The George Washington University

School of Business: GWSB News

November 20, 2009

Pitching in a Pinch

Three minutes to close the deal!

Forty GW students put their idea power and salesmanship to the test in the second annual “Pitch George!” competition last weekend. The student-entrepreneur contestants had to develop an innovative business proposal and successfully sell the idea to an “investor,” within the tight physical and chronological confines of a three-minute elevator pitch.

“Pitch George!” was organized and hosted by GWSB’s Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence (CFEE). The competition was open to all GW students, not just those in the School of Business. Erik K. Winslow, professor of management and CFEE director, said twice as many contestant applied as did in the first competition in 2008.

Management professors George Solomon, Jake Messersmith and Winslow vetted applications. The panel selected 40 students (or student teams) for the elevator-pitch competition, 20 undergraduates and 20 graduate students. D.C.-area alumni and members of the Colonial Entrepreneurs, an alumni group of successful entrepreneurs and investors, judged the pitches. The top three competitors in each group – undergraduate and graduate – received seed money awards of $2,000 for first place, $1,500 for second place and $1,000 for third place.

CFEE considers “Pitch George!” a preparation for its spring business plan competition. For details and application information, visit

The large turnout for this year’s competition was both an indication of students’ increasingly entrepreneurial focus and an endorsement of GWSB’s commitment to entrepreneurship education. Winslow said entrepreneurship is a driver of the national economy.

“When there’s a recession in this country – and this may seem counter-intuitive – business start-ups go up. It has something to do with the American spirit and economy. This is still the most welcoming economy in the world for new ventures,” Winslow said, adding that entrepreneurs will play a key role in the country’s economic recovery.

The “Pitch George!” competition was covered by both the Washington Post and the Washington Business Journal (see Getting Ink). Winslow thanked the student participants, faculty, staff and alumni judges and expressed appreciation for the support provided by GW’s vice president for research, Dr. Leo M. Chalupa, and Dean Susan M. Phillips.

2009 “Pitch George!” Winners

Undergraduate Students
Jake Messersmith, assistant professor of management (right) congratulates undergraduate winner Thanil Theoharis.

First Place – Thanil Theoharis for Beat Masters, a Web site for music producers to present and sell their work

Second Place – Andrew Thal for Furniture for Good, which sells furniture and other excess items donated to non-profit organizations in the D.C.-metro area and gives the organizations the majority of the profits

Third Place – Tricia Reville for Green Movers, which moves recycling waste from companies to businesses that can use the products to create goods

Graduate Students
Graduate winner Lauryn Sargent receives the first-place check from Professor Erik Winslow.

First Place – Lauryn Sargent for Vision LifePreservers, which provides products and services that memorialize the lives of customers

Second Place – Virgil Cabaso, Scott Sellers, Steve Blossom and Matt Kuhn for SmoothRide, an EasyPass toll-system equivalent for parking

Third Place – Patrick Donnelly for StadiumView, a free Smartphone application that lets football fans enjoy games as an augmented-reality experience with exclusive content

GWSB Alumnus Establishes Scholarship Program for Veterans

Brian Herrman (second from left) with (from left to right) veteran and GW student Brian Hawthorne, Robert Chernak, GW senior vice president for student and academic support services, and Ryan Bos, veteran and GW student, at the Student Veterans Symposium in October.

As CEO of Z-Medica, Brian Herrman, BBA, ’77, has already played an important role in supporting men and women in uniform. His company produces QuikClot, a hemostatic agent that stops severe bleeding and which can be a lifesaver for troops wounded in action. On Veterans Day, GW announced that Herrman’s firm was ready to do even more, donating a major gift specifically earmarked for student veterans: the $100,000 QuikClot Scholarship from Z-Medica Corp.

“We are so pleased to be able to give back to the veterans who have selflessly served our country,” said Herrman. “Our QuikClot product helps soldiers when they are on the battlefield, but we also wanted to provide them with opportunities following their service. We believe that providing student aid, in partnership with the Yellow Ribbon Program, is the best way to do so.”

The scholarship supports GW’s commitment to the Yellow Ribbon Program, a new provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act that provides free or significantly reduced tuition to veterans. Qualifying undergraduate and graduate students receive approximately $18,000 and $3,800, respectively, from GW. Those amounts are matched dollar for dollar by the Department of Veteran Affairs. The QuikClot Scholarship Fund will annually support four undergraduate and seven graduate student veterans.

“GW is honored to have Z-Medica’s support for veteran student aid,” said Robert Chernak, senior vice president for student and academic support services at The George Washington University. “Contributions like this allow GW to continue its commitment to student veterans by providing the necessary resources that help ease the transition from combat to classroom.”

Complementing GW’s deep commitment to public service, the Yellow Ribbon Program is a natural extension of the University’s long-standing tradition of civic and military support. In 1944, the first veteran of WWII attended GW on the newly-passed G.I. Bill. In 2007, retired Gen. John W. Vessey, MS, ’66, established an endowment for the General John W. Vessey Graduate Fellowship for GWSB graduate students, with preference given to disabled U.S. veterans. Currently, more than 300 veterans are enrolled at the University.

New Touches in Duquès Hall

Dean Susan M. Phillips (left) thanks William E. Halal, professor emeritus, and his wife Carol Lynn for their help in beautifying Duqués Hall. Professor and Mrs. Halal made a generous donation to GWSB to fund the purchase of a number of large planters for the building’s terrace.

It Takes ‘Green’ to Go Green

Department of Strategic Management and Public Policy Chairman Mark Starik, Senior Associate Dean Pradeep Rau and Department of Finance Chairman Paul Peyser

The University Seminar Series on Sustainability and GW’s Institute for Corporate Responsibility Environmental Sustainability Program joined the GWSB Department of Finance and Strategic Management and the Department of Public Policy to host a reception and panel discussion on “Sustainable Finance, Strategy and Policy.”

Mark Starik, chair and professor in the Department of Strategic Management and Public Policy proposed the seminar series on sustainability. He said the intent was to examine the role of business, capital and the markets in addressing environmental issues.

“It is interesting that finance has become a focus in this area,” said Paul Peyser, chair and associate professor in the Department of Finance. “There are important things that finance people can learn about green technology. I hope this is one of many events that we can work together on.”

At the pre-panel reception, Senior Associate Dean Pradeep Rau welcomed attendees and thanked organizers for putting together the event, adding that “Mark Starik was ‘Mr. Green’ before it was fashionable.” Rau also offered a toast in recognition of everyone at GWSB who helped the School earn its recent Top 10 national ranking in the Aspen Institute’s Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey. The survey evaluates full-time MBA programs based on teaching and research that focuses on business and society.

The panel examined the role of sustainable finance in a world that seeks efficient consumption and conservation in the face of declining resources and global climate change. Panelists included Michael Curley, GWSB adjunct instructor of environmental finance and director of the International Environmental Finance Center; Marty Silber, GWSB alumnus and vice president of accounting and finance for Matinee Energy; Saurabh Lall, GW doctoral student and program coordinator for markets and enterprises at the World Resources Institute; Keith Rosten, president of; and David Levai, program director for the Center for Financial Inclusion of ACCION, an international micro-finance and micro-lending organization.

Tourism Leadership Council Welcomes New Chairman, New Members

Left to right: Kristen Lamoureux, director of the International Institute of Tourism Studies; Larry Yu, chair and professor of Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management; and Lelei LeLaulu, new chairman of the department's Leadership Council.

The Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management announced the appointment of development entrepreneur Lelei LeLaulu as chairman of its Leadership Council. LeLaulu is a founding director of the World Tourism Forum for Peace and Sustainable Development in Brazil. He is also co-chairman of the Innovations for Sustainable Development Centre and president of Sustainable Solutions, a renewable energy company in the Dominican Republic.

LeLaulu serves as coordinator for the Oceania Sustainable Tourism Alliance; president of the Island Nations Climate and Oceans Program of the Earth Council; vice president of the Caribbean Media Exchange; and chairman of the Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific, the largest NGO network in Oceania.

“GWSB has been at the forefront in recognizing that tourism is the world’s largest industry, and that it is one of the most potent anti-poverty tools that we have,” LeLaulu said. “The School’s willingness to share the deep wells of knowledge it has accumulated should be better known both inside and outside academe.”

The Tourism and Hospitality Management Department’s Leadership Council is a panel of 25 experts from private, public and nonprofit organizations that represent the academic concentrations taught in the master of tourism administration program. Founded in 2006, the council meets once a year and serves as an advisory body. Department Chairman Larry Yu said that the council maintains year-round contact with the department and GWSB’s International Institute of Tourism, providing valuable input on curriculum development and research opportunities. It also advises on potential partnerships and alliances for program development.

Yu said council members have provided guest speakers from their organizations, both for classroom lectures and employment forums. “Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, has hired three graduates and provided internships for a number of students,” Yu said. “Marriott International, which is also represented on the council, is on campus every session, recruiting and organizing employment information sessions for students.”

In addition to its new chairman, the Leadership Council announced the addition of three new members: Dr. Ghassan Aidi, president of the International Hotel and Restaurant Association and chairman of Royal Regency International Hotels; Charles Kao, founder and chairman of the TravelMoleGroup and TravelMole.TV and director of the Global Sustainability Index; and Margit B. Weisgal, president and CEO of the Trade Show Exhibitors Association.

Eric von Hippel Delivers Welling Professor Lecture

2009-10 Welling Professor Eric von Hippel and GWSB Marketing Department Chairman Salah Hassan

Eric von Hippel, professor of engineering systems and T. Wilson Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School, drew an audience of 200 to the Welling Professor Lecture on Nov. 4. A noted scholar on the sources of economics and innovation, von Hippel spoke about “democratizing innovation.”

“Users, aided by improvements in computer and communications technology, are increasingly developing their own new products and services,” von Hippel said. “Innovation is being democratized. User-innovators – both individuals and firms – often freely share their innovations with others, creating user-innovation communities and a rich intellectual commons.”

Salah Hassan, chair and professor of the Department of Marketing, referred to von Hippel as “the guru of user innovation” and cited his enormous influence not only on the scholarly community but also on government policymaking and business best practices at innovative corporations.

“I had the honor of meeting Professor von Hippel twice over the past two years at research conferences,” Hassan said. “I had known Eric von Hippel through his publications for over 25 years, since I was writing my PhD dissertation on the diffusion of innovations at Ohio State back in 1984. His research paved the way for numerous scholars. Eric von Hippel of MIT is truly an institution within an institution.”

The 2009 Welling Professor Lecture was jointly organized by the Department of Information Systems and Technology Management, the Department of Management and the Department of Marketing.

The Welling visiting professorships, which last two years, bring internationally distinguished scholars to the GW campus to interact with students and faculty and contribute to the intellectual life of the university. The program is named after former GW President James Clark Welling, who served from 1871 to 1894 and was noted for his early vision of a major, modern university.

Getting to Know: Yun Zhang

Name: Yun Zhang

Title: Assistant Professor of Accounting

Job duties: Research and teaching.

Years at GW: Less than one year.

Best part of working at GWSB: Interacting with colleagues and students.

What co-workers do not know about me: I was a part-time actor while in college.

Family: Married to Yuanyuan Jiang.

Favorite things to do on the weekend: Visit museums.

Favorite vacation spot: Lijiang, Yunnan Province, China.

Favorite book: The classic Chinese work Dàodéjīng


Robert Herz and Sir David Tweedie Announced as 2009-2010 Maxon Lecturers

Robert Herz, chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), and Sir David Tweedie, chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), will deliver the 2009-2010 George Washington University School of Business Robert P. Maxon Lecture. They will discuss “Greater Global Transparency in Financial Reporting: Lighting the Path for Investors.”

The lecture will take place on Wednesday, April 7, 2010, from 6:30-7:30 p.m., in the Jack Morton Auditorium, Media and Public Affairs Building, First Floor, 805 21st St. NW, Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public.

“The Maxon Lecture is a preeminent event for the School of Business and the broader GW business community,” said John Forrer, associate director of GWSB’s Institute for Corporate Responsibility. “It offers a great experience for our students. Given the topic, we are fortunate this year to host two august figures in the field as our Maxon Lecturers, Mr. Herz and Sir David, addressing the very timely and important issues of global accounting standards, corporate responsibility and transparency.“

The Robert P. Maxon Lectureship was established through Dorothy Maxon’s endowment to the School of Business in honor of her husband, Robert P. Maxon, BA, ’48. A distinguished GW alumnus, Robert P. Maxon served his country in WWII and held several executive positions at Mobil, retiring as general manager of worldwide corporate public relations. The annual lecture features prominent executives and academics discussing contemporary global management issues. The lectureship is designed to deepen the next generation of global business leaders’ understanding.


Salah Hassan, professor and chair, Department of Marketing, co-presented his paper, “How Do ‘Leading-Edge’ Opinion Leaders Bridge the Innovation Gap? Advancing a New Adopter Category,” in a competitive session at the annual conference of the Association for Consumer Research, held in Pittsburgh, Oct. 22-25. Hassan co-authored the paper with Philippe Duverger, GWSB, PhD, ’09, and now an assistant professor of marketing at Towson University.


Gil Yancey, executive director of the F. David Fowler Career Center, wrote an article for Business Because, the online magazine about business students around the world. In “GWSB Prepares Students to Manage Their Careers,” Yancey wrote: “The main challenge has been embedding career management in the mindset of students and in the culture and curriculum of the school. Students are at GWSB to enhance their careers, so the challenge for the career services office is to focus students on career management as early and as often as possible during their tenure at the school.” Go to Business Because to read the entire article.

Vanessa G. Perry, associate professor of marketing, with co-author Carol M. Motley, published “Where’s the Fine Print? Advertising and the Mortgage Market Crisis” in the fall 2009 issue of California Management Review.

Salah Hassan (top left), professor and chair of the Department of Marketing, and Alexander Krasnikov (top right), assistant professor of marketing, each published two papers this month. Hassan co-authored articles in the current issue of the Journal of Product & Brand Management (Volume 18, No. 5, 2009): “Customer and Non-Customer Perspectives for Examining Corporate Reputation” (with Hamed Shamma, assistant professor of marketing at the American University in Cairo, GWSB, PhD, ’07) and “Linking Customer-Based Brand Equity with Brand Market Performance: A Managerial Approach” (with Ahmed Tolba, assistant professor of marketing at the American University in Cairo, GWSB, Ph.D. 2006). Krasnikov published his two articles in the Journal of Marketing (73, No. 6, 2009). They are “The Impact of Customer Relationship Management Implementation on Cost and Profit Efficiencies: Evidence from the U.S. Commercial Banking Industry” and “Evaluating the Financial Impact of Branding Using Trademarks: A Framework and Empirical Evidence” (with Saurabh Mishra and David Orozco). All four articles focused on strategic marketing and brand equity management.

Getting Ink

Liesl Riddle, associate professor of international business and international affairs, and co-director of the Diaspora Research Program, was featured in two articles on the U.S. State Department's Web site. The articles highlight Riddle's work with the GW Diaspora Capital Investment Project.

Lisa Delpy Neirotti, associate professor of tourism and sport management, was quoted in a Nov. 8 article in the Tennessean about Nashville’s bid to host soccer’s World Cup in 2018 or 2022. “‘It’s great exposure for the state of Tennessee,’ said Lisa Delpy Neirotti, a professor at George Washington University who studies international sports. ‘Whatever the impact is, it’s going to be significant.’”

The Washington Post (11/15) and the Washington Business Journal (11/16) covered the “Pitch George!” elevator-pitch competition.


Patrick McHugh, associate professor of management, was awarded a $3,850 grant by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to create educational materials for the society’s Academic Initiatives Program. McHugh is developing a collective-bargaining exercise that will be made available to instructors through SHRM’s Resources for HR Educators Web site.

Vanessa Gail Perry, associate professor of marketing, became the second recipient of the Journal of Consumer Affairs’ best paper award. She was honored for her article, “Is Ignorance Bliss? Consumer Accuracy in Judgments about Credit Ratings,” which appeared in the summer 2008 (vol. 42, #2) issue of the journal. Announced at the 2009 ACCI conference in Milwaukee, the award recognizes high-quality scholarship published in the Journal. Perry’s article was selected from refereed research articles published in 2007 and 2008 issues.

“Towards a Comprehensive Understanding of Public Private Partnerships (PPP),” an article by Young Hoon Kwak, associate professor of decision sciences, was cited by Harvard Business Publishing’s Teaching Materials Newsletter (pdf). The article was published in California Management Review, Vol. 51 (2), pp. 51-78, winter 2009.


ICSB Promotes Social Entrepreneurship Worldwide
The International Council for Small Business (ICSB), an institute housed within GWSB’s Department of Management, announced its support for a new social entrepreneurship endeavor by one of its members. ICSB member Daniel Salcedo recently launched, an online nonprofit marketplace that lets grassroots groups manage their own Web catalogs and sell directly to buyers. The catalogs feature a wide range of products from people around the world. The work of women embroiderers from Bangladesh; organic coffee farmers in Chiapas, Mexico; weavers on the Thai-Myanmar border; farmers from Kenya and artists from Nepal are all available online. Users can easily browse by country, category, keyword or price, and then order directly from the producer group, with a 100-percent purchase guarantee from

ICSB Reports on ‘Entrepreneurship Education Down Under!’
According to an ICSB report, more than half of Australia’s universities are offering entrepreneurship courses. The aim is to promote innovation and create opportunities. At the front of this movement are students and the people who teach them. Per Davidsson, professor from Queensland University of Technology and a member of the ICSB, sees demand to educate aspiring entrepreneurs in the skills necessary to build businesses, launch products or create not-for-profit programs. Davidsson, who working on a long-term study of entrepreneurs, said Australia lags the United States in the number of business start-ups but ranks fairly high compared with other Western countries. The full report is posted on the ICSB Web site.

Class Notes

PR News named Tiane Harrison, BBA, ’01, was named one of “15-to-Watch” in the corporate and nonprofit PR category. She will be honored at the PR News PR People Awards Luncheon on Dec. 1, 2009. For more information, visit:

Richard Marks, MA, ’58, has established scholarships in his will for GW and for the University of Arizona. He has also funded endowed scholarships at Marshall University and at the University of Charleston.

M. Scott Reichenbaugh, MSA, ’81, has assumed the position of executive director for the Marine Corps Institute. MCI maintains 700,000 enrollments per year from Marines all over the world. He also holds a BS from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and an MA in instructional technology from the Catholic University of America.

Susan Sirmai-Feinberg, BBA, ’76, and MBA, ’79, was appointed director of business development at HealthCare Resolution Services Inc. (HRCS), a health IT firm based in Laurel, Md. Sirmai-Feinberg has more than 25 years of experience in business development, sales and marketing in the telecommunications, information services and health care industries. Prior to joining HRCS, she held executive-level positions at Teleglobe International, BT Global Services and RS Information Systems, as well as MCI, where she developed and launched multiple international data products.

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