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Board of Directors

As a 501 (C) (3) not-for-profit corporation, The Red & Black Publishing Company is governed by the following volunteer board of directors:

Executive Officers

Dave Nelson,  President and Chair

A former Red & Black editor in chief, Dave Nelson is a Double Dawg with an ABJ from Grady and an MBA from Terry. After a 30-year career with Acuity Brands, he now consults with businesses and institutions on process improvement and data analysis. Dave and his wife Benita met at the Red & Black in 1982, and moved back to the Athens area in 2007.

Samira Jafari, Vice-President and Vice-Chair

Jafari currently serves as Executive Editor of CNN's editorial oversight team, which is responsible for script and story approval across all platforms worldwide. She has been at CNN since 2008, previously serving as a supervising news editor and news editor. Jafari is also a former Associated Press correspondent. She graduated from the University of Georgia's Grady College in 2002. While at UGA, she worked at The Red & Black, serving as editor-in-chief among other roles. 

Jaime Sarrio, Secretary

As Director of Revenue Content at Cox Media Group, which includes The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sarrio's role is focused on growing digital revenue for Cox’s newspapers through native advertising and innovative digital tactics and products. She is a veteran reporter who spent more than 10 years in newsrooms covering education, politics and local government.

Regular Board Members

Danay Faulkner

Senior Director of Sales & Affiliate Relations at CNN Newsource, Danay Faulkner is responsible for building local news partnerships and developing revenue opportunities for TV stations, pure play digitals and print publications. Prior to joining CNN, Faulkner was Partnership Manager at Inform (formerly NDN) where she was responsible for growing video audience and increasing revenue by presenting digital insights and streamlined automation technology to organizations including Cox Media Group, McClatchy Interactive, The Seattle Times Group and Lee Enterprises. A graduate of The Grady College of Journalism and The Franklin College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Georgia, she lives in Atlanta with her husband, Chad, and son, Chad Jr.

Justin Gillis

A correspondent for The New York Times covering climate science and policy, Gillis won Columbia University's Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism for his coverage in 2011. He worked for The Miami Herald and The Washington Post earlier in his career, and was a Knight Science Journalism fellow in 2004-05. He is a former Red and Black editor in chief who graduated from UGA in 1982, and in 2010 he won the Henry W. Grady Alumni Award for mid-career achievement.

Eric Heuett, Finance Committee Chair

Eric Heuett graduated from UGA's Terry College of Business with a BBA in 2005 and MAcc in 2006. He is a CPA and has been with Ernst & Young in its Assurance practice since 2006. He sold advertising with The Red & Black from 2003 through 2004.

Jamar Laster

A former associate news editor and copy editor with The Red & Black, Jamar Laster has held various lead editorial roles with multiple B2B and consumer magazines since graduating from the University of Georgia's Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Having been in magazine journalism for almost two decades, he currently is an executive editor with Emerald Expositions, the leading B2B trade-show organizer in the United States. Laster lives in Marietta, Georgia, with his wife and fellow UGA alumna, Carmen, and their two daughters, Audrey and Sarah. 

Tyler Leach

Director of Distribution for Fox Networks, Tyler Leach negotiates agreements with independent cable television providers for networks that include FX, Fox Sports South, Fox Sports 1, Big Ten Network and National Geographic Channel. A former account director with Discovery Communications, Leach graduated from UGA with a degree in communications management and served as advertising manager at The Red & Black.

Eric NeSmith

Community Newspapers Inc is a family-owned company that publishes newspapers and publications in 28 markets across Georgia, Northeast Florida and Western North Carolina. As vice president, NeSmith develops and implements strategies to guide the growth of CNI’s publications in the digital age – never wavering in his belief that strong newspapers build strong communities. In 2016, he formed a new division of CNI — Community New Media LLC — and invested in The Bitter Southerner, an award-winning digital publication that covers the American South. In addition to his duties at CNI, NeSmith serves as publisher of The Bitter Southerner.

Joey Powell, Advertising Committee Chair

Advertising director at the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Joey Powell oversees a team of multimedia account executives who work across 43 American City Business Journals markets. He previously served as advertising sales and marketing executive with Pilot Media. Powell was the Red & Black student advertising manager for three years while at UGA.

Steven M. Sears

A senior editor and columnist with Barron's, Sears previously reported for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. He has reported upon most major modern financial events, including the Asian contagion, the bursting of the Internet bubble, the credit crisis, and Europe's sovereign debt crisis. He also was part of exchange executive teams that modernized the U.S. options market, and introduced electronic trading. A former Red & Black reporter, Sears is the author of "The Indomitable Investor: Why a Few Succeed in the Stock Market When Everyone Else Fails." He is a member of the Economic Club of New York. Sears has served as past chair and vice-chair of The Red & Black board.

Jim Zachary

Regional editor of Community Newspapers Holdings, Inc. for its Georgia and Florida newspapers, Zachary is also the editor of The Valdosta Daily Times, director of the Transparency Project of Georgia and a member of the board of directors of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation. He holds the prestigious David E. Hudson Open Government Award and is one of only three journalists to have received the honor. Zachary conducts journalism workshops and training events for the Georgia Press Association, the Georgia College Press Association and the Georgia Press Institute.


Ex-Officio Members

Rebecca Burns

Named publisher of The Red & Black in August 2016, Burns has more than two decades experience in journalism and media management. She is the former editor in chief of Atlanta magazine and previously served as director of digital strategy for Emmis Publishing. The author of three history books, she teaches part-time at the University of Georgia and previously taught at Emory University.

Mark E. Johnson

The senior lecturer of photojournalism and chief technology officer at the University of Georgia's Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, Mark Johnson worked as a photojournalist and director of photography for publications up and down the east coast prior to joining Grady in 2005.

Erin Schilling

A junior in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Commuication, Schilling is Editor in Chief for Fall 2018. She has previously served as managing editor and news editor of The Red & Black. She was instrumental in energizing and growing the news desk and leading exceptional coverage during an eventful period in Athens and on campus. Schilling's own reporting took top honors in the 2018 GCPA awards.

Kylie Zamer

Student Advertising Manager for The Red & Black for the 2018-2019 academic year, Zamer has been with The Red & Black since fall 2017 and was named the Rookie of the Year for her sales accomplishments and creativitiy. Zamer is a senior studying Marketing and Fashion Merchandising.



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