photo - Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is interviewed by Danny Leipziger, professor of international business and international affairs at GWSB, on May 2, 2019

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is interviewed by Danny Leipziger, professor of international business and international affairs at GWSB, on May 2, 2019.

image - GW George Talks Business logo

George Talks Business is a new series of 30-minute interviews with notable alumni and respected thought leaders in the business, government and nonprofit arenas. Our guests share insights on technology, leadership, global developments, ethics, and other timely and relevant topics.



Our Most Recent Event
GW Health, Wellness & Public Safety Panel - July 15, 2020 - 12:00–12:45 p.m.

Wednesday, July 15 featured a panel discussion with Barbara Bass, Lynn Goldman, Pamela Jeffries and Scott Burnotes on the following health and safety topics:

  • Learning and understanding the facts about COVID-19 in the context of academic and residential experience at a university
  • Examining what mitigation efforts are most effective against the spread of the disease in the university setting
  • Reviewing the measures for testing and contact tracing and quarantining on campus and preparations necessary for contingencies

The panel was moderated by Dr. Anuj Mehrotra, dean of the GW School of Business.

For more information, please email Irina Orlova.

Barbara Bass

Barbara L. Bass, MD, FACS

  • Vice President for Health Affairs
  • Dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Chief Executive Officer of the GW Medical Faculty Associates

Lynn Goldman

Lynn R. Goldman, MD, MS, MPH

  • Dean of the Milken Institute School of Public Health
  • Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health

Pamela Jeffries

Pamela R. Jeffries, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF, FSSH

  • Dean of the George Washington University School of Nursing
  • Professor of Nursing

Scott Burnotes

Scott Burnotes, MS

  • Vice President of the GW Division of Safety & Facilities




Related News
The George Talks Business Special Mini Series

New for Spring 2020, the George Talks Business Special Mini Series features students, faculty, and alumni sharing quick insights on current events.

In our first episode, James Bailey, Hochberg Professorial Fellow of Leadership Development and professor of management at GWSB, talks about what it takes to be an effective leader.

In our second episode, Robert A. Van Order, Oliver Carr Chair of the Department of Finance and professor of finance and economics at GWSB, talks about the economic implications of the recession and what’s likely to come next.

In our third episode, Annamaria Lusardi, endowed chair of Economics & Accountancy and academic director of the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC), offers helpful suggestions on how to manage money in a time of crisis.

In our fourth episode, restauranteur Dan Simons, founder and co-owner of Farmers Restaurant Group, offers lessons from an entrepreneur's perspective on how to pivot your business in response to COVID-19.

In these two episodes, Charles Bendit, BBA ‘75, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Taconic Investment Partners, discusses the business lessons learned about the NYC real estate market during COVID-19, including the pandemic's impact on leasing and sales, development projects, and the ability to pay debt.




Upcoming Events
See What's Next

October 21, 2020


On Wednesday, October 21, Stuart Weitzman, designer, entrepreneur and founder of Stuart Weitzman Shoe Company, will be interviewed by Dr. Anuj Mehrotra, dean of the GW School of Business.

For more information, please email 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

Presentation: 5:00–6:00 p.m.
Interview: 6:15–7:00 p.m.
Jack Morton Auditorium
805 21st St NW
Washington, D.C. 20052

photo - Stuart Weitzman

It can certainly be said that Stuart Weitzman’s passion for design has been a lifelong pursuit: he began working at his father’s Massachusetts shoe factory while still in college. After graduating, Weitzman applied himself to the industry with laser-like focus, eventually building the globally renowned company that bears his name. He has been honored with numerous awards from the footwear, bridal, advertising and business communities for his work in the world of fashion and entrepreneurship.

Today, his shoes dominate red carpet events and are worn by loyal celebrity fans like Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman, and by millions of other people who buy them in more than 70 countries around the world.

Weitzman approaches his other endeavors with equal commitment. He shares his time with his wife Jane and their two daughters and is personally involved in philanthropic causes close to his heart. Among these is his mentorship of aspiring entrepreneur students at several universities, including the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Yale, and the London Business School. Weitzman is a graduate of Penn’s Wharton School of Business, and in 2019, the university honored him by renaming their design school the Stuart Weitzman School of Design.

During his free time, you may find him on the tennis court or at the ping-pong table. If you’ve got a racquet or paddle, he’ll welcome the challenge.




Past Events
Explore the Archive

Couldn't attend in person? In this archive, you'll find detailed information — plus the full video — from every George Talks Business event to date.


Spring 2020

On Wednesday, June 24, Kenneth Gannetta, Skye Kussmann and Carrie Gannetta of People Powered Doors, winners of the 2020 GW New Venture Competition, were interviewed by Dr. Liesl Riddle, associate dean of graduate programs at the GW School of Business.

photo - Kenneth Gannetta

Kenneth Gannetta is an active duty officer in the United States Army and one of three co-founders of People Powered Products. Ken has served in various leadership positions within the Army including Platoon Leader, Company Commander, and will soon be joining the social sciences department at the US Military Academy at West Point as an Instructor of Economics. Prior to joining the Army in 2011, Ken worked as a special investigations unit analyst with Coventry Health Care from June 2009 to November 2011. He has an additional five years’ experience in the personal insurance industry having worked for Liberty Mutual Insurance Company from December 2004 to June 2009. Ken’s education includes a Master’s in Business Administration and Master’s in Human Resource Management from George Washington University, a Master’s in Engineering Management from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, and a Bachelor’s in Economics from the University of Connecticut.

photo - Skye Kussmann

Skye Kussmann is a GW class of 2020 Global MBA graduate with a concentration in strategic and financial management. At GW, Skye was a recipient of the Forte Fellowship and the Global MBA Outstanding Student Contributor award. She is a co-founder of People Powered Products, a sustainably focused start-up with a mission to implement energy conserving technology in the workplace. Skye and her team from People Powered Products received first place in the New Venture Track and the Opportune Clean Energy and Healthcare Prize in GW’s 2020 New Venture Competition. In addition to the start-up, Skye has over seven years of experience in financial management, operations and marketing across multiple industries. After graduation, Skye will be joining Liberty Mutual as a Senior Business Consultant, leading internal development at the headquarter office in Boston, Massachusetts.

photo - Carrie Gannetta

Carrie Gannetta has a diverse portfolio of work that includes service, analytics, lean management, and sustainability. Carrie joined Liberty Mutual Insurance in 2008 working at the company’s customer response center in Springfield, MA. From there she transitioned to the local field sales offices where she focused on process improvement work. In 2012, Carrie moved into a role in analytics providing insight into the maturity and effectiveness of lean management initiatives. Earlier this year, Carrie transitioned into a Principal Sustainability Analyst role in the newly created Office of Sustainability. Her education includes a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Sociology from the University of Colorado, and a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Emergency Management and Homeland Security from George Mason University.


On Monday, June 1, Jane Mosbacher Morris, founder and CEO of TO THE MARKET, was interviewed by Dr. Anuj Mehrotra, dean of the GW School of Business.

photo - Jane Mosbacher Morris

Jane Mosbacher Morris is the founder and CEO of TO THE MARKET. Most recently, Morris was named as one of the World's 25 Greatest Leaders: Heroes of the Pandemic by Fortune magazine. She previously served as the director of humanitarian action for the McCain Institute for International Leadership, and currently serves on the institute's Human Trafficking Advisory Council. Prior to joining the McCain Institute, she worked in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Counterterrorism and in the Secretary's Office of Global Women's Issues. Morris is a member of VF Corporation's Advisory Council on Responsible Sourcing. She is also a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations. Morris is the author of the Penguin Random House/Tarcher Perigee book, Buy the Change You Want to See: Use Your Purchasing Power to Make the World a Better Place. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

On Wednesday, May 20, Dr. Anuj Mehrotra, dean of the GW School of Business, interviewed Stephen J. Yalof, BBA '85, president and chief operating officer of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, on the future of retail real estate.

photo - Stephen Yalof

Stephen J. Yalof joined Tanger Factory Outlet Centers in April 2020 as president and chief operating officer, and in January 2021, he will succeed Mr. Tanger as chief executive officer. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Yalof served as the chief executive officer of Simon Premium Outlets from September 2014 to April 2020. Mr. Yalof has more than 20 years of experience in the retail industry, previously serving as senior vice president of real estate for Ralph Lauren Corporation and senior director of real estate for The Gap, Inc. His responsibilities include the oversight of the senior officers responsible for Tanger Outlets operations, construction and development, leasing and marketing functions. Mr. Yalof is a graduate of the George Washington University, where he earned a B.S. in Business Administration.

On Wednesday, April 29, Dr. Anuj Mehrotra, dean of the GW School of Business, interviewed Dr. Thomas J. LeBlanc, president of the George Washington University, on the topic of higher education leadership during the COVID-19 crisis.

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

On Wednesday, April 8, Ashley Goodall, Senior Vice President of Leadership and Team Intelligence at Cisco, was interviewed online by James Bailey, Hochberg Professorial Fellow of Leadership Development and professor of management at the GW School of Business. Dean Anuj Mehrotra provided an introduction.

photo - Ashley Goodall

Ashley Goodall is an executive, leadership expert and author, and has spent his career exploring large organizations from the inside. He looks for the lessons from the real world that help people and teams thrive and that make work a more human place for all of the humans in it.

His first experiences of teams and leadership were as a student musician and conductor. He was fascinated by the unspoken understanding between people playing together and carried this fascination into the corporate world. He currently serves as the senior vice president of Leadership and Team Intelligence (LTI) at Cisco, a new organization he has built to focus entirely on serving teams and team leaders and which aims to reveal the answers to some of the most challenging questions about work: What is special about the best teams? Why do we follow one leader and not another? How can we make more teams like our best teams, and more leaders like our best leaders?

The new approaches he has pioneered address everything from performance management to feedback, from team activation technology to real-time team intelligence, and from social network mapping to strengths-based leadership — and, together, these challenge much of the conventional wisdom of work today.

Ashley is the co-author, with Marcus Buckingham, of Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World (Harvard Business Review Press, April 2019), which was selected as the best management book of 2019 by Strategy + Business and is one of Amazon’s best-selling business and leadership books of 2019. He is also the author of two cover stories in the Harvard Business Review: The Feedback Fallacy (March/April 2019), which was Harvard Business Review’s most popular article of 2019, and Reinventing Performance Management (April 2015).

Monday, March 9 featured a Women Entrepreneurs Panel with Kathy Korman Frey, founder and CEO of the Hot Mommas Project, U.S. Army Major Jade Root, MBA '17, and Anna Stewart, MBA '14, founder and owner of Gaucha Chica, LLC.

photo - Kathy Korman Frey

Kathy Korman Frey teaches Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership, a USASBE Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education national award-winning course, at the GW School of Business.

In 2010, Frey’s women’s leadership research venture, the Hot Mommas Project, became the world’s largest women’s case library. The project takes the stories of women in our lives and makes those stories teachable. The project fills a gap that exists in educational publishing: exposure to female mentors and role models. Such access is shown to increase self-efficacy, or the ability to set personal goals and control outcomes. The project has directly reached women from 138 countries with its Women’s Leadership Academies, is the winner of a Coleman Foundation Case Award, and measurably increases confidence from 21 to 300 percent (depending on length of class).

Frey's background is in the merger and acquisition and venture-funded start up field. She served as managing director for a strategic planning consulting firm and as COO for a venture arm of a major aging nonprofit. She recently served as special advisor to the U.S. Small Business Administration around a women's entrepreneurship learning platform set to launch in 2020. Frey earned her BA from the University of Virginia and MBA from Harvard Business School.

photo - Jade Root

Major Jade Root graduated from the United States Military Academy in 2008, earning degrees in Civil Engineering and General Psychology as well as her commission in the U.S. Army as a human resources officer. Jade also graduated from the George Washington University in 2017, earning a Master's in Business Administration. She also holds a Master's of Military Studies degree.

Throughout her military career, Jade has served in various military organizations at several echelons. Maj. Root served as a platoon leader in the 18th Human Resources Company, 82d Sustainment Brigade at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Later, she served as the Essential Personnel Services chief as well as Rear Detachment G1 for the 82d Airborne Division. During her tenure with the 82d Airborne Division, Maj. Root deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Bagram, Afghanistan, as the Military Mail Terminal supervisor, providing mail services for the entire Combined Joint Operations Area - Afghanistan. Following her deployment, Jade went on to serve as the senior human resources manager with prestigious organizations such as the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion and the 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade out of Fort Hood, Texas, as well as the Joint Interagency Task Force – National Capital Region, where she currently serves as the human resources director in Arlington, Virginia.

Jade’s awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters and the Parachutist Badge. Outside of her military career, Jade dedicates her time to her business as a health and wellness coach, fulfilling her passion to empower women and cultivate their self-worth by living healthy and balanced lives. Jade is married to Kevin Mumaw, a retired Army officer, and is the proud mother of three children, Jayla, Jason and Bryson.

photo - Anna Stewart

Anna Stewart is the founder and owner of Gaucha Chica, LLC, a specialized product import initiative whose goal is to identify highly skilled artisans in Argentina to design and craft modern accessories and home products that reflect the native cultural traditions of the country while also providing a positive social and economic benefit to the native craftspeople and their communities. Gaucha Chica sources adventurous styles and exclusive designs made with the world’s highest quality leather and organic pieces to bring them into homes in the U.S.A.

Anna provides over 18 years of collective fundraising, strategic partnerships, cause marketing and Board management expertise from health focused non-profit organizations. Prior to her entrepreneurial ventures, Anna served as the Senior Director for Development at the Cancer Support Community (CSC) - the largest worldwide provider of free psychosocial and emotional support for cancer patients and their families - where she led the direction, planning, execution and evaluation of fundraising strategies for the organization.

Before joining the CSC team, Anna helped lead the development efforts for the nation's largest public health foundation dedicated to tobacco prevention and cessation, the American Legacy Foundation (currently the Truth Initiative). There she served as an integral part of the planning and implementation of a newly created Development component and subsequently helped manage the development strategic priorities for the organization. During the start-up years at Truth Initiative, Anna served as the primary liaison to external & internal partners on behalf of the CEO and Board of Directors, strategically managing these relationships to enhance partner relations and extend mission visibility.

Anna holds an MBA with a focus on strategy and organizational behavior from the George Washington University and a BS in Business Management and Marketing from George Mason University.

On Wednesday, March 4, W. Russell (Russ) Ramsey, BBA ’81, founder, chairman and CEO of Ramsey Asset Management, was interviewed by Dr. Anuj Mehrotra, dean of the GW School of Business, and Rodney Lake, director of the GW Investment Institute and deputy chair of the Department of Finance at the GW School of Business.

photo - Russ Ramsey

W. Russell (Russ) Ramsey is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Ramsey Asset Management (RAM), an alternative asset management firm with aggregate assets in excess of $500MM. Founded in 2001, RAM is an institutional firm which has a range of directional equity-hedging products which leverage a common research platform, fundamental analysis, and a proprietary approach to identifying investment opportunities. Key to the firm's approach is identifying those companies that exhibit either improving or declining business prospects for which the firm believes its view is sufficiently divergent from that of Wall Street.

Russ is also known for his role as Co-founder, President, and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group (NYSE: FBR) and its sister company FBR Capital Markets (NASDAQ: FBCM). After co-founding FBR in 1989, Russ helped the firm capitalize on the broad institutionalization of the capital markets, particularly during the downturn of the late 1980's and early 1990's by correctly analyzing the troubles and solutions faced by both the financial services and real estate industries at that time. Russ co-founded FBR's investment banking division, helping the firm become one of the nation's premier underwriters, and co-founded FBR's first venture capital fund focused on the Internet, e-commerce, and software, and simultaneously launching FBR's Technology Investment Banking and Research practices. Under his leadership, FBR completed tens of billions of initial public offerings, secondary offerings, private placements, and mergers and acquisitions.

Newsweek magazine has recognized Russ for his successes by naming him one of the four "people to see" in the Washington financial community. Russ sits on the National Geographic Society's Council of Advisors and serves as the Chairman Emeritus of The George Washington University's Board of Trustees. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has served on the Governor's Commission on Information Technology, was a Trustee for the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, and is a founding member of One Virginia.

Mr. Ramsey is a native Washingtonian and has been an active philanthropist through the Ramsey Foundation, which has funded many causes including Knock Out Abuse Against Women, the innovative Venture Philanthropy Partners, four-year scholarships for the DC Capital Area's Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Potomac School, Fight Night, Fight for Children, and the Inova Fairfax Hospital System.

Russ received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the George Washington University and was named to the GWU All-Century Baseball Team and Athletic Hall of Fame.

On Friday, February 28, Roger Ferguson, president and CEO of TIAA, was interviewed by Dr. Annamaria Lusardi, endowed chair of Economics & Accountancy and academic director of the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC) at the GW School of Business.

photo - Roger Ferguson

Roger W. Ferguson, Jr. is president and chief executive officer of TIAA, the leading provider of retirement services in the academic, research, medical, and cultural fields and a Fortune 100 financial services organization.

Mr. Ferguson is the former Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System. He represented the Federal Reserve on several international policy groups and served on key Federal Reserve System committees, including Payment System Oversight, Reserve Bank Operations, and Supervision and Regulation. As the only Governor in Washington, D.C. on 9/11, he led the Fed’s initial response to the terrorist attacks, taking actions that kept the U.S. financial system functioning while reassuring the global financial community that the U.S. economy would not be paralyzed.

Prior to joining TIAA in April 2008, Mr. Ferguson was head of financial services for Swiss Re, Chairman of Swiss Re America Holding Corporation, and a member of the company’s executive committee. From 1984 to 1997, he was an Associate and Partner at McKinsey & Company. He began his career as an attorney at the New York City office of Davis Polk & Wardwell.

Mr. Ferguson is a member of the Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents and serves on the New York State Insurance Advisory Board. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and co-chairs its Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education. He serves on the boards of Alphabet, Inc.; General Mills, Inc.; and International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc.

He is chairman of the conference board and serves on the boards of the American Council of Life Insurers, the Institute for Advanced Study and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He is a fellow of the American Philosophical Society and a member of the Economic Club of New York, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Group of Thirty and the National Association for Business Economics.

Mr. Ferguson served on President Barack Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness as well as its predecessor, the Economic Recovery Advisory Board, and he co-chaired the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on the Long-Run Macro-Economic Effects of the Aging U.S. Population.

Mr. Ferguson holds a B.A., J.D., and a Ph.D. in economics, all from Harvard University.

On Monday, February 24, David Brickman, CEO of Freddie Mac, was interviewed by Dr. Vanessa Perry, associate dean for Faculty and Research at the GW School of Business.

photo - David Brickman

David Brickman is chief executive officer of Freddie Mac, one of the largest providers of mortgage financing in the United States. He is also a member of the company’s board of directors.

Previously, Brickman served as president of Freddie Mac and was responsible for all three of Freddie Mac's business lines – Single-Family, Multifamily and Capital Markets – as well as the information technology and operations areas that support these business lines. Prior to this role, he was the head of Freddie Mac Multifamily, where he presided over a remarkable period of growth – raising annual production from $16 billion in 2010 to almost $80 billion in 2018 and increasing the organization from 300 staff members in four offices to approximately 1000 employees in a dozen locations across the country.

He also firmly established the company's flagship K-Deal Securitization program as one of the leading securitized products in the structured finance markets. Brickman also drove significant innovation and an expansion in Freddie Mac's products and offerings – particularly those that serve the growing need for affordable and workforce housing.

Before serving as head of Multifamily, Brickman served as senior vice president and vice president in charge of the Multifamily Capital Markets business area. In these positions, he oversaw all functions relating to Freddie Mac's multifamily and CMBS investment and capital markets activities. He is the key architect behind several of Freddie Mac's innovative multifamily financing products, including the Capital Markets Execution and K-Deal program, Reference Bill ARM, fixed-to-float suite of products, and Performance-Based PC, for which he holds a U.S. patent.

Prior to joining Freddie Mac in 1999, Brickman co-led the Mortgage Finance and Credit Analysis consulting group at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Brickman completed all doctoral coursework for his Ph.D. in economics and real estate at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He has held appointments as a professorial lecturer of finance at the George Washington University and as an adjunct professor of finance at Johns Hopkins University.

On Monday, February 10, Andy Walker, MBA ’98, senior managing director and North America leader for CMT Industry at Accenture Strategy, was interviewed by Dr. Liesl Riddle, associate dean of Graduate Programs and associate professor of International Business & International Affairs at the GW School of Business.

photo - Andy Walker, senior managing director and North America leader for CMT Industry at Accenture Strategy

Andy Walker has consulted to communications, media and high tech companies for the past 20 years, focusing on helping them develop the strategies, operating models and roadmaps needed for them to make measurable strategic and financial improvements to their businesses.

His particular area of focus involves supporting companies as they establish and launch new businesses or substantially transform their existing ones. He has developed and launched multiple businesses for Global 100 CMT clients, and has helped a number of others make transformational pivots toward new products and services.

Prior to his career in consulting, Andy spent four years serving as a policy advisor to several Members of Congress. He is a frequent speaker at conferences, and has published in the M&A Journal, the Journal of Telecommunications, and

On Friday, February 7, Kwasi Mitchell, principal and inclusion leader at Deloitte Consulting, LLP, was interviewed by Dr. Anuj Mehrotra, dean of the GW School of Business.

photo - Kwasi Mitchell

Dr. Mitchell is principal in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Government and Public Services Practice (GPS) with more than 15 years of consulting experience. Throughout his tenure, Dr. Mitchell has demonstrated experience guiding security and law enforcement executives through strategic and operational transformations to address emerging security threats. Previously Dr. Mitchell also served as the Strategy Offering Lead within Deloitte GPS’s Strategy & Analytics Offering Portfolio.

As a leader, Dr. Mitchell is passionate about mentoring and developing the next generation of diverse leaders. Dr. Mitchell served in several talent leadership roles, including Diversity & Inclusion Leader for Deloitte Consulting, Federal Inclusion Leader, National Champion for Pro Bono and Skills-Based Volunteering programs, and is actively involved in campus recruiting efforts.

Dr. Mitchell served over 40 clients across Deloitte’s Federal and Commercial practices. More specifically, he has supported mission programs within the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of Defense, & Financial Services, Telecommunications, Technology & Energy.

Kwasi holds a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Northwestern University, an MBA from Drexel University, and B.A. from Kalamazoo College.

On Wednesday, January 29, Andre Chen, MBA ’93, global CEO of Denham - Trendy International Group, was interviewed by Dr. Anuj Mehrotra, dean of the GW School of Business.

photo - Andre Chen

Andre Chen is Global CEO at Denham – Trendy International Group, a fashion and lifestyle retail corporation that provides leisure, jeans, luxury, and other fashion styles. Previously, Mr. Chen served as CEO at Miss Sixty and Superdry China at Trendy International Group and CEO at Pengda Sports.

Prior to this, Mr. Chen spent 18 years at NIKE where he held a number of positions, including Commercial Director at NIKE Greater China, General Manager at NIKE South East Asia (Singapore), Apparel Business Director at NIKE China, New Business (Golf/Equipment/Outdoors) at NIKE Taiwan, Sport Marketing Manager at NIKE Asia Pacific Headquarters (Hong Kong), and Sport Marketing at NIKE Taiwan.

Mr. Chen received an MBA from The George Washington University and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from National Taiwan University.

On Monday, January 27, Mauricio Ortiz, president of Latin American Operations at Boston Scientific Corporation, was interviewed by Dr. Anuj Mehrotra, dean of the GW School of Business.

photo - Mauricio Ortiz

Mauricio Ortiz is the president of Latin American Operations at Boston Scientific Corporation and has under his responsibility all Latin American countries, divided into five regions: Brazil, the Southern Cone, the Andean Region, Mexico & Central America, and the Caribbean.

Mauricio joined Boston Scientific in 1997 and has held several positions since then, such as country manager of Colombia, country manager of Brazil, vice president of Brazil, and vice president and general manager of Latin America.

Prior to joining Boston Scientific, he was employed by Tyco International as the general manager of Andean Countries and by Abbott Laboratories as the director of Sales & Marketing.

Mauricio has a bachelor's degree in Economics from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana of Bogota.

On Wednesday, January 22, His Excellency George Cristian Maior, LL.M. ’92, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Romania to the United States, was interviewed by Dr. Anuj Mehrotra, dean of the GW School of Business.

photo - The Honorable George Cristian Maior

George Cristian Maior has been accredited as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Romania to the United States, as per Decree no 583 of June 29th, 2015, signed by the President of Romania. He has officially commenced his mandate on September 17th, 2015, upon presenting his Letters of Credence to the Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States of America.

Between 1992 and 1997, he was a diplomat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, within the Department of Treaties and Department of Strategic Affairs. Between 1997 and 1999, he was Chargé D’affaires at the Romanian Embassy in Dublin, Ireland. In 2004, he was conferred the rank of Ambassador.

Between 2000 and 2004, he held the position of State Secretary and head of the Department for Euro-Atlantic Integration and Defense Policy within the Ministry of National Defense. In November 2004, Mr. Maior was elected Senator in the Romanian Parliament, where he held various positions, including Chairman of the Committee for Defense, Public Order and National Security; member of Joint Committee for the Parliamentary Oversight on the Foreign Intelligence Service Activity, and member of the Senate Committee for Human Rights, Cults and Minorities.

Following his nomination by the President of Romania and the vote received from the Romanian Parliament, on October 4th, 2006, George Cristian Maior was appointed the 4th Director of the Romanian Intelligence Service.

A Law graduate, Mr. Maior received in 1992 his LL.M. in International and Comparative Law at the George Washington University, Washington DC. In 1997, he was conferred a Ph.D. in International Law at the “Babeş Bolyai” University in Cluj Napoca. He is a university professor and Ph.D. coordinator at the Department of International Relations and European Integration within the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration in Bucharest.

The President of Romania awarded George Cristian Maior the National Order of “Faithful Service” in rank of Knight, the National Order “Star of Romania” in rank of Knight and the National Order “Star of Romania” in rank of Officer. In April 2014, he became a Knight of the “Legion of Honor” order, a title conferred by the President of France. In 2017, The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) awarded George Cristian Maior the “Earl Warren Medallion” for the outstanding partnership with the United States and exceptional leadership during his tenure as Director of Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI). Additionally, he is a Doctor Honoris Causa of the Military Technical Academy in Bucharest, of the “Andrei Saguna” University in Constanta, and of the West University in Timisoara.

He was born on November 16, 1967, in Cluj-Napoca. He is married to Anamaria Maior and has two children.


Fall 2019

November 18, 2019

On Monday, November 18, Muriel Bowser, mayor of the District of Columbia, was interviewed by Dr. Anuj Mehrotra, dean of the GW School of Business.

photo - Muriel Bowser

As Mayor of her hometown, Muriel Bowser is committed to building pathways to the middle class and making sure every Washingtonian gets a fair shot. Washington, D.C. is a growing and prospering city—now more than 700,000 residents strong. To keep up with this growth, the Bowser Administration remains focused on making DC’s prosperity more inclusive, advancing DC values, ensuring that families and workers across the income spectrum can afford to live and thrive in D.C., and building safer, stronger, and healthier neighborhoods across all eight wards of the District.

On November 6, 2018, Muriel Bowser became the first woman ever re-elected as the mayor of Washington, D.C. and the first mayor to earn a second term in 16 years. During her first term, Mayor Bowser took bold steps to expand employment opportunities, build a health care system that meets the needs of residents in every corner of D.C., drive down homelessness, and invest in programs and policies that set more families up for success. Today, Washington, D.C. is a diverse and inclusive city, a leader in tech and innovation, and a place where residents and entrepreneurs of all backgrounds can thrive.

First sworn in on January 2, 2015, Mayor Bowser pledged to bring a fresh start to the District of Columbia and foster a culture of inclusion, transparency, and action. Prior to her time as Mayor, Bowser served as the Ward 4 Councilmember on the Council of the District of Columbia – first elected in a special election in 2007, and re-elected in 2008 and 2012. As a Councilmember, Bowser served as the Chairwoman of the Committee on Economic Development which created more than 5,000 units of affordable housing, passed legislation to build a new soccer stadium and secured from the federal government the best portion of the Walter Reed campus for DC. Bowser led her colleagues to pass comprehensive ethics reform and increased transparency in government contracting.

Bowser, who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Chatham University and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from American University, entered public service as an advisory neighborhood commissioner in the Riggs Park neighborhood.

November 14, 2019

On Thursday, November 14, Charles R. Bendit, BBA ’75, co-chief executive officer of Taconic Investment Partners, was interviewed by alumnus Brian Ray, CCAS BA '94, managing partner at Alchemy-ABR Investment Partners.

This session was sponsored by Mitchell E. Blaser, BBA ’73 and former GW parent, and Eduardo Stern, MBA ’84, former GW Parent. This session was hosted by the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis (CREUA) at GWSB, the Alumni in Real Estate Industry Network, and the GW School of Business.

photo - Charles R. Bendit

Charles Bendit is the co-chief executive officer of Taconic Investment Partners, an owner, operator and developer of commercial and residential real estate. Prior to founding Taconic in 1997, Mr. Bendit founded CBC Properties and, earlier in his career, Mr. Bendit was a managing director at Jones Lang Wootton.

A graduate of George Washington University, Charlie is actively involved in the educational community serving on The George Washington University Board of Trustees, the GW School of Business' Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis, and has served as a Regent of the New York State Board of Education as well as a board member and Principal for a Day for PENCIL. In addition, Charlie is a member of the Board of Governors of the Real Estate Board of New York.

November 12, 2019 - The Washington Post Sports Panel: World Series Rewind

On Tuesday, November 12, Washington Post Sports Columnist Barry Svrluga and Washington Post Sports Staff Writer Sam Fortier discussed the business of baseball and the Washington Nationals' magical season with GWSB Professor Mark Hyman and Bailee Weisz, president of the GW Sports Business Association.

November 4, 2019

On Monday, November 4, Peter Chun, BBA ’00, vice president of Platform Growth at SocialCode, was interviewed by Dr. Vanessa Perry, associate dean for Faculty and Research at the GW School of Business.

photo - Peter Chun

Peter Chun leads SocialCode’s platform strategy and growth to maximize client performance, innovation, and drive revenue growth. He has over 15 years of experience in digital marketing, performance advertising, and consumer mobile, working with the world’s largest consumer Internet brands. Prior to SocialCode, he was the head of solutions at Clickable (acquired by Syncapse) and was a managing director at LinkShare (acquired by Rakuten.) Most recently he was the co-founder at Swaag, the first sneaker and fashion community featured by Apple.

October 26, 2019

On Saturday, October 26, Dr. Xinya Vivian Wang, founding partner of Beautiful Mind Capital (BMC), board trustee at Fudan University, board director at the School of Medical Science of Fudan University, and co-chairman of Fudan University China Financier Club, was interviewed by Dr. Anuj Mehrotra, dean of the GW School of Business.

This George Talks Business event was held in Shanghai, China.

Dr. Vivian Wang is a founding partner of Beautiful Mind Capital (BMC) since 2018. BMC is a leveraged buy-out fund focused on acquiring European companies with synergies with China business. With Dr. Wang’s extensive China-Europe M&A and investment banking experience, most recently BMC has acquired Cordenka AG for Euro240M. Dr. Wang has previously worked at Fortis Bank, Commerzbank, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, and Credit Suisse as chief representative of Credit Suisse Shanghai. Dr. Wang earned BS in Chemistry and Ph.D. in Economics from Fudan University. She is also a board trustee at Fudan University, the board director at the School of Medical Science of Fudan University, and the co-chairman of Fudan University China Financier Club.

October 22, 2019

On Tuesday, October 22, Tom Cortese, BA ’02, co-founder, chief operating officer, and head of product at Peloton, was interviewed by Dr. Anuj Mehrotra, dean of the GW School of Business.

This session was hosted in partnership with 1776.

photo - Tom Cortese

As co-founder, COO, and head of product at Peloton, Tom Cortese is responsible for driving operational cohesion against critical initiatives to drive growth and further excite Peloton’s growing and loyal member base. In addition, Tom heads up Peloton’s Product Development teams, overseeing product definition, design, engineering, and quality — all with a dedicated approach to highly addictive, user-centered experiences across all Peloton member touch-points. Prior to Peloton, Tom held product management and executive roles at IAC/InterActiveCorp and Revolution Health Group. He holds a BA in Philosophy from the George Washington University and spends his free time chasing his three children around the yard, training for races with his wife, and racing up the leaderboard on his Peloton Bike & Tread.

October 17, 2019

On Thursday, October 17, David P. Paul, president and chief operating officer JBG SMITH, was interviewed by Sharon Oliver, MBA '82, principal at Meany & Oliver.

photo - David P. Paul

David P. Paul has served as president and chief operating officer at JBG SMITH since the formation transaction. Mr. Paul has over 25 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry and worked at JBG from September 2007 until the formation transaction, serving as a Managing Partner and member of JBG's Executive Committee, Management Committee and Investment Committee. Prior to joining JBG, Mr. Paul worked in commercial and retail real estate development and investment with several firms, including WP Commercial, Archon Group, a subsidiary of Goldman, Sachs & Co (NYSE: GS), Starwood Urban Investments, and Trammell Crow Company, and has been involved in both domestic and international real estate investment. He began his career with the consulting firm Bain & Company. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University and Master of Business Administration from The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

October 7, 2019

On Monday, October 7, Justin Bakewell, MBA '09, executive director of J.P. Morgan Private Bank, and Lourdes Tiglao, MBA '14, strategic partnerships officer of Team Rubicon Global, were interviewed by Dr. Liesl Riddle, associate dean of Graduate Programs and associate professor of International Business & International Affairs at the GW School of Business.

photo - Justin Bakewell

Justin Bakewell is an executive director and banker with the J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Baltimore. The Private Bank provides individuals, families, public and private foundations, and endowments with comprehensive wealth management strategies, ongoing guidance, and customized plans to address their balance sheet needs.

Before joining J.P. Morgan, Mr. Bakewell served as a Client Advisor at Brown Advisory where he led a number of client relationships and had a leadership role on the firm’s business development team. Prior to this, he was a Client Advisor at Bernstein Global Wealth Management. He also spent eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps serving in a variety of roles.

Mr. Bakewell serves on the Board of Advisors and as Chairman of the Finance Committee for Teach for America (D.C.), on the Board of Directors and as Treasurer for Rocketship Education (D.C.), and on the Board of Advisors of the George Washington University School of Business.

Mr. Bakewell was recognized by the Washington Business Journal as a top 40 Under 40 for both his professional and philanthropic leadership in the Washington, D.C. area. He holds an MBA from the George Washington University, a Graduate Certificate in Taxation from the Kogod School of Business at American University, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland at College Park.

photo - Lourdes Tiglao

Lourdes Tiglao serves as the strategic partnerships officer for Team Rubicon Global, responsible for establishing relationships with the 50 most disaster-prone countries around the world. She is a U.S. Air Force veteran who served in the medical field as part of the 3-person USAF Critical Care Air Transport Team while also a member of the International Health Specialist Team for the US Air Force, using medicine as an approach to crossing cultural barriers. Her career in aerospace medicine deployed her to multiple countries, including Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and the Philippines until 2007. During those years, she assisted in launching the first Critical Care Medical Attendant Team in the Pacific for the US Air Force, helped standardize the aeromedical evacuation protocol for Camp Lester Naval Hospital in Okinawa, and integrated naval personnel into the specialized 3-person teams.

After her honorable discharge, Lourdes joined Team Rubicon, deploying numerous times with the organization to include Hurricane Sandy in New York and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and has been a staunch veteran advocate, speaking on various topics, ranging from Team Rubicon, non-profit management, medicine, veteran transition, humanitarian response, and volunteer mobilization at several venues including the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., the New York and San Francisco Philippine consulates, the State Department, as a guest speaker by an international television network, universities, as well as academic and scientific conferences. Most recently, she has taught Civil-Military Coordination and preparedness to participants from 25+ countries in Germany as part of UN OCHA's facilitation team.

Ms. Tiglao has appeared on ABS-CBN News, The Loyolan, US News & World Report, Republic of the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs, The Filipino Channel, GWToday, Stars and Stripes, Philippines News Central, CNN, The View, ChannelOne, and others.

She holds a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Maryland University College, a certificate in graduate medical education from Georgetown University, and her World Executive MBA degree from George Washington University.

September 23, 2019

On Thursday, October 3, Corinne McCormack, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences alumna and founder of Corinne McCormack Inc., a designer eyewear company, was interviewed by Dr. Lex McCusker, director of Student Entrepreneurship Programs at the George Washington University.

This session was organized with the generous support of Steve Ross, BBA '81.

photo - Corinne McCormack

Corinne McCormack is a seasoned executive and entrepreneur who conceived and created a brand of designer eyewear in 1993 that carved a new niche in the eyewear industry. In 2009, McCormack sold her company to Foster Grant (FGX International), the largest manufacture of popular priced reading and sunglasses. Her expertise in creating her own brand gives her a unique perspective on consulting for other businesses and professionals who want to grow their business.

Corinne developed her eponymous brand into a recognized leader in premium reading glasses. Today, Corinne McCormack Reading Glasses are sold in over 2000 stores in the U.S., including Bloomingdales, Nordstrom and Barnes & Noble.

When McCormack launched her eyewear collection, she was the first designer to see the potential in high end, optical quality reading glasses. Her prior professional background included executive positions with such best in class companies as Macy’s and Avon Products. With the start of her own company, Corinne designed a unique and fashionable line of eyewear accessories that was distinctive in the product design, quality and packaging. The packaging established her brand in retailers including LensCrafters and Sunglass Hut.

Corinne McCormack understands how to build businesses and make them profitable with limited resources. She is both creative and analytical with an intuitive understanding of future trends. Her ability to understand the needs and priorities of modern consumers has been translated into her innovative designs and also enabled her to receive 5 patents.

As the appeal and distribution of her collections has grown, Corinne McCormack has enjoyed prominent coverage in major national and influential print and broadcast outlets including Live with Kelly, the TODAY Show, CNN and Good Morning New York. Her products have been showcased in such major vehicles as In Style, Oprah, WWD, Good Housekeeping, Glamour and important trade publications.

While running her own company, Corinne McCormack has also been active in many high visibility industry organizations. She was the President and on the national board of the OWA (Optical Woman’s Association) for over 10 years. She received the OWA’s inaugural Pinnacle Award in March 2017 for her service and contributions in the industry.

McCormack has been consistently active with The Vision Council, the leading industry association, where she was the Chair of the Marketing/Communications Committee and served for over 10 years. She is also active in the Accessories Council, a major association promoting the profile of fashion accessories globally.

In 2010, McCormack was recognized as one of the Most Influential Women in Optical by Vision Monday, a leading trade publication.

A skilled presenter, McCormack is an accredited ABO (American Board of Opticianry) speaker and has developed and taught several Continuing Education courses for the Optical Industry. She has also been a speaker at Fashion Institute of Technology in NY and represented woman owned businesses at a press conference with Mayor Guilani in 1994.

Corinne holds a BS degree from George Washington University.

September 23, 2019

On Monday, September 23 at 6:00 p.m., David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group, was interviewed by Dr. Anuj Mehrotra, dean of the GW School of Business, and Rodney Lake, director of the GW Investment Institute.

This session was organized with the generous support of Steve Ross, BBA '81.

photo - David Rubenstein

David M. Rubenstein is a co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest and most successful private investment firms. Mr. Rubenstein co-founded the firm in 1987. Since then, Carlyle has grown into a firm managing $222 billion from 33 offices around the world.

Mr. Rubenstein is Chairman of the Boards of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Council on Foreign Relations; a Fellow of the Harvard Corporation; a Trustee of the National Gallery of Art, the University of Chicago, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Brookings Institution, and the World Economic Forum; a Director of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; and President of the Economic Club of Washington.

Mr. Rubenstein is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Philosophical Society, Business Council, Harvard Global Advisory Council (Chairman), Madison Council of the Library of Congress (Chairman), Board of Dean’s Advisors of the Business School at Harvard, Advisory Board of the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University (former Chairman), and Board of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community.

Mr. Rubenstein has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Duke University and Co-Chairman of the Board of the Brookings Institution.

Mr. Rubenstein is an original signer of The Giving Pledge, a significant donor to all of the above-mentioned non-profit organizations, and a recipient of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, and the MoMA’s David Rockefeller Award, among other philanthropic awards.

Mr. Rubenstein has been a leader in the area of Patriotic Philanthropy, having made transformative gifts for the restoration or repair of the Washington Monument, Monticello, Montpelier, Mount Vernon, Arlington House, Iwo Jima Memorial, the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian, the National Archives, the National Zoo, the Library of Congress, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Mr. Rubenstein has also provided to the U.S. government long-term loans of his rare copies of the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th Amendment, the first map of the U.S. (Abel Buell map), and the first book printed in the U.S. (Bay Psalm Book).

Mr. Rubenstein is the host of The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations on Bloomberg TV and PBS.

Mr. Rubenstein, a native of Baltimore, is a 1970 magna cum laude graduate of Duke University, where he was elected Phi Beta Kappa. Following Duke, Mr. Rubenstein graduated in 1973 from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was an editor of the Law Review. From 1973-1975, Mr. Rubenstein practiced law in New York with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. From 1975-1976, he served as Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments. From 1977-1981, during the Carter Administration, Mr. Rubenstein was Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. After his White House service and before co-founding Carlyle, Mr. Rubenstein practiced law in Washington with Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge (now Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman).

September 23, 2019

On Monday, September 23 at 12:00 p.m., Nelson A. Carbonell, Jr., chair emeritus of the George Washington University Board of Trustees, was interviewed by Dr. Anuj Mehrotra, dean of the GW School of Business.

This session was organized with the generous support of Steve Ross, BBA '81.

photo - Nelson A. Carbonell, Jr.

Nelson A. Carbonell, Jr., chairman emeritus of the Board of Trustees of the George Washington University, is an entrepreneur with more than 30 years of experience. He has founded companies including Cysive, a software engineering services company he took public in 1999; Snowbird Capital, which provided equity and mezzanine debt to middle market companies; and Nelson Carbonell and Associates, which assists companies with strategy, financing, operations and technology. Mr. Carbonell has chaired several key committees of the George Washington University Board of Trustees, most notably, the committee that led the full board to approve the construction of the Science and Engineering Hall. He serves on the board of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and is a former chairman of the Washington-Baltimore Young President's Organization, as well as a former member of YPO's International Board. Mr. Carbonell also serves on several corporate boards. Mr. Carbonell earned his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from GW graduating with distinction in 1985.

Nelson was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area. He is of Cuban decent and speaks fluent Spanish. He resides with his wife Michele in Great Falls, Virginia. Nelson and Michele have four adult children: Carmen, Roxy, Dylan and Sophia. Nelson spends his free time skiing, golfing, hiking and relaxing at his vacation home in Deer Valley, Utah. He enjoys fine wine, good food, and reading history and physics.

September 16, 2019

On Monday, September 16, Mark Lerner, managing principal owner and vice chairman of the Washington Nationals Baseball Club, was interviewed by Lisa Delpy Neirotti, Ph.D., director of the MS in Sport Management program and associate professor of Sport Management at GWSB.

This session was organized with the generous support of Steve Ross, BBA '81.

photo - Mark Lerner

Mark D. Lerner is a native Washingtonian and managing principal owner and vice chairman of the Washington Nationals Baseball Club. He is also a Principal of Lerner Enterprises, the largest private real estate developers in the Washington, D.C. area. The company was founded in 1952 by Mark’s father, Theodore N. Lerner, and is involved in all phases of real estate including planning, development, construction, leasing, asset and property management. The Lerner organization has developed millions of square feet of office buildings, retail centers, hotels and residential communities in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. The principals of the company include Mark’s father Ted, and his brothers-in-law, Edward L. Cohen and Robert K. Tanenbaum. He received his BBA from the George Washington University in 1975.

An enthusiastic sports fan since childhood, Mark also represents the Lerner, Cohen and Tanenbaum families as a partner in Monumental Sports & Entertainment – the sports investment group that owns the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals, NBA Washington Wizards, WNBA Washington Mystics, AFL Champion Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade, and the Capital One Arena. Mark holds numerous volunteer positions within the community. He is currently on the Council of Advisors of the Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, a member of the Board of Directors of Hillel at the George Washington University, a member of the Advisory Board of Israel Bonds, a member of the New York University DC Center Steering Committee, a member of the board of the Washington D.C. Sports Hall of Fame, vice president of The Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation, a board member of the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, and an officer of the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation. In 2007, he received the prestigious Chadesh Yameinu Award from the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland, where he previously served as a member of the Board of Directors and as chair of the Building & Grounds Committee. He was also co-chair of the 2004 JCC Maccabi Games of Greater Washington. In 2015, he was awarded Trendsetter of the Year in commercial real estate by Transwestern and Delta Associates. Mark also sits on Major League Baseball’s Competition Committee.

Adding to this history of community involvement in the Washington area, the Lerner family is pleased to expand their participation in the region through the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation. This includes major projects such as the state-of-the-art Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy in Ward 7 and the Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex at Children’s National Medical Center. In addition, the Lerner and Nationals charitable foundations helped to create the Washington Nationals Miracle Field in Germantown, Md., to encourage disabled children to play baseball. The team also hosts player trips to visit active military and veterans at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and hosts and honors returning veterans at each of their home games.

Mark resides in Washington with his wife of 40 years, Judy Lenkin Lerner. They have three children and two grandchildren.


Spring 2019

June 6, 2019 - "How to Help HR Deliver Business Value: Lessons From Science and Practice"

In today’s globalized world, it is relatively easy to gain access to the competition’s technology and products. So, what is today’s key source of an organization’s competitive advantage? The answer is: people. But what should organizations do to transform people’s talent and motivation into a strategic business advantage? What is the role of top management, line managers, and the HR function? The first summer installment of George Talks Business answered these questions by combining lessons learned from science and practice on employee engagement, performance management, organizational culture, talent acquisition and development, the HR-board relationship, and total rewards, among other topics.

Dr. Herman Aguinis, Avram Tucker Distinguished Scholar and professor of management at GWSB, and Dawn M. Cacciotti, president and senior human resources consultant at EngageHRnow, LLC, participated in a panel moderated by Dr. James R. Bailey, Hochberg Professorial Fellow of Leadership Development and professor of management at GWSB. Welcome remarks were given by Dr. Liesl Riddle, associate dean of graduate programs at GWSB.

The first 100 registered guests attending the event in person received a free copy of Professor Herman Aguinis’s new book Performance Management for Dummies .

This event was co-sponsored by the Dulles area chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

photo - Herman Aguinis

Dr. Herman Aguinis is the Avram Tucker Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Management at the George Washington University School of Business (GWSB). Prior to joining GWSB, he was the John F. Mee Chair of Management and the Founding and Managing Director of the Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness in the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. In addition, he has been a visiting scholar at universities in the People's Republic of China (Beijing and Hong Kong), Malaysia, Singapore, Argentina, France, Spain, Puerto Rico, Australia, and South Africa.

His research is multidisciplinary and addresses the acquisition and deployment of talent in organizations and organizational research methods. Dr. Aguinis is the recipient of the 2017 Michael R. Losey Excellence in Human Resource Research Award. The award is given for lifetime achievement in human resource research and recognizes an individual for significant past and ongoing research contributions that impact the HR management field.

Learn more about Dr. Aguinis

photo - Dawn Cacciotti

Dawn Cacciotti, founder of EngageHRnow, has more than 25 years of strategic HR experience. As a human resources strategist, co-author of Cultivating Culture, and passionate speaker, Dawn is an advocate for the importance of strategic HR to the success of all organizations. EngageHRnow, founded in 2014, is a human resources consulting and outsourcing firm specializing in employee engagement, organizational culture, and strategic human capital solutions for small to mid-size associations and for-profit business.

Dawn has won numerous honors for her leadership in the area of Engagement, Strategy and Well-being. In 2014, she was recognized by Employee Benefits News as the “Benefits Leadership – Judges Choice” award winner, led the strategic human capital change at the National Restaurant Association allowing them to be awarded the coveted Washington Post Top Workplace list in Washington, D.C., and was a Human Resources Strategic Alignment honoree for the HRLA awards.

Dawn has shared her strategic HR insights at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce small business summit, Association Trends events, BLR webinars, SHRM events, executive leadership retreats and has conducted numerous organizational training sessions on how to build a healthy culture and drive employee engagement. She holds certifications as a Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR), SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) and Human Capital Strategist (HCS) and has her Bachelors of Science in Human Resources Management.

May 2, 2019

The 15th George Talks Business event was held on Thursday, May 2. Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), was interviewed by Danny Leipziger, managing director of The Growth Dialogue and professor of international business and international affairs at GWSB.

photo - Christine Lagarde

Since July 2011, Christine Lagarde has been the eleventh and first woman Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. She was reelected to a second five-year term in 2016. A lawyer by background, Christine Lagarde practiced for 20 years with the international law firm Baker McKenzie, of which she became global Chairman in 1999. In 2005, she joined the French Government as Minister for Foreign Trade. Two years later, she became the first woman to hold the post of Finance and Economy Minister of a G7 country.

April 29, 2019

The 14th George Talks Business event was held on Monday, April 29, 2019. Brazilian-born international artist and sculptor Romero Britto was interviewed by Dr. Vivek Choudhury, associate dean for strategic initiatives at the GW School of Business.

photo - Romero Britto

Brazilian-born and Miami-made, Romero Britto is an international artist who uses vibrant, bold and colorful patterns to reflect his optimistic view of the world around him. Britto has created a visual language of hope and happiness all its own that is relatable to all, inspiring millions. Self-taught at an early age, Britto painted on scraps of paper or cardboard or any medium he could find before coming into his own and traveling to Paris where he was introduced to the works of Matisse and Picasso. His appreciation of these masters influenced him to create an iconic style that, as The New York Times described, “exudes warmth, optimism and love”.

Britto’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums in more than 100 countries, including the Salon de la Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts exhibition at the Carrousel du Louvre in 2008 and 2010. In 2013, Maria Elena and Carlos Slim Domit invited Romero to be the first living artist to exhibit at MuseoSoumaya. He has created public art installations for the 02 Dome in Berlin, New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, Cirque Du Soleil at Super Bowl XLI, and has been credited with the largest monumental sculpture in London’s Hyde Park history. Britto served as an official artist for the 2010 World Cup, Ambassador to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil and was recently invited to be an honorary torch bearer for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Britto’s pop sensibility has since leant itself to many collaborations with international brands such as Audi, Bentley, Coca-Cola, Walt Disney, Evian, Hublot, and Mattel to name a few.

Romero is an activist for charitable organizations worldwide and most of all an artist who believes “art is too important not to share.” Britto has donated time, art, and resources to more than 250 charitable organizations. Not a silent activist, Britto was a selected speaker for the arts at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. In addition, Romero Britto is proudly an Inaugural Founding Benefactor of the Harvard International Negotiation Program. He holds a seat on several boards such as Best Buddies International, and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and was recently appointed to the board of HRH The Prince of Wales charity, The Prince’s Trust. A believer in the role of an artist as an agent of positive change, Romero Britto is committed to developing and supporting the role art will continue to play in world issues.

April 26, 2019 - Perspectives on Women's Leadership

The 13th George Talks Business event was held on Friday, April 26. Christine Brown-Quinn (MBA ’92), owner and founder of The Female Capitalist; Carrie Potter (MBA ’01, BBA ’99), president of The Carrie Potter Group, LLC; and Isabella Zhang (BBA ’14), senior associate at Ernst & Young, participated in a panel discussion moderated by Mr. Mitchell E. Blaser (BBA ’73 and former GW parent), COO of Ironshore Inc. and chair of the GWSB Dean's Advisory Council.

photo - Christine Brown-Quinn

Following nearly 30 years in business, Christine Brown-Quinn embarked on a new career in 2010 as The Female Capitalist® to share with professional women practical, hands-on business strategies for career progression and work-life balance. As a former Managing Director in International Finance, Christine is well versed in what it takes to forge a thriving career in highly pressurized "alpha" environments. Through her webinars, coaching and in-person workshops, Christine unveils what really matters in getting ahead in the corporate world.

She is also a published author: Step Aside Super Woman: Career & Family is for Any Woman (2011) and Career Success: Knowing the Unwritten Rules Changes Everything (to be published in the fall of 2019). Christine has an undergraduate degree in foreign languages from Georgetown University and an MBA in International Business from the George Washington University School of Business, where she currently serves on the Dean's Board of Advisors.

photo - Carrie Potter

Carrie Potter provides business consulting and financial planning services to professional athletes and small businesses. Potter advises her clients on business strategy and all areas of finance, including estate and investment management. She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP) professional and Registered Investment Advisor in Texas. Prior to the launch of The Carrie Potter Group, LLC in 2006, she was vice president at PMG Sports in Washington DC. Carrie is also an adjunct lecturer with the Rice University Department of Sport Management.

Potter is a founding member and president of Women in Sports & Events (WISE) Houston, which is the leading voice and resource for professional women in the business of sports. She is also the Chair for the Texas Executive Women Board of Directors. From 2009-2018, Potter served on the Houston Area Women’s Center Board of Directors, including two years as Chair and five years as Finance Chair. She earned two degrees in business, B.B.A. ‘99 and M.B.A. ‘01, from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and serves on the Executive Committee of the School of Business Board of Advisors, chairing the Student Experience Committee. Carrie is a Senior Fellow from Class XXXIV of the American Leadership Forum and after participating in Class 34 of the Center for Houston’s Future, co-chaired its 2018 Leadership Campaign and serves on its Steering Committee. She was named a 2016 Woman on the Move by Texas Executive Women, a part of the Houston Business Journal’s 2017 40 Under 40 class, honored as a STEAM Role Model by the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce in 2018 and was featured as a financial advisor on an episode of Discovery Channel’s Garage Rehab hosted by Richard Rawlings in 2019.

When not serving clients or the community, Potter enjoys visiting those in need with her golden doodle Penny, playing golf, and cooking. Carrie was the first female student government president at The George Washington University; Valedictorian of Mercy High School in Omaha, Nebraska; and a writing assistant for The Babe Book: Baseball’s Greatest Legend Remembered, which was published in 2000.

photo - Isabella Zhang

Isabella Zhang is a senior associate at Ernst and Young’s Transaction Support Practice in Shanghai. She serves both sell and buy side’s clients with detailed due diligence analyses, deal structuring and contract negotiations.

Isabella joined Ernst & Young US’s audit practice in 2015 and transferred to Ernst & Young China’s Transaction Support practice in October 2018. Throughout her audit practice, she has worked on multiple public trade clients across Media & Entertainment and Life Science industry including Fortune 500 companies, emerging companies, and foreign subsidiaries. At the Transaction Support practice, she has been involved in domestic and cross-border transaction in various industry sectors, including manufacturing, education, and consumer products. Isabella is a Certified Public Accountants in the US and a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Ms. Zhang graduated from GWU in 2014 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and in 2015, she received a Master's Degree of Professional Studies in Applied Statistics from Cornell University Graduate School.

April 22, 2019

The 12th George Talks Business event was held on Monday, April 22. Kristalina Georgieva, chief executive officer of the World Bank, was interviewed by Danny Leipziger, managing director of The Growth Dialogue and professor of international business and international affairs at GWSB.

photo - Kristalina Georgieva

Kristalina Georgieva is the Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank. Her role is to build support across the international community to mobilize resources for poor and middle-income countries and to create better opportunities for the world’s most vulnerable people.

Previously, Georgieva, a Bulgarian national, played a leading role in shaping the agenda of the European Union, first as Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, and later as Vice President for Budget and Human Resources, in charge of the European Union's €161 billion budget and 33,000 staff around the world.

Before joining the European Commission, Georgieva held multiple positions at the World Bank, including, most recently, Vice President and Corporate Secretary (2008-2010), and from 2007 to 2008, Director for Sustainable Development in charge of 60 percent of the World Bank’s policy and lending operations.

April 15, 2019 - The State of Baseball: Reflections of a Hall of Fame Broadcaster

The 11th George Talks Business event was held on Monday, April 15. Jon Miller, pre-eminent Major League Baseball broadcaster and National Baseball Hall of Fame 2010 Ford C. Frick award-winner, was interviewed by GWSB Professor Mark Hyman and Ryan Delaney (BBA '19), President, Sports Business Association.

photo - Jon Miller

Jon Miller, honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the 2010 Ford C. Frick award winner for baseball broadcasting excellence, the “Voice of the Giants”, enters his 22nd season in the broadcast booth on KNBR Radio, NBC Bay Area and NBC Sports Bay Area. Miller was thrilled to broadcast his 16th World Series in 2014 as the Giants won it all for the third time in five years. Miller was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2014.

In 1990, when ESPN TV first began its coverage of Major League Baseball, Miller was chosen as the first play-by-play commentator on the award-winning ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game of the week broadcast. Miller and his Hall of Fame partner, Joe Morgan, teamed up on the prime time telecast for 21 seasons. During his tenure at ESPN, he was nominated twice for a national Emmy Award, and broadcast 13 consecutive World Series on ESPN Radio. He has broadcast 16 World Series overall. He was also nominated six times for an “ACE” award, emblematic of cable television excellence, and won the award in 1991 - the first ESPN play-by-play announcer to win the award, and 1996.

Miller was named National Sportscaster of the Year by the American Sportscasters Association (ASA) in 1998. That same year, Miller was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association of America (NSSAA). In 2016, Miller received a Northern California Emmy Award, the third local Emmy for his Giants television work. Prior to his work on ESPN, Miller broadcast an occasional game on NBC-TV with either Tony Kubek or Joe Garagaiola.

Miller spent 14 years with the Baltimore Orioles before coming to the Giants. Prior to joining Baltimore in 1983, the talented broadcaster spent two seasons with the Texas Rangers (1978-79) and three seasons with the Boston Red Sox (1980-82). Miller got his first baseball play-by-play job in 1974 at age 22 calling radio and TV for that year’s World Series Champion Oakland Athletics.

The Bay Area native has also broadcast NHL hockey, NBA basketball and championship soccer games on national television in his distinguished career. In 2018, Miller was inducted into the College of San Mateo (CA) Hall of Fame. Miller began his broadcasting career as a student at CSM and broadcast baseball, football and basketball games on KCSM, the college’s radio and TV stations.

Jon and his wife, Janine, reside in Moss Beach. They are parents to three daughters, Misha, Holly (married to Paul Gallagher) and Emilie, and a son, Alexander.

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

The 10th George Talks Business event was held on Monday, April 15. Doug Zarkin (BBA '92), vice president and chief marketing officer of Pearle Vision Luxottica, was interviewed by GW School of Business Dean Anuj Mehrotra.

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.

April 9, 2019 - AI: Benefits, Ethics and Risks

The ninth George Talks Business event was held on Tuesday, April 9. Manoj Saxena, executive chairman of CognitiveScale and former first general manager of IBM Watson, was interviewed by GW School of Business Dean Anuj Mehrotra.

Manoj Saxena is the executive chairman of CognitiveScale and a founding managing director of The Entrepreneurs' Fund IV, a seed fund focused on the B2B AI market with nine active investments.

Previously, he served as the first General Manager of IBM Watson, where his team built the first cognitive systems. Prior to IBM, Saxena successfully founded and sold two venture-backed software companies within a five-year span.

He currently serves on the boards of AI Global, a non-profit dedicated to promoting practical and responsible applications of AI, and the Saxena Family Foundation.

Saxena holds a post graduate degree in business administration from Michigan State University, and a graduate degree in management sciences from the Birla Institute of Technology in Pilani, India. He is also the holder of nine software patents.

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

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

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.

March 25, 2019 - Placemaking, Innovation Districts and Growth Trends: The Future of Living and Working in Metropolitan America

The seventh George Talks Business event was held on Monday, March 25. Jennifer Vey, senior fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution and director of the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking, was interviewed by Christopher B. Leinberger, Charles Bendit Distinguished Scholar and Research Professor and chair of the Center for Real Estate & Urban Analysis at GWSB.

photo - Jennifer Vey

Jennifer S. Vey is a senior fellow and the Director of the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking at the Brookings Institution. Jennifer’s work primarily focuses on the connection between placemaking and inclusive economic development in the digital economy. She is the author or co-author of numerous Brookings publications, including “Why we need to invest in transformative placemaking,” “Assessing your innovation district: A how-to guide,” and “Building from strength: Creating opportunity in Greater Baltimore’s next economy.” She also co-edited Retooling for Growth:  Building a 21st Century Economy in America’s Older Industrial Areas, published by the American Assembly and Brookings Institution Press.

Prior to joining Brookings in June, 2001, Jennifer was a Community Planning and Development Specialist at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She earned a Master of Planning degree from the University of Virginia, and holds a B.A. in Geography from Bucknell University. She lives with her family in Baltimore.

March 18, 2019 - Smart Cities: The Promises and the Challenges

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

Gabriel (Gabe) Galvan is an executive director at the MITRE Corporation. As a member of MITRE’s executive team, he works across the company to help promote safety in the United States and with governments across the world. He concentrates on MITRE’s cyber outreach and partnerships. Engaging across the globe on issues of security, his overseas efforts often include the themes of smart cities, cyber security and resilience, research and development.

Today he leads an effort to launch a public-private partnership to increase cyber defense and to share valuable actionable information for its members in industry and the region. He is active in the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative, a Virginia-based effort to help align cyber and related technologies investments with activities of research, education and economic development in the region.

Gabe has held executive roles and international assignments in a variety of companies including the IBM Corporation, BMC Software and HP. His experience in business, management consulting, sales, services and public policy has been used to launch new businesses and help transform governments and organizations across the world.

Gabe graduated with highest honors as valedictorian in his MBA studies from the George Washington University. He is a native Washingtonian and earned a BS in Business Administration from George Mason University and has additional studies in International Transactions from George Mason’s School of Public Policy. He remains active supporting the local university community and serves as a Board of Trustee to Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia.

He is a member of the Atlantic Council and the Greater Washington Board of Trade, and he currently chairs the NVTC Committee on Cybersecurity and Privacy.

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

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

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.

February 25, 2019 - How the Internet of Things Is Going to Change Everything

The fourth George Talks Business event was 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), was interviewed by Dr. Vanessa Perry, associate dean for faculty and chair of the Department of Marketing at GWSB.

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,, Land’s End/Sears,, 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.

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.

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.

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