Whitman Alumni and Corporate Partners Connect with Students Virtually in New Webinar Series

Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management understands that the transition to online learning has meant the loss of many opportunities on campus to connect with and learn from alumni and corporate partners. However, there are still ways to engage with them and make career connections during this time.

The Whitman Career Center, Alumni office and Corporate Relations team launched an alumni-student online mentorship community, Whitman Connect. This is a wonderful platform to interact with hundreds of alumni across a myriad of industries and roles and in a number of ways – answering your questions, reviewing your resume, virtual career coffee chats, etc.

Another way Whitman students can learn from alumni and corporate partners is with the new Alumni and Corporate Career Conversations webinar series. These webinars are focused on topics that will help students gain valuable career advice, as well as have an opportunity to ask our alumni and industry professionals questions about their career journey.

Here are the past Alumni and Corporate Career Conversations webinars:

Accounting Alumni Panel

This conversation included a panel of Whitman alumni who represent some of the many career paths accounting students can pursue, including roles in public accounting and corporations, Big 4 firms, global companies, audit, tax, advisory, controller roles, financial reporting and more!

Learn more about the field and the career opportunities, how to enter the industry and how to thrive. This session features the following alumni sharing their perspectives:

  • Courtney Blum ’03, partner at PwC
  • Daniel Kinney ’09, ’10 M.S., assistant controller at Wheels Up
  • Ashley Thombs ’14, ’15 M.S., senior analyst digital sales Finance at NBCUniversal Media
  • Ian C. A. Thompson ’01, senior manager FP&A at Turnils NA Group Companies

Career Advice

Lizanne Kindler, CEO of Talbots and a Whitman Advisory Council (WAC) member, talks about the importance of customer service and leadership in the retail industry.

Kindler holds a bachelors in economics from Copenhagen Business School. She started her career in the retail industry at Ann Taylor Stores Corporation, where she spent 15 years in various leadership roles. She was instrumental in leading the foundational stages of their ecommerce business, as well as launching Ann Taylor Loft. Kindler left Ann Taylor in 2008 to come to Talbots the first time as the Senior Vice President of Merchandising. Two years later, she worked with Kohl’s as the Executive Vice President of Product Development.

Kindler is a well-respected leader in the industry and in the community. In 2018 and 2019, Talbots was named as one of the Top 10 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts by The Commonwealth Institute and the Globe Magazine. She has been instrumental in cementing Talbots status as a brand with purpose by leading the brand’s partnership with Dress for Success, which has raised nearly $7 million since its inception in 2014. Kindler is in her third year as an Expert-In-Residence for Babson College’s WIN (Women Innovating Now) Lab, an accelerator for women entrepreneurs.

Alumni Career Advice

Molly Fisher ’08 & ’12 M.S., chief of staff to the CFO at Dig Inn, speaks about current events in the workplace, setting yourself apart from other applicants and how to thrive in your career by taking your skill set across multiple industries.

Fisher holds degrees in accounting and finance, as well as an M.S. in Accounting from the Whitman School. She also holds an MBA from University of Pennsylvania-Wharton School. Fisher’s career began with an internship at Goldman Sachs as a Summer Analyst. Upon graduation, she joined Goldman full-time as an Associate. After 5 years, she moved to HelloFresh as the Director, then Senior Director of Finance. Currently, Fisher is the Chief of Staff to the CFO at Dig Inn – a company that focuses on farm-to-table food for restaurants in the northeast.

Essential Skills that Can Propel Your Career in Any Industry

Oriana Fuentes ’12, co-found and COO of Emptor, shares how she was able to propel her career forward with skills she learned at Whitman.

Fuentes holds a dual degree in finance from the Whitman School of Management and economics from the College of Arts & Sciences. During her time at Syracuse University, she developed a reputation as a stand-out student through her work as a senior analyst in the Orange Value Fund, who graduated summa cum laude, was part of the Renee Crown Honors program and a multi-scholarship award winner. Fuentes is a member of the Young Whitman Advisory Council (YWAC).

The Value of Entrepreneurial Thinking and Problem Solving

Mike Gursha ’10, chairman and CEO of Rookie Road, shares with students how the skills you gain from your Whitman experience, particularly entrepreneurship and problem solving, can be woven into your career path and can be marketable across any industry.

Gursha graduated from both Whitman and S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication with a dual degree in entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises and television, radio and film. He is also the inaugural and outgoing chair of the Young Whitman Advisory Council. Gursha is a member of two boards; America on Tech (a non-profit that prepares the next generation of leaders by creating pathways into degrees and careers in technology) and PowerSpike ( a live streaming influencer marketing company).

Leveraging Your Skills and Embracing New Career Opportunities

Kelly Ryan Jaffe ’11, ’12 M.S., tax marketing senior manager at PwC, shares her experience with leveraging her skills and embracing new career opportunities. 

Jaffe studied accounting as an undergraduate and also earned an M.S. in Accounting from the Whitman School. Upon graduation in 2012, she joined PwC in an accounting role as an assurance associate, and over the last eight years has held multiple roles within the organization. The experience Jaffe has accumulated over the course of her career, and her willingness to embrace new and diverse opportunities, has allowed Jaffe to navigate her career path into the area of marketing.

Navigating Your Career Search and Transferring Your Skills and Interests to the Work Place

Margo Konugres ’12, senior managing consultant at IBM, shares her experience navigating the career search process and transferring skills and interests to the workplace. This presentation was developed to share best practices and equip students with strategies they can employ on their own path to success, especially in this unprecedented environment!

Konugres earned degrees in management and marketing management. Upon graduation in 2012, she joined IBM as a consultant and over the last eight years has held multiple positions within the organization. The experience she gained navigating her career path while focusing on keeping her skills sharp and aligning her job with her interests, has allowed Konugres to move into a senior role with IBM.

Networking: Stand Out & Break Through – Making the Most of Whitman Connect and Other Platforms to Grow Your Career Connections

Josh Fishman ’12, senior brand manager at Unilever, shares insights from his decade of marketing and branding experience that will help students stand out and breakthrough to grow their network.

Fishman earned degrees in marketing and entrepreneurship at the Whitman School. He is also the incoming chair of the Young Whitman Advisory Council. Fishman serves as the senior brand manager for Unilever’s Suave product line. 

Are you interested in learning more about how you can become involved in Whitman Connect or other student networking opportunities? Alumni who are interested in connecting should contact Alison Kessler atahkessle@syr.edu.

Kimmy Kimball