Alumni & Friends
Alumni of Color Network Weekend

Alumni of Color Network Weekend: November 5-6, 2021

 
The Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business is excited to invite you to the inaugural Alumni of Color Network Weekend! This weekend is inspired by our Assistant Dean and Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Cynthia Turner in collaboration with Senior Director David Harrison and the Fisher Office of Diversity and Inclusion Student Services and Corporate and Community Outreach (ODISCCO). The aim is to build community among Fisher alumni of color and provide opportunities for networking, personal and professional development, mentorship and advocacy.

Whether you join us for the entire weekend, or attend only a few of our scheduled events, you’ll have the opportunity to create an alumni weekend made just for you!

Register now

 


 

Schedule of events


Friday, November 5

 

Young Alumni & Student Luncheon

Mason Hall Rotunda, 250 West Woodruff Avenue
12-1:30 p.m.

Join us as we celebrate emerging alumni leaders of color with the presentation of the Alumni of Color Emerging Leader Award and spend the afternoon networking with Fisher student leaders and young alumni (Ohio State graduates who are age 30 years or younger).

Alumni of Color Emerging Leader Award Recipients

Edwin Jones (BSBA ’08, MBA ’15) Michael Song (BSBA ’10) Melissa Trejo (BSBA ’15)

Biographies of Award Recipients

  • Edwin Jones (BSBA ’08, MBA ’15)

    Edwin Jones (BSBA ’08, MBA ’15)

    Software Sales Leader, IBM

    Edwin Jones works with the Red Hat Marketplace team supporting third-party technology partners. Prior to IBM, he worked at L Brands in various accounting functions. He is passionate about helping the next generation develop the business, leadership and communication skills that his mentors, instructors and colleagues have fostered in him.

    Edwin volunteers with Fisher’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion Student Services and Corporate and Community Outreach Office (ODISSCCO) and has served in multiple leadership roles as a member of the Accounting Career Awareness Program (ACAP-Ohio) Planning Committee since 2008.

    Edwin cherishes spending time with his wife and son, Candice and Jude, at their home in Westerville, Ohio.

  • Michael Song (BSBA ’10)

    Michael Song (BSBA ’10)

    Vice President, OpenGate Capital

    Michael Song is responsible for transaction execution, due diligence and portfolio management of the firm’s global technology investments. Before joining OpenGate, Michael was an investment associate at Sun Capital Partners. He has nearly 10 years of private equity experience and more than $500 million of transactions across various industries. Prior to that he was at Barclays Capital and advised on more than $6 billion of transactions in the technology sector.

    Michael currently serves on the board of MobLab Inc., an educational technology startup, and is a board observer for InRule Technology and Mersive Technologies. He is a former board member of CoreMedia, a digital experience platform software based in Germany.

    As an Honors Cohort student, Michael was president of the Asian Business Student Association and held roles on both the Undergraduate Programs Committee and Undergraduate Diversity Committee. Today, he mentors students in the Fisher Futures and Honors Cohort programs who are seeking career opportunities in private equity and on Wall Street. He also works with the Fisher Asian Business Student Association.

  • Melissa Trejo (BSBA ’15)

    Melissa Trejo (BSBA ’15)

    Financial Manager, Financial Leadership Development Program, Aflac

    As a member of Aflac’s first Financial Leadership Development Program class, Melissa Trejo is in the Financial Reporting team and will be rotating to the Global Investments team.

    Prior to Aflac, Melissa was at Nationwide, where she held various roles in areas including Investments Controllership, Separate Accounts GAAP Reporting, Financial Reporting Controls, and Strategic Account Management.

    As a student at Fisher, she held leadership roles in the Business Scholars Program, Alpha Kappa Psi and the National Association of Black Accountants. She was also involved in the Undergraduate Business Women’s Association.

    Today, Melissa is a member of the Association of Latino Professionals for America and participates as a guest speaker and panelist at Fisher’s student events. She also supports Fisher’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion Student Services and Corporate and Community Outreach Office (ODISSCCO) and serves as a member of the Accounting Career Awareness Program (ACAP-Ohio) Planning Committee.

Master of Ceremonies

Christian J. Bonner (BSBA '14)

  • Biography

    Christian J. Bonner (BSBA '14)

    Christian J. Bonner (BSBA '14)
    Vice President, Business Banker – Middle Market, Wells Fargo

    Christian Bonner has been with Wells Fargo since joining the company’s Wealth and Investment Management (WIM) Analyst program in 2014. He graduated from the program in 2016 and transitioned into a role with its commercial real estate (CRE) group in Washington, D.C., where he did credit underwriting and portfolio management for complex CRE transactions in the northeast.

    Christian eventually moved to Atlanta as a senior relationship manager in Middle Market Banking. He was promoted to vice president to manage a larger and more complex portfolio of clients.

    In addition to his career at Wells Fargo, Christian is also a seasoned real estate investor and is co-owner of MC Estates LLC in Atlanta, GA, where he currently manages a growing portfolio of six properties.

    In his spare time, Christian serves on Fisher’s Alumni Board and is very involved with his fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. He enjoys working out and is a world traveler, whose dream vacation is to go outer space.

 “Be Board Ready” Workshop

275 Gerlach Hall, 2108 Neil Avenue
2-4 p.m.

Barb Smoot, president and CEO of Women for Economic and Leadership Development (WELD), leads this panel discussion with Fisher alumni Ken Coleman (BSBA '65, MBA '72), chairman of EIS Group, and Dwight Smith (BSBA ’78, MBA ’79), founder, president and CEO of Sophisticated Systems, Inc. Both currently serve on corporate, nonprofit and governmental boards, and they will share their personal insights on how you can “be board ready.”

Workshop Panelists

Ken Coleman (BSBA '65, MBA '72) Dwight Smith (BSBA ’78, MBA ’79) Barb Smoot

 

Biographies of Panelists

  • Ken Coleman (BSBA '65, MBA '72)

    Ken Coleman (BSBA '65, MBA '72)

    Chairman, EIS Group

    A Silicon Valley pioneer, Ken leads one of the leading software companies serving the insurance industry. Prior to EIS Group, he was the founder, chairman and CEO of ITM Software, an enterprise software company whose solutions focused on the information technology function. Previously, Ken was the chief revenue officer of Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI). Prior to joining SGI, Ken was vice president of product development at Activision. He also spent 10 years at Hewlett-Packard Company, where he held several management positions.

    In addition to his role at EIS Group, Ken serves on the board of directors of Prevedere, Saama Technologies and Entertainment Partners. He is currently a special advisor to both Andreessen Horowitz Venture Capital Firm and Carrick Capital Partners Private Equity Firm. He is also an advisor to Pinterest, CSSA Insurance Group, Substack, as well as several other early-stage technology companies.

    He is a member of Fisher’s Executive Leadership Council and the Dean’s Advisory Council. He is on the board of several nonprofits including the National Museum of African American History and Culture and Management Leadership for Tomorrow.

  • Dwight Smith (BSBA ’78, MBA ’79)

    Dwight Smith (BSBA ’78, MBA ’79)

    Founder, President and CEO, Sophisticated Systems, Inc.

    With over 40 years of experience in the IT industry, Dwight Smith is the founder, president and CEO of Sophisticated Systems, Inc., in Columbus. Sophisticated Systems provides businesses with a comprehensive set of information technology solutions to drive results, from project staffing, assessments to fully outsourced managed services.

    Sophisticated Systems has experienced national recognition in being named as one of Inc.’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies in the country. SSI has also been recognized as a Corporate Caring Award winner. Other recognitions include the Top Cat Tech Innovation Award for technology leadership and one of the fastest growing central Ohio businesses for seven years by Columbus Fast 50.

    Dwight is very active in the Columbus community and believes that it is an honor to be in a position to contribute to the community. In 1998, he established a nonprofit foundation, TBTG (Thanks Be To God) to provide assistance to children in our community and around the world. In 2015, two additional donor advised funds were also established: The Rubye Irene Smith Youth Initiative Donor Advised Fund to support efforts in his hometown of Springfield, Ohio, and My Special Word. In addition, he has served as an adjunct professor in the MBA program at Franklin University and has been a guest lecturer at Fisher College of Business. In September 2021, Dwight received an Honorary Doctorate Degree of Community Leadership from Franklin University. He is an active angel investor in a number of high potential startups.

    Dwight currently resides in Dublin, Ohio with his wife, Renee.

  • Barb Smoot (moderator)

    Barb Smoot

    President and CEO of Women for Economic and Leadership Development

    Barb Smoot is the president and CEO of Women for Economic and Leadership Development (WELD), the organization that develops and advances women’s leadership to strengthen the economic prosperity of the communities it serves. As WELD’s first president, Barb is the driving force behind WELD’s rapid growth. She serves as primary community liaison, overseeing fundraising, collaborative partnerships and development and implementation of WELD’s new strategic initiatives, including WELD’s national expansion.

    Barb is very active in the Columbus community in a variety of ways. She is on the national board of National Church Residences and chairs its Audit, Finance and Risk Committee. In addition, she serves on the National Church Residences Foundation Board. Barb is a member of the City of Westerville Board of Zoning Appeals and joined the Advisory Board of The Overcomer Foundation. She served four years as a commissioner on the Columbus Women’s Commission and chaired the Gender Equity in the Workplace Committee. Barb has served on the Board Development Committee for the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland and on the boards of the Nationwide Federal Credit Union, the Martin Luther King Arts Complex, St. Joseph Montessori School and WELD.

    Barb is a 2021 Otterbein University Honorary Alumna and a 2020 YWCA Columbus Women of Achievement honoree. She was recognized as one of Columbus Business First’s Power 100 from 2019-2021 and was selected as Columbus CEO’s 2017 CEO of the Year for Small Nonprofits. She is one of Smart Business’ 2016 Smart 50 award winners and was recognized as the 2014 NAWBO Columbus Women’s Business Champion. Under Barb’s leadership, WELD was awarded Columbus Business First’s 2019 Outstanding Diversity Organization (Micro Category) and was featured as Community Network of the Year by The Women’s Book.

    Barb has more than 20 years of financial services experience and is a past fellow in the Society of Actuaries. She is a graduate of Amherst College with a Bachelor of Arts in physics.

 Campus Shuttle Tour

Meet at The Blackwell Inn, 2110 Tuttle Park Place
3-4:30 p.m.

Curious to know what’s changed (or stayed the same) on campus since graduation? Take a trip down memory lane from the comfort of a shuttle bus while enjoying this fun and informative tour led by an ambassador from the Student Alumni Council. Pick-up and drop-off will be at the front doors of The Blackwell Inn. 

 Ohio Stadium Tour

Meet at The Blackwell Inn, 2110 Tuttle Park Place
3-4:30 p.m.

Sign up for this behind-the-scenes stadium tour with a special stop in the band room of TBDBITL. Enjoy the unsurpassed view from the press box, experience the players’ tunnel, walk on the field and imagine 100,000 fans cheering for you! Gather at the lobby doors of The Blackwell Inn, and we’ll walk to the Rotunda at Ohio Stadium where we’ll meet up with our Redcoat guide. 

 Frank W. Hale Black Cultural Center Tour

Meet at The Blackwell Inn, 2110 Tuttle Park Place
3-4:30 p.m.

Located on Ohio State's south campus, the Hale Center is one of the finest Black Cultural Centers in the country! Our tour guide will share how the Center is utilized for social, cultural and educational purposes. Special highlights include the Center’s stunning art collection, which illustrates the Black experience through nationally recognized artists. Pick-up and drop-off will be at the front doors of The Blackwell Inn.

 An Evening of Celebration

Longaberger Alumni House, 2200 Olentangy River Road
5:30-10:30 p.m.

Celebrate and recognize accomplished alumni of color who have achieved excellence in their professional careers and have provided extraordinary service to their alma mater and their respective Black, Hispanic, Latinx and Asian Pacific Islander Desi American communities with the presentation of the Alumni of Color Legacy Award. Live music to follow the awards ceremony! Come for dinner and awards, stay for the music and dance the night away! 

Alumni of Color Legacy Award Recipients

Ken Coleman (BSBA '65, MBA '72) Lori Guzmán-Castillo (MBA '09)
Ming-Hao Shiao (BSBA ’01) Jesse J. Tyson (MBA '76)

 

Biographies of Alumni of Color Legacy Award Recipients

  • Kenneth L. Coleman (BSBA ’65, MBA ’72)

    Ken Coleman (BSBA '65, MBA '72)

    Chairman, EIS Group

    A Silicon Valley pioneer, Ken leads one of the leading software companies serving the insurance industry. Prior to EIS Group, he was the founder, chairman and CEO of ITM Software, an enterprise software company whose solutions focused on the information technology function. Previously, Ken was the chief revenue officer of Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI). Prior to joining SGI, Ken was vice president of product development at Activision. He also spent 10 years at Hewlett-Packard Company, where he held several management positions.

    In addition to his role at EIS Group, Ken serves on the board of directors of Prevedere, Saama Technologies and Entertainment Partners. He is currently a special advisor to both Andreessen Horowitz Venture Capital Firm and Carrick Capital Partners Private Equity Firm. He is also an advisor to Pinterest, CSSA Insurance Group, Substack, as well as several other early-stage technology companies.

    He is a member of Fisher’s Executive Leadership Council and the Dean’s Advisory Council. He is on the board of several nonprofits including the National Museum of African American History and Culture and Management Leadership for Tomorrow.

  • Lori Guzmán-Castillo (MBA '09)

    Lori Guzman-Castillo (MBA ’09)

    Vice President of Global Marketing, NatureSweet

    Lori Guzmán-Castillo (MBA '09) has more than a decade of building brands through innovation. Prior to NatureSweet, Lori was a brand manager for Procter & Gamble (P&G) where she led the strategy and marketing for its Rite Aid Pharmacies. She joined P&G as an assistant brand manager where she helped build COVERGIRL cosmetics to a $1 billion global brand. At NatureSweet Tomatoes, she manages their sales and marketing for North America. She stays active in her community by volunteering with Leadership San Antonio, as well as serving on the board of directors for both Texas Public Radio and the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

    Lori earned her undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University where she focused on international business and management.

  • Ming-Hao Shiao (BSBA ’01)

    Ming-Hao Shiao (BSBA ’01)

    Project Director, Of All Trades (a project of the Center for Transformative Action)

    Ming-Hao Shiao has 20 years of cross-cultural and multi-industry experience launching and directing domestic and global initiatives with Cornell University, Education First, Harvard University, International Institute of Akron, New Oriental Education and Technology Group, and Procter and Gamble. As a child of immigrants, Ming is committed to providing newcomers with sustainable resources to thrive in their new societies.

    She is currently in residence with the Center for Transformative Action, a 501(c)(3) organization affiliated with Cornell University. Ming earned a Master of Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

  • Jesse J. Tyson (MBA ’76)

    Jesse J. Tyson (MBA '76)

    CEO, T&S Food Services, LLC

    Jesse Tyson is recognized as an international business trailblazer and a global marketing and operations expert who capped a 35-year career at ExxonMobil as its global aviation director. After retiring from ExxonMobil, Jesse was named president and CEO of the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA), an organization with more than 20,000 members and over 500 corporate and university partners. In this role, his primary function was to create employment opportunities for its members and to lead the development of future leaders.

    He retired from the NBMBAA in 2019 and now oversees his entrepreneurial interests in hospitality and food service as a multi-brand franchisee and CEO of T&S Food Services, LLC.

    Having grown up as a sharecropper, Jesse and his wife Cheryl have generously focused on giving back throughout his career to create educational opportunities for underprivileged youth. In honor of those who opened doors for him, he has established endowments at The Ohio State University, Spelman College and Lane College, where he earned an undergraduate degree.

Thaddeus SpratlenSpecial Tribute

In tribute to the trailblazing legacy of the late academic giant Dr. Thaddeus Spratlen (BSBA ’56, MA ’57, PhD ’62), we will announce the establishment of the Thaddeus Spratlen Alumni of Color Distinguished Educator Award. This award will be presented annually at the Alumni of Color Network Weekend and will recognize an alumna or alumnus who is a world-class scholar, educator and mentor of color, and whose academic thought leadership brings about positive impact and change in the world.

 

Mistress of Ceremonies

Lynette Smith (EMBA '16)

  • Biography

    Lynette Smith (EMBA '16)

    Lynette Smith (EMBA '16)
    CEO and President, Securidine Logistics

    Before becoming an entrepreneur and starting her own company, Lynette enjoyed a 20-year career in corporate America with Fortune 100 companies including Worthington Industries and 3M Company.

    As Northeast Regional Territory Manager with Worthington Industries’ Engineered Cabs Division, she managed a portfolio valued at $26 million and was responsible for systems strategy as well as process and operations improvement for custom engineered cabs used in heavy duty, off-road equipment, which included negotiating multi-year contracts, leading cross-functional teams and leveraging her Six Sigma and 5S skills.

    Prior to joining Worthington Industries, Lynette was a Packaging Equipment Specialist with 3M Company and managed a portfolio valued at $10 million. She focused on systems and process improvement in logistics and supply chain. In her business development role at 3M Company, Lynette designed, created specifications and installed custom, fully automated equipment systems for end-of-the-line packaging.

    She was a mentor with the National Black MBA Association’s Leaders of Tomorrow program for 10 years and ultimately served as the vice president for the program. While pursuing her EMBA, Lynette was a member of Fisher’s Executive Leadership Council for her cohort. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University.

Saturday, November 6

 

 Campus Shuttle Tour

Meet at The Blackwell Inn, 2110 Tuttle Park Place
Time pending football game kick-off

Curious to know what’s changed (or stayed the same) on campus since graduation? Take a trip down memory lane from the comfort of a shuttle bus while enjoying this fun and informative tour led by an ambassador from the Student Alumni Council. Pick-up and drop-off will be at the front doors of The Blackwell Inn. 

 Football Game Watch Party

140 Pfahl Hall, 280 West Woodruff Avenue
Time pending football game kick-off

What’s better than watching an Ohio State football game? Watching one with your friends and fellow alumni from Fisher! Enjoy a traditional tailgate menu while you watch and cheer on the Buckeyes for their game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers! O-H! 

 


 

Registration information

Register for one or more individual events – a value of $135:

Friday, November 5
Young Alumni* & Student Luncheon: $15
“Be Board Ready” Workshop: $30
Tours (select one):
   •  Ohio State Campus Shuttle Tour: $10
   •  Ohio Stadium Tour: $10
   •  Hale Black Cultural Center Tour: no charge
An Evening of Celebration: $40

Saturday, November 6
Ohio State Campus Shuttle Tour: $10
Football Game Watch Party (Ohio State vs. Nebraska): $20

Or save money by registering for the full weekend of scheduled events:

$100 Weekend rate for all events (a savings of $35!)
$75 Weekend rate for young alumni* (a savings of $60!)

*Young alumni are Ohio State graduates who are 30 years of age or younger.

Register now

 


 

Hotel information

You can make your overnight room reservation for the weekend at The Blackwell Inn. Call 614-247-4000 or 866-247-4003 to make your reservation. Please mention the “Alumni of Color Network Weekend” in order to receive a discounted room rate. Don’t delay! There are a limited number of rooms available!

Visit The Blackwell Inn's website

 


 

Your health and safety is important to us. 

We understand that COVID-19 is still very active and a dangerous disruptor in our personal lives – this is a serious matter for all of us. As such, The Ohio State University has implemented a vaccine mandate for all students, faculty, staff and campus visitors, and continues to monitor the situation related to COVID-19 case numbers. Visit the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website for all health and safety protocols, which must be followed during the weekend event. In addition, we will offer hand sanitizer and transparent face shields which guests can wear while eating. Thank you for helping us keep our Buckeye community safe.

Visit Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website

 


 

Questions?

Please contact Christine Benadum at benadum.22@osu.edu.

Register now