Alumni Connections

  • C-Suite Appointments
  • Board Appointments
  • Newsmakers
  • Young Alumni

Karen BrennanKaren Brennan, ’07, has been appointed CFO of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated, a professional services firm headquartered in Chicago, and will join the company’s global executive board. Brennan has been with LaSalle for more than 20 years, most recently serving as CEO of its operations in Europe.

Randy ConteCresset Asset Management, an SEC registered investment advisor based in Chicago, has named Randall Conte, ’05 (XP-74), COO. Prior to Cresset, Conte served as president of Parkway Bank and Trust and Parkway Bancorp, a community bank headquartered in Harwood Heights, Illinois, focused on commercial real estate lending.

Michael MonahanCasper, a global sleep company headquartered in New York, has appointed Michael Monahan, ’02, as CFO. Most recently, Monahan served as CFO of HEXO Corp, a consumer packaged goods cannabis company headquartered in Quebec.

Mike PetersonMichael Peterson, ’02 (EXP-7), has been selected as senior vice president and CFO of Western Area Power Administration, a government utility agency based in Lakewood, Colorado. Since 2014, Peterson has served as the principal financial officer for public and private enterprises, including Red Willow Production Company, an oil and energy company based in Ignacio, Colorado.

Vickie FullerVicki Fuller, ’81, has joined the board of trustees for Blackstone / GSO Secured Lending Fund, a business development company based in New York. Fuller is the former chief investment officer for the New York State Common Retirement Fund, based in Albany, New York.

Daniel GillAsure, a provider of human capital management software solutions based in Austin, Texas, has appointed Daniel Gill, ’90, as lead independent director of its board of directors. Gill has served on Asure’s board since June 2017 and is the founder of Silver Oak Services Partners, a private equity firm based in Evanston, Illinois.

Peter LeemputteEcogensus, a technology company in the waste management industry based in Hartford, Connecticut, announced the appointment of Peter Leemputte, ’83, to its board of directors. Leemputte is the former CFO and treasurer of Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., (now Keurig Dr Pepper), a coffee and beverage company based in Burlington, Massachusetts.

Rishad TobaccowalaRishad Tobaccowala, ’82, has been appointed to the data advisory board for LoopMe, an outcomes-based video platform for brand advertising headquartered in London. Tobaccowala is the former chief growth officer of the New York–based advertising agency Publicis and author of Restoring the Soul of Business: Staying Human in the Age of Data (HarperCollins Leadership, 2020).

Ben BrandesCrossCountry Consulting, a business advisory firm based in McLean, Virginia, announced that Ben Brandes, ’93, has joined the firm as director of its national private equity practice in the Boston office. Prior to joining CrossCountry, Brandes was a managing director for Accordion Partners, a private equity firm based in New York.

Ken CarhutFoldax, a developer of replacement heart valves headquartered in Salt Lake City, has been selected as a finalist in the Fierce Innovation Awards: Life Sciences Edition 2020. The awards program recognizes companies that demonstrate innovative solutions, technologies, and services that have the potential to make the greatest impact for biotech and pharma companies. Foldax was recognized as a finalist in the category of Medical Device Innovation for its Tria™ heart valve. “Beyond the technical achievements, it is rewarding to see our Tria valves actually change a patient’s life,” said Ken Charhut, ’88, executive chairman of Foldax. “We recently reached a major milestone—the one-year implant anniversary of our first Tria aortic valve patient— who is doing great and back to running. Our team in Salt Lake City had the honor to meet him recently, and seeing the culmination of their hard work is what drives each person at Foldax.”

Brian CoeTalis Biomedical Corporation, a biotechnology company based in Melno Park, California, that develops diagonistic tests for infectious diseases, has been awarded a $25 million contract for Phase 2 of the National Institutes of Health’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative. RADx aims to speed innovation in the development, commercialization, and implementation of technologies for COVID-19 testing. “We are extremely proud that the NIH selected Talis, out of a field of 600 applicants, to be among the first teams to move to the final phase of the RADx initiative,” said Brian Coe, ’99, cofounder and CEO of Talis. “With the support of the NIH RADx program and proceeds from the new financing, we are confident that we will be able to accelerate our goal of making rapid diagnostic testing widely available.”

No ImageCharlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc., a Boulder-based producer and distributor of CBD wellness products, has earned B Lab’s B Corporation™ certification. Certified B Corporations are for-profit companies that use the power of business to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy; they are required to consider the impact of their decisions on all stakeholders. “Becoming a certified B Corp was important to Charlotte’s Web as it aligns with our vision for conducting our business, from seed to shelf, to benefit the greater good in society, our environment, for our employees and our communities,” said CEO Deanie Elsner, ’92. “This was a comprehensive, precise, and illuminating process, teaching us where we are strong and where we can focus for continuing improvement.”

Stanley CerckThe Gaithersburg, Maryland-based biotechnology firm Novavax has partnered with Tokyo-based pharmaceutical company Takeda to develop, manufacture, and commercialize its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, NVX‑CoV2373, in Japan. “Takeda’s leading position in Japan, technical expertise, regulatory know-how, and manufacturing capacity make the company an ideal partner to further expand the global availability of NVX‑CoV2373,” said Stanley Erck, ’76, Novavax president and CEO. “We look forward to collaborating with Takeda to rapidly develop, produce, and commercialize the vaccine in Japan.”

No ImageThe Chicago Tribune featured Amy Fahey, ’93, in an article about a new financial startup she’s cofounding in Chicago. Her startup, First Women’s Bank, will focus on lending to women-owned businesses to help improve loan access to female entrepreneurs. Fahey, who spent 29 years with New York–based financial services firm JPMorgan Chase, will serve as chair of the board of directors when First Women’s Bank opens in early 2021. It will be the first financial institution startup in the Chicago area in more than a decade.

Nancy FosterTo provide convenient, accessible training amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Risk Management Association (RMA) has enhanced its virtual offerings with new live online courses as well as self-directed online courses. Both series offer opportunities for financial services practitioners to enhance their skills. “The RMA self-directed and live online courses accelerate the path to competency,” said Nancy Foster, ’88, president and CEO. “They help employees learn more quickly and begin putting their skills to use faster to benefit themselves, their institutions, and the industry.” Headquartered in Philadelphia, RMA is a not-for-profit, professional association focused on risk management in the financial services industry.

Brian HannaschNew York–based magazine Fortune ran an interview with Brian Hannasch, ’94, about the evolution of his convenience store operator, Alimentation Couche-Tard. Headquartered in Laval, Canada, Couche-Tard is one of Canada’s largest companies and the second largest convenience-store operator in the United States. In the interview, Hannasch, CEO, discussed the company’s M&A strategy, its efforts to update its merchandise, and it company culture.

Dan ReedAmerican Family Ventures, a New York–based insurtech venture capital fund, has announced the launch of AFV Fund III, a $213 million fund that will focus on early stage startups impacting the insurance industry. “The insurance industry is embarking on profound transformation,” said managing director Dan Reed, ’01. “Through Fund III, we can help LPs capitalize on this moment—both by understanding the potential of startups and by connecting them with the startup world in mutually beneficial ways.”

No ImageFredrick Ruda, ’91, has come out of retirement to serve as director of collections and cash apps for Uline, a distributor of shipping, packaging, and industrial supplies based in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. Previously, Ruda spent 28 years with Baxter, a global healthcare company headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, serving as director of credit and leasing services.

No ImageIra Weiss, MBA ’99, PhD ’01, has been named to Crain’s Chicago Business’s Tech 50, an annual list that spotlights pioneers in Chicago’s tech industry. Weiss is an accounting professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and an adviser to Hyde Park Angels, an angel investor group affiliated with the university’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and the fifth most active investor in Chicago startups in the past decade.

Tom WestAffiniPay has been named to Inc. Magazine’s annual Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing, privately held companies in America. Based in Austin, Texas, AffiniPay is a financial technology company that creates payment-based practice management tools for professional service markets. “We are so excited and honored to have made the Inc. 5000 list for a ninth consecutive year,” said CEO Tom West, ’95. “We know that now, online solutions for getting paid are more important than ever. We are committed to supporting our partners and ensuring that professionals have the technology they need to run their practices and be successful, even in these difficult times.”

Gleen AllisonGlenn Allison, ’11 (XP-80), has joined the technology executive council for the broadcast media company CNBC, headquartered in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. The council focuses on using breakthrough technologies to solve problems and power growth. Allison is the vice president of enterprise architecture, governance, and innovation for the Tractor Supply Company, a rural lifestyle retailer based in Brentwood, Tennessee.

Friedman JonathanJonathan Friedman, ’15, recently launched the Austin, Texas-based startup TrueNxus, an online project management software that helps teams and organizations increase productivity, create efficiency, and drive results. Prior to launching TrueNxus, Friedman was director of internal consulting for Fiserv, a global technology provider in the financial services industry headquartered in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

John HolmesAAR, a global provider of aviation services headquartered in Chicago, announced a new partnership with Corporation for Skilled Workforce, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based nonprofit improving economic opportunities for frontline workers and people of color, to grow and diversify the talent pool of aviation maintenance technicians and reduce future labor shortages. The initiative will engage colleges and technical training centers to develop competency-based programs; launch a pilot program to mentor and develop a cohort of women in aviation maintenance; and expand job opportunities for military veterans and active duty personnel transitioning to civilian aviation maintenance careers. John Holmes, ’10 (XP-79), AAR president and CEO, said, “As our industry rebuilds following the impact of COVID-19, we have a unique opportunity to strengthen the talent pipeline through recruitment of groups that historically have been under-represented in aviation.” The initiative is powered by a grant from the Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based foundation committed to making learning opportunities beyond high school available to all.

Matt MaloneyMatt Maloney, ’10, cofounder and CEO of the Chicago-based digital food-ordering and delivery marketplace Grubhub, has been named to Crain’s Chicago Business’s Tech 50, an annual list that spotlights pioneers in Chicago’s tech industry. For the tenth addition, Crain’s spotlighted several people, including Maloney, for the second time for making a lasting impact in the industry and remaining in the game. The newspaper first spotlighted Maloney in 2011. Since then, Maloney merged Grubhub with its biggest competitor and took the company public in one of Chicago’s most successful tech IPOs. He recently reached a $7.3 billion deal to sell Grubhub to Amsterdam-based Just Eat Takeaway and plans to head North American operations.

Guy TurnerTechCrunch interviewed Guy Turner, ’10, for an article about venture capitalists who remain optimistic about the future of startups in Chicago despite the COVID-19 crisis. Turner, managing director of the Chicago-based VC firm Hyde Park Venture Partners, commented that Chicago and other cities in the region could even benefit from the COVID-19 fallout. “COVID could reaccelerate Chicago and other midcontinent cities’ startup communities with more availability of talent and cheaper operating costs,” he said.

Jason WrightJason Wright, ’13, has been named president of the NFL’s Washington Football team, based in Ashburn, Virginia. Wright, 38, will be the youngest president in the league and the first Black team president in NFL history. Wright, a former running back who spent seven seasons in the NFL, joins the team from the Washington, DC-based consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where he served as a partner in the firm’s operations practice.