“In Massachusetts, we’re so lucky,” said Yvonne Hao during her keynote speech at the Leaders of Impact event in September. The Secretary of the Executive Office of Economic Development spoke at the Boston Public Library about her own business career and how it led her into public service in Governor Maura Healey’s cabinet.
“We have UMass, we have so much talent, we have world leaders in education, life sciences, health sciences, financial services, and more,” Hao said, explaining why she’s confident that the commonwealth is well-positioned to lead by example, continuing to develop a diverse and healthy economy and helping to mitigate income inequality. “It’s a great place to live. We have oceans, mountains, reproductive rights, science, safety, and you can love who you want to love.”
After Hao’s keynote address, Isenberg Dean Anne Massey presented awards to two alumni:
Judith O’Connell ’93, managing partner and CEO at Champlain Investment Partners, advised the audience to hone leadership skills by learning from mentors.
“Surround yourself with folks you trust, who you’ll learn from,” she said, noting that eventually you will get to a place in your career where you will be able to give back. O’Connell noted that she has donated toward the endowment of Finance Professor Mila Getmansky Sherman, the Judith Wilkinson O’Connell Faculty Fellow.
Lyman Phillips ’16, founding principal and CEO of Golden Lion Capital Investments, recalled his undergraduate education fondly: “HTM is the best department in the whole country.”
He reserved special gratitude for Professor Rod Warnick, who he called a mentor and a friend. “Thank you so much, Rod, for really changing my life,” Phillips said, adding that Warnick made him feel like attending Isenberg was one of the best decisions he has made in his life. Phillips added that although his grades were not the highest, he has always had a talent for networking that his college education helped him direct toward a rewarding career. “I dare you to find a more well-rounded business school,” he said.
Attendees gathered in a reception space at the library after the program for conversations over drinks and snacks (including a mac-and-cheese bar); alumni and business leaders mingled with Isenberg faculty members, administrators, and first-year students who were members of the Dean’s Academy—a group of promising undergraduates who came prepared to practice the networking tips they had been taught by a coach.
Matthew Zieper ’90 marveled at Isenberg’s growth since his own undergraduate years, recalling that at that time, the building was “like an elementary school,” but that he and his classmates didn’t care. “Because even back then, the professors cared about the students,” he said, and the deans have been able to build on that foundation. Two of his children now attend Isenberg—his daughter, Ellie, is a junior, and his son, Josh, is a first-year student. He thinks their decision was influenced by his own enthusiasm: “They saw how much pride I had,” Matt Zieper said. “Of the people I know who went there, there isn’t one person I know who isn’t a successful human, however you measure that.”
See below for more photos from the event, or click here for the full gallery.