On March 27, 2008, South Florida executives, business alumni, students, and faculty attended the third annual Business Alumni Conference, sponsored by Microsoft. For many, it was their first visit to the college’s new building complex—a state of the art facility at University Park.
The event began with a luncheon and an opening presentation by Dmitry Vasilevsky, from Microsoft, which was followed by panel discussions on current topics such as the state of global business, e-marketing, and recruiting during hard economic times:
- The How Governance, Risk, and Compliance Overlap. Managing the New Standards and Expectations panelwas moderated by Sharon Lassar, professor and director, School of Accounting. Panelists were: Kara MacCullough, partner, Holland & Knight; Paul Stebbins, chairman and CEO, World Fuel Services, and Alfredo Cepero (BACC ’88), audit partner, BDO Seidman.
- The Creating Loyalty: E-Marketing Magic! panel was moderated by Luis Casas, director of marketing and recruiting. Panelists included Leonel Azuela, founder and CEO of Quaxar; Tatiana Lopez, marketing manager for MySpace Latino, and Andrea Arnau, managing director, AlmaDDB Interactive.
- The Recruit, Retain and Release: Managing Human Capital in Troubled Times panel was moderated by Robert Garcia (MBA ’99), director, executive and professional education. Panelists were Ana María Lopez, Motorola; Ariel Regatky, Citigroup; Catalina Bajenaru, AT&T, and Tom Tannehill, FedEx Express.
- The Web 2.0: Social Networking and its Impact on Today’s Business World. The Future of the Web 2.0, 3.0 and Beyond panel was moderated by Zameer Upadhya (BACC ’03), co-founder and CEO, BabySpot.com. Panelists included: James Rivera (BACC ’01), COO and co-founder, BabySpot.com; Bob Hunter, CEO and founder, StorkAvenue.com; Brian Breslin, CEO and founder, Infinimedia.com; Alex de Carvalho, CEO and founder, StartPR.com; and Irma Becerra-Fernandez, Knight Ridder Research Professor, in the college.
- The State of Global Business and the Decline of the Dollar panel was moderated by Dr. Jerry Haar, associate dean of international affairs and projects. Panelists included Hector Tundidor (BACC ’92), TS partner, Ernst & Young; Tony Villamil, CEO, The Washington Economics Group; Ian McCluskey, publisher, WorldCity; and Arturo Neto, president, Neto Financial Group, Inc.
- The Spotlight on Entrepreneur: Demian Bellumio (BBA ’00) takes the Digital Entertainment Industry by Storm with Cyloop.com. This session was moderated by Joyce J. Elam, executive dean of the college and vice provost, FIU Online.
Following the conference, Haar noted that it was “a very successful event. My panel was superb—thoughtful, provocative, and engaging. [There was] terrific interaction among panelists and attendees.”
Mireya Bender (BBA ’00), advancement coordinator for the School of Accounting, said she “was impressed with the quality and usefulness of the information discussed at the conference. The speakers were excellent, and the content was relevant to the issues we currently face.”
“It offered a great opportunity to learn about today’s current economic and technology issues from experts,” Upadhya added. “It was great not only from a personal development perspective but also from a business development perspective. Our company generated some new business opportunities from our participation. It was great to see the facilities and learn how much the college truly has become a beacon of leadership.”
The conference concluded with a networking reception in Commons Courtyard. Microsoft graciously provided an XBOX 360 and a Zune for raffle prizes.
Thanks again to Microsoft for sponsoring a beneficial event for students and alumni.