Newhouse School announces four new advisory board members

By Wendy S. Loughlin

October 26, 2017

Lorraine Branham, dean of the Newhouse School at Syracuse University, today announced the appointment of four new members of the Newhouse Advisory Board.

They are:

  • Andrea Fant-Hobbs ’82, Managing Director and Vice President of Brand Strategy, Advertising and Communications at Brand Strategy, Development and Innovation LLC
  • Sandra Cordova Micek ’91, Senior Vice President of Global Brands for Hyatt
  • David N. Watson, President and CEO of Comcast Cable and Senior Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation
  • Jim Weiss ’87, Founder and CEO of W2O Group

“We are thrilled to welcome these four leaders to the ‘brain trust’ that is the Newhouse Advisory Board,” says Branham. “Newhouse is incredibly fortunate to have so many highly successful alumni and friends who continue to give back to the school in so many ways.”

This is a photo of Andrea Fant-Hobbs

Andrea Fant-Hobbs

Andrea Fant-Hobbs is managing director and vice president of brand strategy, advertising and communications at Brand Strategy, Development and Innovation LLC. She has more than 30 years of experience developing award-winning marketing, brand strategy and advertising campaigns for Fortune 50+ companies and major brands.

She began her career as an on-air co-host and producer for the ABC affiliate in Syracuse. She later worked as brand manager for Colgate-Palmolive and then, on the agency side of the business, she developed breakthrough advertising campaigns for companies such as General Motors, SmithKline Beecham, Greyhound, Miller Brewing Company and Bank of America. She was the principal architect of the Pontiac G6 integrated promotion on The Oprah Winfrey Show, for which she won a Cannes Gold Media Lion.

Fant-Hobbs went on to join Verizon, where she served as vice president of brand marketing, media and sponsorships for Verizon Corporate and Verizon Wireless. She managed a $2 billion media budget and delivered $39 million in savings, sharpening the effectiveness of Verizon’s advertising agencies. During her tenure the Verizon brand grew in value by nearly $30 billion (BrandZ).

She led the marketing practice for the Joint Innovation Lab, a joint venture with Verizon Wireless, Vodafone, Softbank Mobile and China Mobile, and also served as vice president of marketing, business solutions group for Verizon Wireless, serving the government market.

She has been honored by The Network Journal as one of the 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business and by Ebony magazine as an Outstanding Woman in Marketing and Communications.

This is a photo of Sandra Cordova Micek

Sandra Cordova Micek

Sandra Cordova Micek joined Hyatt as senior vice president of global brands in April 2015. She is responsible for developing and leading strategies that build and enhance Hyatt’s brand portfolio, which spans every segment of the hospitality industry.

Micek brings over 20 years of advertising, marketing and brand-building experience to the role, most recently as senior vice president of marketing for USA Today, where she was responsible for strategic marketing, client solutions, creative, trade marketing, events and research. Prior to her time at USA Today, she was a vice president at NBCUniversal, where she led cross-NBCU integrated marketing and ran Women at NBCU.

Micek also spent nearly 10 years in Silicon Valley, holding a variety of leadership positions at Yahoo. Before that, she served as a management consultant with Accenture in the U.S. and Europe. She began her career at Turner Broadcasting in New York. 

This is a photo of David Watson

David N. Watson

David N. Watson serves as president and chief executive officer at Comcast Cable and senior executive vice president of Comcast Corporation. In this role, he is responsible for all business aspects of the company’s cable operations.

He previously served as chief operating officer, helping to lead Comcast Cable to become the nation’s largest internet service provider and one of the largest video providers while also improving customer service and transforming the customer experience.

Watson has held a number of other leadership roles and has led multiple divisions and operating units at Comcast since joining the company in 1991. He has also led some of the industry’s most important transitions from analog to IPTV, from the early rollout of high-speed data to the delivery of gigabit speeds and the expansion of residential products and commercial business services.

Watson has worked for three decades in the cable and cellular industries and held leadership roles for the nation’s top communications services providers. Before joining Comcast, he spent seven years at Comcast Cellular Communications, first as senior vice president of sales and marketing, and later as president. Previously, he headed sales and marketing efforts at Bell Atlantic Mobile and Metrophone. 

This is a photo of Jim Weiss

Jim Weiss

Jim Weiss is founder and CEO of W2O Group, a top-ranked independent network of complementary digital marketing communications firms. W2O Group has grown from a one-person consultancy in 2001 to an integrated international operation with close to $140 million in annual revenue and over 600 employees, serving some of the world’s leading brands and organizations.

Weiss has nearly 30 years of experience in strategic media and marketing communications. PR Week named him one of the 500 Most Important People in the Global PR Industry (2015 and 2017) and included him on its U.S. Power List (2012, 2013, 2014), and the Holmes Report named him to its Innovator 25 list (2014).

Along with his wife, Audra '87, Weiss is the founder and sponsor of the W2O Center for Social Commerce at the Newhouse School, which provides students with modern media analytics and digital insight and skills. Activities supported by the center include twice annual “Social Commerce Days” events, which serve to immerse students and professors in the latest thinking on social and digital strategies, tools, techniques and models; and a year-round Student Ambassador program, through which two Newhouse students are selected to represent the center, intern with W2O Group, publish research in the field and travel to Austin to attend W2O Group events at South by Southwest.

In 2016, Weiss and LAGRANT Foundation chairman and CEO Kim Hunter launched the Future Leaders in Healthcare Fellowship Program, which places ethnic minorities pursuing careers in healthcare communications in one of W2O’s offices.

Before starting his own firm, Weiss was head of corporate communications and investor relations at medical device startup Heartport. Prior to that, he helped establish the global product marketing communications function at Sanofi. He started his corporate career at Genentech.

The Newhouse Advisory Board supports the dean, faculty and staff in their efforts to make the Newhouse School the country’s leading institution for education and research in communications. For more information, see