faculty

SPRING 2024 Faculty

Emil Mladenov
Product Management & Strategy

Emil is an industry practitioner who is currently serving as a fractional VP of Marketing at ProperExpression, a growth marketing agency. Previously, he was a senior executive with direct responsibilities over marketing, sales development, and partnerships at oncology informatics startup Inspirata. Before that, he led digital marketing at medication management software vendor DrFirst. While focusing on corporate strategy at Rosetta Stone, Emil oversaw the launch of the company’s flagship solution TOTALe in the United Kingdom and Germany, as well as strategically repositioning the company’s language software portfolio in Japan. As a consultant at CEB (now owned by Gartner), Emil honed his analytical and managerial skills and participated in the company’s launch of its India office.

Emil completed his MBA after attending both the France and Singapore campuses at INSEAD, one of the top 5 business schools in the world. He has a BS in Business Administration from the University of Richmond.

In his spare time, Emil hosts The Cerebrations Podcast, which covers various leadership, coaching and management topics for senior sales and marketing executives. He also likes hiking and swimming.

Eugenio Fernández
Modern World II

Mr. Fernández graduated in Agribusiness from Louisiana State University (LSU). Later, he completed a Master's in Tax Consulting (USAC). Mr. Fernández is an international business consultant. He has created different companies in the food industry, electric distribution, technology, consulting services, and tax advice.

He is co-teaching the Modern World II course at NewU, and is leading the New Ventures Lab at the NewU Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (NICE).

Gil Mitchell
Rhetoric; Judgment and Decision Making

Gil Mitchell is an award-winning artist, educator, and theatre professional. As a teaching artist, he’s worked for institutions such as the American Shakespeare Center and the Shakespeare Theatre Company.

His classes combine classical education with contemporary knowledge, giving students a foundation of invaluable training that will be useful no matter what their chosen field.

Gil holds a BA in Performing Arts and an MLitt in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin University, and is a recent graduate from the George Washington University and the Academy at the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Classical Acting MFA program.

On his days off, Gil spends his time advocating for the use of the Oxford Comma.

Jessica Tacka
Positive Psychology; Data Analytics

Jessica Tacka is a national security expert and technologist, transitioning a nearly two decade-long career in government and policy to the world of marketing strategy.

As an intelligence analyst, Jessica covered topics including threat finance, weapons of mass destruction, dual-use technology acquisition, and domestic terrorism. She worked at US embassies in Afghanistan, Georgia, Tunisia, Kazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates, and Iraq, and is a recipient of the FBI Director's Award for Excellence in HUMINT.

Jessica's marketing work has contributed to early stage startups with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products, focusing on messaging strategy and full-stack marketing. Her creative and intentional marketing assets have helped secure millions of dollars of funding from the US Government and investors.

She holds a BA and MA from American University's School of International Service in Washington, DC, where she has been based for the last 20 years.

Jenny Zhang
Design Thinking

Callmejz.ai as I rap about design thinking, both with AI and authentically on my own. I have launched over 10 products for companies such as Capital One, Offerpop, Snap Finance, and my own ventures as an entrepreneur. I am also a public speaker and host my own podcast.

I received my BA from Stanford University.

My favorite ways to help founders achieve product-market fit are design thinking, community building, and paper prototyping, all powered by artificial intelligence.

Mark Nguyen
Modern World II

Mr. Nguyen holds a BA in Political Science and History from the University of California (UCLA) and an MBA from the University of California, John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management, and the National University of Singapore, as well as a M.A.L.D from Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University. Mr. Nguyen is an experienced marketing and brand strategy consultant. He is teaching the Modern World core courses at NewU.

Peter Smolianski
IT, Data, and Privacy

Peter is an IT Executive with nearly 25 years of industry experience, serving the United States federal government organizations including the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the United States Marine Corps, the District of Columbia Courts, and the Federal Judiciary. Mr. Smolianski held hands-on roles including Systems, Database, Applications, Storage, and Network Administrator and leadership positions including Chief Technology Officer, Chief Information Security Officer, and Director of Information Technology, Presently, Peter's "day job" is the Director of Information Technology for the United States Bankruptcy Court, District of Maryland.

In addition to his industry experience, Peter has been authoring and teaching technology related courses for various DC area graduate, undergraduate, and professional schools for over a decade. Mr. Smolianski has earned a Master of Science in Information Systems from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, graduating with a 4.0 GPA, and is a certified Project Management Professional, ITIL practitioner, and CompTIA technologist.

Ruth Lyons
Understanding Other Cultures

Ruth Lyons holds a BA in Drama and Theatre Studies, an MA in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, and an MA in Strategic Studies from University College Cork as well as a Professional Diploma in Education from University College Dublin.

She has taught in various schools and colleges around the world and works in assessment development for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

Ruth is teaching the Understanding Other Cultures course at NewU University.

Viktoriya Zotova
Foundational Analytics

Viktoriya V. Zotova is a business professor with expertise in financial management, macroeconomic policy analysis, and sustainability disclosures. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at Georgetown University and the University of Maryland.

For nearly a decade, Dr. Zotova has worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), primarily on international investment policies, including emerging crypto asset regulations. She has several publications under the IMF banner.

She holds a PhD in Business and Management from the University of Maryland and ALM candidacy in Legal Studies from Harvard University.

Fall 2023 Faculty

Bernard Grenway
Project Management

Dr. Bernard Grenway holds a Bachelor of Liberal Studies from the University of Maine at Presque Isle, a Graduate Certificate of Executive Leadership from Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management, a Master of Science in Human Relations & Business from Amberton University, a Master of Arts in Legal Studies from Purdue Global University, a MBA in Global Management and a Ph.D. in Applied Management from Walden University. In addition to working at the executive level at various educational, human-service, and business consulting firms, Dr. Grenway has held faculty positions at the University of Maryland Global, The University of West Los Angeles, Trinity Washington University, and American National University. He lives in Columbia Maryland with his wife and three children.

Eugenio Fernández
Organizational Behavior

Mr. Fernández graduated in Agribusiness from Louisiana State University (LSU). Later, he completed a Master's in Tax Consulting (USAC). Mr. Fernández is an international business consultant. He has created different companies in the food industry, electric distribution, technology, consulting services, and tax advice. He is teaching the Organizational Behavior course at NewU.

Gil Mitchell
Rhetoric - The Art of Persuasion

Gil Mitchell holds a BA in Performing Arts and a MLitt in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin University, and is a MFA candidate at the George Washington University and the Academy at the Shakespeare Theatre Company. He has been a teaching artist at such institutions as the American Shakespeare Center and the Shakespeare Theatre Company. His classes combine classical education with contemporary knowledge, giving students a foundation of invaluable training that will be useful no matter what their chosen field. Gil is teaching Rhetoric I: The Art of Persuasion, and is co-teaching Negotiation with Jessica Tacka. 

Hermella Tekle
Innovation & Creativity Management

Hermella Tekle is a doctoral candidate in the Human and Organizational Learning - Executive Leadership Program at the George Washington University. Her primary research takes a "constitutive" view to show that it is in and through communication that organization is created which leads her to analyze social interactions in virtual spaces. Hermella views learning as most impactful when anchored in real-life experiences and hands-on activities. Her teaching approach is to engage all senses and capitalize on human empathy. Hermella is an active member of the Academy of Management (AOM) and Associate Track Editor for the Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD) 2023 conference. Originally from Ethiopia, she holds a master's degree in Strategic Public Relations from the George Washington University and an honors bachelor's degree in History and Political Studies from Colby-Sawyer College.

Jessica Tacka
Research Methods and Design

Jessica Tacka is a national security expert and technologist, transitioning a nearly two decade-long career in government and policy to the world of marketing strategy.

As an intelligence analyst, Jessica covered topics including threat finance, weapons of mass destruction, dual-use technology acquisition, and domestic terrorism. She worked at US embassies in Afghanistan, Georgia, Tunisia, Kazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates, and Iraq, and is a recipient of the FBI Director's Award for Excellence in HUMINT.

Jessica's marketing work has contributed to early stage startups with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products, focusing on messaging strategy and full-stack marketing. Her creative and intentional marketing assets have helped secure millions of dollars of funding from the US Government and investors.

She holds a BA and MA from American University's School of International Service in Washington, DC, where she has been based for the last 20 years.

Mark Nguyen
Modern World I and II

Mr. Nguyen holds a BA in Political Science and History from the University of California (UCLA) and an MBA from the University of California, John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management, and the National University of Singapore, as well as a M.A.L.D from Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University. Mr. Nguyen is an experienced marketing and brand strategy consultant. He is teaching the Modern World core courses at NewU.

Sheila Douglas
Psychology & Human Behavior, Psychology of Personality & Motivation

Ms. Douglas holds a BA in Psychology and in Art History from the Pennsylvania State University; M.A. in Psychology from George Mason University and M.A.  in Art History from the Pennsylvania State University. She has also achieved designations of Maryland Certified Professional Counselor and National Board Certified Counselor. Her more than 40 years of professional experience include teaching Psychology at various colleges and working as a counselor, therapist, and consultant. Ms. Douglas is teaching the Psychology of Human Behavior core course at NewU, as well as the Psychology of Personality and Motivation course.

Viktoriya Zotova
Foundational Analytics

Viktoriya V. Zotova is a business professor with expertise in financial management, macroeconomic policy analysis, and sustainability disclosures. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at Georgetown University and the University of Maryland.

For nearly a decade, Dr. Zotova has worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), primarily on international investment policies, including emerging crypto asset regulations. She has several publications under the IMF banner.

She holds a PhD in Business and Management from the University of Maryland and ALM candidacy in Legal Studies from Harvard University.

Co-Teachers Jessica Tacka/Gil Mitchell
Negotiations Mastery

Negotiations are part of everyone’s life. Whether it’s divvying up the work with a fellow student, or discussing the terms and pay in a job offer, striking a deal with a political or commercial partner, or even
finding a compromise with your loved ones, it’s all negotiations. Negotiating tactics can only take you so far; a successful negotiator needs additional tools and insight to empathize, collaborate, and understand the other parties so as to achieve not just the optimum outcome for today, but for the long-term as well. This
course helps students understand negotiation dynamics and how to prepare for a negotiation, handle uncertainty, learn to craft a psychological strategy and be quick on their feet when presented with unexpected behavior, resolve differences before they escalate, and secure maximum value, while taking into account moral, ethical, and strategic long-term and larger picture dynamics around each negotiation situation.

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