Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Real Leadership is theme of 2017 KeyBank Global Leaders Forum

Real Leadership 2017 is the theme of this year’s KeyBank Global Leaders Forum, presented by The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation (COBI). It will be held on March 23 in Savage Arena on the main campus of The University of Toledo. 

The morning-long program provides an environment for regional business leaders to talk about contemporary issues, discuss cutting-edge leadership practices and explore trends. The event is free, but seating is limited and registration is required.

The keynote speaker will be Gary Pinkel, former head football coach at The University of Toledo and the University of Missouri, and currently special consultant to the University of Missouri and its Athletic Department.

Also presenting at the event will be Charles Packard, President, Pacific International Capital; Cynthia Thompson, Chair, Toledo Museum of Art Board of Directors, and former co-owner of Midwest Stamping;     Michael Anderson, Chairman, The Andersons; and Dr. Clint Longenecker, UT Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Center for Leadership and Organizational Excellence within the UT College of Business and Innovation.  

“The KeyBank Global Leaders Forum provides a wonderful opportunity for area business professionals  and leaders to hear from difference-making leaders such as Gary Pinkel, Cynthia Thompson, Michael Anderson and Charles Packard” Jim Hoffman, President of KeyBank, said.  “It is part of our vision at KeyBank to help our community, and our businesses, thrive.”

“The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation is extremely pleased to again partner with KeyBank to present another Global Leaders Forum,” noted UT COBI Dean Gary Insch.  “Last year’s event was remarkable, and we are excited to stage another one this year so that hundreds of area professionals, as well as many UT students, will have an outstanding opportunity to learn, network and benefit from the presentations and discussions at this unique event. “

Longenecker said, “As leaders are attempting to deal with the challenges of this turbulent economic environment, this event is a great way to discover new ideas for becoming a better leader and creating competitive advantage with people. We invite them to come, be ready to learn and be in a better position to make 2017 a great year.”

KeyBank and COBI presented the first Global Leaders Forum in 2008, which featured former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department John Snow, and the second event in 2013. More than 600 people attended the 2016 Global Leadership Forum. Convenient parking is available, and a continental breakfast will be served. To register for this free forum, go to

UT students helping to feed families in hurricane-ravaged Haiti

Three months after Hurricane Matthew unleashed a path of destruction through the southern peninsula of Haiti, devastation lingers for families who lost their homes, crops and livestock.

“It’s horrible,” said Ashley Jemerson, who studied criminal justice, forensic science and Spanish at UT before graduating last month. “Seeing the ongoing effects of the natural disaster makes me grateful for everything we have here in the United States.”

Jemerson and dozens of UT students selected by their colleges to participate in the Klar Leadership Academy in UT’s College of Business and Innovation need 800 volunteers Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27-28 in the Health Education Building on Main Campus to help produce 140,000 meals that will be sent to Haiti for hurricane relief.

The public is invited to participate in the two-day community service event called Feed My Starving Children, which is the culmination of a global service project organized by the 75 students in the Klar Leadership Academy to feed families in the country where food is scarce.

The 2016-17 Klar Leadership Academy students are 75 percent of the way to raising their goal of $31,000 to make the event called a “Mobile Pack” a success. You can support the cause with a donation here.

“One of the biggest things we’ve learned in the academy is the importance of giving back,” said Anthony Dimodica, a senior studying human resource management. “Leadership also is about helping others. We’re hoping our University students, faculty and staff give up a little bit of their time to make a huge difference for people who don’t have a lot.”

The Klar Leadership Academy was founded in 2015 with the support of Stephen Klar, a 1971 alumnus of the College of Business and Innovation and a New York City builder and real estate developer.

“The Klar Leadership Academy is all about creating the next generation of exceptional leaders who will carry on the COBI and UT legacy of leaders who are changing the world,” said Dr. Clint Longenecker, Distinguished University Professor and director of the Center for Leadership and Organization Excellence in the College of Business and Innovation. “This learning experience takes our best students across all undergraduate colleges on campus and leads them through a seven-month, transformational leadership development experience to increase their career trajectory and their ability to improve the human condition through high performance servant leadership.”

Marketing department professor tries to infuse her love of international travel in her students

Recognizing that business functions in a global economy, it clearly benefits UT COBI students that Melanie Lorenz, one of the newest Assistant Professors of International Business in the Department of Marketing, has both lived international business and loves international travel.  

“Since I was an undergraduate student obtaining my Diplom Betriebswirt in European Business Management, University of Applied Sciences, Worms, Germany, I’ve been interested in international business. During my studies I also worked on internationally-oriented consulting projects with SMEs and studied abroad in the U.S. and Mexico, and that gave me a solid foundation for my career.”

Dr. Melanie Lorenz
Beyond the appeal of international business, Dr. Lorenz also just loves to travel and interact with people from different cultures.

“One major foreign experience I had was living with a Mexican family for six weeks,” she recalled.  “I was not a tourist; I was part of a family, and was forced to adjust.”

Also she has been to many different countries, one of her favorite places to travel being Switzerland.  “I love Switzerland because of the cultural differences you can encounter in four hours going across one country.”
Prior to joining UT, she worked in consulting, banking, and as a subject matter expert for McGraw-Hill, both in the United States and Germany.

“This is a perfect field for me, the combination of researching and teaching,” Dr. Lorenz said. Her research is focused on micro- and macro-level issues in the international, primarily in the emerging market context. Her interests include global marketing, innovation, and global work in MNEs, in general, and the concept of Cultural Intelligence, specifically.

Dr. Lorenz’s research has been published in peer reviewed journals such as the Journal of World Business, International Journal of Research in Marketing, and Academy of Management Learning & Education. She has had papers accepted at multiple national and international conferences.

She also has a great fondness for the University of Toledo. “I love the campus, it’s a really beautiful campus. Love the architecture, the mall area and the fa├žade of the buildings. Also, everybody is really nice and helpful!”

Dr. Lorenz endeavors to share her enthusiasm for the world of international business with her students.

“I’m direct with the students that my major goal is to understand the global environment, the challenges and opportunities, and to inspire them to go abroad. You have to be open to different cultures. Just try to explore how people are, what the locals do. Many students have not left this country, and I know it will change their lives.”

“If I could do anything, I would travel and educate people to be more culturally sensitive. The more people understand they need to understand others, the more you can see people in other cultures do things, the better we all will be.”

“I like to research cultural intelligence and teach it to students,” Dr. Lorenz said. “I think it is really important to teach cultural intelligence and learn how it affects us. I believe I can change things if I teach students to explore, to pay attention to what is going on around them to recognize opportunities, and see things differently.” 

Recent COBI professional sales grad receives prestigious award quickly on new job

Recognition for doing a great job is something most employees greatly appreciate.

For John White, who majored in professional sales and marketing at COBI, one significant employer award did not take long for him to achieve.

White graduated from UT COBI in December, 2015, was hired at Federated Insurance and entered their 8-month training program in Minnesota in February, 2016. Upon completion, he took his first field position in Northeast Ohio last September.  

John White
Within his first 90 days, he won the company’s sought-after Monthly Leadership Council award.

“I am so proud of John and his early efforts,” noted Tim Frecker, Federated’s District Marketing Manager, Northern Ohio. “This is a big deal as only two marketing representatives out of almost 60 win this award.  For John to do it in his first 60-90 days in the field is simply remarkable, particularly in a business-to-business, outside sales role.” 

“It was awesome to see all the work I have been putting in come to fruition,” White said.  “The award was given to me in December, but it was earned in the three months prior when I was out making calls and working 65 hour weeks. Monthly Leadership Council is an award given out once a month to the top two performing marketing representatives in each region across the country, so it is a huge honor to be recognized.  All the reward did for me was make me even more hungry.  Now not only do I know I am capable of being at the top, but I have set a standard for myself in the eyes of my peers and my management team to do great things.”

White said the best part about his career is the culture at Federated. 

“Federated is hands down the most competitive environment I have ever been a part of.  As soon as I roll out of bed in the morning I can’t wait to get out the door and go make an impact,” he said.  “I believe so much in the product we sell, and I know my counterparts across the country feel the same way, no matter the territory.  Federated has so many different ways of rewarding their marketing representatives that you sometimes lose track.  Our leadership team does an outstanding job of keeping us motivated to grow our book of business and reach our company incentives, and once you reach those goals you are rewarded in the biggest of ways.  Once you get in here, you simply don’t want to leave.”

“Along with the financial rewards, this position allows the employee the most flexibility and freedom,” he explained. “I absolutely love the position I am in. My focus is on hitting my annual goals and earning recognition within the company, so that is what is next for me.”

“I came to UT as a journalism major in August, 2011,” White recalled.  “I sat down with my parents one evening over winter break during my sophomore year and we talked about the job outlook for a journalism major from UT, and I immediately changed my major to sales and marketing.  When I enrolled in the College of Business, I was unaware of how prestigious our sales program was.  I was fortunate enough to have a good group of friends around me and they turned me on to Pi Sigma Epsilon, the school’s sales and marketing fraternity.  PSE had an immediate impact on me, and had it not been for that organization I would not be where I am today.  Being able to see the amount of success that flowed out of that program made me realize that I was in the right spot, and sales was going to be the right fit for me.”

“The best thing COBI did for me was give me exposure to hundreds of companies and recruiters through career fairs, mock interviews, sales competitions, class speakers and more,” White said.  “Deirdre Jones and her team do a phenomenal job of networking to market their ‘product,’ which is you as the student.  The amount of opportunities that are available to you at COBI are astronomical, and you would be foolish to not go out and make them work.  Being able to travel the country and compete in competitions for UT and Pi Sigma Epsilon gave me a confidence about my craft that is extremely necessary in order to be effective out here in the real world.”

“John’s outstanding work ethic and his quick response to coaching have him off to a blazing start,” Frecker said. “Myself and Federated are so thankful to Deirde Jones and all other faculty of the COBI marketing and professional sales program for developing winners like John.” 

UT College of Business and Innovation again offers Export Success program to area businesses to help them enter new markets

The University of Toledo’s College of Business and Innovation (COBI) is again partnering with United Parcel Service (UPS) and the U.S. Commercial Service to provide area small and medium-sized businesses access to experts who will help their company enter new markets through the Export Success program.

 Beginning in April, 2017, Export Success participants meet monthly for nine months in specialized sessions covering relevant topics based on an understanding of current members’ needs. The program then helps companies develop plans to improve their business’ supply chain, identify talent, understand export financing, and develop market entry strategies.

“Businesses today function on an international platform,” noted COBI Dean Gary Insch. “Facilitating existing or new exporters to enter foreign markets benefits all of Northwest Ohio.”

 “Companies often recognize that expanding to international markets is something they should do. We make it easier for them to do this, because we have the experts who will show them how to proceed. Furthermore, we provide them with all the criteria for success, whether they have a manufactured product or intellectual property.”

 “Export Success not only assists companies that are planning to conduct international business, but it also works with businesses already doing business globally who are looking for ways to expand their international presence, ” noted Debbe Skutch, Director of UT’s Center for Family & Privately-Held Business and Export Success Program Coordinator. “Furthermore, Export Success not only provides information, but actually matches local manufacturing companies with foreign markets."

 Chad Gottschalk, Bionix Development Corporation, said “Export Success provided a great learning experience and fantastic networking opportunities for myself and other members within our organization. It is always great to be a part of something where different members of a community bring collective thinking to the table. Every session provided a wealth of knowledge that helped me bring new ideas back to the office and apply them to my day-to-day activities.”

Export Success participants also have access to the SBDC Export Assistance Network, which provides free export assistance services to small- and medium-sized businesses. Services include market research; an examination of their culture, finances and resources to make sure they are ready to export; locating sources of funding, such as a loan or grant; export compliance education; cultural and language assistance; export documentation; and logistics.

 Other features and benefits of Export Success include access to ancillary educational programs offered by UT COBI - - such as the Schmidt School of Professional Sales and the Center for Family and Privately-Held Business - - and site visits to area companies that have already achieved a level of success in global entrepreneurship.

 A limited number of grant and funding opportunities are available. For more information, you can download a registration form at, or call the UT COBI Center for Family and Privately-Held Business at 419.530.2068.

COBI sponsors seventh annual business innovation competition for UT community

University of Toledo students, faculty and staff who have a great business idea may win up to $10,000 to help make their idea a reality in the seventh annual business innovation competition sponsored by the UT College of Business and Innovation (COBI). Entries are due February 27, 2017.
“The first six years of the business competition were a remarkable success as COBI received dozens of entries from across UT campuses,” said Dr. Sonny Ariss, Chair of the COBI management department.  “We are expecting another tremendous array of entries this year and trust the contest will continue to advance a creative culture of growth in all areas of the University” 

“Evidence of the extensive appeal of this annual competition is found in the fact that the first place winner of last year’s competition was a UT music major, Mackenzie Miller, who claimed the $10,000 prize for her custom trumpet business, Miller Handcraft,” Dr. Ariss noted.

COBI Dean Gary Insch said, “This annual business plan competition truly reflects our emphasis on supporting innovation, fostering creative thinking and nurturing the entrepreneurial environment which is so essential for the economic growth of this region.”

Dr. Ariss explained, “Entrepreneurship is not only for people who want to start a business. Corporate America also looks for innovative thinking from their employees, so intrapreneurship within the corporate business structure remains important. This is demonstrated by the fact that the college continues to have corporate partners - - Owens-Illinois, PNC Bank and Chuck & Ann Hodge - - who contribute prize money for the winners of this competition.”

Dr. Ariss said competition entries must be submitted using Lean Launch Pad concepts which enables people to develop their business model upon nine basic building blocks: customer segments, value propositions, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key resources, key activities, key partnerships and cost structure.

“As we have every year, COBI is again ready to offer guidance to help these teams effectively implement their plans, emerge beyond the University, create jobs and enhance area economic growth,” Dr. Ariss added.

There is no cost to enter the competition. Registration must be completed online. Winners must prove that they have formed an LLC or S Corp in order to receive a financial award.

The College of Business and Innovation at The University of Toledo is providing the following prize money:
• First place: $10,000 (sponsored by O-I)
• Second place: $5,000 (sponsored by Chuck and Ann Hodge Business Plan Competition Fund)
• Third place: $2,000 (sponsored by PNC Bank)
• Honorable Mention: $500 (sponsored by PNC Bank)

The timeline for the 2017 competition is:
         Those planning to enter the competition are invited to attend a workshop session which will be offered on Monday, February 6, 2017 from noon to 1 p.m. in the PNC Entrepreneurship Lab, Room 3100, Savage & Associates Business Complex
         Entries must be submitted by Monday, February 27, 2017
         Finalists will be announced on Friday, March 24, 2017
         Finalists will make an oral presentation about their business using the business model canvas on April 13, 2017 between noon and 5:30 p.m. in the PNC Entrepreneurship Lab, Room 3100, Savage & Associates Business Complex
         Winners will be announced April 20, 2017

The competition is open to all UT students, faculty and staff, while alumni can participate as a member of a team involving current students, faculty or staff.  To register or for more information, go to

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Self-driven COBI IS major ready for his professional career

It’s not like Patrick Northcraft doesn’t have anything to do.   In fact, he pretty much enjoys doing more than most students do at any one time, and has been doing so since high school and throughout his college career.

“I believe I am self-driven,” Northcraft said.  “I like to keep busy, I want to see what is going on. I enjoy professional development and have an interest in developing that skill set. The amount of resources available here in a university is something I wanted to take advantage of.”

He does admit, however, that “sometime I want to do too much.”

Patrick Northcraft
Don’t believe he is busy? During his years at UT, Northcraft has belonged to Alpha Kappa Psi, the co-ed professional business fraternity (he is currently president); the Association of Technology Professionals; been a Searles Ambassador in the College of Business and Innovation; been a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the international business honors society; a member of the Phi Kappa Phi National Honors Society; and has been a performer in the UT Music Ensembles at various university events.

Northcraft is both a current participant in COBI’s Klar Leadership Academy, and is justifiably proud to have been one of only 20 people who were chosen to participate in a leadership program of Alpha Kappa Psi, where “we learned servant leadership, to develop yourself and help others.”

Originally from Irwin, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh, he looked at several colleges before considering schools in Ohio, where he has family.  “My dad said let’s look at Toledo, and I liked it from the first time I came here, the aesthetics, the community, and I made up my mind when I looked at the college of business and saw the new facilities (Savage and Associates Business Complex).  Plus, UT offered a great scholarship.”

“Information systems is my major,” Northcraft said.  “I knew I wanted to be in technology, and IT is a great fit for me. We have moved far beyond the days of men in suits sitting together in a conference room discussing the future of a particular firm. Business interests today are far more global and omnipresent in our day-to-day lives. Technology is the primary catalyst in this evolution, allowing for professionals to always stay connected and to make decisions at any time, not just when they are ‘on the clock’.”

The UT Information systems business major will graduate this spring, and he already has a full-time position lined up at Marathon, “which is a great company,” where he has already served two internships.

For fun, Northcraft enjoys reading, video games and “watching Netflix, like every other college student,” he quips.

He is also working on his minor in instrumental music, and admits writing and playing music is one of his favorite past-times.

“People would be surprised to know that I won two awards for music composition, and that I like to play the trumpet and piano,” Northcraft admits.  

After seeing his many activities, his energy and his commitment to helping others, it’s not likely that people are surprised by this COBI student’s other talents.