In Search of Director Talent
Initiative Matches Alumni with Nonprofits
Learn more about board service opportunities in Chicago on March 7 at On Board 2014.
Jim Evans, '07, has a classic business background: he began his career as an accountant and CPA and now works as senior vice president of sales and marketing for Entertainment Cruises, which runs dining cruise boats off Navy Pier in Chicago and in six other cities.
He makes a good living, but he'd like to give something back too. He's going to get his wish through Alumni Board Connect (ABC), a new program sponsored by Booth's Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI). ABC matches interested alumni with nonprofit organizations in search of directors who can lend their expertise, raise money, and help the organizations expand their reach.
During the fall, Evans was matched with Spark, a national nonprofit organization with an office in Chicago that offers hands-on apprenticeships to middle-school students from communities with high dropout rates.
"I am thrilled," Evans said. "Coming from a family of teachers, I have a particular passion for improving educational outcomes."
For Spark, Evans brings experience in accounting, one of the subjects in which it would like to build expertise on its local board. "To Booth's credit, it was a perfect match," said Anna-Claire Whitehead, Spark's director of external relations.
Many alumni like Evans are interested in giving back in some meaningful volunteer capacity. Service on a nonprofit board enables them to contribute their acquired skills, whether accounting, fundraising, financial advising, strategic goal setting, or management recruiting.
"We find that the market for nonprofits to connect to potential board members isn't as efficient as it could be. Many nonprofits have difficulty finding board candidates outside of their immediate network of directors and donors," said Christina Hachikian, '07, director of SEI and adjunct assistant professor of strategy. Alumni Board Connect offers the opportunity for these organizations to reach Booth alumni who want to help solve social problems through a commitment to govern and support a nonprofit.
During the summer, SEI reached out on two levels: to Booth alumni in the Chicago region who graduated more than three years ago, and to nonprofits in the Chicago region, with a specific target of midsize organizations. Within weeks SEI received an overwhelming response - applications from 145 alumni and 85 nonprofit organizations.
In its pilot year, SEI matched 50 of these alumni with nonprofit groups. "We took a page from the eHarmony playbook," Hachikian said, referring to the online dating site. "You ask both sides a bunch of questions - passion and mission, skills needed and skills offered - and match them up based on the results. Once we make the introduction, each side does its own due diligence. If there is a fit, the prospective board member is confirmed through the nonprofit's standard process."
During the fourth quarter, SEI offered training for the recruits on topics such as governance, fundraising, and budgeting. To expand its educational offerings to others, SEI has planned a conference on board service for March 7 in Chicago.
Independent consultant Judy Lubin, MBA '91, PhD '04, hoped to do something with alternative education in the STEM arena - science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. For years she served on the board of the Chicago Waldorf School, a private school on the city's North Side, and was eager to serve in the education field again.
She was matched with Project Exploration, a 15-year-old organization that aims to encourage minority students attending Chicago Public Schools to pursue careers in science and technology. She said serving on the board will provide the opportunity to apply her skills in a direct, tangible way: "The governing body is the heart of the organization," she said. "And this seems like an organization whose mission I can really stand behind."
Hachikian noted that board service enables alumni to strengthen their network, build on their personal interests, and do some good. "There are many ways to have an impact," she said. - J. Duncan Moore, Jr.
Photo courtesy of Jim Evans
Award Winners Will Benefit from Alumni Mentors
Hussain Abbas hopes the mentorship he'll receive as a winner of Booth's Alumni Recognition Award will enable him to learn more about the demands of venture capital and ultimately invest in one of the world's developing economies.
Abbas is one of six recipients of the 2013 - 14 Alumni Recognition Awards. The merit-based scholarships go to exemplary second-year students, each of whom is matched with an alumnus who has excelled in his or her field and has agreed to act as a mentor.
Abbas was born in Dubai and worked in investment banking and at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board before he started in the Full-Time MBA Program last year. Over the summer he explored early-stage investment opportunities in Myanmar. His mentor is Jai Das, '99, partner at SAP Ventures in Silicon Valley. "Platform investing is hard to master," Abbas said. "Jai is someone I'll be able to turn to for advice."
Chris Welch, a native of St. Louis, has worked in investment banking and private equity and is paired with Bruce Besanko, '92, executive vice president and CFO of supermarket chain Supervalu Inc. Welch said he hopes to return to private equity and that his mentor's advice will be appreciated as he learns more about working with companies. "He's been in the saddle," Welch said.
Recipients and Mentors
Hussain Abbas with Jai Das, '99, partner, SAP Ventures, Palo Alto, California
Tzong Yu (Harrison) Chan with David Kirchheimer, '78, principal, chief administrative officer and CFO, Oaktree Capital Management, LP, Los Angeles
Arthur Chiu with Murli Buluswar, '01, chief science officer, AIG Capital Corp., New York
Rushan Guan with Robert Mariano, '87 (XP-56), chairman and CEO, Roundy's, Milwaukee
Todd Mowry with Carolyn Chan, '02 (AXP-1), managing partner, Heidrick & Struggles, Singapore
Chris Welch with Bruce Besanko, '92, executive vice president and CFO, Supervalu Inc., Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Alumni Recognition Award recipients: Bottom row from left, Rushan Guan, Hussain Abbas, and Tzong Yu (Harrison) Chan. Back row from left, Chris Welch and Todd Mowry.
Photo by Robert Kozloff
Changes in Club Leadership
Mauricio Hasson, '05
Luiz Muniz, '90
Charlotte, North Carolina
Jose Costa, '11
Jean Carbutt, '11 and Dana McLeod, '12
Craig Ginsberg, '03
Matt Winter, '11
Patrick Zanoni, '00
Kevin Knapp, '07
Tom Webb '10
A Citizen of the World
Scholarship founded in memory of Brazilian alumnus promotes multiculturalism and high ethical standards.
The tragic loss of a classmate spurred Pedro de Andrade Faria, '02, and a network of fellow Booth alumni to establish a scholarship benefitting Booth students from Brazil.
In 2005, only three years after graduating from Booth, Nelson Germanos, '02, an up-and-coming executive working in the shoe industry, was killed in a car accident at the age of 32. The charismatic Germanos had friends around the world - from his native Brazil to Russia, where he spent 15 months as a volunteer working with entrepreneurs to promote economic development. It fell to Faria to let his friend's acquaintances know what had happened. Faria is CEO of international markets for Brazilian food giant BRF SA and a partner at private equity firm Tarpon Investimentos, a BRF shareholder.
In the email exchanges that followed, "we wondered how we could pay tribute to Nelson, what we should do," Faria recently recalled. The money quickly started coming in. "The whole thing was an early example of crowd-funding," Faria said. "It was completely spontaneous and unplanned."
When 600 friends and family members assembled for the funeral the day after the accident, they confirmed a resounding desire to remember Germanos in the form of a scholarship.
From that intention came the Nelson P. Germanos Memorial Scholarship, which is intended for a student who shares Germanos's passions for multiculturalism and multinationalism; demonstrates an interest in sharing knowledge broadly and generously; and shows high ethical standards. "It just seemed so right," said Janet Ortega, '81, director of the São Paulo-based boutique investment firm Saenz Hofmann International, then president of the Chicago Booth Alumni Club of Brazil, and, along with Faria, a member of the Global Advisory Board. "It all started the day we found out. Within a few weeks, we had a sufficient amount to establish an ongoing scholarship."
There were significant legal and currency hurdles. For example, Ortega and Faria took on the responsibility of complying with Brazilian currency laws and worked with a local nonprofit and later with a larger scholarship- making institute to find a way to remit the money to the United States. "The legal difficulties would have stopped any group that was not as determined to make it happen," Ortega said.
There currently are more than 100 donors, and as the number of alumni has grown, so has the hope that the scholarship will sustain itself over time. For its 10th reunion in 2012, the class of 2002 raised $117,270, which, with a one-for-one match from Booth, brought the endowment to nearly $1.2 million.
So far all of the recipients of the Germanos scholarship have been from Brazil. But thanks to successful fundraising, including some cornerstone gifts and the Booth match, the scholarship is expanding outside Brazil. "Nelson was a citizen of the world, so we opened the process to global candidates," Faria said.
Ricardo Leite, a Full-Time student and the current recipient of the scholarship, said the program shows how Booth values Brazil's place in the worldwide economy. On the other hand, he added, "high ethical standards and multinationalism, the values of the scholarship - those are global standards. It makes sense to make it more global."
Ortega added that she hopes other alumni clubs around the world will be inspired to establish scholarships as a good way to create community.
"Even as time passes and fewer people remember this initial loss," she said, "we trust that the Germanos Scholarship will embrace the ideal of passing it forward by expanding support on a global scale." - Rebecca Rolfes
Contact Nathaniel Roberts to learn more about the Germanos Scholarship.