A birdfeeder, as a cultural metaphor, is much more than an eco-friendly addition to your backyard. Many define it as analogous to a hub for people, ideas and exchanges to gather, or rather a reason for all of these paths to cross. Without the birdfeeders of schools, offices and social gatherings, humans would feel very isolated as social creatures. During the COVID-19 pandemic in particular, we've come to recognize the importance of these spaces.

Inspired by comedian and actress Maria Bamford, who put a park bench across from her home to serve as a human birdfeeder, Advertising and Public Relations Department Chair Joe Glennon has created a speaker series to serve as a virtual space to bring some of the greatest local minds in branding and advertising together at a time when we feel increasingly separate. Its tagline describes the series as an opportunity to "Gather. Rest. Feed your mind, body and soul. Prepare for whatever lies ahead," and Glennon added that "If you can't use space as a unifier, you have to use events and things."

"I wanted to come up with something to pull everyone together--different students, different faculty," he says. "The whole thing's open to anyone who wants to show up, and also at some point maybe try to pull people in from outside the school too."

The speakers, a mix of Klein alumni and ad industry stars from Glennon's Rolodex, will cover topics and roles that are becoming more and more common in the world of advertising and public relations, but that might not have a direct course equivalent here at Klein College of Media and Communication. For example, the first session with Stink Studios Experience Designer & Strategist Stanley Hines, KLN '14, covered the quickly-growing experience design industry from a first-person perspective, as candidates to fill roles like his will likely be in high demand in just a few years.

"[Experience design] is an interesting place where brand-building is going, and it's where creative students can think about going for themselves," Glennon says. "It's sort of a job title and a category that, if they're getting on Indeed.com to look for a job, it may not be one they think of." 

Hines confirmed that during his lecture. "One thing you will hear in the advertising industry is that people just 'fall into it,' and that's definitely true; and it's especially true for experience design," he said.

Glennon says that this idea was a common thread throughout the series: defining careers and job titles that may not exist yet, or that current students may not know about. Other speakers will include Flackable Founder & President Brian Hart, KLN '12; Cohere Agency Principals Dylan Garner and Antoinette Marie Johnson; VaynerMedia Group Creative Director Mike Pierantozzi and Brown and Browner Advertising Founder/Creative Director Derek Walker. 

Glennon said that being virtual provides a unique opportunity for so many of these great speakers to join our students who may not have in other years--after all, they are only a Zoom link away.