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About Guest Blogger

From time to time we have professors, students, staff, alumni, or friends who are not regular contributors, but want to share something with the community. Be sure to look at the bottom of the post to see the author.

There are two truisms about the tech field. One is constant change; the other is it’s a man’s world. Women make up about 25% of all IT employees, a seemingly low number except for the fact that it has been steadily growing over the past decade.

So what’s the secret for women to break into tech-related business? How can they be successful? And what leadership skills will keep them at the top?

On September 9, Olin welcomed Lisa Nichols, CEO and cofounder of Technology Partners, a provider of premier IT staffing, solutions and software, for the Leadership Perspectives event “Reality Bytes: The real story on women and leadership in the tech space.”

Nichols also hosts the interview podcast Something Extra, which shines a light on each guest’s distinct leadership qualities.

Nichols sat down with Staci Thomas, Olin professor of practices for communications, for a conversation that touched on many aspects of business in the technology space, including female representation (or, more appropriate, the lack thereof), innovation, entrepreneurship and values-driven leadership.

Watch a recording of the event here.




Five students in a grid format who were named to the Inno Under 25 list of entrepreneurs.

Nancy Nigh contributed this post to the Olin Blog. She is the communications and events manager at the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

On September 16, 2021, the St. Louis Business Journal announced its first “Inno Under 25” list of up-and-coming founders in St. Louis’ startup community.

According to author Nathan Rubbelke: “Our inaugural Inno Under 25 feature is designed to spotlight some of those up-and-coming innovators. The list includes college students balancing studies while building promising startups as well as recent grads and young adults focused full-time on their ventures. Unsurprisingly, this list features many with ties to Washington University, which has had an outsized role in boosting St. Louis’ entrepreneurial economy.”

The WashU entrepreneurs recognized for their contributions to the St. Louis startup ecosystem, include Joe Beggs with Hive Medical and GenAssist, Chiara Munzi with Closet Switch, Lloyd Yates with Tylmen Tech, Ayana Klein with 3Dux Design and Owen Zhang with Caralyst.

“The diversity of these founders—including students studying in Olin, McKelvey and Arts & Sciences—creating startups to solve unique problems is at the core of how WashU approaches entrepreneurship,” said II Luscri, managing director and assistant vice provost for innovation and entrepreneurship at the Skandalaris Center.

In addition, to support them through their academic programs, the Skandalaris Center worked with each of these young entrepreneurs as they established and continued to grow their startups through advising, mentoring, competition preparation and funding.

“We are beyond excited for these founders to be recognized and look forward to helping them and others elevate their ventures at WashU and in St. Louis.”

Learn about each of these founders below and read St. Louis Inno’s article here.

Joe Beggs HIVE Medical and GenAssist: HIVE incorporates a wireless sensor into IV lines to improve medication adherence and prevent expensive unplanned readmissions. Founding member Joe Beggs (BME ‘2020) received the first place Skandalaris Venture Competition trophy in spring 2021 and a $10,000 cash prize. Joe’s other venture, GenAssist, was started with the intent to commercialize the biomimetic sponges so that muscle loss may be healed in human patients.

Chiara Munzi, Closet Switch: Closet Switch is an online and mobile platform that makes getting trendy clothes affordable and social by facilitating nationwide clothing trades between high school and college-aged girls. Founded by Chiara Munzi, BS ’23, and Cosima Munzi. Chiara earned a finalist position for Closet Switch in the spring 2021 Skandalaris Venture Competition.

Lloyd Yates, Tylmen Tech: Tylmen Tech integrates technology, sustainability, and accessibility to create the best fitting, custom-tailored suits available on the market. Founder, Lloyd Yates, MBA ’22, was a featured panelist for the event Black Entrepreneurship in St. Louis, a panel discussion with veteran and rising innovative entrepreneurs from the St. Louis area organized by the Olin Black MBA Association. He has competed in the Skandalaris Center Venture Competition and Skandalaris’ IdeaBounce events.

Ayana Klein, 3Dux Design: Founded by current WashU student Ayana Klein, LA ’22, 3Dux Design supplies children around the world with the educational materials and academic skills they need to succeed. Anna was a Skandalaris Center Global Impact Award winner in 2020 earning an award of $20,000. She also competed in Olin’s Big IdeaBounce in spring 2020 and took home the top prize of $2,500 in the undergraduate category for her architectural modeling system, consisting of cardboard connectors and curriculum, which supports STEM education globally. Ayana planned to use a portion of the prize money to employ her fellow Washington University students as interns with 3Dux Design and offer educational opportunities to children.

Owen Zhang, Caralyst: Caralyst is a healthcare innovation startup, focused on increasing the quality of healthcare by matching patients and physicians based on preferences like communication style and personal characteristics. Caralyst allows patients to find physicians based on shared identities, communication styles, and personal characteristics. Founded by Owen Zhang, EN ’23, BSBA ’23, an undergraduate student at Washington University studying in the joint business and computer science program, and his team of Havisha Pedamallu, LA ’21, BSBA ’21, and Matthew Millet, ME. Caralyst placed third in the spring 2020 Skandalaris Venture Competition, winning $5,000.

The Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship is the home of Entrepreneurship at Washington University. We support startups at all stages by providing opportunities and resources from idea to launch and beyond. We are dedicated to providing programs, services, and opportunities for all members of the WashU community. We encourage individuals, startups, ventures, and teams to connect with us for help throughout their entrepreneurial journey at sc@wustl.edu.




Alison Berger, Olin’s senior associate director for alumni engagement and stewardship, wrote this post for the Olin Blog.

We all know the impact a scholarship can have on a student: It’s life changing. 

Last fall, Howard Wood, and his wife, Marilyn, offered a challenge to Olin supporters. They generously committed to match all new and increased gifts and multi-year pledge payments for undergraduate and graduate scholarships—up to a total of $400,000—through June 30, 2021. 

We are happy to report that the Wood Scholarship Challenge was met! In fact, this challenge inspired seven new annual scholarships to be established. It inspired 569 Olin alumni to contribute toward scholarships and raised over $100,000 toward Olin scholarships from new donors. 

Howard Wood, longtime friend and champion of Olin, knows just how impactful a scholarship can be. He, too, received a scholarship that afforded him the opportunity to attend Olin in 1957. Without his scholarship, he would never have been able to attend, he has said, because his parents, both schoolteachers, did not have the financial means to support his education.

Howard, BSBA ’61, has paid it forward over the years. In 1998, he established the Wood Leadership Fellows Program, which evolved into the Wood Scholars Program in 2016. Wood Scholars receive significant awards to attend Olin each year. 

A huge thank you to the generosity of the Woods, true champions of our students. Like so many Olin alumni and friends, they truly understand that scholarships give more students the opportunity to attend Washington University and become the innovative, ethical and collaborative business leaders of tomorrow.




Ja Song

Tricia Hendricks wrote this article originally for the Spirit of WashU.

An accomplished business professor and academic leader, Ja Song, MBA ’62, DBA ’67, left an indelible mark on higher education in his native Korea. As the 12th president of South Korea’s prestigious Yonsei University from 1992 to 1996, he effected lasting change. During his tenure, he transformed the admissions process, initiated interdisciplinary collaboration, and spearheaded the school’s first fundraising efforts, securing 100 billion won—the equivalent of about $82.3 million today. Soon after, other universities across South Korea began to follow Yonsei’s lead in these arenas.

“For Dad, it all started at WashU,” says Mr. Song’s youngest daughter, Jean Song, who lives in Honolulu. “His experience as a student there opened up his eyes to the world and the possibilities of education and set the stage for what he achieved later in life.”

Soon after Mr. Song’s death in 2019, his wife, Soonhi Song, along with her daughters, Grace Song Park and Jean Song, recognized the pivotal role Washington University played in his life by pledging $1 million to establish an endowed fellowship in his name through the Hongmosoomin Foundation. The Song Ja Fellowship in the university’s McDonnell International Scholars Academy will enable alumni of Yonsei and other South Korean universities to pursue graduate studies at WashU while preparing for global leadership.

“The purpose of this fellowship is to nurture future leaders,” says Dr. Park, a physician in Santa Barbara, California. “It will help promising individuals attend WashU and then leverage all that they’ve learned and experienced to serve the greater good, which is exactly what my dad did.”

Mr. Song and dozens of other South Korean business students and professors came to study at Washington University as a result of the Korea Project, a six-year collaboration involving the Olin Business School, Yonsei University, and Korea University. Tapped by the U.S. government, Olin helped rehabilitate and modernize business education programs in South Korea in an effort to boost the country’s languishing economy in the aftermath of the Korean War.

Mr. Song, who grew up in the impoverished Korean countryside, earned his MBA and doctorate in business administration at WashU. 

Read the full story here.




Aaron Powell

Joe Dwyer wrote this for the Olin Blog.

Aaron Powell, BSBA ’93, was named global Pizza Hut Division Chief Executive Officer effective Sept. 20.

Pizza Hut is a division of Yum! Brands Inc., and Powell will report to Yum! Chief Executive Officer David Gibbs. Yum’s operations also include KFC and Taco Bell. In this new role with Yum!, Powell will assume global responsibility for driving the Pizza Hut division’s growth strategies, franchise operations and performance.

Kevin Hochman, president and chief concept officer, KFC US and interim president, Pizza Hut US, and Vipul Chawla, president of Pizza Hut International, will report to Powell.

During his time at Washington University, Powell was a captain of the football team. He said WashU football definitely played a role in his development as a leader.

“The chance to join an iconic, powerhouse global brand like Pizza Hut, combined with the backing of a world-class and culture-rich company like Yum! Brands, created an opportunity I knew I had to be a part of and simply couldn’t pass up,” said Powell. “I’m excited to work with Kevin and Vipul, and can’t wait to begin working alongside and building relationships with such a talented team of employees and franchisees around the world.”

Powell is former president of Kimberly-Clark Corp.’s Asia-Pacific Consumer Business, the company’s largest international region with operations in more than 30 countries, including China, India, Australia, Korea and the ASEAN member states.

Powell previously spent four years with management consulting firm Bain & Company, serving in its consumer practice. He also spent eight years in sales leadership and brand management roles at Procter & Gamble.

In addition to his business degree from Washington University, he has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He currently serves on the board of directors for Sherwin-Williams.