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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.”
Dr. Anthony Di Benedetto
Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec
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.”
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.
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.
She 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.”
Tamara 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!”)
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.
“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.”
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.”