Kasey Larson, Founder/Owner of DBY Events & Invitations

kasey_larsonKasey Larson (President & Co-Founder) has been running DBY events & invitations for almost 15 years, now.  And while you would think that her background is in Hospitality, Events or Design exclusively, it is actually by way of a Finance/Marketing degree from DePaul University that she has the foundation to run a  successful independent business.  Kasey holds a C.P.A. certification which is very effective in helping her planning clients stay on budget; but the creative side of her brain also holds a design certification and a minor in art.  After working in fundraising event management and advertising – she joined forces in 2003 with her Co-founder and began the retail design studio that would grow into DBY events & invitations.

Her early professional years were spent managing financials for a Fortune 500 company; after which she transitioned into the marketing & events world in both non-profit events management as well as larger marketing firms. Product launches and client teams were a solid foundation to learn skills still used today with her consumer clients.  There were a few stops in places like a culinary school, an independent public relations firm and a small strategy firm, where she held her last corporate title.  After the soup to nuts learning opportunities presented themselves, and she’d learned the best (and worst) ways to work for others she jumped in with both feet and founded DBY. After 8 years offering events ‘branding,’ the coordination, logistics and planning services were added.

Over the last 20 years, she has planned huge city-wide walks, small intimate dinner parties, weddings and business events for a wide range of clientele everywhere from Chicago’s Museum Campus to some of the city’s most elegant ballrooms to private estate beaches.  Her philosophy has always been a ‘perfect event every time’ for each and every client.

Ryan LaCosse

ryan_lacosseRyan LaCosse grew up in Manteno, Illinois before his quest to teach math to the world began at ISU! There, he found, Linear Algebra wasn’t as easy as basic algebra, so he chased his passion of communications!

During his tenure at ISU, Ryan worked many Saturday and Sunday 2a-6a shifts at WZND and helped produce news packages and newscasts for TV-10! He somehow managed to graduate in 4 years with a major in Mass Communications and a math minor!

Ryan now has many jobs. Husband, father, radio personality, and world traveler! Ryan works for Cumulus Radio in Peoria, doing mornings as ORyan, host of “The Morning Grind” on Peoria’s 92.3, and “The No Pants Party” (middays) on 105.7 The X! He also is a leader in the digital department for the cluster.

Ryan is also the host of Monster Jam broadcasts on FS1 and live stadium events for Monster Jam! He has been apart of viral videos and just hosted the Monster Jam World Finals 18 in Las Vegas. Monster Jam has taken him all over the United States and even to places like Cardiff, Wales.

He believes Conan Obrien couldn’t have been any more correct when he once said, “If you work hard, and you are nice to people… good things will happen to you!”

Ryan is now living his dream everyday, and he realized he could do ANYTHING, the day he walked onto the campus of Illinois State University!


Aaron Schoenherr, Founding Partner of Greentarget Global Group


Soon after his Illinois State University SoC education was completed, Aaron Schoenherr seemed destined for a comfortable career as a strategic leader with a top-tier public relations agency. But Schoenherr wanted his own destination. He hungered for the biggest PR challenge he could find.

As co-founder of Greentarget Public Relations, he created that challenge for himself by building Greentarget into a world-class agency serving the needs of attorneys, their clients and their firms. In a crisis, attorneys protect their clients by advising them to stop communicating … while public relations advisers encourage clients in trouble to tell their story authentically. Schoenherr and his Greentarget team know how to bridge that “advice gap” with creative strategy and good common sense. Now with a larger and more diverse staff, Greentarget has branched into other client areas by providing the same intelligent approach to thought leadership and crisis management.

As one of the founding members of the School of Communication Alumni Advisory Board, Aaron is invested in the future of the public relations profession by connecting with its upcoming generations.

Aaron Schoenherr will share the story of Greentarget Public Relations, its evolution in an ever-changing industry, and his tips for fueling “The Chase,” or, your personal journey to personal growth and fulfillment.

Griffin Hammond is a documentary filmmaker in New York City, known for producing DIY filmmaking tutorials for indie filmmakers, and his award-winning documentary Sriracha.

griffin_hammondThe University of Southern California and the U.S. State Department named Griffin a Film Envoy for the 2017 American Film Showcase—a cultural diplomacy program that sends independent filmmakers around the world to teach.

In 2016, Panasonic named him the global brand ambassador for the new Panasonic GH5 camera.

In 2014, Griffin moved from Bloomington, Illinois to New York City to cover the U.S. presidential election for the Bloomberg Television/MSNBC show With All Due Respect.

Previously, he worked for YouTube Next Lab, and started his career as a video producer and social media strategist at State Farm Insurance.

Griffin graduated ISU in 2007 and earned his Masters from the School of Communication in 2009.

Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State

jesse_whiteJesse White is Illinois’ 37th Secretary of State. White was first elected to the office in 1998 and won landslide victories in 2002, in which he won all 102 counties, and again in 2006 and 2010. On November 4, 2014, White was re-elected to a record-breaking fifth term, winning another landslide victory. Prior to his election as Secretary of State, White served as Cook County Recorder of Deeds — a job to which he was first elected in 1992 and re-elected in 1996. In 1959, White founded the internationally known Jesse White Tumbling Team to serve as a positive alternative for children residing in and around the Chicago area. Since its inception, more than 17,000 young men and women have performed with the team. White has spent 57 years working as a volunteer with the team to help kids stay away from gangs, drugs, alcohol and smoking, and to help set at-risk youth on the path to success. White served our country as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division and as a member of the Illinois National Guard and Reserve. He played professional baseball with the Chicago Cubs organization, which was followed by a 33-year career with the Chicago public school system as a teacher and administrator. Jesse White earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Alabama State College (now Alabama State University) in 1957, where he was a two-sport athlete earning all-conference honors in baseball and basketball. Born in Alton, Illinois, he now lives on Chicago’s near north side.