Tag Archive for alumni business

Alumni Donate, Install 2 EnergyPods in Wesleyan Libraries

Emma Gross '15 tries out one of Wesleyan's new EnergyPods in the Science Library Oct. 18.

Emma Gross ’15 tries out one of Wesleyan’s new EnergyPods in the Science Library Oct. 18.

Need a nap?

Newly installed in both Olin and the Science Library are what appear to be lounge chairs enclosed by white spheres of plastic. These sleek, futuristic-looking machines are built for the sole purpose of squeezing in that midday, mid-study power nap—a recharging center for the mind. The EnergyPod, as it’s called, is the brainchild of a company called MetroNaps and the very first of its kind. Donated by co-founders and Wesleyan alumni Christopher Lindholst ’97 and Arshad Chowdury ’98, these pods are designed to create the ideal energy enhancing environment.

The EnergyPod has a 20-minute timer.

The EnergyPod has a 20-minute timer.

“There is a tremendous amount of research that supports the notion that a 20-minute midday nap can rejuvenate people. It improves memory, learning and mood and can boost productivity by up to 30 percent,” Chowdury said in a BBC article prior to the EnergyPod’s release.

Features include a reclined seat to take pressure off the lower back and legs, an adjustable visor that creates a shield of privacy from the outside, and soothing sounds and rhythms acting as relaxing white noise. A built-in 20 minute timer allows for nap goers to wake up with ease to a combination of slight vibrations and ambient lighting.

The workloads and busy schedules of college life can be just as exhaustion-inducing as those of MetroNaps’ usual corporate customers. For Yekaterina Sapozhnina ’16, who has spent a large portion of her past few days finishing up midterms, a few minutes of sheer relaxation after lunch on Oct. 18 was all she needed to make it through her afternoon classes.

The EnergyPods were donated by Christopher Lindholst ’97 and Arshad Chowdury ’98.

The EnergyPods were donated by Christopher Lindholst ’97 and Arshad Chowdury ’98.

“After sitting in the chair and closing the pod, I fell asleep almost instantly. I really didn’t even realize how badly I needed to rest until I sat up and felt much better,” she said. “Everybody should at least try it out.”

According to Nancy Collop in a 2010 U.S. News & World Report article, “Most people don’t get enough sleep. And for those people, a nap will clearly help. The most important factor is duration, and it’s well-accepted that short naps are good.”

In the corporate world, this concept is catching on. MetroNaps’ clientele includes household names such as Google, AOL/ Huffington Post and Zappos.

Bissell ’88 Recognized by Forbes India as Entrepreneur with Social Impact

William Bissell ’88

William Bissell ’88, managing director of Fabindia, is the recipient of a Forbes India Leadership Award for 2012. He received the award for Entrepreneur with Social Impact. According to a recent Forbes India feature, Bissell won the award for “creating a globally recognized, profitable retail brand that has over 22,000 local artisans as its shareholders, most of whom would have lost their livelihoods if it were not for Bissell and Fabindia. And being able to make sure margins are almost three times that of the industry average.”

Bissell’s next goal is to persuade his 16 supplier companies to merge with Fabindia.

“In two to three years, all our employees and suppliers will be shareholders in Fabindia,” says Bissell.

Another Forbes India feature reported that Bissell plans to combat the junk food sold in India. He wants to increase customers’ access to organic fresh food, grown locally.

Forbes says that “he is now looking at expanding the food business on a scale never seen till now in India. Industry grapevine says that he is busy sewing up a deal, that will give him direct access to about 100 acres of agriculture land in Uttar Pradesh. This will not only add more products to the 450 items of organic food that he already sells at Fabindia outlets, but will also see him bring fresh food to the shelves.”

Model Stolz ’05 Lands New Job, Restaurant, Book Deal

Kim Stolz ’05

Kim Stolz ’05 (Photo by the Associated Press)

Former America’s Next Top Model contestant and MTV host Kim Stolz ’05 is no stranger to the world of finance. After receiving her bachelor of art in government with a concentration in international politics from Wesleyan, she worked in equity derivatives at BTIG. Now Stolz has a new gig: a vice president in the equity-derivative sales division at Citigroup.

In addition, Stolz is also opening a restaurant and bar in New York City, along with her co-owner Amanda Leigh Dunn. The Dalloway, named after Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway, is set to open later this month and will have a “lesbian-implied” theme.

While at Wesleyan, Stolz was awarded honors for her thesis, “The Impact of Exit Strategies of United States Intervention in the Post-Cold War Era.” Her first nonfiction book, Can’t Stop: Why We’re Obsessed with Social Media–And What to Do About It, is scheduled for release on February 26, 2013.

The book, which is currently available on pre-order through Amazon.com, examines the effects of the social media boom on interpersonal and professional communication and the way in which we process information.

“Her whole résumé screams that this is someone that your clients will want to know: Goldman Sachs internship, check,” Patricia Clark wrote in The New York Observer. “Forthcoming book on our collective social media obsession, check. MTV host? HuffPo blogger? SAT tutor? All of that.”

Read more about Stoltz in the Business Insider, The Huffington Post, and The Observer.

Are you a Wesleyan alumnus? For more alumni stories, photo albums, videos, features and more, visit Wesconnect, the website for Wesleyan alumni.

 

 

Freudenheim ’79 Creates App Featuring John Cage’s Piano

Jack Freudenheim ’79

Jack Freudenheim ’79

Musician Jack Freudenheim ’79, working in conjunction with Larson Associates and the John Cage Trust, created an app that allows one to play the sounds of John Cage’s “prepared piano.” It was released in time to celebrate what would have been Cage’s 100th birthday.

An ethnomusicology major at Wesleyan concentrating on South Indian music, Freudenheim remembers reading John Cage’s book, Silence, as an undergraduate in the course “Introduction to Electronic Music” (taught by then-graduate student Nicolas Collins). He still considers reading the book a life-altering experience.

After college, he became a computer programmer—as well as a musician— “and whenever possible I merge the two,” he says.

With recent work for the John Cage Trust together with Larson Associates—a technology group that specializes in working with creative organizations and nonprofits—Freudenheim had a moment of inspiration: “It occurred to me as I was doing another app for the Trust, that it would be great to make a ‘prepared piano’ app, which would let you play the sounds of the prepared piano as John Cage used in some of his famous compositions.”

He approached executive editor of the trust Laura Kuhn, who responded with the utmost enthusiasm. “I thought it was absolutely fantastic, of course. When he told me he was in love with the project, I gave him our blessings.” She also notes that graphic designer Didier Garcia created “a dazzling visual interface,” the photograph montage of elements that appear on the app, which makes use of Cage’s original preparations. “The integrity of the project is very strong. Jack used the actual sounds,” she adds, “and the nuances are delightful. When you tap at the bottom of the box on the screen, it’s a softer sound than at the top.”

Freudenheim acknowledges the project was special. “Creating it has been a labor of love over the past year.”

The app is available for free for iPhone and Android. A larger version for the iPad cost 99 cents. In the week it debuted, it was ranked #5 in the music category on the App Store website.

While Freudenheim was delighted that the app received an enthusiastic welcome, he added that “the real pleasure of this app is to see someone learn about John Cage.”

He didn’t have to wait long to know this was happening: Not 12 hours after Freudenheim’s app was made available in the App Store, he learned that someone in Japan had posted a YouTube video of himself using the John Cage Prepared Piano app to compose a piece on his iPad.

Brown ’85 Joins INTECH in Newly-Created Role

John Brown ’85

John Brown ’85

John Brown ’85 recently joined INTECH as senior vice president and global head of client development, a newly-created role designed to focus on continued client-service excellence. Previously, he was managing director of the sales, marketing and product development team at Hartford Investment Management Company. INTECH is located in West Palm Beach, Fla. with its research office in Princeton, N.J., and international division in London, England. As of June 2012, INTECH had approximately $39.4 billion under management and 80 employees worldwide.

Prior to working at Hartford Investment Management Company, Brown was affiliated with Fortis Investments in Boston, where he was an executive vice president and head of customer service and business development for North America. He began his career at Aetna Capital Management in San Francisco, Calif. and Seattle, Wash. and spent 11 years with Fidelity Investments in both San Francisco and Boston. At Wesleyan, he majored in environmental sciences.

In a MarketWatch report for The Wall Street Journal, Brown said, “I look forward to working with a firm that is so highly regarded by institutional investors and that focuses on investment products that generate alpha [performance exceeding the expected return] within a risk-managed framework. I believe INTECH’s risk-managed pursuit of alpha will become even more important to clients and consultants particularly if markets remain volatile.”

Ambassador Walles ’79 Presents Credentials to Tunisian Presidency

Jacob Walles ’79

Jacob Walles ’79, the new American ambassador in Tunisia, delivered his credentials to the Tunisian presidency on July 24.

A 20-year veteran of the U.S. State Department, Walles has served in a number of posts involving Middle Eastern affairs, including special assistant for the Middle East peace-process in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. He was also First Secretary at the US Embassy to Israel in Tel Aviv.

Walles previously held the rank of Minister Counselor, and before that he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs.

A history major at Wesleyan, he holds a master’s degree from the School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University.

Walles notes that he is the second Wesleyan graduate to be Ambassador to Tunisia: Walter Cutler ’53 served as ambassador there from 1982–84.

Roessner ’75 Named Executive Editor of Hearst Connecticut Newspapers

 Barbara Roessner ’75, P’15

Barbara Roessner ’75, P’15

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Barbara Roessner ’75, P’15, was named executive editor of Hearst Connecticut Newspapers, effective Aug. 1. She will be responsible for overseeing all editorial content and initiatives in the company’s four Connecticut dailies (Connecticut Post in Bridgeport, The News-Times in Danbury, The Advocate in Stamford and Greenwich Time), as well as seven Fairfield county weeklies.

Beginning at The Hartford Courant in 1978 as a beat reporter, Roessner later served as chief political writer, opinion columnist, writing coach and deputy managing editor overseeing investigative and enterprise reporting. She was part of the 1999 Courant team that received the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News, covering the workplace killings at the Connecticut State Lottery headquarters. She also directed investigative and enterprise efforts that were Pulitzer finalists in 2007, 2003 and 2001 and served as managing editor of the newspaper from 2006 to 2009.

A classics major at Wesleyan, she was a Knight Fellow at Stanford University from 2003 to 2004.

Most recently, she served as a strategic communications consultant for educational and non-profit institutions, including Harvard University and the Aspen Institute.

“I’m honored and grateful for the opportunity to get back to doing what I love most—public service journalism,” Roessner said in a company press release.

Clarkson ’94 is COO, Managing Director for SAP Ventures

Elizabeth “Beezer” Clarkson ’94

Elizabeth “Beezer” Clarkson ’94

Elizabeth “Beezer” Clarkson ’94 has joined SAP Ventures as Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director. SAP Ventures is an independent venture capital firm affiliated with SAP AG, a global enterprise software company.

Clarkson will be based in the company’s Palo Alto, Calif., office and in charge of worldwide operations. She will also be managing the newly announced “SAP HANA Real-Time Fund,” which is focused on early-stage venture capital funds globally, and scheduled to launch this month.

Previously, Clarkson was a Director at Draper Fisher Jurvetson, a venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, Calif., where she managed the DFJ Global Network of 16 venture funds with $7 billion under management. Prior to this, she was an investment manager at Omidyar Network and was in business development at Hewlett-Packard.  She began her career as a financial analyst at Morgan Stanley.

Clarkson holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and is a Wesleyan trustee.

Glasspiegel ’77 makes WSJ’s ‘Best on the Street’

Bob Glasspiegel ’77

Bob Glasspiegel ’77, managing director and co-head of insurance research for Langen McAlenney, a division of Janney Capital Markets, was one of the Wall Street Journal‘s ‘Best on the the Street’—number one stock analyst in the life insurance category.

Recognized in eight prior surveys, he was notable this year for his pick to buy Torchmark Corp., which gave investors a 10 percent return.

“What interests me is figuring out if interest rates are going to stay low and for how long,” Glasspiegel told the WSJ. “I’m not ready to recommend names that depend on interest rates to go higher. I think rates are going higher ultimately, but not now.”

An economics major as an undergraduate, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and later earned his MBA at Harvard.

Greenberg ’90 Named Chief of Economic Crimes Bureau

Polly Greenberg ’90

New York County District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., announced the appointment of Polly Greenberg ’90 as chief of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau.

She first joined the office in 1993, starting in the Appeals Bureau and later in the Investigations Division. After leaving the office in late 2000 for private practice, Greenberg returned in 2005, and prosecuted primarily organized crime cases.

She was appointed deputy bureau chief of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau shortly after its creation two years ago, and has been instrumental in setting bureau priorities and in collaborating with outside agencies to broaden the reach of the bureau and develop a wide variety of investigations. She has supervised investigations into and prosecutions of securities, bank and mortgage fraud, and international and domestic money laundering, as well as wiretap investigations.

She graduated from Wesleyan with high honors in American studies and received her law degree from New York University School of Law.

Tucker ’77 is Chief Underwriting officer at The Hartford

Thomas Tucker ’77

Thomas Tucker ’77 joined The Hartford as chief underwriting officer for Commercial Markets and head of Specialty Casualty.

In this role, Tucker will oversee underwriting across Commercial Markets and lead The Hartford’s Specialty Casualty segment, which includes National Accounts, Captive & Specialty Programs and Hartford Financial Products. Tucker will focus on the continued delivery of risk solutions for the Specialty segment, as well as risk controls across the Commercial Markets organization.

A 35-year property and casualty industry veteran, Tucker joins The Hartford from AIG’s Chartis U.S., where he most recently served as chief underwriter and chief risk officer for its U.S. operations. He was responsible for enterprise risk management oversight of the company’s global property, casualty, professional and financial lines, as well as global risk finance. He was a government major at Wesleyan and earned his degree with honors.

Tucker also holds M.S. and M.B.A. degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and has attended the Wharton School of Business insurance executive program.

Molina ’81 Joins SafeNet as Sr. VP and Chief Legal Officer

Mark Molina ’81

Mark Molina ’81

Mark Molina ’81 joined SafeNet, the data protection company, as senior vice president and chief legal officer this month. Responsible for the legal affairs of SafeNet on a global basis, with direct supervisory authority over the company’s worldwide legal strategies, functions, and personnel, he also serves as secretary to SafeNet’s board of directors.

He brings to SafeNet more than two decades of experience advising public and private technology companies on a wide variety of matters, including public and private securities offerings, SEC reporting and compliance obligations, and intellectual property and protection efforts.

Prior to joining SafeNet, he served as executive vice president, chief legal officer, secretary, and chief compliance and ethics officer of L-1 Identity Solutions, Inc., where he was responsible for the company’s worldwide legal affairs and compliance initiatives. Before that, he had served as executive vice president, chief legal officer, and secretary for Identix Incorporated, where he headed the company’s global legal function.

At Wesleyan, he majored in history and then earned a juris doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor, Mich. He is a member of the New York, California and Minnesota Bars.