Food4Thought is a multi-week lecture series on career-building topics. This year’s lectures revolve around the theme of LEADERSHIP in a global community, and highlight leadership in a global community. 

Lectures are held over lunchtime, so please bring a lunch. All talks are hybrid: both in-person and via Zoom.

11:30 am-12:15 pm
Goldstein Library Room 113


Career Services
2700 North Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34234

Fall 2023 Schedule

Brandon Jeffords ’00, Illustration
The path to your dream career is rarely a straight line—enjoy the ride!

Brandon Jeffords is a director, story artist, and voice actor for animated films. He has over 15 years of experience in story and visual development at major animation studios and believes that story, character, cinema, and collaboration are the most important aspects of producing successful and entertaining content. Throughout his career, Jeffords has had the opportunity to work with such industry leads as Disney, Nickelodeon, Warner Brothers, Illumination, and Sony Pictures. He began as a storyboard and visual development artist for commercials, animated series, and feature films. This experience led him to land the role of head of story on two films, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 and Smurfs: The Lost Village, co-direct Vivo at Sony Pictures, and direct Bye Bye Bunny, a Looney Tunes musical at Warner Bros. His most recent credits include Michells vs. the Machines, The Super Mario Brothers Movie, and Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken. Jeffords holds an AA in musical theatre from Utah Valley University and a BFA in illustration from Ringling College of Art and Design.

Dr. Erin Wheeler
You will spend 90,000 hours working. Shouldn’t it be something you genuinely enjoy that is aligned with who you are? Take a drive down the road of self-discovery so you can design a perfectly tailored career path.

Dr. Erin Wheeler is a bestselling author, nationally respected success and leadership coach, and higher education expert. As a cognitive psychology expert, Dr. Wheeler has over a decade of experience in brain development, organizational development, emotional intelligence, learning, and personal growth. She has used her expertise to improve college completion rates, build successful teams, and develop a new generation of leaders.

Kenny Routt ’15, Illustration
Position yourself for industry success by establishing your personal brand

Kenny Routt is a designer, art director, and illustrator, working in advertising on brand and entertainment projects. His work has appeared in cinema, broadcast ads, print, and social media for major brands and clients. His career as an illustrator has taken him from landing successful work in Sarasota to NYC and then Los Angeles, where he earned his production chops working for various ad, animation, and VFX studios like Logan and Laundry. During his time in LA, he made connections in the music space creating art for artists like Flatbush Zombies, CJ Fly, and Freddie Gibbs. Routt was an art director, creative producer, mentor, and editor for an online motion design school and a contract storyboard/designer for multiple short films for Philips Healthcare. Routt is happy to be back in his hometown of Sarasota, Florida, working remotely for agencies and studios, creating work for clients like SVEDKA Vodka, FX, Google, Lions Gate, Budweiser, Silk, and more.Agency (LA), creating work for clients like SVEDKA Vodka, FX, Google, Lions Gate, Budweiser, Silk, and more.

Gianna Kramer 
Imagine meeting and interacting with over 10 powerful and influential professionals who want to get to know you. Your chance has arrived! Join Gianna Kramer as she leads several rounds of speed networking.

Gianna Kramer is a driven and visionary individual who recently completed her Bachelor of Science in marketing from the prestigious Muma College of Business. With a deep-rooted passion for community, business, e-commerce, and digital ventures, Kramer has already made a significant impact on both Sarasota and Manatee County. As a serial entrepreneur with a remarkable track record, she has successfully nurtured several startups, transforming them into thriving six- and seven-figure enterprises. Her relentless pursuit of innovation and keen business acumen have been the cornerstones of her achievements. Kramer firmly believes that through entrepreneurship, she can bring about positive changes in society and create opportunities for others to prosper.

Kramer’s commitment to giving back is at the heart of her endeavors. Emphasizing the importance of community-building, she was actively involved in founding Marketing on Main, a platform that fosters growth and collaboration among aspiring artists, and budding and established business professionals. Her drive to make a difference is evident in her dedication to mentorship programs and involvement in various initiatives that promote creativity, diversity, and social responsibility.

Combining her passion for both people and business, Kramer has explored the dynamic world of e-commerce and digital platforms. With a keen eye for innovation and an insatiable curiosity, she has successfully bridged the gap between these fields, creating innovative, sustainable, and socially conscious business models.

During her time in Sarasota, Kramer was an instrumental force in inspiring her peers to dream big and embark on their entrepreneurial journeys. Her infectious enthusiasm and determination have earned her recognition as a thought leader among art and business students alike.

In the years ahead, Kramer aims to leave an indelible mark on the art and business landscape, empowering students to unleash their potential. Her unwavering commitment to giving back, paired with her penchant for innovative solutions, will undoubtedly pave the way for her continued success in shaping a brighter future.

For art and business college students, Gianna Kramer is someone you want to connect with. She stands as an inspiration, proving that with resilience, creativity, and a focus on community, one can create massive change and drive the world forward.

Lindsay Agnew ’10, Graphic Interactive Communications
Your career is decades long. This Food For Thought presentation will showcase “adaptability”. Join this session to open your mind and learn a mind-set of resilience and endurance that will help you flourish through changes and challenges that arise with whatever career path you take!

Lindsay Agnew is a multi-faceted creative who has guided start-ups to top fortune 500 companies with innovative art and design.

Her design career started at Walt Disney Imagineering as an environmental graphic designer. Working for “The Mouse” opened her eyes to what you can achieve as a creative. With that mindset, she has been directing and creating for lifestyle brands such as Disney, The Villages, Panama Jack, and Legendary Whitetails, and in industry fields such as entertainment, real estate, transportation, and product retail merchandise in marketing.

Agnew’s approach with any type of graphic, whether it be large or small, a marketing piece, logo, signage, website, or app graphic, is to focus on the visual communication, story, theme, purpose, and how the guest experiences or the user will be engaged with that exterior or interior space, ride, object, product, or app.

Agnew is an alumni of Ringling College of Art and Design with a BFA in graphic interactive communications.

Mitchell Lomazov
Overcome the common pitfalls that cause many to stall in their capstones, projects, and careers. Learn how to use your creativity to fuel your self-worth and propel you to success. We will walk through an empowering exercise and hear relatable stories on how to overcome anxiety and fear and use them as tools for success.

Mitch is a high-demand speaker and coach at EXCELLence Performance, repeatedly voted as the #1 Business Consultant and Trainer in Venice, Manatee, and Sarasota by the Herald-Tribune Readers Choice Awards.

He has a passion for speaking on communication, confidence building, and bridging generational differences within organizations. Mitch was recognized as one of Sarasota’s 35 under 35 by SRQ Magazine and the Most Valuable Professional of the Year under 40 in Manatee County.

Mitch dedicates his time to helping individuals lead lives at their utmost potential and equipping them with the skillsets to pursue their professional and personal goals.

Previous Visits

Fall 2022

Portrait Picture of a brown haired woman smiling

Meet with Founder and CEO of FUTURE NOW Media Foundation, Inc., and engage in a meaningful discussion about how to make sure you’re set up for success in your career.

Watch the video.

Margaret “Peggy” Kim

Peabody and multi-award winning executive producer with a proven track record in producing critically acclaimed, high quality programs and ratings results. Seasoned programming and production executive in the media industry highly regarded as a strategic thinker, visionary, and team builder.

Peggy is the Founder and President of iSTAND Media, LLC and iSTANDtv, a content studio and creative incubator for young people (ages 18-34), who believe in the power of media and want to use that power for good. iSTANDtv’s goal is to promote compelling stories that come from a perspective of hope and authenticity.

In 2017, Peggy created and produced the FUTURE NOW Media & Entertainment Conference as an initiative of iSTANDtv. The annual conference is the first of its kind, providing high potential college and graduate students from around the country unprecedented access and opportunity to connect with, learn from and be mentored by today’s top industry executives, leaders and professionals. Later that year, Ms. Kim established the FUTURE NOW Media Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit leadership incubator, whose mission is to raise up and equip the best and brightest future leaders in media.

Prior to establishing iSTAND and FUTURE NOW, Peggy was VP of Programming & Production at Alloy Media & Marketing, where she built AlloyTV, a multi-platform distribution network and content studio producing original fashion, music and pop culture entertainment for Millennial audiences.

In her previous position as Director of Programming and Executive Producer at The History Channel, she developed and oversaw 300+ hours of programming, managing multi-million dollar budgets and delivering hit series like Digging for the Truth, which attracted a younger audience, hailed unprecedented press coverage and defined a new era at the network. Her instinct and passion for great story-telling were honed in her prior production roles at MSNBC, Court TV, CBS New Productions, NBC Sports, NBC Olympic Unit, ABC Sports and ABC News.

Peggy’s work has been recognized with the industry’s top awards and honors, including the Peabody, Emmy, IDA, Cine Golden Eagle, Telly, Imagen, Gabriel, New York Festivals, Parents’ Choice, and Prism awards for programs like Blood Diamonds, Rwanda – Do Scars Ever Fade?, Beyond the Da Vinci Code, Secrets of the Aegean Apocalypse, Conquest of America, LBJ vs. The Kennedys: Chasing Demons, Inside Pol Pot’s Secret Prison, and more.

In 2005, she was named to CableFAX 100’s Also Influential list (‘Nobody embodies the youth movement at The History Channel more than Kim….’), and Cablevision Magazine called her a ‘Woman to Watch.’

Peggy also teaches Technology Innovation and the Media at Pace University in NYC as an Adjunct Professor. She currently serves on the boards of Asbury University and OM USA, and is a founding member of Asian Americans in Media. She has served on the board of Women in Cable Telecommunications New York, and is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, New York Women in Film & Television, National Association of Multi-ethnicity in Communications, International Documentary Association, and Asian American Journalists Association.

Peggy earned her Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Williams College. For “Distinguished Achievement in the Arts & Entertainment Field,” Williams College honored her with the 2007 Bicentennial Medal, one of the most significant honors bestowed by the College.

4 Portraits of Career Services Staff

Connect Now to Lead your Creative Career, presented by the Center for Career Services
Learn how to lead your own career path throughout your years at Ringling College. We’ll share networking tips and recruiting information, resources, and services. We look forward to meeting and learning about you, too. There will be a Q&A for any additional questions!

Watch the ⏯ video.

a man wearing a suit leaning on a wooden railing

Discover the importance of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) through the Genos model. This session includes a fun, interactive exercise and discussion.

Watch the video.

Julian Ortiz

Julian is a strategist, player-coach, mentor and a lifelong learner.

For more than 30 years, he has enabled senior leaders and their companies across the globe to better understand value opportunities, set priorities, execute effectively, and build capabilities to thrive, learn and improve continuously.

In his current coaching and consulting practice, Julian partners with established and emerging leaders–and their organizations—to experience a unique approach that blends strategic and operational analyses, leadership development, emotional intelligence, personal introspection and storytelling.

He loves seeing how his clients gain clarity, declare their success narratives, and pursue more authentic and confident paths towards their priorities—as persons, in-role leaders and on behalf of their organizations.

Julian also loves to learn and reinvent himself—a core skill for all talent into the 21st century. In the past 3 years, he has trained and become certified as a business school instructor, executive coach, SCORE mentor, emotional intelligence practitioner and a qualified public Board director candidate.

He lives in FL with his better half Elie and is the proud father of 3 adult children. Julian is a big baseball fan (Go Dodgers!), an avid traveler and foodie and enjoys dancing, yoga and writing.

A smiling woman writing on paper

The road traveled by a corporate innovation leader is a dramatic journey, fraught with many creative challenges. Both friends and frogs of the future lurk around every bend, especially within a large organization. Obstacles such as risk aversion, NIH syndrome, collaborative idea ownership all need to be constantly addressed along the way. Georgina has been on this journey as a creative leader for many years, innovating in the fickle and fast paced play and entertainment industry. This talk will highlight some of the more familiar innovation roadblocks that occur cross-industry and offer up a toybox of proven strategies that will help you on your innovation journey to lead yourself, your team, and your organization into the frontier of future.

Georgina Melone

Georgina began as a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, majoring in Illustration. She started her design career as a puppeteer and quickly discovered the world of toy and play design. For decades, she created within the play industry and always gravitated to the beginning part of the process. She eventually became the Vice President of Innovation at Hasbro, tasked with the mission of leading the corporation into the future of play. Most recently, Georgina has formed her own studio called Studio Big Rock where she consults and invents across industries. Her latest project, soon to be launched, is the Walker Squawker. This product is designed to bring joy to walker users and invented in collaboration with her 95-year-old mom.


3 Panels of images of people

Join this session as Ringling alumni share their experiences from school to work and provide a variety of possibilities for your path at Ringling College and beyond. Bring your questions to learn and network with these amazing Ringling graduates. Find more Ringling alumni on your Career Mentoring Network at:

Watch the ⏯ video.

Sarah Tildsley 

Sarah Tildsley Creative Services Director at Feld Entertainment, the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences that bring people together and uplift the human spirit. Properties include Monster Jam®, Monster Energy AMA Supercross, Disney On Ice, Disney Live!, Marvel Universe LIVE!, Sesame Street Live!, DreamWorks Trolls The Experience and Jurassic World Live Tour.

Sarah’s experience includes executive level creative leadership, leading and inspiring teams, translating big ideas across multiple mediums, executing projects to the highest standards on time and budget, pitching and winning new business and much more.

The common denominator among the broad range industries in her background is creating ideas that meet business objectives. She has led brands like The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Moffitt Cancer Center, Verizon, Mosaic, PSCU, Visit Sarasota and Nokia. This work has been recognized locally, regionally and internationally by ADDY Awards (Local Silver & Gold, District Four Silver & Gold, and Best of Bay), Stevie Awards, Telly Awards, Hermes Creative Awards, Print Regional Design and Graphic Design USA, to name a few. Sarah’s most recent achievements include the esteemed International Bronze Stevie Award for Women in Business for the Small Budget Marketing Campaign of the Year.

Jamiel Law 

Jamiel Law is an illustrator, problem-solver, and creative thinker. 

I was born and raised in Sarasota, Florida. It was here where I was exposed to the arts and the cultures behind them.

I strive to make every art piece matter by taking the time to consider its meaning and importance to myself and the viewer. I aim to constantly learn about the world around me through observation and to present that through my artwork in a different and fresh way. The goal is to create work that resonates with others and establishes a genuine connection.

Christina Maksoud

Christina Maksoud owns MakSchu Productions with her partner Karim Maksoud, both of whom have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Motion Design from Ringling College of Art and design. Christina graduated in May of 2016, and within three weeks of graduation married Karim and started their video production based business.

MakSchu Productions has spent the last 6 years focusing on creating promotional content through design, animation, live-streaming, and video campaigns for 100+ brands. The connections made through Ringling college and numerous local professionals have allowed them to bring on specialists from different fields to their projects and work on a vast array of portfolio pieces.

Christina and Karim have had the opportunity to work with several major brands including Bealls Inc., Champs Sports, Visit Sarasota County, Sarasota Opera House, and Visit California to name a few. Some of these collaborations have led to awards, such as Tellys, Local Addys, Online Video Trend Awards, Vega Awards and District ADDYs.


A photo of a blonde woman looking sternly into the camera

Join alumna Katelyn Johnson ’19, Game Art, as she shares her insights on achieving her goals and growing. Why is investing time in leadership and networking skills important? These are key factors to more confidence in your values, abilities, communication, and overall growth. By allowing more opportunities for shared knowledge, you will naturally expand your network and gain insight to new possibilities. Your takeaway should be how the nature of communication is evolving, and the power of flexibility in your career can provide freedom.

Watch the ⏯ video.

Katelyn Johnson

Pronouns: she/her
Nickname: KJ

Katelyn Johnson currently works as an environment texture artist at Naughty Dog, working on titles such as The Last of Us: Part II, God of War Ragnarok, Stormland and The Last of Us Part: I Remake. She’s a Ringling alumna from the 2019 class with a degree in game art. She joined the video game industry to be a storyteller, making worlds to share and explore with others while also becoming an advocate for change. Pushing to uplift more women, POC, LGBTQI +, Transgender people and any marginalized humans in the industry. Katelyn is building a better place while growing in communication and leadership areas!


Fall 2021

It’s what you know and who you know! Tips on making genuine connections in your industry.

Whether you’re in school trying to secure an internship or on the cusp of graduating and looking for job opportunities, it can be a challenge trying to make the right connections. During her time at Ringling College, Dania Hammad ’16, Illustration, discovered that sometimes if you want to stand out from the crowd you have to get… creative! In this presentation, Dania will talk about her experience at Ringling College and how she created her first paid opportunity during her junior year with a famous actor, navigated the world of NYC’s film and television industry, and share some unique and bold ways to connect with employers and influencers!

Dania Hammond ’16, Illustration, is a multi-hyphenate with expertise in film production, social media, and art direction. Dania worked as a digital content creator during her junior year at Ringling. She created the official logo actor Adrian Grenier’s global organization, The Lonely Whale Foundation. She was the on-air host for ART Network, producing episodes for the popular YouTube series Going Up! interviewing celebrity guests like Mark Ruffalo, Kevin Smith, and Sissy Spacek.

After college, Dania worked on the Golden Globe Winning series Mozart in the Jungle and the series POWER. She created her own company, Dose of Dania Productions, producing viral video content for companies like IBM and Microsoft.

Students, Alumni, Faculty, Employers, Resources… Career
Counselors are all about connections!

Connect and learn what CCS can do for you. We’ll share resources that you don’t want to miss.

Meet Charles Kovacs, Director of Career Services, Cyndi Flanagan, Associate Director, Alejandra Lance-Henterly, Associate Director, Rew Woodruff, Associate Director, and the student peer advisors who work in the Center for Career Services.

Connecting people, ideas, community, and opportunity.

Explore opportunities that are available in your community. There are hidden gems everywhere!

Andrew Martineau is best described as Chief Creative Altruist in a variety of genres including: film, fine art, design, retail, music, technology, architecture, food, fashion, beauty. He is partner and co-founder of several organizations including,but not limited to, UniteUs Group, Art Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale Art & Design Week, and Zero Empty Spaces (with a location in Sarasota). Utilizing a wealth of industry experience, creativity, and the desire to connect people and unite communities, Andrew creates and markets opportunities that benefit businesses by way of notoriety, innovation, and profit.

Connecting to the Center and exploring diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace.

In today’s business world, diversity, equity, and inclusion have become a priority. Thus, this workshop will focus on strategies to assess whether potential employers are truly committed to DEI efforts, successfully demonstrate your commitment to diversity as a job candidate in your resume and interviews, and explore techniques to excel in cross-cultural team environments.

Yoleidy Rosario-Hernandez is an Afro-Dominican and Tainx trans educator, diversity consultant, and performing artist who utilizes the pronouns Ze, Zir, Zirs. Rosario implements and facilitates intercultural and intersectional programs and initiatives, trainings, and workshops that address important social justice issues through the interdisciplinary investigation of indigenous and diasporic cultures, histories, narratives, and healing through the arts. Rosario has recently joined the Ringling College of Art and Design team as the new Associate Dean of Students and Director of Diversity and Inclusion, in order to establish Ringling’s new Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Rosario is also the Founder of Mosaic Movements, a diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting and arts organization.

Discussing the importance of multicultural collaboration in a globalized world.

Our personal and professional development require the creation of a network of connections with current employers, educators, and supervisors. The peers we share classes with will likely become our co-workers, employers, employees, and most importantly, a connection to the workplace or industry we aspire to be part of. Join our presentation to learn more about how to connect and collaborate with your peers from different cultures!

Shpresa Mehmeti
Shpresa Mehmeti ’23, Business of Art and Design, was born and raised in Kosovo. From a very young age Shpresa had many interests; she was a chess champion in high school, was part of the Astronomy Club of Kosovo, and was an active member of her community. She left Kosovo at the age of 17 to pursue her studies at the UWC Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the past two years as a Ringling student, she was the International Cultures Club President, was awarded a few scholarships in addition to “The Emerging Leader of the Year” award.

Milena Montero
Milena Montero ’24, Film student with a Branded Entertainment emphasis, was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is the current President of the International Cultures Club (ICC) at Ringling College of Art and Design. In 2018, she was awarded a two-year scholarship to study at United World College (UWC) Changshu China, where she pursued the International Baccalaureate Diploma. As a Davis UWC Scholar at Ringling College, Milena aims to be involved in projects that raise awareness and promote diversity in front and behind the camera.

A photo of a blonde woman looking sternly into the camera

Successful collaboration in a team setting.

Explore communication styles and how to utilize yours successfully. It’s important to understand the role that communication plays in a team structure.

Candice Johnson is the current director of student activities and leadership development at Ringling College.

She received a bachelor’s of science in public health (BSPH) from University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, and master’s in student in education with a focus in student affairs administration and higher education from University of North Carolina, Greensboro, North Carolina. In graduate student, she oversaw the Campus Activities Board and supervised the programming assistants in the Campus Activities and Programs office. She worked as an intern at SUNY Downstate Medical School in Brooklyn, NY for residence and student life. Her professional career has been devoted to helping students of all backgrounds achieve their potential and grow as individuals. Candice hopes to encourage students to celebrate and embrace diversity of opinions and individuals instead of allowing it to divide.


Fall 2020