newsId: 03CCBC9F-0F74-6412-22A84EE9F149E5C8
Title: Kogod Alumna Advances Non-profit and Women Leadership
Author: Alex Behle and Jamie McCrary
Subtitle:
Abstract: Laura Lott, BSA ‘98, exemplifies how to be true to yourself in the workplace. A successful non-profit executive, she’s not only set the course for organizations, but demonstrates how to lead as a woman in business.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 07/09/2018
Content:

Since 2015, Laura Lott, BSA ‘98, has served as President and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), a non-profit dedicated to advocating for and nurturing excellence in museums across the country.

Lott is the first woman to lead the organization in its over one-hundred year history. She heads the day-to-day operations of a 40-person staff, a $10 million annual budget, and cultivates AAM’s 35,000 person membership base.

A self-described non-profit turnaround expert, Lott is all about leading transformation in organizations. “AAM was struggling financially when I joined, which was part of the attraction,” she said. “I had the ability to help them get back on a strong financial footing.”

In shaping the Alliance’s mission, Lott led the process of developing their new strategic plan, which emphasizes topics including diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion. Lott wants to infuse these values into museums’ programs and structure, gradually re-shaping the industry’s culture.

“Museums are inclusive places people can come together. They can be a platform for activism, too,” she says. “I think the AAM moving in this direction can help museums affect change in their respective communities.”

Inclusion is a priority for the Alliance, for both moral and financial reasons. As cultural spaces that represent the public, museums must embrace different ethnicities and cultures, says Lott. They have a special responsibility to share people’s stories. “We can’t say we’re vital unless we’re including everyone,” she says.

Some of this change starts with herself. At first, Lott didn’t fully recognize the impact of being the first woman leader of the organization. After speaking with members, she realized that representation matters, and being yourself can make you a role model to others.

This is in part due to balancing motherhood and leadership, she says. Traditionally these two roles were very separate, which can be confusing and burdensome for working women. Lott strives to integrate both, bringing her daughter to work when needed, and encouraging her staff to do the same.

“I hope that in some small way I’m ‘moving the needle forward’ and helping other women feel they can bring their whole selves to work,” says Lott.

Looking ahead, Lott hopes to transition AAM into more of an advocacy organization, helping members gain wider recognition in their communities. Museums are vibrant organizations that support research, conservation and education, says Lott, which many people don’t realize. “[I do think] museums are often taken for granted. They’re not just places to go on a rainy day - they’re a solace for learning, and places that enrich our lives.”

And, as the Alliance’s first female CEO, they’re also places women leaders can flourish. Lott is strengthening the museum world while setting the stage for future women executives. She wants to empower her female peers to own themselves in the workplace, wholly embracing their identities as executives, mothers and wives.  

“At the end of the day I’m just trying to make the world a more empathetic, just and better place,” says Lott.

Laura is married to her husband, Steve Lott, who met while studying at the Kogod School of Business. Read more about how they met here.

Learn more about Kogod’s bachelor of science in accounting program.

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newsId: F1CB1359-A73F-7FD0-ACE398321C67B970
Title: July 4th by the Numbers
Author:
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Abstract: One hundred thirty-four million. That's how much money was spent on 4th of July bacon in 2017—and that’s just for barbeques.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 06/29/2018
Content:

One hundred thirty-four million. That's how much money was spent on 4th of July bacon in 2017 - and that’s just for barbeques.

What about fireworks, the holiday’s most celebrated pastime? $900 million is the predicted revenue for the 2018 fireworks season, according to a spokesperson from the American Pyrotechnics Association.

From meat sales to Roman candles, there are plenty of numbers in play for the Fourth, but it's hard to gauge exactly what the holiday means for the economy of the nation's capital, specifically.

"We've never been asked that. There's really no comprehensive information available about the economic impact of July 4th on the District," said a spokesperson for the DC Business Improvement District.

…but, to give you an idea of what’s projected — and what’s come before — here are some notable highlights. DC area businesses have a lot in store for them this week, after all.

A survey from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insight & Analytics projects Americans will spend $6.9 billion on July 4th cookouts alone (the second highest amount in the survey’s history)

● Expect around 150 million hot dogs to be consumed in total. And around $1.5 billion in beer and wine!

● Around 62% of Americans will attend a picnic

● $7.5 billion was spent by a record 22 million visitors to the District in 2017 — and even more anticipated this year, according to Elliot L. Ferguson, President and CEO of Destination DC.

● And, according to AAA, nearly 47 million people will travel more than 50 miles this Independence day — a five percent increase over last year.

"Major events throughout the year, like July 4, positively impact the local economy, and we expect to see a boost from visitors staying in hotels, eating in restaurants and enjoying all there is to do in the nation’s capital,” says Ferguson.

And throughout the entire nation. As America gears up for its 243rd birthday, so do US businesses. At American University’s Kogod School of Business, we’re staying tuned for what’s to come.

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newsId: 9E2F0308-B559-8C7C-4FFBE0C96EB782CE
Title: Finding Love and Making Change
Author: Alex Behle
Subtitle: Kogod alumni Steve and Laura Lott credit their time at AU for shaping their futures
Abstract: Steve and Laura Lott met working on a marketing project at Kogod. They haven't separated since.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 06/27/2018
Content:

Forging a partnership

Steve Lott, BSBA ‘98, and Laura Lott, BSA ‘98, didn’t know that meeting each other while working on a marketing project would spark a lifelong relationship. Their mission in life and careers was realized through their time at Kogod, to make the world a better place, they said.

In an introductory-level marketing course, students were put into groups and were tasked to pick an organization and evaluate its marketing strategy. Steve and Laura paired up and picked American University.

“We shared a passion for the school,” Steve said.

“It wasn't just another assignment. Our passion at the time was ‘how can we improve the school?’ We were proud of AU and proud of Kogod. [But we also] felt we knew better than the administration."

After meeting jointly with offices, including Enrollment and Campus Life, the pair started to spend a lot of time together and looked like a couple. They became friends but didn’t begin their relationship until after college.

"We realized we weren't going to have forced time together through classes. We missed each other and wanted to spend more time together. We ended up dating and getting married a few years later,” Laura said.

Finding their passion

The couple each came to AU with succinctly career-focused mindsets. They loved how the DC area was bustling with real-world opportunities and internships, a stark contrast from their small town roots. Kogod was the perfect fit too - their respective academic programs gave them the practical skills needed to transcend multiple fields.

"I think because of being in DC, and really taking to heart the notion that Washington was a campus, I spent as much time off campus as I did on,” Laura said.

Steve was an avid writer and editor who wrote for The Eagle, AU’s student newspaper. Laura, on the other hand, chose to affect change through a student position in the faculty senate and student government.

Laura, currently President and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums (and the organization’s first female leader), completed her minor in justice, in addition to her major in accounting. "I can now put my business background [to use] running an organization and being a turnaround expert in the non-profit field. I'm focused on making the world a better place,” Laura said.

Steve, who now works in international communications, credits his time living and working alongside faculty and students from around the world for sparking his interest in new cultures.

"That background and exposure early on really helped me gain a global perspective,” Steve said.

Making an Impact - and a Life Together

Laura says an internship during her time at AU exposed her to the world of non-profits and philanthropy - a career path she didn’t know existed. “That has driven all my early career decisions and influenced what I do today,” she said.

At the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), Laura oversees the day-to-day operations of a 40-person staff serving the needs of 35,000 museum members, both large and small. She’s led the development of the organization’s new strategic plan, which focuses on diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion.

“[We want] museums to become more inclusive places where people [from all backgrounds] can come together,” Laura said.

The couple is continuing to leverage their passion for change, both professionally and personally. “We've been married 16 years and we have a little girl who's turning six in the fall. We are both trying to balance this crazy world with careers and family - but still having lots of fun together,” said Laura.

Just like during their time together at Kogod. “The people we were working with in our respective positions knew before we did that we were a thing,” Laura said. “After we graduated, they said things like, ‘we were pulling for you!’”

Learn more about Kogod’s bachelor of science in accounting program and bachelor of science in business administration program

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newsId: 1D0533F0-0E51-CD45-AC78B551E8CE247A
Title: 10 Reasons You Need to Go to Preview Day
Author:
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Abstract: Why American University’s “open house” event is a must for prospective students.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 06/26/2018
Content:

1. Preview Day provides prospective AU students and their families with a taste of AU. After reading through promotional materials, it's worth getting the authentic, firsthand AU experience.

2. Explore AU's beautiful, thriving campus. Take a campus tour led by current AU student ambassadors - many of whom decided to come to AU when they came to Preview Day. This spring, AU became the first university in the US to achieve carbon neutrality. And another fun environmental fact? AU's entire campus is a designated arboretum. 

Preview Day is a chance to see AU's campus on a typical day during the academic year.

3. It tells AU's Office of Admissions that you are interested, which could be beneficial when you apply. AU's admission evaluation process factors in a student's level of interest. A campus visit is the best indication.

Coming to Preview Day tells AU's Office of Admissions that you are interested.

4. Learn more about AU's academic programs. During the Academic Overview sessions, students get the low-down on one of six AU schools of their choice: the College of Arts and Sciences, the Kogod School of Business, the School of Communication, the School of Education, the School of International Service, and the School of Public Affairs.

5. Hear directly from current AU students about what it's really like to be an AU student - without your parents. Ask any question during the "Life as an Eagle" for-students-only session.

Ask current students about their experiences at AU.

6. See our augmented reality posters. These signs come to life with the Tour AU app. Can you find all four posters on campus?

7. Find out if one of AU's signature first-year programs would be right for you. Learn about AU's most rigorous academic programs and living-learning communities: the Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars, AU Honors, and the Community-Based Research Scholars.

8. During the Student Life Fair, get more information about the residence halls, dining plans, student activities, and how you can become a member of the Blue Crew. Also learn about study abroad, opportunities to engage in service projects, the University Library, and numerous other campus offices that provide social, spiritual, health, or academic resources for students.

Students join the Blue Crew to cheer the AU Eagles to victory.

9. Meet admissions experts. Also, investigate options to help finance your education.

10. It's free! There is no charge to participate. Even breakfast and lunch are free.

Register for Preview Day

 

Tags: Admissions,College of Arts and Sciences,Kogod School of Business,Media Relations,Office of Admissions,Office of Campus Life,Office of Enrollment,Office of Financial Aid,Prospective Students,School of Communication,School of International Service,School of Public Affairs
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newsId: 5C7451A7-C416-29E9-FAEEF9884BA1FD09
Title: A Conversation with David Kautter
Author: Jamie McCrary
Subtitle: Learn about Kautter's background, expertise and take on US tax reform in this special event re-cap article
Abstract: David Kautter is a problem-solver. He's passionate about helping resolve challenges-especially when it comes to tax
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 06/11/2018
Content:

David Kautter, Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Tax Policy and former inaugural leader of the Kogod Tax Policy Center, is a problem-solver. He's passionate about helping troubleshoot and resolve challenges - especially when it comes to tax.

"If you do it right, you'll spend your whole life helping people," Kautter said. "You solve problems clients never imagined could be resolved…and often undercover ones they didn't know they had."

This environment of discovery is also a passion for Kautter. He loves that taxation pushes him to constantly dig deeper into issues and find new solutions. "Tax is wonderful because you're always learning," Kautter said. "It's like being engaged in an archeological dig. You keep going down levels until you discover what's buried there."

On May 24, 2018, Kautter discussed his passion for taxation-as well as his work, and take on the new tax reform bill-in American University's entrepreneurship incubator. Caroline Bruckner, current director of the Kogod Tax Policy Center, hosted the live interview, asking a mix of questions that drew on his knowledge and experience.

In case you missed the event, we've put together an overview of Kautter and Bruckner's discussion, posted below. A word of caution: the following summary is not verbatim (some questions have been omitted, and a couple from the audience have also been integrated); rather, this is intended as an overview of the conversation's key points.

We hope this offers insight into Kautter's expertise and professional life-a path that's as impactful as it is intriguing.

Kogod School of Business: Why did you pursue a JD versus a master's of accounting? Would you make the same choices today?

David Kautter: As an undergraduate, I wanted to major in accounting, because that's the language of business. If you understand accounting, you understand what's going on in any business.

I graduated with bachelor of science in accounting and went to law school-my passion since I was a kid. What I learned in law school was that I was more interested in the business side of things, rather than the legal side. It felt more natural to me.

There weren't many master of science in taxation programs at that time. Today, I would have seriously considered a master's in taxation as an alternative to the JD.

KSB: So, you love tax?

DK: Tax is wonderful because you're always learning. It's like being engaged in an archeological dig. You keep going down these levels until you discover what's buried there. It's very intellectually stimulating. Once you get involved in the IRS you figure out in a hurry there's no way you'll know everything.

KSB: Can you talk about your experience in public policy?

DK: After I graduated from law school, I worked for an accounting firm, then transitioned to working for a US Senator who was a member of the Senate Finance Committee. Public service was completely different than private practice. In public service, the issue isn't what is the law-it's the law should be.

The way most of us earn our living in the tax world is figuring out what the law is and applying to facts. Once you get into the public policy world, that doesn't matter so much. It provides the basis of your thought process, but you're really trying to decide what the rules should be.

If you ever have the opportunity to work in public service, take advantage of it. It's a way to give back. But it's also a way to try and influence events for the better. You're constantly talking to folks about what the rules should be. And you quickly learn that every issue has at least two good sides-sometimes a lot more. I think that expands your mind and the way you evaluate issues.

I think it also helps going back into private practice. It teaches you to be creative and thoughtful and not rule things out. And it also teaches you to be positive. The more creative you can be, the better the clients are served. It's something you spend a whole lifetime doing so.

KSB: Then you transitioned back into the private sector working for EY. What prompted you to do so?

DK: One of the challenges of working on Capitol Hill is that you see the same thing over and over: people asking for something. In that sense, it's repetitious, and after a while you get skeptical. Before people even walk through the door you think you know what's going to happen.

So, I went back into private practice and started off as a generalist. I think that's the best way to go, because then you have a broad base of knowledge in whatever you do. And then you can really specialize in one or two subject areas.

At EY, I ended up spending a lot of time in the compensation and benefits area - retirement planning, fringe benefits, stock options, and executive compensation. But I never lost that passion for public service-and curiosity with the IRS.

KSB: And after that, you transitioned to academia…why? And what role do you see the Kogod Tax Policy Center having in public policy discourse?  

DK: With respect to coming to American University, while I was in one of the major accounting firms, I spent a lot of time teaching. I really had a passion for it. It's not that different from being a good tax practitioner. You're trying to impart knowledge to the clients or the students. You're trying to help people solve problems.

Helping establish the Kogod Tax Policy Center was also a unique opportunity. Having worked in the Washington area my whole career, I found that there is really a need for objective, analytical advice as part of the legislative process. Organizations like the Kogod Tax Policy Center are able to bring a non-partisan, objective, thoughtful approach to the legislative process.

That's how you get the best public result. You get more balanced results when you get more of this discussion and dialogue.

KSB: How easy is it to transition between the public and private sector?

DK: People are constantly moving in and out of the IRS, as well as Capitol Hill. My advice is it's easier to start off in private practice and go to public service, rather than the other way around. Because in the public sector, there's an element that's not always present that's there in the private sector: the deadline. Things can get stretched out and it's not as finite.

I know a lot of successful employees that started in the public sector and then made the private sector transition, but they struggled a lot with it. It's a different mindset that you have to account for every minute of each day at work. If you don't start off that way, it's a little bit harder.

KSB: Do you have any advice for students?

DK: Build as many options into your knowledge and career as you can. Having a degree in accounting helped me deal with the finance world, and the law degree allowed me to understand the law. And made me a much better writer and analytical thinker. That provided options along the way so that when I thought I wanted to focus on something other than law, I could move to the business side. The more diversity you build into your experiences, the more rewarding your career will be. And the more fun you'll have!

KSB: Let's talk about tax reform.

DK: Absolutely. So, the tax reform bill has 119 provisions in it. As a result, the IRS figures we will have to amend about 450 tax forms, instructions and publications. All the forms are drafted, and now we're working on the 1040, maybe making some changes. The instructions are also almost finished. Our plan is to release them over the summer, with the opportunity for public comment. That leaves guidance. There are two forms of guidance in broad terms: sub-regulatory and regulatory. And there's some major guidance provisions in this reform bill. The single most controversial-outside of the state and local tax deduction-is Section 199A, the 20% deduction for pass through entities.

KSB: What is the most challenging part about implementing these new provisions?

DK: Technology. We run 140 integrated tax systems to process returns, and have asked for $397 million to implement tax reform. 4% for the forms; 4% for guidance; 19% for outreach and education. And 73% for technology.

This is my favorite statistic: there are 2 ½ million cyberattacks to the IRS website daily-a million of which are sophisticated. They are efforts to not just to acquire tax payer data, but also to interrupt the processes of the US government. As we alter the software and the processing system, we have to make sure it's secure as possible from a cyber perspective.

Fifty-nine percent of IRS hardware is obsolete, and 32% is two or more updates behind. What the IRS has done, though, is pretty astute. They've taken the technology dollars over the years and have invested it in tax return processing software. So, the software is fairly current, it's just the main frame computers that need updating.

KSB: What's the most important policy prescription that wasn't included in the tax reform bill?

DK: I'm a big fan of getting rid of as much complexity as we can. We did some simplifying on the individual side, and the miscellaneous side of itemized deductions are gone. At this point we estimate that only 10-12% of taxpayers are itemized. It used to be 35%, so that's some simplification. But I'd love to see even more happen.

KSB: Has the IRS been talking about how they can provide some relief in the first year of this huge transition?

DK: Yes, we're anticipating a final decision about what we're going to do. We thought about changing the W4. It may not be blank. Just for certain situations, both on a business side and on an individual side.

We also started a campaign called the paycheck check-up, where you can use the IRS's withholding calculator online and, if necessary, complete a new W-4 form. We've had some success of getting people to visit the website, but not as much as we'd like to. I think some people may still be surprised with their refunds, which is unfortunate. We've got so many taxpayers who rely on over-withholding as a forced form of savings. We just want people to have the right answer.

Learn more about David Kautter and the Kogod Tax Policy Center.  

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newsId: 587BBFBD-A8EC-CF9A-2380A33553C7AB1E
Title: Cutting Her Own Path
Author: Holly Simmons
Subtitle: Musician and entrepreneur Lillian Cutts, BSBA '15, is building upon her passions
Abstract: Musician and Kogod graduate Lillian Cutts discusses her out-of-the-box path to success.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 06/06/2018
Content:

Lillian Cutts, BSBA '15, a native of Burlington, Vermont, calls herself a "musician, graphic designer, virtual reality enthusiast and cocktail creator." She is drawing her own life map from lessons she learned in her self-designed major in entrepreneurship and marketing, along with a minor in graphic design.

Cutts says creating her own major, as encouraged by one of her advisors, helped her to apply herself because she was always interested in the work. "I never would have thought to do that on my own," she says.

"Kogod taught me problem solving and [the ability] to think outside the box," she says. "Being the kind of person who doesn't always fall into one box or another, it really worked for me. It showed me that if you don't succeed the first time, you can always try again. I had a professor who said, 'Every business venture you don't try is a failure'."

As one half of the electronic duo CUTTS in which she sings, writes songs and produces alongside fellow American University alumnus Peter Bonaventure MA '17 in Audio Technology, Cutts is gaining recognition as a musician, a fact that she attributes to the marketing skills she acquired in school, as much as raw talent.

"You can make the best music ever, but if you don't have a brand, people aren't going to connect with it," she says. "Vice versa, if you have a solid brand but not a good product, people are going to disconnect with it. It's all weirdly related to my studies in a way that I didn't see it being related."

She and Bonaventure have been able to create a good product, one that suits both of their needs and gifts, by creating through collaboration.

"We bring really different things to the table. When Peter and I started working together, he was trying to market his skills, and I was like 'I want to do something weirder,' and we met each other halfway. It turned into a song that you can relate to in a way that wasn't cookie cutter but also wasn't too artistic."

The value of collaboration and accountability to colleagues is a lesson Cutts also applies in her role as a co-founder of Augment Arcade, DC's first virtual reality experience arcade, located in the FLASH nightclub in the growing Shaw neighborhood.

"If you don't show up at school, the only person you hurt is yourself. At the arcade, you're hurting the other members. We're starting this from the ground up."

As if musicianship and the VR arcade weren't enough, Cutts is also a freelance graphic designer, a job in which she says she is accountable not only to her clients, but to her own deliverables and sense of professional self-worth. "Don't undervalue your work," she says. "You'll put in more time than you want to and clients won't value what you do."

Cutts attributes her work ethic, and her ability to value her work, to an entrepreneurship professor, Tommy White, in her senior year. When she and her team developed senioritis and started to slack, she says, he took them to task.

"Those are the best teachers," she says, "the ones who challenge you to be better than yourself. In the real world, you don't have professors to hold you accountable."

As Cutts continues to build her path from passion to success, she appreciates that Kogod excels at nurturing out-of-the-box thinkers like herself, those who are not necessarily suited for a traditional business path.

"When I graduated, everyone was trying to get jobs, going to conventions," she says. "You don't have to have a super laid-out career path. You can do something you like and maybe that will lead to something that pays you."

Learn more about Lillian Cutts and Kogod's BS in business administration program.

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newsId: ED2913A4-5056-AF26-BE108053FF68DC39
Title: Giving Chances, Giving Back
Author: Jamie McCrary
Subtitle: Kogod alumnus and entrepreneur Howard Dvorkin shares his philosophy on business and service
Abstract: Howard Dvorkin, BSA '86, believes in business as a tool for service. A self-defined serial entrepreneur, he's founded countless companies on this premise - each with the mission to give back.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 05/30/2018
Content:

Howard Dvorkin, BSA ’86, believes in business as a tool for service. A self-defined serial entrepreneur, he’s founded countless companies on this premise—each with the mission to give back.

“Most of my businesses are designed to help people. It's a great feeling—I walk out of my office and really believe I’ve had a positive impact on somebody's life, daily. That's what I enjoy [the most],” says Dvorkin.

In 1993, Dvorkin founded his first large-scale venture, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc, to help people with debt relief. The company is about consumer education at its heart, offering financial advice, house counseling, and credit card management strategies, among other services.

“I wanted to use my knowledge and skills to benefit others, and financial management seemed like the right path,” Dvorkin says.

Consolidated Credit Counseling Services was just the beginning. Dvorkin quickly expanded the business and branched out into other facets of the debt relief industry, founding additional companies including PowerWallet, Start Fresh Today and Debt.com. Today, he’s founder of nine different businesses in four countries, with 700 employees total.

His business focus isn’t only in the financial services industry, however. Dvorkin is also a strong advocate of social service.

His latest venture is Parkland Cares, a non-profit whose mission is to provide funding and awareness for mental health counseling and programs for shooting survivors. Dvorkin founded the organization following the tragic Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, where he has been a resident for more than 30 years.

“The entire community was negatively impacted,” Dvorkin says, “and I needed to do something.”

Parkland Cares offers a resource center of vetted mental health practitioners that community members can turn to. The organization offers a centralized list of counseling and intervention services, giving those coping with tragedy an easy outlet for finding the help they need.

“Our goal is to make it easier for the survivors, their families and the community to easily find the resources needed to piece their lives back together,” explains Don Silvestri, president of Dvorkin’s company Debt.com and member of the Parkland Cares advisory board.

Dvorkin also relishes helping people who are working at his companies. He says what defines him the most is “giving people a chance”—offering others the opportunity to pursue excellence.

He recalls one staff member in particular, who now runs one of his companies. When she began, she had minimal experience and a complicated past. But, as Dvorkin describes, she was “incredibly bright, talented and hard-working.”

“I want to help my employees grow and be a part of something good. I find real happiness and pleasure watching people take advantage of the opportunities they were provided,” he says.

Dvorkin’s entrepreneurial roots run deep—even past his non-profit and financial services companies. His passion for entrepreneurship comes from his family, he says, who, as a child, encouraged him to work in the family business. As a teenager, he started his own company: a snow removal company he managed while still in school.

“I didn’t grow up in a normal household. We didn’t talk about sports or school. We talked about business,” Dvorkin says.

He also credits American University’s Kogod School of Business for providing the opportunities he needed to succeed. “Most of the good things in my life have happened because of Kogod,” Dvorkin says. “I certainly learned a heck of a lot and met some of my closest friends. The opportunities the school gave me were tremendous.”

Moving forward, Dvorkin hopes to continue giving people the same opportunities he received. “I want to provide people the chances they need—whether they’re running a business or working in one.”

Most of all, Dvorkin wants to keep giving back. He hopes to leave his mark on the world as a business owner that helps others—financially, professionally and personally.

Learn more about Kogod’s bachelor of science in accounting program.

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Title: Memorial Day Travel and Earnings are on the Rise - Or Are They?
Author: Holly Simmons
Subtitle: Kogod Professor Says It's Hard to Quantify Projected Gains and Losses of Holiday Weekend
Abstract: This weekend, people across the country will hit the road for long Memorial Day weekend getaways. What does this mean, economically speaking?
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 05/29/2018
Content:

Last weekend, people across the country hit the road for long Memorial Day weekend getaways. The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimated that more than 41.5 million people in America would travel for the holiday weekend - nearly 5 percent more than last year, and the most in more than a dozen years.

What does this mean, economically speaking? And, if it is a positive business trend, is it possible for businesses to quantify it?

The answer to these questions isn't necessarily a straightforward one. According to Catalin Stefanescu, a lecturer in finance and real estate at Kogod, "It is very hard to quantify a net effect."

"I would not be very enthusiastic about economic gains because most of the time, they come at a steep cost," he said, citing as an example the fact that many cities hosting the Olympic games lose significant amounts of money. "Most studies that estimate gains/losses have serious shortcomings."

Despite such shortcomings, data does point to increased travel, however - and potentially increased business earnings. AAA also projected that airfare and car rental prices would be lower this year, as well, which could incentivize travelers. Airfare is estimated at an average of about $168 on the top 40 domestic routes - 7 percent lower than last year. And the average daily cost of renting a car, $59, was the lowest Memorial Day rate in four years.

It's notable that gas prices are high, however. The AAA Daily Fuel Gauge states that, as of May 21, the average national gas price was $2.93, the highest going into Memorial Day weekend since 2014, when gas prices stood at $3.65.

AAA did not anticipate this would deter travelers, however. "It won't keep travelers home this Memorial Day weekend," said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president, AAA Travel and Publishing.

Of course, the price of transportation isn't the only factor under consideration, especially in cities with a high holiday market. Stefanescu points out, however, that quantitative data is both hard to find and unclear, when it comes to matters like hotels and restaurants.

"While it is true that one expects an increase in the demand for hotels rooms during Memorial Day, it is not clear that there will be a net increase in the demand for restaurant reservations, as many residents are travelling outside the area during this period," Stefanescu says.

Furthermore, tourism monies do not necessarily mean a significant gain to local economies when residents vacate to other areas for the holiday weekend.

Particularly in the DC area, a federal holiday can cause a significant decrease in output. Stefanescu notes that there has been neither a pattern to show a rise in employment to meet tourism demand, nor a surge in area hotel prices relative to other months. In the DC region, there is no evidence that, per total, Memorial Day weekend brings in any more economic gain than any other holiday weekend, or indeed any other summer weekend.

"When you analyze the potential impact on local economies," Stefanescu says, "you must not forget that not only do these holidays bring an influx of tourists, but they 'drive out' many of the permanent residents. Estimating net gains/losses are extremely hard to quantify."

Read more about Kogod Professor Catalin Stefanescu.

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Title: Making a Mayvin
Author: Holly Simmons
Subtitle: Kogod MBA is Shaping Alumna to Drive the Next Generation of Business Leaders
Abstract: Kogod alumni Melanie Ziemnik and Lisa Rosenthal share the story of their work together and the impact they're making.
Topic: Business
Publication Date: 05/18/2018
Content:

Since 2016, Kogod alumna Melanie Ziemnik, BSBA '17, has worked under alumna Lisa Rosenthal, MBA '01, owner of Mayvin, formerly the Mayvin Consulting Group, a company dedicated to national security consulting that serves military personnel.

The women met two years ago when Rosenthal was a judge in the Kogod Case Competition and Melanie was a competition student.

The Case Competition is an annual event in which student teams present solutions to an issue a company faces. The competition requires months of preparation, and can help students develop skills in case analysis, leadership and teamwork, while also providing valuable networking opportunities.

"I thought Melanie stole the show with her composure," Rosenthal says. She offered Ziemnik an internship opportunity on the spot, but didn't go easy on her in the interview. "I was horribly mean to her," Rosenthal jokes.

There was a method to her madness. It was important to gauge whether, despite Ziemnik being new to the working world, she could be prepared for the tough, male-dominated environment at Mayvin.

"Lisa definitely [wants to make sure] you're someone who can take a rigorous work environment," says Ziemnik.

"It's not about the knowledge you have," Lisa agrees, "it's about the mindset you have coming into this office."

Another one of Ziemnik's mentors at work is a former Navy Seal. A majority of her working hours are spent traveling around the world with him, visiting war zones and seeing the direct impact of their work.

"That's one of the more incredible things about what we do," Ziemnik adds. "Even though we're sitting here in our office in Northern Virginia, we still get to see how we fit into the life cycle of [a military operation]. It helps motivate you every single day."

"I love what we do, because our job is to help bring the soldier back safely," Rosenthal says. "How do we change the way we fight, how do we ensure national security? Our job is to save lives."

Both Rosenthal and Ziemnik emphasize they wouldn't have been prepared for such a job without Kogod's focus on real-world learning.

"It's one of the things I love about Kogod," Ziemnik says. "It was the mindset of, 'here are real, impactful ways you can go out and start affecting meaningful change. That very much helped me transition into a professional life."

"Something that is great in theory has to be great in execution," Rosenthal agrees. "Kogod does that better than any of the other schools in the area. The professors have real world experience, not just academic."

After completing an internship and working part-time during her senior year, Ziemnik is now a business account development manager at Mayvin, where her responsibilities include developing proposals, creating non-disclosure agreements, expanding social media efforts, and participating in financial analysis, among other tasks.

She spearheads projects and undergoes constant training to improve the skills and knowledge that will help her build her future.

"I am taking every day one at a time," she says. "That's one of the great things about this job. Every single day looks different."

Both women know that someday, in the not-too-distant future, Ziemnik's place of business will look different, too.

"My job isn't to keep someone here past their expiration date," Rosenthal says. "My job is to grow the next generation, to have them go out and make a difference. It's not about keeping her in one place-it's making sure she gets the opportunity to grow.

I am so proud watching her develop into this professional woman. She went from being a college kid, within a year, to walking into NASA headquarters and having conversations about how we can help them become a better organization."

Learn more about American University's Kogod School of Business and their undergraduate and graduate programs.

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Title: AU's Top Leaders
Author: Raheem Dawodu Jr.
Subtitle: AU Student Award Recipients Serve and Lead with Smarts and Heart
Abstract: AU Student Award recipients serve and lead with smarts and heart.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 05/08/2018
Content:

On Friday, May 11, AU will get the Spring commencement celebrations started when it honors its top students for their academic achievements, leadership and service. The University Student Awards are presented to selected graduating students who, in their own way, have made a mark on the AU community.

Academic Leaders

Graduate students Brian Clark, SIS/MA '18, and Erin Matson, SIS/MA '18, are both being recognized with the Outstanding Scholarship at the Graduate Level Award.

Clark maintained a 4.0 GPA while serving as the US Naval attaché to the Republic of the Philippines at the US embassy in Manila. Despite being 12-time zones away from campus, Clark attended every weekly live session of the International Relations online program. Clark's recent research centered on international negotiation and conflict resolution, which has been critical in helping the embassy gain a deeper understanding of conflict causes and cultural.

 From left to right, Nathaniel Edenfield and Erin Matson
2018 Outstanding Scholarship Recipients
Nathaniel Edenfield and Erin Matson

"The opportunity to direct my research throughout my IR program to topics germane to what I actually do was invaluable, from gaining a deeper understanding of the dynamics of US/Philippine basing negotiations, to post-conflict transitions in Marawi City," Clark said.

Matson also maintained a 4.0 GPA in SIS's Global Environmental Policy Program. Matson's passion for sustainable farming, food systems, and racial and environmental justice comes back to her experience as founder of an organic urban farming business in Chicago. As a research assistant, Matson gained praise from professors for her creativity, intellectual savvy, and her ability to synthesize even the most obscure resources.

"My own research on Chicago urban farmers' perceptions of and engagement with climate change will, I hope, serve some future utility as policymakers and practitioners seek to translate global discourses on climate change mitigation and adaptation into tangible action at a community-scale," Matson said.

2018 Outstanding Scholarship Recipients Daniel Oshiro and Nathaniel Edenfield
2018 Outstanding Scholarship
recipients Daniel Oshiro
and Nathaniel Edenfield

Seniors Nathaniel Edenfield, CAS/BS '18 and CAS/BA '18, and Daniel Oshiro, CAS/BA '18, are both being recognized with the Outstanding Scholarship at the Undergraduate Level Award.

Edenfield's professors have noted that his work is on the level of graduate students and have observed that he is able to hold his own with master's and PhD candidates. Edenfield's commitment to intellectual curiosity and persistence led him to find little-known sources that led to original research. He reviewed previously untapped World War I federal archives that revealed the root of ongoing conflicts about the relationship of primary commodities. His economics capstone was presented and praised at academic conferences and a paper based on his research is currently under review by the journal Issues in Political Economy.

"Whether at the local, national, or international level, my research is important to better understand the challenges and changes society faces that are rooted in our relationship with natural resources," Edenfield said.

Oshiro's kindness and intelligence has been an inspiration to his peers, along with his pioneering work . His independent study combined cultural sociology, the sociology of music, and ethnomusicology to consider the dynamic between racialization and commercialization in Asian American hip-hop artists seeking success in international markets. The depth and originality of Oshiro's research lead to him being invited to present at regional and national gatherings of sociologists and ethnomusicologists.

"My research has also provided me the unprecedented opportunity to combine my two passions, music and sociology, in ways I never thought possible," Oshiro said.

Service Leaders

2018 Outstanding Service
recipients from left to right: Devontae Torriente,
Belinda Peter, Yamillet Payano
2018 Outstanding Service
recipients Devontae Torriente,
Belinda Peter, Yamillet Payano

Along with academic honors, AU recognizes students who have made a lasting impact on campus with the Outstanding Service to the University Community Awards. This year three students were worthy of this distinction.

One of the honorees is Devontae Torriente, SPA/BS '18. In his roles with The Blackprint, Student Government (SG) Undergraduate Senate, Black Student Alliance, The Darkening, and as SG president, Torriente used his leadership positions to enact change at AU. Torriente saw the need for inclusion and equity to be part of the university curriculum and was a pivotal voice in the creation of the new AU Experience program (AUx). Torriente went on to teach as an AUx peer leader in the pilot phase of the program.

"AUx is a result of that work and I'm optimistic that years down the line, AU students will be some of the most critical members of society who will use their understanding of their place in the world to change it for the better," Torriente said.

For Belinda Peter, SIS/MA '18, creating a more inclusive campus is a professional and academic passion. Working in Development and Alumni Relations, she has helped connect alumni to students by working with several alumni affinity groups and being a key planner in the Black and Latinx graduation celebrations. As a graduate student in the International Peace and Conflict Resolution program, her studies made her an ideal candidate to take part in AU Connects, a campus-wide inclusion initiative that provides trained facilitators who can help guide constructive conversations around issues of race and ethnicity.

"Helping facilitate and being part of incredibly honest and crucial conversations on campus has not always been easy, but I have always walked away better for the experience," Peter said. "AU Connects gave me a chance to put into practice what I learned in my classrooms."

For Yamillet Payano, CAS/BS '18, stepping up to serve has been part of her story since she arrived at AU as a Gates Millennium Scholar. Payano brought Caribbean, Latinx, international, immigrant and undocumented student communities together at AU and founded the Cross Campus Organizing Network to connect with students from area universities. She also served on the President's Council for Diversity and Inclusion, and during her final semester, she stepped in to the role of SG president.

Achievement Leaders

2018 Achievement Award Recipients from left to right: Gilda Goldental-Stoecker, Lee Clyne, Mary-Margaret Koch, Saagar Gupta, Christine Machovec, Emily DeMarco, Winter Brooks, Olimar Rivera Noa, Sigrid Ulsnes, Isabella Gaitán
2018 Achievement Award Recipients

AU will also honor 11 students who have contributed their talents and time to AU and the greater D.C. community through their leadership, mentorship, service, and community-building.

Evelyn Swarthout Hayes Award recipient Isabella Gaitán, CAS/BA '18, had played an important role in arts scholarship at AU. Her research on Colombian artist Ana Mercedes Hoyos was selected for the 27th Annual Robyn Rafferty Mathias Student Research Conference. Choosing the work of Hoyos as the subject of her paper was a personal matter for Gaitán.

"It was an internal void I felt that really needed further exploring," Gaitán said. "Combining my love for Colombia and art history was ideal for me."

Charles W. Van Way Award recipient Olimar Rivera Noa, SIS/BA '18, built community at AU through her roles with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, as a teaching assistant, and in her creation of the Puerto Rican Student Organization. Rivera Noa mobilized her fellow students in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which hit her home of Puerto Rico.

"The support and solidarity we received from students, faculty, and staff members kept us hopeful and gave us strength to continue to work and build a cooperative network of Bouricuas," Rivera Noa said.

Catheryn Seckler-Hudson Award recipient Christine Machovec, CAS/BS '18, has been able to balance many roles to have a successful career at AU. As a tutor in the Academic Support and Access Center, Machovec worked many hours to help students who needed assistance in economics and statistics. As comptroller of SG, Machovec helped many student groups have successful events by funding their needs. She also was the principal second violin in the AU Symphony Orchestra.

"Being involved on campus enriched my AU experience beyond academics," Machovec said.

Gilda Goldental-Stoecker, Lee Clyne, Mary-Margaret Koch, Christine Machovec, and Saagar Gupta
2018 Achievement Award recipients
Gilda Goldental-Stoecker, Lee Clyne,
Mary-Margaret Koch,
Christine Machovec, and Saagar Gupta

Like Machovec, Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholar Winter Brooks, Kogod/BA '18, also took on many positions on campus and is recognized with the Charles C. Glover Award. Brooks served as peer consultant for the Kogod Center for Business Communications where she presented effective business communications to up to 15 classes a semester. She served as director for community engagement for the Undergraduate Business Association and president and service chair for the Lambda Zeta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Brooks also mentored students in D.C. schools and brought 100 first- through seventh-grade students to visit campus.

"I've always been very conscious and have always felt a responsibility to pay it forward in any way I can," Brooks said. Kinsman-Hurst Award recipient Lee Clyne, CAS/BS '18, provided a strong voice in the efforts of sexual assault prevention, LGBTQA+ advocacy, and Title IX awareness. Clyne served as co-executive director of Students Against Sexual Violence (SASV), an executive board member of SG's Women's Initiative, co-president of the Gamma Beta Chapter of Iota Iota Iota Honor Society, and a peer educator through the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

"I've found that although it can be draining, social justice work is also fulfilling," Clyne said.

Fletcher Scholar Award recipient Gilda Goldental-Stoecker, CAS/BA '18, was often by Clyne's side. Goldental-Stoecker was co-director of SASV, where she increased student awareness of national and campus policies regarding sexual violence, Title IX, and victim's rights. Goldental-Stoecker was also the health coordinator for Women's Initiative, where she organized a self-care book club and helped bring #MeToo founder Tarana Burke to AU. Goldental-Stoecker was a transfer student to AU, but still made her presence felt on campus.

"AU has embraced me with my ambition and drive, while also challenging me to focus on measured results in a way that I do not think I would have gotten elsewhere," Goldental-Stoecker said.

Carlton Savage Award recipient Sigrid Ulsnes, SIS/BA '18, is possibly the face international students see the most. Ulsnes was vice president of the International Student Association, helped arrange the International Fall Gala and the Spring Cultural Festival, and assisted with the Language Exchange Program. In the role of international student orientation coordinator, Ulsnes helped welcome nearly 600 international students and recruit 50 orientation leaders. And as a student staff member for International Student & Scholar Services, Ulsnes aided many students in handling their immigration documentation.

"It has been important, especially in the last year, to create a space where all students feel welcome and to create such a space and assist international students in navigating AU," Ulsnes said.

Harold Johnson Award recipient Taylor Dumpson, SPA/BS '18, also contributed to promoting cultural and racial inclusion in our community, while doing so with confidence and resilience. She held leadership roles with the Intercultural Greek Collective, Student Advocates for Native Communities, and SG. She also led an Alternative Break and helped launch the newly re-imagined Explore DC program. One of Dumpson's lasting contributions was leading the creation of the Hub for Organizing,Multiculturalism, and Equity, known as HOME.

Stafford H. Cassell Award winner Emily DeMarco, Kogod/BA '18, has shown tremendous commitment to AU despite some setbacks. After no longer being able to play for AU's field hockey team, DeMarco helped the team succeed by volunteering as team manager and videotaping and coding games for scouting. DeMarco even crafted her academic schedule to attend every practice and travel with the team, and did so while still maintaining a high GPA.

"I felt as though I could still bring value, energy, and support to my teammates even though I was not playing," DeMarco said.

Emily DeMarco, Emily DeMarco, Olimar Rivera Noa, Sigrid Ulsnes, Isabella Gaitán
2018 Achievement Award recipients
Emily DeMarco, Winter Brooks,
Olimar Rivera Noa,
Sigrid Ulsnes and Isabella Gaitán

Mary-Margaret Koch and Saagar Gupta were both awarded the Bruce Hughes Award for their maturity in leadership and their service. Koch's deep commitment and understanding of social justice and public service helped her win this award. As executive director of mental health advocacy for SG, she built campus awareness around student mental health and strengthened ties between SG and the AU Counseling Center. And Koch's capstone research on mental health challenges faced by college students afforded her the opportunity to present at the 2017 Depression on College Campuses Conference.

"If my work has in any way helped the Counseling Center be better able to serve its students, then everything I've done on this campus will have been worthwhile," Koch said.

Gupta was recognized for his work as coordinator for the Eagle Endowment Fund, where he led a seven-person advisory council that allocated funds to student service projects. In that position, he helped craft the proposal that won the Eagle Endowment Fund the top prize of $10,000 in the 2017 "Generous U" competition. He was also committed to service as program specialist for the Community-Based Research Scholars and diversity and inclusion chair for Sigma Phi Epsilon.

Shyheim Snead
President's Award
Recipient Shyheim Snead

"Leadership is something that is really important to me, and it was important to be honored and make an impact on the community that will last after I am gone," Gupta said.

In addition to these dynamic leaders, President Burwell has selected Shyheim Snead, SPA/BA '18, as the 2018 President's Award recipient.

Each student recognized with a University Student Award helped change this campus for the better. Thanks to the peers, professors and staff mentors who helped them along the way and nominated them for these awards, we are able to share their stories.

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newsId: 20E56AF5-5056-AF26-BEA77647713FF6B3
Title: AU Launches Crowdfunding Platform
Author: Joanna Platt
Subtitle:
Abstract: UFUND is a platform the AU community can use to directly fund projects and initiatives.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 12/15/2016
Content:

American University's Office of Development and Alumni Relations recently launched UFUND, a crowdfunding platform just for the AU community. This is a new way for alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends of the university to directly fund the projects and initiatives they care about most.

AU faculty, staff, and students are planning ventures to shape the future of the community, nation, and world. By making a gift, donors support the development and success of these projects.

Currently, UFUND features five initiatives – The Eagle Innovation Fund, the DC-Area High School Ethics Bowl, an Alternative Break in Cuba, the Skills for Success Career Seminar, and production of the documentary In The Executioner's Shadow.

Members of the AU community are invited to submit new projects to be featured on UFUND.


 

Tags: Alumni,College of Arts and Sciences,Giving,Kogod School of Business,School of Communication,School of International Service,School of Public Affairs
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Title: Chris Kalna, Kogod/BSBA ’08: Kogod leads to Carlyle Group
Author: Patricia Rabb
Subtitle:
Abstract: Chris Kalna is an AU Alumni Board member and associate vice president at The Carlyle Group.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 01/08/2016
Content:

“I first visited AU in the summer of 2002. That one visit was all the convincing I needed to apply and attend,” says Chris Kalna, Kogod/BSBA ’08, while describing the benefits of graduating from the Kogod School of Business.  

Born in Albany, New York, and raised in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, Chris feels that “AU’s size, location, the diverse background of the Kogod professors, and other like-minded students” were the most important factors in deciding to become an Eagle.

Chris is adamant that his AU degree has been crucial to his career success. “The school’s location to leaders of industry in Washington, its reputation for high academic standards, and the thoughtful guidance of my professors gave me the foundation I needed to graduate and begin my career,” he says.

After graduating in 2008, Chris worked in the IT and business consulting fields for companies such as Booz Allen Hamilton and Deloitte. After traveling in these jobs for several years, he changed careers in 2014 and now works in private equity for The Carlyle Group in Washington, DC. As an associate vice president, he manages the firm’s digital strategy. His work impacts many areas, such as Carlyle’s corporate website, employee intranet, mobile device strategy, cloud technology resources, document management, and social media. He enjoys having a direct impact on the firm’s strategy. “Our company is large enough to produce outstanding returns for our clients, yet small enough that my thoughts and directions can change corporate culture,” he says.  

During his time at AU, Chris recalls spending late nights with other Kogod students working on case studies, class projects, and study guides for exams. “Working together with my peers helped me build lifetime relationships and allowed me to work on the skills I needed to succeed in my career,” he says. Chris was also a part of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity and one of the founding members of the AU’s men’s ice hockey team.

In his spare time, Chris enjoys cooking with his wife, Catherine, playing the role of doting dad to their four-year-old English bulldog, Dolly, and reading about personal and professional investment opportunities.
 
Although he’s busy with both work and family, Chris finds time to volunteer as a member of the AU Alumni Board. In this role, he hopes to strengthen the relationship between the university and alumni, lead the effort for alumni surveys and data gathering, and help direct the board to areas where their impact and work will be felt the most. “The AU Alumni Board is giving me a fantastic opportunity to give back to the school that has given me so much,” says Chris.

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Title: Alumnus Nick Kuhn Continues to Find New Ways to Give Back to AU
Author: Melissa Bevins ’02
Subtitle:
Abstract: Alumnus Nick Kuhn, Kogod/MBA ’86 is committed to giving back to AU.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 06/25/2015
Content:

Alumnus Nick Kuhn, Kogod/MBA '86, is one of the lucky few who knew early on what he wanted to do. Nick says that from the age of 22 he wanted to go into the real estate industry. He has worked full-time in real estate since he graduated from Lafayette College with an undergraduate degree in business and economics. But, that's not to say that he didn't explore other avenues. During college, Nick held a summer job with a stock brokerage and did an internship with a government contractor. However, since he took a job as a real estate agent right after graduation, he hasn't looked back.

As an MBA student at AU, Nick loved the hands-on nature of his work. He enjoyed working on case studies, participating in large group projects, and crafting presentations. Now, as an alumnus, he continues to support the current students who are engaging in this work. He has served for many years as a judge for Kogod's annual Case Competition, which he feels is a great opportunity for students to sharpen their communication skills, presentation style, and problem-solving techniques. Nick says he enjoys serving as a judge because of the opportunity to see the students in action. "I like seeing how they problem-solve, innovate, work as a team, think on their feet, utilize what they learn in the classroom to arrive at solutions, and defend their recommendations as if they were in the business world," he says.  

In addition to Kuhn's ongoing commitment to helping Kogod students, he has continued to seek out ways to participate actively in the life of AU. In past years, Kuhn has assisted with Dean searches for Kogod and served as a member of the Real Estate chapter in Kogod while it was still in existence, presenting homebuyer seminars to students and alumni. He has also recently become involved with Bender Library as a donor to its special collections.

Now, Nick is serving his first term on the AU Alumni Board. His term began in January 2014, and he says he is enjoying his service. He has taken the opportunity to get to know AU even better and to spend more time on campus, at meetings, events, and athletic events. His role on the Scholarship and Awards committee of the board allows him to play a direct role in the awarding of scholarships to current students as well as selecting alumni award winners. Nick says that he would like to see AU continue to expand its reach and involvement with international alumni communities.

When asked what advice he has for AU students and recent alumni hoping to follow his footsteps, Nick says, "Participate in internships to learn the nuts and bolts of the career. Real estate is demanding and requires a firm commitment."

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Title: Alumni Admissions Volunteer Chair Shares Passion for AU
Author: Patricia Rabb
Subtitle:
Abstract: Maria Luisa Ortega shares her passion for recruiting prospective students for AU.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 04/07/2015
Content:

"Growing up in Puerto Rico, and being the daughter of Cuban exiles, I decided to attend AU because it was by far the most international school I had visited," says Maria Luisa Ortega, Kogod/BSBA '85. "Coming from a family where politics and culture were always part of our daily conversation, Washington, DC represented the perfect environment for me." 

After her first visit during her junior year in high school, Maria Luisa knew she wanted to attend college at AU. "I had studied French and Russian growing up, and I was desperate to practice it and mingle with students from different countries," she says.

Maria Luisa enjoys reminiscing about her time at AU in the 1980s. "AU's teachers were the nicest, most helpful and caring. I remember hearing horror stories from friends at other schools, and I felt so proud that my teachers were always there for me," she recalls. With the Reagan administration in office during her time at AU, she has fond memories of that era. "Studying in DC during the Reagan years was absolutely thrilling to me. The United States was at the top of its game, and I was at AU enjoying all that glory," she proclaims.   

During her junior year at AU, Maria Luisa secured an internship at an advertising and marketing firm in Georgetown. That internship turned into a part-time job during her senior year. While completing her degree at the Kogod School of Business, Maria Luisa also studied French, Russian, and Italian. She believes this combination helped her obtain the job she wanted as an account executive in a Miami advertising agency upon graduation. 

With her daughter, Claudia Iturregui, CAS/BA '16, a current student at AU, Maria Luisa is delighted to share a legacy tie. "The pride that I feel having my daughter at AU cannot be measured. To know that Claudia is having experiences very similar to the ones I had is something for which I have no words," she exclaims. Maria Luisa believes her experiences at AU in the 1980s aren't that different from her daughter's experiences today. "It's as international and political as always, and she tells me the teachers are as nice as ever," she says. 

Maria Luisa resides in Coral Gables, Florida with her son, Enrique Iturregui, a high school senior. She owns and manages a franchise called Mr. Pretzels with stores in Florida and Georgia. "I love this kind of business because it deals with everything I studied at Kogod: accounting, finance, advertising, and manufacturing," she says.

As a long-time AU Alumni Admissions Volunteer (AAV) and chair of the AAV network, volunteering her time to AU has been very satisfying for Maria Luisa. The AAV network includes alumni and parents who assist admissions in the recruitment of prospective students. It is the largest group of AU alumni volunteers with more than 600 members in 38 states and 14 countries. "To be able to help AU recruit students who show great intellect, who are passionate, and who want to leave a mark in this world, what is better than that," she exclaims. 

Reflecting on her role as AAV network chair, Maria Luisa says she wants to attract more alumni to share their pride and love for AU with prospective students. "It is time for us to give back to the school that helped us grow, that trained and prepared us for what was to come and that ultimately pushed us out into the world as success stories waiting to happen," she declares.

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Update,Kogod School of Business
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Title: Social Innovation with a Global Focus: How Tighe Wall makes an impact
Author: Nina Cooperman, SPA/MPA '15
Subtitle:
Abstract: Tighe Wall, Kogod/MBA ’11 shares his thoughts on his time at AU and how his experience at Kogod helped him find a career with a truly global reach in social and digital strategy.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 11/05/2014
Content:

As an editor and writer for the Princeton Review, Tighe Wall, Kogod/MBA '11, edited the guidebook to the 191 Best Business schools. When it came time to select a graduate program for himself, American University's Kogod School of Business was at the top of his list. Now, as a managing consultant in the social business global center of competence at IBM global business services in London, Tighe credits AU's global perspective to his success. Coming to AU, he says, gave him the opportunity to "build a small international business base in the U.S. and gain entrepreneurial skills."

During his time at Kogod, Tighe worked as an innovation and entrepreneurship research assistant with Professor Stevan Holmberg and interned with IBM. He says his experience "supplemented what I was learning with real world experience. AU has a real campus and all of the other attributes of living in the city are at your fingertips." 

Tighe continued to excel at Kogod and, as the commencement speaker for the business school's graduate students, urged his classmates to "keep taking chances and embrace new experiences."

His work caught the attention of the social business group, a small global group consisting of experts in the field within IBM who shape the company's point of view on the application of social networking tools and culture to business roles, processes and outcomes. He now works in London and has a portfolio of clients all over Europe.

Though he's moved to London, Tighe stays connected to the university. He is a member of the Alumni Board and serves as an alumni admissions volunteer. He sees these opportunities as ways to give back to the university, and as someone who went to AU for graduate school at Kogod, he brings a unique voice to the group.

According to Tighe, "Going through Kogod changed the way I think of the larger business community and global business. It broadened my perspective and fundamentally changed the way I understand how the business world works –the curriculum and the professors and thinking of business functions as a piece of how a larger organization operates." That global perspective has paid off.

Tags: Admissions,Alumni,Alumni Board,Entrepreneurship,Kogod School of Business
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Title: Luchs Family Scholarship Recipient Molly Fallon Reaps Rewards of Hard Work, Giving Back
Author: Mike Rowan
Subtitle:
Abstract: Her appreciation for debate aside, Molly Fallon can agree with her scholarship donor on one of their core values—the importance of giving back and paying it forward.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 05/29/2014
Content:

As commencement festivities took over campus and fellow classmates fondly reminisced about the best times of their college years, Molly Fallon, Kogod/BSBA ’14, recalled a different kind of memory—arguing.

Not just any kind of arguing, however. “I’ve really appreciated the disagreement and the debate that some of these classes have spurred from us,” said Fallon. “We’ve begun to disagree with one another in very constructive ways and bring some of our convictions forward.”

A Des Moines, Iowa native concentrating in marketing and finance, Fallon was chosen as the undergraduate speaker for the Kogod School of Business 2014 commencement. “Ironically, my fondest learning moments are not about agreement,” she shared with the Bender Arena crowd of faculty, family, and her fellow graduates. “While we might seek comfort in group settings, what we actually need is discomfort.”

For all her talk of discord and dissent, Fallon proved herself a natural collaborator in her time at AU. As a peer consultant in the Kogod Center for Business Communication, she assisted Kogod students with business writing and presentation skills. She also served as treasurer for the sorority Chi Omega, and worked together with about 30 students to oversee a portfolio of $350,000 in AU’s Student Managed Investment Fund. On top of that, she earned one of the school’s most prestigious group accomplishments—her team took home first place in the 2014 Annual Kogod Case Competition.

Recalling the case competition, she admitted, “That should have been one of the most stressful weeks of my life but it really was one of the most fun, honestly. It was a really great moment to leverage everything I had learned in the past four years here and have fun with it.”

Fallon’s leadership skills and community-oriented spirit were rewarded when she was named a recipient of the Luchs Family Scholarship for the 2013-2014 academic year. The application process for the scholarship asks students to provide evidence of deep involvement in the Kogod community. Humble, but attuned to the scholarship’s meaning, she reflected, “I think that my history of giving back to fellow students while at Kogod was something that identified me as a strong candidate.”

“I didn’t stand out in terms of numbers,” she shared. “To know that I was recognized for doing hard work, and that hard work wasn’t going unnoticed, [the fact that] it could be rewarded, and I could help myself through college by doing good work was a lot of positive reinforcement for me.”

A couple of days before giving her commencement address, Fallon had the opportunity to meet one of the benefactors of her scholarship, Kenneth J. Luchs, over lunch. The two found that they shared a passion for giving back.

“You can contribute in different ways,” Luchs said. “Money is only one way. Time is another way. Be a mentor to somebody.”

A strong history of civic engagement runs through Kenneth Luchs’ family. From the time his grandfather founded the family’s real estate business, Shannon & Luchs, in 1906, the family has been active in the growth of Washington, taking on leadership roles in various community organizations—a tradition that Luchs himself has carried on. A one-time American University student—taking night classes in real estate while he helped to run the family business by day—Luchs went on to serve on the AU Board of Trustees for 12 years. His afternoon with the recipients of his family’s scholarship marked 50 years—nearly to the day—since his father first introduced him to AU.

“I’d like [the recipients] to know that I’m available to be a mentor, and that I want them to be available as mentors to future students,” said Luchs. “It’s our duty to pay back whatever schools we’ve been educated at.”

Said Fallon after meeting Luchs, “He further instilled in me the belief that we can all do something to give back to those who have profoundly impacted our lives.”

Even as she found inspiration from getting to know her scholarship donor, Fallon had already been taking Luchs’ message to heart. While treasurer of Chi Omega, Fallon brought more scholarships to her sisters, stepping up efforts to identify and publicize existing opportunities, and creating new need-based awards by making minor budgeting adjustments. She has also taken it upon herself to be an advocate, often urging her sisters and students she advises as a peer consultant to apply for certain scholarships. She notes that students don’t realize what great candidates they are, and all they need is to know that the opportunities exist.

“I think that’s something really important—the idea of students helping students find and seek out scholarship opportunities,” said Fallon. “I am glad to have left that legacy.”






 

Tags: Center for Business Communications,Commencement,Giving,Kogod School of Business,Scholarship
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Title: Business & Public Affairs: A Perfect Marriage
Author: Phil Recchio
Subtitle:
Abstract: Ben, Kogod/MBA ’11, and Christina Macfarland, SPA/MPA ’11, entrepreneurially apply their skills in South Florida, while giving back to AU.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 05/15/2014
Content:

Ben, Kogod/MBA ’11, and Christina Macfarland, SPA/MPA ’11, came to AU together, shortly after getting married in their native state of Florida, to pursue their individual academic and professional interests. Christina’s passion for nonprofit work and supporting her community led her to pursue a Master of Public Administration and,a graduate certificate in nonprofit management, whereas Ben built off his undergrad business degree by focusing his MBA studies on real estate and finance. Since graduation, they have returned to their home state to not only put their degrees to work, but also spread word of AU’s excellence while galvanizing the Florida alumni community. 

This past February, Christina and Ben hosted more than 60 AU alumni, parents, and friends in their Palm Beach home, and had the chance to catch up with their old neighbor, Vice President of Alumni Relations and Development, Dr. Thomas J. Minar. Before Dr. Minar delivered updates regarding campus plans and alumni initiatives within the South Florida community, Christina reminisced about her time working in the AU development department for corporate and foundation giving, and Ben remembered hunkering down in their condo during the infamous Snow-maggedon storm of 2010. 

These types of close relationships serve as a beautiful model for how the Office of Alumni Relations and Development seeks to engage AU alumni, and Christina and Ben are no strangers to the world of philanthropy and volunteering. Christina is a board member for the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, where fellow master’s alumna Jillian Vukusich, CAS/MA ’04, serves as vice president for community investment.  

Christina continues her educational pursuits, and is a recent graduate of "Leadership Palm Beach County," which kept her up to date on the latest trends in philanthropic and non profit leadership. This is especially important for those as involved in their communities as she is. She volunteers and has served on numerous committees for The Flagler Museum, March of Dimes, Historical Society of Palm Beach County, the Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Presently, Christina performs research and writing for Women Corporate Directors, the only global membership organization of women corporate directors which serves as a catalyst for thought leadership and networking.

In addition to serving on his high school’s alumni board and helping to recruit great students to AU, Ben founded a local publication, Palm Beach Philanthropy, to showcase and educate the public to the diverse causes being supported right in their backyard. While philanthropy has always been a passion and a practice for the Macfarlands, Ben also puts his MBA to work running a boutique asset management firm that focuses on investing family office and institutional capital into self storage, student housing, and other special situations in real estate. The firm, where Ben serves as a partner and chief investment officer, has successfully acquired over two million square feet of real estate in the last two years.

The Macfarlands' collective energy and productivity is even more impressive in light of the fact they’ve accomplished so much all while raising their blossoming family. While their two young girls are a handful at home, Ben and Christina have a long standing history of supporting each other through thick and thin. While on campus, they could be seen attending a kick-off event to help rally support for Christina’s successful run for Editor-in-Chief of the SPA journal The Public Purpose, and nowadays they work to balance their busy schedules of business and board meetings with family meals and outings. 

Thankfully, the Macfarlands have continued their tradition of support as alumni by hosting the recent event for the South Florida AU Eagle community. As for the beautiful marriage of Ben’s business degree and Christina’s nonprofit policy focus, its power can be encapsulated by an Arthur Fried quote: “Private philanthropy is the last frontier of unconstrained freedom for private action in the public good.” AU is lucky to count this entrepreneurial and philanthropically minded young couple among its alumni family.

Tags: Alumni,Kogod School of Business,School of Public Affairs
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Title: Building Upon a Family History
Author: Mike Rowan
Subtitle:
Abstract: After her valuable AU experience—and now her daughter’s—Mary McCarthy Hayford and her family are helping lay the groundwork for the university’s next generation.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 03/27/2014
Content:

Stroll along the west side of the quad, passing Frisbees floating across the grass and cheerful student organizations camped outside of Mary Graydon, and at either end of campus you will find a building that has been transformed within the last five years. Across the street from the Katzen Arts Center, the Kogod School of Business opened a 20,000-square-foot expansion in 2008. A few hundred yards down, next to Bender Library, stands the newly reopened McKinley building, the state-of-the-art new home of the School of Communication. Though housing separate schools, and situated on opposite ends of campus, there’s a strong thread connecting the two of them—the Hayford family.

Mary McCarthy Hayford, Kogod/MBA ’78, did her graduate work at AU’s business school, but when she attended, it did not yet bear the Kogod name. It was simply called the School of Business Administration. Classes were housed in the Ward Circle Building, and offices were in the cozy quarters of the Hamilton Building (known then as Hamilton Hall).

“I remember picking AU based on my perception that the administrators and faculty were more accessible,” McCarthy Hayford shares as she recalls her AU experience. “I look back not only on the great full-time professors in subjects which appeal to me, but also on several adjunct professors who imparted real world experiences. For me, that exposure to professionals working in industry was essential to seeing how the theoretical was applied in the real world, and to envisioning the type of career I would want to pursue.”

When the Kogod School of Business announced plans for its expansion campaign, Mary and her husband, Warren, signed on to help by making a major contribution to the building. Their generosity is marked by a plaque adorning one of the new classrooms inside, which displays their names.

Then, three years later, when the effort to renovate McKinley began, the Hayfords were there again, eager to give back once more, naming the facility’s new audio editing suite.

Why jump in to support another major project, especially when the family had so significantly dedicated themselves to an effort close to their hearts just a few years earlier? One reason is that their daughter, Margaret, SOC/BA ’13, just finished a very positive undergraduate career in the School of Communication.

“We feel strongly that SOC and AU provided Margaret with the experience she needs to pursue her career goals,” McCarthy Hayford articulates. “AU was one of few schools where she could study film and graphic design while still broadening her education in history, science and social science. She capped off her SOC experience with a semester in the film school in Prague where she worked with a small group to create a professional-quality film.”

In addition to Margaret, the Hayfords are parents to Amanda, a 2006 alumna of Oberlin College, and Warren, who graduated from George Washington University in 2012. Ms. McCarthy Hayford’s husband, Warren John Hayford, is the president and managing director of the software company RatioServices, and is a director of the Warren J. and Marylou Hayford Family Foundation, which his parents founded. The foundation has been instrumental in the Hayfords’ gifts to American University.

Though she has graduated—as have her children—McCarthy Hayford remains an avid learner. While embarking on a path toward starting a new career, she has been steadily auditing courses at the university. “Wherever that takes me, I hope to keep close ties to AU.”

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Title: Legal Eagle Utilizes AU Education to Establish Domestic and International Niche
Author: Milt Jackson
Subtitle:
Abstract: AU alumnus’ expertise in law impacts domestic and international cases.
Topic: Alumni Profile
Publication Date: 03/15/2013
Content:

Philadelphia attorney and Kogod class of ’71 alumnus Theodore “Ted” Simon is having a wonderful career. Among other achievements, he has obtained reversals in the Pennsylvania and United States Supreme Courts. In addition to his longstanding successful representation of individuals and corporations locally, nationally, and internationally in state and federal trial and appellate matters (“white collar,” “blue collar” and “no collar”) he is a recognized authority on the subject of international extradition requests, and he has provided advice and counsel to multiple Americans abroad who have found themselves in challenging legal straits.

Accordingly, while accomplishing these achievements and elevating his law practice into a respected national and international niche – he also has become a “go-to guy” for advice and adept handling of high profile media driven cases - where he credits his AU experiences for assisting him to consistently achieve and maintain success.

After graduating from AU, and later, Temple University Law School, Ted joined the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and began to exercise his passion for litigation and criminal law. His drive, focus, creativity, and comprehensive approach eventually earned him a listing as one of Philadelphia Magazine’s “Best Lawyers in Philadelphia;” a selection as a “Pennsylvania Super Lawyer,” and an invited membership in the National Trial Lawyers Organization (a group composed of the top 100 trial lawyers from each state).

Additionally in 2012, he was sworn in as first vice president of the NACDL, a position he relishes because it allows him to play a more specific part in ensuring justice and due process and at the same time recognizing the important and noble work of criminal defense lawyers around the country.

Communicating his passion for justice and due process is another of Ted’s many talents. His most recent appearance, as a guest on CNN and Soledad O’Brien’s “Starting Point” is a case in point. On the show, Ted presented an articulate and seasoned perspective on the complex legal considerations surrounding bail for Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius – who is currently accused of murder in South Africa.

He told O'Brien that Pistorius was a good candidate for bail. He is called upon as a legal expert by honing his speaking as a sought-after speaker for legal seminars across the nation and his numerous on-camera appearances on all major networks and shows including NBC’s The Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS’s The Early Show, Larry King Live, Oprah Winfrey Show, ABC’s 20/20, and NBC’s Dateline.

As a result of his recognized communications skills and legal ability, Ted’s client list has included Michael Fay (Singapore caning), Amanda Knox (college student acquitted of murder in Italy), boxing promoter Don King, Gregory Porter (college student accused but all charges dismissed in 2011 protest in Egypt), Chipper Jones (civil defense), New York real estate heir Robert Durst (favorable resolution of federal firearms offenses in Pennsylvania after acquittal in Texas murder and dismemberment case), NBA forward Dante Cunningham (dismissal of alleged drug and other criminal offenses), Drexel’s starting guard Derrick Thomas (dismissal of assault charges) as well as other clients involved in high-profile legal matters.

Ted credits AU for helping to provide a solid academic foundation for his success. He says, “I was just 16, leaving home for the first-time, and the American University environment, the teachers and classmates, soon to be life-long friends could not be more warm, welcoming and supportive. In hindsight it provided the absolute perfect opportunity to grow, excel academically, and provide a rich and enduring network of beloved friends that began the first day and happily remains so today.”

When asked about how he feels about the practice of law after nearly 40 years, he answered, “I feel the same, but more so - it is a gift to be a lawyer, providing care, assistance, and representation in some of the worst of times, whether a person is criminally facing loss of liberty or civilly and entitled to redress and compensation.”

In response to Ted’s appreciation of American University and for all the university has done for him, Ted recently offered his network, time, and support in assisting with planning of an alumni engagement event in downtown Philadelphia. The event was a resounding success due to the participation of Ted and other alumni.

While the law is clearly his personal and professional passion, Ted's continued relationship with his AU Zeta Beta Tau brothers is primarily a personal passion. He says “primarily” because privilege and privacy protects their confidentiality as even here he has been called upon professionally in “life-altering situations.” Ted couldn’t have been happier “to have their back when they needed it most.”

His relationship with the “ZBT Powerhouse of Excellence” brotherhood began when he attended AU and has only strengthened since then. Ted is everlastingly thankful and appreciative of his classmates who have remained truly supportive of his work, accomplishments, and resulting national and international presence in the law.

So the next time you hear the words, “legal expert” mentioned during a news broadcast, pay close attention. It may be that an AU alumnus, by the name of Ted Simon, is about to hold court.

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Title: Real-Life Experiences of AU Alumnus Hits the Big Screen in Blockbuster Hit Argo
Author: Stephanie Block
Subtitle:
Abstract: American University alumnus Mark Lijek, Kogod/MBA ’76, has lived quite the adventure—one big enough to create Hollywood Oscar buzz.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 12/12/2012
Content:

American University alumnus Mark Lijek, Kogod/MBA ’76, has lived quite the adventure—one big enough to create Hollywood Oscar buzz. Lijek was one of six employees lucky enough to escape the protests and attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Iran more than 30 years ago. Their story is the premise of the blockbuster movie Argo.

Lijek arrived in Iran in July 1979 and was only there a few short months before he nearly missed becoming a hostage. With his wife, Cora, by his side along with five others, the group became known as the “houseguests” of the Canadian Embassy for about 10 weeks before leaving the country posing as a film crew and making it back to safely to the U.S.

It was not fear as much as boredom that got the best of Lijek. “Boredom was one of the hardest things to face,” Lijek says. The group played scrabble, and he read many books, writing each title down as he completed it to help record the passing of time.

A recent story published on MyNorthWest.com chronicled details regarding the sequence of events leading to Lijek and the other officers escaping the embassy. Interviews with Lijek and other houseguests will be a special feature of the DVD release of Argo next year. However, as with any film, there is only so much time to share the story. “The movie is a slice of the real story which was why I wrote the book The Houseguests: A Memoir of Canadian Courage and CIA Sorcery,” Lijek says.

Lijek completed a Master in Business Administration at AU, attending class part-time in the evenings while he served in the United States Army during the day. “As an administrative officer for the State Department, I used my graduate degree a fair amount. It prepared me quite a bit,” he says.

Lijek moved to Washington, D.C. from Seattle to complete his undergraduate degree at Georgetown University. He retired from the Foreign Service to spend more time with his wife and children. He lives just outside of Seattle and keeps busy by promoting his new book and managing his website, marklijek.com.   

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Relations,Alumni Relations (KSB),Alumni Update,Kogod School of Business
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