AFCEA and SIGNAL Communications—Meet the Staff
Meet the Staff
A dedicated and talented team based in Fairfax, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C., produces the variety of SIGNAL Media products, bringing to bear a combined century-plus of experience in presenting technical news in understandable and meaningful ways that matter to readers. We are a multifaceted group with diverse personal and geographical backgrounds. Some served in the U.S. military; some started careers as dancers. Some prefer PCs and others talk only Mac. We have a mix of digital natives and digital immigrants. But all care deeply about AFCEA and believe in its mission and the mission of SIGNAL Media. Pride is in our DNA.
Sandra Jontz is vice president of Marketing and Communications and oversees the knowledge sharing and communications efforts of AFCEA, including editorial, advertising, production, marketing and all communications.
Prior to this position, she was the executive director of communications and employee engagement at ManTech and served as the editor of its employee quarterly magazine. She was a journalist for more than two decades, including with SIGNAL Media as its executive editor, and extensively covered the U.S. military, both from within the United States and for nearly a decade overseas.
She served as a war correspondent, covering multiple military combat operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti and Bosnia and Herzegovina for the editorially independent daily newspaper Stars and Stripes. She graduated from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, with a degree in communications, emphasis in journalism, and holds numerous awards from the Virginia Press Association.
She has a B.A. in communications from George Mason University.
George I. Seffers is editor in chief and leads the editorial team in producing and delivering the award-winning and distinctive SIGNAL Magazine, considered a top benefit by the association’s membership.
Seffers has covered the full spectrum of technology issues for SIGNAL Media during his tenure at the association and supervises the team of writers and freelancers in producing top news, analysis and important perspectives on today’s most pressing topics in the cyber, technology, intelligence and national security domains.
Before becoming editor in chief, Seffers served as executive editor and director of content development. He first joined SIGNAL in June 2010 as the technology editor. Prior to joining SIGNAL Magazine, he was a media relations representative with Northrop Grumman and an internal communications specialist with Raytheon Technical Services Company. He has also been a reporter for Defense News and Federal Computer Week, where he covered a broad range of military and intelligence communications and electronics topics.
Seffers earned his bachelor’s degree in English and Communications from Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. A veteran, he also served in the U.S. Army as a 31 Victor, or tactical communications specialist, for seven years. In fact, he and five of his six siblings served in the Army. Of those five siblings, four also were in the Signal Corps.
Kimberly Underwood is director of Digital News Media and is a powerhouse for online coverage. She leads SIGNAL Media’s online content creation and digital news coverage.
At SIGNAL, Underwood focuses on emerging communication technologies, cyberwarfare, the intelligence community, military command operations and weaponry research, among other topics.
Underwood joined SIGNAL Magazine in 2017 and brought more than 15 years of experience as a reporter, writer and analyst, mostly within the energy industry—both the electric utility sector and natural gas industry.
Underwood earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economic theory from The American University in Washington, D.C.
Diego Laje is an award-winning international journalist with experience as a war correspondent. At SIGNAL, he is focused on international news and covering the U.S. Navy.
Before joining SIGNAL, Laje served as the international correspondent and assistant executive producer with La Nacion. He has worked with CNN covering major breaking stories around the world and as a bureau manager and senior field producer based in Hong Kong and Buenos Aires. Additionally, Laje has published in The Washington Post, The New York Times and Al Jazeera Impact, among others.
Laje holds a Bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Andrew’s University, Argentina; a journalism Master’s degree from the University of Hong Kong, China; and specialized in comparative media law at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom.
He has earned one news and documentary Emmy award for outstanding morning programming in Spanish with Café CNN-CNN en Espanol and a nomination for CNN’s coverage of Typhoon Haiyan. He speaks Spanish, Mandarin, French, Portuguese and Italian and brings impressive experience, great energy and an array of innovative ideas to the SIGNAL Media staff.
As SIGNAL Media’s senior director of editorial and executive communications, Cyndy Hogan’s responsibilities include production and editing of all SIGNAL Media content for the web and print magazine, as well as other association communications, including executive communications.
Hogan has an extensive background of working in association publications. She spent more than 12 years at the National League of Cities, serving as managing editor of its weekly newspaper and managing other print and online communications for the association. She also served as publications coordinator for the Association of University Programs in Health Administration.
She began her career as a reporter for The News & Advance, the daily newspaper in Lynchburg, Virginia. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in mass communication from James Madison University.
Megan Lee is SIGNAL Magazine’s Associate Editor for print and online content.
Before joining SIGNAL, Lee was a freelance editor and copywriter for professional editing services, publishing houses, and private clients. She also worked for 13 years as a high school English teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools.
She holds a B.A. in music and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from George Mason University.
Chris D'Elia is the art director for SIGNAL Media, a post he has held for more than 15 years.
He is responsible for the look and feel of SIGNAL Media collateral, including the magazine cover designs. He lays out each issue and helps the association with special projects and ads. He also helps small business advertisers promote themselves by helping them with advertising design.
Nuray Taylor is AFCEA's content strategist responsible for developing and executing an enterprise-wide strategy to best present, package and disseminate AFCEA content, from news articles to webinars, executive videos, blogs, events, sponsored content and more—bringing imagination and simplicity to the process.
Taylor has a background in marketing, public relations and social media and is a graduate of the University of Houston.
Rachel Lilly is AFCEA's communications manager and handles the association's strategic social media process, including development and implementation of strategy, manages the quarterly SIGNAL Kids special publication and performs other editorial duties.
Before joining AFCEA International, Lilly worked as a news producer for the NBC and FOX affiliates in Roanoke and as a reporter for Examiner.com and Bisnow Media.
She graduated summa cum laude from Virginia Tech with a B.A. in communication, specializing in electronic and print journalism, and a minor in English. She has an M.A. in communication from Johns Hopkins University with a dual concentration in digital journalism and public/media relations.
Wendy Young’s focus at AFCEA is to build client commitment and leveraging advertising intelligence to help drive AFCEA’s media sales strategies and tactics. In addition, she will build various programs for small businesses and assist in the growth of SIGNAL Kids, a special publication focused on STEM efforts for young readers.
Prior to this position, Young founded and organically built the brand Pye & Co, a retail clothing store in the heart of historic Fredericksburg, Virginia. She independently owned and operated Pye & Co for 7 years before deciding to change careers back into the advertising arena.
She has an extremely diverse background with extensive experience in marketing and advertising through working with the Kansas City Royals and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which she assisted in the advertising and marketing campaign for its grand opening.
Young has worked in the medical device industry for Avancen MOD Corporation as the director of sales for the Southeast Region, as well as a journalist for a small Seattle newspaper and paralegal for several law firms.
She graduated from the University of Central Missouri with a degree in public relations and marketing. She has a passion for poetry and writing and is currently working on publishing a novel.
Claudia Perez serves as the advertising, marketing and publications coordinator. Before her position at AFCEA, Claudia was a sports marketing intern at LRL Racing in Richmond, Virginia, which specialized in advertising and client-based promotion for the Bull Riding and NASCAR industry.
Perez took part in Virginia Commonwealth University’s first-ever Camp ADventure in 2020, a program that provided students across the nation internships in place of ones that were lost because of the pandemic in 2020. Through Camp ADventure, Perez and her team curated a new fundraising campaign for the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.
Perez received her Bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in May 2021 in mass communications with a concentration in strategic advertising and a minor in psychology.
Howard Wahlberg serves as AFCEA’s Senior Director of Marketing, focused on building brand awareness, revenue, visibility, and growing the association’s membership and constituent base through traditional and digital marketing and media efforts.
Wahlberg is an experienced communicator, moderator and public speaker and has done voiceovers for a variety of videos, podcasts and training sessions for AFCEA and other organizations.
Before joining AFCEA International in 2014, Wahlberg served a number of associations and other nonprofits. His career in the arts and education led him to such diverse organizations as The Big Apple Circus, Arena Stage, PBS, Challenger Center for Space Science Education and The National Science Teaching Association. Specializing in database and digital marketing, he raised visibility, revenue and awareness of a number of initiatives at these organizations.
Wahlberg began his career in the performing arts, studying English and theater at Rutgers University, and later studying professional circus clowning at Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College.
Chrysi Lopez is AFCEA’s marketing manager and helps implement the association’s full range of marketing efforts.
Before joining AFCEA in 2021, she was senior associate director of marketing at NAFCU, the leading trade association for federally insured credit unions. In that role, Lopez helped lead the marketing strategy and execution to reach the association’s event, product, service and membership recruitment and retention goals.
Lopez holds a B.S. in business administration and marketing from Rochester Institute of Technology and a Certified Marketing Executive designation from Sales & Marketing Executives International.
Alex Horn provides support for a host of marketing efforts across the enterprise, focusing on the offerings of AFCEA International’s Professional Development Center: in-person, instructor-led courses, on-demand courseware and degree and course offerings from the association's Preferred Providers.
Horn comes to us most recently from Amazon, where he progressed from area manager to account executive, with a focus on marketing. Prior to that, he interned at Trembling Giant Marketing, where he learned marketing fundamentals in practice.
Horn is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in marketing. He is an avid hockey player.