The general mission of the COMS Alumni Advisory Council is to enhance relationships between the School of Communication Studies and its alumni. Specifically, the council provides advice and counsel in support of the School’s alumni initiatives, as well as priorities identified in alumni surveys. Its members serve as ambassadors in their spheres of influence and encourage alumni engagement with School faculty and students, and with one another.
Alumni Advisory Council
School of Communication Studies, Ohio University
David (Dave) Abram (OHIO ‘89, BSC Communication-Organizational Communication) is a resident of Essex, MA, and a Sales Manager for Parksite Incorporated, a wholesale distributor of building materials. Having made his first gift to OHIO in the form of a donation to the College of Communication in 1989, the year of his graduation, he has provided time, talent and treasure to his alma mater.
In his professional career, Dave has worked in sales, marketing and new business development roles in several industries, including consumer packaged goods, sporting goods and building materials. Additionally, he has served on boards for a variety of institutions/organizations.
In service to Ohio University, Dave served as President of the Massachusetts Chapter serving New England for eight years, was a member of the OHIO Alumni Association Board of Directors and was a Regional Chair of the Promise Lives Campaign. He currently serves on the OHIO Bobcat Club Board of Directors (Intercollegiate Athletics Development). During his tenure as Massachusetts Chapter President, he created and led the eventual endowment of the Bunch of Grapes Scholarship, which provides an annual scholarship for a student residing in New England, and also created its anchor event, Manasseh Cutler’s Lobsterfest, an annual fundraiser for the scholarship.
Mary L. Bradley, Esq. (OHIO ‘80, BSC Communication – Organizational Communication; Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University, 1998, Juris Doctor) is a Senior Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor, in Cleveland, Ohio. Her professional career began at the Xerox Corporation where she sold copiers, memory typewriters, and supplies. She transferred to the Information Systems Division as a customer-training representative. Mary moved to Houston, Texas and worked as a trainer for Allied Bank of Texas writing training materials and presentations. She returned to Ohio to work for Banc One Corporation, in Columbus, as a Business Systems Analyst. Mary transferred into Human Resources where she worked as an organizational development trainer, an employee relations specialist and a recruiter. She became an Officer. Mary left banking to attend law school full time. She is licensed to practice law in Ohio. Her first legal job was as an associate for Millisor and Nobil, (now Fisher & Phillips). She went on to general practice in personal injury, probate, and family law. Since 2001 Mary has worked as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor. As a lifetime member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a public service sorority, Mary devoted her life to public service. She volunteers for the Legal Aid Society and the Cleveland Bar Association. She mentors first year law students and served on the Board of Trustees for the Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association.
Timothy J. Brown (OHIO ’97, Ph.D. in Rhetoric & Public Address) is Dean of the Knight School of Communication at Queen’s University of Charlotte. Prior to that, he was a Professor of Communication in the Department of Communication Studies at West Chester University where he served ten years as department chair and four years on the university’s tenure and promotion committee. He is a rhetorical scholar whose scholarship and presentations focus upon African American culture and communication, black masculinity, and communication and sport. He is the co-author of two textbooks, Public Speaking for Success: Strategies for Diverse Audiences and Occasions, and Argument and Debate: A Public Speaking Approach. His most recent essay, “Public memory as contested site: The struggle for existence at the National Museum of African American History and Culture,” will appear in Roger Aden’s edited book, The Soul of the Nation: U.S. Public Memory and the National Mall.
At West Chester University, Tim held several leadership positions such as Special Assistant to the Provost and Chair of the Council of Chairs. Moreover, he was the co-founder of WCU’s Multicultural Faculty Commission and WCU’s Faculty Mentoring Program. At the national level, he was appointed by the President of the National Communication Association (NCA) to serve as one of six team leaders who led faculty workgroups to create student learning outcomes for the discipline of Communication Studies.
John A. Cassese (OHIO, ‘76, BSC Radio and Television, ’79; MA, Organizational Communication) is a senior level business communications/production professional with over 40 years of experience. He was one of the founding partners and principals of Concentric Communications, a business communications agency and SVP of ACG Communications, serving as Managing Director of ACG Healthcare specializing in new product launches and national sales meetings in the pharmaceutical industry. Most recently he was Vice President of New Business Development at PineRock Productions in New York City.
Leaving behind the corporate world, John relocated to Charlotte, NC where he is on the adjunct faculty at UNCC, Queens University, Winthrop, and Wake Forest. For Ohio, John is teaching an on-line class for the Masters program in Organizational Communication. John has also been a guest lecturer at Hanover College working with the Business Scholars program. For 7 years he had been a guest lecturer for the Integrated Marketing Communications Course in the Masters in Public Relations Program at NYU’s School of Professional Studies.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, John has begun a communications consultancy, focusing on helping corporations develop and execute internal communications campaigns, field force and employee messaging and national meetings.
John is an active supporter of his Alma Mater, Ohio University, having endowed the John A. Cassese Chair of Forensics program (public speaking) and named outstanding alumnus for the Ohio University School of Communication Studies. He has also served as President of his college fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta’s Graduate Association. He has endowed a leadership scholarship for the fraternity, in his name. He has served on both the Ohio University Alumni Board of Directors, and the Scripps College of Communication Dean’s Advisory Council. A frustrated actor at heart, his television credits include The HBO Series “OZ” and Law and Order SVU.
Julia Louise Krahe (formerly Julia Louise Kindl) (OHIO HTC ‘03, BSC in Political Communication with minors in political science and math) lives in Washington, DC, and is a vice president at Edelman, a global communications firm. Julia has divided her career between leading communications operations for federal legislators and advising federal agencies through her work at various public relations companies.
Currently, Julia leads teams at Edelman that provide counsel on messaging and media engagement to multiple agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Her most recent political work includes serving as communications director for U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and for the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce under Representative George Miller.
During her time at OHIO, Julia was an active member of the forensics team, participating in multiple national public speaking tournaments, and she presented original research at the National Communication Association annual conference. As an alumna, Julia has served on the HTC Board of Visitors Communications Committee and the board of the Nation’s Capital Chapter.
Laurie Sheridan Lach (OHIO ’92, BSC – Organizational Communication). A native of Athens, Laurie’s professional life began in sales at TRW. The information systems division was later divested, and Experian was then created where she enjoyed an extensive and highly successful sales career working in multi-national financial services companies. Following a stint at NCR-Teradata, selling enterprise data warehouse solutions, Laurie joined Alliance Data as Director of Client Sales in 2007. There, she led a team of marketing and business insights professionals and delivered custom solutions to major retailers. Laurie also served on the advisory board for OHIO’s Schey Sales Centre and quickly discovered the rewards of helping students learn and grow. In 2012, Laurie joined OHIO as Director of Alumni Affairs for the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and focused on engagement, philanthropy, and innovative ways to support the college’s expansion to Dublin and Cleveland. As Director of Development and External Affairs for OHIO’s Lancaster campus, Laurie now oversees fundraising, external outreach, and traditions that sustain OHIO’s strong community connection. Laurie is a member of the OHIO Today advisory board, a co-creator of ohio women in medicine, a member of the Lancaster Rotary, and serves on Lancaster Festival’s board of directors.
Karen Atwell, PCC (OHIO ‘2018, MA Organizational Communications) is a dynamic leader with over 35 years of management, consulting and coaching experience. Accomplished in talent strategy and development, HR consulting, executive assessment, coaching, training and facilitating, Karen focuses on both people and productivity through a passion to grow people.
Karen has extensive experience helping leaders in transition identify the shifts necessary to move forward. She focuses on the Development of Followership, Vision Articulation and Delivery, Goal Setting, Initiative Strategy, Tactical Leadership and Accountability. Karen continues to be a key player in the development and delivery of formal training and coaching programs, providing a systematic and comprehensive development experience for leaders, managers, and sales professionals.
Karen is currently the VP Leadership & Talent Development with First Command Financial Services and President of Dynamic Perspectives, LLC. Her previous experience includes Executive Director and Master Coach with UBS Global Wealth Management as well as various sales management and senior sales leadership positions with Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and Prudential Securities.
Karen is a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation and is Master Certified for The Leadership Challenge©. Her consulting client list includes MetLife, Penn Medicine, PNC Bank, Franchise Update Media, and Comcast.
Karen and her family live in Fort Worth, Texas and Deer Isle, Maine. She has a long history of community involvement around the education, development, and health of young people
Former Advisory Members
Chris Witherspoon (OHIO, ’04, BSC – Communication Studies) is currently a correspondent/host for the movie ticketing site Fandango. Prior to working with Fandango, Chris was an entertainment analyst for CNN, and from 2011-2016 he served as the entertainment editor for NBC’s African American news outlet, theGrio.com.
Chris has appeared on various NBC platforms including MSNBC, TODAY, Megyn Kelly TODAY, NBC’s Nightly News, and E! News. Throughout his career he’s sat down for exclusive interviews with Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Viola Davis, Hugh Jackman, Denzel Washington, Harrison Ford and more.
Chris got his start at NBCUniversal in 2008 working as a publicity coordinator with the NBC News press department, covering shows including Meet the Press and Dateline. He later served as executive assistant to Jeff Zucker, CEO of NBCUniversal. He interned at ABC’s Good Morning America and worked as an NBC page from 2005-2006.