Tag Archives: Cynthia Cordes

BU COM celebrates its 100th Anniversary with COM Talks

By Gina Kim
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

It’s been a great past week for Boston University’s College of Communication (COM). With the celebration of the program’s 100th anniversary, COM hosted a number events that honored its alumni, students, staff and faculty. This weekend, I had the opportunity to attend COM Talks, an event not too different from the ever so influential TED Talks, which have been making such a huge difference in people’s lives. These talks reach millions nationwide, informing them of ideas worth sharing, ranging from “Why a good book is a secret door,” to the controversies of gender violence. At BU, we’ve developed our own, unique style of a Talk event but with the same idea in mind: connecting and communicating the ideas worth sharing.


At the event, COM featured a superstar panel of experts in their respective fields of mass communication and journalism. Each speaker shared their personal experiences, what their roles in this industry mean to them and how every story we report leaves a mark everywhere and affects the way society functions. Each speaker reminded us of what roles we take on as both the reader and the reporter.  As each speaker shared his/her message, one message remained consistent: Storytelling is the heart of what COM does and it gives every individual an opportunity to connect with audiences. This event brought the best alumni and faculty to demonstrate the craft of true storytelling.


This is a candid photo that my friend and fellow blogger Keiko Talley took while I was waiting in line to meet the Senior Vice President of HBO, Jay Roewe, a BU alumnus and producer of many major hit shows such as “The Newsroom” and the show that’s taken the entire world by force, “Game of Thrones”. Needless to say, I was absolutely stoked. Not to mention, absolutely star struck. I don’t usually get too fangirly but, GAME OF THRONES?! Come ON!

He was just one of the few amazing people we got to meet and listen at COM Talks. It was definitely a panel of rock stars in the industry; from New York Times best-selling authors, to legal prosecutors, to those who worked for Good Morning America and my very own Media Law professor Dick Lehr, whose investigative reporting on the case of Whitey Bulger for the Boston Globe got turned into a Hollywood movie starring Johnny Depp, Sienna Miller, and Benedict Cumberbatch. This group of superb individuals that came to speak at the event were so impressive, and they all reiterated the same message reminding us why we chose journalism, and what we can do to utilize it as an important facet of society.


At the end of the event, we were given a small card that forced us to go up to any of these speakers and ask them the questions printed on the card. I had to go up to an alumni and ask what their favorite course was at COM. That part was easy…I was already given something to ask. However, being forced to jump out of my comfort zone and overcome my shyness to reach out to these amazing people was another story. I felt like I wasn’t worthy of being in their presence, but I mustered up all the courage possible and did it. In turn, I had the privilege of meeting with our first COM Talk speaker Travis Roy (COM ’00), author of “Eleven Seconds” and former hockey player for the BU Terriers.


Besides speaking with Mr. Jay Roewe, meeting with Travis Roy was definitely a personal highlight of the event.  His speech stood out to me for so many reasons. He came to BU in the fall of 1995 with a hockey scholarship, but a few weeks later on October 20th,  his life changed forever. Roy suffered an injury that left him a quadriplegic. On Saturday, Roy said it was at that challenging time in his life when he realized that as often as we may choose our challenges, other times, the challenges choose us. It isn’t about how much gets taken away from us, but rather, how we choose to respond and find what drives us forward, despite our obstacles. The core of Roy’s personal story was definitely emotional; as much as he kept pointing out the simplicity of his message, it was definitely the most profound.

IMG_2475What COM Talks helped me realize that every day we are here, we get more and more inspired and motivated. Whether we find the inspiration in our classes, the lectures or even the events that are put together for students, they all push us forward. Not only are there a lot of impressive individuals at COM worth getting to know, but there is also such a large pool of successful alumni always willing to help current students out. The event reminded me why I’m here, and the endless opportunities that await all of us even long after we leave.

Most of the speakers are all alumni who, at one point in their lives, were in our very shoes, trying to get the word out and deciding on their career paths. They were students just like us, hoping to make a mark on the industry someday. At the end of the day, as COM Talks reminded us, it’s about serving the public’s needs, discussing the truth, and making a difference.



Winners of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award offer advice for success

By Nikita Sampath
MS Broadcast Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication 

If you walked around BU’s campus this past week, you probably noticed the numerous events being hosted for BU Alumni, faculty, staff and students. BU was smart in planning these events at a time when new grads were settling in and most likely thinking about where their degree might take them. These events were designed to provide networking opportunities, teach and inspire; after attending COM’s Distinguished Alumni Awards, I can personally say, BU’s mission was accomplished.

2014 Distinguished Alumni from L-R: Cleveland O’Neal III (COM ’78), Cynthia Cordes (COM ’01), Will Lautzenheiser (CAS ’96, COM ’07) and Bill Simmons (COM ’93). Photo, Katherine Taylor. — with Cleveland O’Neal, Cynthia Phillips Cordes, William Lautzenheiser and Bill Simmons at Boston University College of Communication (BU COM).

At the event, celebrated on Thursday at the School of Management, COM students and faculty were actively interacting with the alumni over tasty hors d’oeuvres and drinks. This year, COM honoured four of its alumni- – Cleveland O’Neal III, Cynthia Cordes, Bill Simmons and Will Lautzenheiser. Each of them had accomplished something from which we learned.

Cleveland O’Neal (COM ‘78), the first African American to produce a show on CBS, started out as an actor. While working on the CBS series, he built his own Emmy-nominated entertainment company, Connection III, from ground up. “Work hard” was his advice to students.
One step at a time.

Cynthia Cordes (COM ‘01) went from studying Journalism at COM to studying Law at Notre Dame. This year she featured on a national list of Top 250 Women in Litigation selected by Benchmark Litigation. She began her career with the U.S Department of of Justice where she led a task force on human trafficking. Now a partner at Husch Blackwell, she continues her anti-human trafficking efforts through the company’s Human Trafficking Legal Clinic, the first of its kind in the United States.
Be passionate about your work.

Bill Simmons (COM ‘97) is a name most American sports fans identify. He graduated with a degree in print journalism from COM but foresaw the potential of the internet even when his dad tried persuading him to stick to traditional print media. His blog The Sports Guy caught the attention of ESPN who hired him in 2001. Since then, he’s gone on to become the editor-in-chief of Grantland.com.
Trust your instincts.

Will Lautzenheiser (COM ‘07) was a student like one of us; he was fascinated by the Charles River and wanted to make a film about it. However, three years ago he lost his arms and legs to a deadly bacteria. At the event on Thursday, we watched his short documentary, Stumped, in which he featured and wrote. It tells the story of how he got used to his prosthetic legs and how he is now a stand-up, or sit-down comedian as he calls himself.
Life will give you lemons.

This BU alumni event was indeed a great way to begin the semester. It reminded us that hard work is the only way to success, and that we must make the most of networking opportunities.
Stay focused. Stay Inspired.

Cynthia Cordes: acclaimed human-trafficking prosecutor honored by BU

By Iris Moore
MS Broadcast Journalism ’15
BU College of Communication

At Boston University’s College of Communication (COM), the beginning of a new semester also means the start to another year filled with exciting events for faculty and staff. Yes, it is important to get your schedule right and books bought, but it’s also important you are made aware of the once-a-year, beneficial networking events happening right now.

This Thursday, September 18th at 5:30 p.m., the College of Communication (COM) is hosting the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards at the School of Management. The event, which is free and open to the public, will honor some of COM’s most accomplished alumni. Previous alumni recipients who have attended the event include: – Co-Host of Market Place Morning Report and American Public Media, Jeremy C. Hobson (‘04) – White House Photographer, Peter J. Souza (’76), – Bravo’s Executive Vice President of Development & Talent, Andy Cohen (’90). The list goes on. If you have time, check it out here.

This year, you may have the chance to network with the BU COM alum who has prosecuted more human trafficking cases than any assistant U.S. attorney in the country. Yup, that’s right, Cynthia Cordes (COM ‘01) will be attending this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards, as she is one of the four COM alums being honored for her impressive professional accomplishments.


Cordes completed her undergraduate studies at Boston University where she received her B.S. in Journalism. Following, Cordes earned her J.D. at the University of Notre Dame. She began her legal career as a trial attorney with the U.S. Attorney General Honors Program. It did not take long before Cordes was recognized for her pioneering work as a federal prosecutor.

As an assistant U.S. attorney, she led multiple, ground-breaking human trafficking investigations and prosecutions. In 2014, Cordes was named Lawyer of the Year by Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly and selected nationally in the Top 250 Women in Litigation by Benchmark Litigation.

Currently, Cordes is a partner at Husch Blackwell in Kansas City. Although she is no longer a prosecutor, she is still actively involved in the fight against human trafficking.

So, join your COM community as we enjoy an open bar and hors d’oeuvres in celebration of these alums’ accomplishments. For more information visit the Alumni Weekend page.