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 

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.

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.

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

When they met as freshmen in Hardwick Hall, Khadijah “Kay” Robinson, BBA ’04, and Kiana “Kay” Muhly, BBA ’03, had no way of knowing that they would grow and flourish as best friends and business partners.

Photo by Kay & Kay Group

During their time at the Fox School, they honed their skills, Kiana in accounting and Khadijah in marketing and entrepreneurship. They were both very involved with the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), a student professional organization (SPO). During their time in the organization, with Khadijah on the board and Kiana serving as the president of NABA, they worked together to expand the reach of the SPO, recruiting members who were not strictly pursuing careers in accounting but were looking to enhance their professional network and skills.

After graduation, Kiana began working in one of the big four accounting firms and became a licensed CPA in Pennsylvania. She gained real-world experience in internal and external audits with companies of all sizes, including an international nonprofit. Then, she left the corporate world to focus on her family and smaller business ventures. Khadijah built a successful career in procurement, project management and most recently working in real estate for the U.S. General Services Administration in Philadelphia.

Kiana and Khadijah remained close, bonded by friendship and a shared entrepreneurial spirit. As their individual careers took shape, so did their company Kay & Kay Group, a joint venture that they founded in 2014. The mission of the company is to create innovative products that function easily and solve everyday problems.

Their flagship product, Aqua Waterproof Headwear, was inspired by a common challenge that women face whenever a vacation or a rainy day rolls around: a fashionable way to go swimming or enjoy life without getting their hair wet. Once they had the idea to develop stylish, breathable and completely waterproof headwear, they did research and found that there was nothing else like it on the market. 

“We knew that we had a hit after talking through our idea with friends, family and focus groups. It resonated with everyone,” they say. “Not just African American women, but women across all walks of life. When we went to file a patent, even the agent loved the concept for Aqua Waterproof Headwear.”

Photo by Kay & Kay Group

They note that the key to their success while juggling their own families and careers is to treat Kay & Kay Group not as a side project or hobby, but as a business in its own right. Kiana and Khadijah have weekly meetings to discuss tasks, brainstorm new ideas and ensure that all “i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed when it comes to the quality and legitimacy of their product.  

“We work together well,” Kiana says. “I am all business. I take care of the accounting and licensing, and I am very strict. Khadijah is so creative and is great at connecting with people and building relationships. Our skills support and complement each other.”

When it comes to the future of their business, they are tight-lipped about the details but say,  “We are going to waterproof everyone’s lives.”

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

SWEET TREATS

November 17, 2016 //

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

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


A cookbook changed Stephanie Reitano’s life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Building spaces and experiences

November 16, 2016 //

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

Hometown: Ambler, Pa.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baking meets business

November 16, 2016 //

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From there, his ambitions are even greater.

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

Q&A with Fox School alumnus Raheem Brock

November 16, 2016 //

raheem-brock_headshot-cropped

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What drew you to acting?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What was your major at Fox?

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

Q: Do you miss playing football?

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

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

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

Right On Key

November 16, 2016 //

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sal and Lisa DeTrane

Alumni Profile Fox Focus Spring 2016Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer MedeAnalytics

Hometown: Philadelphia

In-demand grads: “What I’ve heard from a lot of companies is that they love hiring applicants from Temple, because they typically find that Temple grads have a strong work ethic and good common sense,” Sal said. “They are known to have an ability to practically apply their experience versus many other graduates that solely rely on their education.”

Alums Sal and Lisa DeTrane endowed a scholarship to honor of their appreciation for Temple and to support future entrepreneurs.

While visiting Main Campus with his son, Alex, last summer, Sal DeTrane, BBA ’93, was amazed to see how dramatically it had changed. The addition of the high-rise residences at Morgan Hall, renovations to Pearson-McGonigle Hall, and new shops mixed with the familiarity of Cecil B. Moore Avenue, added to the existing look of the Bell Tower and the expansive food-truck scene.

“It’s so interesting to see how much it’s changed and the amount of investment that’s gone into the campus,” said DeTrane, 44. “It gets more impressive with every visit.”

DeTrane and his wife, Lisa, BBA ’93, a fellow alum, have remained dedicated to Temple since their graduation nearly 25 years ago. Sal DeTrane frequently flies to Philadelphia from the couple’s Silicon Valley home for on-campus speaking engagements at the Fox School of Business, to visit clients in the area, and to attend Philadelphia Eagles games each fall.

The DeTranes’ Temple pride led the couple to start The DeTrane Family Endowed Scholarship, to help entrepreneurial students receive the same education that made Sal passionate about pursuing venture capital-oriented endeavors and helping emerging businesses succeed.

“We really wanted to support young entrepreneurs in Philadelphia since it’s not as common to start a business on the East Coast,” said Sal DeTrane. “Here in Silicon Valley, it’s more of a norm for people to leave their job to start a company.”

Sal and Lisa DeTrane met in several business and accounting classes at Fox and became friends before graduating, dating, and getting married two years later. After their honeymoon, the couple moved to California in 1996. Lisa transferred from Philadelphia’s AT&T office to a branch in California, continuing her work in sales operations, while Sal transferred within Andersen to help build the firm’s global technology investment banking practice based in San Jose.

“I had little knowledge of what venture capital or investment banking was when I was in college, let alone thought about it as a career,” he said. “I quickly moved into broader and increasingly early-stage business interests after graduation and moving to the Bay Area.”

He later joined The Angels’ Forum and The Halo Fund, where he co-managed a $50 million portfolio of venture-backed start-ups and developed more formal portfolio management processes. He left to start his own venture capital firm, Nucleus Partners, in late 2001 with a friend and colleague, Eric Walczykowski.

As founder and managing director of Nucleus Partners, DeTrane actively worked with companies as opposed to merely investing in and advising them. In 2003, Nucleus Partners invested in one of his portfolio companies, now called MedeAnalytics. DeTrane joined MedeAnalytics in late 2004 and played critical executive roles to develop and refine its strategy, raise all of its institutional capital, as well as implement operational best practices that enabled the company’s rapid growth.

In 2015, while preparing MedeAnalytics for an initial public offering (IPO), the Board and executive team decided to complete a majority recapitalization (or private IPO) with a leading software private equity firm called Thoma Bravo. DeTrane has been MedeAnalytics’ chief financial officer and chief administrative officer and has led all strategic planning, operational, and business development activities for over 12 years.

With Sal DeTrane’s success, Lisa took on the leadership role for their home and three children. “We balance each other out,” she said. “I feel fortunate in finding a great partner in life and having great kids. I enjoy being CEO of our household.”

The DeTranes enjoy the idea of their son possibly attending Temple next fall and their two daughters in the years to come.

“We don’t want to push our son into going to Temple, we want that to be his decision,” Sal said. “But we want to make sure he understands all the positives and everything Temple has to offer.”

Writing Art

May 11, 2016 //

Deborah Forman

Alumni Profile Fox Focus Spring 2016BA ‘61 | Author, Journalist

Hometown: Brewster, Mass.

Journalism and juggling: “I didn’t have any difficulty jumping into journalism, for which I probably have to credit Temple. Being a wife and a mother and balancing a career? That might’ve been my biggest challenge.”

Deborah Forman’s training and experience in reporting helped her realize her passion for writing about the history of art and theater in the Cape Cod region.

Since 1899, Provincetown, Mass., and its picturesque coastal surroundings have provided a solid community where artists and writers paint, sculpt, write, and interact.

Deborah Forman, BA ‘61, knows all about the rich, creative history of the seaside town and its home on Cape Cod. She’s produced a documentary about the Provincetown art colony, written a two-volume history, and authored a three-book series on contemporary artists working in the popular New England region.

“Writing about art has always been an interest of mine, and in the last five years I’ve been able to do that almost exclusively,” Forman said.

Forman cultivated her interests in writing and reporting at Temple University’s journalism department, which, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, was housed within the Fox School of Business.

“The journalism department was kind of its own little enclave,” she recalls. “It was really nice and intimate, and felt like a small oasis in a big university.”

The author and writer worked for the student newspaper, The Temple News, and joined the school’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, of which she was president during her senior year. Forman had no difficulty beginning her journalism career after graduation; she and her family moved to Mount Holly, N.J., where she landed a freelance reporting gig at the Burlington County Herald. She eventually moved on to the Haddonfield Herald as reporter and editor.

After moving to Cape Cod with her family in 1976, Forman further developed her journalistic chops as an editor for the Cape Cod Times and editor in chief for Cape Cod View magazine. Forman had already taken up painting, studied art, and enrolled in art classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the School of Philadelphia Museum of Art. However, her beginnings on Cape Cod further ignited her passion for art and art history.

She interviewed experts and artists in the area and learned about the history of the Provincetown art colony. These interviews became the basis for the script she wrote for the documentary, “Art in Its Soul,” which aired on Boston’s PBS station in 1987.

While teaching a class at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, Forman had students asking if there was a book that collected the entire history of the Provincetown art colony. They were surprised to learn there was no definitive historical book on the colony, especially since the National Trust for Historic Preservation named it the nation’s oldest art colony. Since she had a lot of material from her interviews and research, Forman decided to write a book that brought the colony’s history to date. An editor at Schiffer Publishing discovered she was writing the book after speaking with the curator at the Cape Cod Museum of Art.

“It was serendipitous,” Forman said. “I emailed him the manuscript, and within a few weeks I had a signed contract.”

After publishing the two-volume Perspectives on the Provincetown Art Colony in 2011, Forman’s editor at Schiffer wanted her to continue writing about the arts community on Cape Cod. As a result, she wrote three more books: Contemporary Cape Cod Artists: Images of Land and Sea (2013); Contemporary Cape Cod Artists: People & Places (2014); and Contemporary Cape Cod Artists: On Abstraction (2015).

She’s currently working on a book about the history of theater on the Cape, another interest of hers. She writes a monthly art column for the Cape Cod Times, as well as weekly theater and art reviews for capecod.com.

“I love writing, and I love hearing and telling other people’s stories,” Forman said. “I’m doing exactly what I want to do.”

Rupal Patel

Alumni Profile Fox Focus Spring 2016BBA ’06, MBA ’12 | Marketing Manager of Healthcare, Deloitte

Hometown: Downingtown, Pa.

Fox honors: In 2006, Patel received the Musser Award for Excellence in Student Leadership from the Fox School of Business.

Beleaguered by the college-search process, Rupal Patel found Temple and the Fox School, thrived here, and is now giving back as a proud alumna.

When she was in high school, Rupal Patel had no desire to attend Temple University. But after her father had been dragged to college visits up and down the East Coast, he coerced Patel during spring break of her senior year to make one last visit.

Reluctantly, she agreed to check out Temple.

“And then when we got there, there was this overwhelming feeling that this feels so right, this is the place I need to be,” she recalled. “I had never gotten that feeling when I visited any other school.”

Patel enjoyed the Fox School of Business throughout her four years as an undergraduate, thriving amidst the diverse student body, honing strong relationships with her professors, and taking advantage of career-developing extracurricular activities like Fox’s renowned student professional organizations. In fact, she liked Fox so much that she decided to return for graduate school, largely due to the flexibility of its Online MBA program, which she likes to brag is ranked No. 1 in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

“It was the perfect program for me,” said Patel, who earned her MBA while working fulltime at her marketing job at Communications Media Inc. “I had such a great experience with the professors, I almost felt like I’d be cheating on them if I went somewhere else.”

That degree helped Patel land what she calls her “dream job” at Deloitte’s Philadelphia office, where she helps execute marketing campaigns to promote the company’s services to its healthcare clients. She is passionate about her work at Deloitte and loves that she’s part of an organization that cares about the community and encourages its employees to volunteer their time with various nonprofit organizations such as the AmeriCorps program, City Year, which Patel has been involved with for the last two years.

She spends much of the rest of her free time giving back to Temple. She’s currently the secretary of the Fox Alumni Association, and also donates both money and time to her alma mater while serving as a mentor to current students.

“They’ve done so much for me,” she said. “And I want other students to have that same opportunity.”

Sylvain Chiron, MBA ‘96

Alumni Profile Fox Focus Spring 2016Owner, Brasserie du Mont-Blanc

Hometown: Tresserve, France

Cultivated pallet: “Before opening the brewery, I was drinking the French equivalent of Budweiser. Then I became a beer enthusiast.”

Sylvain Chiron’s bubbly career has covered attaining his Fox MBA to taste-testing award-winning craft beers at his French brewery.

Sylvain Chiron promises that the best part of his job isn’t taste-testing his award-winning craft beers.

Chiron, a French native, opened the Brasserie du Mont-Blanc in the French Alps in 1999 and sold his first beers in 2000. The 45-year-old has since become a pioneer in France’s small yet expanding craft beer market. At the 2015 World Beer Awards, Mont-Blanc’s La Blanche was named the best white beer in the world, allowing Chiron to join an elite club of eight winners. Mont-Blanc’s La Rousse won the title of world’s best amber beer for the second time, at the 2014 Global Craft Beer Awards.

“We didn’t look at price to make our product, just at what it takes to make the best beer possible,” Chiron said.

Chiron developed his taste for craft beers as a finance undergraduate student at the Fox School of Business. When he rejoined the Fox School as an International MBA student in the late ‘90s, he recognized an emerging beer culture hunting for a more-dynamic taste to their brews. Chiron returned to France to create a product to capture their discerning palettes.

“I was just 30 years old at the time and I was crazy,” Chiron said of his decision to open his brewery, “but you need to be a little crazy to start your own business.”

Chiron got his start by purchasing a Belgian distillery that was operated by Trappist monks. Through that connection, he learned how to brew properly. The brewery, one of just nine like it in the world, is a centuries-old establishment where monks held the nuances of beer brewing in similar esteem as their piety. Chiron learned from them before taking their techniques to the Brasserie du Mont-Blanc. The brewery is named after the mountain serving as its primary water source. Using refined and pure water, Chiron explained, allows him to infuse his beers with a unique taste that keeps consumers reaching for another bottle.

In addition to his award-winning white and amber beers, Chiron offers a specialty malt, La Blonde. Indulging his creativity, Chiron created his own Genepi-based beer, a bitter blend that is literally green. Its cousin, La Violette, is a cranberry-colored blend with a dash of vanilla. For the winter season, he offers Le Brassin d’hiver, which he describes as a full-bodied malty attack.

“People are bored of industrial products; they want to buy local and buy natural. They care about the taste,” Chiron said.

Chiron, who comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, never saw himself working for someone else. He credits the Fox School with helping him hone his skills at seeing the big picture while also nit-picking the details. He’s got his hands in everything, from marketing to production to management.

“It’s what’s in the bottle that counts, but don’t think it’s only about drinking beer,” Chiron laughed. “It’s a business like any other and it’s a lot of fun.”