In the early ’80s, John Milligan, BBA ’75, faced a choice: remain in a dead-end job or set out on his own. Milligan decided to move on, build his own diverse accounting firm and create opportunities for minorities. over 30 years later, his business Milligan & Company LLC is the largest minority-owned CPA firm in the Philadelphia region and a champion for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
As a teen in Norristown, PA, Milligan never thought about owning a business or attending college. He dropped out of high school after 10th grade and joined the Navy, serving for four years. After two years of junior college in California, Milligan returned to the Philadelphia area. On the recommendation of a friend, he enrolled at Temple University.
Being one of the few students of color in his classes, he felt out of place at school but he received support and guidance from his professors. They encouraged him to consider public accounting, connected him with employers and coached him through interviews. Milligan graduated magna cum laude with an offer from Coopers & Lybrand, the largest accounting firm in the city at that time.
Milligan left Coopers & Lybrand after nine years when it became apparent that leadership was not ready to make an African American a partner at the firm. However, his experiences there were formative. Not only did he learn the basics of public accounting and auditing, but he also learned about entrepreneurship and running small businesses.
“I had a mentor [Bruce Cohen] at Coopers & Lybrand who really helped me focus not only on becoming a good auditor but also being a good entrepreneur,” says Milligan. “So when I made my decision to leave, that experience and that mentoring really helped me prepare to start my own CPA firm.”
With his staffing choices, business practices and outside endeavors, Milligan has surpassed his initial goal to establish a more diverse accounting firm. Today, approximately 50 percent of Milligan & Company’s employees are minorities and 75 percent of the employees are women. He has made a commitment to support minority-owned businesses in his personal and professional life.
One of the most important decisions he made was to get involved in government programs for small businesses and work with government agencies. Milligan & Company was, for a number of years, a member of the Small Business Administration’s 8(A) Business Development Program. This program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51 percent by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. After outgrowing the program, Milligan’s company now provides assistance to other businesses seeking 8(A) certification.
Milligan & Company managed the Philadelphia Minority Business Development Center for eighteen years. “That was very rewarding,” he says. “We helped literally hundreds of businesses with their business and marketing plans, and get bank loans.”
Milligan also created a nonprofit, the Greater Philadelphia Minority Business Strategic Alliance (GPMBA), a network of twenty organizations dedicated to promoting the growth of minority business enterprises with shared resources and collaboration. While GPMBA is no longer operational, one of their most important partnerships remains; Milligan sponsors SCORE, a network of expert business mentors, by providing them with office space in Center City.
Milligan’s interest in community service isn’t limited to his work with entrepreneurs and small businesses. He has served on the boards of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Norristown Area School District Education Foundation, and Montgomery Hospital in Norristown. He is currently the president of the Greater Norristown NAACP. The Fox School Department of Accounting will honor John Milligan with the Community Service Award at the 2019 Accounting Achievement Awards.
“It’s rewarding to be able to have an impact on people and their lives and know somehow you helped other people reach their full potential.”
When they met as freshmen in Hardwick Hall, Khadijah “Kay” Robinson, BBA ’04, and Kiana “Kay” Muhly, BBA ’03, had no way of knowing that they would grow and flourish as best friends and business partners.
During their time at the Fox School, they honed their skills, Kiana in accounting and Khadijah in marketing and entrepreneurship. They were both very involved with the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), a student professional organization (SPO). During their time in the organization, with Khadijah on the board and Kiana serving as the president of NABA, they worked together to expand the reach of the SPO, recruiting members who were not strictly pursuing careers in accounting but were looking to enhance their professional network and skills.
After graduation, Kiana began working in one of the big four accounting firms and became a licensed CPA in Pennsylvania. She gained real-world experience in internal and external audits with companies of all sizes, including an international nonprofit. Then, she left the corporate world to focus on her family and smaller business ventures. Khadijah built a successful career in procurement, project management and most recently working in real estate for the U.S. General Services Administration in Philadelphia.
Kiana and Khadijah remained close, bonded by friendship and a shared entrepreneurial spirit. As their individual careers took shape, so did their company Kay & Kay Group, a joint venture that they founded in 2014. The mission of the company is to create innovative products that function easily and solve everyday problems.
Their flagship product, Aqua Waterproof Headwear, was inspired by a common challenge that women face whenever a vacation or a rainy day rolls around: a fashionable way to go swimming or enjoy life without getting their hair wet. Once they had the idea to develop stylish, breathable and completely waterproof headwear, they did research and found that there was nothing else like it on the market.
“We knew that we had a hit after talking through our idea with friends, family and focus groups. It resonated with everyone,” they say. “Not just African American women, but women across all walks of life. When we went to file a patent, even the agent loved the concept for Aqua Waterproof Headwear.”
They note that the key to their success while juggling their own families and careers is to treat Kay & Kay Group not as a side project or hobby, but as a business in its own right. Kiana and Khadijah have weekly meetings to discuss tasks, brainstorm new ideas and ensure that all “i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed when it comes to the quality and legitimacy of their product.
“We work together well,” Kiana says. “I am all business. I take care of the accounting and licensing, and I am very strict. Khadijah is so creative and is great at connecting with people and building relationships. Our skills support and complement each other.”
When it comes to the future of their business, they are tight-lipped about the details but say, “We are going to waterproof everyone’s lives.”
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.”
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.”
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.
BBA ‘12 | Founder and CEO of Affinity Confections
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.
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.”
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.”
Shane 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.”
Sal and Lisa DeTrane
Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer MedeAnalytics
In-demand grads: “What I’ve heard from a lot of companies is that they love hiring applicants from Temple, because they typically find that Temple grads have a strong work ethic and good common sense,” Sal said. “They are known to have an ability to practically apply their experience versus many other graduates that solely rely on their education.”
Alums Sal and Lisa DeTrane endowed a scholarship to honor of their appreciation for Temple and to support future entrepreneurs.
While visiting Main Campus with his son, Alex, last summer, Sal DeTrane, BBA ’93, was amazed to see how dramatically it had changed. The addition of the high-rise residences at Morgan Hall, renovations to Pearson-McGonigle Hall, and new shops mixed with the familiarity of Cecil B. Moore Avenue, added to the existing look of the Bell Tower and the expansive food-truck scene.
“It’s so interesting to see how much it’s changed and the amount of investment that’s gone into the campus,” said DeTrane, 44. “It gets more impressive with every visit.”
DeTrane and his wife, Lisa, BBA ’93, a fellow alum, have remained dedicated to Temple since their graduation nearly 25 years ago. Sal DeTrane frequently flies to Philadelphia from the couple’s Silicon Valley home for on-campus speaking engagements at the Fox School of Business, to visit clients in the area, and to attend Philadelphia Eagles games each fall.
The DeTranes’ Temple pride led the couple to start The DeTrane Family Endowed Scholarship, to help entrepreneurial students receive the same education that made Sal passionate about pursuing venture capital-oriented endeavors and helping emerging businesses succeed.
“We really wanted to support young entrepreneurs in Philadelphia since it’s not as common to start a business on the East Coast,” said Sal DeTrane. “Here in Silicon Valley, it’s more of a norm for people to leave their job to start a company.”
Sal and Lisa DeTrane met in several business and accounting classes at Fox and became friends before graduating, dating, and getting married two years later. After their honeymoon, the couple moved to California in 1996. Lisa transferred from Philadelphia’s AT&T office to a branch in California, continuing her work in sales operations, while Sal transferred within Andersen to help build the firm’s global technology investment banking practice based in San Jose.
“I had little knowledge of what venture capital or investment banking was when I was in college, let alone thought about it as a career,” he said. “I quickly moved into broader and increasingly early-stage business interests after graduation and moving to the Bay Area.”
He later joined The Angels’ Forum and The Halo Fund, where he co-managed a $50 million portfolio of venture-backed start-ups and developed more formal portfolio management processes. He left to start his own venture capital firm, Nucleus Partners, in late 2001 with a friend and colleague, Eric Walczykowski.
As founder and managing director of Nucleus Partners, DeTrane actively worked with companies as opposed to merely investing in and advising them. In 2003, Nucleus Partners invested in one of his portfolio companies, now called MedeAnalytics. DeTrane joined MedeAnalytics in late 2004 and played critical executive roles to develop and refine its strategy, raise all of its institutional capital, as well as implement operational best practices that enabled the company’s rapid growth.
In 2015, while preparing MedeAnalytics for an initial public offering (IPO), the Board and executive team decided to complete a majority recapitalization (or private IPO) with a leading software private equity firm called Thoma Bravo. DeTrane has been MedeAnalytics’ chief financial officer and chief administrative officer and has led all strategic planning, operational, and business development activities for over 12 years.
With Sal DeTrane’s success, Lisa took on the leadership role for their home and three children. “We balance each other out,” she said. “I feel fortunate in finding a great partner in life and having great kids. I enjoy being CEO of our household.”
The DeTranes enjoy the idea of their son possibly attending Temple next fall and their two daughters in the years to come.
“We don’t want to push our son into going to Temple, we want that to be his decision,” Sal said. “But we want to make sure he understands all the positives and everything Temple has to offer.”
BA ‘61 | Author, Journalist
Hometown: Brewster, Mass.
Journalism and juggling: “I didn’t have any difficulty jumping into journalism, for which I probably have to credit Temple. Being a wife and a mother and balancing a career? That might’ve been my biggest challenge.”
Deborah Forman’s training and experience in reporting helped her realize her passion for writing about the history of art and theater in the Cape Cod region.
Since 1899, Provincetown, Mass., and its picturesque coastal surroundings have provided a solid community where artists and writers paint, sculpt, write, and interact.
Deborah Forman, BA ‘61, knows all about the rich, creative history of the seaside town and its home on Cape Cod. She’s produced a documentary about the Provincetown art colony, written a two-volume history, and authored a three-book series on contemporary artists working in the popular New England region.
“Writing about art has always been an interest of mine, and in the last five years I’ve been able to do that almost exclusively,” Forman said.
Forman cultivated her interests in writing and reporting at Temple University’s journalism department, which, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, was housed within the Fox School of Business.
“The journalism department was kind of its own little enclave,” she recalls. “It was really nice and intimate, and felt like a small oasis in a big university.”
The author and writer worked for the student newspaper, The Temple News, and joined the school’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, of which she was president during her senior year. Forman had no difficulty beginning her journalism career after graduation; she and her family moved to Mount Holly, N.J., where she landed a freelance reporting gig at the Burlington County Herald. She eventually moved on to the Haddonfield Herald as reporter and editor.
After moving to Cape Cod with her family in 1976, Forman further developed her journalistic chops as an editor for the Cape Cod Times and editor in chief for Cape Cod View magazine. Forman had already taken up painting, studied art, and enrolled in art classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the School of Philadelphia Museum of Art. However, her beginnings on Cape Cod further ignited her passion for art and art history.
She interviewed experts and artists in the area and learned about the history of the Provincetown art colony. These interviews became the basis for the script she wrote for the documentary, “Art in Its Soul,” which aired on Boston’s PBS station in 1987.
While teaching a class at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, Forman had students asking if there was a book that collected the entire history of the Provincetown art colony. They were surprised to learn there was no definitive historical book on the colony, especially since the National Trust for Historic Preservation named it the nation’s oldest art colony. Since she had a lot of material from her interviews and research, Forman decided to write a book that brought the colony’s history to date. An editor at Schiffer Publishing discovered she was writing the book after speaking with the curator at the Cape Cod Museum of Art.
“It was serendipitous,” Forman said. “I emailed him the manuscript, and within a few weeks I had a signed contract.”
After publishing the two-volume Perspectives on the Provincetown Art Colony in 2011, Forman’s editor at Schiffer wanted her to continue writing about the arts community on Cape Cod. As a result, she wrote three more books: Contemporary Cape Cod Artists: Images of Land and Sea (2013); Contemporary Cape Cod Artists: People & Places (2014); and Contemporary Cape Cod Artists: On Abstraction (2015).
She’s currently working on a book about the history of theater on the Cape, another interest of hers. She writes a monthly art column for the Cape Cod Times, as well as weekly theater and art reviews for capecod.com.
“I love writing, and I love hearing and telling other people’s stories,” Forman said. “I’m doing exactly what I want to do.”
BBA ’06, MBA ’12 | Marketing Manager of Healthcare, Deloitte
Hometown: Downingtown, Pa.
Fox honors: In 2006, Patel received the Musser Award for Excellence in Student Leadership from the Fox School of Business.
Beleaguered by the college-search process, Rupal Patel found Temple and the Fox School, thrived here, and is now giving back as a proud alumna.
When she was in high school, Rupal Patel had no desire to attend Temple University. But after her father had been dragged to college visits up and down the East Coast, he coerced Patel during spring break of her senior year to make one last visit.
Reluctantly, she agreed to check out Temple.
“And then when we got there, there was this overwhelming feeling that this feels so right, this is the place I need to be,” she recalled. “I had never gotten that feeling when I visited any other school.”
Patel enjoyed the Fox School of Business throughout her four years as an undergraduate, thriving amidst the diverse student body, honing strong relationships with her professors, and taking advantage of career-developing extracurricular activities like Fox’s renowned student professional organizations. In fact, she liked Fox so much that she decided to return for graduate school, largely due to the flexibility of its Online MBA program, which she likes to brag is ranked No. 1 in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
“It was the perfect program for me,” said Patel, who earned her MBA while working fulltime at her marketing job at Communications Media Inc. “I had such a great experience with the professors, I almost felt like I’d be cheating on them if I went somewhere else.”
That degree helped Patel land what she calls her “dream job” at Deloitte’s Philadelphia office, where she helps execute marketing campaigns to promote the company’s services to its healthcare clients. She is passionate about her work at Deloitte and loves that she’s part of an organization that cares about the community and encourages its employees to volunteer their time with various nonprofit organizations such as the AmeriCorps program, City Year, which Patel has been involved with for the last two years.
She spends much of the rest of her free time giving back to Temple. She’s currently the secretary of the Fox Alumni Association, and also donates both money and time to her alma mater while serving as a mentor to current students.
“They’ve done so much for me,” she said. “And I want other students to have that same opportunity.”
Sylvain Chiron, MBA ‘96
Owner, Brasserie du Mont-Blanc
Hometown: Tresserve, France
Cultivated pallet: “Before opening the brewery, I was drinking the French equivalent of Budweiser. Then I became a beer enthusiast.”
Sylvain Chiron’s bubbly career has covered attaining his Fox MBA to taste-testing award-winning craft beers at his French brewery.
Sylvain Chiron promises that the best part of his job isn’t taste-testing his award-winning craft beers.
Chiron, a French native, opened the Brasserie du Mont-Blanc in the French Alps in 1999 and sold his first beers in 2000. The 45-year-old has since become a pioneer in France’s small yet expanding craft beer market. At the 2015 World Beer Awards, Mont-Blanc’s La Blanche was named the best white beer in the world, allowing Chiron to join an elite club of eight winners. Mont-Blanc’s La Rousse won the title of world’s best amber beer for the second time, at the 2014 Global Craft Beer Awards.
“We didn’t look at price to make our product, just at what it takes to make the best beer possible,” Chiron said.
Chiron developed his taste for craft beers as a finance undergraduate student at the Fox School of Business. When he rejoined the Fox School as an International MBA student in the late ‘90s, he recognized an emerging beer culture hunting for a more-dynamic taste to their brews. Chiron returned to France to create a product to capture their discerning palettes.
“I was just 30 years old at the time and I was crazy,” Chiron said of his decision to open his brewery, “but you need to be a little crazy to start your own business.”
Chiron got his start by purchasing a Belgian distillery that was operated by Trappist monks. Through that connection, he learned how to brew properly. The brewery, one of just nine like it in the world, is a centuries-old establishment where monks held the nuances of beer brewing in similar esteem as their piety. Chiron learned from them before taking their techniques to the Brasserie du Mont-Blanc. The brewery is named after the mountain serving as its primary water source. Using refined and pure water, Chiron explained, allows him to infuse his beers with a unique taste that keeps consumers reaching for another bottle.
In addition to his award-winning white and amber beers, Chiron offers a specialty malt, La Blonde. Indulging his creativity, Chiron created his own Genepi-based beer, a bitter blend that is literally green. Its cousin, La Violette, is a cranberry-colored blend with a dash of vanilla. For the winter season, he offers Le Brassin d’hiver, which he describes as a full-bodied malty attack.
“People are bored of industrial products; they want to buy local and buy natural. They care about the taste,” Chiron said.
Chiron, who comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, never saw himself working for someone else. He credits the Fox School with helping him hone his skills at seeing the big picture while also nit-picking the details. He’s got his hands in everything, from marketing to production to management.
“It’s what’s in the bottle that counts, but don’t think it’s only about drinking beer,” Chiron laughed. “It’s a business like any other and it’s a lot of fun.”
BBA ’08 | Supply Chain New Model Launch Leader, Ford Motor Company, Brazil
Hometown: São Paulo, Brazil
Overseas home: “I loved every single aspect at Temple. I always felt at home.”
Fernanda Guedes achieved her goal of studying in the United States, made life-long connections, and ascended the ranks at Ford Company in Brazil.
In Fall 2005, Fernanda Guedes, BBA ’08, carefully took in the entire scene as she stood in the middle of Temple University’s Main Campus for the first time. She saw students of all walks of life scurrying to and from class, sitting on the benches while reading, or catching up with peers by the Bell Tower.
Guedes smiled as she realized she was living her dream.
“Being at an American university was like watching a movie and recalling scenes from it,” she said. “I had the best time of my life at Temple.”
Three years later, Guedes graduated with Bachelor degrees in International Business and Human Resource Management from the Fox School of Business, and developed her experience in international trade, management and logistics. She’s combined her background and experience to excel in the role of the supply chain new model launch leader at Ford Motor Company in Brazil.
Watching U.S. films and television shows, Guedes knew from a young age that she wanted to receive an education in the United States. In 2004, Guedes enrolled in an Au Pair exchange program in New York City, serving as a nanny for a family in the city. Guedes visited a friend who lived in Philadelphia and quickly fell in love with the City of Brotherly Love.
“Philadelphia is a big city where you can find everything you need – from fun nightlife to easy access to nearby beaches – without the crowdedness and craziness of New York,” said Guedes, 33.
When the Au Pair program ended, Guedes moved to Philadelphia to find an undergraduate program for which she could apply. After researching universities, hearing opinions, and weighing her options, Guedes choose Temple.
“At Temple, I always felt at home and I met many fellow international students, and also American friends who’ve always been kind and supportive,” she said. “I never felt out of place.”
Ofo Ezeugwu’s business started at Fox. And it keeps on growing.
In a late-night meeting in spring 2012, Ofo Ezeugwu, BBA ’13 and his Temple Student Government peers sat quietly as an idea came to him — what if he and TSG provided a way for students to rate their landlords, so future students knew what to expect before signing a lease?
In asking that question, Whose Your Landlord was born. “The goal of Whose Your Landlord is to bring quality to the rental experience,” said Ezeugwu, who at the time served as TSG’s vice president. “The goal is to make tomorrow better for student living.” Three years later, the website Whose Your Landlord serves more than 85,000 active users and features reviews and ratings of landlords in more than 100 U.S. cities. After sharing the idea, the Entrepreneurship major at the Fox School of Business took the first steps to starting his Yelp-like Web service for renters.
Ezeugwu, 23, realized it would take too much time to develop this service through the school and student government, so he immediately began creating a plan to launch Whose Your Landlord as a business. (Side note: “Whose” is an intentional grammatical error; Ezeugwu and his team chose the possessive form of the word in an attempt to return power in the decision-making process to the tenant.)
By summer 2012, Ezeugwu put together his team, consisting of Felix Addison and Nik Korablin. The three co-founders released a beta version of Whose Your Landlord to Temple, George Mason University, and University of Maryland students in October of that year. After overcoming some obstacles including limited resources and getting users’ reviews, Ezeugwu and his team launched the website in September 2013.
In 2015, Whose Your Landlord experienced a 156-percent growth rate. There are more than 3,000 reviews of more than 2,000 landlords in Philadelphia, New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and more.
Whose Your Landlord has also given Ezeugwu the chance to attend and speak at some remarkable events and engagements. The young CEO spoke on a panel last month at the White House’s “I Have a Dream Summit” and was one of 120 attendees at the event. Ezeugwu and Addison were invited to attend Google’s F50 Founder Night.
Ezeugwu and his platform have also been featured in local and national media like CBS Philly, TechCrunch.com and, most recently, Newsweek. Last November, Ezeugwu appeared on MSNBC’s “Elevator Pitch,” where he received a score of nine out of 10 from both of the show’s panelists.
Frontier Development and Hospitality Group’s Founder & Managing Principal, Evens Charles carved a name for himself in the hospitality-focused, real estate development business, and wants to provide Temple juniors and seniors similar opportunities through a scholarship
BA ’94, M.Ed ’95 | Founder & Managing Principal, Frontier Development and Hospitality Group LLC
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
Lasting Connections: “My key takeaway from Temple was the strong academic foundation I developed and the key relationships I made with students who eventually became prominent professionals and long lasting friends.”
Once an underprivileged student from humble beginnings, Evens Charles takes pride in supporting his community.
That is why the founder and managing principal of Frontier Development and Hospitality Group, LLC, has endowed a scholarship for students from Temple University’s Fox School of Business and School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM). Charles knows first-hand the financial obstacles motivated entrepreneurial students face. Maxed out from student loan providers, Charles finished school because of a football scholarship he received during his junior year, after he had earned a starting position.
“Without that funding, I don’t know if I could’ve continued my education,” Charles said.
Following graduate school, Charles became interested in real estate. He taught himself everything he could, entered the business, and amassed a good amount of residential real estate. He was inspired to enter the hotel business in 2008, after attending a conference in Washington D.C., hosted by the National Alliance of Black Hotel Owners Operators and Developers Association (NABHOOD). There, he heard a speech by the association’s chairman, developer R. Donahue Peebles. He initially partnered with another Temple alumnus, Paul Patel of Pennsville Hospitality Group, who had the experience of running and operating hotels.
“It was a very humbling experience because it meant partnering with folks who had industry knowledge that I did not possess,” Charles said.
By evolving his business into hotel acquisitions, Charles has achieved a great deal of creative freedom. He finds his work rewarding because it allows him to control his own destiny and influence economic development.
Charles gave $25,000, which was matched by the Dean’s Match program of the Fox School of Business. The $50,000 scholarship is awarded to underrepresented junior and senior students from the Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. metro areas. The scholarship will alternate each year, between students from Fox and STHM.
“It’s a shame that many students with the desire and drive can’t always continue school because of finances,” Charles said. “If I can help to make a difference in the lives of even one or two students, it’s a start to giving back what I’ve been given.”