Bios

Jodi Bollaert

Vice President of Customer Experience Strategy & Research, MRM//McCann

Jodi has been working in the field of UX since the the late 90s, when the WWW was a modern Wild, Wild West, and many websites looked about as cutting edge as a horse and buggy. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English at Michigan State University, followed by a Masters in Education (Instructional Technology) from Wayne State University. She is VP, Customer Experience & Research at MRM-McCann, a global advertising agency with offices in Birmingham, Michigan. In 2013, she founded Detroit UX, an active, 1000+ member Meetup group focused on networking, learning and leadership development.

Tommy Edison ("The Blind Film Critic")

The Tommy Edison Experience

Tommy Edison has been blind since birth and now producing videos online that reveal a glimpse into his life and the funny challenges that he faces daily. Tommy has showed us what it's like for someone who is blind to use an ATM for the time and how some people who are visually impaired may organize their money. Plus, Tommy is living his dream of reviewing movies as the Blind Film Critic. With his unique and interesting perspective, Tommy says "I watch movies and pay attention to them in a different way than sighted people do. I'm not distracted by all the beautiful shots and attractive people. I watch a movie for the writing and acting." In addition to being the Blind Film Critic, Tommy has been a radio professional for nearly 25 years, having spent the last 19 at STAR 99.9 FM in Connecticut as a traffic reporter. Tommy's engaging personality, along with his on-air excellence and entertaining demeanor has garnered him much media attention.

Anthony Fontana

User Experience Leader, Owens Corning

Anthony Fontana is the User Experience (UX) Leader at Owens Corning. As a designer, he has worked as User Experience (UX) & Graphic Design Lead at GE Capital and Learning Technologist at Bowling Green State University. He has designed a number of applications for web and mobile and specializes in Agile/Lean UX methodologies and processes.

Benjamin Lauren

Assistant Professor, MSU Experience Architecture Program

Benjamin Lauren is an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American cultures. He is also an Assistant Director of the Graduate Program in Rhetoric and Writing. His work has been published in journals such as Technical Communication, Computers and Composition, the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, and Transactions on Professional Communication. His book Communicating Project Management, is due out on Routledge in 2018. More information on Ben’s book can be found at http://bit.ly/2i0e0J2

Liz Odar

Digital Services Expert, U.S. Digital Service, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Liz is part of the U.S. Digital Service, a tech startup inside the federal government that's building better services through design and technology. She's been working on the country's immigration system, introducing design and UX research practices, to modernize a largely paper-based system. Prior to joining USDS, Liz led UX research efforts and managed teams at HelloWallet, LivingSocial, AARP, and HP.

Rebecca Zantjer

User Experience Researcher, Owens Corning

Rebecca Zantjer is the User Experience Research and Web Analytics Lead at Owens Corning where she develops strategies for understanding users and their journeys across the organization in ways that help merge user goals and business objectives. Rebecca enjoys advocating for users in the design and development process and driving data-driven decision making.