• Executive Speakers Share Passion and Real World Experience


This year’s successful Spring Executive Speakers Series attracted over 240 graduate students and alumni eager to gain insight into real world business challenges. Michele Rapp, Associate Director of Graduate Student Career Services, assembled a diverse group of accomplished presenters including executives from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Nantucket Nectars and owater, Panera Bread, Synectics, and The Right One/Together Dating. Students cited the first hand experience of the speakers as a major highlight of the series. The program represents Suffolk’s Career Services and Cooperative continuing commitment to providing Suffolk students with inspiration and practical advice for success in the workplace.


Paul Levy, CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, spoke to students and alumni about his innovative leadership style. Levy, credited with a significant hospital turnaround, discussed his blog, “Running a Hospital”, and his success in addressing challenging health care issues. 


 Entrepreneur Tom First, founder of Nantucket Nectars and owater, engaged the audience with his stories of  “on the job training” as he expanded his business. First spoke of a passion for his business, driven not by a desire to make money, but rather an enthusiasm for getting up each day to tackle the many challenges of entrepreneurship.  Attendees had the opportunity to sample a range of flavors of First’s newest product, owater.


Alumna Irene Cook (MBA ’05), VP of Operations at Panera Bread, led two discussions detailing Panera’s “Make it Better (MIB)” program. The program has achieved significant results by engaging employees in making improvements to the company. She presented specific examples of MIB’s success in Panera’s numerous bakery cafés.


Joe Giordano, Principal Consultant at Synectics, engaged the audience with a high energy session featuring a variety of creative problem solving techniques. Giordano demonstrated his innovative problem solving skills by tackling a workplace challenge volunteered by an audience member.


Suffolk alumnus and entrepreneur Paul Falzone (Sociology ’79), CEO of The Right One/Together Dating, shared his workplace credo, “WIT” (What it Takes), with attendees.  Falzone’s tale of the power of persistence was particularly inspiring: following an unsuccessful interview with a radio station, he proceeded to show up at the station for three consecutive mornings until they put him to work.


The Executive Speaker Series was successful due to various collaborations between Career Services and Suffolk faculty, Alumni Relations, and students. Each program was attended by at least one class. The following faculty and/or programs were involved: Health Care Administration, Marketing, the Institute for Executive Education, the Professional Marketing Association, Professor Mike Barretti, Professor Colette Dumas, Professor Rick Gregg, Professor Will Kraft, Professor Lauren Williams, Professor Peter Tarasewich, Professor Carol Zulauf, Julie Schniewind, and students Christina Manuel and Hieu Tieu.


The Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education at Suffolk University assists students and alumni of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Sawyer Business School in defining and realizing their career goals. Staffed by skilled and experienced career counselors, services include career advising and counseling, cooperative education and internship opportunities, full-time employment resources, and more. For more information, call 617.573.8480, visit their website at www.suffolk.edu/careers, or e-mail Paul Tanklefsky, Director, Career Services at ptanklef@suffolk.edu


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