Tag: Friends of Olin



The Friends of Olin reception is one of the highlights of the year. It allows Olin to thank the many volunteers who help shape our students’ development. The event took place on May 12, a week before Commencement.

Dean Mark Taylor kicked off the event by thanking our guests for being judges, mentors, speakers, volunteers, advisory board members, and employers.

Over the course of the school year, nearly 2,000 individual volunteers provided insights and guidance to help students develop to their maximum potential.

More than 300 guest speakers shared their expertise in and out of the classroom, and over 125 companies networked with our students at our Meet the Firms events throughout the academic year.

Poets & Quants celebrated two of our BSBA students, Colton Calandrella and  Jessica Landzberg, and two of our MBA students, Markey Culver and Conn Davis, this year.

Todd Milbourn introduced our three featured speakers: Lillie Ross, BSBA’17, Professor Dan Elfenbein, and IBM’s Jerry Lis. Each speaker shared their perspective on the role and impact of Olin’s many friends.

Speakers: Dan Elfenbein and Lillie Ross.

Lillie spoke of mentorship and the meaningful relationship with a Friend of Olin that she developed her sophomore year and will last beyond her graduation.
Professor Elfenbein waxed poetic on the value of having classroom speakers who help illustrate the key learnings from his class.

Jerry Lis shares from the heart how IBM is a Friend of Olin.

Finally, Jerry Lis spoke of how important it has become for IBM to have a strong relationship with Olin and how both his company and the University have benefited from the partnership. It was a beautiful afternoon and a great way to celebrate our corporate partners and their help in creating the Olin experience.

Friends of Olin take home gift

Special thank you cookies for Friends of Olin.

©Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.




www.barlowpro.com

Kathy Button Bell

Kathy Button Bell connected with Emerson in 1999 after being president of her own company, Button Brand Development, a marketing consulting firm. She was executive director of worldwide marketing communications for North Andover, MA-based Converse Inc. and director of advertising and public relations for Wilson Sporting Goods Co., in Chicago.

Among other things, Button Bell has been a wonderful contributor in the classroom, judged multiple times, and has been part of the success of Olin’s Women’s Leadership Forum. Through these efforts and more, she exemplifies what it means to be a Friend of Olin. Friends are those who are giving of their time, their knowledge, share their years of experience, and who open the doors of their companies to students and faculty to help Olin build better leaders.

Some friendly questions for Friends of Olin:

What has been one of your most valuable experiences at Olin Business School? 

I have really enjoyed my experience with the Women’s Leadership Forum. Faculty members, such as Hillary Sale and Michelle Duguid, regularly share the latest and greatest on leadership research while the Forum provides opportunity for women to tap the great advice from our community’s business leaders. The access to and partnership with these female leaders has been outstanding.

What is the most compelling thing your mentor has done for you?

David Farr, Emerson’s CEO, has always been an unflinching supporter of our most progressive marketing efforts. He has placed an enormous amount of trust in our marketing teams, offering all of us ‘creative runway’. His willingness to push marketing boundaries inspires us to constantly seek ways to make Emerson more unique and modern.

What are the 3 biggest challenges facing leaders today?

• Short-term focus of the market
• Global / political instability
• The modern work environment. In the last several years, workplace dynamics have changed dramatically. Companies are expected to develop meaningful relationships with their employees like never before. This pressures internal communication to be more transparent and in tune to employees’ needs.

What is the one behavior or trait you have seen impede leaders’ careers?

Personal insulation. The easiest way to fall behind is to get trapped in your own bubble.

Tell us about a pivotal moment in your career.

Joining Emerson. Coming from a consumer marketing background, the industrial world was an underdeveloped environment. It has been fun to introduce sound and color to a company in the BtoB space. Most gratifying of all is helping to accelerate change in an established, successful culture.

What are you grateful for today? Why?

A happy, healthy child (in college). Better than any other accomplishment, I’m grateful to have raised an independent young man.

Who’s your favorite business speaker or author? Why?

Keith Yamashita, the founder and chairman of SYPartners. He wrote the book on corporate anniversaries, and his ideas completely turned around my perspective on corporate milestones. He took the notion of a moment in time and turned it into a deep meaningful lesson on corporate ethos and growth.




Shaker Sadasivam, EMBA’99, is President and CEO of SunEdison Semiconductor Ltd.. He is an active alum at Olin and has participated as a classroom speaker and a member of Reunion Committee. He also sits on the Advisory Board for BCTIM (Boeing Center for Technology, Information, and Manufacturing), and was the commencement speaker for the Graduate Programs graduation in December 2015.

Shaker Sadasivam, CEO of SunEdison Semiconductor

Shaker Sadasivam, CEO of SunEdison Semiconductor

Because of this and much more, he exemplifies what it means to be a Friend of Olin. Friends are those who are giving of their time, their knowledge, share their years of experience, open the doors of their companies to students and faculty to help Olin build better leaders.

Some friendly questions for Friends of Olin:

What has been one of your most valuable experiences at Olin Business School?
The most valuable experience was the coming together of great teachers and students with various backgrounds, the stimulating classroom discussions and the many lifelong associations which it created.

What is the most compelling thing your mentor has shared with/done for you?
My parents created my foundational values. Both of them inculcated in me the discipline of hard work, taking responsibility for my actions and humility. In addition, I have learned so much from many people – starting with my wife, my children, my peers, my supervisors etc. I am always looking for things that other people do better than me and try to learn from them.

What are the 3 biggest challenges facing leaders today?
Recruiting top global talent, working in an increasing globally competitive world, the pace of change and the surprising places at which some of these changes originate. In addition to business and macro-economic issues, working in a global environment requires leaders to be fully aware of geo-political issues also.

What is the one behavior or trait you have seen impede leaders’ careers?
Two key traits for a successful leader are integrity and communications (both listening & understanding).

Chancellor Wrighton, Mr. Sadasivam and Dean Gupta at Commencement for Olin’s Graduate Programs, winter 2015.

Chancellor Wrighton, Mr. Sadasivam and Dean Gupta at Commencement for Olin’s Graduate Programs, winter 2015.

What are you grateful for today (business or personal)? Why?
I am grateful for many things in my life. I am fortunate to have a wonderful wife and children (a daughter and three boys) and an extended loving family. I am grateful for my health and the opportunities I have been given in my long career at SunEdison Semiconductor.

Who’s your favorite business speaker or author? Why?
I am an avid reader of history books and have recently been enjoying books by Henry Kissinger, including his most recent one on World Order. History provides a great context to understanding, but not necessarily justifying, many of the issues the world faces today. It also holds many powerful lessons for the world’s business leaders.




Elizabeth “SiSi” Beltrán Martí, BSBA’04, is Director, Bear Marketing Activation at Build-A-Bear Workshop. She is an active alumna at Olin and has participated as a classroom speaker, a member of the Olin Alumni Board for the last 11 years, a current member of the Olin Alumni Board Executive Committee, a founding member and the current Chair of the Olin LEAD Initiative, a mentor with the Industry Insider Mentorship Program, and a judge for Olin’s Freshman Case Competition.

Because of this and much more, she exemplifies what it means to be a Friend of Olin. Friends are those who are giving of their time, their knowledge, share their years of experience, open the doors of their companies to students and faculty to help Olin build better leaders.

Some friendly questions for our Friends of Olin:

SiSi BeltranWhat is the most compelling thing your mentor has shared with/done for you? A senior leader once asked me what my next role at my company would be and I had only one response. He challenged me to always think of multiple “next roles” for myself and continue to explore other opportunities and not work myself into a narrow path or professional corner!

What is the one behavior or trait you have seen impede leaders’ careers?  Not developing their team! It is important for success for people to be constantly challenged and growing with every new task or project. Neglecting to develop your team and continually learn is a direct recipe for failure.

What are you grateful for today? Why? I’m grateful for the St. Louis area! While St. Louis isn’t unflawed, it has the perfect composition for creating opportunity and empowerment for community involvement. There is a big focus on engaging young professionals across multiple organizations and by being involved, it is very easy to have impact. When I talk to my friends in other cities they are always surprised by how much opportunity for civic involvement there is here. And if you can’t find what you want to be involved in… you can create it!

Sisi Beltran Marti, speaking to Olin students about international marketing

Sisi Beltran Marti, speaking to Olin students about international marketing

Who is your favorite business speaker or author? Why?  One author and business owner that made an impression on me early in my career was David Wagner, author of Life as a Daymaker. In his book he talks about how focusing on making someone’s day will lead to you making your own. While this is a simple premise, it has become one of my guiding principles and serves as a reminder of the benefits of true altruism. This can be applied to both professional and personal situations and the payoff can be exponential and an extreme high!




Nina Leigh Krueger exemplifies what it means to be a Friend of Olin. This busy Olin alumna (MBA’94) and executive is the Chief Marketing Officer at Nestle Purina PetCare. She serves on the advisory board for Olin’s executive education program: the Women’s Leadership Forum and she participates as a speaker for the Forum in the session on Building Alliances and Your Power Base.

Nina Leigh Krueger with her canine family at Nestle Purina Petcare. (Photo © Whitney Curtis)

Nina Leigh Krueger with her canine family at Nestle Purina Petcare. (Photo © Whitney Curtis)

Friends are those who are giving of their time; their knowledge; share their years of experience; and open the doors of their companies to students and faculty, helping Olin build better leaders.

Some friendly questions for our Friends of Olin:

What was one of your most valuable experiences at Olin Business School?
Olin taught me how to ask smart questions. At the time I was in grad school I knew I was gaining valuable knowledge. But with time I’ve come to see the true value of my Olin experience. While my focus was marketing, the broad base of the program also gave me a grounding of 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 of your subject matter experts.

What is the most compelling thing your mentor has shared with/done for you?
I learned to get out of my shell and take risks as a result of my Olin experience. Mr. Sidwell, Dean of Students at the time, was a very wise man. He had the ability to make you feel like you were capable of making great choices – and at the same time, very direct when he thought you weren’t. With his support and candor, I learned to both assess and trust my judgment, empowering me to take bold action.

What are the 3 biggest challenges facing leaders today?
Generational Shift: We are in the midst of an unprecedented generational shift in the workplace. Every day, 10,000 boomers reach the traditional retirement age of 65. This trend began in 2011 and is forecast to continue for the next 14 years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that some organizations could lose up to 50% of their executives in the next two to three years. So the question is, how to transfer essential knowledge to the next generation of leaders and how do we best encourage, motivate and reward emerging leaders?

The Amplifying Effect of Social Media: Social Media has a powerful amplifying effect. A tweet can travel around the world in minutes. But that can happen whether it’s true or false. The relative anonymity of social media creates a lack of accountability – and that can result in a mis-truth going viral. Companies can spend a lot of resources to create something good only to see it destroyed by a hashtag. How can we be better prepared?

Connecting With Our Audience: The paradox of living in a world of 24/7 connectivity is that it has made it harder for mass marketers to find their audience. Twenty years ago, the average American household had access to 28 TV channels. Today, Americans have 165. And while TV still dominates, according to Nielsen, 55% of global respondents say video programs are an important part of their lives. The way audiences are connecting with content is changing. How do we connect with consumers in a meaningful way?

What is one behavior or trait you have seen impede leaders’ careers?
Not trusting your subject matter experts. You learn so much when you listen to the smart people around you. My philosophy is: “Listen. Learn. Lead.” It is crucial that leaders have a vision, but it’s equally crucial that they be open to input from their team as to how to get there. Business success is about getting results, not credit. And when you focus on that, you learn to listen to subject matter experts who know how to get results in their area. As Harry Truman once said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

Tell us about a pivotal moment in your career:
Just at the point where I felt like I was gaining traction in my career, I was moved from a brand that was considered a golden child in our company’s portfolio to one that was viewed more as a stepchild. I literally felt like I was being put in the penalty box. There were lots of things that were broken in the business and in the culture. I knew that if we had any chance at succeeding, things had to change – and we had to become a team to change them. Along the way, mistakes were made – one big enough that put me in front of the president of the company to explain it. When he asked who was responsible I answered, “No one, we did this as a team.” If anyone was to blame, as team leader, it was me.

I learned two things as a result of that assignment. First, life is a journey, not a destination. It’s good to have a career plan, but be open for some unplanned opportunities. If we get too narrowly focused on the destination, we may miss potential growth along the way. And second, in business and in life, we win as a team and we lose as a team. No one person can do it all alone.

What are you grateful for today (business or personal)? Why?
At the top of my list is my family. I have a great husband and wonderful sons who I know will always be on my side and by my side wherever the road may take us. Their love gives me courage and confidence. I also feel blessed to have a strong support system of friends, colleagues and mentors who both inspire me and keep me grounded through good times and bad.

Who’s your favorite business speaker or author? Why?
Malcolm Gladwell has always impressed me. I’ve seen him speak several times and he always passes along valuable information without using fancy graphics or a single graph. Instead he tells stories – stories that make you think and ultimately see things differently.

Image: Nina Leigh Krueger with her canine family at Nestle Purina Petcare. (Photo © Whitney Curtis)


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