image - GW George Talks Business logo

The GW School of Business is proud to present a new series of 30-minute moderated interviews with notable alumni and respected thought leaders in the business, government and nonprofit arenas.

At the GW School of Business (GWSB), we strongly believe in the concept of lifelong learning for all members of our family, including our students and alumni. Our guest speakers and moderators will share insights on a range of topics including technology, leadership, global developments, ethics, and other timely areas of interest.

If you missed the last George Talks Business event featuring Dan Simons, founder and co-owner of Farmers Restaurant Group, you can view it here and share with your colleagues.

 


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Our Next Guest: February 25, 2019 - Prof. Donna Hoffman

The fourth George Talks Business event will be held on Monday, February 25. Dr. Donna Hoffman, Louis Rosenfeld Distinguished Scholar, Professor of Marketing, and Co-Director of the Center for the Connected Consumer at the GW School of Business (GWSB), will be interviewed by Dr. Vanessa Perry, associate dean for faculty and chair of the Department of Marketing at GWSB.

For more information, please contact Irina Orlova. Can't attend in person? Please register below and tune in to the live stream on the GW School of Business Facebook page or YouTube channel.

Register Here

12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Duquès Hall, Room 651
2201 G Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20052

photo - Donna Hoffman

Donna L. Hoffman is the Louis Rosenfeld Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Marketing and Co-Director of the Center for the Connected Consumer at the George Washington School of Business in Washington, D.C. Professor Hoffman is an internationally recognized academic expert and sought-after industry speaker focused on consumer experience with AI devices, services, and systems.  She has worked with major corporations on the topics of online consumer behavior and digital marketing strategy, including Procter & Gamble, Intel, Microsoft, FedEx.com, Land’s End/Sears, Walmart.com, and many others. She served as an Academic Trustee of the Marketing Science Institute and as a member of the Procter & Gamble Digital Advisory Board.

She co-founded and co-directed the first academic center for electronic commerce in the United States. The New York Times calls her pioneering effort “one of the premiere research centers in the world for the study of electronic commerce” and the Wall Street Journal recognizes the effort as the “electronic commerce pioneer among business schools.”

Professor Hoffman publishes widely on the topics of consumer behavior in online environments and Internet marketing strategy in many of the top academic and managerial journals. Her research has been funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Marketing Science Institute. Professor Hoffman’s work enjoys wide impact: she has over 26,000 Google Scholar citations and an H-index of 40 and has been awarded many of the field’s most prestigious research awards, including the Robert B. Clarke Educator of the Year Award from the DMEF, the Sheth Foundation/Journal of Marketing Award for long-term contributions to the discipline of marketing, the Stellner Distinguished Scholar Award from the University of Illinois, the William O’Dell/Journal of Marketing Research Award for long-term research impact and the Robert D. Buzzell Marketing Science Institute Best Paper Award Honorable Mention. She is also an MSI “Challenges of Communications and Branding in a Digital Era” research proposal competition winner and was recently named a finalist for the Paul D. Converse Award, for her lasting contributions to the marketing field.

Her Ph.D. is from the L.L. Thurstone Psychometric Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and she was a faculty member at Columbia University, the University of Texas, Vanderbilt University and the University of California before joining George Washington University. She has also served as a visiting professor at UCLA, Stanford and USC. She was named a Distinguished Graduate Alumnus of UNC in 2002.

 


Upcoming Guests

March 4, 2019 - The Dubious Future of News, Truth, and Politics

The fifth George Talks Business event will be held on Monday, March 4. Frank Sesno, director of the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs, will be interviewed by GW School of Business Dean Anuj Mehrotra.

For more information, please contact Irina Orlova. Can't attend in person? Please register below and tune in to the live stream on the GW School of Business Facebook page or YouTube channel.

Register Here

12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Duquès Hall, Room 651
2201 G Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20052

photo - Frank Sesno

Frank Sesno currently serves as director of the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs, where he leads a faculty of nearly two dozen world-class faculty who research and teach journalism, political communication and the impact of digital media in international affairs.

Sesno is an internationally recognized journalist with more than 30 years of experience reporting from around the world. He joined CNN in 1984 and for seven years was White House Correspondent, after which he moved to the anchor chair for the main domestic and global international newscasts. From 1996 through 2001, he served as the Washington Bureau chief and senior vice president. In this capacity, he oversaw the bureau’s editorial direction and supervised the network’s largest newsgathering operation — including its White House, Congressional, and Pentagon coverage, as well as its political reporting. For seven years, he hosted Late Edition with Frank Sesno, CNN’s flagship weekend interview program.

He has interviewed five U.S. Presidents as well as numerous Nobel prize-winning scientists, renowned economists, Hollywood celebrities, CEOs, best-selling authors and leaders including Hillary Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and broadcast legend Walter Cronkite.

Sesno continues to conduct interviews and moderate conversations with political leaders and decision-makers, including through The Conversation Series at GW. He is the creator of Planet Forward at GW, a user-driven web and television project that highlights innovations in sustainability. Sesno hosts and facilitates the Planet Forward Salon Series focusing on topics such as energy policy, green jobs and food production.

Sesno graduated cum laude with a B.A. in American History from Middlebury College. He was conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 1995 by the Monterrey Institute of International Studies in California and two Honorary Doctorates by his alma mater, Middlebury, in 2009 and Eckerd College in 2017.

March 18, 2019

The sixth George Talks Business event will be held on Monday, March 18. Gabriel Galvan (GWSB MBA '10), executive director of the MITRE Corporation, will be interviewed by Christopher B. Leinberger, Charles Bendit Distinguished Scholar and Research Professor and chair of the Center for Real Estate & Urban Analysis at GWSB.

For more information, please contact Irina Orlova. Can't attend in person? Please register below and tune in to the live stream on the GW School of Business Facebook page or YouTube channel.

Register Here

6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Duquès Hall, Room 651
2201 G Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20052

April 1, 2019 - Digital Transformations: The Why and the How

The seventh George Talks Business event will be held on Monday, April 1. Tony Saldanha, president of Transformant, will be interviewed by Dr. Vivek Choudhury, associate dean for strategic initiatives at the GW School of Business.

For more information, please contact Irina Orlova. Can't attend in person? Please register below and tune in to the live stream on the GW School of Business Facebook page or YouTube channel.

Register Here

12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Duquès Hall, Room 651
2201 G Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20052

photo - Tony Saldanha

Tony Saldanha is a globally recognized and versatile Fortune 25 company Global Business Services (GBS) and Information Technology executive with a rich blend of business and technology leadership expertise. Tony has over three decades of international business expertise in the US, Europe, and Asia. He was named on Computerworld’s Premier 100 IT Professionals list in 2013. Tony brings a proven track record of GBS design and operations, CIO positions, acquisitions and divestitures, outsourcing, disruptive innovation, and experiences in creating new business models during a 27-year career at Procter & Gamble. Tony has board experience in industry organizations, in client advisory boards and in non-profit organizations. Tony is a recognized thought leader in the IT industry and is currently working on a book on digital transformation that is aimed at providing practical advice to boards and CEOs on executing sustainable transformation.

During his latest role at Procter & Gamble, Tony took on the challenge of disrupting the already best-in-class $2.5 billion Global Business Services operation, after having run most aspects of it over the previous decade. This quickly became an undertaking to disrupt the global IT and shared services industry, given P&G’s leadership position in the area. Tony brought together peer Fortune 50 companies, the top global IT companies and venture capitalists to deliver this effort.

Prior to this, Tony ran Global Business Services and IT for all P&G’s business units and 75 countries, as well as the Business Intelligence and Analytics function for P&G. As the leader of Global Business Services and IT for all units, he was responsible for creating new business models using technology in the business, in addition to delivering cost and service targets. As part of the latter position, Tony created new award-winning analytics and algorithm driven business models for selling, marketing, manufacturing and finance.

In 2005, Tony served as CIO for the $10Bn Gillette company, after P&G had acquired it. In this role, Tony delivered a highly complex integration of all commercial areas within 18 months to help create one the most successful acquisition integration success stories in the industry.

In 2003, Tony successfully program-managed the $8Bn outsourcing of IT and Shared Services for P&G. This was the largest outsourcing deal in the industry at the time.

April 15, 2019 - Building Omnichannel Brand Loyalty and Advocacy In the Age of Amazon

The eighth George Talks Business event will be held on Monday, April 15. Doug Zarkin (BBA '92), vice president and chief marketing officer of Pearle Vision Luxottica, will be interviewed by GW School of Business Dean Anuj Mehrotra.

For more information, please contact Irina Orlova. Can't attend in person? Please register below and tune in to the live stream on the GW School of Business Facebook page or YouTube channel.

Register Here

12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Duquès Hall, Room 651
2201 G Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20052

photo - Doug Zarkin

Recognized as a global strategic retail and brand marketing expert, as the vice president and chief marketing officer for Luxottica’s Pearle Vision Business, Doug has led the transformation of the brands global strategic marketing, e-commerce, visual merchandising, product promotion, and store design functions. His work with Pearle Vision is currently the subject of a Harvard Business case study on brand rejuvenation.

Doug has earned an impressive array of honors for his marketing and brand building work, including The Innovation Award from The CMO Club, a Silver Clio Award, El Sol Award, Effie Award for Health Care Services Marketing (twice), WWD’s Best Executed Launch Strategy Award, the American Legacy’s Silver Halo Award for Cause Related Marketing, and the Bulldog Drummond Social Media Award for Best Social Media Platform.

He’s also been named “Marketer of the Next Generation” by Brandweek and “One of the 15 to Watch” by The Youth Marketing Newsletter.

His public presence includes appearances on all of the major broadcast networks; in Forbes, The Economist, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post; and as a guest lecturer at many top universities, such as Harvard, NYU, Duke, Xavier, Miami of Ohio, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

 


Past Events

January 28, 2019 - The Inaugural Event

The inaugural George Talks Business event was held on Monday, January 28, 2019 in the 1st Floor Auditorium (Room 108) of Funger Hall. GWSB Dean Anuj Mehrotra interviewed GW President Thomas LeBlanc, and the event was followed by a reception in the lobby of Funger Hall.

photo - GW President Thomas LeBlanc

The Board of Trustees of the George Washington University unanimously elected Thomas J. LeBlanc as the university's 17th President on January 6, 2017. Dr. LeBlanc is an accomplished academic leader, who previously served as the executive vice president, provost and professor of computer science and electrical and computer engineering at the University of Miami.

Read President LeBlanc's full biography

February 4, 2019 - Irrational Persistence: Going From Less Than Nothing to a $110M Revenue Stream

The second George Talks Business event was held on Monday, February 4 in Duquès Hall, Room 651. Dave Zilko (GWSB MBA '87), CEO of Fuel Leadership and former Vice Chairman of Garden Fresh Gourmet, was interviewed by Dr. Lex McCusker, director of Student Entrepreneurship Programs at GW.

photo - Dave Zilko

Dave Zilko founded his first specialty food company more than 20 years ago with a $2,500 credit card loan. While today Dave remains an equity partner in several food-oriented enterprises, he recently exited active involvement in the industry when he engineered the sale of Garden Fresh Gourmet, makers of the number one brand of fresh salsa in North America, to the Campbell’s Soup Company for $231 million. Dave was a partner at Garden Fresh for 13 years, serving as Vice Chairman with primary responsibility for strategy and sales.

In 2016, Dave published a book, via Wiley & Sons nationwide, detailing his experience as an entrepreneur in general and his experiences with Garden Fresh in particular. The book, “Irrational Persistence: Seven Secrets That Turned a Bankrupt Startup Into a $231,000,000 Business,” has become a national bestseller.

Today Dave has invested in and assumed the role of CEO at FUEL Leadership, a digital media property that also organizes exclusive business events. He is an operating partner at Huron Capital, a Detroit-based private equity firm with over $1 billion under management, and serves on the boards of the $60 million Grow Michigan venture fund; Jimmy Buffett's charitable foundation, Singing for Change; and the executive board of the largest food rescue organization in the country, Forgotten Harvest. Dave graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in finance and earned a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from the George Washington University.

February 11, 2019

The third George Talks Business event was held on Monday, February 11, 2019. Dan Simons (GWSB BBA '92), founder and co-owner of Farmers Restaurant Group, was interviewed by Dr. Vivek Choudhury, associate dean for strategic initiatives at the GW School of Business.

photo - Dan Simons

Within the industry and among his own team, Dan Simons is known for his energetic leadership style and passion for hospitality. An impressive career in the management ranks at several large, high-volume restaurants helped propel him toward starting his own firm, VSAG, which he founded in 2004 with mentor Michael Vucurevich. The two form a well-balanced partnership based on mutual respect and a shared vision, which proved critical in their formation of Farmers Restaurant Group (FRG) in 2011.

As co-owner and skilled communicator, Dan is frequently called upon to serve as the voice of FRG’s growing group of restaurants. Whether inspiring potential investors, accepting multiple awards for the socially conscious ways of the restaurants or sharing his knowledge at hospitality and educational events, Dan is a champion for responsible industry standards and takes great pride in being able to continually incorporate sustainability methods and local initiatives that give back to the environment and the community.