2021 Best & Brightest Business Majors: Brennen Feder, University of Arizona (Eller)

Brennen Feder

University of Arizona, Eller College of Management

“An energetic and driven leader who empowers others to reach their potential.”

Fun fact about yourself: I started a small business called Tucson Tortoises and raised over 1,000 Sulcata Tortoises.

Hometown: Tucson, Arizona

High School: Catalina Foothills High School

Major: Business Management; Entrepreneurship; Education Leadership, Literacy, Learning

Minor: Business Administration; Adolescents, Community, & Education

Favorite Business Course: Management and Organizational Behavior

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Leadership Roles and Extracurricular Activities:

Delta Sigma Pi Professional Business Fraternity (Gamma Psi): President; Senior Vice President; COVID-19 Regional Task Force Chair; National COVID Task Force Member; Fundraising Chair

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona (Student Government): Presidential Chief of Staff; Senator-College of Education; Freshman Class Council Fundraising Chair

Eller LGBTQ+ Advisory Board: Founder and Chair

Eller Make A Difference Day: Recruitment Co-Leader

Arizona Bobcats Senior Honorary: All Honorary Council Co-Chair; Club Olympics Co-Chair

Arizona Ambassadors: Campus Tour Guide

Cognition and Memory Educational Learning Lab: Principal Researcher

SOPHOS Sophomore Honorary: President

Residence Hall Association: Hall Council President

Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation Alumni Advisory Board: Board Member

Eller Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee: Committee Member

College of Education Dean’s Undergraduate Advisory Board: Founder and Board Member

University-Wide General Education Committee: Committee Member

College of Education Recruitment Strategy Committee: Committee Member

Student Service Fee Advisory Board: Board Member

Undergraduate Governing Council: Council Member

College of Education Strategic Planning Committee: Committee Member

Student Affairs and Policy Committee: Committee Member

University of Arizona Strategic Planning Committee: Committee Member

Awards and Honors:

Eller Outstanding Scholar of the Year

Federation of Eller Student Organizations Top President Award

Eller Nebula Leadership Award

Eller Make A Difference Day Leadership Award

Delta Sigma Pi Gamma Psi Collegian of the Year

Associated Students of the University of Arizona Senator of the Year

University of Arizona Endorsed Leader

Dean’s List with Distinction

Academic Year Highest Distinction

McCord Scholar

Dean’s Scholar

Coca-Cola Scholar

Where have you interned during your college career?

The Coca-Cola Company: Marketing Assets and Activation Intern (Atlanta, GA)

The Coca-Cola Company:  National Sales Intern (Remote)

The Coca-Cola Company:  Campus Ambassador (Tucson, AZ)

The Coca-Cola Company:  Honest Tea Field Marketing Intern (Denver, CO)

Swire Coca-Cola: Campus Strategist (Tucson, AZ)

Procter & Gamble:  Kroger Grooming Sales Intern (Remote)

Learfield IMG College: Property Assistant (Tucson, AZ)

United Cerebral Palsy of Southern Arizona- Workability: Employment Specialist (Tucson, AZ)

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be working as an Account Executive for Procter & Gamble.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Take the time to explore your passions through internships and get involved in student activities! Using the lessons from business classes to lead teams, resolve conflict, and inspire a shared vision in clubs and organizations that make you a better person is fulfilling. Never underestimate the applicability of your involvements within the business school to the professional working world.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I have been most surprised by the many psychological factors that play into decision-making in business. This has always shocked me because many people believe business to be transactional in nature. The best business is strategic and mutually beneficial. Understanding how people think and form conclusions helps contribute to sound reasoning. After learning more about many subconscious biases, I have been able to become a more self-aware leader and decision maker.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of Delta Sigma Pi Professional Business Fraternity winning the Most Outstanding Large Organization in the Eller College of Management under my presidency. In a COVID-world, finding ways to provide value to members remotely was challenging. Motivation was low and stress was high. My incredible team of 30+ leaders in the organization all contributed to being the source of stability in the lives of our 110+ members in a time of uncertainty. Winning this prestigious award as a team is an achievement that I will carry with me forever.

Which classmate do you most admire? The classmate who I admire most is Kelly Hart. Kelly is an exemplary leader who has dedicated herself to best serving others. She holds many leadership roles in influential organizations like the Eller College Dean’s Council, Delta Sigma Pi, and A Moment of Magic. She has also started her own mentorship program that advances opportunities for high school students in her home country of South Africa. On top of her commitments, she still finds time to collect toys for underserved families every year and volunteer regularly in the community. What stands out to me most about Kelly is her contagious kindness and positivity that inspires those around her to be better.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my boss at Swire Coca-Cola, Anita Petersen, for my success. She has set an example for me about how to listen to hear instead of listening to respond. Her never-ending kindness and dedication to best serving her customers is inspiring. She has believed in me since my first day working for her four years ago, and she continues to find new ways to develop me as a business leader without ever expecting anything in return. She has a heart of gold, and she has shaped a lot of who I am today. I am grateful for her leadership, and I am excited to be in positions in which I can pay it forward.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? The top item on my professional bucket list is to become the president of a higher education institution. I truly believe in the value of our education system, and I want to help contribute to making it more agile and responsive to the changes in the world. While transitioning from a business background to academic administration is a path less taken, I am a firm believer that using an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving in education will lead to the best outcomes.

Another item that tops the list, is leading a large organization within the CPG industry. I believe my strengths and passions center around inspiring a system, and I love helping to drive strong results through empowering others. Many mentors have selflessly contributed to my development, and I hope to be in a position that allows me to develop others.

What are your hobbies? My hobbies include motivational speaking, raising animals, growing succulents, and playing intramural sports.

What made Brennen such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“I met Brennen in my tenure as the DSP Advisor. I, regrettably, did not have him as a student. Brennen is smart, not only academically but emotionally, caring, hard-working, mature, and incredibly driven. I have come to see him as a friend, and even, despite our age and experience differences, a mentor of sorts. I respect him, trust him, and see him as someone who will change the world. He sees the big picture, is wonderful at problem solving, and knows how to bring out the best in people. He is an incredible leader, as I’ve seen during his position as DSP President. The Brothers respect and trust him, and he wasn’t afraid to make difficult decisions for the greater good. His effectiveness was recognized as he was voted FESO’s President of the Year. It is incredible to me how much he has accomplished thus far, and I am absolutely certain he will continue to do great things.”

Aimee McFarland
Lecturer, Business Communication

“Brennen worked for me a preceptor—an undergraduate teaching assistant—in my Organizational Behavior course (440 total students) in Fall, 2020.  He was incredibly responsive, often responding to my emails and texts within minutes of my sending them.  In this class, preceptors are responsible for working directly with 7 or 8 groups of students, advising them on a large-scale, semester-long project.  In working with the students, Brennen showed kindness and patience, and was always developmental and constructive with the feedback he provided to the students.  In short, he is intelligent, ambitious, generous, and a joy to work with.

Jerel E. Slaughter
Eller Professor of Management and Organizations

“While it is typically a student’s high academic performance or involvement in clubs or activities that stand out – and Brennen’s academic record, capabilities, and club involvement are more than evident – what also matters is whether this is the type of person that we want to represent the University of Arizona. This raises questions of character, commitment, tenacity, empathy, and good will toward others. Having gotten to know Brennen over the last couple of years, I can say that he is all these things and more—he is extremely hard-working, reliable, thoughtful, and modest. And this is just the tip of the iceberg…in whatever he does, Brennen demonstrates generosity, integrity, and true character all while balancing very diverse roles on campus (i.e., 2 degrees, 3 majors, 2 minors; preceptoring for my classes; University tour guide; President of the Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity, etc.). Perhaps one of the clearest indicators of a person’s character is how they treat others when no one is watching and how they seek to foster inclusivity in a student body that is blessed with so much diversity. It is clear that he truly cares for his peers at Eller and works to develop and support ALL students. For example, as the Founder and Chair of the Eller LGBTQ Advisory Board, Brennen lobbied and successfully got approval to install the first gender-neutral restroom in Eller. These qualities – his passion for others, desire to improve upon the status quo, and the courage to stand up and do so, is something that cannot be taught and we are truly lucky to have a student like Brennen represent the University of Arizona.”

Sarah P. Doyle 
Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations

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