Alumni Advisory Board
Eighteen prominent graduates of the Communication program at UMass Amherst serve on the department’s alumni advisory board, established in 2013. These highly accomplished alums have pursued careers in and alongside the Communication field and are helping us shape the future of our department in a number of important ways:
* by providing insights and guidance into the kind of curriculum and opportunities that will help ensure our students’ success after graduation;
* by participating in the department objective of fundraising for scholarships, faculty support, and enhanced facilities with up-to-date equipment; and
* by serving as a resource for undergraduate and graduate students and helping them better understand and plan for a range of post-graduation career opportunities.
The collective wisdom and experience of the Comm alumni advisory board are vast, and we deeply appreciate the board members’ ongoing commitment to our department and our students. We are very proud of these alums, and we invite you to read more about them:
Bob Cargill, ’81, is director of social media at Overdrive Interactive in Allston, MA. During the course of his career, Bob has worked with hundreds of clients in the promotion and sales of their products and services. His work has been recognized with more than 40 awards from the New England Direct Marketing Association (NEDMA), including Gold for his blog “A New Marketing Commentator,” Gold for Best Tweets, and Silver for Best Copywriting. A past president of NEDMA and two different Toastmasters clubs and a graduate of Leadership MetroWest’s Leadership Academy, Bob is also a monthly columnist for ClickZ on the subject of social media.
Sean Corcoran, ‘99, is Executive Director for Digital Media & Innovation at the award winning advertising agency Mullen Lowe in Boston. At Mullen Lowe, Sean has helped transform a 40-year-old advertising agency into a leader in the use of emerging media such as social media, mobile, programmatic media buying, and analytics for clients such as JetBlue, Bose, Acura, and the National Geographic Channels. Prior to Mullen Lowe, Sean was a leading analyst for social and digital media at Forrester Research and held several other agency roles working with dozens of Fortune 500 companies in the digital space.|
Laura Dames, ‘92, moved to Atlanta after graduating from UMass Amherst to work in cable television. She got her first job at Turner Broadcasting and has been climbing her way up the corporate ladder there ever since. She is SVP and GM of Turner Studios, a production facility and creative resource hub for Turner's portfolio of brands. Prior to this role she was SVP of Business Operations for TNT, tbs, TCM, and TruTV, and GM of an in-house creative agency. Laura's experience spans the entertainment media business, including management, marketing, operations, live events, and video production.
Jennifer Davies Gillespie, ‘77, is Associate Director of Development Communications at Harvard Business School, where she creates print and web content to support development, donor relations, and alumni relations outreach and activities at HBS. Jennifer is a communications professional with more than 20 years experience in journalism, broadcasting, and non-profit institutions. Previously, she worked at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, WHDH-TV (Channel 7), the Boston Globe, and the Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA.
David Hatch, ‘88, is the Chief Marketing Officer for the Institute for Applied Network Security (IANS), a decision-support and consulting firm, delivering technical and managerial insights and support to information security and IT risk management organizations. David’s career has spanned more than 25 years in roles as a technology user, marketing executive, research analyst, business leader, and online columnist within the information management industry. Prior to joining IANS, David was Senior Vice President and General Manager of Aberdeen Group, a leading market research firm based in Boston.
Henri Hebert, ‘94, has created, produced, cast, directed, and written nonfiction projects for print, syndication, and network and cable television for more than 20 years. Her career has included everything from researching at Inside Edition and American Journal to producing Average Joe, Biggest Loser, and Three Wishes to working with Maria Shriver on the NBC documentary Siegfried & Roy: The Miracle. Henri was on the producing team for The X Factor and has served as an Executive Producer on The Jacksons: Next Generation, Pregnant and Dating, Tattoos After Dark, The Ex and the Why, and 8 Minutes. She co-produced the documentary short Dream with Me: One Year in America’s Public Schools.
Coby Kalter, ‘10, was most recently the Coordinator for the Sustainability Advocate Program at New York University's Office of Sustainability. He led the initiative in piloting and establishing a rating system for program participants to measure their performance in helping NYU meet its sustainability goals. Previously, he worked on passing benefit corporation policy with B Lab, assisted in corporate education program development with New York City's Department of Small Business Services, and ran a Food Box Program with GrowNYC. Coby recently received an MPA in Public and Non-Profit Management and Policy from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NYU.
Lisa Letizio ‘84, is a Human Resources executive and strategic business leader with experience building healthy cultures and strong leadership teams in fast-paced, goals-driven corporate environments. Lisa has built HR teams to meet the needs of very demanding businesses both domestically and internationally. She is on the Board of Directors for EVINE Live Inc. and chairs the Human Resources & Compensation and Nominating & Governance committees. Lisa was previously VP of Human Resources for The Timberland Company and Chief Human Resources Officer at HSN, Inc. Lisa is actively involved in community service. She is a founding board member and board secretary of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance. She is also a past board member and twice elected board chair of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay, where she volunteers as a big sister and serves on two board committees.
Eran Lobel, ‘89, is CEO and Executive Producer of Element Productions, a company he founded in 1998. He grew Element into one of New England's premiere full-service production, post-production, and integrated content companies. Element produces award winning content for commercial and web advertising, television programs, and long-format films. Element works with top brands such as Nike, GMC, Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts, Buick, Fidelity, Verizon, Hasbro, and ESPN and is a member of AICP. Eran is a founding board member of FILMA and the Massachusetts Production Coalition (MPC) and is a board member of the Boston Ad Club. He also serves on the City Year Seventh Generation board of advisors.
Matt Nagler, ‘99, is Managing Partner of BANK W Holdings, LLC and its portfolio companies The Nagler Group, KBW Financial Staffing & Recruiting, and Alexander Technology Group. His dedication to the human resources field has been a key factor in the award-winning growth of his companies. He leads the organization’s focus on strategic accounts and partnerships. Prior to co-founding BANK W Holdings, LLC and The Nagler Group, Matt worked in management at a global staffing firm. He has had experience in the communication and public relations industry and is a successful restaurateur with establishments across the Midwest. A dedicated philanthropist, Matt spearheaded his organizations’ involvement in the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Make-a-Wish Foundation, and New Hampshire Food Bank.
Elaine E. Nord, ‘81, is a freelance sports photographer based in Avon, CT. She photographs all sports but specializes in Lacrosse. She works mainly for high school athletes and colleges but has had photos published online and in the print edition of such periodicals as Inside Lacrosse and The Daily Gazette in Bermuda. Her shoots include US Men’s and Women’s Soccer, UConn Football, ESPNU Warrior Classic, Big City Lacrosse, Fairfield Men’s Lacrosse and Fairfield Athletics, Villanova Men’s Basketball, and Connecticut Whale Hockeyfest. Elaine is expanding her business to include landscape photography, and she provided her time to photograph the Integrative Learning Center for the Department of Communication’s promotional campaign.
Collin Norton, ’88, is a Principal Sales Representative in the Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management Division at Medtronic, Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of implantable medical devices. Collin works directly with electrophysiologists, cardiologists, and cardiac surgeons, supporting the implant procedures for pacemakers, defibrillators, and cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) devices for treating congestive heart failure. In a medical device sales career spanning 27 years, Collin has worked for Lanier Worldwide, G.E. Medical, Abbott Laboratories, and C.R. Bard, as well as the venture capital startup firms Perclose, Cardiothoracic Systems, and LeMaitre Vascular.
Meghan (LaTour) Oreste, ‘97, has worked for more than 15 years in marketing and PR for the healthcare industry. In 2004, she opened her own consulting firm that specialized in introducing ground breaking medical technologies. In recent years she helped her clients launch the first non-drug asthma treatment, new COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) interventions, and emergency allergy treatments. In 2014 Meghan graduated from law school and plans to focus her practice on healthcare law. She has been a board member and passionate supporter of the Life is Good Kids Foundation since 2009.
Roderick S. Oreste, ‘98, is founder and principal attorney of Oreste Law. Before opening his practice in 2010, Rod spent more than 12 years working for the Boston Red Sox in the Public Affairs department. He also co-authored the book Red Sox Legends, which includes a collection of Red Sox photographs assembled by the Boston Public Library accompanied by short stories and player interviews about Red Sox history. He has also written numerous articles for publications such as Red Sox Magazine. At Oreste Law, Rod focuses his practice on real estate, estate planning, small business, and family law.
Sharon Reis, ‘90, started GYMR, a healthcare public relations firm, in Washington DC in 1998. She helps federal agencies, foundations, and medical societies promote scientific research that informs media and policy. She helped launch the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and recently worked with a psychiatric medical society on legislation calling for mental health to be covered at the same level as general medical treatment. She now works with gastrointestinal medical societies to educate Congress on the value of colonoscopy as a lifesaving screening. Prior to starting GYMR, Sharon worked at Fleishman-Hillard and Milton Bradley.
George G. Smith Jr., ‘02, is a leading brand marketer and Director of Digital Marketing for the Global Beverages Group at PepsiCo, Inc. He has a proven track record running brand-marketing strategy, having lead award-winning marketing programs for Fortune 50 companies and iconic brands such as Rémy Martin, Crocs, Walmart, and Rémy Cointreau USA. As an industry leader, he has appeared as a speaker at such professional conferences as SXSW (South by Southwest), Izeafest, Blog World Expo, and Ad:Tech and was named to the 2013 Brand Innovator’s 40 Under 40 list.
Nigel Smith, ‘93, has spent more than 20 years working in healthcare public relations at several leading global firms including Schwartz Communications (now MSLGroup) and Racepoint Group since graduating. He has run practices and managed offices in Boston, San Francisco, and London. Nigel recently started his own firm, Next Step Communications, and is excited to bring traditional PR services along with “storytelling” capabilities across digital platforms. Nigel’s expertise includes medtech, provider services, and healthcare IT. He currently lives in Westwood, MA and is pleased to learn that an Antonio’s is opening in Boston.
Jennifer Springer, ‘93, has dedicated her entire professional life to the labor movement. After graduating from Suffolk U. Law School in 1997, Jen spent the next three years as a staff attorney at AFSCME Council 93 before joining a private law firm where she represented private and public sector unions on a range of labor and employment matters. Jen returned to AFSCME in 2004 and served for eight years as Metro Boston Coordinator before joining SEIU Local 888 as General Counsel and Director of Field Operations. Jen also serves as labor representative to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s Women’s Workforce Council and as Executive Vice President At-Large, MA AFL-CIO.