Alumni News

Graduates of the Lindner College of Business provide job updates, share how the College has impacted them and offer wisdom from their professional careers.

Nick Furtwengler, Bus ’08

Occupation: Tax Senior Manager at Miller, Cooper & Co.


Why do you love doing what you do?   

My work is to problem solve for my clients and understand the complexities of each state and local tax jurisdiction. It is like a puzzle that is constantly changing. When I provide clear and concise answers for my clients regarding topics that are extremely complex, it feels good to know I helped them and brought clarity to a difficult matter.

Why are you involved with UC/Lindner and what do you get out of your involvement?   

I was fortunate to receive a Lindner Honors-PLUS scholarship, which introduced me to many people who I still value as close friends and exceptional professionals. There was a community of people that I went through UC with who challenged me and with whom I grew close. I hope my involvement can give that experience to someone else, especially in the LGBTQIA community. The friends and colleagues you meet through Lindner will continue to be your best friends and best advisors in your professional life!

What advice would you give to other LGBTQIA business professionals?

Be open and genuine in all of your interactions. It took me a while to realize that, as an LGBTQIA person, my perspective is not only different, but a needed viewpoint to solve problems for my clients. That’s why diversity matters. Everyone is looking for that friend, colleague or boss who might have a different perspective — so don’t feel like you need to be quiet.

Latosha Ellis, Bus '01

Occupation: Counselor, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

Hlack woman with black curly hair smiles for headshot wearing black sleeveless blouse and gold necklace

Latosha M. Ellis, was one of ten lawyers promoted to counsel at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP in July 2022. Ellis regularly advises and represents clients on major forms of insurance coverage, with a focus on cyber, employment practices liability and professional liability. From advising clients at policy renewal and through the claims process to representing clients in litigation or alternative dispute resolution of coverage disputes, she delivers comprehensive end-to-end counsel. Ellis received her undergraduate degree from University of Cincinnati, her masters from Xavier University and her law degree from University of Richmond School of Law.


Charles Rinehart, Bus '10

Occupation: Chief Investment Officer, Principal, Johnson Investment Counsel.

Man with dark short hair and a beard smiles for a headshot wearing a white shirt, purple tie and navy blue suit jacket

Charles Rinehart, CFA, CAIA, was promoted to Chief Investment Officer for Johnson Investment Counsel on May 31, 2022. In this role, Rinehart will manage the firm’s overall investment policy on behalf of its clients. 

“Charles is a true talent. He will continue to build on the success we’ve had in making prudent investment decisions that build wealth for our clients," said President Jason Jackman, CFA, who previously held the role. "He is also a great example of how we cultivate a culture of growth for our employees — he started here as a student co-op from the University of Cincinnati in 2007 and now is one of the firm’s owners. He’s been a key part of our investment team the entire time he’s been here, and it was so natural. It became very apparent it was time to turn the reins over and he’s ready to take the firm’s investment prowess to the next level.”

Kevin Gade, Bus '14

Occupation: Chief Operating Officer, Bahl & Gaynor

A man with short dark blonde hair smiles for a headshot wearing a white collared shirt, striped tie and navy blue suit jacket

Cincinnati investment advisory firm Bahl & Gaynor Investment Counsel promoted two people in July 2022 to take over management from the two co-founders who ran it for the firm's 32-years existence: Bob Groenke and Kevin Gade.

Groenke and Gade will take over as the next generation of the company’s leadership. Groenke is president and CEO, while Gade is chief operating officer.

At UC, Gade was in Lindner Business Honors (Lindner Honors-PLUS) and started with Bahl & Gaynor as an intern in 2011. After he graduated, he worked in New York as an analyst in Citibank’s markets and securities services group. He returned to Cincinnati to rejoin Bahl & Gaynor in 2016 as a portfolio analyst.

Shashank Saxena, Bus ’08 (MBA)

Occupation: General Manager, VNDLY, a Workday company


Saxena is a member of Lindner’s Executive Cabinet, and was previously the co-founder and CEO of VNDLY, which helps companies manage external workforce personnel. VNDLY was bought by Workday for $510 million in late 2021. Prior to founding VNDLY in 2017, Saxena held multiple executive positions at Kroger and Citibank.

Etosha Thurman, Bus ’01 (MBA)

Occupation: Chief Marketing and Solutions Officer for Intelligent Spend and Business Network at SAP


If you could meet any influential woman, past or present, whom would you choose? What questions would you ask her? 

“One that influenced me personally is Sadie Tanner Mossell. In 1921, she became the first Black woman to get a PhD. I read about her when I was in college and couldn’t imagine the courage she had as not only a woman, but as a Black woman at that time. I would love to ask her how she found that courage, and if she ever considered the legacy she wanted to leave. Her achievements inspired me to also not let fear, difficulties and the doubts of others stop me from the pursuit of my dreams.”

What advice would you give to other female business professionals?

“Do not be afraid of your differences and resist the temptation to conform. There is value in having a different background, different perspective and different needs. It is important to lean into that and bring that to bear in your interactions.”

What does Women's History Month mean to you?

“It means that I am not the first and I will not be the last. Women have been and continue to be history-makers. And there are trails that still need to be blazed.”

Myron L. Hughes, Bus ’86

Occupation: Chair of the Hoxworth Blood Center’s Board of Advisors, Managing Director of Blue Rose Supply


Myron L. Hughes played four basketball seasons at UC from 1981-86.

Why do you love doing what you do?

“I love doing what I'm currently doing because it gives me the opportunity and flexibility to spend more time with my wife and family and get more involved with the community — locally and nationally — as well as to give back as much as possible. I don’t have much to give, but the little that I can, I hope it can enrich someone else in a tremendous manner for them and their family.”

How do you celebrate Black History Month?

“I don't necessarily celebrate the month because I celebrate Black history 365 days a year. Growing up in rural Alabama, I've seen and witnessed a lot, so I try to enjoy life and the various people I encounter. I have a painting in my house that's entitled 'From Whence I Came,' which basically means understanding the struggles and adversities one might have gone through to get where they are today. So, be humble and know where you started and don't let anyone steal your joy!”

Your favorite quote for Black History Month?

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress” — Frederick Douglas.

Diane Weidner, Bus ’90

Occupation: Vice President, Investor & Media Relations for American Financial Group (AFG)


Weidner is celebrating her 35th anniversary with AFG after working for the company as a co-op student at Lindner. She is a member of Lindner’s Business Advisory Council and is passionate about giving back to UC and the Greater Cincinnati community. Weidner is also the president of the Southern and Central Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and a proud parent of three children — a pair of Lindner graduates and another who will start at UC in fall 2022.

Carrie Conrad, Bus ’16

Occupation: Senior Manager, Toyota North America


Why are you involved with UC/Lindner and what do you get out of your involvement?

I believe UC and Lindner gave me the opportunity and network to get my dream job, and I hope that all students get the same experience I received. My position is traditionally one that is filled with an engineering background. What I brought to the table is a different perspective and skill set that have benefited my career and my working relationships. Never be discouraged to go after something, even if you don't check “all the boxes” under the qualification section. 

What advice would you give to other AAPI business professionals?

Leverage your heritage, nationality and ethnicity! Being half-Japanese, this has really helped working at a Japanese company. Not so much from a day-to-day aspect, but when I go to different suppliers and I work with the other engineers from Japan, there is a clear language barrier. Although my Japanese is not the best, it really helps with the working relationship for them to see I am making an effort. Even if you don't speak the language, there is power in understanding different cultures and incorporating it into the workplace! I used to be embarrassed when speaking another language in the U.S., but now I take pride in it.

What does AAPI Heritage Month mean to you?

It is not just a month for me, it is my life. This is applicable for all Heritage months, but we need to embrace, learn and understand other people's lived experiences, and from that create a more inclusive society. There is power in diversity and if the first step is to understand other people's experiences, I think that is a step in the right direction.

Brian Bartolovich, Bus ’22

Occupation: Allocation analyst, TJX Companies


Why were you involved with UC/Lindner and what did you get out of your involvement?

I got so involved because I love UC! I wanted to make the most of my experience and knew that getting involved and making an impact was the best way to do it. I got so much out of involvement like learning different skills or gratification from seeing what I could accomplish, but by far the biggest thing was mentorship. I learned so much from my mentors, from career advice to personal growth and I'm so thankful for it. I'm where I am because of my mentors, and what they did for me pushed me to do the same for those around me.

What advice would you give to other LGBTQIA+ business professionals?

Find your support system within the professional world and always be yourself! It can be incredibly difficult to navigate the professional world when no one looks like you, understands your identities or shares your experiences. It's not easy being LGBTQ+ in the workforce. I worried that I would need to tone down who I was to fit in with my company, but that should never be the case — and thankfully wasn't. Finding the right mentors and community can help you discover your potential and set yourself up for success. You are valued and deserve a company that will make you feel as such. You will find a career where you can live unapologetically!

Richard Robles, Bus ’08 (MBA)

Occupation: Regional Vice President and Vice President for Marketing & Communications, Cooperative Education and Internship Association


Why are you involved with UC/Lindner and what do you get out of your involvement?

The university has given so much to me in helping me find purpose, passion and vocation. Giving my time and talent to the student organizations I advise is another opportunity to teach, learn and grow with the students. More than anything, I strive to help my students find their passion and interests.

What advice would you give to other AAPI business professionals?

We are qualified to sit at the table of leadership. While finding a mentor is helpful, find someone who can also become your advocate to help you reach your goals. That person should not only invest in your professional growth, but must be willing to support you, role model the path to success and empower you to find your voice.

If you could give advice that your future self could hear later, what would you say to encourage yourself?

Continue to be humble and praise the successes of your collaborators. Recognize your contemporaries before yourself.

What does AAPI Heritage Month mean to you?

Recent events have shown me that I am always celebrating, commemorating and remembering what it means to be of Asian-American Pacific-Islander heritage. During this month, it’s become important for me to share my narrative with my children, including my lessons learned have influenced my identify as a Filipino-American.

Adrienne Taylor, Bus ’13 (MBA)

Occupation: President-Elect, Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Cincinnati Chapter


Why do you love doing what you do?

“I love being a fundraiser because it truly is a ‘feel-good’ occupation. I get to wake up every day passionate about gender equity, and I am empowered to invite others to join the movement through giving — the same way I was passionate about inviting our alumni to support our Bearcats through giving during my tenure at the UC Foundation.”

Favorite quote or words of inspiration to share?

“...People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou

Brandon Reynolds, Bus ’15

Occupation: CEO & Founder, B the Keeper


Why do you love doing what you do?

“At B the Keeper, we work with businesses and landowners to install pollinator habitats across the city. It's the perfect blend of connecting with people while getting your hands dirty putting plants in the ground. My favorite part is putting my sales background to work by helping others build more mindful connections with the environment, one step at a time.”

Why are you involved with UC/Lindner?

“Staying involved with UC's student body keeps my teeth sharp, as I'm constantly interacting with the next generation of big thinkers who challenge the status quo. Believe me: it's a heck of a lot easier to ‘walk in your purpose’ when you are surrounded by others doing the same. Being a Bearcat has its perks!”

Pam Beigh, Bus ’82

Occupation: President/founder, SalesCORE, member of Lindner's Business Advisory Council


Why do you love doing what you do? 

“I love doing what I do today because I am serving people to fulfill their highest and best use in their lives and careers. I also help companies win when they have the right people in the right seats and give them the tools to do their job. I call it the three-legged stool. Companies win, employees win, customers win.”

Why are you involved with UC/Lindner and what do you get out of your involvement? 

“UC has a premier co-op program, which I took advantage of and see others doing the same. This gives graduates a leg up not only in the marketplace, but in their decisions on what they want to do. Being involved at the level where I can give input on what the marketplace is requiring gives me great satisfaction in helping Lindner continue to lead the way.”

What does Women's History Month mean to you? 

Women’s History Month means celebrating those that have paved the way before us by their courage and persistence — then providing vision for those women who come behind us.”

Brian Hill, Bus ’07

Occupation: Strategy and Operations Lead, YouTube Operations


Why do you love doing what you do?

“I get to take complicated operational and financial problems and propose innovative solutions. Furthermore, the technology world is always growing and evolving, so there is a lot of white space to create and make your mark. When I go to work, I have a lot of autonomy, too, which is liberating.”

Molly North, Bus ’97

Occupation: CEO, Al. Neyer


North started with Al. Neyer in 2007 as a real estate development manager and has also served as CFO. She provides leadership to several local boards, including ArtWorks, Cincinnati Park Board and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.

Damien Lass, Bus ’01

Occupation: Managing Director in Accenture’s Consumer Goods and Retail practice


Lass works closely with Fortune 500 companies and is responsible for leading large-scale transformation programs leveraging digital technologies in the cloud and powering organizations with data and analytics. Lass also actively leads recruiting efforts on behalf of Accenture at UC, reflecting his commitment connect high-performing Lindner students with opportunities post-graduation.

Sean Lee, Bus ’09

Occupation: Co-founder, Cincy Brands


Cincy Brands is a consumer products company of better-for-you brands that raised capital from San Francisco-based start-up studio Wilbur Labs. Lee, who was previously employed at Amify and Procter & Gamble, said some of his closest friends are fellow Lindner graduates. “A large group of us went to the Cotton Bowl to cheer on the Bearcats!”

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