Biographies – The Faculty

ANDREA VIRGILIO COTTERANDREA VIRGILIO COTTER has more than 30 years’ experience in corporate communications including roles as the global director at IBM, senior vice president  of communications at The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), one of the nation’s premier medical centers, and President of Straightline, Inc. She is a senior partner and owner at Allegory, Inc., a brand culture, and communications company. Andrea teaches in NYU’s M.S. Degree in PR&CC and serves on the Board of Directors of Torreya Insights, a pharmaceutical industry database company. Andrea and her business partners recently launched an organizational survey instrument called CultureTalk that identifies the archetypal profile of an organization and its leaders.


jpg-aerial-ellisAERIAL ELLIS is a speaker and strategist sought after for her ability to help organizations transform culture, improve diversity, enhance communication, navigate change, build community and drive innovation. She is an author of “The Original Millennial: Lessons in Leadership For The Millennial Generation,” and teaches university courses in Public Relations, Strategic Planning, Cross-Cultural Communication and Leadership. Aerial earned a B.S. at Tennessee State University and an M.S. at Middle Tennessee State University – both in communications. She holds an executive leadership certification in workforce diversity and inclusion and is a fellow of the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations.


jpg-allyson-30-may-2014-100-rtALLYSON STEWART-ALLEN is an educator, author, advisor, speaker, and broadcaster whose expertise in brand internationalization is sought by leading businesses looking to build their capabilities globally in corporate diplomacy and engagement. A Californian based in Europe for over 25 years, Allyson applies her international consulting experience, MBA education with
Dr. Peter Drucker and languages to the consulting firm she founded, International Marketing Partners. An advisor to more than 200 businesses Allyson is the first ever two-time winner of the EFMD Excellence in Practice Award for her Lufthansa and BAE Systems executive learning projects.  She is also deployed by world-leading business schools including Oxford University and is the co-author of “Working With Americans.”


bjorn-edlundBJÖRN EDLUND focuses on the role of business in society. Over a 20-year period, he supported 11 CEOs as head of corporate communications in three issues-rich multinationals, Royal Dutch Shell plc, ABB Ltd and Sandoz AG. He has also served as chairman Europe at Edelman.  Bjorn became a business communicator in 1989 after 12 years as a journalist with UPI and Reuters in Europe and Latin America. He studied political science in Sweden and graduated as a teacher in Switzerland. He is a trustee of the Institute for Human Rights and Business, and visiting fellow at Henley Business School.


bob-defillippoBOB DEFILLIPPO retired in 2015 as chief communications officer for Prudential Financial, Inc., which manages more than $1 trillion in assets. He is a senior counselor with Zito Partners, a strategic marketing communications firm based in New Jersey, and teaches graduate courses in Strategic Communications, Crisis Communications and Critical Business Skills for Corporate Communicators at New York University (NYU). He served as the director of public affairs for AARP and was press secretary to Congressman Hamilton Fish, Jr. of New York. A frequent speaker at industry conferences, he serves on the boards of the National Press Foundation and the Arthur W. Page Society.


catherine may

CATHERINE MAY has worked with, and advised the boards and leadership teams of leading multinational businesses for 30 years.  Catherine has held some of the most challenging reputation management roles in the corporate world, serving as Corporate Affairs Director on the Executive Committees of Reed Elsevier plc (now trading as RELX plc), Centrica plc and SABMiller plc, following an early career as a communications and reputation management expert.  For the last five years, Catherine has been a non-executive director.  Alongside her non-executive work  she provides reputation management consultancy and practices as an executive leadership coach, working with senior teams and individuals to accelerate their development and help them to be as successful as possible in their roles.



DEIRDRE BREAKENRIDGE is an author and the CEO of Pure Performance Communications.  A 25+ year veteran in PR and marketing, she has published five Prentice Hall and Financial Times Press books, including “Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for The Public Relations Professional.”  Deirdre is an international speaker and has taught at New York University (NYU) and UMASS at Amherst. She is a blogger at PR Expanded and the host of the Women Worldwide podcast show. She is recognized in both professional and academic circles as one of the premier strategists in social / digital media, as well as a “new world communicator” who links her work with traditional media.


denise-hillDENISE HILL is an assistant professor in The School of Communications at Elon University. Denise has more than 30 years of corporate communications and public relations agency professional experience. Prior to joining Elon, she was vice president of corporate communications and public relations at Delhaize America. She previously held vice president of communications roles at Cigna, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, and Quest Diagnostics and was  senior vice president of communications at a division of Wyndham Worldwide. She holds a bachelor’s degree and
master’s degree in communications from Temple University, and a Ph.D. in mass
communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


fraser-p-seitelFRASER P. SEITEL is managing partner of Emerald Partners, a strategic communication firm which represents numerous hospitals, financial firms and other clients.  He was a communications executive with the Chase Manhattan Bank for more than two decades. He teaches at New York University, is the author of  “The Practice of Public Relations,” now in its 13th edition,  and was named by PR Week as one of the top 100 practitioners of modern-day public relations. He earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri, an M.A. from the University of North Dakota, and an M.B.A. from NYU.


jpg-h-ostrowskiHELEN OSTROWSKI has a 40-year career in public relations, including serving as chairman and chief executive officer of Porter Novelli, a leading public relations firm, as well as extensive agency and corporate experience in the pharmaceutical industry.  She led Porter Novelli’s  healthcare practice before becoming CEO.  A graduate of NYU, where she received her B.A. in humanities, Helen was also an adjunct professor in NYU’s M.S. Program in PR&CC and served as a trustee of the Arthur W. Page Society, the PRSA Foundation, and Roger Williams University.



jpg-j-atkin-1JANE ATKIN is an independent consultant who helps organizations build their corporate affairs and communication capabilities. With more than 25 years’ experience, including leadership roles on both the in-house and consultancy sides, Jane has deep expertise in corporate affairs, communications and organizational development.  Prior to becoming an independent consultant she was director of corporate communications at both Barclays and Prudential.  Jane began her career in consultancy and was a founding member of First&42nd,  the first-of-its-kind communications management consultancy acquired by Edelman in 2001.  Jane is an alumni of  The Wharton School Executive Development Program, University of Pennsylvania, USA.


jpg-jeffrey-sharlach-2015-bJEFFERY SHARLACH is chairman of Jeffrey Group, the international communications consulting firm which he founded in 1993 after holding senior management positions during a 15-year career in New York at top international agencies.  Trained as both a journalist (B.S.J., Northwestern University) and an attorney (J.D., New York University), since 2007 Jeffrey has also been on the faculty of the MBA Management Communication Program at NYU’s  Stern School of Business. Before establishing Jeffrey Group, he was executive vice president of international operations at the Rowland Worldwide division of Saatchi & Saatchi, vice president and client service manager for Burson-Marsteller, and vice president and worldwide creative director for Carl Byoir & Associates.


jpg-k-gaitherKENN GAITHER is a professor and associate dean in The School of Communications at Elon University, the only university in the nation recognized in the annual survey by U.S. News & World Report in all eight categories of student success. Most recently, Kenn served as the president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Shipboard Education (Semester at Sea) based in Charlottesville, VA. He has written or co-authored three public relations books and published numerous scholarly articles and book chapters. He worked at Burson-Marsteller and has more than nine years of professional public relations agency experience.  He earned his Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an M.F.A. and B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh.


LOU CAPOZZILOU CAPOZZI has held some of the most influential positions in public relations agencies and corporate communications. He was chairman of the MSL Group, where he managed its PR and corporate communications operations in 30 cities around the world.  Earlier he was chief communications officer at Aetna and managing director of Ketchum, New York.Lou holds a B.A. from NYU in journalism and marketing, and an MBA from Baruch.  He has authored two books, “Crisis Management in the Age of Social Media” and “Public Relations for the Public Good.” He has been an adjunct professor in Master’s programs at both NYU and Baruch College and now teaches in the graduate program at the University of Oregon.


LIZ KAMARUDDINLIZ KAMARUDDIN is a senior communications specialist with more than 20 years of experience in Malaysia and other international markets. She has served various industries, including oil, gas and energy, finance and banking, aviation, telecommunications, and hospitality. She has extensive experience in branding and communications strategy, corporate and government stakeholder management, crisis communications, corporate social responsibility, media relations and internal communications. Currently, Liz is a managing director in the Strategic Communications practice of FTI Consulting, Inc., a global business advisory firm, and she is based in Kuala Lumpur. Previously, she held senior communications roles at Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) and at Standard Chartered.


Martin HirschMARTIN HIRSH His strengths include executive visibility and personal branding, corporate reputation management, strategic message development, communications training, public speaking, mentoring talent, and inspiring organizations to advance beyond perceived limitations.

Marty has spoken at numerous international venues, including the European Association of Communications Directors Summit and the Rotterdam School of Business Reputation Forum.




MIGUEL VEIGA-PESTANA is the CEO and founder of MVP & Associates Ltd., a communications consultancy that puts sustainability at its heart. He has over 25 years of reputation management, strategic communications, CEO and senior leadership communications support and public policy advocacy experience in both the public and private sectors.  He was recently CCO at the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation in Seattle and previously Vice-President for Global Sustainability Strategy and External Advocacy at Unilever. He has held several other global external relations and public affairs positions in the UK, US and Brussels (EU).  He serves on the advisory boards of Everycs Ltd, and Global Citizen. Miguel earned a bachelor’s degree in politics from the University of Leeds.


SATOKI KUROKAWA serves as an associate senior administrator for the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) System Project Team of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).  SSA is devoted to protecting astronauts and satellites from collisions with space debris–one of the biggest issues in space exploration.

Previously, Satoki was a deputy manager for the Public Affairs Department of JAXA, responsible for PR projects on rockets, satellites and manned space programs, including  the International Space Station (ISS). He collected millions of names and messages from across the world, including from Buzz Aldrin, to help reverse the decline in public support after a failed rocket launch.

Satoki earned his master’s degree from NYU. JAXA published his Capstone project paper.


STEPHEN WELCHSTEPHEN WELCH is communications, change and HR professional. He helps business leaders become better communicators, and communicators become better business leaders. From 2002-2013 Stephen was a partner at Hay Group, where he led the global communication and technology practice. Previously, he was at Echo Research and MORI where he designed and delivered reputation and stakeholder surveys.  Stephen is a frequent presenter; his last talk at the IABC World Conference was rated #2 out of over 100 workshops.  You can find out more about Stephen on Linkedin.  Stephen Welch MCIPR FRSA CMRS.


tim-johnsTIM JOHNS is founder and owner of Orato Consulting, a partner at the Change Agency, a director at Communicate TV, and a senior consultant with Hudson Sandler. He was vice-president of global corporate communications at Unilever overseeing both internal and external communications. Previously, he held senior communications positions at BT, Homebase and Sainsbury’s. He has a degree in government from the University of Essex and completed the Advanced Management Program at Wharton Business School.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, vice-chairman of the English Chamber Choir, and a member of the advisory board of VoteMatch. Tim was trained as a business coach by Myler Campbell.


TIM P. MCMAHONTIM P. MCMAHON a professor of practice in management / marketing at Creighton Heider College of Business was SVP-marketing and communication for ConAgra Foods, a Fortune 100 company at the time. He also founded an award-winning marketing services agency and owned and managed restaurants and radio stations. He served as the founding marketing director for Godfather’s Pizza during its growth period and as head of advertising for PepsiCo, Inc. Pizza Hut. Tim earned his Ph.D. in leadership from Gonzaga University and a Master of Arts in strategic communication from Seton Hall University. At Creighton, in addition to marketing and leadership courses for undergraduates and graduates, he teaches executive education courses.


WYLIE ROGERSWYLIE ROGERS has more than 15 years’ experience in management consulting. He works with many of the worlds’ biggest B2B and consumer goods companies in Asia, Europe, and North America. Wylie was head of public affairs for BASF in Asia Pacific and head of corporate communications for ABB China, as well as spokesman, speechwriter, and head of copy for the ABB Group in Zurich, Switzerland. Wylie attended INSEAD in France and Singapore for executive development and has a BA in English Literature with Honours. He did his post-graduate studies in journalism and volunteered with the International Journalism Federation in Cambodia.

In a career spanning nearly 35 years at Roche, an international biotech and health care leader, Marty led internal and external corporate communications, branding and reputation, and crisis and issues management. Working in both the United States and Europe, he advised multiple CEOs and collaborated with colleagues all over the world.

I believe that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.” – Cicero