For Dr. Leila Bouamatou, DBA ’17, women’s leadership in business is deeply personal

Dr. Leila Bouamatou graduating with her family

As the daughter of the founder of a family-owned bank in the West African country of Mauritania, Bouamatou studied the challenges that women in francophone Africa face when seeking to take over the family business during her time in the Fox Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program.

Bouamatou found that women’s biggest struggles included the institutionalized stigma of working outside the home; resistance from both older male and female members of the family, who were often unwilling to break with tradition; and the convention of women taking their husband’s last names, thus having a different last name than the family company.

To succeed in leading a family business in this environment, Bouamatou identified several key factors—such as modern-thinking fathers, supportive husbands, access to educational opportunities, and personality traits like determination and ability.

As the general manager at the Mauritanian General Bank, Bouamatou hopes to inspire young African girls and women to become leaders in business. She wants others to receive the encouragement that she felt at home from her parents and siblings. “I am particularly lucky to be the daughter of a modern-thinking father who has great respect towards women,” said Bouamatou, “and who believes in the potential of his daughters.” She recalls her mother teaching her from an early age about the importance of education and ambition.

Despite the barriers that remain, she sees hope for the future. “Africa is changing, and so is the mentality,” Bouamatou said. “Women are getting more and more educated and becoming more and more ambitious. Fathers are more and more supportive of their daughters and more open-minded, compared to previous generations.”

“I am fully aware that it would be hard for one single African woman to change the world,” said Bouamatou. “But I know that this African woman can shape her world and destiny.”

Nirmala Menon, MS ’91, International Change Agent

Nirmala Menon, MS ’91

Nirmala Menon, MS ’91, worked in the Global Diversity and Multicultural Team at IBM before becoming the founder and CEO of Interweave Consulting, a diversity and inclusiveness solutions company. At IBM, she experienced the diversity and inclusion challenges across various countries. The experience prepared her to found Interweave and lead it to be a pioneer in India, where the arena was a non-existent market when the company began operations.

Through Interweave, Menon works with companies to implement progressive policies to support diverse groups. The company has touched the minds and hearts of over 150,000 people, including senior leaders and managers through its workshops and initiatives. Others receive these messages through e-modules and webinars.

“Diversity and inclusion is still a new area of work in India and it is hard to provide a direct ROI on the efforts,” said Menon, addressing the impact of her efforts. “However, there are several anecdotes that show that the efforts have translated into positive behaviors at work. A better understanding of respectful behaviors at work and more conscious efforts at gender, disability, and LGBT inclusion are all, we believe, influenced by our efforts.”

When asked how she is making the world a better place, Menon said, “In my mind, everything we do dovetails into building a better world! The work we do has a tremendous positive impact as it is directly focused on building inclusion. From helping organizations understand the value of diversity and inclusion and helping to build enabling workplace policies to support the same, it has a direct impact for the nation.”

She believes organizations are powerful vehicles of change and teach people to become influencers. “A mind expanded or enriched with knowledge and sensitivity is bound to be applied not just at work but equally in their behaviors at home and in society.”

As a result, Interweave is building the foundations for social change in India and beyond.



Every year, students and faculty at the Fox School of Business distinguish themselves on the international stage at conferences all over the world. Last month, Dr. Ram Mudambi, Professor and Perelman Senior Research Fellow at the Fox School, convened the 7th annual iBEGIN Conference, where scholars from around the world met to discuss research streams related to the iBEGIN acronym—International Business, Economic Geography and Innovation.

Hosted by the Copenhagen Business School (CBS Maritime), scholars at iBEGIN reported on many research streams related to innovation. Alain Verbake, Professor of at the University of Calgary, gave the keynote on the role of port clusters in international logistics chains. This topic reflects the 2019 conference theme: Ports versus Portals: International Connectivity and the Bundling of Tangibles and Intangibles.

By studying innovation in these international maritime hubs, iBEGIN scholars hope to uncover elements of the “invisible web” of connectivity that underlies not only our social networks, but our world. “I used to a teach a course on digital strategy,” said Mudambi, “and one of things that I noticed was that even though we think of digital connections as global, instantaneous and ubiquitous, the reality is that there is a hard infrastructure of cables and wires (the internet backbones) that actually makes it work. Hence, the intangible linkages that we take for granted are enabled by tangible networks.”

Only a handful of studies have attempted to bridge the divide between physical and digital infrastructural networks in order to better understand their joint impact on global knowledge and value creation. By exploring this new and exciting research topography, iBEGIN aims to uncover important lessons regarding the relationship between these networks and innovation.

Ultimately, innovation is the alpha and the omega of the iBEGIN project. How and whether cities, ports, or institutions increase their innovative power or lag behind global averages is of extreme importance for scholars and governments around the world. The emphasis this year on how transportation networks—which have connected humans for millennia—and new digital technologies interact is an area that is critically understudied.

iBEGIN is partially funded through the Fox School’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER). As part of a broader national platform supported by the Department of Education, Temple CIBER aims to promote trade education and support research in areas of international business, providing overseas work and study experiences for Fox School students. With Temple CIBER’s ongoing assistance, iBEGIN has been able to expand its influence in the international community.

“iBEGIN is the go-to place for researchers who are working at the interface of the disciplinary boundaries that the iBEGIN community acronym embodies,” said Dr. Rudolf Sinkovics, Professor of International Business at the University of Manchester. “While it is highly focused, it is an inclusive community that feels like a family and is very effective in the diffusion of work at the frontier.”

These comments were echoed by other attendees, such as Alex Berman, a PhD candidate at FOX in International Business and Strategic Management: “The 2019 iBEGIN conference in Copenhagen provided a fantastic overview of the current research on the subject of global innovation, illustrating how geographic idiosyncrasies influence important economic processes and outcomes. I was particularly impressed by the insights put forward by the series of discussions about ports and port-related initiatives, such as the presentation by Dr. Alain Verbeke on the role of port clusters in international logistic chains.”

Although housed at the Fox School, iBEGIN works with a number of partner schools around the world, such as Italy’s Politecnico di Milano and University of Venice Ca Foscari, and the Indian School of Business. Going forward, Mudambi is optimistic that the project will continue to grow, folding ever more schools and talented researchers—such as those at CBS Maritime—into its ranks. “We were able to add a whole new set of shipping researchers to the iBEGIN research network and this was a huge step forward for the network.”

The 2020 iBEGIN conference will be held at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.

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.

For decades, business schools have been discussing how to translate the insights of academic research into real-world solutions to industry and societal problems. To address this issue head-on and truly move the needle of impact, the Fox School recently founded the Translational Research Center. 

Charles Dhanaraj is the executive director of the center, an H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest Professor of Strategy and executive director of the Executive Doctorate in Business Administration program. 

Q: What does translational research mean?

A: Research is about creating knowledge that will transform practice. Imagine it as a bridge between academics and practitioners. Translational research envisions keeping the two-way flow of knowledge: presenting business challenges to research scholars and providing research insights to business leaders. 

Business executives understand what the big issues that face them are. Part of the emphasis of translational research is on helping academics understand what the real issues are that executives face and creating engagement between academics and business executives for that purpose.

translational research q&a image

The second emphasis is on getting research to professionals. Much of our research is published in journals that only academics read. Research findings do not become actionable insights on their own. Often research findings from multiple studies, sometimes multiple disciplines, need to be integrated to make them actionable insights.

Q: Why is translational research important?

A: Since the mid-1960s business schools have moved toward scholarly research that advances theoretical understanding of the business issues. 

Business schools are rewarded when their work is published in well-known journals that focus on such issues. Prestigious scholarly research in the last decade has become the core currency on which schools have been rated.  

Unfortunately, there have been three unintended effects:

  • Research has gone on to explore exotic issues, and more and more of business research has become esoteric. Increasingly businesses and more recently even academics have started feeling that research is losing relevance;
  • The misplaced emphasis on the “publish or perish” model has isolated academics from business executives and policymakers who are the major stakeholders in the research we create at such a high expense. 

What gives this issue an urgency is that technology and the changing business dynamic is demanding accountability from business schools. We need research that can create growth in business and equip business leaders and policymakers for meeting today’s challenges. Research has to show impact. That’s what the Center is about.   

Q: Who does translational research impact?

A: The predominant focus in our scholarly research in recent decades has been academia. We measure the impact of research by how well other academics value it. It is an important stakeholder community for us. But, if that dominates our thinking, we run the risk of becoming self-referential or talking to ourselves and creating an echo chamber. 

Students, business executives, business policymakers and the community at large are also key stakeholders.

The value of bringing research to business executives and policymakers is self-evident. The problem we now run into is that increasingly business executives do not look up to business schools as knowledge providers—they see us only as labor market players—producing students who can be employed by them. 

associated translational research q&a 2

Students are largely the group that has paid a price in this system. Often they are drawn to prestigious schools because they are research-driven. The bifurcation of teachers and researchers in business schools helps manage budgets and maintain prestige but it does not serve the students best. 

The larger community is the most distant from our scholarship. No business school is an island. We are embedded in communities. If we believe business can be a transformative agent, it should be so in our local communities. For example, we teach hundreds of students in multiple entrepreneurship courses. Imagine the power unleashed if we bring together our research insights on entrepreneurship, our ability to convene the strength of local institutions and transform communities into action laboratories where our students can engage and learn!

To learn more about the Translational Research Center, visit https://www.fox.temple.edu/institutes-and-centers/translational-research-center/.

Timing is everything when you are looking to add international educational experience to your MBA capstone class.

Group of students in Tel Aviv
MBA students Sylvania Tang, Jennifer Miescke, Nicole Zeller and Zhi Liao traveled to Israel for a client presentation as part of their capstone course. Here, the group is sightseeing in Jerusalem. Photo courtesy of Sylvania Tang.

Working on a team comes with challenges. But what if part of your team is more than 5,000 miles away — following a different schedule, living in a different culture and ending the workday shortly after yours begins?

Add in a 4.6 magnitude earthquake that strikes in the middle of your final presentation, and things can get pretty hairy.

But Temple University Fox School of Business MBA students Zhi Liao, Jennifer Miescke, Sylvania Tang and Nicole Zeller navigated it all this spring to deliver a presentation in Tel Aviv as part of their capstone experience with Fox Management Consulting (FMC).

“We didn’t even notice the earthquake, we were so focused,” says Liao. “Someone told us later that it happened.”

The students, led by FMC project executive William Kitsch, worked with a team of MBA students and faculty at Tel Aviv University (TAU) as part of an ongoing joint venture between the Fox School and the Israeli university. 

“We do this so students get a global experience with a diverse group of students, faculty and businesses,” says David Nash, operating director at Fox Management Consulting.

Forming a team

Final adjustments are made as the team prepares for its presentation to the client later in the day. Photo courtesy of Zhi Liao.

The American and Israeli groups worked to deliver strategic recommendations to a startup e-commerce company with offices in Tel Aviv and California. The Israeli-owned company, which helps sellers optimize sourcing and selling opportunities across eight countries, was seeking ways to expand its current marketplace.

“It was a very difficult task in the sense of timing,” says Miescke, who served as a project manager. “We were working seven hours behind Tel Aviv all the time and their workweek is Sunday through Thursday.”

The intensity continued as the group arrived in Israel, just days after Temple’s May 9 graduation, and joined the TAU team to prep for the client presentation.

“There was a lot of pressure around the fact that there were two teams,” Kitsch says. “Both had different expectations, schedules, project deadlines. But by learning to work through and manage it all, it gave us opportunities to find leadership in everything we were doing.” 

Experiential learning

The FMC capstone course is built around a curriculum that helps students apply the competencies and skills they have acquired in the MBA program through the client projects. 

Group of students with certificates of completionMembers of the consulting team with their certificates of completion.
Members of the consulting team with their certificates of completion. The Fox School group joined students and faculty at Tel Aviv University in the project. Photo courtesy of Sylvania Tang.

In addition to being an exceptional learning opportunity for students, the projects deliver dynamic business solutions to clients facing various challenges.

Since students participating in the global project graduate before the actual client presentation, they first present to faculty for grading purposes.

“Presenting early really helped us see where we could improve, helped our focus and allowed us to see where we needed to get to,” Tang says. “That experience really helped us get things in order and take things to the next level.”

With feedback in hand, the team is ready for the next step.

“They go to Israel, meet with fellow team members and faculty to refine the project,” Nash explains. “They meet with the client later in the week and after all is done, the group does manage some social time.” 

Taking it all in

The four Temple students stayed on in Israel for a few additional days to travel to Jerusalem and immerse themselves into the culture and attractions of the region.

The beach in Tel Aviv was a stop for members of the team who stayed to travel in Israel after the project was complete. Photo courtesy of Zhi Liao.

“It was great to have that time together after spending so much time working on the project,” Liao says. 

Zeller says she knew she wanted to get her MBA from Temple.

“The FMC capstone project, specifically working on a live problem, was the biggest thing that made me come to Fox for my MBA,” she says. “Temple really supports you in the process and that meant a lot.”

Kitsch believes the Tel Aviv experience is an extraordinary opportunity. “Every student should be competing for a spot on that team. It’s that valuable.”

Now that the project is over, the students agree that the experience will move them forward in their careers.

“Without this project, I probably would never consider venturing toward e-commerce or international business and I am fully grateful for that because now it’s something I would consider,” Liao says.

Tang says she is only now realizing how big an impact the project has had on her.

“This experience has definitely fueled a desire in me to look at how far my potential can go,” she explains. “For me, my MBA journey was four years long and in those four years, my MBA capstone class experience — this global journey — was my greatest learning experience at Temple.”

Helping achieve a global experience

Not all Fox Management Consulting projects require traveling abroad to meet with a client, but when they do, Temple’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) can assist.

The center helps pay the team’s travel expenses related to the project, associate director Jeff Conradi says. The center serves to improve U.S. competitiveness in the world marketplace and to produce globally competent students, faculty and staff. It is funded by a four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education. 

For more information about the center, click here

4 ways giving impacts Fox

From left to right: Jerry Miller, Pamela Rainey Lawler, Ellen Weber, Wesley Davis, Olaitan Awomolo, Francisco Garcia, and Luke Butler. Credit: Chris Kendig Photography

When Temple University opened its doors at the turn of the 19th century, it was more than a place—it was a bold, new idea. The transforming concept that founder Russell H. Conwell called, “The Temple Idea,” was to educate “working men and working women on a benevolent basis, at an expense to the students just sufficient to enhance their appreciation of the advantages of the institution.”

Philanthropy at the Fox School has been a game-changer ever since Conwell turned his “Temple Idea” into reality. A culture of giving is tied into the mission of the university, and there is no shortage of ways to contribute. From small student donations to multi-million dollar endowments, alumni, students, faculty, staff, and community partners have donated generously to keep the Fox community ahead of the frenetic pace that exists in today’s competitive business school environment.

The school succeeds because of its community’s commitment to transforming global business education. This is evident in the school’s market-driven curriculum, cutting-edge technology, and impactful research. The Fox School continues to innovate thanks to the vision and generosity of its leaders and donors. The following highlights how philanthropy influences the hiring of faculty, program development, facility upgrades and expansion, and scholarship endowment to offer our students greater opportunities so that they can advance their industries and change the world.

1. Faculty 

Attracting and retaining industry-leading faculty members is key to the reputation and success of the Fox School. They are gifted orators, mentors, and business and academic leaders. Their work and expertise reach beyond the classroom into the largest, most successful multi-national corporations. Fox students study with some of the brightest minds in marketing, risk, insurance, finance, healthcare, and many other fields. Here, more than 220 faculty create a hands-on experience that connects students to the real world and helps them make their mark in their chosen field or profession. The Jerome Fox Chair in Accounting, Taxation, and Financial Strategy is an example of one-way donor funds support the Fox faculty.

Jerome Fox Chair in Accounting, Taxation, and Financial Strategy

In 2015, the Jerome Fox Chair in Accounting, Taxation, and Financial Strategy was added. Created through a $2 million gift from Saul A. Fox, KLN ’75, in honor of his father, Jerome Fox, this chair is held by high-level practitioners of accounting, taxation, and financial strategy. “My father equally valued the accounting industry and the role of education in our society,” said Fox. “The establishment of this distinguished chair at the Fox School melds my father’s two lifelong passions and honors his memory as a successful accounting practitioner.”

The Jerome Fox Chair is currently held by David E. Jones. “The prestige of having a named chair is crucial to attracting high-achieving professors for our department and the school,” says Jones. Endowed chairs help promote the school’s presence and expertise in areas of business education and research, and ensure the school can secure world-renowned faculty to teach its students.

2. Facilities 

The incredible growth and development of the Fox School on Temple’s Main Campus is creating a hub for innovation, entrepreneurship, research, and business education as a whole. Technology, state-of-the-art research labs, co-working spaces, and an accelerator all ensure that the school offers the resources that students, alumni, faculty, and staff need to advance business education in the 21st Century.

1810 Liacouras Walk To continue innovating its programs for a record number of students, the school has expanded into 1810 Liacouras Walk. The building’s renovation was partially financed through philanthropic efforts. The project houses the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI), which occupies the first floor of the building.

  • 77,000 additional square feet
  • SIX additional floors
  • COLLABORATIVE co-working spaces and new classrooms
  • ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY to personify online and traditional learning
  • EXPANSION of the Tutoring Center and the Business Communications Center
  • STATE OF THE ART research labs for the Data Science and Business Analytics Institute and the Center for Neural Decision Making

3. Programs 

Thanks to philanthropy, the Fox School has the opportunity to offer inventive classroom education, workshops, conferences, customized mentorships, and events. Wall Street Day and Be Your Own Boss Bowl® are examples of ways donor funds support the school and programs.

Wall Street Day In 2012, Dean’s Council member Douglas L. Maine, KLN ’71, a senior advisor at Brown Brothers Harriman, helped establish Wall Street Day. This experience allows students to get a glimpse into the day-to-day of Temple alumni working on Wall Street. It provides a comfortable arena in which they can ask questions of alumni, who were once in their shoes. Wall Street Day gives Fox students hands-on experience and the opportunity to meet face to face with successful alumni working in the financial industry,” says Cindy Axelrod, director of Financial Planning programs and director of the Owl Fund. “The experience allows our students to ask questions, network, and open doors for their future success. It enriches their collegiate careers and demonstrates the value of their Temple education.”

Be Your Own Boss Bowl® The Be Your Own Boss Bowl® (BYOBB®), a university-wide business plan competition, helps winners take their business ideas to the next level. The annual event is currently sponsored by Bernard Spain, FOX ’56, and Murray Spain, FOX ’65, brothers and entrepreneurs credited with popularizing the smiley face icon in the 1970s. In 2018, UniFi, a mobile app focused on financial wellness and onboarding, took home the top honor—a $60,000 grand prize. The UniFi team, led by Jessica Rothstein, MBA 18, plans to use the new resources for talent acquisition and tech. “We have two pilots to launch this year,” said Rothstein. “Winning this competition will definitely help us reach our goals.”

4. Scholarships 

Fox School students are driven to succeed. They rise to any challenge and surpass even the greatest expectations. However, success is hard to achieve if financial or personal obstacles stand in the way. Donor-funded scholarships provide financial relief while alleviating some emotional stress associated with funding a college degree. Scholarships empower students to seize hold of the opportunity to receive a world-class business education. Examples include immediate-use scholarships, endowed scholarships, and emergency support provided through the Fox Student Philanthropy society.

Fox Student Philanthropic Society Current students can help each other by contributing to the Fox Student Philanthropic Society (FSPS). The organization coordinates fundraisers for the Fox Student Emergency Fund for students who face an unexpected financial hardship that would prevent them from being able to get what they need to complete their semester. Faculty and staff can advocate for students who meet the criteria. “You think of philanthropy and you think of people who are millionaires,” said Shaniqua Wallace, FOX ’17. “Or you don’t think you have the money or the resources or that your coins matter. Anything that you provide matters.”

Kuang-Yao Lee, assistant professor of statistical science at the Fox School

More than 15 million adults struggle with alcohol addiction. In fact, according to the CDC, one in ten deaths of working-age adults in America is linked to alcohol. That’s one reason data on alcohol use has been chosen by researchers for study from the enormous data set from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ ambitious Million Veteran Program (MVP). The VA intends as the project’s name states, to gather data on an astonishing one million service members.

Kuang-Yao Lee, assistant professor of statistical science at the Fox School, sees a world of potential new knowledge in this vast cache of data. This is particularly true of alcohol use because the data from the MVP is longitudinal, which means the same measurements are tracked over time. Alongside the support from the VA, Lee’s project received funding through from Office for the Vice President of Research at Temple University.

Volunteers in the MVP each submit blood samples as well as health surveys, amassing a dataset that comprises both genetic data and behavioral patterns. Beginning in 2016 when he was a researcher at Yale University, Lee and his colleagues have been using this information-rich resource to search for the specific combination of genes that correspond to alcohol and other substance use.

“Previous studies have suggested [these genes exist], but mostly were only limited to small scales or restricted conditions,” says Lee. “We want to use statistical models to find out if this is really a valid assumption. Our results so far suggest a very strong association.”

While ample electronic health records and genetic data have long been available to researchers, only recently has the efficient computing power become available to slice and dice the information into accurate, usable new insights and discoveries. More sophisticated algorithms combined with larger-than-ever computer storage capacity, as well as parallel computation techniques, allow today’s researchers to make meaning from a huge amount of complex data.

How huge? “Depending on the facility, the whole genome sequencing [for one person] can produce hundreds of millions of variants,” says Lee. Questionnaires allow researchers to gather large amounts of information about each subject every time they are administered. Multiply that by one million veterans. “We’re talking about not just billions, but millions of millions of points of data,” he says.

Data with this level of complexity can lead to findings that are more nuanced and reliable than in the past. Previously statistics sometimes led to oversimplified and other not-quite-right conclusions. We’ve all heard the old axiom, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” But as so-called big data increases in scope and complexity and the tools used to analyze this data become more sophisticated, statistics are becoming more honest than ever before. From projects such as the Million Veteran Program and other similarly vast datasets, new genetic truths may ultimately emerge.

There are many possible real-world applications for this research. For one thing, determining which specific genes are linked with alcohol and other substance abuse could lead to new and better medicines and treatments for the very veterans who have volunteered their most sensitive personal information for this work. A dialed-in genetic profile that indicates a vulnerability for substance abuse could be used to screen kids and even adults while there is still time for effective early interventions that can keep them on a healthy path. Given the current public health crisis around opioids, alcohol, and other substance use, a breakthrough of this kind could have far-reaching benefits.

Lee says that the knowledge gleaned from the Million Veteran Program about substance abuse may lead to similar projects that could help solve other vexing behavioral, health, and genetic puzzles. He also notes that the innovative statistical models and tools he’s used in this research could be applied in myriad ways to other complex datasets.

For example, online shopping platforms can easily observe huge amounts of individual consumers and, at the same time, collect data across large numbers of variables. “One of the core problems in business analytics is to use statistical models to study the inter-dependency between observed variables, for example, the dependency between decision making and consumer behavior,” Lee says.

“There are a surprising number of similarities between genomics and online shopping.”

This story was originally published in On the Verge, the Fox School’s flagship research magazine. For more stories, visit www.fox.temple.edu/ontheverge.

4 recent faculty research articles that will change how you do business

Innovative research has transformed the way we live over the last century. From the airplane and the automobile to the radio and the Internet, progress has come from forward-thinking leaders who discover new solutions and insights into how we do business.

At the Fox School, expert faculty members are taking up that mantle of progress. As they look for unsolved problems or unanswered questions, these researchers explore topics that impact our everyday lives.

1. Don’t play games with names. Mimi Morrin, a professor in the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, found that consumers who were misidentified had a negative emotional reaction to the company. If a marketing email addresses “Shirin” as “Elizabeth,” or a barista calls out “Brian” instead of “Byron,” Morrin found consumers feel disrespected. Some even had a physical reaction to this transgression, like pushing a coffee cup further away on the table. In order to prevent customers from running away, companies don’t just have to personalize, they have to personalize correctly. Morrin suggests employing methods like frequent shopper cards in order to successfully embrace the use of customer names.

Research Impact illustration

2. Getting angry at work can (sometimes) be okay. Most people avoid yelling at work. But anger can be productive, says Deanna Geddes, associate dean, graduate programs, at the Fox School. Her recent research studied workplace anger by looking at the status (either a supervisor or subordinate) and role (either expressing or receiving angry feelings) of the parties involved. If the employees already had a strong relationship, Geddes found that emotional disagreements promoted dialogue, improved working relationships, and created a beneficial movement towards organizational change. Yet when subordinates were on the receiving end of anger, the results were more often negative. So next time you feel your blood boiling in a meeting, recognize your role and status in the situation before deciding to unleash.

3. Remember what’s in your wallet. How much cash is in your wallet right now? Did you guess correctly? Joydeep Srivastava, the Robert L. Johnson Professor of Marketing, found that people are more likely to remember what’s in their wallets when they were holding larger bills. In addition, not only were they less likely to spend their money, participants with higher denominations were more likely to underestimate the amount of money they had. If you would like to be pleasantly surprised next time you open your purse, try taking out a $50 when you go to the ATM.

4. Crowded by ads—it can cost you. Crowds are the worst. Whether it is a congested subway car or packed venue, people can often respond by turning inwards and towards their phones. Xueming Luo, Charles E. Gilliland, Jr. Professor of Marketing discovered that being in a crowded area actually increases our susceptibility to mobile ads. In his study of nearly 15,000 mobile phone users, commuters in crowded train cars were twice as likely to make a purchase in response to a mobile ad, compared to those in less crowded trains. While we normally associate crowds with anxiety and risk-avoidance, Luo found that mobile ads can be a welcome relief in this environment. For companies, this means a new way to boost marketing effectiveness. For consumers, let’s be real—this won’t stop us from pulling out our phones.

For more updates on Fox Research,  go to fox.temple.edu/idea-marketplace.

Deserve a raise? Here’s how to fight for it. 

Negotiating a Raise Illustration

One hundred years ago, in 1918, the average American household made $1,518 annually. Today, the average business major’s starting salary is nearly 30 times that—between $45,000 and $50,000 per year, according to a recent study.

For the last century, we have seen wages rise. But as expenses have crept up, everyone could use a little extra in the bank. Luckily, two Fox School researchers may be able to help.

Tony Petrucci and Crystal Harold, two researchers in the Department of Human Resource Management, have studied the best tactics for negotiating a raise. On one hand, competency—the skills that an individual contributes to an organization—is king. On the other hand, the presentation of this delicate proposal may dictate whether it fails or succeeds. Here are some tips from Petrucci and Harold about how you can be strategic about increasing your salary.

From Tony Petrucci, assistant professor of practice:

1. Understand which competencies are most valued based on your role. “The best way to increase your own value is by creating value for your organization. Most organizations determine value by execution of competencies, including skills, knowledge, and experiences. Research has shown some competencies universally lead to higher pay. For example, people who display a feedback-seeking orientation earn higher pay raises and quicker promotions. Seeking feedback is typically associated with higher levels of emotional intelligence, which is a competency most organizations value and reward.”

2. Know where the future is trending in your field. “Competencies in areas such as digital leadership, data analytics, real-time feedback, artificial intelligence, and leadership are very relevant and valued. Deloitte, for example, found that digital leaders of the future will need to be more networked, collaborative, more inclusive, and better at giving, seeking, and receiving real-time feedback.”

3. Recognize that career paths will become less traditional in the future. “In today’s environment, individuals need to take more ownership for their career through personal learning. By understanding what competencies are important, showing calibrated excellence in those competencies, and marketing personal achievement, research shows you may have higher—and more frequent—raises.”

From Crystal Harold, associate professor of human resources management and Cigna Research Fellow:

4. Timing is important. “If you successfully completed an important project or received a major commendation for your work, time the discussion with your boss after these events. Research suggests that Thursdays may be the best day to ask for a raise, as people are generally most agreeable and potentially open to negotiations as the traditional workweek winds down.”

5. Do your homework. “Know the worth of your position, your skill set, and what you bring to the company. Be prepared to articulate why you merit a raise. For instance, if your job has changed in some meaningful way, be able to document how. If you played a critical role in completing an important project, be able to clarify your contributions. By knowing the salary norms for your industry and documenting your accomplishments, you can better justify your targeted figure.”

6. Don’t bluff unless you can accept the consequences. “Research shows that competitive strategies—like sharing details of a competing offer or threatening to walk away—during job offer negotiations yield higher salary gains. While these tactics might be useful for initial negotiations, be cautious of using them when requesting a raise. If you threaten to leave unless you receive a raise, but actually do not intend to leave, be prepared for the repercussions if your boss calls your bluff. And going on the job market to get an offer for the sole purpose of motivating a raise could irreparably damage your reputation with others within your industry.”

6 alumni and students pick essential items from 2019 to share with tomorrow’s business leaders 

time capsule illustration

1. Nasir Mack, Class of 2021

Career goal: “To work in the entertainment, hospitality, and fashion industry.”

Time capsule submission: Social media “Since I hope to one day become the CEO of a firm that is active in the entertainment industry, it would be interesting to see how much the social media platforms have changed and the usage rate of the platforms in the upcoming generation. As a millennial, social media has become an integral part of our lives. A culture of constant comparison and instant gratification has been born that is also encompassed by a global connection of everyday people moving through life, all sharing their high and low moments, and their struggles. Industries, including the entertainment industry, have utilized social media to connect directly with their consumers, and vice versa. Ten years from now, the way we think about social media in business may be entirely different.” 

2. Pauline Milwood, PhD ’15

Assistant professor of hospitality management, Penn State University

Time capsule submission: The heart emoji “It is the second or third most popular emoji used on social media platforms, according to infographic trackers. But I chose it to remind young men and women serving in hospitality and tourism that excellence in service and meaningfully connecting with others must be lived from the heart.” 

3. Michael Moore, BBA ’93

Partner and chief commercial officer, WillowTree Inc.

Time capsule submission: Apple iPhone “We refer to the iPhone now as your identity layer—in other words, the phone has become the central hub for all our data, more than contacts and communications, but rather, our preferences, our personal and commercial profile. We may not need devices like this in the future; we’ll just need a small wearable device to power our identities. Even now, considering how quickly things are evolving—like going from typing interfaces to voice interfaces—who’s to say that we won’t have a tiny device behind our ear that’s a wearable and hearable interface very soon. The pace we’re on, with the way computing has progressed, in 10 years I think we’ll see such a radical shift in what personal technology looks like.” 

4. Suzy Schramm-Apple, MBA ’87

CEO, PrescribeWell, Inc.

Time capsule submission: A laptop with Windows or Office Software “These compact, portable tools made it possible for people to communicate globally in an instant, to create presentations and spreadsheets, to create and manage databases, and to archive files with incredible storage capacity. They are invaluable to business people and leaders today.” 

5. Ben Thomas, BBA ’18

Freelance audio engineer and music producer; Co-founder of nicethingsMUSIC

Time capsule submission: Spotify “Spotify is the perfect way to define the new direction of the music industry. Streaming has changed the entire business model of the industry and, unfortunately, has caused a lot of traditional businesses to be redefined. Personally, I love streaming, I think it has opened up more ways for artists to be successful than ever before. And I know that without money that artists make from streaming, there is no way that I would be able to live my dream as an audio engineer and producer.” 

6. Daria Salusbury, KLN ’75

Founder and CEO, Salusbury & Co., LLC

Time capsule submission: The Dakota floor plans “I would add the original floor plans for The Dakota on the upper west side of Manhattan to the capsule because this development was so progressive and has stood the test of time with such occupants as John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Richard Bernstein, Lauren Bacall, etc. It is still one of the most sought after buildings to call ‘home’ for the most outstanding and accomplished people who need a residence in New York City.” 

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

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 and is the board chair of the Keystone Alliance for Performance Excellence, the State of Pennsylvania Baldrige Alliance Program. She’s also a member of the Dean’s Council of the Fox School and a life trustee of Philadelphia University. 

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. And as life moves on, lots of people suggest—wisely—to look for ways to re-center myself. I’ve worked in very stressful positions. Being able to manage that stress has been critical.” 

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 tips for making a meaningful connection with employers

The Fox School has maintained a focus on student professional development with the launch of the Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD). Since 1997, CSPD has served as a vital link between Fox students and the business community and a comprehensive resource for students on successful entry into the professional business environment.

In addition to providing resume critiques, interview preparation, career and industry awareness development, and placement services, CSPD also offers guidance on impression management, including personal branding—an increasingly important tool in 2018 for jobseekers, whether you are a current Fox student or experienced graduate.

What is a brand? The promise of an experience, advises Janis Moore Campbell, director of graduate professional development for CSPD. In a job search, communicating your personal brand—including the “experience of you that you promise” to an employer—is essential to standing out.

But how do you present that experience before getting your foot in the door? Job seekers must establish and reflect a brand online that is relevant to targeted opportunities and employers, says Campbell, and an increasing number of enterprises are expected to use social media, technology, and artificial intelligence for candidate recruitment and applicant sourcing. 

Campbell offers the following tips for reinvigorating your brand and effectively communicating to target employers the promise of you. 

1. Take a realistic stock of your current presence on the Internet. You can control what you upload—your digital footprint. However, you should also stay aware of what others upload about you—your digital shadow. Stay informed on both to limit the disconnect between what your digital footprint reflects and what your digital shadow conveys.

2. Use fact-based, not opinion-based, language. Skip the cliché resume speak—recruiters and employers are not interested in your “dedicated, detail-oriented” opinion of yourself. Stick to facts, like how many years of experience you have, the number of people you manage, and your knowledge of specific technology and software (AP, Python, SQL, Power BI, Tableau, etc.) Highlighting those facts in clear language is crucial as AI helps recruiters sift through resumes. Although applicant tracking systems (ATS) are improving at processing PDFs, for now, it’s best to keep formatting simple and to submit documents in Microsoft Word format.

3. Recommend; don’t ask to be recommended. Recommend others on LinkedIn, but don’t ask for recommendations. Doing so will yield the boomerang effect and you’ll soon discover that colleagues, customers, and vendors will be more than willing to write credibly about you.

4. Strategically volunteer to build and showcase skills. Volunteering is an outstanding opportunity to develop, use, and market a skill that you may not be able to cultivate and utilize in your current role. It’s not enough to just volunteer at the Broad Street Run because you believe in its mission; instead, consider taking a strategic approach to volunteering. For example, if you wish to establish or transition to a career in marketing, consider volunteering on the marketing committee for the Broad Street Run as perhaps a more effective way to give back and contribute to your professional development.

5. Join and network through trade associations. For the most productive networking, meet others within a select field through regional and national professional associations, both online and offline. Nearly every industry or professional trade group has a local or state chapter that hosts a variety of events where you can increase your knowledge, meet industry professionals, and get the inside track on job openings in your area of interest. Professional trade associations and industry groups offer a wide variety of beneficial connections. 

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

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.

Temple University Provost JoAnne A. Epps visits the 2018 Women’s Leadership Series held last fall at the university’s Center City Campus. Participants included 42 professional women from 23 area companies and organizations.

Women in leadership face a myriad of challenges that could push a career off track.

“I think these challenges are best navigated by building savvy business skills and exploiting the advantages that women do have,” says Kelly Grace, one of the session leaders in the upcoming Women’s Leadership Series hosted by the Center or Executive Education at Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

The six-session series, which begins Sept. 26 and runs monthly through February, will focus on developing well-honed skills in strong communication, effective negotiation and confident leadership. In addition, the opportunity to regularly network with other professionals in the area will help leverage participants’ potential for career advancement.

“Given the unique group being assembled, we gave a lot of consideration to the faculty who are leading the sessions,” says Rich Morris, Associate Director of Business Development, Center for Executive Education. “We found facilitators who are passionate about supporting the professional advancement of the participating women and, in addition to being fantastic teachers, they also have served as role models for the participants.”

The sessions kick off on Sept. 26 with “Understanding and Leveraging Your Leadership Style” led by Wendi Wasik, founder and CEO of Wasik Consulting

“My goal for this workshop is to help our attendees see leadership as a way of being, rather than a list of to-do’s and not-do’s,” Wasik says. “We all have a unique way of expressing ourselves as leaders. Your leadership style is as unique as your fingerprint and reflects your personality and values.” 

Strong communication skills are required for the majority of professional job postings, notes Melissa Glenn-Fleming, Assistant Professor of Practice at Temple’s Fox School of Business.

On Oct. 17, Glenn-Fleming will lead “Executive Presence and Communications Skills” using the three pillars of executive presence — act, speak and appearance.

“We will discuss those definitions as they apply to women specifically, then identify personal challenges (and/or) strengths,” she adds.

Grace’s session “The Art of Negotiation: As Informed by the Science” will follow on Nov. 14. The Assistant Professor and Director of Master of Science in Human Resource Management at the Fox School believes negotiation is one of the most practical skills needed in any environment.

“We negotiate every day with our business associates as well as our partners and family members,” she says. “This course allows us to explore many ways negotiation occurs in our lives and how we can become more intentional about these processes.

“I want to share the science so participants develop deeper understandings of why they have been successful in past negotiations and consider alternative strategies for future negotiations.”

Over the course of the final three sessions, participants will attend “Finance for the Non-Financial Manager” led by Sherry Jarrell, Coordinator, Finance Curriculum of the MBA Programs at Fox; “Leading Organizational Change” led by Marilyn Anthony, Assistant Professor of Strategic Management and Director of Business Consulting at Fox Management Consulting; and “Career Management” led by Jackie Linton, President of JL HR Solutions, LLC.

“The class is a peer-learning opportunity and gets people to share the good, bad or ugly, as well as their experiences,” Anthony says. 

Part of each session will allow participants to work in small groups to solve challenges related to the particular topic. 

“That is the super fun part of the workshop,” Anthony adds. “Everything they are doing and sharing is real. Everyone is facing new challenges and is very open to this peer-solving problem.”

Linton believes Women in Leadership participants will walk away with a framework they can build out into a plan. 

“I want the women to learn from each other as much as they learn from me,” Linton says. “And we will have a little fun in the process.”

For more information

The first Women’s Leadership Series was held in 2018 and brought together professional women from a wide variety of companies and organizations. The upcoming series will be held in the new Center For Executive Education space at Temple’s Main Campus at the Fox School of Business, 1810 Liacouras Walk. 

Each session will run from 9 a.m. until noon. A networking lunch will follow.  The series fee is $2000 per individual participant or $1750 per participant for groups of 3 or more. Early bird registration of $1,850 per individual participant runs through 7/24/19.  

Click here to register for the series. For more information or to register a group, contact rmorris@temple.edu or call 215-204-3990.

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.