Tuesday, Speaker Bios

Laura Prather, Partner at Sedgwick Detert Moran and Arnold LLP
Laura Prather is the managing partner of the Austin office of Sedgwick LLP, an international litigation and business law firm. Prather has practiced First Amendment law for 20 years, is on the faculty at the School of Law at the University of Texas, and was the lead negotiator who drafted the reporter’s privilege and anti-SLAPP statues. In addition, Prather defends national and local media organizations when they get sued in Texas for their reporting.

Eveina Solís, Founder and President of Sol2Soul and Radio Talk Host for 501 News Latino
Evelina Solís is the Founder and President of Sol2Soul (MySol2Soul.com), a career/life coaching and inspirational speaking resource that offers a variety of consulting means that empowers individuals to live happier, healthier and more fulfilled lives. Solís has also spent over a decade in the media industry holding various positions such as Television and Radio Personality, Director, Producer and Writer. Currently, Solís co-hosts Ujima TV with Damita and Evelina on Channel Austin & KBVO and co-hosts 501 News Latino radio show with J.R. Gonzales on KDRP FM 103.1 FM (www.kdrplive.org). On her spare time, she blogs on-line and writes for Austin’s Ujima Magazine. She encourages everyone to live purposefully and fulfill her life motto, “Seek Your Passion, Feed Your Soul, Love Your Life!”

J.R. Gonzales, Founder of JRG Communications, Inc. and Radio Talk Host for 501 News Latino
J.R. Gonzales is the NHPO National President and founder of JRG Communications, Inc., a public relations and marketing firm established in 1987. With over 23 years of organizational development, strategic planning and leadership experience Gonzales is a highly sought after speaker and trainer who has worked with non-profit organizations and businesses all across the country. Gonzales’ network, clients and business contacts go beyond the continental United States. Gonzales has been a speaker and trainer in China, Mexico, Canada and parts of Central America. His extensive experience in running local, state and national organizations prepared him to serve in top leadership positions in Hispanic based organizations. Today, Gonzales splits his time between Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas and travels extensively throughout the country and internationally.

Elaine Aradillas, Reporter of People Magazine- Los Angeles Bureau
Elaine Aradillas is a Staff Writer at PEOPLE magazine in Los Angeles where she reports mostly on crime, but sometimes celebrities. Before joining the magazine in 2007, she spent most of her 12-year career covering crime, courts and social services, as well as brief stints in features covering teens and popular culture. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Art and interned at The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, California before landing a job at her hometown newspaper, the San Antonio Express-News. She spearheaded the paper’s teen section, popular in the late 90s, and landed her the first of two fellowships at the Casey Journalism Center on Children and Families at the University of Maryland. She also worked for the metro desk and covered the crime beat. Aradillas decided to take a break and earned a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She interned at the New York Times where she wrote for the Arts & Leisure and metro sections. Soon after, she landed a job at the Orlando Sentinel and received her second Casey fellowship while covering crime and courts. Her experience prepared her to obtain a job at People magazine, where hard news and popular culture sometimes collide.

Jeff Howe, Staff Writer for Hookem.com
Jeff Howe is a staff writer for Hookem.com, a site covering the Texas Longhorns in conjunction with 247Sports and the Austin American-Statesman. Howe joined Hookem.com in August 2010 after a lengthy stay with InsideTexas.com and Inside Texas magazine. Howe has been covering college football recruiting in Texas for nearly a decade and is now responsible for collecting data, photos and videos on football prospects in Texas, along with helping form the Austin American-Statesman’s Fabulous 55 that ranks the top football prospects in Texas annually, Howe’s duties with Hookem.com also include covering Longhorn football. Howe is an August 2009 graduate of Texas State University with a B.A. in Mass Communication. He and his wife Tamra, also a 2009 Texas State Graduate, live in San Marcos.

Tim Griffin, Journalist for San Antonio Exp

Tim Griffin has been a journalist for 30 years working at a variety of newspapers and websites, including more than 25 years during two stints at the San Antonio Express-News. He has covered almost every major sport event, including 12 national championship football games and five Final Fours. He served as the national president of the Football Writers Association of America (2010). During his career, he’s covered rock concerts, police standoffs and a coaching search or two for good measure. He is married and has a 6-year-old son.

Lara Pellegrinelli, Scholar and Arts Journalist
Lara Pellegrinelli is a scholar and arts journalist. She received her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Harvard University in 2005, emphasized in jazz studies. Her dissertation, “The Song is Who? Locating Singers on the Jazz Scene,” is the first ethnography of jazz singing and was supported by a Packard Fellowship. Following a Visiting Assistantship Professorship in the Music Department at the University of Richmond from 2005-2007, she embarked on an around-the-world voyage teaching for the University of Virginia’s Semester at Sea program. She is currently a guest lecturer at Princeton University. Pellegrinelli began freelancing as an arts journalist during her graduate student days. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Village Voice, Time Out New York, and Jazz Times. She currently contributes arts & culture pieces on a wide variety of topics to National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and Weekend Edition. Her long list of interview subjects includes Jo Boobs, Vince Clarke, and Angie Pontani to name a few.

John Garrett, CEO of Community Impact Newspaper
John Garrett, CEO of Community Impact Newspaper, graduated from Sam Houston State University with a BFA in Radio/Television in 1997 and began his career at the Houston Chronicle. He became advertising director at Austin Business Journal in 2002 and helped turn the publication into one of the top performing American City Business Journals. While at Austin Business Journal, he decided to create a hyper-local, monthly publication with free distribution and delivered by mail. In September 2005, Community Impact Newspaper launched in Round Rock and Pflugerville. As of May 2011, the paper is distributed to more than 750,000 households and businesses in 12 markets in the Austin, Houston, and Dallas metro areas.

Hugh Forrest, Director of South By Southwest Interactive
Hugh Forrest serves as the director of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival, the five-day gathering of digital creatives that occurs in Austin every March. Over the last few years, SXSW Interactive has emerged as one of the world’s most influential events for the new media industry. Forrest graduated from Austin High School in 1980, and majored in English at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. He held several jobs in the newspaper industry before surrendering to the digital revolution.

Maira Garcia, Social Media Editor for the Austin American-Statesman
Maira Garcia is the social media editor for the Austin American-Statesman. Her duties include acting as the public “voice” for the Statesman by managing the paper’s official Twitter and Facebook pages, training newsroom staff on social media, and keeping up with the latest trends in tech and online communication.Garcia graduated from Texas State University with a master’s in Mass Communication, where she researched political communication, social media, and Latino media and print media. She received her B.A. from Texas State in print journalism as well.

Tina Phan, Multimedia Producer for the Austin American-Statesman
Tina Phan is an Emmy-nominated journalist based in Austin, Texas. She is currently a multimedia producer at the Austin-American Statesman, where she is responsible for shooting and editing videos, managing livestreams, and other online content. Tina received a Bachelor of Arts in mass communication with an emphasis in electronic media and minor in photography from Texas State University in 2011. She worked at the University Star during her undergraduate years, and held the positions of photographer, assistant web editor and the first multimedia editor, helping create a team of award-winning video journalists.

Jennifer Peebles, Deputy Editor for Texas Watchdog
Jennifer Peebles, a deputy editor at Texas Watchdog, is a 2009 winner of the
John Aubuchon Freedom of Information Award from Capitolbeat and the 2009 winner of the Open Doors Award given by the Forth Worth Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She was a July 2011 fellow at the Knight Digital Media Center at the University of California-Berkeley. Peebles is also the president of the Houston Pro Chapter of SPJ and board member of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. Before joining Texas Watchdog, Peebles served as the government editor of The Tennessean, leading a team that uncovered a rash of sexual harassment in Tennessee state government; prompting state leaders to change the way harassment cases are reported. Jennifer is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, majoring in history. She is also a member of SPJ, Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc., the Online News Association, the Radio Television Digital News Association and the Media Bloggers Association.

Tim Hayden, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder of 44 Doors
Tim Hayden is a marketing advisor to brands in both the B2C and B2B marketplaces. He is a marketing scientist that studies communication behavior and the technologies that reshape it every day. With more than 15 years of experience in interactive marketing, entertainment and media consulting, Hayden brings innovative strategies to life through the integration of mainstream media, events, mobile and social media. He is the CMO at 44Doors, a technology services firm that provides agencies and brands such as Jackson Family Wines, Fleishman-Hillard, AEG, Coca-Cola and AT&T with insights and gateways to successful mobile and social engagement. Hayden holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas State University, and lives in Austin with his wife, Halea, and new son, Graeme. When not saving the world from bad mobile experiences, Tim chairs the board of Meals on Wheels and more.

Kevin Gilley, College of Fine Arts and Communication
Kevin Gilley is Assistant to the Dean – Outreach in the College of Fine Arts and Communication at Texas State. He has worked in a variety of university-related positions, serving as the Director of Special Projects for the President of Texas State. He has also worked for life-style guru, Martha Stewart, as well as many other well known nationally recognized chefs. Gilley is active in the local community, having served as President of the San Marcos chapter of The American Cancer Society and the Heritage Society of San Marcos. He is a 2003 graduate of Leadership San Marcos.

Valene Bumara, Graduate Student at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Valene Bumara, is a Graduate Instructional Assistant for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Her duties include, assisting Dr. Peirce with two journals, and proctoring exams. Bumara is a native of Spring, TX and earned a Bachelor’s in Sociology at Texas State University in May 2011. Presently, she is a master’s candidate for a Mass Communication’s degree in Strategic Communication. Upon graduating, Bumara hopes to work with the Texas State promotions team and as an adjunct faculty member. When not studying, she enjoys spending time with her pug and listening to Texas country music.

Ryan Stewart, Graduate Student at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Ryan Stewart is a first year graduate student at Texas State University. He is a Graduate Instructional Assistant for Professor Nolan and Dr. Muk. Stewart obtained his B.A. of Science in Wildlife Biology in December 2010. Previous affiliations include: former president of Texas State University Chapter of the Wildlife Society (Jan.-Dec. 2010). Overall, his main objective is to enhance the digital communication of conservation researchers through the web and other opportunities the Internet has offer.

Doug Seliger, Graduate Student at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Doug Seliger is a second year graduate student studying New Media at Texas State University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Electronic Media and English from Texas State in 2008 and currently works as a Graduate Assistant for the Graduate College.

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