Coffee and Conversation


This series is designed to connect Arlington Campus graduate and professional students with Mason alumni, faculty, and administrators who will speak about their career choices and life experiences. Students have the opportunity to ask questions on next career steps, work-life balance, remaining competitive in the workplace, networking tips, managing expectations, how to turn a passion into a career and so much more.


Upcoming Events:

Stay tuned for our 2020 events!

Past Events:

April 8, 2020
Guest Speaker: David J. Smith, Part-Time Faculty, School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and Independent Educational Consultant and Peacebuilding Trainer

David J. Smith’s work spans the fields of peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and civic and global education. He has over 30 years’ experience as an educational consultant, lawyer, mediator, college professor, trainer, senior program officer, senior manager, career coach, and author. David supports educators, youth, and professionals in developing institution-wide initiatives and student activities promoting civic, conflict, and peacebuilding awareness. He works with groups and individuals in need of career coaching, mediation, and conflict engagement assistance.


March 27, 2019
Guest Speaker: Brock Walker  Special Assistant to the Deputy Director Marketing & Management Branch at
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Brock currently serves as the Special Assistant to the Deputy Director of the Asset Marketing and Management Branch at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Prior to FDIC, Brock served 6.5 years at the Department of the Treasury, most recently as the Acting Director of Shared Services, where he was responsible for the management and oversight of the nearly $250 million budget for the Shared Services Program. Brock earned his MBA from George Mason University’s School of Business as the top student in his class and has served as an Honorary Member of the School of Business’ Board of Directors since 2015. Additionally, Brock has served as an Ambassador for the Mason MBA Program since 2013 and was honored as a member of the George Mason 2016 class of Prominent Patriots in Business.


October 22, 2018
Guest Speaker: Rick Davis is Dean of George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, Professor, School of Theater, and Executive Director of the Hylton Performing Arts Center, George Mason University.


April 12, 2018
Guest Speaker: Frank Neville is Chief of Staff and Vice President of Communications and Marketing at George Mason. Prior to Mason, Frank was a career diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, serving in Beijing, Taipei, Chengdu, Guatemala, and Washington, D.C. He has appeared on Nightline, The Today Show, 20/20, CNBC, CNN, BBC World Service and many other programs in defense of U.S. policies. In Beijing, he helped design and execute U.S. public affairs strategy during the 2001 EP-3 hostage crisis and led the public defense of U.S. policy toward Iraq in preparation for U.S. military action in 2003. Frank also worked in the Secretary of Defense’s Office of Chinese Affairs and served in Arizona on a Pearson Fellowship.

October 19, 2017
Guest Speaker: Bob Witeck is a member of George Mason University’s Board of Visitors, President and Founder of Witeck Communications, Inc., and author of “Business Inside Out.” Witeck Communications specializes in the gay and lesbian consumer market, representing Fortune 500 companies that serve the multi-billion-dollar gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender market.

April 3, 2017
Guest Speaker: Qing Gao is Assistant Professor in International Arts Management, Director of the Mason’s Confucius Institute, and Special Assistant to the Dean for China and Global Initiatives at the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Hear from Gao on the collaborative relations between Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts and Chinese leading arts institutions.

October 19, 2016
Guest Speaker: Michael Curtis serves in Senior Leadership with USAID, was former Director and Senior Policy Analyst with the U.S. Department of Energy, and is Mason Public Policy Alumnus. Join Michael for coffee and conversation to hear about his unique career path.

March 15, 2016
Guest Speaker: William Reeder has enjoyed a 30-year career in education, management, philanthropic administration and the arts. He is a tenured Professor of Arts Management, a Virginia Eminent Scholar and the Heritage Chair for Cultural Criticism at George Mason University.
After 14 years, Bill retired in June 2015 as the founding Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University. During Bill’s tenure the College grew from its initial $9 million operating budget in 2001 to $29 million in 2015 – with new academic programs in film, art education, arts management, video game design, the Potomac Arts Academy and the Confucius Institute.

October 15, 2015
Guest Speaker: Dr. John Hillen, Executive in Residence and Professor of Practice at Mason’s School of Business. He is also a decorated combat veteran, noted national security scholar, Vice Chairman of Sotera Defense Solutions, Chairman of the Professional Services Council and a Board Member of SOS International, Software AG Government Solutions, and National Review.

February 17, 2015
Guest Speaker:  Karen Yankosky, Mason Law ’02, is a lawyer, humorist, podcast host and author of Good Luck With That Thing You’re Doing: One Woman’s Adventures in Dating, Plumbing and Other Full-Contact Sports, a collection of essays about her life as a forty-something reinventing herself after a “brief” marriage. She also writes a humor blog at, co-hosts a podcast about dating and relationships called “Women of Uncertain Age” and practices law.

November 20, 2014
Guest Speaker: Robert (Bob) Deitz, Professor in Mason’s School of Policy, Government and International Affairs, is a former Senior Councillor to the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and former General Counsel at the National Security Agency. He is the author of Congratulations – You Just Got Hired: Don’t Screw It Up, which is intended to assist newly hired professionals excel in the workplace. Click here to read his biography.

September 23, 2014
Guest Speaker: Dr. Beth Cabrera, founder of Cabrera Insights and Senior Scholar with the George Mason University Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. Beth is passionate about helping organizations and individuals apply knowledge from the field of positive psychology to achieve greater success and well-being.

April 23, 2014
Guest Speaker:  Colin R. Hart,  School of Public Policy Alumni Vice President and Vice President of Direct Investments at Freedom Capital, a privately held investment management firm, and Managing Director of Freedom Development, a real estate acquisition and development company. Click here to read his biography.