Download Adobe Reader

Brand Communications Speaker Series

The Erwin Center for Brand Communications offers a monthly speaker series in which influential people from advertising, media, marketing and communications speak and interact with students. Past Speaker Series presentations include industry professionals from brands like Nike, McLaren, The Ritz-Carlton and many more.

Upcoming Speakers

Andy Thomas McLaren logo

Vice President of Marketing & Communications, McLaren Automative North America

October 18, 2018

6:00 P.M. | The West End Zone Team Room (Memorial Stadium)

Deb Gabor

Founder of SOL Marketing & Best Selling Author of "Branding is Sex"

November 1, 2018

6:00 P.M. | ASC 118

Mac Renfro + Arm & Hammer Panel Arm & Hammer logo Initiator logo

Initiator - Founding Partner
Church & Dwight Team

November 15, 2018

6:00 P.M. | ASC 118



Erwin Center Speaker Series Presents...Deb Gabor

6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Academic Success Center (ASC)

NOV 15

Erwin Center Speaker Series Presents...Mac Renfro+

6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Academic Success Center (ASC)

Master Calendar

Past Speakers

Ben NemoBen Nemo

Krystal, Argonne Capital Operating Partner

Ben Nemo is Operating Partner of Argonne Capital Group and serves as a Board Member for The Krystal Company and On the Border. He has almost 20 years of restaurant industry experience and oversees strategy and marketing for investments in the Argonne portfolio. In his first nine months with Krystal he has helped implement a new management team, define the strategic objectives for the company to grow, and reposition the brand with its new "Live a Little" campaign to celebrate the energy and connection driven by its iconic burger.

Prior to Argonne, Ben was Industry Manager, Restaurants for Facebook, Inc. where he led sales and marketing to help large restaurant brands achieve brand and performance objectives by adapting to mobile. He previously held several leadership roles in the restaurant and hospitality industry, including leading the "Louisiana Fast" brand repositioning for Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (2008-2011), creating a full-service brand strategy for Marriott International (2006-2007) and directing brand and product innovation during the sales turnaround for Burger King Corporation (2001-2006). Ben spent the first part of his career as an investment banker at Bear Stearns in New York and São Paulo.

Ben received his MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and his BA in Economics and Spanish from Duke University. Ben lives in Atlanta with his wife Tatiana and daughter Andrea.

Jennifer G. SmithJennifer G. Smith

Business Model Leader, Michelin North America

Jennifer is a business model leader at Michelin North America. In her role, she has strategic marketing responsibility for small truck fleets in North America. At Michelin since 2007, Jennifer has been responsible for image and brands, marketing communications, advertising and the digital ecosystem for the automotive replacement tire division.

A change management alumnae of Accenture in Northern California, Jennifer previously worked with clients Toshiba, Hewlett Packard, BASF, and Weyerhaeuser on large-scale change projects and ERP implementations. After several years at Accenture, Jennifer served as Director of People Development for Silicon Valley-based technology consulting firm Netigy. Prior to joining Michelin, Jennifer worked in Corporate Development for Vision Service Plan in Rancho Cordova, California.

Jennifer is a native Kansan whose outside interests include her role on the National Roadway Safety Foundation Advisory Committee, running, triathlon, cooking, traveling and spending time with her two children in Greenville, South Carolina. She is a graduate of Washburn University (BA-Psychology).

Jennifer OliverasJennifer Oliveras

Global Brand and Sponsorship Manager at UPS

Jennifer Oliveras has worked in brand, sponsorship and events for more than 20 years and has worked for professional sports teams, media outlets, sports marketing agencies and has spent almost 16 years with two Fortune 50 organizations, leading their sponsorship efforts. Jennifer specializes in helping brands generate revenue and brand awareness by leveraging sponsorship assets.

During her tenure at The Home Depot, Jennifer negotiated sponsorship deals with almost every major property in the U.S. including the NFL, ESPN's College GameDay, Built by The Home Depot, MLB, MLS and NASCAR as well as developed deals with teams in every major U.S. league. During her time at UPS, Jennifer has negotiated deals with several global brands including Ferrari in Formula 1 racing, Cirque du Soleil and several global golf platforms including the Masters. Jennifer develops integrated marketing campaigns utilizing sponsorship assets to accomplish business objectives including international and U.S. advertising campaigns, digital and event marketing, promotions, social media, brand and retail marketing. Over the course of her career, Jennifer has negotiated $750M+ in sponsorship deals including her favorite partnership, College GameDay, built by The Home Depot which was a media buy turned into a sports marketing property that was leveraged nationally to engage key customers. Jennifer graduated from Clemson with a Marketing degree and lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two children.

Marla KaplowitzMarla Kaplowitz

President & CEO of 4A's

Bringing 30 years of industry experience in marketing and communications, Marla joined the 4A's in May 2017 to help define and shape the future focus for the association. Under her charge, the 4A's provides leadership, advocacy and training that empower agencies to innovate, evolve and grow with insightful creativity that drives commerce and influences culture.

As the former CEO of MEC North America, beginning in 2011, Marla drove the agency's strategic initiatives with a focus on delivering growth for its people, clients and the industry. Marla led MEC to become a major disruptor in the area of talent management with its innovative approaches to attracting, nurturing and retaining the industry's top talent. MEC NA was cited in Fortune's "Great Places to Work" feature and was named in Advertising Age's "Best Places to Work in Advertising and Marketing" in 2015.

Prior to joining MEC, Marla spent 12 years at Mediavest, where she oversaw the Procter & Gamble Communications Planning assignment for North America, and previously managed a multi-client team. Marla began her career at DMB&B before moving to Ammirati Puris Lintas. Marla serves on the Boards of The Ad Council, Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (ASRC), Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), and Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG).

Marla is a member of the Women's Forum of New York as well as She Runs It (formerly AWNY). She was recognized by Advertising Age as a "Woman to Watch" in 2012 and was honored by The John A. Reisenbach Foundation in 2016, receiving the Distinguished Citizen Award.

photo: Andrea RileyAndrea Riley

Chief Marketing Officer, Ally Financial, Inc.

Andrea Riley was named chief marketing and public relations officer of Ally Financial in 2015. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing the company's marketing, advertising, public relations, marketing research initiatives, social media and brand management. Andrea joined Ally at the height of the financial crisis when the company faced intense challenges - transitioning from its roots as a captive auto finance company, while also launching the first-ever online-only deposits franchise, Ally Bank. Andrea was charged with standing-up the Ally brand and delivery in the marketplace. Under Andrea's direction, Ally emerged with a strong reputation as a "different" kind of financial services company, relentlessly focused on solving pain points that traditional institutions set forth.

photo: John FeatherstonJohn Featherston

Senior Director, New Ventures, Chick-fil-A, Inc.

Known for quality ingredients, amazing customer service, and the lovable cows, Chick-fil-A is more than a restaurant, but a center for great food, fun, and fellowship. In an era where brand loyalty can become a challenge, learn how Chick-fil-A works to foster new ideas and growth while ensuring your dining experience is always a pleasure. Read more.

photo: Fabio TambosiFabio Tambosi

Global Football Brand Marketing Director, Nike

Power. Strength. Endurance. Style. #SwooshLife. How does Nike harness the power of their athletes to connect to their global consumer base? Clemson grad Fabio Tambosi will share how one of the most recognizable athletic brands creatively uses insights from athletes and the game to improve the individual, the sport, and their brand. Read more.

photo: Andy ThomasAndy Thomas

Vice President, Marketing and Communications, McLaren Automotive

Jaguar. Ferrari. Rolls-Royce. BMW. McLaren. Global luxury brands that make your heart race. And what else do they have in common? Clemson grad Andy Thomas, recently-appointed VP of Marketing and Communications for McLaren. Hear from an expert what it's like to work on branding the greatest cars in the world. Read more.

photo: Tom MerrittTom Merritt

Co-Founder and CEO, OOBE, Inc.

Starting in a Clemson dorm, Tom helped create a client-focused apparel brand so strong that 20 years later, its national and international clients including FILA, Disney and Chick-fil-A. Learn how he and his team are teaching the world to "have an oobe day." Read more.

photo: Chris Foy & Beth PaulChris Foy and Beth Paul

President and Owner, Impressions Sports & Entertainment
General Manager, Bon Secours Wellness Arena

What does it take to manage a major sports venue? How do you build and maintain brand relationships in the world of entertainment and sports sponsorships? Join us and learn more about the world of sports entertainment and venue management. Read more.

photo: Dave RidleyDave Ridley

Senior Advisor to the CEO and Former SVP Chief Marketing Officer, Southwest Airlines

Find out how Southwest Airlines built a world-class brand known for quality service and prioritizing human capital. Ridley will share his years of experience with the next generation of cultural innovators. Read more.

photo: Susan CredleSusan Credle

Global Chief Creative Officer, FCB Global

Join us as one of the leading creative talents shares her path to the top and her award-winning work with clients such as Allstate, Visa, M&M, FedEx and McDonald's. Read more.

photo: Lisa HolladayLisa Holladay

Vice-president, Global Brand Marketing, The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company

Join us as one of the most energetic and innovative hotel marketers challenges Clemson students with issues facing the hotel industry today. Read more.