Speakers

Mike Aiello

Assistant Director of Creative Development, Universal Orlando Resort Entertainment​

 

Michael Aiello is a Writer and Show Director for Universal Orlando Resort’s Entertainment Department. Mr. Aiello has overseen concept development for the entertainment elements within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and specifically was integral in creating content and choreographing the performances for both the Frog Choir and Triwizard Spirit Rally within the area.

 

Since 2003 Mr. Aiello has played a major role in Universal Orlando’s annual event, Halloween Horror Nights. His credits for the event include writing and directing the popular “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure” to successfully partnering with New Line Cinema to co-create content based on “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Friday the 13th” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as well as Universal Pictures’ “The Thing”.

 

Mr. Aiello is writer and lead creative director for Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories. The new Cinematic Spectacular show is a tribute to Universal’s 100 years of film-making history.  It will highlight some of the most fun, dramatic, awe-inspiring moments from Universal Picture’s most iconic films – shown in crystal-clear clarity on huge waterfall screens within the Universal Studios lagoon.  The show will take guests on a journey of epic cinematic moments filled with heroes, horror, laughter, good vs. evil and triumph – all against a backdrop of light, sound and special effects.  

Rachel Buchholz

Editor and Vice President of National Geographic Kids and 

National Geographic Little Kids

 

Rachel Buchholz is the editor and vice president of National Geographic Kids and National Geographic Little Kids magazines in Washington, DC. In her nearly 20 years of editing for the tween market she has learned that dogs love to skateboard, that ghosts live in the White House, and that if you’re in doubt, run a story about Harry Potter. Buchholz has helped the magazine’s 1.2 million readers set seven Guinness World Records, and in the process has talked Cameron Diaz out of her sneakers (Longest Chain of Shoes), taken jeans off of Ben Stiller (Largest Collection of Clothes to Recycle), and convinced Michelle Obama to do jumping jacks (Most People Doing Jumping Jacks in 24 Hours). She is the author of "How to Survive Anything: Shark Attack, Lightning, Embarrassing Parents, Pop Quizzes, and Other Perilous Situations" and "True Love: 24 Surprising Stories of Animal Affection." A former editor at Boys’ Life magazine in Dallas, Buchholz will tell you that she’s originally from Texas; however, documents reveal that she actually grew up in Oklahoma.

Heather Johnson M.S.

Adjunct Faculty Member at Brigham Young University -- Family Studies

 

Heather Johnson M.S. completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Brigham Young University, and has been an adjunct faculty member for the last nearly 12 years. She teaches students the principles behind successful families and the importance of families spending time together.

 

Beyond the classroom, Heather is also a contributor on KSL’s Studio 5, KSL News Radio and KSL's Family Focus. She is frequently asked to share her message of “Successful Families” with organizations and groups through speaking engagements and seminars.

 

Passionate about families, and feeling the need to share what she teaches with a bigger audience, Heather started “Family Volley” (familyvolley.blogspot.com), an on-line advice column that aims to share solid and trusted advice with her readers about family, parenting, marriage, motherhood, and everything in between.

 

In 2011, Heather published her book, “Family Fun Fridays”. It is a compilation of the very best games and activities for families, with variations for families with children of all ages.

 

Married for 12 years, her greatest joy comes from being a wife, and mother to their 4 children (ages11 to 2 years). Marriage and motherhood have been her most humbling adventure.

 

Connect with Heather at blog.familyvolley@gmail.com, and on Twitter @penandpapergirl

Nathan McGee

Director of Social Media and PR at Cricut

 

Nathan McGee is the Director of Social Media and PR at Cricut, makers of the Cricut electronic cutting machine.  He has been involved in the DIY/Maker movement and a long time crafter with skills including everything from creating polymer clay beads to knitting with screw drivers.  As a father of 2 young girls, one of his top priorities to make time to craft, create, make and explore with his family. “If we build on a tradition of creative exploration, our children will be more prepared for the challenges of life!”

 

Nathan’s past work experience has included Lucasfilm, Zynga, Macys.com, CaféPress and Sony.

 

Jyl and Troy Pattee

CEO, Mom It Forward Media and Chief Dad Officer, Dadventurous

 

Jyl and Troy Pattee met nearly 17 years ago when Troy interviewed Jyl for a copywriting internship position in the retail department store's in-house advertising department where he worked as a copy director. The two crafted creative and award-winning advertising campaigns for a year before getting married. They then took individual career paths, landing Troy as a director of communications with an MBA and Jyl as an instructional designer and senior project manager, creating corporate training programs for Fortune 500 companies. In 2008, they left their jobs, combined their experience, and joined forces again, moderating Twitter parties and collaborating on campaigns and consulting clients, this time in social media. As @momitforward and @dadventurous, Troy and Jyl have been listed on Babble's top 100 Twitter moms and top 50 Dad Bloggers lists. Jyl, the CEO of Mom It Forward Media, founded and organizes the Family Forward retreat and co-founded the successful evo Conference. She sits on the Mom Advisory Council for ONE.org, is a Shot@Life Champion for the UN Foundation, and was named one of the Top 10 Power Moms by Parents Magazine in 2010. Troy, as chief dad officer, represents Kraft Cheese as a dad blogger ambassador and uses his marketing and business expertise to help Mom It Forward Media behind the scenes in addition to the many clients he blogs for and consults with. Jyl and Troy live in the Rocky Mountains with their two tween boys and their dog named #Hashtag. They love to travel (especially road trips), eat large amounts of cheese (especially Jyl), and play in the snow (especially Troy).

 

Lora Wallace

Show Director, Universal Orlando Resort Entertainment

 

Lora Wallace is a Show Director for Universal Orlando Resort’s Entertainment Department. In her role, Ms. Wallace has directed many shows and experiences at Universal Orlando, including the Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular, Macy's Holiday Parade, Halloween Horror Nights and Mardi Gras. She was also part of the Creative Entertainment team for the grand opening of Universal Studios Singapore.

 

Ms. Wallace also led the creative development and direction of Universal’s Superstar Parade, which debuted in May 2012. The daily parade brings an entirely new form of entertainment to Universal Studios Florida and includes larger-than-life floats, state-of- the-art technology and hundreds of energetic street performers.

 

Ms. Wallace joined Universal Orlando’s Entertainment team in 1996 as a performer in various shows and became a choreographer for Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure in 1998. Prior to her career at Universal Orlando, Ms. Wallace worked for several theme parks in the Northeast United States, performing and choreographing shows.

Mike West

Executive Producer Universal Creative Studio

 

Mike West joined the Universal Creative Studio in 2006 as Show Producer for The Simpsons Ride at both Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood. In September of 2007, he was promoted to Executive Producer. The attraction opened to rave reviews in 2008 and received the prestigious THEA Award for the Best New Attraction from the Themed Entertainment Association, as well as Best New Theme Park Attraction by Theme Park Insider.

 

Mike’s other Universal projects have included the gigantically popular King Kong 360 3D:Return to Skull Island at Universal Studios Hollywood (2010); THEA Award-winning Transformers - The Ride 3-D attractions for Universal Studios Singapore (2011), Universal Studios Hollywood (2012) and Universal Studios Florida (2013); Despicable Me Minion Mayhem at Universal Studios Florida (2012) and the recently opened Simpsons Springfield Expansion at Universal Studios Florida (2013).

 

Prior to joining Universal Creative, Mike was president of Innovative West, Inc., a creative design company he founded after a twenty-five year career with Walt Disney Imagineering. Innovative West’s list of clients included, Carnegie Mellon University, NBC Universal, The Coca-Cola Company, Walt Disney Entertainment, Silver Dollar City, The Franklin Institute, J.W. Marriott, Renaissance Hotels, The Colonial Quarter and the L.A. County Fair. His range of client work included concept development, inspired writing, accomplished directing and successful producing of shows, attractions, retail space, resort experiences and museum exhibits.

 

During his twenty-five year career with Disney, Mike was involved in developing, writing, directing and producing more than eighty shows, attractions, retail spaces, museums, interactive guest experiences and new business initiatives for The Walt Disney Company. As a Writer, Show Designer, Director of Concepts and Scripts, and Senior Show Producer-Director, Mike’s creative efforts appeared worldwide in a variety of formats including television, film, video, binaural audio, live theatrical shows, three-dimensional ride- through attractions, and original concept and product development.Mike was at the forefront in the development of Adventures by Disney, the highly successful travel business launched by The Walt Disney Company in 2005 that now has more than 25 Adventures circling the globe. He created guest experiences that ensured a variety of “Disney Differences” as an integral part of every Adventure. These included programs for live entertainment, interactive family activities and multi-media presentations.

 

Mike’s past projects have also included creative development and integration of the Disney PhotoPass imaging business; the Moteurs Action Stunt Show Spectacular and the Disney Channel Production Tour at the Walt Disney Studios Park in the Disneyland Paris Resort; Who Wants to Be A Millionaire-Play It!, formerly at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s California Adventure; and The Cargo Hold, an amazing binaural sound production for The Pirate Museum in St. Augustine, FL.

 

Additionally, Mike wrote, directed and/or produced Sounds Dangerous at Disney’s Hollywood Studios; Innoventions at Epcot; The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, formerly at the Magic Kingdom; Song of the Rainforest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom; and the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

 

Mike has appeared as a featured speaker on the Disney Cruise Line and the “What If” conference in London, England, as well as a guest lecturer at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center; the University of Central Florida’s Interactive Entertainment Academy, and the Disney Institute’s Corporate Enrichment Programs. He has also been a contributing author on several books about Walt Disney Imagineering and its creative process, including The Imagineering Way, Ideas to Ignite Your Creativity and The Imagineering Workout, Exercises to Shape Your Creative Muscle.