Thursday, June 18, 2015

Truly Impressive Isenberg Business Ledership Award Event in Boston

I returned from my wonderful stint as a Visiting Professor in Sweden specifically for the Isenberg Business Leadership Awards event, which took place in Boston last evening.

It was a gala affair with over 330 of our great alums, faculty, administrators, staff, students, guests, and honorees in attendance. The event took place at the Boston Colonnade hotel and it was spectacular!

We had two UMass vans waiting for those who elected to travel this way by the Isenberg School and it was quite the road trip. I was the only female in a van with two of my finance colleagues (Professors Nelson Lacey and Hossein Kazemi),  HTM (Hospitality and Tourism Management)  Professor Bob Wilson, our Isenberg Editor, Lou Wigdor, and his son, Ari Wigdor (who recently returned from an Isenberg School service trip to South Africa), and Professor Sharma of Management, and my husband.

It was quite the road trip (both to and back from Boston) with conversations that had us laughing out loud plus a lot of fun with Twitter exchanges.

This was the third such Leadership evening and this time we were honoring Denise Coll, who had a meteoric career as President, North American Starwood Hotels, and is one of our HTM alums, and also Dr. Bernard T. Lee, who is an Online MBA alum, plus the Chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Beth Israel Medical Center and an Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School.  Each spoke of the outstanding education that they received at Isenberg. Coll gave us a very entertaining overview of her first job, post college graduation, working as a planner and cook for a camp for 80 girls in western Massachusetts (they all survived the summer camp).  Dr. Lee noted that he is in the business of heathcare and when he rose in terms of leadership positions he realized that what he really could have benefited from was courses in Operations Management and Services Marketing (I had to clap). My colleague, Associate Dean John Wells, who heads all of our MBA programs, gave Dr. Lee a wonderful introduction.

Last year, one of my former students,  Christina Calvaneso, who had also worked as an Associate at the Virtual Center for Supernetworks, that I founded and direct, under a sponsorship of an NSF grant, received the same award as Dr. Lee.

Their speeches were truly uplifting and inspiring and are examples of the extraordinary students and alums of the Isenberg School that, we, as faculty, have the honor to teach and interact with.

Beth Gamel. the Managing Director of Argent Wealth Management, was the emcee for the evening and her love of the Isenberg School and generous philanthropy  set the stage for an evening of elegance, warmth, energy, camaraderie, and also celebration of the achievements of the school, especially, in terms of rankings under the leadership for the past half decade of Dean Mark  A.Fuller. Dean Fuller gave a rousing speech with his usual energy, dynamism, and enthusiasm.

I was so happy to see one of my former Operations and Information Management students, Maura MacDonald, who is now a Senior Associate at Grant Thornton in Boston. She was on the Host Committee.

Below, I share photos with you, from the evening gala and networking,  and, since we had about an hour after our arrival in Boston before the start of the cocktail hour, I have included a  photo of some of the faculty heading to shop for a while.

Congratulations to all concerned for an evening of special memories, delicious food, esprit de corps,  and inspiring speeches! Gene Isenberg, who passed away not that long ago,  and after whom our School of Management is named, I am sure was smiling at us from the heavens.