Meet the 2015-2016
School of Business Board of Directors
E. Ryan Najjar, BS Management '13
Ryan leverages over 25 years of management experience to lead clients to successful results. He spent 15 years of his career focused on the mortgage and real estate industries, including the founding and managing of a multi-state licensed mortgage company. Often considered a serial entrepreneur, Ryan enjoys using his experiences to help other entrepreneurs succeed in their aspirations. Ryan is one of the many non-traditional students that have graduated from George Mason University. He began his undergraduate studies in 1991 and took classes on-and-off for a few years, before focusing all of his time on his family and growing career. Ryan later returned to his studies and has been a very active member of the George Mason community ever since. Ryan demonstrates his commitment to George Mason as a member of both the Patriot Club and President's Circle. He is an advocate of George Mason in every sense of the word, with a special devotion to the success of the School of Business. Ryan supports the School of Business through several of the student/alumni groups and projects, including Startup Mason and the Innovation Lab.
Sumeet Shrivastava, Executive MBA '94
Sumeet is an accomplished executive and proven business leader with more than two decades of experience in the government IT industry. As President of ARRAY, he provides overall corporate leadership for the company's growth strategy. Prior to ARRAY, Sumeet was SVP for Public Sector at Keane (now NTT Data). As EVP and COO of ANSTEC, a Government IT contractor, he architected the company's acquisition by Keane. Sumeet has been committed to the Mason and regional community throughout his career. He has served as a member of George Mason University's Diversity Advisory Board and is currently on the School of Business Innovation & Entrepreneurship Advisory Board. He has also served on the Board of the Northern Virginia Technology Council and Chaired the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Committee. Recently, Sumeet was chosen as part of the inaugural class for the 20 Prominent Patriots in Business.
Immediate Past President
Mark Cummings, Executive MBA '94
Mark Cummings is Founder, Principal, and CEO of MEC Realty Associates, a Fairfax-based commercial real estate brokerage firm, with over 30 years of experience servicing national, regional, and local businesses across all asset classes. MEC Realty Associates is one of the most recognized commercial real estate firms, specializing in senior-level tenant representation, leasing millions of square feet of all asset classes, sizes, and locations in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, including Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. As a 1994 graduate of Mason's Executive MBA program, Cummings serves as president for the School of Business Alumni Chapter. In addition, Cummings is an adjunct professor for the School of Business' Masters in Real Estate Development Program teaching finance, marketing analytics, and real estate development. In 2013, Cummings was honored as a member of the inaugural class of 20 Prominent Patriots. Aside from his work at Mason, Cummings has served as a representative and chairman on the Fairfax Center Land Use Committee. He is a certified First Responder for the State of Virginia, serving as a volunteer and supporter with the Virginia Airborne Search and Rescue Squad. Currently finishing his Helicopter Pilots License, Cummings enjoys volunteering in a number of civic roles supporting community involvement.
Chair of the Program & Events Committee
Kristin Discher, BS Marketing '08 & MBA '13
Kristin, an association professional, has been an undergraduate alumnus of George Mason University for six years and recently completed her MBA at George Mason. Kristin was the volunteer cohort representative for her class and was the direct link between the staff at the School of Business and the cohort. She is currently employed by the Association of Air Medical Services and the MedEvac Foundation International. She is the project manager and a crossover staff member between the Association and the Foundation. She has experience in events from 30 to 2500 attendees as well as managing a 120,000 sq. ft. exhibit hall. Kristin previously worked for a law firm association in Washington, D.C., and a small college in New Jersey.
Chair of the Outreach Committee
Brian Dreyer, MBA '13
Brian holds not one but two degrees from George Mason University. His professional life has taken him through a variety of roles, from marketing and sales to startups and now to technical product management. He currently serves as a Directory of Product Manager for an enterprise video company, and was hired specifically to lead the charge in redeveloping and relaunching the company's flagship software solution. Additionally, he creates product development strategies that involve teaming up with sales and marketing to pitch this new product to Fortune 100 companies both in North America and Europe. As the Chair of the Outreach Committee, Brian would takes the experiences that he has gained throughout his various professional roles and help the university to better reach current and new alumni by understanding how they want to interact with George Mason University and the kinds of benefits they hope to receive by being a School of Business alumni.
Chair of the Fundraising Committee
Michael Gallagher, MBA '94
To honor the millions of business executives and workers worldwide who quietly accomplish innovative and extraordinary things in the workplace every day, Michael founded the Stevie® Awards in 2002. The name Stevie comes from the Greek name Stefanos, which means "crowned." Prior to founding the Stevie Awards, Michael focused his energies on marketing, sales, and product development, including serving as Vice President of Sales & Marketing with the Hoover's Media Technologies division of Hoover's Inc., the leading provider of information on public and private companies worldwide. Most recently, he was Vice President of Sales & Marketing with Amazing Media, an online advertising company. Michael holds a bachelor of arts from Fordham University in New York City and a master of business administration from George Mason University. Michael was president of the alumni chapter in 2011-13 and was also a Director at Large.
Curtiss White, Executive MBA '96
Curt possesses 25 years of experience as a consultant and practitioner in human resource management and has worked in a variety of industries supporting domestic and global operations throughout the Americas, Asia Pac, and Europe. He possesses an MBA degree from George Mason and for nearly 15 years has worked as an adjunct for Mason's Office of Continuing Education Program (OCPE), teaching a variety of human resource management courses. Curtiss takes great pride in his association with George Mason University and looks forward to helping strengthen the alumni network.
Becky Andersen, BS Accounting '10
Becky graduated cum laude from the School of Business with a B.S. in Accounting and in addition she was a member of the softball team during her time at Mason. Becky is an Internal Auditor for an investment advisory firm located in Bethesda, MD. Prior to transitioning to this role, she spent over 3 years with a regional accounting firm as a member of the risk consulting & advisory services team. Becky plans on giving back to the George Mason University community by strengthening alumni relations, particularly by fostering a sense of community among young alumni.
Karen Cohen, MS Real Estate Development '12
Karen L. Cohen is an attorney with the law firm of Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. where her practice focuses on business and real estate transactions, commercial leasing, and land use and zoning law. Ms. Cohen holds an undergraduate architecture degree from University of Virginia and a law degree from Georgetown University. She practiced law for fifteen years prior to enrolling in Mason's School of Business as a member of the first cohort of the Master of Real Estate Development (MRED) program in 2009. She graduated from the program with the Dean's Award for Outstanding Student and has continued to be a leader and advocate for the program. After graduating from the program, Ms. Cohen authored a strategic plan to develop a vision and corresponding action plan for the future of Mason's Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship (CREE) and the MRED program it supports. The goals of that plan were met, the program continues to grow and prosper, and the program's continued success is a source of great pride to Ms. Cohen and her fellow MRED alumni.
Mike Creasy, BS Accounting & Decision Sci & Mgmt Info Syst '91
Mike currently serves as Audit Practice Leader for Grant Thornton's Atlantic Coast market which includes the Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. In this role, Creasy leads over 250 audit professionals. He also served as a senior strategic adviser to the leadership of Grant Thornton China's operations and had business development responsibilities in China. Previously, Creasy served as an audit partner and audit practice leader in Grant Thornton's New York area offices leading over 250 partners and employees. While in New York, Creasy also served as an International Business Centre ("IBC") director, which entailed coordinating international client services between the U.S. and foreign countries with a focus on the Asia Pacific region. Mike has many professional qualifications and memberships, including, past board member of the Association of Corporate Growth in China, past board member of George Mason University's School of Business Alumni Association, a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and a member of the New York State Society of CPAs. Mike graduated cum laude with a BS in accounting and management information systems from George Mason University. He would like to be able to use his past experiences and numerous posts with the university in order to help grow the alumni chapter. These experiences and posts include: two terms on the Accounting Advisory Committee; one previous term as a board member of the Business School's Alumni Association; helped establish the NY Alumni Club; hosted the Executive MBA program in NY; hosted the EBMA and MBA programs while based in China and engaged with China based alumni while in country; and he is a new member of the Dean's Council.
David Gagliano, MS Technology Management '02
Mr. Gagliano currently guides technology strategy at Acentia, a premier Federal Systems Integrator focused on programs of national significance. Prior to Acentia, he led Cisco's global Business Transformation Practice and Smart+Connected+Communities programs; prior to Cisco he served as a Northrop Grumman Mission Systems Division CTO and Technical Fellow. A distinguished alumni of George Mason University School of Business, he continues to 'give-back' - guiding corporate contributions, sponsoring students, mentoring cohorts, and as Chairman of the Capstone board.
Mr. Gagliano holds a CIO University Certificate from the GSA, an M.S. in Technology Management from George Mason University, and a B.S. in Computer Science from Ohio University; his international experience includes multi-year positions in the Americas, Europe, and SE Asia. He is author of over a dozen papers on subjects as diverse as telemedicine, enterprise architectures, wireless and mobility, SOA and Agile SW development, virtual reality, and nanotechnology.
John Gustavo Blair, MBA '04
John will bring the same passion and enthusiasm for Mason, its students and alumni that led him to co-found the MBA Student Association (MBASA) and actively serve the school as President of the School of Business Alumni Chapter shortly after receiving an MBA from Mason. Mason's greatest assets are its students and alumni. MBA students have carried on the MBASA and made it an integral part of the program and alumni have successfully continued the tradition of the Annual Business Alumni Celebration started under his tenure as Board President nearly 10 years ago. His goal is to further grow participation in the alumni chapter by all alumni from every program and every class. The best is yet to come!
Jason Howell, BS Accounting '97
Jason Howell is a trusted advisor focused on attorneys and their families. He helps solve three problems: lack of time, lack of money and lack of options. A former U.S. Congressional candidate, his interests in politics and law allow him to anticipate new financial legislation that will affect his clients. Rather than focusing on "a number," he focuses on gradually improving his client's lifestyle. Jason Howell is a former chapter President of ALPFA (an organization dedicated to building Latino leaders) and former local President of Toastmasters – the international, non-profit organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills. He currently Chairs the Membership Committee for the Hispanic Bar Association of DC and the Veteran Housing Services Committee of Operation Renewed Hope Foundation (an organization dedicated to ending veteran homelessness in the Washington, DC area). He shares his home with his wife, daughter, and a consistently out of tune guitar.
Dave Roe, BS Accounting '89 & MBA '96
Dave works at the George Mason University Foundation. He has two degrees from George Mason University, an undergraduate degree (BS Accounting '89) and MBA '96. Dave has been on the professional staff of the Foundation since November of 1990. Since joining the Foundation, total assets have grown from just under $30M to over $380M. Dave started the first Gunston Scholars endowment fund. Dave is deeply involved with sports playing football, basketball and soccer at the high school level, playing soccer in college. He spends a lot of time volunteering in the community and is an avid follower of all Mason sports teams. His daughter is a junior at JMU studying accounting. His son is a multi-sport player and a just finished his freshman year at Longwood where he is studying business and plays club soccer. Dave's wife works for the Army at the Pentagon and they reside in Fairfax Station.
Friends of the Board
Michael Azzara, BS Business Administration '80
Michael serves as the primary relationship manager for a select group of family and individual clients. He is also responsible for leading The MDT Group at Morgan Stanley's investment consulting services to corporate and non-profit retirement plans. Michael earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in Accounting, from George Mason University in 1980. That same year, he passed the CPA Examination and, subsequently, began his career in public accounting, providing accounting, audit and tax services to individuals and small businesses. Although Michael does not give current tax guidance, his experience provides a unique viewpoint and awareness that helps shape how we manage our clients' assets. In addition, Michael was already a client of Morgan Stanley prior to joining the firm in 2012, and brings that perspective to bear in managing clients' experience and anticipating their needs.
Shauntae Barber, BS Marketing '04
Shauntae serves as a Market Analyst for the Office of Customer Accounts and Research at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). As a Market Analyst, Shauntae serves as a member of a communication and digital marketing group by providing analysis and recommendations on marketing GSA's products and services and fostering effective relationships with internal and external stakeholders through different marketing programs. In addition, she is responsible for administrating the execution of marketing tactics from the GSA's Federal Acquisition Service marketing outreach plan as a project manager. This duty entails ensuring that these tactics- radio advertising, webinars, social media, event management and video productions- are within scope, budget and on time. Shauntae joined the School of Business' Alumni Chapter Board of Directors because she thought that this would be a great opportunity for her to give back to not only George Mason University but also the School of Business. Shauntae valued her education from this institution and feels that now with her years of professional experience, she will be able to contribute more and help advance the success of the School of Business by providing ideas and helping to coordinate events and programs that will help grow participation from past and future graduates.
Jim Bean, BS Finance '07
Jim Bean is the Senior Manager of Debt, Derivatives and Equity Operations at Freddie Mac. His primary responsibilities are for the supervision of trade processing and confirmation, settlements, internal controls and legal documentation within the group. He supervises staff in between McLean, Virginia and Dallas, TX. In 2014 he managed transactions totaling over $465 billion. Earlier in his career Jim was in retail sales and operations, where he managed over 70 employees and was responsible for onsite product inventories in excess of $10 million and ensuring rapid stock replenishment from distributors. Jim also serves as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy (Reserve) Supply Corps. His current job is Company Commander, Navy Cargo Handling Battalion Ten (NCHB10) – Delta, where he leads Sailors in cargo handling operations and logistics mission execution. He holds a B.S. in Finance from GMU (2007), a B.S. in Human Nutrition, Foods & Exercise (2000) and a MBA (2013) from Virginia Tech.
Phillip Cunningham, MBA '12
Phillip Cunningham's goal is to simply give back to the alumni with whom he shares a common threat. Phillip hopes to help them develop their careers by providing an ongoing commitment to their professional, network, and personal growth. Phillip is also looking forward to working to help advance the reputation of the School of Business through regular engagement with local and regional business communities, alumni and through non-standard entities, such as the local military community, other area alumni groups, charities, and subject matter experts in innovative business fields. Having met a diverse group of students and professionals during his years at GMU, and understanding their professional aspirations, Phillip believes it is imperative for the alumni board to proactively work with alumni to enable them to reach their professional goals and is looking forward to playing a role. As a strategic advisor in his current position at Toffler Associates and with the a background in international business from his time as a Manager at Deloitte Consulting, Phillip is looking forward to sharing information with and learning from other Board Members and fellow alumni.
Catherine Daly, BS Marketing '09
Catherine Daly is a Business Development Associate with Sutton Place Strategies in New York. She graduated from George Mason University in '09 with a B.S. in Marketing. This summer, she will complete her Masters in Integrated Marketing Communications from Marist College. Prior to her current role, she worked as a Sales Manger for a financial technology firm and as a Futures Trader for a boutique Introducing Broker. Catherine is committed to giving back to the George Mason University community and expanding its network in the New York metropolitan area. This includes her volunteer efforts with the Mason Admissions Volunteer Network. Currently, Catherine and her husband enjoy living in Manhattan with their two dogs.
Sam Falcone, MBA '95
Sam helps organizations to bridge the gap between strategic planning and frontline implementation. Combining unique behavioral insight with project management expertise, he has broad experience helping executives and teams to analyze, plan, and implement business process changes and/or technology changes. Sam is a cofounder of Integrated Strategy Associates as well as McManis & Monsalve Associates management consulting. Prior to this Sam served as an Army Officer, directing hospital social service programs at military facilities in Alaska, Korea, California, and at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. He completed his military career as an Army Reservist with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and holds certifications as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), and as a Project Management Professional (PMP). As former President of the George Mason MBA Alumni Association, Sam focused his team's efforts on building a jobs network for MBA graduates, and building fundraising partnerships with the George Mason University Foundation.
Chaimaa Fekkak, BS Finance '13 & BS Management '13
As a fall 2013 graduate of George Mason University's School of Business, Chaimaa Fekkak was able to leverage her many prestigious internships, including NPR, NeuStar, and the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, to begin her career with Accenture as a Business Analyst. At Accenture, Chaimaa supports a project to develop and deliver a healthcare web application for a high-profile federal government client. She also serves as the Networking lead for her program's Great Place to Work team, which builds team morale and enhances the day to day work experience of more than 600 employees on the program. Aside from her professional work, Chaimaa participates in many non-profit volunteer activities. She is also a frequent attendee at the School of Business' Women in Business events. Chaimaa was honored as part of the 2014 20 Prominent Patriots in Business class at GMU, and she now is pursuing her MBA with the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech.
Sirena Johnson, BS Accounting '99
Sirena Johnson is a principal at the CPA firm, Thompson Greenspon. As a member of the firm's Government Contracting, Construction and Employee Benefit Plans groups, she specializes in providing accounting, auditing, tax, and management consulting services to clients. Sirena has worked with various prime and subcontractors in the Metropolitan area and has experience assisting government contractors with FAR and DCAA compliance. Sirena's experience with employee benefit plans entails financial statement audits and tax return preparation. She is knowledgeable of Internal Revenue Code and Department of Labor regulations promulgated for employee benefit plans. Sirena has been the Treasurer for the School of Business Alumni Chapter since 2012. In 2014, she was awarded the Alumni Association Alumni Service Award and in 2013 she was awarded the School of Business Alumni Service Award. Sirena is a member of the Women in Business Steering Committee for the School of Business and was a panelist for the Women in Business Networking Series. Sirena also served on various Award Selection Committees for the School of Business. Lastly, she was awarded Super CPA designation by Virginia Society of CPAs and Virginia Business Magazine, 2011-2013.
Michael Ly, BS Accounting '12 and MS Accounting '13
Michael is an Experienced Associate with PricewaterhouseCoopers' (PwC) Assurance line of service with knowledge and experience in various industries, including but not limited to hospitality, oil distribution, government contracting, technology, healthcare, and education. Prior to joining PwC, he worked as an internal auditor at Chesapeake Restaurant Group, a Big Six franchisee of Chili's Bar and Grill. Michael has two degrees from George Mason University – a BS in Accounting (2012) and a MS in Accounting (2013). While at Mason, he was both the Vice President at Beta Alpha Psi and the Financial Manager at Mason's Chapter for Habitat for Humanity. He recently passed all four parts of the CPA Exam is looking forward to obtaining his license.
Trevor Montano, BS Accounting '00
Trevor is an investment banker with Citi's Banks and Diversified Financials (BDF) Group and is responsible for U.S. Bank capital raising, debt financing and M&A origination. Prior to joining Citi, he worked in the Financial Institutions Group at UBS Investment Bank where he also covered U.S. banks and advised on M&A, capital raising and funding/liquidity/risk management. Trevor spent the early part of his career in BIG 4 public accounting where he was in Transaction Structuring Services primarily serving investment banks and private equity firms. Trevor has an MBA from Columbia Business School (2007) and a BS in Accounting from The School of Business at George Mason University (2000). He is a Certified Public Accountant (Virginia – inactive) and a CFA charter holder and a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA).
Sean Parkhurst, MBA '13
Sean has over 10 years of professional experience spanning the education, hospitality, technology, finance, and government industries. Sean is an experienced leader, project manager, and entrepreneur. Sean is the Director of Business and Strategy Development with The EOP Group, a DC based lobbying and consulting group. He provides to Fortune 500 cliental strategic guidance through issue and political analysis. Prior to the EOP Group, he served as the Director of Human Resources and Internal Operations for abas-USA, an IT company in Sterling, VA. Sean led abas through their largest growth period in their history, growing over 200% in sales and doubling the amount of personnel. Sean uses these unique experiences in creating solutions to business challenges. Sean holds an undergraduate degree in International Business and Finance from Central Michigan University (2003) and an MBA from George Mason University.
David Popelier, MBA '10
David is an experienced manager and management consultant. In David co-founded a government contracting and consulting firm—FourWinds Limited Company—that he continues to help lead and grow. Prior to 2010 he served for six years with SAIC, managing large programs on behalf of the federal government. David has also worked in government, including as a foreign affairs officer with the State Department. In addition to the MBA, David completed a bachelor's in Spanish and History from the University of Wisconsin in 1999, and finished a master's in National Security Studies at Georgetown University in 2001. David is a fluent Spanish speaker and is both a Certified Analytics Professional and a Project Management Professional. He is married and has four children.
Fredis Villalta, BS Accounting '11
Fredis is a Management Analyst with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He Conducts surveys, studies, and other investigative analysis of management practices and administrative operations to determine the adequacy of systems and organizational operations. He develops policies, guidelines, and procedures for administrative and management requirements across the agency. Prior to his current position, Fredis was a Budget Analyst responsible for tracking an annual budget of over $270 million. The budget included over 800 grants, contracts, and inter-agency agreements. Fredis has professional certificates in Federal Financial Management, Project Management, and Team Leadership; and he is currently pursuing his Lean Six Sigma certification. Fredis has enjoyed contributing to the GMU alumni association over the last couple years and looks forward to continuing his involvement with the School of Business.
Anna Yarashus, BS Finance '88
Anna holds a degree in Business Administration from George Mason University and has worked in the heavy manufacturing industry for more than 20 years. She is an experienced Program Manager of large manufacturing operations and holds a Master's Degree in Engineering Management for Old Dominion University (1998) and is also a Certified Acquisition Program Manager. Anna enjoys the challenge of project management and has led and supported complex capital and operational improvements for organizations through the years. Anna is married with 2 young boys and enjoys handicapped sailboat racing on the Chesapeake Bay.
Polina Zhuravlev, MS Technology Mangement '05
Polina Zhuravlev has been a member of the School of Business Alumni Chapter Board since 2009. Serving in her first year as alumni chapter president, Polina is a proud graduate of the MS in Technology Management program. Polina was born in Kursk, Russia and came to the United States in 1995 to earn her undergraduate degree at Ohio State University. She decided to enroll at Mason for graduate school because of the stellar reputation of the Technology Management program and the opportunities it could offer her in the future. Polina began her professional career at IBM, where she worked for nearly 9 years as a technical advisor to the federal government, specializing in the development of large and complex information technology systems. In this capacity, Zhuravlev analyzed the labyrinthine corporate tax code and developed the IT rules supporting the IRS's corporate e-File system. She joined QinetiQ North America in 2008, where she currently works as a business analyst on IT projects for the federal government.