Some of our partners

Underwood Partners recruits and works with a small number of highly experienced executives and analysts selected for each project based on their relevant experience and passion for helping clients address their most important strategic challenges and opportunities. Craig’s background and those of some of the partners working on recent client engagements are below:

Craig Underwood

Craig brings over 25 years experience as an entrepreneur, CEO and strategy consultant to Underwood Partner’s clients.  Prior to forming Underwood Partners, Craig’s experience includes: serving as a Partner at both Bain & Company and The Bridgespan Group, Bain’s nonprofit affiliate; Founder and CEO of the Loyalty Group/Air Miles Canada; Interim CEO of Sports Loyalty Systems; and Co-Founder of Social Sphere Strategies.

Craig’s CEO experience includes being the founder and CEO of The Loyalty Group, the Canadian company that created and runs the AIR MILES Reward Program – one of the largest coalition (multi-company) loyalty programs in the world.  Started by Craig and two colleagues in a Toronto hotel room in 1991, Loyalty now employs over 1500 people, over 70% of Canadian households are active members of the program and the business generates over $150MM in annual operating cash.   AIR MILES was also one of the first loyalty programs on the web.

Craig’s clients have included Safeway, American Express, Shell Oil, the Massachusetts Lottery, Neilsen Marketing Research, Sara Lee, Upromise, The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, the College Board, All Kinds of Minds and several venture capital and private equity firms.

Craig is a graduate of WVU, Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar and the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.  He has served on over 10 corporate, start-up and nonprofit boards and is a co-founder of Year Up, the nationwide innovative workforce development nonprofit.  Craig blogs at

Craig lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with his wife, twelve year old daughter and nine year old son.  All of the Underwood’s are avid snowboarders, Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots and music fans.

Nicco Mele

Nicco is one of the true pioneers of Web 2.0 and building and activating on-line communities.  He was the Internet Operations Director of Gov. Howard Dean’s insurgent 2004 presidential campaign and is featured in Joe Trippi’s book; The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. After the Dean campaign ended, Nicco founded and is President of Echo Ditto, a leading internet strategy consulting company with offices in Washington DC, New York, and Cambridge, Massachusetts and one of the first firms to apply the philosophy and approach of Web 2.0 to businesses and other large enterprises.  Nicco’s clients have included Seventh Generation, Hughes, The Discovery Channel, Florida Power and Light, Brighter Planet and the UN Foundation.

Nico is a co-founder of, a crowd sourced creative ad agency, and he is a co-founder of, an online resource for proxy voting and shareholder resolutions. In December of 2003, he was named one of America’s “best and brightest” by Esquire magazine. Nico teaches at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and was a Fall 2008 Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University.

Nicco has one of the best experienced based and intuitive grasps of how to make money on the web and activate and monetize communities of anyone in the business. He and his team also have the capability to assess, buy, modify or build any Web 1.0 or 2.0 technical applications.  Nicco lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Neville Hobson

Neville is one of the leading European early adopters and influencers in social media communication for business and has been blogging at, on “the intersection of business, communication and technology” for over five years. He is co-presenter with Shel Holtz of the twice-weekly “For Immediate Release: The Hobson & Holtz Report,” the communication profession’s first business podcast started in January 2005.

He has over 25 years’ experience in public and media relations, marketing communication, employee communication and investor relations.  Neville is a founding Senior Research Fellow and Advisory Board member of the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR), a California-based non-profit think tank. SNCR is dedicated to the advanced study of new communications tools, technologies and emerging modes of communication, and their effect on traditional media, professional communications, business, culture and society. Throughout his career, Neville has been a passionate advocate for new and emerging technology tools and channels and how they can be deployed as effective agents of change in better aligning organizational needs with the marketplace and the needs of employees, customers and other stakeholders.  Neville lives in Wokingham, England.

Ken Dec

Ken is a 25 year marketing, advertising and internet veteran helping  travel, hospitality and gaming companies build their brands and their businesses.  He has held executive level positions at several agencies including Arnold Worldwide, Epsilon and Rapp Collins. In addition to leading one of the largest internet advertising campaigns in history, Ken has worked on several loyalty programs including Starwood Preferred Guest and HiltonHonors.  He has also served as Chief Measurement Officer of a leading on-line agency and is committed to developing ROI based initiatives.  Ken served as a Partner at Social Sphere Strategies in 2007 and developed many of the firm’s products and services.

Ken’s accomplishments include working directly with Barry Sternlicht to launch the Starwood Hotels and Resorts brand through the creation of the Starwood Preferred Guest program and leading the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism to four consecutive years of record lodging revenues, generating $37 in revenue for every $1 in marketing investment. Ken has also developed and deployed successful marketing programs for the both the MGM Mirage and Mandalay Bay Resort group’s as well as individual Las Vegas properties including the MGM Grand, Mirage, Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo and more.

Ken lives in Brookline, Massachusetts and is a self-proclaimed film fanatic, Boston sports fan, music geek, and policy wonk. He is on the Democratic National Committee Finance Committee, sits on the board, executive committee and is development committee chair of the national office of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and is on the board and is development committee chair of Community Servings.

James Ray

James is a “business persons CIO” and probably has more experience designing, developing and managing the complex systems necessary to run a successful coalition loyalty program than anyone in the world.  As a consultant and principle, James has advised many of the US major retailers and loyalty programs, including Upromise, Eons, NASCAR RacePoints,  Young-America, Staples, Circle K, Saks Fifth Avenue, Kay Bee Toys, Hooks-Brooks-SupeRx, Laura Ashley, and the United States Golf Association.

As an operator, James has served as CIO of Loyalty Management Group, US Loyalty and Upromise and Vice President of Corporate Systems at Staples.  In addition to his deep loyalty systems expertise, James also has experience in strategic systems planning, information technology and architecture, application design and software development.  James blogs at He lives in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Pamela Rosenthal


Pamela is a senior strategy, marketing and customer insights professional with 15+ years of experience.  She is passionate about online communities, social media and all things web 2.0, and has a substantial record of results from working with Fortune 500 companies across a wide range industries.

 Most recently she was serving as VP Customer Experience at Health Talker, an innovative new social media company that develops word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing programs for the healthcare market with a specific focus on the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.  Pamela played a pivotal role in advancing the vision of the HealthTalker platform, as well as developing and executing client-specific programs.

 Pamela has been involved with online communities since 2003. During her tenure as Director of Consumer Research at Communispace Corporation, she helped clients like Starwood Hotels and Colgate-Palmolive obtain deep and relevant insights from their online communities and was a key contributor and thought leader to the overall business strategy and development.  Previously, Pamela was a VP/Associate Director at Digitas, one of the world’s leading interactive agencies. At Digitas, Pamela managed consumer insights and competitive analysis programs for clients such as Delta Airlines, General Motors, American Electric Power and Celebrity Cruises.

 In the past, Pamela has also held consumer research positions with United Airlines and Bank of America. She has a particular interest and expertise in new product development, web design, marketing communications, customer satisfaction and loyalty.   Pamela holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, and an MBA from the University of Michigan.  She is passionate about politics, music, digital design, and volunteering with kids.