Executives in Residence

Along with a nationally recognized faculty and support staff, you will find a number of “super mentors” gracing the halls of Robins. These C-suite-level individuals meet with students, get to know them, and provide advice. Participating executives have included corporate presidents, CEOs, vice presidents, and other leaders of the business world.

"When I reached out to one of our Executives in Residence, I knew it could help my career’s trajectory, but I did not expect to form a genuine mentor relationship. After just two meetings with Steve Aronson, I felt comfortable enough to stray from conversations about my career and speak with him casually about my day-to-day life. Steve has guided me tremendously, especially this spring, as I prepare for my summer internship." -Michael Procaccino, '21

2022-23 Executives in Residence

John Adams John Adams, Executive in Residence
Office: RSB 101

John Adams has spent 41 years at The Martin Agency, an award-winning advertising agency based in Richmond, Virginia. The agency has been included on the Advertising Age "A-List" five out of the six years it has been published and most recently, The Martin Agency won an Emmy for an interactive documentary created for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

John plays a key role on the team that continues to bring national attention to Martin, representing such brands as Discover Financial Services, GEICO, Mondeléz, Walmart, Hanes, Kraft Foods, and BFGoodrich.

John is an active leader both locally and nationally. He is chairman of the board of directors at Virginia Commonwealth University's Brandcenter, and also serves on the boards of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. He is a past rector of Longwood University and has served on the boards of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Virginia Historical Society.

A member of the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame, John lectures frequently on marketing and business issues throughout the U.S.

Absurd Snacks Eli Bank, '22 & Grace Mittl, '22, Start-up in Residence
eli@absurdsnacks.com | grace@absurdsnacks.com
Office: RSB 101

Absurd Snacks creates unique and delicious snacks that will leave you happy and healthy. Munchy, crunchy, and ridiculously good - we hope to make you feel good about the foods you eat and the mission you support - that food allergies should not get in the way of that anytime nosh. Absurd Snacks elevates your every day with trail mixes that are free of top food allergens and consist of crunchy and roasted, wholesome ingredients. Founded by Grace Mittl (CEO, UR RSB '22) and Eli Bank (COO, UR RSB '22), Absurd Snacks can be found in numerous stores in the Mid-Atlantic as well as on their website. Click here to subscribe to the mailing list. 

DeJarnette Rick DeJarnette, MBA Executive in Residence
(804) 289-8553
Office: RSB 140

Rick is a seasoned management consultant and executive coach with more than a decade of experience serving Fortune 100-500 companies, federal and state government, private businesses, and start-ups. He kicked off his consulting career post-MBA at Deloitte Consulting, LLC in strategy and operations, then moved into commercial healthcare consulting with ICF International. After moving to Richmond, he joined CapTech Consulting, eventually leading business development for their Organizational Change Management practice.

While he enjoyed consulting, the entrepreneurial “bug” always hovered close by, such that Rick founded CapRock Venture Guides, LLC in 2015 and launched Coach DeJarnette, LLC in 2021 with the intent to increase leadership effectiveness, team engagement, and organizational performance via a combination of leadership and business coaching, experiential team building, and consulting. Additionally, Rick has taught Leadership Foresight and Leadership Decisions for the MBA program, as well as presented many professional development sessions over the past three years.

Rick earned his Executive Certificate in Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University, an MBA from the University of Colorado, and BA from Grove City College. He is an ICF-certified coach, an ACMP certified change management professional and is certified to administer The Leadership Circle Profile, Enneagram, and Vertical Mindset Indicator assessments.

Emmett Shane Emmett, Entrepreneur in Residence
(619) 823-7833
Office: RSB 101

Shane Emmett is the co-founder and CEO of Health Warrior, an innovative and explosive health food brand that in 2018 was acquired by PepsiCo, the largest food and beverage company in North America. Health Warrior was a mission-focused brand, committed to building a powerful culture. Shane was responsible for all aspects of the business throughout the adventure.

Shane likes to work on the big problems with exceptional people. His career began as an archaeologist, focused on learning the lessons of history to help us do better in the future. After finishing law school at Oxford University, he served as legal counsel for Oceana, a leading environmental organization, Obama for America (South Carolina and Virginia), and in the counselor’s office for the Governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine.

Students can meet with Shane to discuss a variety of topics, including: unorthodox career choices, law school, legal careers, new business ideas, consumer packaged goods careers, sustainability careers, finance careers, leadership, professional athletics careers, geographic career connections: NYC, LA, San Francisco, things 22 year-old Shane wished he knew, great books.

He is also open to host career lunches, an opportunity to discuss careers and life over lunch. Register here.

Failla John Failla, '15, Founder in Residence
Office: RSB 101

John graduated from the University of Richmond, where Trilogy Mentors was first started as an in-person mentorship program that matched university students with K-12 students for academic support and mentorship. Having a deep personal connection to academic mentorship, John expanded Trilogy Mentors to the online space to increase access and build support networks for students. Knowing that meaningful relationships with instructors and tutors have the power to inspire students to reach personal and academic success, John is dedicated to partnering with parents, schools, nonprofits, and other educational organizations to reach students when and where they need academic support the most. John was recently named one of Richmond’s 25 most influential innovators under 25 by Richmond Innovation.

Johnson Roben Farzad, Journalist in Residence
Office: RSB 101

Roben Farzad hosts the public radio program Full Disclosure. He is a regular on NPR, MSNBC, and C-SPAN.

He authored the book Hotel Scarface: Where Cocaine Cowboys Partied and Plotted to Control Miami (Penguin, 2017), which is being adapted into a TV series.

Formerly a senior writer for Bloomberg Businessweek, Farzad covered Wall Street, international finance, and emerging markets. He has reported everywhere from Mozambique and Botswana to the Mideast and Medellín, Colombia, to the Dominican Republic and the Niger Delta.

He started his career at Goldman Sachs, on a team that managed $1.8 billion in assets.

Roben is a graduate of Princeton University and the Harvard Business School.

Kelly Richard Kelly, Executive in Residence
Office: RSB 101

Richard Kelly's career has spanned three decades in the Consumer Products, Healthcare, and Manufacturing sectors. An effective leader as a Fortune 50 executive, a management consultant, and a startup entrepreneur in the Food and Agricultural sector, he has led both large scale and early-stage organizations. He has been an intrapreneur in established corporations leading transformational change from within and an entrepreneur with early-stage organizations disrupting existing industries and creating new markets.

From 2013 to 2018, he was CEO and co-founder of Nutriati, a venture capital supported plant-based Ingredient Technology company helping brands and food manufacturers develop great tasting and healthy products. Prior to founding Nutriati, he was CEO of Worldwide Sourcing Advisors LLC (WSA), an advisory firm he founded that provided procurement, supply management, and business development expertise to public, private, and not-for-profit organizations. In advance of founding WSA, Richard spent 25 years at multinational consumer products giant, Altria Group, in a variety of capacities inducing finance, corporate strategy, manufacturing, quality, product commercialization, and procurement. Richard has an MBA from Duke University and a BS with Honors in Health Policy and Management from UNC's Gillings School of Global Public Health, where he serves on the Dean's Advisory Council. Richard currently serves on the Executive Board of Directors of World Pediatric Project. He is also involved in mentoring entrepreneurs at Start-Up Virginia and Hatch Kitchen RVA, and is a guest lecturer to universities on leadership and entrepreneurial topics.

Lethbridge Moira Lethbridge, MBA Executive in Residence
(804) 289-8553
Office: RSB 140

In her professional career, Moira is the principal and owner of Lethbridge & Associates LLC. Her services include business and executive coaching, strategic planning, and leadership and personal development. She draws on 26 years of successful organizational experience to help individuals and companies increase their productivity and improve their performance.

Previously, she was president and CEO of a professional services firm, where she was named one of SmartCEO magazine's "Smart 100" in the Washington, DC area for three years running.

Stevens Jerry Stevens, Executive in Residence
Office: RSB 101

Jerry L. Stevens retired in 2020 after 33 years as a Professor of Finance at the Robins School of Business. He remains active as an educational consultant and speaker for the Certified Risk Management (CRM) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) professional certification seminars. Jerry was a founding member of the Vantage Consulting Group in 1982 where he now serves as the group’s Chief Economist and Senior Consultant. He is the author of the Vantage Quarterly Market Summary and Outlook and leads a quarterly planning session on the firm’s top-down approach to client fund positions.

He is an active member of the advisory board for the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) at the Robins School and recently created a multidisciplinary investment group of Richmond students who trade exchange traded funds (ETFs). His work with ETFs has been published in the Journal of Trading and appears as a chapter in a book on student investment funds. Jerry regularly accompanies finance students on visits to New York City and maintains relationships with former students and alumni groups.

Jerry received his M.S. (1977) and Ph.D. in economics (1980) from the University of Illinois. During his academic career, Jerry held a number of endowed chairs, won numerous teaching and service awards, and served as an editor or associate editor for several journals. He has over 50 publications in refereed research journals to include the American Economic Review; Journal of Portfolio Management; Financial Management; Journal of Accounting, Auditing, and Finance; Financial Services Review; Journal of Financial Education, Journal of Investment Consulting; and the Journal of Financial Planning.