Board of Directors and The PhD Project Team
The PhD Project Association, Board of Directors
Alfonzo Alexander serves as chief ethics and diversity officer of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and president of NASBA’s Center for the Public Trust (CPT). As chief ethics and diversity officer, Alexander oversees strategic diversity initiatives and ethics compliance for the organization, while facilitating a number of special projects working with the CEO.
Alexander became president of the CPT in January 2012. In his role as CPT President, Alexander oversees this ethics and leadership organization’s day-to-day operations and a growing number of CPT programs. Under his leadership, the CPT has cultivated new partnerships and built programs on nearly 100 college and university campuses across the United States, established Ethical Leadership Certification and Training Programs, and grown its Being a Difference Award Program extensively. Alexander joined NASBA in 2006 as a staff director and vice president of the CPT. It was during this time, Alexander developed the strategic plan for the CPT.
Alexander is a business school graduate of Tennessee Tech University. He also earned an MBA from Lipscomb University, and completed an Executive Leadership Program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Alexander is certified through several organizations as a facilitator and is a certified professional coach through Coach Training Alliance. In 2017, he received the Distinguished Alumni award from Delta Mu Delta International Honor Society in Business, and in 2019, he was featured in the February edition of Southwest The Magazine.
Neil Bosland, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Operating and Financial Officer. As executive vice president and global chief operating and financial officer, Bosland partners with colleagues in setting the overall strategic direction of the organization and in achieving organizational goals. He provides vision and leadership for the organization’s operations, including finance and accounting, information technology, human resources, governance, and administration. He also ensures the organization operates with reasonable risk management and internal control systems to support mission achievement and responsible governance practices. Bosland has served the organization since 2002. Prior to that, he held leadership positions in the information technology consulting, automotive manufacturing, and food and beverage industries, leading teams through business consolidations and divestitures, in the implementation of several enterprise resource planning systems, and building world class teams of professionals in accounting, technology, payroll, taxes, compliance, and treasury operations. Bosland chairs the board of directors for The PhD Project and has previously sat on the board of directors and finance committee of the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce. He holds a BS in accounting from William Paterson University and is a certified public accountant in both Florida and New Jersey.
Crystal Cooke, Director of Diversity & Inclusion, joined the Association in February 2020 and oversees the AICPA’s member facing Diversity and Inclusion team who focuses their efforts on increasing representation of underrepresented populations (e.g. ethnic minorities, women, young members and LGBTQ) in the accounting profession. She serves as one of the leads of the AICPA’s National Commission on Diversity & Inclusion, whose mission includes making diversity and inclusion a priority in the areas of recruitment, certification, and advancement of ethnic minorities. Prior to the Association, Crystal spent 12 years at the Center for Audit Quality where she managed Governing Board operations, financial reporting and budgeting processes, and talent, which included leading efforts around Diversity and Inclusion. She was also employed at KPMG LLP for 7 years as an auditor in their assurance practice in Washington D.C. Crystal holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting from the University of Cincinnati. She and her family reside in Bowie, MD.
Rosanna is the Head of Global Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging at LinkedIn. In this role, she is helping realize LinkedIn’s vision to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. She is lead catalyst for a team that’s on a mission to empower employees, members and customers in realizing their full potential. Our intent is to architect the alchemy of a diverse and inclusive culture that readily enables the power of belonging, for all of our employees, around the world. Prior to joining LinkedIn, Rosanna was Chief Diversity Officer at Cigna, leading the company’s diversity and inclusion center of excellence practice, supporting Cigna’s mission to help customers improve their health, well-being and sense of security. Operating with a customer centric context, Rosanna frames diversity to drive talent engagement, business growth, customer satisfaction and cross-cultural capabilities for Cigna’s employees worldwide. Rosanna attended Harvard College and has been recognized by Savoy Magazine as one of the 2012 Top Influential Women in Corporate America. In 2002, she was named one of the country’s leading Hispanic women by both Hispanic and Hispanic Business magazines.
Kurt Heissenbuttel is Head of Talent Development and University & Diversity Recruitment for Fidelity Investments, a private company and one of the industry’s most diversified financial services firms helping more than 32 million people invest their own life savings, 22,000 businesses manage employee benefit programs, as well as providing more than 13,500 financial advisory firms with investment and technology solutions to invest their own clients’ money. Dr. Heissenbuttel leads core areas for Fidelity including Development Programs, Talent Acquisition Programs, Talent, University Recruiting, and Diversity Recruiting. These teams recruit, manage programs, partnerships, and experiences aimed at attracting and developing talent for the firm. He joined Fidelity in 2016 as the Vice President of University Relations. Prior to joining Fidelity, Dr. Heissenbuttel spent his career in academia most recently at Northeastern University in Boston where he held a variety of roles from marketing and programming, to domestic and international recruitment. He led a team of admissions professionals that recruited, selected, and enrolled Northeastern’s undergraduate class. Dr. Heissenbuttel earned a Doctor of Law & Policy from Northeastern University in 2017; a Master of Education in Higher Education from Suffolk University in 2008; and a Bachelor of Science in Sports & Event Management from Johnson & Wales University in 2005.
Yvonne Hinson, PhD, CPA, CGMA, is the CEO of the American Accounting Association. Prior to assuming this role in September 2020, she served as the Academic in Residence for the Association of international Certified Professional Accountants. She began her accounting career with Arthur Andersen in Charlotte, NC. After returning to the University of Tennessee to pursue her Ph.D., Yvonne accepted a position with Wake Forest University. During her over 18-year career at Wake Forest University she served as a faculty member, Director of Graduate Studies, Director of Accountancy and Dean of Charlotte Programs. Yvonne has served on numerous academic and community committees and nonprofit Boards and is a past President of the Federation of Schools of Accountancy and past Chair of the AAA Membership Advisory Committee. She is currently a member of the Federal Government’s Cost Accounting Standards Board, AACSB Accounting Accreditation Committee, AACSB Accounting Accreditation Policy Committee, IFAC Accounting Education Panel and the IFAC Education Directors Panel. Her research has been published in both academic and practitioner journals. She earned her BS in accounting and MBA from UNC-Charlotte.
Carolynn Johnson succeeded Luke Visconti as Chief Executive Officer of DiversityInc Media, LLC in May 2019. Ms. Johnson previously served as the company’s Chief Operations Officer and Chief Revenue Officer during which she was responsible for operations, all major corporate partnerships, web properties and events. She was also responsible for sales management, information technology, circulation, business development and the development and execution of the annual DiversityInc Top 50 competition.
For the last 20 years, DiversityInc has been the gold standard of measurement of effective diversity, inclusion and equity strategies. The annual Top 50 competition is regarded as the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for equal access and opportunity for all in the workplace. Through its benchmarking and consulting
services, the company advises leaders of Fortune 200 companies and major employers about the pertinent issues related to diversity and inclusion that are directly tied to profitability and competitiveness. Prior to joining DiversityInc in 2003, Ms. Johnson was the marketing coordinator of pharmaceutical and science groups for Advanstar Communications. Prior to Advanstar, she was an account manager at Correct Communications, a full-service marketing and communications agency. Ms. Johnson completed an executive management program at the Tuck Business School at Dartmouth College and earned an MBA from Rutgers Business School.
She has been the director of the DiversityInc Foundation, a nonprofit that funds scholarships for financially disadvantaged students, for the past 10 years. She is also on the National Board of Directors at INROADS, an organization that aims to fix the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in corporate America. Ms. Johnson is a Founding Board Member of the Rutgers Business School Center for Women in Business. While completing her MBA, Ms. Johnson was an elected class officer and was a recipient of the Ted Marousas Award for Expanding the footprint of the Rutgers EMBA. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.
Jeremy came to the AMA as Chief Operating Officer in 2016. Jeremy has spent his 20+ year career in the marketing industry in roles that drive strategy, financial performance, digital transformation, people development and operational efficiency. His experience spans many different types of organizations: B2B and B2C; regional, national, and global; public, private, and non-profit. He’s had the pleasure of successfully managing the good, the bad and the ugly: high-growth and severe retrenchment business cycles, mergers and acquisitions, digital transformation, exit strategies, change leadership, global process evolution, and being cash-strapped to cash-flush and everything in between.
As COO of the AMA, Jeremy has primary responsibility for the execution, enablement and development of all finance, operations and technology within the organization.
Dr. Sharon Pierson, an adjunct professor at Ramapo College of New Jersey, is proud to represent The Pierson-Milano Family on The PhD Project Board. Sharon earned her undergraduate degree from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, her master’s degree in Curriculum and Teaching, her master’s in Philosophy, and her PhD in History and Education from Columbia University, Teachers College. Dr. Pierson’s historical research of superior, “laboratory” schooling for African Americans during de jure segregation in the South was published by Peter Lang Publishing (2014), ‘Laboratory of Learning’: HBCU Laboratory Schools and Alabama State College Lab High in the Era of Jim Crow. She has presented her research at numerous academic conferences, such as the American Educational Research Association, History of Education Society, Organization of Educational Historians, and the John Dewey Society Centennial. Dr. Pierson has also contributed chapters in: Using Past As Prologue (Information Age Publishing, 2015) and Schools of Tomorrow, Schools of Today: Revisited (Lang, 2016). Sharon teaches courses in the School of Contemporary Arts at Ramapo and is also a professional speaker and coach.
In the nonprofit sector, Sharon currently serves on the President’s Advisory Council, Columbia University, Teachers College, and also serves as Communications Director and Editor of the Trinity Times at Trinity Episcopal Church in Allendale. Sharon has served as a judge at numerous Enactus World Cup competitions, where undergraduate students from all over the world present their entrepreneurial service projects. She has also enjoyed serving in leadership positions for non-profit organizations, such as the Allendale Foundation for Educational Excellence, Bergen County Academies, the Junior League of Bergen County, and Boy Scouts of America, among others.
Sandra Richtermeyer, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, is dean of the Manning School of Business at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She works actively with a variety of professional organizations and is a frequent speaker on professional development, governance, internal control, technology enablement, and performance measurement. Her teaching and research interests are in the areas of corporate governance, accounting information systems, and nonprofit and governmental accounting. She has authored many articles in academic and practitioner publications. Her research publications have featured many topics including technology enablement, enterprise systems, nonprofit accounting, and professional issues for accountants.
In addition to her academic background, she worked as a CPA for many years in Denver, Colo., with a practice focus on compliance, assurance, and systems implementation. Prior to joining the University of Massachusetts Lowell, she was professor of accountancy and associate dean of the Williams College of Business at Xavier University. Prior to that, she was on the faculty at the University of Wyoming for several years, where she also completed her B.S. degree. She is proud to be a fourth generation Wyomingite, as well as a “Triple Buff” as she received her M.S., MBA, and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado.
Richtermeyer has held many leadership roles in a variety of organizations over the past 20 years. From 2012-2018 she represented IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) on the Committee on Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO). She also recently served on IMA’s Diversity and Thought Leadership Pipeline Committee. She was IMA Global Chair from 2010-2011 and also has more than 20 years of service in local, regional, national, and global IMA roles. She is currently on the board of directors of the Ohio Society of CPAs, Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting, 2018-2019 past-president of Beta Alpha Psi International, and immediate past-president of the American Accounting Association (AAA) Accounting Program Leaders Group. She is also currently a member of the U.S. Comptroller General’s Green Book Advisory Council and the United Nations Internal Control Advisory Committee. Richtermeyer has also served on many technical advisory boards for organizations such as Microsoft, Oracle, and PeopleSoft. She is the 2013-2014 Ohio Accounting Educator of the Year and the 2011 American Women’s Society of CPAs Educator of the Year.
Blane Ruschak’s serves as the President of The PhD Project. In his previous role as Executive Director of Campus Recruiting and University Relations, he served on the Professional Partner advisory group for Beta Alpha Psi after completing his three year presidency term, served on the Board of Directors of the Education Foundation for Women in Accounting, and served on the AICPA Pre-certification Executive Education Committee (PcEEC), the Accounting Program Leadership Group (APLG) Board of Directors, and the Board of the Federation of Schools of Accountancy (FSA). He lives in Charleston, South Carolina and works out of the Montvale, New Jersey National Office. Blane attended Rutgers College in New Jersey and graduated with a BS degree in Economics in 1980. He subsequently attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa where he received a master’s degree in accounting in 1982.
Becky is a KPMG audit partner in the Miami office. She has more than 20 years of experience providing financial statement and internal control audit services, as well as performance improvement advisory services to financial services and software clients. She is primarily responsible for planning and managing financial statement audits for publicly and privately held companies, reviewing SEC filings, researching accounting technical issues, while also managing and developing engagement personnel. She has worked on numerous debt and equity offerings and is an employee benefit plan resource partner as well as a KPMG national instructor for audit methodology and leadership courses. Becky holds both an MBA and bachelor’s degree in accounting from Florida International University. She is a member of the AICPA and is a licensed CPA in Florida and Puerto Rico. Active in her community, Becky is an audit committee member of the United Way of Miami-Dade, and a board member of Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe.
Sabrina White is the vice president of school and industry engagement for GMAC. In this role, she drives value to business school leaders through conferences and convening, partnerships and industry research. White has been at the forefront of GMAC’s efforts to champion diversity in graduate management education, helping more women and underrepresented minorities pursue a graduate business degree. She has worked in the higher education field for more than 25 years and held leadership roles at the University of Maryland and Bowling Green State University. White earned a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in organizational development and training from Bowling Green.
Jen Wyne is the Chief Talent Officer (CTO) for Moss Adams LLP. As a member of the Senior Leadership Team and leader of the people strategy and function, she is accelerating the firm’s continuing transformation through a passion for mindful leadership, a strong belief in peoples’ ability to grow and develop, and innovation. Since graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a BBA in Accounting, she has over thirty years of experience working in professional services for Arthur Andersen, KPMG, and Moss Adams. Jen has extensive experience across the people function including talent strategy and business alignment, talent acquisition, talent management, and change management. She feels strongly that by investing in people and their potential, an organization can cultivate an environment of possibility, creativity, excellence, and authenticity.
The PhD Project Team
Senior Director of Operations
Director of Advancement
Manager, Members Relations
Associate Director, Outreach and Communications
Associate, Program Support
Associate, Partner Outreach and Communications