Most Inspiring Executives of P&Q’s Best & Brightest B-School Grads

Lilly Gullickson: ‘Rodney Lynk Jr., CEO of Milwaukee Excellence Charter Schools, is the type of leader I strive to be. He leads by example and is deeply committed to the meaningful work of supporting students in Milwaukee.’

LOCAL LEADERS & MENTORS

“I deeply respect Rodney Lynk Jr. He is the CEO of Milwaukee Excellence Charter Schools and a Wisconsin School of Business alum. I met with Rodney for an informational interview last semester. Rodney is the type of leader I strive to be. He leads by example and is deeply committed to the meaningful work of supporting students in Milwaukee. As a leader he values honesty, integrity, community trust, and continuously learning.” — Lilly Gullickson, University of Wisconsin

“The business executive that I admire the most is Flip Flippen, founder and chairman of the Flippen Group; an educator training, corporate talent, and team development company. Flip has been a wonderful mentor of mine this past year and is one of the most selfless people I have ever met. He has founded several philanthropic organizations in the Bryan/College Station area, including the Still Creek Ranch home for at-risk children. Flip and his wife Susan live by their personal values in everything they do. Every action and conversation they partake in is intentional, and their work is founded upon their drive to make positive change. The Flippen Group also has one of the best organizational cultures found in the state of Texas. I strive to be the kind of leader that so generously pours into their community, just like Flip.” — Sarah Sriram, Texas A&M University (Mays)

INNOVATORS & TRAILBLAZERS

“Innovation is something that is in my DNA, as well as at the core of Chime’s success. Therefore, Chris Britt, the CEO of Chime, is the business executive whom I most admire. Mr. Britt’s customer-obsessed approach and belief that users should have access to their finances via their fingertips on a platform that does not charge overdraft fees is something that excites me. His tech-driven company focused on simplifying convoluted processes to serve vulnerable members of our community parallels the work that I have done to operationally support the Giving Tree Global Bread of Life Food Pantry. Mr. Britt’s success through Chime has encouraged me to continue questioning processes and leveraging technology to integrate more efficient practices into my work. As I enter my consulting career, I will continue to adopt this framework of being a disruptor in the industry to serve those in our community.” — Colin Wexler, Fordham University (Gabelli) 

João Pires Coelho: ‘For me, Elon Musk is the best out of all of them due to his ability to be “in the future.”’

“A business executive duo that I admire are the Pham sisters, Vanessa and Kim. As the founders of Omsom, they’ve trailblazed a new way to deliver authentic Asian flavors within the cooking space. Being an Asian American woman as well as an older sister myself, it’s inspiring to see the duo paving the way for more widespread representation together as a family as well as uplifting people in our communities through chef collaborations and working with non-profit organizations to support the people who gave us the opportunity to thrive.” — Kirsten Lam, University of Michigan (Ross)

“The executive that I admire the most has got to be Elon Musk. There are many business executives in the world who are better managers or are more efficient. For me, Elon Musk is the best out of all of them due to his ability to be “in the future.” I once heard a podcast about what makes a great CEO and one of the characteristics that stood out to me was the ability of a CEO to be 5 years in the future. A good CEO must always be 5 years ahead, observing and analyzing future trends, predicting the next move for the company, setting a real strategic path for the company. I would say that Elon Musk is 20 years in the future. He is so ahead in so many things and just sees so many future business opportunities that those thoughts don’t even cross our minds. Back in the early 2000s, when he said that he was going to “privatize” the space race, we all thought of him as a madman but now we cannot imagine the world without SpaceX. I absolutely love strategy and I aspire deeply to one day, have the ability to think so far into the future that I’ll be able to see some things that no one else can see.” — João Pires Coelho, University of San Diego (Knauss)

FORCES OF GOOD

“Jim Sinegal is the co-founder and former CEO of Costco is a business executive that I admire. I’ve found the manner in which he balanced customer satisfaction with employee satisfaction admirable. He was able to keep prices low for customers while utilizing those savings to maintain a high minimum wage for employees. This balance aligns well with my understanding of business being a force for good in transforming the world for the better.” —  Allan Njomo, University of Notre Dame (Mendoza)

“While there are many business executives who have demonstrated visionary leadership, the executive I most admire is Anjali Sud. Although a Wharton alumna and CEO of a prominent company, it was not until a classmate suggested she speak on a panel about ethical leadership that I first learned of her. Since then, I have watched each of her interviews, read all her posts, and followed Vimeo’s evolving strategy. While her leadership has transformed Vimeo into a billion-dollar blockbuster business, I most admire Sud for her love of learning. Every career jump was made not because of a title but because of a genuine desire to learn something new and surround herself with the smartest people she could find – it was this mentality that led her to become a CEO at 33 years old.” —  Carisa M. Shah, Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania)

Emily Eason Kruse: ‘Luiza Trajano, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Magazine Luiza and one of Time’s 100 most influential people, is a champion of women and diversity. I admire how she embodies the phrase: “Actions speak louder than words” in her relentless devotion to making a change in Brazil through her business.’

“Commissioner Adam Silver is a business executive that stands out for his progressive approach to the National Basketball Association. Commissioner Silver defined player empowerment through three key collective bargaining agreements that gave players more benefits and freedom. He also extended his support for players’ desire for social reform during the Black Lives Matter movement and renovated league format changes to create newfound interest in once stagnant events such as the All-Star game. Through his actions in his short but already immensely productive time as commissioner, Silver shows a strong understanding of the business of the NBA by building a robust partnership with the players. While the product on the basketball court is essential, Commissioner Silver has done an excellent job with business off the court and ensuring the league for long-term success.” — Dustin Han, Rutgers Business School (New Brunswick)

“I admire Luiza Trajano for her action-oriented mindset and devotion to humility. Luiza Trajano, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Magazine Luiza and one of Time’s 100 most influential people, is a champion of women and diversity. I admire how she embodies the phrase: “Actions speak louder than words” in her relentless devotion to making a change in Brazil through her business. Beyond her fiscal and social accomplishments, I admire Trajano’s humility as one of about 10% of billionaires who is female, yet she rejects the label. I hope to embody the strength and confidence that Trajano demonstrates every day.” Emily Eason Kruse, University of Virginia (McIntire)

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