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Debra Kaplan
Director of Affiliate Relations
America Online

With over 18 years of comprehensive experience in the telecommunications industry, Debbie offers unsurpassed expertise in channel and online marketing, business development, advertising, marketing communications, sales, sales support, and product management.

Prior to joining AOL, Debbie was Vice President of Consulting Services for LLPI a strategic marketing consultancy based in Washington, DC. As Vice President of Channel Marketing for 2nd Century Communications, a provider of unified communications and desktop management services, she lead a department committed to servicing small and mid-size businesses. She also worked for Qwest Communications as Director of Online Marketing, where she developed and launched the company's Online Consumer Program—growing the program to an $18 million enterprise with more than 30 partners.

While at Sprint International and Global One, Debbie managed the Global Calling Card relationship with Visa International, and developed marketing strategies for over 400 banks in 50 countries. Additionally, she directed and supported various affinity marketing programs for Western and Eastern Europe. For Sprint Long Distance, Debbie cultivated and managed the Member Benefit Program for more than 200 associations, chambers of commerce, and world trade centers. She also headed up the company's sales promotion team—creating customer communications, sales promotions, and sales tools programs for Sprint's B2B and B2C markets.

Debbie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Marketing from the University of Rhode Island. Her professional affiliations include serving on the Board of Directors for the Telecom Hub—a networking organization for telecommunications professionals.

Steve Rudman
Senior Relationship Director/Group Leader
Merkle Direct Marketing

As the Senior Relationship Director – Group Leader, Steve is responsible for the overall health and profitability for Merkle’s largest non-profit clients. Steve has overall accountability for client revenue and managing client strategy internally, and externally as well as managing client relationships and ensuring services from all Merkle Business groups exceed client expectations.

Prior to Merkle, Steve served as Vice President of Relationship Marketing at Ticketmaster Online – in Pasadena, CA. Steve led the strategic development and execution of all CRM and database-driven marketing efforts. As Managing Director at Theracom, a pharmaceutical marketing firm, Steve focused on building a new business group designed to incubate and launch to market unique marketing products targeted to niche consumer segments. During his four years at RTCdirect, a relationship marketing agency, in Washington, D.C., Steve served as Group Director managing a variety direct-to-consumer and business-to-business marketing programs for clients including Mead Johnson, FedEx and USAirways. Prior to Washington, Steve spent 10 years in New York with companies including Kraft Foods, Unilever and Citicorp serving in various marketing positions.

Steve, and his wife Terry have three wonderful kids, Michael, Hannah and Jack. Steve loves to fly-fish and is an avid cook.

Patrick Summar
Management Training/Productivity Consultant

Patick Summar is an internationally recognized leader in the professional business coaching industry, and provides corporate and non-profit organizations with individual and group leadership/management training and productivity consulting.

Patrick's client roster includes Fortune 1000 companies like United Airlines, Cisco Systems, GE Capital, VISA, Pacific Bell as well as Apple Computer, and school districts, county governments, and trade associations among others.

Patrick has literally traveled the globe to support his client's with connecting values, missions, and visions to work objectives. His diverse work experience includes supporting a coalition of sheep farmers in Macedonia to establish strong working agreements and to develop creative problem solving skills as well as providing leadership training to executives in major corporations managing billions of dollars in assets in the United States.

Patrick was personally trained by Thomas Leonard, the founder of CouchU and considered one of the top thought leaders in the field. Patrick was a cofounder of the Coaches Round Table, and is an active member of The International Coach Federation. Patrick's received academic training from Montgomery College where he concentrated his studies on languages and social sciences. In his commitment to continue his lifelong professional learning and development, Patrick participates in numerous conferences and industry-related seminars.

In addition to running his own private practice in Radondo Beach, California, Patrick teaches coaching, meeting planning and facilitation, and leadership/management skills for executives on behalf of leading a management training and consulting firm.

Patrick is engaged to singer and songwriter Renee Safier.

Gary Steele
Business Consultant

Gary Steele is an executive with a broad scope of experience in companies large and small. His recent focus has been in venture capital, advising both early stage companies and venture capital funds, sharing his experience in developing and quickly deploying cutting-edge applications in a start-up environment. Previously, Steele served as Vice President of Product Development for Pathnet, a start-up telecommunications company. In his first year, he built the company’s product development/management team and defined and launched a suite of carrier access services. As Director of Business Development for Teligent, he negotiated strategic customer contracts and managed the implementation of new applications worth several million dollars.

Steele has also worked in roles spanning corporate strategy, finance, market research, and negotiating intercarrier interconnection agreements as Director of Local Finance and Business Analysis at Qwest-LCI International and in several different positions at MCI Communications. He also has experience in the transportation, manufacturing, agribusiness and environmental laboratory sectors through work he did as a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group.

Prior to his private sector career, Steele worked as a legislative aide to Congressmen Robert T. Matsui, David E. Price and William J. Hughes. In his last role with Rep. Hughes, he worked on House Judiciary Committee legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and other civil rights issues, intellectual property and anti-trust issues, including the first draft of legislation that ultimately became the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Steele holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University and an MBA from the Wharton School, at the University of Pennsylvania.