Join fellow alumni leaders for a passionate discussion about translating strategy into action, impact, and growth with an eye toward learnings which could help you in your career.
Join us for a dynamic conversation with three local Chicago leaders who have carved out their own space in the market and are now driving growth in their respective categories through distinctive, insightful strategies. We'll reflect on how they identified and built their strategies, how they nurture a culture that reflects that strategy, how they have advanced and evolved the strategy over time, and reflect on how this thought process can help fellow alumni advance their own careers and organizations.
Includes 2 drinks (Beer, Wine, Soda, or Water) and selection of hors d'oeuvres
Jim Murray (Panelist) '12
President, RX Bar and Kellogg Insurgent Brands
Jim joined RXBAR in 2016 as Director of Finance and the first hire in the finance function. Jim spent the next year partnering with RXBAR co-founder Jared Smith in building out the finance organization and processes to support the rapid growth of the company. Jim was promoted to VP of Finance and eventually CFO in 2017. In this role, Jim oversaw all aspects of Finance, Accounting, Legal, and People & Organization.
Named President of Insurgent Brands in October of 2018, Jim now leads the day-to-day operations of Insurgents Brands, including the RX portfolio of brands and newly launched TIG Snacks products. Responsible for overseeing sales, marketing, finance and operations, Jim drives business performance as well as culture at the company.
Prior to RXBAR, Jim spent 4 years at PepsiCo in Chicago. Jim joined the innovation finance team supporting the Tropicana business in 2012 and moved into various finance positions for the Global Nutrition Group, focusing on new market entry, product launches and global strategic planning mainly for the Quaker business.
Jim received his bachelor's degree from Miami University in 2007 and his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 2012.
Katlin Smith (Panelist) '18
Founder & CEO, Simple Mills
Katlin Smith is the founder & CEO of Simple Mills, a Chicago-based company at the forefront of a clean food movement that is shaping the next generation of natural foods. Named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2017, Smith launched Simple Mills in 2013 to provide a cleaner alternative to baking mixes then on the market. Simple Mills products, which include baking mixes, frostings, almond flour crackers, sprouted seed crackers, ready to eat crunchy and soft baked cookies and soft baked bars, are currently distributed in more than 16,000 conventional and natural grocery stores.
After graduating from University of North Carolina with a Business Administration and Biology degree, Katlin went on to attend Chicago Booth for her MBA, where she won the School of Business New Venture Challenge.
Jordan Tepper (Panelist) '13
Founding Partner, Apologue Liqueurs
Jordan Tepper is the co-founder of Apologue, a Chicago-based maker of spirited liqueurs. Jordan launched Apologue in 2017 to bring greater transparency and more exciting flavor profiles to the spirits category through a line of entirely natural liqueurs. Apologue initially released three expressions: Aronia Berry, Persimmon, and Celery Root to feature unique Midwest ingredients. In 2019, Apologue collaborated with another Booth-alum start-up, Rumi Spice, to release a Saffron liqueur. Apologue's expressions have been featured in cocktails in over >200 of Chicagolands leading bars & restaurants, and has recently expanded to New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Boston, and D.C., among other markets.
Jordan received his Bachelor's in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and then worked in middle-market investment banking at Mesirow Financial before pursuing his MBA at Chicago Booth. At Booth, Jordan concentrated on Marketing and Entrepreneurship, and then joined the The Boston Consulting Group upon graduation. At BCG, Jordan focused primarily on growth and go-to-market strategies for CPG companies, as well as Social Impact projects for Chicago entities. Jordan also works part-time with Cleveland Avenue, a food & beverage focused venture firm in the West Loop who's early stage investments include Beyond Meat and Farmer's Fridge. Jordan currently serves on the Auxiliary Board of the Good Food Accelerator and volunteers regularly with Advocates for Urban Agriculture.
Gary Kash (Moderator) '78
Founder & President Emeritus, Insights in Marketing
Retired from IIM, Gary now leverages his wealth of successful experiences helping businesses of all sizes and industries prosper. Gary's ability to guide others has resulted in him being mentor to many and a sought-after speaker, with speaking engagements at major universities and corporations as well as for the Vistage CEO Network and at Association Conferences. Gary also serves as a judge for the New Venture Challenge at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship (a top ranked accelerator program).
Peers have nicknamed Gary "The Professor" due to his ability to deduce "aha moments" as he guides Senior Managers, helping them grow their businesses and drive their careers. His experience spans consulting, brand marketing, advertising and marketing research. His counsel has been sought by companies like MillerCoors, CDW, Gerber, General Mills, Liberty Mutual, Pepsico, Nestle and S.C. Johnson.
Gary has raised $10.5+ million for The Center for Enriched Living, a charity he co-founded to enrich lives of people with developmental disabilities and is now an honored Trustee. He serves on the Board of a large charity foundation helping the under-served of Chicagoland and was chosen to sit on both the Board and Executive Committee for Temple Jeremiah.
Gary has an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BS in Advertising from the University of Illinois.