Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Segway Inventor Talks Innovation and Passion

You might know Dean Kamen, founder of DEKA Research & Development, as “the Segway guy.” But he would much rather you know him as the guy who invented the first insulin pump, a robotic arm for humans, the iBOT stair climbing wheelchair, or a revolutionary machine which can provide safe drinking water to developing countries.

Dean of Business Steve Reinemund welcomed Kamen, a man he called “the real Dean,” to the Wake Forest University Schools of Business on Nov. 17. “Personal Passion Changes the World” was part of the Leading Out Loud Broyhill Executive Lecture Series. The audience included students, faculty, guests and even children who have participated in Kamen’s FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competitions.

It is quite clear that Dean Kamen is a passionate man, full of energy and strong opinions. He is brilliant, yet approachable. Dressed in his signature blue jeans and denim shirt, Kamen is authentic --describing himself as “genetically incapable of not being sarcastic.” He will proudly point out that he didn’t wear a coat and tie to meet the President of the United States and “the Secret Service doesn’t have a sense of humor when it comes to chasing the President around with a robot.”

The stories behind Kamen’s inventions are inspiring. He challenged Wake Forest business students to commit to ventures that will change lives, versus immediate financial returns. “If you have a big idea, go with it, be flexible, seize opportunities and make it happen,” Kamen said.

(Story continues below.)

The Insulin Pump
The insulin pump, now widely used by diabetics, was Kamen’s first big medical invention. He developed it in his parents’ basement. His brother was a medical student looking for a portable drug infusion system to electronically control medication doses for infants. Kamen came up with a solution in 1973. “We lost two decades,” he said. “It only took 20 years to become an instant, overnight success.” Developing technology isn’t the struggle, he said. “Getting people to accept change is the hard part.”

The Crown Stent
Countless cardiovascular patients have Kamen to thank for reducing the risks and recovery time from surgery. When Johnson & Johnson asked him to improve the design of the Palmaz-Schatz stent, Kamen looked to his team of aerospace engineers to create a stent that could get into smaller arteries and navigate around tight corners. “When I went to the FDA for approval, I wasn’t going to tell them a bunch of motor heads at my helicopter plant in Michigan came up with the design. Since my helicopters can deliver drugs, I said ‘this stent was developed by the alternative drug delivery group’. Seize the opportunity to put the right things together,” Kamen emphasized.

HomeChoice PD
Kamen said he rejected the chance to make a peritoneal dialysis machine a little better, simpler and cheaper. Instead, he set out to make a device that would eliminate trips to a dialysis center. He was warned it would be a high risk, but came up with a machine that a patient can use at home while sleeping. “This is something that went from ‘another one of Dean’s crazy ideas’ to a standard of care,” Kamen said.

“Making an improvement on a wheelchair seemed like a stupid idea,” Kamen said. That’s why he developed the iBOT, an all-terrain mobility device that could allow disabled people to “stand up” and even climb stairs. At first, the FDA told Kamen it was too dangerous. It took years to get approved. To this day, the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) will not reimburse patients for the purchase of an iBot, he said. “Business people have unbelievable control and authority in this country. Be careful, use it wisely.”

DARPA Prosthetic Arm
Medical advances have improved the survival rates for men and women injured in combat, but some survivors are coming back with missing arms and legs. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wanted to develop a robotic arm that would allow someone to have enough agility to pick up a raisin or grape. Kamen showed the audience a video of a man learning to use the arm. “He picks up the spoon, holds it completely level and starts eating cereal,” Kamen explained. “His wife is standing behind him watching and she says ‘Chuck hasn’t fed himself in 19 years. You’ve got a choice, Dean-- we keep the arms, or you keep Chuck!’” The latest generation of the prosthetic arm due out next year has twice as much power and speed and looks more human than robot-like.

Power and Water
Kamen gets very animated when discussing the potential of his self-powered machine that can purify any liquid into safe drinking water. “The box doesn’t care what’s wrong with the water,” he said. Millions of people, mostly children, die from waterborne illnesses each year. “We could have more impact on global health than the entire pharmaceutical industry combined,” he added. “Why isn’t that happening?” Kamen asked business students to support his vision. “The people with no water and no electricity have no money. You can’t build a 90-day success model. You have to believe that these are productivity tools.”

Wherever Kamen goes, he doesn’t miss an opportunity to share his passion for FIRST. He started the non-profit program to create a sport out of engineering. FIRST organizes robotics and LEGO competitions around the world, getting kids inspired and excited about careers in science and technology. The program has also provided more than $12 million in scholarships. Kamen quotes his friend, Walt Havenstein of Science Applications International, who told FIRST contestants, “This is the only sport where every kid on the team can turn pro.” He asked for support saying that whatever you put into it, you’ll get even more out of it and “it’s fun, it’s rewarding, and everyone wins.”

The Segway
Even the Segway was a medical invention. Kamen calls it a “fun byproduct” or a “trivial side effect” of the iBOT. The Segway is an electric, human transporter which uses much of same stabilization technology as the iBOT; it just doesn’t have a seat. He shared the notorious photo of President George W. Bush on vacation, falling off of a Segway. “It’s a self-balancing machine,” said Kamen. “They work a lot better if you turn them on before jumping on to them.”

Many people have won as a result of Kamen’s relentless passion for solving problems and improving lives. Perhaps his passion has inspired someone in his audience at the Wake Forest University Schools of Business to create the next big thing that will change the world.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Guest Blog: Keeping the Family Out of Court

We noticed this blog from Kathy Baker, posted at www.familybusinesswiki.org, and thought it important enough to share. Hope you find this informative.


BakerKOver dinner recently, several members of the Wake Forest University Family Business Center and I were introduced to the concept of ADR by Judge Ben Tennille, Chief Judge of the North Carolina Business Court.

A little background here: In January of 1996 Judge Tennille was sworn in as the first Special Superior Court Judge for Complex Business Cases in North Carolina and charged with creating the first state-wide Business Court in the nation. Today, all cases involving complex and significant issues of corporate and commercial law in our state are assigned to the Business Court, where a special superior court judge oversees resolution of all matters in the case through trial.

Back at dinner, Judge Tennille expressed dismay at the number family-owned business owners that appear in his court, and concern that the legal process does not serve these companies well.

imgresFamily members come to court hoping the judge will be able to solve their disputes (and, of course, rule in their  favor). But, according to Judge Tennille, the judge actually has very little discretion in these cases. Often the only choice available under the statute is to rule for dissolution of the business. This is typically not the preferred result for the business owners. After consulting their tax advisors, they realize it is a very unappealing and prohibitively expensive option.

After months of preparing for litigation, and thousands – if not hundreds of thousands – of dollars spent, the principals find that it is still up to them to resolve their dispute. Oftentimes, the underlying reasons behind the lawsuits are things that have little to do with the business operation.

Unfortunately, the legal system has no mechanism to slow the rush to litigation once it has started. Once one party has decided to sue, direct communication between the family members often ends. The lawyers are doing their jobs, advocating for the individual interests of their clients. Unfortunately, the collective interests of the family and the company -- its customers, employees, and suppliers -- are overlooked in the process.

Family businesses are at their best when the interests of the family members and their business are aligned. A divisive lawsuit is heartbreaking for the family and a real drain on the productivity and profitability of the business.

Family business owners usually want to keep information about their business operations private. A lawsuit opens up the family relationships and business dealings for public scrutiny, which is a very painful development for most family business owners. As I was preparing to write this article, I looked at the current issue of Family Business magazine and read about the Rollins family of Atlanta, Georgia. The family and family business had always kept a low profile, until the death of the family matriarch precipitated changes that led to unrest and discord among family members. The current lawsuit, filed by children against their father, seems to be an unlikely outcome for this family – but unfortunately is an all too common result.

In our litigious society, the road less traveled seems to be one involving Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). ADR provides an avenue for the parties to talk about their dispute with a facilitator or mediator, and to resolve their differences before pursuing legal action. At the very least, the parties can be made aware of the expected costs of litigation and get a realistic view of the ability of a court to resolve their dispute.

An opportunity to talk things through could also be an important step in diffusing and de-escalating a disagreement that is otherwise on the road to the courthouse. This is an area where the member companies of a local Family Business Center program may be of service. A business owner may be more receptive to peer advice from a fellow family business owner than an officially-designated “mediator” in the early stages.

A more proactive step would be to include language in the shareholder or partnership agreement to mandate that in the event of a dispute ADR will be pursued as a first option. This part of the shareholder agreement can act as a kind of “pre-nup” for owners – creating an opportunity for a conversation on how future disputes will be resolved while times are good and relationships are trusting and friendly.

The inclusion of an ADR mechanism in the shareholder agreement also provides a great educational opportunity for future shareholders. A presentation and discussion of the purpose of the ADR provision could be a natural addition to any family council meeting. Again, the resources of the local Family Business Center could be brought to bear in crafting appropriate language, as well as in providing a slate of potential mediators from the member companies, and from business and law school faculty members.

The Wake Forest University Family Business Center is currently working with Judge Tennille and faculty members involved with our Community Business and Law Clinic to develop recommended language for inclusion in the shareholder agreement. I will keep you posted on our progress and welcome comments and suggestions on this idea.

Schools of Business Holiday Party

Join your fellow students, faculty, and staff at the annual Schools of Business Holiday Party at BB&T Ballpark.  We will put celebrate the close of another semester and wish the 2010 MSA students good luck as they embark on their careers. There will be music, drinks and light hors d’oeuvres.  Cocktail dress required.

When: Friday Dec. 3, 8:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Where: BB&T Ballpark

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sustainability Event in the Works

FogelDThe Charlotte campus, the Career Management Center and the MBA Working Professional students would like to invite you to attend a very special event, “Understanding the Business of Sustainability,” on Tuesday, Dec. 14, from 6-8 pm at the Wake Forest University Schools of Business Charlotte campus.

Dan Fogel will moderate a distinguished panel of corporate executives as they discuss the emerging market of sustainability and renewable energy. There will also be information on how to leverage your MBA, skills, and experience to pursue career opportunities within this fascinating industry.

More information to come later this week!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

NASCAR Exec to Appear at Wake Forest

Wake Forest University will host Geoff Smith, the president of Roush Fenway Racing, on Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 5:30 pm. Food will be provided as part of the event, to be held in Worrell 1117.

Smith has presided over 120 different NASCAR teams including five championship teams. He will speak about sports marketing, sports management and the application of the skills learned in graduate school.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wake Student Wins State Farm Competition

image Jackie Swoyer, a junior and a Business and Enterprise Management (BEM) major at Wake Forest University, was announced winner of the first National State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition held in Warrensburg, MO, on Friday, Nov. 12.

The multi-round competition required students to develop a detailed written marketing and sales plan targeted at the 18-25 year-old demographic, one of State Farm’s most challenging demographic groups to maintain. This plan was judged before the competition by a panel of State Farm executives. Then students competed in multiple rounds of simulated sales encounters in front of a panel of three to five judges each.

Parker Schweer, also a junior and BEM major, made it successfully through the 2nd round. The competition involved students from seven other universities, including Louisiana State University and University of Texas at Austin.

Pat Dickson and Michelle Steward, both BEM faculty at the Schools of Business, offered the Wake Forest students feedback on their written sales plans, and coordinated with local State Farm employees who offered sales training sessions to both students.

“Dr. Dickson and Dr. Steward were instrumental in guiding us through this process. They both were very accommodating and were extremely interested in seeing us excel in the competition.” Swoyer said. “With Dr. Steward’s encouragement I created a brand around my marketing plan, which really helped me uniquely position my portfolio.”

“This was an opportunity to have their talents showcased in front of a Fortune-50 company,” said Steward. “During Jackie’s session, you could feel the excitement in the room from the State Farm employees watching her hit each of the marks central to their brand.”

Swoyer also recalled the moment she completed her final presentation and was led to a central viewing room where she was allowed to watch the remainder of the competition.

“For some reason, I expected that maybe four or five extra people might be watching me do my mock sales call,” she said. “To my complete shock and amazement, when I walked into the room, I was met with an audience of probably fifty or sixty, many applauding and standing from their seats. I was so excited. Almost every person in the room made an effort to tell me what a great job I had done. I couldn't believe it.”

Swoyer received a check from State Farm for $5,000 for winning first prize. She said her next challenges will be finding a summer internship and exploring her career options.

“This experience has given me a huge boost of confidence. I was so intimidated walking into the competition, but what I learned more than anything is that I have a lot to bring to the table. I had such an amazing experience, from competing, to meeting students from other schools, to socializing with some of the highest State Farm executives in the country,” Swoyer said.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Alumni Update: Beatty Wins Banking Award

Three associates of First Hope Bank were chosen as 2010 “New Leaders in Banking” by NJ Bankers and NJ Banker magazine. Recipients were selected by an independent panel of judges, none of whom is an active banker. Awardees were determined to be rising stars of the banking industry who are under 40 years of age and making significant contributions to their institutions and communities.

First Hope’s award recipients were Chief Operations Officer Daniel Beatty, Chief Financial Officer Lewis Beatty and Michelle Miragliotta, assistant vice president and loan administration/consumer credit officer. A total of 17 “New Leaders in Banking” awards were presented at a ceremony held at the Tropicana Resort in Atlantic City on Nov. 8.

Daniel Beatty began his First Hope Bank career in 2007 after graduating from the Military Academy at West Point and serving six years with the U.S. Army. He began as a teller and then worked in other areas of the bank to become familiar with all aspects of community banking. In 2008, the bank’s board appointed him as chief operations officer.

Lewis Beatty joined the Bank in 1999 as assistant vice president for retail operations, eventually spearheading the bank’s formation of a contact center and the establishment of a web page and internet banking. In 2002, he was appointed chief financial officer. Earning his MBA with a concentration in Finance from Wake Forest University in North Carolina, Lewis performed his undergraduate work in Business and Economics at St. Andrews Presbyterian College, also in North Carolina.

Miragliotta joined the bank in 2003 as a teller and advanced to loan clerk and then to retail analyst in 2004. In September, she was promoted to her current position. A graduate of Drew University in Madison, Miragliotta holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics with a minor in business administration.

Reposted from www.NJ.com


Lewis Beatty is third from the left. Photo from the Warren Reporter.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Are You Ready for a Road Trip?

The Healthcare Club has arranged for company tours and networking sessions with management of Eisai Pharmaceuticals and BlueCross BlueShield on Friday, Dec. 10 (likely an all-day commitment). We will be carpooling to these companies since they are located in the Research Triangle Park in Raleigh. If any students are interested, please contact me or fill out the survey below. We have limited space, so if a student wants to go, let me know ASAP as spots are filling up, or register here.

This is a great chance to gain valuable insight into the many opportunities not only within these companies, but within the industry as a whole. Also, this event will help to build a strong reputation going forward for our club and our program. As a last reminder, please only RSVP to this event if you know that you can make it. We have 20 spots available and we want to make a strong showing. Please inform us of your interest as soon as possible.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bob Holland’s Quest for Success

Earlier this week, we featured a student’s perspective on a special guest lecture. Here is another perspective:


From growing up in a racially segregated town in Michigan to becoming the first African-American CEO of a majority-owned franchise company, Robert Holland has a lifetime of interesting stories. At 70 years old, he is still on “The Quest for Success.” Holland shared personal accounts of his life journey, with students, faculty and visitors on November 11, at Wake Forest University Schools of Business.

Dean of Business Steve Reinemund welcomed Holland, a personal friend and professional mentor, to campus to meet with students and deliver a presentation for the Leading Out Loud Broyhill Executive Lecture Series.

Holland is corporate director and managing partner of Essex Lake Group, a global consulting firm for Fortune 500 companies. He was the first African-American to be recruited as CEO of a majority-owned franchise company when he accepted the top post at Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream, Inc. He has also served as CEO at WorkPlace Integrators, Rokher-J, Gilreath Manufacturing, Inc., and City Marketing. Earlier in his career, Holland was an associate and partner with McKinsey & Company, Inc.

Rather than talk in depth about his career as an executive, Holland focused on his earlier years. “These are years that you can’t search on Google,” he said. “But, they are a pretty important part of who I am.”

(Story continues below.)

A painful memory in Holland’s life history includes a cross burning in his front yard. His father was disturbed because he could not shelter Holland and his siblings from open racism and discrimination. For instance, Holland enjoyed the opportunity to go ice skating on Mondays. Always the entrepreneur, he encouraged the operator to also allow white kids to participate. The rink was “missing out on a business opportunity.” Holland later found out that he was actually the one missing out, because the rink was open for other kids every other day of the week.

“I am not looking for sympathy or a badge for the challenges of my childhood. I share it to provide some context to show, as my parents would say ‘what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger’,” he said.

Racial barriers almost kept Holland from fulfilling his dream of going to college. When he told a high school guidance counselor that he wanted to study to become an engineer, the counselor handed over a list of trade schools. Refusing to settle, Holland pursued and received a Congressional recommendation for the Air Force Academy. But that opportunity passed when his high school failed to turn over academic transcripts. In an era long before the Internet, he had to find catalogs to learn about colleges. He got his break when he met a college professor during a track meet.

The professor shared a list of colleges with engineering programs that would accept African American students. “Each application cost $25 and I only had $50, so I applied to the first and last in alphabetical order, and was accepted at Union College in Schenectady, NY.” Holland boarded a bus and headed to college, leaving Michigan for the very first time.

While at Union College, Holland quickly put his entrepreneurial talents to work. He had a job filling soft drink machines on campus, being able to keep a penny for every bottle sold. One day, Holland put a beer inside of a machine to keep it cold until he was done with work. A student ended up “buying it” before he was able to retrieve it from the machine. “The students were giddy when someone put in a quarter in and got a beer out. So, I decided I was going to start ‘peppering’ the soft drink machines with an occasional beer, and needless to say my profits went up,” he said.

(Story continues below.)

Holland's presentation was sprinkled with humor and readings of some of his personal writings. He told the audience, "I brought Ben & Jerry's, but if you don't like my poems, you don't get ice cream."

One such poem was "Time, Values and Ice Cream," Holland wrote when he became CEO of Ben & Jerry's. The ice cream maker launched a "Yo I want to be CEO" contest asking applicants to submit essays on the lid of their favorite Ben & Jerry's flavor. Holland was actually recruited by a corporate search firm, but still he went ahead and wrote a poem reflecting on how times changed because when growing up, his hometown ice cream parlor did not allow African Americans to sit inside.

Holland highlighted the importance of committing random acts of kindness. "Not one of you will achieve success if there is no one interested in helping you. It is very difficult to control who helps you. It is very easy to control who you help."

During a small group discussion with Master of Arts in Management students, Holland shared the details of a program he founded to reduce drop-out rates and gang activity in Detroit. "The only way to combat gangs is to create one. A gang is basically a group who believes in each other and has an identity." This new "Make a Difference Gang" looked out for each other through struggles to graduate from high school. Holland worked with local businesses to "employ" the kids, paid them a stipend, and taught them how to invest in the stock market. Of that first “gang” of 46, only two didn't graduate. One dropped out, another was shot. "A little bit of time and attention can have an enormous impact," he said.

Throughout his career, Holland has traveled extensively and done business around the world. He emphasized the value of recognizing different cultures and paying attention to non-verbal communication. When Jamin Lundy (MBA ’12) asked for the best piece of advice from his global experience, Holland recommended that students learn a dialect of Chinese, so they do not miss out on the many business opportunities in China for Westerners.
Chris Van Roekel (MBA ’11) asked Holland how he defined success in his own life. He responded, “I am still a work in progress…It won't include a title and it won't include the name of the company."

Holland left audience with these final words of wisdom-- "If you haven't helped a stranger in some small way, you have missed out on an opportunity."

Click Here to read a student's perspective from the First Hand Experiences Blog.

Angel Investors to Visit Campus

The Entrepreneurship Club is excited to host a member meeting for the Piedmont Angel Network (PAN) on Tuesday, Nov. 23, at 4:30 pm in Worrell 1117. PAN is a local angel fund that is focused primarily on early-stage financing for companies in North Carolina. The meeting should conclude around 6:15 pm. Included in the meeting, PAN will screen two companies for potential investment and Andy Dreyfuss, PAN’s fund executive, will open the session with an introduction and background to the fund.

Please consider attending this meeting, as it is a great opportunity to learn more about angel investing and observe and participate in the process that an investment fund takes when making investment decisions.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brigade Capital Exec to Present Nov. 19

Rob Brady of Brigade Capital Management will make a presentation on Friday, Nov. 19, at 3:30 pm as part of the next Invest-Connect Series event. Brigade is an SEC-registered investment advisor with products that include long and short credit, distressed debt and traditional high yield. A question and answer session will follow. 

All are welcome to attend the event, which will be held at Greene Hall, Room 145. Business casual attire is appropriate for this event. To RSVP, email James Kelly at WFinvest@wfu.edu by Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Importance of the “Human Element” in Healthcare

Only healthcare organizations that consistently deliver quality and strong margins will survive in the changing landscape, according to Dean Cinkins, Senior Client Director for GE Healthcare. The Wake Forest University Schools of Business Healthcare Club invited him to campus on Nov. 4 to present “Initiating, Leading and Managing Change.”

“The human aspect to all of this is so important and not to be underestimated,” said Cinkins as he outlined GE’s Change Acceleration Process (CAP) and Work-Out technique for problem solving. “The status quo is just not going to cut it anymore. There are work processes that need to be redesigned, budget cuts everywhere, relocating teams, and redesigning organizational structures.”

Cinkins stressed that management and leadership are quite different. “Managing is the planning, budgeting, staffing, and the problem solving. It’s about maintaining that status quo, but leadership is about establishing direction and empowering people to bring solutions forward.” He said GE’s (CAP) model focuses on managing solutions while leading the people. The CAP model includes creating a shared need, shaping a vision, mobilizing commitment, making change last and monitoring progress.

While his presentation focused on the (CAP) model, Cinkins stressed that successful change initiatives require strong, committed leadership throughout the entire initiative cycle. GE’s “Work-Out” tool is a process of concentrated team-based decision making used to resolve issues and improve processes. He said when used effectively, the (CAP) model and “Work Out” tool can help an organization improve patient satisfaction, lower costs and improve employee engagement.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wake Forest Placement Ranks High With BusinessWeek

Bloomberg BusinessWeek's research found that, despite a tough economy, 92% of the 2010 full-time MBA students at the Wake Forest University Schools of Business secured jobs within three months after graduation, placing the program in a tie with Yale University at No. 12 nationally.

"We are proud of our 2010 graduates and our Career Management Center for their focused efforts to secure jobs in this tough economy," said Dean of Business Steve Reinemund. "Our small school environment offers a highly-personalized experience for students and recruiters with one-to-one guidance, and we are honored to have earned this recognition."

Overall, Wake Forest placed in the top 50 among U.S. business schools. This news comes on the heels of Wake Forest's Full-time MBA program ranking in The Economist which ranked the school No. 33 in the nation. Wake Forest's strong employment rates, starting salaries and student satisfaction were key factors that influenced this ranking. Additionally, Princeton Review jointly with Entrepreneurship Magazine ranked Wake Forest's graduate entrepreneurship program at No. 23 in the nation.

Wake Forest Technology Day

The Operations & IT Club is organizing “Wake Forest Technology Day” on Thursday, Nov. 18, in the Innovation Lab (3209). The career panel discussion will be held from 3-4 pm followed by an hour-long networking event.

There will be four panelists:

  • Paul Stein: Advisory Partner, Ernst & Young
  • Tim Leblanc - Senior Vice President, Bank of America
  • Rocky Griggs - Marketing Manager, Microsoft
  • And a Consultant from Goodrich.

This would be a great opportunity to learn from, and network with, industry leaders. Food and drinks will be served. Are you interested? Please fill out this survey if you plan to attend.

Measuring Success: A Student’s Perspective

WFU Business School / MA Program 7-19-10 Nikki Bracy (right) is an MA student in the Wake Forest University Schools of Business. Last week, she attended two events featuring Robert Holland, a managing partner and advisory board member of Essex Lake Group and a former CEO at Ben & Jerry’s Homemade.

Here, she shares her thoughts of Holland’s morning conversation and afternoon lecture on the ingredients for success.


What is success? How do you measure it? How do you define it? And most importantly -- how do you achieve it?

I ran into Worrell at 7:59 am excited to have breakfast with Bob Holland and some of my fellow MAs. And while that was far too early in the morning for my brain to function properly, I knew today would be the day that I would receive the necessary tools to embark on my own “Quest for Success.”

Mr. Holland gave a nice overview of his accomplishments. Then he told us different stories that have shaped his life. He spoke of the importance of character and communication. He spoke fondly of his kind, hard-working mother, who was moved by someone who simply had a genuine interest in her life. He talked about peoples’ unwillingness to help a homeless woman whose only goal was to move off of the sidewalk and stay out of the way of busy passersby. He told us an amazing story about motivating inner city youth to stay out of gangs, focus on their education, and ultimately take control of their future. As I heard him speaking, I found myself attempting to connect the dots. How did these events lead him to where he is today?

Later that day, as I sat listening to his speech in the Law Auditorium, I could feel myself (and everyone around me) waiting for him to spill the beans. What was his secret? How did he manage to do so much with his life, motivate so many people, and (let’s be honest), make so much money? The question and answer section came and someone asked him “what is your definition of success?” Finally, I thought, someone was brave enough to ask what we were all dying to know. We were finally going to hear how a CEO achieved success. But he simply said, “I don’t know. I’m still a work in progress.”

He said he’s “still searching.” How? How could he still be searching for success when it’s etched into every inch of his past? PR professionals always told me that success should be measurable. So surely the 44 high school students he helped graduate could be considered successful. My teachers always measured success with the letters ‘A’ through ‘F’; so obviously, Mr. Holland’s ability to achieve outstanding grades at Union College made him successful. My mother always said I could only be successful by “having an impact on others and staying true to myself.” So naturally, his positions on 14 different publicly traded company’s corporate boards and his work with numerous nonprofits is proof that he’d been successful. So what was he “still searching” for?

He said that in order to know what success is you have to know what is important to you. He said, “Unto thine own self, be true.” And isn’t that what we’ve been learning all of this time? Finding our passion is the key to life. Well, our passions, desires, and strengths all differ from person to person. And so does success.

So while I went to the speech hoping to leave knowing exactly what I needed on my “Quest,” I learned that success is an anomaly, and that’s ok. We are each the biggest stakeholders in our future. In fact, we are the stakeholders, the company, AND the client. Think about it. Who else can determine what you accomplish? The way I define success cannot be found in Webster’s dictionary, on Wikipedia, or in the mouth, mind, or heart of anyone else. So the way I achieve success must be my own as well.

We go to speeches by CEOs because they’re good opportunities. But in the back of our minds we are hoping to unlock their secrets or perhaps we are hoping that some of their luck, knowledge, or talent will rub off onto us. Not likely. So what should we go to these speeches hoping to gain? We should go to get a glimpse into the life of someone who stayed true to themselves. We should leave with the appreciation that all of us can achieve even more than we dreamt we could, if we work hard enough.

So what is the true definition of “success?” The world may never know. And really … who cares? As Mr. Holland said, even he continues to search for success, which he said may only be measured by others.

Segway Inventor to Discuss “Person Passion”

deankamen Dean Kamen, the man responsible for inventing the first insulin pump, the Segway, and an all-terrain wheelchair known as the iBOT will present “Personal Passion Changes the World” on Wed., Nov. 17, at 5 pm. in the Worrell Professional Center auditorium room 1312 on the Wake Forest campus.  The event is part of the Leading Out Loud Broyhill Executive Lecture Series.  The lecture is free and open to the public.

Kamen is the founder of DEKA Research and Development and serves as co-host of the program ‘Dean of Invention’ on the Planet Green television network. He has more than 440 patents including a breakthrough in water purification technology which has the potential to improve living conditions in developing countries.

In 1989, Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a program known for its student robotics competitions. He has received numerous engineering and technology awards including the National Medal of Technology from then President Clinton and a Global Humanitarian Action Award by the United Nations.  He holds honorary degrees from several universities.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Alumni Update: Miller to Lead Pfeiffer University

Pfeiffer University has named veteran banker and North Carolina native Michael Miller its next president. Miller, 59, will officially begin as the university’s ninth leader on Dec. 1.

Pfeiffer University Board of Trustees Chairman Greg Hunter officially announced the appointment. He also thanked the presidential search committee for their service during the four-month selection process. Miller’s appointment was approved by the university’s trustees on Nov. 10 during a special board session.

"Mike's experience as a business leader, attorney, entrepreneur and community advocate has led organizations to success and will expose Pfeiffer to a unique set of leadership skills," Hunter said. "His ties to the region and the state make him uniquely qualified. He possesses the qualities, vision and expertise to lead this institution, and we are excited about Pfeiffer University's future with Mike at the helm."

Miller brings more than 25 years of executive leadership experience. The attorney, who was a former president and CEO of CommunityONE Bank in Asheboro, led its growth from a one-county bank to an organization with more than $2 billion in assets with 45 offices in 18 North Carolina counties.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve the Pfeiffer community. I look forward to working with our dedicated faculty and academic professionals, and an outstanding board of trustees to provide an exceptional academic and intensely personal student experience which has come to define Pfeiffer,” Miller said. “I am excited to be a part of this very special university community and to be able to play a part in helping Pfeiffer realize the tremendous opportunities on its horizon.”

A longtime banker, Miller has also served as chairman of the North Carolina Bankers Association, dean of the North Carolina School of Banking, a director of the Charlotte Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, and a director of the American Bankers Association. He serves on the board of visitors and the corporate relations committee for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and recently completed terms as a director for the Randolph Community College Foundation and the Ferree Educational Foundation.

Miller has been active in community, state and industry affairs. He serves on the board of directors for Randolph Hospital Inc., an independent community health organization. He is a former chairman of the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research, a non-partisan, independent research organization, and served two terms as a trustee and chair of the NC IOLTA Committee of the North Carolina State Bar.

A Morehead Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill, Miller earned a MBA from the Babcock School of Management at Wake Forest and a JD from the Wake Forest School of Law. He has also worked in private law practice and in corporate practice in the legal department of Blue Bell Inc.

He is married to the former Donna Jacobi, a community civic leader and missions and educational volunteer who is a recipient of the North Carolina Governor’s Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service. The couple has three adult children: Michael Miller Jr., of New York, Lisa Miller of Washington, DC, and Jake Miller of Lexington, NC.

Miller succeeds Dr. Chuck Ambrose, who left Pfeiffer after 12 years on June 30 to lead the University of Central Missouri. David McIlquham, a former Sealy Inc. CEO and a Pfeiffer trustee, has served as the university’s interim president since July 1.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wake Back in Top 50 in BusinessWeek MBA Rankings

Wake Forest University Schools of Business is ranked among the top-50 in the nation according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek's 2010 Full-time MBA ranking. Overall the School ranked No. 48.

The full ranking report showed that despite a difficult economy, 92% of Wake Forest's full-time class of 2010 MBA students secured jobs within three months after graduation, placing the School in a tie with Yale at No. 12 nationally.

"We are proud of our 2010 graduates and our Career Management Center for their focused efforts to secure jobs in this tough economy," Dean of Business Steve Reinemund said. "Our small school environment offers a highly-personalized experience for students and recruiters with one-to-one guidance, and we are honored to have earned this recognition."

This news comes on the heels of Wake Forest's Full-time MBA program ranking in The Economist which ranked the school No. 33 in the nation. Wake Forest's strong employment rates, starting salaries and student satisfaction were key factors that influenced this ranking. Additionally, Princeton Review jointly with Entrepreneurship Magazine ranked Wake Forest's graduate entrepreneurship program at No. 23 in the nation.

Leveraging Your MBA: A Seminar

WFU Business School Headshots 8-20-09 Guy Groff (left), Career Management Center director, will conduct a program on leveraging the MBA for “lifelong career management.” He will explore several areas within career development that will help MBA candidates begin brainstorming the next steps needed in career progression.

This workshop will provide valuable information on using an MBA degree to its best advantage in this competitive job market. Topics include leveraging your past experience, assessing viability, positioning yourself, and research tools.

Dinner will be served at the event, set for Thursday, Nov. 18, from 5:30-6:45 pm, at 1109 Worrell. Registration for this workshop is limited to Evening MBA students, alumni and prospective students only. Click here to register.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What’s In a Name?

Family business owners shared tips for success and discussed the pros and cons of putting a family name on the line during a Wake Forest University Family Business Center forum Nov. 2 at the Graylyn Conference Center in Winston-Salem.

Keynote speaker Wendy Yuengling Baker of the D.G. Yuengling & Son, America’s Oldest Brewery, told the audience about the history of her family business and strategy for longevity. The Yuengling family started brewing beer in Pottsville, Penn., in 1829 to serve thirsty coal miners. The business survived the Prohibition Era by selling “near beer” and operating a creamery, dance halls, and restaurants. “When Prohibition ended, we promptly packaged a truckload of beer to send to President Roosevelt the very next day in support of the 21st Amendment,” she said.

Today, Yuengling has three plants and sells $2 million barrels of beer per year in the 13 states along the East Coast. The company employs 250 people and is pursuing opportunities to expand westward.

Yuengling Baker is one of four daughters of current president, Dick Yuengling. “When asked if the company name would ever change to DG Yuengling & Daughters, my father always says ‘never’ it’s too long to fit on the label!” she said. After going away to college and working in the advertising industry, she returned home in 2006 to work in the family business. She highly recommends work experience outside of the family business. She also stressed the importance of networking through programs like the Family Business Center.

Leaders of several local family businesses joined Yuengling Baker for a panel discussion about the pros and cons of branding the family name.

Brad Bennett of Wildfire Ideas served as the panel moderator. Bennett said when he and Mike Grice started their marketing and communications company, they needed a name that reflected the creativity and passion. “Bennett and Grice just sounds lame,” Bennett said. “We wanted to come up with name that calls people to ask, what is that? Over the years, our name has come to stand for how people can come to us to generate ideas and bring them to fruition in the marketing and communications space.”

Like Bennett, the family behind the soft drink, Cheerwine, does not use its name in the company brand. Cheerwine CEO Cliff Ritchie is the great-grandson of company founder, LD Peeler. “During WWI there was a severe sugar shortage so my great grandfather started experimenting with different things for sweetness and came up with a formula for Cheerwine,” Ritchie said. Family legend is that the soda earned its name because its appearance.

The TW Garner Food Co. carries the family name in its corporate banner, but not on its most-popular product line: Texas Pete. “We haven’t leveraged the family name in the hot sauce category because our market research showed that family owned and even being around for 80 years isn’t necessarily important in the consumer’s mind,” Glenn Garner said. He said leveraging the family name was more important with the former product line of jams, jellies and preserves because the name reflected homemade style, tradition and family values.

Andrea Neese of Neese Country Sausage knows what it is like to not only to leverage the family name, but to also serve as its spokesperson. After appearing in television commercials, she often gets recognized by strangers throughout the Carolinas asking her if “she is the sausage lady.” Neese is part of the family business’ fourth generation. She said as the family kept getting larger, they made a strategic move to minimize the “hands in the pie.” In 1992, several family members bought out the others’ shares. “It was probably our biggest decision to be made since the founding of the company,” she said.

Bill Parson explained the value of branding the family name at Carswell Distributing Co., a commercial outdoor power equipment wholesaler. Parson’s father-in-law, Bob Carswell, started the business in 1948, selling electric water pumps for wells. Through the years, Carswell Distributing sold everything from toys to home appliances. “We market the Carswell name not to the consumers, but to the dealers. The dealers buy from us and know the name carries a sense of commitment, value and integrity.”

Beth Monaghan says her family name stands for a commitment to carry out promises. She owns the Monaghan Group, an accounting solutions firm. “I consciously decided to put my name out there because that meant something to me,” Monaghan said. She cautioned that customers often request to deal directly with you when your name is on the company.

Roger Beahm, Wake Forest University Schools of Business professor and CEO of Beahm & Associates, advised family business owners to consider leveraging the family name if it provides a valuable point of difference, positive and desirable brand image, supports claims, and contributes to brand knowledge. “Consider the needs and wants of your customers, does familiness align with their needs?” He cautioned using a family name if it dilutes the brand focus, creates a weak or ineffective image, or distracts from what is most important.

Forum attendees were treated to a luncheon featuring the products of family-owned businesses. The menu included Yuengling beer cheese soup, Texas Pete Chicken, Neese’s Sausage pasta, beef with a Cheerwine demi-glaze, and a wide variety of Golding Farms salad dressings and sauces.

“We had an incredible turnout for the event,” said Kathy Baker, director of the Family Business Center. “The opportunity to hear other family business owners share their stories is highly valued by our members. Which makes sense -- because the heart of the value proposition of the FBC is the opportunity to participate in a true peer group.”

The Family Business Center, established in 1999 under the Angell Center for Entrepreneurship in the Wake Forest University Schools of Business, addressed issues faced by closely held and family firms. The member-based organization uses the capabilities and educational resources at Wake Forest, in the community and beyond to provide closely held and family firms the assistance they need to grow and succeed from generation to generation.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Semper Fi: Wake Celebrates Marine Corps Birthday

Wake Forest University Schools of Business celebrated the U.S. Marine Corps’ 235th Birthday during a ceremony at the Worrell Professional Center courtyard on Nov. 9. Students, faculty and staff listened and watched as Marine veteran Rob Duryea (MBA ’12) read General John A. Lejeune’s birthday message and cut a birthday cake with his officer’s sword.

“This is an opportunity to celebrate a tradition which is a significant part of my life. I had a great time over the past 20 years in the Marine Corps,” Duryea said.

The oldest Marine present, Dean of Business Steve Reinemund, received the first piece of the cake and passed it along to the youngest marine present, Matt Berthinet, (JD/MBA ’13). Formality calls for the passing of the piece of cake to symbolize the passing of history, tradition and culture.

Reinemund served five years as an officer in the Marine Corps after graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1970. Berthinet joined the Marine Corps in 2003. Career Management Center director Guy Groff, also a Marine veteran, was among those present at the birthday ceremony.

Wake Forest prides itself on the success of military students returning to earn graduate degrees at the Schools of Business. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Wake Forest participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program. The VA started this scholarship-matching program to honor military service post 9/11.

Watch video of the event here, courtesy of News 14. View a slideshow here.


Prof. Jarrell Calls Into Limbaugh Show

JarrellS Wake Forest University professor Sherry Jarrell waited patiently and got through to be featured on Tuesday’s Rush Limbaugh program. In her capacity as an economist, she called the program to weigh in on Federal Reserve monetary policy, inflation and deflation. Limbaugh was impressed enough to keep her on the line for more conversation after cutting to a commercial break!

While many economists are concerned about inflation, Jarrell called into the program to point out that the Fed's purchase of bonds did not necessarily increase the money supply. Rather, she believes the Fed has a false sense of confidence that it can control inflation and that its policies are being guided by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's excessive fear of deflation.

Jarrell said via email that the program had received a number of emails urging Limbaugh to have her back on at a future date. The conversation was featured on the front page of Limbaugh’s website, where a transcript is also available. Another way to access the talk is through Jarrell’s own website, www.sherryjarrell.com.

How Do You Clown Around?

20091020chaiken0010Several nights ago I was watching a program on PBS called “Circus.” The makers of this documentary followed a  traveling circus company called Big Apple Circus and filmed the shows and what happens behind the scenes. Prior to watching this program I was trying to think about the best way to start this article, which focuses on non-verbal communication. Then I saw a clown. The clown’s name was “Grandma,” ironically played by a man, Barry Lubin. “She” had a white face, red lips, a big red nose, glasses, a curly wig, a red dress and big brown satchel.
I thought, “Wow – this guy doesn’t talk much, but he really connects with his audience.” As the documentary went on I saw more and more clowns and I noticed some things that clowns do to communicate with the audience that don’t involve words: exaggerated movements, colorful make-up, elastic faces, funny costumes, and outrageous props.
Consider a clown’s make-up as a channel of communication. The traditional white-face coloring seems to allow the individual playing a clown to create a new persona, which is what Lubin did. Suppose he or she paints on high eyebrows which, to me, exhibits excitement, surprise, interest, and friendliness – so many engaging emotions by simply drawing a couple of lines above his or her eyes. The red lips, depending on how they are painted on, can make one a sad clown or a happy clown. We can quickly and readily identify with the clown’s mood by which way the lips’ corners are pointing.
What about in an interview setting?
Interviewer: “Tell me about yourself.”
Interviewee: Joe pauses, says um several times, looks down at the floor, slumps back in his chair and begins his response with a hesitant vocal inflection. Joe makes fleeting eye contact, stumbles over his words, and touches his face in a nervous manner.
When I conduct a mock interview with somebody I’m often listening with my eyes. There is a lot of information in the above scenario that is not expressed in words. In this situation Joe came across nervous, unsure and unprepared before he even started talking. Let’s take a look at Joe’s interview from a few perspectives:
Joe’s Voice. There are clues in Joe’s voice (also called vocal paralanguage) that provide a lot of insight. How something is said is often more important than words alone, or what is said. Vocal paralanguage, which is very subtle, but interpreted keenly by our ears, includes: pronunciations, national accent, regional accent, emotion, charisma, sarcasm, deference, contempt, truth, deception, fluency or dysfluency, and standard of non-standard speech. Joe’s hesitancy to speak and his bumbled response suggest to the listener that he is unsure of himself and that he lacks confidence.
Joe’s Face. The face, or the “mirror of the mind,” is a very powerful channel of communication. Joe looked down searching for the answer to the question, and he didn’t maintain good eye contact. Eye contact is perhaps the most important aspect of nonverbal communication. In Western culture eye contact is viewed as a meaningful and important sign of confidence and social communication. When a person maintains eye contact he or she is perceived as relaxed, friendly and sincere. The mouth, another part of the face with a considerable number of expressions, is also an important means of communication. How do you react when you see a person smiling, frowning, or exhibiting frustration or surprise? Think of a sad clown and a happy clown. What helps us know if he or she is happy or sad? Perhaps we can understand the clown’s mood because our eyes naturally focus on a person’s face, which is where we innately view and interpret the communication exhibited via an individual’s mouth, both audibly and visually. 
Joe’s Body Language. Joe didn’t have very good body language – he was slumped in his chair. He would have had good interviewing body language if he were sitting erect and leaning slightly forward, which communicates that he is approachable, receptive and friendly. Someone sitting in a firm, erect position communicates that he or she is taking charge; slouching may indicate that a person is not interested; and slumping communicates that a person is defeated. Even something as subtle as how a person is leaning impacts his or her communication with another person. In a book titled Nonverbal Communication, Albert Mehrabian discussed the “lean factor” – “a forward lean conveys greater liking, whereas a backward lean, or turning away, shows a more negative attitude.”
The example of Joe’s interview and its analysis reflects Western culture’s perceptions of nonverbal communication. While many of the above examples are shared among different cultures, there are many differences as well. Vocal paralanguage, personal space and eye contact are several nonverbal characteristics that can significantly vary among different cultures. For example, it is considered disrespectful in some cultures to maintain strong eye contact with a person. In Western culture an individual who is not familiar with a particular culture that avoids eye contact may become frustrated or offended. Becoming more culturally aware can help one better understand the nonverbal customs different cultures value.
You can see from the example above how powerful and important non-verbal communication can be. Joe most likely impressed a negative image of himself on the interviewer before he even began answering the first question. There are a couple of ways to better understand your nonverbal communication in an interview setting. A mock interview with a career development professional can provide insight into your interview style. Additionally, reviewing a video recorded mock interview can provide excellent insight into your nonverbal habits in an interview setting. These techniques can help you become more self-aware of your nonverbal communication habits.
~ Eric Chaiken, Career Management Counselor

In Need of Entertainment?

I noticed a pair of interesting activities you might want to put on your calendar this week. We are including a brief description and links to find out more information. Get out and get away from school work!


20101103musicum0879-460x260Wake Forest professors Stewart Carter (right)  and Brian Gorelick are again putting on an annual concert that displays the art of Renaissance music. This year’s Collegium Musicum Concert, featuring German music of the 16th and 17th centuries, will be held at 7:30 pm, Nov. 11, in Brendle Recital Hall.

Student musicians will perform on period instruments, including recorders and violas da gamba, the Renaissance version of the cello.


620x350.20101109.mortenson-460x260 Greg Mortenson (left), internationally known for promoting peace by building schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, will speak at Wake Forest University at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12, in Wait Chapel. He is the author of the best selling books “Three Cups of Tea” and “Stones into Schools.”

A benefit for the BOOKMARKS festival, “A Conversation with Greg Mortenson” is co-sponsored by the Office of the Chaplain. Admission for students is $10.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Semester Home Stretch – How to Prepare

WFU Business School Headshots 8-20-09 20 more days!!

In case you weren’t counting, I counted for you! Only 20 more days of school! I am certain that at this time, you are feeling overwhelmed with upcoming tests and deliverables. It’s that time of year.

Whenever I feel this way, I say to myself, what do I need to do today? That’s all I can do. I’ll do that and then tomorrow, I’ll figure out what I need to do tomorrow. You can only tackle the workload and studying one day at a time. If you spend time thinking about all that needs to be done between now and Dec. 9, you’ll drive yourself crazy! And, you’ll be wasting your time.

So, my advice to you is to tackle your workload one day at a time. When 20 days are over, you can celebrate the great sense of accomplishment you’ll feel from completing the fall semester.

While you’re celebrating over the holidays, the admissions department and I would like to ask for your help on another project. If you are going back to your hometown over the holidays, we’d like to ask you to meet with prospective students while you’re there. There is nobody better than you to give prospective students a realistic preview of your program. There is nobody better to talk about the Wake Forest experience than you!

I know that our student ambassadors do this kind of work throughout the year, but we are asking all students for their help during the holidays. If you are interested in having breakfast or lunch with a prospective student in your hometown, please contact Allison Neal in admissions - allison.neal@mba.wfu.edu.

And remember, only 20 more days!!

~ Sherry Moss

Participate in the Grad Student Sentiment Index

To further enhance our continuous improvement efforts, the Wake Forest University Schools of Business have launched a Graduate Student Sentiment Index. The purpose of the index is to continuously monitor our students’ satisfaction with their graduate business program.

Every two weeks a random sample of students from each of our graduate business programs receives an email message from me with a link to a web-based survey form asking for input on their level of satisfaction with their program. The survey form consists of a single question and therefore will take a minimal amount of time to complete.  All input is anonymous. Look for the link in your inbox on and off in coming weeks!

Holland to Share His “Quest for Success”

Robert_HollandRobert Holland Jr., the corporate director and a managing partner of Essex Lake Group, will make “The Quest for Success” the focus of an upcoming Leading Out Loud Broyhill Executive Lecture Series event. 

Holland will share his journey that has led him to the top of global companies and how his definitions of personal and professional success have evolved along the way. His journey is noteworthy, landing him at Essex, a global advisory firm that provides consulting services to Fortune 500 companies.

Holland was also the first African-American to be recruited as CEO of a majority-owned franchise company when he accepted the top post at Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream Inc.  He has also served as CEO at WorkPlace Integrators, Rokher-J, Gilreath Manufacturing Inc., and City Marketing. Earlier in his career, he was an associate and partner with McKinsey & Company.

He will speak Thursday, Nov. 11 at 4 pm in the Worrell Professional Center auditorium room 1312 on the Wake Forest campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Leading out Loud is a Wake Forest University Schools of Business lecture series created to educate and inspire business students through exposure to industry leaders shaping today’s business world. This series is made possible by the generous support of the Broyhill Family Foundation of Lenoir, NC.

The next series speaker is Dean Kamen, an inventor, entrepreneur and tireless advocate for science and technology, who will appear on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 5 pm. Kamen is founder of DEKA Research & Development and has invented products such as the “Segway,” “AutoSyringe” and an all-terrain wheelchair known as the “iBOT.”

Friday, November 5, 2010

Alum Challenges Students to Question Business Practices

You could feel tension in the room as Wake Forest alumnus, entrepreneur and filmmaker Devin Smith (’98) showed politically charged short films challenging business students, faculty and visitors to think deeply about ethics and greed.
The BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism at the Wake Forest University Schools of Business invited Smith to return to campus to share some of his work and lead a panel discussion posing the question—while certain business practices are technically legal, are they are morally correct?
Smith is vice president of operations and business affairs for Brave New Films in Los Angeles. He credits Betsy Hoppe, associate dean of student graduate affairs, for helping him marry his passions of entrepreneurship and film. “I am an entrepreneur at heart. I did not want to go to work for a bank or a large corporation. I really enjoyed films, but I didn’t know the business of films at all,” he said.
“I told Betsy what I was interested in, so I took some courses in film history and screenwriting at Wake Forest just to get learn about the nature of film and see how I could use my business background in the film industry.”
With a solid business education, Smith went on to earn a Master in Fine Arts degree from the American Film Institute and got a job with Robert Greenwald films in Los Angeles. Greenwald founded Brave New Films to create short political documentaries to educate, influence and promote action to an online audience.
The “War on Greed” series of films presented by Smith focused on the personal wealth of Henry Kravis, of the private equity firm Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co. The films juxtaposed images of Kravis’ luxurious estates with the homes of blue collar workers like a teacher, nurse and firefighter.
“This is more along the lines of propaganda than anything,” said panelist Austin Shrum, a political science major and chairman of the Wake Forest College Republicans. He came to the defense of Kravis and his PE firm. “Kravis is employing thousands of people, maybe even one of those blue collar workers. If there is a problem with the tax law, then that is not the responsibility of Mr. Kravis. Taxes are decided by public policy.”
Business Enterprise Management major Andrew Singer (’11), acknowledged public support to require private equity firm owners to pay higher taxes, but emphasized the importance of the firms’ existence. “Private equity firms provide an avenue and a service to the clients without customers noticing a difference,” he said.
Dr. Charu Raheja, assistant professor of Finance at Wake Forest used a local example of when Kravis’ company KKR took over RJR Nabisco to explain the function of a private equity firm to the audience. “Private equity firms buy failing companies, make them more efficient, and typically fire the CEO and top management. They (private equity firms) try to fix production problems, decrease costs, and either take the company public, or sell to a private company.”
She also posed the question of whether today’s taxpayers would have been better off if a private equity firm took over General Motors. “GM cost the U.S. government $50 billion. What would have happened if a company like KKR acquired GM, and gotten millions of dollars in tax breaks, would it have cost taxpayers as much?
Another series of short films shown by Smith focused on taxpayer money going to lenders during the mortgage crisis and CEO compensation. The films ended with a call to action to “fire Ken Lewis” (former Bank of America Corp. president and CEO).
Panelists and audience members engaged in a discussion of whether both banks and mortgage applicants were participating in unethical activity. Raheja pointed out how some mortgage holders knew going into it that they could not afford the monthly payments in addition to regular household expenses such as groceries and utilities. “Part of the morality issue here is who do we blame? Are we responsible for our own actions or do we need someone else to stop us from doing things because they know better than we do?”
While discussions were intense at times, Smith defended his work and the messages. “Our point is to say don’t just sit back and allow things to happen. Do something” he said. “As you go out in the world, look at how your company is doing business.”
The “Ethics and Corporate Greed” presentation was part of the Ethics Passport Series presented by the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism. Click here to learn more about the Center's upcoming events.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wake Forest Biz Student/Runner Gets Coverage

WFU Business School Headshots 8-20-09 Molly Nunn, an Evening MBA student at Wake Forest University, continues to gain attention for her running. Recently she was the focus of an article in Skirt magazine. Now, she is being featured in a blog backed by the News & Record, calling her a “top contender” for the Battle of the Triad half marathon in Kernersville. Good luck!



Time to do battle

Runners competing in the Battle of the Triad half-marathon or 5K on Sunday in Kernersville have one important thing to remember:

Set your clocks back before you go to bed Saturday night.

Daylight-saving time will end at 2 a.m. Sunday. So the good news there is an extra hour of sleep.

Among the top contenders in the half-marathon, watch for Winston-Salem's Molly Nunn, a former Wake Forest runner and an MBA student at the school, and Wilmington's Heather Magill. Both could cover the 13.1-mile distance in 1:20. Nunn finished second in USA Track & Field's 10K Trail Championship for women in August.

On the men's side, former N.C. State All-America Bobby Mack of Raleigh could threaten 1:10. Mack recently won the 10K Trail Championship men's race.

Packet pickup will be 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday at Off 'N Running Sports in Greensboro, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday at Fleet Feet in Winston-Salem, and race-day registration is 6:30-7:45 a.m. Sunday at the Kernersville YMCA.

Molly Nunn on running, courtesy of Skirt magazine: “It feels like love – with all of the incessant hopes, tenacity, pain, passion, dreaming, eagerness, perseverance, sacrifice.”

Using Social Media in Your Job Search

Next week, Wake Forest University will host a program designed to help business and law school students optimize their use of social media for the job search process.

This joint program with the Wake Forest University School of Law will feature Chuck Hester, a LinkedIn expert, who will discuss the benefits and methods of using social media tools to enhance your job search. Register in DeaconLink and DeaconSource to reserve a lunch.

Hester has 30 years experience in high-tech marketing, public relations and business development. He specializes in branding, media relations, copywriting and business planning. Additionally, he is the author of Linking In to Pay it Forward: Changing the Value Proposition in Social Media and a speaker on social media and personal branding. He is also on the board of advisors at MyVenturePad and the communications director at iContact.

The event will be held Friday, Nov. 12, from 12-12:50 pm, at Worrell Professional Center, Room 1312.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Reynolds CEO: Two Ears, One Mouth For a Reason

Susan Ivey said that every Wake Forest Schools of Business student who came to hear her speak at the Worrell Professional Center on Oct. 21 would find themselves in leadership roles throughout their careers.

“And what do great leaders do? They train other leaders,” said Ivey, while promising to debunk several myths about leadership she herself had learned in her 30 years in the corporate world.

Ivey recently announced that she is stepping down as chief executive and president of Reynolds American in February. In her talk, “Two Ears, One Mouth: The Art of Communication at Every Level in an Organization,” she decided to take the opportunity to deliver a little “CEO dirt.”

Listening is Communicating
Ivey began by saying leaders should trust others, solicit their input, and listen to their ideas. She called good leaders “continual learners.”

“The most common wisdom is that 80% of good communicating is good listening,” Ivey said. “Now my mom used to tell me, you were given two ears and one mouth for a reason, and don’t forget that ratio because when you are talking you are not learning.”

Ivey confided that one of the little known secrets of the C-suite is that the higher you climb, the less you really know about what is going on day-to-day. She said that is why it is important to rely on others to give their perspectives on ways to approach issues. Ivey said that sometimes ineffective leaders search for the right answer, but because there is always more than one, they should be listening to ideas and then sorting through them to arrive at the best answer.

Inspiring Others
Ivey said that as the “boss” in an organization, you can ask anything of your employees and they will likely deliver. But if you share your vision, people will deliver much more.

“A good leader is inspirational. They make people believe and want to believe. They clearly paint a vision for what needs to be done to make the organization a success,” said Ivey.

She used the example that if you ask for a report on sales data, you will probably get a report on sales data. But if you share with an employee that you need the sales report to land a client who might potentially change the company, you will get the sales data, but you will also get a comparative report of the cost structure to your competitors, and other key facts that could make the sale.

“After 30 years in the corporate world it never really ceases to amaze me how people rise to the occasion. How they add creativity. How they add value to any idea if they share your vision,” Ivey said.

Learning to Lead
Ivey refuted the myth that the boss is always the leader, and the leader is always the boss. “In a healthy organization, there may actually be hundreds of leaders even if there are only a handful of bosses,” she said.

She said effective managers thrive when they value human capital and invest in developing their people. “In today’s very flat organizational designs, people need to learn how to lead whether or not they have the authority to lead others. Because leadership is a lot less about rank, it’s much more about attitude, aptitude and influence,” Ivey said.

She also pointed out that not all bosses are leaders, and that in her experience of observing various management styles, she learned that knowing what mistakes not to make in leadership is just as valuable as learning from effective leaders.

Leadership vs. Power
This led Ivey to her next point – about the relationship between leadership and power. She used the analogy of salt and pepper. Though they complement each other well, they are not the same.

She compared salt to leadership: salt being one of the most common substances on earth, as is leadership – since everyone has the potential. Salt also needs to be extracted out of something, as does leadership. But salt can also hurt when rubbed into a wound, just as leadership can if misused.

She compared pepper to power saying that either can add heat, and that only the right amount should be used.
Ivey said that leaders can apply their power as a way to motivate their employees. “My secret CEO decoder ring has the answer very clearly. Sincere gratitude and praise for a job well done, coming from a leader who somebody respects, pays an ROI that, as MasterCard would say, is priceless.”

Stretching Boundaries
Ivey’s last bit of advice was to take a chance that you might fail in order to free yourself to truly succeed.

“It’s important to stretch beyond your own boundaries, because if you don’t give yourself a chance, why should anybody else?”

Ivey pulled up stakes from her “home” and moved overseas for her career, a decision that was tough, but she says, only took an hour to decide. She said that she never wanted to regret not taking a chance. As a result of overcoming this fear of the unknown, she had an amazing experience and in nine years traveled to approximately 50 different countries. Ivey said this experience helped her to value diversity and other cultures and called it one of her biggest gifts.

Ryan Gregory (MA ’11) asked Ivey if she had any experience with having to change the views of others who may not be as open to diversity.

“There will always be people who do not have as much experience with diversity, but it’s important to have conversations about why diversity is important,” said Ivey. “It’s not about race or sex, it’s about perspective, and recognizing the more perspectives at the table, the better off you’ll be.”

In addition to her role as chairwoman, president & chief executive officer of Reynolds American Inc., Ivey is president of RAI Services Company. She is ranked No. 22 in Fortune magazine’s 2010 listing of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and is No. 75 in Forbes magazine’s 2010 World’s Most Powerful Women. She was president and chief executive officer of Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco that was the third-largest manufacturer and marketer of cigarettes in the United States prior to the merger of its U.S. operations with Reynolds Tobacco Company in July 2004.

Leading out Loud is a Wake Forest University Schools of Business lecture series created to educate and inspire business students through exposure to industry leaders shaping today’s business world. This series is made possible by the generous support of the Broyhill Family Foundation of Lenoir, NC.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dean of the Court: Reinemund Hosts Basketball Tourney

The Wake Forest Schools of Business second annual “Backyard Ball with the Dean” was held Saturday, Oct. 23, at the home court of Dean of Business Steve Reinemund. Sixty students from the MBA, MSA, MA, and undergraduate business programs, faculty and staff formed nine teams. Dean Reinemund encourages students to build a lifelong habit of physical activity because exercise is proven to keep not only the body healthy, but the mind sharp. The Dean also schedules a weekly three-mile run with business students and faculty called “Dawn with the Dean.”


Here are the big winners from the tournament:

First Place: Team 8 – Mixed Undergraduate
Ben Davis, Senior, Economics
Kevin Reinemund, Junior, High School
Philip Rohrer, Freshman, Undeclared
Reed McLaughlin, Freshman, Undeclared
Joseph Atotwi
Stewart Pond, Senior, Finance

Second Place: Team 9 – MSA
Jerome Conley Jr., 1st yr MSA
Jason Stall, 1st yr MSA
Tommy Harman, 1st yr MSA
Kevin Trimble, 1st yr MSA
Chris Cessna, 1st yr MSA

Third Place: Team 6 – Undergraduate
Ben McNamara, Senior, Accounting
Jack Ransdell, Junior, Undeclared
Matt Galione, Junior, Finance
Patrick Szawara, Junior, BEM
Sebastien Damas, Junior BEM

Wake Forest Revs Up Mentorship Program

Getting a job is one thing, but being an effective, high performer in a job requires soft skills development inside and outside of the classroom. That’s why the Executive Partners Mentorship Program at the Wake Forest University Schools of Business provides a formalized opportunity for graduate students to work one-on-one with an experienced professional.

“This is personal and professional development. Mentors help students explore interpersonal communications in a work environment, how to manage priorities, and provide insight on how to balance time to achieve work-life balance,” said Hansford Johnson, Director, Executive Partners Mentorship Program.

Students are matched with a mentor based on a personal interview and a computerized assessment tool. The pairs often find they have a common bond with career interests, hobbies and communication styles.

“My mentor is also interested in jazz, micro financing and international development. It’s almost strangely bizarre how well we get along,” said Mikel Alderman (MA ’11). “It’s a great experience and I am happy to be part of it.”

Alderman’s mentor is Darryl Little, director of the Micro Enterprise Loan Program of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County. “I am learning as much from him as he is from me,” Little said. “Mikel is a bright person and hopefully he will go on to change the world.”

Abby Ruud (MA ’11) is working with Wake Forest alumna Angie Orth (MBA ‘98), vice president of regional development for Advanced Home Care. “Angie is a great resource, she got her MBA at Wake Forest, so she knows a lot of the things I am going through. I am getting a lot out of the mentorship personally and professionally.”

Orth believes so strongly in the benefits of mentorship that she encouraged several of her company’s executive leaders to take part in the Executive Partners Mentorship Program. “I have had a mentor coach for the whole time I have been in a senior leadership position. That’s been instrumental in being able to think differently, look at a situation from an alternate point of view by getting an external opinion,” Orth said.

Allen Helms (MBA ’99), Chief Information Officer for Advanced Home Care, is matched with Andrew Hall (MA ’11). “I have been able to get perspective on the business world from someone who has practical knowledge outside of the classroom from someone who has had experience in a field I am interested in. It has given me an opportunity to see things from a different perspective,” Hall said.

“I am grateful to the Executive Partners Mentorship Program for setting me up with such a phenomenal leader who has so much in common with me,” said Sandie Taylor (MBA ’11). Taylor’s mentor is Gayle Anderson, president and CEO of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce. “She has helped me evaluate various career options and understand the benefits and tradeoffs of each since she has worked in many of the environments I’m considering.”

Mentors and students meet regularly and follow a structured program to maximize the time spent working together. Students have opportunities to visit their mentor’s workplace, attend meetings and participate in training activities to familiarize themselves with managerial responsibility and corporate culture.

“A key role for a Mentor is to listen to a student, offer advice and also help connect them with other people that can offer a perspective as they navigate their career options,” said Guy Groff, director, Career Management Center. “It goes beyond just how to find a place in their desired career, but how to be successful.”

For more information on the program, contact Hansford Johnson at hansford.johnson@mba.wfu.edu or (336) 758.4077.

Wake Forest Co-hosts Forum on Economic Uncertainty

Wake Forest University Schools of Business and The CFO Alliance will hold a roundtable discussion in Charlotte next week to help CFOs forecast and budget amid extreme economic uncertainty.

The roundtable will meet at at 7:30 am on Nov. 9 the Carmel Country Club, providing area CFOs with practical planning tips at a time when economic trends are especially difficult to discern. It will be hosted by the Charlotte Chapter of the CFO Alliance, a national association of 1,700 senior corporate finance executives.

Tom Canace (right), a business professor at Wake Forest University, will lead a presentation that challenges traditional forecasting and budgeting techniques, and show CFOs how to refine them. The result should help senior finance executives more effectively anticipate whatever conditions materialize.
In interactive discussions following his presentation, CFOs will have the opportunity to describe and assess their current budgeting and forecasting practices. Discussion will center on identifying and sharing strategies and tactics to promote better results.
Specifically, Canace will address such issues as whether CFOs should focus on rolling quarterly budgets instead of annual ones, best practices they should utilize to update and deal with variances, how to take into account uncertainty about the markets and economy, capital requirements, and how to design and implement managerial incentives to support budgetary goals.
The ticket price to attend the roundtable is $30 for non-members and basic CFO Alliance members. There is no charge for CFO Alliance all-inclusive members and first-time attendees. To register, visit www.AchieveNext.com/events.
Wake Forest became an academic partner of the CFO Alliance in 2009. Steve Reinemund, Dean of Business at Wake Forest, sees this as a great opportunity to engage with regional corporations and provide useful insights to help CFO’s better serve their companies. “Wake Forest is dedicated to providing thought leadership to the business community in Charlotte," Reinemund said. "We want to continue to build partnerships with organizations such as The CFO Alliance, to provide educational opportunities such as this.”
The partnership with Wake Forest comes as the CFO Alliance expands its organization within the Charlotte area. It was founded by finance and accounting executives to provide themselves with a networking platform to discuss critical opportunities and challenges. Alliance members serve either in management or executive-level positions in publicly traded or privately held companies around the globe.