Welcome New Whitman Advisory Council Members
The Whitman School welcomes nine new members to the Whitman Advisory Council (WAC). The advisory council provides guidance, engagement and financial support and promotes the objectives and strategic goals of the School. It is comprised of alumni, parents and friends who are corporate professionals with distinguished roles and years of experience. The council meets in person twice a year, in addition to several virtual meetings and smaller working group sessions.
Michael Blackshear ’91
Senior Vice President & N.A. Chief Compliance Officer
Ryan Specialty Group
Michael Blackshear is senior vice president and global chief compliance officer at Ryan Specialty Group in Chicago. Previously, he was the North America chief compliance officer for Chubb Insurance Co., the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company. Prior to joining Chubb, he held various leadership roles for KPMG and PwC.
Blackshear graduated from Syracuse University in 1991. He earned a B.S. from Whitman and majored in finance. He later graduated from the College of Insurance in 1995 with an MBA and from Fordham University Law School in 1998 with a juris doctorate.
For the University, he has been Whitman School chairman for the Coming Back Together reunion. He supports and is spearheading the reinstatement of the Kappa Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Endowed Scholarship Fund.
Asher Flaum ’02 (FALK)
Flaum Management Company
Asher Flaum is the president of Flaum Management Company, a leader in commercial real estate that works as a full-service development, brokerage and management firm. Flaum Management owns over 8 million square feet of real estate independently, as well as with institutional capital partners. During his tenure, Flaum has more than doubled its property ownership portfolio and is consistently named Power Broker Award Winners by CoStar Group.
Flaum is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and New York, State Commercial Association of Realtors.
Flaum currently serves as a director on the executive committee of CMAC, an outdoor performing arts venue in Canandaigua, New York. He is a co-founder of Forks and Skis, a winter skiing event to benefit Foodlink, a Rochester, New York nonprofit. He graduated in 2002 with a B.S. from the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics and was a member of the 2000 men’s lacrosse National Championship team.
Nancy Girondo ’98 (MAX), ’16 MBA, ’18 M.S.
Product Director, Emerging Market Equities
Nancy Girondo is the product director for the emerging market equities team at Invesco. In this role, she is responsible for leading the team’s business strategy, marketing the suite of emerging market equity strategies managed by the team across business channels and geographies and communicating its investment insights to clients.
Girondo joined Invesco when the firm combined with OppenheimerFunds in 2019. She had joined OppenheimerFunds in 2013 as a product manager for the global equity and emerging markets equity teams. Previously, she was a product strategist for the emerging markets equity and global equity teams at BlackRock.
She earned a B.A. in economics and international relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and an MBA and master’s degree in entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises from the Whitman School.
Robert Hornung ’87
EVO Systems LLC
Robert Hornung serves as president of EVO Systems LLC, an advanced cloud-based distribution solutions provider serving the fenestration and smart home industries. He is also a partner of Industrial Sales Corporation, a service representation firm that has become a leader in its marketplace.
In previous roles, Hornung founded both On-Link, a business application software company and Interactive Data Systems (IDS) an electronic catalog technology provider. On-Link and IDS merged in 1998 and were sold in August 2000 for over $600 million. From 1999-2017, Hornung was president of Sashlite LLC, an intellectual property firm that streamlined manufacturing processes and was later sold in a private transaction. Hornung received a B.S. in marketing from the Whitman School in 1987.
Scott Klein ’79
President and CEO, Specialized Services
President and CEO
Scott Klein is a seasoned executive with many years of leadership experience and success with achieving profitable growth in a variety of industries. He is president and CEO of LanguageLine Solutions, the world’s largest provider of on-demand interpretation. He is also president and global CEO of Specialized Services for LanguageLine’s parent company, Teleperformance.
Previously, Klein held the position of CEO of SuperMedia, Inc. Klein also served as president and CEO of Information Resources Inc., a leading market research firm; president of consumer industries, retail & energy division of Electronic Data Systems Corporation; and president of PCMall Inc., and COO for PrimeSource Building Products. Klein graduated in 1979 with a B.S in accounting from the Whitman School.
Neeraj Mehta ’96 MBA
United Way Worldwide
Neeraj Mehta is interim president and CEO of the United Way. He was previously the executive vice president, CEO of Payment Solutions and chief commercial officer of Synchrony. Mehta led one of Synchrony’s sales platforms that provides consumer financing through retail channels. Formerly, he was the executive vice president, business strategy and development, where he built out a new function for Synchrony overseeing corporate strategy, payment innovation, strategic partnerships, Synchrony Ventures and acquisitions.
Mehta joined General Electric (GE) in 1996 and held numerous executive roles at GE Capital, including president and CEO of GE Capital, commercial distribution finance while operating additional business units during his 20 years with the company. Mehta serves on multiple nonprofit/for-profit boards and advisory boards. He earned an MBA from the Whitman School in 1996.
Ian Thompson ’01
Director, Financial Planning and Analysis
Turnils North America Group Companies, Division Hunter
Douglas Window Fashions
Ian Thompson is the director of financial planning and analysis for Turnils North America Group Companies, a division of Hunter Douglas Window Fashions, the world’s leading manufacturer of window coverings with gross revenues over $3.7 billion. He joined Turnils North America Inc. as a senior accountant in 2001 and was named accounting manager in 2002 and controller in 2004.
Thompson graduated in 2001, earning a B.S in accounting from Whitman. Thompson truly bleeds Orange, as he is one of four brothers who graduated from the Whitman School.
Representing the University, Thompson is an active member of the Syracuse Atlanta Regional Council and served as president of the Syracuse Alumni Club of Atlanta from 2011-2014. He supports a variety of SU funds.
Marcel Vernon Sr. ’94 MBA
Chief Financial Officer, Massachusetts
Trial Court and Office of Court Management
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Marcel Vernon is an accomplished financial executive with more than 25 years of experience. He specializes in global strategic and tactical planning, including acquisition integration, project financing arrangements, and supply chain and inventory management. Vernon has a proven history of delivering sales, profits and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) improvements, leveraging technologies and maximizing resource utilization. Prior to joining the Commonwealth, Marcel served as the executive managing director for MIP GLOBAL, a brokerage firm.
Vernon sits on various boards, including Labouré College. He is also part of the Diversity Advisory Committee for the CFO Leadership Council. He earned an MBA from the Whitman School in 1994.
Lee Zaretzky ’89
Lee Zaretzky is the president of Ronsco Inc. Founded in 1960, Ronsco is a family-owned specialty drywall and acoustical subcontractor.
He is heavily involved in the construction industry. Zaretzky is the vice president of the Association of Wall-Ceiling & Carpentry Industries of New York, on the board of directors of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry and the Foundation of the Wall and Ceiling Industry. He is vice chairman of the Building Trades Employers Association Executive Committee and is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council.
Zaretzky earned a B.S in accounting from the Whitman School, serves on the Whitman Real Estate advisory council and teaches a segment on contracting during the Janmester for the School’s real estate students.