Global marketing executive and national trial lawyer to speak at Georgia Southern’s fall 2022 Commencement ceremonies

Georgia Southern University has named two speakers for the University’s fall 2022 Commencement ceremonies on Dec. 10 and 13.

Approximately 2,100 students will graduate with associate, baccalaureate, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees this semester during ceremonies in Statesboro and Savannah. Candidates will have the option to choose the location where they would like to graduate. 

Speakers have been finalized for each ceremony. The date, colleges and speakers for each ceremony are:

Saturday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. —  Enmarket Arena in Savannah for all 10 colleges

Saturday’s speaker is Deborah Nelson (’90), who currently serves as a partner in the Seattle law firm of Nelson Boyd, PLLC, and is a partner in Boyd Trial Consulting, a national trial consulting firm that provides interactive focus groups and related services to plaintiffs’ trial lawyers. 

Nelson is a frequent speaker who has lectured locally, nationally and internationally on a variety of legal topics, especially in the areas of traumatic brain injury, insurance litigation, legal malpractice, jury trials and focus groups.

She graduated magna cum laude from the former Armstrong Atlantic State, earning a bachelor’s in history with an emphasis in American history before receiving a law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law. There she was a member of the Moot Court Honor Board. 

Nelson served as president of both the Washington State Association for Justice and the Council of Presidents of the American Association for Justice (AAJ), where she was a member of the executive committee and a state delegate. She is also past chair of the Insurance Law Section of AAJ and is a member of AAJ’s Jury Bias Litigation Group, Insurance Law Section and Leaders Forum. In addition, she is a member of the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia and the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association.

Nelson was named a Super Lawyer by Washington Law & Politics magazine multiple years, has been named to Best Lawyers and was twice named Best Attorney in Clallam County. In addition, she has received the Distinguished Service Award from the Clallam Pro Bono Lawyers, the Alvin Anderson Award from the Washington State Association for Justice, the Woman of Distinction Award from Soroptimist International of Port Angeles and was named a Distinguished Alumni member by Georgia Southern. 

Nelson is also a founding board member of Ian’s Ride, a charitable organization formed to raise awareness and increase outdoor access for those with mobility disabilities. In addition, she serves on the Georgia Southern University Foundation Board. 

Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. at Allen E. Paulson Stadium for all 10 colleges

Tuesday’s speaker will be Liz Crisafi (’95), the global vice president of marketing for IHG Hotels and Resorts, one of the world’s leading hotel companies. She is consistently recognized as an integrated marketing pioneer, successfully blending data, creativity and customer relevancy to create best in class campaigns. 

Today, she leads IHG’s suite of 17 global hotel brands, including InterContinental, Kimpton, Holiday Inn and Six Senses, as well as integrated marketing strategies across digital, loyalty and partnerships for more than 6,000-plus hotels worldwide.

In 2021, Crisafi was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp to sit on the Georgia Tourism Foundation Board, with a goal of expanding Georgia’s tourism and making it a sought-after travel destination. As well, she serves on the advisory board of Brand Innovators and has been recognized as one of the “Top 100 Women To Watch in Brand Marketing.” She was also recognized by Dress for Success Atlanta in 2021 for its annual “Women of Power” designation. 

After earning a bachelor’s in communication arts with an emphasis in broadcasting from Georgia Southern, Crisafi worked her way up to senior leadership positions at Kimberly-Clark, Ogilvy & Mather, Discovery Communications and Eastman Kodak Company. She joined IHG in 2014. Under her leadership, IHG has cemented its place as one of the most beloved hotel companies in the world by developing breakthrough marketing, launching a newly revamped loyalty program and helping introduce a half-dozen new hotel brands in the last five years. 

Crisafi’s global expertise across these many diverse industries and her global leadership reputation have uniquely positioned her as an innovative, strategic and inspirational trailblazer amongst her peers.

She also volunteers her time to give back to underserved communities in Atlanta and spends countless hours fundraising to support local music and arts organizations in her community. 

Each ceremony will be livestreamed to the commencement page on the University’s website and the Georgia Southern Facebook page

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