IHA Board of Directors
James S Cassano is the President of the Independence Hall Association, having served on the Board of Directors since 1998. He is also a Partner & Chief Financial Officer of CoActive Health Solutions, LLC, a health research organization that offers technology commercialization, clinical development and specialty services to both young and mature company sponsors, clinical research organizations and educational institutions. In addition, Mr Cassano is also Chairman of the Audit Committee on the Board of Directors of Wecast Network, Inc. a NASDAQ listed company that is a next generation global brand licensing, IP sales and video commerce company driven by artificial intelligence and big data with content distribution agreements in China for many of Hollywood's top studios including Disney Media Distribution, Paramount Pictures, NBC Universal, Twentieth Century Fox Distribution, Miramax and a broad variety of Chinese filmmakers. Wecast is headquartered in New York, New York and Beijing, China.
Mr. Cassano has been involved with US historical organizations, preeminent historians, educational institutions, publishers and corporations serving them for more than 20 years. In 1998, Mr. Cassano founded New Forum Publishers, an electronic publisher of educational material for secondary schools, and served as its Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer until it was sold to Apex Learning, Inc. Under its principal internet publication, Beyond Books, the company authored 10 history courses, distributing them to over 200 schools across the United States, negotiating agreements and interviewing US historians such as Gordon Wood, Joseph Ellis, Robert Remini, Ira Berlin and Carol Berkin, bringing them into the classroom for live discussions with students around the United States. He also successfully negotiated an agreement with Apple Computer to be the principal sales organization for the company to educational institutions throughout the United States. A significant number of the history courses that Beyond Books offered are contained on the IHA's website today and offered free to the public. He has also negotiated exclusive publishing agreements for the IHA with numerous other historians including Claude Anne Lopez, former editor of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin and one of the world's leading authorities on the man.
Mr. Cassano holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where he is an annual judge in the school's entrepreneurial Business Plan competition and a B.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University.
V. Chapman Smith has over 30 years of executive leadership experience in organizational capacity building. Ms. Chapman-Smith's interdisciplinary and inter- sector professional portfolio of work evolved from her academic training as a doctoral candidate at Temple University. Over the years she has built strong relationships locally and nationally in arts and culture, education, business, local and state government, and non-profit humanitarian sectors. She has served on a number of boards and advisory groups within these sectors for projects related to health services, food insecurity, historic preservation, economic development, and community planning. Her accomplishments include building a cross-sector member coalition (now 40+) in 2004 to bring the prestigious National History Day program back to Philadelphia after a 25-year absence. The program has become a highly regarded model of innovation supporting urban education reform and just completed its 13 th year. In 2008, A+E/History Networks recognized Chapman-Smith for her galvanizing leadership with its Outstanding Educator Award.
Ms. Chapman-Smith has served three terms as Chair of the Greater Philadelphia Federal Executive Board, is a member of the FEB's Interagency Council and was a team member on the local federal working group for the White House's Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) initiative supporting Chester, Pennsylvania.
Ms. Chapman-Smith is currently the Special Assistant developing national strategy for the National Archives' national education and public outreach work and Prior to this role, Ms. Chapman-Smith was National Archives Mid Atlantic Regional Administrator (in Philadelphia) from 2002 - 2011, where she was highly regarded for creating innovative partnerships across multiple sectors: federal, cultural, historical, education, non-profit and business communities. The Mid- Atlantic Region was also the recipient of eight Archivist Awards, the highest honor given internally by the United States Archivist. Ms. Chapman-Smith personally was recognized for her outstanding work in promoting civic understanding in a diverse society. She has received many leadership awards for her work in the private sector (PSFS/Meritor) and with the City of Philadelphia (serving in Edward G. Rendell's cabinet), New York State (as Assistant Education Commissioner) and the National Archives. Today, as the education lead for Philadelphia's O.V. Catto Memorial, spearheaded by the Mayor's Office and the Catto Memorial Committee, Ms. Chapman-Smith is facilitating the development of education initiatives that include professional development training for schools that will build competencies to engage students with issues of race relations.