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In other news: April 2024

Inaugural Kenan-Flagler Spirit Week 2024

Giving spirit

Record-breaking numbers are only part of the story.

During GiveUNC on March 26, the University received 9,960 gifts totaling $8,586,254. The UNC Kenan-Flagler community led campus with a generous $1.5 million from 1,079 gifts.

The spirit of the Business School community shined brightest throughout the inaugural UNC Kenan-Flagler Spirit Week, held in conjunction with GiveUNC. Hundreds of students, staff, faculty and alumni connected with the School through everything from virtual roundtables to events held by regional alumni chapters. During the week, over 80 students were paired with alumni for flash mentorship sessions.

Dedicated staff and faculty were honored by colleagues. Alumni reached out to classmates during the week just to catch up. The UNC Wood Center for Real Estate Studies celebrated Professor David Hartzell and Associate Director of Undergraduate Programming Lynn Tocci through reflections from current students and alumni. Students such as Jesus Fernandez (MBA ’25) recognized mentors like Paul Howanitz (MBA ’15) and made gifts in their names. “Here’s to all the special mentors and sponsors challenging us to be the best versions of ourselves every day!” Fernandez wrote on LinkedIn.

During Spirit Week and every week, this is UNC Kenan-Flagler.

Thought leaders

  • A business of health minor launching in January 2025, open to undergraduate non-business majors and providing an additional area of emphasis for business majors, will focus on pressing business challenges in healthcare and offer an overview of U.S. healthcare policy. The minor is a collaborative effort between the Business School, the UNC Gillings School of Global Health, UNC’s Department of Economics and Department of Philosophy, UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media and the Carolina Health Informatics Program.“The real innovation in the minor is the ability to bring together a diverse set of students with varied experiences to learn together,” says Zoey Kernodle, director of UNC Kenan-Flagler’s Center for the Business of Health. “Business leaders, clinicians, pharmacists, public health leaders, engineers, ethicists — you name it, they all need to be able to work together and see the bigger picture.”
  • UNC Kenan-Flagler Energy Center Director and Professor Stephen Arbogast hosted two panels at the UNC Cleantech Summit. The summit, organized by the Ackerman Center for Environmental Stability and the UNC Institute for the Environment, included discussions on sustainability at the center of business transformation and forms of innovative energy use.
  • Professor Jan-Benedict Steenkamp talked with 97.9 The Hill’s Aaron Keck about his new book “Warrior, Queen, Scientist, Activist: Gritty Women Who Bent the Arc of History.”
  • The Fulbright Humphrey Enhancement Workshop, co-directed by Professor Daniel Ringel, brought together professionals from 24 countries to learn about generative artificial intelligence (AI). “By empowering Humphrey Fellows with the knowledge of generative AI, we’re sending a powerful message from Carolina,” said Ringel. “We’re proving that generative AI impacts everyone, and together, we can harness it to build a better world for the people, by the people.
The 2024 Developing Women Leaders event focused on AI and empowering female business leaders within the growing field, highlighted by speakers Phaedra Boinodiris (MBA ‘08), third from left.

The annual Developing Women Leaders event focused on artificial intelligence. Speakers included Phaedra Boinodiris (MBA ‘08), second from right. 

An eye on AI

This year’s Developing Women Leaders event focused on AI and empowering female business leaders within the growing field, highlighted by speakers Phaedra Boinodiris (MBA ‘08), author of “AI for the Rest of Us,” Professor Ivonne Chirino-Klevans and Carolina Women in Business (CWIB) President Farisha Ishak (MBA ’24).

“By actively advocating for change and holding AI developers accountable, we can work towards a future where AI reflects the diversity of the world we live in,” Anusha A S Kamath (MBA ’24) posted about the event, sponsored by Student Teams Achieving Results (STAR), CWIB, Procter & Gamble, 100 Women and Eastman.

“The guest speakers were incredible and dove into the controversies surrounding how we use AI from within our society, jobs and personal lives,” Avery Elder (BSBA ’26) shared on LinkedIn.

Standout students and alumni

Matt Kalavsky (BSBA '01)

Matt Kalavsky (BSBA ’01). Courtesy of Disney

Stephanie Headley (left) and Dean Mary Margaret Frank during an April 2024 Dean's Speaker Series fireside chat.

Stephanie Headley (left) and Dean Mary Margaret Frank

The beauty of resilience

Stephanie Headley (MBA ’03), senior vice president of North American skincare and global Olay at Procter & Gamble, made quite the impact when she returned to campus as part of the Dean’s Speakers Series hosted by the Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise.

Professor Sekou Bermiss praised the “insightful and informative discussion” on the intricacies of brand management, the importance of engaging with those with different opinions, how to become a more resilient leader — and the correct amount of sunscreen to use.

“Strategic, empathetic, focused and charismatic, Stephanie exemplifies what it means to lead,” Director of Development Katie Masood shared on LinkedIn. “When I think about the type of leader I want to be, Stephanie Headley is one of my role models.”

Spotted on social

  • Crystal Reed, associate director of MAC admissions, celebrated the inaugural Business of Being First event that focused on supporting first-generation students navigating college and the professional world, an idea she had about a year ago. The event included a panel discussion with Ivan Lujan (MAC ’05), Urantuya Purev-Ochir (MBA ’25) and Nora Elsayed (BSBA ’25). “As a first-gen myself, I recalled the challenges of navigating college and graduate school without familial guidance,” Reed shared. “Recognizing the importance of a supportive community, I envisioned creating a platform for resource-sharing and support.”
  • Jack Healy (MBA ’24) marked nearly wrapping up his MBA journey by celebrating “an exciting chapter unfolding in Warsaw,” he wrote on LinkedIn. “I find myself, yet again, immensely grateful to UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School for the opportunity to broaden my horizons through studying abroad. My MBA journey will culminate with this incredible experience in Poland, and I can’t think of a better way to wrap up my MBA.”

    Mary Esposito (BSBA '26), left, was invited to the White House in 2025 to discuss the U.S. student loan debt crisis and meet Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona (right).

    Mary Esposito (BSBA ’26) at the White House with Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona

  • Mary Esposito (BSBA ’26) shared her experience of being invited to the White House to discuss the U.S. student loan debt crisis and meet Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
  • A group of MBA students led by Climate Interactive Executive Director Andrew Jones participated in a world climate simulation, talking on roles of “national delegates” to propose actions taken to address global climate change. “This was one of the most engaging learning opportunities I’ve had at the Business School,” Hrushi Surendranath (MBA ’24) shared on LinkedIn. “An invaluable and thought-provoking experience!”
  • Gemelli Biotech CEO Matt Mitcho (MBA ’06) reflected on returning to his alma mater to teach a course on healthcare entrepreneurship and strategic value creation after working closely with the Carolina Angel Network during his company’s early financing phase.
  • Jared Molton (MBA ’15) reflected on his 10-year journey going from full-time magician to joining Udacity as its vice president of consumer, including advice for those seeking tech jobs and what he learned through the Full-Time MBA Program.
  • Lynch Mykins Structural Engineers shared behind-the-scenes photos from the under-construction Steven D. Bell Hall.