Your CAAN National Board

Earlier this summer, nearly eighty Columbia College Chicago alumni from around the country submitted their applications to run for a seat on the CAAN National Board. While there were many qualified candidates, only nine seats (out of 12) were up for re-election, making this a tough choice for voting members. The 12 alumni who sit on the board are successful, diverse, and dedicated.

Earlier this summer, nearly eighty Columbia College Chicago alumni from around the country submitted their applications to run for a seat on the CAAN National Board. While there were many qualified candidates, only nine seats (out of twelve) were up for re-election, making this a tough choice for voting members.

The twelve alumni who sit on the board are successful, diverse, and dedicated. We thank them for their service and want to present them to the entire Columbia community.

Here are your FY15 CAAN National Board Members.

Regional Representatives

Joan Hammel (BA ’86) is a singer/songwriter who has been an Entertainer of the Year Nominee five times for the Chicago Music Awards and is a 25-year member of the Grammy Awards organization. She has an Emmy Award, and has performed around the globe including at the Salt Lake Winter Olympics and in Las Vegas. She has enjoyed being involved in both the Chicago Chapter and the National Board of the Alumni Association as well serving as President of both.

Joanna DeJesus (BA ’10) graduated with a degree in Television- Writing/Producing. She has been freelancing full-time. She has worked on various productions including the television series "Burn Notice" and a few movies. She is excited to give back to Columbia College and assist others with their transition from college into the working world as well as meeting other alumni and learning from one another.

Patricia Blum (BA ’84) graduated with a degree in photography. After 17 years working in the field of photography in CO, she switched professions & currently is vice president of a mutual fund, broker-dealership & advisory firm in CO. Pat has been leader of the Denver Chapter of CAAN since its inception, as well as being on the National Board and is looking forward to working with other board members in helping reconnect alumni to Columbia College.

Great South
Casandra McCottrell (BA ’07) graduated with a degree in Television. As a student, she was president of two student organizations - CCABJ and Social Philanthropy Society. While at Columbia she discovered her passion for stories and storytelling; her most memorable experience the time she spent at "Semester in L.A." After graduation she put her dreams on hold to help care for her then 7-year old brother with a developmental disability and special needs. Today she works in the auto trucking industry as an office assistant /dispatcher. Casandra is also creator of The Cafe Producer and The Thoughtful Host blog that will launch in October. As an alumni board member she is looking forward to building community with other alums.

Howard B. Shapiro (BA '53) graduated with a degree in Journalism, Television and Radio. After graduation Howard joined his family’s food market and applied his writing degree for weekly newsletters, advertising copy, commercials and store display. He later sold insurance for thirty years, initially as a salesman and was promoted to the promotion department writing sales material and television scripts and sales manuals. Howard is retired, but volunteers at SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) writing a monthly newsletter and is Speaker Chairman. In addition to the latter he founded and facilitated a Men's Only Caregiving Support Group for men caring for their wives or other family members. “I feel the training I received many years ago from Columbia has helped me tremendously and wish to share Columbia's curricula with others and hopefully Portland's alums will do the same.”

James “Woody” Woodward (MA ’03) received his Masters in Arts Entertainment & Media Management. He has worked as a talent agent with Universal Attractions for the last five years and also does freelance projects with his company Lateral Management. He has worked with Ashanti and getting her on Life Time's TV series "Army Wives", Chrisette Michelle on "R&B Divas LA"' Brian McKnight in Life Times "A Dollywood Xmas", to name a few. He has been assisting with CAAN and heading up the NY Chapter for eleven years. He enjoys giving back to Columbia College Chicago and the great outdoors.



Marie Chaiart (BA, '05) graduated with a degree in Marketing Communications with a concentration in Advertising. She went on to receive her Masters of Education from the University of Minnesota and will be starting her Masters of Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas. Marie started her career in public relations and marketing and has transitioned to business-to-business sales in the facility solutions industry. She looks forward to starting her third year on the CAAN board and continuing to focus on developing alumni chapters throughout the country.

Kim Chavarria (BA '90) graduated with a degree in TV Journalism and works at the Rose Bowl Stadium in their Marketing department. She is excited to be serving her second year on the CAAN board via her home in Los Angeles. She looks forward to collaborating and developing new events to help broaden the reach of the alumni board.

Jodi Hardee (MA ’04) received a master’s degree in Journalism and currently works in communications for city government. One of Jodi’s goals is to unite the nearly 500 alumni that live in the greater Denver area. As a member of the national board, she looks forward to educating alumni on the resources the Columbia Alumni Association & Network offers, from career advice to networking events.

Marty Kane (BA ’06) graduated with a degree in Music Performance with a concentration in Jazz Studies. He tours with Chicago-based band, The Damn Choir. Marty is eager to continue his alumni board service and focus on engaging young alumni to the network.

Joy A. Shanaberger (BA ’09) currently serves as a Senior Analyst to the Under Secretary of  Defense for Acqusition, Technology and Logistcs where she is responsible for defense communications analysis spanning major defense acquisitions, industry innovation and workforce development.  She compliments her steadfast focus on strengthening global partnerships for the Defense Department with an appreciation for design.  Joy greatly looks forward to giving back to Columbia College Chicago as a member of the CAAN Board.

Jonathan Weber (BA '03) graduated with a degree in Film and Video Production after completing three Semester in LA sessions, including Producing, Screenwriting, and Writing for Television. He currently works as a Management and Production Coordinator at Key Creatives, a talent management and production company that represents writer-producer-directors and arranges independent and studio financing for client-related projects. Clients include Academy Award winners Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Chris McQuarrie, and Paul W.S. Anderson. Jonathan is currently working on The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Resident Evil VI, and Mission: Impossible V. He also represents a number of up-and-coming writers working in both film and television. Jonathan is very excited to be working on the National Alumni Board for his second year, and hopes to help to reconnect alumni to the College and also to each other.

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