Executive Staff:

Mark G. Ackermann
President and CEO

Mark Ackermann photoMark G. Ackermann assumed the position of Lighthouse International as President and CEO in September of 2009. In joining the Lighthouse, Mr. Ackermann continues his exemplary career in health care leadership, which has spanned more than 30 years.

Mr. Ackermann served in various senior management positions at St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center beginning in 1983, and held the position of Chief Administrative Officer of the hospital's successor corporation, St. Vincent's Catholic Medical Centers of New York (SVCMC) until June 2007. He was also President of the SVCMC Foundation and successfully undertook a $100 million capital fundraising campaign, which included funding for the proposed new Rudolph W. Giuliani Trauma Center at St. Vincent's Manhattan.

Among his many achievements, Ackermann and the management team of St. Vincent's expanded the ophthalmology department and created a strong working relationship with the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. His executive management skills were honed as Interim President and CEO of St. Clare's Hospital and Health Center during the mid-nineties.

Beginning in 2007, Mr. Ackermann served as the Special Assistant to Edward Cardinal Egan and Executive Director of the Office of the Papal Visit for the Archdiocese of New York. In this capacity, he was responsible for a number of special projects, including all aspects of the visit to New York by Pope Benedict XVI in April 2008; including 8 major events and coordination of federal, state and city agencies and the offices of the Vatican.

Mr. Ackermann received a B.A. in Journalism and Communications from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and an M.S. in Healthcare Management from New York University. He has served as an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate School of Management and Urban Professions of the New School University, as well as, a Clinical Instructor in the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of New York University, New York. He now lives in Howell, NJ, with his wife June. The couple has six children and one grandchild.

Robert P. Hoak
Senior Vice President, Chief Development Officer

Maura J. Sweeney
Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer

Maura Sweeney photoMaura J. Sweeney joined Lighthouse International in 2010 and currently serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Ms. Sweeney brings 20 years of progressive leadership experience in healthcare to our organization.

Ms. Sweeney started her career at Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Center, where she worked for 13 years, beginning there as a Speech-Language Pathologist. Throughout her tenure she held various clinical and management positions in the Rehabilitation Medicine Department, as well as the Patient Accommodations and Medical Records departments. In 2003, Ms. Sweeney moved to Fidelis Care New York, one of New York State’s largest Medicaid and Medicare Managed Care Companies, where she served as the Assistant Vice President of Member Services, Enrollment and Member Retention.

Ms. Sweeney left Fidelis Care, to assume the position of Executive Director of ArchCare Senior Life, a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) program started by ArchCare - the healthcare mission of the Archdiocese of New York. Her accomplishments include the realization of the program’s first PACE center located in East Harlem, including the design and regulatory approvals for the program and the administrative and operational implementation of this new program.

Ms. Sweeney received a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Boston College, a Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Columbia University’s Teachers College and a Master’s of Public Administration in Health Policy and Management from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.

John Vlachos
Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

John Vlachos has a strong financial and strategic planning background. He received his undergraduate degree from New York University, earned his CPA and started his career as an auditor with Price Waterhouse & Co. After a number of years in progressively higher positions with several firms in New York, John began a 15-year career with Time Inc. and a number of the firm’s subsidiaries in major national and international leadership roles. He also spent several years as the Vice President of Global Planning and Analysis & United States Divisional CFO of the Reader’s Digest Association.

Leadership Staff:

Lisa Ferfoglia
Vice President, Human Resources

Lisa Ferfoglia is the Vice President of Human Resources for Lighthouse International. In this role, Lisa directs key aspects of Human Resources, including policy, compensation and benefits, talent management and organizational development.

Lisa launched several culture building initiatives at Lighthouse International, including the design and use of annual employee surveys, introduction of informal employee discussion forums, a variety of work life balance programs, and an annual employee recognition program. Lisa also provided infrastructure to the HR function with the introduction of an upgraded HR information system, self service center for staff and a progressive on-boarding program. In addition to her HR responsibilities, Lisa leads a work group to ensure that the Lighthouse is a leader in accessibility and adaptive technology, both within and outside the low vision community.

Prior to Lighthouse, Lisa worked for over a decade as Vice President of Human Resources for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Lisa advised the headquarter offices in Denver and New York City, as well as 80 affiliated grass roots chapters across the U.S. Lisa began her career in the for profit sector working in the publishing and financial services industries in an HR Generalist capacity. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fordham University and has completed graduate studies in social work and rehabilitation counseling. Lisa obtained her Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification from the HR Certification Institute of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in 2002.

Leslie Jones
Executive Director, Music School

Leslie holds a DMA from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and an MM from the University of North Texas. She has served on the faculties of Ithaca College and Montana State University. A frequent clinician, she is acclaimed nationally for her workshops, "Jazz and the Classical Pianist" and "Musical Mainstream: Fostering Independence through Accessibility." At the Lighthouse, she has been instrumental in developing an assistive music technology center, and expanding community outreach and the visibility of the Music School.

Bruce P. Rosenthal, OD, FAAO
Chief of Low Vision Programs

Bruce Rosenthal photoDr. Bruce P. Rosenthal is Chief of Low Vision Programs at Lighthouse International and has been affiliated with the organization since 1974. He is a Diplomat in Low Vision, an Adjunct Professor at Mt. Sinai Hospital and Distinguished Adjunct Professor at the State University of New York College of Optometry. Dr. Rosenthal is the former Chair of the AMD Alliance International and its Scientific Advisory Board as well as being Chair of the American Academy of Optometry and the American Optometric Association Low Vision sections. Dr. Rosenthal continues to lecture extensively throughout the world and has been the author of seven books, including Living Well with Macular Degeneration.

William H. Seiple, PhD
Director of the Arlene R. Gordon Research Institute

Dr. William H. Seiple, a world famous expert on vision perception and low vision rehabilitation, heads Lighthouse International's Arlene R. Gordon Research Institute. The author of more than 130 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, Dr. Seiple has a distinguished career in vision research.

Dr. Seiple has dedicated his career to finding technologies that improve the quality of life for sight-impaired people. He is the head researcher for Lighthouse International's BrainPort trials, and has been awarded grants from the Veteran's Administration. Most recently, Dr. Seiple has received grants to develop new interventions to maximize the reading ability of people with age-related macular degeneration.

Prior to joining Lighthouse International, he was a Professor at the New York University School of Medicine, an Adjunct Professor at SUNY State College of Optometry, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Illinois Medical Center, Chicago. He also has served as Director of Electrodiagnostic Services at Bellevue Hospital and as Director of Clinical Psychophysics at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Dr. Seiple has authored over 125 scientific publications in peer-reviewed research journals and five book chapters, including a chapter in the Handbook of Clinical Neurophysiology. He has evaluated suitability for publication of submissions to over 30 journals and has served on the editorial boards of three scientific journals. He has served on grant review panels for the National Eye Institute, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, the Department of Veterans Affairs Neurobiology Grants Committee, and on grant review boards for numerous national and international research foundations. In addition, he has served on the program and organizing committees of two large international societies.

Dr. Seiple serves on the editorial board of Documenta Ophthalmological and on several scientific advisory boards for industry. He has served as chair of the Association of Research in Vision and Ophthalmology’s Annual Meeting Program Committee (Visual Neuroscience Section) and on the Program Committee for the International Society for Clinical Electrophysiology Annual Meeting.

Dr. Seiple has successfully obtained research grant funding from government, industry, and research foundations sources, and has been involved in successful Small Business Innovation Research Grants. His broad industry experience includes numerous industry-sponsored clinical trials, investigator-initiated studies, and post-market research designed to obtain data to support marketing claims and/or to guide future development directions. Dr. Seiple has been an expert panel member for drug eye safety study, a consultant, and runs an electroretinogram reading center for industry-sponsored studies.

He holds a PhD in Ecology, Ethnology and Evolution from the University of Illinois, an MA in Psychology from the University of North Carolina, and a BA in Psychology from Albright College.



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