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National Advisory Council

The Council members meet twice a year to provide advice and support to keep SJMC on pace with the communications industry.

Danny Akright, JO’10 (News-Internet) 
Director of Communications 
Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity 

Megan Bannister, JO’13 (News-Internet) 
Freelance Writer and Marketing Consultant 
Project7 Design 
Michael J. Bates, JO’79 (Public Relations) 
Director of Advancement and Strategic Gift Initiatives 
Youth and Family Counseling, Chicago 
Brittany Hopkins Bungert, JO’07 (Magazines) 
Director of Communications 
Iowa Automobile Dealers Association  
Claire Celsi (Friend of SJMC) 
Communications Consultant 

Brandi Dye, JO’18 (PR, Magazines) 
Communications and Community Engagement Mgr. 
Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault 
John Garcia JO'86 (Broadcast News)          
Reporter, WLS-TV Chicago 
Graham Gillette (Friend of SJMC)  
Gillette Strategic Resources, LLC 
Emily Gregor JO’16 (Magazine Media, International Relations) 
Senior Content Marketing Lead  
Lynn Hicks, JO’91 (News-Editorial) 
Polk County Attorney’s Office
Polk County Justice Center
Melissa Hintz, JO’86 (Radio-TV) 
Regional Research Director 
Ryan Johnson, JO’99 (Public Relations) 
Manager, Strategic Communications 
Two Rivers Marketing 
Louie Laurent, JO’76 (Advertising) 
Chairman (Retired)
ZLR Ignition 
Paul LeFort, JO’91 (Radio-TV) 
Director, Sales Development, Nielsen 
David M. Lubbers J’86 (Radio-TV) 
Freelance Sports Producer 
Lydia Nevins, JO’11 (Advertising) 
Communications Consultant 
Delta Dental of Iowa 
Ezekiel (E.Z.) Okeleye, JO’15 (Public Relations) 
Senior business partner, store operations 
Target HQ 
Susan Patterson Plank (Friend of SJMC, MPA’16) 
Vice President, Public Notice Strategic Initiatives
USA Today Network
Katie Popp, JO’05 (Advertising) 
Marketing Strategy Consultant
Alliant Energy
Christine Riccelli, MA’97 
Retired editor of dsm magazine 
Amy Schmelzer, JO’96, MCL’10 (Radio-TV) 
Operations Manager  
Nicole Jobst Smith, JO’08, MCL’15 (News-Internet) 
Marketing Campaign Manager
Homesteaders Life Co.
Samantha Thorpe, JO’95 (Magazines) 
Freelance editor, writer, producer 
Chris Verlengia, JO’06, MCL’13 (Public Relations) 
Senior Brand Marketing Manager 
Kevin Waetke, JO’86, MA’93 (Broadcast) 
Assistant Vice President, Corporate Marketing 
Sammons Financial Group  
Eduardo Zamarripa, JO’12  (News-Internet) 
Head of Soccer Partnerships 
Musco Lighting