Join us the second week of each month as we feature a UM-Dearborn alumnus or faculty presentation in our Alumni Engagement Speaker Series. The series will highlight Wolverine thought leaders sharing career advice, innovative ideas, leadership lessons, and more.  

Check back each month for an exciting new video! 

Please note, the University of Michigan-Dearborn does not necessarily endorse speakers’ views.

From Dearborn to Hollywood: Ten truths I learned while navigating the ever-changing entertainment biz

Marketing Executive and UM-Dearborn alumna, Laura Abele '94 B.A., discusses her journey from college student to marketer in the film industry.  Using her personal experiences as the narrative, she provides practical advice for those charting their own career path.

Laura Abele is an entertainment marketing executive with two decades of film studio experience and currently works at The Walt Disney Company.

During her time as a marketing strategy lead at both New Line Cinema and Twentieth Century Fox, she oversaw the Home Entertainment campaigns for a diverse slate of films and franchises including The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Austin Powers, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Notebook, Hairspray, The Sound of Music, Avatar, Titanic, 007: James Bond, and Star Wars. 

Abele moved into Theatrical marketing and oversaw the International campaigns for the films The Fault in Our Stars, The Maze Runner trilogy, The Revenant, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, and many more. 

In addition, she produced industry events at Comic-Cons in San Diego and Sao Paulo, Brazil, as well as CineEurope in Barcelona, Spain, showcasing such films as Final Destination, Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Peanuts Movie, Alita: Battle Angel, Dark Phoenix, Bohemian Rhapsody, and The Greatest Showman.

Abele earned her B.A. in Sociology at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.  She currently lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband, Joe and adorable terrier mix, Sidney.

View the presentation here or click on the video below
Video Length: 42:40

Past Alumni Engagement Speaker Series Videos

January 2020: A Conversation with Facebook VP Judith Toland

Presentation Summary:  A conversation with UM-Dearborn alumna and Facebook VP Judith Toland moderated by UM-Dearborn Associate Professor of Marketing Crystal Scott, with an introduction from College of Business Dean, Raju Balakrishnan.

Speaker Bio: Judy Toland is a transformational marketing c-suite executive with an engineering foundation. She joined Facebook in July 2019 as Vice President, Head of Scaled Solutions, Global Business Marketing based in the Chicago office. This global role is responsible for all digital marketing, marketing analytics and attribution, marketing governance and operations, marketing technology, and business education and certifications for the Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger B2B brands.

Judy has 26 years of experience across five industries (Technology, Chemicals, Automotive, Financial Services, and Fitness) and five Fortune 500 companies (Facebook, Monsanto, Ford Motor Company, Visteon Corporation, General Electric, and Wells Fargo). The last five years, she has held VP/SVP and Chief Marketing Officer roles with GE Capital, Wells Fargo, and most recently with Life Fitness. In these prior roles, she held responsibility for all aspects of marketing from product strategy, product and customer marketing, digital marketing and lead generation, branding, CRM, events/partnerships, customer facing training and education, and an in-house creative agency.

Judy has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University and an MBA in Marketing from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She was recognized in 2017 by The Secured Lender as one of the Top 50 women in Commercial Finance. She is also a past Board Member of the Brunswick Acceptance Corporation. In addition, she is a Daniel Burnham Fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago, a member of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago Board of Managers and the CMO Club, and a founding member of the Peer 150 Chicago Chapter. Judy is passionate about Diversity and Inclusion, having been a member of Diversity Councils at both GE Capital and Wells Fargo and is a past Co-Chairperson of the GE Capital, African American Network (AAF), an employee resource group.

View the presentation here
Video Length: 57:10

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