UMSL Alum Dr. Patricia Kopetz Follows Her Passions; Lives the Dream

Educator, World-Traveler, Child and Diversity Advocate, World Domination –   It Must Be Women’s History Month


by Elizabeth Snowden UMSL MBA 2016

Dr. Patricia Kopetz is a local teacher, and also globe-trotting trailblazer. Whether it be in arenas of feminism, diversity, or education – she has continually fought for progress in an industry plagued by traditional, antiquated programs, deterring budget squabbles, and lethargic bureaucracy.


Dr. Patricia Kopetz

It is because of Dr. Kopetz’s passion and drive that she has been invited to speak at events all over the world, such as in: in California, China, Lesotho, and Greece, in order to promote her findings and challenge academia to provide more innovative methods to educate the world’s diverse population. During her day job, Dr. Kopetz designs and sponsors programs aimed at improving education for learning disabled children, while simultaneously empowering future UMSL educators with the latest and best academic techniques.

We asked her if she wouldn’t mind answering a few questions for us in honor of Women’s History Month, so we could learn what it is that inspires her ambition, how UMSL contributed to her career success, what Women’s History Month means to her, and her advice for the current generation of educators and business women.

(UMSL Business): Please give us a little background on where you are from, your family and your upbringing.

(Dr. Kopetz): I am a native St. Louisan, brought up in St. Louis County. My parents moved our family to St. Louis in 1958, and my next home was in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1983.

(UB): Please tell us about your job.

(DK): I hold an endowed professorship in the College of Education at UMSL, and am completing my eighth year here. My job entails teaching graduate education courses, primarily supporting pedagogy that provides current educators with knowledge about, and skills that help in, teaching students with learning differences (everything from low-incidence disabilities: like intellectual and developmental disabilities, multiple disabilities, and autism – to high-incidence disabilities: like ADD/ADHD, specific learning disabilities, high-functioning autism, and behavior disorders).

My business matters because we live in an inclusive, diverse world of people, personalities, backgrounds, cultures, attitudes, and abilities; and today’s classrooms of learners should, and most likely do, mirror that set of varying dynamics.

(UB): How many people in your immediate family have attended college and how do you feel about that?

(DK): My parents, born and raised during the Great Depression years, felt fortunate that education was important in their families when they were growing up. My mother was proud to have completed the 7th grade, which was the norm in rural West Virginia. During World War II, she took a job as a draftswoman/map maker, and designed aerial maps for U.S. Air Force fighter pilots. Meanwhile, my father, having completed high school in Lansing, Michigan, was post-high school immediately drafted to serve in the Army (Pacific Theatre) during World War II.

When the war was over, he took a position as Cartographer (map maker) at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., where he met my mother. While later raising the family with my mother in St. Louis, my father was successful in completing his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering (via remote access) from Michigan State University in Lansing, MI, the place where he was raised and schooled.

I was proud that my parents extended themselves, educationally, to the limits best possible during their era and in their geographic location.

(UB): What reasons made you decide to pursue a Master’s in Education at UMSL?

(DK): The M.Ed. from UMSL was pursued because, in teaching elementary youngsters, what I learned with my bachelor’s degree was just not enough. I needed to figure out ways to help the students who learned differently than the average student or the masses. I entered the UMSL M.Ed. program first to explore Special Education in countries of Western Europe and Scandinavia, searching to learn what methods used in those countries were met with success. Then, with the majority of remaining coursework taken on the UMSL campus, I learned a deeper philosophy of how learning occurs, and how to assess children for learning difficulties early in their lives, and I continued studying new techniques and interventions that improved my teaching in the elementary grades.

I later pursued my doctorate in Educational Leadership at SLU, a field I knew little about, but a field that my academic advisor strongly encouraged that I pursue. At the time, during the early 1980s, there were few women in the Educational Leadership doctoral degree at SLU. It was an odd experience, but was privileged to receive the keen, insightful mentorship of Dr. Theodore Kowalski, and he, along with Provost Father Stauder, kept pushing me to complete my degree requirements.

(UB): What did you enjoy about your education at UMSL

(DK): My experience at UMSL was no-nonsense. My classmates and our professors had like interests, so our passions kept us supportive of one another. Everyone was local, and the culture was….St. Louis. Not a lot of showy fanfare, no loud or rambunctious self-obsessed numnuts, but real professionals who entered the classroom very goal-minded.

We challenged each other to think differently and in greater depth. Our instructors were tough. They expected that we show up to class on time, prepared (having read the assigned pages in our texts), take notes, seek their scholarly guidance, and complete submitted assignments with clarity and writing accuracy. No “extra credit,” but earning scores deserved, period. I liked knowing what the expectations were and boundaries we could understand, count on, and respect.

(UB): In what particular ways do you feel UMSL prepared you to be a successful businessperson and educator?

(DK): I think of education as a business. It is a business much like sales. We must build relationships (with our students, fellow faculty, administration, parents, and community partners) in order to sell our goods (the learning content: reading, math, science, writing, etc.) to immediate consumers (students in the class) and others that help us in that effort (i.e., fellow faculty, administration, parents, community partners). UMSL funneled my interests and learning efforts in the direction of improved “selling” techniques, a focus on acquiring contemporary intervention models that, when applied in the classroom and in relationships, created lasting positive impacts for the students whom I taught.

(UB): What made you want to pursue your current industry, what do you like about your job, and of what personal career accomplishments are you particularly proud?

(DK): Growing up in the 1950s, career opportunities for women were not so varied. Because I enjoyed being a student, and loved “playing school,” pursuing a career in education was my future. What I like about my job is creating relationships with future teachers and current educators that gain their trust, so they realize and appreciate the needs in today’s classrooms of students, and feel confident that they can make measurable differences in the lives of today’s students, who are tomorrow’s leaders. My greatest accomplishment was the endowed professorship for which I was fortunate to gain $1M in funding in 1996. That result was the culmination of building a relationship, over ten years, with a local dessert manufacturer whose international company held tight access requirements.

(UB): Who were the people you looked up to growing up, and why did you admire/respect them?

(DK): My hero was, is, and always will be my mother. Of all her children, and despite debilitating medical issues that plagued her lifelong, she sacrificed the most for me. She was always in my corner, especially during tremendously challenging times in my life. That I admired and respected her is the least I can describe about my feelings for her.

Dorothy M. Bowersox

Dr. Kopetz’s Mother, Dorothy M. Bowersox, 1948 and 1997; 7th Grade Graduate, Cartographer, Feminist Pioneer, General Badass

Today, my other hero is my daughter, Betsy. She is bright and adventurous, and seems to be following her passion to follow a career path that makes good things happen. I wish I could’ve been sharp like her, gain lasting relationships, and made decisions with experiential wisdom. She’s tops.

Se. Claire McCaskil

Sen. Claire McCaskil


(UB): Who do you currently admire as a female leader in the education (or related) community and why?

(DK): I greatly admire Claire McCaskill, State Representative in Missouri. While I don’t usually align myself with her political views, she seems responsive to the needs of fellow Missourians, and has made her place on the international news stage. Good for her!



(UB): Have you personally experienced any sexist stereotypes during your career? If so, can you tell us a little about it? How can men and women confront/eliminate this stereotype(s)?

(DK): During my professional career that was hosted in the Deep South, men dominated in meetings and decision-making. One time, that I knew about, our graduate education department of all men and two women conducted a meeting to discuss departmental issues without inviting the two of us (women). How weird was that? In 1998. Really?! Men are coming around to respect women colleagues, but the change is taking at least a generation (20 years) to show slight progress.

(UB): What do you think when you hear “Women’s History Month,” and what does Women’s History Month mean to you, personally?

(DK): It is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of women. For example, the Bible rarely, rarely gives any credit to, or discussion of, women and their leadership or their strife as valued citizens. My mother, whose mother fought for the right to vote (women suffrage) in 1920, made me promise to always vote. She was adamant about that until the day she passed from this Earth.

(UB): What advice can you offer women in St. Louis or UMSL who want to pursue successful careers in education?

(DK): I say follow your passion. Follow your brain, too, and select a career that can truly showcase your intelligence, poise, communication skills, and desire to make things happen. The best careers in education are in administration, where it’s fun, never boring, and leads you to where you desire most to land.

Thank you so much for your time and contribution!!!

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Catching up with UMSL Business Alum, Orvin Kimbrough




by: Elizabeth Snowden,
MBA Candidate 2016

Orvin Kimbrough is a hot St. Louis success story. One of our own – whose passion and ambition forged a path from humble beginnings to President and CEO of the United Way of Greater St. Louis. Under Orvin’s leadership, the United Way of Greater St. Louis continues to positively impact the local community through individual and educational initiatives, and a network of partnerships.

Orvin KimbroughOrvin Kimbrough

Last month for Black History Month, we reached out to Orvin to get to know him a little better, explore how his MBA from UMSL played a role in his business success, get a feeling for who inspires him, and gain some insight as to what black history means to this hometown leader.

(UMSL Business): Please give us a little background on where you are from, your family and your upbringing.

(Orvin Kimbrough): I was born in East St. Louis. I spent my formative years in North St. Louis. My wife and I have been married for nearly 17 years; we have two children and currently live in St. Louis County (Wildwood).

UB: Please tell us about your job and why it matters.

OK: I work for United Way of Greater St. Louis. I have worked for the organization since January of 2007, and I have been President and CEO since July of 2013. My job entails working with partners to create the conditions for people to live better lives. What this means is focusing on ensuring that we have a systematic and strategic approach to generating resources, managing resources and investing resources. My business matters because it is about helping people who have a philanthropic inclination [to] focus their efforts to help people who need support to realize their full potential.

UB: From which university did you receive your undergraduate degree, and what degree was it?

OK: I attended the University of Missouri — Columbia for undergraduate and my first graduate degree. I earned a Bachelor and Masters of Social Work. I earned a Master of Business Administration from University of Missouri — St. Louis, and I earned a Master of Arts in Theology from Aquinas Institute in St. Louis.

UB: How many people in your immediate family have attended college and how do you feel about that?

OK: Both my wife and I have earned advanced degrees and it’s an awesome thing…because we both grew up poor. We are one example of the power of education to change the course of life.

UB: What reasons made you decide to pursue an MBA at UMSL?


  • I love public education. I am the product of public high school.
  • The University of Missouri — St. Louis was value priced and had a reputation for quality. It was appropriately challenging and if I could make it through UMSL’s program, I could make it anywhere.

UB: What did you enjoy about your education at UMSL?

OK: Most people don’t know that I actually started my college experience at UMSL during the summer of 1994. I had to take a math and English class to qualify for admittance into Mizzou. That summer, I learned what it was like to be a college student. I spent a lot of time on campus studying with other students. Years later, going back to the university for graduate school was a treat. I enjoyed engaging with the other MBA students through team-based projects. You really got a real world feel for how you get things done in business.

UB: In what particular ways do you feel UMSL prepared you to be a successful businessman?

OK: The fact that I earned a Master of Business Administration from an accredited business school qualified me in an intensively competitive environment. The rigor of UMSL helped to shape me into a well rounded leader, who can think about strategy, management, leadership, people, results and finance in a measured way.

UB: What made you want to pursue your current industry, what do you like about your job, and of what personal career accomplishments are you particularly proud?

OK: I think my industry chose me. I had a challenged life growing up, and I think that narrative was partially to prepare me to lead in the nonprofit sector. I love that I get to see the best of people in my job — whether it is people who have a desire to help others, or people who are trying to change their lives by taking advantage of opportunities to improve.

I am probably most proud that my former boss, Gary Dollar, championed my potential, and that the board of United Way took a chance and offered me the top job in one of the most successful organizations on the planet when I was 38 years old. I am proud of the fact that I didn’t squander the opportunity, and I have been encouraged by my many mentors to stretch my leadership, and not be content with just getting by. I am super proud of how this region consistently responds when we are challenged…I am grateful that I get to champion the best of our region.

UB: Who were the people you looked up to growing up, and why did you admire/respect them?

OK: I admired the Program Director at the Monsanto YMCA, Mr. Robinson. The Monsanto Y is located in North St. Louis. Mr. Robinson at one point served as a supervisor at a group home in which I lived. He always encouraged us youngsters, and he allowed us to enter the Y free of charge.

I admired Mr. Trice who had a deadly three point shot – he too was a house parent at one of my residential facilities. I respected them both more than anything because they were real…and wanted the best for us kids.

I admired Louise Reeves and Lawson Calhoun – because they took a chance on me and helped me secure $600 that I needed to take remediation during the summer at UMSL. I admire all of the giants of the Civil Rights era, and the giants pushing for better educational conditions for our young people today.

UB: Who do you currently admire as a leader in the African American community and why?

OK: There are so many, I can’t do this justice. I admire Larry Thomas, Michael Holmes and Dave Steward because they look at the world through the lens of their faith and are focused on being excellent in everything they do. I admire Charmaine Chapman –because of her endurance and legend.

Group Photo

From left: Larry Thomas, Partner at Edward Jones; Michael Holmes, President at Rx Outreach; David Steward, Chairman and Co-Founder of World Wide Technology, Inc.; and Charmaine Chapman, former President and CEO of the United Way of Greater St. Louis.

I spend more time with Booker T and W.E.B. because I believe they each possessed some truth about what it would take for African Americans to be successful in America.

UB: Have you personally experienced any racial stereotypes during your career?   How can African Americans and non-African Americans confront/eliminate these stereotypes?

OK: Yes, I believe that bias exists, but that is no excuse to stop pushing. I believe in the course of my life, I’ve experienced bias because of my age — meaning, people have discounted my contribution because I have generally been younger in all of my circles.

I also believe that it is harder to take instruction from an African American male because it is so uncommon that black men are in positions of leadership. I think the only way to confront it is to keep showing up and keep being excellent.

UB: What do you think when you hear “Black History Month,” and what does Black History Month mean to you, personally?

OK: Every day is black history for me.

UB: What advice can you offer African Americans in St. Louis or UMSL who want to pursue successful careers in business?

OK: Be passionate about helping people solve problems. If you are focused on solving problems you will never be unemployed.

Thank you so much for your time and contribution!!!

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Enterprise Holdings Inc. Attends STLCyberCon 2015

JR MaxfieldJR Maxfield, PHR
Lead Talent Acquisition Specialist
Information Technology



Friday November 20th, UMSL hosted its first annual cyber security conference, STLCyberCon 2015. STLCyberCon was created to bring students, teachers, practitioners and researchers together to share ideas and industry trends. The conference consisted of several presentations from both academia and industry. Enterprise’s own Brian Mize, Senior Manager of the Cyber Threat Intelligence team, addressed the conference on the topic of, “Cyber Crime, Cyber Criminals, and Cyber Cops”.

Brian Mize

EHI’s Senior Manager of Cyber Threat Intelligence, Brian Mize, addresses the audience at STLCyberCon 2015 on the topic of “Cyber Crime, Cyber Criminals and Cyber Cops.”

Brian opened with a short bio that included his law enforcement background and his captivating personal experiences of investigating cybercrimes and the criminals who perpetrate them. The descriptive experiences gave audience members and students, many of whom had only studied cyber security, an understanding of real world cyber investigations. These investigations covered a variety of cybercrimes with diverse motivations.

Motivation for cybercrime was one of the key topics of Brian’s presentation. Brian reiterated that understanding a hacker’s motivation is important to capturing them and more importantly preventing them from launching a successful hack in the first place. Some hackers hack for financial gain, some out of patriotism and others for a cause as a “Hacktivist”.

Brian continued with some of the common methods hackers use to gain access to systems. He highlighted two key methods, emails with malicious attachments and social engineering. Both of these methods are relatively easy to employ and can have thousands of targets, but as Brian stated, “only need 1 unwitting employee” to gain access.

Finishing up, Brian called attention to the fact that “Cyber Cops” come in many forms, including local law enforcement, federal law enforcement, private industry, SOC personnel and even ethical hackers. He also stressed the importance of cyber cops coming together at events like STLCyberCon to share their knowledge.

If you have any questions or advice about things we all should be looking out for, please reply and share.

In closing, if you’re wondering about ways to be more proactive or how you can stay more up to date regarding security, I suggest you follow The Cyber Guardian on the Hub. The Cyber Guardian posts newsletters and relevant security news that I am certain everyone can benefit from.

Enterprise Holdings Logo

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Women’s Hackathon – A Great Success!

JR Maxfield

JR Maxfield, PHR

Lead Talent Acquisition Specialist
Information Technology


This past Saturday, Enterprise Holdings’ IT Department participated in and sponsored a Women’s Hackathon at the University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL). The event was the second annual and hosted by UMSL’s Information Systems’ (IS) department, which is led by Dr. Dinesh Mirchandani. Both Enterprise and UMSL are very passionate about getting women and students interested in programming and technology.

Over 40 female participants and 15 mentors attended the Women’s Hackathon. The challenge, “build a game, desktop, mobile, or web application to illustrate or visualize the impacts of climate change so as to educate and inspire people to action.” That is exactly what they did.


 (Software Engineer, Emily Coates (pictured here on the left), leads her team through a wire framing exercise as they design their mobile app Green Life.)

Divided into seven teams and given just under eight hours, the teams got to work. Emily Coates, a Software Engineer in Enterprise’s Location Services team participated in the hackathon as a mentor. Emily led her team through an extensive ideation session, which was followed by her assisting them as they developed user stories. They then set off to develop wire frames for their mobile application they later named Green Life. Green Life had many functions, most notably, a recycling center location service that identified which items each center recycled, amount the center would pay for the item and the environmental impact of recycling the item. Though Green Life did not place in the competition, they built an application they can certainly be proud of.

(Sophie Russo, a member of EHI’s Rental Ops and Services team, address the audience at UMSL’s Women’s Hackathon about the importance of diversity in the field of technology.)

Enterprise was also represented at the hackathon through participant and key note speaker Sophie Russo. Sophie is an Associate Software Engineer in Rental Ops and Services. She spoke to participants about her decision to change careers and pursue IT. She also spoke about why she believes technology is such a great field to work in. She and her team later went on to create an app named Albero which allows friends, family or anyone in a social network to challenge each other to recycle. Whoever collects the most points through self-reporting their recycling wins, and so does the environment. Do in large part to Sophie’s effort, her team created a fully functioning application and took home third place.

While the applications created at the Women’s Hackathon were impressive, they were not the highlight of the event. The greatest achievement of the day was that the Women’s Hackathon created interest and passion for programming in many female students, most of which had no programming experience or education. Second place went to a team of four female students for creating a game designed to get youth interested in recycling. Not one of the four had any programming experience to speak of, but with guidance and mentorship they created a very appealing game. As a result of their success all four students expressed interest in pursuing programming through the university, Launch Code or as a hobby. It is possible that many of our community and company’s future leaders participated in this Women’s Hackathon, and that makes it a great success.

Enterprise Holdings Logo

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Personal Branding Check

Breanna Phillps_Menendez

BreAnna Menendez-Phillips
Junior: Business Marketing
Delta Sigma Pi VP- Professional Events
UMSL Business Ambassador
International Business Club Social Chair


Brand building is not just for businesses or corporations. Branding can also be personal – this type of branding is all about YOU. Personal marketing is not just about the way you present yourself, but also the way you behave within your networks.

Here are five essential tips for branding yourself:

Define your brand.
Think about what you want your success story to be. When determining your goals and passions, form a mission to stick to throughout your career journey. You may even be able to turn your passions into a side job or fulltime business.

Choose your brand name.
Your brand’s identity should speak for itself. When personal branding, it’s best to use your birth name or common name. You can create a new name, but it will be more beneficial to use your authentic name for consistency. If you’re representing yourself genuinely and the right way, opportunities will come pouring in!

Research your “industry.”
Find your competition, and then determine what makes you stand out from the rest. Whether you have a passion for coaching or baking, it’s essential to research as someone may already be pursuing your space. Don’t fret over competition – the importance of knowing your peers is so you can enhance your own brand by determining your differentiator.

Create a personal digital presence.
Creating and maintaining an online site, or “resume,” can net you exposure. Consider turning your passion into a website or blog where you can share your knowledge, product or service. Employers and investors are sure to ask for your personal site, so claim your URL now.

Uphold high brand standards.
Your personal brand image is more than a nicely designed logo. Your brand is your story, along with the images associated with it, and your level of integrity on a daily basis. Keep your brand updated and in check – don’t forget to “refresh” as needed.

Originally printed in: UMSL Digital Mindshare

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ISCC 2015

iscc keynoteThe Information Systems Career Conference on April 23rd was a SUCCESS! 100+ students and 12 companies participated in the job fair. Also, there were four great panel discussions on cybersecurity, business intelligence, cloud computing and mobile applications, as well as inspiring speeches by Prof. Vicki Sauter and Prof. Brian Lawton.

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What the heck is LOM?

campbellJJames F. Campbell, Ph.D.
Ph.D. Program Director
Professor of Management Science & Information Systems



Most students know something about marketing, accounting, finance, management and information systems, but the College of Business Administration also has a department of LOM (or Logistics & Operations Management). What is that all about?

Operations Management has long been a core part of any business, but the LOM department is much more than that. LOM also encompasses Logistics, Transportation, Supply Chain Management, Decision Science, Operations Research, Management Science and Analytics!! Let’s take a quick look at these:

Every organization has three major functions: Marketing, Operations, and Finance/Accounting. Other functions such as Management and Information Systems address integrative aspects that span the organization. The function of Operations is to produce the products and services (e.g., automobiles, software, medical procedures, transportation) that are the organization’s reason for existence. The focus of Operations Management then is how best to perform and manage all the interconnected operations required to produce the organization’s goods or services.

A number of years ago we brought Logistics into our title to emphasize that the department goes beyond just “Operations”. Fundamentally, logistics involves the efficient and effective flow of goods, both towards and away from the customer (as in product recalls or recycling), as well as the storage of goods. Logistics also encompasses managing the associated information and financial resources of the organization — and is crucial for service organizations as well, such as healthcare.

With increased globalization and better information and communication technologies, our field has expanded to incorporate Supply Chain Management.  According to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), “supply chain management encompasses the planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and all logistics management activities…also includes coordination and collaboration with…suppliers, intermediaries, third party service providers, and customers.” ( Excellence in supply chain management (along with a very efficient global transport system) is why you can buy clothing produced around the world at unbelievably low prices, why your local grocery store has summer fruits in the middle of winter and beer from six continents, and why Amazon, Google and Alibaba are all experimenting with drones for delivery.

So, what is Analytics?…This is getting long, so we’ll leave that for another blog…and end with just one more reason to major in LOM: the Most Recommended Major according to is…Supply Chain Management! Check out the link or the visualization here.



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Speed Networking Blitz’s through UMSL

The UMSL Marketing Club recently hosted their fall ‘Speed Networking’ event, at the JC Penney Center last Thursday, December 4th. Similar to speed dating, students rotate down isles of tables every three minutes only talking to recruiters from top local companies versus potential mates. The opportunity gives any student a chance to practice their ‘elevator talk’ during a time where virtual disruption minimizes face-to-face interaction while networking. Representatives from fourteen different organizations, ranging from newer startups like LockerDome to national brands such as Red Bull met with students while along the way gaining insights and forging new professional relationships.

UMSL speed networking

Pier Alsup of Anheuser-Busch Credit Union noted events like these “Allow recruiters to know how students think, while helping students with their communication skills. The more you talk, the more you will enhance”. Glowing with excitement and passion, Angela LaRocca of Unidev stated that ‘Speed Networking’ was “Adventitious to strengthen the relationship we have with UMSL and tell students what I wished someone told me. I like to be a people connector and help students anyway I can. Events like these (Thankfully) force everyone out of their comfort zone”.  While students got a prep talk from the UMSL Career Services office beforehand, the general consensus before walking down the hall was nervousness mixed with an intention to “Gain connections” and “Reduce the talking stress”. UMSL senior Greg Smith felt that completing the table rotation allowed him a hands-on, first time approach with communicating while making industry-wide connections. As for the best advice shared by all attending recruiters? Have a plan, and follow your passion! Calleb Geuns of Red Bull dared everyone to “Dream big, and create a goal that will take you there”; while Chris Osbourne added that it was crucial to use your career as an opportunity to “Feed your passions”.

A special thanks to all recruiters and everyone at UMSL who made the event a success. Students can look forward to a spring edition of ‘Speed Networking’ in 2015.

Thank You to All the Companies and Individuals that Participated in the Event

  • Wes Morgan Morgan Studio/East
  • Mark LaRocca Casino Queen
  • Pier Alsup Anheuser-Busch Credit Union
  • Caroline Sullivan Chubb
  • Nick Bouras LinkedIn University
  • Angela LaRocca Unidev 
  • Pamela Franklin Creatives On Call 
  • Mark Sanders LockerDome 
  • Caleb Geuns RedBull 
  • Ryan Davis Scottrade 
  • Bob Mathis Digital Intersection 
  • Matt Kamp Influence & Co. 
  • Chris Osborne BizLibrary 
  • Pat Hawn MarketVolt


This article was written by Chase Kohler, a University of Missouri – St. Louis Social Media Marketing and Communications Undergraduate student and UMSL Marketing Club Member, a Collegiate Chapter of the AMA.

From: UMSL Digital Mindshare

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Why Are There Fewer Publicly-traded Companies Today?

Dean Charles Hoffman


Charles E. Hoffman
Dean, UMSL Business


With a small increase this year, the number of companies publicly traded on U.S. stock exchanges increased to over 5,000.  But this total is down from over 8,000 before the dot-com bubble burst,  the dramatic rise in private equity firms, and the overreaction from Congress and federal regulators that led to new rules such as Sarbanes Oxley.

Publicly traded companies are under intense pressure to produce quarterly increases in sales and profits, sometimes to the long term detriment of the enterprise.  The public company CEO has to balance long term shareholder value generation with the demands of the competitive market, employee interests, customer demand, and his or her board of directors, in addition to pleasing analysts and institutional shareholders with steady, impressive growth.  It’s no wonder that many companies are choosing to remain privately held.  The long term needs of the business can be addressed without stock market confusion and misunderstanding.

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Conquering Fear of Failure: How I Arrived in Marketing

transform-fear-into-actionEveryone makes mistakes.  Small mistakes— forgetting the grocery list; expensive mistakes— getting a speeding ticket; embarrassing mistakes— sending a text meant for a significant other to your mom.  And sometimes we make mistakes of epic proportions— life-altering decisions or choices that just didn’t have the results we thought they would.

The funny thing about mistakes and failure in general, is that they also represent learning opportunities or opportunities to change for the better. Even those of epic proportions. Especially those of epic proportions. The bigger the mess-up, the more you can learn from it.

I made one of those mistakes of epic proportions.  Some people might not consider it a mistake, but I do, and you’ll find out why in a minute.

I went to art school.

Now, you’re probably thinking, “Okay, what’s so bad about that?  Art is great!”  And you’d be right— art is great and I love it.  The trouble is, I only went to art school when I should have taken the time to pursue a second major in addition to art.  I should have done a second major because I desperately wanted to, but I was afraid of failing, afraid that I would have to do math when I was utterly convinced that I had little mathematical or otherwise analytical ability.  This, in the face of a 5 (the highest possible score) on the AP Biology exam, a 740 (out of 800) in my SAT II, and an overall high school GPA of 3.9.  I know.  Don’t ask me why I thought that way, because I still haven’t entirely worked it out myself.

So I went off to college, to art school, because it was the only thing I wasn’t afraid of.

Lesson 1: Never avoid something you want to do just because you are afraid of failing.

I’ve been drawing constantly since I was a child— in my free time, during class (my teachers just loved that, as you might imagine), on road trips, while I thought about how to tackle a school project, and eventually even as part of my study regimen to help with memorization.  I took all kinds of art classes in a variety of media— painting, ceramics, glass.  So it was only logical that I would go to art school and continue my education in that area.

I enjoyed a lot about my experience at Washington University in St. Louis’ Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts. And I vastly improved my drawing and art while I was there.

But it felt incomplete.

I consistently thought about adding a second major, considering an array of different options that struck my wildly varied interests— biology, English, meteorology, business.  Suddenly I was two years into college, facing a decision about what my major in art would be and realizing that it was too late to add a second major if I was going to finish in the four years covered by the faculty tuition benefit program.

Lesson 2: Don’t wait too long to make decisions, or the window in which to make them might close.

When graduation rolled around, all too quickly for my liking, I found myself staring into an opaque future.  Of course, the future is unknowable, but that part of all of us that forms our vision of ourselves, our dreams for what we hope to become— that kept coming up blank.

But I had my BFA in Communication Design in hand.  I had to do something with it.  I had to do something or I’d be a failure, that thing I feared most.

I started working graphic design internships— even two at the same time, one five days a week from nine a.m. to five p.m. and the other three days a week from six p.m. to ten p.m..  I threw myself into the work, hoping that I could convince myself that design was really what I wanted to do with myself, when in reality, I was completely at a loss.

I did a brief stint in Atlanta, but quickly came back to St. Louis after a few months of being unable to find a job in design and being separated from any kind of friend or social network.  Again, I returned to working internships, still unsure of where I wanted to be or what I wanted to do.

Eventually, I got a design internship at the St. Louis Federal Reserve.  I was happy to have the job— it paid pretty well, and it was in the Public Affairs department, where I’d be able to gain more exposure to areas other than design.

Lesson 3: Always take advantage of the opportunities that will help you learn something new.

My job at the Fed was a turning point.  I was allowed to sit in on meetings, even taking an active role and sharing my ideas.  I got a taste of what it was like to talk about marketing strategy, event promotions and merchandise, campaign tactics.  It was the first time I was really able to see and discuss how my designs would function in a formal marketing environment.  I realized that I enjoyed those strategy meetings much more than sitting at my desk tweaking the kerning on a headline for the millionth time.

take advantage of opportuntiesI started to toy with the idea of going back to school for marketing.  As my internship with the Fed came to a close, as all internships do, I came to my final decision: I would return to school for a bachelor’s degree in business with a major in marketing at the University of Missouri St. Louis.  In my estimation, it would be a solid education for a price I could afford without going into debt.

I knew that to do that, I’d have to face my fear of math, my fear of failure.  I hadn’t taken a math class in five years.

Upon my acceptance to UMSL, I began by taking a fast-paced summer course designed to prepare me for the math placement exam, required for determining which math course was an appropriate starting point for each student.

Despite my nerves and a wasp that flew into the side of my head just before the exam started (it didn’t sting me, and I managed to kill it quickly), I did well and placed into the College Algebra class for the fall semester.

The rest of my schooling progressed smoothly enough from an academic perspective.  Even through personal struggles of various sorts, including my own health condition I’d been dealing with since 2009 and remediating surgery in my last semester, I graduated on May 18, 2014 with a BSBA in Marketing, Magna Cum Laude, Tau Sigma National Honor Society, and Alpha Mu Alpha National Marketing Honorary recognition.

Lesson 4: Success is a combination of effort, luck, and facing your fears.

As I look back over my education and my career path so far, I realize that the mistake I made was letting fear guide my decisions.  Since facing my fears, I’ve learned a few things about myself:

  • I’m pretty good at math
  • Statistics are actually okay
  • I write well
  • I actually like public speaking
  • Art is fun, but I need to feed my analytical side too
  • I can meet and beat a challenge

The more I think about it, the less my early decision to go to art school feels like a mistake.  Instead, my BFA helped lay the groundwork for dual degrees that put me at an advantage in my chosen field.  Marketing is a wonderful combination of creativity and analytics, and I’m so excited to have finally started.

About the Author

Erin BlumerI am a digital marketing professional at a small, SEO-driven firm. My daily activities include writing marketing copy with an eye toward SEO, analyzing data using Google Analytics or other programs, making the most of my Google AdWords certification, and consulting with companies to help their businesses grow and thrive.

My hobbies are diverse, and include illustration, design, photography, creative writing, camping and hiking, playing classical piano, and shooting competitive archery.

From: UMSL Digital Mindshare

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