Speaker Bios – 2019 Forum

Anniversary University™ | The Anniversary ForumMichael Merk
Former, Director of Comms

Michael Merk is a seasoned global corporate communications and marketing leader who spent the last 18 years at Steelcase, a Fortune Most Admired premium global office furniture brand.

As the Director Corporate Communications, Michael was the lead for the Steelcase Centennial, collaborating with executive management and cross-functional leaders to develop a complex global strategy. This award-winning campaign positioned Steelcase as a thought leader in the eyes of their most important stakeholders and the public. The Centennial theme, 100 Dreams 100 Minds 100 Years was a highly effective campaign, which propelled business and garnered tremendous media.

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Kevin Bishop
Former, VP Global Brand Systems

Making the world work better through 100 years and 100 icons of progress was core to IBM’s acclaimed Centennial program.

Leading the Centennial campaign was part of Kevin’s role as head of the IBM Brand System—a system to inculcate IBM’s unique and distinct culture into the working lives of 430,000 IBMers in over 170 countries round the world.

Kevin’s expertise in shaping brand, culture, and leveraging an anniversary for strategic advantage is second to none. It begins with the “think” phase—an IBM slogan for over 100 years, but one that has not lost its power or relevance.

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Kari S Evans
Ex. Dir. Bicentennial
University of Virginia

Kari S. Evans has served as the Executive Director of the Bicentennial at the University of Virginia since 2014. She is responsible for strategic planning and development, oversight, and execution of programming and content to commemorate this extraordinary milestone in the University’s history.

The celebration launched October 5-7, 2017 and will continue through the bicentennial of the University’s charter on January 25, 2019, and beyond.

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Anniversary University™ | The Anniversary ForumCarmen Ferrigno
VP Communications
Saint-Gobain Corporation

Carmen Ferrigno is a member of Saint-Gobain’s North American Executive Committee and reports to John Crowe, President and CEO of both Saint-Gobain and its largest North American subsidiary, CertainTeed Corporation.

As chief strategist for the North American portion of Saint Gobain’s 350 year celebration, Ferrigno developed a multiyear plan to fully integrate business activities, corporate social responsibility and broader reputation management into the global anniversary celebrations.

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Anniversary University™ | The Anniversary ForumMatt Weismantel
Sr. Dir., Comms & Mktg
Rutgers University

Matt Weismantel successfully led Rutgers University’s 250th year-long Anniversary, for which the planning began more than 4-years prior. The Anniversary encompassed the past, present and future of Rutgers and engaged students, faculty and staff, alumni, and the general public in programs and events to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime milestone.

From securing the sitting President of the United States as the commencement speaker-- a first in the school’s long history-- to academic colloquia, books and publications; from concerts, to institution-wide simultaneous celebrations on the four major campuses across the state, the multifaceted initiative included something of relevance for everyone, living out its tagline: "Revolutionary for 250 Years."

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Lisa Alonge Anniversary University The Corporate Anniversary ForumLisa Alonge
Anniversay University™

While working for a leading global communications agency I had a light bulb moment that would ignite a passion and illuminate a higher purpose that would take me on an exciting entrepreneurial adventure.

My journey began when a client engaged us to produce their 150th Anniversary global celebration, a purely positive experience. To do more of this challenging and rewarding work I needed to know more about how great organizations leveraged their anniversary, beyond the celebration.

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