» Board of Directors | Executive Committee

photo of Akin Ceylan

Akin Ceylan

B.S./B.A. management '90
After graduating from Chapman in 1990, Akin Ceylan received a Certificate in Contract Management from the University of California Irvine in 1995. He is also a Licensed California Real Estate Broker since 2008.
Akin is currently the COO of Home Entertainment for Lionsgate. He joined Lionsgate Entertainment in October 2005 and sets the strategic direction for Operations in Home Entertainment. Akin also served as SVP Domestic Operations at MGM Studios and was responsible for overseeing the Home Entertainment Group’s operational activities for North America.
Akin currently lives in Thousand Oaks with his wife Cyndi Ceylan. He and Cyndi have a daughter, Paige, who currently attends Chapman University majoring in communications and a son, Rob, who graduated from Northern Arizona University in Spring 2014. Akin enjoys yoga, biking, golfing, stand-up paddle boarding, hanging out Lake Arrowhead and boating.
photo of James Blalock

James Blalock

JD '09
Past Presidents Advisory Council Chair
Jimmy Blalock graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Riverside in 2006 with a dual degree in business administration and political science, with a minor in religious studies.
As a student at Chapman School of Law, Jimmy served as president of the Student Bar Association, Symposium Editor of the Criminal Justice Journal, Secretary of the Mock Trial Executive Board, and a Student Ambassador. He received his Juris Doctorate and was sworn in as a member of the California State Bar in December 2009. He currently serves as in-house council for Pacific Compensation Insurance Company (PCIC) practicing insurance defense litigation in and around Orange County.
In his free time Jimmy competes in marathons and triathlons. He is also an active member of the Chapman community. He serves on the Law School Alumni Board and as the chapter advisor to the Chapman chapter of Delta Tau Delta.
photo of Connie Benson '93

Connie Benson '93

During her time at Chapman, Connie served as president of Delta Gamma Sorority and Commissioner of Justice, was a member of the Chapman Dance Ensemble and danced in multiple American Celebration productions. She graduated magna cum laude and was named Outstanding Senior Woman.
Connie earned a juris doctorate from California Western School of Law. She works as a senior attorney at Williamson Law Group in Santa Ana and has participated in mentoring programs with the Fowler School of Law.
In addition to her professional endeavors, Connie volunteers her time with the Miss America Organization, serving as the executive director for the Miss City of Orange Scholarship Pageant, which is held annually at Chapman. Connie has enjoyed mentoring many Chapman women through this program. She also serves as a deputy field director with the Miss California Organization.
Connie lives in Tustin Ranch and is an avid runner, having completed numerous full and half marathons.
photo of Ariana Burris (JD '09)

Ariana Burris (JD '09)

Vice President of Career
Prior to attending Chapman University, Ariana earned a B.A. in American studies with a minor in art history from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. As a student at Chapman University Fowler School of Law, Ariana was active in student government, serving all three years as a representative to the Student Bar Association. As a third year student, Ariana was Chapman's liaison to the American Bar Association. She was also involved with the Mock Trial team, and competed across the country in numerous competitions.
Ariana worked for many years in a large law firm conducting federal Social Security litigation, and has practiced all over the country in federal court. In 2016, she joined her husband Jason Burris '02 (JD '08) as a principal of Burris Law, a boutique law firm in Orange serving a wide range of clients in matters dealing with real estate, business law, and trusts and estates. Ariana currently specializes in estate planning, trust administration, and trust litigation.
Ariana and Jason live in Cowan Heights with their daughter Cameron and dog Wheaties. Ariana enjoys distance running, travel, eating, and spending time with her family.
photo of Adam Coughran '04 (M.A. '10)

Adam Coughran '04 (M.A. '10)

Vice President of Operations and Strategy
As an Orange County native, Chapman University seemed like the obvious choice for Adam. While attending Chapman as an undergraduate student, Adam participated in several programs including the Orange County Internship Program, where he was a law clerk for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Upon graduating, he became a member of the Southern California law enforcement community. Adam returned to Chapman in 2008 to pursue a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and a Graduate Certificate in the Administration and Leadership of Criminal Justice Organizations.
Adam is an adjunct faculty member at several local higher education institutions and a professional trainer and consultant for a number of businesses and private universities. He also serves on several association boards in both the public and private sector and is a member of Chapman’s 1861 Club, Alumni Legacy, President’s Circle and the Charles C. Chapman Heritage Society.
photo of Patricia Elliott ’60 (M.A. ’74)

Patricia (Wood) Elliott ’60 (M.A. ’74)

A native of Orange County, Pat received her high school diploma from Orange High School the last year it was located on what is now the Chapman campus.
After 33 years an educator, Pat retired in 1996 from the Garden Grove School District. During her tenure at Garden Grove, she taught kindergarten, first, third and fourth grades, while also teaching continuing education classes for teachers at Cal State Fullerton and Chapman University. She also does professional floral arrangements and has provided the flowers for American Celebration for more than 20 years.
Pat has been actively involved on campus for many years. In addition to serving on the alumni board, Pat is a member of Town & Gown, and along with her husband (and Chapman sweetheart), Tom Elliott ‘60, and is involved with the Chapman Heritage Society.
photo of Aaron Flewellen '04

Aaron Flewellen '04

Vice President of Development
At Chapman, Aaron was a Founding Father of and held many positions in the Chapman chapter of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity and was selected to serve as one of ten members of Delta Tau Delta's Undergraduate Council. Aaron was also a Resident Advisor, an Orientation Assistant, Associated Student Senator and Chapman Ambassador.
In 2009, after starting an agency that focused on employee benefits, Aaron was recruited by Orange County-based EBA&M to launch and manage a new program that helps small and medium sized companies self-fund their health insurance.
Aaron currently lives in Old Town Orange with his wife Kelsey (Smith) Flewellen '05. In addition to his work with the Alumni Association Board of Directors, Aaron is an adviser to the Chapman chapter of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity. He joined the Alumni Association Board of Directors to help build a strong and beneficial network of alumni in Southern California and beyond.
photo of Karlie Harstad '09

Karlie Harstad '09

Vice President of Engagement
Karlie Harstad graduated from Chapman in 2009 with a B.A in art history summa cum laude and Grey Key recipient. After working abroad in France and Singapore for nearly four years, she returned to Orange County and reconnected with Chapman. As an executive member of the Chapman Young Alumni Society, she is dedicated to engaging young alumni by facilitating networking and volunteer opportunities.
Karlie currently works as a Clinical Core Labs Analyst for a global medical device company where she is a member of their “Strengthen Our Community” committee. Her free time is spent travelling and tutoring French.
photo of Alyssa Lahham (MBA '13)

Alyssa Lahham (MBA '13)

Vice President of Marketing
Alyssa Lahham is currently a Marketing Program Manager at Ingram Micro Cloud, where she oversees marketing initiatives for cloud vendors including Microsoft, Dropbox, Cisco, and more. Independently, she is a digital marketing consultant and works on projects ranging from research and strategy to campaign execution and analysis. She is also a principal at Axellium, a "special ops" project delivery team, and co-founder of STAFFR, a start-up online staffing company.
In addition to serving on the Chapman Alumni Associate Board of Directors, Alyssa is a Chapman50 member. She also serves as the co-executive director for Forge 54, a non-profit that does pro-bono marketing for other non-profits.
Alyssa graduated with her MBA from Chapman University in 2013. Prior to attending Chapman, she graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a B.A. in communications. She lives in Newport Beach with her husband, Sam, and their Boston Terrier, Maya. Outside of work and Chapman activities, Alyssa enjoys hiking, cooking, and traveling.