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Professionals share leadership insights at alumni panel


March 09, 2009

The ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will host its annual Alumni Leaders Panel featuring three college alumni who excel in their fields. The presentation, including a question-and-answer session, will begin at 4:30 p.m. March 17 in the Student Services Building Amphitheater on ASU’s Tempe campus.

Speaking directly to students, these professionals will share insights, discuss their professional experiences and examine what they believe to be the most important aspects of leadership. The panel is free and open to the public. More information at 480-965-1441.

Strategist, pollster and analyst Linda DiVall has worked with political and corporate clients for more than 20 years. Founder, president and chief executive officer of American Viewpoint, a leading public opinion research and polling firm based in Alexandria, Va., DiVall has conducted research for many top-level politicians, including the Bush-Cheney presidential campaigns in 2004 and 2000. She worked as part of John McCain’s 2008 polling team and previously served as pollster for Phil Gramm's and Elizabeth Dole’s presidential campaigns. She also was a senior advisor to Bob Dole’s presidential campaign. Her strategic insight has been utilized on health care, Social Security, Medicare and retirement security policy issues. DiVall is a frequent source for the national press. She has been a guest commentator for every major broadcast and cable news network, PBS and C-Span, and has provided election night analysis for network TV anchors since 1988. DiVall earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1974.

A director of the law firm Fennemore Craig, Nancy-Jo Merritt practices solely in the field of immigration and nationality law. She has nearly three decades of experience representing domestic and international companies with issues concerning foreign national employees and business immigration matters. Merritt has successfully challenged the federal government’s interpretation of immigration law in a number of matters, and writes and lectures frequently on developing issues in immigration law. She is founder of the Arizona Coalition for Immigration Representation. A recipient of the American Immigration Lawyers Association Pro Bono Award, her numerous other recognitions include Top 100 Lawyers in Arizona; Best Lawyers in America, Immigration Law; and Southwest Super Lawyers, Immigration. Merritt earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 1964, master’s degree in secondary education in 1974, and a juris doctorate in 1978.

President and chief executive officer of the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, Rachel Sacco, serves on the Governor’s Tourism Advisory Council for the Arizona Office of Tourism. She is a national advisory board member for ASU’s Hugh Downs School of Human Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Sacco was recognized as one of the “Women Who Move the Valley” by Arizona Foothills magazine in 2008. Her honors include being named to the Arizona Governor’s Tourism Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame in 2005. She was also recognized as the 2004 Executive of the Year by the International Association of Business Communicators, Phoenix Chapter. In 2002, Sacco was inducted into the ASU College of Public Programs Alumni Hall of Fame. Sacco earned a bachelor’s degree in communication in 1979."