Board of Overseers
Donald Spetner, BA, P’12, Chair
Senior Corporate Advisor, Weber Shandwick Worldwide
Don Spetner serves as a strategic advisor to the corporate communications and public affairs function for major organizations. Don has more than 30 years of experience in the communications field, having served as the chief communications officer for three global, publicly traded firms. Prior to starting his consulting practice, Don served as executive vice president, corporate affairs for Korn/Ferry Int’l. (KFY) after serving as the chief marketing officer, the chief integration officer, and the head of R&D. Don also served as a partner in the Corporate Affairs executive search practice, where he recruited senior communications executives for a variety of clients, including Chevron, Yahoo!, Genentech, Microsoft, and The Los Angeles Dodgers, among others.
Eric Alexander, BSSp ’78, Emerson College Trustee
President, Negotium Partners
During his 20 years as president of Wall Street Access, Eric Alexander managed the firm’s online brokerage, asset management, institutional research and execution businesses. Prior to Wall Street Access, Eric was vice president at Burson Marsteller, where he focused on event marketing, executing national programs for clients including Cracker Jack, AT&T, and American Express. Eric holds FINRA licenses 7, 63, 24, 9, and 10.
David G. Breen, BFA ’78
Principal Designer and Founder, VDA Productions
Principal designer and founder of VDA Productions, David Breen has worked to establish the unrivaled reputation for excellence that marks VDA. Having spent more than 25 years in the corporate event-marketing arena, he is instrumental in helping clients achieve their core messaging objectives through a creative, visual presentation medium. An accomplished designer and consultant in Boston, David is a graduate of Emerson College with a degree in Technical Theater and Design. He has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia for numerous corporate special events, conferences, and museum/themed retail installations. VDA Productions is a Boston-based event design, management, and production company providing complete in-house design/fabrication/installation services.
Bret Clemons, P ’16
Vice President, Gemline
Bret Clemons is a business executive and entrepreneur who is a vice president at Gemline. He serves on the boards of several startup companies and is an advisor to the Emerson Accelerator Program. He and his wife, Cindy, are co-chairs of Emerson’s Parents Leadership Council, helping to organize support among parents for the College. They have two daughters. Alexis is a rising senior at Emerson studying marketing communication with a minor in political communication. Their other daughter, Lauren, is a rising sophomore at Boston University.
Bonnie Comley, MA ’94
Vice President, Stellar Productions International, Inc.
As a producer, Bonnie Comley, vice president of Stellar Productions, won her first Tony award for producing Broadway's Jay Johnson: The Two and Only in 2007. Her Broadway credits include Legally Blonde and revivals of Fiddler on the Roof (Alfred Molina), Gypsy (Bernadette Peters), and London’s Oliver-nominated revival of Thoroughly Modern Millie. She is a member of the Board of the Directors for the Drama League, The Board of Advisors for The Theatre Museum, The Dean's Advisory Council at Emerson College, and the Chancellor's Advisory Board for The University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is currently working to produce Stormy Weather on Broadway.
Lisa Dollinger, BS, Parent '10
Principal, Dollinger Strategic Communications
Lisa Dollinger is a strategic communication and marketing specialist with more than 20 years of experience in building brands, growing businesses, and managing the reputations and public images of some of the world’s foremost executives and entertainment personalities. As a global media and entertainment executive, Lisa was chief communications officer for Clear Channel Communications, Inc., a Fortune 500 global media and entertainment company that held leadership positions in radio and television broadcasting, digital media, outdoor advertising, and live entertainment. For a decade, Lisa provided executive leadership for the company’s communications initiatives, acting as chief communications strategist and spokesperson for the company. She directed corporate communication and branding, reputation and issues management, strategic positioning of the company’s diverse global assets, media relations, social media strategy, crisis communications, corporate social responsibility, and employee communications. She also worked with executive management on litigation, public policy, and financial communications. As architect of the company’s notable reputation rehabilitation, Lisa led the company’s communication initiatives through persistent regulatory issues, new competitive threats, and changing consumer behaviors, as well as multiple strategic realignments, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and leadership changes, and the digital transformation of its traditional media platform, launching its digital billboard networks and iHeartRadio digital music platform. She led the company’s communication through its acquisition by private equity firms Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital. Her work has been featured in a Harvard Business School–published case study.
Prior to Clear Channel, Lisa was the first employee of Capstar Broadcasting Corporation, where she led that company’s corporate communications initiatives through an unprecedented period of industry consolidation and growth and the most successful IPO up to that time on the New York Stock Exchange.
Lisa has ranked among the top 2 in Radio Ink Magazine’s annual ranking of Most Influential Women in Radio, being named to the list every year from 2003 through 2011. She was named one of the 2011 Most Powerful and Influential Women of Texas by the National Diversity Council and was also appointed to the Commission for Healthy Media Images for Girls by the Girls Scouts of the USA.
Lisa is an active industry and community leader, and has served on national, regional, and local boards of directors, including: Alliance for Women in Media/American Women in Radio & Television, the Ad Council, Library of American Broadcasting, Blue Star Contemporary Arts Center, the National MS Society, and on advisory councils of the USO, The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Communication, and The University of Texas at San Antonio’s College of Liberal and Fine Arts. She has served as a national judge for radio and television’s Gracie Awards for many years, and has served on several leadership committees for the National Association of Broadcasting. Lisa is a popular public speaker and has been featured at the Texas Conference for Women for several years. She holds a BS degree in organizational communication from The University of Texas at Austin, and is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society and the Seminar. She was recently named to the Board of Overseers for Emerson College.
Mark Donovan, BA ’89
Chief Operations Officer, ThinAire
Mark has more than 15 years of executive–level leadership experience building viable businesses and robust, network–related application products in varying verticals such as healthcare, education, sports and entertainment, and residential real estate. Prior to joining GoMed and imATHLETE, Mark was CEO for Flyfone, Inc., an international provider of voiceover–IP managed services whose customer base expanded to more than 65 countries around the globe. As a founding executive and senior vice president of operations for Viva Group, Inc, dba Rent.com, Mark was responsible for all operations including product development, strategic analysis, sales, customer service, and human resources. In 2005, eBay Inc. acquired Rent.com for $415 million. Mark’s professional experience covers work with Fortune 100 Corporations, the White House, and entrepreneurial and industry innovators.
John C. Ford, BA, Overseer Emeritus
Principal, John C. Ford Associates
As a member of the Board of Overseers from 1976 to 2007, John Charles Ford has been a valued and respected member of the Emerson College community. Providing leadership for the past 31 years through his expertise in organizational development and communications, as well as with generous financial support, John has helped Emerson become one of the most respected communication colleges in the country. John was a member of the Management and Entrepreneurial Studies Committee of the Board of Overseers. He was also a board member of the Friends of the Majestic Theatre. He has generously and consistently supported the annual fund, the president’s discretionary fund, the EVVY Awards, the Library, and the Majestic Theatre. Before founding his own consulting firm, John C. Ford Associates, in 1984, John had distinguished himself in the broadcasting and cable industry, where he held senior human resources responsibilities at CBS, ABC, and Home Box Office. At CBS, John established the CBS School of Management. His work in human resources earned him the American Society for Training and Development’s Human Resources Development Award in 1978. Prior to that, John worked in the financial services industry with positions at the American Stock Exchange and Merrill Lynch and Company.
Sandra Goldfarb, BFA ’78
Senior Vice President, Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications
Sandi Goldfarb manages Rasky Baerlein’s nonprofit, education and consumer practice. Her clients include the Museum of Science, Boston; The Greater Boston Food Bank; Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation; UMass Amherst; and The Foundation To Be Named Later. A seasoned communications professional, Sandi has more than 25 years of experience in a variety of settings, including advertising, public relations, and marketing firms; cultural institutions; and government agencies. A graduate of Emerson College, Sandi is past president of its Alumni Board of Directors and served as the alumni representative to the Board of Trustees. She is the recipient of The Bulldog Reporter Award for Excellence in Media Relations, the Public Affairs Award from the Publicity Club of Boston, two Bulldog Reporter Awards (Silver) for event publicity, The Bulldog Reporter Award (Honorable Mention) for New Product Launch, The PR News Non-Profit Award (Honorable Mention) and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Emerson.
Jan Jacobs Greenhawt, BS ’69
Retired Speech-Language Pathologist
Jan Jacobs Greenhawt has been an Overseer since 1996, and joined the Alumni Association Board in 1987. She received a BS in Speech from Emerson College in Speech Pathology and Audiology and an MA from University of Maryland. While working for Prince George’s County Board of Education, she was employed as an itinerant speech pathologist and as a teacher of pre-school deaf. During her employment with the York County Easter Seal Society, Jan provided speech and language services to both children and adults and taught lip-reading classes to senior citizens. Since 1986, she served as a speech-language pathologist and a curriculum development specialist in the area of written language, training special education teachers and speech-language pathologists in literacy. Jan recently retired from the School Board of Broward County Schools, and is now an active volunteer for the school. She also serves as president of a cancer charity in Boca Raton, Florida.
Lisa Gregorian ’83, MA ’86
Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Warner Bros. Television Group
Executive vice president of worldwide marketing since 2005, Lisa Gregorian heads a centralized marketing department of 135 people in the United States and 30 overseas. She has recently been involved with the launch of Anderson Cooper’s talk show and The Big Bang Theory in syndication, as well as marketing existing shows such as The Closer and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Michelle Keating, BSSp ’84
Owner and CEO, Alder Foods, Inc.
Michelle Keating has served as Alder Food’s president from 2000 to 2007, which sells nationally branded food and perishable goods to the Military Commissary bases throughout the world. Under Michelle’s leadership, Alder Foods has become one of the top 30 companies selling worldwide to the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA). Michelle purchased Alder Foods in 2007 and is now the CEO/owner. In her commitment to public service, Michelle served as the chairwoman of the Fisher House Boston Capital Campaign from 2007 to 2010, raising more than $3 million to help build the $6 million House. Michelle previously worked in the high tech industry for 15 years, where she was instrumental in developing and launching national retail campaigns for IBM, Apple, and Microsoft. Michelle is on the Board of Fisher House Boston and is a member of the Massachusetts Public Engagement Steering Committee. In 2009, Michelle received the Abigail Adams, Jane Swift Public Service Award. In 2010, The Boston Business Journal recognized Alder Foods as #19 in the Top 100 Women-Led Businesses.
Gary Krantz, BS ’81
President and Chief Executive Officer, Krantz Media Group
Gary Krantz is president and CEO of Krantz Media Group, which provides CEOs, C-level executives, sales managers, content providers, brand marketers, and high-profile entrepreneurs with tailored "think-out-of-the-box" business development, sales, content development, syndication, and investment strategies. Previously, he was the president of Air America Radio and the chief digital media officer at Westwood One Inc.
G. Michael Mara Jr., BS ’81
Senior Vice President, Regional Manager Investment and Fiduciary Services, Wells Fargo
Michael Mara is senior vice president, regional manager investments and fiduciary services at Wells Fargo. Previously, he was managing director and portfolio manager with ICC Capital Management, Inc., an institutional money management and HNW/UHNW wealth advisory firm (RIA). Prior to his merger with ICC, Michael served as chairman, CEO, and founder of Valley Forge Capital Advisors, Inc. (VFCA), a SEC–registered investment advisor. ICC Capital Management and Valley Forge Capital Advisors merged in January 2011. He was the lead portfolio manager to the VFCA Sector Rotational Core Composite, responsible for portfolio design, composition, and management. Michael served as sub-advisor/portfolio manager to the MFS Sector Rotational Fund (previously the Penn Street Sector Rotational Fund - PSF) since its inception in August 2000 to February 1, 2010. Michael was the founder and manager of the PSF and was responsible for the Fund’s strategic acquisition by MFS Investment Management in January 2007. Previously, he served as Millennium Bank’s (now First Niagara Bank) managing director for asset management & trust, chairman of the trust investment committee with a specific focus on the Private Bank’s HNW clients. Prior to that, he was with the Vanguard Group as a principal of Vanguard’s asset management and trust services. Previous to Vanguard, Michael was with Merrill Lynch & Company as senior vice president–regional director of the Merrill Lynch Trust Company (MLTC). Michael was a senior member of the Merrill Lynch Trust team that built Merrill’s national trust program. In addition to opening numerous Merrill Trust offices throughout the United States, he was instrumental in the development and management of MLTC’s UHNW Trust, Philanthropic, and Family Office programs.
Executive Director, ArtsBoston
Catherine Peterson is the executive director of ArtsBoston, a nonprofit arts service organization with a mission to support and grow the arts and cultural sector of Greater Boston. During her tenure, Peterson has grown ArtsBoston's annual operating budget from just over $800,000 to more than $2 million. ArtsBoston is a two-time recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Commonwealth Award, which is the state¹s highest honor for the arts, sciences, and humanities. The Boston Globe celebrated the ArtsBoston Audience Initiative as a "Game Changer" in its special innovation report in June 2014, and The Arts Factor as one of the "20 Best New Big Ideas" in its Best of 2014 issue.
Peterson¹s marketing and audience development experience includes the management of a multi-million-dollar Wallace Foundation audience development program at the Worcester Art Museum; artistic administration for the Cleveland Orchestra; and the position of vice president at Columbia Artists Management, handling the careers of 25 internationally known opera singers, including Arleen Auger, Mignon Dunn, Robert Lloyd, Arthur Woodley, and Timothy Noble.
Peterson¹s community and national commitments include serving on the Leadership Council for Boston Creates, the cultural planning process for the City of Boston, under the leadership of Mayor Martin J. Walsh; as chairman-elect for Chorus America, an advocacy, research, and leadership development organization that advances the choral music field; and as a
board member for Friends of Copley Square and MASSCreative.
A Berkeley, California, native, Peterson graduated summa cum laude from Wellesley College.
President, Towel Snap
Mike Rogers began his career at Doyle Dane Bernbach as a copywriter. He was instrumental in making Atari a household name and won numerous creative awards for his work on Michelin, the New York Lottery, Volkswagen, Porsche, Bud Light, IBM, and Hershey. After winning the biggest account in the history of the agency, he was named creative director of the New York Office, the youngest person to have ever been named to that position. After adding more than $500 million in new business billings, Mike was named vice chairman chief creative officer of the agency. Prior to DDB, Mike was president and executive creative director of Partners and Shevack, a mid-size New York agency. In 2004, Mike started his own agency, ML Rogers, with Miracle-Gro, Roundup, Ortho, Scotts, AAMCO, and the CIT as charter clients. Over the next several years, he grew the agency, adding the fast food company Checkers and Rally's, Blistex, Odor Eaters, Stridex, Toto, Greek Baker, Chipita, The Advertising Research Foundation, and many others. In early 2012, Dentsu acquired ML Rogers. In 2014, Mike started Towel Snap, a strategic and creative consultancy, which helps brands and agencies grow.
Janet Scardino, BS ’81
CEO, Comic Relief, Inc.
Janet Scardino is a media executive who has grown successful television, mobile and online businesses in the US and internationally. A general manager and accomplished brand marketer, she has launched and operated multi-platform businesses for some of the world's most recognized media brands, including MTV, Disney, AOL and Reuters, and American Idol and Saban's Power Rangers. Janet has started up over ten new businesses, including Viggle Inc., the first entertainment marketing and rewards platform, where she was CEO. She is currently launching a new business in digital media and entertainment. Janet studied at Emerson College in Boston, where she graduated with honors and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications. She was honored by The Girl Scouts, received a Highest Leaf Award by The Women's Venture Fund, and was recognized with an Irma Mann Distinguished Speaker Award.
Joshua Wachs, BS ’87
Managing Partner and CEO, Echo and Company
Joshua Wachs, Managing Partner at Echo & Co., has been merging creativity and technology for the last 27 years. In 1987, after graduating from Emerson College with a degree in Mass Communications, he founded a Massachusetts custom database development and consulting company. For more than 12 years, Wachs was President, CEO, and visionary behind Natural Intelligence, Inc. Known nationally and internationally for its innovative custom technology, Natural Intelligence was recognized for pioneering software in the Java world, creating Roaster, a ﬁrst-to-market Java Development Environment and clean-room virtual machine for the Macintosh. Despite demanding career activities, Wachs is an active participant in a wide variety of community activities. He was an early supporter and contributor to a variety of industry volunteer networks, including The Boston Computer Society. He was a member of the YEO (Young Entrepreneurs Association), is on the Board of Overseers for Emerson College, and was a corporate sponsor of Public Radio. He can be found Tweeting at http://twitter.com/schwachs.
John A. Wentworth ’81
Executive Vice President, Communications, CBS Television Distribution
John A. Wentworth is Executive Vice President, Communications, for CBS Television Distribution.
An industry veteran, over the years Wentworth has overseen the various corporate-level and consumer media relations efforts for Paramount Network Television, CBS Paramount Domestic Television, CBS Paramount International Distribution, King World Productions and the current entity, CBS Television Distribution. These combined divisions produce and/or distribute primetime and daytime programming for network, cable, premium television and first-run syndication, domestically and internationally. In addition, he oversees the communications efforts for CBS Consumer Products and CBS Home Entertainment. Wentworth currently oversees all publicity efforts for CTD’s 10 first-run syndicated shows: Dr. Phil, The Doctors, Rachael Ray, Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, Inside Edition, Judge Judy, Hot Bench, Wheel of Fortune, and Jeopardy!; as well as off-network series such as the CSI franchise (CBS), The Good Wife (CBS), NCIS (CBS), Penny Dreadful (Showtime), Blue Bloods (CBS), and the Star Trek franchise.
Before the September 2006 merger of CBS Paramount Domestic Television and King World to create CBS Television Distribution, Wentworth was Executive Vice President, Communications, for CBS Paramount Television, a position he had held since April 2005. The previous four years, he was Executive Vice President of Media Relations and Marketing for what was the Paramount Television Group.
From 1993 to 1999, Wentworth served as Senior Vice President, then Executive Vice President, Media Relations and Marketing, for the Paramount Television Group, reporting to the Chairman of the Group. Prior to that he was Vice President, Advertising, Publicity and Promotion for Paramount Network Television, during which time he oversaw the ongoing publicity for such long-running hit series as Frasier, Cheers, Family Ties, Star Trek: The Next Generation, MacGyver and The Arsenio Hall Show. Wentworth first joined Paramount in 1983 as Manager of Advertising, Publicity and Promotion for Paramount Domestic Television.
Wentworth graduated in 1981 from Emerson College in Boston, with a degree in Mass Communications.
Mary Sweig Wilson, PhD, MA ’64
Professor Emerita of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Vermont and President of Laureate Learning Systems
Mary Sweig Wilson received a BA in Speech and Theatre from Smith College, an MA in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Emerson College, and a PhD in Communicative Disorders from Northwestern University. She is professor emerita of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Vermont and president of Laureate Learning Systems, a software company dedicated to the development of programs to help children and adults with disabilities.