Lindner toasts graduating Business Fellows

Program’s signature event culminates transformative year

The University of Cincinnati’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business held its annual Toast celebration on April 11, 2019. The event recognizes the accomplishments of the Business Fellows community and inducts the graduating seniors into the program's Alumni Society by presenting each senior with their own official Business Fellows blazer.

“To describe this year in one word, it would be ‘transformative,’” said Pierre James, interim director of Lindner Diversity and Inclusion, during The Toast’s opening remarks. “Transformative leadership will be a common theme for this evening as we celebrate those who have gone above and beyond in making a difference in the UC community.”

Lindner’s Business Fellows program is the first and only college-administered program at an Ohio business school specifically dedicated to supporting African American, Hispanic, Latinx and Native American students. Established in 2011, the program empowers historically underrepresented students to excel academically and prepare for success beyond Lindner through a variety of unique professional development, study abroad and community engagement opportunities.

To describe this year in one word, it would be ‘transformative.’

Pierre James, interim director of Lindner Diversity and Inclusion

Business Fellows is led by Lindner faculty and staff, an external Business Advisory Board and a student-comprised Leadership Circle. The Toast is the largest fundraiser for the Business Fellows program.

Attendees heard from Stephanie Smith, chief inclusion and diversity officer at Fifth Third Bank, who spoke on behalf of the company as the evening’s title sponsor.

“Inclusion is about leadership, serving, listening and caring, and then the courage to act and behave differently,” said Smith.

A man wearing a suit and tie stands at podium with microphone and speaks

Rodney Johnson, divisional VP of culture and inclusion at GGB-US, Gallagher, motivated his students by sharing his personal successes and challenges he encountered throughout his career.

Attendees also heard from keynote speaker Rodney Johnson, divisional VP of culture and inclusion GGB-US, Gallagher. Johnson shared his professional experiences and imparted advice about finding success and happiness while growing through challenges and failures.

“Embrace your failures and pursue your ‘shaded areas,’” Johnson told students.

Throughout the event, members of the Business Fellows community presented awards to their peers, mentors and Business fellows advocates. This year’s honorees included:

  • Oriana Settles, ‘23 – Rising Fellow
  • Riley Rosado, ‘23 – Rising Fellow
  • Molly Zweig, program manager, Lindner International Programs – Ally of the Year
  • Raqule Crawley, CPA, assistant professor-educator, Accounting –
    Distinguished Alumni
  • RiskVersity – Corporation of the Year
  • Marcos Aull, ‘22 – Business Buddies 

The Lindner College of Business focuses on the continual development of students in the areas of Professionalism, Academics, Character and Engagement (PACE) to ensure that students are positioned for long-term success. Five Business Fellows were honored for exemplifying the ideals of PACE and serving as role models to their peers, including:

  • Benita Munnerlynn, ‘19 – Professionalism: Experience
  • Jordan Ramey, ‘19 – Professionalism: Entrepreneurship
  • Ethan Fernandes, ‘19 – Academics
  • John Allen Phillips, ‘22 – Character
  • Chandler Rankin, ‘20 – Engagement 

After the awards presentations, graduating seniors were presented with their Business Fellows blazers and graduating senior Lauren White gave the official toast.

“As I reflect on my career at UC, I’ll never forget the support and love that I received from Business Fellows,” said White in her toast. “Business Fellows is much more than a community. Business Fellows is a family. As a family, we are supportive of one another as we seek to challenge the status quo and become the change agents of tomorrow.”

Five students wearing nice clothing stand next to each other and smile

Join us in congratulations this year’s Business Fellows Alumni Society Inductees:

  • Tyler Adams
  • Lena Brewer
  • Amanda Cabezas
  • Clement Coleman
  • Avery Colvin
  • Mical Daniel
  • Jasmine Dreher
  • Ethan Fernandes
  • Javier Gresham
  • Clay Grisby
  • Dwayne Johnson
  • Frances Jones
  • Marquez Jones
  • Chase LaVeer
  • Patrick Luehrmann
  • Joseph Malek
  • Jayla Means
  • Cassie Miller
  • Benita Munnerlynn
  • Gabby Morris
  • Matthew Overstreet
  • Micaj Smith
  • Lauren South
  • Lindsey Sweatland
  • Hadiya Swift
  • Lauren White
  • Charles Williams

The Lindner College of Business would like to thank the students who served on the 2018-19 Business Fellows Leadership Circle, the Business Fellows Leadership Team and the Business Fellows advisory board:

2018-19 Leadership Circle

  • Marcos Aull, ‘22, Mentoring Co-Chair
  • Angela Brown, ‘20, Recruiting Co-Chair
  • Ally Graham-Torrez, ‘20, Mentoring Co-Chair
  • John Allen Phillips, ‘22, Marketing Co-Chair
  • John Thomas, ‘20, Recruiting Co-Chair
  • Lena Brewer, ‘19, Membership Co-Chair
  • Myles Edwards, ‘20, Community Service Co-Chair
  • Nonso Okonji, ‘20, Marketing Co-Chair
  • Lindsey Sweatland, ‘19, Community Service Co-Chair
  • Lauren White, ‘19, Membership Co-Chair

Business Fellows Leadership Team

  • Pierre James, interim director and academic advisor, Lindner Diversity and Inclusion
  • Kiaya Carter, program manager, Lindner Diversity and Inclusion
  • Lee Armstrong, associate director, International Programs
  • Brian Fanelli, assistant director, Undergraduate Recruitment
  • Raqule Crawley, faculty advisor, National Association of Black Accountants; assistant professor-educator, Accounting
  • Amber Conley, assistant director, Gen-1

Business Fellows Advisory Board

  • Marsha Thornton, Business Fellows Advisory board chair, Fifth Third Bank
  • Constance Cooper, retired, UC Lindner College of Business
  • Raqule Crawley, UC Lindner College of Business
  • Howard Elliott, Elliott Management Group
  • Laurence Jones, RiskVersity
  • Makeda Matthews, Grange Insurance
  • Ewaniki Moore-Hawkins, UC African American Cultural and Resource Center
  • Ali Strohn, EY
  • Janelle Wichmann, Procter & Gamble

The Lindner College of Business would also like to thank this year’s sponsors and partners:

Title Sponsor:
Fifth Third Bank

Leadership Sponsor:

Community Sponsors:
Elliott Management Group
First Financial Bank
GE Aviation
Johnson Investment Counsel

Photos courtesy of Jason Carter.

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