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Alumni in Finance Network Hosts Perspectives on the Economy: A Panel Discussion

Monday, March 28, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: jenny campbell
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From global companies to small businesses, Saint Peter’s College alumni continue to make their mark on the business world.

On March 24, more than 70 alumni, ranging from the class of 1974 to the class of 2010, returned to New York City for the second Alumni in Finance networking event. This time, Saint Peter’s undergraduate and M.B.A. students were also invited to attend by their mentors, who are current alumni in the finance industry. All were treated to a panel discussion by three successful Saint Peter’s graduates.

Founded by Robert A. Cutro ’75, managing director (retired) of Barclays Capital; John J. Licata ’95, chief commodity strategist of Blue Phoenix, Inc.; Justin McKeon, CPA ’97, director, Corporate Audit, of Pfizer, Inc.; and James G. Rizzo ’81, managing director of Dahlman Rose & Co., the Alumni in Finance Network unites Saint Peter’s graduates from all eras who have made this journey – to learn and exchange ideas, to expand and explore new professional relationships, and to connect and engage with the College.

"The Alumni in Finance Network was designed to unite Saint Peter’s College graduates from all areas of business,” said Licata, host committee member and emcee for the evening. "We are looking to establish a community of alumni within the financial world and are hoping to build upon the recent success and enthusiasm for a community within a community at Saint Peter’s College.”

The event took place at New York’s premier social club: the University Club in midtown Manhattan, where guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while mingling with former classmates, future business partners and potential mentors.

Perspectives on the Economy: A Panel Discussion featured Noreen D. Beaman, CPA ’86, chief operating officer at Brinker Capital; Joseph P. Blauvelt ’80, co-founder and CFO of Pierpont Securities; and Michael P. McGrath ’90, global head of alternative investments at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.
"We received such great feedback on our first Alumni in Finance event and I am sure that tonight is going to be just as great,” said Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of Saint Peter’s College, as he welcomed the crowd. "Saint Peter’s College forms men and women of leadership and service and tonight’s panelists are no exception.”

John J. Hampton, Ph.D., professor of business at Saint Peter’s College, moderated the panel as the expert sources discussed a variety of topics including the crises in Libya and Japan and how they are affecting business, managing client expectations, risk management, global labor markets and the importance of communication. Dr. Hampton posed a variety of questions and the audience was encouraged to ask their own questions as well. While each panelist had their own unique specialty, they all offered advice, tips and hope that the markets will turn and a brighter future is before us.
Beaman thought the industry learned a lot from the troubling financial years in 2008 and 2009. "It’s important that we manage risk and we manage expectations,” she said. "Volatility creates opportunity and I’m optimistic that we have good plans in place.”

McGrath encouraged guests to do their due diligence. "Demand it when making investments. If you don’t understand a product, ask about it. You deserve as much transparency as you want,” he advised. He also stressed the importance of focusing on the long term and recommended that "adjustments are made and values are set now for when we move forward.”

"With some fiscal responsibility we should see a good growth story here in the U.S.,” said Blauvelt. "I’m pretty excited about this year’s graduating class for Saint Peter’s College. I think there will be some great opportunities for them out there.”

Following the panel, guests continued to discuss the state of the economy and business strategies over coffee and dessert.

Diane Sydlar, a marketing and economics major from the class of 1985, said it was encouraging to hear how the panelists’ companies had bounced back from the economic downturn and that they each had a positive outlook for the future.

Kamen Stoykov ’08, a business analyst at TwoFour Systems, liked "the interactive style of the event. I really enjoyed the diversity of the panel -- the asset management, the investment and the operational sides were all touched upon. There was something for everyone.” Stoykov attended the first Network event in November 2010 as well and "is happy the Network is expanding. This is a great networking event where people can come to hear about the successes of Saint Peter’s College alumni and meet new people. I encourage everyone to attend.”

It’s safe to say that the second event for the Alumni in Finance Network was a great success. Licata was pleased to see both familiar and new faces in the crowd. "We really look forward to growing the Alumni in Finance group. The best is yet to come!” he promised.

Those interested in contacting fellow alumni in the finance industry can join the Saint Peter’s College Alumni in Finance group on LinkedIn.

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