Alumni Profile: Jocilyn Hansen

Posted on Apr 7, 2017 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Jocilyn Hansen, e’15, earned a degree in architectural engineering and currently works as an assistant project manager for Burns & McDonnell. Originally from Dell Rapids, South Dakota, she now resides in Overland Park. Jocilyn is a Life Member of the KU Alumni Association.

Jocilyn HansenI became a Jayhawk because…

I got chills doing the Rock Chalk Chant during my first visit to KU. Being a Jayhawk is just as magical and mystical a feeling as the mascot itself. I have felt that magic from that first visit and I still feel it today.

How has KU propelled you into your current career?

I got my first internship offer from a former Jayhawk who had been an adviser during my first years at KU. Today, he and I continue to work for the same company; our network of Jayhawks has only grown. The Jayhawk network can take you anywhere, from Lawrence to St. Petersburg, to Sydney and back!

What’s the best KU tradition?

The KU tradition I love the most is being somewhere and making connections with someone based on our Jayhawk. I’ve made Jayhawk connections in the middle of nowhere Montana just because of my Jayhawk pin, worn every game day with pride! Or just shouting ‘Rock Chalk’ across an airport terminal, it’s really the best feeling!

What spot do you return to whenever you’re back on the Hill?

I love to grab Sylas and Maddy’s and head up to the Campanile. It’s especially great when a carillonneur is playing an evening concert. The lights of Lawrence beyond the Hill, “I’m a Jayhawk” playing on the bells, it can really be a sureal experience.

Describe a moment, during or after your time as a KU student, when you felt the greatest sense of Jayhawk pride.

I can remember walking home from the engineering school, down Jayhawk Boulevard on a particularly sunny day and thinking to myself, “Wow. I am weeks from graduating from THE University of Kansas. I made it as a Jayhawk.” This was my paradigm moment. I was proud of myself, proud of my school, proud of everything around me.

Reveal a “best kept” secret about the KU campus or Lawrence.

Allen Fieldhouse. Sure, during basketball games it’s the greatest place on Earth, but there are two other times you should go. During the weekday when no one is around–the lights are out and it’s beautiful. And after a game, after all the rushing to get out of the bleachers stops, it’s just you and the newspaper and the scoreboard. Try them both, you won’t be disappointed!

Check out more profiles of outstanding Jayhawks to find out where a degree from the University of Kansas can take you.

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Alumni Profile: Kelly Cure

Posted on Mar 29, 2017 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Kelly Cure, b’09, earned a degree in marketing with a minor in Germanic language and literature. She currently works as head of strategic initiatives for Montigny Investments and resides in Swaziland. Kelly is a Life Member of the KU Alumni Association.

Kelly CureI became a Jayhawk because…

On my first visit to KU I was immediately drawn to the infectious energy present on the campus and around Lawrence. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to study, but I saw limitless potential to pursue my passions for dance and travel, while determining a major in one of KU’s fantastic colleges. I hadn’t found a University with this vibrant feeling that also offered a myriad of prestigious schools and areas of study.

How has KU propelled you into your current career?

It’s not an exaggeration to say that KU changed my life and set me on this phenomenal journey that I’m still enjoying today! Thanks to the KU School of Business Career Center, I started with Deloitte Consulting in Kansas City after graduation and began traveling the world through my work. When Deloitte sent me to London for several years, I had the chance to work and explore throughout Europe, the Middle East and was introduced to the continent that I now call home – Africa. After 6 years with Deloitte I was recruited to join an NGO in Swaziland where my eyes were opened to a new way of life in a country still developing with endless potential.

I now reside in Swaziland where I’m responsible for several projects and the Head of Strategic Initiatives for a local private company. The projects include developing renewable energy and managing community conservation projects. In the past year my work has taken me to London, Morocco, Israel, Italy and Johannesburg…There’s absolutely no way I would be in this brilliant journey if it weren’t for my education, connections and experiences in the Jayhawk family!

How did KU push you to try harder or to try something new?

KU introduced me to an incredibly diverse mix of friends, mentors and acquaintances, who inspired me through their work-ethic and constant commitment to growth in and out of the classroom. With such a vast array of clubs, activities and opportunities at KU, I found it the perfect place to experiment with new interests and see what I could learn. Specifically, joining the Rock Chalk Dancers dance team, attending the School of Business and studying abroad in Berlin were all instrumental experiences in my person growth while at KU that I’m forever grateful for.

My best advice for college students…

Take time to listen to yourself and not get swept up in the fast moving pace of college life – which I found difficult! This is your time to expand your knowledge in an area that ignites your curiosity…You know what these areas are better than anyone. Enjoy that.

What was the greatest gift you took with you after graduation?

This is the easiest question The greatest gift is the Jayhawk family that we all leave our time at KU with. My Jayhawk family never ceases to amaze me with their loyalty, love and unique but powerful approaches to life, work and friendship. It’s one of the greatest gifts I could ask for.

Check out more profiles of outstanding Jayhawks to find out where a degree from the University of Kansas can take you.

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Alumni Profile: Eileen Remley

Posted on Mar 21, 2017 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Eileen Remley, c’12, earned degrees in English and global and international studies and currently is a Masters student at Vanderbilt University. Originally from Concordia, Kansas, she now resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

Eileen RemleyI became a Jayhawk because…

I became a Jayhawk because I felt it was a good fit for my interests and would provide me with the opportunities I was looking for in my future.

How has KU propelled you into your current career?

KU Study Abroad was a catalyst for my current career.

While at KU, I did a six-month immersion program in San Jose, Costa Rica. This led me to take my first job in Madrid, Spain, teaching English to high school students. I then accepted a Fulbright award in Turkey for the next two years to teach English at Bulent Ecevit University. I returned to the United States to begin my Masters in International Education Policy and Management at Vanderbilt University. I will graduate this upcoming May!

My best advice for college students…

Don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable and try something new. Take a hard class, study abroad, join a club, do whatever you can to extend your experience while at KU. The possibilities for growth and experience are endless, put yourself out there!

Describe a moment, during or after your time as a KU student, when you felt the greatest sense of Jayhawk pride.

I’ve lived abroad in three countries and in every single one I’ve been walking down a street and someone has yelled “Rock Chalk!” The network really is worldwide and I always fill with pride when I get to connect over KU.

What was the greatest gift you took with you after graduation?

The people. Honestly, KU is full of amazing individuals from professors, to staff and fellow students. Some of the strongest friendships and best mentors have been from my time at KU.

Check out more profiles of outstanding Jayhawks to find out where a degree from the University of Kansas can take you.

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Jayhawk connection leads alumni to Budapest

Posted on Aug 22, 2016 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Scott Collin and Jeff Goldfarb in Budapest | photo courtesy of Scott Collin
Scott Collin (left) and Jeff Goldfarb (right)

Scott Collin and Jeff Goldfarb both attended the KU School of Journalism, graduated together in 1994, and have crossed paths plenty of times in their professional careers—first at a WPP Advertising Agency in the late 1990s.

Last year, the two Jayhawks worked together again, this time with Jeff, j’94, as one of Scott’s clients. Jeff is the director of cooperative marketing for ASI, the for-profit side of AARP, while Scott is the chief creative officer for Influent50, a full-service advertising agency that focuses on people 50 and older.

The photo above was taken in May in Budapest, Hungary, where the pair was on a television shoot. “We shot the commercials in Budapest because of the incredible efficiencies and savings we were able to realize there,” explained Scott. “Those savings allowed us to work with The Mill, one of the top and most respected CG and Virtual Reality production shops in the world. Ten days in Budapest with an old friend and fellow Jayhawk just firmed up why I got into this business.”

Scott, j’94, shared more insights about his time on campus, advice for students and alumni— and explained the photo above.

So, what about the mug shots?

The “mug shots” were for fun. We had brunch one morning in Budapest at this fantastic little restaurant. That whole scene was just there. Just a wall with words and graphics on it with two cut-out frames. Behind the frames was a wall of flowers. So I thought it would have been a total missed opportunity if we didn’t take our photos there.

Tell us about your experience at KU.

It was fantastic. On every level. What I love about it is that it wasn’t easy. In fact, it seemed at every turn I was up against obstacles I didn’t think I could navigate. But I did. Both with my classmates and, when things seemed insurmountable, my professors. There was a day when I was presenting what I thought was the best idea I’d ever had to a class and professor Bengston tore me to pieces. I was devastated. Yet, after class he told me it was his favorite idea…and he wanted to teach me how to keep a good idea alive. Best lesson I was taught the entire time I was at KU. My career since then has been all about making good ideas great…and keeping great ideas alive.

People are afraid of anything that’s new or difference. So…keeping new ideas alive is far from easy.

What advice do you have for current students or recent graduates?

Be curious. Never stop asking why. When things seem to stagnate or you don’t think new ideas are coming, throw something completely inane or bizarre into the mix. Take walks. Hydrate. Offer to help other people with things that don’t necessarily connect to what you do.

Be nice. Be kind. Be astute. But the most important thing of all is to outwork those around you. Especially when it comes to creative, those who work the hardest are rewarded the most. If you want your idea to live, will it to. Give it life. Give it the support it needs. And never give up. The minute you do, someone else will sweep in and take over.

But at the end of the day, be genuine. A happy client means a happy agency. Celebrate your friends successes. Applaud winning efforts. Do this, you will be healthy and go far.

At the end of the day…

Advertising affords you many amazing opportunities. But at the end of the day, advertising is a job like any other. Lawyers. Garbagemen. Politicians. We all love to think we do the most interesting thing in the world.

We don’t. We do what we do. Ideally, we do it really well.

The most interesting people in the world are the ones with the best stories. So it’s in your best interest to take good notes and learn to own the stage.

Here’s one more photo from Scott, taken at the Statue Park outside of Budapest. He explained that this is where the Hungarians took all the old Russian statues after they took back their own independence. Jeff and Scott are pictured along with Scott’s art director partner, Rebecca Mabie, and their chaperone, Zília Tóth. Scott welcomes messages from alumni—you can reach him at scollin@influent50.com.

Scott Collin and Jeff Goldfarb in Budapest | photo courtesy of Scott Collin
Pictured left to right: Zília Tóth, Rebecca Mabie, Scott Collin, Jeff Goldfarb

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Alumnus finds value in regional networking

Posted on Mar 29, 2016 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Many times, members of our alumni network find themselves engaging with one another in a way that promotes personal and professional engagement. Glen Collins, c’98 , wasted no time after leaving KU to start his career as a marketing professional.

Now the marketing director and partner for Switch in Dallas, Collins sees the value of his KU experience weaving into his everyday work. Switch offers strategy, branding and digital assistance for a variety of companies: American Heart Association, Coyote Grills, Country Club Plaza, Maggiano’s Little Italy and Vim + Vigor to name a few.

We caught up with Collins to find out more about how he came to be a partner at Switch.

CollinsTell us a little bit about your experience as a student at KU: things you were involved in, your favorite professor, your favorite traditions.

My experience at KU can be summed up in one word: transformative. The relationships, education, culture, the Midwest, Lawrence, the fraternity, live music and the cult religion that is KU basketball. It ran through my veins, and still does.

Growing up in Dallas, I knew very little about KU. Fortunately, the fraternity I joined, FIJI, on-ramped me quite well. My favorite experiences included directing Rock Chalk Revue, working at a brand new store called Hobbs on Mass Street, enjoying live music at Liberty Hall and The Bottleneck. But it’s all the filler in between that was the greatest—making friends from all over the country, reading the University Daily Kansan before class, and having awesome exchanges with professors and teaching assistants. I loved every minute of it. I had too much fun my sophomore year, and my GPA slipped so much my parents made me come home for a semester to straighten up. It was the best thing for me. I worked to save up enough money to go back, and it made me appreciate just how great it was. I never took KU for granted after that, and while I didn’t make the Dean’s List, my grades were significantly better until I graduated.

How did you meet your business partner, and how did that lead to your company?

I met my business partner, Kimi Dallman, through a friend I met at KU. That friend was Matt Dallman c’01, a great guy who was a few years younger than me in my fraternity. Matt and I originally bumped into one another at a KU Alumni Association watch party, then soon after that at an alumni happy hour. We were catching up on life and business, and he suggested that I connect with his wife, who was in a similar career as mine.

At the time, my company was a marketing consultancy supporting small to medium-sized businesses. Kimi’s company, originally Switch Creative, was a design firm focused on branding and web. A week or two later we all had lunch, and Kimi and I immediately connected and discovered the means to support each other’s businesses. We worked together for six or eight months on a number of successful projects before we started talking about merging our shops. A few months later, we merged and have grown more and more ever since. At the time of our merger, Switch had five total employees. Currently we have sixteen employees and have merged with another interactive development shop, Good Work, to grow our service offering even more.

We have had a blast running Switch, and KU is central to core of our business — both consciously and subconsciously. We’ve hosted multiple March Madness watch parties at the office, with the bell cow being Switch Sixteen (a pre-party/pep rally) that preceded KU’s sweet sixteen game in Dallas in 2013.

How do you stay connected to KU as an alumnus living in Dallas?

Fortunately I have several very close friends that I met at KU that live in the DFW area. The KU bond is real, and we often seek each other out. My best friend married a Jayhawk. One of my other best friends is on the alumni board and is very plugged in to the alumni events (watchers, happy hours, coffees). I attend as much as I can. Honestly, I would have to try to not brush up against KU friends past and present these days. And I like it that way. A lot.

KU Flag at SwitchWhat advice do you have for current KU students and graduates?

Never take it for granted. KU is a special place with a heartbeat all it’s own. It’s authentic and pure, and the relationships you develop there reflect that purity and authenticity.

For existing students: Enjoy all aspects of KU and Lawrence: slugging to class in the cold; the pageantry of game days; Day on the Hill; and the live music of Lawrence. Get a job if you can — I worked in restaurants, as an intramural referee and in a retail store. Those relationships are so meaningful to me as I was transforming from student to graduate and professional.

For graduates: Lean on the KU network. The trust tree is strong, and the reception is always warm and comfortable. Jayhawks look after Jayhawks — they really do. Seek out the community. You’re gonna watch KU hoops somewhere, so you might as well go to a watch party and do the Rock Chalk chant with strangers. Eventually some of those strangers will become relationships that are more than basketball buddies.

Group shot on the bus

Tell us a little bit about the recent Dallas Network breakfast and what alumni can expect when they attend a KU event.

The Dallas Network breakfast is great. It’s very intimate and casual. You can expect to meet Jayhawks from a variety of different places, ages and careers. Often one or two Jayhawks are singled out to share their story, and specifically their business background. It’s a great time on a relational and business networking level. It will invariably lead to spin-off meetings, lunches, etc. Don’t miss it.

— Cole Anneberg

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KU alumni careers: Matt Gowen, j’95

Posted on Feb 13, 2016 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Roses are red,
crimson, not blue.
Matt Gowen loves his job,
and he went to KU.

Okay, let’s face it. Not all of us are gifted in poetry, romance or humor, myself included. But Lawrence native Matt Gowen used his KU journalism degree to land a pretty good gig writing for greeting card giant Hallmark Cards in Kansas City.

A former opinion editor for the University Daily Kansan and reporter for the Lawrence Journal-World and Kansas City Business Journal, Gowen, j’95, started to burn out on the grind of news journalism. In 2000, his career took a turn, thanks to the help of his Jayhawk connections and some thoughtful siblings who steered him toward Hallmark, where writing became fun again. And funny too.

We went behind the scenes at one of Kansas City’s most famous companies to learn how this Jayhawk journalist went from writing headlines to humor.

 
So if you care enough to send your valentine a card from Hallmark, don’t be surprised– it might have been penned by a Jayhawk.

Now wouldn’t that be poetic?

–David Johnston

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Alumni take advantage of online networking

Posted on Jan 19, 2016 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Last year, we announced a brand-new benefit for members: a series of online networking events that allows Jayhawks around the world to connect and chat through an online platform. Members can log in from their computer, tablet or phone, no matter where they are—the office, the couch or the coffee shop—and meet fellow alumni in a speed-networking-style chat room.

Since the first event on Jan. 29, (Kansas Day!) which was a resounding success with more than 90 attendees, we’ve held 17 additional events: chats open to all members on the third Thursday of every month, as well as several smaller events tailored to specific degrees and industries, such as communications, business or healthcare. We even hosted an event designed for student members, which paired them with alumni during the chat.

We’re exploring even more ways to make this service valuable for our members, but in the meantime, take a look at the results of our efforts last year. If you’ve participated in an online networking event, your suggestions and feedback are valuable as we plan future chats. And if you haven’t participated, what are you waiting for? The next event takes place on Thursday, Feb. 18, at noon (CST), and registration is now open.

Email David Johnston, vice president of marketing and internet services, at davidjohnston@kualumni.org or Brad Eland, vice president of alumni programs, at beland@kualumni.org if you have questions or comments about the online networking program. Additional career resources can be found at www.kualumni.org/career

img_news_networking_infographic_2015

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So, tell me about yourself: Interview tips for Jayhawks

Posted on Nov 12, 2015 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Strong Hall Jayhawk

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with KU students while serving on an alumni panel for the University Career Center. The topic turned to the proverbial “elevator pitch,” or how to sell yourself in 30 seconds or less and make a great first impression. Now, I was never any good at baseball, but as a marketing professional, I have learned a thing or two about pitches. This is what I shared with these future alumni.

“So, tell me about yourself.”

The opportunity to answer this question is everywhere, whether you meet someone on Wescoe Beach, the Wheel or in a professional networking setting. In each instance, you have the same opportunity to make a first impression. In an interview setting, however, the stakes are even higher. And so are the odds that this question will be asked. More than 90% of all interviews (probably) begin with this question, and while it might seem as if there is no “right” answer, consider the following.

A typical candidate will usually start by sharing where he’s from before reciting the progression of his career, in chronological order. Sound familiar? It should. This conversation is chronicling the candidate’s resume, which is typically what the interviewer is holding while asking the question! Where you’re from and what you’ve done is certainly relevant to the conversation, so that’s not a bad thing to share. But the goal of the interviewee–and the interviewer–is actually the same: to bring out the person behind the paper. To do this, you need to uncover the motivation behind your experience, and the passion that fuels your purpose. In other words, you need to answer “why.”

One student I met was majoring in math, but it was his passion for sports that motivated his ambition to apply his skills and interest in statistical analysis to understand how teams could improve. Another student hoped for a career in human resources, but it was her passion for working with people that peaked her interest in the field. They shared why they were interested in pursuing their chosen fields, and their experience backed it up. More importantly, I felt like I had gotten to know these students on a personal level.

Sharing what you love can feel like an act of courage, especially when you’re putting yourself out there in front of a prospective employer. But sometimes it takes bravery to just be yourself, and that’s the best advice I could ever offer.

–David Johnston

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SAA members encouraged to begin building professional network

Posted on Oct 22, 2015 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

SAA Networking Night, October 2015

“One thing we all have in common is our Jayhawk network,” Mark van Blaricum told students at the Student Alumni Association’s Networking Night event on October 20.

More than thirty members of SAA attended the popular event, modeled after “speed dating” events, to meet alumni, make connections and learn more about the business world.

Van Blaricum, b’99, l’02, g’08, gave the keynote address at the event, and reminded students that there are many different ways they can gain leadership skills. He has worked as an attorney in various healthcare settings since 2006, serving as the risk manager at a hospital, a compliance officer for a safety-net health insurance plan, as well as practicing law at a small healthcare firm.  Van Blaricum is also a freelance ghostwriter for Inc.com and other outlets. He has a passion for health and wellness, and gives presentations on health-related topics to groups across Kansas City.

After the keynote, students had the opportunity to meet with alumni in small groups.

Other alumni who participated in the event include:

Kelli Calhoon, e’01, a senior Manager for Ramboll Environ US Corporation, who manages air quality and other environmental permitting and compliance projects for a variety of manufacturing industry clients, including power generation, oil & gas, cement, construction materials, and fertilizer manufacturing. She manages and prepares technical work and has extensive experience with business development and sales in the environmental services industry.

Mark Frutiger, b’01, an Account Manager II—Institutional Servicing for KeyBank, who manages pool loans in the Institutional Servicing group. He works with borrowers, lenders and other stakeholders to make sure loans are in compliance and operating within established guidelines. He is an advocate for the borrower and the lender.

Grant Kollman, c’10, associate director  and investment sales specialist at Berkadia Real Estate Services who focuses on the acquisition, disposition, and advisement of multifamily assets throughout the Midwest.

Tom Larkin, a’09, vice president of development for Flint Hills Holdings Group, LLC, who oversees real estate development sourcing and project management for the state of Kansas and parts of the Kansas City Metro.

Mike Walrod, b’90, a consultant and business coach who helps business owners and executives gain clarity over what they want to accomplish. He collaborates with them on the critical next steps needed for success.

Jerry Younger, e’86, g’92, the deputy secretary and state transportation engineer who provides the executive day-to-day leadership for 2400 employees of KDOT. He is responsible for the effective and efficient management of a 10,000 mile state highway system as well as involvement in other transportation modes (bike/pedestrian, rail, transit, aviation). He also serves as the chief engineer for KDOT.

“As you climb the career ladder, you will be put in charge of people. Their success will depend on your success, ” explained Younger.

SAA Networking Night, October 2015

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Empowering teams key to firm’s success

Posted on Oct 16, 2015 in Alumni News, Career/Life, and News

Kansas City Networking series event at Dimensional Innovations

The second installment of the Kansas City Networking series took place Tuesday, October 13th, at Dimensional Innovations, an award-winning design, brand strategy and fabrication firm in Overland Park.

More than 40 Jayhawks, including a handful of current students, were treated to a tour of the company’s modern facility before the program. Mahesh Daas, dean of KU’s School of Architecture, Design and Planning, conducted a roundtable discussion with Dimensional Innovations’ CEO, Tucker Trotter, f ’97, and sports practice director, Justin Wood, c’93, who shared how their experiences led to their current roles and discussed the unusual structure of the company.

“It’s not a top-down leadership style,” explained Wood. “Our design teams, we’ve broken them into individual small pods. There’s not a single design director that oversees everybody, other than Tucker providing high-level leadership and guidance. The creative directors run very autonomously. We have these teams that get to build mini-businesses within themselves.”

Watch our short video below to hear more from the event. Click here to learn more about the first event in the Kansas City networking series, and stay tuned for news about future events.

–Dan Storey

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