Alumni Engagement Day 2019 brought alumni and friends back to campus for a full agenda, featuring the annual Financial Services Forum and the Alumni Achievement Awards dinner.
Financial Services Forum
A perennial highlight of Alumni Engagement Day, the 2019 Financial Services Forum at Bryant University brought dozens of alumni in the finance industry back to campus to share their experience and expertise with students. The daylong program was the 14th annual event, and showcased an impressive lineup of panel discussions and conversations about trends and best practices in banking, finance, and financial services.
The morning opened with a Career Pathways panel discussion, moderated by Samantha Merwin ’12, Vice President at BlackRock, and featuring Ashley Hicks ’12, National Bank Examiner and Comptroller of the Currency; Sailaja Shri ’14, Assistant Vice President, Barclay’s Investment Bank; Nicholas Gentile ’13 Structured Credit Analyst, Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors; and Connor Norat ’15, Investment Banking Analyst, Goldman Sachs.
The morning’s second panel, about Market Trends, was moderated by Eileen Hayes ’07, Vice President, Asset Manager Relationship Management at Envestnet, and also included Mark Orsley ’97, Head of Macro Strategy at Prism Financial; Sheila Narayan ’89, Managing Director of Golden Seeds Boston Chapter; and Daniel Kortick, ’97 MBA, Managing Partner at the Wicks Group of Companies.
The morning’s discussions capped off with keynote speaker Debby Keunstner, Chief Investment Officer at Wellesley College, who responded to interview-style questions from Savanah Miles ’19, and later to questions from the audience.
Lunch featured a presentation from the students managing the Archway Investment Fund, who spoke about their investment strategies and the fund’s performance.
Alumni Achievement Awards Celebrate the best of Bryant
Closing out Bryant’s annual Alumni Engagement Day, the Alumni Achievement Awards recognized the active and engaged members of the Bryant community who are not only personally and professionally accomplished, but also exemplify what it means to be ‘inspired to excel.’
This year’s honorees followed their passions and demonstrated character, and they enhance the excellence and the reputation of the University through their engagement, their giving, and their ongoing ambassadorship.
A highlight of this year’s celebratory dinner, Mario Hernández ’97 MBA, who traveled from Costa Rica to receive his award, spoke movingly about the importance of leaving a mark, and of being grateful.
Not only was Hernández grateful for his Bryant education, he said, but when he brought his then-infant son to Boston 17 years ago for emergency heart surgery, people from Bryant were there for him, including Associate Professor of Management James Segovis, Ph.D.
Hernández expressed his heartfelt gratitude not only for Segovis’s kindness in his time of need, but for all the ways the professor helped him get through school, leaving a mark on him forever.
“Thank you, Bryant, for absolutely everything,” Hernández said. “And very specially, thank you Jim. You touched my life and left a very important footprint and I will always be deeply grateful for all that you did for me.”
About the 2019 Alumni Achievement Award Honorees:
Young Alumnus Leadership Award
Charles J. Granatell ’08
Charles “Charlie” Granatell ’08 experienced the best Bryant had to offer, academically and athletically.
He was a member of the first undergraduate class to pursue a sociology major, a course of study he found both challenging and enlightening. As starting quarterback for the Bulldog football team for four years, Granatell led his team to 27 victories and two NCAA playoff appearances, in addition to setting multiple individual performance records. He was inducted into the Bryant Hall of Fame in 2013. Having developed an expansive world view, foundational business skills, and tested leadership experience, Granatell found himself well-prepared to serve today as Head of Global Sales at Grant Industries in Elmwood Park, NJ. One of the most important ways he gives back to Bryant is by demonstrating his unflagging support for the University’s current football team, as well connecting with his former teammates. He also frequently meets with classmates to encourage them to become more deeply engaged with the University through philanthropy and service.
Nelson J. Gulski Service Award
Carole L. LaRochelle ’89
It’s been 30 years since Carole LaRochelle ’89 earned her accounting degree from Bryant – but the bonds she has forged since then often make her feel she has never left. LaRochelle has been an active member and leader of the Connecticut Regional Alumni Network since shortly after graduating. She has never missed a
class reunion; annually attends the Women’s Summit and other signature campus events; and serves as
an enthusiastic member of the Alumni Career Service Network, the Alumni Admission Connection, and her class Steering Committee. LaRochelle actively promotes her passion for Bryant through her social media channels. When she hears from a friend or relative about a student enrolled at or considering Bryant, she immediately offers a connection. LaRochelle is the accountant for multiple businesses operated by Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., a cardiologist specializing in integrative medicine.
Distinguished Faculty Award
Christopher J. Roethlein, Ph.D.
When asked for examples of faculty who’ve positively influenced them, students and alumni alike frequently
cite Professor of Management Christopher J. Roethlein, Ph.D., describing him as someone who truly cares about students and who will extend himself to help them however he can. Roethlein’s curriculum vitae boasts an impressive catalog of credentials, achievements, awards, and publishing credits. Since 2010, the Operations Management and Global Supply Chain Management Professor has worked with more than 300 students on nearly 70 different supply chain consulting practicum projects, working with partner companies on some of their toughest business problems. With remarkable average annual projected savings/earnings of $3.3 million per project, industry partners are predictably thrilled with the results. Beyond the classroom, Roethlein is a tireless supporter of the Bryant community, contributing year after year as a volunteer for countless Bryant events, activities, and committees. He is also an active volunteer and fundraiser for children and families in his local community.
Distinguished Alumna Award, Undergraduate
Beth (LeMay) Costello ’89
Name a leadership role in accounting or finance and Beth (LeMay) Costello ’89 has done it. A certified public accountant, she has been a manager and partner at two of the nation’s premier public accounting firms. Now the executive vice president and chief financial officer of The Hartford, she has served in a wide range of positions there since 2004. In her current role, she is responsible for finance, treasury, capital, accounting and investor relations. She credits her success to her Bryant education and the experiences she has had along the way. The guidance she received from Bryant faculty and other trusted colleagues she worked with in her early career years convinced her of the value of mentoring. Costello serves on several nonprofit boards in Hartford, including The Village for Families and Children and The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, something she sees as an important way to be aware of the needs of the community and contribute to the organizations’ missions.
Distinguished Alumnus Award, Undergraduate
Daniel A. Rioux ’90
Growing up in North Attleboro, MA, Daniel Rioux ’90 never imagined working in the energy industry. But his Bryant education in finance prepared him to adapt and be ready for any business sector. So, when his employer, Liberty Mutual, began a small, entrepreneurial venture into that industry, he was tapped to participate – a move that launched an exceptional career. Rioux is the co-founder and managing partner of Old Ironsides Energy, LLC, a private equity firm in Boston that offers a multi-billion-dollar platform for investing in energy and drilling joint ventures. He serves on the boards of several energy exploration, production, and midstream companies, including Axia Energy, Prize Exploration & Production, Riviera Exploration & Production, Pillar Oil and Gas, and Longhorn Midstream Partners, and has previously
served on the boards of several others. He holds an MBA from the Franklin W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. At Bryant, Rioux was a member of the Men’s Varsity Baseball team and remains committed to athletic disciplines.
Distinguished Alumnus Award, Graduate School
Mario F. Hernández ’97 MBA
Mario Hernández ’97 MBA was interviewing at several graduate programs in Boston when a friend asked if he had considered Bryant. He hadn’t heard of the school but scheduled an appointment – and never
pursued the remaining leads. What Hernández found at Bryant was a welcoming and rigorous program ideally suited to his interests and needs. He enrolled in the Computer Information Systems concentration. In 2014, Hernández drew on the undergraduate degree in systems engineering he earned at ITESM in Mexico, his Bryant education and experience, and subsequent studies at Harvard Business School to found IMPESA, a company that is revolutionizing the electronic payments industry. Its inaugural product, Monibyte, is a cloud-based corporate payments platform that has processed millions of international transactions. Today, with Hernández as CEO and Chairman of the Board, IMPESA works with more than half of the largest banks in Costa Rica, is a principal member issuer and technology partner of Visa and Mastercard, and has the highest global certification of data security in the payments industry (PCI-DSS).