Tag Archive for alumni business

NYT: Carter ’88 Opens High-End Coffee Shop in South Bronx

Majora Carter ’88, center, marks a coffee cup, as she takes an order at the Birch coffee shop she and her husband recently opened in the South Bronx. Photo credit: Edwin J. Torres for The New York Times See the photo series>

Majora Carter ’88, center, marks a coffee cup, as she takes an order at Birch Coffee. She and her husband recently opened the coffee shop in the South Bronx. (Photo by Edwin J. Torres for The New York Times)

“Is gentrification next?” asks the New York Times in a May 31, 2016 article by Jeff Gordinier. Majora Carter ’88, who is from the South Bronx, and her husband and business partner, James Chase, teamed up with Jeremy Lyman and Paul Schlader, entrepreneurs who created Birch Coffee. The result: they have brought “exposed brick, reclaimed wood and $2.75 macchiatos” to “a stretch of Hunts Point Avenue dominated by dime stores, bodegas and auto shops.”

To those who say they feel as though they are in Manhattan by the vibe in the shop, Carter responds, “’You know what? You are in the Bronx, and we can have this here as well.’”

Additionally, Gordinier notes that the fact of Carter’s longtime advocacy for the community does alleviate neighborhood concerns that the shop signals a trend toward pricey gentrification. Beginning with Sustainable South Bronx, which she founded in 2001, Carter has used her entrepreneurial skills to provide services, employment, and programs for the community in which she was raised. She and her husband put up the funds to begin this venture, since an upscale cafe in the Bronx was not an attractive risk to financial institutions they’d approached.

“And why should Manhattan have a monopoly on macchiato?” Gordinier concludes rhetorically. “’We like to see the work that we do as self-gentrification,’ Carter said. ‘People in low-status communities like nice things, too.’”

 

Sprinkles Founder Nelson ’96 Highlights Frosting Demos at New Store

Candace Nelson ’96 has opened the 20th Sprinkles Cupcakes Store in Disney Springs.

Candace Nelson ’96 has opened the 20th Sprinkles Cupcakes Store at Disney Springs, in Orlando, Fla.

In a video interview with central Florida’s WESH to celebrate the opening of the newest location of Sprinkles Cupcakes at Disney Springs, the store’s founder Candace Nelson ’96 offered a brief frosting tutorial.

“All of our cupcakes at Sprinkles are hand-frosted,” she noted. “You can actually come to our store at Disney Springs and see those cupcakes being frosted in our frosting theater. All of our frosters are in a cute little window so you can see them do their magic at Sprinkles.”

Additionally, she said that cupcakes ATMs are open until 2 a.m. for those on the late-night prowl: “It’s technology and pleasure coming together in the form of a cupcake.”

“We had a line of 100 people deep when we opened on Sunday and it has been going strong ever since, and we are so grateful,” she said. The popularity of the store, she said, is based on the company’s “commitment to quality, freshness, wonderful flavors, with someone for everyone.” Sprinkles now offers gluten-free, vegan, and sugar-free treats in addition to the original signature cupcakes.

Nelson opened her first store in Beverly Hills with her husband Charles in 2005, a story that appeared in the Wesleyan magazine in 2010. It was one of the first cupcake-only bakeries, although has expanded its line to include cookies and ice cream, as well. The Disney Springs location is store No. 20.

Aetna Taps Sabatino ’80 and Loveman ’82 as High-Level Hires

Thomas Sabatino Jr. ’80 joins Aetna as executive vice president and general counsel.

Thomas Sabatino Jr. ’80 joins Aetna as executive vice president and general counsel.

Aetna has tapped two Wesleyan alumni for recent high-level hires. Thomas Sabatino Jr. ’80 is joining the insurance giant as executive vice president and general counsel. Sabatino worked most recently at Hertz Global Holdings as its chief lawyer, and previously in pharmaceuticals and medical products.

He joins Gary Loveman ’82, who in September became Aetna’s corporate executive vice president and president of Healthagen, the company’s consumer business. Loveman, a former management professor at Harvard Business School, had been chairman and CEO of Caesars Entertainment Corp.

Gary Loveman ’82 is Aetna’s corporate executive vice president and president of Healthagen, the company’s consumer business.

Gary Loveman ’82 is Aetna’s corporate executive vice president and president of Healthagen, the company’s consumer business.

Dan Haar ’81, business editor of the Hartford Courant, wrote that both Hertz and Caesar’s are known for tracking and managing their top customers. Loveman created a data-based customer loyalty program as well as an incentive-based health and wellness program for the company’s 70,000 employees and their families.

At two of the three big Hartford insurance companies, Wesleyan alumni hold the general counsel position – David Robinson ’87 has the post at The Hartford. Also, Tom Cowhey ’94 is head of investor relations at Aetna, and Gabriella Nawi ’90 has the same position at Travelers.

Apple Music’s Saint John ’99 Recalls Formative Wes Moments in WesFest Keynote

Alumni Keynote Speaker, Bozoma Saint John '99, head of global consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes, delivered the WesFest keynote address on April 15.

Alumni Keynote Speaker, Bozoma Saint John ’99, head of global consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes, delivered the WesFest keynote address on April 15.

Bozoma “Boz” Saint John ’99, head of global consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes, wowed attendees at WesFest—admitted students and their parents— as keynote speaker.

The eldest daughter of Wesleyan ethnomusicology graduate Dr. Appianda Arthur PhD ’77, Saint John spoke on Wesleyan’s powerful influence on her life today.

Her father, recalling his formative years at Wesleyan and the lively intellectual community, had encouraged her to attend Wesleyan. Although her desire to rebel figured in early in the decision process, she ultimately chose Wesleyan. “My father was so excited when I decided Wesleyan was the school for me, but he stopped short of saying, ‘I told you so,’” she recalled.

What she’d found on campus was an intellectual home—a place of lively discourse and diverse fields of study. “Coming to Wesleyan I found a deeper level of connection to students who had varied interests in things, in a way I hadn’t felt before with classmates …. It felt like coming to a big camp with people who looked at the world the way I did—a little left of center.”

While initially prepared to find herself on the pre-med track (“I was good at science and math”), she discovered that her interest in pop culture offered an avenue for intellectual exploration, and she recalled a particularly formative opportunity.

It was during her undergraduate years that one of her favorite musicians, the rapper Tupac Shakur, was murdered. “I thought—’There’s something to be learned here.’ I took that thought and found there was an elective being taught at USC about rap and its influence on culture. I approached my American Studies professor, who seemed knowledgeable. ‘I would love to be able to have a class on the lyrics of Tupak Shakur,’ I told him.

“He looked at me and said, ‘It sounds interesting. I don’t have the time to teach this, but I’d sponsor you, if you wanted to teach this course.’”

She recalled dismissing his idea as one she wasn’t qualified to consider: “Who me? I can’t do that; I’m just a fan.”

“Of course you can,” he responded.

Saint John spent the next month transcribing every lyric Shakur had written and recalls the laborious process with her tape player: listening, jotting down what she heard, rewinding, pressing play and listening again—for as many times as it took until she was sure she had them correct and complete.

She returned to her amazed professor with the sheaf of transcribed songs, and he helped her develop a course that she taught. “We had 30 students for this noncredit course—a course just to learn something. The next semester, we had 30 people in the class and a 60-person wait list, and the semester after that, he took it on himself,” she recalls.

“To me, that is the truest testament to what education is like at Wesleyan is: An idea that might have been dismissed as trite—I mean it doesn’t affect anything—was taken very seriously here. It was validated. I can tell you, that has had a profound effect on what I do today, how I look at the world today, how I look at my ideas and the validity I give them was born here. I was validated here, both for my cognitive thinking skills as well for the application that I envisioned. I could see the concept as a tangible real thing to have discourse around.

“That turned the corner for me. The passion I felt for that particular experience changed my mind about what I wanted to do with my career. I had the opportunity to explore so much of what I considered the pop culture education, that it set me up for what I’m doing now.”

Kaiser Permanente’s McCulloch ’76 Named a Top-10 Exec

Andy McCulloch ’76, president of Kaiser Permanente, was named a top-10 executive by Portland Business Journal.

Andy McCulloch ’76, president of Kaiser Permanente, was named a top-10 executive by Portland Business Journal.

The Portland Business Journal named Kaiser Permanente President Andy McCulloch ’76 one of the top 10 executives of 2016. This award honors area executives whose business strategies have successfully expanded their companies over the last year.

During the past year with Kaiser Permanente, McCulloch boosted membership by 3 percent while maintaining a member retention rate of 97 percent. In just their two hospitals, Kaiser Permanente physicians logged 3 million doctor visits and 420,000 dental appointments while earning $3.4 billion in yearly revenue.

McCulloch began his presidency in 2006 and directs Kaiser Permanente in Oregon and Washington State. During this time, the company has been ranked as one of the highest performing healthcare systems in the region. For five consecutive years Medicare has given the Northwest Region’s Medicare Advantage plan a five star rating while the National Commission for Quality Assurance recently rated the Northwest’s Medicare and commercial plan as the highest in the region.

After earning a BA in government from Wesleyan, McCulloch receive a master’s degree in health administration degree from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. Prior to joining Kaiser Permanente, he held executive positions at the University of North Carolina Health Care System, the University of Washington Health Sciences Center, Peace Health and Mercy Health.

“Star Power” of Sirmans ’91 Draws Crowd to Miami Museum

Franklin Sirmans ’91, director of the Pérez Art Museum, welcomed guests to the successful fundraiser, which the Miami Herald lauded as "stellar." Photo by Pedro Portal for El Nuevo Herald.com

Franklin Sirmans ’91, director of the Pérez Art Museum, welcomed guests to the successful fundraiser, which the Miami Herald lauded as “stellar.” (Photo by Pedro Portal for El Nuevo Herald.com)

Franklin Sirmans ’91, director of the Pérez Art Museum of Miami (PAMM), was credited for his “star power” that drew a crowd to the museum’s reception and fundraiser. The first African-American director of this publicly funded museum, Sirman was previously curator of contemporary art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

An article in the Miami Herald quoted Knight Foundation President and CEO Alberto Ibargüen ’66, who attributed the rise in attendance—double that of last year—to previously successful celebrations, as well as to Sirman’s arrival: “There is no getting around the fact that people are excited about Franklin Sirmans; they’re energized and they’re proud that he’s our museum director.”

Ibargüen notes that Sirmans took on the leadership of the museum “just after the opening of a fabulous new building on Biscayne Bay by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron.”
The Knight Foundation and real estate developer Pérez, for whom the museum is named, contributed $1 million to PAMM’s African American Art Fund to purchase works by African Americans. The evening event was designed to raise awareness of the project and to strengthen connections with the African American community.

“Franklin is determined to make PAMM both Miami’s most popular arts stop, and a place of scholarship and artistic rigor,” says Ibargüen. “He and Jessica are welcome additions to a town that welcomes builders.”

Forbes Taps Sivalingam ’10 as a “30 Under 30”

Ramanan Sivalingam ’10, vice president at Deutsche Bank, is on Forbes' “30 under 30” list in finance.

Ramanan Sivalingam ’10, vice president at Deutsche Bank, is on Forbes’ “30 under 30” list in finance.

Ramanan Sivalingam ’10, vice president at Deutsche Bank, was named to Forbes magazine’s “30 under 30” list in finance—a young professional who is “influencing money flows in the global economy.” An economics and East Asian studies double major at Wesleyan, he continued his high school exploration of the Chinese language, as well as his burgeoning interest in the stock market, which soon became a passion. He began trading stocks independently and also took a leadership role in Wesleyan’s undergraduate investment group with Mike Levin ’09, who now works for the top-ranked auto research team at Deutsche Bank.

After graduation, Sivalingam accepted a position as a research analyst at Deutsche Bank. He was named as a rising star on Institutional Investors research rankings. Now in the sales group, the former Wesleyan lacrosse captain is, in his free time, producing an upcoming sports documentary about a former NCAA basketball star and NBA hopeful whose whose aspirations to play pro ball were compromised, after tearing his knee ligament in the final four. Additionally, Sivalingam sends a shoutout to his team: “Go Wesleyan lacrosse!”

Philadelphia’s Heller ’04 is Urban Innovator of the Week

Greg Heller ’04, CEO of American Communities Trust in Philadelphia, was named Urban Innovator of the Week for his work  on social impact real estate.

Greg Heller ’04, CEO of American Communities Trust in Philadelphia, was named Urban Innovator of the Week for his work on social impact real estate.

Gregory Heller ’04, CEO of American Communities Trust (ACT), was named Urban Innovator of the Week on Feb. 15, by Urban Innovation Exchange (UIX), an initiative to advance urban improvement and highlight those who are on the leading edge of this movement. Begun in 2012 as a three-year project in Detroit and funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, UIX is now showcasing talented people from all over the country who are transforming the cities and neighborhoods in which they live.

As head of ACT, Heller, who has spent more than 10 years in community development in Philadelphia, helps nonprofits build and finance social impact real estate—projects that improve the quality of life, particularly in low-income areas, by providing needed services and offering desirable real estate for new businesses and residents.

In a TEDx talk given last June in Philadelphia, “How To Set up Social Impact Real Estate,” he explained the impetus behind his work: “Our cities and our communities are defined by the interaction of people and places… but who shapes the built environment around us?” he asks. “We walk around our cities and we say, ‘Oh, look, they’re building that new project over there,’ or ‘Why haven’t they built anything here yet?’ Who are they? Why is it ‘they’ and not we? Too often developers in low income neighborhoods have profit rather than the community’s best interest…I believe that [social impact real estate projects] s are critical to the future of our cities, our communities and ultimately our society.”

An American studies and German studies major at Wesleyan, Heller is the author of Ed Bacon: Planning, Politics and the Building of Modern Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013).

Quah ’12 has ‘All the News on Podcasting’

Nicholas Quah ’12 is the creator of Hot Pods, a newsletter on podcasting that is garnering attention as expert commentary on a new field of journalism.

Nicholas Quah ’12 is the creator of Hot Pods, a newsletter on podcasting that is garnering attention as expert commentary on a new field of journalism.

Nicholas Quah ’12 is the subject of “Meet the 26-year-old who’s got all the news on podcasting,” an article by Benjamin Miller on Poynter.org. Quah is the creator and full-time blogger at Hot Pod, his newsletter about podcasts, which you can find at nicholasquah.com. It is also hosted at NiemanLab, the site for Harvard’s Neiman Foundation for Journalism.

While most media aficionados consider the fall of 2014 to be the time when podcasts gained considerable popularity (Serial—the true crime investigation series on public radio is just one example), Quah had been a fan of podcasts for several years by then: as a Wesleyan undergrad majoring in the College of Social Studies, he had enjoyed podcasts. He continued listening in his post-college life, where he started as a research associate at Business Insider.

Both as a fan and a journalist, Quah followed podcasting from a cultural and business perspective. He began an e-mail newsletter, Hot Pods, because, as he explained to Miller: “It just felt like there was a lot missing…. Why were there developments in podcasting? Why were there developments in podcasting culture? Where did “Serial” come from? …I approached it from a criticism standpoint at first and then expanded into more business-side stuff.”

On Jan. 26, he announced his departure from Panoply, a podcast network, for which he served as manager of audience development, to devote himself full time to HotPods, hoping to make his avocation a sustainable business, with subscribers receiving weekly updates—with the option to pay a fee and receive more frequent communications, with Quah’s insights and analysis.

The decision, he told Miller, came about because:  “I think it feels like everything in podcasting is moving a lot quicker, and we’re going to hit some kind of tipping point. And I want to be an outsider and cover that when it happens.”

Bush ’93 Receives Leadership Award from Tufts Medical Center

Jonathan Bush '93, chair, CEO, and cofounder of athena health, was named a visionary leader by Tufts Medical Center.

Jonathan Bush ’93, chair, CEO, and cofounder of athenahealth, was named a visionary leader by Tufts Medical Center.

Tufts Medical Center selected Jonathan Bush ’93 to receive the Ellen M. Zane Award for Visionary Leadership. Chairman and CEO of the health care technology company, athenahealth, Bush was cited for “exemplifying visionary and transformational leadership” as well as his “passion for uniting individualized and coordinated patient care with the demands and practicalities of healthcare management.”

Bush co-founded athenahealth in 1997. In 2007 it was the most successful initial public offering, and it is now one of the health care information technology industry’s fastest growing companies, considered by many to be industry standard. In announcing the award, President and CEO of Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children Dr. Michael Wagner said, “I am proud that we share Jonathan’s enthusiasm to drive change in health care for the greater good.”

Esdaile ’00 New Athletic Director at Boston Public Schools

Avery Esdaile ’00

Avery Esdaile ’00

Avery Esdaile ’00 started his new job as athletic director for Boston Public Schools on Monday, April 14. Before his recent transition, Esdaile spent 12 years in the Wellesley College Athletic Department.

Ken Still, the former athletic director for Boston Public Schools, retired in October, leaving the schools without an AD for much of the fall and the entire winter season. Esdaile, with a degree in sociology from Wesleyan and a master’s of science in management of sports industries from the University of New Haven, says he is looking forward to being “in a position to hopefully down the line develop a program that infuses some learning and life lessons through athletics” because he hopes to help “kids that participate in athletics not only grow athletically but grow as the people that they are,” according a Boston Globe article.

Esdaile will face challenges through the transition from college to high school including the huge shift in size; at Wellesley he had only one team in each sport but as AD for Boston Public Schools, he has multiple teams participating in each sport. One issue Esdaile is planning to tackle is “the lack of interest in certain sports in the city.”

Less popular sports include hockey and swimming and Esdaile hopes to give students more opportunities to participate in these sports. Speaking about his plans, he states, “Right now, for me to come in and make changes would be foolish. The goal is to get through the year, take that breath, and then start to get ready for next year and look at what are some of things that we can do that make us more efficient or open the lines of communication or deal with anything that will just make what we do in this office here work at a higher level.”

Boston Children’s Establishes Griscom ’52 Chair

Boston Children’s Hospital announced the establishment of the N. Thorne Griscom Endowed Chair in Radiology. Dr. Griscom ’52, recently retired after 49 years in pediatric radiology, served as president of the Society of Pediatric Radiology (SPR) in 1981-82. Dr. George Taylor, SPR president in 2005-06, is pictured with him here at the reception to celebrate the announcement. Taylor calls Griscom as “an outstanding radiologist, clinician, mentor and friend,” adding, “This was a very deserved honor for this truly gentle man.” A Phi Beta Kappa chemistry major at Wesleyan, he earned his medical degree from the University of Rochester and was a professor of radiology at Harvard University.

The first holder of the N. Thorne Grisom Endowed Chair is Dr. Simon Warfield, who serves as research director on the department of radiology at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Dr. N. Thorne Griscom ’52 (left) with Dr. George Taylor.

Dr. N. Thorne Griscom ’52 (left) with Dr. George Taylor.