Category - Board of Directors 2021

Deborah Sack, Vice President, Operations, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Deb oversees the ongoing operations of Columbia University’s Office of Public Affairs. With a staff of approximately 225, the Office of Communications and Public Affairs handles media, content, marketing communications, government affairs, public relations, and community affairs for the University’s three undergraduate and seventeen graduate schools.

Before joining Columbia in 2007, Deb was acting vice president of institutional advancement at Hunter College and executive director of the Hunter College Foundation. Prior to Hunter, she worked in the for-profit sector as vice president of marketing communications at MasterCard International and DealTime, which is now owned by eBay under the name Shopping.com. Deb began her career working in politics and government. She has a BA from Pomona College. 

Alexa Smith – Chief of Staff in Office of the President at Manhattan School of Music

Alexa Smith is the Chief of Staff in the Office of the President at Manhattan School of Music. After receiving her from Master’s Degree from MSM in Voice, she pursued a career in opera before becoming the Marketing Director at New York City Opera. There she led marketing efforts and planned special events with partners including The Mexican Cultural Institute, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, Rosa Mexicano, The Ucross Foundation, and Passport Magazine. As Chief of Staff she oversees special projects for the Office of The President.

Father Daniel O’Reilly – Head of Corpus Christi Parish

Rev. Daniel O’Reilly is pastor of Corpus Christi parish and also the Catholic chaplain at Columbia University. Fr. O’Reilly was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx. He attended Regis High School in New York City and majored in philosophy at Princeton University before entering the seminary for the Archdiocese of New York. After earning Master’s degrees in theology and divinity from St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, he was ordained a priest in 2003 and appointed parochial vicar at Resurrection Church in Rye, New York. He has served as Director of Campus Ministry for the Archdiocese of New York, Spiritual Director for the St. John Neumann Seminary College in Yonkers, and Catholic Campus Minister at SUNY Maritime College in the Bronx.

Rev. Michael Livingston – Executive Minister of Riverside Church

The Rev. Michael Livingston is the Executive Minister at the Riverside Church in Manhattan. He is the former Interfaith Worker Justice National Policy Director and served as the Director of IWJ’s Washington, D.C. office from 2012 until 2014. He served as IWJ’s voice in the halls of Congress and with coalitions advocating for national policies that advance the rights of working families. Prior to IWJ, the Rev. Livingston spent years in executive leadership in the context of deep ecumenical and interfaith engagement with the International Council of Community Churches (ICCC) and the National Council of Churches (NCC). His leadership with the National Council of Churches took him around the world on missions of peacemaking, reconciliation, interfaith dialog and prophetic engagement. The Rev. Livingston is a graduate of theological education at Princeton Theological Seminary. He began his ministry in service to two congregations, first in Los Angeles, then in New York City.

James Gandre – President of Manhattan School of Music

Dr. James Gandre, an educator and musician with a deep commitment to students and the development of American conservatory learning, returned to Manhattan School of Music to assume the presidency in May 2013. He had previously served the School for fifteen years. In 2000, Gandre became Dean of Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, where he ultimately went on to serve as the University’s Provost and Executive Vice President. As a performer, Gandre has appeared as a tenor soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra, London Classical Players, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and members of the San Francisco Symphony. His professional choral engagements include more than 175 performances. He is currently a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (GRAMMYS) and the Recommendation Board of the Avery Fisher Artist Program and holds degrees from Lawrence University, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Virginia Connor – Head of School at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s

Appointed in 1993, Virginia Connor is the longest serving female head of an ongoing school in New York City through her role as Head of School at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s. Virginia has taught every elementary grade and has been a director of lower school, a director of middle school, an admission officer, and a director of curriculum development. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Childhood Education from Wheelock College and her Master’s from Teachers College, Columbia University. Currently, she serves on the Board of Trustees of The Brearley School, the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS), and the Independent School Admission Association of Greater New York (ISAAGNY).

Elise Dowell – Vice Chancellor for Communications and External Affairs at Jewish Theological Seminary

As JTS’s vice chancellor for communications and external affairs, Elise Dowell guides the institution’s strategic communications, oversees external relations, and serves as an ambassador for JTS to the public. Elise, who joined JTS in 2002, was named chief communications officer in 2008. She has implemented a major rebranding initiative, enhanced JTS’s digital presence, and upgraded the recruitment marketing program. The work of the communications department has been recognized as the recipient of two Emmy Awards (Eternal Light: A Historical Retrospective and And the Gates Opened: Women in the Rabbinate). Prior to her role at JTS, Elise held positions in both the nonprofit and corporate sectors, including the Environmental Defense Fund and APL Digital, an Interpublic Group agency. She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BBA from Emory University.

Loftin Flowers – Associate Vice President for Government Relations at Columbia University

Loftin Flowers is the Associate Vice President for Government Relations and leads the University’s engagement and advocacy efforts with federal, state and city government. Loftin holds a B.A. in History from Haverford College and an M.P.A. from Columbia University. Prior to his role at Columbia, Loftin worked in Washington, DC at the national offices of the Children’s Defense Fund, the Democratic National Committee, and John Kerry’s 2004 campaign for President.

Marian Scott – Director of Community Health Education at Mt. Sinai Morningside

Driven by a strong work ethic impressed upon her by her parents and grandparents, Marian Scott earned her bachelor’s in Human Resource Management from the New School in 1993 and has since dedicated her career to giving back to the community. Her belief that everyone has a right to health care – regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, education, religion, sexual orientation, or disability – fueled her efforts working with community leaders and local organizations to coordinate life-saving health screenings in New York City’s most underserved communities. As a devoted mentor, volunteer, and community advocate, Marian values respect for and acknowledgment of differences and feels that an organization thrives when inclusion is reflected in its culture and practices, and she brings these values and passion into her work as Director of Community Health Education at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Mount Sinai West.

Matthew J. Camp – Director of Government Relations at Teachers College

Matthew Camp is a government relations expert with 15 years of experience in politics, public policy, and advocacy and is currently the Director of Government Relations for Teachers College, Columbia University, where he cultivates relationships with government officials, develops innovative education programs, and secures funding for the College. He is also completing a Ph.D. in Politics & Education at Columbia University. In the past, Camp has taught political science at Columbia University, political advocacy at Teachers College, and SAT, ESL, GED/TASC courses though organizations including New York Cares, the New York Public Library, and Columbia Community Impact. He holds a Masters of Public Policy from Rutgers University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware with a double major in political science and psychology. Camp currently serves on boards of Community District 9 in Manhattan and Good Shepherd Services Springboard, and he volunteers with Broadway Community Church and Team Rubicon.

Paula Mayo – President and Executive Director of The Interchurch Center

Paula Mayo is the President and Executive Director of The Interchurch Center, a position she has held since 2008. Ms. Mayo has over thirty years’ experience in the non-profit sector as a senior executive professional. Ms. Mayo has held prominent positions at United Way of New York City and South Street Seaport Museum, where she served as Executive Director for the last five years of her seventeen-year tenure. She has also held positions at Lincoln Center and the 92nd Street YM-YWHA. She holds degrees from Hunter College, and certifications in fundraising and real estate and property management from New York University. Ms. Mayo is a board member of The New York Women’s Agenda and National Executive Service Core Advisory Council. She is also a member of the Advisory Council of the Salvation Army, East Harlem Citadel Corps.

Phoebe Arnold – Director of Community Affairs at Columbia University

A proud Harlem native, Phoebe-Sade Arnold is Director of Community Affairs for Columbia University. Phoebe’s responsibilities include project tracking, constituency outreach, and oversight of special projects and programs that relate to matters of urban planning, land use, and community affairs. Working in conjunction with the Associate Vice President of Planning and Community Affairs, Phoebe attends Community Board meetings, public and private forums, and other community oriented events on behalf of the University. Phoebe’s portfolio also includes managing the University’s portion of the West Harlem Development Corporation in-kind space process. Phoebe received her Bachelors in Political Science from the State University of New York College at Old Westbury, and her Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch College.

Virginia Ryan – Secretary to Board of Trustees & Assistant General Counsel at Barnard College

Virginia Ryan has worked in the Barnard College’s Office of the General Counsel since June 2014. Prior to that, she practiced at Fordham Law School for 6 years doing Public Finance transactions. She switched her focus to Higher Education Law and worked at Fordham University Office of the General Counsel and then at Columbia University in an administrative role. She works closely with the offices of the Dean of the College, Dean of Studies, Residential Life, Disability Services, and also on faculty matters. Virginia has lived in NYC’s Upper West Side for 24 years and has maintained a longstanding personal connection to the Morningside Heights neighborhood. Two of her children attended the Riverside Church Weekday School and one attended the Barnard College Toddler Program, and Ryan herself attended Barnard College before going on to Fordam Law School. She very much enjoys the Morningside Heights community and looks forward to the opportunity to work with the Morningside Area Alliance.

Lawrence Palfini – Vice President of Facilities Management and Site Operations at International House

Lawrence M. Palfini is the Vice President Facilities and Site Operations of International House. In this role, he is responsible for the strategic planning and execution of the capital improvement plan and facilities management requirements for International House’s non-profit educational residential community of over 700 students, scholars and interns from over 100 countries around the globe. The Morningside Heights campus consists of over 350,000 square feet of both dormitory and apartments as well as a full service cafeteria, auditorium, gymnasium, fitness center, various study centers, meeting entertainment, parking garage, and administrative office support spaces. Lawrence leads and guides a team of approximately 50 maintenance and housekeeping professionals which support the mission of International House. Prior to joining International House, he worked for the iconic jewelry brand Tiffany and Company for 25 years as a Vice President of Global Real Estate and Facilities Management responsible for design, construction and property management.

Brian Simpson – Director of Communications & Strategy at Riverside Church

Since 2015, Brian Simpson has served in a variety of director-level communication and information technology roles at The Riverside Church in the City of New York, playing a key role in Riverside’s branding efforts and new website launch. He came to Riverside from Arizona, where he served as director of communications at the Association of Arizona Food Banks (AAFB). Brian spearheaded all marketing, public relations, and outreach efforts on behalf of AAFB, which provides public policy advocacy and logistics services to five member food banks and their network of 1,200 partner agencies in all fifteen Arizona counties. Brian received his MBA from Ottawa University, where he also worked as a Marketing Manager, and he graduated with a BA in Communication from the University of Arizona.

Rachel Rivera – Tenant Relations Manager for The Interchurch Center

Rachel Rivera is the Tenant Relations Manager for The Interchurch Center, a position she has held for 10 years. She began her career with the Center in 1997, when she was hired as a temporary receptionist. In her current capacity she is responsible for the management and planning of special events and programs for The Center’s 74 tenant agencies. She is an active participant in all programs offered by The Center and is a member of the Gospel Choir. Ms. Rivera is certified in Human Resource Management, Event Planning and Management, Mental Health First Aid and Tax Preparation. She is currently working to obtain her Real Estate license.

Brent Dickman – Vice President for Finance & Operations at Union Theological Seminary

Since August 2016, Brent Dickman has been the Vice President for Finance and Operations at Union Theological Seminary. He has over 20 years of experience working in higher education administration. Prior to his joining Union Theological Seminary, Brent worked at Yale University for seven years, first as the Associate Dean for Finance and Administration at the Law School and then as the Executive Director of Business Operations for the University. Brent has also served as the Director of Finance and Planning at the University of Michigan Law School and as the Administrative Manager of the College of Liberal Arts at Wayne State University, his alma mater. He earned his undergraduate degree from Western Michigan University and his MBA from Wayne State University.

Carlton Davis – President of the General Grant Houses Tenant’s Assocation

Since 2015, Carlton Davis has been President of the General Grant Houses Tenant’s Association. Davis has had 10 years of experience in the federal government as an assistant head of recruitment manager with the Navy—in addition to being a film producer and a former boxer and rapper. He aims to improve the complex’s community by developing programs that keep kids engaged after school, like sports tournaments, spelling bees, dance contests, and trips to museums and movie theaters, as well as improving the facilities and infastructure of the buildings.

Right Reverend Clifton Daniel III – Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine

With over 40 years of experience as a bishop and church leader prior to becoming the Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, the Right Reverend Clifton Daniel III has been to be a steward of the Cathedral’s growth. Rev. Daniel holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, earned his Master of Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary, and has been awarded Doctor of Divinity degrees from both Virginia Theological Seminary and the University of the South. He previously served as Provisional Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania. Rev. Daniel is currently the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of General Theological Seminary in New York and also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Church Pension Group.