DBA student Kate Nelson

Pursuing extended education can be extremely challenging for the average person, let alone those in demanding careers. However, Kate Nelson, an active duty Military Intelligence Officer, is proving this to be more than possible.

Captain Nelson is in her 15th year of military service and has accomplished two master’s degrees: one in military studies and the other in sports management. Now, she is pursuing a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) here at Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

The Fox editorial team caught up with Captain Nelson to hear about her experience of earning her doctorate in business while actively serving in the U.S. Army. 

What made you want to pursue a DBA? 

I knew I wanted to get my doctorate. But I thought [I’d do it] when I got out, maybe take a year or two off,” Nelson says. It wasn’t until her boss, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Faint, also a current Fox student, informed her about the DBA program.

She recalls thinking, “‘You can’t do this while active. That’s ridiculous.’ But he sat me down, told me the pros and cons, wrote me a letter of recommendation, and here I am.” 

The Executive DBA program aims to help executive-level managers and experienced service members like Nelson learn how to solve business problems through advanced critical reasoning. As a first-year student, Nelson plans to research how people consume both women’s and men’s sports differently. She also credits her pursuit of advanced education to her training in the military.

“The U.S. military is the most educated and trained military in the world,” Nelson says. “They always tell us to better ourselves and look for the next step in our career. I was always taught that every day you should learn something.”

How does military experience translate to business?

“My experience isn’t in business, but it is translating because I’m managing hundreds of soldiers,” Nelson explains. “Some businesses look at the military and how it runs, and they use us as an example. So, I can actually speak to that in class.”

According to Cailin DiGiacomo, admissions coordinator for the DBA program, “The current cohort has 22 students, all coming from drastically different industries. Several come from a military background.”

DiGiacomo guides prospective students through the application process, helping them understand how the Executive DBA program can teach them to expand their decision-making abilities through applied theory and research.

How do busy professionals find time to pursue a DBA?

“Our program is very flexible. During each semester, we have three weekend residencies. We send the dates out to our students in the summer so they can plan around it. Then, there’s a weekly online component as well,” says DiGiacomo.

Nelson agrees. “The curriculum is basically a long weekend six times a year. We get thirty days of leave every year that we can use, so it really isn’t too bad.”

This degree seems suitable for people like Captain Nelson, who have very demanding work schedules but are passionate about furthering their careers in business. With the DBA program, she finds time to both manage her soldiers and manage her education.

Learn more about Fox School Research.

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Attendees of the LFEW

What do you want?

That’s the question Lisa Wang, USA Hall of Fame gymnast and co-founder and CEO of SheWorx, asked the crowd at the 20th Annual League for Entrepreneurial Women’s Conference at the Liacouras Center. As the keynote speaker, Wang challenged attendees to shift their personal goals from perfectionism to “enoughness.”

Lisa Wang at LFEW
Lisa Wang presenting at the 20th Annual League for Entrepreneurial Women’s Conference

“There is a significant difference between trying to make myself proud, versus simply being proud of myself,” says Wang. A self-proclaimed overachiever for most of her young adult life, Wang shifted her perspective after an unsuccessful attempt at qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. It was then that she realized that nothing is ever “enough” in the pursuit of perfection. 

After a return to intensive training and victory in the form of a USA Hall of Fame induction, Wang left the world of gymnastics and founded SheWorx, which aims to close the funding gap for women through collaboration and support. Through her experience, she learned what she believes are the three traits of successful leaders. 

  • Self-awareness – the ability to recognize within yourself the fears and desires that are motivating you.
  • Anti-fragility – the ability to grow stronger from the things that hurt you.
  • Abundance – the ability to trust that what you know deep down is right.

Wang ended her address with a piece of advice: “Trust what you want, trust in your abilities to make it happen and trust that that it is enough.”

The conference also included Temple Talks featuring 10-minute talks from successful entrepreneurs and a Q&A moderated by Sheila Hess, BBA ’91, Philadelphia City Representative. Avi Loren Fox, CLA ’10, of Wild Mantle, Charisse McGill, STHM ’03, of Lokal Artisan Foods, LLC and Adriana Vazquez of Lilu presented their business concepts to the crowd and fielded questions on their entrepreneurial journeys thus far. 

Sheila Hess at LFEW Conference
Sheila Hess, BBA ’91, Philadelphia City Representative

The talks were followed by a conversation with Shirley Moy, executive director of Temple University Lenfest North Philadelphia Workforce Initiative, who discussed the state of the organization’s efforts to career-building resources to residents of North Philadelphia. 

The “Power Pitches” portion of the day brought back competitors from the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute’s 2019 Be Your Own Boss Bowl®, including Olaition Awomolo of BuildLab, Shari Smith-Jackson of Pay it Forward Live, and Elina Khutoryansky of Haelex, to give three-minute pitches on their early-stage ventures. 

The event concluded with a Hall of Fame induction ceremony to “recognize alumnae who have demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit and made outstanding achievements as innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders.” Samantha Berger, Aisha Chaudry, DPM and Donna Lynne Skerrett are this year’s inductees. 

The League for Entrepreneurial Women, which holds an annual conference, is an advocacy initiative that addresses the growing challenges and interests of entrepreneurial women in the Greater Philadelphia region. It was co-founded by Betsy Barber, professor and executive director of Business Development and Partnerships of Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management, and Betsy Leebron Tutelman, senior vice provost for Strategic Communications. The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI), under the leadership of Executive Director Ellen Weber, co-hosts the event.

Jameel Rush photo

“I want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to be successful,” says Jameel Rush, BBA ’07 and adjunct professor at the Fox School. “Barriers to success for individuals and businesses exist. What drives my passion is creating those opportunities and ways to overcome those barriers to help organizations tap into every resource they can.” 

As associate vice president of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) for Aramark, Rush leads D&I programs and initiatives across three areas: workforce, workplace and marketplace. He works to ensure that the company hires talent with backgrounds that reflect the communities the company serves, the culture values differences and drives innovation through inclusion and that they partner with diverse suppliers.

Aramark, a leader in food, facilities management and uniforms, has been recognized for diversity and inclusion efforts by organizations including the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2019 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), Diversity, Inc. and BLACK ENTERPRISE

Rush has played a significant role in making these achievements possible by working to highlight the possibilities for an organization that is highly inclusive and attracts talent across all walks of life. Along with making executives understand the business case for diversity, he investigates the importance of things like the language used in job postings, how culture and process effect talent recruitment and how diversity in suppliers helps to drive profits. 

In 2013 when he first joined Aramark, his interest in D&I was born. He was on a team responsible for designing, developing, implementing and managing an employee resource for young professionals focused on specific issues that impact them. “I fell in love with inclusion work once I was exposed to the industry,” he explains. The next year, he took the next step in his career and was named director of diversity and inclusion for the company. 

At the Fox School, Rush teaches courses in organizational leadership and business ethics. In this role, he blends his real-world experiences into lessons for students. But he does not have to force the issue, as topics like D&I often come up naturally because they are ingrained in the lives and courses of the modern college student. 

“We discuss issues like unconscious bias and discrimination—what they look like and how they function in today’s culture—and the importance of organizational policies to combat them from an ethical and a business standpoint.” 

The most important piece of advice Rush would give students and prospective students looking in his footsteps is to network, network, network. He suggests being intentional about maintaining those relationships and building an authentic brand in order to be remembered.

“Everyone has their own unique path,” he says. “Mine is one of many. But my opportunities have come from making friends and associates. If you get your name out there and do good work, a lot can happen.” 

For more stories and news, follow the Fox School on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Headshot of Sabrina Volpone
Sabrina Volpone

Sabrina Volpone, PhD 13, is an organizational diversity expert, researching topics of diversity and identity within the context of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation and immigrant status. Since graduating from the Fox PhD program, her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. 

The On The Verge editorial team had the opportunity to chat with Volpone about how she got started researching the experiences of traditionally under-represented employees, how a more diverse workforce requires organizations to adapt and how they can do better. 

How did you become interested in diversity and inclusion? 

When I was growing up in Texas, I was not exposed to much diversity. The Dallas/Fort Worth area was very different 30+ years ago then it is now; the only people I knew were white and Christian. 

My mom, who had a business degree in accounting and worked for a huge company in Texas, told me a story about how she got fired because she was getting sick at her desk too often when she was pregnant. Her company shrugged it off, saying that they assumed that once she became a mother she would be leaving her job anyway. Hearing these things opened my eyes to small-town values—taking care of your neighbors, for example—being pushed aside when stigmatizing factors were introduced. 

Then, when I was working toward my degrees, both my bachelor’s from the University of North Texas and PhD in Human Resource Management from the Fox School, I wanted to do something meaningful that could speak to people’s experiences at work. The research I was seeing did not capture what was going on for women, people of color and other disenfranchised groups.

What are the differences between diversity and inclusion? How does your research incorporate both? 

Diversity is more than just checking a demographic box or filling a quota. To really leverage the benefits of diversity we have to talk about inclusion, a separate, but related, topic. The difference has often been illustrated in the following quote from Verna Myers, the vice president of inclusion strategy for Netflix: “Diversity is being invited to the party, and inclusion is being asked to dance.” 

In a recent research project, my team went back to basics to investigate how organizations actually define diversity. There are a host of organizations that would like to improve how they are managing diversity because they are facing lawsuits, or simply because they want to be more strategic about managing human resources. There is an increasing need for organizations to collectively rebuild and expand the way we think about these topics. 

For example, we looked at the way a few Fortune 500 firms were defining diversity and found that only 38 percent had established definitions on their websites. A large number of those who did listed standard descriptors typically found on HR hiring paperwork that are based on Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws, stating that the company does not discriminate based on age, sex, race, etc. Other companies take a different approach, however, and use language that extends beyond “legal” terminology. 

In my work, I am trying to illustrate that diversity and inclusion must work hand-in-hand. The diversity element establishes the organizational environment and the legal mandates required by law. Inclusion facilitates a climate where employees feel valued and included as a result of their unique characteristics. This is important because, as some of my other research shows, leveraging diversity in this way can result in financial gains. We found that one small change in a diversity definition can relate to more than $2 billion in current profits and more than $1 billion in profit growth. Thus, being inclusive when defining diversity results in increased financial outcomes for companies.

How does inclusion impact companies? 

To explore the importance of inclusive policies and procedures in the workplace, I was part of a research team that examined the experiences of breastfeeding women in the workforce. We interviewed women in the morning, afternoon and night to see how the quality of their breastfeeding space throughout the day improved work outcomes. The data and quotes from the women illustrated a powerful point: the legal definition of what must be provided (a space to pump that is not a bathroom and is shielded from view) will not make a satisfied, productive employee. When companies provided more than the bare minimum for breastfeeding mothers, we noticed an increase in their work goal progress and their breastfeeding goal progress while also seeing improvements in their work-family balance satisfaction. 

How does a more diverse workforce and consumer base require organizations to adapt? How are businesses innovating around majority-minorities, women, people with disabilities, millennials, and other demographics?

Some companies are not, and their workplace cultures and even financials are seeing the impact of that. Many organizations that are not evolving along with their workforce may cease to exist in 10 to 20 years because of their inability to strategically manage their human resources in a way that captures the diversity of their employees. 

For example, in a paper that my coauthors and I recently published, we looked at the hiring process for people with concealable stigmas. Specifically, we examined the relationship between applicants disclosing their hearing disability during the interview process and whether or not they received a job offer. Changing our policies and procedures throughout each human resource function to be inclusive of employees with non-visible disabilities is an example of adapting from systems that, historically, have been focused on accommodating employees with visible physical disabilities.

But those who are thinking about the lived experiences of employees, they create policies and procedures that capture that. They are also being strategic through all of their human resources functions—processes like hiring, training and promotions—and are threading the importance of diversity and inclusion practices through all the ways they do business. Executives are making sure that employees are being heard and taken care of. In order for companies to survive, these considerations will become a requirement. 

This article is a sneak peek of the next issue of On The Verge, the Fox School’s flagship research magazine. For more stories, visit www.fox.temple.edu/ontheverge.

YAAG members at their first event
YAAG members including Melissa and Eric

The Fox School of Business prides itself on creating a community that helps students thrive long after graduation. The reformation of the Young Accounting Alumni Group (YAAG) shows that even after students graduate, they do not have to face the real world alone. 

Co-presidents of YAAG, Melissa Cameron, MAcc ’18, and Eric Hamilton, BBA ’16, explore their personal motivation for reforming the group, why its existence is important for future alumni and what is in store for the future of YAAG. 

Melissa first entered the world of accounting through arts administration and arts management positions. Since receiving her master of accountancy degree from the Fox School, she has worked at Deloitte in the audit and assurance practice. Eric started as an associate in the risk consulting practice at RSM and was promoted to senior associate after two years. 

The driving force behind relaunching YAAG was the accounting faculty at the Fox School, Melissa and Eric explain. “They wanted to reconnect with the recent alumni to keep the bond strong when students graduate, and they wanted a group of motivated alumni to get it off the ground,” says Eric. 

Relaunching the group shows that, while students may go down a multitude of career paths, there will always be a support system by their side. 

“I’ve learned so much through other people’s experiences,” Melissa says. “I have had many key people willing to take time out of their busy schedules to go out for a coffee or lunch with me, or email, or call, just so that I could ask them my (dozens of) questions, pick their brain about their experiences and knowledge and background in accounting.” 

She views YAAG as a platform to give back to her fellow Fox graduates and current students and is motivated to “pay-it-forward.” “I want to be available to be that person for the next round of students looking to establish themselves in an accounting or business field.” 

Group at first YAAG event The Young Accounting Alumni Group kicked off its relaunch with the YAAG Launch Happy Hour on August 6. The event served as a kick-off for recent alumni to meet Melissa, Eric and other members of the YAAG leadership team and learn about the group’s future plans. With over 50 recent graduates attending, the alumni board was able to reconnect with familiar faces and get the excitement going about the relaunch. 

When looking to the future of YAAG, Eric says, “Be on the lookout for future events while we continue to develop our brand. Then we will eventually build the programming that our group wants to see, such as mentoring, continuing education and exclusive events.” 

The resurgence of the Young Accounting Alumni Group has only just begun and is ready to help recent graduates every step of the way. 

If you are interested in learning more about YAAG, check for emails from the group as well as the Temple Alumni site for future events, and register!

This September, the Fox School kicked off it’s Fox on the Road alumni event series with its first stop in New York City. The event gave attendees the opportunity to network with fellow alumni and Fox leadership, and get an inside look at the future direction and mission of the school from Dean Anderson. The featured speaker, Anthony Viglietti, BBA ’04, COO & CFO of theSkimm, spoke to guests about his journey to the U.S., tech disruption and changes to the workplace. We sat down with him afterward to hear more about his experience as an undergraduate student at the Fox School and how he got to where he is today.

Photo from Fox On The Road event
Anthony Viglietti, BBA ’04, COO & CFO of theSkimm

Q: You spoke about moving from your hometown of Lyon, France to the UK and eventually ending up in the U.S. How has your journey affected your approach to your career?

A: The reason I moved around a lot is that I had this idea of what I wanted to do and I was determined to do it. And it didn’t always work out, but I don’t have regrets because at the time it felt like the right thing to do. It’s made me massively determined. My first job I was 24, so I was kind of old when I entered the workforce, but I was determined to prove people wrong. And I still have that chip on my shoulder.

Q: What drew you to Temple University as an undergraduate student?

A: I was at a school in France that had five partner schools. My two favorites were Temple and Northeastern. I liked the recruiting team at Temple, they were my favorite. There was also a bit of grit about Temple, which was in my background. When you’re a student the real world seems tough, but Temple gets it. They toughen you up to get you there, and that’s what drew me to it.

Q: Are there any skills and/or lessons you learned during your time at the Fox School that you have carried with you throughout your career? 

A: There’s been a couple of times in my life where it’s helped me with organization and prioritization. I was on the varsity soccer team, so every day I was playing soccer and every day I was working. It really helped me from that perspective. I can’t always pinpoint them, but I remember certain moments about Temple, and I like going back there. 

Q: What advice would you give to others who are looking to work their way up to a position like yours? 

A: There are two ways to answer that question. The extreme answer is: I believe in work-life balance, and I believe in working to live not living to work, but I would say in the first five years of your career just work really hard. The other piece of advice is whatever the scope of your role is, do the extracurricular stuff and take it out so that your scope could be applied to much bigger things. You’ll become much more versatile and much more useful to the business. That’s a big lesson that I’ve taken from my entire career. I’ve always gone above and beyond. This doesn’t necessarily mean working harder, it just means knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing, understanding how it impacts business, and understanding how people operate, so you that you become a partner to them. 

Interested in attending the next Fox on the Road event? Make sure your contact information is accurate and stay tuned for the next invitation!

photo of Shannon Siriano Greenwood
Photography by Sandy Swagger Jones

One night a few years ago, Shannon Siriano Greenwood and her husband made a pinky promise: the next day, they would quit their jobs.

In 2010, Greenwood, BBA ’04, was stressed, unhappy and burned out managing operations at a chain of eight salons in the Washington D.C. area. After fulfilling her end of the deal, over the next few years, Greenwood worked as a social media contributor, marketer, co-founded a boutique cycling studio (which she later sold) and worked as a consultant. 

In 2017, she founded Rebelle Con, a three-day women’s conference that brings speakers from across the country to discuss topics such as wellness, money, community and creativity. She also works as a freelance moderator/EMCEE and event curator. 

“I lept and let the world catch me,” she says, laughing. “I started my first business basically out of boredom. I found it all out by doing.” 

Greenwood and her team discovered that what attendees wanted out of a conference was to build community while learning skills that they could apply for personal and professional fulfillment. After the success of two conferences, Greenwood created Rebelle, an in-person community with local chapters in Richmond, VA and, most recently, Lancaster, PA. Rebelle hosts monthly events including mixers and panel presentations at local women-owned business offices. She was perhaps inspired by her work with the “Boss Babes” collective, a community of entrepreneurial businesswomen. 

Shannon Siriano Greenwood photo
Photography by SoulVision Magazine

Some of the best feedback Greenwood received was in response to a session called “The Quitters.” It was a panel of successful businesswomen talking about the things they have quit, whether that be giving up a marriage, a six-figure job or owning a home in order to set out on their own path. The discussion was anchored in topics that people would not necessarily want to open up about in a large group, Greenwood says. But attendees loved it.

In another session, Carrie Sue Casey, founder of Oodaloop Co and former Department of Defense employee, taught a brainstorming technique to the group using “how to make friends as an adult” as the primary problem they were working to solve. “It has been interesting to see what people think they want and what they actually want,” Greenwood says.

It took her a long time to figure out what she wanted. A self-described “recovering work-a-holic,” she puts self-care at the forefront of her life and career and emphasizes that the Rebelle community does the same. While self-care can look different for everyone, Greenwood explains that her brand is relatively simple: being kind to herself and watching her stress levels. She works at a comfortable pace, versus trying to prove herself to other people and has found success in that. Napping is great too, she says. 

“I want to inspire other women, pay my bills and drink chai lattes,” Greenwood jokes. 

In addition to launching the Lancaster chapter of Rebelle, Greenwood plans to launch even more branches in 2020. Attendance for the fall RebelleCon is doubling in size, and the team is working on a host of new programming for women. 

Alum Ian Thomas leads a tour group
Photo provided by Ian Thomas

When Ian Thomas first came to Philadelphia in 2002, all he had was a friend and backpack. 

Over the next few years, he moved across the country and internationally until he settled back in Philadelphia in 2011. This time, he had a family and a career in international transportation and logistics. He was working full-time when he decided to pursue an MBA at the Fox School. 

Now, Thomas, PMBA ’17, runs his own company that blends exercise and tourism in a way that feels authentically Philly. SeePhillyRun invites runners of all fitness levels to join Thomas, a six-time marathon runner and certified city tour guide, on three- to five-mile courses. Groups jog around the city to check out landmarks like iconic locations from the movie Rocky, the city’s expansive mural collection or where the cowboy hat was invented. 

Ian and a tour group pass a mural in philly
Photo provided by Ian Thomas

Thomas describes himself as a businessman first, a runner second and a tour guide third, which helps to explain how, despite only being operational for about two years, SeePhillyRun has already seen a great deal of success. He differentiates his business by maintaining a hyperlocal focus rather than the “big box” approach of his competition. The company invests back into the local community and partners with organizations such as Parks On Tap, Four Seasons, Philadelphia Runner, Loews Hotels and Temple University. 

“I love Philly, storytelling and running,” he says. “I saw Philly as an asset at my fingertips when I decided that I wanted to combine my passions and create a unique way to see the city.” 

Thomas leverages his knowledge of business, people and international relations to curate a running experience that is interesting, engaging and transformative for a wide range of people.  Living overseas and working in client management in his former career, he developed an appreciation for communicating with people who have English as their second language. He says this understanding has served him well as a tour guide searching for commonalities across diverse perspectives. 

Despite the challenge of incorporating multiple perspectives in his tours, Thomas recognizes that his method of tourism attracts a particular clientele.

“People coming out to a running tour are likely to be an ‘experiential’ audience,” he says. “Going on a running tour versus a traditional walking tour is like surfing the internet rather than reading a book. It offers a taste or a piece of the bigger picture in an authentic, fast-paced way.”

A tour group poses for a photo
Photo provided by Ian Thomas

He says that he feels like an ambassador for the city, promoting Philadelphia the way it would want to be promoted: shouting quick tales of how it is revolutionary in its inclusivity, creativity and open-mindedness. For example, a popular spot on his routes is the Moore College of Art and Design, founded in 1848 as the first women’s art school in the country. 

When looking to the future of SeePhillyRun, Thomas asserts that the company is scalable in a variety of different ways. He could expand the business into different, historically-rich cities or could incorporate other approaches that blend wellness, tourism and hospitality such as biking. Eventually, SeePhillyRun could evolve into a virtual experience.

“As long as the energy is right, we are telling good stories, staying local and plugged into the community—a lot of great things could happen,” he says.

4 alumni blazing trails in their fields

There is more to success than know-how. That’s why business smarts, strength, and character are injected into the DNA of Fox students. That’s why alumni are endowed with traits—perseverance, determination, and professional polish, to name a few—that give them a competitive edge in business. Below, we highlight a few alumni who have built upon their education to achieve great success in the real world.

The Transformer: Steven McAnena 

Steve McAnena photoPresident of Distribution, Life and Financial Services, Farmers Insurance

Steve McAnena, BBA ’93, serves as president of Business Insurance at Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and Liberty Mutual Group, Inc. (LMB). He is also executive vice president of Global Retail Markets at LMB. He joined the company in 1993 and served as president. His leadership experience, combined with his diverse experience and track record in product and distribution, help his division continue to cultivate strong relationships with independent agents and brokers. He studied actuarial science at the Fox School. 

“I remember my days at Temple—meeting new friends, becoming exposed to new professors, learning new coursework. When I arrived on campus it felt as if things changed in an instant and then kept changing. It was as energizing as it was stressful and I did not realize how four years of my life at Temple would serve as the foundation for my career. At the time, I did not realize that professional life was really a continuation of the learning process that began at Temple.

Charles Darwin has a famous quote: ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.’ The same is true within business—just ask Kodak or Blockbuster. The most successful professionals and companies are the ones willing to invest in changing, evolving, and in some cases totally reinventing their businesses. To be clear, be proud of your accomplishments and celebrate your successes, but always, always be looking in the rearview mirror because the competition is bearing down on you. Try new things. Don’t avoid them. Take calculated risks. Don’t shy away from them. Embrace and learn from mistakes. Don’t hide them. The capabilities and skills that got you here today are likely not the ones you need to win tomorrow. Be ready, be excited, embrace change.” 

The Builder: Atish Banerjea 

Atish Banerjea photoChief Information Officer, Facebook 

Atish Banerjea, MS ’91, is the chief information officer (CIO) of Facebook. Before joining Facebook, he worked in senior leadership roles at NBCUniversal and Dex Media, Inc. and spent 10 years with Pearson PLC. He has also held roles at Maurices, Inc. and Simon & Schuster. Early in his career, Banerjea held a full-time tenure track faculty position at the University of Wisconsin as assistant professor of computer information systems (CIS), responsible for teaching all the advanced CIS courses for the undergraduate computer information systems program, as well as conducting research in support of teaching assignments. 

Banerjea, who builds internal systems for Facebook, says the following about how he navigates working for the massive social media company: “I’ve learned there’s a Facebook way of doing things. For one, we build everything ourselves. And that’s because, in large part, we have a very strong platform. It’s also because many third-party products can’t match the pace at which we’re growing. And Facebook is a company driven by efficiency. Rather than bring a third-party product in that would change the workflow and the work process, which is what almost every other company does, we’ve figured out the most effective way someone here can do their job, from HR to finance, is to build a system to meet their needs.” 

The Philanthropist: Larry Miller 

Larry Miller photoPresident, Nike, Jordan Brand 

Larry Miller, BBA ’82, is the president of Jordan Brand, a division of Nike Inc. This is his second tour with the brand, and he continues to garner international respect for his reputation as an inspirational leader with a proven track record of building premium businesses in the world of sport. In his role, he oversees the day-to-day operations and works with Nike global leadership and Michael Jordan to drive the brand’s global business objectives. Prior to joining Jordan Brand, he served as president and alternate governor of the Portland Trail Blazers and vice president of the U.S. apparel division of Nike. He also held executive-level positions at Jantzen, Inc. and Kraft General Foods, as well as positions at Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. and Campbell Soup. 

“The Fox School prepared me for a career in business. It allowed me to start in accounting and transition into general management, marketing, and beyond. It prepared me to look at what I do from a business perspective, because it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of sports. I think the Fox School also prepared me to be a leader,” says Miller. 

Miller possesses a commitment to philanthropy that is innate to Temple University and the Fox School. In 2015, he established the annual Tamara J. Gilmore Endowed Scholarship to award underrepresented female STHM students who are pursuing careers in hospitality and event management, and who exemplify Gilmore’s professional and entrepreneurial spirit. A Temple alumna who died in 1999, Gilmore was an accomplished business person within the hospitality industry. 

When asked, Miller offered the following advice for the Fox community: “I’ve learned a lot of lessons throughout my career, from Campbell to Kraft to Jantzen to the Blazers, and ultimately Jordan Brand. When it comes to leadership, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to have the right people in the right jobs, then allow them to do their jobs and give them support.” 

The Mover and Shaker: Margaret (Meg) McGoldrick 

Meg McGoldrick photoPresident of Abington-Jefferson Health 

Margaret (“Meg”) M. McGoldrick, MBA ’76, is president of Abington-Jefferson Health, where she has served as chief operating officer since 1999. She is responsible for Abington Hospital—Jefferson Health and Abington-Lansdale Hospital, as well as five outpatient centers and two urgent care centers. 

Prior to joining Abington, McGoldrick held executive leadership roles with Hahnemann University Hospital and the Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital. She is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and is a Baldrige executive fellow with the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. She serves on the board of directors of several organizations, including the MidAtlantic Alliance for Performance Excellence and the Tristate Baldrige Alliance Program. She’s also a member of the Board of Visitors at the Fox School.

McGoldrick shares the best piece of advice that she was ever given: “Keep moving forward. There are ups and downs, certainly. Nothing’s a straight line. But if you’re not moving forward, you’re probably going backward.” 

She also offers the Fox community tips to build a great career as a healthcare executive: “I have served on many nonprofit boards that are connected to the work of our organization. This connection into the community provides for a deeper relationship with all those partners in the community that make it possible for healthcare organizations to be more effective. Also, meeting so many talented individuals in these organizations increased my network of professional colleagues.” 

McGoldrick’s Secrets to Success

  1. Respect and support all employees and clinical staff who care for the patients and families 
  2. Listen to those closest to the patients and the work of the organization 
  3. Dedicate yourself to a culture of safety and high reliability 
  4. Embrace constant cycles of learning and improvement 
  5. Commit to the Baldrige Framework of Management 

The Career Pitfalls that Taught Her the Most Valuable Lessons 

  1. Don’t let missteps or failures distract you from a continuous focus on your work 
  2. Deal with problems early on, as they often deteriorate further over time 
  3. Stop and listen before you react and try to respond rather than react 

5 Fox students and alumni redefining leadership

Associated image with three Fox School alumni
Jannatul Naima, Ryan Rist and Tomi Jones

Modern leadership manifests in seeing opportunity where others cannot. Today’s leaders choose to zig while others zag. They empower others, lifting as they climb. They are agile and creative, adept at solving problems.

They’re also scarce. According to a 2016 report, more than 56 percent of U.S. executives say leadership required to address their companies’ most pressing needs was absent. And only 7 percent of those surveyed say their companies had established fast-track leadership programs catered to the next generation of leaders.

The Fox School is stemming that trend. This year, the school launched the Fox Leadership Development Program (FLDP) to strengthen the competencies in graduating seniors that are most sought after by leading companies. FLDP aims to enhance those skills through a yearlong programming schedule required of all Fox students.

“Our goal through this program,” says assistant dean Charles Allen, “is to enhance our students’ overall experiences at Fox and, as we have for 100 years, better prepare them for the eventual transition from leaders in the classroom to leaders in the workforce.”

Sometimes, they don’t have to wait even that long. Here are five Fox School students and recent graduates proving there’s no cookie-cutter for leadership. 

They Make An Impact

Last summer, one week separated the landfalls of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico. The hurricanes claimed more than 100 lives and created $100 billion in damages. Ivan Cardona, a current student pursuing an executive doctorate in business administration (DBA), witnessed the devastation generated by the hurricanes, including the loss of his marketing business. But the tragedy didn’t break his resolve.

Immediately, he sought support for his country— freshwater, food, healthcare, and access to physicians, among other resources. He tapped his network, including others enrolled in the Fox Executive Doctorate in Business Administration program, to make that possible.

Cardona led philanthropic efforts to bring resources to Puerto Rico. He collected and distributed food to 2,300 families on Thanksgiving, using his trips to the U.S. for bi-monthly Executive DBA residencies, as well as chances to create contacts with folks who could lend assistance. He repeated his efforts in December, helping to hand out presents to more than 2,700 children at Christmas. His mission work focused on some of the island’s most affected municipalities, those that still lack access to freshwater and electricity.

Recently, Cardona and others distributed more than 2,000 solar lamps, as well as hand-cranked washing machines, to residents who are still without water and electricity.

“I’m not a hero,” Cardona says. “But when you see that, you start thinking, ‘If I leave, where are these people going to find water? Where are these people going to find food or how are they going to take care of their babies?’”

The work is not over, for Cardona and his home country.

They Give Back 

Jannatul Naima, BBA ’18, is a first-generation college student, which means her experience doesn’t necessarily look like everyone else’s. She pursued her undergraduate degree, managed family responsibilities at home, led two student organizations and held down a position in the Fox School’s Office of the Dean.

“My parents, like most immigrants, place value on education,” says Naima. “My mother and my father each work 60 to 70 hours a week. They have always said they will struggle so that my siblings and I won’t have to know struggle. To them, you work hard to get where you need to be in life.”

Her strong work ethic is paying off. In May, Naima earned an International Business degree with a concentration in Finance. She accepted entry into a two-year leadership development program at JPMorgan Chase, where she will rotate between roles in project management, process improvement, risk and control, and analytics. This presents an exciting future for Naima—at JPMorgan Chase and beyond.

Thanks to her success, Naima wants to give back. She found volunteer opportunities through Feed Philly and held positions in two student organizations: The Muslimah Project, a women’s empowerment organization that combats Islamophobia and provides a safe space for women of all cultures; and Temple’s chapter of United Muslim Relief, through which she raised thousands of dollars to aid Philadelphia-based refugees and build a maternity ward in Nigeria.

“Even as a young girl, I set high expectations,” Naima says. “It’s normal for me to be as involved with my school, my community, and my family. It’s all part of my goal to give back to my family and give back to the community in more ways than one.”

They Adapt 

Self-starter. Creative content consultant. Haircare influencer. These terms all apply to Tomi Jones, BBA ’18. So does this one: Gig worker, someone who secures gig or contract work.

Jones’ gig work is her life’s work. She monetized her YouTube channel, earning enough to offset a few educational expenses and develop a following of more than 90,000 subscribers along the way. She also works as a creative content consultant who helps firms and brands develop, create, and produce digital stories.

Jones first accepted contract work in her elementary school days when she signed up for table reads of scripts as a child TV production assistant.

She continued her passion for film and TV in 2015 for the movie “Creed.” Not only did she score on-camera time, but she also worked in stylist and production assistant roles on the set. Later that year, Jones interned by day for a Delaware-based bank. By night, she shuttled to New York to serve as a production assistant for the Netflix series “The Get Down” and complete YouTube certification courses. Not making much money, she often ate free meals on set, crashed on the couch of her aunt’s Harlem home, and jumped the turnstiles at subway stops.

“I’m not proud of that last one,” she says, “but I am proud of how you can open doors for yourself with daunting, sometimes-unpaid jobs. No one in this line of work has a resume that says, ‘One year here, two years there.’ Fox is ahead of the curve, and more universities need to be encouraging students that you can find satisfaction and your life’s work outside of a 9-to-5.”

They Create Connections

A study-abroad trip to Spain exposed Kyshon Johnson, BBA ’18, to plenty she’d never before seen: Culture, food, language… and the role of a father in the home.

The International Business major witnessed her host father doting on his wife, Johnson’s host mother. He would bring her flowers and play games with their daughter. He would hug them both tightly. 

Johnson grew up in a single-parent household in Philadelphia. Her mother, Johnson’s inspiration, raised three children while attaining three college degrees. Her father, incarcerated, is not a factor in her life.

“Because it was normalized in my community, I didn’t know it was an issue,” she says. “So, I conducted research, and I wanted to share what I have learned and see if I could learn more.”

In 2017, Johnson launched 100 Other Halves. The independent project applied her education, as Johnson met with 100 women of diverse backgrounds. Johnson invited the women, whether in person or in webcam meet-ups, to tell stories about their fathers—good, bad, or nonexistent.

“The women shared one trait: They contacted me to participate. Otherwise, they were all uniquely different,” Johnson says.

Johnson cataloged 100 Other Halves through posts to social media and her blog. She reserved the 100th interviewee for someone special—her mother, Kenya Barrett.

“My mom came into it with an open heart and open mind because she was raised through foster care,” Johnson says. “She was only two when her mother passed away from cancer, and she never knew her father. I watched her lay the foundation for who I am today and I never really asked her about her upbringing. It was enlightening for both of us.”

Upon graduation, Johnson began a business leadership program at San Francisco-based LinkedIn. She hopes to convert 100 Other Halves into a film or TV project.

“It’s important that women have opportunities to share their stories,” she says. “This started as a social experiment, and it’s become a platform for healing that I’m incredibly proud of.”

They Stay Busy 

Ryan Rist, BBA ’18, meets weekly with his Little Brother, a 10-year-old student at Philadelphia’s Independence Charter School, through the Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters. They often bond over lunch, conversation, or a game of soccer.

“I’m an only child,” Rist says, “so, in many ways, it feels like he’s my little brother. It’s rewarding to see him every week, get to know him, and make a difference in his life.”

But his leadership in his school and community extends beyond Big Brothers Big Sisters. Rist, who graduated in May with a Finance degree and a minor in Entrepreneurship, will also begin a three-year stint in the finance leadership development program at Prudential, where he held two prior internships. The rotational program allows Rist to build upon earlier experiences within Prudential’s tax investment and business planning and analysis teams.

“I like to stay busy,” Rist says, smiling. His professional, personal, and scholastic experience prove it.

He served three years as a resident assistant in one of Temple’s housing facilities. He also climbed the ladder in the Financial Management Association at the Fox School, for which he served a nine-month term as president—organizing activities, speaker series, and on-site visits to corporate headquarters for the 170-member student organization.

Outside of the classroom, Rist is resurrecting an entrepreneurial passion project he launched in 2014 as a high school senior. Rist Custom Coasters, behind a strong Kickstarter campaign, manufactured drink coasters with rubberized circular bottoms and felt inserts to absorb run-off. Personalized with images of logos or family photos, the coasters earned more than 150 crowdfunding backers. Rist brought his business to 2018 Be Your Own Boss Bowl®, an annual business plan competition at Temple.

When asked if he viewed himself as a leader, due to his many personal interests and professional responsibilities, Rist says, “I think everyone is a leader, to some degree. Everyone has the ability to lead. It’s just that leaders don’t always look or lead the same way.”

This story was originally published in Fox Focus, the Fox School’s alumni magazine.

Scholarship photograph

5 Fox School students and alumni share how scholarships changed their lives

Margaret (Meg) McGoldrick

BBA ’74, MBA ’77, President, Abington-Jefferson Health & Member, Fox School Dean’s Council

“I had the opportunity (in April) to meet with a dozen Fox students and they are so impressive,” says McGoldrick on a recent meeting of the Fox School Dean’s Council. “They are articulate and clear communicators. They show enthusiasm, politeness, and creativity. They attend Fox with a purpose, many of them to start their own businesses once they graduate. You can see that drive within them. Whenever I meet Fox students, I come away with a stronger understanding of why I invest in the school’s future.”

Charles Atangana

Class of 2019, Finance major

“The scholarship I received was valuable and significant to me because it off set the amount I needed to borrow to finance my education and pursue a BBA in my desired field. Once I graduate, I plan to use my finance degree to pursue a career in the music entertainment industry, and this wouldn’t be possible without the aid of the Johnson family and their scholarship.”

Kevin Johnson

BBA ’80, Vice President of Finance Transformation, Coca-Cola (retired) & Member, Fox School Dean’s Council

“Between contributions from my parents and my work-study program, I funded part of my education—but I still came out of the Fox School with debt. Today, I have a duty to give back to a place that gave me a foundation for a successful business career. Most people tend to think they need to write a seven-figure check to make a difference. That’s certainly not the case. Others need to know that we’re all capable of making a difference for the future generation with whatever we are able to contribute.”

Kristina Abi-Daher

Class of 2019, Accounting major

“Access to scholarships made the Fox School more attractive to me. I worked a job throughout high school, and that made my life more difficult than it needed to be. I didn’t have any flexibility in my schedule, or the ability to focus solely on my education. Now, my schedule isn’t nearly as complicated and I can dedicate myself to my education.”

Johanna Walters

BBA ’00, Senior Vice President, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

“I’m from a blue-collar Midwestern town, and my husband Brian (Sweeney, MBA ’01) and I both came from humble beginnings. We identify with the struggle of having to finance education, as well as the associated cost of not working in order to pursue a degree. It can be a heavy cost to the student. We firmly believe that education is one of best returns on investment. We established a scholarship at the Fox School to make students’ paths through college a little easier.”

This story was originally published in Fox Focus, the Fox School’s alumni magazine.

Associated athlete picture

If you thought it was tough being a business student, imagine being a business student and an athlete. It’s a unique, life-changing challenge learning how to balance academics and sports, and learning how to be a leader in the classroom and on the playing field. Many Fox students have welcomed this challenge, pursuing both educational and athletic excellence. Some are record breakers. Some witnessed how gender equality shook up collegiate sports. And one went on to compete in the Olympics. Below, six Fox alumni share their memories of playing sports during their time at Temple University.

1. Rafael DeLeon, BBA ’10

Major: Marketing

Sport: Basketball (2006-2010)

Current job: TV/Film actor

Fact: DeLeon starred in the Netflix series reboot of Spike Lee’s film “She’s Gotta Have It.”

Best Temple sports memory: “Winning the A-10 college basketball tournament three consecutive years in a row, granting us an automatic bid to the March Madness tournament. We were the first team to win three straight conference titles since UMass in the mid-1990’s.”

2. Steven Flaks, BBA ’88

Major: Accounting

Sport: Gymnastics (1985-1987)

Current job: Director of finance, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP

Best Temple sports memory: “Winning the Eastern Division Gymnastics Championship as part of the ’85-’86 team and placing second on pommel horse in individual finals. Also sharing in the excitement of Temple basketball reaching No. 1 in the nation in ’88.”

3. Teresa Gozik-Tyson, BS ’85

Major: Accounting

Sport: Volleyball (1981-1985)

Current job: Vice president, credit analyst, Wells Fargo

Fact: Teresa met her husband, an STHM alum, at Temple University. (They have season tickets to Temple football and basketball games.) Also, their daughter earned a BBA from the Fox School and a master’s from STHM, and their son earned a bachelor’s from STHM.

Best Temple sports memory: “The last year female athletes were under the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) was 1981, and in 1982 we became part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and this was a result of Title IX, of course. So it was a very exciting time for female athletes at the collegiate level. My best memory of the move to the NCAA was that female athletes got textbooks each semester—we didn’t have to buy them! The university supplied them, and we had to return them at the end of the semester, but we were permitted to keep one book each semester. Also, by my junior year we were traveling further distances (via plane) and competing against larger schools. Life was awesome!”

4. Jennifer Harding, BS ’07

Major: Sport and Recreation Management (STHM)

Sport: Crew (2004-2005)

Current job: Major gifts officer, Villanova University

Fact: Harding is the director-at-large of the Fox School of Business Alumni Association (FSBAA) and co-chair of the events committee. 

Best Temple sports memory: “Working for the United States Olympic Committee at the headquarters in Colorado Springs before the 2008 Olympics. Being able to work with the athletes and to see the level of dedication it takes to perform at that level still inspires me today.”

5. Michael J. Moore, BBA ’93

Major: Marketing

Sport: Crew (1989-1991, 1993)

Current job: Partner and chief commercial officer at WillowTree Inc.

Fact: Moore competed in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

Best Temple sports memory: “I have incredible memories from my time at Temple, both on campus and on the river. Winning the Dad Vail four times when the crowds were in the 100,000’s on the banks of the Schuylkill is at the top. Representing Temple at the Royal Henley Regatta in England is right up there, too!”

6. Jim Williams, BS ’66

Major: Business Administration

Sport: Basketball (1963-1966)

Fact: Williams led the Owls in scoring and rebounding from 1963 to 1966, and he was the first player to record over 1,000 career rebounds and 1,000 career points. In 1976, he was drafted by the Chicago Bulls and won a gold medal in the Pan American Games. He went on to play in the Italian League, where his team won the Italian Basketball Cup.

From court to classroom: “Everything was beneficial. You have to learn to discipline yourself, whether it’s on the field of competition or court, or in the classroom. Without discipline and regular hours of practice, you won’t succeed. I never failed a test I was prepared to take.”

This story was originally published in Fox Focus, the Fox School’s alumni magazine.

Fox Veterans associated image

The Fox School and Temple University is a thriving community of veterans, both current students and alumni. Between 2013 and 2017, 249 veterans earned degrees at the Fox School. And there are currently more than 400 veterans and veterans dependents enrolled. Since its founding 100 years ago, thousands of veterans have chosen to study business at the Fox School. To celebrate these business leaders’ commitments to their country, learn more about these accomplished Fox vets.

1. Edna Tuttleman, BS ’42

Back when Edna Tuttleman (1921-2013) was at Temple, the Fox School was called the School of Commerce. Tuttleman, who claimed her time here was “the most exciting period of my life,” became the university’s first female class president in 1939. Upon completion of her business degree, during World War II, Tuttleman joined the Navy’s Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service program. She eventually earned the rank of Lieutenant (junior grade). Professionally, she went on to run design operations at a clothing firm owned by her husband, Stanley Tuttleman.

Temple Lover: A longtime donor and trustee, the Tuttleman Learning Center is named after her and was made possible by gifts from the Tuttleman Family Foundation.

Art Lover: Edna and Stanley Tuttleman were collectors of art, and their name adorns the Tuttleman Gallery at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Their collection included works by Roy Lichtenstein, Fernando Botero, and Alexander Calder.

2. Dorothy S. Washburn, SMC ’31, MBA ’50

Dorothy Washburn (1909-1985), West Philadelphia born and raised, earned a BS from what is now the Klein College of Media and Communication, and an MBA from the Fox School. Her government career began during World War II when she worked as a clerk at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. She held several positions in the military and won outstanding service awards from the Army and the Air Force, for which she served as a Reserve Lieutenant Colonel. She also worked in Washington, D.C., for the Office of the Secretary of the Navy.

Fact: The Washburn Chair in Marketing, named after Dorothy S. Washburn, is presently held by Dr. Masaaki Kotabe.

Active Life: Washburn served on the board of the Philadelphia League of Women Voters and was a member of both Temple University’s Board of Managers and Temple’s Board of the General Alumni Association.

3. Mark J. Fung, MBA ’11

Rear Admiral Mark Fung joined the Navy in 1988 and he was deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm and the War on Terrorism. He currently works for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command as deputy chief of civil engineers and deputy commander. For his service, Fung has earned the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal. In his civilian life, Fung works as a project manager for AmerisourceBergen. 

Wise Words: “Life is too short to do something you don’t enjoy. I enjoyed my time at Temple, and at Fox, and I enjoy my work with the Navy. That’s the secret. What drives me, especially at this level of the Navy, where the stakes are high, is that there’s no room for second place. Even in the business world, you make decisions that affect the outcome of those who work for you and with you. It’s this responsibility to my team that makes me strive to perform at a higher level.”

4. Anthony McIntyre, BBA ’80

Following Anthony McIntyre’s time at the Fox School and Temple University—where he also played football and track and field—he was commissioned as a U.S. Army Reserve Officer and then spent several years as Company Commander of a floating craft company. Professionally, he worked for several years at the Graham Company and Xerox Corporation, before founding the McIntyre Group, an insurance brokerage firm, in 2002.

Temple Family: McIntyre’s wife, Christine, is an STHM graduate. His brother, Michael, earned his MBA from the Fox School.

Wise Words: “Nothing takes the place of persistence, hard work, and integrity. If you get knocked down, get back up. And take risks—with no risk, comes no reward.”

5. Paul Abrams, MBA ’16

Army Staff Sergeant Paul Abrams is the founder of RTB Limited, a soft skills training, and business consultancy. “We help fill the gap in startups to medium-sized businesses who don’t have the budget for a full training department,” says Abrams, who earned his MBA at the Fox School in 2016. 

Best Fox Memory: “I loved exposing my cohort members to professional rugby while visiting South Africa for my Executive MBA cohort’s Global Immersion trip. Rugby is a sport I am extremely passionate about; I played and coached for 15 years in the Army and for high-level clubs here in the U.S. Now that a league is starting here, I’d love to start a professional rugby team.”

Wise Words: “My discipline and attention to detail help me be a better leader in both business and the military. I also carry over the Army mantra ‘Be, Know, and Do.’ This creates a line of succession and constant training and communication in any business.

6. Joseph Petro, BS ’66

After earning his degree at the Fox School in 1966, Joseph Petro served as an officer in the U.S. Navy River Patrol Forces until 1970, including one year in Vietnam with River Division 512. He was discharged from the Navy as a Lieutenant. He has since worked as a special agent and senior executive in the U.S. Secret Service—Petro recounted these experiences, including his years alongside President Ronald Reagan, in his book, Standing Next to History: An Agent’s Life Inside the Secret Service—and a managing director at Citigroup. He is currently a senior vice president at Time Warner, Inc.

Wise Words: “Don’t be afraid to take chances—have confidence in yourself and work harder than everyone else.”

This story was originally published in Fox Focus, the Fox School’s alumni magazine.

Social consciousness, or the idea that people should be aware of problems both locally and far beyond their own experiences, has existed for much longer than companies led by Fox School of Business alumni like when honeygrow founder and CEO Justin Rosenberg, MBA ‘09, decided to use locally-sourced vegetables or United By Blue started hauling waste out of East Coast waterways. Social enterprise, a modern twist on this socially conscious concept, arrived at the forefront of 21st-century business.

At the Fox School, entrepreneurs are baking in the social enterprise section of their business plan well before they leave campus. And because the Fox School has so many innovative, socially-conscious students and alumni, here are a few across various industries that deserve the spotlight.

Performance Adejayan, Founder & CEO of Perade

Performance Adejayan
Photo by Performance Adejayan

Performance Adejayan, a current International Business Administration major, is passionate about helping her fellow Nigerian-Americans retain their culture and pride. She has channeled that passion into creating a clothing line called Perade. The idea for Perade was born from a simple question Adejayan asked herself: “Why not turn my passion into a business?”

She felt starting a clothing line that reflected her personal identity would be the perfect solution. Unlike the appropriated “tribal print” that can be found at many mainstream retailers, the brand mixes “African prints with western silhouettes” to transport Nigerian culture into wearable pieces for all. By going straight to the source and receiving products from Nigeria, she is giving back to her home and supporting the global economy.

At this stage in her entrepreneurial journey, Adejayan is currently working on spreading the word about Perade. She is building a team of brand ambassadors and influencers to post about and wear her products.

Anthony Copeman, Founder of Financial Lituation & $hares

Anthony Copeman
Photo by Joe V. Labolito

At the heart of every one of Anthony Copeman’s ventures is a desire to provide his generation with the tools they need to succeed financially. Since he was a student studying accounting, Copeman, BBA ’14, has founded a nonprofit (Backyard Business) and a financial coaching program (Financial Lituation), began working for the City of Philadelphia and launched an animated financial literacy YouTube series called $hares.

Both Financial Lituation and $hares help users build toward financial freedom through advice and education on financial literacy in an accessible way, especially for minorities and other disenfranchised groups.

Looking to the future, Copeman is committed to scaling the impact of his various projects,  measuring the results, and trying new things. “I am constantly inspired by innovation and creativity. I’m always asking myself, ‘how can I leverage my passion and put my own creative spin on it?’”

Thierno Diallo, Founder & CEO of Sontefa Energy

According to the International Energy Agency, in Sub-Saharan Africa, over 600 million

Thierno Diallo
Photo by Joe V. Labolito

people have never had access to electricity. In Guinea, the home country of Thierno Diallo, BBA ’17, only 53% of urban areas and 11% of rural areas had access to electricity, leaving 8.7 million people without it. With Sontefa Energy, Diallo wants to change those statistics.

“I believe that providing electricity to the people of Guinea, as well as to Africa as a whole, will be the greatest thing that I can ever accomplish,” Diallo says. “The myriad of cultures that are found in my country have always emphasized the importance of helping others.”

The company, whose mission is to empower the future of Africa with green energy, is currently focused on raising capital and is in the process of developing partnerships with solar panel suppliers in the U.S. and overseas. Diallo has developed an engineering team for installment and services, as well as a sales team.

David Ettorre, Founder & CEO of Osprey Drone Services

David Ettorre
Photo by David Ettorre

After graduating from the Strategic Management Entrepreneurship program in 2015, David Ettorre looked to combine the skills he knew he had in order to make an impact on the business world and the environment. He had business acumen, loved working outside and decided to mine the potential of drone technology to shape his career.

“With Osprey Drone Services, me and my team do not just show up with and play with drones. We use technology to solve industry problems,” Ettorre says. Leveraging the accessibility and data collection properties of drones, they offer customers a combination of preventive and predictive maintenance with industrial asset inspection.

Whether that means sending a drone 400 feet in the air to find out if an endangered species of bird has built a nest at the top of a tree or assessing the lifecycle of a wind turbine, the company helps wildlife conservation and their client’s bottom line.

Jen Singley, Keller Williams Philadelphia

Jeniffer Singley
Photo by Joe V. Labolito

Jen Singley, BBA ’13, has been interested in environmentalism since she was a child. For her, it was natural to marry real estate and sustainability. Singley is a real estate agent with Keller Williams and helps first-time home buyers navigate what can feel like an intimidating process. To offer this support, in addition to her day job, Singley hosts first-time buyer workshops in different neighborhoods around the city.

Singley also works with Women for a Sustainable Philadelphia, a forum for encouraging women to connect around a passion for positively impacting the current and future environmental, social and economic resilience of the Greater Philadelphia region.

In an effort to infuse elements of sustainability into her career, Singley offers free recycling bins for clients and organize cleanups in client neighborhoods. “No matter what I am doing for work, I always want to link it to helping Philadelphia and making it a more sustainable, greener place to live,” Singley says.

All of these “extracurriculars” support Singley’s mission to educate herself and teach others about real estate, sustainability and giving back to the City of Brotherly Love.                        

This story was originally published in Fox Focus, the Fox School’s alumni magazine.

John Milligan
Photo by Joseph V. Labolito

 

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.”

This story was originally published in Fox Focus, the Fox School’s alumni magazine.

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