ITHACA, NY — The executive producer of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has accepted an invitation to return to her alma mater and deliver the 2012 Ithaca College Commencement address. Amy Kule, who earned her history degree in 1987, will speak at the ceremony on Sunday, May 20.
Kule (pronounced ‘cue-el’) oversees all aspects of planning and producing the iconic New York City parade, including creative direction, logistics, operations, design/construction, agency liaisons and marketing partnerships. She is just the seventh person to hold the reins since the parade began in 1924.
“For the millions of people watching along the parade route and millions more viewing the television broadcast from their homes, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a cultural event that helps kick off the holiday season,” said Ithaca College President Tom Rochon. “It takes someone with both tremendous imagination and intellect to plan and execute such a spectacle, and I look forward to hearing from Amy how she manages to pull it all off without a hitch.”
Kule’s formal title is group vice-president, national events and partnership marketing, for the Macy’s Parade & Entertainment Group. In that role she also produces the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks in New York City, the nation’s largest Independence Day event, and leads a team of event and marketing professionals that stages thousands of elaborate events each year, including celebrity appearances, major product launches, fashion shows, culinary demonstrations, window unveilings and tree lightings.
“The Senior Class is honored to welcome Amy Kule back to campus to be part of such an important celebration and milestone in students’ lives,” said class president Jimmy Knowles. “Her accomplishments are exemplary, and I am confident that the message she will share will reflect the same magic and imagination that millions of Americans are treated to each and every Thanksgiving, thanks to her hard work and determination.”
Kule began her Macy’s career in 1996 overseeing all in-store special events at stores along the East Coast. That same year she was promoted to director of Herald Square Events, where she executed celebrity-endorsed product launches, fashion shows, cooking demonstrations and personal appearances as well as coordinated radio promotions for the company’s flagship store in Manhattan.
In 2001 she was named vice-president of marketing and promotions, where her broad experience and vast knowledge of the industry led her to enhance existing partnerships and create new relationships with third parties that transformed iconic characters and brands from the worlds of comic books, film, television and cartoons into Macy’s signature parade balloons and floats. In 2006 she assumed leadership of national partnerships for the unified Macy’s organization, and in 2010 she was promoted to executive producer of the parade and fireworks shows.
“It’s such an honor to be chosen by the Senior Class as their Commencement speaker,” said Kule. “As graduates prepare to join the workforce, I hope to provide some insight into how the lessons they learned at Ithaca can translate into an impactful and rewarding career.”