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New Beginnings, Expanding Visions: Kogod Welcomes Three New Advisory Council Members

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Kogod's Advisory Council (KAC), the school's "behind-the-scenes" source of professional advice and mentorship, is growing. They're expanding their vision, focusing on initiatives that generate strong student outcomes. They're brainstorming ideas for how to optimize students' experience while at Kogod. They're also welcoming new members-three professionals with world-class experience and reputations alike.

Jeff Ansary, John Heller and Anisha Singh officially joined the Council this Summer, bringing a full-range of business expertise with them. They've started and run companies; worked in a diverse spectrum of fields, from finance, hospitality, real estate, federal contracting and marketing; negotiated deals domestically and internationally-you name it. Their greatest asset, though? Their passion for helping Kogod's students.

"I just want to give back," says Singh. "[I hope to] help Kogod graduates get great opportunities, and have strong visions for their futures."

Read more about each of the new KAC members below. You'll learn about their expertise and reasons for joining-and, most importantly, the impact they hope to have on the Kogod community.
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Jeff Ansary

Jeff Ansary Jeff Ansary comes to Kogod with 20 years of experience in finance, hospitality and real estate development. He worked with Hyatt Hotels Corporation for nearly a decade, where he built and led the Global Development Finance Group. Ansary is currently the Managing Director of Ansaco, LLC, an investment firm based in Bethesda, MD.

Kogod School of Business: What motivated you to join the KAC?

Jeff Ansary: I met with Dean Delaney several times, and he explained what the council would be working on the next few years: student employability, and the practical impact of faculty research. Today's work is so ROI-driven. I thought these were excellent concepts, and I have a good background I can draw on to help.

KSB: What are you most looking forward to in your work with the Council?

JA: I really enjoy my interaction with the students. It's our job to help them. It brings me closer to the school to hear first-hand what successes they're having, and what they're struggling with. I like figuring out what they want, and how to help them.

KSB: How has your professional experience prepared you for this role?

JA: I have a very diverse background. I've worked in capital markets, and in the hospitality sector with Marriott and Hyatt. I've also spent a lot of time on the hiring side. I saw a lot of things I liked and didn't like, and think I can bring some of that experience to the school.

KSB: What impact do you hope to have with your work?

JA: Strong student outcomes. I want to help them get hired by excellent employers. I'm open to doing anything I can-whether that's helping with networking, or giving more resources to the school.

KSB: What does being a KAC member mean to you?

JA: It's being an advisor to the dean-giving him my background to help him as he works to further the success of Kogod. I'm willing to do anything I can to help.
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John Heller

John Heller John Heller is CEO of PAE, a leading provider of enduring support for the essential missions of the U.S. government, its allied partners and international organizations, headquartered in Arlington, VA. He was named to the 2017 Wash100 for Post-Acquisition and Government Services Leadership, and received the 2015 GovCon Executive of the Year Award. Prior to joining PAE, Heller served as Senior Vice President and COO at Engility Corporation.

Kogod School of Business: What motivated you to join the KAC?

John Heller: Part of the PAE culture and one of my personal priorities is to serve the local community. The opportunity to serve on the KAC made sense for several reasons. Given that PAE is a large employer in the Greater Washington area, there is mutual benefit to developing a relationship with a local and leading business school. We are always seeking fresh talent, and we can offer very unique experiences to new graduates.

Secondly, PAE is a very international business-about half of our employees live outside of the U.S., and we operate on all seven continents. The foreign nature of our business fits American University's background.

Lastly, Dean Delaney was a key motivator. I've known him for ten years now, and respect him and his past achievements. His values align with both my own and those of PAE, and I'm excited to continue to support him at Kogod.

KSB: What are you most looking forward to in your role with the council?

JH: I'm most excited to help new graduates find their place in the working world, and help prepare them for employment. As an advisory board, we're all working in the community, so we have a great understanding of what organizations need. We can coach or advise the university on what it can do to improve the hiring rate, which is a big factor in attracting students: universities have to bring a great product to the table that offers a high likelihood of future employment. In return, universities need to produce students who have the broad experience employers are seeking, and who are equipped to become the future leaders we need in our business and government. I look forward to sharing my experience from the business and government contracting industry to assist the university attract high quality students and produce high quality graduates.

KSB: In what ways do you feel your professional experience has prepared you for this role?

JH: Business school was a transformative experience for me. I didn't study business as an undergrad so I took it that much more seriously. It was incredibly useful to me when I started working, and I want to share that with students.

I also think I can help by sharing how businesses view new graduates. What do companies expect from new graduates? What skills do we want them to bring to the job? This input can be helpful for the university to consider when building a program's curriculum.

So, I think I can help on two levels: on the student level, since I've been to business school, and on an administrative level, since I now work in business.

KSB: What impact do you hope to have in this new role at Kogod?

JH: I would like to advise the dean in any way he needs-whether it's helping improve student placement, continuing to shape and develop programs or achieving higher rankings.
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Anisha Singh

Anisha Singh Anisha Singh is cofounder and CEO of Mydala.com, a local services marketing platform for large brands, with a 150,000+ merchant base and reach of 400 million customers in India. She launched her first venture, Kinis Software Solutions, in 2004. Singh has received many awards, including eTales' E-commerce Entrepreneur of the Year 2016; Cosmopolitan's Digital Power List 2016; and the World Women Leadership Congress' Women Leadership Award, 2014.

Kogod School of Business: What motivated you to join the KAC?

Anisha Singh: I wasn't connected to AU for a long time. I travel a lot for work, and have two young daughters-life is very busy. Last year, Professor Adhikari visited India for an alumni event that I hosted at mydala.com, my company. It was my way of re-connecting with AU. I felt like it was time to give back to the place where everything began. Kogod and its professors have had a deep impact on where I am today, and it's time to ensure we increase the impact globally.

KSB: What are you most looking forward to in this role?

AS: I'm excited to help raise awareness of Kogod globally. I think there's a real opportunity to do so because the student body is so diverse. I also think the way to do this is through the alumni. If we can build a tight alumni network in several countries, we'll have champions for Kogod all over the world.

I think if we can keep alumni involved in the school, we'll see a lot happen.

KSB: How do you feel your professional experience has prepared you to serve on the council?

AS: I think my global experience and outlook are my strongest assets. I speak about entrepreneurship globally at leading conferences. I actively mentor several start-ups and am a vocal champion of gender diversity. I bring the same to the KAC along with my passion for seeing Kogod as one of the top leading business schools globally.

KSB: What impact do you hope to have in this role?

AS: I just want to give back. I want to give back to the school that helped me start the path I needed to. I hope I can do something similar for the students that graduate from Kogod. That's the impact I want to have-help Kogod graduates get great opportunities, and have a strong vision for their futures.