Over past 10 years, your local New York City Chapter has grown significantly with over 15,000 alumni & friends receiving our regular communications and with over 400 proud dues paying members. In 2017, the chapter established an Advisory Board to provide advice to help the organization continually improve, grow and evolve.
The Advisory Board is a group of esteemed alumni who provide guidance, feedback and support to the Chapter’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors. Those on the board are accomplished alumni that have served in senior leadership roles in various industries and organizations. Some members may also have strong ties to the University or were previous presidents of the New York City Chapter.
The Advisory Board meets 3-4 times per year (a combination of in-person meetings, conference calls and social gatherings) to provide ongoing feedback, input and expertise to chapter. By serving, our members also have the opportunity to build relationships with and network with other distinguished Penn Staters in the Greater New York City region. If you would like to nominate a distinguished alumus/alumae for inclusion on this board or have any questions, please contact the board's co-chairs by clicking here.
2020/2021 Advisory Board Members
Joshua K. Blair
Joshua K. Blair, PMP is co-founder and Strategic Director for Partnerships at Brandthumb. In their first year of existence, Brandthumb was named a finalist for a Shorty Award for their sports based campaign with Movado Group and Penn State's own Spice Adams. In addition to working with companies like Google, their client list includes prominent Penn Staters like Brandon Short, Franco Harris and Lydell Mitchell. Joshua also serves on the advisory board for the Penn State Sports Business Conference, and formerly served on the Professional Writing Advisory board for Penn State Berks. In twenty years as a professional in New York City working as a full-time employee for many of the world’s biggest brands, Joshua is well-versed in all phases of the Project Management Life Cycle and is adept at working with C-level executives. Joshua is an innovative thinker who also is co-owner of two US Patents and is known as a creative problem solver in addition to his reputation as a world class website project manager. In his career as a webmaster, he has worked for Internet start ups and managed the launch or relaunch of several major global company websites across cosmetics (Revlon, Coty), sports (ESPN), banking (BankOne/Citi), and other industries (Panasonic). He developed the Project Management Office (PMO) at an agency in Manhattan (Flightpath.com). Joshua is a graduate of Penn State University ‘97 and has his Executive IT Management Certification from Columbia University (NY ‘01). He is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP) and in Six Sigma methodology. He has also completed digital marketing course work at NYU where he presents and often guest lectures. He's a U.S. Army Vet and a proud single father who lives in Hastings On Hudson, NY. Joshua and his son are natives of Reading, PA.
Susan L. Ellis graduated from Penn State in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Susan is currently working in the wine industry as a consultant, educator and Certified Sommelier. She also holds an MBA from Northeastern University and was formerly an investment banker. Susan started her career in Washington, DC as a lobbyist for affordable housing programs. She is a Mentor for students in the College of Liberal Arts, was past President of the NYC Alumni Chapter, as well as the Scholarship Chairperson for the Washington DC chapter.
Ellyn Fisher oversees PR and social media at the Ad Council and works to promote the non-profit organization and its more than 40 national public service communications programs. She has more than 15 years of experience in public relations and expertise in media relations, influencer engagement, community management, content development and marketing, strategic partnerships and brand positioning. Noteworthy campaigns include Smokey Bear, “Love Has No Labels” and autism awareness. Prior to the Ad Council, Ellyn worked at Middleberg Euro RSCG and at Baker Winokur Ryder, a division of Ogilvy & Mather, which promotes celebrity talent, and at USA Networks. Ellyn has been a classroom lecturer at numerous universities, as well as an active participant in undergraduate mentoring programs. She has spoken on panels at communications and social media conferences, including South by Southwest Interactive, Blogher, the CDC’s National Conference on Health, Communication, Marketing and Media, the Ad Club and New York Women in Communications. Ellyn is a graduate of Penn State and she received Penn State’s Alumni Achievement Award in 2012. She currently serves on Penn State’s Communications and Marketing Committee and is an Advisory Board Member of the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication.
Rick Fisher is the co-partner-in-charge of human resources at EisnerAmper, a firm offering accounting, consulting and tax services. He has more than 30 years of experience in accounting, audit and human resources — more than 20 of them at the partner level. Rick’s responsibilities at EisnerAmper include a unique combination of recruiting, career development, compensation, and development of personnel policies and budgeting. He is also the plan administrator of the firm’s retirement plans and insurance programs. One of his major tasks has been overseeing a series of mergers that have seen his firm grow to over 1,300 professionals. Committed to Penn State, Fisher serves on the Accounting Advisory Board, a group of alumni from academia and industry interested in promoting accounting education and furthering its development and practice. In addition, he has created the Fisher Mentoring Endowment in Accounting to support teaching assistant wages in the master of accounting program. He also served as Treasurer and Executive Board member of the Penn State Alumni Association - New York City Chapter for four years. Fisher credits his early interest and academic success in accounting to a teaching assistant who was able to explain the mechanics of debits and credits during his early days at Penn State. Rick Fisher’s connections to Penn State are deep. His father graduated from Penn State, his nephew is a current student and his daughter Lauren is a 2013 graduate of the Integrated MAcc (master of accounting) program.
Chris Hastings is Head of the Private Capital Group at Signal Hill, a Daiwa Securities Group company. Prior to joining Signal Hill, Mr. Hastings worked for Bear Stearns for nine years and was the head of the private placement group. In 2007, he joined the private placement group at Credit Suisse Led and a team of Credit Suisse bankers to form Cantor Fitzgerald’s private placement group. Mr. Hastings also worked in the private placement groups at Bank of America and Prudential Securities. He has a B.S. from Penn State University and MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Alice Pope earned three Penn State degrees in Psychology from the College of the Liberal Arts – a B.A. in 1979, an M.S. in 1983 and a Ph.D. in 1986. She has spent her career in higher education, and she is currently an associate professor of psychology at St. John’s University in New York City. Her research in child psychology is focused on developmental psychopathology, children’s peer relations, and social cognitions. She was elected to the Board of Trustees by the Alumni for a second term effective July 2014.;
Jeff is a Managing Director in the Transaction Services practice of Cohn Reznick and has over 14 years of experience in finance and accounting. He is responsible for leading buy-side and sell-side transaction services to private equity and corporate clients. Jeff has extensive experience in financial due diligence analysis, transaction structuring and deal negotiation support in a variety of industries, including food and beverage, distribution, manufacturing, chemicals, industrial products, professional services, hardware and software production and development, and software as a service (“SaaS”). He focuses on quality of earnings, revenue recognition, profitability analysis, working capital considerations and debt considerations. Prior to joining Cohn Reznick, Jeff worked in the mergers and acquisitions practice for a Big 5 accounting firm in New York. He has also conducted audits for public and private companies, including Fortune 500 companies, predominantly in the U.S. and UK.
Mark graduated from Penn State in 2005 with a B.S. in Finance and minors in Economics and International Business. After graduation, he moved to Charlotte, NC to pursue a career in international investment management. He is now at Wells Fargo where he is assisting in managing enterprise risk programs and strategic initiatives. While in Charlotte, Mark was the President of the Charlotte Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association from 2011 to 2017 where he expanded membership, increased game watch locations from two to three, and received a Crystal Lion award in 2012 from the PSAA for his work in responding to the Sandusky fall-out. Mark now lives in Nyack, NY with his wife (also PSU alumna) and daughter.
Michael B. Rosenblatt
Michael B. Rosenblatt is a 1968 graduate of Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts. In addition to his commitment to the NYC Chapter of the Alumni Association and his life membership in the PSU Alumni Association, he is currently on the Board of Directors of the College of the Liberal Arts Alumni Society. Michael has served as a mentor to Penn State undergraduates for many years and is currently – and proudly – serving as a member of the Hope Gala Advisory Board. Michael is currently Of Counsel to Rosenberg & Estis, P.C., a major real estate law firm in New York City. He resides in Manhattan with his wife, Karen.
George Santiago, Jr., PhD
Dr. George Santiago, Jr., a resident of Bethpage, New York on Long Island, received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers College of Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey in 1983 with majros in Geography and Spanish. He subsequently enrolled in the Educational Administration program at The Pennsylvania State University and received his M.Ed. in 1986 and his Ph.D. in 1994. Dr. Santiago has dedicated his professional career of more than 30 years to educational leadership in higher education. Since graduating from Penn State University, he has had a number of professional affiliations including Assistant Dean of Students at Rutgers College; Executive Assistant to the President at Law School Admission Services; Associate Director and Acting Director of the Educational Opportunity Fund Program at Rider University; Assistant Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at Montclair State University; Executive Associate Director for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education; Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Briarcliffe College; President and Chief Executive Officer of Briarcliffe College; and most recently, President and Chief Executive Officer of TCI College of Technology. Dr. Santiago is the recipient of numerous awards including the Penn State University College of Education Excellence in Education Award in 2013 and the Penn State University Board of Trustees Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016. As well as being a Visiting Scholar at Capella University, Dr. Santiago serves as an evaluator for the New York State Education Department and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Dr. Santiago is affiliated with a host of State, regional and national organizations and professional societies. Dr. Santiago has served on several Boards including Association of Proprietary Colleges, Briarcliffe College Board of Trustees, TCI College of Technology Board of Directors, Fair Media Council, Huntington Chamber of Commerce, LGBT Services Network, Long Island Regional Advisory Council on Higher Education, Nassau County Sports Commission, and the New York State Board of Regents Council on Institutional Accreditation. Dr. Santiago is an Eagle Scout, and was formerly an Assistant Scoutmaster in Philadelphia, PA prior to moving to Long Island, New York in 2004. Dr. Santiago was born and raised in Vineland, New Jersey and is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jorge and Ana Santiago of San Sebastian, Puerto Rico.
With more than 25 years in the music industry, Mark currently manages projects as varied as music festivals, urban venue development and high-profile concerts. Mark’s career began by actively pursuing opportunities to get involved in performances and productions at Penn State University (BA, Integrative Arts, 1996). During this time, he became Production Manager at the Bryce Jordan Center as well as the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Arts in Washington, DC. Mark earned agency experience working at the Agency For The Performing Arts (APA) which led to a position as a talent buyer at Metropolitan Entertainment in 1999. He promoted shows at Hammerstein Ballroom, Beacon Theatre, Central Park Summerstage, Theater at Madison Square Garden, and Radio City Music Hall, working with artists such as Lenny Kravitz, John Mayer, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. In 2003, Mark was on the team opening AEG Live’s New York City office, and his responsibilities grew to include venue development and negotiations. He created and supervised the construction of the Nokia Theatre Times Square (now known as the PlayStation Theater) which opened in September 2005 with Bon Jovi (Pollstar’s Best New Music Venue 2005). Between 2005 and 2017, the regional venue portfolio grew to include the Starland Ballroom (Sayreville, NJ), Keswick Theatre (Glenside, PA), Trocadero Theatre (Philadelphia, PA), the Mann Center (Philadelphia, PA), Electric Factory (Philadelphia, PA), Underground Arts (Philadelphia, PA), and the Highline Ballroom (New York, NY). Currently, Mark serves as a Principal at the newly merged AEG / Bowery Presents office in NYC which books thousands of concerts and spans from Maine to Georgia at premier venues such as the Royale (Boston, MA), Union Transfer (Philadelphia, PA), Central Park Summerstage (New York, NY) and Brooklyn Steel (New York, NY) . He also oversees concert booking at casino properties such as Foxwoods, Mt. Airy and Parx. In addition, Mark is an executive producer of the annual Global Citizen Festival - an action-rewarded, awareness driven music festival, where fans engage with causes in order to win tickets. The festival is part of an initiative of the Global Poverty Project and is timed to coincide with the UN General Assembly to raise awareness and leverage government aid. In the five years since its inception, the annual event has drawn 60,000 each year to the Great Lawn in New York’s iconic Central Park and featured performances by Beyonce, Neil Young, Rihanna, Coldplay, Pearl Jam, and The Foo Fighters.
Michael Tiliakos joined Argo Group in April 2020 as the Assistant General Counsel, Employment and Corporate Matters. Argo Group (NYSE: ARGO) is an underwriter of specialty insurance and reinsurance products in areas of the property and casualty market. Prior to Argo, Michael served as the Assistant General Counsel for Goodman Networks, and prior to that he was a partner in Duane Morris LLP’s Employment, Labor, Benefits, and Immigration group. In his more than two decades of practicing law, Michael has worked in the government sector, co-founded a boutique management-side labor and employment firm, and worked in two large, global law firms. He has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” and among “The Nation’s Most Powerful Employment Attorneys – Up and Comers.” Michael received his juris doctor degree from New York Law School and his undergraduate degree from Penn State University.
To view a historical listing of Advisory Board Members who have served in the past please click here...