In today’s ever-changing business world, Olin graduates must be thought leaders who function swiftly and strategically, making an impact in their organizations and beyond early in their careers. Our amazing alumni are up for the challenge, which is why we are proud to honor a handful of recently graduated alumni with our Emerging Leaders Awards (A David R. Calhoun Memorial Lecture).
This year’s Emerging Leaders will be honored on April 20 from 4:30-7 p.m. Please join us at Celebration Weekend, April 20-23 to celebrate Olin’s Centennial and accomplished alumni.
Arvan S. Chan, MBA ’09/MHA ’09
Vice President / International Markets / Centene Corporation / St. Louis
Though Arvan Chan’s graduate education and career placed him squarely in St. Louis by the age of 35, his influence has been felt around the globe. Since 2014, the 10-year veteran of Centene Corporation serves as the company’s vice president of international markets, where he manages and develops several unique international businesses.
For example, Chan helped orchestrate Centene’s investment in Ribera Salud SA, a Spanish company, and The Practice Group, an English company, three years ago. Chan currently sits on the boards for both organizations, which provide health care services under their respective country’s National Health Services.
As an active community member, Chan serves on the board of directors for St. Louis Effort for AIDS, which provides services to individuals who are affected by HIV; and the International Institute of St. Louis, which serves refugees and immigrants in the region. His involvement with professional organizations around the country has placed him on multiple global health task force teams, and he has spoken several times at the World Economic Forum.
In January, the St. Louis Business Journal named Chan to its list of “40 under 40” rising stars who are shaping the future of business in the region.
Chuck K. Cohn, BSBA ’08
Founder and CEO / Varsity Tutors / St. Louis
After working nights and weekends to get his startup company off the ground, Chuck Cohn scored with a $57 million investment from the likes of musician Adam Levine and Technology Crossover Ventures. Today, Cohn’s Varsity Tutors employs 400 people full-time and contracts with 25,000 private tutors who operate on his platform.
Varsity Tutors is a live learning platform that connects students and professionals with personalized instruction to achieve any goal. Cohn founded the company in a Washington University “Introduction to Entrepreneurship” course in 2007.
The young CEO has taken Varsity Tutors, now the market leader, from on-campus startup to more than one million hours of live instruction.
Cohn bootstrapped the company while working as an investment banker at Wachovia/Wells Fargo, and later as a venture capitalist at Ascension Ventures. He focused on building a robust technology system that would allow Varsity Tutors to connect students with exceptional tutors in person, online, and on mobile devices at both a scale and price point that had never been accomplished before.
Cohn serves as an advisor to local startups and is an active participant in the St. Louis startup ecosystem. He is an avid writer on entrepreneurship and education, authoring recurring columns for Forbes and Entrepreneur. Additionally, he is a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and the Washington University Skandalaris Center National Council.
James A. Mourey, PhD, BSBA ’05
Assistant Professor of Marketing / DePaul University / Chicago
When Jim Mourey began his undergraduate career at Washington University as a first-generation college student, he thought finance and accounting should be his path. However, a lifetime of creative writing, performing, and singing wouldn’t stand for it. Marketing was his passion. Besides, everyone knows what happens to “creative” accountants.
After he poured himself into his undergraduate coursework (4.0, summa cum laude), serving as a residence hall advisor, and singing in the all-male a cappella group The Stereotypes, the ink was barely dry on his diploma when one of his professors pulled him aside to discuss pursuing a doctorate.
Today, after receiving field-wide and university recognition for his dissertation at the University of Michigan, as well as achieving a 5.0/5.0 teaching evaluation, Mourey is now an assistant professor of marketing at DePaul University in Chicago.
Before earning his doctorate, Mourey led the research division for a Los Angeles-based C-suite marketing and management consultancy. Since then, he’s coauthored a New York Times bestseller and written two consumer-oriented books on how we shop: Urge: Why You Really Want What You Want and Fusion: A Modern How-To Guide for Integrated Marketing Strategy. Mourey also serves as a visiting professor in Paris and takes study abroad groups to France to focus on luxury marketing.
Outside of teaching, Mourey serves on the board for Creative Opportunities Unlimited, an international nonprofit bringing creative education to children. He is also musical director for The Uptones, a Chicago-based singing group, and hones his improv and comedic writing skills at the world-renowned Second City.
JD Ross, BSBA ’12
Cofounder / Opendoor / San Francisco
JD Ross began his first two companies as an undergraduate. Now, he is the cofounder of a company that has raised more than $310 million in venture capital and is turning the real estate industry on its ear.
Opendoor, founded in 2014 with legendary investor and operator Keith Rabois and Trulia executive Eric Wu, purchases homes directly from the seller, unlocking the seller’s economic mobility and bringing peace of mind to home sellers throughout the process. The startup has been featured in countless publications. Real estate industry publisher Inman named Opendoor its most innovative real estate company. And Ross himself was featured in Forbes’ “30 under 30” list for consumer technology.
A serial entrepreneur, Ross started early as a freshman at Olin. UTrucking provided storage to thousands of students at Washington University, and Fresh Prints offered custom apparel for tens of thousands of students across the country. Those experiences taught Ross the value of moving quickly and starting and ending with the customer, and the importance of hiring and coaching a talented team.
After graduation, Ross moved to San Francisco as the first product manager at financial technology startup Addepar, scaling the team from five to more than 80 employees and bringing more than $100 billion onto the platform as the company’s vice president for product.
Meghan O’Meara Winegrad, MBA ’06
Senior Director / Product Management / Express Scripts / St. Louis
With deep experience as a business builder, change agent, and turnaround artist at Fortune 200 companies, Winegrad is about to apply her skills to a new, even more exciting endeavor: entrepreneurship.
Her corporate career has prepared Winegrad for her next chapter, one she explores and broadcasts publicly on her website, Six Months to Startup. There, Winegrad shares her experiences, adventures, and lessons learned along the path to identifying and pursuing her entrepreneurial dreams.
Winegrad’s past experience in communications, marketing, brand management, and healthcare strategy will certainly pave the way for her future success.
While at General Mills, she elevated Hamburger Helper to new heights through an unlikely partnership with Beyoncé and restored growth to Fruit Roll-Ups with profitable line extensions. She also helped grow the General Mills portfolio by exploring new business models and brands in explosive growth categories, including healthy lifestyle, weight management, and beauty.
Then, at Express Scripts, her work inside the Lab, the company’s hub of innovation and thought leadership, yielded new solutions to solve for some of the most pressing pain points in healthcare, enhance patients’ clinical outcomes, and save clients money.
As Winegrad crafts her transition from corporate intrapreneur to startup entrepreneur, she remains a committed community leader. She volunteers on the Olin Alumni Board and just recently wrapped up a two-year term as co-chair for the Olin Eliot Society. In addition, she advocates for children with life-threatening medical conditions by supporting the Teal Pumpkin Project and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.