Meet the Mega-Conference presenters


Craig Anderson is the project director for the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media at the University of North Carolina?s School of Media and Journalism in Chapel Hill, where he is responsible for an array of research, outreach, and strategic planning support. He is also executive producer of Prodigal Pictures, an advertising production company with clients including FX Networks, The National Geographic Channel, and The Science Channel.

Lana Champion is vice president of sales and marketing for the Times-Union Media Company, responsible for strategies and management of sales at The Florida Times-Union,, specialty publications and its commercial printing operation. She was promoted to the position in 2011 from director of display advertising. She began her career with the Morris Communications-owned Times-Union as a sales account executive in 1996.

Thomas Claybaugh is president of Carolinas Gannett operations overseeing The Greenville (S.C.) News and Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times. A more than 25-year veteran of Gannett, he most recently served as president of central New York markets based in Binghamton. He has served in various management and sales leadership roles for Gannett in Ohio, Maryland, New York and West Virginia.

Bob Dickey is president and CEO of Gannett, a position he assumed following the company's separation in 2015. He previously was president of the Gannett U.S. Community Publishing Division from 2008 to 2015, overseeing 92 daily newspapers and their associated digital assets along with approximately 400 non-daily products. Previously he served as senior group president, Pacific Group and chairman of Phoenix Newspapers, Inc. from 2005 to 2008; president and publisher of The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, Calif. from 1993 to 2005 and group vice president of the Pacific Group from 1997 to 2005.

Bill Dietz is business development manger of the Erie (Pa.) Times-News, a position he has held since 2006 and where he has led an agency-like team of account executives, designers and admin personnel to grow revenue through multiple initiatives. He has been with the Erie Times-News since 1980.

Rick Edmonds is media business analyst and leader of news transformation for The Poynter Institute, where he has researched and written for the last 15-plus years. His commentary on the industry appears regularly on Poynter Online. He spent 11 years with the St. Petersburg Times organization in various editor and publisher roles, including two years as managing editor of the paper?s Tampa edition. Earlier in his career he was James Reston?s assistant at The New York Times and a reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Corey Elliott is vice president of research and analysis for Borrell Associates, overseeing all its research projects and products including Compass. He joined Borrell in 2014 as director of research. Previously, he was director of market intelligence at Gannett Co. Inc., where he managed the dissemination of market data and strategy to more than 80 local media properties. At The Dallas Morning News, he led a B2B research team that helped create campaigns based on household-level consumer habits and clients' own databases.

Elizabeth Fox is co-founder of StyleBlueprint, the South?s fastest-growing digital lifestyle brand with daily publications in five cities plus a regional edition. Launched in 2009, it has experienced a 192% revenue growth in the last three years. She is also co-founder of Corporate Risk Solutions Inc., which provides cyber and physical security solutions to the energy and government sectors. Early in her career, she was a sales manager and consultant for broadcast properties, introducing innovative approaches to ad revenue generation.

Bob Gabordi is executive editor of Gannett?s Florida Today, a position he assumed in 2014. In a more than 35-year decade career with Gannett, he has been executive editor of Gannett?s Tallahassee Democrat, executive editor of the Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times, and management and management and editorial positions at its properties in Norwich, Conn., North Hills, Pa., Marietta, Ohio, and Huntington, W.Va., Springfield, Va., and Jackson, Tenn., as well as at Gannett New Media and Gannett News Service.

Pason Gaddis is president and group publisher of Florida Weekly, which he founded with partners Jeffery Cull and James Dickerson in 2007. The newspaper is one of the state?s largest circulation newsweeklies with a circulation of more than 75,000 and a print and digital readership of more than 150,000. Before co-founding Florida Weekly, he served in a variety of management capacities from 1998 to 2007 at Gannett Inc.

Emilio Garcia-Ruiz is managing editor/digital for The Washington Post, responsible for digital initiatives and operations, video, the presentation departments of photo, graphics, and design, and the multiplatform editing desk. He was previously The Post?s digital strategy editor, and local and sports editor. He began his career at The Post in 1987 as a night copy editor in sports and was later promoted to night sports editor. He left in 1990 and spent the next 11 years at the Orange County Register, The Los Angeles Times and the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Kevin Gentzel joined Gannett as its first chief revenue officer in 2015. He previously was head of advertising sales, North America at Yahoo. He is a former CRO of The Washington Post. Before joining The Post, he was CRO of NDN, responsible for all advertising revenue, brand marketing and corporate communications for the company. He also served as CRO at Forbes Media, responsible for all advertising revenue and marketing for and Forbes magazine, among other publications. He has been president and group publisher of Forbes Media.

Liza Graves is co-founder of StyleBlueprint, the South?s fastest-growing digital lifestyle brand with daily publications in five cities plus a regional edition. Launched in 2009, it has experienced a 192% revenue growth in the last three years. A serial entrepreneur, she started a lunch caf? in downtown Nashville at age 24 and opened a retail business out of her home before starting StyleBlueprint with business partner Elizabeth Fox.

Mike Gugliotto is president and CEO of Pioneer News Group, a position he has held since 2009 at the Seattle-based publisher of 23 daily and weekly newspapers in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Oregon. Prior to joining Pioneer in 2002 as COO, he was vice president and general manager for Lehman Communications and the Daily Times-Call in Longmont, Colo. He has served as advertising director for the Loveland (Colo.) Reporter-Herald and retail advertising manager for the Fort Collins Coloradan.

Katie Hawkins-Gaar is digital innovation faculty at The Poynter Institute, where she teaches journalists, stays on top of industry trends, and follows newsrooms testing out new and exciting ideas. She runs Poynter?s Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media and is one half of the duo behind 40 Better Hours, a project to improve newsroom culture. Prior to Poynter, she was the editor of CNN iReport, the network?s global participatory news community. She was responsible for the site?s editorial and social strategy, setting verification standards and leading a team of producers based in Atlanta and?London.

Casey Hester is senior vice president/operations for Journal Communications in Franklin, Tenn., responsible since 2008 for overseeing operations including web design and development, marketing, design and editorial departments. She began her career at Journal Communications in 1999 as an ad designer and has served as ad production manager, production manager, production director and vice president of production.

Maggie Louie is co-founder of Dev/Con, the advertising technology security and revenue protection firm. She is also senior consultant for the consultancy Digital Who. She has extensive newspaper industry experience, including as vice president of audience for the Athens (Geo.) Banner-Herald, vice president of digital for the Santa Monica (Calif.) Daily Press, digital/mobile business development manager for the Los Angeles Times, and e-commerce and engagement product manager for The E.W. Scripps Company.

John Rung is president of Shaw Media, publisher of dailies, weeklies and digital properties in Illinois and Iowa. Before becoming president in 2013, he was publisher of Shaw?s flagship Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, Ill., and senior vice president/media operations for the family-owned group. He came to Shaw from Freedom Communications where he was a vice president of advertising overseeing the ad department of The Gazette in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Matt Sheehan is director of stories and emerging platforms at the University of Florida?s College of Journalism & Communications, which he joined in 2011 as director of the 21st Century News Laboratory. He is the inaugural director of the school?s Innovation News Center and served as news director and executive editor for the university?s seven media properties. He is a former assistant news editor at The Washington Post.

Ryan Stephens is responsible for global business development at Deseret Digital Media, a position he assumed in June 2015. He oversees brands including BrandForge for native advertising, Deseret News Service, and Deseret Connect, the content and contributor management platform. He came to DDM from Tribune, where he was international sales director of Tribune Content Agency, Latin American sales director, managing director of articles for Tribune Media Services and regional account executive at the Los Angeles Times Syndicate.

Guy Tasaka is vice president and chief digital officer of Calkins Media Inc. He joined the company in 2012 and oversees Calkins Media's digital team and digital initiatives across properties. He is the founder of Tasaka Digital, a digital media strategy consulting firm, and has more than 20 years of experience working with traditional media and content companies to implement digital strategies. He has worked with The New York Times, LibreDigital (formerly Newsstand), Page Foundry, Macworld and Ziff-Davis Publishing.

Maribel Perez Wadsworth is senior vice president & chief transformation officer of Gannett. She previously served as senior vice president of strategic initiatives for Gannett?s U.S. Community Publishing. From 2012 to 2014, she served as vice president of audience development and engagement, helping to lead its All Access Subscription Model and the new local edition of USA TODAY. She joined Gannett in 2009 as a digital news executive after working 15 years in a variety of roles at community news organization from reporter to managing editor.

Kim Ward is the director of training and development for Learning Outsource Group based in Ormond Beach, Florida. He has been involved in the training and consulting industry in a variety of capacities since 1990. His expertise encompasses organizational assessment and analysis, strategy/process re-organization, consulting, curriculum development, video script development and video talent, keynote speaking, and seminar facilitation. He has authored and co-authored numerous training programs including Leading High Velocity Change; Partnering for Success; and Management Leadership in the 21st Century.

Daniel Williams is co-founder and CEO of LEAP Media Solutions.? He began his career with Gannett and has held management positions at McClatchy, the New York Times Regional Media Group and The Day Publishing Company. Over his career, he has specialized in leveraging marketing automation technology to develop and execute data-driven strategies for newsmedia companies that support audience and revenue growth.