The Richmond MBA 35 Under 35

We are pleased to announce The Richmond MBA's first ever "35 Under 35" in honor of the 35th anniversary of the naming of the Richard S. Reynolds Graduate School of Business at University of Richmond. Below you will find 35 outstanding young professionals who are students or graduates of The Richmond MBA. These 21 men and 14 women have already accomplished a great deal both personally and professionally. They work in finance, marketing, operations, consulting and many other domains and their firms deal in healthcare, defense, advertising, energy and several other industries. 

In the profiles shared below you can read about their favorite memories of the MBA program as well as the volunteer activities that keep them busy. Together, their responses provide a glimpse into the rich conversation that is a hallmark of our academic and professional community.

Andreas D. Addison, '12: Civic Innovator, City of Richmond
Addison

Age: 33

Describe Your Current Job: I work at City Hall to bring best practices and new ways of thinking to how we operate as a City, striving to improve customer service, operational effectiveness and the overall quality of life in Richmond. 

Favorite Volunteer Activity: Offering my musical talents in church as part of the worship team for Commonwealth Chapel is amazing. Setting up the stage at the National Theater to play guitar in the band is a very rewarding activity.

Favorite MBA Memory: Drafting and implementing the MBA Oath for The Richmond MBA is a moment that will remain with me forever. Creating something lasting and collectively with my classmates and putting it into action was incredible.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The Richmond MBA provided me a forum to refine my abilities, education and experience in a well-rounded and diverse environment that has prepared for an upward trajectory in my life and career. 

Walt Arnold, '07: Manager, Law Administration, Altria Client Services
Arnold

Age: 32

Describe Your Current Job: The group I manage focuses on the business of Law so our attorneys can focus on the practice of Law. My job involves coordinating budget submissions, running financial analysis and ensuring outside counsel compliance with our Guidelines.   

Favorite Volunteer Activity: Volunteering at University of Richmond with Dr. Candace Deans to develop international immersion programs for undergraduate business students. Exposing students to business executives overseas gives them a global perspective that will greatly enhance their ability to succeed in today’s marketplace.

Favorite MBA Memory: Opening Residency. It brought peers and professors together and created friendships that will last a lifetime. The mutual respect and admiration established between everyone created the baseline for my entire MBA experience and kept me invested in class discussion and group presentations. 

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The Richmond MBA taught me how to think strategically and provide leadership in the real world of business. I learned time management, enhanced my presentation skills and learned how to better collaborate with others from different disciplines. The program inspired me to continuously seek opportunities for improvement and gave me the confidence needed to champion initiatives that generate value at my company. 

Lauren Bifulco, '12: Talent Management Consultant, Snagajob
Bifulco

Age: 28

Describe Your Current Job: I execute and build partnerships with franchise organizations to implement SaaS based human capital management software to automate the recruiting, hiring and on-boarding process from start to finish. 

 Favorite Volunteer Activity: I love being able to walk/run dogs from local shelters and bring them to adoption events in hopes of finding forever homes for all of the rescue dogs in the area!

Favorite MBA Memory: When I realized that upon arriving in Argentina for International Residency, my luggage did not make the trip. My classmates instantly cheered me up, distracted me from the stress, and made me realize that first 3 days in a foreign country without necessities doesn't mean the trip is ruined!

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The MBA gave me the opportunity for one of the best life changes I've made. After my first year of the program, I was able to find a better career path for myself that fostered my development and professional growth. I made connections in class and during events that have allowed me to create a strong network for professional advice.

Meghan Blake, '09: Senior Consultant, Deloitte Consulting, LLP
Blake

Age: 33

Describe Your Current Job: As a strategy consultant with Deloitte, I assist clients in solving complex issues, ranging from international screening solutions for government agencies to teller system installations for banking institutions. My role also includes a focus on marketing and communications for the firm’s Technology Nerve Center.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: As a member of the Board of Directors for Ten Thousand Villages’ Richmond store since 2009, I work to promote the awareness of fair trade within the community.   

Favorite MBA Memory: My favorite memory was the International Residency to the Brazilian Business School in Sao Paulo. We were able to tackle real-world business problems head-on, while at the same time forming strong bonds with fellow students that will last a lifetime.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The Richmond MBA has opened doors for me in terms of transitioning my career from the field of auditing to strategy consulting, with an emphasis in marketing/communications. The experience afforded me the opportunity to learn from phenomenal professors and work in classroom settings with exceptional peers. Challenging course work and team building prepared me for my career in the financial services consulting industry.

George H. Cauble, III, '06: Sr. Manager, Financial Planning, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
Cauble

Age: 34

Describe Your Current Job: Oversight of the financial planning and managerial accounting functions, which create and monitor the Bank's operating/capital budget and forecast as well as provide consultative services and analytic support for financial and cost accounting issues.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: I recently enjoyed assisting the wonderful staff at my daughter's preschool for a holiday fair. Working with three, four and five year olds certainly kept me on my toes!

Favorite MBA Memory: Presenting the output of the capstone project to the organization and witnessing the implementation of selected business model changes.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The MBA clearly helped open doors for interviews, but the most significant aspect was the influence of the program on my approach to planning and problem solving. Whether through the rigor learned in Strategic Management or the tactics gained in Negotiations, the diverse course work coupled with the shared real-life experiences of my classmates ensures a strategic approach with a wider scope.

Michael Dongieux, '10: Founder & CEO, Fulcrum Collaborations
Dongieux

Age: 29

Describe Your Current Job: I head strategy and channel development for our flagship SaaS software product, which integrates and automates the entire mission-critical facility ecosystem for global firms highly-dependent on their technology infrastructure for core operations.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: Partnering with Capital One and CVLAS in bringing a new SaaS software product to market that matches volunteer attorneys with those who need legal aid most, but can’t afford it.

Favorite MBA Memory: In my first MBA course, financial accounting, we worked hand-in-hand with 4 current CFOs of major corporations, during the real estate market collapse of 2008. It was a trying time in our nation's history, but the dots that were connected for me through that real-world learning process opened my eyes to a more integrative way of thinking about business.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: As an entrepreneur my reach constantly exceeds my grasp. The Richmond MBA gave me a great head start in building a successful software company by helping me to grasp a broad, interconnected set of business concepts. It also gave me confidence in my ability to continuously adapt and succeed, no matter how our industry or the economy changes.

Elizabeth Ebanks, '06: Partner, Labor & Employment Team, LeClair Ryan
Ebanks

Age: 34

Describe Your Current Job: Employment litigation and counseling of discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wage claims before courts and administrative agencies. Also, represent employers in breach of contract, non-competition, trade secret and business conspiracy matters. 

Favorite Volunteer Activity: I serve on the Board of a fantastic non-profit organization, HomeAgain, which serves the homeless needs of Richmond residents and seeks to eradicate the cycle of homelessness.

Favorite MBA Memory: Hands down: the International Residency Program to Brazil. We learned to effectively integrate American business principles in a foreign culture and made life-long friendships in the process.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: I likely would never have chosen employment law but for the MBA program. Having no business background when entering the program, it gave me the tools I needed to intelligently evaluate an employer's liability from both a business and legal perspective and develop practical solutions. This ability instills confidence in my clients, resulting in repeat business and happy clients.

Catherine B. Epps, '07: Supervisor, Fleet Systems & Specifications, Dominion
Epps

Age: 34

Describe Your Current Job: I supervise a team responsible for the acquisition, licensing/registering/permitting, financing and disposal of more than 5300 vehicles and pieces of equipment in Dominion’s Fleet.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: Mentoring. I enjoy helping others learn about themselves and their environments and grow as a result. Through the process I find that I learn a lot and grow myself.   

Favorite MBA Memory: Though there are several, I would have to choose the International Residency. The opportunity to travel to Brazil to learn about not only business but about people and the culture as well was amazing. There are several experiences and humorous memories that I gained while travelling that I will treasure. 

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The MBA has changed my career by expanding my knowledge, creating more opportunities and exposing me to a great network of very talented and influential people.

Olga Eskinazi, '11: Founder & CEO, Brand Bridge Group
Eskinazi

Age: 26

Describe Your Current Job: I help small businesses and non-profit organizations develop brand strategy and marketing tactics in order to generate greater awareness about their products or services and help grow their sales. 

Favorite Volunteer Activity: I enjoy volunteering with the elderly - visiting nursing homes and rehabilitation centers to spend time with people that may not have a lot of family visiting or just need someone to chat with. 

Favorite MBA Memory: Going to Argentina! The International Residency was fantastic. We had a great group of people that went on the trip and it really helped our MBA class bond. We learned a lot about the culture of the country, had an amazing experience working with local companies, and had a great time traveling around the country. 

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The Richmond MBA helped me connect with great people, including students, faculty and the entrepreneurial community. Most importantly, at University of Richmond, I learned business skills across a wide range of disciplines which, combined with my professional experience, gave me the confidence to start my own business.

Christopher Flater, '11: Senior Finance Manager, MeadWestvaco
Flater

Age: 30 

Describe Your Current Job: I provide financial leadership to MWV's Tobacco packaging business. I partner with business managers to set our long term strategic goals and manage our day-to-day execution toward said goals.    

Favorite Volunteer Activity: I recently participated in Richmond's Junior Achievement program where I taught kindergarteners to count, tell time and read children's books. The experience was challenging and rewarding as children are incredibly curious and unpredictable.      

Favorite MBA Memory: I can think of many but what stands out most in my mind is our international residency trip to Cordoba, Argentina. During the trip I learned a lot about Argentinian culture and helped a local business plan for expansion into the U.S. greeting card market. I also built strong relationships with many of my classmates that continue on to this day.     

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: From Dr. Coughlan's negotiations class which came in handy during a recent pricing negotiation with a major European customer of ours to the failed business venture that I started in Jeff Pollack’s New Ventures class, the experience and life lessons are priceless. I learned a lot about what it takes to be a successful business leader and established many important life-long relationships in the process.   

Matthew Gallagher, '12: General Manager, Infrastructure Protection, Safran - Morpho Detection Inc.
Gallagher

Age: 34

Describe Your Current Job: Lead North American team directly accountable for $33.6M revenue target; responsible for influencing and shaping the strategic direction of product development, pricing and promotional actions and overall go to market strategy.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: Taking time to meet with the elderly and read to them – giving to those that gave and unfortunately don’t get to spend enough time with those they love and miss.

Favorite MBA Memory: So many classes were impactful in helping me more fully understand business, but the memory I will carry with me is the Thursday night get-togethers…that still continue monthly.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: Two fold, it has helped me establish a greater network in Richmond with incredibly high caliber individuals who I can discuss work with, bounce business ideas off of or just talk about the Redskins.  The second is it gives me a much stronger understanding of managing businesses and allows me to ask and answer questions daily in a more meaningful way. 

Grant Garcia, '09: Securitized Products Sales, Credit Suisse
Garcia

Age: 29

Describe Your Current Job: I work in the Fixed Income division at Credit Suisse and am responsible for institutional client coverage in Securitized Products where I transact mortgage and asset-backed securities.  

Favorite Volunteer Activity: Giving back to Richmond by mentoring and advising current undergraduate and MBA students in their career planning.

Favorite MBA Memory: Visiting the rooftop of Hotel Unique in Sao Paulo, Brazil with a great International Residency team.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The Richmond MBA provided me with the educational foundation necessary to be successful on Wall Street. Faculty members like Professor Earl challenged me during the program and helped make me the person I am today. The program also paired me with a mentor who advised me on the finance interview process, and ultimately helped me land a job in New York. 

Lieutenant Jetti L. Gibson, '09: Defense Counsel, Defense Services Office Southeast (DET Pensacola), Judge Advocate General's Corps, United States Navy
Gibson

Age: 30

Describe Your Current Job: I provide legal advice and representation of those accused of criminal charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Represent sailors and marines at courts martial and administrative proceedings. Additionally, I perform collateral duties (e.g., Assistant Command Fitness Leader, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Victim Advocate, Social Committee) required of Naval Officers.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: I volunteered at the Wreaths Across America ceremony, honoring those who have given their lives in service of this great country. I dedicated and laid down the Navy wreath on behalf of all of those veterans who have gone before us in the U.S. Navy, and who rest eternally at Fort Barrancas cemetery on board Naval Air Station, Pensacola.

Favorite MBA Memory: Wow, so many! The 2009 Brazil trip will forever contain one of my “best days ever!” We began the day by touring a local art and food festival (my art still hangs in my living room!), and then went on to Brazilian barbeque, pool day and soccer scrimmages at the Head of the Brazilian Business School’s house. We got to know our student counterparts at the Brazilian Business School throughout the week, and later went to a soccer game together! The International Residency is something that is invaluable in teaching business skills and understanding across cultures in today’s global economy.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: As a Naval Officer—regardless of whether you are a line officer, Nurse Corps, or JAG Corps—you have certain “collateral duties” which you must perform. I was selected to be the 2011-2012 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program Regional Coordinator. I was responsible for managing 13 tax sites, spanning four states, and supervising over 2000 volunteers. The only way I was able to do this—and do it successfully—was because of my MBA training in leadership and coordinating and managing various types of people. Already in my brief career as a Naval Officer, the skills I gained from my Richmond MBA have been absolutely vital in my successes thus far. I received a rare mid-tour personal decoration for completing this task—the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal—and I truly believe that The Richmond MBA deserves much of the credit for this accolade.

Katie Gilstrap, '05: Cofounder, Lift Caregiving & Adjunct Professor, University of Richmond & Virginia Commonwealth University
Gilstrap

Age: 34

Describe Your Current Job: I oversee the development and growth of Lift Caregiving and serve as an adjunct professor in the University of Richmond and VCU business schools, in VCU's MHA program and in University of Richmond's Institute of Philanthropy.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: I love serving as a mentor in The Richmond MBA Mentorship Program. The participants are such talented and lovely people, and it is a real privilege to work with them and watch them grow! 

Favorite MBA Memory: I feel very fortunate to have the privilege to continue making MBA memories every day! As an adjunct professor in the Robins School of Business, a Capstone Advisor and an Instructor in the Executive Education program, I have been able to remain connected with the program and work regularly with the students, faculty and staff. As a student, the International Residency was a life changing experience. It challenged me to get out of my comfort zone, make my first international trip, delegate responsibilities to my team at the office and experience an entirely new level of learning. 

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The Richmond MBA is like a bookmark. Everything that has come since I entered the program has been strengthened because of my participation in it. I met people that are still friends, mentors and advisors. I learned things that I was able to apply on the job, which enabled me to advance in my career. And I found a love of teaching, which has become a beloved and increasingly important part of my life. In a nutshell, I can't (and wouldn't want to) imagine my life without the program!

Sam Gottwald, '13: Vice President, VenGott LLC
Gottwald

Age: 29

Describe Your Current Job: I manage the acquisition process, including investment analysis, contract negotiations and integration of small company buyouts into VenGott’s private equity portfolio and monitor the performance of the company’s alternative assets portfolio. 

Favorite Volunteer Activity: Serving on the investment committee for a local charitable foundation and helping support the James River Association’s efforts to protect the James River.

Favorite MBA Memory: Working with my teammates to win the ACG Cup and the Opening Residency competitions.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The Richmond MBA provided me the opportunity to learn an appropriate blend of the hard and soft skills necessary to solve problems and be successful in the business world. Most importantly, I was able to establish a network and build relationships with some of my peers that will serve as a valuable resource throughout my career.

Matt Hannay, '13: Senior Financial Analyst, Markel
Hannay

Age: 31

Describe Your Current Job: Financial planning and analysis at a financial holding company.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: Bike MS Virginia 2010

Favorite MBA Memory: Winning the 2012 Richmond ACG Cup with five other classmates from the same Opening Residency.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The Richmond MBA has provided me with a completely different perspective upon markets and how the businesses within them function. I have built a toolset for better quantitative analysis, learned the soft skills necessary to succeed, and made many great friends. The experience within and takeaways from the Richmond MBA make me feel very well positioned for my future career.

Juri Hirschey, '07: SVP, Head of Mortgage Servicing, RBS Citizens N.A.
Hirschey

Age: 34

Describe Your Current Job: I manage the servicing portfolio for RBS Citizens N.A.’s mortgage business.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: Preparing meals for the Ronald McDonald House.

Favorite MBA Memory: Shopping the local markets in Sao Paolo, Brazil and buying so many purses/shoes I couldn’t bring them all back home.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: We built friendships and relationships that have endured 5+ years after graduation. We have been able to enjoy each other's weddings, babies, career changes and the many other blessings life has brought.

Michael Johnson, '12: Sourcing Manager, Capital One
Johnson

Age: 30

Describe Your Current Job: I’m responsible for the sourcing efforts for our Corporate Real Estate division. This includes all deals related to design and construction, associate facing services, business services and facilities management.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: Historically, I’ve focused my volunteer efforts with the United Way. Since moving to Richmond and meeting my fiancée, I’m now more involved in supporting K-9 rescues and fostering beagles.

Favorite MBA Memory: The International Residency was one of my favorite MBA memories. The International Residency gave us the opportunity to temporarily step away from our work and personal lives, and focus all of our attention on a real-world problem that a company was facing. Not only did it allow us to fully immerse ourselves with the problem at hand but it also gave me the opportunity to build upon and strengthen the relationships with my MBA peers.  

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The Richmond MBA has deepened my understanding of the business world. Before, I never fully understood how all parts of a company worked in unison to achieve its objectives and align with its strategy. I now have a better understanding for how strengths and opportunities are identified within a business, and how these contribute to the overall strategy and success.  

George P. Kite, III, '10: Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Call Federal Credit Union
Kite

Age: 31

Describe Your Current Job: I serve on the senior management team with primarily responsibilities including asset-liability management, investment management, and strategic planning. The accounting, marketing and finance departments are direct reports to the CFO.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: My volunteer efforts are focused on elevating the importance of financial literacy in our public schools. I truly enjoy speaking to young people about personal financial management and personal responsibility.

Favorite MBA Memory: Two favorite memories: 1) 2009 trip to Tsinghua University in Beijing, PRC and 2) Capstone project with Virginia Life Science Investments, LLC.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The value that I received from The Richmond MBA was in regard to lasting friendships with classmates, a focus on strategic planning and process improvement and a critical thinking rigor that will remain applicable and relevant indefinitely. I am also very grateful to be working with two of my fellow classmates as a result of the connections that I made.

Kimberly Kortash, '07: Owner & Lead Strategist, Brandekko
Kortash

Age: 34

Describe Your Current Job: I’m a corporate storyteller. I help companies define and tell their story so they become more memorable, whether it’s through their brand, collateral, presentations, event management, campaigns, you name it.
 
Favorite Volunteer Activity: I offer ongoing pro bono marketing services for a nonprofit. It’s rewarding to do what I love while helping an organization whose purpose is to do good in the world.

Favorite MBA Memory: Hands down, the in-class discussions, and the communal learning they encouraged between cohorts. I still keep in touch with many of my classmates; they’ve become part of my trusted professional or personal networks.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: It’s given me the confidence to start my own marketing consultancy, and the skills to run it effectively and profitably. The program’s given me a deeper understanding of business that’s applied to the creative aspects of marketing. It’s a combination clients love, because all our recommendations have an underlying motivation of driving their company revenue. 

Connie Mattox, '11: CEO, Brooks Adams Research
Mattox

Age: 32

Describe Your Current Job: As CEO of Brooks Adams Research, I lead a team of research analysts and marketing consultants focused on providing consumer and market insights and strategic marketing consulting; we specialize in businesses serving consumers aged 55+.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: Mentoring University of Richmond undergraduate students via the EAC Mentoring Program and participating in special events such as Q-Camp and the Career Services Advisory Council.

Favorite MBA Memory: Presenting my Capstone project - a brand re-launch plan for a sports apparel business (owned by Spider alum). The Capstone truly brought together all the pieces of the MBA curriculum and challenged me to synthesize three years of learning into one business problem.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The Richmond MBA was a real springboard for my career. Prior to earning my MBA, I was a seasoned market researcher; the MBA experience prepared me to lead a growing research company in a way that is both agile and profitable. Additionally, the professional connections the Richmond MBA provided enabled me to grow my research team and my client base. 

Gray McDermid, '11: Associate, Boxwood Partners
McDermid

Age: 29

Describe Your Current Job: As a middle market investment banking associate, I help small business owners devise and execute strategies to maximize the value of their companies. 

Favorite Volunteer Activity: Co-founder of the Richmond Military Society, which helps veterans transition into corporate careers. 

Favorite MBA Memory: International Residency.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: After private equity and wealth management internships as an undergrad, I was confident I would go into business upon graduation. Instead, I found myself in the military after 9/11 as an Air Force Aircraft Maintenance Officer. The Richmond MBA provided invaluable networking with peers and local business leaders, which spring-boarded me into the business community.

John J. McNamara, IV, '09: Real Estate Manager, CarMax Auto Superstores Inc.
McNamara

Age: 32

Describe Your Current Job: I acquire and develop commercial real estate for CarMax’s national new store growth program. My duties include market analysis, site selection, deal negotiation, due diligence management and political entitlements management.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: I am the chairperson of The Richmond MBA Alumni Society’s annual charity golf tournament. I am a member of the CarMax Foundations’ Richmond Giving Committee. This committee annually vets grant requests and awards money to scores of local nonprofits. 

Favorite MBA Memory: The International Residency was my favorite memory during my time in The Richmond MBA program. This trip provided exposure to the culture, the government and the business climate of Brazil, one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The International Residency also provided a great opportunity for fun and socializing with many of the friends I had made during my time in the program.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The Richmond MBA has changed my career by providing me the level of knowledge needed to understand all of the different facets of the CarMax organization. I can confidently communicate with people from all the different business functions within the company, and I can effectively communicate with, and directly engage, people in all levels of management, including senior management.

Jason Repak, '12: President, TACK Holdings, Inc.
Repak

Age: 27

Describe Your Current Job: I lead a consumer finance company specializing in subprime lending in South Carolina. I manage all aspects of the business with a focus on raising capital, monitoring collections, developing strategies and regulations compliance.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: Until I relocated, I was a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters in Petersburg. Watching my Little grow and develop over the two years I spent with him was very rewarding.

Favorite MBA Memory: My favorite MBA memory was the International Program. My class went to Hungary with a few of us managing a couple of extra days in Croatia. I enjoyed getting to know my classmates on the trip, and the experience I gained in dealing with real issues faced by companies in other parts of the world will help me for many years to come.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: I used the tools gained from the program to evaluate future goals and priorities. My wife and I decided to relocate to SC and start a business. Now I eagerly arrive at the office to meet each day’s challenges and am happy being surrounded by family. Without The Richmond MBA I would not have had the abilities, tools or confidence to make this decision.

Alice Buchanan Scott, '09: Vice President, Virginia Manufacturers Association
Scott

Age: 33  

Describe Your Current Job: I ensure Virginia remains the best place for manufacturers to do business in the US, let alone the global marketplace, through government affairs, workforce development, business services and professional development opportunities.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: Leading the Richmond Kappa Kappa Gamma Alumnae Association to excellence in both sisterhood and philanthropy through the Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) outreach as well as supporting the active chapter at UR.

Favorite MBA Memory: I am blessed by the amazing friendships I made during my MBA Opening Residency that lasted not only throughout my time in the MBA program but have continued far beyond.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: Opportunities that I could never have imagined opened up for me since I embarked on The Richmond MBA journey and have led me to a new career focus and pursuit. I truly believe that I have become a more valuable asset because of my experiences during the MBA program.

Michael Shockey, '12: Consultant, Dominion Digital
Shockey

Age: 27

Describe Your Current Job: I utilize my experience in process engineering and strong interpersonal skills to help facilitate change and drive operational excellence by improving the integration of people, process, and technology for Fortune 1000 companies.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: 1) Shopping for toys and art supplies and delivering these items throughout the year to the Child Life department at Children's Hospital of Richmond-VCU 2) Teaching the Personal Finance curriculum through Junior Achievement.   

Favorite MBA Memory: Meeting my beautiful wife who helped introduce me to many wonderful people, professors, and events during our University of Richmond MBA career. 

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The MBA provided me a great opportunity to learn from both coursework and classmates. With many students working full-time, the classroom is turned into a leadership laboratory. This unique learning experience refined my time management and interpersonal skills, improved my business acumen, and also provided me an opportunity to further my leadership skills and knowledge through current real-world situations being presented by my classmates.

Jeff Snyder, '09: Senior Product Manager, US Books, Amazon
Snyder

Age: 34

Describe Your Current Job: I lead the design and implementation of optimized customer experiences for the US Books Store on Amazon.com through the enhancement of the US Books Catalog and Data Quality initiatives.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: Due to a personal connection, I enjoy participating in the National MS Society campaigns and events.

Favorite MBA Memory: Bar none, my favorite MBA memory was the International Residency in Rouen, France. Not only did I have the opportunity to work with a foreign company assisting them in solving a “real-world” business problem, the relationships I forged during the trip and process became iron-clad. 

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The Richmond MBA augmented my professional life by providing a depth and breadth of experiences unobtainable in my professional life. The coursework, engagement with other like-minded professionals and relationships gained through the experience have provided me with a more complete and holistic view of what defines success in business. It has opened new doorways, allowing for new journeys and experiences.

Alex Solomon, '11: Financial Analyst, Investment Banking, Cary Street Partners LLC
Solomon

Age: 30

Describe Your Current Job: I’m privileged to work with exceptionally bright individuals to help our clientele achieve their goals related to M&A, capital raising, risk management and strategic and financial advisory. The work is quite fulfilling because helping people is at its core. 

Favorite Volunteer Activity: As far as organized volunteer work goes, I’ve enjoyed Junior Achievement. Working with kids is rewarding. It’s funny to observe the kids’ raw intellectual horsepower. It’s also important for me to remember that each day is an opportunity to be helpful to others.

Favorite MBA Memory: Riding horses in Argentina.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: One key theme from my MBA experience is that opportunities and challenges don’t come in a straight line. I’ve landed consulting jobs, met wonderful people, taken exceptionally valuable classes that were a challenge and struggled with other classes I thought would be a cinch. None of it followed a specific schedule or formula. So, I think being open to new things, reminding myself that there is plenty to learn, is extremely important. Oh, and the time management and organizational behavior stuff is actually really, really important.

Melissa Sorbello, '07: VP/Director of Retail Bank IT Portfolio & Delivery Management, Capital One Financial Corporation
Sorbello

Age: 33

Describe Your Current Job: I am accountable for the delivery of high-priority initiatives supporting our Retail Bank segment. I lead a team of talented project managers who make the wheels of project delivery turn.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: I have volunteered with Junior Achievement over the past 9 years, and I am a strong believer in the power of financial literacy of our children.

Favorite MBA Memory: Opening Residency. It was the start of several life-long friendships for me.  

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The MBA challenged me to be more holistic and cross-functional in my methods. It has honed my ability to look at a situation from several different angles, process impacts to several different stakeholders, successfully negotiate resolutions among conflicting parties, and confidently communicate upward and outward.

Kendree Thieringer, '13: Buyer, Local Engagement, The Martin Agency
Thieringer

Age: 28

Describe Your Current Job: Strategically invest client’s advertising budgets based on target audience, objectives and business goals. Negotiate competitive pricing and placement of commercial inventory. Activate local opportunities to enhance national brand presence within local communities.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: I am consistently involved in children’s charities. For the past several years, I have worked with Fight SMA and MDA to help raise funds to fight these terrible diseases.

Favorite MBA Memory: My favorite MBA memory is the Opening Residency. As our introduction to the MBA program, we were thrown into a fast and furious project which resulted in immediate bonding and impressive strategic thinking. Diverse business experiences brought different and interesting perspectives to the table and lifelong relationships were established. It’s amazing to see what a team of Richmond MBA students can come up with in a week’s time. 

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: Through my international residency in Brazil, the MBA program has not only helped broaden my professional business foundation, but has also given me exposure to the differences within the international business community. Visiting Brazilian companies, such as Natura and Embrear, proved to be an invaluable experience which helped expand my international perspective on a personal, professional and cultural level. 

Nathan Toft, '10: Digital Marketing Manager, Global Adversiting/Content Excellence, The Coca-Cola Company
Toft

Age: 32

Describe Your Current Job: I help the Coca-Cola company create inspiring technology-enabled branded experiences all over the world, and measure their success.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: I'm training/fundraising to run a challenging obstacle race for charity in a couple of months, and have recruited co-workers to join me! 

Favorite MBA Memory: My group presented a new product idea in Dr. Babb's marketing class by performing an SNL-style "fake news" comedy sketch. It was one of the more fun presentations I've given in school, and a clue to me that maybe I should think about a career in advertising. 

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: I think people go to graduate school for different reasons. I personally had a dream of working in a totally different field (marketing/ consulting) than the scientific research and development area I'd worked in for 6 years. Through the learnings and preparation I did in the classroom, a lot of extracurricular volunteer work, and some fantastic mentorship from classmates and Richmond community members, I left Richmond 2 years later with a great base upon which to build.

Vidal J. Torres Jr., Esq., '03: Associate General Counsel, Genworth Financial, Inc.
Torres

Age: 34

Describe Your Current Job: I am the Associate General Counsel responsible for Mergers and Acquisitions, Financial Corporate Transactions and the Corporate Governance oversight of Genworth's domestic life insurance companies, broker dealers and various operating companies.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: Volunteer Football Coach for Metro Youth Football. I started coaching before my son was born, now that he is old enough to start playing, I look forward to spending my time out of the office with him.

Favorite MBA Memory: Among my favorite memories, of which I have many, are the times that my classmates and I spent with Dr. Cosse discussing our Capstone project, before, during and after the trip to Prauge. It was a great to hear Dr. Cosse discuss the various prior trips and to get his tips on making our experience through the Capstone as valuable as possible. The most memorable of these days was the first meeting with our project company's leaders. We met and discussed many things about their manufacturing process, we took a tour of the plant and we discussed some of their challenges. Then we went to lunch with them for 3 hours! During this time we barely discussed any aspects of the project but the food was fantastic.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: As an attorney, you are not always expected to know how to read financial statements and understand complex business concepts; however, having this skill allowed me to work on projects that others could not. It allowed me to be a go-to person for complicated deals and gave me confidence when interacting with business counterparts more than twice my age.

Ryann Lofchie Wayne, '07: CEO, The Frontier Project, LLC
Wayne

Age: 34

Describe Your Current Job: I lead the portfolio of companies under of The Frontier Project. I set the strategic direction, design and create new businesses, and attract and retain the best talent available for the group.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: Serving on the Board of Directors for Homeward, a homeless services coordination agency who's mission is to prevent, reduce and end homelessness in the greater Richmond region.

Favorite MBA Memory: My favorite memories were of the post-class Thursday evenings out for beers with my MBA friends. While I enjoyed and greatly benefitted from what I learned during the program, my favorite part was getting to know and building a network of the intelligent and ambitious professionals that were in my classes. I am so grateful for these relationships as they have served me very well over the past several years, both personally and professionally. 

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The Richmond MBA provided me with formal business education in Finance, Accounting, Operations, and Marketing that rounded out my Psychology and Human Resources coursework from other programs. I use what I've learned from the MBA program on a daily basis managing The Frontier Project. It has also contributed to my ability to generate powerful solutions to our clients' complex business problems.

Gary A. Welch, '10: Assistant to the CEO & Administrative Director of Support Services, Memorial Regional Medical Center and Richmond Community Hospital - Bon Secours Virginia Health System
Welch

Age: 30

Describe Your Current Job: Strategic planning, implementation of the long-term strategic hospital plans, and operational oversight of multiple non-clinical departments.  

Favorite Volunteer Activity: Working with the MBA Alumni Society. It gives me a chance to stay connected with the University and other alumni.

Favorite MBA Memory: International residency to Beijing, China. What a fantastic opportunity to see first-hand a country that is growing so fast and witness the internal struggle between quasi free-market economics and traditionally Communist political structures.

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The Richmond MBA prepared me to manage the uncertainty that faces the healthcare industry today. Many questions still remain about the future of government programs and reimbursement and we must manage the business in new ways than ever before. The critical thinking and planning skills learned during the program have proven invaluable.

Alex White, '10: Account Manager, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical Inc.
White

Age: 33  

Describe Your Current Job: I am the voice for patients who have trouble finding their voices (Depressed, Bi-Polar, and Schizophrenic patients). I help doctors find appropriate patients for our products and maximize effectiveness.

Favorite Volunteer Activity: Working with FeedMore Inc. and the Food Bank during the Holidays with my son.

Favorite MBA Memory: My wife going into labor with our first child during Opening Residency. I was so committed to the MBA program that I told her over the phone to calm down that it was just Braxton-Hicks, then attended another session or two...Charlie was born at mid-night...We're still married! 

How the MBA has Changed You or Your Career: The Richmond MBA gave me the confidence to ask difficult questions of customers, management and colleagues. Effective and honest communication is a cornerstone of business, and the MBA program enhanced my business communication skills. These skills are transferable to any career I choose in the future. Further, the MBA program has connected me with a variety of people with whom to network thereby opening up endless possibilities.


The Richmond MBA
Robins School of Business
1 Gateway Road
University of Richmond, VA 23173
(804) 289-8553
mba@richmond.edu