The Strategic Communications program instructors are high level practicing professionals affiliated with New York City’s top marketing, advertising, public relations firms, and nonprofit organizations. These individuals bring practical experience, managerial expertise and proven records of success. They serve as a useful resource to those seeking advancement in the field.

Advisory Board

Kathleen Bonk

President and Executive Director,
Communications Consortium Media Center

In 1988, Kathy Bonk co-founded the Communications Consortium Media Center , based in Washington , D.C. The mission of the Communications Consortium is to use communications strategies for policy change. Bonk has led numerous collaborative communications campaigns among nonprofit groups, many resulting in impressive policy victories. Over the past 25 years, Bonk has been at the forefront of dozens of media campaigns that marked a sea change in domestic and global policies affecting women, children and families. In addition, she has worked on many multi-year, issue-oriented efforts for prominent foundations. Examples of these efforts are: child welfare, for the Annie E. Casey and W. K. Kellogg Foundations; population and development, for the Open Society Institute, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Hewlett, Packard and Turner Foundations; and domestic and global women's issues, for the Ford and Packard Foundations, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Women Donors Network. She has also directed activities under grants from scores of other foundations, including the Charles H. Revson and E.M. Kauffman Foundations and the Carnegie Corporation of New York . She works with dozens of public agencies, from the United Nations to state and country governments, helping to build effective communications programs. In 1989, Bonk was awarded a Kellogg Foundation National Leadership Fellowship, which enabled her to work extensively with nongovernmental organizations in Russia , the Ukraine and Eastern Europe . Previously, she served as a public information officer at the U.S. Department of State, and the Voting Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. From 1978 to 1987, she directed the Media Project for the National Organization for Women's Legal Defense and Education Fund. Bonk is the co-author of the Jossey-Bass Guide to Strategic Communications for Nonprofits (1999), part of the Jossey-Bass Nonprofit and Public Management series.

Maude DiVittis

Senior Vice President, Learning & Organizational Development
MTV Networks

Maude DiVittis is the founder of ExecOnBoard LLC; an organization that successfully supports accelerated workplace performance during transitions. She serves as both the founder and lead designer for developing strategic learning tools and techniques for customized on-boarding processes for leaders, teams, and organizations. Prior to founding ExecOnBoard LLC, DiVittis served in key human resource and organizational development positions at MTV Networks, a division of Viacom. Initially hired in 1995 as training director, she focused on designing programs and systems for sales teams. In 1997, DiVittis was named Director of Organizational Development for Nickelodeon, where she supported the design and delivery of the Management Development Program and supported the diverse learning needs of all departments and functions. In 1999, DiVittis was promoted to Vice President, Training and Development, for MTV Networks, where she oversaw the overhaul of several training and development programs, including the company-wide mentoring program, Executive Coaching Program, the supervisor’s toolkit, company-wide orientation, and the tuition reimbursement and educational assistance program. In 2002 she was named Senior Vice President, Learning and Organizational Development, and had oversight for all training, education, performance management, career development, succession planning and organizational development for the corporation. In 2005, she served a dual role as the senior human resource generalist and organizational development specialist. Prior to joining MTV Networks, DiVittis worked for nine years at M&M/Mars; a division of MARS incorporated, in various sales, sales marketing and training roles. She earned her B.A. from Miami University of Ohio and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the organizational leadership department at Columbia University, Teachers College. She’s served on the ASTD National Board of Directors, and the University of Pennsylvania/ Wharton Advisory Board for CLO curriculum for doctoral studies. She has been recognized nationally as a leader in the field of training and development and is an active member of the Society of Human Resource Management and the American Society for Training & Development.

Joseph M. Evangelisti

Managing Director, Corporate Communications
JPMorgan Chase

As managing director and head of worldwide corporate communications for JPMorgan Chase, the $1.2 trillion global financial services company, Evangelisti serves as chief spokesman for the company, responsible for all media relations. He also leads internal communications and is a member of the firm's Brand Marketing Council. Prior to assuming these responsibilities earlier this year, Evangelisti served as head of media relations for JPMorgan Chase and for JPMorgan before it was purchased by Chase in 2000. Between 1991 and 1994, Evangelisti was based in London —heading media relations, internal communications, branding and advertising for JPMorgan in the UK , continental Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Between 1986 and 1991, Evangelisti was a member of the company's corporate communications group, holding a variety of junior roles in media relations and internal communications. He joined JPMorgan in 1986 after completing the retail executive training program at Lord & Taylor.

Ruth Kaplan

Vice President of External Affairs, New York
Syracuse University

Ruth Kaplan joined Syracuse University in 2007, in a newly created position to develop national outreach strategies for the university. Before joining Syracure University, Kaplan was a deputy director at the Museum of Modern Art for five years, where she oversaw marketing and communications for the museum and its programs worldwide and was responsible for directing the campaign for the reopening of the expanded and renovated museum. Before joining MoMA, Kaplan was a senior vice president at the New York office of Ruder Finn Arts and Communications Counselors, where she developed strategic communications plans for a variety of clients. Before joining Ruder Finn in 1997, Kaplan was vice president of marketing and communications at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where she created and implemented communications and marketing strategies in all the performing arts disciplines, including the successful launch of the Lincoln Center Festival. Previously, Kaplan was head of public relations for the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. During this time she designed and implemented creative initiatives to increase attendance to an average of six million visitors a year - the highest of any art museum in the U.S. kaplan created successful promotion and marketing campaigns for more than 200 exhibitions. She was the recipient of numerous national promotion awards, including the golden AMIE from the American Associations of Museums for the most outstanding marketing program in the U.S. for Great French Paintings from the Barnes Collection (1994). Prior to her work at the National Gallery, Kaplan served as vice president for promotion and advertising at WETA, Washington's public television and radio station, where she developed numerous award-winning advertising and promotion campaigns for national programs. She began her career in London in the House of Commons as personal assistant to Hugh (later Lord) Jenkins, Minister for the Arts. Kaplan then moved to the Royal Shakespeare Company where she served as press officer. She serves on the board of the Poetry Society of America and is a member of the American Association of Museums, the International Council of Museums, and Art Table. Kaplan holds a B.A. from Goucher College, Maryland, and an M.A. from the University of London.

Shoba Purushothaman

CEO and Co-founder
The NewsMarket, Inc.

Shoba Purushothaman is CEO and co-founder of The NewsMarket, Inc., a Web-based platform that aggregates, markets, and distributes video content. Purushothaman has 20 years of experience in the news and public relations industries in Asia, Europe and the U.S. She was a business journalist for nine years, including at Dow Jones newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She co-founded her first media company in 1989 that was subsequently successfully acquired by a public company in 2001. The second company she co-founded, The NewsMarket, launched its platform in 2003 to leverage the emerging digital technologies that are transforming how the marketing industry interacts with the news media. More than 7,500 newsrooms in 140 countries including CNN, BBC, RTL, TV Globo, The New York Times, Business Week , and Fuji TV source broadcast-standard video content via www.thenewsmarket.com. The NewsMarket's customers who use the platform to distribute content to the media include BMW, Intel, Google, Motorola, AOL, Adidas, Nissan, UNICEF, and the American Red Cross. Purushothaman is a frequent speaker and interviewee on the future of the media industry and successful global entrepreneurship. The NewsMarket is a venture-backed company with Tier 1 investors including Apax Partners, Battery Ventures and the Hearst Corporation. Headquartered in New York, the company has operations in Europe and Asia.

Gary Sheffer

Executive Director, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs
General Electric Company

Gary Sheffer is responsible for helping to manage and enhance the reputation of GE. In his role, he oversees external and internal communications. He serves as GE's chief spokesperson with the media and provides strategic communications advice to GE executives on a full range of corporate reputation issues. Sheffer also oversees employee and executive communications. In his public affairs role, Sheffer works with external groups and individuals to understand their interests and foster understanding of GE policies. Sheffer joined GE in 1999 after 17 years in journalism and government communications. For 10 years, Sheffer served as a press aide to two New York governors, and helped direct communications strategies for several statewide political campaigns. He previously was a newspaper reporter and editor, earning several writing and reporting awards. Sheffer earned a bachelor's of arts degree in English from Siena College in Loudonville, New York, and today serves on its associate board of trustees. Sheffer is a member of two prominent associations for public relations professionals, the Wisemen and PR Seminar.

Karen A. Zahorsky

President, Development
Diversified Agency Services, Omnicom Group Inc.

Karen Zahorsky is president of development of Diversified Agency Services, the largest and fastest growing division of Omnicom Group. She is responsible for leveraging the resources provided by all of its units, which now number over 170. With a focus on organic growth, business and talent development, Zahorsky oversees a wide number of efforts that facilitate collaboration, knowledge share, and capitalizing on the opportunities and value that exist within the Omnicom Group network. Zahorsky has over 25 years of experience in the marketing communications industry. Having started her advertising career at various ad agencies, she joined Omnicom Group at its inception in 1986, where she held various executive positions and ultimately, ran the Boston office of its direct marketing company, Rapp Collins Worldwide. In 1993, she cofounded Baez-Zahorsky, Inc. (BZI), a marketing consulting company specializing in strategy planning and program development. Her clients included multiple divisions within the Walt Disney Company, Bank of Boston, and Omnicom Group, among others. In 1997, she accepted an offer from Omnicom Group, to join the executive team that leads Diversified Agency Services.