Alumni Return to Share Insights with Students

The Martin J. Whitman School of Management offers many extra opportunities for students to learn from and interact with alumni and experts in their chosen fields. During the 2019-20 academic year, alumni entrepreneurs spent time visiting Whitman classes and participating in Goodman IMPRESS events. Students also took advantage of virtual small-group and one-on-one career conversations offered through the Whitman Career Center to engage with alumni. These in-person and remote opportunities provided students access to professionals across industries to explore careers and roles in entrepreneurship.

Adam Fazackerly ’96 and Amy Fazackerly, co-founders of Lay-N-Go, visited campus in the fall of 2019 and spoke to Whitman students in classes taught by Elizabeth Wimer, assistant teaching professor of entrepreneurship, and James Bort ’20 Ph.D.. In Wimer’s classes the Fazackerlys led on-the-spot ideation exercises to get the students thinking creatively about entrepreneurship. They also returned to campus this past spring to work with Wimer’s entrepreneurial marketing classes on a case project, which involved a social media strategy built around some of the Lay-N-Go products. 

Scott Friedberg ’14, CEO of Gilded Social and partner at Gilded Club, participated in an IMPRESS Syracuse Business Panel with three other local alumni. As the only business owner on the panel, he focused on how he developed his first start-up while a student at the Whitman School, as well as why he chose to stay in Syracuse to continue his venture.

Mike Gursha ’10 (WHIT/NEW), chairman and CEO of Rookie Road and former chair of the Young Whitman Advisory Council (YWAC), participated in the Goodman IMPRESS Brunch with Alumni, where he hosted small in-person group conversations with undergraduate students. Gursha’s company is a digital media startup focused on creating unique and engaging educational content. As an entrepreneur and mentor/professor, he shared his experiences with interested students. Gursha also participated in the Whitman Career Center’s Alumni and Corporate Career Conversations virtual series. His topic wasthe “Value of Entrepreneurial Thinking and Problem Solving.”

Ryan Novak ’11, owner of the Chocolate Pizza Company and Daniel Folkman ’12, vice president of strategy and chief of staff at goPuff, both engaged with students during a virtual EEE Alumni Rush Hour, which offered students individual scheduled appointments with alumni. Novak and Folkman, both members ofthe YWAC, shared their experiences and perspectives, answered questions and reviewed resumes as requested by the students.