Alumni Association Board Members Werner, Gibson and Franklin Give Back

by Rashad Mulla

Alumni Association Board Members Werner, Gibson and Franklin Give Back

The George Mason University Alumni Association Board of Directors welcome three new members this fall.  Theresa Werner, Andy Gibson and Linda Franklin each graduated from Mason in the 1990s, and are alumni of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. All three have used education, skills, experience, will and drive to find success.

They also share a dedication to service that brings them to the Alumni Association Board.

Theresa Werner

Werner, BS ’96, communication, is the president of the National Press Club. Currently a freelance journalist working on a number of projects, Werner began her career at NBC4 in Washington, before joining the Associated Press.

In her role as National Press Club president, she advocates for free press domestically and internationally. She also hosts the club’s speaker series, which is often broadcast live on C-SPAN. This year, she has interviewed U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, actor Alec Baldwin, racecar driver Danica Patrick, and a host of others.

“I had my first taste of journalism at George Mason University,” Werner recalls. “I took classes in news writing, TV production and broadcast performance. Through Mason, I did a couple of very good internships, and the last one led to a job offer with NBC4.”

Andy Gibson

Gibson, BA ’92, history, is the senior systems engineer for Strategic Enterprise (SE) Solutions, Inc., a management and information technology company with a focus on federal agency cybersecurity.

After obtaining his certification from Microsoft as a systems engineer, Gibson worked for a range of companies, including the Associated Press, ICF International (a consulting company) and the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). His primary responsibility at SE Solutions is to support the authentication, authorization, and identity management solutions for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Gibson has great memories of Mason, both inside and outside of the classroom.

“I remember some incredible colonial history courses from Dr. [Peter] Henriques. He was one of the most animated professors I’ve ever had,” Gibson said. “I also remember having a great group of friends, attending basketball games, having late night study sessions in Krug Hall, hanging out at the Rat [the Rathskeller restaurant on campus]. I had probably the best time of my life at Mason.”

Linda Franklin

Franklin, BA ’90, English, is a digital strategist at Balance Interactive, a Springfield, Virginia-based web development and design consulting organization.

She has worked for Time Life, Verizon, Sallie Mae, and The George Washington University, specializing in marketing and communication. She also supports her community by providing social media training for Beltway Job Search Partners, an organization that helps motivated job seekers.

In her current role at Balance Interactive, Franklin helps clients from corporations, non-profit organizations and government departments with digital strategy, social media, website analytics and metrics, search engine optimization, and building organic web traffic.

She truly appreciated her Mason experience.

“I attended grade school to high school with people I knew and grew up with, so attending Mason and learning to appreciate different cultures was a great learning experience,” Franklin said. “In addition, through the Department of English, I learned a lot about editing, as well as providing critical, supportive and positive feedback and comments.”

On Their Nominations

All three alumni recall their Mason experiences fondly, and as professionals with considerable clout and responsibility, Werner, Gibson, and Franklin approach their Board responsibilities with enthusiasm.

“I think George Mason University is an outstanding school and continues to rise in stature,” Werner said. “We are a young school compared to most other universities in the state, and I want people to know what a great school it is.”

Gibson also welcomes the opportunity to give back.

“I’ve been an active alumus, participating in various events, and I’m a 10-year season ticket holder for Mason basketball,” he said. “Just being able to contribute to Mason and giving a little bit back after being a consumer, it just made sense.”

Franklin’s personal experience emphasizes her commitment to higher education. Having experienced a layoff, Franklin considers it a mission to help new college students get acclimated, recent graduates enter the workforce, and the unemployed get back on their feet.

“I am so proud to be nominated, and in all honesty, I was very excited about it,” she said. “Going to college was not a definite path for me, and I went to Mason on a scholarship. So I consider higher education a real value. I found it a passion of mine to help students in whatever way I can.”

Werner, Gibson and Franklin will each serve a term of two consecutive years.

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