Getting Personal: Meet the New Fall Faculty

Students might never guess that their professors in the M.S. in Publishing: Digital and Print Media program this fall have secret lives (or pasts!) doing some very cool things. We are here to reveal not only their wonderful professional experience, but also their talents, which include everything from expertise perfecting frying oil for crisper French fries to co-creating and writing off Broadway shows. Read on to learn more about the new faculty members joining our revered roster of industry professionals teaching in the program. We bet you’ll be impressed by their professional profiles and private passions.


Matthew Ballast (Public Relations and Corporate Communications) is the Vice President and Executive Director of Publicity at Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group. He is responsible for overseeing publicity and media relations and creating national media strategies for major book publications and authors in categories ranging from commercial and literary fiction, to lifestyle (cooking, health, beauty, and style), business, serious non-fiction, and romance. Matthew has implemented full publicity campaigns for authors such as, Mario Batali, Scott Turow, Candace Bushnell, Nicholas Sparks, Daniel Boulud, Dr. Jane Goodall, Andrew Morton, Rocco DiSpirito, and Gwyneth Paltrow. He is a graduate of Hope College.
Matthew is a classically trained violinist who began lessons at the age of 5.


Debi Chirichella (Introduction to Multimedia Financial Analysis) is Chief Financial Officer at Hearst Magazines, where she is responsible for finance, revenue operations, product management and planning, development and web hosting. She previously was Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Condé Nast Digital. Her extensive financial background includes positions in strategic planning and corporate development at Primedia Corporation. Debi holds an M.B.A. from The Graduate School of Business at Harvard University.
Debi’s undergraduate degree is in chemical engineering. In college she spent an entire summer working on creating a frying oil for crispier french fries. “Media is much more fun!” she says.


Linda Cowen (Publishing and Internet Law) is the Senior Vice President, Associate General Counsel at Penguin Random House LLC, where she acts as primary counsel for several publishing imprints on all editorial, legal, contractual matters and all legal aspects of publishing. Prior to working at Penguin, Linda was the Associate Counsel for Time Inc. with clients such as Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Money Magazine, Fortune, and Time Inc. Custom Publishing. Linda’s practice specializes in media and publishing. She is a graduate of The New School and NYU School of Law.
Linda became a distance runner at age 50, and ran 5 marathons and countless half-marathons over 2 ½ years, including the 2015 Maccabi Games (“Jewish Olympics”) in Berlin. She won her division, but says that what was more rewarding was being able to run on a course that circled the Olympic Stadium built for the 1936 Olympic Games, from which Jewish athletes were excluded.


Kerri Fallon (Magazine Marketing and Branding) is the Head of Marketing , Events and Creative Services for DEPARTURES &, CENTURION magazine, and Affluent Media Group at Time Inc. During her tenure at Time Inc. she has collaborated with editorial and publishers to develop brand strategies, as well as re-launched She has held several marketing positions at Real Simple,, Prevention, and Kerri is a graduate of Xavier University.
Kerri has run the New York City marathon twice.


Kurt Fulepp (Digital Financials: The Web, Apps, Tablets and Video) is Vice President, Digital General Manager, Time Inc. News Group, having previously been Vice President, General Manager – News at TIME, Money, & FORTUNE. In this position, he leads the digital transformation of the news portfolio, continuing the growth of audience through new digital products & interactive services, driving the continued diversification of revenue, and engaging strategic partnerships that fuel rapid growth to a portfolio that reaches over 80 million global consumers every month. He is the former Vice President, Head of Product for AOL Core and AOL Lifestyle Brands. Kurt is a graduate of Southern Cross University in Sydney, Australia.
Kurt is a native Australian and while he now calls New York home, he still classifies himself as a Tim Tam & Vegemite connoisseur.


Tobly McSmith (Digital Platforms: Ebooks, Audio, and Podcasts) is the Director of Sales, Digital Accounts at HarperCollins Publishers. In this position, he is responsible for maintaining top sales and maerchandising at Amazon, Nook, and Microsoft, and manages a sales team responsible for all US sales of eBook and digital audio products. Earlier in his career, Tobly was Manager of eBook Sales and Sales Operations Assistant Manager. Tobly is a graduate of Texas Tech University.
When not working in publishing, Tobly is the co-creator and writer of 6 off-Broadway hit musicals including Bayside! The Saved by the Bell Musical, Full House the musical, 90210 the musical, Showgirls the musical, Katdashians the musical, and coming this Fall: Friends the musical.


Sarah Rowe (Exploring User Interface Design) is a Design Director at Condé Nast on the Digital Strategy and Initiatives team, working across the organization to conceptualize, design, and launch compelling, best-in-class digital experiences. As a design leader, she spearheads and leads new creative and strategic thinking, drives innovative efforts, and helps set the direction, vision, style and methodology for the design team at large. Before stepping into her current role, she was the UX/Art Director at Condé Nast Traveler for two years, where she was responsible for all UX and Visual Design of their digital products. Prior to working at Condé Nast, Sarah was a platform designer at Nook, the Barnes & Noble eReader, where she helped launch’s first eBook experience and led their 2012 redesign; she has also been a book and album cover designer. She received her degree in photography from Parsons School of Design.
Sarah is a “mother” to a Silken Windhound, a rare and gentle breed of dog. His name is Talvi, which is Finnish for “winter.”


Holly Ruck (The Global Marketplace: Challenges and Opportunities) is the International Sales Manager at Macmillan, where she manages advertising budgets and returns for European, Middle Eastern, and Asian wholesalers and retailers. She is the main US contact for editorial, publicity, and marketing staff seeking opportunities for authors in non-US markets. She also manages all business related to an estimated 3,000 frontlist and backlist children’s titles. Holly has held positions at Barnes & Noble, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Penguin Group (USA). She is a graduate of Bradley University.
Holly’s first job was selling souvenirs at the stock car races in her hometown of Peoria, Illinois.


Sarah Smith (Introduction to Magazine Media)is the Executive Editor for Redbook. She oversees all editorial aspects of the magazine, including top-editing and coordinating all content, managing staff and leading brand extension initiatives. Sarah also strategizes, writes and edits content on and their social media platforms. Prior to this position, she was Editorial Director for KIWI and Senior Editor at Parenting magazine. Sarah graduated from Wellesley College.
Sarah appeared on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and made it awfully far before being felled by a question about minor league baseball.


Katherine Surprenant (Publishing and Internet Law) is General Counsel, National Media and Marketing for Meredith Corporation, where she is the principal attorney for Meredith’s East Coast-based brands, including Eating Well, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Family Circle, Martha Stewart Living, Martha Stewart Weddings, Parents and Shape. She supports the National Media Group’s marketing, e-commerce and content/ brand licensing initiatives and provides legal and strategic direction to MXM, Meredith’s content-powered digital marketing agency. Prior to joining Meredith, she was Deputy General Counsel for Gruner + Jahr USA Publishing, and an associate in the technology and intellectual property practice group of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. She clerked for the Hon. R. Lanier Anderson III, Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit. Katherine earned her J.D. from Cornell Law School.
One of Katherine’s life goals is to be a featured caller on NPR’s “A Way with Words.”


Jin Yu (Book Marketing and Branding) is the Associate Marketing Director for Berkley Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA). She oversees the marketing campaigns for franchise authors, including advertising decisions, digital marketing, and bookseller & library outreach. Jin also develops brand marketing strategies for the imprint. Before working at Penguin, Jin was the Digital Marketing Manager at Atria Books, where she strategized and executed digital marketing campaigns for New York Times bestselling authors. She was responsible for managing all social media platforms of the imprint and significantly increased the follower account of each platform. Jin is a graduate of the University of Virginia.
Jin is somewhat of an adventurer as she has gone skydiving, parasailing, scuba diving, hang gliding, and white water rafting, and she has climbed Mt. Fuji.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s