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2020 Annual Conference — Speakers

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Opening Keynote Speaker - Judy Woodruff


Broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff is the anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour.  She has covered politics and other news for more than four decades at NBC, CNN, and PBS.
At PBS from 1983–1993, she was the chief Washington correspondent for the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. From 1984–1990, she also anchored PBS’ award-winning documentary series Frontline with Judy Woodruff. Moving to CNN in 1993, she served as anchor and senior correspondent for 12 years; among other duties, she anchored the weekday program Inside Politics. She returned to the NewsHour in 2007, and in 2013, she and the late Gwen Ifill were named the first two women to co-anchor a national news broadcast. After Ifill’s death, Woodruff was named sole anchor.
In 2011, Woodruff was the anchor and reporter for the PBS documentary Nancy Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime. In 2007, she completed an extensive project on the views of young Americans titled “Generation Next: Speak Up. Be Heard.” Two hour-long documentaries aired on PBS, along with a series of reports on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, on NPR, in USA Today, and on Yahoo News.
From 2006–2013, Woodruff anchored a monthly program for Bloomberg Television, Conversations with Judy Woodruff. In 2006, she was a visiting professor at Duke University’s Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy. In 2005, she was a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. 
At NBC News, Woodruff was White House correspondent from 1977–1982. For one year after that she served as NBC’s Today Show chief Washington correspondent. She wrote the book, This is Judy Woodruff at the White House, published in 1982 by Addison-Wesley. Her reporting career began in Atlanta, where she covered state and local government.
Woodruff is a founding co-chair of the International Women’s Media Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting and encouraging women in journalism and communication industries worldwide. She serves on the boards of trustee of the Freedom Forum, The Duke Endowment, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York and is a director of Public Radio International and the National Association to End Homelessness. She is a former member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, a former director of the National Museum of American History, and a former trustee of the Urban Institute.
Woodruff is the recent recipient of the Radcliffe Medal, the Poynter Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism, the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism from Arizona State University. She received the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award in Television from Washington State University, the Gaylord Prize for Excellence in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Oklahoma, and the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media from the University of South Dakota. She was inducted into the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and received the Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association and the Duke Distinguished Alumni Award, among others. She is also the recipient of more than 25 honorary degrees.
Woodruff is a graduate of Duke University, where she is a trustee emerita. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, journalist Al Hunt, and they are the parents of three children: Jeffrey, Benjamin and Lauren.



Kristen Crockett

Director of Learning & Development, PBS

Kristen Crockett is the director of Learning and Development at PBS where she connects people and departments, develops leaders, and empowers teams. She is responsible for PBS’ learning and development strategy which includes succession planning, high potential employee development, executive leadership development, performance management, 360 feedback, and other talent assessments. She also leads PBS University, which offers over 40 personal and professional development sessions to employees across the organization. Kristen holds a B.A. in communications from Loyola University in New Orleans, an M.A. in film and video from American University, and a J.D. from George Washington University.




Iris Drayton-Spann, MA, PHR, CDE, SHRM-CP

Vice President of HR and Organizational Development, WETA TV

Iris Drayton-Spann is the vice president of HR and organizational development for WETA TV in Arlington, Virginia. WETA is the leading public broadcasting company in the nation’s capital and is one of the largest-producing stations of new content for public television in the United States. She develops, builds, and maintains a strategic HR function that supports WETA’s business strategy, aligning policy and programs with the organization’s strategic plan, mission, values, and culture. As a member of the leadership team, Iris promotes positive employee relations and acts as a trusted advisor on HR issues. Iris and her team are responsible for developing and implementing HR programs for over 300+ employees. In this role, Iris reports directly to the executive vice president/chief operating officer of WETA.

Iris has over 20 years of HR experience, holds SHRM-CP, PHR, and Certified Diversity Executive certifications. She is a member of the National Association of Multi-ethnicity in Communications and the HR Leadership Forum of Northern Virginia and is a graduate of Howard University and George Washington University. She is a member of the board of trustees for New Endeavors by Women ( and volunteers for Streetwise Partners. In 2019, Iris was honored as one of the 25 HR Leaders of the Year in the Washington, D.C., region by DCA Live.



Michal Heiplik

Executive Vice President, CDP

Michal Heiplik is the executive vice president and a co-founder of the Contributor Development Partnership (CDP). As a 20-year public broadcasting veteran, Mr. Heiplik has extensive experience in database management, membership development, and identifying fundraising practices that drive positive results. His previous role as executive director for local development at WGBH amplified his expertise in all aspects of membership. In this role, he oversaw all levels of membership at the Boston station—the largest membership fundraising program in New England. His department focused on individual giving; direct mail solicitation; online giving; and door-to-door, digital, and on-air fundraising. As a result of his efforts, WGBH improved its fundraising program by raising 25% more net revenue on an annual basis. Prior to WGBH, Mr. Heiplik worked in many different roles at Houston Public Media. He constructed the station’s fundraising database and later moved the entire organization onto a state-of-the-art fundraising platform. This platform enabled dramatic improvement in fundraising results. He later left his position as membership director to lead the national data collaboration that led to the creation of CDP. Mr. Heiplik is a frequent speaker at national fundraising conferences. He continues to lead and participate in many strategic working groups focused on various issues around fundraising and is recognized for creating data-driven solutions that enable more effective execution of fundraising projects. He is a graduate of the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the University of Houston, the #1 ranked entrepreneurship program in the United States. His entrepreneurial spirit guides his approach to problem-solving as he applies his skill to his passion—helping public media stations succeed.



Steven Holmes

Director, Public Media Company

Steve Holmes works in partnership with stations to provide insight and develop strategies that enable stations to increase their sustainability and local impact. Steve helps organizations become more successful by using rigorous data analytics to identify new opportunities and lead high-level initiatives that make a meaningful difference for stations and their communities. Prior to joining Public Media Company, Steve worked for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) for 12 years as senior director of Strategy & Insight. Steve developed in-depth knowledge of successful service models across public media, provided critical insight to public media leaders, and created knowledge management practices and tools such as the Station Management Center (now ”PBS HUB”) to better connect station managers to valuable local/national metrics and best practices. Steve also managed all aspects of the PBS strategic planning and performance management process, including board retreats; environmental analysis; staff communication; and the design, development, and implementation of strategic plans and corporate performance metrics. Prior to working in public media, Steve helped launch and grow new products, services, and businesses around the world as part of Royal Mail’s International Services team. He holds an MBA from Duke University.




Kimberly Howell

Inspector General, CPB Office of Inspector General

Kimberly Howell recently joined CPB in October 2019 as inspector general. She previously served as deputy inspector general for investigations at the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, where she oversaw the authority’s investigations into potential criminal fraud, waste, and abuse. She also served as a senior executive with several federal agencies. Ms. Howell began her federal law enforcement career in 1993.






Tracey Hunt

Vice President of Administration and CFO, SCETV

Tracey C. Hunt is responsible for the oversight of the accounting and financial reporting functions of South Carolina Educational Television (SCETV).

Prior to joining SCETV, Ms. Hunt served as the budget and grants director at the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW). She was responsible for the agency’s budgetary accounting activities, including formulating and executing the agency’s program and operating expense budgets. Additionally, she was responsible for all grants issued to the agency from the federal government and monitoring to ensure state and federal compliance of those grants.

Prior to her time at SCDEW, Ms. Hunt served as the administration director for the Santee-Wateree Community Mental Health Center, a division of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH). In this role she managed accounts payable, accounts receivable, procurement, participant eligibility, grants, contracts, information technology, and physical plant services.

Ms. Hunt also served in a variety of financial roles, with an emphasis on federal grants, auditing financial records, producing financial status reports, preparing budgets, applying for grants, crafting strategic plans, and ensuring accountability and grant compliance, as well as providing training and technical assistance on both the statewide and national levels for the following state agencies: the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), the Office of Homeland Security (OHS), the South Carolina Department of Disability and Special Needs (DDSN), the South Carolina Technical College System (SCTCS), and the South Carolina Parks Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT).

Ms. Hunt received her bachelor’s degree from Columbia College, where she pursued a double major in business administration/accounting and Christian education. She received the student of the year award at Columbia College during her senior year, and she has completed several state and federal leadership certifications. Her hobbies include spending time with her family, photography, reading, and watching the Atlanta Braves play baseball. She has been married to her husband, David, for almost 20 years and has a 7-year-old son, William.




Debra Jacobson

Sr. Team Leader, CPB/OIG

Debra Jacobson has been with CPB/OIG for over seven years and has been a lead auditor on several audits. Prior to joining OIG, Ms. Jacobson was a finance official in several public and private organizations. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Dayton and a certificate in forensic accounting from Georgetown University and is a member of the AICPA and the ACFE.






Mike Jacobson

 VP of HR, PBS

Mike Jacobson is the current vice president of Human Resources at PBS, responsible for leadership and management of all HR functions within the organization. Prior to PBS, he served in a variety of HR leadership positions at TED, Visa, Wells Fargo, and Advent Software. Mike began his career as an educator, teaching high school mathematics and computer science. During his HR career, he has spent nearly 10 years as an adjunct instructor at the University of San Francisco, where he taught graduate-level courses in organization development and educational technology. Mike holds an Ed.D. in organization and leadership and an M.A. in educational technology from the University of San Francisco. His B.A. in economics is from the University of California, Davis.




AJ Kenneson

Assistant Station Manager, KUNR Public Radio

AJ Kenneson has been with KUNR in Reno, Nevada, since 2010. With an undergraduate degree in accounting and an MBA from the University of Nevada–Reno, much of his time at KUNR has been focused on strategic business operations, financial reporting, and regulatory compliance. His experience prior to KUNR was as an operations manager for a regional sound and lighting event production company, where he handled a majority of the business operations as well as sound engineering.






Joyce MacDonald

President and CEO, Greater Public

As president and CEO, Joyce is responsible for developing Greater Public’s vision, strategic framework, and plans to maximize public media’s finances for long-term success. Joyce comes to Greater Public from the CPB, where she served as vice president of journalism and senior advisor for content operations. In that role she worked across radio, digital, and television to plan, initiate, and administer grant initiatives to support local, regional, and national public media journalism. In consultation with stakeholders across the system, she developed a strategic framework for designing and funding journalism collaboration and innovation and was directly responsible for $16 million in grants in 2016. Ms. MacDonald previously served as a key advisor to and ambassador for NPR’s president/CEO as chief of staff, led national sponsorship organization National Public Media as interim president and CEO, and spent six years as vice president of member partnership at NPR. Prior to joining NPR in 1999, she was vice president for affiliate marketing with Sony Corporation’s SW Networks, joining Sony after serving as a regional director of affiliate marketing with ABC Radio Networks. She launched her radio career as an account executive with WFNX Radio, Boston and earned her master’s degree in broadcast administration from Boston University’s College of Communication.




Helen Mollick

IG General Counsel, CPB Office of Inspector General

In her seven years at CPB OIG, Helen Mollick has provided legal advice on every audit, conducted investigations, and participated in inspections. She also manages OIG's hotline, analyzing the complaints and advising on their disposition. She played similar roles in other federal OIGs during her 30-year government career.







Carey Needham

Associate General Manager, WAMU 88.5 American University Radio

Carey Needham’s management duties at WAMU 88.5 include budget/financial oversight, human resources, payroll, facilities, studio rentals, CPB and FCC compliance, annual financial audit, and sub-carrier clients. Prior to joining WAMU 88.5 in September 2002, Mr. Needham spent five years as a senior budget officer with the American University budget office. While there, he worked closely with several academic and administrative units, including WAMU. Mr. Needham moved to Washington in 1990 to pursue a career with the Agency for International Development (USAID). He worked with USAID as a contractor for nearly seven years, managing participant training programs for developing world entrepreneurs. He facilitated training throughout the United States, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. Mr. Needham holds a bachelor’s degree in foreign service and international relations from Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from American University.




Sonja Pasquantonio

Director of Human Resources, Connecticut Public Broadcasting, Inc.

Sonja Pasquantonio is the director of human resources at Connecticut Public Broadcasting. She has over 24 years of experience in various human resources roles spanning government, contracting, nonprofit, and quasi-public agencies. Ms. Pasquantonio consults for GRC Educators, is an executive steering team member for Connect HR Leadership Summit, hosts ThinkTANK discussion topics for the Quartz Network, and offers training courses in human resources, business writing, and effective communication.





Richard Perry

Founding Partner, Veritus Group

Richard Perry is driven by a passion for donor stewardship and care and has a 40-year record of delivering outstanding results for clients and nonprofit organizations. Currently, this passion is expressed through Veritus Group, founded in 2005 by Mr. Perry and business partner Jeff Schreifels. Their work in helping nonprofit organizations develop highly effective major donor programs is recognized by scores of leading nonprofits and fundraising thought leaders in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Currently, the combined annual major gift income of the agencies they serve is in excess of $500 million.

Their blog, Passionate Giving (at, awarded the best fundraising blog of the year in recent years, shares practical and helpful advice on starting and maintaining a successful major gift program, no matter the size of your organization.

Previously, Mr. Perry co-founded The Domain Group, a leading direct marketing agency serving major nonprofits in the United States, Canada, and Europe. From its Seattle base, it expanded to offices in Colorado, Atlanta, London, and Paris. The agency was sold in 2005.

Mr. Perry’s history also includes a notable eight years as director of development for a U.S-based relief and development organization. Here, he led a team that, in just four years, increased the donor list from 16,000 to 350,000, with annual income rising from $600,000 to $15 million.




Jeffrey J. Pole

Director of Finance, WUFT-TV and WUFT-FM, University of Florida

Jeffrey “Jeff” Pole joined the University of Florida in 2014 as the director of finance in the College of Journalism and Communications.  He is responsible for all financial aspects of the operation of WUFT TV and WUFT FM. In the past year, Mr. Pole coordinated interactions with the CPB auditors as the stations went through an audit by the Office of Inspector General. Prior to that he worked in the newspaper industry from 1986 to 2014, starting in Syracuse, New York, then Sarasota, Florida, and eventually Ocala/Gainesville, Florida. Mr. Pole earned a Bachelor of Science degree from LeMoyne College in 1984. He and his wife Terri live in Ocala, Florida, and have four children, their spouses, and four grandchildren.




William Richardson

Deputy Inspector General, CPB/OIG

William Richardson joined CPB/OIG in the mid-2000s and has overseen its audit activities for 15 years. In that role, he is responsible for all the office's reviews of CPB's programs and operations. Prior to joining CPB, he was an auditor and program director in several federal OIGs.







Rachel Sadon

Editor in Chief, DCist, WAMU 88.5 American University Radio

Rachel Sadon is the editor in chief of DCist, a digital local news outlet owned by Washington’s NPR station, WAMU. She helmed the site for two years before it was shut down in late 2017. After a brief stint as a radio producer, Ms. Sadon led DCist’s relaunch at WAMU, including the launch of a successful Kickstarter campaign. She has since worked on a website redesign and developing a DCist-specific membership program in addition to regularly reporting for the site and occasionally on air for WAMU. Previously, she served as the local news editor for the Washington Post Express and as an assistant editor for the Latin America Advisor. Ms. Sadon has a degree in culture and politics from Georgetown University.





Michael Scher

Director of Financial Planning & Analysis, WAMU 88.5 American University Radio

Michael Scher is the director of financial planning and analysis at WAMU 88.5 American University Radio. He was formerly the assistant director of business operations at American University’s Law School, where he was responsible for procurement activities, campus auxiliaries, internal financial reporting, and grants management. Mr. Scher is an accountant and attorney, having received his J.D., cum laude, from American University in 2013 and his master’s degree in accounting in 2019. His interest in public media comes from his undergraduate studies in journalism at American University’s School of Communication.





Carol Sorber

Director, Professional Development, PBS

Carol Sorber has spent most of the last two decades designing, developing, and delivering dynamic and engaging professional development opportunities that help participants improve on-the-job performance. A skilled group leader and facilitator, she uses collaborative activities to enhance the learning experience for participants. Prior to joining PBS in 2010, she managed professional development technologies for DLA Piper, a global law firm. She is a co-author of the book The Art and Science of Strategic Talent Management in Law Firms, published by Thomson Reuters (2010). She holds a master’s degree in human resource development and a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from The George Washington University. She is also MBTI® accredited.





Jim Taszarek

President, Market Enginuity

Jim Taszarek is president and co-founder of Market Enginuity, a company representing sponsorship sales for public media stations across the United States and the PRX podcast network. Mr. Taszarek leverages 25+ years of media experience, including 20 years in public media, for analyzing corporate sponsorship performance, developing strategic plans, and managing teams to maximize sponsorship revenue for stations and independent producers. Under Mr. Taszarek’s direction, Market Enginuity has grown to be the largest public media sponsorship sales force in the United States and currently represents local and national sponsorship for 18 public media clients, ranging from stations in media markets #2–44 to independent producers of podcasts and nationally distributed content.




Robert Winteringham

Special Counsel, Fletcher Heald & Hildreth

Robert Winteringham is special counsel at the law firm of Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth in Washington, D.C., and a founder of the Public Media Consulting Group. He was CPB’s deputy general counsel from 2005–2013 and served as an attorney in CPB's Office of General Counsel starting in 1997. Mr. Winteringham also served as a vice president and chair of the Legal Committee for the North American Broadcasters Association. Prior to CPB, Mr. Winteringham was senior associate at the communications law firm of McFadden, Evans & Sill. He also worked as an intern at the advertising agency Young & Rubicam. He is a cum laude graduate of the Indiana University School of Law–Bloomington, where he served on the editorial board of the Federal Communications Law Journal. He received his undergraduate degree with high honors from the University of Michigan.




Randy Wright

Executive Director, Division of Media Properties, WUFT-TV and WUFT-FM, University of Florida

Randy Wright is the executive director of the Division of Media Properties at the University of Florida (UF) College of Journalism and Communications. Operating public television station WUFT-TV and public radio stations WUFT-FM, WJUF-FM, WUFT Classic, and GHQ, the mission of UF’s media operation is twofold: serving the community and serving as professional immersion opportunities for the students of UF’s College of Journalism and Communications. The division also launched the nationally recognized and award-winning Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN) and the South Carolina Emergency Information Network, a public safety/emergency messaging partnership with SCETV and South Carolina Public Radio. WUFT/FPREN received the CPB’s Community Lifeline Award in 2019, and Mr. Wright was honored with the PRRO Award in the same year. UF’s Division of Media Properties also operates commercial radio stations WRUF-AM/FM and WRUF-TV—a 24-hour local news, weather, and sports channel—in addition to housing Gatorvision, the multimedia production arm for UF athletics. Wright holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Missouri.