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Cover Article Rooted In Music Grammy Award-winning keyboardist James Poyser, ’93 BBA: From Fox to The Roots and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
Rooted In Music

Grammy Award-winning keyboardist James Poyser, ’93 BBA: From Fox to The Roots and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

Posted in Cover Story

James PoyserWhether writing or recording, producing or playing, James Poyser, BBA ’93, is living his dream in the music industry

The lower level in James Poyser’s home is designed for entertaining – ­but not in the traditional sense.

The room resembles a music museum. Keyboards, nearly a dozen of them, occupy the space within his home studio. A guitar rack is in there, too, sandwiched between the wall and a mixing board. And within arm’s reach is Poyser’s digital keyboard, on which he conducts a chunk of his in-home work.

Gold and platinum albums accentuate the basement walls just beyond Poyser’s studio. Encased in glass, the albums are like a living resumé, dotting the award-winning achievements of his 24-year career in music.

Poyser, BBA ’93, took an unorthodox route to music stardom. That path included earning an undergraduate degree in Finance from Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

Poyser is the keyboardist and pianist for The Roots, the Philadelphia-reared, world-renowned hip-hop band. His passion for music began as a child in Sheffield, England. He’d use his mother’s knitting needles to play drums on her upturned pots and pans. Today, that passion takes shape five days a week on NBC’s The Tonight Show, on which The Roots serve as Jimmy Fallon’s house band.

Behind the scenes, he has famously collaborated as a studio musician, songwriter, and producer for the likes of Mariah Carey, Erykah Badu, and Adele, among others. He’s toured the world, and his work has received three Grammy awards and 10 Grammy Award nominations.

“The relationships are the most-rewarding aspect of this career of mine,” Poyser said, from his home in the Philadelphia suburbs. “They are lifelong. Music has given me the chance to have so many brothers and sisters who will be around long after my hands can’t move.”

FROM SMALL GIGS TO THE BIG TIME

Born in the United Kingdom, Poyser’s family of five moved to the United States when he was only 9. They relocated to West Philadelphia, where Poyser’s father, Felix, organized the New Testament Church of God with only seven congregants.

Religion played an instrumental role in molding young James’ life.

“It was all around me,” Poyser said. “A big part of the worship experience is music. I would see these musicians, and the motion of their arms and feet, and I’d say, ‘I want to do that.’ It seemed like a natural thing.”

Poyser started out with piano lessons and “the little-old-lady experience,” he said of his first piano instructor. As a result, he grew disinterested and temporarily gave up playing. A child his age later reignited that spark. On cassette tape, Poyser recorded his peer’s playing of a song on the keyboard, and Poyser listened to the tape over and over. He not only taught himself to play the song, but how to play it in all 12 musical keys.

Poyser took his music career to a different level during his days at Temple University. Back then, he would schedule regular jam sessions with music majors from the Boyer College of Music, and deliver sidewalk performances outside the Student Center. His college career began across town, as a chemical engineering major at Drexel University. On a trip to Rohm & Haas with classmates, though, he said to himself, “I don’t want to do this for a living,” and transferred to Temple.

“I knew the strength of Fox, and finance was a practical degree that could apply to whatever career path I chose,” Poyser said. “My love would lead me to a career in music, and I figured I’d need a business education to be able to negotiate contracts or run my own production company.”

From there, a series of connections helped Poyser “put the pieces of the puzzle together,” he said, including an interaction with Jeffrey Townes, who’s better known by his stage name.

“I was playing at various churches for community choirs, playing in wedding bands, and teaching piano when I met Jazzy Jeff,” Poyser said. “Jeff asked me to go on tour with his group Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. When we returned from the tour, Jeff asked me to work on a few records in the studio with him and, the next thing you know, I was a staff songwriter for his company A Touch of Jazz. Then I branched out. I had two partners (Chauncey Childs and Victor Duplay), and we started our music production company out of Vic’s apartment and Axis Music Group was born. Vic was friendly with a guy – that’s what he told us – and he thought we could get access to his recording studio.”

That “guy” was Kenny Gamble, one-half of the Philadelphia writing and production team Gamble and Huff that formed the legendary Philadelphia International Records. That partnership gave Poyser access to Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, and musicians who like Poyser were on the rise.

“I’m not surprised at his success,” Gamble said of Poyser. “Some musicians can read and play the charts that you place in front of them, while others can add something creatively to the track. James’ creativity has allowed him to write, produce, and play at a high level.”

Through Jazzy Jeff, Poyser said he “ran into” members of The Roots. Their manager at the time, the late Rich Nichols, asked Poyser if he’d welcome the chance to write with the band. While working with The Roots, Poyser struck up collaborative relationships with rapper Common and neo-soul artist Erykah Badu. Poyser’s career catalogue spans the likes of Lauryn Hill, Carey, Jill Scott, Rihanna, Adele, and Aretha Franklin, too.

It may sound simplistic for a career musician, but Poyser points to “listening” as his key to success.

“It’s all about good synergy and listening to one another, and not just in a musical sense,” he said. “If you’re paying attention, the song will tell you how to play it. If you’re making a left turn here, everyone in the room needs to make that left. That way, you’re producing a piece of music that’s not coerced or fake. It’s real. We’re not forcing a piece of music to come out.”

Poyser’s schedule in the studio doesn’t always allow him to tour with The Roots, but he’s played on each of their albums since Things Fall Apart. He’s appeared in primetime since 2009, when Fallon tapped The Roots as his house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. That agreement continued when Fallon, in 2014, took over The Tonight Show. Poyser is even the focus of a weekly segment called, “Jimmy’s Thank-You Notes,” for which Poyser delivers the musical accompaniment while trying not to break a smile.

Douglas Gorenstein/NBC
Photo: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC

“I remember (Nichols) called me and said, ‘Would you be into this?’ and I said, ‘Of course.’ I couldn’t turn it down,” Poyser said.

Poyser’s rising profile does not faze his son Jadyn, 9.

“He doesn’t care one bit,” Poyser said, giggling. “It’s like, ‘Oh cool.’ There was a commercial that came on, and Jimmy is on the screen, and Jadyn looks up and dismissively goes, ‘Hey, there’s your boss.’”

“THE PIANO, TO HIM, IS A BOX OF MAGIC”

Every day breeds new opportunity for Poyser, who oozes with creativity.

It would be easy for him, while riding AMTRAK, to sink into the soothing tones of familiar songs, or get lost in his overflowing email account. Instead, he views his commute from Philadelphia to New York City five days a week as an excuse to generate music.

Technological advances have helped Poyser turn a quiet-ride car into a mobile studio. Through headphones, he listens back to the programing and editing work he’s completed on his laptop. Poyser made headlines last January when he and Jazzy Jeff released for digital download Snow Beats EP, a four-song collection on which the duo had worked while stuck indoors by more than two feet of snow. They laid down drumbeats, piano, and synth over four hours to complete their work.

“At times, I’m in the middle of something when I reach my destination,” Poyser said of his commute. “I’ll say to myself, ‘We got here too soon!’ I just try to jot down a few notes so that, when I have some free time, I can go to an empty room and pick up where I left off. There’s never a chance for downtime. You have to stay creative. Today, guys are writing hit records on their iPhones.”

From that standpoint, Poyser seldom takes downtime. That would explain how he’s able to meld his playing career with his passion for production and songwriting, through which he’s shared creative space with some of today’s top artists.

Badu, for example, won’t step into the recording studio without Poyser. She has called upon him as a co-producer on all five of her albums. She calls Poyser “my studio husband,” because of their efficacious chemistry.

“The piano, to him, is a box of magic, and he just continues pulling stuff out of there,” Badu said. “The chords, the combinations, the sequences – he’s like Schroeder from Peanuts. He has his head down, his tongue is out a little bit, and he’s excited about what he’s playing.”

While working on her album “Mama’s Gun,” Badu said she became so focused on achieving perfection that she wouldn’t leave the studio. And Poyser, unwilling to disappoint Badu, stayed there with her.

“James never complained,” she said. “I caught him with a beard because he hadn’t gone home to shave. We worked tirelessly for two weeks, straight toward the end of the album. He looked worn down, and a friend came to me and gave me a sticky-note that James had passed him. It said, ‘Help me!’ That made me laugh, because his wit is as strong as his playing.”

Poyser is equal parts serious and self-deprecating. He can lavish eloquent praise upon his boyhood inspirations – legends like Miles Davis and Marvin Gay – and, in the same breath, wonder aloud how much makeup is required “to take the shine off my big bald head.”

Given his high profile, he’s surprisingly unostentatious and down to Earth. He does, however, allow himself to get carried away when it comes to his craft. From the baby grand piano in his living room, to the massive keyboard collection in his basement, it’s clear to outsiders what Poyser does for a living.

He smiles widely as he starts to tell a familiar story about one of those keyboards: Herbie Hancock once joined Poyser in his home studio and, when Hancock offered to tune Poyser’s Fender Rhodes, Poyser had another favor in mind. He asked Hancock to sign the inside of the keyboard. Upon request, Poyser removes the lid of the Fender to reveal Hancock’s autograph.

“This is my room,” Poyser said of his home studio. “My favorite (time) is when I’m playing for myself, alone, and I don’t know what I’m doing. All I know is that my hands are moving.”

Beyond the scope of music, Poyser is active on social media. And despite his standard, soft-spoken tone, he is quite outspoken on Twitter when it comes to his beloved basketball team. He heaps support upon the Philadelphia 76ers, who are going through a tenuous rebuilding process.

He views social media as another outlet for his creativity. He never wants to lose that edge.

“People are taking chances and doing new things in music,” he said. “I don’t want to be the old guy, shaking my cane or my fist, saying, ‘You meddling youngsters!’ If there’s something to learn, it’s how to stay current and stay inspired.”

He’s even kicked the tires on pursuing an advanced degree in orchestration “if I win the lottery,” he said. Going back to school, he said, would make his parents beam with an even greater sense of pride.

“I loved my Temple experience, because that set me on a course that gave me the confidence to know that I wasn’t going to fail,” Poyser said. “I knew God had a plan for me. My parents have always been encouraging and supportive of my career. But they are old school, so from time to time, my mom will say, ‘When are you going to get a real job,” and my dad will say, ‘When are you going to go back to school for your Master’s, son?”

No time soon, Poyser said. There are too many gigs to play and songs to write.

The Art of Business

Tradition, distinction, and innovation act as the cornerstones of our nearly 100-year history, as our entrepreneurial students pave new roads of discovery.

Posted in Message from the Dean

Fox School of Business Dean M. Moshe Porat
Fox School of Business Dean M. Moshe Porat

Our graduates – some 65,000 men and women – have established successful careers throughout the world. Their jobs, their titles, and their lines of work are distinct and many.

But one criterion tethers them together: Perseverantia Vincit.

The words of Temple University founder Russell Conwell, “Perseverance Conquers,” serve as this university’s motto. They also function as our daily inspiration to push farther, work harder, and outperform even our greatest expectations.

More than two decades ago, James Poyser could not have imagined his remarkable career trajectory as he pursued a finance degree from the Fox School of Business. Today, he appears on national television five times a week as the keyboardist for The Roots, and writes and produces music with some of the industry’s top recording artists.

The same could be said for Stephanie Reitano. She worked seven days a week and refused to take a paycheck in order to accomplish her dream of bringing artisanal-quality gelato to Philadelphia. The result: National Geographic recognizes her Capogiro Gelato as the world’s best ice cream.

The successes of James and Stephanie, and other Fox School alumni from the creative, performing, and culinary arts, can be found within these pages of “Fox Focus.”

The Fox School is rooted in inspirational stories like theirs. Tradition, distinction, and innovation act as the cornerstones of our nearly 100-year history, as our entrepreneurial students pave new roads of discovery.

As we progress closer to 2018, which will mark our centennial as a leader in business education, we will continue to unveil a schedule of events to recognize our storied history, our distinguished alumni, and our remarkable student body. We look forward to celebrating this legacy with you.

And remember: So long as perseverance conquers, our students and alumni will continue marching to the beat of their own drummer.

Regards,

Moshe Porat

M. Moshe Porat, PhD, CPCU
Dean
Laura H. Carnell Professor
Fox School of Business

Right On Key

Shane Henderson applied his Fox education to a career in music

Posted in Alumni Profile

Shane HendersonShane Henderson is driving through Los Angeles when he takes a call … and a trip down memory lane. His words help Henderson swerve 11 years into the past, back to 2005 when the sophomore Marketing major at Temple University’s Fox School of Business signed his first record deal.

Henderson, 30, is the former frontman and vocalist of Philadelphia-based pop punk band Valencia. Signed to indie label I Surrender Records by Rob Hitt, former drummer of punk outfit Midtown, Henderson and four other members of Valencia began a journey that would include three albums, a major record-label debut, five stints on the world-famous Vans Warped Tour, thousands of fans from as far away as Australia and Japan, and their own headlining U.S. tour.

“There are just so many memories,” said Henderson, a native of Newtown, Pa. “I’m proud that my band allowed me the opportunity to do these things.”

Henderson has nearly 15 years in the music industry as a performer, producer, and promoter. He picked up an instrument for the first time as a toddler, cycling through the viola, saxophone, drums, and guitar. Valencia formed in 2004 with Henderson on vocals, fellow Temple student Maxim Soria on drums, George Ciukurescu on bass, and Brendan Walter and JD Perry on guitar. The band gained a following in the Philadelphia punk scene while shopping around its demo.

“During my entire freshman year, we had three shows every weekend,” Henderson said. “I’d perform all weekend, and then be back at Temple for Monday’s classes. I had to learn to compartmentalize everything.”

The band signed to I Surrender Records in 2005, and Henderson, three semesters into his tenure at the Fox School of Business, made the decision to pursue a career in music. Valencia immediately played the 2005 Warped Tour alongside platinum-selling rock artists such as Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance before releasing its first album, This Could be a Possibility, less than a year after signing.

As the band gained momentum, Henderson assumed primary marketing responsibilities. Leveraging what he’d learned in his Marketing courses at the Fox School, Henderson formed a gameplan for the band that included a cohesive visual aesthetic — from selfies on social media to direction on the filming of music videos — and interacting with fans online and offline.

“Some bands hide behind social media, but we would always come out and talk to the kids,” Henderson said. “To this day I have amazing friends who I made while standing beside the merchandise table.”

Valencia released its sophomore album through Sony-owned Columbia Records, and saw the band tour with Blink 182, Boys Like Girls, All Time Low, and others while traveling to the Australia Soundwave Festival and the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan. The band ultimately went on hiatus in 2011.

Henderson has since refocused his attention to Promise of Redemption, an acoustic solo project he began as a 16-year-old. Last summer, he released a 10-inch vinyl record with seven new songs.

“I started writing and realized I had something here,” Henderson said. “It’s going to break the barrier for creating an all-acoustic side project.

“It’s a crazy industry, and you won’t always have a job, but the most important thing is to stay consistent and know what you’ll sacrifice to not push paper all day.”

Collaboration

Through data and art, the Fox School bridges students across Temple University through its focus on interdisciplinary study.

Posted in Next Big Thing...

Businesses in today’s globally competitive and rapidly changing technological environment are increasingly resorting to multi-disciplinary approaches to problem solving.

Regardless of a student’s prospective career field, the Fox School of Business are fosters the development data analysis and creative-thinking skills at every level. makes the strongest employee.

As part of its efforts to support interdisciplinary studies, the Fox School lends support and faculty leadership to activities that are open to students from Temple University’s 17 schools and colleges: the Temple Analytics Challenge data competition, and the Temple Art of Business/Business of Art (AB/BA) student professional organization.

Visualizing data-based solutions

The Temple Analytics Challenge started in 2013 as an outlet for students at Temple to develop their data analysis, information visualization, and communication skills. It focuses on making sense of big data through visualization, a key component of data analytics cited by experts as a promising path to job opportunities.

Finalists from the 2016 Temple Analytics Challenge
Finalists from the 2016 Temple Analytics Challenge

Participants work on scenarios using data from corporate partners, analyzing the data and presenting their findings in a way that is meaningful and understandable to a wide audience. Not only do students have a chance to work with real-world data and problems — this year’s theme is “Improving Global Health” and corporate partners Merck, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, and AmerisourceBergen are participating — they also have an opportunity to win up to $2,500 from a total pool of $12,000 in prize money.

“The Temple Analytics Challenge, by integrating analytics, big data, and visualization with real-world important problems, provides students with valuable, employable skill sets,” said George Llado, SVP and CIO of Alexion. “We are very excited to see how the students tackle the challenges of world health.”

The competition is not exclusive to Fox students, and is open to entrants from all 17 of Temple’s schools and colleges. In the past, winners and finalists have come from the Tyler School of Art, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Engineering, the School of Media and Communications, the College of Public Health, and the Fox School.

This level of interdisciplinary competition doesn’t just benefit the participants. The corporate partners are looking for solutions to real-world problems. While the industry partners might be better versed with approaching the subject from a business-school perspective, they might not look at their data the same way an art or engineering student would.

The Fox School’s Institute of Business and Information Technology (IBIT) and the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies sponsor the Temple Analytics Challenge, which is in its fourth year.

“A powerful aspect of the Analytics Challenge is that it gives all Temple students the opportunity to develop new data literacy skills,” said Laurel Miller, Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems (MIS) at Fox, and a co-organizer of the competition.

“There’s an empowering aspect to this,” said Dr. David Schuff, Professor of MIS, and the Challenge’s creator and co-organizer. “I’ll often have students come to me who are interested in participating but unsure whether they have enough data analysis skill. We infuse the competition with workshops and one-on-one counseling to make sure all students have the support they need and the sense that this is something they can do.”

Melding art and business

MESH 2016Beyond the Temple Analytics Challenge, the Fox School bridges the gap between students in the art and business communities through the Art of Business/Business of Art (AB/BA) student professional organization.

Each year AB/BA members host guest speakers, an art-and-business networking event, and a university-wide creativity showcase, MESH: Redefining Art at Temple.

Speakers include: George Ciukurescu, FOX ’15, who played bass for the band Valencia, and is an accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers; Conrad Benner, who founded popular Philly street art blog Streets Dept.; and Tiffica Benza, FOX ’01, and Ashley Peel-Pinkham, owners of Philadelphia Independents, an Old City shop that sells souvenirs made exclusively by Philly artists.

AB/BA members also help each other sell goods at Philly’s annual Punk Rock Flea Market, Tyler Alumni Art Market and Spruce Street Harbor Park.

By participating in AB/BA, Fox students with an art background can mentor Tyler students in business practices,” said Laurie Fitzpatrick, the organization’s faculty leader, and an Assistant Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at Fox. “Together, they can be in touch with the art world. Just because you’re in business school, there’s no reason you should stop painting or stop writing. Your art is part of your life.”

Conversely, for art students, AB/BA is an opportunity to embrace the business world, which methodologies and practices that can seem intimidating, Fitzpatrick said.

“It’s been really fascinating to watch the business students in our group interact with the art students, and watch different ways of thinking come together,” said Fiona Fackler, a former president of AB/BA. “At meetings, we foster conversations and new friendships between students who may not normally interact on a daily basis.”

“It can be difficult to associate with people outside of your major, so it’s nice to step out of those boxes we build, to see people a little differently, or try to get to know people more deeply over shared interests.”

Q&A with Fox School alumnus Raheem Brock

After retiring from the NFL, Brock is tackling a different career; he’s trying his hand at acting.

Posted in Alumni Profile

raheem-brock_headshot-cropped

Performing on the biggest stage has never fazed Raheem Brock. He played in front of 74,000 fans, and a television audience of 94 million, when he and the Indianapolis Colts won Super Bowl XLI in February 2007.

These days, after retiring from football, Brock is tackling a different career; he’s trying his hand at acting. The Fox School of Business alumnus is receiving professional training in the hope that he can land a starring role (or two) in the near future.

“From everything I’m told, it’s what I already knew – this is a grind,” said Brock, 38, who has relocated from his hometown of Philadelphia to the New York metropolitan area. “You just don’t know when your break is going to come. I’m just working to be great at what I do, and improving my craft to become a well-respected actor.”

Brock also keeps busy with his music production company, BeastModez Entertainment. Here’s more from a recent conversation with Brock:

Q: Was it an easy decision, retiring from football?

Brock: “It’s never going to be easy. Football is something you have a passion for all your life. You make it to the NFL and, really, you only have a few years to play before you’re told you’re too old. It’s something you love, and then it’s over. It’s tough for any guy to handle, and it was a tough situation for me. I was acting a little bit while I was playing ball, and I only started fulltime acting after I retired.”

Q: What drew you to acting?

Brock: “I don’t know, because I didn’t have the confidence to do it when I was younger. But I love it, so I jumped off the cliff, so to speak, and jumped right in. When I was at Temple, I took a dance class and, at the end of the semester for a project, we had to put together choreography for the end of a scene. I was nervous about it, but I was into it. I think that’s when I first starting thinking about acting, being on stage.”

Q: In what direction is your acting career headed right now?

Brock: “I’m taking a lot of classes and meeting a lot of casting directors. I post a lot of stuff on social media, so people can see I’m serious about what I’m doing. I’m enjoying the journey.”

Q: So you’re getting formal training in acting?

Brock: “I took acting classes in Seattle, while I was playing for the Seahawks. The coaches didn’t know about it until after the season. It was at the University of Washington. Lately, I’ve been taking classes at Pearl Studios NYC and the New York Actors Connection.”

Q: Has living in New York opened you up to opportunities?

Brock: “I had to move out of Philly. I felt like I had grown out of the city, in terms of acting. It’s a great area and it’s home, but there’s so much opportunity in New York. The competition is tough, which makes you work even harder – and I like that. I thought people in Philadelphia were telling me what I wanted to hear. I was acting in five different independent films in Philly, and I wanted some constructive criticism so I can grow as an actor. So I came to New York. They don’t play around here. They’re straightforward, which I love.”

Q: Do you see yourself as a leading man-type?

Brock: “I feel like I am finally ready to play some lead roles. I like playing the bad guy. I like dramatic acting, and I’m working my way into doing some theater now. Actors always say that being on a stage in front of a live audience is where they’ve learned the most, so that’s where I would like to be. I am working with my teacher David Epstein on Shakespeare. I really love it. The hardest thing for a professional athlete, especially a football player, is finding something that you love and have a passion for as much as you did for the sport you played. But I truly love acting; I feel like it gives me life.”

Q: What was your major at Fox?

Brock: “I started out as a Computer Information Science major, and I was writing programs, designing websites, and things like that for students and teammates. I was doing great in it, too. But for some reason I let friends and family convince me on how hard it’s going to be to graduate in CIS, even though I was receiving As and Bs in the classes. So I changed to marketing. Both CIS and Marketing have helped me in record-label management of my artist, and working with the restaurants. But I love computers and continued growth of technology.”

Q: Do you miss playing football?

Brock: “I miss the guys. I miss playing primetime games. I miss that pressure to be great. I was fortunate to play on a team that dominated the NFL for a decade. I had (Hall of Fame coach) Tony Dungy, who was just what I needed. He was a father figure, and that was missing from my life. I was surrounded by first-round draft picks who are soon to be in the Hall of Fame, if they aren’t already – Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Marvin Harrison, Edgerrin James, and Peyton Manning. We had some great times together, and played a bunch of classic games that are re-aired constantly on NFL Network. I definitely miss it.”

Q: What was it like to win Super Bowl XLI?

Brock: “It was a great feeling to finally get that ring. We had this reputation of having a great team during the regular season, but always falling short in the playoffs. Finally getting over that hump was a sigh of relief, really. We would start off 8-0, 10-0, 12-0, 14-0, and sometimes lose the first game in the playoffs. Winning that Super Bowl opened up a lot of doors for me – and still is to this day. I’m grateful that my hard work paid off.”

Baking meets business

Joe Green’s passion for both led to the creation of his Affinity Confections brand

Posted in Alumni Profile

Joe GreenJoe Green
BBA ‘12 | Founder and CEO of Affinity Confections

Hometown: Philadelphia
A taste for competition: Over the summer, Green pitched casting agents for “Shark Tank.” He’s also been selected as a finalist for Temple University’s business-plan competition, Be Your Own Boss Bowl.


By all measures, Joe Green, BBA ’12, is a successful young entrepreneur who followed his passion for baking to create Affinity Confections, a growing Philadelphia-based company that offers premium-made sweets with unique flavor combinations in smaller, bite-size portions.

But try as he might, there’s still one thing in which he’s not been successful: convincing his grandmother to give up her delicious apple cake recipe.

“I explained, ‘Listen, I’m building a business,’” he said with a laugh. “I bring it up often. And she just won’t give the recipe to me, no matter how much I ask.”

Some things, perhaps, are just too cherished to share with the world. But his grandmother is still the most-important figure in shaping Green’s future, teaching him how to bake when he was a young boy and passing on important lessons like, “You’re only as good as your ingredients.”

She even used to sell some of her cakes to friends or at small events, setting the foundation for Green to carry on the family’s baking legacy on a larger scale.

“If it was raining or cold outside and you’re a kid stuck in the house, what do you do?” said Green, who was raised by his grandmother. “I did all the usual things kids do, but if my grandmother was in the kitchen, I was right there with her. That was something I enjoyed and was my creative expression.”

While his skills in the kitchen grew and he learned the fundamentals of baking, he knew he needed to learn how to take those skills to the next level. That’s where the Fox School of Business came in.affinityconnections_150806_affinity_13376-1

From grasping the ins and out of the business world as an entrepreneurship major to learning on the job during a mandatory internship with Night Kitchen Bakery in Chestnut Hill to emerging as a finalist in Temple University’s renowned Be Your Own Boss Bowl, Green credits Fox with giving him the tools to start his company just a couple years after graduation.
“It’s one thing to be naturally talented at something or have a good background with it,” he said. “But it’s another thing to have that business acumen to really make it a viable business.

“Conceptually, baking is a good comparison to the business world itself,” he added. “It requires a lot of patience, a lot of time, and because it’s like chemistry, you’ve got to get those formulas right.”

Launched in 2014 after more than a year of product development (and testing the concept through a snack bar on Temple’s campus), Affinity Confections has certainly been more than viable. Green delivered what he thought to be an engaging pitch to casting agents for the hit ABC show “Shark Tank” when they recently visited Temple.

And although he’s proud of the tasty and fresh seasonal confections he’s developing, the company’s excellent online reviews, and strong track record of commercial and residential delivery, his eyes are now on the next phase: finding a brick-and-mortar location where Affinity can bring in its products from its West Philadelphia production facility and establish a footprint in the city.

From there, his ambitions are even greater.

“My aim is to be a staple in the city,” Green said. “When you think about Philadelphia, you think about cheesesteaks, pretzels, and water ice. I want people to put Affinity Confections in that category.”

People-centric product development

Cori Shearer not only helps develop and grow the Shazam platform, but also promotes diversity in the technology industry and lead initiatives to make both the platform and the industry more accessible.

Posted in Alumni Profile

cori-shearer_001Cori Shearer
BBA, ‘14
Product Manager of Growth, Shazam

Hometown: Harrisburg, Pa.
Learning and flexibility: “At Temple, you can learn at your own pace, learn while also working part- or full-time, or learn while pursuing passions outside of the classroom.”


During her sophomore year, Cori Shearer, BBA ’14, went on a service trip to Jamaica that inspired her approach to business and product development.

As part of the trip, hosted through the Howard Gittis Student Center, Shearer and her peers helped children in the local community develop an eco-friendly trash disposal system to combat the lack of disposal resources and irregular waste management maintenance. The experience reaffirmed her desire to devote her time and energy to serving fellow underrepresented populations and to take a people-centric approach to business.

“The trip taught me to challenge my unconscious biases and to always try to understand barriers faced by others in certain markets,” said Shearer, 24. “Some of us have unchecked privileges that blind us to problems in the world, which prohibit us from understanding people. If we can’t understand people, how can we hope to develop products that meet their needs?”

Shearer, Product Manager of Growth for the popular music discovery application Shazam, applies this experience when she helps the company think about user diversity and platform access in product decisions.

Her journey to Silicon Valley, like her enrollment at Temple University, was unexpected. Shearer, who originally intended to pursue a career in the performing arts, fell in love with technology after taking her first management information systems course during her sophomore year. Her knowledge and passion for the field quickly developed as she became more active in the department, and began to participate in and even place at hackathon competitions.

In her junior year, Shearer attended a conference in San Francisco where Tim Westergren, Pandora Radio founder, delivered the keynote address. Westergren’s insight and charisma inspired Shearer.

“I remember saying to myself afterwards, ‘I want to work for him one day,’” Shearer said.

A year later, Shearer made that happen; she graduated from the Fox School of Business, bought a one-way ticket to San Francisco, and landed a summer internship as a technical program management intern at Pandora. Afterward, she officially began her post-grad career as a product specialist at the discovery engine StumbleUpon. Now, a year later, Shearer celebrated her work anniversary at Shazam, which she joined in September 2015.

In addition to her full-time job, Shearer devotes free time to mentoring and volunteering with organizations such as CODE2040 and Girls in Tech, which are dedicated to the advancement and the inclusion of underrepresented groups in tech.

“As a person of color and a young woman, I understand the barriers others face not only to enter but also to advance in this industry,” Shearer said. “I appreciate the opportunities I now have to help others navigate it.”

Shearer said she doesn’t believe in luck in the traditional sense. She credits her success and career growth to her “say yes” mindset, which she developed at the Fox School.

“I’ve had the privilege of experiencing success early in my career because I put in the preparation, I’ve remained resilient, taken advantage of opportunities and not people, and have surrounded myself with mentors and allies,” she said.

Fox Management Consulting

The Fox MBA capstone course delivered a strategic mission for one of Philadelphia’s artistic fixtures.

Posted in Fox's Power in...

From L to R: Matthew Royles Susan Serota Phillip Laska Brian J. Tye Fall 2016 PMBA class.
From L to R: Matthew Royles, Susan Serota, Phillip Laska, Brian J. Tye, Fall 2016 PMBA class.

The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and the Performing Arts was looking, in a sense, to change its tune. The Fox School of Business’ equivalent of the Fab Four helped the organization do just that.

Four students nearing completion of their MBA programs in Spring 2016 – Prince Ebo, Meco Sparks, Jim Shovlin, and Tom Finnerty – used their capstone project within the renowned Fox Management Consulting practice to develop a strategic plan for the 50-year-old organization. And the plan, said Anne Edmunds, the Clef Club’s strategic advisor, has been “transforming.”

“At the start of the process, the Philadelphia Clef Club did not have a clear direction and strategic planning process,” she said. “The mission became clear. The direction became clear.”

Because of the plan, the organization’s leadership has been galvanized. Partnerships have been formed between the club and the School District of Philadelphia, as well as other local musical organizations. And perhaps most importantly, fundraising has been ramped up.

Within the Fox Management Consulting (Fox MC) practice, students apply, integrate, and demonstrate business training by delivering professional-grade strategic solutions to paying clients. For the clients, who stem from the private, public, and social sectors both locally and globally, Fox MC offers unmatched cost-effective, research-based consulting.

“It’s the interface between business school and the business world,” said Dr. TL Hill, Academic Director of the Fox Global MBA program. “We’ve conducted more than 300 projects, and in each case, we’re always looking to solve a strategic problem, and provide a business solution for the client and live, experiential learning for our students.”

The Clef Club, described by project executive Omar Woodard as “a jewel of the community,” began in 1966 as a trade union for African-American musicians denied access to other unions – Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane have been among its members — and later branched out into performances and music education.

Edmunds, who runs her own consulting firm, did an initial assessment of the organization in 2014.

“I found they were not fundraising,” she said. “They were trying to be self-sufficient, living on earned income. They were getting themselves in debt, trying to work day to day.”

The four students in question knew little about the club before delving into the project, much less its plight. But Dave Nash, Fox Management Consulting’s Director of Operations and an Assistant Professor of Strategic Management, circulated an email in December 2015 about a potential project involving the organization, and it caught Ebo’s eye.

“I’m a big music fan,” said Ebo, who grew up in West Philadelphia and is the son of Nigerian immigrants. “I said, ‘Why not apply my business knowledge to this special organization?’ ”

Truth be told, he had been preparing for the capstone project from the moment he began studying toward his MBA three years earlier. He remembered being told during orientation that it was imperative to assemble a strong team, and he took that to heart.

He and Sparks, who had several classes together, were the first to cross paths.

“We realized we clicked as far as our work styles,” he said. “We both agreed that we have to come up with a dream team.”

He was left with a positive impression of Shovlin after the two had teamed on a project in a finance class one summer. And Shovlin, who had shared some classes with Finnerty, felt he too would be a good fit. The die was cast. Ebo took on the role of project manager. Sparks specialized in marketing and branding. Finnerty was the self-described “finance guy.” Shovlin zeroed in on strategic planning, though Finnerty also thought his big-picture thinking was invaluable.

“He would step up to the white board and draw things out (during meetings),” Finnerty said of Shovlin. “He did a fantastic job of tying together all of our ideas.”

It proved to be a tight-knit team. Everybody pulled his or her weight. Dissension was never an issue. And momentum quickly built.

“I don’t know how we ended up being so lucky,” Ebo said. “There was too much laughter and good times. It worked out perfectly.”

The task was daunting, though.

Artistic Director to the Clef Club, Lovett Hines
Artistic Director to the Clef Club, Lovett Hines

“Basically it was trying to do two full-time jobs at once,” Sparks said. “We promised the moon and the stars, and we had to deliver. That was the biggest challenge.”

All four continued working their day jobs. Ebo is the manager of Neighborhood Business Development Strategies for the City of Philadelphia, Sparks a marketing manager at Delaware Investments, Shovlin a corporate real estate manager at Johnson & Johnson and Finnerty the procurement manager at PBF Energy.

None of that stopped them from doing the necessary legwork for the project.

“Our goal was to dive as deep as we should,” Shovlin said. “We wanted to make sure to cover all the key components and not overlook anything.”

By semester’s end they presented a 60-page report to the club’s 11-member board, along with an executive summary, a detailed financial model and a calculator (produced by Finnerty, of course) that would enable the club to price things correctly.

“It stood out as an incredibly thorough job,” Woodard said.

And for the students, an enjoyable one. That was particularly true in Sparks’ case, since she remains a marketing consultant to the Clef Club, but it extended to the rest of the dream team as well.

“Working with a nonprofit was something I wanted to do,” Finnerty said, “not only as a resume-builder but from a mission standpoint. I feel like I did something good that semester. I miss it somewhat. My wife, not so much.”

Tamara Woods, BBA ‘07

Actress

Posted in Office Hours

Tamara WoodsTamara Woods has been in the spotlight since she was three months old, when her mother sent her photograph for inclusion in Hollywood Spotlight Photo Magazine. In between then and now, she’s made stops in the United States Air Force, the retail and nonprofit worlds, and the Fox School of Business before pursuing acting full time.

Now Woods is preparing for two upcoming roles: As Sergeant Diane Torres in her first feature film, “A Sense of Purpose: Fighting for our Lives,” and as Frannie Lou Hamer in “Freedom Smitty,” a stage play about Kenneth Smith, a Philadelphian who helped desegregate Girard College.

Though she has performed all of her life — while dancing at family functions and acting in church plays — Woods, who comes from a military family, knew she wanted to serve her country. While stationed in Kuwait during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Woods started doing liturgical dance and singing in the military base’s church choir. She also helped organize a play for fellow military personnel.

“We had a packed house,” she said. “It was just beautiful because you have all walks of life, all colors coming together in the house of the Lord. It wasn’t just U.S. soldiers, and that ignited my passion again for performing.”

When she returned home, Woods juggled working in the nonprofit sector, serving in the Air Force Reserves, taking courses toward her Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Fox, and attending auditions and rehearsals. That hard work paid off. Today Woods’ dynamic background helps inform her career. In “A Sense of Purpose: Fighting for our Lives,” Woods plays a military veteran recovering from sexual assault and post-traumatic stress disorder.

She is also preparing for her role in “Freedom Smitty,” in which she will play a voting right activist and civil rights leader who was instrumental in organizing Mississippi’s Freedom Summer.

“In school for Black History Month, you always learned about Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but there are so many people in my culture who are heroes and who stood up in the Civil Rights Movement,” she said. “I had never even heard of Frannie Lou Hamer until now.”

Woods sees her work as a way to give back. She hopes to continue touring with the anti-bullying play, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” in order to open a dialogue between school officials, law enforcement, and parents.

“I feel as though I’m inspiring, uplifting and empowering someone, hoping that it will make some kind of beautiful change in somebody’s life,” she said.

Here’s a glimpse into a day in the life of Tamara Woods:

3:30 a.m. Start my day with bible readings, prayer, and positivity that make room for productivity and prosperity.

6:00 a.m. Family business. (The work of a wife and mom never ceases.)

9:00 a.m. Create inspirational content and share industry information on social media.

10:00 a.m. Check and respond to emails. Search for auditions and apply. Make phone calls to follow-up on current and upcoming projects.

12:00 p.m. Eat lunch while promoting projects and events on social media.

2:30 p.m. Review a new monologue for auditions. Call to run lines with a fellow actress and schedule our next rehearsal through Skype. Call my agent to follow-up on auditions and put together my reel.

4:00 p.m. Prepare dinner while I wrap up a business call with a filmmaker.

4:50 – 5:30 p.m. Eat dinner with my family, and discuss our day and what’s coming up.

6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Rehearsal for “Freedom Smitty”

10:00 p.m. Prepare for the next day. I check email from my agent for any travel arrangements I’ll need to make. 

11:00 p.m. Time for some sleep. (My routine starts all over again at 3:30 a.m. There’s a saying, “The early bird gets the worm!”)

HITTING THE NAIL ON THE HEAD

Undergraduate Neha Raman has earned accolades on the local business-plan circuit, and even pitched “Shark Tank,” thanks to her custom nail-polish-coloring system.

Posted in Student Profile

jr-neha-rema_03Neha Raman
Age: 19

Hometown: North Wales, Pa.
Happy feet: Another of Raman’s interests includes her involvement with Temple Agni, the university’s all-female South Asian Fusion dance team. “(It was) a good step back from anything academic and anything business-wise,” she said. “It was just kind of a good place for me to be the way I am and hang out with my friends, but also dancing is just such a great release.”

 
Neha Raman, BBA ’18, was “really into nail polish,” but found that her options were limited.

“I wanted a more custom approach,” she said, “and was tired of seeing the same colors over and over again.”

Her solution was to launch a make-your-owl nail polish business – called “Rungh,” the Hindi word for “color” (and pronounced “Rung”) – in November 2015. The Temple junior did so while still a student at North Penn High School in North Wales, Pa. It was not without help – her parents, listed as the business’s co-founders, put up $40,000 in seed money – and not without setbacks.

In time she produced a product that sells for $39.95 and includes six nail-polish bottles with nail-polish base, 18 pigment capsules, a battery-operated mixer, and disposable mixing wands. She has sold “about 100” to date, but there has been measurable success in many other ways.

Rungh, which has been featured on Zulily.com, was the official nail polish of Philadelphia Fashion Week in February 2016, and that same month Raman was the runner-up in College Pitch Philadelphia, winning $5,000 in the process. In April she was again a second-place finisher, this time in Temple University’s Be Your Own Boss Bowl, and picked up a $10,000 prize. And in June she made a one-minute pitch to casting associates of the popular television program “Shark Tank,” when they visited Temple’s campus.

Rungh Product SampleShe is not permitted to say how that went, but to her father, Niranjan (he goes by N.J.), this entire exercise has been a no-lose situation.

“We thought it would be a phenomenal experience that you can’t get in the classroom,” he said, referring to himself and his wife, Usha. “This is a real thing. … Given the fact that Neha is so young, it’s not like there’s a nest egg she might lose. She’s at the point where she can leverage her youth to her advantage. She can learn from her mistakes. If things don’t go the way she wants, there will be other opportunities open to her.”

N.J. emigrated from his native India a quarter-century ago, to pursue his master’s degree in marketing communications at the University of Connecticut. Usha, who he did not know at the time, came to UConn from the same nation a year later; she was seeking her master’s in nutrition.

They met and hit it off, and N.J. is now a marketing research consultant, while Usha is a senior data analyst at Cigna. They have always told Neha and her younger sister Nina to follow their passions. Neha, not surprisingly, describes entrepreneurship as “taking what you like and enjoy, and turning it into a business.”

“There’s nothing like this,” N.J. said. “We thought she kind of hit the nail on the head (with the idea).”

Neha, who in her spare time performs for Temple Agni, the university’s all-female South Asian Fusion dance team, believes even greater things are ahead for her business. Other products, she said, are on the horizon – products she can’t yet disclose. And she speaks hopefully about her post-college days.

“By the time graduation comes, I’m hoping that Rungh is at a point where I can really manage it full-time and take it even farther,” she said. “I can’t wait to see how far things go in the coming years. That’s my goal: Hopefully by the time I graduate I already have something that is ready to take off.”

There’s a Way to Do it Better

There is always a better way to fuel your innovation, spark your creativity, and foster growth.

Posted in Alumni Association News & Events

Jack Cesareo
Jack Cesareo

Thomas Edison once said: “There’s a way to do it better—find it.”

Isn’t that what all of us discover in business? There is always a better way to fuel your innovation, spark your creativity, and foster growth. Each opportunity creates a new situation, and these situations will result in something new or different.

It’s important to remain aware of these situations, to help maximize your personal and professional opportunities. As a Fox School alum, you are rooted in an institution that encourages self-awareness and hardwork.

Those situations are manifested by the Fox School of Business Alumni Association.
Want to visit campus? Take a tour of the facilities, and meet with faculty and Fox School Student Ambassadors.
Want to support current students? Act as a mentor, or subject-matter expert.
Want to engage with fellow alumni? Join the FSBAA as a volunteer, or pursue a Director-at-Large position.

All of these outlets present opportunities to demonstrate your creativity and talents, make connections with current and past students, and potentially advance your career.

As Temple University founder Russell Conwell wrote in his famous “Acres of Diamonds”: “You can journey to the ends of the earth in search of success, but if you’re lucky, you will discover happiness in your own backyard.”

I encourage you to return to your collegiate backyard at Temple University and the Fox School of Business.

 

Regards,
Jack Cesareo
Jack Cesareo

From one stage to another

Music, in a way, has influenced the teaching style of Marketing and Supply Chain Management professor Anthony Di Benedetto.

Posted in Faculty Profile

tony-dibennedettoDr. Anthony Di Benedetto
Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec
Resides: Philadelphia

It’s been a few decades since Dr. Anthony Di Benedetto grabbed his bass, got on stage, and played music in front of big crowds. But the longtime Fox professor still harkens back to his rock-and-roll days in the 1970s whenever he gets to the front of a class and speaks to his students.

“I’m always conscious of being on stage,” he said. “It’s a little bit like doing theater or music. I still remember things like not turning your back on the audience. I really concentrate on not turning my back on my class. And as far as being engaging, the way you address the class is, in a sense, the way you would address an audience.

“I would say I’m better in a classroom because of what I’ve done in music.”

In other ways, music also helped Di Benedetto reach the stage where he is today — as one of the world’s leading research scholars in innovation and technology management. When he was a child growing up in Montreal, he had a tough time making friends. His parents spoke to a psychologist, who encouraged them to find an outlet for their son.

And so music it was.

“Sure enough, when I was in high school, I met a lot of people through music,” he said. “It was fun. And I stayed with it.”

Di Benedetto played in several bands in high school, college, and throughout his 20s, using his skills on the bass to become a valuable commodity because, as he put it, “everyone else wanted to play lead guitar.”

And he was good enough to make a little money at it, too, playing covers of The Beatles, The Who, and The Rolling Stones in clubs and hotels around Montreal for one popular band and what he called “oom-pah” music and pop songs in German clubs for another.

But when it came time to thinking about his future, he decided that the life of a professional musician just wasn’t for him.

“The short story is I gave up rock-and-roll to get my MBA,” said Di Benedetto, who earned his MBA and PhD at McGill University, before launching his career as a professor, joining the Temple University faculty in 1990, and remaining there ever since.
Di Benedetto is certainly happy with that choice, admitting that he seldom plays music and rarely even thinks about his days in a band. But it will always be an exciting, interesting and eye-opening time in his life.

When asked if he’d ever play again, he left the door slightly ajar.

“A musician never says that he’s unemployed,” he laughed. “He’s just between gigs.”

Building spaces and experiences

Recent Executive MBA graduate Steven Sclarow looks forward to applying the lessons he’s learned into the next phase of his career.

Posted in Alumni Profile

Steven Sclarow, MBA, ‘16
Owner’s Representative & Project Manager, Partner Engineering and Science, Inc.

Hometown: Ambler, Pa.

MBA Lingo: “The Executive MBA program added value and a core competency I didn’t know I was missing – the language of business. I’ve always been able to communicate design and construction concepts to clients, consultants and peers. My EMBA experience provided me with new, complimentary language skills, vocabulary and an enhanced strategic outlook and approach.”


Steven Sclarow, MBA ’16, knew he wanted to be an architect from when he was in the seventh grade. Great design relied on two of his major strengths – problem-solving and creativity. Sclarow, 41, has spent nearly 20 years making his dream career a reality.

“What I love about being an architect is that I not only get to build a space, but also watch others experience it and see the joy that space creates for them,” Sclarow said.

As a recent graduate of the Fox School of Business’ Executive MBA program, Sclarow combines his design and project-management background with business skills to take his career to new heights. Sclarow enjoyed the program’s team projects and classes, and the Spring 2016 South Africa immersion trip, in which he experienced international culture and business – all of which provided him the opportunity to build new professional relationships, and enhance his innovative thinking and business repertoire, all while working full-time.

“I gained knowledge and a perspective I could immediately apply to what I’m doing,” Sclarow said.

Following graduation from Syracuse University’s School of Architecture, Sclarow worked for the firm Partridge Tackett Architects, honing his craft prior to joining EwingCole in 1999. While at EwingCole, he developed and collaborated on multiple projects during his 12 years there, spanning two coasts – from science and technology and healthcare facilities, to local entertainment venues like the Mitchell Performing Arts Center in Bryn Athyn, Pa.

Sclarow relocated to Southern California in 2003 to help grow EwingCole’s burgeoning West Coast practice, where he worked on projects that highlight the “sexier side of architecture, sports and entertainment venues” he said. For example, he worked on the Rio Village Seafood Buffet in Las Vegas, and the first ground-up “racino” – a 11/8-mile horse racetrack and full service casino and gaming facility, Zia Park Casino in Hobbs, N.M.

Sclarow worked in construction management for the Department of Homeland Security in 2011 and his West Coast experience culminated in his appointment as president of the American Institute of Architects Orange County in 2012. He then moved back to Philadelphia to be closer to his family. Upon his return, he managed the construction phase on one of his favorite projects, Top of the Tower at 1717 Arch Street.

“Working from conception through completion, I pour my passion and soul into working with clients to collaborate and deliver aesthetically attractive spaces, enhancing their ROI” he said.

At present, Sclarow continues working in the design and construction industry and enjoys moderating panel discussions for the commercial real estate news site, BisNow. He and two peers from the Fox School are also collaborating on a business plan for a mobile app, Drinks-Up! It’s an app that enhances the bar experience by providing hassle-free drink ordering, the improvement of customer service and value-added marketing, and data analytics for bar owners.

“I’ve had the opportunity to take on new challenges that have allowed me to grow exponentially and see tangible results,” Sclarow says. “I’ve made great connections and had a transformative experience in the EMBA program. I’m excited for the next evolution in my career.”

Class Notes – Fall 2016

To submit a Class Note, email your accomplishments, promotions, and achievements to khamm@temple.edu

Posted in Class Notes

1950s

Ronald H. Sherr, BS ’51, LAW ’56
Has served as a trial lawyer for 60 years and is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

1960s

Joseph Badal, BS ’66
Published his ninth suspense novel, Death Ship, with Suspense Publishing; it is the fifth in his Danforth Saga. His books have been ranked in the Amazon Top 100 in the crime and espionage categories and have won best mystery/thriller awards from a variety of organizations, including the Military Writers Society of America.

1970s

Maryann Lenzi, BBA ‘74, MBA ’85
Published Primal Revenge with Beaver Publications Inc. in 2014. Written under the pseudonym Maralyn Morgen, it is a novel about a narcissistic sociopath.

Thomas Ramsburg, MBA ’74
Named to Survey Magazine’s Top 20 Researchers You Need to Know, the publication’s annual list of leaders in the marketing research industry. He is operations director of Research America.

H. Richard Haverstick Jr, BBA ‘74
Nominated to Actua Corporation’s Board of Directors. He serves as Treasurer, Trustee, and Chair of the Audit, Risk, and Compliance Committee of Thomas Jefferson University and Health System, and is a retired managing partner of Ernst & Young LLP, who brings deep expertise in corporate finance, financial reporting, and accounting.

Lynn G. Ozer, BBA ‘77
Hired by Fulton Financial as president of small business administration lending. She most recently served as president of government guaranteed lending with Susquehanna Bank.

1980s

Harith Wickrema, BBA ‘80
Donated $104,500 to Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management – the Fox School’s sister school – for the establishment of the Harith Wickrema Sustainable Tourism and Hospitality Management Endowed Scholarship Fund at STHM. Wickrema is the president of Island Green Living Association, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which works toward the creation of sustainable green tourism and the preservation of St. John.

Joseph F. Messina, LAW ’80, MBA ’85
Received the Joseph I. Mulligan Jr. Distinguished Public Service Award from the International Municipal Lawyers Association.

Steven L. Winokur, BBA ‘81
Recognized as one of Philadelphia’s 2016 CFOs of the Year, by the Philadelphia Business Journal. He is the chief financial officer of Centennial lending Group, a Maple Glen, Pa.,-based mortgage bank that provides loans for residential home buyers.

Marc Cohen, BBA ’83
Elected to the school board for Bensalem Township in Pennsylvania.

Ray Villeneuve, BBA ‘83
Joined Virtual Instruments, a leader in infrastructure performance analytics, as the company’s president. He previously served as CEO of Skytree, an entreprise-class machine learning company.

Robert A. Zipperlen, BBA ‘84
Recognized as one of Philadelphia’s 2016 CFOs of the Year, by the Philadelphia Business Journal. He is the chief financial officer of The Renfrew Center, a Philadelphia-based provider of education and treatment for sufferers of eating disorders, trauma, anxiety, depression, and women’s issues.

Chuck Paul, BBA ‘84
Recognized as one of Philadelphia’s 2016 CFOs of the Year, by the Philadelphia Business Journal. He is the chief financial officer of CoreDial, a provider of white label cloud communications tools based in Blue Bell, Pa. In his role, Paul oversaw the tripling of corporate revenue and a 260-percent employment growth within two years.

Sue Vestri, BBA ‘86
Recognized as one of Philadelphia’s 2016 CFOs of the Year, by the Philadelphia Business Journal. She is the chief financial officer of Greenphire, a King of Prussia, Pa.,-based provider of payment services for clinical trials. She has nearly three decades of financial leadership experience.

Joe Stuhl, BBA ‘86
Named senior vice president and broker executive with Munich Reinsurance America, Inc.’s reinsurance division, and will serve on the division’s executive leadership team. He previously served as the division’s client manager.

Ned Hunter, BBA ‘87
Appointed executive vice president and senior executive officer of Harrington Hoists, Inc., a Manheim, Pa.,-based manufacturer and supplier of chain and rope, air-powered, lever, and manual hand-chain hoists.

Arjun Bedi, MBA ‘87
Selected as the Fox School of Business’ 2016 honoree for Temple University’s Gallery of Success, which annually recognizes banner alumni within each of Temple’s 17 schools and colleges. Bedi is a senior leader within Accenture, a worldwide professional services company that provides strategy, consulting, technology, and operations services. He serves as a managing partner and the director of life sciences client portfolio lead.

Michele Kraynak, BBA ‘88
Appointed director of accounting and consulting with Ludwig Business Consultants, in Lansdale, Pa. Kraynak has more than 30 years of experience in internal accounting management.

1990s

Marc Arot, EDU ’87, BBA ’90
Serves as project manager at MetalWërks USA in Kennett Square, Pa., and serves on the East Nottingham Township Planning Commission. His experience at WRFT, Temple Ambler’s campus radio station, resulted in him forming Don McAvoy and the Great Whatever after his graduation in 1990. The band recently released its third CD, There’s Time Between the Bridge and the Water.

Laurie Griffin Frayne, BBA ’91
Will lead a new team dedicated to data strategy and governance at Everest National Insurance Co., which strives to produce industry-leading underwriting.

Dr. David Hagenbuch, MBA ‘91
Recently published a book, titled, “Honorable Influence: A Christian’s Guide to Faithful Marketing.” He also serves as a professor of marketing at Messiah College, in Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Marna Nape Spiotta, BBA ‘91
Joined New York-based A to Z Wineworks as the director of trade development, with a focus on on-premise sales within the New York metropolitan area.

Jennifer Ables, BBA ‘96
Invited to the White House to participate in The United State of Women, a summit in Washington, D.C., that focused on celebrating achievement and influencing change for the future. Ables received an invite for her work with the therapeutic social dance program Soldiers Who Salsa, for which she serves as executive director.

Kenneth Hannigan, MBA ’96
Completed his doctor of business administration from Walden University in December 2015. He serves as the chief executive officer at Adva-Net, a pain management network that helps injured workers return to work. He also owns and operates two Philly Pretzel Factory stores in the Pittsburgh, Pa., area.

Dr. John J. Ryan, PhD ‘98
Appointed to a three-year term on the 49-member board of trustees at the University of Notre Dame. Ryan serves as the president of King’s College, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. He also serves on the boards of Stonehill College, in Easton, Mass., and the University of Portland, in Portland, Ore.

Dr. Hendrik Muth, MBA ’98
Appointed vice president of product marketing and strategy with Volkswagen of America. He will oversee all product marketing activities, which include the current and future Volkswagen brand vehicle portfolio for the United States. 

2000s

Dr. Terry Hyslop, PhD ‘01
Elected as a fellow of the American Statistical Association. He is a professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics at Duke University, and the director of the Duke Cancer Institute of Biostatistics.

Edward Robinson, BBA ‘01
Named senior vice president and head of Fifth Third Mortgage at Fifth Third Bancorp, providing comprehensive oversight of all mortgage-related functions at the Cincinnati-based company.

Rakia Reynolds, BBA ‘01
Named the inaugural entrepreneur-in-residence for Visit Philadelphia, the official visitor and tourism site for Philadelphia. She is the president and founder of Philadelphia-based Skai Blue Media.

Rebecca Udell, MBA ‘01
Promoted to executive director of marketing strategy with KSS Architects, a design firm focused on architecture, interior design, and planning.

Meredith Sadlowski, BBA ‘03
Named vice president of branded sales and marketing for Gulf, having previously served as vice president of branded contract sales operations, director of sales and account manager. She is responsible for all branded business and collaborates on Gulf Oil’s national go-to-market strategy. She was director of sales and marketing with Pro Sign Co. and served as operations manager for UCH, a venture capital firm, prior to joining Gulf.

Alyce R. Notaro, BBA ‘03
Promoted to senior tax manager by Tronconi Segarra & Associates, a Western New York-based certified public accounting and business consulting firm. Notaro, a certified public accountant, joined the firm in 2007.

Steven Burda, BBA ’03
Named senior financial analyst of Alarm Capital Alliance, one of the nation’s largest residential home security providers, based in Newtown Square, Pa. As part of the company’s executive management team, Burda brings nearly 15 years of experience in the areas of finance, operations, marketing, and strategy.

Shadi Albert, BBA ‘05
Named vice president and director of field operations with Selective Insurance Company of America, in Branchville N.J. He had served as vice president of commercial lines underwriting.

Phyllis Ludwig, MBA ‘05
Announced that her company Ludwig Business Consultants, an accounting and consulting practice that launched in 2002, had acquired Michele’s Money Services in August.

Eleanor Lukens, MBA ‘06
Elected as vice president and general manager of the measurement and power systems division within AMETEK Aerospace & Defense, a leading global manufacturer of electronic instruments and electro-mechanical devices.

James F. Eaton III, BBA ’08
Has earned the personal financial specialist credential from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He joins other professionals who have demonstrated advanced knowledge of estate, insurance, investment, retirement and tax planning. A CPA financial planner with KatzAbosch in Baltimore, Eaton is a manager and a member of the firm’s highnet-worth and pass-through/ real estate tax groups; he lives in Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania.

2010s

Nicholas DeJulius, BBA ‘10
Featured in an article by The Philly Voice about his newly opened business, Arterial Agents, a mixed-use-concept grocery located on Philadelphia’s Jewelers’ Row.

Kwan Suh, BBA ‘10
Launched an update to the popular shopping app Delivit LLC, which allows consumers to leverage technology in order to purchase and receive international goods.

Josh Tait, BBA ‘13
Hired as a human resource data analyst with Amazon, in the Greater Seattle area. He previously had worked with eBay Enterprise.

Rob Lawton, BBA ‘13
Spearheaded an effort to deliver 60,000 bottles of water to Flint, Mich., following the contamination of its drinking water.

Amanda J. Hornberger, BBA ’14
Co-owns Maejean Vintage, an e-commerce antique jewelry store she helped found five years ago. About.com, British Vogue, Lancaster Online, Lucky and Teen Vogue have all covered her store.

Joseph Jones III, MBA ‘15
Appointed superintendent of the Neshaminy School District, in Langhorne, Pa. He previously had served as superintendent of the Woodbury City (N.J.) Board of Education.

Andrew Nakkache, BBA ‘15
Mike Paszkiewicz, BBA ‘15

Co-founded Philadelphia-based food delivery app Habitat, which caters to college students. Its anticipated expansion into a second Philadelphia campus will take place soon.

Lauren Snyder, BBA ‘15
Appointed public relations assistant for American Eagle Outfitters and Aerie, in New York City.

To submit a Class Note, email your accomplishments, promotions, and achievements to khamm@temple.edu

SWEET TREATS

A passion for fresh, house-made ingredients led Stephanie Reitano, BBA ’92, to open Capogiro Gelato Artisans

Posted in Alumni Profile

Stephanie Reitano, BBA ‘92
Owner, Capogiro Gelateria and Capofitto Forno Pizzeria

Hometown: Howell, N.J.
“Mangia!”: Surrounded by tasty treats each day, Reitano says she does not give in to temptation – at least when she’s around the gelato. The same can’t be said about the savory items on her menu. “I can’t go a single day without eating a 12-inch margherita pizza,” she said. “I eat one every day. I haven’t met a pizza I don’t like.”


A cookbook changed Stephanie Reitano’s life.

Before receiving “Marcella Hazen’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking,” a gift from her husband John, Reitano admittedly didn’t know her way around the kitchen. Her love affair with cooking began that day, in 1996. It manifested in a trip in 2001 with John to Italy, where she tasted gelato for the first time.

“It’s denser, richer, and creamier than ice cream, and lower in fat and calories,” Reitano said, recalling that trip through Capri with a smile. “And to be honest, I don’t even like ice cream. But I tasted it, half-hazelnut and half-chocolate hazelnut, and I remember thinking, ‘I have to try more of this.’”

Gelato, at that time, hadn’t been popularized in the United States. It wasn’t until a few years later, on a return trip to Italy for a food trade show, that she and John proposed opening an ‘artiginale’ gelateria in Philadelphia.

And Capogiro Gelato Artisans was born. Today, Reitano owns six locations where her sweet dessert treats can be consumed, including Capofitto Pizzeria + Gelateria, a dual pizzeria and gelato shop located in Philadelphia’s Old City section.

Reitano craved replicating the flavors, textures, and tastes of the gelato she consumed in Italy. So she went about creating Capogiro in the same fashion. Reitano and her husband own a dairy in the city’s East Falls section, where they pasteurize the raw milk they purchase in Honeybrook, Pa. She produces all of her gelato bases and flavorings from scratch. The roasted and blended nut mixtures that produce nut paste? Done in-house, she said. The same goes her chocolates.

“In Italy, there are 20,000 places to get gelato, but the go-to places – the places everyone talks about – are ‘artiginale,’” Reitano said. “John and I were at that trade show and we met people who said, ‘Americans like things easy. Do it this way.’ But we were never looking to take the easy way out.”

The extra effort hasn’t gone unnoticed. In 2011, National Geographic named Capogiro Gelato Artisans the best place in the world to eat ice cream. The recognition, published in National Geographic’s book, “500 Food Journeys of a Lifetime,” solidified Reitano’s decision to commit to old-style preparation and only the best ingredients. Her mouth seemingly waters when she discusses the peaches she buys in-season from a farm in Lancaster, Pa., or the strawberries she orders from a farm in nearby New Jersey, or the blackberries the size of walnuts. “I dare you to find a locally grown blackberry better than that,” she said. “This region and its food are spectacular.”

Reitano, who graduated from the Fox School with a degree in Human Resource Management and Business Law, lives in Fairmount with her husband and their three children – daughter Michaela, and sons Emanuel and Severin. Despite the heavy workload of managing a half-dozen locations seven days a week, she’s proving daily that it’s been worth the journey.

“I hear stories of people incorporating Capogiro into their lives, or their vacations, and it’s humbling,” Reitano said. “How we got the National Geographic honor is inspiring, too. The writers, photographers, and editors turn in their votes for where they eat when they travel, and they overwhelmingly voted for us.

“They described us as lovely and wonderful, and said ‘anytime you’re in Philadelphia, this is where you must go.’ To receive that kind of praise and validation meant a lot.”

Growing with Gulf

Meredith Sadlowski, BBA ’03, is the driving force behind Gulf Oil sales and marketing.

Posted in Online Extras

m-sadlowskiGrowing up in Laceyville, Pa., a town of less than 400 people, Meredith Sadlowski was eager to experience life in a city. After graduating from high school in 1999, Sadlowski left behind the town she loved and moved to Philadelphia to attend Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

Fast-forward to today and Sadlowski is Senior Vice President of Branded Sales and Marketing for Gulf Oil in Wellesley Hills, Mass. Sadlowski has worked for Gulf Oil, one of the fastest-growing branded fuel marketers in the U.S., which owns and operates one of the largest refined products terminaling networks in the northeast, since 2007.

“In my current role, I work alongside our executive leadership team on the development and the execution of a branded sales plan that supports business growth and enhances brand awareness of the iconic Gulf brand,” said Sadlowski, BBA ’03, who earned a degree in Economics.

During her nearly 10-year career with Gulf Oil, Sadlowski has also served as Vice President of Branded Contract Sales Operations, Director of Branded Contract Sales, and Branded Territory Manager. Sadlowski’s roles evolved from sales and customer specific in her early years with Gulf, to more leadership and tactical strategy-focused in her most recent position.

“Our goal at Gulf is to be the best supply and brand partner for our customers in the marketplace. In order to be the best, you must have a keen understanding of the customers’ specific market conditions, so you can provide solutions that balance both the needs of the customer and Gulf,” Sadlowski said. “Therefore, much of my time is spent evaluating each market, and of course, ensuring our team is focused and delivering innovative, competitive offerings to existing customers and new prospects to ensure business growth.”

Many of the business skills Sadlowski learned in her courses at the Fox School assist her on a daily basis including economic modeling to evaluate financials, sales forecasting, strategic planning, and management.

Prior to joining Gulf Oil, Sadlowski spent four years after college working as Director of Marketing and Sales for Pro Sign Company. Thanks to a connection from her brother, Sadlowski was hired and helped the company roll out its marketing plan.

During college, Sadlowski also gained professional experience as an Operations Manager for venture capitalist, Michael Karp. Working full-time as a junior and senior, Sadlowski earned exposure to a variety of sectors such as, telecommunications, real estate, and charter schools. She predominately assisted with the administration side of the charter schools. Temple’s flexible schedules and various campuses helped Sadlowski manage full-time work en route to graduating in four years.

The Fox School also offered career-shaping moments for Sadlowski, who attended sessions that welcomed business executives to speak about their careers and experiences. In particular, a session with a female executive at Target stood out to her.

“That was a pivotal moment for me sitting in that lecture, watching her, and being exposed to someone that has been successful in business,” Sadlowski explained. “I remember thinking that she represented exactly what I wanted for myself and my ultimate career path. It is key for students to have access to people out in the workforce who can inspire and mentor them. That experience helped define the next phases of my education and career.”

As Sadlowski reflected on her overall experience at Temple, she remembered the original transition to college life being difficult as she adjusted to a large campus and city. Although after the first semester, everything changed and Temple was home, she said.

“And every career move has been the same feeling. You go into it and you’re not quite sure and there are times that you want to give up, but you don’t and you actually work harder than before, keep going and keep pushing forward,” Sadlowski added. “And when you succeed at it, that power, that feeling just for yourself is something that you can’t get from anything else. Temple was the start of that for my life and me.”

A career full of high notes

How Chauncey Childs used his Fox School education to turn his passion for music into a successful business

Posted in Feature Story

Chauncey ChildsChauncey Childs
BBA ’92, LAW ’99 | Co-owner and Director of Business Affairs, Axis Music Group

Hometown: Philadelphia

Appreciating his roots: “I spend a lot of time in Los Angeles and New York for work, and my wife (Angela) and I like to travel, but there’s nothing like Philadelphia. We enjoy dining in the city, walking and biking on the river and visiting the museums. And I’m constantly inspired by the new development in Northern Liberties, Center City and Powelton Village, where we live.”


At any given time, Chauncey Childs has five or six projects – maybe more – going simultaneously. And he wouldn’t want it any other way.

“This is exactly how I envisioned my career playing out,” said Childs, the co-founder and director of business affairs for the Philadelphia-based Axis Music Group. “I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Childs is the business arm of Axis’ operations. He’s tasked with negotiating contracts, drafting agreements, managing budgets, and collecting royalties for Axis, which oversees a host of music artists, songwriters, and producers. Childs doubles as the business manager for James Poyser, BBA ’94, who he first met during their undergraduate careers at the Fox School of Business.

The two crossed paths in a finance class at Temple University, and then again years later in a recording studio at A Touch of Jazz, a Philadelphia music production company. They decided to go into business together, and Axis was born. Today, their company’s operations are two-pronged: Axis writers and producers craft original songs for established artists, and they also write original songs for film, television, and TV commercials.

“When a TV show or movie is transitioning from one scene to the next, someone writes that musical segue. That someone is Axis,” said Childs, explaining one of Axis’ functions. “When we first got started, we used to hustle to get work. And now, after we’ve been at it for 20 years, we still have to hustle, but we also get contract work on the profile of what we’ve already accomplished. We’ve come a long way.”

Childs’ interest in music, and his desire to represent the industry’s top talent, dates to his days at Temple. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Business Management from the Fox School, and later his Juris Doctorate from Temple’s Beasley School of Law, to turn that dream into a reality.

“Temple gave me the confidence I needed in order to start my own business,” said Childs, 45, a Philadelphia native. “Both of my degrees provided me with the toolkit that I needed to hit the real world and say, ‘I can be an entrepreneur.’”

Childs’ work, at times, seems never-ending. A written agreement is required every time an original piece of music is penned. The volume of contracts, he said, can be extensive. But he’s also overseen much-larger contractual agreements. Notably, Childs negotiated a label imprint deal with Sony Music, aligning Axis with the international music giant allowed Axis the opportunity to market and distribute their Artist’s music through Sony globally.

“That was a milestone moment for me,” Childs said.

The contracts pay the bills. What’s most rewarding, he said, is Axis’ commitment to developing young talent.

Franklin Walker, a percussionist at Poyser’s church, came on board as an understudy to Poyser. Walker, a self-taught drummer, wound up on tour with rapper D’Angelo and presently performs with Poyser five nights a week on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” for which their band, The Roots, serves as the house band.

Childs said he met another young man, Aaron Draper, at a high school career fair at which he was speaking. Draper, rather than speaking of his interest in attending college, kept reiterating a desire to drum professionally. On the spot, Childs invited Draper to Axis’ studio, believing he could benefit from exposure to talent, top equipment, and studio time. Draper is currently on an international tour with pop-soul singer Adele.

“We’ve been able to take the next generation of musicians, mentor them, and, based on our relationships in the business, give them opportunities to carve out careers for themselves,” Childs said. “I’ve got to say – it’s some of the most-rewarding work we do.”

It doesn’t hurt that stars like Erykah Badu keep Childs’ number in their smartphone contacts.

“It’s an unwritten rule that James will work on all of my albums,” Badu said, “but I don’t step into the studio until Chauncey and Ward White (Badu’s representation) have worked out the details.”

Said Childs: “James and I have put in a lot of work over the years to get Axis to where it is today, and it’s been worth it. Every step has been worth it.”

U.S. News ranks Fox School of Business among nation’s top-50 undergrad business programs

The Fox School earned a No. 48 national ranking in U.S. News’ 2017 edition of “Best Colleges."

Posted in News

Temple University’s Fox School of Business is ranked among the top-50 business schools in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The Fox School earned a No. 48 national ranking in U.S. News’ 2017 edition of “Best Colleges,” placing it among the top-10 percent of all undergraduate business programs in the United States. The ranking, the highest in the Fox School’s history, marks a 13-spot surge since last year’s U.S. News ranking.

“The Fox School continues to ascend the rankings of prestigious publications like U.S. News,” said Dean M. Moshe Porat. “It’s a tremendous accomplishment to have been ranked among the top-50 business schools in the country, and it serves as testament to the quality of our programs.”

The business school rankings featured in the 2017 edition of “Best Colleges,” which were released online Sept. 13, are based on peer assessment of deans and senior faculty at each AACSB-accredited undergraduate business program in the United States over a two-year period, including a Spring 2016 survey.

“Our innovative approach to business education is at the core of the Fox School story, which we’ve been working hard to disseminate to our industry colleagues and peers,” said Fox School Vice Dean Debbie Campbell. “This ranking only helps to reinforce and validate our pursuit of continual improvement.”

For the fourth consecutive year, three of Fox’s undergraduate programs earned top-15 rankings from U.S. News. Risk Management and Insurance (No. 6), International Business Administration (No. 13), and Management Information Systems (No. 14) programs all are among the best of their kind in the nation.

Fox’s Risk Management and Insurance program is the nation’s oldest, continuously running program of its kind. Among the largest programs in the country, too, Fox’s Risk Management and Insurance program is also home to the Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma. The chapter, the international professional fraternity’s largest, has earned the Edison L. Bowers award as best overall chapter in 18 of the last 23 years.

Fox’s International Business Administration program is supported by a robust study-abroad program, through Fox and Temple University, as well as from the Institute of Global Management Studies and the Temple Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), which are based at Fox. Temple CIBER is one of only 17 such elite centers in the nation to have had its grant-renewal proposal approved for federal funding from the United States Department of Education. Temple is the only university in Pennsylvania to have received federal funding for CIBER.

Management Information Systems (MIS) is a global leader in transformative research on the design, use, and effects of information technology. MIS faculty ranked No. 1 in the world in research output, according to the University of Texas at Dallas’ Top 100 Business School Research ranking. Members of Fox’s Association for Information Systems (AIS) student chapter, the first of its kind, have earned first place in four consecutive years at the AIS Student Leadership Conference.

The Fox School of Business is the largest and most-comprehensive business school in the Philadelphia region, with more than 8,500 students, 200 faculty, and 65,000 alumni worldwide. Fox offers 15 undergraduate majors; more than 20 student professional organizations; the Fox Honors program; cutting-edge technology and stellar student services, including a Business Communications Center and the Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD), which has a 94-percent job-placement rate for undergraduates who use its services.

Princeton Review ranks Fox School Online MBA among world’s best

The Fox Online MBA earned a No. 3 global ranking in The Princeton Review’s 2017 ranking of the best online MBA programs

Posted in News

The Online MBA program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business is once again ranked among the best in the world.

The Fox Online MBA earned a No. 3 global ranking in The Princeton Review’s 2017 ranking of the best online MBA programs, published Sept. 20. The program improved two places from The Princeton Review’s 2015 ranking.

“The Fox Online MBA program is truly unique, and it is with great pride that another top publication has ranked it among the best in the country and the world,” said Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat. “The program integrates cutting-edge technology and accredited, high-impact curriculum. It places an emphasis on quality, rigor, and integrity, and applies student feedback to deliver an unmatched experience. This ranking could not have been accomplished without the work of Dr. Darin Kapanjie, the program’s academic director, and our Online and Digital Learning team, which delivers the best advancements in technology to a quality, online-format education.”

The Princeton Review compiled its global rankings by surveying students and administrators from more than 90 online MBA programs worldwide. The surveys focus on the following core criteria: admissions selectivity, graduation and retention rates, faculty training and credentials, technological infrastructure, student indebtedness, professional development and career outcomes, and more.

For more information on the Fox Online MBA program, visit fox.temple.edu/omba.

Fox School powering entrepreneurship programs at Australia’s Flinders University

Temple University’s Fox School of Business has entered a three-year partnership with Flinders University to deliver its nationally ranked entrepreneurship programs to the prestigious Australian university.

Posted in News

Temple University’s Fox School of Business has entered a three-year partnership with Flinders University to deliver its nationally ranked entrepreneurship programs to the prestigious Australian university.

The Fox School of Business will help Flinders University drive South Australia’s economic transformation by training thousands of undergraduate and graduate students annually in the entrepreneurial mindset and skills required to start new businesses and facilitate innovation in existing industries.

This partnership, announced in August, leverages Fox’s reputation as a leading provider of online and entrepreneurship education. In January 2016, the Fox Online MBA program earned a No. 1 national ranking from U.S. News & World Report for the second consecutive year. And in November 2015, Fox’s undergraduate- and graduate-level Entrepreneurship programs earned top-10 rankings from The Princeton Review and Entrepreneurship magazine. It also leverages the Fox School’s extensive experience in supporting entrepreneurship-based economic development in the Philadelphia region, largely through the 350 projects completed by its renowned Fox Management Consulting program.

Flinders University, through its New Venture Institute (NVI), is creating entrepreneurial opportunities for its 26,000 students. Since its founding in 2013, the NVI has overseen 252 student projects and 136 start-ups, trained nearly 1,500 individuals, and generated more than $540,000 in investments.

MB Sarkar, distinguished Fox School professor, passes away

Dr. Mitrabarun “MB” Sarkar, a renowned educator and researcher at Temple University’s Fox School of Business whose pedagogical work garnered national, international, and university awards, died June 7, 2016. He was 54.

Posted in News

Dr. Mitrabarun “MB” Sarkar, a renowned educator and researcher at Temple University’s Fox School of Business whose pedagogical work garnered national, international, and university awards, died June 7, 2016. He was 54.

Sarkar, who joined the Fox School faculty in 2008, was the H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation within the Strategic Management department at Fox. He also had served as a visiting professor of strategy at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.

“MB was an innovator at every stage of his career,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business. “His passion for teaching and empowering students, and his thirst for knowledge were tremendous. MB’s passing brings great sadness to our Temple and Fox communities. My thoughts and prayers at this time are with his wife, their two daughters, and his family and close friends.”

In 2013, Sarkar received Temple University’s Great Teacher Award, the highest honor conferred by the university on faculty. On seven occasions, he was named Outstanding Professor of the Year in Fox’s Global, Executive, Online, and Part-Time MBA programs. Sarkar also was a five-time recipient of Fox’s Crystal Teaching Award. Last November, he received the Musser Award for Excellence in Teaching, which recognizes a Fox School faculty member who challenges students to think imaginatively and creatively.

Sarkar was the founding Academic Director of Fox’s Global Immersion Program in Emerging Markets, and led the initiative of building partnerships and experiential programs for Fox MBA students in several countries, such as Chile, China, Colombia, Ghana, India, Israel, Morocco, South Africa, and Turkey.

Temple entrepreneurs make their pitch to appear on “Shark Tank”

The Fox School of Business hosted casting associates from the hit ABC show, which features self-made millionaires who award mentorship and financial support to budding entrepreneurs in exchange for equity stake in their businesses.

Posted in News

Entrepreneurs piled into Alter Hall clinging more than posterboards and presentation materials. They also brought dreams of success and self-employment.

The Fox School of Business hosted casting associates from the hit ABC show “Shark Tank,” which features self-made millionaires who award mentorship and financial support to budding entrepreneurs in exchange for equity stake in their businesses. More than 170 Temple students, alumni, faculty, and staff applied in the hope that their June 11 pitches would result in selection to appear on a future episode of the show.

“I walked in the room to make my presentation, and I immediately felt so nervous,” said Fox Part-Time MBA student Vinti Singh, who pitched a standing CT scanner for horses that wouldn’t require anesthetization. “I can only wonder what it’s like to deliver a pitch in front of the actual sharks.”

Casting associates listened to 60-second presentations inside the Steven H. Korman Conference Room, with two Temple entrepreneurs having to deliver their pitches simultaneously and side by side. The associates asked entrepreneurs to reveal both the monetary value they would ask of the Sharks, and to name the Shark with whom they most strongly identified.

Caren Sachs, an associate for the show, told applicants prior to their casting calls that “personality is just as important as your pitch.” She emphasized that “Shark Tank” seeks entrepreneurs who can speak energetically about their businesses, products, and concepts.

Alter Hall’s Undergraduate Commons served as the waiting room for Temple entrepreneurs before their number had been called. Applicants paced the room, rehearsing their talking points and working through their demonstrations.

Brandon Study, a Fox School senior majoring in Entrepreneurship, said he felt confident while making his pitch. Temple University “prepares you for moments like this,” he said. “That training is what helps you thrive in crunch-time situations.”

Gerard H. Sweeney to receive 20th annual Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership

Sweeney was honored at the 20th annual Musser Award reception and dinner, held Nov. 17 in Mitten Hall, on Temple University’s Main Campus.

Posted in News

Temple University’s Fox School of Business honored Gerard H. “Jerry” Sweeney as the recipient of the 2016 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership – the school’s highest honor, for outstanding achievement, leadership, and commitment to the community by a distinguished member of industry.

Sweeney was honored at the 20th annual Musser Award reception and dinner, held Nov. 17 in Mitten Hall, on Temple University’s Main Campus.

Sweeney is President, Chief Executive Officer, and Trustee of Brandywine Realty Trust, which develops, builds, and manages the nation’s leading Class A office and mixed-use properties. He has held these roles since the company’s founding in 1994. He has overseen the growth of Brandywine, from four properties and a total market capitalization of less than $5 million to more than 33 million square feet and a total market capitalization of close to $5 billion.

“Jerry Sweeney has overseen Brandywine Realty Trust from its infancy through to today. He is directly responsible for helping the company flourish into a leader in the real estate industry,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business. “This year marks an anniversary. For two decades, we have honored distinguished business professionals with the Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership, and Jerry certainly fits that description.”

Father, son graduate together in Fox School’s commencement ceremony

Walter Douglass and his son, Keith, took different routes to the Fox School of Business. But at commencement, they walked together.

Posted in News

Walter Douglass and his son, Keith, took different routes to the Fox School of Business. But at commencement, they walked together. The father and son sat beside one another May 6 at the Liacouras Center, and had their names and degrees announced simultaneously during the Fox School’s commencement ceremony.

Walter, who in 2009 opened a tax-preparation service, received a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. Keith, 23, earned his Bachelor’s in Finance.

Walter, 50, balanced academic, professional, and familial responsibilities as “the most non-traditional student you’ll ever find,” he said. Walter has spent more than 30 years driving tractor-trailers, making nightly runs to Connecticut and returning to the family’s home in Schwenksville, Pa., in the mid-morning hours. At points of his undergraduate career, Walter would finish his day’s work and head directly to Main Campus. More recently, he would log a few hours of sleep before attending a late-afternoon class.

“There were times when I’d have two courses per semester,” Walter said, “but mostly, I would tell myself, ‘Let’s just take it one course at a time.’”

Walter began his pursuit of a college degree in 2001, first earning his associate’s degree at a community college before transferring to Temple. He’s been completing coursework ever since, except for an 18-month sabbatical while he received chemotherapy to treat Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Keith, 23, completed 18 credits of coursework in the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters in order to ensure he would walk with his father at commencement.

“When I looked at my schedule (last year), I thought, ‘I have to push myself. I owe that much to my father.’ He’s the hardest-working man I’ve ever known,” Keith said. “That was my motivation to get through it. I kept thinking, ‘This man has been through everything. I don’t have any excuses.’”

Fox School undergraduates take first place in national risk-management case competition

The students won the Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge, a three-month case study from a major company – iconic toymaker, LEGO.

Posted in News

A team of students from the Fox School of Business put together the pieces to win a national case competition.

The students won the Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge, a three-month case study from a major company – iconic toymaker, LEGO. The competition culminated with eight teams delivering presentations during the RIMS 2016 Annual Conference and Exhibition, held April 10-14 in San Diego, Calif.

This marked the third win in five years for students from the Fox School’s nationally ranked Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department. Senior Actuarial Science majors Carolyn Murset and Zilong Zhao, and Risk Management and Insurance majors Andrew Donchez and Sean Preis, a senior and a junior, respectively, comprised the winning team, which received $4,000 in prize earnings.

The Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge tasks undergraduates from around the country with developing a comprehensive, written risk analysis that will be judged by a panel of experts at the annual risk management society’s conference.

Temple’s Risk Management and Insurance program has helped us to hone our analytical and critical-thinking skills, and adequately prepared us to identify the main risks facing LEGO,” Donchez said. “Meeting LEGO’s strategic risk manager and picking his brain taught us that risk management is a real-world issue that demands passionate, curious and persistent practitioners.”

Winning the competition is an extraordinary closing on the last chapter of my Temple journey,” Zhao said. “It signifies the high caliber of future business leaders Fox School has nurtured.”

Study: Smart technology – and not body cameras – more likely to reduce use of lethal force by police

The researchers found that the use of analytics and smartphones to access intelligence, like criminal history reports, reduced instances of lethal force by police, while wearable video cameras were linked to increases in shooting deaths of civilians by police.

Posted in News

When it comes to reducing instances of lethal force exhibited by police, a recent study by Fox School of Business researchers suggests that wearable video cameras might not be the solution.

The researchers found that the use of analytics and smartphones to access intelligence, like criminal history reports, reduced instances of lethal force by police, while wearable video cameras were linked to increases in shooting deaths of civilians by police.

Dr. Min-Seok Pang and Dr. Paul A. Pavlou, from the Fox School of Business, utilized data from a comprehensive report by the Washington Post, to investigate how technology affects police performance and practice. The newspaper’s 2015 database compiled information from the 986 deadly shootings of civilians by police nationwide in 2015, from published news reports, public records, Internet databases, and original reporting.

Their study, titled “Armed with Technology: The Effects on Fatal Shootings of Civilians by the Police,” found that the use of body cameras by police led to a 3.64-percent increase in shooting deaths of civilians by police. Notably, body cameras produced a 3.75-percent increase in the shooting deaths of African Americans and Hispanics, but only a 0.67-percent increase in the deaths of Caucasians and Asians.

Meanwhile, instances of fatal shootings dropped by 2.5 percent when police departments conducted statistical analyses of digitized crime data or had real-time access to data via smartphones and information about a person of interest, the researchers found.

“Our findings suggest that body cameras generate less reluctance for police officers to use lethal force, because the wearable body cameras provide evidence that may justify the shooting and exonerate an officer from prosecution,” said Pavlou, the Fox School’s Milton F. Stauffer Professor of Information Technology and Strategy. “Instead, the use of data analytics and smartphones can reduce the use of lethal force by police.”

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