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Karen Freberg University of Louisville, USA

Karen Freberg (@kfreberg) is a Professor in Strategic Communications at the University of Louisville. Freberg is also the director of The Bird’s Nest, a student-run strategic communication agency at the University of Louisville. In 2019, Freberg received the honor of being named a visiting Adjunct Associate Professor in Creative Communication at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Freberg is also a research consultant in social media and crisis communications and has worked with several organizations and agencies such as Kentucky Derby, Sun Tan City, GE Appliances, Korbel, Brown-Forman, Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby, Facebook, Adobe, HubSpot, Chipotle, Firestorm Solutions, Hootsuite, The Breeders’ Cup, IMC Agency, DHS, CDC, and General Motors. This experience led her to be a 2015 Plank Center Fellow for General Motors (GM), where her responsibility was to work with the PR and social media teams, forming best practices and recommendations on social media measurement strategies and influencer marketing practices.

In addition, Freberg is an award-winning author and has written several books including The Roadmap in Teaching Social Media (Amazon, self-published), Digital Media Writing for Strategic Communication (TopHat with Emily Kinsky and Amber Hutchins), and Social Media for Strategic Communications: Creative Strategies and Research-Based applications (with SAGE, which was named 2020 NCA Public Relations Division’s Outstanding Textbook Award Winner). She’s published her second TopHat book with Kinsky titled Concepts in Social and Digital Communication.

Freberg has coordinated and advised various companies on the areas of social media pedagogy and certification programs, such as Cannes Lions (Co-Chair of the Cannes Lions Educator Summit), Hootsuite (Advanced Social Media Certification and #HootAmb), Meltwater (certification program and contributor), Adobe (EDUMax Thought Leader and Adobe Education Leader), Meta Blueprint (Subject Matter Expert), and HubSpot (Education Founding Member). Freberg also launched a social media educators community on FB and Twitter (now X) (@SMprofessors and #SMprofs) for professors, practitioners, and professionals in the education industry to share resources, brainstorm ideas, and collaborate on projects to bridge the gap between education and practice.

In addition to academic publications, Freberg has been interviewed for popular press publications such as The New York Times, The Drum, Newsweek, Adweek, USA Today, The Next Web, MONEY, USA Today College, and Forbes.

xxxiiBefore coming to the University of Louisville, Freberg earned a Ph.D. in communication and information at the University of Tennessee in May 2011 and a master’s degree in strategic public relations at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California in August 2007. Freberg received her bachelor of science degree in public relations at the University of Florida in August 2005.

Freberg is also a four-time All-American, two-time SEC champion, and 2004 Olympic Trials finalist in the shot put. She loves coffee (it’s a major food group), traveling, and being with her Australian Shepherd, Mando Wade, and believes everyone needs to be on #TeamRyanReynolds as he is the only one who can call her Dr. K.