Alumni Share Their Expertise Virtually

BY RACHAEL BLAINE ’21

This semester, the Sigmund Weis School of Business introduced a new way to connect Susquehannans with business expertise: the SWSB Virtual Speaker Series.

According to Matthew Rousu, dean of the Sigmund Weis School of Business, the series will “allow students to learn from professionals working in a wide variety of disciplines on a wide variety of business-related topics.”

Originally intended to take place on campus with a few alumni speakers, the series has gone remote due to the pandemic. But there’s a silver lining — the series morphed into something much bigger.

Now, more than 30 speakers will participate virtually in 28 talks throughout the course of the semester, with subjects ranging from tips for grad school to the entrepreneurship life cycle. “I asked over 30 alumni to be part of the series and nobody said no,” Dean Rousu said. “It says something special about the Susquehanna University community that we have so many graduates volunteering their time and talents to serve our students.” Rousu noted a similar series will likely be scheduled in the spring, with different speakers sharing their expertise.

Rousu is determined to take the positives away from the current pandemic situation. Because of the now remote nature of the series, speakers across the country (and in some cases, the world) are able to present on their specialties without the hurdle of travel.

“Despite being remote, students will be able to learn from, ask questions of and potentially even network with some top business professionals,” Rousu explained. Not only does it increase the accessibility of the series for speakers, but it also allows both prospective students and alumni to engage with the Susquehanna community.

Following are some of the highlighted talks scheduled:

THURSDAY, SEPT. 10 at 7 P.M.
“Being a Leader Through a Time of Disruption”
John Strangfeld ’75, Former CEO for Prudential

John Strangfeld led Prudential Financial, Inc., as chairman and CEO for over a decade, assuming the CEO role just prior to the 2008 financial crisis. Under his leadership, Prudential capitalized on subsequent industry dislocations and experienced significant growth through strategic acquisitions, innovative product development, and the opportunistic hiring of top talent. With $1.4T active

assets under management, over $6B annual earnings, and operations throughout the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America, Prudential is one of the world's largest and most admired financial services companies.

MONDAY, SEPT. 28 at 7 P.M.
“Working with Luxury Brands: In Fashion, Automotive and Other Industries” 
Sarah Derrick ’18, Production Coordinator for LDJ Productions
Sarah Derrick ’18 graduated with a degree in luxury brand marketing and management and immediately found herself working with luxury brands when she joined LDJ Productions, a full-service creative production agency based in New York that specializes in live and experiential events. As a production coordinator, she works with fashion, luxury beauty, media and automotive clients.

THURSDAY, OCT. 1 at 7 P.M.
“Tips to Landing Dream Jobs: When You Graduate and Throughout Your Career"
Brett Moyer ’13, Associate for Goldman Sachs

Brett Moyer, a 2013 graduate of the Sigmund Weis School of Business who majored in finance and economics, currently works for Goldman Sachs as a compliance officer for their global banking business. Brett started  his career in banking while at Susquehanna as he worked part time for Susquehanna Community Financial as a bank teller before graduating to join JPMorgan, where he worked between financial control and project management for their treasury division until 2019. Brett volunteers with the National Parks Service as a medical historian at the Ellis Island National Museum and supports a local startup business based in Snyder County, Pennsylvania.

THURSDAY, OCT. 29 at 4:15 P.M
“The Business of Beer”
RJ Martucci ’06, Partner at JGS

RJ Martucci ’06, CPA, is a partner at JGS. Though he works with a variety of industries, one of his specialties is the beverage distribution and manufacturing industry. RJ works with wholesale distributors of beer, wine, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages. He has also worked with craft brewery and distillery startups throughout the business plan, forecast, funding and development phases. In this talk, RJ will share his expertise on many aspects of “the business of beer.”

THURSDAY, NOV. 12 at 9 A.M.
“Strategies for Success When You Don’t Look Like the Typical CEO in Your Field” 
Sara Luley ’08 Baublitz, Founding Partner of Bid Boss Consulting

Sara Baublitz holds a 2008 Bachelor of Arts degree from Susquehanna University in Spanish and international studies (economics concentration) and a joint Master of Arts in Public Leadership degree from United Lutheran Seminary and the Fox School of Business at Temple University. Baublitz is a founding partner of Bid Boss Consulting, LLC, which provides consulting services in the international development sector to help clients win more funding from governments, multilaterals and foundations. Her experience includes over ten years in the international nonprofit sector in proposal management, new program design, strategic planning and relationship management. 

The full list of the SWSB Virtual Speaker Series, as well as a link to recordings, is featured at susqu.edu/SWSB-speaker-series.



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