John S. Kiralla

Vice President, Marketing and Communications (CMO/CCO)

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John S. Kiralla has 20 years experience in marketing, digital strategy, communications and strategic planning, primarily focused in higher education. He was appointed the university’s first vice president for Marketing and Communications on September 1, 2016. Reporting to the president, Kiralla is the university’s chief marketing and communications officer, as well as the university spokesperson. Kiralla is responsible for the university’s communications, marketing, branding, and public relations strategies. He leads the MarComm team, responsible for elevating the university’s reputation, advancing the university’s visibility efforts, and positioning its brand for global impact, including: communications, marketing, media, and public relations, crisis communications, internal communications, web and digital solutions, and creative and design. Kiralla and the MarComm team have been honored for their work on, LMU Magazine, and other productions by the Webbys, CASE, Graphis, W3, AMA, SPD, UCDA, and other international awarding bodies.

Prior to this post, Kiralla served as LMU’s executive director for marketing and communications and led several major initiatives: the comprehensive redesign of, the LMYOU internal communications campaign, The University of Silicon Beach™ marketing campaign, and the public dimensions of hosting world leaders on LMU’s campus. Kiralla also led the university’s centennial communications and marketing efforts from 2010-2012, the most significant promotional campaign in the university’s history. Prior to that, he held marketing and communications positions at Collegis Eduprise, Sungard Higher Education, and Apple. At Sungard, Kiralla served as a regional director, overseeing the operational aspects and strategic planning for communications and web teams at 22 client universities and colleges. Kiralla is active in various professional organizations and speaks on topics related to brand development, change management, leadership and perception management, and technology policy.

Contact John’s Assistant, Dawn Yoshinaga (310.338.3063 or


Kristin Agostoni

Assistant Director, Public and Media Relations

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Kristin Agostoni joined LMU in 2015 after working for nearly two years with the K-12 Inglewood Unified School District, where she handled communications and media relations in the Office of the State Trustee. She wrote and edited stories about students, faculty and staff members in IUSD’s 18 schools for the website and a print newspaper. Prior to that, Agostoni worked as a staff writer at the Daily Breeze, a Los Angeles News Group publication in Torrance. She joined the Breeze newsroom in 2004 after earning her master’s degree in journalism with an emphasis on public affairs reporting from the University of Maryland, College Park. Agostoni was raised in Maryland. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in art history from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh..

Office: 310.338.2389
Cell: 424.789.2515

Marissa Contreras

Associate Director, Digital Production

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Marissa Contreras came to LMU in 2006 with a background in journalism and literature, and experience in communications, branding, project management and teaching. Her clients include Admission, Financial Aid, Bellarmine College, and various offices under Academic Affairs. Off campus she is an avid flamenco aficionado and dancer (although she can often be caught stomping in the Marketing & Communications kitchen as well).



Eileen De Alva-Gonzalez

Communications Manager

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Eileen De Alva-Gonzalez has been at LMU since 2007. Her current responsibilities include project-managing the university’s advertising and banner campaigns. In January 2015, De Alva-Gonzalez was one of 11 LMU community members selected to go to the first faculty/staff immersion trip to El Salvador. She was also a member of the 2015-16 cohort of Companions in Mission, and is currently an advisory board member for LMU’s Center for Ignatian Spirituality. Between work and a little sleep, De Alva-Gonzalez enjoys an active and (relatively) healthy lifestyle with her two daughters and husband.


Katie Jones

Brand Manager

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Katie Jones joined LMU’s MarComm team as the university’s inaugural brand manager in July 2017. She comes to MarComm from LMU’s Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, where she served as their first communications manager. In her two years at BCLA, Katie developed and implemented the college’s voice and messaging strategy across web, email, print, social, and advertising platforms. She also drove BCLA’s marketing efforts for major events and initiatives, managed the college’s website redesign to a successful launch, and built consensus and strong relationships with faculty and staff. Her reputation as a professional and collaborator earned her BCLA’s Outstanding Staff Award. Prior to LMU, Katie cut her teeth in mission-driven marketing communications for a homeless services agency, an order of Catholic sisters, and a public radio show. She earned a B.A. in religious studies from Pomona College and is completing a master’s degree in human-computer interaction and design at UC Irvine. In her free time, Katie explores L.A.’s hiking trails, cheap eats, and concert venues. She also volunteers as the chaplain for the Ignatians Service Organization at LMU.


John Kissell

Writer / Editor

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Writer/editor John Kissell joined LMU in 2009 after 25 years on the news desks of the L.A. Times and The Daily Breeze. He puts his experience as a writer, copy editor, news editor and production editor to work on a variety of tasks as part of the marketing and communications team, shaping the university message to be as sharp, vibrant and accurate as possible. Kissell has been the fulcrum for the annual Fact Card, the official statistical look at LMU, and has spearheaded the university’s annual presence at the L.A. Times Festival of Books and the Leimert Park Village Book Fair. He also teaches news writing and editing for the Journalism Program in LMU’s Department of English.


Maureen Pacino

Senior Director, Communications and Creative

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Maureen Pacino graduated from LMU in 1993 with an English degree and briefly left both her senses and this campus to try on the lives of glamorous trade magazine managing editor and high-rolling corporate communications executive. In 1997, she came back home to the bluff and started getting dangerous with Quark Xpress and other sundry Adobe products. Things really took off in 2003 when Pacino was integrally involved in the major institutional initiative to redesign LMU’s graphic identity and, to this day, she guides the program from a set of rules and standards that are often both uninteresting and incomprehensible to other human beings. The love of her professional life is unquestionably LMU Magazine. She is a striving digital immigrant with a respect for good design, special paper and inks, and extremely small type.


Christine Palau

Executive Speechwriter

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Christine Palau joined LMU in 2017 as the university’s inaugural executive speechwriter. For nearly two decades, Christine has been the chief speechwriter and director of communications for the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Los Angeles, where she developed messaging strategies to convey the position of the South Korean government to American audiences.  Christine earned her B.A. in world literature and cultural studies, with an emphasis on francophone literature and film theory. She is proficient in French, conversant in Korean and Spanish, and dabbles in Hungarian, Catalan, and Italian. Christine also plays the accordion, is learning flamenco, enjoys literature in translation, opera, and running with her chocolate lab, Watson.



Taylor Polk

Digital Media Manager and Mobile Architect

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Taylor Polk joined our team in February 2016. Prior to LMU, Taylor worked on major web projects for DIRECTV before moving to Excela Creative. There he led a team of designers, developers and content managers in producing more than 1,000 promotional websites that were featured on “The View,” “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” “Wendy Williams,” “EXTRA TV,” “E! News” and more. He worked with our team for four years as an undergraduate in the College of Communication and Fine Arts and earned his bachelor’s degree in studio arts.


Rob Raichlen

Director of Internal Communications

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Bringing 25 years of communications experience, Rob Raichlen joined LMU in 2017 as the university’s inaugural director of internal communications. Rob leads the strategic internal communications efforts for the university, including all activities that support a culture of community awareness, transparency, and constituent engagement at every organizational level. He comes to LMU after spending the last four years in HR Communications for Mattel, where he developed a variety of strategic communications initiatives. Rob served as director of communications for the Los Angeles Clippers from 1999-2012, leading the organization’s internal/external communications areas, including public relations, media relations, publications, and web site content. He was in the midst of his 20th overall season with the team when he decided to leave professional sports for the world of toys in 2012. Higher education is in Rob’s blood, as his father was a professor of civil engineering at Caltech for more than 40 years while his brother is a professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona. Additionally, Rob’s wife works in marketing for the USC Alumni Association.

Rob, who earned his Bachelor of Science in business administration/marketing from USC, resides in Westchester with his wife Amy, their two sons Cody and Jake and their 100-pound dog Roscoe.



Jon Rou

Assistant Director for Photo and Video

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Jon Rou has been at LMU since 2009. Prior to joining the LMU Marketing & Communications Department as the university photographer, he was the assistant director of photography at Emory University in Atlanta. Rou has photographed everyone from heads of state and high profile actors to athletes and musicians. He’s been recognized for his work with numerous awards including both Gold and Silver in the Graphis Design Annual, as well as Silver in the CASE Circle of Excellence Photographer of the Year.


Justine Saquilayan

Email Marketing Associate

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Justine Saquilayan is a new addition to LMU, joining the Marketing and Communications team in 2017. She oversees all things email and works with the university’s divisions, schools, and departments on email marketing strategy, implementation, and analysis. A native of Phoenix, Arizona, she moved to Los Angeles to complete her graduate degree in Strategic Public Relations at USC and has since worked in various marketing and communications capacities across several industries. She received her undergraduate degree in music education from the University of Arizona, where she studied classical clarinet. In her free time, she enjoys cheering on her beloved Arizona Diamondbacks, riding her yellow beach cruiser along the coast (and at CicLAvia), and slowly eating her way through L.A.’s restaurants.



Mason Stockstill

Assistant Director, Public and Media Relations

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Mason Stockstill joined LMU in 2009, after a stint in communications at SEIU and a brief career as a newspaper reporter, during which he covered wildfires, prison riots, and the Academy Awards ceremony — but not at the same time. At LMU, he is the media relations representative for the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, the School of Film and Television, and the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles. He also manages the university’s online Newsroom. A native of Southern California, he lives in Westchester with his wife, son, dog, and library card.
Office: 310.338.5133
Cell: 310.426.0878

Ben Sullivan

Associate Director, Digital Solutions

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Ben Sullivan has been at LMU since 2005. He is the web manager for Bellarmine College, Seaver College and has primary responsibility for the university’s content management system (CMS). Sullivan is spearheading LMU’s move away from the FTP-based MyWeb service for personal faculty websites to a WordPress-powered solution. In his spare time he runs the science blogging network, and is a Saturday crew member at the L.A. Catholic Worker soup kitchen.



Joseph Wakelee-Lynch

Editor, LMU Magazine

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Joseph Wakelee-Lynch began working at LMU in 2006 and is editor of both the print and online versions of LMU Magazine. He has worked on university magazines for almost 20 years at three higher education institutions. His freelance book reviews have appeared in the Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Jose Mercury News, and in Commonweal and Sojourners magazines. He has loved magazines ever since he appeared in Sports Illustrated at the age of 10.


Dawn Yoshinaga

Administrative Specialist

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Dawn Yoshinaga came to LMU in 2010 as an administrative specialist for the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts. She made her move across University Hall to join the Marketing & Communications team in 2014. In her free time, Yoshinaga enjoys gardening, baking, and spending time with her family.


Yoshikazu Ysa

Video Production Associate

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Yoshi Ysa joined LMU MarComm in April 2016. Originally from Peru, Yoshi attended Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, as an NCAA scholar-athlete in tennis. Before coming to LMU, Yoshi was the freelance director of photography at Praetorian Digital in St. Louis and also worked as an editing lab tutor and camera operator for Lindenwood University TV. Yoshi has directed a short piece featuring St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and was the Spanish supervisor for 2014’s “Sleep with Me,” directed by Sundance award-winning director Brian Jun. Yoshi’s films have appeared in festivals across the country including the St. Louis Film Festival Showcase. Yoshi graduated with double major in digital cinema arts and advertising/PR/corporate communications from Lindenwood University. In his spare time, Yoshi likes to coach tennis and dance; salsa and bachata are his favorites.



Xiaoyan Zhang

Web Developer

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Xiaoyan Zhang joined LMU in the summer of 2015 as our web manager for systems and development. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, she lived in Philadelphia while completing her M.S. in computer science at St. Joseph’s University. Her main responsibilities at LMU include developing websites and maintaining the various systems that power, including the SiteManager CMS, Google Search appliance and more. Born in Shanghai, China, Xiaoyan previously worked at the Shanghai International Airport and for the technology company Insigma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching movies and playing badminton.