Conjuring Creativity presenters
Mayra Ocampo, art director, Koch Communications Marketing
Mayra Ocampo has an insatiable hunger for the yummiest ideas. As an art director at Koch Communications Marketing, Mayra quells her natural curiosity by providing strategic design solutions. She’s a proud grad of Wichita State University. Her motto is: If you’re not challenging yourself and not making yourself uncomfortable, you’re not growing. In the evenings, you’ll likely find her honing her skills at a fun workshop or online class, but you might also catch her collecting bugs, hiking or playing her ukulele.
Jennifer Liss, copywriter, Koch Communications Marketing
Jennifer is the peanut butter to Mayra’s jelly. Speaking of peanut butter, she eats a lot of it – while writing for Koch Communications Marketing. Jennifer is a proud graduate of Wichita State’s Elliott School of Communication, which helped her flip her creative script when she transitioned from veteran hairstylist to newbie copywriter five years ago. Her daily practice involves drinking coffee, posting on her dog’s Instagram and facing fear with stupid amounts of courage.
Tricks of the Trades content experts
Vanessa Whiteside, social media manager, Lifeboat Creative
Deb Simpson, technology trainer, Wichita Public Library
Darcy Gray, digital communications coordinator, University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita
MeLinda Schnyder, freelance writer
Born in Columbia, Missouri, MeLinda earned a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and has used her writing skills in many settings, from covering sports for The Wichita Eagle to penning speeches for the CEO of Cessna Aircraft Co. to writing and photographing travel features for national magazines. She is a fulltime freelance journalist for digital and print outlets and a content creator for business and nonprofit clients, writing mostly in the aviation, travel and business niches. She is an active member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Society of American Travel Writers, Midwest Travel Journalists Association and Wichita Professional Communicators.
Shannon Littlejohn, owner, Shannon Littlejohn Communications
Madeline McCullough, photographer and instructor, Wichita State University Elliott School of Communication
Gwen Larson, NFPW president
Gwen Larson’s journalism degree has taken her down a number of paths in the field of communication — from an internship with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to editing and producing scholarly journals and magazines to reporting and editing at The Emporia Gazette (still owned by William Allen White’s family) and, finally, to handling media relations for a regional university. A member of National Federation of Press Women and Kansas Professional Communicators since 2004, she was elected NFPW president for a two-year term in June 2019. Her platform included promises to bring NFPW back to its advocacy roots by fighting challenges to the First Amendment.
Levitating Yourself panelists
Jill Miller, owner, Creative Solutions & headmistress, Finishing School for Modern Women
Carla Eckels, director of cultural diversity for news and engagement, KMUW radio
Carla has been an award-winning announcer/news producer for KMUW 89.1FM, Wichita Public Radio for 22 years. She also produces an award-winning R&B and gospel show Soulsations, Sunday nights at 6 on KMUW. Carla has a stack of awards to her name, including several from the Kansas Association of Broadcasters and the prestigious national Edward R. Murrow Award for a news feature looking at the return of anti-abortion demonstrations to Wichita.
Andy McFayden, executive director of strategic communications, WSU Tech
Andy, a former North Carolinian and now proud Kansan has a passion for education and economic development. As a member of WSU Tech’s leadership team and the executive director of strategic communications at WSU Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology (WSU Tech), Andy is able to take this passion and use it to impact the community of Wichita by supporting the management of marketing, advertising and public relations activities of the college. WSU Tech is the state’s leader in modern technical education and the largest technical college in Kansas. In 2018, WSU Tech was named the second fastest growing college among two-year colleges by The Chronicle of Higher Education. A WSU alumnus who enjoys participating in community development, Andy is currently the vice president of the board of directors for Dress for Success Wichita as well as a member of the board of directors of the Derby Education Foundation, United Way Marketing Advisory Committee and active volunteer with the Salvation Army.
Dawn Monroe, owner, Dawn Monroe Training
Dawn is a certified Microsoft Office specialist master with over 25 years of empowering business professionals with simplified technical training. She increases productivity and efficiency by teaching clients how to use the computer tools available. Dawn offers workshops, program presentations, conference breakouts, small group skill-building, customized corporate training, one-on-one consultations and document solution advice. Applications covered include Microsoft Office 365, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher & Access. Other popular topics include: LinkedIn, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Forms, Google My Business, Accessibility, and more!