Students: Come take part in the first Media Challenge at Newhouse November 5

By Wendy S. Loughlin

November 1, 2013

Turner Broadcasting’s Sandy Khaund will challenge participants to find innovative ways to approach real issues in the media industry

Students interested in media innovation and technology are invited to attend the first installment of the William & Ada Kussell Media Challenge Series on Tuesday, November 5, at 7 p.m. in Room 101, Newhouse 1.

Sandy Khaund

The event will feature Sandy Khaund, a senior director with Turner Broadcasting’s Emerging Technologies team in San Francisco, where he works with Media Camp. Khaund will discuss some of the issues and challenges facing the broadcast industry and challenge students to develop ideas for facing those challenges. Select students will have the opportunity to work with Khaund and the Media Camp team to further develop their ideas.

“The concept of the Media Challenge is to bring in experts from the leading edge of established media companies to talk about the challenges and issues they face, then challenge students to propose ideas about how to solve these problems,” says Sean Branagan, director of the Newhouse Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, which is sponsoring the event. “Each installment in the series will focus on a specific field or discipline in the media industry and include special incentives for students, announced live at the event.”

Khaund joined Turner from Irynsoft, a mobile education company he founded in 2009 to bring collaborative video-based learning software to mobile devices. In 2011, Irynsoft was named among the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company, named a finalist for a World Technology Award and selected for a Kauffman Foundation fellowship.

Before Irynsoft, Khaund was COO of Piczo, a teen social network that was acquired by Stardoll in February 2009. He also spent six years at Microsoft, where he helped implement .NET design patterns, co-founded CodePlex (Microsoft’s open source collaborative development site) and owned Microsoft’s employee blogging platform (at the time, the largest in the world). Prior to Microsoft, he held various engineering and technical positions at Intel, Boston Consulting Group and Lockheed Martin. He holds three patents and has published several papers.

The Media Challenge Series is supported by a gift from Will and Ada Kussel.

“I saw this as a great opportunity to provide for students who are interested in entrepreneurship,” says Will Kussell, who was impressed with the work Branagan is doing at the school. “My experience is that any time you can bring real world practical experience to students in real time, it makes the academic experience that much richer. It also provides a networking opportunity for students.”

Kussell’s daughter Melanie is a recent graduate of the Newhouse School. “That was another touch point for us,” he says. “This was an opportunity for us to recognize the fabulous education she got and the network she tapped into.”

Kussell, an operating partner of Advent International Corporation, is the former president and chief brand officer of Dunkin’ Donuts Worldwide.

Kussell reinvigorated the Dunkin’ Donuts brand and took the company from a struggling chain of donut shops to “America runs on Dunkin.” He was responsible for all domestic and international operations, marketing, franchising and new store growth for the Dunkin’ Donuts brand. Under his leadership, the company continued its global expansion, adding new stores in its existing markets while expanding into dozens of new markets, both in the United States and overseas. He also implemented the company’s focus on coffee.

Kussell began his career with Dunkin’ Brands in 1994 as a senior vice president of marketing and purchasing for Dunkin’ Donuts and was promoted to president of Dunkin’ Donuts in 1996. As retail concept officer for Dunkin’ Brands, he oversaw marketing, retail operating systems, supply chain and strategic planning for Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin-Robbins and Togo’s worldwide. In June 2003, Kussell was named chief operating officer for Dunkin’ Brands.

Prior to joining Dunkin’ Brands, Kussell was vice president of marketing for Reebok International and the international group product manager for Polaroid.

For more information about the Media Challenge, contact Branagan at 315-443-6310 or startups@syr.edu.

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