Corporate Advisory Board

George Assimakopoulos

George Assimakopoulos

EyeTraffic Media, LLC
Managing Director

Current Roles & Responsibilities: 

George Assimakopoulos is an accomplished marketing professional offering over a decade of Interactive Marketing experience to various industry businesses and organizations. In 2003, George co-founded EyeTraffic Media, LLC - a consulting services firm that provides strategic direction and program management of interactive marketing initiatives as part of an integrated advertising approach. Companies such as Pfizer, Harvard Business School Publishing, Mazda USA, and Chevron have partnered with EyeTraffic Media to support their search marketing efforts, online media buying, mobile and viral marketing campaigns, as well as other integrated lead generation programs.

Prior to starting EyeTraffic Media, George served as Director of Client Services at PROXICOM, Inc. where he managed the implementation of marketing, branding, and commerce programs through the Internet. At Proxicom, George was an integral part for several strategic web engagements to Fortune 500 companies, including: ExxonMobil, NIKE, Merrill Lynch, Chase Bank, DuPont Company, Toyota USA, Marriott Corporation, and Home Box Office (HBO).

George is a frequent speaker at industry conferences on topics for Internet marketing, branding strategies and emerging media. In addition, he regularly teaches classes at the University of Maryland, The American University, and The University of Virginia on topics of Interactive and Integrated Marketing.


BS:        University of Maryland, College Park
MBA:     American University 

Gaurav Bhalla

Gaurav Bhalla, Ph.D.

Knowledge Kinetics

Current Roles & Responsibilities:

Gaurav Bhalla is a strategy, innovation, and marketing professional with global experience, having worked on three continents and with companies in over 20 countries. Since the mid-70's, he has been associated with the business world as a consultant, executive, entrepreneur, and academic/executive educator.

Dr. Bhalla recently launched Knowledge Kinetics, a new entrepreneurial venture. The company focuses on the practice of customer-driven innovation and value co-creation. The goal is to provoke deeper thinking and more rigorous execution of initiatives related to innovation and business growth, through a mix of consulting, executive education, and research/analysis.

Gaurav previously was the Global Innovation Director, at Kantar-TNS, one of the world's largest market information and insight companies. Additionally, he held positions in corporate strategy, brand management, sales management, and market research at companies such as Nestle, Richardson Vicks, and Burke.

Gaurav has worked with some of the largest brands in the world, such as GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squib, Amgen, Astra Zeneca, Pfizer, HP, Microsoft, IBM, Motorola, Samsung, Hughes Electronics, Seiko Epson, Coca Cola, P&G, Heinz, Capital One, Wachovia, and NASDAQ.

Dr. Bhalla has published research papers in leading technical journals dedicated to marketing, marketing research and statistics, and has presented before professional and academic societies in the USA and abroad. Dr. Bhalla has also served as an adjunct professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business.

BA:       Delhi University
MBA:     Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
PhD:      University of Kansas

Jeb BrownJeb Brown

Managing Director
RHI Executive Search

Current Roles and Responsibilities:

Jeb Brown is a Managing Director specializing in executive and senior level searches in general management, financial management, business development, and sales and marketing, particularly within the fields of professional services, marketing and communications services, consumer marketing, higher education, real estate, telecommunications, and government contracting.  As a former Chief Executive Officer, Jeb has extensive experience in consumer and business-to-business marketing, communications, professional services, and general management in the areas of strategic planning, business development, human capital management, and operations.

Jeb has more than 30 years of business and management experience. He has an extensive background in building successful senior management teams and a record of achieving strategic growth and profit objectives. For much of his career, Jeb built a small advertising agency into the country's largest privately held marketing communications firm, with 13 offices in the U.S. and abroad, more than 1,000 employees, and $1 billion in billings. Since he sold his firm, Jeb has been involved as founder, CEO, advisor, or Board member with a variety of entrepreneurial companies in advertising, film production, health care, defense contracting, telecommunications, residential construction, and real estate development.

Jeb's corporate experience, as a CEO, business owner, manager, and entrepreneur, combined with his education and client experience with large and small companies, gives him a unique understanding of the challenges of building and managing a company, developing the right organizational climate and talent mix, and meeting growth and profit goals. Jeb knows what it takes to run an organization and how to attract the right leadership team and uses this extensive experience and knowledge to support his clients. 

Jeb is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the Williams School of Business at Washington and Lee University, a lifetime member of the World Presidents Organization, and a Board Member of a private defense contractor. Jeb has previously been on the Boards of various business, charitable, educational, artistic, and professional organizations. 


BA:      Washington and Lee University
MBA:    Harvard University

Rory ChannerRory Channer

Chief Business Officer
CircleBack, Inc.

Current Roles and Responsibilities:

Rory is the Chief Business Officer at CircleBack, Inc.  In the role he is responsible for all aspects of commercializing CircleBack.  This role includes leading the consumer marketing, sales and BtoB marketing departments. 

Previously, Rory served as CEB’s Head of Marketing and Head of Sales of SHL. Rory led a number of large sales, marketing and account teams across multiple practice areas and geographies. Before joining CEB, Rory held a number of senior commercial positions at a number of software and consulting companies. His earlier career included two years in a leadership development program for the big Utility - Thames Water.

Rory holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Hull in the UK. He has postgraduate qualifications in Industrial Psychology, Psychometrics, Counseling Psychology and Leadership Coaching from Hull, Regents College, London and George Washington University in DC. He and his wife reside in Virginia with their two sons.


BA:                 University of Hull, UK
Postgraduate: University of Hull, UK, Regents College, London, George Washington University 

Charles ColbyCharles Colby

Rockbridge Associates, Inc.

Current Roles and Responsibilities:

Charles Colby is the Founder and President of Rockbridge Associates, Inc., a market research firm that specializes in the services and technology sectors. Over the past 25+ years, he has consulted for numerous Fortune 500s, government agencies and non-profits on marketing strategy, service quality and e-service implementation. He has contributed extensively to the body of knowledge on technology adoption, having authored a book, Techno-Ready Marketing, numerous articles and presentations. He is a senior fellow at the Center for Excellence in Service at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland. Prior to founding Rockbridge in 1992, he held positions at Opinion Research Corporation, Citigroup and Westat.


MBA:    University of Maryland, College Park - Smith School of Business

Roger ConnerRoger Conner

Director of Communications
Catholic Charities USA

Current Roles & Responsibilities:

Roger Conner retired from Marriott International after more than 25 years in marketing communications with Marriott, most recently as a Vice President focusing on their branding initiatives and their market and corporate communications. After his retirement he was quickly tapped by Catholic Charities USA to take on their marketing and corporate communications. Catholic Charities USA is a primary provider of disaster response, adoption and immigration services for the poor and marginalized members of our society. Roger works on new communications strategies to advance the “Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America” and position the organization’s president as one of the primary spokespersons in the country on the issue of poverty.

 At Marriott Roger was responsible for the development of the “portfolio of brands” communications strategy and execution for the J.W. Marriott, Marriott, Renaissance, Courtyard, Residence Inn, and other Marriott brands. He managed the company’s crisis communications strategy, and has taken that skill to Catholic Charities USA. 

A graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications, he is an active member of the school’s Advisory Board and other initiatives at Syracuse. Roger has taught marketing courses for the Smith School of Business and is a member of the Marketing Corporate Advisory Board. Roger’s wife is a former national and world figure skating champion/competitor, and she is the current senior figure skating professional at Chevy Chase Club.


BA:    Syracuse University

Matt DeFoeMatthew H. DeFeo

Techtronic Industries, Inc.
Vice President Sales, Training and Recruiting

Current Roles & Responsibilities: 

Matt DeFeo is the Vice President of Sales, Training and Recruiting for Techtronic Industries, a world leader in home improvement power tools.  He has been with Techtronic Industries for more than three years.  Prior to that position, Matt worked for Black & Decker for 15 years in the sales field, then marketing and finally in the training area. Matt holds a BS in Business and an MBA from Northeastern University in Boston.  In his spare time Matt enjoys spending time with him family, coaching baseball and soccer and sport fishing. 


BA:      Northeastern University
MBA:    Northeastern University

Nancy Kaplan

Nancy Kaplan

SECOR Group Consulting

Current Roles and Responsibilities:

Nancy Kaplan is a leading consultant to executives at Fortune 500 companies. Nancy focuses on strategic initiatives and major enterprise transformations to help clients adapt to rapidly changing markets. Her work includes defining new business models and offers, and developing the strategic alignment, organizational and cultural imperatives, governance models, and processes to enable them. Strategic marketing, customer engagement, digital and social media strategies, and product and service innovation highlight much of her work.

Nancy is a Partner at SECOR Group Consulting, a 35-year old, leading international strategy firm, where she leads the Communications, Media and Entertainment Practice and the Digital Media Strategies Practice.  Nancy’s point of view is frequently sought by the media, including interviews with the BBC (live), Business Week, Forbes, The Washington Post, The Economist, Telephony, Chicago Tribune, The Daily Deal, Atlanta Journal-Constitution,, and IT Radio Network. 


BA:   Yale University
MBA: Stanford University

Timothy KeininghamTimothy Keiningham

Ipsos Loyalty
Senior Vice President & Head of Consulting

Current Roles & Responsibilities:

Timothy L. Keiningham is Global Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President for Ipsos Loyalty. Tim is a recognized authority in the areas of service marketing and linking service improvement efforts to the bottom-line. A prolific writer, Tim has several books to his credit. His most recent book, Loyalty Myths: Hyped Strategies that Will Put You Out of Business – And Proven Tactics that Really Work, by John Wiley and Sons, exposes the fallacies of most of the conventional wisdom surrounding customer loyalty. The Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada) counted Loyalty Myths as the Number 4 best business book of the year; Soundview Executive Book Summaries chose Loyalty Myths as one of the 30 best business books of 2006; and it is a 2007 finalist for the Berry-AMA Book Prize for Best Book in Marketing. 

Tim is co-author of the book The Customer Delight Principle: Exceeding Customers’ Expectations for Bottom-Line Success, © 2001 by McGraw Hill. He is co-author of the book Return on Quality: Measuring the Financial Impact of Your Company's Quest for Quality, © 1994 by Irwin Professional Publishing. He is also co-author of the book Service Marketing and is co-editor of the book Readings in Service Marketing, both © 1996 by HarperCollins.

Tim’s article, “Return on Quality: Making Service Quality Financially Accountable,” (with Roland Rust and Anthony Zahorik) was selected as one of the “Top 20” marketing science papers written within the past 25 years by INFORMS Society for Marketing Science. His article, “The Brand-Customer Connection,” (with Lerzan Aksoy, Tiffany Perkins-Munn and Terry G. Vavra) was awarded the Citations of Excellence “Top 50” award (top 50 management papers of approximately 20,000 papers reviewed) from Emerald Management Reviews. Tim was twice awarded the Marketing Science Institute - H. Paul Root Award (formerly the Alpha Kappa Psi Foundation Award) from the American Marketing Association / Journal of Marketing for the article judged by the editorial review board to represent “the most significant contribution to the advancement of the practice of marketing” (the first award was with Roland Rust and Anthony Zahorik; the second award was with Bruce Cooil, Tor Wallin Andreassen and Lerzan Aksoy). Tim received the Excellence in Service Research Award (with Tiffany Perkins-Munn and Heather Evans) for the best paper to appear in the Journal of Service Research. Tim was awarded the Outstanding Paper Award (Best Paper) from Managing Service Quality twice (the first award was with Lerzan Aksoy, Bruce Cooil, Ken Peterson, and Terry Vavra; the second award was with Bruce Cooil, Lerzan Aksoy, Tor Wallin Andreassen, and Jay Weiner). Additionally, a paper he co-authored was a finalist for best paper in Managing Service Quality, while one more was a finalist for Highly Commended paper in Managing Service Quality. Tim also has received the 2006 best reviewer award from the Journal of Service Research.

His articles have been accepted for publication in such journals as Journal of Marketing, Marketing Science, Journal of Service Research, MIT Sloan Management Review, Journal of Relationship Marketing, International Journal of Service Industry Management, Interfaces, Marketing Management, Managing Service Quality, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Financial Executive, Journal of Retail Banking, and American Banker. Tim also serves on the advisory board of the Journal of Relationship Marketing, and on the editorial review boards of the Journal of Marketing, and the Journal of Service Research, and International Journal of Service Industry Management. 


BA:     Kentucky Wesleyan College
MBA:  Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management

Mark KoepsellMark Koepsell

Senior Vice President of Business Development

Current Roles & Responsibilities:

Mark Koepsell, senior vice president of new business development, has been a leader in the development of CORT’s Rental Relocation Services. He joined CORT in 1988 as the national accounts manager. During his tenure, Mark has been responsible for developing CORT’s National Accounts, Federal Sales and Global Furniture Rental teams. Mark first became involved in 1988 with the Employee Relocation Council, an association of professionals who oversee, manage and support U.S. domestic and international employee transfer. Mark was among the first to receive the association’s Certified Relocation Professional designation in 1991. A graduate with both a bachelor of science and an MBA in finance from the University of Maryland, Mark continues to be involved with the University as a senior mentor with the Smith Graduate School of Business. 


BS:    University of Maryland, College Park
MBA: University of Maryland, College Park - Smith School of Business

Suzanne LoweSuzanne Lowe

Expertise Marketing, LLC

Current Roles & Responsibilities: 

Suzanne Lowe is a highly regarded analyst, consultant, author and speaker on professional services marketing and management. She advises C-suite leaders about their firm’s growth strategies. She is the author of two books on how professional firms can organize to compete more effectively

Before founding Expertise Marketing in 1996, Ms. Lowe spent more than a decade leading the marketing programs for top-tier management consulting and business-to-business organizations. Before that, she spent more than a decade managing and implementing strategies for political candidates and organizations. 

Her widely disseminated research initiatives on strategic marketing perceptions, practices and performance of professional service firms around the globe contain data from thousands of firms, and are the basis for her books Marketplace Masters: How Professional Service Firms Compete to Win (Praeger, 2004) and The Integration Imperative: Erasing Marketing and Business Development Silos -- Once and For All -- in Professional Service Firms (Professional Services Books, 2009). She has also published an on-line newsletter, The Marketplace Master™ and a blog, The Expertise Marketplace™. 

Lowe speaks for leading trade associations and in-house audiences, and has written for premier publications, including the Harvard Business Review, and BusinessWeek, Marketing Management magazine and the new textbook Essentials of Services Marketing. 


BA:    Duke University 

Cheryl Max

Senior Director, Marketing Operations
Juniper Networks

Current Roles and Responsibilities:

Cheryl Max has had 20 year career in global marketing. She joined at Juniper in 2012 to design and implement marketing's transition to a fully automated system integrating multiple platforms and technologies and driving skills enhancements. Specifically: developing Juniper's Demand Center which includes the platform acceleration of Eloqua, Accadia,, and data management to drive optimized campaign performance and revenue generation; developed a marketing certification program to drive skills and capabilities across the global marketing function, devising a long term marketing and labor strategy; developing campaign structure and discipline and leading supplier strategies. Prior to joining Juniper, Cheryl worked at TNS Research as the SVP of Marketing North America and previous to that at IBM where she held the role of Global Director, Marketing Cheryl holds a BA from the University of Toronto, and an MBA from Thunderbird - the Garvin Graduate School of Business. Cheryl also guest lectures at business schools, bringing to her business experiences into business case studies. 


BS:    University of Toronto
MBA:  Thunderbird - The Garvin Graduate School of Business

Barbara Kline PopeBarbara Kline Pope

The National Academies
Executive Director of the National Academies Press and Executive Director of Communications

Current Roles & Responsibilities:

Ms. Pope is Executive Director of the National Academies Press and Executive Director of Communications for The National Academies. She is responsible for an innovative and dynamic publishing operation of both scholarly and trade books that have been available on the Web free to read since 1995.

Branding, marketing research, derivative products, and social marketing projects occupy her time as executive director for communications. Research articles she has authored or co-authored revolve around the discipline of consumer behavior and include specific projects on business models for the digital publishing arena and the use of information sources among organizational buyers. 

She has been guest lecturer for marketing and technology courses at the University of Maryland and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Virginia’s continuing education program. She is on the board of directors of Hands On Science Outreach, a nonprofit organization that provides high quality after school science programs for children. 


BS:   Indiana University of Pennsylvania
MS:  University of Maryland, College Park

David N. TownshendDavid N. Townshend

Marriott International 
Senior Vice President, Global Sales - The Americas

Current Roles & Responsibilities:

Mr. Townshend is the Senior Vice President of Global Sales for Marriott International. His markets are located throughout America with annual sales of approximately $3.5 billion.

During Mr. Townshend’s years with Marriott International, he has gained both sales and marketing experience through many different positions including Senior Vice President of Strategic Accounts and Director of Sales and Marketing of the JW Marriott in Washington DC. He has also held the titles of Regional Director, National Director and Vice President of Alliance Accounts with Marriott International. Mr. Townshend has a Business Administration degree from the University of Denver with a concentration in Hotel and Restaurant Management.


B.A.   University of Denver

Susan VanderverSusan Vanderver

Marriott International
Senior Director, Lodging and Quality Assurance

Current Roles and Responsibilities:

Susan Vanderver is Senior Director, Lodging Quality Assurance, for Marriott International at the company’s headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. She focuses on information management for the quality assurance audit program and customer satisfaction program, which measure product and service quality at hotels worldwide. Marriott’s quality assurance program is a key component of its global operations. Susan has worked in Quality Assurance since 1999, when she helped design and develop Marriott’s centralized multi-brand quality and property performance management programs.

Susan’s information technology background has enabled her to successfully implement systems and process improvements throughout her career. Prior responsibilities at Marriott include systems representative for brand management, Y2K, data warehousing and business intelligence, and retail systems. She was employed as an IBM Systems Engineer for large national accounts before joining Marriott. 


BS:    Ohio State University
MBA:  Georgetown University

Tony ZahorikTony Zahorik, Ph.D.

The Burke Institute
Vice President

Current Roles & Responsibilities:

Dr. Zahorik is a vice president of the Burke Institute, the world’s premier provider of executive seminars on marketing research, and a service of Burke, Inc. of Cincinnati.

He is responsible for conducting seminars on various aspects of marketing research methodology as well as specific applications of quantitative methods in marketing research, such as customer satisfaction measurement, advertising testing, and market segmentation. He has taught seminars for corporations in over 25 foreign countries. In addition to his role as a seminar leader, he has worked as a marketing consultant to a variety of industries including telecommunications, banking, hospitality, book publishing, advertising, construction equipment, food processing, airlines, oil drilling, pharmaceuticals, and for the U.S. Government. 

Before joining Burke Institute, he served for twelve years as a member of the marketing faculty of Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management, where he taught courses and executive seminars on marketing management, marketing planning, measuring advertising effectiveness, and managing customer satisfaction. In addition to teaching at Vanderbilt, Dr. Zahorik served as the assistant dean of the Owen School and has been a mathematics professor at Ithaca College and a member of the faculty of Cornell University's graduate school of management. Throughout his career he has been acclaimed for his ability to teach technical subjects to both technically and non-technically oriented students. As a member of the marketing faculty at Vanderbilt, he won every teaching award offered by the Owen School. 

Dr. Zahorik has done extensive consulting, research and publication in the area of customer service, customer satisfaction and the impact of service quality programs on corporate profits. He is the coauthor of two books on these topics, Return on Quality: Measuring the Financial Impact of Your Company's Quest for Quality and Service Marketing. His co-authored article on return on quality published in the Journal of Marketing and won the Alpha Kappa Psi Foundation Award for "the most significant contribution to the advancement of the practice of marketing", and in 2007 was recognized by INFORMS Society for Marketing Science as one of the top 20 most influential articles of the past 25 years. The selection was made by marketing practitioners, who chose the 20 most influential articles from the 100 most-cited articles of the last 25 years.

He is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Service Research and the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Marketing and reviews articles for other academic publications. He has also published articles in numerous publications, including Management Science, the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Healthcare Marketing, and the Journal of Retailing and has presented papers at many professional meetings and conferences in the U.S. and in England. Dr. Zahorik is also a member of the Corporate Advisory Board of the Department of Marketing of the Robert H. Smith School of Business of the University of Maryland.


MA:      University of Illinois
MBA:    Cornell University
Ph.D.:   Cornell University