City of Syracuse January 30, 2022. Photo by Michael Greenlar.

Central Current co-founder and board chair Tony Malavenda announced the appointment of five new members to the Board of Directors. Together, the five new board members bring decades of leadership experience in community relations, journalism and business.

Our new board members are:

  • Karla Green, executive director of the Dunbar Association
  • Sapna Kollali, an education journalist and public relations professional
  • Patrick Mannion, a business executive and a long-time community volunteer
  • Sam Rowser, executive director of On Point for College
  • Jeff Stein, reporter for The Washington Post who also founded The Ithaca Voice

Malavenda said Central Current aims to recruit a board and staff that reflects the diversity of the community the organization serves. Central Current is looking to add additional board members, and is currently hiring staff reporters.

“Each of these new members are committed to quality journalism and understand the issues and needs we have in our neighborhoods and across the region,” Malavenda said. “As we ramp up our operations, they bring invaluable experience and insights that will advance our mission and help us grow.”

Central Current Editor-in-Chief Julie McMahon said she was excited to work with the new board members, who all share Central Current’s core values and support our mission for the newsroom.

“The is a critical time to bring in more perspectives and community leaders, as we prepare to launch our publication,” McMahon said. “We have a lot of work ahead to engage the community, build our staff and raise funds to ensure our sustainability. This board has the experience and knowledge in journalism, business and public affairs to drive us forward and be successful. I’m so grateful for their contributions.”

Karla Green is executive director of the Dunbar Association, and has been a nonprofit leader in the Syracuse community for over 20 years. She previously served as deputy director of Huntington Family Centers Inc. Green earned a master’s degree in education from Trinity College and an undergraduate degree in business management from Hampton University.

Sapna Kollali is the Public Relations Coordinator at Madison-Oneida BOCES, leading a team of PR professionals and supporting the strategic communications work of both the BOCES and local public school districts. She also worked as an education and local government reporter at daily newspapers in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. She is an alumna of Syracuse University where she studied journalism, political science and education.

Patrick Mannion retired in March 2020 as vice chair of Columbian Financial Group, an insurance and financial services corporation. He also served as president, chair and CEO of Unity Mutual Life Insurance in Syracuse until its merger with Columbian. He is an active community volunteer with the Syracuse Catholic Dioceses, Fayetteville Fire Department, and numerous nonprofit boards and business associations.

Sam Rowser is executive director of On Point for College, a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that provides first-generation college students vital support services to access higher education and ensure their educational attainment. Prior to his current role, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps and worked at Onondaga Community College and the Southwest Community Center in Syracuse.

Jeff Stein is the White House economics reporter for The Washington Post. He also founded the Ithaca Voice, a local news nonprofit in Ithaca, NY. He also covered crime as a reporter for The Post-Standard |

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Eric Persons is an independent consultant. He helped the Central Current, Inc. founders launch the nonprofit.