SigEp’s mission is Building Balanced Men. But what does a balanced man look like? There are countless alumni who embody the ideal. Sound Mind and Sound Body are core to their sense of self, and the Cardinal Principles cemented in their college years continue to guide their careers and personal lives.
We hope you enjoy the Journal’s first endeavor to highlight some of SigEp’s most exciting young alumni. Together, they represent the diversity of our brotherhood and the strength of our alumni network. What do they have in common? Each is a living example of our Balanced Man Ideal. And each is actively fulfilling his lifetime responsibility of brotherhood by helping build the next generation of balanced men.
The Journal staff and our selection committee believe it is impossible to rank our alumni, and no list of 40 will ever be complete. So many of our graduates deserve the Fraternity’s attention and praise. Know a brother who deserves to be featured in a future issue? Let us know—we hope to keep the SigEps under 40 conversation going.
Kyle Arganbright, Nebraska ’04
Co-founder and Chief Development
Officer, Sandhills State Bank |
Entrepreneur | City of Valentine Mayor
Make no mistake, Kyle is a doer. How will he keep his home city on the right track? Become mayor. He’s also investing in the next generation of leaders. He runs his chapter’s AVC and facilitates at SigEp’s signature leadership events.
“Just do your research, surround yourself with good people and get to work,” he says. Kyle is a community banker, a community leader and a community builder.
“I’m not going to leave the future of my hometown to chance,” he says. “The opportunities we enjoy today weren’t created by accident; they were created by the generations who came before us who had passion and a vision for something better.”
What keeps you involved with the Fraternity? “SigEp isn’t simply trying to be the best fraternity, SigEp is working to change the world through a better collegiate experience and a more prepared and concerned group of alumni. Working on something this big is exciting.”
Ryan Blanck, Western Michigan ’02
Founder and CEO, Deviate |
Ryan is the only dual certified professional facilitator and certified personal trainer in the world. He combines these talents to coach leaders and teams at Fortune 500s, nonprofits and startups. He also coaches world-class athletes and entertainers, advising clients on everything from performance and culture to change management and wellbeing. Top universities call on him to lecture on leadership, and he’s a member of his alma mater’s college of business board. Crediting his success to SigEp, Ryan gives back as a mainstay facilitator at EDGE, Carlson, Ruck and regional director development.
What personal philosophy do you live by? “Our business—and my life with my partner-in-crime, Amanda—is built upon one simple belief: your success, performance and leadership will only go as high as your health and happiness. You want to summit? Great. Make yourself a priority and work hard to be healthy and happy. Our team knows that an expectation of their employment is they take time for themselves … in mind and body. Sweating is expected … just as is downtime and being a life-long learner.”
David Bradt, California-Davis ’03
Managing Consultant, Organizational
Talent and Cultural Development, IBM
Global Business Services | Founder, The
Ethos Partnership | Entrepreneur | Coach
| Writer | Public Speaker
“Never lose focus on the importance of the people in any organization,” says Dave. As a Marine Corps captain, he led teams of 30200 in combat during the Iraq War. Today, he leads organizations undergoing change as a management consultant. After hours, Dave is building a teamleadership program based on his experiences in the military. He keynoted IBM’s 2015 Network for Emerging Women Leaders Conference and was a spokesperson for the Defense Department’s “Why We Serve” public outreach program. He also shares his expertise with young SigEps as a chapter counselor and leadership event faculty.
Who has influenced you most as a leader? “The young Marines who served with me over the years. The selfless service and dedication to their brothers that they exhibited every day in war inspires me to continue to lead and serve in their honor. Specifically, my Marines, Corporal Kyle Powell and Corporal Jose Galvan, who gave their lives so others would live. I seek to earn their sacrifice every day.”
Sam Houston State ’02
Vice President, Supply Chain:
Materials Management and
Justin has looked death in the face, and he’s passionate about making the most out of life. In 2012, he collapsed from sudden cardiac death while running a 10K. Among the mere 4 percent of survivors who have gone on to live a normal life, Justin returned to run the very same race in 2013 with his wife and three SigEp brothers. “Life is too short. Take care of business, but don’t forget to have a good time along the way,” he says. For Justin, that includes serving as one of the youngest vice presidents in BP’s history, while making time for family, philanthropy and volunteering. Justin’s career has had an international focus from the start. His job has taken him to 13 countries, including six years spent living abroad in Venezuela, Indonesia and Azerbaijan. Lessons learned as a chapter president have helped propel Justin’s career, and he’s working to restart his chapter as AVC president.
What’s kept you involved with SigEp? “SigEp and the brothers of Texas Eta were the four most influential years of my life. We created bonds together, and the leadership and relationship skills that I learned in the chapter were what have really driven me in my career. I want to ensure others have that opportunity.”
Andrew Clare, Ph.D., MIT ’08
McKinsey & Company
As a scientist with three aeronautics degrees from MIT, Andrew’s desire to constantly make new discoveries and explore is second nature. Whether it’s conducting a five-year study on piloting drones or researching ways to bring underrepresented minorities and women into the computer science field, Andrew embraces the chance to learn something new each day. Mentoring the SigEps at MIT and facilitating at events like Carlson helps him recharge when it’s time to take a break. “The driving force behind my life’s work is enabling others to grow, develop and succeed,” says Andrew.
What SigEp lessons do you apply in your career? “Helping corporate boards and top management teams as they navigate change is remarkably similar to my experience with SigEp. There is a need for change to keep up with a dynamic marketplace (or fraternity system), yet many times there is a fear to deviate from the status quo. SigEp has never been afraid to embrace positive change, and the lessons I learned through SigEp help me succeed every day.”
Brian Corvino, Moravian ’02
Senior Vice President and
Managing Partner of Global
Consulting Services Division,
Decision Resources Group
Brian wants to help people live longer, healthier, happier and more meaningful lives. He’s delivering affordable advances to patients in the health care industry and is a contributing author for a textbook on the subject. Two years after college, Brian used his experience starting a new SigEp chapter to establish a pharmaceutical consulting firm with several dozen SigEp employees and his former chapter counselor as his business partner. When they sold the firm to Decision Resources Group, Brian took a leadership role in the new company. PharmaVoice Magazine named him one of the most inspiring people in the life sciences industry, and he’s a regular lecturer at top business schools. Brian’s personal mission of improving lives is also fulfilled as a mentor to rising leaders, in his field and his Fraternity.
Who has made a big impact in your life? “My chapter counselor, Phil Patrick, Rutgers ’88, was not only a personal mentor and friend, but also someone who helped me establish my career and showed me the true meaning of mentorship and giving back.”
What SigEp lessons do you apply in your career? “Helping corporate boards and top management teams as they navigate change is remarkably similar to my experience with SigEp. There is a need for change to keep up with a dynamic marketplace (or fraternity system), yet many times there is a fear to deviate from the status quo. SigEp has never been afraid to embrace positive change, and the lessons I learned through SigEp help me succeed every day.”
Aaron Dail Murray State ’05
County Chamber of Commerce |
Instructor, Murray State
Aaron has reached across international lines studying the non-profit sector to bring academic and business insights back to his college town of Murray, Ky. As a chapter volunteer, Aaron helps undergraduates use their experiences as a learning lab for life. He says, “I learned early on that accountability, organizational culture and decision making are crucial in fraternity, family and career. SigEp can give you a great opportunity to strengthen those skills.”
What personal philosophies have guided your success? “Having an entrepreneurial spirit while being inner-directed and others-focused. It has helped me to grow while always finding a new challenge.”
What were the defining moments for you in college? “I found inspiration as an undergrad leading our Balanced Man Scholarship program. It helped me find my entrepreneurial spirit, while combining business acumen, recruitment skills and interpersonal communication.”
Christopher Dillion, Illinois ’03
President, Campbell Coyle Real Estate
| Developer | Entrepreneur
Chris re-imagines, creates and activates the places that bring people together. He’s responsible for a series of public-private partnerships leveraging sustainable construction and dynamic retail environments in urban and “micro-urban” communities, including a game-changing mixed-use project in Chicago’s Hyde Park. Chris’s values are seen in every project he touches, and that includes his volunteer work with Illinois Alpha’s AVC and SigEp’s Ruck Leadership Institute.
What has kept you involved with SigEp? “I am committed to perpetuating the incredibly transformative experience I received through SigEp. I believe that SigEp’s progressive vision for the fraternity experience can be realized because it’s already happening on so many of our campuses.”
What SigEp lessons have stuck with you? “To this day I am reminded of the power of ‘being different.’ Our highly creative and often disruptive approaches to community building stem from this philosophy of ‘being different.’ It is central to who I am, personally and professionally.”
Jose Felix Diaz, Miami (Florida) ’02 Attorney
| Florida State Legislator
Jose keeps showing up on Florida’s best lawyer lists, and he’s captured the state’s attention for his legislative leadership and child advocacy work with organizations like Voices for Children. He got an early taste of board activity as a national Student Director for SigEp. Now he serves on several bar association boards along with non-profits that champion children’s causes. His work with SigEp continues as a volunteer with his chapter.
What lesson from SigEp do you apply in your life today? “I learned the importance of self-awareness and being able to ‘put yourself in other people’s shoes.’ You need to know who you are and what you stand for. SigEp taught me the value of knowing my principles – and it has made me a better father, lawyer and legislator.”
Why is service so central to your life? “My parents taught me the importance of giving back at an early age. As Americans, we are among the luckiest people on Earth. It is incumbent upon us to give of ourselves and help those who cannot help themselves.”
Matthew D. Finke, Truman State ’04
LLP’s Law Firm Services Group | CPA
“There are many stereotypes about accountants,” jokes Matt. “Spoiler alert: most of them are true.” Whatever the stereotypes might be, Matt is forging his own way. As the partner-in-charge of RubinBrown, LLP’s Law Firm Services Group, he’s known for his relentless work ethic, his ability to build highly effective teams and his commitment to mentoring those around him. As a father of twins, SigEp’s lieutenant district governor for Missouri and a perennial facilitator at SigEp’s Carlson, Ruck and Life After College, Matt is a master in the art of balance.
How do you maintain balance in your life? “I find solace through morning workout routines and long runs. Those ‘small wins’ every morning are a must for me in order to get my day started, and as my wife will attest, I can be pretty relentless about keeping up this routine.”
What philosophy guides you? “To paraphrase Viktor Frankl, the active pursuit of success and happiness will almost always end in failure and disappointment. Instead, success ensues as a result of pursuing a vision you have for yourself and finding great meaning in life.”
Kevin Fleming, Ph.D.,
Loyola Marymount ’00
Dean of Instruction and Associate Faculty,
Norco College | CEO, Telos Educational
Services | Scholar | Author | Public Speaker
Kevin’s appetite for knowledge is insatiable. The first in his family to graduate from college, he’s earned five degrees, written two books and contributed to more than 40 publications on education and career training. He advocates rethinking post-high school education to ensure students are prepared to succeed in the workforce. He’s even produced an animated video on the subject that’s gotten more than one million views online. With his enthusiasm for teaching, Kevin has found countless ways to give back to SigEp. He facilitates at EDGE and Carlson and has been a mentor for three chapters. As a certified etiquette trainer, he also conducts presentations for brothers. How does he balance out the Sound Mind, Sound Body equation? Five marathons and one triathlon … so far.
What philosopher resonates for you? “Aristotle once wrote that all living things have a ‘telos,’ an unfulfilled potential. His example was that the telos of an acorn is to become an oak tree, but not all do. I dedicate myself to helping every student, brother and organization fulfill their telos.
Dan Gilman Carnegie Mellon ’04
Pittsburgh City Council Member |
Former Chief of Staff, Councilman
Dan offers a fresh perspective for Pittsburgh’s city council, and he’s helped guide nearly $2.5 billion of economic development in his district. Having learned the art of balance while serving as student body president and chapter president during his Carnegie Mellon days, Dan still leads on multiple fronts. The title of board member peppers a resume that spans political, education and community service spectrums.
How did SigEp prepare you for a career in public service? “I have come to recognize that it was the smaller moments of daily life in the chapter house that had a profound impact on brothers’ college experiences and development. As a city councilman, I strive to remember that these daily ‘bread and butter moments’ are critically important for my constituents.”
What’s kept “SigEp volunteer” on your resume? “I utilize the leadership qualities I developed as a brother and chapter leader every day when I work with my colleagues and constituents. I hope that through my continued commitment to the Fraternity, I can help to guide other young men on a path of servant leadership.”
Director of the President’s
Management Advisory Board,
General Services Administration |
Indoor Cycling Coach
Brad’s a broker of insight, bringing best practices from America’s leading corporations to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. His mission: making our government more productive, innovative, customer-oriented and tech-savvy. After hours, you’ll find him leading cycling classes and mentoring the SigEps at American University. Try to keep up. Brad’s constantly in motion.
“Several years after gr aduation, I felt that I was letting life happen to me rather than me being in control of my own future,” he says. “I began to set personal goals during my trip home each Christmas. I identify the most important areas of my life, then establish how I want to grow in these areas over the next year. I set interim goals that help me drive towards the overarching annual goal.”
What advice would you give a new chapter officer? “Expect adversity. Change in any organization includes adversity. Minimize this push back by talking to a diverse set of brothers to get their input and be willing to make small adjustments to your plan. After a semester or two, the change will be the new norm.”
Troy Hanson, Valparaiso ’02
Commander Naval Surface Forces, Pacific,
N43 Fleet Maintenance Schedules,
Department of the Navy | Lieutenant
Commander, THIRD Fleet Headquarters,
Troy leads the effort to schedule maintenance and modernization of every surface ship in the u.S. navy’s Pacific Fleet. He’s spent his career serving the Navy as a civilian and as a Navy reserve officer with deployments to the Western Pacific, Kuwait and the Horn of Africa. His ability to manage complex undertakings has earned him numerous medals, including the Joint Service Commendation. Between deployments, Troy can be found volunteering with chapters throughout San Diego. He was recently named balanced man steward for one and has served as chapter counselor for two others. His zeal for training the next generation of leaders goes way back: Troy was part of the team that developed EDGE, and he’s led Southern California’s program for more than 10 years.
Why is mentoring a passion for you? “If I can be that mentor that helps a student figure out what he should do with his degree, or what he should put on his resume, or how to handle a difficult situation at home, then I am fulfilled.”
Alan Hice Tennessee ’99
Senior Vice President and
Business Development Officer,
Civis Capital | Lender |
What makes Alan so confident about the future of Knoxville, Tenn.? He’s building it, one entrepreneur and future leader at a time. As a local lender, Alan is making new businesses a reality every day in the east Tennessee metropolis. By volunteering with his chapter, he makes a different investment, one that assures he is giving back and helping to bring forward men who will also make a difference in his community.
What has kept you involved with SigEp? “It is not enough just to go through the motions and take what life gives you. You have to appreciate those who have helped you along the way and do the same for others.”
Advice for a new chapter officer? “By being a good listener, you will gain the respect of those around you. Also, do not be afraid to take risks and set yourself apart by being innovative. Ultimately, lead by example.”
Steve Hofstetter, Columbia ’02
Comedian and Host/Executive Producer of
Laughs (Fox) | Senior Comedy
Correspondent, Fox Sports
Few things are scarier than trying to make a live audience laugh. Steve has made a career out of it. He has shared his journey with countless SigEp brothers, and years of commitment to the dream have paid off. At 35, he hosts the late night comedy show he always wanted to see on TV. A regular face at Grand Chapter Conclaves, Steve brings the laughs each year and reminds our brothers to follow their dreams.
How have you been able to give back to your community? “I created the Martin Grant, a scholarship for up and coming comedians—named in memory of my father. So often, artists are forced to compromise or delay their art to merely survive. This scholarship will help that happen to one less artist.”
Favorite comedian? “Bill Hicks. ‘If you’re going to bomb, talk about something interesting.’ I’ve always viewed stand-up that way. The stage is important—people are listening. If you had five minutes to tell a room full of strangers anything, what would you tell them?”
Dale Hunter, South Florida ’04
Broker, Guardian Real Estate Services LLC
Two years after college, Dale became Century 21’s top-producing realtor in South Tampa. Since then, he’s launched his own real estate brokerage firm, a title company and a property management company with a portfolio of more than 300 properties. Dale credits his success with creating business opportunities that align with his passions. He’s currently renovating a historic building for Rock Brothers Brewing Company, of which he’s part owner. The award-winning craft brewery collaborates with bands like Hootie and the Blowfish, 311 and Umphrey’s McGee for each beer brewed. A volunteer and mentor for brothers at South Florida, Dale says his own chapter counselor, Kevin o’Connor, loras ’88, taught him the importance of investing in the leaders of tomorrow.
What gets you out of bed each day? “My 2-year-old literally wakes me up every morning, but I stay motivated by striving to be a role model for my children. I want them to see the importance of living a balanced life. I try to attend and participate in every event in my children’s lives while balancing my workloads.”
Ryan Jacobsen, San Diego ’00
Regional Sales Manager, Dot Foods |
Co-founder and Chief Financial Officer,
Jacobsen Global | Strategic Planner |
Business Developer | Road Warrior
The ideals of Sound Mind and Sound Body resonated with Ryan as soon as he learned about SigEp. He became a founding member of his chapter and continues to pursue these virtues in his life. He manages sales and logistics in the Western states for one of the nation’s largest foodservice redistribution companies, and he’s CFO of a start-up consulting firm that has helped clients land multimillion-dollar government contracts. Ryan brings the same level of intensity to maintaining a sound body. He’s an Advanced Open Water Diver and mixes his exercise routine with sailing and snow skiing. An embodiment of the Balanced Man Ideal, Ryan shares his experience with young SigEps at San Diego, where he’s AVC president. A member of the first class of Ruck Scholars, he has returned most every year since 2005 as program faculty.
What SigEp lessons do you apply in your career? “Recruiting and retaining the best talent is a huge challenge in the business world today, and I’m grateful SigEp provided an introduction to a recruitment process and tools that I still use.”
Doug Jones Jr, Texas-Austin ’05
Principal and Executive Vice President,
During his senior year, Doug was an unpaid intern at a real estate firm. A mere five years later, he’d become a partner. Doug later teamed with two other partners to bring one of the world’s largest commercial real estate firms back to Austin. He’s negotiated more than 250 leases and was among the city’s top 10 brokers four years running. He happily advises new brokers and hires SigEp interns to expose them to the business. Doug also remains connected to the Fraternity as a volunteer in a variety of areas, from mentoring undergraduates in recruitment to organizing his chapter’s annual alumni reunion. Passionate about philanthropy, Doug recently joined the emerging leaders board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Austin and works to raise funds to support Explore Austin, a mentoring and activity program for underserved youth.
What inspires you to invest so heavily in your community? “What is the point of making money and being successful if you don’t share it with everyone around you? Helping those who didn’t have the fortune to have been raised, trained and mentored by amazing family, friends and brothers—it’s just what you do.”
Ash Kumra California-Irvine ’04
DreamItAlive.com Co-Founder |
Entrepreneur | Talk Show Host | 2X White
House Award Winner | Best Selling Author
An evangelist for fellow entrepreneurs, Ash has poured his early business success and passion into the global community site, DreamItAlive.com. The mission: help people create their ultimate life. Ash cites SigEp District Governor Dave Calderon, CalPoly-Pomona ’88, as the mentor who showed him what it meant to be dedicated to a cause, and he credits the Ruck Leadership Institute for his appetite to lead. As a SigEp chapter counselor, he’s helping the men at California- Irvine make their dreams a reality, too. “I learned leadership above all else,” says Ash. “A diverse fraternity teaches you how to keep the ship running just like any company does!”
What is the driving force behind your work? “Curiosity and the belief that you can make every day epic, unique and empowering. Through entrepreneurship, I get to create ventures that make the world better. I am on a mission to create and produce elevating, original content to inspire people to make their dreams come alive at any cost.”
Benjamin Lakin, Ph.D., Maine ’07
Senior Scientist, Smith & Nephew,
Advanced Healing Technologies Division
Ben is passionate about improving the quality of people’s lives. He’s also an avid triathlete and has combined his interests to develop new products for the sports medicine industry. He developed new diagnostics and treatments for osteoarthritis in grad school and is now working on advanced materials for medical implants to help patients return faster to daily activities and favorite sports. Outside the lab, the opportunity to set goals and practice multiple sports keeps Ben focused on triathlons, and he gets similarly fired up about helping others tackle new challenges. He sees mentoring graduate students and colleagues as essential to his role as a new industry scientist and is a volunteer for two SigEp chapters.
What personal philosophy do you live by? “I try not to have any major regrets in life. I try to make conscientious decisions, think through my underlying passions and ensure that those desires are met. Life is too short to be regretting things or missing out.”
Joshua Lee, Valparaiso ’98
National Trial Lawyer and Partner,
Schiff Hardin LLP
Josh is an award-winning trial lawyer and advisor for executives at companies ranging from startups to international corporations. He helps clients manage risk, protect interests and create opportunities for growth. He’s regularly called on to reshape and set the pace of litigation. He has also been lauded for his long record of taking on pro bono cases and has worked with several legal aid organizations in the Chicago area. “Protecting persons who are often marginalized is what ensures that, ultimately, everyone’s rights are protected,” says Josh. His ongoing service as a SigEp volunteer is also reflective of his desire to make a personal impact on the lives of others. A former district governor in Michigan, Josh currently serves as president of the Indiana Zeta AVC and is a Carlson facilitator.
What drives you to give back? “Early in my life, my mother taught me that it is important to lend help where you can. She made sure I understood that we had, at times, relied on the help of others, and that we all have an obligation to help each other reach our potential. Doing well by doing good helps me keep perspective and balance.”
Florida Atlantic ’03
Director of Talent
Aryeh has the ability to look beyond a resume to identify human potential. “One of the most important lessons I learned from my SigEp experience was seeing how a group of incredibly diverse individuals could come together and become something special,” he says. As a talent acquisition executive at one of the world’s largest media providers, he’s helping leaders make an impact that is only possible through a well-chosen team. Paying it forward, Aryeh is pushing a new generation of SigEps to achieve their vision of professional success through SigEp’s Life After College.
What message resonates from a favorite philosopher? “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu
What advice would you give a new chapter officer? “Work harder than any other person on your team. Never ask someone on your team to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself…and be prepared to back it up by actually doing it! And lastly, if you aren’t learning more from your team than they are learning from you, you’re probably doing it wrong!”
Jared Lyon, Florida State ’11
Chief Development Officer and
Executive Vice President of Operations,
Student Veterans of America | Adjunct
Professor of Entrepreneurship,
Syracuse University | Public Speaker
Jared spent four years serving his country as a Navy diver on submarines across the globe and three seasons as the Washington Nationals’ Florida operations manager—all before he enrolled at Florida State. By the time Jared graduated, he had helped return a previously dormant SigEp chapter to his campus while leading a project to build a new $25 million Student Veterans Center. Today, his relentless service and dedication to others is seen in his many professional endeavors and volunteer activities. SigEp is lucky to be on the list.
What lessons from SigEp do you still lean on? “Surrounding yourself with passionate people focused on a common goal can often make the difference between failure and success. I apply this in my life now by looking for the passion in any team I might be on.”
How do you practice life-long learning? “I have the great fortune to teach undergraduates at the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse, and I find myself constantly learning as much as I can to ensure I deliver value to my students. To be an effective teacher, you must have a thirst for knowledge.”
Christopher McCaw, Appalachian State ’03
Senior Director, S2S Global Operations, Premier Inc.
Chris has helped build and lead one of Premier’s fastest growing and most successful ventures. The company works to reduce healthcare costs and improve quality of care at more than 3,400 U.S. hospitals and 110,000 providers. Chris’ team reduces the cost of healthcare supplies, while increasing standardization and improving supply chain transparency and stability. “It’s involved the most strategic of work, right down to making copies at midnight. There has been nothing better, professionally, than seeing it win,” says Chris. But he says fun is spending time with family, connecting with friends and giving back to the community. Chris is a Little League coach, a director of SigEp National Housing, and a frequent facilitator at Conclave, Carlson and Life After College.
How do you practice life-long learning? “I’ve found that one of the best approaches is to diversify those around you. I’ve done the MBA thing; it’s very valuable. In recent years, I’ve made it a point to connect with my older relatives and friends. Learning has been about taking the time to put ‘business’ aside and to talk to as many people as I can on a personal level.”
Richard Montano, Pepperdine ’01
Founder and CEO, LIV Capital
Group, Inc. | Founder, Voiceless
From homeless to homebuilder, Richard’s life journey keeps him focused on a better future. His success in business and real estate followed a childhood marked by homelessness and intermittent foster care. He has successfully launched three companies and currently runs LIV Capital, where he’s made values and community building just as important as profits. Richard’s not-for-profit venture, Voiceless, is dedicated to improving our nation’s foster care system, and he continues to devote time to the SigEps at Pepperdine RLC.
What drives you? “Legacy is an important motivator for me. Due to my childhood hardships, I feel as though I was born without a legacy. It is my intention to create one for my family, and to provide a foundation for many generations to build upon. We can lay a foundation for future generations in everything we do, and not just for our own children, but for our communities.”
What title is important to your identity? Being called an entrepreneur is one of the greatest compliments that anyone can give me. I believe entrepreneurs are leaders who innovate and improve the world around them. To be an entrepreneur, one must be observant, creative, intelligent and diligent…all at once.”
Jacob Mullins, Yale ’05
CEO and Founder, Exitround.com
As a founding member of his chapter, Jacob discovered a passion and talent for forming organizations that help people achieve common goals. His college mentor Bill Tragos, Washington in St. Louis ’56, gave him confidence that he could succeed, no matter how big the challenge. As an undergraduate, Jacob and a classmate used that mindset to start a nutritional supplement business. Today, he runs Exitround.com, a marketplace that connects buyers and sellers of tech companies. A Tragos Quest to Greece Scholar, Jacob has had the chance to guide the next generation as an alumni mentor for the program. He’s also facilitated at Carlson and paid forward his mentoring experience as a chapter counselor.
How do you continue to challenge yourself? “I have a personal end-of-year ritual where I take time to evaluate each individual part of my life—body, mind, spirit, relationships, career, finance—to determine whether I grew or declined that year and set up the coming year for growth in each area.”
Bart Newman Georgia ’99
Vice President of National Accounts and
General Counsel, THRIVE Farmers Coffee
| Author | Speaker
During a tour of Iraq, Bart, then an Army Captain, began a journal of fatherly advice for his young daughter in case he didn’t make it home. He’s since been able to publish his wartime journal and share his life lessons with a growing family, his church and his Georgia chapter where he puts in time to help prepare young men for values-focused lives. At THRIVE, Bart is changing the coffee industry by empowering international farmers and proving that strong values can be the backbone of any enterprise.
What has kept you engaged with your chapter? “I stay involved because there is a lifetime responsibility of brotherhood. I made a promise many years ago that I would do that, and while I don’t do it perfectly, I want to keep my promise. These men are powerful instruments that, if well guided and inspired, will accomplish amazing things in this world.”
What makes a great leader? “I served under some of the most accomplished combat leaders in the Department of Defense. The truly great ones solicited wise counsel, made timely decisions and truly served their soldiers … they never asked a soldier to do something they wouldn’t do themselves. They generally refused the privilege of their rank.”
Scott Phillips Jr. Ohio State ’05
CEO, Keller Williams Realty of
Greater Cleveland | Former Arena
Scott says his personal career goal is to help the Cleveland Browns win a Super Bowl. Think he’s kidding? He’s not. Scott believes in Cleveland. Whether he’s driving the football down the field, or propelling his multi-million dollar real estate company to the top of Cleveland’s best places to work list, Scott holds himself and those around him accountable for creating the future they want. He’s played six seasons of semipro and arena football, became the youngest franchise CEO in Keller Williams history, and is co-owner of Cleveland’s oldest restaurant. Meanwhile, he’s mentoring SigEps at four Ohio-area chapters. Scott’s been good for Cleveland. And with $300 million in annual sales, Cleveland’s been good for Scott.
What advice would you give a new SigEp officer? “Treat your SigEp leadership position as if your family relied on your success. SigEp leadership is like the real world ‘on training wheels.’ It’s an amazing simulation on leading organizations, and the lessons you learn will be completely transferrable into your professional career.”
Jeremy Poincenot, San Diego State ’13
Inspirational Speaker | Blind Golf Champion
“Focus on the good.” This is Jeremy’s mantra. Even though a rare genetic disease called LHON took his vision at age 19, his ability to overcome has given him plenty to celebrate. In 2010 Jeremy became the World Blind Golf Champion, and today he travels the country helping other people see how to “turn trauma into triumph.” Jeremy has also made a considerable impact on SigEp, a brotherhood he credits with his rehabilitation. At the 2015 Carlson Leadership Academy, he reminded brothers that, “every single one of us has the power to impact someone’s life.” And there are few examples more powerful than his.
“I can honestly say that had I not joined SigEp, I’m not sure if I would have graduated from college,” says Jeremy. “I don’t think I’d be as comfortable in my own skin as I am now. And I know I would not have had the support of brothers that I have.”
What makes you most excited about the future? “The unbelievable life I’m able to lead now that I’ve overcome this difficult life experience. If you would’ve told me that I would be competing in blind golf tournaments around the world when I first lost my sight, I’d have thought you were nuts! Also, the people I’m able to meet and the places I’m able to go while travelling as an inspirational speaker. The ability to inspire others to take control of life and turn trauma into triumph. The potential to positively impact others’ lives. The opportunity to make a difference in the world.”
Jay Rivera, Babson ’99
Senior Program Manager, Intuit |
Public Speaker | Consultant | Coach
Jay’s team led the launch of mobile banking for Bank of America. They also guided the company through the Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust mergers. Today, Jay is helping Intuit sharpen its focus, serving as the program manager for the divestiture of its QuickBase business unit. Jay’s work has impacted millions through better programs, applications and services. He also finds immense satisfaction in reaching out to people on a more personal level. “There exists in me a genuine desire to pay it forward,” says Jay, explaining that being mentored by others inspires him to do the same. He’s a founding board member for a youth orchestra and began volunteering with SigEp right after graduation, serving a AVC president for two chapters in the Boston area. Family is also central to Jay’s life, and coaching his son’s soccer team remains a top priority.
What lessons from your undergraduate SigEp experience do you still carry with you today? “Embrace opportunities and make the most of them. Sometimes, the easiest chances afforded to you can be the least satisfying, while the hardest breaks to get are those that can be the most challenging, yet leading to the greatest success, reward and personal satisfaction.”
Jim Roach, Connecticut ’99
Executive Vice President and
Head of Sales, Natixis Global Asset
Management Canada LP
“I have an internal drive that I can’t turn off,” says Jim. “I want to win, and I want to be successful. I have tasted failure, and I don’t like it.” Jim started out in entry-level sales with Natixis Global Asset Management and worked his way up to sales desk manager and senior vice president of their Boston headquarters. When the firm acquired NexGen Financial, Jim was tapped to lead the growth of the Canadian asset management company. Jim also likes to help others win and believes that service to his community has broadened his worldview. He serves on the board of advisors for YMCA of Greater Boston and Community Works Services. He’s also a team captain for Best Buddies International and a mentor for new regional directors and young SigEps at Carlson.
What makes a great leader? “Integrity.”
What personal philosophy do you live by? “It is really simple: always do the right thing and outwork everyone else.
Marcus Robinson, Dayton ’99
Communications Director and
Senior Advisor, Penn State
Marcus lives to learn and explore new ideas. And whether it’s at work or afterhours, he’s passionate about sharing lessons learned and helping those around him achieve their best. On the job, he leads communications and provides counsel to key decision-makers at Penn State on issues affecting the long-term success of the university. In his free time, he puts his communication skills to use as a facilitator at EDGE, Ruck, Carlson and Life After College. Marcus also volunteers as a district governor and serves as a member of the Ritual Task Force.
How have you continued to challenge yourself since graduating? “It is deceptively easy to fall into routine in life, particularly post-graduation. I seek out opportunities to stretch and be challenged, and I surround myself with people who do the same. I sprint toward the discomfort of being outside of my comfort zone. It’s a mindset that is among the great gifts I gained in SigEp.”
Matt Rodrigue, Maine ’04
Investment Banker | Director,
Miller Buckfire & Co.
Matt took to the role of adviser early, serving SigEp as a national Student Director in college. Now he provides advice to corporate boards and management teams as they navigate big organizational changes. “It’s not just high finance. Decisions made—whether to build or shutter a factory, form a new joint venture or launch a product line—have a lasting impact on people’s lives,” says Matt. “I am most proud of the situations where I have helped clients make the right decisions.” When he’s not advising clients, Matt is helping the SigEps at Maine RLC make the right decisions in their chapter.
What advice would you give a new SigEp officer? “Even if you can perform a task (or many tasks) more effectively than someone else, you can’t do everything. Practice harnessing others’ willingness to contribute, and focus on training your successors. Your impact will be exponentially higher, and you won’t go crazy trying to do everything yourself.”
What makes you most excited about the future? “I’m often impressed by the quality and character of college students and recent graduates I encounter, and I think we are positioning for a terrific period of social and economic advancement.”
John Schuyler, Western Michigan ’00
Strategic Sales Executive, Nike, Inc.
John is an athlete. And he brings an athlete’s mindset to all areas of his life as he ensures his many teams are always moving toward their goals. He leads strategic sales for Nike, coaches undergraduate SigEps in recruitment, and advises the national Fraternity on recruitment and member development. He finds motivation in the words of his favorite historical figure, Abraham Lincoln. “‘Whatever you are, be a good one.’ For me, that has meant adopting a standard of excellence in every job I’ve had, from retail sales associate to my current role. Doing stand-out work that produces tangible results is the best career-building ad campaign you can mount.”
What SigEps have impacted you as a leader? “Darron Trobetsky, Indiana of Pennsylvania ’94, agreed to be my mentor when I was an undergraduate. A Nike employee, he helped me understand the skills they valued in candidates, enabling me to bring focus to my development and tell my story in a way that resonated. Today, we are colleagues, our families are good friends and I continue to seek his good advice.”
Adam Seiber, Murray State ’02
Co-founder and Managing Director,
Aether | Entrepreneur
Adam is known for finding resources to fill unmet needs. He and his team are helping government agencies and multinational corporations meet their economic, environmental and social goals through sustainable infrastructure development. And whether he’s helping clients develop a better energy profile and become more sustainable or reconnecting SigEp alumni with the Fraternity, the results are undeniable. As a founding member and president of the 1901 Club of New York City, he’s created new opportunities for alumni networking and personal growth. He’s also made it easy for area alumni to get involved as career mentors and facilitators at Life After College. A mentor himself, Adam advises two chapters on operations and career planning and shares his insights as a regular facilitator at Ruck and Carlson.
What drives you? “Making a difference. My company is fortunate to work on projects that help our customers’ bottom line while making the world a better place. And that extends to SigEp. Though I’ll never be able to repay the Fraternity for all it has given me, it’s fun to try.”
AJ Siccardi, Florida ’98
Vice President of Supply and
Distribution, Race Trac Petroleum
“Get busy living, or get busy dying,” says AJ, citing the words of Morgan Freeman’s character “Red” from Shawshank Redemption. It’s a philosophy that drives him to “live each day to the fullest and take chances and risks.” These aren’t empty words. At 39, AJ has developed a business acumen that has propelled him to the role of vice president at Race Trac, and he’s a critical player in the world of SigEp housing. A former national Student Director, AJ now serves as vice president of SigEp National Housing and chairman of the Equity Management Fund Task Force.
What is the driving force behind your work? “I am passionate about learning and doing an outstanding job. I have been in several roles throughout my career that I didn’t love but you would never know it because I am passionate about delivering outstanding results and immersing myself in any subject for which I am responsible.”
How do you practice life-long learning? “I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and want to learn something new each day. I try to learn from everyone I interact with whether they know it or not.”
Ehren Stanhope, Tulane ’05
Principal, O’Shaughnessy Asset
Management | Finance Writer |
Researcher | Presenter
Ehren used to think he was better suited to work with numbers than people, but his SigEp days helped him see how interconnected they are. Today, he has traveled far on both counts. He is a chartered financial analyst and principal at his firm, and he’s sharing his leadership abilities with his Fraternity where he volunteers as a district governor, chapter volunteer and regular facilitator at national leadership events. Ehren says he’s a “true believer” in life-long learning, but that may be an understatement. He’s a contributing writer for Yahoo! Finance as well as an executive MBA candidate at Yale.
How do you keep growing and challenging yourself after college? “Read. If you don’t like reading, start liking it. There are few other ways to directly access someone else’s brain. Learn from the successes and failures of others at every opportunity.”
How do you define success?“To me, success is the offspring of passion and grit. Some people are passionate but don’t have the work ethic to pursue their dreams. Some people work hard because they are expected to, but actually hate their jobs. Don’t be either of those people.”
Counsel for Constituent Services
to U.S. Congressman Adrian Smith,
Captain, United States Army
Reserve Deputy Command Judge
Advocate, 561st Regional Support
Alex says SigEp taught him to be selfless, a trait that is present in all aspects of his life. As a young attorney, he saw his country in two wars and joined the Army Reserve. He’s been decorated several times for his service and also brought his legal talents to the U.S. Congress. Since graduating, Alex has volunteered continuously with SigEp, facilitating at EDGE and mentoring two chapters as chapter counselor. The result? A total of five Buc Cups. Alex is also a past president of his town’s children’s museum board, and he was elected to serve on the board of education in his childhood district in 2014.
What has kept you involved with SigEp? “I believe our Fraternity gives young men the best possible opportunity to succeed after college and throughout the rest of their lives. It is deeply fulfilling for me to watch our graduates leave college and conquer whatever challenge they choose to accept. I am humbled and awestruck by their success.
Zar Toolan, Columbia ’01
Senior Vice President and Director
of Advice Quality, Wells Fargo Advisors
A finance guy with a “tinkerer engineer” mindset, Zar is constantly looking for new insights. His advice? “Surround yourself with people who are going to challenge the way you think. Don’t be afraid to jump in the deep end versus wading in from the shallows.” After serving as a nuclear engineer for the Department of Defense, Zar made the jump to corporate America. Today, he combines an interest in how things work with a determination to achieve. The result? Several new portfolio management applications being trademarked and patented under his leadership. Thirty marathons and ultra-marathons completed. A top ten finish in the world’s longest kayak race. And countless hours spent serving community boards and mentoring undergraduates at Carlson and Ruck.
What personal philosophy do you live by? “You don’t manage time; you manage priorities. If it’s important to you and it makes a difference, you’ll make time for it.”
Why do you invest in your community? “It’s not enough to just live and work in a place. You have to become part of the community’s fabric.” What makes a great leader? “Curiosity, active listening, adaptation, creativity, passion, relentless pursuit of excellence.”