Advisory Board

Roger Bolton

Roger Bolton is the president of the Arthur W. Page Society, the premier professional association for senior corporate communications executives.  He has been named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America, a program of Next Decade, Inc.

Previously, he served as senior vice president of communications at Aetna, a $35 billion provider of health care benefits, with responsibility for all internal and external communications, advertising, brand management and corporate public involvement. He also chaired Aetna’s Council for Organizational Effectiveness – a group of senior executives responsible for helping the company achieve high performance through culture change – and served on the board of the Aetna Foundation.  Before Aetna, Bolton was IBM’s director of corporate media relations and director of communications for the IBM server and software groups.

Prior to his business career, Bolton served as assistant secretary of the Treasury for public affairs under President George H.W. Bush, assistant U.S. trade representative for public affairs in the Executive Office of the President under President Reagan, and special assistant to President Reagan in the White House, with responsibility for the president’s relations with business and labor. He is a recipient of the U.S. Treasury Distinguished Service Award.

Ellyn Fisher

Ellyn Fisher is the senior vice president of public relations and social media for the Ad Council. She promotes the organization and its more than 40 public service communications programs, including Smokey Bear and “Love Hates No Labels,” the Ad Council’s iconic diversity and inclusion effort. During her 15 years of experience, Ellynhas developed an expertise in media relations, influencer engagement, community management, content development and strategic partnerships. She has served on the American Cancer Society’s Communications and Marketing Advisory Board. Ellyn is an alumna of Penn State and has served on the Advertising/PR board of the University’s College of Communications and currently serves on Penn State’s Communications and Marketing Committee. She received Penn State’s Alumni Achievement Award in 2012.

Jon Iwata

Jon Iwata is senior vice president, marketing and communications for IBM.  Jon joined the communications function of IBM in 1984 at the company's Almaden Research Center in Silicon Valley, moving to corporate headquarters in New York in 1989. He was appointed vice president of Corprate Communications in 1995 and senior vice president, communications, in 2002.

Iwata currently leads IBM's marketing, communications and citizenship organization. He is a member of the IBM Operating Team, the Strategy Team, and is vice chairman of the IBM International Foundation.  Iwata also serves on the Technology Committee of the Museum of Modern Art and was recently elected chairman of the Arthur W. Page Society.

Iwata is co-inventor of a U.S. patent for advanced semiconductor lithography technology.

Maril MacDonald

Maril MacDonald, CEO of Gagen MacDonald and past president of the Arthur W. Page Society, is well respected for her expertise in the field of communications and strategy execution.  Prior to founding Gagen MacDonald, she led communication and brand strategy for International Truck and Engine Corporation, and with CEO John Horne, directed a cultural turnaround that eventually led International to the Wall Street Journal’s “Top 10 Performers” list and Business Week’s “Top 50 Companies”.

Chicago-based Gagen MacDonald offers clients leadership assessment and coaching, organizational design, diversity strategies and information flow management.  The firm, formerly known as Matha MacDonald LLC, changed to Gagen MacDonald in honor of Maril’s father and to personify the integrity his name represents.

MacDonald was named by PR Week as one of “the 50 Most Powerful Women in PR” and recognized as a “PR All-Star” by Inside PR.

William G. Margaritis

Currently a business consultant and investor, Bill Margaritis oversaw corporate branding, internal and external communications, government relations and corporate responsibility programs for Hilton Worldwide.

Bill previously served as senior vice president for FedEx Corporation for 16 years, overseeing reputation management, investor relations, public relations, employee communications and CSR programs for FedEx Corp. and its subsidiaries globally. He led the repositioning and rebranding communications programs for FedEx, managed numerous high profile crises, acquisitions, employee change management programs and public affairs campaigns. Bill was instrumental in repositioning FedEx from an overnight express carrier to a full-service transportation and logistics powerhouse. During his tenure, FedEx was consistently ranked in the top 10 on the Fortune magazine “World’s Most Admired Companies” and “Best Places to Work”. The FedEx communications program has been recognized as “best-of-class” for its leadership in reputation management over the years.

Prior to joining FedEx, Margaritis was vice president of Bechtel International, based in London and was responsible for managing public relations and marketing communications for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Southwest Asia. He also worked in Washington, D.C., and Athens, Greece, for separate divisions of the company.

Margaritis also has broad experience in government affairs through positions with Occidental Petroleum, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and the Michigan State Senate. In 1984, Margaritis served as Deputy Director of the Reagan-Bush re-election campaign for the state of Michigan.

He is past chairman of the Arthur W. Page Society and serves on various boards, including the Larry King Cardiac Foundation, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Memphis, We Are Family Foundation, Arthur W. Page Center and the U.S. War College Strategic Communications Council. He also served as a jury commissioner in Shelby County, TN.

A native of Greece, Margaritis earned his bachelor’s degree in business from Michigan State University.

Tom Martin

Tom Martin has served as the executive-in-residence in the Department of Communication at the College of Charleston since 2007. In this role, Martin works with the students, faculty and administration of the College to enhance the relationship between the Communication Department and the business community, and to help its students successfully transition into the business world. As EIR, Martin teaches undergraduate classes, organizes student trips, serves as a mentor to students, and works with the Department’s Advisory Council of which he is a past chair. In 2016 he launched the Martin Scholars program, a selective mentoring, networking and learning program for graduating seniors in Communication. He is a co-author of “An Overview of the Public Relations Function,” published by Business Executive Press.

Tom retired in 2007 from the ITT Corporation, where he served as senior vice president and director of corporate relations. At ITT Corporation, Martin was an officer, a member of the company's Executive Council and was responsible for worldwide brand and reputation management, public relations, employee communications, government affairs, corporate advertising and community relations.

Martin was formerly vice president of corporate communications for the Federal Express Corporation, where he was responsible for worldwide public relations, investor relations and employee communications for the Fortune 150 Company. He was also responsible for the public relations and internal communications efforts for the launch of the FedEx brand in 1994.

Martin graduated from Vanderbilt University. He serves on the board of the PRSA Foundation, and has also served as a trustee of the Arthur W. Page Society. He was chairman of the Society from 2004 to 2005 and received its Distinguished Service Award in 2011. He is active in SVP-Charleston, a philanthropic partnership investing in non-profits. Tom is also a member the PR News Hall of Fame.

John S. Nichols

John S. Nichols, emeritus professor of communications, is the founding director of the Page Center. Nichols taught international communications at Penn State since he joined the faculty in 1977 and specialized in Cuban communication issues for nearly three decades. His current research focuses on international propaganda, the right to travel, and the role of media in conflict. Nichols is the co-author or contributing author of three books that have received the Choice "Outstanding Academic Book" award and is the author of numerous other publications in international communications and foreign affairs. He is a past chair of the University Faculty Senate and, in 1999, won Penn State's "Most Innovative Teacher" award. His Ph.D. is from the University of Minnesota.

Bill Nielsen

Advisory Board Chair

Willard D. “Bill” Nielsen is a former corporate vice president of public affairs at Johnson & Johnson and a management communications consultant. He specializes in organizational vision and values, corporate communications, public relations, public affairs and corporate coaching, drawing on experience gained over 30 years in both industry and agency leadership positions.

Mr. Nielsen serves on the Boards of Trustees of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Josephson Institute of Ethics. He also serves on the Advisory Board for the TEDMED Conferences.

Mr. Nielsen retired as Corporate Vice President, Public Affairs, of Johnson & Johnson in 2004, after 17 years with the Company. He joined Johnson & Johnson in 1988, following 18 years as a public relations agency consultant with Carl Byoir & Associates and Hill and Knowlton.

He served two terms as president of the Arthur W. Page Society and was inducted into that organization’s Hall of Fame in September 2003.  He is a past chairman of The Seminar. He also chaired the board of the Institute for Public Relations and continues as an emeritus director, and served on the Board of Directors of the Global Public Affairs Institute. He is a member of, The Wisemen and the Public Relations Society of America.

Mr. Nielsen is a native of Sacramento, California.  Following graduation from Oregon State University, he served for five years as a public information officer with the U.S. Air Force. He and his wife, Doris, live in Maryland where they are both active in community service.

Gary Sheffer

After 13 years serving as vice president of corporate communications and public affairs for General Electric, Gary Sheffer is now helping senior leaders and boards communicate their company’s values, culture and character as a communications consultant. He served as GE’s chief global reputation officer, developing protocols for crisis, risk assessment and tactical execution. Gary also served as chairman of the Arthur W. Page Society. He is on the board of the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) and is a founder/board member of the GE-Reagan Scholarship Program. He is a graduate of Siena College.

Denise Bortree

Denise Bortree is an associate professor in the department of advertising and public relations in the College of Communications at Penn State University and the director of the Arthur W. Page Center. She brings more than 10 years of industry experience to the position, including work as communications manager for two Fortune 500 companies. Bortree’s research focuses on sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and nonprofit communication. Her research on volunteer communication led to her selection by the United Nations Volunteers to write for its State of the World’s Volunteerism study.  Her work at the Page Center has resulted in two co-edited books and a number of peer reviewed publications.