Loretta Lawrence Keane, Vice President for Communications and External Relations
Loretta Lawrence Keane, vice president, oversees a 30-person team responsible for positioning FIT as an innovative and unconventional global leader in higher education for careers in the creative economy.
Keane provides leadership and planning for a comprehensive marketing and communications program to build image and support, enhance visibility and reputation, increase enrollment, and advance the understanding of the college’s mission and vision. She manages a centralized budget for all internal and external marketing and communications activities.
Responsible for media and public relations, print and digital communications, brand management, marketing strategy, government/community relations, and special events, the division tells the FIT story to all its audiences, internal and external. Reflecting the college’s strategic plan and brand, CER collaborates with colleagues throughout the institution to promote the success of FIT. The division’s work is routinely recognized among its peers as best practice.
Keane is a member of the President’s Cabinet and Extended Cabinet, College-wide Planning Council, and Emergency Preparedness and Response Group. She is co-chair of the Brand and Image Consortium and helps lead the Commencement Committee. Serving in various capacities at FIT for more than 25 years, she started her career in higher education at Pratt Institute, before becoming director of publications at Polytechnic University. Keane is past president of the State University of New York Council for University Advancement, an organization of 800 SUNY advancement professionals.
Keane holds a B.A. in English Literature and an A.A.S. in Business Administration from St. Francis College. In 2005, she completed the Institute for Educational Management program offered by the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education. She recently earned a certificate in marketing strategy through eCornell’s Graduate School of Management, and has completed coursework through the Emergency Management Institute of FEMA.
Roberto Villanueva, Special Assistant to the Vice President
Roberto Villanueva, special assistant to the vice president, serves as the chief administrative officer and director of operations for the division and advisor to the vice president regarding the management, oversight, and direction of the division’s operations. He assists the vice president in the administration, coordination, and facilitation of day-to-day operations, coordinating and streamlining activities between the division and other units of the college, and managing, directing, and implementing strategic initiatives related to FIT’s strategic plan and fulfillment of the division’s mission. Roberto’s professional background includes 27 years of management experience working in not-for-profit, higher education, performing arts, retail, and investment banking institutions in various roles, including academic program director and adjunct professor for the College of Mount Saint Vincent, director of operations for the American Bible Society, and arts education and community engagement administrator for Dance Theatre of Harlem. He earned a B.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Heather McCarron, Project Manager
Heather McCarron, project manager, uses a mix of traditional and agile project management methodologies to coordinate, facilitate, and monitor the work of CER staff on high-profile projects and to build and refine the office's business processes. She is also responsible for new project intake and is overseeing CER's transition to a centralized project management software system. Heather has an MS from Pace University, a BA from Loyola College in Maryland, and PMP certification from the Project Management Institute.
Leslie Kachic, Administrative Assistant
Leslie Kachic, budget coordinator, oversees the day-to-day operations of the division. This includes managing CER's annual budget and finances in Bi-Tech, ordering equipment and supplies, overseeing reception, and ensuring the smooth flow of the office's administrative work.
Judith Schwantes, Office Assistant
Judith Schwantes, office assistant, is the office receptionist and handles a variety of duties, including paying and filing invoices, delivering mail and messages, ordering supplies, and maintaining the CER calendar and schedule of periodical subscriptions ordered.
Carol Leven, Assistant Vice President for Communications
Carol Leven, assistant vice president for communications, oversees publications, advertising, marketing, signage, and the college’s magazine. As FIT's creative director, she manages writers, graphic designers, photographers, video producers, advertising creative, and media buying. With more than 25 years of experience in higher education, she has worked at New York University, the New School, and Parsons. She has presented on communications and design at various professional conferences and served on the board of SUNY's Council for University Advancement and Development. She attended Washington University in St. Louis and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she majored in graphic design and printmaking.
Linda Angrilli, Editorial Content Manager and Editor, Hue
Linda Angrilli is CER editorial content manager and the editor of Hue magazine. She oversees written and other creative content for a wide range of FIT communications materials, and works with the Hue team to develop and produce the college’s award-winning magazine. She has worked at FIT for more than 30 years, starting as a writer and speechwriter in the President’s Office and then moving to CER as a writer and editor. She has a bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Cornell University.
Ellen Davidson, Publications and Advertising Manager
Ellen Davidson, publications and advertising manager, oversees production of print materials for the college. She coordinates writing, editing, proofreading, design, photography, and printing of major publications like catalogs, view books, and annual reports, as well as smaller items like brochures, banners, flyers, and promotional giveaways. She also works with FIT’s advertising agency to create media plans, develop print and digital advertising materials, and run campaigns on social media platforms.
Laura Hatmaker, Editorial Assistant
Laura Hatmaker is CER’s editorial assistant. She copyedits and provides editorial support for all CER-produced publications and, under the direction of the AVP for Communications, oversees much of FIT’s internal communications. She is responsible for creating and disseminating Newsroom Direct, the college’s weekly e-newsletter. Before joining CER, she was the managing editor at XXL magazine, and worked with a marketing firm to create a new publication for Avon’s teen brand, Mark. Laura is also the advisor to FIT’s student-run fashion and beauty magazine, Blush. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.
Alex Joseph, Managing Editor, Hue
Alex Joseph is the managing editor of Hue. Working with the editor and staff writer, he creates and/or edits all content related to that publication, both in print and online. He also creates videos, organizes and moderates events, and conducts interviews for FIT Talks, the college’s oral history project. He is a 2015 graduate of the Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice MA program, and published a piece for the peer-reviewed journal Fashion Theory. He writes for Vestoj, Fashion Studies Journal, Surface, and other publications. He also has an MFA in Fiction Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.
Richard Ota, Web Developer
Richard Ota, web developer, works to support FIT's content management system (CMS), troubleshoot, and diagnose/repair issues with the CMS and other website properties. He continues to leverage and innovate current software solutions as well as seek solutions for the web team and CER. An early developer of the pre-internet, Richard has worked at advancing technological companies, including Prodigy, Citibank, and Harris Connect. He welcomes the evolution of the internet and enjoys the new challenges and advancements of today's modern communication.
Smiljana Peros, Coordinator of Photography and Production
Smiljana Peros is the photography coordinator in CER. She photographs and/or edits, and researches content related to publication both in print and on online. She maintains CER’s photo archive. She oversees the production of six Continuing and Professional Studies catalogs per year along with various printed materials for The Museum at FIT. She has a BFA in photography from Hunter College.
Taryn Rejholec, Manager of Digital Strategies
Taryn Rejholec, manager of Digital Strategies, oversees FIT’s digital properties and develops online strategies to enhance the brand and align with the institution’s core strategic goals. She works with academic and administrative departments to achieve maximum visibility across FIT’s website, social media, web ads, online marketing campaigns, mobile, and video, and to leverage new digital properties and platforms. As CER’s primary expert on web communications, Taryn advises departments on the development of their webpages, sites, and digital marketing efforts to reach their goals. She develops concepts and design for major website and special digital projects such as FIT Newsroom, the college’s mobile app, digital signage, and the faculty microsite currently under development. She has a BA in English from Eastern Illinois University and attended Columbia College Chicago, earning MFA in Creative Writing in Fiction.
Roberto Robaina, Administrative Assistant, Government and Community Relations
Bobby Robaina is an advocate and educator with years of experience in higher education and government relations. Bobby works with the director of Government and Community Relations, and is responsible for filing FIT's lobbying reports with the city and state governments and arranges meetings with elected officials. He also writes and sends letters informing elected officials of the accomplishments of constituents who are members of the FIT community. He holds a master’s degree in higher and postsecondary education from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from DePaul University.
Dino Rodriguez, Department Coordinator, Events Management and Facilities Rental
Dino Rodriguez manages the department budget, processes invoice transactions for internal and external clients, assists with resource requests, and serves as liaison between Events Management and internal departments. In keeping with FIT's Strategic Plan, Dino's role is also to spearhead new and innovative workflows using Google's G Suite ecosystem and other Cloud technologies. Previously, he worked for 15 years in FIT’s Office of International Programs, supporting international education and building international relationships. A recipient of the Chancellor's Award, Excellence in Classified Service, Dino is also an Arabic language tutor and translator, technology integration expert, G Suite and mobile technology enthusiast, and entrepreneur.
Norma Stary, Web Content Coordinator; Electronic Information Technology Accessibility
Norma Stary, web content coordinator and EITA officer, is charged with governance and oversight of FIT’s website. She conducts training for FIT's web editors and monitors the site for quality assurance and accessibility. She has a BA in mass communication from West Texas A&M University and an MS in information design from SUNY Polytechnic. She is a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies.
Jonathan Vatner, Staff Writer
Jonathan Vatner is the staff writer for Hue magazine. Working with the editor and managing editor, he conceives, writes, and edits stories for FIT's award-winning magazine. He also contributes to FIT Newsroom. A journalist since 2002, he was a former editor of O at Home, an Oprah Magazine, and Meetings & Conventions, and has written for The New York Times; O, The Oprah Magazine; and many other publications. He is the author of Carnegie Hill, a novel from Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press in 2019. He has an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a BA in cognitive neuroscience from Harvard University.
Lisa Wager, Director, Government and Community Relations
Lisa Wager, director, Government and Community Relations, oversees FIT’s city, state, and federal government engagement on issues ranging from funding to land use to inter- and intra-agency agreements, and works with FIT’s administration and student representatives to coordinate the college’s lobbying efforts. She is responsible for identifying opportunities for collaboration and partnership with external organizations and for building and implementing community relations and outreach programs to enhance the college’s involvement with its diverse community groups, both in the geographic neighborhood and in areas of shared interest. She represents the college on several boards and local committees, and appears monthly before Community Boards 4 and 5.
Lisa’s prior employment includes roles as deputy director of Non-traditional Employment for Women (a job-training program that provides free instruction and helps women gain access to skilled trade union apprenticeships), and director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Northeast and Caribbean Region, U.S. General Services Administration, as an appointee of the Clinton Administration. She holds a B.A. from Vassar College.
Mary Oleniczak, Executive Director of Event Management & Facilities Rental
Mary S. Oleniczak, executive director, Event Management and Facilities Rental, oversees all internal FIT events and external rental events, advising and guiding staff and clients in order to ensure successful events. She coordinates with all FIT support departments and event contractors to provide resources for events. Mary has 28 years’ experience in event management and production as well as facilities management. Her extensive experience, expertise, professionalism, and attention to detail are key assets to managing events. In addition, she is involved with various special projects, renovations, and construction projects on campus in a support or consulting role. Mary holds a BA in business from Michigan State University.
Nikos Post, External Events Manager
Nikos Post, external events manager in the Office of Event Management and Facilities Rental, is responsible for the rental of FIT facilities to external clients. He helps to ensure successful events by determining clients’ goals and relaying their requirements to support departments to ensure that their needs are met. He creates contracts and invoices for clients, collects payments and legal documents required by the college, and ensures compliance with college policies and procedures. He also provides support to the FIT community for use of the college’s space scheduling system, 25Live/R25.
Dasia Davis-Vido, Internal Events Manager
Dasia Davis-Vido is the internal events manager in the Office of Facilities Rental and Special Events. She works directly with FIT’s internal clients and partners to reserve appropriate event space and manage the development and execution of programs. She helps determine appropriate support needed from lighting technicians and departments such as Buildings and Grounds, Media and Event Technology Services, Public Safety, and Aramark. Dasia also provides training in 25Live software, the college’s online reservation system.
Wendy Anderson, Administrative Assistant
Wendy Anderson is the administrative assistant on the events management team. She assists in all aspects of facilitating events, and collaborates with FIT’s internal departments and external clients. Wendy is a graduate of FIT, with a BS in Marketing: Fashion and Related Industries and a certificate in Millinery Design. She worked within the New York City fashion industry for more than 20 years, designing, developing, and producing women’s luxury headwear. Wendy recently completed her certificate in project management and sustainability from SUNY Stony Brook.
Beth Mitchell, Executive Director of Media and Public Relations
Beth is responsible for the development and management of an integrated media, public relations, and social media strategy for the college and The Museum at FIT. She brings to her role over two decades of communications and marketing experience in media, fashion, and entertainment. Previously, she was Vice President of Communications at Time Inc. where she led a diverse portfolio of fashion, lifestyle, millennial and multicultural media brands. Prior to expanding her responsibilities at Time Inc., she was Executive Director of Communications at InStyle. Earlier, with oversight of North America and Latin America, she was Director of Public Relations at Getty Images. Her career began at Sony, where she held various marketing and communications roles within its entertainment subsidiaries, covering the U.S., Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Her consulting experience includes work with nonprofits and the private sector. Beth has a bachelor’s degree from Manhattanville College.
Alexandra Mann, Communications Specialist
Ivana Cepeda, Media Relations Assistant
Ivana Cepeda, media relations assistant, creates media relations strategies for FIT and The Museum at FIT initiatives. She works with the digital teams to promote media placements on FIT’s social media channels. Additionally, she handles research projects for media relations and coordinates media interviews for members of the FIT community. Ivana holds a BS in Advertising and Marketing Communications from FIT.
Corey Lacey, Social Media Coordinator
Corey Lacey is CER's social media coordinator. He oversees the day-to-day activities of FIT's main institutional accounts, with responsibilities that include content creation, social media reporting, and strategic social media planning. Corey is also working on long-range objectives, including the assessment of FIT’s institutional social media activity, the integration of social media into the college’s overall communications plan, and the engagement of other social media producers across campus to enhance coordination and messaging. Corey holds a BA in communication from Juniata College.
Steven Bibb, Administrative Assistant
Steven Bibb is part of the Media Relations team, where he writes FIT in the News, the college’s weekly news roundup of media coverage. Additionally, Steven handles press and media requests, and serves as an administrative assistant to the team. Steven holds a BA in Mass Media Studies from Hofstra University.