Tag: Alumni

Halo + Cleaver, the Olin alumni-owned St. Louis-based brand known for its low-sugar sauces, is now available at all 73 Fresh Thyme stores in 11 states, the cofounders announced May 17.

“We’re thrilled to grow with a great retail partner like Fresh Thyme that shares our vision to offer local communities sauce options without added sugars and artificial ingredients,” said Rob Garwitz, MBA ’18.

A 2021 winner of the Arch Grants competition, Halo + Cleaver increased its total door count to over 300 including Fresh Thyme and Schnucks. Two more large chains are coming this summer, according to a press release from the company.

Halo + Cleaver makes four sauces including its flagship Perfect Ketchup as well as its Backyard BBQ Sauce, Gold BBQ Sauce and its recently launched Spicy Thai Chili Ketchup.

What sets Halo + Cleaver apart from its competition is its blend of fruits like apples, pineapples and bananas to sweeten its condiments in place of the commonly used sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

“Low sugar products are trending more than ever as people look to reduce their sugar consumption,” said Matt Richard, PMBA ’19. “But taste and flavor will always be king.”

From left, Rob Garwitz and Matt Richard.

Alec Gordon, BSBA ’22, was the student speaker at the undergraduate programs graduation recognition ceremony on May 19, 2022, selected by his peers. Here is what he had to say to his fellow graduates.

To the Olin Business School Class of 2022, Dean Taylor, Olin faculty, family members, and other esteemed guests, good afternoon! I’m Alec Gordon, and I’m honored to have been chosen as the student speaker for the 2022 Olin Business School graduating class. This graduating class is very different from most of the classes that preceded us: We’ve endured a global pandemic, lost internships and job opportunities, even lost on-campus housing (I’m sure you all remember the Hunger Games search for housing in August 2020), and now I’m asking you to sit through a five-minute speech from that talkative kid from South Florida. Sorry about that last one!

Let me take you back to March 11, 2020. It was WashU’s spring break! If you were like me, you were surrounded by bathing suits, sunglasses and a whole lot of something called Natural Light. We flocked to the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico or Panama City Beach, Florida. But suddenly, it was all gone. The COVID-19 pandemic had arrived. The world was turned upside down and we felt lost. This was not the college experience that any of us had envisioned.

Personally, my sports immersion trip to Los Angeles was canceled, I lost an in-person job with the Vegas Golden Knights (remember what it was like to work IN PERSON?), the chance to study abroad in Copenhagen, my on-campus housing for my junior year, and my Birthright trip to Israel. And I know that many of you have experienced much greater loss. We’ve been forced to pivot and persevere through the ups and downs of the past two years. 

If you know anything about me, you know I love sports, especially professional hockey, from my beloved hometown team, the Florida Panthers, to my adopted team, the St. Louis Blues. Our freshman year, the Blues were in last place in the NHL on January 3. Only four days later, a new goalie joined the team for his first NHL start, Jordan Binnington. Flash forward five months later and the Blues won their FIRST EVER Stanley Cup championship. The Blues’ Cup run was a story of perseverance through hardships and challenges. The Olin Class of 2022 faced its own challenges.

We adapted to Zoom school, Canvas tests, and uncertainty regarding our future education. We followed mask mandates, testing protocols, and adhered to social distancing guidelines in the classroom. But we were undeterred. Nothing would stop us from continually excelling in and out of the classroom.

Stronger than ever, prepared for what’s next

So if the pandemic has taught me anything, it’s how to pivot and persevere. We are a class of resilience! We have battled through much to make it here today. We’ve been challenged physically, mentally and emotionally. And yet here we are, stronger than ever, ready to step forward into whatever comes next.

There are many people in the crowd who I must thank. Firstly, thank you to my friends, girlfriend, classmates, professors, advisor and career coach for your help and guidance during my time at WashU. In particular, I’d like to thank Dr. Patrick Rishe for welcoming me with open arms into the world of sports business. From minoring in the business of sports, countless TA grading sessions, case projects, networking and career help, and friendly hockey banter, I’m so grateful to have such a caring mentor in my life. Even when you texted me after the Miami Heat lost the 2020 NBA Championship and said, “Well the Heat lost.” I’m thankful for our relationship, especially your selflessness and eagerness to help.

And a special thank you to my parents and my sister, a rising WashU sophomore. Thank you for supporting me in so many ways over the past four years, but especially over the first 22 years of my life. I would not be a fraction of the person I am standing before you today without your love, support and motivation.

‘Three important things in life’

Legendary college basketball coach Jimmy Valvano said in his memorable 1993 ESPYs speech that there are three important things in life: “Where you started, where you are and where you’re going to be.” We don’t know exactly what the future holds and we barely know where we are now. But we certainly know the amount of adversity we have faced to make it here today. The students around you are not the same people that stepped on campus in August 2018, the students who scoffed at a bar being called “Big Daddy’s” and laughed when they saw their Calc 2 midterm class average was a 58…a new record high. We are an incredible group of people – students who will become leaders in business, students who will change our world for the better, and students like me, who will one day, star in their men’s over 40 basketball league!

The pandemic provided many of us with a chance to re-organize our priorities and pursue our interests. Through remote internships, community involvement, and independent passion projects, our future is as bright as ever. We are courageous, confident, and accomplished individuals, and I’m so excited to see what this class has in store for the future. From here, we’ll go our separate ways, but we will forever cherish our time at WashU. We’ve always known our names, but our stories are still being written. 

Thank you and GO BEARS!!

Learning is a lifelong journey, even after your campus life is behind you. We say, “Once Olin, always Olin.” And we mean it.

Lifelong Learning at WashU Olin provides all sorts of resources—through articles, multimedia content and engaging community discussions—for alumni to continue growing personally and professionally throughout their careers.

Lifelong Learning at Olin is about more than the content that the school creates and delivers to alumni. It’s about the community of Olin graduates who connect and engage with one another, sharing their perspectives and expertise on the most critical issues facing modern businesses. Lifelong Learning is at once a venue for learning personally and a medium for learning collectively, through interactive discussions with others in the Olin community.

Use your WUSTL Key for access

Here’s how to get started:

  • Visit learn.WashU.online and log in using your WUSTL Key.
  • If you need assistance with logging in, accessing your WUSTL Key or resetting your password, click the “help me sign in” button at the bottom of the learn.WashU login page.
  • Once you’re in, click “places” on the left menu.
  • Then go to Lifelong Learning.

Lamar Pierce, professor of organization and strategy, directs the program in conjunction with Olin’s Center for Digital Education, led by Ray Irving. Andrew Knight, professor of organizational behavior, preceded Pierce in his role.

“The worlds of business and policy are continuously evolving, and so too must the knowledge we use to navigate them,” Pierce said. “Lifelong learning is about helping our alumni continue to be leaders in their careers and in their communities.”

What’s waiting for you

If you want to access all the content from the homepage, scroll down “Discover More” and click on the “Search & Explore” box at the bottom. Here are some examples of what you’ll find:

Olin videos to bring you up to speed on important topics. Watch for videos on topics like launching a startup, honing your influence skills and leading a family business.

Webinars. Faculty members are periodically leading synchronous webinars on a variety of subjects, such as detecting mistruths in presentations of statistics, the basics of machine learning and mindfulness in the workplace.

Articles on numerous business topics and articles that highlight how Olin faculty research impacts business.

Mini cases. This interactive content—in which you engage with a mini case—harkens back to your days on campus. You will reflect on a business problem, choose a course of action and learn what direction others recommended.

Recorded events. We’re capturing many of the speaking events at Olin and across the country. Our library of livestream events covers topics including innovation in healthcare, learning from failure, data responsibility and entrepreneurship.

We hope you join us in the journey.

Pam Kendall-Rijos, managing director at Goldman Sachs, was honored on April 22 as the 2022 Dean’s Medalist.

An inspiring mentor and respected leader, Kendall-Rijos leads a team in Private Wealth Management (PWM), advising family offices and foundations, high-net-worth individuals and privately held business owners.

With a small number of St. Louis business clients, her connection to Washington University in St. Louis dates back nearly 20 years. At the time, her daughter Kendall was 6 months old, and little did she know she’d see her daughter attend Washington University 18 years later.

A special Olin tradition

The Dean’s Medal is a special Olin tradition that honors friends of WashU Olin Business School who have contributed valuable time, service and dedication to the school. Kendall-Rijos is a member of the National Council at Olin and has endowed a Women’s Mentorship program for female Olin students to gain connections and skills to prepare them for purpose-driven careers in business.   

“She understood exactly how Olin developed me into the leader that I became within my community, and she decided that she was going to support more,” said Kendall of her mother’s involvement with Olin.

Her involvement has led to this important program becoming permanent at Olin and assures lasting and meaningful effects for today’s Olin students. One mentorship program participant is said, “My time in the Pam Kendall-Rijos Women’s Mentor Program has truly empowered me as a woman in business. The mentors I’ve had the opportunity to meet with during our workshops have been incredibly impactful.”

A thread throughout her career

One common thread throughout Kendall-Rijos’ career is mentorship. As a leader, her work and involvement are much bigger than herself. In addition to endowing the women’s mentor program at Olin, she serves as a member of the PWM Top Advisors, Leadership Council and Women’s Mentorship Council. Additionally, having spent the past two decades at Goldman Sachs, she is also a board director for the Advancing Black Advisors program.

“She wakes up in the morning thinking about, ‘How can I help? How can I serve? How can I advise?’ And it’s that attitude and that genuine desire to make things better that sets her apart,” said close colleague Tucker York in an interview.   

Kendall-Rijos earned a BBA and an MBA from Southern Methodist University. She is a CFA charter holder and member of the Investment Analysts Society of Chicago. Residing in Chicago with her husband, John, she enjoys spending time with their adult children (Kendall, Taylor and Parker) and three Cavalier King Charles puppies.          

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.