to many long-term clients who see Haldeman and his partners as integral parts of their sales and management team. Prior to starting his own company in 2008, Haldeman held positions of increasing responsibility in sales and leadership over 14 years at Clear Channel, a global media and entertainment conglomerate. Haldeman is a trained Master Facilitator in the Creative Problem Solving Process, a brainstorming and creative development technique used for individual and group planning and idea generation.

Contact Chad at chad@generateconsulting.com for more information about:

  • Electronic, print and digital media
  • Advertising sales
  • Outside sales
  • Sales leadership
  • Sports and event marketing
  • Professional networking strategies and tactics.
Kaitlyn Hilliard, student representative
Hilliard is a daring, ad-freaky adventurer with a big heart. She participated in the SJMC Alumni Mentor Program in 2013Kaitlyn Hilliard and continues to enjoy the relationship with her mentor of nonprofit communications. As a voice of the students on the SJMC Alumni Board, she works to help others have an equally enriching mentor experience and inspire continued involvement in the SJMC network. Kaitlyn is pursuing her bachelor’s degrees in strategic communications and French and minor studies in management and cultural studies & comparative literature. Her primary interests are in account management and strategic planning. Working at Allied Integrated Marketing and Brandpoint for clients such as 20th Century Fox studios and Sony Pictures, she has expertise in experiential marketing, strategic planning and agency lead generation. On campus, she is also involved in NSAC, Ad Club, Club Gymnastics, and Alpha Omicron Pi sorority. She enjoys public radio, the outdoors, traveling, and long walks on the beach.

 

 

Contact Kaitlyn at hill1428@umn.edu for more information about:

 
Victoria Hoshal, B.A., '82
Victoria HoshalHoshal began her career in development and in 1997 became founder, CEO and creative director of Legacy Catalogue, a national brand of home furnishings and accessories. She later became a direct marketing account executive at the Star Tribune in 2007 and, since 2009, as been director of business development at dtrio marketing group. At this award-winning direct and multi-channel agency, she is responsible for securing new business opportunities and clients.

Contact Victoria at victoriah@dtrio.com for more information about:

 

David Mackereth, B.A., '06

David MackarethIn 4th grade, David was awarded a trip to the MN Young Authors Conference. He wrote a book about outer space cows who tried to take over planet Earth only to be thwarted by a boy who could shoot peas out of his nose. That book was an autobiography. David has been a writer and a hero ever since. Currently, he is a Senior Copywriter at BBDO working on Hormel Black Label Bacon, Skippy Peanut Butter and SPAM. He has also done stints at Campbell Mithun and Fallon working on H&R Block, Burger King, The Hartford, United Way and Purina. To this day, he still maintains a 4th grader's level of imagination.

Contact David at david.mackereth@bbdo.com for more information about:

 

Megan Matthews, B.A., '09

Megan Matthews is a news producer at KSTP-TV. She produces one of the early evening newscasts during the week, which involves selecting and writing stories, building rundowns and communicating with reporters and anchors to present the biggest stories of the day in a way that's appealing and informative to viewers. Megan has also worked in Austin, Minn. as a producer for KAAL-TV and in Alexandria, Minn. as a reporter/anchor for KSAX-TV.

Contact Megan at mmatthews@kstp.com for more information about:

 

 
Ex-officio members
Erica Giorgi, Alumni Relations, CLA
Jean Kucera, Assistant to the Director, SJMC
Rebecca Rassier, Student Services Coordinator, SJMC
Albert R. Tims, Director, SJMC