Olin Business School honored four distinguished alumni on April 22 at a morning panel discussion and an evening celebration.
The Distinguished Alumni Award is a tradition—now in its 35th year—in which Olin recognizes the accomplishments of our outstanding alumni who have become leaders in their community and have attained distinction in their careers. Those who are honored embody the core values of vision, innovation and leadership and have each made a positive impact on business and the communities in which they live.
Chuck Cohn, BSBA ’08
Chuck Cohn is the founder and CEO of Nerdy (Varsity Tutors). Nerdy is a leading direct-to-consumer platform for live online learning. The company offers a comprehensive online learning destination that enables the delivery of scaled, high-quality, live instruction for learners of all ages across more than 3,000 subjects. Through its flagship business, Varsity Tutors, the company delivered over 4.7 million hours of live learning in 2020 across multiple learning formats including one-on-one instruction, small group classes, large format group classes and adaptive self-study. Since the start of the pandemic, Nerdy has helped over 500,000 students access free online classes.
Cohn has a BSBA in finance and entrepreneurship from Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis and lives in St. Louis, with his wife and children. He serves on the board of the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Washington University and on the leadership council of the Danforth Plant Science Center.
Jeff Davis, PMBA ’95
Jeff Davis is chairman and chief executive officer for Perficient, a leading global digital consultancy. He leads daily business operations and directs the development and execution of the company’s global growth strategy and initiatives. Davis joined the company as chief operating officer in 2001. He was promoted to president in 2003 and was named chief executive officer and appointed to the board of directors in 2009.
Davis has a strong technology management and consulting background, with a blend of nearly 30 years of experience working at Big Four as well as entrepreneurial firms. Leading a team of tenured executives, he oversees all Perficient business groups and functional disciplines, including marketing, sales and client delivery. He has played a central role in Perficient’s dramatic growth, managing the company’s organic expansion and leading Perficient’s M&A program, including the integration and assimilation of acquired businesses.
Under his leadership, Perficient consistently delivers operating metrics among the industry’s best, and has grown into a leading healthcare consulting and strategy firm. Named the sixth-largest healthcare IT consulting firm by Modern Healthcare in 2020, Perficient supports many of the most prominent health organizations in the U.S., including nine of the 10 largest healthcare providers and the five largest health insurance plans.
Perficient has been routinely recognized by technology partners and industry organizations with high-profile growth and performance awards, including being named a 2020 Microsoft Health Innovation Award Winner for enabling personalized care.
During Davis’ tenure, Perficient has grown to nearly 7,000 colleagues and more than $900 million in revenue, transitioned from the Nasdaq SmallCap Market to the Nasdaq Global Select market, and has been added to both the Russell and S&P SmallCap 600 indexes.
Jill Ackerman Jones, EMBA ’06
Jill Ackerman Jones has over 20 years of experience in multiple disciplines and functions at the EVP, SVP and VP level. Her widespread experience spans regional leadership roles of domestic and international regions, global production and supply chain leadership, and finance leadership roles.
Her most recent position was EVP for Brown-Forman Corp., president of North America, CCSA (Caribbean and Central and South America), IMEA (India, Middle East and Africa) and GTR (Global Travel Retail).
Jones was a member of the CEO’s Executive Leadership team, where she was a strategic partner to the CEO, participating in the establishment of a clearly defined vision, goals and action plans with the objective of maximizing growth, profit and ROIC.
In her EVP, regional leadership role, which encompassed all sales and marketing efforts for the regions she oversaw, Jones directed strategic work for key geographies within her region and was responsible for attainment of short-term and long-term financial and operational goals. Her regions were responsible for delivering approximately two-thirds of the company’s net sales and gross profit.
Jones is a board of manager for Breakthru Beverage Group, one of the top three beverage alcohol distributors in the United States and is a prior board of director for First Beverage Group, a private equity company, and on civic boards and trade boards including the National Association of Manufacturers, Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, Family & Children’s Place and the Louisville Ballet.
Marie Winters, MBA ’81
Marie Winters, CFA, CAIA, is a senior vice president for Northern Trust Asset Management with $1.3 trillion of assets under management. She leads a research team supporting high yield and investment grade corporate bond portfolios. Additionally, she oversees sustainable investing initiatives for Northern’s Fixed Income group globally.
Winters began her career at JPMorgan Chase, where she served as a leader and participant in new departments and initiatives for high yield securities, distressed investing, and M&A due diligence.
She is the recent president and a current executive officer of Chicago Finance Exchange, a professional organization for senior executive women in finance. At present, she serves as a member of CFA Institute’s Education Advisory Committee, a global committee of senior investment practitioners that advises the institute on criteria for credentialing CFA candidates. Additionally, Winters is a former chair and executive officer of CFA Society Chicago. In 2019, Crain’s Chicago recognized her as one of the Notable Women in Finance. She earned her MBA in finance and economics at Olin and her BA in mathematics at Knox College.