Tag: Executive Education

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch caught up with Olin alumna Johnna Beckham, EMBA Class 39, to talk about her startup Johnna Marie Custom Made Clothing for Women.  Professors Ron King and Cliff Holekamp are quoted in the article.

Johnna’s company was in the first cohort of the Prosper Startup Accelerator, set up shop in the CIC @4240 in the Cortex district, and recently moved to larger quarters on Vandeventer where seamstresses piece together custom suits and pants. The company is on track to bring in $70,000 in revenue in its first year according to the Post-Dispatch article.

 Link to article, “Custom Tailor Johnna Marie focuses on un-tapped market: women”

Related blog posts about Johnna Beckham:

From EMBA to entrepreneur

Startup is custom-fit for alumna


Congratulations to the second cohort of the Certificate in Business Management for Non-profit Leaders who ‘graduated’ on July 30. The program is a unique Olin partnership with the United Way of Greater St. Louis and the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, and is offered to select executives with United Way agencies.  This year’s cohort included 11 top leaders from various services agencies. They completed a curriculum focused on effective application of strategy, leadership, management, finance, and marketing, while exploring several critical questions facing their organizations.

Guest Blogger: Michele Ralston, associate director of open enrollment, Olin Executive Education programs

Participants also completed a comprehensive active learning project in which they were asked to identify and investigate a key challenge faced by their organizations, and then develop recommendations and action plans for addressing the challenge.

To celebrate completion of the program, Dean Gupta and the Executive Programs team hosted a luncheon for the participants, members of their staffs, and agency board members. Each participant shared his or her project ‘elevator pitch’ and engaged in table discussions about the project.

Bonnie GSEM-Olin Talk 2Bonnie Barczykowski of the Girl Scouts of Greater St. Louis was selected to give a more in-depth presentation. Bonnie delivered a 25-minute project overview and made a compelling case for a program delivery innovation that was very well received by the 40 guests in attendance. In her talk, Bonnie credited the certificate program as a key catalyst that helped her re-frame an organizational challenge in a new light. We are so excited to see the impact of this certificate program with our students, their organizations, and the communities they serve.

DeCola Olin Certificate talkGuests at the luncheon were also treated to keynote remarks from Michael DeCola, Chief Executive Officer of HBM Holdings and Mississippi Lime Company.  Mike sits on the Board of the United Way and was co-chair for the United Way’s record-setting 2014 annual campaign.  He stressed the importance of clarity of purpose as well as the need for synergy with other community partners.

The Certificate in Business Management for Non-profit Leaders — along with the Olin United Way Board Fellows program and the Taylor Community Consulting Program — continue to place Olin at the intersection of leading business and non-profit thinking.

Barb Braun, EMBA 42 (with honors), announced in April that she is retiring this summer after seven years as Director of Student Technology Services at Washington University. Her list of achievements is long–undergraduate degree in Business; Masters and Doctoral work in Education; twenty years teaching business–before coming to Washington University. And now she has an MBA. But don’t call her “retired.”

Barb at graduation in December 2014 with fellow Student Technology Services and Information Systems and Technology colleagues.

Barb at graduation in December 2014 with fellow Student Technology Services and Information Systems and Technology colleagues.

Asked why she decided to pursue an EMBA Barb said, “I wanted to expand my opportunities.  I know my credentials are fine to continue working in academics with an academic purpose, and I know I can work in corporate because I’ve done it. I wanted the credential to get my foot in the door. I would love to work in a corporate environment with people, and I wanted to become retreaded–put a new layer over what was there and extend the use–not retired.”

Barb Braun and I both work in IT at Washington University. I knew of her prior to starting the EMBA Program, but didn’t get to know her until she and I showed up at the same information session about the program. Since she joined class 42, and I started a few months later in class 43, Barb generously provided insights into what the program had in store for me in the coming months, and we compared notes throughout the program about what we liked and didn’t like.

Barb finds it hard to put into words what she got out of the EMBA experience.   She said, “I met so many people who were much earlier in their career path than I am, but I don’t think they have any idea how much they taught me. I also think my seasoning may have sprinkled some spice into their learning as well. The first night of Go! Week, some of the folks on my team said they wanted to get all high passes and honors. When it came to me–I’ve already got many pieces of paper on the wall with letters after my name, I said, ‘I’m here to retread and to see what kind of life I can kick on the tires. I’m here for the experience.’ I think that resonated with my teammates.”

11174221_10153328751814548_4864256207216155915_oAs to what she will do next, Barb is philosophical and a little reticent. She has a book in progress, some consulting projects in the works, and grandchildren to enjoy. She is very clear that she won’t be working nine-to-five anywhere, but other than that is open to a variety of opportunities. She said, “I have renewed confidence in what I can do and what I can bring to the table. I have broken through some stereotypes for myself and for others. I never had a computer class in my life, but I can take very complex material and information, dissect it and put it into common words. I want to take that and teach people how they can tap inner potential, particularly women, and help them build their toolbox. We all have a toolbox, do you choose to put dull tools in there or do you sharpen them?”

Every year, more than a thousand people volunteer their time to enhance the Olin experience and support students by helping them develop into the best employees. We call these important volunteers, “Friends of Olin.” They are formal and informal mentors, case competition judges, practicum sponsors, speakers, employers hiring fresh talent and much more. They provide meaningful real world experiences for our Olin students.

Dean Mahendra Gupta and Olin invited these wonderful people on May 28 to the Atrium of Knight Hall for a reception to say, “thank you.” More than 100 attended.

Alex Goldberg (BSBA 2016)

Alex Goldberg (BSBA 2016)

After Dean Gupta’s welcome, there were three speakers.

Alex Goldberg, BSBA 2016, spoke about the opportunities presented to him through many memorable examples, some included student group speakers, company visits, and formal mentoring programs.

Michelle Duguid, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior, Olin Business School

Michelle Duguid, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior, Olin Business School


Professor Michelle Duguid spoke of the inaugural Women in Leadership class she led as well as other projects, speakers and faculty research partners.



Rodney Kinzinger, Managing Partner, Deloitte

Rodney Kinzinger, Managing Partner, Deloitte

Rodney Kinzinger, Managing Partner at Deloitte, spoke on behalf of corporate partners who engage with Olin on a regular basis. “Any one of you could be up here,” he commented, looking around the room.

Around the room were screens displaying quotes from students and pictures of events and visits from various corporate friends throughout the year. See those slides here.

Below are some pictures from the event:

Kim Shaw Elliott (EMBA 96) and Anne Elliott (PMBA) with Mike Ferman (BSBA 68)


Michelle Brady (EMBA 08) and John Bacilek (EMBA 08) with Alex Goldberg (BSBA). In the back are Dean Meyer (EMBA) and Steve Degnan (EMBA 08).


Tim Mickelson and Nick Bhambri (EMBA 07).


Kurt Dirks, Christopher Gaskin and Michelle Duguid


Jim Klingler, Marvin Anderson and Jacob Siewert (BSBA 13)


Olin friends, students, faculty and staff had a great time reconnecting and networking.

Steve Degnan (EMBA 08), Dean Mahendra Gupta, John Bacilek, and Gil Bickel (BSBA 66)


Nick Bhambri (EMBA 07), Bob Balk (BSBA 67) and Associate Dean Steve Malter

Ken Hunt (BSBA 51)

Ken Hunt (BSBA 51)


Dick Mahoney, Sean Arp, and Dan Feder look on with the crowd as the speakers present.

The Friends of Olin Reception 2015 was a great success. We thank all of you who have participated with Olin in broadening the education of our students and helping our faculty with their research.

The Friends of Olin Reception 2015 was a great success. We thank all of you who have participated with Olin in broadening the education of our students and helping our faculty with their research.

Debbie Sterling graduated from Stanford in 2005, the year that Steve Jobs delivered his now famous commencement address, emphasizing the importance of following one’s passion. Jobs’ message combined with the encouragement of a high school teacher to study engineering, and a self described “itch” to change the world, sent Sterling on a mission to create toys to “get girls building.”

Sterling launched her award winning toy company GoldiBlox in 2013. She spoke at the Leadership Perspective Series: The Female Entrepreneur’s Guide to Raising Startup Capital, sponsored by Olin’s Executive MBA program and held at the Knight Center March 26. Sterling described her entrepreneurial journey and how she went about raising startup capital.

Sterling began raising funds first by saving up enough money to quit her job as a brand manager for a jewelry company. Next, she submitted an application for an elite capital accelerator program that rejected her idea. Then she tried friends and family, and finally Kickstarter, an online threshold pledge system for funding creative projects.

She said that in the beginning, she had absolutely no interest in asking family and friends for money. “But once I asked, I believed that GoldiBlox was a great investment, and anyone who got involved would be lucky to be a part of it.”

The accolades for Sterling and Sterling’s company have rolled in steadily since she got funded. For Sterling, Time’s “Person of the Moment” and Business Insider’s “30 Women Who Are Changing the World”.

Honors for GoldiBlox include:

  • Most Audacious Companies of 2014, Inc. Magazine
  • World’s Most Innovative Companies of 2014, Fast Company
  • Educational Toy of the Year 2014, Toy Industry Association
  • People’s Choice Toy of the Year 2014, Toy Industry Association

The session with Sterling also included a panel discussion on the topic of raising startup capital facilitated by Michelle Duguid, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at Olin, Maxine Clark, Founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop and Mary Jo Gorman, Lead Managing Partner of Prosper Capital.