ISC Alumni Symposium Explores Digital Strategies, AI and Machine Learning in the ISC Industry

ISC Alumni Symposium Explores Digital Strategies, AI and Machine Learning in the ISC Industry
By Kelsey Sands
The Department of Integrated Strategic Communication (ISC) hosted its annual ISC Alumni Symposium April 3, 2019, for students in the University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information. The event took place in the William T. Young UKAA auditorium, room 1-62, at 6 p.m. Gabby Dudgeon, an ISC doctoral student, moderated the panel.
The theme of this year’s symposium was “Digital Strategies, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in My Organization.” ISC interim chair Chike Anyaegbunam explained why this event was important for both students and faculty at UK.
“This year’s topic was very timely and important for our profession, especially with the increasing role of digital technology and big data in the strategic communication industry,” said Anyaegbunam. “The symposium was an opportunity for current students to interact with and learn from our returning alumni.”
Speakers for this year’s panel included Alex Gaidzik of Farlinium, Ashlee Harris of Cornett, Brittney Bray of Kroger, Jennifer Bowers of Octagon, Jessica Chu of Yum! Brands, Rachel Izdorek of Continuum Clinical. All of the panelists are alumni of the ISC undergraduate program. Students learned about the alumni’s professional experiences with technology and were able to ask for career advice.
Alex Gaidzik is a professional consultant in the customer experience world, he knows the importance of gleaning insights from all sources of customer feedback. In his day-to-day work as a consultant, he helps some of the world’s largest companies - who have massive amounts of consumer feedback data – analyze, design and execute deliverable strategies for turning their unstructured “voice of the customer” data into actionable insights for their companies. He was lucky enough to jump straight from his ISC program into the corporate world and have worked in multiple roles where he has been able to turn consumer voice, perceptions, and feedback into insights that provide building blocks used to inform important business decisions. He understands the importance of making marketing and business decisions based on quality, informed data and works relentlessly to ensure that his clients are telling the best stories to their stakeholders to drive business action. He holds a B.A. in Integrated Strategic Communication (2015) and English (2013) from the University of Kentucky.
Ashlee Harris is a Senior Account Planner at Cornett in Lexington, Kentucky where she has worked with clients like A&W Restaurants, Tempur Sealy, GE and even our beloved University of Kentucky for almost 10 years. She loves digging in for her clients and bringing them big ideas that help solve their business challenges. She is from Madisonville, Kentucky and graduated from UK in 2009 with a B.A. in ISC (PR Path). Outside of work, Ashlee enjoys traveling, volunteering on the Lexington Dream Factory board and cheering on the CATS!
Brittney Bray is an Assistant Digital Campaign Manager at Kroger headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she facilitates marketing initiatives and go-to-market strategies for eCommerce and Digital Acquisition activations. She is a local to Lexington and graduated from the University of Kentucky in Spring 2013 with a B.A. in ISC. Outside of work, Brittney enjoys spending time with her Doberman Pinscher rescue, Findlay, exploring new restaurants in Cincinnati and traveling. 
Jennifer Bowers is a Senior Account Executive at Octagon Sports & Entertainment agency with responsibility for experiential & sponsorship strategy and brand management. She has achieved success with well-established companies and non-profits such as The Home Depot, Georgia Pacific, Macy’s and 100 Black Men of America, to name a few. With more than five years of experience, Jennifer understands how to curate unforgettable experiences that help brands connect with consumers. She utilizes innovative and out the box marketing ideas to help increase her clients ROI – while bringing creativity, passion and positivity to every project. Passionate about helping aspiring young students, Jennifer volunteers with a local non-profit, Next Generation Atlanta; which focus on exposing students from low-income communities to different career opportunities. Jennifer holds a BS in integrated strategic communications with a minor in business from the University of Kentucky.
Jessica Chu is a social listening analyst and global corporate communications professional at Yum! Brands. Driven by her passion for AI and digital for social analytics, she leads a team that protects and promotes the reputation of Yum! and its brands (KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell) through social monitoring, listening, reporting and response on a global scale. She collaborates with cross functional teams to tell Yum!’s story through strategic digital communication plans and builds social listening capabilities throughout the Yum!’s organization.
Jessica graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2015 with a degree in Integrated Strategic Communication and a minor in Spanish. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga and volunteering with Backside Learning Center’s family educational program and Creative Mornings’ Louisville chapter.
Rachel Izydorek After graduating from the University of Kentucky in May of 2016 with a double path in Direct Marketing and Public Relations, Rachel Izydorek started working at a full-service advertising agency outside of Chicago in Account Services. During her time at Pinnacle Advertising, Rachel worked on a wide range of clients from local automotive dealerships to large scale retail clients, earning two promotions within a two-year span. Pinnacle is best known for being the Agency of Record for WeatherTech. After Pinnacle signed a contract with Marcus Lemonis, a prominent businessman in Chicago known for his show on CNBC, “the Profit,” Rachel was tasked with onboarding and helping to run the ML accounts such as Camping World, Uncle Dan’s Outdoor Clothing and Marcus Lemonis Fashion. In February of 2019, Rachel decided to move into a new advertising and marketing space by accepting an Account Leader position at Blue Chip Marketing Worldwide. In this position, Rachel works under a Blue Chip subsidiary, Continuum Clinical. Continuum Clinical is a healthcare marketing agency known best for their brand awareness and direct marketing successes. As an Account Leader, Rachel is able to really put what she learned in college to use by diving deep into big data to help direct patient outreach and brand awareness for her clients.