Communication Alumni Council Profiles

The Communication Alumni Council is made up of department graduates who are passionate about Communication and supporting the work of the department, its students, and alumni. Below are bios of current Alumni Council Members -- feel free to reach out to them on LinkedIn at any time.

To read about and connect with other Communication alumni, please visit our student-alumni UCSB Department of Communication group on LinkedIn, or check out the list of participants at past Communication Career Days events.

Maria Bianco, Class of 2012

Maria is a People Services Generalist at Houzz, the leading online platform for home remodeling and design. She uses her leadership experience to enhance employee growth and development and works to coach and mentor leaders on effective communication and crucial conversations. Prior to her transition to human resources, Maria played an integral role in growing a sales support department, a process that involved scaling a team from seven to more than 40 account representatives and developing the team's operational processes. She is passionate about career growth, personal development, and helping individuals reach their full potential. Maria earned her B.A. in communication with a minor in professional writing and editing. While attending UCSB, she contributed as a writer and editor for the Communication Department newsletter, interned as a research assistant, and explored her love for music while interning at a local radio station. In her free time, Maria enjoys diversifying her writing portfolio, traveling to new destinations, experimenting with gluten-free recipes, and doing yoga – lots of yoga. LinkedIn:

John Bollen, Class of 1994

John received his B.A. in Communication from UCSB and earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration from University of San Francisco. He brings over 25 years in technology and product development experience working in various start-ups in the Silicon Valley to working in multi-national corporations, such as NBC Universal and MGM Resorts.  John currently serves as the Chief Digital Officer at Mobilitie, the largest private network infrastructure and services company in the United States. In this role, he currently is responsible for creating and executing the long-term strategic plan to evolve Mobilitie’s digital and product capabilities across touch points for all clients and customers. John has substantial experience in the field of information technology and he specializes in digital strategy, product development, construction, and guest experience design. Prior to joining Mobilitie, he served as the Chief Digital Officer at MGM Resorts International. LinkedIn:

Carol Pfiffner Bridgeman, Class of 1979

Carol received her BA in communication from UCSB. As a community organizer with a passion for team-building and mentorship, she has spent more than 30 years working in education, HR/administration, and project-and-event management. She spent over a decade as the Director of Children’s Ministries at a church in Southern California, and currently works in early childhood education in Seattle. In addition to her professional pursuits, she has been deeply involved in several local non-profits and theater companies. While at UCSB, she was an active member of Delta Gamma. LinkedIn:

Scott Carper, Class of 1998

Scott graduated with a double major in Communication and Law & Society.  He is the president of SCMN CONSULTING, a media/advertising, talent representation, and real estate consulting firm.  His focus remains in improving his clients’ overall brand and helping them create detailed marketing and action plans taloyered for their specific needs. He also has reconnected with the film industry and is on his 6th film as an executive producer.  His most recent Film, “life in color,” has been selected as a finalist for best short film at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. Scott also is a minority owner for United Studios of Self Defense, in which he oversees the marketing and advertising division. While at UCSB, he worked for the minority leader, Richard Gephardt (House of Representatives) on the National Television Violence Study and was awarded the Chuck Loring Greek Man of the Year Award. LinkedIn:

Maureen Carrig, Class of 1992

Maureen's career in public relations and corporate communications spans more than 20 years. She lives in Seattle and is currently senior public relations manager for Robert Half, a global recruiting firm. Maureen manages research initiatives and works with top-tier media outlets to secure coverage on employment, workplace opportunities, and career trends. Previously, she worked in the travel, technology and financial services industries. At UCSB, Maureen was a campus tour guide for three years and perfected the ability to walk backwards while dodging bicycles. She interned at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and volunteered for the Community Affairs Board. LinkedIn:

Jeanette Gibson, Class of 1992

Jeanette GibsonJeanette graduated with a BA in Communication and has more than 20 years of experience in communication and digital marketing.  She is currently advising startups and companies in the high tech sector on social media strategy and customer advocacy.  Previously, she served as VP of Community at Hootsuite, a leading social media company, where she was responsible for creating vibrant online communities for Hootsuite’s 12M+ users.  Prior to Hootsuite, Jeanette was Sr. Director of Social Media and Digital Strategy at Cisco Systems where she championed B2B social media engagement and led social media, digital and PR teams during her 15 year tenure.  She is passionate about communication and serves as a keynote speaker at industry conferences, hosts webinars and corporate training sessions and enjoys mentoring and sharing her experience with others.  While at USCB, Jeanette was a member of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority and worked at KCSB radio station, LaCumbre yearbook, and interned at KSBY-TV and KTMS Newstalk Radio. LinkedIn:

Justin Hannah, Class of 2011

Justin is the Manager of Marketing Technology at Hulu. He is responsible for the technology partnerships and integrations that support Hulu’s marketing efforts across the digital ecosystem. This role has afforded him the opportunity to work with some of the world’s most well-known companies, such as Facebook, Google, and Salesforce. Before joining Hulu, Justin spent five years at SteelHouse, a Culver City based Ad Tech company, where he worked his way up from an Ad Operations role to Director of Emerging Solutions in a position responsible for testing new technologies and developing partnerships. Justin earned his B.A. in Communication and in Psychology. While at UCSB, he held research assistantships with several professors and spent a great deal of time playing hockey. Outside of work, Justin continues to find time for hockey and has recently started rock climbing. LinkedIn:

Jason Kearnaghan, Class of 1995

Jason Kearnaghan is a Labor & Employment Partner in the downtown Los Angeles office of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, LLP, an AmLaw 100 international law firm.  Jason represents employers in state and federal courts with respect to all facets of employment law including wrongful discharge, employment discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, and hostile work environment. He also has substantial experience representing employers in union negotiations, organizing campaigns, elections, union grievance proceedings and unfair labor proceedings. Prior to joining Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP, Jason practiced business litigation in the healthcare context. His practice included contractual disputes and managed care liability for Fortune 500 healthcare service providers and subsidiaries. He also served in the United States Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps as a trial attorney in criminal prosecution. While at UCSB, Jason was an active member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. LinkedIn:

Meghan Killian, Class of 2010

Meghan double majored in Communication and Psychology at UCSB. While at UCSB, she served as treasurer for the Lambda Pi Eta Communication Honor Society and was a research assistant for a graduate student researching communication accommodation within law enforcement-civilian interactions.  Meghan received her law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law, where she specialized in Intellectual Property Law. She currently lives in San Francisco and works as an Associate Attorney at Duane Morris LLP where she specializes in trademarks, copyrights, and brand protection. LinkedIn:

Leslie Solomon Klonoff, Class of 1980

With her BA in Communication Studies, Leslie's background is in recruiting, event planning, and community organizing. She was a founding member of Cameron-Brooks, Inc., the most respected Junior Military Officer recruiting firm in the world, helping Corporate America find its future leaders from the military's top Junior Officers. While at UCSB she served as Panhellenic Chair for Alpha Phi, worked at Ortega Dining Commons, and was a Section Editor for the La Cumbre. She currently focuses most of her volunteer time at UCSB. In addition to Chairing our Dept. of Communication Alumni Council Alumni Engagement Committee, she is an active member on the UCSB Alumni Board of Directors. She Co-Founded All Gaucho Reunion GreekFest, serves on the UCSB Greek Interconnect committee, and is a mentor for many of the greek chapters desiring stronger alumni engagement. She and her husband, Jeff, are proud members of the UCSB Alumni Founders Circle. LinkedIn:

Francesco (Fran) D. Mancia, Class of 1980

Fran earned a B.A. in Communication from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an M.B.A. from the University of San Francisco.  He is the Vice President of Government Relations for Muniservices, LLC. and is responsible for overseeing company legislative, regulatory, and government relations activity throughout the country. With a focus on fiscal impacts to local districts, Fran monitors, analyzes and leads company lobbying efforts related to legislation, state mandates, and regulatory changes and policies that affect client revenue streams and special district tax allocation. Over the past twelve years, Fran has spent a significant portion of his time interacting with mayors and council members, members of the State Board of Equalization, county assessors and tax collectors, state legislators, and state agency directors. He was recently elected to serve as one of four Regents for the University of California system. He also served a two year term as President of the League of California Cities’ Partner Program. LinkedIn:

Laura C. McHugh, Class of 1989 - Friend of the Council

Laura is a founding partner of the law firm Rediger, McHugh & Hubbert, LLP in Sacramento. The firm represents employers in labor and employment law matters. She also counsels with employers on employment practices and policies and other workplace issues. She is a graduate of Santa Clara University School of Law, where she was an editor for the Law Review and she is a member of the Labor and Employment Law and Litigation Sections of the American Bar Association and the California State and Sacramento County Bar Associations. Previously, she worked in corporate human resources for a large bank and graduated magna cum laude from UCSB. 

Justine Miller, Class of 2009

Justine double majored in Communication and Slavic Languages and Literature and minored in French. She studied abroad in Moscow and after graduation, taught English in Thailand and traveled for a year before moving to New York City. There, Justine was a freelance photographer/writer and a strategy consultant for a Manhattan-based start-up. She then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and won the Bloomberg Made in NYC award for a story produced during her time there. After working as a multimedia journalist for The Charlotte Observer in North Carolina, Justine returned to New York City and is an on-camera TV reporter for News 12 Bronx/Brooklyn. LinkedIn:

Jamie Morgan, Class of 1999

Jamie received her B.A. with a major in Communication and a minor in English at UCSB. She also holds a M.A. in Organizational Management.  She has been working in talent acquisition for 20 years and specializes in building teams and in candidate generation strategy.  Her background in recruiting for technology and infrastructure roles spans both Fortune 100 companies, as well as small organizations.  Jamie is currently the Director or Sourcing Channels Strategy for Microsoft.  In this role, she drives Microsoft's global talent sourcing strategy to optimize candidate generation efforts and she leads a global team that delivers market insights and intelligence, diversity programs, storytelling strategy, channel performance, and HCM innovation. She maintains that the best outcomes derive from a human, unguarded approach; and that doing the right thing, over the easy thing, is in the best interest of all parties. While at UCSB, Jamie served as Panhellenic President, Rush Chair for Alpha Chi Omega, and Patient Advocate for the Student Health Center. She resides in Northern California with her husband (also a UCSB grad), her two kids, and a spoiled dog.  Her whole family enjoys travel, new restaurants and spending time on their boat.  LinkedIn:

Alexei Pizarev, Class of 2012

Alexi Pizarev

Alexei is currently the Director of Client Strategy at Publicis Media. During his 5+ year career in digital advertising, he held a senior M&A role during an integration between two media companies, built multiple successful operations teams, managed an office in Europe, and is currently launching media operations on the west coast for Publicis Media's business unit, APEX. At UCSB, Alexei was the Philanthropy Chairman for Sigma Pi, involved in the establishment of the Sean Vernon Feliciano Amazing Day Foundation as Sigma Pi’s national philanthropy, a Research Assistant for Prof. Walid Afifi, and a member of the Communication Association. He graduated with a B.A in Communication and a Minor in Russian Language.  LinkedIn:

Alexandra Platt, Class of 2012

Alexandra graduated from UCSB with a B.A. in Communication and Global Studies in 2012. She currently serves as a Business Analyst with Procore, supporting the implementation, administration, and optimization, of HR business systems at the rapidly-growing tech company. Prior to this, Alex was a Program Associate for the Henry Crown Fellowship at the Aspen Institute in Washington D.C. and completed her graduate studies through the Erasmus Mundus Masters in Global Studies program, earning an MSc in Global Economic History from the London School of Economics and Political Science and an MA in Global Studies from Roskilde University in Denmark. Her thesis analyzed the motivations of emerging nations in the bidding and event production processes of mega-sporting events with a focus on the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. While at LSE, Alex served as stage manager and executive board member for the second annual TEDxLSE conference. While at UCSB, she worked as manager of the on-campus hotel, the Summer Inn Santa Barbara; as Program Coordinator for the UCSB Alumni Association; and as Student Supervisor for the UCSB Faculty Club. Outside of work, Alex is passionate about travel, fitness, and a cappella music. LinkedIn:

Bryana Ryan, Class of 2015

Bryana is the Founder and CEO of Bryana Ryan Cosultancy, a leading strategic marketing firm focused on crafting campaigns that resonate with the digital native target audience. After more than a handful of years working in both the traditional and modern-day media industry, she came to the realization that it takes things like insight, humor, and intelligence to make a brand appealing through social media, strategic partnerships, and experiential marketing tactics, which are main driving forces for her co-sultancy firm born in 2018. Bryana graduated from UCSB in 2015 with her B.A. in Communication. She currently resides in Palmdale, CA and serves as the Founder and Visibility Chair of Board X - Antelope Valley, a local new generational networking group. She also has the pleasure of serving as a Rotarian in the Lancaster West Rotary Club, a philanthropic organization focused on the community, youth and vocational avenues of the Antelope Valley, CA. LinkedIn:

Mike Scalise, Class of 2012

Mike graduated from UCSB in 2012 with a BA in Communication and certification in Sport Management. He currently lives in Los Angeles where he works in sales for a SaaS company building out a sales team. Prior to his move to Los Angeles, Mike lived in the San Francisco Bay Area where he worked as a Buyer for an international packaging distributor out of college. His time there was heavily spent strengthening international partnerships which lead to his passion for international travel. His love for travel has taken him through Europe and Southeast Asia where he had the opportunity to develop international business communication skills. Outside of his career and passion for travel, Mike enjoys quality time with family, friends and frequently attends live concerts. LinkedIn:

Matt Schermerhorn, Class of 2009

Matt graduated from UCSB with a B.A. in Communication and a minor in Sport Management.  He currently serves as the Assistant Director of Admissions for the School of Economics and Business Administration’s MBA program at Saint Mary's College in California.  He focuses on advising and vetting prospective students for the program, while working on creating advantageous processes and marketing campaigns through hosted events and digital advertisement. Prior to that, Matt worked for four years in the Oakland Athletics baseball organization where he specialized in promotional marketing and special events.  Ultimately, Matt hopes to transition into collegiate athletics by sharing his current and past experiences from both Saint Mary's College and the Oakland A's, to bring added stability to an organization that is the NCAA, which constantly affects and shapes the lives of young athletes each day. LinkedIn:

Ken Sterling, Class of 2012

Ken graduated from UCSB with a B.A. in Communication and a minor in Applied Psychology. He is Executive Vice President at Valiant Group, managing a real estate portfolio in excess of $300 million. Ken is also a partner at BigSpeak, the leading business speakers’ bureau, serving Fortune 1000 companies. Ken's background includes co-founding a technology company (cloud computing), co-founding BigSpeak and co-founding an international manufacturing company. Ken earned his MBA from Babson College and is currently pursuing his PhD in Education at UCSB with an emphasis in technology and organizational leadership. Ken has participated in several research projects in the areas of technology, psychology, communication, leadership, mentorship and online education. Ken is passionately involved in instruction, mentoring and enriching student experiences at UCSB. LinkedIn:

Han (Jack) Hui Sun, Class of 2018

Jack graduated in 2018 with a BA in Communication. He is currently in a client-facing rotation program working as an Enterprise Customer Success Manager for Refinitiv, formerly the Financial & Risk business of Thomson Reuters. Refinitiv is one of the world’s largest providers of financial markets data and infrastructure,.serving more than 40,000 institutions in over 190 countries, providing information, insights, and technology that drive innovation and performance in the global markets.  In his current role, Jack specializes in delivering comprehensive financial solutions to clients in various industries, enabling them to generate superior returns, improve risk and compliance management, increase access to liquidity, and create efficient and reliable infrastructure. Before moving to San Francisco for his full-time job, Jack was an active participant in Santa Barbara’s local business community. While enrolled at UCSB, he worked in various positions with companies like Underdog Media, Shiphawk, MOXI, and the County of Santa Barbara HR Department. On weekends Jack enjoys hiking, playing tennis, and often dog sitting because he misses his family dog in LA.  Linkedin:

Erin Bergamo Tacy, Class of 1992

Erin Bergamo Tacy is the Executive Director of Worldwide Communications for Lenovo Data Center Group. In this capacity, she oversees all internal and external communications, including messaging and positioning, public relations, industry analyst relations, executive communication and coaching, employee engagement, crisis communication and social media. Prior to this position, she worked for 20 years at Cisco Systems in such roles as: Corporate Positioning, Public Relations and Executive Communications. She began her communication career at Network General Corporation and as a public relations and communication consultant for Stirling & Cohan.  She holds a BA in Communication from UCSB and has a Marketing Certificate from UC, Berkeley. Erin also has a patent-pending on a Global Communications Model designed to promote effective communication strategies for multiple audiences across different channels. LinkedIn:

Karen Thorland, Class of 1990

Karen is Senior Vice President & Deputy General Counsel of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). In this capacity, she manages domestic content protection civil litigation and oversees the Association's global voluntary initiatives and civil litigation efforts. She has experience in a broad range of litigation and intellectual property matters, including copyright and trademark, rights of publicity and privacy, First Amendment, entertainment contractual disputes, and appeals. Prior to this appointment, Karen was a Partner at Loeb & Loeb, LLP, as the co-lead counsel for MPAA member companies in a national litigation campaign related to peer-to-peer file-sharing.  Karen graduated from UCSB with Highest Honors, College Honors, and Distinction in Communication, and she received her law degree from UCLA School of Law.

Cynthia Tucker, Class of 1994

Cynthia is the Assistant Director of Event Operations for Trojan Event Services (TES), a division of Student Affairs at the University of Southern California, since 2015. She has 12 years of venue management and 25 years of event and wedding planning experience. She has worked for the City of Santa Monica, DreamWorks Pictures, The Walt Disney Company, and a local non-profit organization. For 10 years, she was the owner of an event and wedding planning company. As the Assistant Director of Event Operations, she is responsible for overseeing the business operations of Trojan Event Services, supervising a team of 8 full-time staff, 4 indoor event venues, 19 outdoor locations, 12 shared spaces with the USC Athletics Department and 200 student workers. She works closely with campus partners for event approval, oversees the department’s expenses and labor costs, prepares financial analysis and projections, and assesses the venue’s policies and procedures. Her career in venue management started as a volunteer at a Historical Fire Station in Los Angeles turned museum and event space.  She is an Adjunct Professor at USC’s Thornton School of Music and is the co-instructor for the “Venue Management” course.  She is also a Capstone Advisor for the online Sports Industry Management Program at Georgetown University. She’s an active member of the International Association of Venue Managers and volunteers on the University Committee as well as the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. She’s had an article featured in “Facility Manager” magazine titled “Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace.” She has a MBA from Pepperdine University and a BA in Communication from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and enjoys international travel.

Noelle White, Class of 2009

Noelle graduated with BA in Communication from UC Santa Barbara and her MBA from USC Marshall School of Business.  She works as an Associate Brand Manager at Pharmavite on the $1B vitamin brand, Nature Made, managing the prenatal portfolio. She also serves on Pharmavite’s corporate social responsibility team and professional development committee. Prior to business school, she worked as the District Director for Senator Monning and as a freelance Communication Consultant. She currently lives in Santa Monica, where she enjoys hiking, wine tasting, and has recently taken up golf. LinkedIn:

Eric Zackrison, Class of 2017

Eric is the President and CEO of IDI.US Inc. which controls the rights to the Interpersonal Dynamics Inventory, a powerful multi-rater personality/behavioral styles measurement tool. After 25 years as a manager and entrepreneur and completing his MA, MBA, and PhD, Eric has taken up the mantle of his father both in furthering the awareness and use of IDI through training and licensing others, as well as adopting the name of his father’s consulting firm, Effectiveness Consultants. He focuses heavily on relationships as key to success and integrates this into his consulting and into his role in the community. Eric received his PhD from the Department of Communication at UCSB in 2017. Most importantly, though, he is the father of two amazing children. LinkedIn:

Yardena Zwang-Weissman, Class of 2003

Yardena Zwang-Weissman is a Litigation Partner in the Los Angeles office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.  Yardena focuses her practice on environmental, mass tort and product liability litigation and is a member of her firm’s crisis management practice.  She also counsels clients in investigations, internal examinations, and she represents financial institutions and clients in the technology industry in commercial litigation with an emphasis on class and mass actions, as well as contract and business disputes.  Yardena graduated from UCSB with Highest Honors, Distinction in Communication, and she received the Steven H. Chaffee Award for Excellence in Research. She received her law degree from University of  California, Hastings College of the Law.