Advisors


The Advisory Board comprises leaders from customer-facing organizations in a wide range of sectors. Board members provide the Center with leadership and foresight to advance the Center’s mission and purpose.

James A. Firestone '78

Chairperson, YCCI Advisory Board; President, Corporate Operations and Executive Vice President, Xerox Corporation

James Firestone is president, Corporate Operations at Xerox Corporation. He was named to this position in September 2008. He is also an Executive Vice President of the corporation, appointed in April 2007. Mr. Firestone is responsible for the company's core corporate organizations that support all areas of the business worldwide, including research and development, information management, strategy, Fuji Xerox relations, human resources and ethics, marketing and communications, and Xerox's environmental health and safety initiatives. Prior to this role, Mr. Firestone was president, Xerox North America, a position he assumed in 2004 after serving as the company's chief strategist. As head of North America, Firestone was responsible for direct and indirect channels of distribution in the United States and Canada including direct sales and service, agents, resellers and Teleweb. In this role, he led the company's $1.5 billion acquisition of Global Imaging Systems in 2007, increasing Xerox's access to small and mid-size businesses in the U.S. by 50 percent. Jim joined Xerox from IBM in August 1998 as president of the Xerox Channels Group, responsible for creating a network of resellers for Xerox's office printers and multifunction systems. He then was named senior vice president for the Corporate Strategy and Marketing Group. At IBM, Jim was responsible for all of the company's consumer products and services for the home and family market. He joined IBM in 1995, helping launch a new division to develop and market hardware, software and multimedia products. Prior to IBM, Jim headed the consumer division of Ameritech, a telecommunications company, from 1993 to 1995. He spent the first 15 years of his career at American Express, serving as President of the Japan Division, and subsequently leading the Corporate Card and Travelers Cheques businesses. Jim serves on the board of directors of Fuji, The Japan Fund and The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.

Tom Ascheim ‘90, YC ‘85

President, Freeform

Tom Ascheim was named President, ABC Family, in December 2013, where he would go on to lead the network’s rebranding as Freeform. There, Tom has oversight of original programming and acquisitions, franchise management, marketing, sales and operations, and responsibility for the overall strategic and creative direction for the channel. Ascheim quickly cemented the network’s status as the #1 network for viewers in the life stage from first kiss to first kid, refocusing on what he coined “Becomers” and announcing the largest rollout of original programming in the network’s 14-year history – all dedicated to this 69 million-strong, socially-engaged demographic exploring who they are and who they want to become.

Ascheim previously served as Chief Strategy Officer of Sesame Workshop and Executive Vice President of Sesame Learning, where he led the team in developing a digital, in-school and companion-home offering, which paired differentiated learning solutions with in-school assessment. Prior to that, from 2007-2011, Ascheim was Chief Executive Officer at Newsweek, overseeing all global operations, web and mobile sites, and regional magazines in US, Europe, Asia, and Latin America.  In this role, he successfully led the effort to sell Newsweek and worked with new ownership to merge Newsweek with The Daily Beast. 

Ascheim served as EVP and General Manager of Nickelodeon Television, where he ran the company’s portfolio of channels, including Nickelodeon, Nick@Nite, Nick Jr, and Nick’s three digital networks. He also spearheaded the repositioning of Nick@Nite away from being “home of the reruns” to the driving brand in Nick’s new family strategy. He had held the title of EVP and General Manager of Nickelodeon Digital Television Networks. In this role, he managed all aspects of the brand, including production, development, programming, online, on-air promotion, marketing, and advertising sales.  He also led the negotiation between Nick and Sesame Workshop, which resulted in a joint venture and the creation of Noggin, and oversaw The N, a channel dedicated to serving millennials.  Ascheim joined Viacom in 1990 as VP of Nickelodeon Business Development and Media Products, where he was responsible for strategic and long-range planning, market analysis, and the annual budget.

Tom received his BA in American Studies from Yale College ‘85, and an MBA from Yale School of Management ‘90.

Michiel Bakker 

Google’s Director of Global Food Services

Michiel Bakker is Google’s Director of Global Food Services, where he leads the company’s world-renowned Food program, supporting all food service related activities and initiatives for Google’s global community. Bakker’s focus areas include developing new insights and evidence in how food experiences can enable individuals and teams to be their best short and long term, and developing internal and external global partnerships to explore and tackle the challenges and opportunities in the broader food systems.

Prior to joining Google, Michiel spent 17 years with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. Most recently, he led Starwood’s Food and Beverage in Europe, Africa and the Middle East where he drove operations and guided growth and development. Prior to that, he co-lead Starwood’s F&B efforts in its North American Division and was for many years the F&B leader for Starwood’s New builds and transitions team. Michiel holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the Hotel Management School Maastricht (The Netherlands), a MBA from the University of Bradford (UK), a Master’s of Hospitality Administration degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a Master’s degree in Real Estate and Construction Management at the University of Denver.

Together with his wife Nicolette, Michiel is raising his two sons (Brian and Andrew) in sunny Los Gatos, California. In his spare time, Michiel loves to spend time with his family, traveling, walking, eating out, reading and enjoying life.

Christine Barton, Law ‘99

Partner and Managing Director, The Boston Consulting Group

Christine's topic expertise is growth / topline turnaround, consumer insights and market research, positioning, branding, marketing, new product development, and customer experience.  Christine has focused on growth and insights-led topline turnaround in her 15 years at BCG.  She leads the Marketing and Sales practice in their South system.  She joined The Boston Consulting Group full time after earning a law degree from Yale Law School ‘99. She holds a Masters from Oxford University where she was a Rhodes Scholar, after she graduated from the University of Texas at Austin.

Melville E. Blake III '80

Managing Director, Stern Speakers

Mel Blake is Managing Director of Stern Speakers, a lecture agency representing thought leaders with provocative ideas and expertise about the future of business, science, and society. Stern Speakers connects companies and organizations with leading visionaries and social change agents shaping the future of business and welfare of the world. He brings 30 years of corporate executive, advisory, and talent management experience to the job.  Mel was Executive Vice President and Managing Director at BankBoston Corporation, where he was a member of the Corporate Working Committee, the bank’s executive policy and decision-making body. He has also served as Chief of Staff at FleetBoston Financial, and Managing Director for Ecommerce Development, concentrating on business-to-business markets. Prior to his corporate positions, he was a Vice President at the MAC Group, a management consulting firm based in Cambridge MA. He holds a BA in Economics from Wesleyan University (CT) and earned an MBA from the Yale School of Management. Mel is also a contributor to the business press, both in print and on-line.

Eric Breissinger YC '89

Vice President, North America Family Care, Procter & Gamble

Eric Breissinger is the Vice President, North America Family Care at Procter & Gamble. Eric joined Procter & Gamble in 1989 as a Sales Representative, Paper CBD after earning his BA from Yale University. In his 22+ years with the organization, Eric has gained exposure to numerous P&G business areas. In brand management positions, Eric worked on Crest, Comet, Metamucil and in Pharmacy and Oral Care categories. As Marketing Director, Eric worked on the Walmart Customer Team, Personal Health Care, and Family Care, Bounty. Prior to his current position, Eric held General Manager and Vice President roles in Family Care & Global HHC Marketing. Eric is actively involved in the Cincinnati community, having served on the Board of Directors of the Lyons YMCA/ Anderson Barracudas swim team and as a coach with the Immaculate Heart of Mary Athletic Boosters and the St. Ursula Villa Boosters.

Claire M. Burns '96

Chief Customer Officer, MetLife

Claire Burns is Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer for MetLife, a Fortune 50 company providing insurance and employee benefits to over 90 million customers in 45 countries.

Her role as Chief Customer Officer was created in 2012 to strengthen MetLife’s ability to operate as a truly customer-centric company, transforming its business model to deliver profitable growth via customer attraction, retention and advocacy.  Over the last four years, she has led MetLife’s efforts to reinvent its customer experience as a source of competitive advantage by establishing formal voice of the customer programs, understanding pain points and prioritizing investments globally, establishing global standards for customer data and analytics, segmenting customers and creating tailored value propositions grounded in deep customer insights, spurring innovation through customer-led design, driving discipline through global metrics and accountability, and transforming the company’s culture through a network of empowered change agents.  Through these efforts she’s helped MetLife realize dramatic improvements in net promoter score and customer retention, contributing nearly $1Bn in revenue impact.

Prior to joining MetLife, Claire spent 20+ years leading strategy and transformation efforts at U.S. and global companies including AIG, Lincoln Financial and Aetna.  Throughout her career, she has helped companies innovate their operations, devise growth strategies, and transform their organizations and cultures as part of company merger and integration efforts. 

A passionate and dynamic speaker, Claire’s thought leadership is frequently sought around the globe. She is a regular speaker and panelist at conferences and events, including events sponsored by the World Bank, the Financial Times, and the World Economic Forum. 

An advocate for using public-private partnerships to solve social problems, Claire recently completed a year-long fellowship in cross-sector leadership with the Presidio Institute and the White House Office of Social Innovation. Claire earned her MBA from Yale and her BA from Wesleyan University.

Manuela Buxo

Senior Vice President, Global Strategic Marketing, Sanofi Consumer Health Care

Manuela is Senior Vice President for Global Strategic Marketing at Sanofi Consumer Health Care. She oversees all Global Marketing activities including switches from prescription to over-the-counter, as well as key global capability areas such as Marketing Excellence, Consumer & Market Insights, Business Intelligence, Media, and Digital.

Prior to joining Sanofi in 2014, Manuela held various leadership roles at Bayer for 16 years and worked on Bayer’s prescription drug as well as its over-the-counter business, both in operational and strategic positions. Manuela has lived and worked in Germany, USA, Mexico, Switzerland, and France.

Manuela holds an MBA from HHL, Leipzig Graduate School of Management, Germany. She is married and has two children.  She and her family reside in Frankfurt, Germany.

Geoff Cottrill

Geoff was the President of MullenLowe’s Boston office. Before joining Mullen, Geoff served at the CMO of Converse during an impressive period of growth and revival. During his nearly decade-long tenure there, the company became the number one fashion brand on Facebook, broke into the music scene with the Rubber Tracks studio concept and gained worldwide acclaim. For his efforts, Geoff was named a “Marketer of the Year” by Adweek. Prior to joining Converse, he was vice president of global entertainment for Starbucks, where he led marketing for music-, film-, literature- and digital-related products. He previously spent nine years at Coca-Cola as worldwide group director of entertainment marketing, and worked for Procter & Gamble for 11 years in various sales and marketing roles.

Geoff's passion for creativity in brand marketing, as well as in the performing and fine arts, has been evident throughout his career. He is chairman of the board of the GRAMMY Foundation and previously served on the board of trustees for the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. He resides in Carlisle, Massachusetts, with his wife, their two daughters and their golden retriever, Tucker.

Jon Cummings YC '85

Director, McKinsey & Company

Jon Cummings is a Director at McKinsey & Company and has been with the Firm since 1987. Jon began his career in Chicago and was in South Africa from 1994 to 2002, where he co-founded the Johannesburg Office and was the Office Manager for seven years. Jon leads McKinsey’s Americas Packaged Goods practice and is based in New Jersey. Prior to joining McKinsey, Jon received his BA from Yale University and a M.Sc. from the London School of Economics in the U.K.

David S. Daniel '82

Senior Director, Spencer Stuart Inc

Drawing on more than 25 years of experience leading global businesses and brands, David Daniel advises clients across industries on CEO and director recruitment, CEO succession planning and transitions, board effectiveness and other key governance and senior leadership issues facing boards and CEOs.

David’s leadership experience spans professional services and consumer products, and he has led businesses through varied market conditions and economic cycles. He served as CEO of Spencer Stuart from 2001 to 2012. As a result, David brings to his consulting work firsthand perspectives on the top issues influencing organizations’ senior leadership and governance needs.

Experienced consultant; experienced CEO:
- David joined the firm in 1994 as a consultant in the Consumer Goods & Services Practice.
- In his 11 years as CEO, David and his management team expanded the firm’s global footprint, strengthened its position in board and CEO search, and developed new services and capabilities, including CEO succession planning, senior-level executive assessment and board effectiveness. He remained active in multiple client relationships throughout his tenure as CEO.
- Prior to Spencer Stuart, David spent 15 years shaping some of the world's leading brands. He served as president/CEO of Simint USA, the American division of Armani Jeans; president of Louis Vuitton, North America; and CEO of Evian Waters of France (U.S.).

David is a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Luke's School and serves on the advisory boards of the Yale School of Management and the Yale Center for Customer Insights. He has a master's degree in public and private management from the Yale School of Management and a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University.

Thomas E. Gage '80

CEO and Managing Director, Marconi Pacific, LLC

As CEO and Managing Director of Marconi Pacific, Tom Gage works as a consultant and venture investor in the high-tech venture industry and in lower tech buy-outs. Previously, Mr. Gage was Senior VP of Verisign Communications Services responsible for VCS's Wireline P&L including product management, product development and marketing. Tom Gage has over 20 years experience as a management consultant which includes positions as vice president and managing director of Gemini Consulting’s North American C4 practice, and associate with the MAC Group, general management consultants. He also spent four years at Conoco as a coal and international oil analyst. He has broad and deep experience in telecommunications, property and casualty insurance, energy, real estate investment and venture capital. Tom also serves on The Maret School Board.

Stephan Gans

Senior Vice President, Chief Insights & Analytics Officer, PepsiCo

Prior to joining PepsiCo, Stephan was the chief strategy officer for Interbrand North America, overseeing North American and Global practices. Before joining Interbrand, Stephan was co-owner and CEO of the global marketing consultancy EffectiveBrands, which focused exclusively on building effective marketing organizations for global brand leaders until it was acquired by WPP in 2014.  Stephan began his career at Unilever, where he held both brand management and leadership roles in Europe and the U.S.

Stephan was born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and lives with his family in Greenwich CT.

John Grubb '87

Managing Partner, Sterling-Rice Group

 John is Managing Partner of the Sterling-Rice Group (SRG), a 27-year-old brand strategy, innovation, and communications firm. SRG consults with many of the leading food, beverage, nutrition, health, and wellness brands from around the globe in defining growth strategies, innovation pipelines, and acquisition and partnership priorities. Clients include PepsiCo, Nestle, Kellogg, Kraft, General Mills, and private equity funds on behalf of current or potential brands. Utilizing a full range of state-of-the-art qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, SRG weds consumer insights, market-structure analysis and knowledge, and brand-equity assessment in crafting actionable growth strategy. Prior to joining SRG, John had 20 years of executive marketing and strategy experience in retail, foodservice, and manufacturing.  His strategy consulting experience began at Bain & Company and included being a founding partner at Meridian Strategy Group. John is a veteran of the natural foods industry and is a frequent speaker on nutrition, health, wellness, and strategic branding. He holds a BA from Hampshire College and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.

Edward S. Harrington ’87

Chairman / Innovation Process Consultant, Ideas to Go, Inc.

Ed is the Chairman / Innovation Process Consultant of Ideas To Go, a creative process consulting firm that specializes in helping Fortune 100 Companies create innovative business solutions and marketing strategies, with a particular focus on eliciting insights and ideas directly from clients’ customers and consumers. Ed joined Ideas To Go in 1994. Prior to joining Ideas To Go, Ed held several marketing positions at Procter & Gamble and Bausch & Lomb. At P&G he helped spearhead the first initiative into consumer understanding and concept development, looking at both traditional and non-traditional methods of exploring customer needs. He has facilitated hundreds of consumer-client sessions on a very broad range of subjects including new product development, product positioning, and product naming. Ed also speaks at seminars and conferences on the subjects of creative problem solving and how to successfully plumb the hearts, minds and imaginations of consumers for insights and ideas.

See more about Ed's work with Ideas To Go and YCCI.

Jon Iwata

Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications, IBM

Jon Iwata leads IBM’s marketing, communications and citizenship organization.  His global team is responsible for the marketing of IBM’s product and services portfolio in more than 170 countries, market intelligence, communications, and stewardship of the IBM brand, recognized as one of the most valuable in the world. Jon and his team lead the marketing of Watson, the breakthrough technology that is bringing cognition and artificial intelligence to healthcare, retail, financial services, education and all industries being transformed by the phenomenon of data. Jon reports to IBM Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty.  He is a member of IBM’s Operating Team, responsible for day-to-day marketplace execution, and IBM’s Client Experience Team, which focuses on making distinctive client experience systemic across IBM.  He is vice chairman of the IBM International Foundation.

Jon joined IBM in 1984 at the company’s Almaden Research Center in Silicon Valley.  He was appointed vice president of Corporate Communications in 1995 and senior vice president, Communications, in 2002. He assumed his current role on July 1, 2008. Jon is a trustee of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. He is a director of the Japan Society and a director of the Association of National Advertisers.  He is past chairman of the Arthur W. Page Society, a professional group of Chief Communications Officers.  

Rohit Kichlu

Senior Director of Marketing, OptumHealth

Rohit Kichlu is Senior Director of Marketing at OptumHealth Care Solutions, a division of UnitedHealth Group, where he leads the marketing for the Health & Wellness business and the Culture of Health Institute.

Rohit has over 20 years of Sales & Marketing experience having worked at leading organizations including Marriott, Unilever, Blyth Inc. and Novartis. At Marriott, Rohit played a key role in developing the medical association convention business, that resulted in him receiving the American Medical Associations' vendor of the year award. He then joined Unilever and shaped the marketing for iconic brands including Lipton Tea, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! Promise Margarine and Lipton Iced Tea Mix. At Unilever, he successfully led the global team that launched the world's first tea bag that brews directly in cold water. He was recruited to Blyth Inc. to consolidate a fragmented brand portfolio across 11 countries. At Blyth Inc., he received a US patent in his name for a new air freshner device that was subsequently launched into the United States. At Novartis, Rohit led the marketing for Gerber Baby Food and the entire Gerber portfolio of wellness products.

Rohit has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of New Hampshire and an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Antonio Lucio

Chief Marketing Officer, HP Inc.

Antonio Lucio is the Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at HP Inc. As CMO, Antonio leads the global marketing organization, including branding, demand generation, strategic events and global communications for one of the world’s most valuable brands.He has more than 25 years of global marketing and brand management experience. Prior to joining HP, he spent eight years at Visa, most recently as Global Chief Marketing and Communication officer, responsible for the design and implementation of all global brand & product marketing platforms and corporate communications. Antonio helped guide Visa through their IPO, and created the company’s first-ever global positioning and brand identity system. Antonio has held marketing leadership and innovation roles at some of the world's most successful consumer packaged goods companies, including PepsiCo Inc., Kraft General Foods, RJR Foods International, and Procter & Gamble. He earned a B.A. in history from Louisiana State University. He was born in Spain, raised in Puerto Rico, and currently resides in San Francisco. He is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Antonio is based in Palo Alto, California.

Ross Martin

CEO, Blackbird 

Ross Martin is the CEO of Blackbird, a marketing and business innovation agency that uses customer intellegence, strategy, and breakthrough creativity to solve problems, create opportunities, and propel growth for industry leaders and the challengers out to disrupt them. Prior to Blackbird, Martin was the  EVP of  Marketing Strategy and Engagement for Viacom, where he oversaw the company’s marketing, consumer intelligence, innovation, business development and creative strategy teams. Also, Martin founded and ran Scratch, Viacom’s creative strategy and consulting division. Martin joined Viacom in 2004 as the first Head of Programming for MTV's Emmy and Peabody Award winning college network, mtvU and later served as Senior Vice President of MTV 360 Production and Development. Prior to MTV, Martin ran production company Plant Film, served as VP of Film & Television for internet startup Nerve.com, and was a development executive for Spike Lee's 40 Acres and A Mule Filmworks.

Martin is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the Board of Directors for the Ad Council, the National Board of Directors of the American Advertising Federation, and the advisory boards of St. Jude Children’s Hospital.  Recent honors and recognitions include Fast Company's “100 Most Creative People In Business,” an Advertising Age “Media Maven” distinction, Fortune Magazine’s "40 Under 40" top business leaders and AdWeek’s “50 Most Indispensable Executives in Advertising.” In 2014, he  was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Achievement.

Anil Menon

President, Globalisation and Smart+Connected Communities, Cisco Systems

Anil Menon joined Cisco Systems as President of Globalization and Intelligent Urbanization in March 2009. In this role, Dr. Menon co-leads Cisco's globalization efforts and East Headquarters in Bangalore, and Cisco's global initiatives around Intelligent Urbanization (IU).  IU is a key globalization priority for Cisco, and the company is focused on working with cities around the world to use the network as the platform for driving economic, social, and environmental sustainability. Prior to joining Cisco in 2009, Dr. Menon held several positions as a senior executive at IBM Corporation, most recently as vice president of Corporate Strategy for IBM Growth Markets.  He also served as vice president of Worldwide Marketing and Strategy for IBM Systems and Technology Group.  For three years, Dr. Menon was CEO of IBM’s Strategy Team, a rotating group of senior leaders charged with setting and driving IBM’s strategic priorities. Prior to joining IBM, Anil was on the marketing faculty at Emory University’s Roberto C. Goizueta Business School, Atlanta, USA. He was Sony Fellow in Business Strategy with the Sony Corporation. He also served on the Executive Committee of the Strategic Planning Institute, an international business think tank which originated at the Harvard Business School.

Vikram Nangia

SVP, Credit and Collections at Charter Communications

Vikram Nangia is a seasoned executive with 25 years of experience in Customer Service, Finance, Strategy and Business Development.  In his role as Senior Vice President, Credit and Collections at Charter Communications, Vikram is responsible for overseeing the company's credit, collections, and cash management functions for residential and small-to-medium businesses. 

Nangia joins Charter after 16 years with the American Express Company where he served in a number of leadership positions including, most recently, as Executive Vice President, World Service. At American Express, Nangia oversaw the billing and card-issuing organization and led a digital transformation around card and account servicing. Prior to American Express, Nangia served as a Director in the M&A group for Philip Morris, Inc. where he helped lead the IPO of Kraft Foods and an $18.9 Billion acquisition of Nabisco holdings, Inc. Nangia joined Philip Morris through its acquisition of Kraft Foods where he served in various Finance & Strategy roles

Vikram obtained his undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Delhi, India, MA (Economics) from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, NY and an MBA from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Kristen O’Hara

Chief Marketing Officer, Global Media, Time Warner Inc.

Kristen O’Hara is responsible for leading strategic collaborations that fuel growth for Time Warner and its operating companies.  By leveraging data, consumer insight and new technology platforms she is helping to drive innovation in marketing, research, ad sales, and social media.  She was a key architect of the Medialab at Time Warner and is currently developing Time Warner’s first company-wide data strategy.

O’Hara joined the company in 2002 as vice president, corporate marketing and sales strategy, at Time Inc.  Prior to Time Warner, O’Hara held leadership positions at Young & Rubicam Inc., driving strategy and business development for top advertisers including AT&T, Sony, Yum Brands, Dr Pepper and 7Up.

O’Hara is a trustee of the Signature Theatre Company in New York, serves on the board of the DMA and is an active volunteer at Mt. Sinai Hospital.

Raja Rajamannar

Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, MasterCard

Raja Rajamannar is the Chief Marketing & Communications Officer of MasterCard.  He is also the President of its Healthcare division.  He is responsible for building the MasterCard brand, driving business for MasterCard products and services and advancing sustainable competitive differentiation for the company. He also serves on the Board of Directors of PPL Corporation, a Fortune 500 power generation and utilities company, and on the board of the Ad Council.

Prior to his role at MasterCard, Raja served as the Chief Transformation Officer of Anthem (formerly, WellPoint), a Fortune 500 health insurance company. He helped craft the company’s new business direction and strategy, managed their $11Bn Medicare Advantage business, and successfully led their $5Bn acquisition of Amerigroup.  Raja also served as Chief Executive, International and Chief Innovation & Marketing Officer at Humana for a period of three years.

Earlier, Raja was at Citigroup for 15 years holding a number of leadership roles, including Global Chief Marketing Officer, Cards and Payments, where he was responsible for transforming the credit card business model and strategies. Raja served as Chairman and CEO, Diners Club North America from 2004 to 2006. He also served as head of credit cards for Citi’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region and head of all consumer asset products for Western Europe. Prior to Citigroup, Raja spent 7 years with Unilever in sales and product management roles. He started his career with Asian Paints in India.

Raja has a Master of Business Administration degree from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, India, and a Bachelor of Technology degree in Chemical Engineering from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India. He also holds a patent in the consumer packaged goods space.  Raja is married and has two sons.
 

Humam Sakhnini '01

Chief Financial Officer, King Digital Entertainment, Ltd.

Humam Sakhnini is the Chief Financial Officer of King Digital Entertainment, Ltd. Prior to this role, he served as Chief Strategy and Talent Officer at Activision Blizzard, the world’s largest independent publisher of Interactive Entertainment, where he  oversaw corporate strategy, M&A activities and new business development.

Prior to joining Activision Blizzard, Humam was a partner with McKinsey & Company’s Global Media and Entertainment Practice, based in New York. While at McKinsey, he served senior executives at the world’s leading media companies, and was focused on strategy, marketing, and sales transformation. Humam’s work blended long term business strategy with actionable operating plans to deliver bottom-line impact for his clients.

Prior to McKinsey and Yale SOM, Humam founded and co-led ISGroup, a financial technology firm that provided technology solutions to mutual funds and hedge funds. He also worked as an analyst at BMO Nesbitt Burns, Canada’s largest investment bank and brokerage. Prior to Nesbitt, Humam worked as an Economist at the Ministry of Finance in Canada where he worked on a variety of fiscal and monetary policies.

Humam holds a BA (Honors) in Economics from the University of Western Ontario (Canada), an MA in Economics from Queen’s University at Kingston (Canada), and an MBA from the Yale School of Management, specializing in strategy and finance.

Linda Schupack '92

Executive Vice President, Marketing, AMC

As executive vice president of marketing for AMC, Linda Schupack is responsible for the strategic oversight, management and implementation of the network’s multiplatform consumer and trade marketing activities, including advertising campaigns and consumer and ad sales promotions.  Ms. Schupack also directs the network’s brand identity as an uncompromising celebration of great stories, which speaks to its record-shattering Emmy® and Golden Globe® wins for its original series.

The network’s marketing and promotional activities directly relate to ratings performance, and in recent years AMC has seen its greatest period of viewer gain.  Much of AMC’s recent ratings success can be attributed to its critically-acclaimed original programming, including its two dramatic series – Golden Globe®  Award and Emmy® Award winning Mad Men and Emmy® Award winning Breaking Bad.  Most recently, Ms. Schupack helped shepherd The Walking Dead to history-making ratings success.  For each of these originals, Ms. Schupack has spearheaded a multi-dimensional, cross-platform initiative that goes beyond traditional marketing techniques to help increase awareness, build buzz and drive ratings.

Ms. Schupack joined AMC in 2005 from parent company Rainbow Media Holdings LLC, (now AMC Networks) where she served for four years as senior vice president of creative services.  In that role, she served as Rainbow Media’s chief creative mind and was a key architect in the evolution of the AMC, IFC and WE tv brands.  Ms. Schupack oversaw the development of advertising, promotion, collateral and new media materials for all of Rainbow Media's businesses, including the corporate brand.

Before joining Rainbow Media, Ms. Schupack, an industry veteran, held a number of senior positions at Viacom’s Nickelodeon, including vice president of marketing and programming for Nick International, where she oversaw the creative development of Nickelodeon internationally, interpreting the brand for local audiences through the development and execution of marketing and programming strategies.

Ms. Schupack earned her undergraduate degree from Yale College ‘83, and Master of Business Administration degree from the Yale School of Management ‘92.  In 2008, she was named by AdWeek as Entertainment Marketer of the Year and in 2009, AMC’s marketing department was acknowledged as Marketing Team of the year by the Cable Faxies.  In 2012, she received the Vanguard Award for Marketing from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA).

Kern Schireson

Executive Vice President and Chief Data Officer, Viacom

As the  Executive Vice President and Chief Data Officer. Kern is  responsible for expanding Viacom's market-leading data capabilities across all areas of the company's domestic and international business, including its television, theatrical, events, consumer products, and digital business units. Prior to joining Viacom, Kern served as CEO of Schireson Associates – an insights and strategy consultancy that he founded.  In over a decade at Schireson, Kern led the development of innovative product and brand strategy for some of the world’s leading companies including Amazon, American Express, Intel, Microsoft, Nestle, and many others. 

Before the founding of Schireson Associates, Kern led the Marketing and Product teams at Informative – a $300M online market research firm that pioneered a  technology for combining structured and unstructured data to derive rich context.  Prior to Informative, Kern served as a senior executive in Product Management and Marketing roles at two venture-funded startups in the US and UK and was the Chairman of an educational non-profit that recruited, trained, and placed at-risk young adults into entry level jobs in technology support. Early in his career Kern specialized in network security and was responsible for the design and management of some of the largest private networks in the world.  He has lectured extensively on this topic, written two advanced courses, and published a column in PC Magazine. 

Donna Tuths ‘89

Donna Tuths was the Managing Director at  Accenture Interactive where she lead its Global Content Management practice and Digital Production and Content Services Offering, as well as managed AI’s newest acquisition -- avVenta, now part of Accenture. Donna is a digital and multi-channel marketing and communications executive with over 20 years’ experience combining management consulting and agency management with deep expertise in global branding , customer relationship management (CRM), customer experience design, digital marketing, multi-channel marketing, and data-driven marketing enablement. Donna was President of Organic, an Omnicom digital agency. She also managed the global healthcare practice for Ogilvy Interactive, and was CEO of Ogilvy Healthworld Worldwide, which had 55 offices in 36 countries. Donna was a member of the 4A’s Government Relations Committee from 2006 to 2010, helping to shape the Advertising Industry’s agenda in Washington, DC.  She is a frequent contributor to MedAd News and MM&M on topics related to digital marketing and emerging technologies.

Donna holds an AB in Philosophy and Economics (cum laude) from Barnard College, an MA in International Economics and European Studies from the Johns Hopkins Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, and an MBA from the Yale School of Management. Donna is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She lives with her husband, three sons, and two Labradors in Pelham, New York.

Laura R. Walker '87

President & CEO, New York Public Radio

Laura Walker has been president and chief executive officer of New York public radio stations WNYC AM 820 and 93.9 FM since December 1995. Ms. Walker has transformed the organization from a City agency into a not-for-profit public broadcaster by raising the $20 million necessary to purchase WNYC's AM and FM radio licenses from the City of New York. She has spearheaded many new programming initiatives, including the expansion of WNYC's news and documentary units, extended live concert programming, the introduction of American standards host Jonathan Schwartz, and the creation of new national programs Studio 360, The Next Big Thing, and Satellite Sisters. Ms. Walker began her professional career as a journalist and producer at National Public Radio. She later joined the staff of Carnegie Hall where she launched AT&T Presents Carnegie Hall Tonight. She spent eight years at Sesame Workshop where she headed the development department and later led the organization's efforts to establish a cable television channel, now Noggin.