Tag: Alumni



Lisa Lewin, BSBA

Lisa Lewin, BSBA ’96, was recognized for extraordinary leadership through adversity by a 145-year-old culture and arts organization for her work in June to launch an initiative designed to “dismantle three of the biggest levers of racist power in this country: biased policing, electoral disenfranchisement and economic exclusion.”

The 92nd Street Y in New York City, a nonprofit community and cultural center that provides programs fostering individual physical and mental health, announced the “extraordinary women” awards on November 10, including Lewin among five women so honored.

Lewin is CEO of General Assembly, a pioneer in education and career transformation offering dynamic courses in data, design, business, technology and other high-demand skills.

According to the announcement from the 92nd Street Y, Lewin and the Leadership Now Project—where she is a member of the steering and investor group—”launched the Business for Racial Equity pledge, bringing together a coalition of leading executives to mobilize businesses to take concrete action.”

That action included working toward dismantling biased policing, electoral disenfranchisement and economic exclusion. The pledge includes a series of concrete steps executives and their organizations can take toward addressing those three sources of systemic bias and inequity. The announcement noted that more than 1,000 executives of businesses and organizations across sectors have signed the pledge.

Lisa serves on the boards of the Wikimedia Foundation, Bank Street College of Education, and the Leadership Now Project. In addition to her business degree from WashU Olin, she earned an MBA with honors from Harvard Business School.




Olin’s Weston Career Center has begun an initiative to identify international job opportunities for Chinese students in its programs—as well as any other students seeking employment in Asia—by expanding the school’s network of communication among Olin alums abroad. The initiative recently garnered accolades from a consortium of universities.

Last month, Olin’s Weston Career Center hosted a virtual event based in China called the Specialized Master’s Program Summit as one of the first steps in this exciting initiative. The summit was the first event of its kind for the Olin community, connecting students and alumni around the world virtually and featuring panels, speakers and direct meetings between students and companies across various industries.

Di Lu, the corporate manager for the Weston Career Center out of Asia, has accepted three American Universities’ China Association (AUCA) awards on behalf of Olin Business School this year, and is a crucial part of Olin’s drive to increase engagement in China.

She was excited about the outcome of Olin’s first virtual SMP Summit and believes that its newly virtual format “helped make [the event] happen,” because it allowed facilitators to connect “more people across more locations.” Thanks to the unifying force of the internet, the SMP Summit featured almost 20 alums located in cities across Asia who were involved in one-on-one networking sessions with students, as well as multiple guest speakers from high-profile companies.

The WCC’s interest in connecting students with alumni in China comes from a pre-existing, strong network across the United States that continues to provide resources for students to build a career domestically. However, according to Lu, many students’ career interests are starting to shift to companies and firms in Asia.

According to Lu, this initiative is a prime example of how the WCC and Olin are “a student-centered school and career center” that are willing to make big commitments in order to serve students’ needs. She also sees it as evidence that Olin is an increasingly “globally minded” school that seeks to provide students with opportunities around the world, while also keeping them connected to resources and opportunities here in St. Louis.

The WCC is also expanding its initiative to provide student resources and alumni networks across China with various programs and events outside of the recent SMP Summit. Lu explained that the center is promoting a joint alumni engagement and corporate partner program to develop relationships between hiring partners, alumni, and current Olin juniors and seniors in cities across China.

The center is putting on four virtual career fairs, more than 20 company information sessions, and a series of industry panels throughout the school year in collaboration with the AUCA.

Lu hopes that this WCC initiative will “help maintain a strong connection between the Olin community and students/alums even after they leave the US.” She believes that events linking Olin’s current students with alums and community members based in Asia will “cultivate the culture of Olin people helping each other,” a culture that is so important to every member of the Washington University community.

For students and alums interested in connecting with industry and community members across China, visit the WCC to take advantage of these exciting new programs.

Pictured above: Di Lu accepts AUCA awards on behalf of WashU Olin.


When the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn caused internship cancellations, WashU Olin and the Center for Experiential Learning stepped up to provide summer learning opportunities for students while supporting businesses, nonprofits and startups. We’ll be sharing their stories on the Olin Blog. Today, we’ll hear from Jay Li, BSBA ’16, director of marketing at Regatta Craft Mixers.

Given the pandemic, what compelled your company to get involved with this program?

Honestly, we had to scrap existing plans to bring on summer interns due to the pandemic. When I received the email from Dean Taylor about the program, we rushed to pitch a strategic project we’ve been struggling with. 

What is your project about?

Our students worked on using insights from consumer research to inform a selling strategy for the grocery channel. 

What was it like working with WashU Olin students?

The additional bandwidth and their fresh perspective was great. It was a pleasure working with our team, and they definitely challenged some assumptions we’ve held for a while. We were really impressed with the depth of thought and analysis we’ve seen from them. 

When you’re so focused on fighting daily fires, other things—like figuring out exactly who our consumers are—have to wait. The students have really helped us work on some badly-needed projects. Plus, the students’ fresh perspective has been great—they helped us find ways we were looking at the wrong hypotheses.

What advice would you give students on the cusp of graduating at this time in history?

I would encourage them to try and find silver linings. Although COVID-19 has disrupted our lives, there’s a lot of opportunity for innovation and disruption as our behaviors change. 




You’re excited about dining at your favorite restaurant. You go to this restaurant only on special occasions, and you’ve made your reservations. You know that everything—the meal, the wait service, the ambiance—is going to be fantastic.

So now you’re at your favorite restaurant. You’re at the table.

But the wait service is poor. Your entrée is mediocre. Nothing is as you expected.

You’re at the table. But that’s not enough. Olin alum Joyce Trimuel, a career strategist and professional speaker, likened the experience to how some people can feel in the workplace.

You’re at the table, but you’re not welcome.

“Our conversation today is going to be on active inclusion with the focus of it being more than a seat at the table,” she said. “It’s really about having a voice and being able to contribute in a fully engaged way.”

Over recent months, diversity, equity and inclusion have become top priorities in many organizations. For Olin’s October 27 Leadership Perspectives event, Trimuel, EMBA ’16, discussed the importance of active inclusion and how it extends well beyond representation in “Active Inclusion: More Than a Seat at the Table.” She also addressed collective and individual responsibility for creating an inclusive culture—and the downside of not doing the work.

“I want individuals and organizations to leave this conversation more informed about what active inclusion is and commit to doing one or two things different and better so that we can all foster more inclusive cultures.”

‘If I just did a good job …’

Trimuel is a first-generation college graduate who grew up in Chicago in a working middle-class family. Her dad owned a small trucking company, and her mom was the office manager.

Trimuel had Iittle exposure to corporate America  “beyond just having the desire to work downtown,” she said. “I wanted to wear nice suits and pretty dresses, and I wanted to carry a black Coach briefcase. That was my ideal of what the workforce and what corporate America was all about.”

She said she was grateful for programs like Inroads, which afforded her the opportunity to intern for two summers during her undergraduate education. It gave her perspective, access and exposure to a world that she knew little about, she said.

But “I was very naive in thinking that  if I just did a good job, that would be enough to keep my career going and moving forward.”

She didn’t understand the nuances and the politics that oftentimes exist in the workplace.

Luckily, leaders saw potential in her and ultimately became advocates for her. They helped to propel her career forward.

“It’s more than just physically being there,” she said.

Full engagement

Active inclusion exists where  everyone has a sense of belonging and feels seen, valued, respected and heard.  

“It’s really about having a voice and being able to contribute in a fully engaged way.”

And that, Trimuel pointed out, is good for business.

If, for instance, you work in a human resources department, you pay attention to attrition and employee retention.

“Even if you are a consumer goods manufacturer, you’re thinking about customer loyalty, you’re thinking about employee loyalty.”

Are you creating the environment where individuals are bringing their best ideas, their best authentic selves, so they’re helping to solve problems for the company internally and externally? Are individuals able to authentically communicate? Is that welcome and encouraged?

Consider meetings at your organization. Perhaps a handful of people are actually leading the conversation. “I hate to use the word dominating the conversation, but they tend to have a louder voice and louder presence when it comes to the conversation,” Trimuel said.

“When you’re thinking about active inclusion, there are moments in time for us individuals to actually advocate for someone else and perhaps, you know, pause the conversation and open the floor for maybe those who have not been able to jump in and actually offer a point of view.”

Why is that important? 

“We need all of the perspectives.”

See this page to watch the presentation.


In the summer of 1993, in the midst of work on her MBA at WashU Olin, Nina Leigh Krueger scored a brand management internship with Nestlé Purina PetCare. After graduation, she landed a full-time job there—and she’s never looked back.

On Monday, Krueger was named the first female CEO of Nestlé Purina PetCare for the Americas after rising like a shot through the ranks of the company during her 27-year career. She assumes the post January 1.

“I truly am honored by this opportunity,” Krueger said in a statement released on Monday by the company. “I look forward to working with our Purina team to accelerate our strong momentum and to build on our more than 90-year history of making science-based dog and cat foods, treats and cat litter that pet owners trust.”

Krueger will become the company’s eighth CEO, succeeding Joseph R. Sivewright, who will become chairman. Sivewright praised Krueger in the announcement, saying, “Nina Leigh is the perfect choice to lead this company into a winning future,” he said. “She has played a vital role in our many successes during a time of great complexity in the pet care business.”

Krueger was honored as a WashU Olin distinguished alumna in 2017. In a tribute video made for her at the time, Sivewright also praised her business acumen and her business contributions, but also her respect for work-life balance in a corporate setting and family. “Nina Leigh knows how fortunate she is,” he said. “She gives back. She pays it forward.”

Krueger assumes the role after serving since 2016 as the company’s first female president. A year prior, Krueger was named chief marketing officer. Seven years after joining the company, corporate executives tapped Krueger to integrate two marketing departments when Nestlé acquired Purina in 2001.

Around the time she was named a distinguished alumna, Krueger had been credited with closing a 10-year agreement with the Westminster Kennel Club, making Purina Pro Plan the exclusive pet food sponsor for the club’s famous annual dog show—extending an agreement that began in 2012.

In an Olin Blog post in 2015, when she was named chief marketing officer, Krueger said earning her MBA gave her the skill and vision to see the big picture throughout her career.

“Olin taught me how to ask smart questions,” Krueger said at that time. “While my focus was marketing, the broad base of the program also gave me a grounding in areas like operations and accounting. I’ve discovered that leadership is not just knowing the answers. Often, it is about knowing the right questions to ask.”