Board Members

The Social Media Association’s Board of Directors is a core group of dedicated individuals who span fields such as marketing, communications, public relations, design, branding, technology, legal counsel, education and non-profit. They are devoted to helping advance social media by bringing innovative and inspiring programs to the group’s members while providing leadership, governance and oversight.


JULIE ALLEGRETTI: Co-President 

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Ms. Allegretti is the Marketing Coordinator for the Russo Law Group.  Previously, she provided diverse administrative and project support in the development and execution of all Center for Biotechnology programs and activities. Her background includes over 8 years experience as the Operations and Social Media Coordinator at the Long Island Forum for Technology (LIFT), New York State’s Regional Technology Development Center and Manufacturing Extension Partner for Long Island.

She was involved in the data collection for a regional New York State Department of Labor initiative (Connect Long Island’s 13N project) which identified and implemented regional economic transformational strategies for workforce development in various manufacturing industry sectors. She works side by side with LIFT’s executive staff, planning and coordinating special events, supporting committees, initiating workforce programs and has led funding efforts for the annual LIFT Technology Scholarship program. As a result of coordinating the “Manufacturing Day” initiatives on Long Island, she was recognized by Nassau County Executive, Edward Mangano and received a Proclamation declaring October “Manufacturing Month” across the Long Island Region.

She was named in the 2015 Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce “Celebrate Long Island’s Young Professionals” 30 Under 30 Award for making a notable impact on local businesses, industry and community. In 2016, she was awarded the honor of Excellence in Communication in the area of In-House Marketing Professional and awarded with the Millennial Award, both from the Long Island Business News.  In November of 2016 she became a member of the Suffolk County Legislature Next Generation Advisory Council. In January of 2017, she joined the Farmingdale State College Alumni Board. She also volunteers her time to the Nassau County Camera Club as their Webmaster.

She holds a BS in Security Systems, AS in Criminal Justice, and AS in Liberal Arts and Sciences from Farmingdale State College (FSC). She was a founding member and treasurer of the National Criminal Justice Honor Society, a founding member of the Tennis Team, and a member of the FSC Student Athletic Advisory Committee (S.A.A.C). She also helped students transition to college life in her role as a New Student Orientation Leader.

She also enjoys keeping abreast of the latest technology and devices that are on the market. She can be found on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and whatever comes next!

PETER STEIN: Co-President

Peter is a Sales Executive with Didit. Prior to joining Didit he has spent the last 20 years in new business development roles with marketing services companies including a database marketing agency, direct marketing agencies, and direct mail production companies. Peter’s experience includes branding, direct marketing strategy and planning, creative development, database marketing and targeting, production management, website development, search engine marketing, e-mail marketing, and results analysis.

During his career Peter has worked with a diverse client base including business to business, financial services, insurance, non-profit, and publishing. He has been published several times and participated in various speaking engagements through industry trade associations.

BETH GRANGER: Vice President and Secretary

Beth Granger works with organizations and individuals who want to fill their sales pipeline, supercharge their prospecting and networking, advance in their career, and build their professional brand, all using LinkedIn.

She is a trainer, consultant, speaker, moderator, emcee, and certified virtual speaker.

Beth also helps produce and facilitate engaging and interactive online business development networking events for American Business Associates and is a host of LinkedIn Local, a series of events designed to let attendees “meet the people behind the profiles.”

Before starting her own consulting company Beth was the Director of Online Marketing and Design at Pall Corporation, a global industry leader in filtration and separation. Beth provided the vision, strategic planning, and management for all initiatives related to the global multi-language website. She also directed the web and corporate design departments, and the global corporate identity program.

Every week, Beth broadcasts on LinkedIn Live to introduce interesting people to her broader network through ½ hour conversations or share useful strategies to grow your business or brand. 

Contact information:

beth@bethgranger.com

516-515-1213

DONNA RIVERA-DOWNEY: Co-Treasurer 

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Donna is an accomplished businesswoman and community advocate who currently serves as Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for the Girl Scouts of Nassau County. While balancing family life with a host of civic and professional service organizations, Donna is known and well respected for her ability to bring together people and resources to accomplish tasks that benefit her employers and the community.

After twenty-two years in banking, Donna wanted to shift her career focus to better match her passion for civic engagement — she joined Girl Scouts of Nassau County as Director of Marketing in 2001. Through this career change, she has been able to meld her financial acumen, her skill in building relationships and her creativity to advance the Girl Scout brand and lift the Girl Scout mission: to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. Donna leads all areas of marketing at Girl Scouts, from print to web to special events, and maintains direct connections to the girls in Girl Scouting through her management of the renowned Girl Scouts of Nassau County Chorus, Media Girls and Ceremonial Corps.

Recognizing that technology is key to girls as well as GenX and GenY parents, Donna was an early adopter and campaigner for using social media to connect with Girl Scout families, volunteers and alumnae. Her social media work for Girl Scouts of Nassau County was recognized with a SocialNetworker Award: Best Use of Facebook at the 2011 Folio Awards. In addition, Donna is a member of the Girl Scouts of the USA’s MarComm, a select leadership group of marketing professionals from Girl Scout Councils around the country, who advise and assist the national organization on messaging and communications issues.

Donna is a past President of the Hicksville-Jericho Rotary Club, a past Assistant District Governor for Rotary District 7250, and Youth Exchange Chair for Rotary District 7250. She is also on the Board of Public Relations Professionals of Long Island.

SHARYN O’MARA: Co-Treasurer

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Sharyn O’Mara is Marketing Director communications director at Futterman, Lanza & Pasculli, LLP, an elder law and estate planning law firm in Smithtown, Garden City and Bay Shore where she is responsible for marketing, public relations and social media.

Sharyn serves as co-treasurer on the board of directors of the Social Media Association and is former co-president.  She is a former three-year board member of Public Relations Professionals of Long Island (PRPLI), where she chaired the scholarship committee. Sharyn is an adjunct professor at Farmingdale State College, teaching Public Relations for the third straight year. Sharyn was an adjunct professor at Adelphi University where she taught Introduction to Public Relations class.  For several years, she led monthly seminars on “Social Media for Business Use” at various Long Island Libraries.  She was an instructor in the Continuing Education program at Hofstra University, teaching Strategic Marketing for the 21st Century, a class in the Not-For-Profit Leadership certificate program and she also led Marketing Tools for Attorneys and other Professional Services. 

Prior to Futterman, Lanza & Pasculli, Sharyn was Communications Director at matrimonial and family law firm Wisselman, Harounian & Associates. Before legal marketing, Sharyn was primarily involved in marketing on national consumer brands including Weight Watchers, McDonald’s, TDK Electronics, United Media (PEANUTS, Dilbert and National Geographic) and Purdue Pharma. She has led successful marketing programs on both the corporate and agency side.

Contact Info:
Sharyn O’Mara

www.trustedattorneys.com

631-979-4300

LinkedIn

Twitter

 
 

HILARY TOPPER: Founder & president ex-officio 

Hilary is the founder of the Social Media Association. She formed the group in 2012.

She is the CEO of HJMT Public Relations, Inc. (http://www.hjmt.com ), a firm she started in 1992. She is also a blogger with HJMT Media Company, LLC, where she writes two blogs – www.NYLifestyleBlog.com and www.ATriathletesDiary.com. She also is an avid podcaster with http://www.HilaryTopperonAir.com, where she interviews leaders to help business owners grow both personally and professionally.  

In addition to that, Hilary is an Adjunct Professor teaching digital communications, influencer relations, persuasive presentation, campaigns and other topics at Hofstra University for more than seven years.

Hilary wrote one of the first books on social media, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Social Media, but were afraid to ask… Building Your Business Using Consumer Generated Media. The book received high accolades and support from the PR industry, the business community and publications throughout the world. She sold thousands of copies worldwide. Most recently, she wrote her second book, Branding in a Digital World. The book is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She’s also authored dozens of chapters for a variety of books and publications.

An original Google Glass Explorer, Hilary created the first Google Glass reality show on Youtube, Glasslandia. Today, the viral series has thousands of views from around the world. Even Google wanted to know when Glasslandia would have a Season 2!

Hilary has received numerous awards and honors for her accomplishments. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Hunter College and her Masters in Public Administration from Baruch College.

LARRY DRAGO: Board Member 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ldrago/

Larry Drago is an accomplished Marketing professional with extensive experience in various B2B and B2C industries. Industries he has gained expertise in include information technology, SaaS software, disaster recovery/business continuity, contact centers, public safety, digital signage, audiovisual (AV), musical instruments, consumer electronics, gaming/esports, food service/quick serve restaurant, industrial and food service packaging, trade association and higher education.

Larry possesses a proven ability to increase brand awareness and lead response inquiries. He is very detail oriented, organized and experienced at creating and producing marketing content, conceptualizing and implementing marketing strategies and managing budgets and timelines. Larry is an innovative, creative and resourceful professional, possessing excellent communication and problem-solving abilities that delivers quality results.

Larry is a 2014 recipient of the 40 under 40 award from Long Island Business News (LIBN), former Board member of the Direct Marketing Association of Long Island (DMALI) (2011-2017), member of the Public Relations Professionals of Long Island (PRPLI) and a lifetime member of Delta Mu Delta Business Honor Society. He achieved a Bachelor’s in Business Administration degree in Marketing (cum laude honors) from Dowling College and holds an Associate in Science degree in Business Administration from Suffolk County Community College.

JILLIAN WESTON: Board Member

Jillian Weston started her own company, Jillian’s Circus, in 2013. Jillian’s Circus is an online marketing company that works with professionals, small businesses and large companies to develop an online marketing solution customized for their needs. Jillian’s Circus Team uses traditional values and new-age technology while working with thousands of businesses and individuals to develop their branding, content development, social media marketing, search engine optimization and website design. In addition, Jillian teaches instructional classes in schools, community centers, libraries, and corporate settings. She mentors new business owners, high school and college students. Her enthusiasm for her staff, clientele and community is infectious.

Jillian’s Circus has won awards in the categories of Best Boss and Best Social Media Agency on Long Island. She was honored by Long Island Business News as their top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs, and is honored to receive the Premier Business Women Awards from RichnerLIVE and Herald Community Newspapers.

Jillian established her own networking group, The Unicorn Network, in 2016. The Unicorn Network, is a rapidly growing organization designed for entrepreneurial millennials. Jillian serves as the President of the board. Jillian is a board member of the Rockville Centre Chamber of Commerce, member of the Nassau Council Chamber’s of Commerce, and member of many other networking and community organizations.

Jillian’s Circus contributes to many charitable organizations. In 2020, Jillian committed to running for Woman of the Year for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society raising over $57,000 for blood cancer research.

When Jillian is not in her office, just kidding- she’s always in the office.

LAURI A CHRISTIANSEN: BOARD MEMBER

Lauri A Christiansen, MBA, PMP is a B2B Marketing Leader with 25+ years of experience in developing and executing marketing and sales strategies for small and mid-sized organizations, as well as large public companies. Her marketing expertise is diverse and includes digital marketing and lead generation, on and off-site content development, social media, marketing automation, brand development, sales enablement, and project management.

Lauri is the Owner and President of B2B Marketing Strategies, LLC, a consulting firm that specializes in developing and managing marketing and growth strategies to help companies reach their business goals. Projects range from project management, website development, and digital marketing to developing and launching solutions programs to sales teams to drive customer retention. B2B Marketing Strategies also produces digital content for enterprise technology companies, such as whitepapers, sales playbooks, email campaigns and social, personas development, nurture campaigns, and brand messaging.

In addition to her work as a business owner, Lauri has held the following corporate positions:  Director of Marketing for SmartSource Computer & Audio Visual Rentals; Director of Marketing & Business Development for Interline Brands, a division of Home Depot; Manager of Product Information Services, Brand Marketing, for Honeywell Security & Home Automation, now Resideo; Program Manager, Sales Division, for MSC Industrial Supply; and Marketing Manager for Roux Associates Environmental Consulting.

Lauri earned an M.B.A. in Marketing from the Zarb School of Business, Hofstra University, and a B.S. in Marketing & English from the Smeal School of Business, Penn State University. She has a Certificate in Digital Marketing from the Digital Marketing Institute and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). She serves on the Board of Directors of the Penn State Alumni Association, Long Island Chapter (PSULIC) and served on the Board of the Project Management Institute of Long Island (PMILIC), and the Get A Voice™ Project, and the Security Hardware Distributor’s Association (SHDA).  Lauri and her family reside in Kings Park, NY.

JOSEPH BENTY: BOARD MEMBER

Joe Benty is a strategic and purpose-driven leader with exceptional sales and marketing expertise, significant professional services experience and a reputation for brand innovation and business transformation. An executive who held a series of progressively senior positions within the advertising, digital film production, legal, insurance/financial consulting industries and who also spent six years teaching Branding as an adjunct professor at CW Post University; with a course curriculum he developed. He has twice built marketing departments from the ground up and is known for assembling cohesive, high-performance teams that deliver ROI based on measurable KPIs. He has transformed how organizations perceive and utilize digital marketing and traditional communications externally and internally, creating dynamic environments wherein teams across the enterprise are empowered to “live” the brand and share it with others outside the firm through thriving cross-sell initiatives.

Over seven years at Chernoff Diamond, Joe built a highly functioning marketing department that supported management’s organic and strategic objectives to build a ‘Business Smart’ brand position (including the launch of six proprietary product solutions). He also established multi-channel marketing strategies with the firm’s strategic partners, two top 25 national CPA firms and many of the initiatives he led, were instrumental in helping lead to a strategic acquisition for the firm in 2019. Post-acquisition, he led brand integration initiatives for all firm-related proprietary solutions, eventually helping steer USI Consulting Group’s marketing efforts. Working closely with the Chief Compliance Officer, Chief Legal Officer and Chief Investment Officer, Joe developed successful digital marketing and communication campaigns for the firm’s financial services team’s securities and investment products, as well as all actuarial consulting practices.

Prior to joining Chernoff Diamond, Joe was recruited to Meyer Suozzi, a political powerhouse law firm with offices in Washington, D.C., Manhattan, Albany, Garden City and Melville, NY. With an entrepreneurial mindset, he established the firm’s first marketing department, growing it to a team of five full-time staff. He was also responsible for managing all PR firm and ad agency activities and initiated marketing metrics to measure campaign effectiveness. He orchestrated high profile Meet & Greet events with luminaries like, NYS Governor David Paterson, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, former Supreme Court Judges, Appellate Justices, and high-ranking members on both sides of the political aisle. He also cultivated relationships with strategic partners AXA Financial, Merrill Lynch, M Financial and Northwell Health creating the Humanities Forum “Money, Masterpieces, Medicine & Mankind”. He designed internal practice development programs like the Rainmakers Roundup, numerous law scholarship programs and established the firm as a NYS Bar appointed CLE provider. Working alongside the Managing Partner and Practice Leaders, Joe developed a long-term marketing strategy to support the firm’s organic and strategic expansion efforts that took it from 12 to 18 practice areas during his tenure. He built the firm’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization), blogging and social media strategies which led to significant success for new practice launches, client origination, and overall firm revenue growth. A trusted member of management, he served as Chair, Co-Chair on various committees. 

Prior to his marketing leadership positions, Joe began his career in advertising, starting out as an Account Executive and working his way up to VP/Business Development – at his last two agencies he was appointed VP/Brand Strategy. With significant consulting experience, he advised, led and introduced brand strategies for clients in the apparel, banking, beauty, consumer products, entertainment, fashion, financial, health/wellness, luxury goods, pharmaceutical, real estate, retail, sports, technology and wine & spirits industries. Joe also has significant video/film production experience producing content for social media, websites and broadcast, including brand campaigns, feature programs, sales demos, corporate image, training and how-to videos.  He capitalized on this experience helping Meyer Suozzi, Chernoff Diamond and USI develop digital video content for product launches, social media, blogs, websites, trade shows and events.

Joe is a Dale Carnegie Sales Talk Champion, an avid historian who is a seasonal volunteer museum docent at Old Bethpage Village Restoration (a working 19th century village) and Sagtikos Manor (an 18th century mansion) both on Long Island – where he provides visitors with rich insights into the region’s storied past. He is also a trombonist, amateur photographer, collector of stamps, books and newspapers from the 18th to 20th centuries.  He lives in Massapequa with his wife; both proud parents of two wonderful children.

 

LAURA PALKER: BOARD MEMBER

The Live Events industry, which includes Trade Shows, is an expansive one that creates millions of jobs, generates billions of dollars in spending, and adds more than a trillion dollars in gross production to the United States economy. In boom times and in vastly challenging times alike, businesses reach for an industry leader to help promote their brand on the trade show floor – whether in person or digitally. For businesses of every size and scale, Laura Palker is called upon for her expertise, her warmth, and her candor.

Laura is the Founder and CEO of Trade Show Solutions Center, a leading provider of exhibit planning, design, production, and marketing services for the past eighteen years. A respected and highly sought-after firm, Trade Show Solutions Center provides planning and execution for businesses of all sizes. Laura’s skill in sales, marketing, and branding, coupled with her insight into her clients and their needs, has led to the company’s success. The Solution Center Network, a division of Trade Show Solutions Center, partners exclusively with graphic designers and marketing professionals to seamlessly service their customers with their trade show needs. Laura is also a partner in NewNormalSupplies.com providing essential products and services to help businesses open safely and recover from the effects of the pandemic. Prior to these ventures, Laura spent time honing her skills at firms that specialized in presentation displays, exhibit productions, sales, and marketing. She has taken this vast wealth of knowledge and created companies to serve her clients and the trade show industry.

In addition to growing her companies, Ms. Palker has dedicated herself to the betterment of the industry she serves and the community in which she lives. Laura is the founder and President of the National Trade Show Alliance, a nonprofit organization formed to unite the many segments of the trade show industry. The Alliance is dedicated to bringing a voice to every worker under its umbrella, as well providing workforce development, education, and mentoring to industry professionals. She is also the Chair of 100 Women Who Care About Long Island, which encourages women to make a meaningful economic difference for the region’s nonprofits. In 2016 and 2017, she served as the First Lady of the Institute of Management Accountants, a role she is particularly proud of.  Throughout her career, Laura has been involved with and served on boards of several local nonprofit organizations. Most recently, Laura served on the Boards of EAC Network, Moxxie Mentoring Foundation, and American Cancer Society – Babe Zaharias Tournaments.

Laura is a firm believer in continuing her education. She is a 2015 graduate of the highly selective and transformational Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program. In addition to completing her initial study in Polarity Therapy, she has just completed her certification as a Virtual Events Professional with the Virtual Events Institute. Understanding that the future of the trade show and events industries has changed for the foreseeable future, Laura has undertaken this coursework to serve her clients as they struggle to pivot and change in the current environment.

To help others achieve their personal and professional goals, Ms. Palker just collaborated on her first book, “How Do You Predict the Future? You Create It.” 

Laura and her husband, Marc, live on Long Island, NY. They have three children as well as two small grandchildren who are the light of their lives. An avid golfer, Laura is a member of the LPGA Amateur Golf Association. When not involved with work-related activities, Laura enjoys traveling, fine dining, and rejuvenating at the spa.