Business Leaders Visit Isenberg Students on Campus During Fall 2021
December 14, 2021
The fall semester saw the return of not only students and faculty to campus, but also classroom visitors. Distinguished alumni, business leaders, and experts in a variety of fields visited the Isenberg building, assisted with class projects, and offered insights and perspectives from their businesses and careers.
The first live, on-campus “Conversation With” seminar took place in November, when Earl Stafford ’76 (left), CEO of the Stafford Foundation, told stories to a packed Flavin Auditorium about how he prepared to found his training and simulation technology company Unitech in 1988.
“While I was in the military, I sold Amway,” he said. “I never made a dime, and in fact lost money, but I later realized that my tenacity, my courage to pick up the phone and go sell, is rooted in my Amway experience.”
Once Unitech was acquired by Lockheed Martin in 2009, Stafford explained, he devoted his time to giving back, primarily through the work of the Stafford Foundation.
(Previous “Conversation With” events were held online during the past academic year and featured Ed Shirley ’78 and Bob Epstein ’67. Future events will be held both on-campus and online, allowing for speakers who aren’t able to travel to Amherst.)
Anita DeFrantz (right), the senior member of the Olympic Movement in the United States, delivered an in-person keynote speech in October as the McCormack Department of Sport Management’s Executive-in-Residence. As part of her visit, DeFrantz also visited classrooms, participated in roundtables with sport management students and faculty, and recorded an interview as part of the McCormack Collection Oral History Project.
Numerous business executives and experts also visited individual classes: Rob Hale (left), co-founder and president of Granite Telecommunications, a Quincy, Mass.–based company that provides voice and data communications services to businesses, spoke to Associate Professor of Management Mzamo Mangaliso’s Principles of Management class in October.
“Find a job you love,” Hale told the class when asked by students about the best advice he would share with his younger self. He emphasized that even if they fear failure, they should use that fear as motivation and to take chances and accept risk in their efforts to create careers they really love. Hale, who has run Granite for 20 years, also owns real estate firm FoxRock Properties and founded private equity firm Copley Equity Partners; he is also co-owner of the Boston Celtics. Still, he explained that he is most proud of his charitable work: Granite was recognized as the most philanthropic company in Massachusetts in 2019 after donating $25 million to organizations including the Boston Children’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
In Finance Professor Mila Getmansky Sherman’s Alternative Investments class, Jerry Hong ’93 (right) was just one of many professionals who came to campus to share insights with students and serve as project sponsors. Hong, who is a retired partner with the ZAIS Group hedge fund, spoke to the class about structured products.
Hospitality and Tourism Management Professor Albert Assaf’s Casino Management course welcomed Jason Randall to campus. Randall, the director of human resources at MGM Springfield, gave students an overview of MGM properties, culture, and careers and discussed how the pandemic has affected the business.
Marketing Lecturer Matthew Glennon’s Fundamentals of Marketing class hosted Terry Mollner, who recently retired from the Ben & Jerry’s board of directors and who remains chair of StakeHolders Capital, a socially responsible asset management firm.
In Professor Elaine Wang’s International Accounting class, Yudan Zhang, came to speak about her time working as a partner at EY, assisting Chinese investors with their cross-border mergers and acquisitions, among other things.
Assistant Professor of Operations and Information Management Priyank Arora’s OIM 305 class enjoyed video visits with Dr. Olufunke Adebola, a senior consultant at Deloitte who until last summer worked as chief data scientist for Hello Tractor, an ag-tech company focused on improving food and income security throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and with Meghna Tyagi, head of supply chain strategy at Clif Bar & Company.
In December, Tom Scott, co-founder of Nantucket Nectars, spoke about his entrepreneurial journey with Clinical Associate Professor Charlie Johnson’s New Venture Organization and Growth course.
Numerous other classroom visitors shared thoughts and wisdom with Isenberg students in every department, including the following:
Roderick Anderson, Co-Founder and CEO at Elateq
Connor Bear, Boston Properties
Gina Campbell, Newmark
Drew Considine, Stonebridge
David Donahue, Partner at Mbuyu Capital Partners
Merrill Gagne ’08, Wealth Management Advisor at Northwestern Mutual
Kathryn Kaminski, Chief Research Strategist and Portfolio Manager at AlphaSimplex Group
Kamal Kasera ’98 MBA, Co-Founder of NineAlpha Capital and Senior Trader/Strategist at DRW
Nelson Lacey, Director of Examinations at CAIA
Michael Lewis ’98, Vice President of Corporate Strategy at The Hanover Insurance
Barbara Mack, President of Pingry Hill Enterprises
Rilwan Meeran, Managing Director, Head of Investments at Sonen Capital
Larry Mestel ’84, CEO of Primary Wave
Jeffrey Moelis, L+M Development
Ben Myers, Boston Properties
Sayantani Nandy ’17 MBA, Director of Brahman Holdings
Ljiljana Rajic, Co-Founder and CSO at Elateq
Lawrence Roodenburg, Carlyle Group
Sara Rothman, Senior Associate for Account Development at Preqin
Bob Saul, Harvard Forest
Kurt Wetzell ’89, Trading Manager at FW Cobs
Adam Whitehouse, CIBC
Hospitality & Tourism Management Department:
Gary Bogoff, President and Founder of Berkshire Brewing Company
Don Bowen, Director of Table Games at Mohegan Sun
Roger Dow, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO
Marina Elsener, Director of Sustainable Development, Diversity and Inclusion, North and Central America for Accor
Brad Fitcher and Michael Ferry, Martignetti Wines
Micheline Forget, Starbucks Regional Manager
Jay Kandampully, Professor at the Department of Human Sciences at Ohio State University
John Koshivos, Vice President and Managing Director of Development for the Southeast Region ad Hilton Worldwide
Bryan Miner, Director of Slot Operations at Mohegan Sun
Fred Mitzner, Senior Vice President at Conference Direct
Lisa Nelson, Vice President of Recruiting and Management Development for J. Alexander’s Holdings
Stephanie Smith, Founder and Digital Matriarch at Cogwheel marketing
Greg Guerman (BS alum), Senior Manager of Business Development at Kiswe
Rob Hanlon ’14, Client Account Manager at Twitter
Davonté Higginbottom ’20, Sports Talent Assistant at William Morris Endeavor
Bill Hubbard ’87 ’89 MBA, Chairman at Tokio Marine HCC
Dan Iannetta (BS alum), Head of Product Marketing at DraftKings
Kelsey Koswick ’14, Account Manager at Digitas North America
Robin Lang ’98, Vice President at Tokio Marine HCC
Mike Lunardelli ’90, Vice President of Merchandise for Spartan Races, VP of Merchandise
Dennis Mannion ’81, President and CEO of House of 7
Patrick Muldoon ’18 MBA/MS, Manager of Brands at Wasserman
Marcus Myrick ’01, Senior Director of Club Services at United Soccer Leagues LLC
Evan Parker, Senior Vice President and General Manager at The Athletic
Sydney Robinson ’18, Product Innovation Specialist at Tokio Marine HCC
Liam Rose ’18, Senior iGaming Marketing & Operations Associate at DraftKings Inc.
Carly Salerno ’13, Senior Director, Ticket Sales at Monumental Sports & Entertainment
Scott Savran ’14, Senior Manager, Property Consulting & Analytics at Scout 360
Jeff Stanley ’02, Senior Vice President at Tokio Marine HCC
Ben Burman ’17, Campaign Strategy Manager of Republic and Host of the “Starting It Up” Podcast
Mike Cataldo, CEO of Convergent Dental
Susan Clancy, Executive Leadership Coach at Boston Executive Coaches
Geoff Cook, Co-Founder and CEO of The Meet Group
Sam Darkwa and Noah Kortkamp, Founders of RealTime Sports
Alden DoRosario, Co-Founder of Chikita
Jeff Fagnan, Partner at Accomplice Ventures
David Fialkow, Managing Director of General Catalyst Partners
Diana Frascella, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition at DraftKings
Ben Howe, Founder and CEO of AG Partners
Siyana Huszar, Creative Director and Co-Founder of Marcella
Ed Kangas, former Global Chairman and CEO of Deloitte Touche and Board Chair or Lead Director of United Technologies, Deutsche Bank USA, Intuit, Tenet Healthcare, Allscripts Healthcare and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Nicole Ledoux and Rob Dalton, Co-Founders of 88 Acres
Brendan McKee, Co-Founder and CFO of Silver Therapeutics
Christian McCollum, Founder and CEO of PlayAction Pools
Jonathan Miller, Founder and CEO of Element Bars
Jason Pananos, Co-Founder of The Nashton Company
Anita Spieth, Partner at Choate, Hall & Stewart, specializing in advising companies on intellectual property protection
David Verrill, Managing Director of Hub Angels
Craig Barry ’19, Sales Executive at LinkedIn
Dani Finestone ’19, Account Executive and “Experience Leader” at Qualtrics
Derek Monson ’14, Senior Account Director at NYC advertising firm Evoke
Elias Os ’20, Account Executive at Procter & Gamble
Greg Pare, Lead Campus Recruiter for Target Corporation