Shannan Bowen-loving the audience

Shannan Bowen works as an editorial project strategist for McClatchy, a publishing company based out of California. She started her path in journalism (her passion) after graduating from the University of North Carolina (GO TARHEELS!) in 2006 and getting her Master’s from American University in 2014.

Bowen first worked for the Wilmington StarNews as a reporter covering a variety of subjects, such as tourism in the area and politics, as well as worked on planning community-engaging events and executing social media programs. She then moved on to work for The Hill, a political journalism newspaper, where she was in charge of audience engagement and her efforts led to a large increase in growth for The Hill. After, Shannan took a job with National Journal (division of Atlantic Media) where she was in charge of audience development and engagement once again, and she worked with the in-house digital consultancy called Atlantic Media Strategies.

Shannan loves innovation, media strategy and local news, and values assisting local and community news with opportunities for engagement as well as sustainable revenue models. Audience is clearly her journalistic focus and she has achieved this countless times.

Questions for Shannan:

  1. Being on the East Coast, have seen a difference in news values than in other parts of the country?
  2. What kind of audience engagement projects have you executed for McClatchy?

Amanda Zamora-Super Journalist

Amanda Zamora graduated from the University of Texas, and began her journalism career right down the road at The Austin American-Statesman newspaper. Amanda then embarked for the next 13 years to the East Coast to expand her career. She worked for ProPublica where she was the senior engagement editor, and assisted in starting the Huffington Post Investigative Fund (a non-profit news organization) in 2009. She spend most of her years on the East Cost working for journalism giant, The Washington Post, where she served as the Post’s first social media and engagement editor and also as a national digital editor.

Amanda came back to her Texas roots in 2016 to work for the Texas Tribune. There, she is the Chief Audience Officer and is in charge of the newspaper’s audience growth and its engagement efforts. Amanda’s main goal is to provide journalism that interacts/engages readers and gives them news about what THEY want to know and what they value.

Amanda also has experience being a Knight Digital Media Fellow for public affairs journalism for the Kiplinger Program. Needless to say, she is a well-rounded, super journalist.

Vera Fischer: 97 Degrees West

Vera Fischer is the definition of “entrepreneur.” She graduated from Southwest Texas State University (Texas State University) with her Bachelor’s, and worked at various marketing agencies and organizations. In 2004, Vera was laid off from the agency she was working for…..while on maternity leave. She jumped into action and called her network of CEOs and VPs for marketing and boom! She was back in the game working on projects. That very same day is when she decided to become her own boss.

97 Degrees West helps organizations and companies with any branding, business, customer assistance, and marketing issues they are facing. The agency’s goal is to help their clients achieve their highest sales goals.  97 Degrees West puts a huge emphasis on strategy when it comes to making companies successful in their marketing. Their client list currently consists of big names like Vitalogy Skincare and Austin Clinic for Men.

From what seemed like an end came a new beginning.

Tim Levy & Assoc. Strategic Marketing Agency

Tim Levy, a native Aussie, is the founder and CEO of Tim Levy and Associates Strategic Marketing Agency, which he started in 1996.

Tim has always been intrigued with technology and grew up as an audience member of the CEO world. His dad ran Vistage, a company in Australia that organizes speaker-workshops in Australia, so he was used to being around a variety of CEOs. He was even asked my his father to be one of the featured speakers once, where he preached about the emergence of the Internet and how it was going to be the next big thing. Tim, who did his higher education at the University of New South Wales, has worked for Wave Length where he worked to weave together communication and did coding, and he worked in Silicon Valley working on CD ROMS and with production (he also has entertainment experience/background) as the Chief Operating Officer.

After his Silicon Valley experience, he moved backed to Australia and started his agency, which consults with top tier corporations like Roland DG corporation.

He still gives speeches/talks for Vistage, and he also revisited his entertainment interests by writing 4 children’s books, children’s albums and even stage shows.


My questions for Tim would be:

  1. What sets your marketing agency apart from others?
  2. What are some ways you have incorporated your entertainment business interests into your marketing agency?

Week 2/20/17

1) Which is more important, function or design? Are they equal? Under what circumstances (for example, is one more important in a phone, another more important in a car or computer)?
 I believe that function is more important than design, at least at an 80/20 ration. Design is more for the brand, trademark and for visual appeal, but unless a product or piece of technology does its job and does it well, its design is worthless. I think function is more important in a phone and computer, for example, I hate the iPhone 7 because there is no earphone port. I think it is unnecessary to use an adapter to listen to my music and the price for the wireless earbuds is ridiculous. Sure, it’s thinner and can fit nicely in my wristlet purse, but I if I cant’t conveniently listen to my music then I’ll stick with my iPhone 6s. I also don’t care for the sleek, thin design of the MacBook Air because it doesn’t allow for a disc drive. As a former dance teacher, I NEEDED a disc drive, and also so I can enjoy my DVDs. With a car, I feel design and function are equal; yes, I want my car to get great gas mileage and have high safety ratings and durability, but if it looks like a senior citizen drives it then no thank you. The appearance of my car is just as important to me because it’s an expression of my style and personality, not just my means of transportation.
 2) Has design influenced a purchasing decision for you? Or is something high on your wish list because of design?
Design influences my purchasing decisions every time I shop, unless it’s for my phone or laptop where I pay a little more attention to function. For example, when I purchased my MacBook (8 years ago), I liked it 70% because of its fanciness and how it looked, and 30% because it was the most innovative laptop in the store (my dad clearly looked at function because the price was not a factor for him; it was for me #expensive). My apple watch that I recently got for my birthday was at the top of my wish list mostly because of how nice it looks. I NEVER WEAR WATCHES, yet I wanted the Apple one. I also factored in that it would be helpful to me in my future workplace and for when I leave my phone in another room (always happens), but truthfully, I just thought it looked super cool and I wanted to look super cool.

Jeff Wilson: Dumpster Professor

Jeff Wilson is quite the entrepreneur. He is the CEO and founder of Kasita, a micro home created to accommodate city living. How did he come up with his idea? Check your trash… seriously.

Wilson got into the entrepreneur field in the late 1990’s, when Silicon Valley was at its peak. He worked for three years but decided he need something more out of life, so he left. He returned to academia, where he got a doctorate degree and became a professor. He then traveled a lot before settling in Austin, TX. While on his travels, he carried very little and lived a simple life. He revisited his positivity with this experience by deciding to live in a 33 square foot dumpster FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR: a social experiment.

His experience made him want to attend to the need of affordable city-living, and so he invented the award-winning Kasita: a micro home that can go ANYWHERE and make city-living affordable and simple.


My my questions for Jeff:

1. Tell me about your dumpster experience? I’m claustrophobic so I would love to hear how this played out.

2: Have any purchases been made? What do you expect revenue & market-wise?

Anna Tauzin Rice Bio & Questions To Ask

Anna Tauzin Rice is the Vice President of Marketing and Innovation for the Texas Restaurant Association, whee she handles promoting of the TRA and the restaurants across the state. She has also done marketing work and projects for the National Restaurant Association. She does a lot of speeches on aspects of the food and restaurant industry and also has experience being a web and social media editor. Anna has the privilege of being on the SXSW Interactive advisory board so look for her at this year’s festival! Her educational background includes a Bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Texas State University, and a Master’s in journalism from American University. Anna was born and raised in Texas and is happily married.

Two questions I have for Anna are:

  1. How did you land the job with the National Restaurant Association which I’m guessing led to tour job with the TRA; what was your networking strategy?
  2. What are your duties every year as an advisory board member for SXSW Interactive and how did you get the position?