Quinnipiac University

School of Communications Alumni Advisory Board

The School of Communications has established an Alumni Advisory Board. The board provides our students connections and professional opportunities across the globe. Members of the Alumni Advisory Board bring decades of experience and leadership, and provide crucial insight into a broad scope of communications industries in film, graphic design, journalism, media strategy and public relations. They also act as liaisons to a number of leading organizations.

Your network to navigate tomorrow’s media landscape

The School of Communications offers an Alumni Advisory Board to provide our students with strong networks and professional opportunities across the globe. Members of the Alumni Advisory Board bring decades of experience and leadership, and provide crucial insight into a broad scope of communications industries in film, graphic design, journalism, media strategy and public relations. They also act as liaisons to a number of leading organizations, including Comcast, CBS Atlanta, New England Patriots, Prudential Financial and Citibank.

In addition to sharing their connections and experiences, board members assist students from all communications programs with mentoring, internships, career placement and other activities. These exchanges allow highly successful School of Communications graduates and their network to gauge the skill sets, talents and interests of current students.

Advisory Board Members

Rich Barry ’89
Executive Creative Director
Speed Social Marketing

Tim Beach ’90
Senior Director/Game Entertainment & Special Events
Arizona Cardinals Football

Alex Birsh ’11
Chief Operating Officer and Vice President
Playbill, Inc.

Aaron Blank ’02
CEO & President
Fearey

Jason Braff ’09
Senior Manager, Communications, Comcast Advertising
Comcast

Jonathan Carlson ’03
Chief Investigative Reporter

Cathy Christino ’86
Vice President/Marketing
Triangle Home Fashions

Kwegyirba Croffie ’11
Producer
CNN

Stephanie Cunha ’04
Retail Public Relations
CVS Health

Claire Currie ’10
Director/Executive & Corporate Communications
Prudential Financial

Angelique Fiske ’14
Lifestyle Editor/Patriots.com
New England Patriots

Faith Forman ’13
Digital Content Manager
Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

Ayah Galal ’17
Reporter and producer
WFSB-TV

Ben Handelman ’07
Anchor/Journalist
WITI Fox 6 News

Ray Hernandez ’04
Public Relations Director
Otis Elevator

Jaclyn Hirsch ’09
Product Manager
Spectrum

Brian Kelly ’99, MS ’02
Deputy Editor
ESPN

Marlon LeWinter ’03
CEO/Founder
NRGized Media

Lauren Melillo '12
Manager, Creative Studio
MNI Targeted Media

Kirsten Owens ’13, MBA ’14
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications
Arvinas, Inc.

Brianne Richard ’09
Awards Events Manager
Amazon Studios

Ben Shapiro ’07
President
Shapiro Consulting

Bruce Taylor ’81
Cinematographer/Director
TaylorVision Productions

Advisory Board Bios

Rich Barry is a creative director who likes to get his hands dirty. As vice president/creative director of Viacom International Media Networks, he personally slimed thousands of kids all over the world! As one of the creators of “Slime Time Live,” “U-Pick Live,” TEENick and more, Barry has done almost every job in media from live TV director to international creative director. He began his career working for radio host Howard Stern in New York City and moved to Nickelodeon in Orlando, Florida, as a production coordinator. Years later he returned to New York and helped create the live production team, which produced over 1,300 episodes of TV. He has massive experience in brand building, promotion and digital short form. In 2018, he combined his passion for motorsports with his knowledge of promotion and social media platforms to open Speed Social Marketing. He continues to race and is an accomplished, high-performance driving instructor.

Headshot of Rich Barry, Executive Creative Director at Speed Social Marketing
Headshot of Rich Barry, Executive Creative Director at Speed Social Marketing

Tim Beach has spent three decades producing events, game presentations and program content across the sports landscape. He has been with the Arizona Cardinals since 2014 as the senior director of game entertainment and special events. He spent 19 successful seasons with the New York Islanders and has enjoyed stays with the Anaheim Ducks, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Yankees, with whom he began his career as an intern in 1989. In addition, Beach has worked the soccer World Cup in 1994, two hockey World Cups, six Super Bowls, nine tennis US Opens, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and many game days with the Yankees and New York Jets. At Quinnipiac, he was active with WQAQ, theater club productions, campus events and was a resident assistant.

Headshot of Tim Beach, Senior Director of Special Events for Arizona Cardinals Football
Headshot of Tim Beach, Senior Director of Special Events for Arizona Cardinals Football

Alex Birsh is the chief operating officer and vice president of Playbill, Inc®. After graduating from Quinnipiac University in 2011, Birsh worked primarily in the sports media industry, making stops at Major League Baseball Productions, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, SiriusXM Radio, and The Topps Company. In 2016, he followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, Arthur, and father, Phil, and joined Playbill, becoming the third generation of the Birsh family to act in a leadership role in the company. He currently oversees the day-to-day operations of all facets of the company and is a vice president of Playbill Travel®, the subsidiary travel company of Playbill.

Headshot of Alex Birsh, COO and Vice President of Playbill, Inc.
Headshot of Alex Birsh, COO and Vice President of Playbill, Inc.

With more than two decades of communications industry expertise, Aaron Blank became CEO and president of the West Coast-based communications and marketing agency, Fearey, in 2014. As a marketing strategist, he has helped to execute award- winning campaigns for nationally recognized clients such as Seattle Kraken (NHL), Amazon and Rite Aid, among others. A dominant force in social media and media relations, Blank has personally placed stories in TIME, Newsweek, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, while his social media strategies have been recognized by The Atlantic as game changing concepts. He and his wife, Lacey, met at Quinnipiac as orientation leaders. The parents of three, they are actively fundraising to improve the community of Woliso, Ethiopia, where they adopted their son, and working to find a cure for Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a rare affliction that renders their son’s skin and connective tissue unbearably fragile. At Quinnipiac, Blank held various leadership positions including class president, student body president, resident assistant and orientation leader.

Headshot of Aaron Blank, CEO and President of Fearey
Headshot of Aaron Blank, CEO and President of Fearey

As senior manager of communications at Comcast Advertising, Jason Braff is responsible for managing employee communications, strategies and programs, developing initiatives designed to support key business objectives, long-term goals and projects. In a previous role at Comcast Advertising, Braff led social media strategy and administered the Comcast Advertising social media advocacy program for Comcast Advertising brands Effectv and FreeWheel. Prior to starting at Comcast Advertising in 2018, Braff served as senior client solutions manager at Qnary, where he managed client success for 25-plus accounts ranging from C-level executives at Fortune 100 companies to fast-moving tech startups. He also worked at Videology (now Amobee) as a communications lead. While at Quinnipiac, he served as editor-in-chief for The Chronicle student newspaper and co-founded The Quad News.

Headshot of Jason Braff, Digital Marketing Manager for Comcast
Headshot of Jason Braff, Digital Marketing Manager for Comcast

An Emmy-winning veteran investigative reporter and anchor, Jonathan Carlson was most recently chief investigative reporter at the CBS station in Atlanta, the 10th largest television market. With nearly two decades of experience in local television and print news, he has broken countless stories of local and national importance, some of which have led to major reforms. He began his journalism career at the age of 16, reporting for his hometown newspaper, and then moving to larger city dailies. Carlson has been published in the New Haven Register, Connecticut Post and Hartford Courant, during his college years. He also wrote for The Chronicle, anchored Q30 news, and made the most of local news internships during his time at Quinnipiac.

Headshot of Jonathan Carlson, Chief Investigative Reporter for CBS Atlanta
Headshot of Jonathan Carlson, Chief Investigative Reporter for CBS Atlanta

Cathy Christino is vice president of Triangle Home Fashions, where she is responsible for branding, communications and content creation. She has broad experience in brand development, integrated marketing, digital strategy, sales support, media, content production, events, promotions and public relations. Christino has led cross-functional teams and worked with major companies and clients across several key categories including luxury, lifestyle, media, entertainment, home fashions, b2b, tech, finance, auto, real estate, education and health care. She has headed up marketing for major media brands where she has transformed the global media strategy, spearheaded digital transformations and launched new media products. At Quinnipiac, Christino majored in mass communications with a minor in marketing and served for three years as Promotions Director for WQAQ.

Headshot of Cathy Christino, Vice President/Marketing for Triangle Home Fashions
Headshot of Cathy Christino, Vice President/Marketing for Triangle Home Fashions

Kwegyirba Croffie is a producer at CNN in New York, working with their Chief Business Correspondent Christine Romans. Before joining CNN in 2016, Kwegyirba worked at News 12 Connecticut and NBC. She graduated from Quinnipiac University in 2011, with a BA in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in theater. While at Quinnipiac, Croffie was a founder sister of Alpha Delta Pi, an orientation leader and was inducted into Lambda Pi Eta and Order of Omega. Kwegyirba was also a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists.

Headshot of Kwegyirba Croffie, Producer at CNN
Headshot of Kwegyirba Croffie, Producer at CNN

Stephanie Cunha is the regional director of public relations for Curaleaf, a leading international provider of consumer products in Cannabis. In this role, she creates strategic communications plans to de-stigmatize and educate new audiences around cannabis consumption for health and wellness, and increase Curaleaf's brand awareness in the quickly evolving industry. Previously, Cunha led integrated external communications campaigns for the CVS Pharmacy retail business, helping to evolve the brand's reputation from a convenience store into a true health and wellness destination. She worked on many innovative projects during her tenure at CVS, but she is most proud of being part of the team that brought the retailer’s award-winning Beauty Mark initiative to life. A former consumer and investigative producer, Cunha’s work garnered three Associated Press awards, an Edward R. Murrow Award and an Emmy. Her stories exposed a number of issues, resulting in changes in local laws and the closure of a nursing home with health violations. At Quinnipiac, she reported for The Chronicle and Q30 news and had internships at the “Today” show and NBC’s local affiliate WJAR. Her Q30 news story on homelessness in New Haven earned her an award from the Society of Professional Journalists, and the 2004 School of Communications Outstanding Student Achievement award.

Claire Currie has nearly a decade of experience in financial and corporate communications. She has led executive and senior leadership positioning campaigns for PGIM Fixed Income, PGIM Private Capital, Chubb, Schwab Trading Services, Northern Trust Asset Management and MFS Investment Management. Currie is experienced in crisis communications, proxy battles, investor relations and public affairs. At Quinnipiac, she participated in the film society and wrote for The Chronicle.

Headshot of Claire Currie, Director/Executive and Corporate Communications at Prudential Financial
Headshot of Claire Currie, Director/Executive and Corporate Communications at Prudential Financial

In Fall 2019, Angelique Fiske began her fourth season with the New England Patriots, where she writes about the team’s off-the-field activities and hosts a podcast covering the same. Before landing in Foxboro, Massachusetts, she covered local news for The Reminder, a weekly newspaper in western Massachusetts. At Quinnipiac, Fiske was the editor of QBSN, president of Kappa Delta, an orientation leader, and she took part in a service trip to South Africa.

Headshot of Angelique Fiske, Lifestyle Editor at the New England Patriots
Headshot of Angelique Fiske, Lifestyle Editor at the New England Patriots

Faith (Goumas) Forman is a digital content manager at BCG. At Quinnipiac, Forman was in the Alpha Chi Omega sorority, where she served as vice president of recruitment, and was a member of the Lambda Pi Eta communications honor society. Upon graduating, Forman has worked in communications in New York City, Connecticut, and Boston. Her roles include a position on the public relations team at the Public Relations Society of America, a member of the inaugural class of the communications leadership program at United Technologies, and marketing assistant director at EY-Parthenon.

Headshot of Faith Forman, Digital Content Manager, Boston Consulting Group
Headshot of Faith Forman, Digital Content Manager, Boston Consulting Group

Ayah Galal is a reporter and producer for WFSB-TV, which is the CBS News affiliate in Connecticut. She joined the Channel 3 Eyewitness News team in December 2018. Galal is a graduate of Quinnipiac University, where she double majored in journalism and political science. During her time at Quinnipiac, she was actively involved with Q30 Television, the student-run television station on campus. Galal graduated Summa Cum Laude and received the Alumni Association Academic Achievement Award for highest scholastic achievement in her class. She interned at WTNH News 8 while in college and was hired there as a news producer upon graduation. Ayah is a Connecticut native with a passion for travel, reading and coffee. She also serves on the board for the Connecticut Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Headshot of Ayah Galal, Reporter and Producer, WFSB-TV
Headshot of Ayah Galal, Reporter and Producer, WFSB-TV

Ben Handelman is an award-winning journalist based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He anchors evening newscasts at WITI, the local fox affiliate. At Quinnipiac, he helped launch Sports Paws, a Bobcats sports show still going strong today on Q30. He got his start in broadcast journalism by calling play-by-play for the women’s ice hockey team. He began is career in Illinois, where he worked at TV stations in Springfield and Champaign and met his wife, Ashley Sears, who also works at WITI as a reporter. They live along Lake Michigan where he dreams of Quinnipiac’s first Frozen Four championship and a Cinderella run by the basketball team.

Headshot of Ben Handelman, Anchor and Journalist for WITI Fox 6 News
Headshot of Ben Handelman, Anchor and Journalist for WITI Fox 6 News

Ray Hernandez is director of public relations and government affairs at Otis Elevator. He has held roles of increasing global responsibility throughout his career including corporate communications, PR, digital/content marketing, and employee/executive communications. Hernandez remains involved with the Quinnipiac community through speaking engagements and student mentoring. He also served as a professional mentor for QU teams participating in the 2016 PRSSA Bateman Competition.

Headshot of Ray Hernandez, Public Relations Director for Otis Elevator
Headshot of Ray Hernandez, Public Relations Director for Otis Elevator

Jaclyn Hirsch is a Product Manager at Spectrum, where she manages product development initiatives for a new product in the Spectrum Reach portfolio. Before joining Spectrum, she managed consumer research and product testing for the FinTech group at Citibank. In addition to her corporate experience, Jaclyn conceptualized and launched FANS — a platform for live music fans. Previously, she wrote for The Tracy Press in Tracy, California and was an editor and content manager at Patch. At Quinnipiac, Hirsch was a writer and editor at The Chronicle and co-founded The Quad News.

Headshot of Jaclyn Hirsch, Product Manager at Spectrum
Headshot of Jaclyn Hirsch, Product Manager at Spectrum

Brian Kelly is a deputy editor with ESPN Digital Media. He has held a variety of positions over his two-decade career at the company, including college football editor, overseeing a staff of 27 writers. He also worked at ESPN Radio and the ESPN.com newsdesk. His current role is with the audience engagement team, helping to oversee the digital media efforts with programming, push notifications and streaming platforms. At Quinnipiac, Kelly was a sports reporter for The Chronicle and hosted a radio show on WQAQ.

Headshot of Brian Kelly, Deputy Editor at ESPN
Headshot of Brian Kelly, Deputy Editor at ESPN

Bulldog. That’s just one word to describe Marlon LeWinter. With over 18 years of experience in the public relations industry, LeWinter is known for his ability to power through to “get it done.” Having worked both at an agency and in-house, he brings a breadth of national consumer and media relations experience. He has helped to develop and execute award-winning campaigns for a variety of clients, including Under Armour, Microsoft, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Hugo Boss, Timex and the American Cornhole League. He worked with Venus Williams and her clothing line, EleVen, and in 2016, he started his own PR/marketing company called NRGized Media, which builds brand awareness and develops promotions that generate press and produce bottom-line business results for clients. In August 2019, LeWinter was named a finalist for a PR Platinum Award in the sports marketing category.

Headshot of Marlon LeWinter, CEO and Founder of NRGized Media
Headshot of Marlon LeWinter, CEO and Founder of NRGized Media

Lauren Melillo is a passionate Quinnipiac Alumni and creative leader with eight plus years of experience. Starting as a graphic designer at Time Inc. in 2012, Lauren worked her way from an entry-level position to her current role as Manager, Creative Studio at Meredith's targeted advertising division, MNI Targeted Media. Nimble in her responsibilities and proud of her award-winning portfolio, Lauren spearheads her team to support the MNI brand both internally and externally, across various mediums. In 2019, she was featured and recognized in The Drum as an Unsung Hero within the marketing space. While at Quinnipiac, Lauren was the president of the design club and graduated magna cum laude in Interactive Digital Design with a minor in Fine Arts. She is thrilled to be reunited with her QU family.

Headshot of Lauren Melillo, Manager, MNI Targeted Media
Headshot of Lauren Melillo, Manager, MNI Targeted Media

Kirsten Owens leads corporate communications for Arvinas, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. Previously, she worked for Alexion Pharmaceuticals, as well as TellMed Strategies, an agency focused on the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. Prior to focusing on health science, Owens worked for United Technologies Corporation (UTC) and was selected for the company’s communications leadership program, where she spent time rotating throughout the digital communications, marketing and public relations functions. At Quinnipiac, Owens was a founding member of QuinniPR, a student-run public relations firm, and served on the executive boards of the Public Relations Student Society of America, the Communications Honor Society (Lambda Pi Eta) and the Quinnipiac Women’s MBA Association.

Headshot of Kirsten Owens, Senior Manager of Corporate Communications at Arvinas, Inc.
Headshot of Kirsten Owens, Senior Manager of Corporate Communications at Arvinas, Inc.

After 10 years of experience in marketing and branding, Brianne Richard found a home with Amazon Studios in their Awards Department, focusing on campaigning events for the streaming studio's array of award-winning content. Previously, she served as manager of marketing and digital communications at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, heading the social media and digital communications strategy for the Emmy Awards and the Television Academy’s year-long marketing efforts. At Quinnipiac, she was a member of the Lambda Pi Eta communications honor society. Despite moving to the West Coast, she remains involved with Quinnipiac, working to strengthen the QU community in Southern California as the chapter president of the alumni association for the area.

Headshot of Brianne Richard, Awards Events Manager at Amazon Studios
Headshot of Brianne Richard, Awards Events Manager at Amazon Studios

Ben Shapiro is a multi-Emmy Award-winning television audio engineer specializing in live sports broadcasts. In addition to his work in television, Shapiro owns a web development and technology consulting company. He began his career working in the broadcast department at Empire City Casino in Yonkers, New York, and advanced within the company until 2012, when he decided to pursue his lifelong dream of self-employment. Since then, he has broadcast games for each of New York’s major sports teams, as well as major events such as the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals, and the US Open. Shapiro has traveled throughout the country for sporting events and TV shows including “American Ninja Warrior,” “Ultimate Beastmaster” and “Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge.” A career highlight was working at both the 2016 and 2018 Olympic Games.

Headshot of Ben Shapiro, President of Shapiro Consulting
Headshot of Ben Shapiro, President of Shapiro Consulting

Producers, directors and ad agencies from around the globe rely on TaylorVision to bring together the most highly skilled production teams. Recently, TaylorVision's Emmy-winning crews have worked with Disney Legends Julie Andrews, James Earl Jones and Pat Carroll. They have also shot commercials for the One and Only resort in the Bahamas, Snickers, Duluth Trading Company, Coke, Buffalo Wild Wings, Super Bowl features for CBS, FOX and NFL Network, wild Alaskan adventures for Royal Caribbean, VH1’s “Behind the Music,” and interviews with former President Bill Clinton and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for a film titled, “Port of Destiny: Peace”. At Quinnipiac in the 80’s, Taylor served as production manager at WQAQ radio and as a videographer for a video magazine show called “Insight.” He also parlayed an internship at ESPN into a 17-year run shooting features for all of its top shows. He left in 1997 to form his company. You can see more at www.taylorvision.us

Headshot of Bruce Taylor, Cinematographer and Director of TaylorVision Productions
Headshot of Bruce Taylor, Cinematographer and Director of TaylorVision Productions

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