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.

Shashank Saxena, Bus ’08 (MBA)

Occupation: General Manager, VNDLY, a Workday company

A UC alumnus wears a black jacket and white shirt.

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

A chief marketing officer and Lindner alum wears a white sweater.

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

A UC basketball player in a dark jersey shoots over an opponent.

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)

A vice president of a financial group and a UC alumnus wears a dark jacket.

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.

Damien Lass, Bus ’01

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

A managing director for Accenture and a UC alum wears a dark jacket and blue shirt.

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.

Adrienne Taylor, Bus ’13 (MBA)

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

A UC alum and fundraising professional wears a black and white jacket.

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

A UC alum and sustainable beekeeper wears a maroon shirt.

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

A CEO of a sales company and a UC alum wears a black jacket and a white shirt.

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

A UC alum who works for YouTube wears a red checkered shirt and dark pants.

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

A UC alum and CEO of a real estate company wears a blue jacket with a white shirt.

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.

Sean Lee, Bus ’09

Occupation: Co-founder, Cincy Brands

A UC alum and co-founder of a consumer products company wears a white shirt with a blue jacket.

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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