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TalentQ brings Pizza Hut CEO, industry pros to network with IMC students

IMC students, faculty and alums gathered on Wed., Nov. 12, to hear Pizza Hut CEO Scott Bergren and a panel of industry professionals - most IMC alums themselves – talk about brand storytelling and the value of a Medill IMC degree.

“I graduated from IMC in 2005, and I would say every aspect of what I did in IMC prepared me for what I do now,” said Todd Smith, CMO of Sonic Drive-In. “IMC is the perfect degree for a marketer right now.”


The theme of the 2014 talentQ expo was effective brand storytelling, and panelists were asked to discuss the current era of dynamic technological change. The event featured a keynote address by Scott Bergren (BSJ68, MA69), Worldwide CEO of Pizza Hut. In addition, there was a brand storytelling panel discussion, moderated by Bob Scarpelli, adjunct lecturer and former DDB Worldwide chairman and chief creative officer, featuring the following panelists: Emily Allard (IMC14), Marketing Manager, National Fastpitch Coaches Association and professional athlete; Melissa Cherry, VP Cultural Tourism & Neighborhoods, Choose Chicago; James Moorhead, CMO Dish Network; Todd Smith (IMC05), CMO Sonic Drive-In; Shivram Vaideeswaran (IMC07), global marketing director, Taco Bell International.

Bergren touched on the importance of finding “creative thinkers” in marketing, and mentioned why an IMC degree from Medill stood out to him from the rest when making hiring decisions.

 “I had no right-brain people [in the company], and it occurred to me, I connected the dots and said I wonder what would happen if I went back and recruited at Northwestern IMC,” said Bergren. “I wonder what would happen if I brought some of those people in here. So I did, and they turned out to be the superstars of the marketing department.”

 TalentQ, run by Medill IMC students with support from faculty and staff, is a program to engage students, alums and professionals in a “common quest to better understand the unique talents and skills of the most successful marketing communications professionals of tomorrow.” The organization brings in top speakers from the industry (frequently Medill alumni) every quarter to discuss current and relevant topics in marketing and communications.

To see the full event stream from the Expo, visit our website.