Session 3 – Digital Masters
Senior Communications and Public Relations Leader
Michael Eck is senior communications and public relations leader at Proctors. A PRSA board member, Eck has written about arts and culture for over 30 years for the Times Union, Austin Chronicle, Billboard, Backstage and many other print and web outlets. He currently blogs for Mandolin Café and Weber Fine Acoustic Instruments. www.michaeleck.com.
Sarah creates engaging, high quality videos and photography that is shared on her YouTube channel, sarahfunky.com, and Instagram (@sarahfunky). Sarah is frequently seen on Travel & Leisure’s Instagram account doing takeovers in her unique, dynamic style of professional video. She also is featured often in NYC’s West 42 Street magazine discussing travel tips, adventure, and exploring the globe. In 2017, Sarah lived in a different country each month and documented it on sarahfunky.com. Today she works with tourism boards and travel brands helping them to get the word out about incredible travel experiences. She has 70,000 followers and 6.8 million impressions monthly on social and site.
Prior to running her own travel brand, Sarah worked for Walt Disney Studios doing North American marketing strategy. She holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Marketing from Baruch’s Zicklin School of Business. Sarah speaks Spanish conversationally thanks to her travels and Guatemalan husband. When she is not traveling she lives in Saratoga Springs, NY and enjoys the outdoors.
Manager of Digital Engagement
State University of New York
Taras Kufel has nearly 15 years of experience working in communications, multimedia design and web development/management. He is currently the Manager of Digital Engagement at The State University of New York.
In his position, Taras oversees digital content, communications, and engagement at SUNY System Administration. He works closely with SUNY’s press, enrollment, and external affairs teams to coordinate the central branding, messaging, and content of the SUNY system on the web and social media. His work focuses on web development, the creation of material and messaging for SUNY’s social media networks, and the development of multimedia audio and video projects that enhance communications. He works with content curators to ensure of web accessibility, Search Engine Optimization, and a modern approach to messaging. In addition to his role with system administration, Taras also collaborates with each of the 64 SUNY colleges and universities to bring system messaging together.
Taras currently serves on the board of directors for SUNYCUAD, the State University of New York Council For University Advancement. Prior to his work at SUNY, he spent 4 years as webmaster at Protective Industrial Products and 5 years as art director at National Trade Publications/NTP Media, a division of Ebsco Industries. He holds a B.S in Electronic Media, Arts, and Communications from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Taras currently lives with his wife and twin children in Guilderland, NY.
David began reporting in the summer of 2009 as an intern with the Legislative Gazette.
He then worked for the Daily Gazette, covering state government, gambling issues, and Saratoga County. His political blog won first prize for blogging in 2013 from the New York State Associated Press Association.
David most recently worked as capitol reporter and development strategist for New York StateWatch, an online non-partisan reporting service.
For the Times Union, he contributes to the Capitol Confidential blog, writes print stories and hosts the Capitol Confidential podcast.
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