Meet the SAIL Institute Team

Dr. Jason E. Lane

Executive Director

Dr. Jason E. Lane is the founding executive director of the SUNY Academic & Innovative Leadership (SAIL) Institute as well as Chair and Associate Professor of the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership at the State University of New York at Albany. He has extensive experience leading multi-campus transformational change initiatives in higher education and is a recognized expert in system thinking and development.

An award winning author and invited speaker, Dr. Lane’s scholarly expertise focuses on the leadership and governance of higher education, particularly as it relates to the emerging relationship between higher education, policy and politics, and globalization. He has authored numerous journal articles, book chapters, and policy reports; and published 12 books, including Academic Leadership and Governance of Higher Education, Higher Education Systems 3.0, Multi-National Colleges and Universities: Leadership and Administration of International Branch Campuses, and Building a Smarter University.

Previously, he served as Deputy Director for Research at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government as well as Vice Provost for Academic Planning and Strategic Leadership and Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for the State University of New York, where he was responsible for the development and implementation of academic, economic, global, and leadership initiatives across the system.

He is a founding faculty member of Penn State’s Academic Leadership Academy as well as System Leadership Academy sponsored by the American Council on Education and the National Association of System Heads. He has served on the boards of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES); Council for International Higher Education (CIHE); the Gulf Comparative Education Society (GCES); SUNY Korea; and Taking Student Success to Scale (TS3), a consortium of 23 systems working to leverage evidenced based practices to improve student success.

Carolyn Mattiske

Associate Director

Carolyn Mattiske serves as the Associate Director of the SUNY Academic & Innovative Leadership Institute, which aims to support higher education leaders through programming and services throughout SUNY and beyond. Over the past two years, Carolyn has led operations of the SAIL Institute expanding its offering of programs and services to include: a CIO Leadership Academy, Department Chair Summits, a Winter Leadership Retreat, one-day leadership development workshops throughout the state, free online webinars, student leadership programming, and much more. Carolyn plays a lead role in administering SAIL’s signature programs, including the Executive Leadership Academy and Summer Leadership Program.

Prior to this she worked at the Research Foundation for SUNY as their Learning and Development Manager. Carolyn has served as a stand-up trainer and curriculum developer for the University at Albany’s Professional Development Program (PDP) specializing in food stamp and welfare fraud detection policy. In her L&D role at the RF, she was responsible for managing the training needs throughout the 17,000 person organization.

Carolyn earned two degrees from the University at Albany, including a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing and minor in communications as well a Master’s of Arts in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technologies.

Merissa McKasty

Leadership Development Manager

Merissa McKasty joined SUNY System Administration in May of 2016. Before heading to SUNY System, Merissa worked for the Research Foundation at Buffalo State College. Buffalo State College is also where Merissa completed her Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration. Before joining the SAIL team, Merissa supported SUNY’s Applied Learning Initiative as Assistant to the Director of Applied Learning.

Her current work responsibilities involve developing and facilitating leadership trainings and workshops for all faculty, staff, and students across the SUNY System and beyond. She is interested in creating leadership programming for all faculty, staff, and students as well as advocating for all prospective and current SUNY students across the state. Merissa currently serves as President of the New York State Cooperative & Experiential Education Association.

Manik Elahi

Student Assistant

Manik Elahi is a rising senior at the University at Albany, SUNY, pursuing a baccalaureate degree – majoring in Political Science, with a minor in Leadership. In addition to working for the SAIL Institute, Manik also works for Apple Inc. In the recent past, he also served as a Trustee on the Hudson Valley Community College Board of Trustees representing the interests of 12,000 students and responsible for the passage of a $111 Million operational budget. He also graduated from HVCC in 2017, with an Associates degree in Computer Information Systems.

He has formerly worked at the SUNY Student Assembly, International Red Cross Federation, University at Albany Student Association Inc., and the HVCC Student Senate. Immediately before joining the SAIL Institute, Manik was working in the Office of New York State Lt. Governor Kathleen C. Hochul in Albany, NY. Manik hopes to add on to the leadership development efforts by the SUNY SAIL Institute in the higher education space to positively impact the SUNY family and beyond.

SAIL Leadership Strategists

Marcia Burrell

Leadership Strategist

Marcia Burrell is an innovative leader with more than 30 years of experience in secondary and higher education settings.  She has served as chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at SUNY Oswego and as co-director for Project SMART, a teachers’ professional development program in New York State. Her publications include topics such as comparative education, mathematics teaching techniques, and global education. She has presented internationally on topics such as investigating teaching math through technology and educational assessment. Her most recent work includes creating and posting to a blog about her journey as a mathematician and educator.

MaryAnn Stark

Leadership Strategist

With over 25 years of professional experience in higher education, business operations, and non-profit management, MaryAnn Stark, M.Ed, ODCP, is known for being an inspiring leader with dynamic skills to teach and motivate other to follow in her passionate vision. MaryAnn serves as Employee and Organization Development Specialist in the Organizational Training and Development department at Upstate Medical University.

MaryAnn’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts from State University of New York at Oswego and a Masters of Educatiomn from St. Lawrence University. MaryAnn started her professional career in the field of Higher Education Administration serving at three different institutions for 12 years directing major student life, residential, and judicial programs. In 2001, MaryAnn made the move into the non-profit world where she was the President & CEO for nearly 12 years. Under her leadership, the agency experienced tremendous growth from being a local, then state-wide, and then nationally based organization, the 4th largest of its kind in the country that received two national awards for excellence.

MaryAnn’s expertise lies in the areas of organizational development, business operations and management, and human services. She has made several contributions to her professional and civic community by way of regional and national conference presentations, outside consulting and training, and service on local Boards. MaryAnn is a gifted public speaker, and creator and facilitator of a wide variety of training programs specializing in leadership development, strategic planning, teambuilding, culture and organizational change. MaryAnn is a Certified Organizational Development Professional and a Certified EQ-12 and EQ360 Emotional Intelligence Practitioner. While serving the SUNY Leadership Institute, MaryAnn received rave reviews as the facilitator of the first ever Rising Stars leadership development program at SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton.

Dr. Scott Vinciguerra

Leadership Strategist

Dr. Scott Vinciguerra is responsible for the development and delivery of leadership development programming for the SAIL Institute. A former educator and administrator in public and higher education, Dr. Vinciguerra brings over 20 years of experience leading people and organizations to exceed their potential.

His presentations at local, state, national, and international conferences are hallmarked by his ability to engage with others through an authentic and transparent disposition. He has twice presented research at the internationally prestigious Learning & The Brain Conference, sponsored by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, and the Harvard University Faculty Club. The author of three books on leadership, he is a consultant to a multitude of organizations and businesses, as well as Olympic athletes in areas of mental preparation and peak performance.

Chet Warzynski

Leadership Strategist

Chester (Chet) Warzynski is an organizational consultant specializing in developing capabilities to strengthen performance in universities, hospitals, Fortune 500 companies, and SME’s. He provides organizational consulting services in strategic planning, organization design, executive assessment, leadership and organizational development, project management, and innovation.

With more than 25 years of successful experience in leading innovation and change, Warzynski has consulted to leading companies and universities including Exxon, Dow Jones, Cornell University, Georgia Tech, Penn State, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Arizona, and the City and State University Systems of New York.

His previous positions include Senior Adviser at Carnegie Mellon University, Executive Director of Organizational Development at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Policy; Director of Organizational Development, and Lecturer in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University; Director of Corporate Planning and New Venture Development for a subsidiary of Dow Jones, Inc., and Director of Education and Training for St. Joseph’s Hospital and Mercy Hospital.

He did his undergraduate and graduate studies in sociology at Southern Illinois University and the University of Western Ontario, and post-graduate studies in education at the University of Toronto, and Florida International University. He is currently studying innovation at the University of Twente in the Netherlands.

He served on board of directors for the National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education (NCCI), the Red Cross, and the 7th Arts Council.  His publications cover a wide-range of topics including leadership, strategic planning, organization development, re-engineering, project management, and sustainability. His current research is on organizational innovation.