Alumni and Industry Connections Bios
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James' background includes over 20 years of advertising agency and marketing experience ranging from media planning and buying to the account management of Fortune 500 accounts with clients from a variety of industries including computer hardware, software, global communications, oil & gas, fast food, retail, packaged food, travel, home furnishings, corporate insurance, and even rocket science and space technology. James’ past successes come from focusing on the client’s bottom line and delivering marketing solutions that produce results.
James is a graduate of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, where he earned a degree in communications and advertising and currently serves as Chairman of the Advisory Board for the School of Communication & the Arts as well as a member of the Graduate and Adult Enrollment Advisory Board. His post-graduate work includes an Advanced Advertising Strategies Certification from the University of Maryland as well as various program certificates from the American Management Association.
James lives in Patterson New York with his wife Jessica and son Brennan.
Lark-Marie Anton is the Vice President of Public Relations for Loews Hotels where she manages the overall direction and administration of both internal and external public relations and social media activities for the Loews Hotel Brand which includes 18 luxury hotels and resorts in the U.S. and Canada. Prior to joining Loews Hotels, Lark served as the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for the Miss Universe Organization. She represented an organization that personifies the combination of beauty and intelligence that defines the women of the 21st Century. The Miss Universe Organization, producers of the MISS UNIVERSE®, MISS USA®, and MISS TEEN USA® competitions is a Donald J. Trump and NBC partnership which distributes the shows to international markets in approximately 170 countries. She also worked with MTV on the production of “Pageant Place” which followed the lives of the titleholders during their respective reigns.
Previously, Ms. Anton was the Spokeswoman for Verizon Communications, Inc. She represented the company in New York City, where the corporation headquarters are located in Lower Manhattan. Verizon is a Fortune 10 Company on the Fortune 500 list with revenues of over $67 billion.
Ms. Anton has served as Chief of Staff at the Community Assistance Unit for the Mayor of the City of New York, The Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg. She also worked in the Mayor’s Press Office as Deputy Press Secretary where she was responsible for overseeing press and publicity for various city agencies and offices, which included: The New York City Housing Authority, New York City Commission for the United Nations, Consular Corps and Protocol, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Youth and Community Development, Department of Records and Information, Commission on Women’s Issues, Office to Combat Domestic Violence and The Art Commission to name a few. Ms. Anton was a liaison and spokeswoman for the Mayor.
Of Dominican, Spaniard and Lebanese heritage, Lark was born and raised in New York. She received her undergraduate degree from Marist College with a double major in Communications/Public Relations and Spanish and minor in Psychology. She went on to receive a Master in Communication Studies from West Virginia University in 2000. Following her graduation, Ms. Anton worked as a freelance producer on various projects such as the 2001 MTV Movie Awards and TV Funhouse on Comedy Central.
Ms. Anton’s career experience spans various Communications positions; an internship at WNBC News channel 4 for Senior Political Reporter Gabe Pressman, Polling Supervisor at the Marist Poll, and Public Relations Director for Khury Tours and Travel, Inc. Ms. Anton is a strong believer in the power of education and has taught as an Adjunct Instructor at Marist College and as a Teaching Assistant at West Virginia University.
Lark also devotes much of her time to her community. She is the Co-Chair of the ‘Cielo Latino’ Gala to benefit the Latino Commission on AIDS and serves on the Communication Advisory Board for Marist College. She was a Board Member of the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill, currently serves on the Junior Committee of Prospect Park in Brooklyn as well as the Junior Board of Repertorio Español and is proud to be a Founding Member of the New York Chapter of the Wheelchair Foundation. Lark was honored in 2003 with the AYUDA ‘Guiding Star’ Award. In 2004 she was included in El Diario / La Prensa as a ‘Distinguished Female of the Year’. Lark resides in Park Slope, Brooklyn with her husband Dan, daughter Amelia, son Danny and their Havanese dog, Lola.
Jeff Dahncke is a Senior Communications Manager at PepsiCo, one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies with annual revenues of nearly $60 billion. He’s focused on corporate media relations, financial communications, issues management and corporate reputation initiatives.
Prior to joining PepsiCo, Dahncke served as the director of public relations for Pepsi Bottling Group, a publicly traded company with $14 billion in annual revenues. PepsiCo acquired Pepsi Bottling Group in 2010.
Dahncke was previously a vice president in the New York office of Weber Shandwick, one of the world's leading global public relations firms, where he provided corporate communications counsel to several Fortune 500 companies. While at Weber Shandwick, he was an integral member of the communications team that guided MasterCard Worldwide through its initial public offering in 2006. He also designed and implemented several award-winning public relations campaigns for Siemens Corporation.
PR Week magazine named Dahncke to its annual “40 Under 40” list of emerging industry leaders in 2008, citing his “natural gift in communications and high standard for ethics.” Dahncke graduated summa cum laude from Marist College, where he studied journalism and business administration. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and daughter.
Dahncke graduated summa cum laude from Marist College, where he studied journalism and business administration. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and daughter.
John Gilmartin has spent the majority of his career at the National Broadcasting Company. After a few months in Sales at Hyde Park radio station, WHVW, he was hired at NBC as a Page in January 1976. The responsibilities of that entry level position included giving tours of the NBC studios and seating audiences for various shows, the most exciting being Saturday Night Live, in its debut season. Experience in various departments within Radio and Television included everything from Scheduling to Sales Account Executive. In 1979, he arrived in the Sports Department beginning as a Sports Unit Manager, responsible for the financial and logistical needs of a show. John progressed through each position of the production ranks, working in edit rooms and mobile production trucks, all which prepared him for the position he holds today, Senior Producer and Director of NBC Sports and Olympics. John's credits have included work on 6 Super Bowls, 2 World Series, 12 NBA Finals, 20 Wimbledon Championships and variety of sports that have taken him around the world. He can be found on weekends directing most of the NBC Sports studio shows. He is currently preparing for his 9th Olympics, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where he will direct the Late Night Show as well as be the Senior Producer of Central Videotape in the Broadcast Center. John is a 12-time Sports Emmy winner
For more than 20 years, Maria has worked with clients across a wide range of business sectors to help address their communications challenges. She currently runs her own consultancy – Shydlo Communications – providing strategic consulting, implementation and on-going support for healthcare companies and professional services firms in such areas as corporate communications, community relations, internal communications and marketing.
Maria has worked in both agency and corporate environments. While she spent almost 10 years with UnitedHealthcare/Oxford Health Plans, her diverse agency experience includes senior-level executive positions at Edelman Worldwide, Ruder-Finn, Padilla Speer Beardsley and G.S. Schwartz & Co., Inc., working with clients ranging from Fortune 10 companies to venture capital-funded start-ups.
Maria graduated magna cum laude from Marist College with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, making the valedictory speech at commencements, and completed certification programs in investor relations at New York University and the University of Connecticut – Bridgeport.
Today, Maria is a Reynard member of the Marist College Alumni Board, having served as president from 2000 to 2002, is a member of the Lincoln Center Business Council and is a mentor in the New York Women in Communications (NYWICI) mentoring program. She is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, NYWICI, the International Association of Business Communicators, the National Investor Relations Institute, the National Association of Professional Women, the Business Council of Westchester and Women in Healthcare Management.
Committed to giving back to the community, Maria is on the board of directors of and provides marketing and communications support to Dance Forum/BodiBalance and is active in such organizations as the American Red Cross – Westchester County, the Pajama Program, the Bridgeport Rescue Mission and Charter Oak Health Center.
In her free time, Maria and her husband like to stay active by traveling, hiking, bicycling and kayaking. Maria continues to play volleyball – a passion that grew while she was at Marist – and is currently on a club team. She also is an avid movie, theater and ballet guru.
Maria lives in Pelham, N.Y., with her husband.
H. Gita McCutcheon (formerly Heather Gita Sweeney) founded Gita Group with the philosophy that public relations and marketing is most successful when executed with a quality-driven strategy that genuinely aligns with each brand’s unique identity. An experienced perspective matches her intuition for public relations and marketing. Having worked at Nike Communications and Susan Magrino Agency, two of New York’s leading PR agencies, Gita had the opportunity to work with some of the most exceptional and renowned brands, paving the way for her to start her own company. Among them; Alain Ducasse, Charlie Trotter, Jacques Torres, Sirio Maccioni, The South Beach Wine & Food Festival, TurboChef Ovens, Moet & Chandon, Chambord Liqueur as well as Michelin’s inaugural guide in the United States – the launch of The Michelin Guide New York City 2006.
Since founding the company in 2006, Gita McCutcheon has created a team of passionate and creative “Supertasters,” who share the company’s philosophy. Based on the success and reputation built within the first four years, Gita Group will expand in 2010 into niche markets that are abundant with local culinary business, lifestyle and tourism. This expansion will allow businesses in these markets the benefits of working with a national PR company on a regional scale.
Gita is an advocate for the humane treatment of animals who are raised for food and handles publicity on behalf of Humane Farm Animal Care. She is also the founder of “The Lemonade Project,” a program that partners restaurants with children to teach them fundamental lessons about business from an early age. She is also a member of the Communications Advisory Board at her Alma mater, Marist College.
Michael O’Brien is a Partner and Director Client Service at Ketchum. In this capacity, he focuses on enhancing and expanding client relations with an emphasis on supporting one of the agency’s longest-standing global client relationships, FedEx, among others. In addition he coaches and mentors client directors and serves as a member of the New York Executive Team.
This is Michael’s second stint with Ketchum. Previously he headed Brand Marketing at Ketchum New York. Some of the accounts under his direct leadership included the Eastman Kodak Company and Visa USA. During his tenure, Michael’s teams won every major public relations industry award including four Silver Anvils and the PRSA NY Big Apple “Best of Show”.
Most recently Michael spent four years at Cohn & Wolfe, as the Director of the Global Consumer and B2B Practice and the General Manager of the agency’s New York office. He served as a senior counselor to many clients including Nike, Ford and Panasonic.
Michael also served as the Director of Global Communications at MasterCard International. In this position Michael managed global communications strategy and implementation for consumer credit, business payments and e-commerce products. He also spent five years in various account roles at Ogilvy Public Relations.
He received a B.A. in Communications from Marist College. And is currently a member of the school’s Advisory Committee to the School of Communications.
Ian O'Connor is the author of The New York Times' bestseller "Arnie & Jack: Palmer, Nicklaus, and Golf's Greatest Rivalry, the host of "The Ian O'Connor Show' on 1050 ESPN Radio in New York, and an award winning sports columnist for The Record of New Jersey.
Twice O'Connor has been named the No.1 columnist in America in his circulation category by the Associated Press Sports Editors, and his work has earned dozens of national and regional awards, including the Society of Professional Journalists' prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
O'Connor has been honored by the National Association of Black Journalists, the Golf Writers Association of America, the Football Writers of America and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. He has been a columnist for The New York Daily News, USA Today and The Journal News, and has written for The New York Times and Star-Ledger. O'Connor also authored the book, "The Jump: Sebastian Telfair and the High Stakes Business of High School Ball."
A 1986 graduate of Marist, O'Connor is a frequent guest on national ESPN TV programs. He lives In New Jersey with his wife, Tracey, and son, Kyle.
Alvin Patrick is a 23-year veteran of broadcast and cable network television. He has produced news, sports and entertainment programming at ABC, HBO, MTV and ESPN. He is currently a senior producer for The Daily, News Corporation’s daily, IPAD newsmagazine. Mr. Patrick produces video stories and manages daily show production.
Mr. Patrick was a senior producer of ABC News Nightline from 2009 to 2011. He was executive producer of ESPN First Take (formerly Cold Pizza) from 2005 to 2009. He served as a vice president and executive producer for MTV from 2001 to 2004. He was a broadcast producer for HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, and a producer for ABC News’ World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, Good Morning America and ABC Sports. Mr. Patrick has won numerous awards, including three national Emmy nominations, five National Association of Black Journalists awards and a Gabriel award.
Mr. Patrick holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in television production from Brooklyn College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast journalism from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. He lives in the New York City area with his wife of 23 years, Beverly Jocelyn-Patrick. They have two children: Arielle, a Princeton University student, and Andrew, a Yale University student.
Robert LaForty is currently a Producer on the CBS Early Show. He works mainly on the network’s extreme weather coverage; winter storms, floods, tornados and hurricanes. He has covered approximately 15 US hurricanes, including Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ike.
In 2008 Robert broadcast live from the USS Theodore Roosevelt CVN-71 with Early Show anchor Harry Smith while the ship was at sea for Operation Enduring Freedom in the North Indian Ocean. In 2006 he also broadcast live from Iraq with Early Show weather anchor Dave Price.
Prior to CBS News he worked for 13 years at MTV Networks on such projects as the Video Music Awards, MTV’s Spring Break and MTV’s 1992 Choose or Lose election coverage where he was a recipient of the George Foster Peabody award for the ground breaking campaign.
Robert graduated from Marist in 1985 with a BA in Communications. At home he is an avid chef and collector of wine. He lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey with his wife Meredith Bennett and two young sons, Colin Reynolds LaForty, 6 years old and Ryan Patrick LaForty, 9 years old.
Daryl manages public relations and other external communications for United Healthcare, a Fortune 50company and the largest health and well-being company in the U.S. He is responsible for building the outward image of the company through both regional and national media and community relations, dedicating a large amount of time working with reporters and serving as a corporate spokesman. In addition, Daryl works closely with the government and regulatory affairs functions to ensure consistent messaging to all external stakeholders. In previous roles at United Healthcare, Daryl has also managed internal/employee communications and served as editor-in-chief of the company's corporate magazine.
Before joining United Healthcare in 2002, Daryl had gathered a broad cross-section of communications experience in both the agency and media environments. Daryl began his career as a reporter, serving as a general news correspondent for The Hartford Courant in Connecticut. In 1996, he joined TIME magazine to help cover that year's congressional elections, and then moved on to a position with Congress Daily in Washington, D.C. as a White House and Capitol Hill reporter. Daryl then made the transition to corporate communications and public relations, and in 1999 moved to Boston to work for Weber Shandwick, where he managed communication campaigns for both start-up technology clients as well as Fortune 100 companies such as Xerox and Fujitsu.
Daryl graduated magna cum laude from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY with a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in Political Science.
J.W. Stewart joined ESPN as an ESPNEWS anchor in January 2000 from Sports I Regional Television in New York's mid-Hudson Valley where he worked as an anchor/reporter from 1997 to 1999. He has also appeared on Sports Center - ESPN's flagship sport news and highlights program. Prior to Sports I, Stewart was a sports writer/columnist for the Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal from 1993 to 1997.
Over his print and television career, Stewart has covered the World Series, the NCAA baseball tournament, NIT post-season tournaments, the NFL's Jets and Giants, and New York's two Major League Baseball teams, the Yankees and Mets. He also covered college football, college basketball and minor league baseball games. A native of Middletown, R.I., Stewart is a 1993 graduate of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in communications.
Mary E. Boone is a leading authority on organizational communication and collaborative technologies and the author of Leadership and the Computer. Boone is a frequent speaker, executive coach, and consultant on how organizations can improve their performance and strategy execution through better communication. She is President of Boone Associates, (www.maryboone.com), based in Norwalk, Ct.
"A two-week segué into Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media during Prof. George Sommer's linguistics course at Marist in the Spring of 1965, led me into what's now a forty-year career in media and marketing. I am still a student of this always new and challenging business and industry."
Tom Troland (Marist, BA in English, 1966) has worked in just about every corner of the publishing business: marketing, sales, business strategy, media and market research, demographic analysis, concept-testing, launching, repositioning, advertising and presentation copywriting, brand development, new business start-ups, management consulting and more.
At Meredith Corporation (1984-2011), Tom was Marketing Director for the build-up of a diverse portfolio of successful magazines (Country Home, Midwest Living, Traditional Home, WOOD and Better Homes and Gardens' large range of Special Interest Media, plus several bombs like home garden and Country America. He was a member of the team that created and built Meredith Integrated Marketing, the company's innovative and successful marketing services firm serving Kraft, Nestlé, Chrysler, Carnival Cruises, The Principal and other major clients.
Tom is a long-time member of the Marist College School of Management's Advisory Committee and has participated as Meredith's representative for the Joint Center for Housing Studies' Remodeling Futures Committee at Harvard University.
"At heart, though, I see myself a learner and a teacher. I have always enjoyed participating as a speaker at industry conferences and seminars, lecturing (NYU Summer Publishing Institute and Meredith Publishing College), and trying out new ideas."
John earned a BA in Communications from Marist in 1988. John is managing partner of Taylor Global (formerly Alan Taylor Communications), a privately-held public relations firm that specializes in sports and lifestyle marketing. The firm offers consulting, event marketing (including sponsorship negotiation), media relations, and media training services to sports organizations and companies. Clients have included NASCAR, Mastercard, Microsoft and Diageo. Taylor Global employs 130 across five offices in Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago; London; Los Angeles; and New York. John currently works in the New York Office and oversees the office in London. In 2007, he led the (then-new) Los Angeles office. John is one of the firm's top executives. There are six managing partners. John joined the firm in 1991. Previously, he served as assistant publicity director of Harness Racing at Yonkers Raceway. John is also a member of the Marist Graduate and Adult Enrollment Advisory Board.
Michael earned a BA in Communications from Marist in 1987. Michael currently serves as a managing director and head of corporate communications at Barclays Capital and Barclays Wealth, Americas; American divisions of Barclays PLC, one of the largest financial institutions in the world. Michael has held this position since 2009. Previously, he spent 5 years as a managing director of corporate communications at Merrill Lynch. From 2002 – 2004, Michael served as the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information for the New York City Police Department, serving as an advisor to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and the chief spokesperson for the NYPD. Michael was inducted into the NYPD Honor Legion in 2003 after several incidents of heroism on the job – including the peaceful negotiation of a hostage crisis and tackling a suspect on a subway platform. Michael began his career as a journalist. He served as a writer with the Financial News Network from 1990-1991; a writer/producer with CNBC from 1992 – 1993; a reporter with NY1 News from 1993 – 1996; and a reporter and anchor for WCBS Television from 1996 –2001.
Christine earned a BA in Communications from Marist in 1988. Christine has served as Vice President, Director of East Coast Sales at Alloy Digital since February, 2012. She previously held the VP of Business Development and the VP of Branded Entertainment titles with Alloy. Christine has more than 20 years of experience as a successful integrated media executive and sales director. Immediately prior to joining Alloy, Christine served as the VP Integrated Sales at Hachette Filipacchi, Publisher of TV Guide's Inside TV magazine, where she headed up the sales and marketing teams. Before joining Hachette Filipacchi Christine worked as the Executive Director of Sales Development of Conde Nast's Glamour. Christine was responsible for developing and executing high-concept solutions for some of the beauty industry's prestigious brands. Other position Christine has held include Advertising Director of several leading consumer magazines from Hearst Publications, including Redbook and Town & Country; East Coast Manager of Time Inc's Sunset magazine and the New York Manager at Traditional Home, a Meredith publication. In addition to her vast print experience. Christine began her career as a Media Planner for Grey Advertising.