Table of Contents
- From the Director
- General Information
- Advisory Board Update
- Partners & Scholarships
- Domestic Experience
- International Experience
- Alumni Spotlights
- Student Spotlights
From the Director
Dear Friends of the Carl H. Lindner Honors–PLUS Program,
I am reaching out today to share with you my strategic priorities for the Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS program. As an alumna of the program, I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to serve as your Interim Director. I vividly remember my tenure as a student with great fondness and owe much of my professional and personal development and growth to this program. In a sense, I have come full circle. I intend to use my background to connect with students, alumni, faculty and corporate contacts as I find I have shared experiences with everyone. While the program, the college and even our physical space are all currently in a period of transition, I want to assure you, my commitment to LHP and our students
remains unchanged. I have already had the good fortune to meet several of our students and alumni and, I look forward to meeting many more. My primary focus is to do whatever I can to support
both the students and staff as well as engage with our tremendous alumni. In addition, I am excited to plan an amazing international experience to South America this spring for our third-year students, with the help of an alum and to reengage with the alumni board, adding to the long list of our impressive program accomplishments. I believe our strength lies in the people – our students, our staff, the parents, and our numerous program supporters. This is what will allow us to continue to build on our extraordinary legacy. I value every one of you and I appreciate your support as I do my very best to move this program forward while honoring the program’s important tradition.
Please do not hesitate to reach out should you wish to discuss an idea or matters of concern.
The Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS Program is a unique and challenging honors program within the Carl H. Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati. This 5-year, cohort-based. program incorporates a demanding business honors curriculum, an enhanced, six semester, paid co-operative education program, a week long domestic study program, a four week intensive international study abroad program, widespread business exposure, and deliberate leadership training. These components, along with an active partnership with the Cincinnati business community, provide an unparalleled undergraduate business education, which prepares students for long-term success in their careers and their lives outside of work.
The emphasis of the program is not solely academic but also stresses work ethic, integrity, good citizenship, leadership skills, and communication skills. Although students accepted to the program possess exceptional academic records, their selection is also predicated on demonstrated involvement in extracurricular activities which may include athletics, student government, school publications, volunteer and service activities, and other evidence of leadership and a desire to give back to their institutions and communities.
The program’s goal is development of the PLUS criteria:
- Promise as a business professional.
- Leadership in school and community activities.
- Understanding of the global marketplace and diverse cultures.
- Success through talent, commitment, dedication, and effort.
Thanks to the generous contributions of Carl H. Lindner Jr., The Procter & Gamble Company, EY, and many other corporate and individual donors, all Lindner Honors-PLUS students receive merit scholarships sufficient to cover in-state tuition.
Lindner Honors-PLUS includes honors coursework in written and oral communication skills, interviewing skills, and business etiquette. Honors seminars also cover business ethics, the history of American business, entrepreneurship skills and characterbased leadership. Lindner Honors-PLUS students are active campus and community leaders as well.
Lindner Honors-PLUS graduates are recognized for their academic preparation, their extensive work experience, their work ethic, and the exposure they have had to global business. The well-rounded education they receive has resulted in our graduates being placed in prestigious graduate programs, and finding rewarding careers upon graduation. Their balanced preparation in analytical and soft skills positions them well to pursue many divergent opportunities after their time at UC.
Advisory Board Update
Friends, Alumni & Students of the Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS Program,
Let me begin by saying how much of an honor it is to serve as the Advisory Board President of the Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS Program. If I had to summarize my ten plus years of association and involvement with the program in one word, it would be inspired. As a high school student, I was inspired by the unique set of values and experiences that the program provided. Meeting my incoming classmates the summer before my freshman year, I was inspired by the character and the intellectual excellence that they represented. As an underclassman, I was inspired by the guidance and direction provided by the older students in the program. Over the course of my five years as a student, I was. inspired by the genuine nature and willingness of the alumni of the program to give their time serving as mentors to current students. As an alum, I have been inspired by the maturity, professionalism, energy, and focus of every student that I come into contact with. Finally, I have been distinctly inspired by the. leadership, vision, and caring nature of Donna Fischer, Mary Jo Frost, Ashley McFarland, Dan Gruber, Norm Baker, Raqule Crawley, Judy Magazine, and Jeri Ricketts.
This program is built on an exceptionally thoughtful framework. The PLUS acronym brings a balance and dynamism to produce character-based leaders for our communities. There is a structure that leans on a strategic, purposeful, and nimble curriculum. It strongly emphasizes not only learning how to be a leader, but also practicing it. It places the focus on launching students into promising “careers” instead of “first jobs.” It develops a strong cultural understanding of the global economy and diverse cultures. While these values can be pointed to as the tangible and formative foundations of our program, these principals are not what highlights our most prized and unique asset: our people that inspire.
It is our job as the Advisory Board to provide stability for our program, support our director in her or his initiatives, ensure that we are at the forefront of innovation in higher education while upholding our strong traditions, and engender a sense of pride in our program. I would argue that our greatest and most integral purpose is to engage our stakeholders to continually improve the experience of being associated with the program.
Our Advisory Board will take aim at creating more opportunities for connectivity. We want to help instill a sense that when you get into Lindner Honors-PLUS as a freshman, that it is not a five-year scholarship, but a lifetime scholarship. I am inspired by the dedication and passion of our Advisory Board members and I look forward to everything that we will accomplish together with your help.
This year would have been Carl H. Lindner’s 100th birthday. This provides a great opportunity to reflect on the impact that Mr. Lindner had with his vision and support for this program and the Cincinnati community. It was his inspiration that spawned all of the experiences that we have enjoyed being associated with the program, and it is his legacy that will propel us forward. This year also marks the bicentennial of the University of Cincinnati. That forces me to reflect on all of the strategic decisions like the invention of co-op and the close partnerships with the Cincinnati business community that led to all of the opportunities that we have had being associated with this program and university.
Finally and most importantly, I cannot express how grateful we are for all of your continued involvement and investment in the Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS Program. Without your help, we would not be where we are today and positioned for what we will be in the future.
Brien Dulle, Class of 2013
Partners & Scholarships
- Alpine Investors
- AMEND Consulting
- American Financial Group
- American Money Management
- Bahl & Gaynor Investment Counsel
- Barnes, Dennig & Co
- BDO USA
- Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS Program
- Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center
- Cintas Corporation
- Clark, Schaefer, Hackett & Co.
- Colliers International Property
- Creative Morsels
- Crossroads Community Church
- Delta Airlines
- Duke Energy Corporation
- Empower Media Marketing
- Fifth Third Bank
- FRCH Design Worldwide
- Fund Evaluation Group
- General Electric Company
- Great American Insurance Group
- International Business Machines
- Internal Revenue Service
- Johnson Investment Counsel
- Kao Brands Company
- Lindner College of Business
- National City Bank
- PNC Bank
- Procter & Gamble
- Riverpoint Capital Management
- Siemens PLM Software
- The Kroger Company
- The Christ Hospital Health Network
- The Nielsen Company
- U.S. Bancorp
- Warner Music Group
- Western & Southern Financial Group
- Norman R. Baker Family Scholar
- BASES Scholar
- Robert R. and Susan G. Buck Scholar
- John and Susan Berding Scholar
- Bert Cannon Family Scholar
- James T. Christy Scholar
- The Phil and Lela Collins Family Scholar
- Cintas Corporation Scholar
- LCB Alumni Association Scholar
- Matthew S. Cottle MBA ‘ 84 Scholar
- Eagle-Picher Industries Scholar
- Kate and Ted Emmerich Scholar
- Robert and Rose Fealy Scholar
- Robert A. and Sandra W. Heimann Scholars
- Floyd Klingbiel Memorial Scholarship
- Elmer S. Koehlke Scholar
- Louis and Joan Lauch Scholars
- Lindner Honors-PLUS Class of 2004 Scholar
- John and Rae Ann Mang Scholar
- Mayernik Scholar
- Milacron Inc. Scholar
- Thomas E. & Pamela M. Mischell Scholarship
- Clifford H. Coors Northside Bank Scholar
- Ohio National Financial Services Scholar
- Kirk and Jacki Perry Family Scholar
- Roger Bacon Scholar
- Dr. Jeri B. Ricketts Scholar
- Milton J. Schloss, Sr. Scholar
- Raymond and Dorothy Sheakley Scholars
- RBC Capital Markets Scholar
- Richard J. Theryoung Scholar
- Richard E. Thornburgh Scholars
- Western-Southern Foundation Scholar
- Donald E. Weston Scholar
- Steven and Kathy Wilson Scholar
- Lindner Honors-PLUS Class of 2014 Scholar
by Madi Rinaldi
August 3, 2019 – Maggie Fisk and I were abruptly awakened at an hour far too early for having finished our last exam of sophomore year at 8 p.m. the night before. We scurried out the door, grabbed an Uber, and headed towards CVG airport to what would be one of the most memorable weeks of our Lindner Honors- PLUS lives.
We arrived in Washington D.C. later that day and spent time early in the city with a few of our classmates. On Sunday the rest of our group arrived, and we kicked off the week with a welcome dinner in the city, followed by a few self-guided tours and scooter rides across the National Mall (thank you, Lime and Bird, for your timely entrance into 2018 and sponsoring our rides past big Abraham Lincoln and the National Monument).
The following days in the nation’s capital consisted of meetings with representatives of both Senators Brown and Portman - discussing modern policy and tax reform in context of today’s administration, official government building and city tours, and scrambled coffee runs. As business majors at the University of Cincinnati, it’s safe to say many of us never imagined we’d get the chance to be asking questions of policy makers and movers in DC.
On Tuesday morning, we had our final – and perhaps the most memorable – visit to make in Washington DC before heading on the Amtrak to New York – a chat with LHP grad Dominic Berardi and his lifelong friend Rob Ellsworth – two men who followed paths unexpected and somewhat unknown to them during their early college years. Dominic serves as the VP of an international higher education nonprofit – Shorelight Education – that happens to be a client of Rob’s lobbying firm – the Majority Group.
During our time visiting the Majority Group’s office, the pair shared with us their experiences, the way in which the current administration has affected their work, and their relentless pursuit of justice and a fresh perspective to connect with people across party lines. It was evident in
our time spent there that my peers were exceptionally engaged. So much so that before we knew it, it was time to leave and head to the hotel to pack up before taking off for the train station. However, there was so much left to be said and curiosity with questions left unanswered, that the two extended an offer for us to stay longer. Without hesitation, each member of our class hustled to the hotel, shoved our belongings in suitcases, and sprinted back to the office to fit in as many minutes as possible. This impromptu pizza-lunch meeting left a mark on my class, not due to the firm’s unique space or impressive portfolio of work, but by the passion for a pursuit of something so much bigger than themselves, embodied by our hosts.
Leaving inspired and bright-eyed, we arrived in the big city of dreams and checked into our hotel… they aren’t lying when they say New Yorkers live in shoe-boxes. We promptly settled in and set out to experience a world of cultures in a small island of a city, seeing the sites, scenes, peoples, and foods. Some of us walked around Columbia University while others biked around Central Park – the stuff you read about in textbooks.
The following three days consisted of varying visits throughout the city to companies whose doors our LHP alumni had so graciously opened. From Wednesday to Friday, the days blurred together but the conversations did not – we attended meetings and Q&A sessions at Bloomberg, Deloitte, a branding agency called CBX, Nielsen Sports, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. We networked, brunch-lunch-and-dinner’ed, heard about success stories and failures, and left feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for each and every one of our encounters.
Looking back a year later, there is no one company visit that stands out to me more than the rest. Perhaps it was receiving a private tour of Bloomberg from two graduates of our very own program. Or maybe it was the three designated hours the CMO of Deloitte took out of her day to introduce us to her team, her culture, and her initiatives.
Something I will not forget is crowding into the garage-style meeting room of CBX alongside my classmates to hear how business strategy interacts with design in an industry known as branding. I now call this office home for 40 hours each week this summer.
However, perhaps the most jaw-dropping moment of humility and pride occurred on Friday. Sitting in an expansive conference room across from the Global Chief Information Officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lori Beer opened up the conversation with: “So tell me what you know about JPMorgan Chase & Co.” The room inhaled for more than a few seconds before the fearless of us spoke up. For context, this feels like Steve Jobs asking you to tell him about Apple or possibly asking an outsider to explain the co-op model to you.
In thinking back on this time, I believe many of us recall it fondly as a turning point in our college careers – something that divides the then of our early years from the now, a time when larger
decisions start to be made. There was a particular night in Washington DC that I will never forget. I was headed to bed when a friend came and knocked on my door: “We’re going exploring.” And just like that I found myself outside the Capitol Building in my pajamas, giggling alongside my classmates. The streets were empty outside the building, and it felt as though we had the entire city to ourselves. Three days later we were sitting across the table from a leader of one of the largest banks in the world. The quintessential Lindner Honors-PLUS experience of stretching ourselves professionally, yet surrounded and supported by our closest friends.
This is Lindner Honors-PLUS to me. Fun, hand-in-hand with hard work and experiences that no price tag could ever fully value – all in the company of friends that feel like family. It is these two moments, and the juxtaposition between them that are uniquely LHP.
by Danny Kleier
At the conclusion of my LHP interview I asked Dr. Jeri Ricketts about recent developments within the program. Being eternally positive, Jeri eagerly stated that the team was planning a brand-new international trip to South America. I quickly realized after the interview that I would be in line to travel to South America if I was fortunate enough to be admitted.
From that moment until our first flight into Querétaro, I, along with many of my classmates, wondered “why South America?” Little did we know at the time, but we were about to partake in an excursion that would dramatically alter our worldly perceptions and put us on the path to becoming global citizens. From the first night with our homestays in Mexico, our class was dared to allow our walls of misconception and prejudgment to be torn down and rebuilt with a sincere appreciation for Latin American culture. The hospitable Latino culture created a welcoming environment that enabled us to instantly connect with natives and embrace our surroundings. Traveling to four countries within a month to witness the emerging business markets in Latin America was an unforgettable journey. Each week we were challenged to adapt, learn. and develop an appreciation for the similarities and differences in the social norms and business practices in each country.
Throughout South America, our class had the privilege of meeting with a variety of companies including Unilever, Falabella, and Crown Manufacturing, among others. One of the most fascinating insights gained from our company visits was learning how the companies adapted to the Latino marketplace. Whether it was adding additional sugar to food products, implementing less regimented HR practices, or retreating to billboard marketing, corporations were clearly catering to the South American consumer. I thoroughly enjoyed learning how the sites we visited played into the larger, global strategy of international corporations.
Going forward, my classmates and I will not only cherish our memories from the experience, but will also be better prepared to work on a global scale. Upon returning stateside we held a class session to gather and reflect on our journey. Two common themes expressed were the exponential growth in our global citizenship and the recognition of our responsibility to serve as international stewards. We are blessed to live in a society that provides tremendous opportunities, supports an infrastructure that eliminates common foreign obstacles, and enables the pursuit of the American dream. Our class is incredibly grateful to the LHP leadership team, alumni, and friends of the program that helped create this once in a lifetime opportunity.
by Logan Davis
When our plane finally touched down in Querétaro, Mexico, I was, admittedly, anxious. Not only was it our first stop on my first experience out of the country, but also somewhat intimidating for a moderate Spanish-speaker like myself. I wondered whether my host family would be friendly, if I’d like the food, among many other uncertainties. As I walked onto the tarmac and began to observe the similarities and differences between this new place and the one that I’m accustomed to, my anxiety began to fade. I was overwhelmed with adrenaline and excitement as it set in that I was finally there – beginning the experience I’d been looking forward to since my admittance to the Lindner Honors-PLUS Program years prior.
In the days that followed, it became clear to me that Querétaro would, in fact, become my favorite city of the international program. There are no words to describe the rich culture that I observed at every turn – in each meal, activity, and word that was spoken by those native to the city. Everything felt so foreign and unfamiliar – and yet, so warm, inviting, and full of passion. As I settled into my host family’s home for the first night – one that was shared by an older mother and father, as well as their daughter and her children – I was giddy with anticipation of what was to come.
We began each morning with fresh eggs, chorizo, tortillas, and fruit topped off with a special blend of spices that was “muy caliente,” as our host father repeatedly warned. After breakfast, we grabbed our bagged lunches and began our short walk to Olé Language School – Lindner’s partner university in Querétaro. Our first day would be spent in the colonial village of Bernal, where we spent hours hiking Mt. Bernal before settling in for some early-afternoon shopping. I exchanged pesos with several artisans and, in return, received beautiful hand-woven scarves, beaded necklaces, and a portrait of Frida Kahlo. We snacked on empanadas as we watched a traditional Mexican dance ceremony full of feathered headdresses and body paint before embarking back to central Querétaro to end our first night.
The next morning, we began our first of many Spanish classes at the language school. Our professor spoke only Spanish and used engaging and fun activities to teach us words and their applications. I personally loved the concept of learning Spanish while being fully immersed in it and found myself learning more in the week that we were there than in my entire three years of high-school Spanish courses combined (sorry Ms. Hermann!).
In the days following, we continued our classes and adventures, visiting the Teotihuacán pyramids, hot springs, and the city of San Miguel. Additionally, we took part in company visits to Crown Manufacturing and the GE Innovation Center – both of which provided an interesting perspective into the business climate in Mexico. This perspective was complemented by an additional course at Olé, which presented a deep-dive into both the country’s business proceedings and general means of completing work.
By the end of our week, I had indulged in beautiful meals – cooked both by local restaurants and my host mother, explored the city of Querétaro and its surrounding area, and, most importantly, truly experience Mexico’s identity, culture, and people. I’ll never forget the view from the top of La Piramede de la Luna (The Pyramid of the Moon), nor the satisfaction of finally being able to understand and conduct a conversation in Spanish. The skills, empathy, and excitement that I gained in just the first week of our International Program is something that I’ll hold in my heart forever, and I’m forever grateful to LHP for providing me with the ability to learn in such a hands-on and meaningful capacity.
by Ben Leonardi
Amidst plenty of presentations freshmen year, I distinctly remember listening to Luke Bushman’s (a fellow cohort member) imploring presentation: take the stairs wherever you go. If not wherever you go, at least in our shared residential hall. It won’t really add that much time and the small choices you make for your health now can be worth a lot! So, picture me, an inspired Bearcat determined to not gain the oft-decried but seldom-avoided freshman fifteen, walking up a flight of stairs to my room approximately... once. We’ve all been there, it seems like we shouldn’t be breathing so heavily, it’s just a sidewalk that’s been chopped up!?
That gasping-and-wheezing, “wow, the elevator is just down the hall” feeling was how my entire class felt walking around the streets of Bogotá, at least for the first few days. Sitting plum at 8,600 feet, nestled in mountains so smoky they put our Great Smokies to shame, Bogotá and its people were accommodating of our exhaustion. In their accommodation, one got the sense that this wasn’t the first time they’d seen that exhaustion: Cartagena, the second most visited of Colombia’s numerous beautiful cities, is at sea level. A testament to Colombia’s geographical diversity, Bogotános have long seen even native Colombians struggle with it.
Fellow Colombians also didn’t shy away from the ways that they have struggled together: dealing with cartels and the richest man in the world effectively waging war on their country but thirty years ago takes a toll and puts walking up a couple flights of stairs to shame. But Colombians have long since found their footing, and are decently high on their climb, with Bogotá as a shining example.
From the markets to the cafes to the universities, Bogotá is teeming with newfound life and zeal,and doing so in a way that is cognizant of their past. A lecture by an economist in the president’s cabinet on one of our last days gift-wrapped their method for us as the “orange economy.” Orange was selected on account of its legacy as a dominant color for culture, creativity and identity. We visited startups dedicated to solving the world’s problems, decided we had adjusted enough to the 8,600 ft. elevation and elected to climb to the 10,300 ft peak of Monserrate and visit its beautiful chapel, learned from lectures at one of Colombia’s premier universities, and, to round out the week, spent a good portion of a day walking around the presidential palace.
An almost-castle replete with homages to famous Colombian artists and eras of Colombian history, a tour given by a soldier but a few years younger than us, sipping coffee grown a few miles from where we sat: the visit was the high point of a week spent with university students so profoundly different than us yet so similar and our own classmates, getting to know the ways we were different and similar.
And if you would have asked the sputtering, stairs-just-climbed freshman me if I could imagines pending a Friday morning in the palace of a perennially mispronounced (it’s Co-LOHM-bee-ah not Co-LUHM-bee-ah) nation going through some of the most profound changes in its fascinating, winding history, the answer would’ve been the same gasped out of our group when asked if we regretted hiking Montserrate as opposed to taking a teleferico: an emphatic no.
by Jeffrey Bogenschutz
Santiago, Chile was the third destination of our international experience. As we arrived in the city, it was a stark contrast to our previous location, Bogota, Colombia. While Bogota was still developing and growing more accustomed to outside visitors, Santiago had an environment that closely resembled a United States city. Our hotel was surrounded by tall glass buildings and looking further in every direction revealed majestic mountains that encircled the entire city.
My first stop in Santiago was to a small grocery store, similar to a bodega that you might find in New York City or Chicago. However, the resemblance was offset by numerous, small, but starkly apparent differences, ranging from things as simple as the brands of the goods to more complex differences, like the way in which you pay for groceries. In Chile, it is common for anything, big or small, to be purchased “con cuotas”, or in monthly installments.
Emblematic of a focus on innovation that the LHP Program has emphasized, even while abroad, one of the most impactful company visits was to Start-Up Chile, a seed accelerator. Recently, Chile has begun to invest significant resources into entrepreneurship and innovation to help secure their place in a global future. Start-Up Chile was an opportunity to more deeply explore one of the initiatives that the Chilean government has put in place to work towards this goal. During our visit, we were able to learn more about how the team sources, analyzes, and selects companies in which to invest. We were able to see first-hand how competitive and intense the process was to be chosen for this program. Start-Up Chile has been operational for several years now and has led to several major successes.
A singularly unique and novel industry that we were next able to learn about was fruit exports. ASOEX is an association of fruit exporters in Chile whose sole purpose is to promote Chilean fruit on a global scale. While the import-export business is shrouded in a cloak of two-parts complexity and one-part boredom for many people (formerly including myself), in my opinion, ASOEX was the most interesting visit of our entire experience. Living in Cincinnati my entire life, I never took time to consider the impact that large-scale agriculture can have on an economy and a nation. As a leading exporter of many varieties of fruits, Chile is greatly impacted by the global marketplace. During our visit we were exposed to a wide range of complexities both on a domestic side of growing fruits inside of Chile and on an international level of exporting fruit amidst global competition and regulations imposed by governments.
No reflection on time spent in Chile could be complete without remarking on the wines of the country. Taking advantage of its unique climate and subsequently special grapes, in the past decade Chile has skyrocketed to a top 10 global producer of wines. Our class had the opportunity to take a trip to a winery for a wine tasting and lesson on the wine industry of Chile. To cap our week, we had the distinct pleasure of sampling several of Casa del Bosque’s wines, while spending a few hours on their property in the beautiful Chilean countryside.
While initially reminiscent of a major United States city, Santiago delivered a myriad of distinct moments and learning opportunities that separated our time spent here from the rest of our international experience, making it a week to truly never forget.
by Kelsey Sucher
As we boarded our flight to Argentina, it was hard to believe that we were headed to our final destination as a class— Buenos Aires. The last three weeks had been a whirlwind, and it was surreal that this adventure together was drawing to a close. With that in mind, we entered the week ready to make the most of the rest of our international experience.
In Buenos Aires, we partnered with the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella. Throughout the week, we heard many guest speakers present about a wealth of Argentine topics to integrate us into the culture of the country. Having the opportunity to learn and ask questions about the recent economic history of Argentina and the local business environment prepared us well for our company visits. I found the lecture on cross-cultural skills to be incredibly helpful—not only did we learn about how best to work with Argentines, but we gained skills that we will be able to use in the future when interacting with any other culture. Through new knowledge about cultural communication and the many languages of culture (time, space, agreement, etc.), we will all be better able to interact with those from different areas of the world.
We put our in class learnings to use during company visits to AB InBev and Unilever. Since both of these companies are multinational, we had the opportunity to see how they navigate global business challenges while continuing to innovate and attract top talent. At Unilever specifically, we participated in a case study with the company’s interns in which we worked to develop strategies for their company to recruit digital talent. Plenty of fun was had in the midst of our time in Argentina, too! We took a tour of the city, seeing landmarks such as Casa Rosada (the Pink Palace) and Recoleta Cemetery, explored local markets, and ate all the steak Buenos Aires had to offer.
I’ll never forget the night we went to see a tango show and took a tango lesson. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder and felt so clumsy as we all seemed to bump into one another with every step. As the week came to a close, we observed our final lectures, attended our last company visits, and prepared to part ways. On our final morning together, we boarded the bus and headed out to the Argentinian countryside for a day at El Ombú de Areco. As impossible as it may seem to find the perfect way to end such a monumental experience and the three years leading up to it, to me, this was it. We arrived to a lovely green paradise and were given the day to simply spend time with each other. We played
soccer, tossed a frisbee, rode horses, and enjoyed the beautiful day of sunshine. It was an incredible opportunity to take a deep breath and reflect on the busy past month of travel—all we had learned, the unforgettable experiences, connections that were deepened, and new friendships that were made along the way. As we said our goodbyes on the bus ride back to our hotel, I was struck with overwhelming gratitude for the people around me and our adventures over the last four weeks. Although bittersweet, I was so grateful for the experiences and growth in all of us, and I couldn’t wait to finish out the experience with the post-program travel my friends and I had planned.
by Dom DiFalco
As soon as I heard we were going to South America for our LHP international experience, I knew I’d be spending my extra time in the Amazon rainforest. When was I going to get this opportunity again? After hours of research into different areas of South America, looking into where I could travel and what companies would be best to work with, I settled on the Tahuayo Lodge & Amazon Research Center with Amazonia Expeditions.
I worked closely with the staff of Amazonia Expeditions as well as with the honors office and international programs office to figure out the logistics (including trying to schedule all my flights on websites that didn’t have an English language option) and just like that I was set to spend 6 days in one of the most ecologically diverse climates in the world.
As the international experience progressed, I was counting down the days to finally being in the jungle. I was excited for the gorgeous scenery and relaxation. What I didn’t fully grasp, though, was how this experience was going to be a complete 180o turn from the international experience I had shared with my cohort. After twenty-four straight hours of traveling (four flights and a three hour speed boat ride) I went from staying in lovely hotels with hot showers surrounded by my friends to sleeping in a hut on a river listening to thousands of mosquitos trying to puncture my bug net from all angles. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved it, but that’s quite the shock to the system.
I spent three days and four nights at the Tahuayo River Lodge and then two days and two nights at the Amazon Research Center, which is a second, smaller lodge owned by Amazonia that is used mainly for housing researchers and guests staying for longer periods of time. Both lodges were elevated on stilts with 8-10 feet of water below the wooded slats. At any given time, I could look over the railing and see schools of sardines swimming beneath the walkway.
The days followed a similar routine. We were awakened by drums around 7 a.m., the signal that breakfast was ready. Shortly after breakfast, we grabbed our boots and hopped in the canoes. A few hours on the river was followed by lunch, a short siesta, and time to decompress before an afternoon excursion, dinner, and a night excursion. Activities throughout the days ranged from early morning canoe rides for bird watching to swimming with the rare pink Amazonian dolphins or (my personal favorite) nighttime canoe rides and hikes looking for snakes, tarantulas, scorpions, and all other things that went bump in the night.
By the time the extra days ended, I was bug bitten, sunburnt, and ready to go home, but I wouldn’t have traded any of my experience for the world. From the log I kept (very roughly) on the river, I counted over thirty different species of animals seen throughout the six days. Out of these thirty+ species, I noted twelve different species of birds, eight mammals and primates, nine reptiles and amphibians, and seven insects and arachnids. These numbers don’t come close to accounting for the species I observed but wasn’t able to document.
Honestly, I thought this experience during the extra ten days following the LHP International Program was just going to be a fun few days learning about flora and fauna, but it turned into so much more. Throughout my time on the international experience with my classmates, we were privileged to see a lot of what financial success looks like in the corporate life of South America; however, in Peru I was faced with a very different reality, having had the opportunity to spend time with villagers who have never traveled out of the rainforest before. The stark difference between my time with my class and my time in Peru will stick with me throughout the rest of my life as I continue to travel and grow as a global scholar. I will forever be grateful to the Lindner Honors-PLUS Program and the University Honors Program for allowing me to fulfill one of my dream trips and giving me the confidence and ability to do it all by myself!
It occurred to me this fall that it has been exactly 20 years since our RA, Raqule, greeted my freshman LHP class as we moved into the 4th floor of Daniels Hall. Yes, that is the very same Raqule that welcomed the incoming freshman class this fall as interim LHP leader. I am not sure each of us could fully imagine what our lives would be like 20 years later, but we could sense that it would be exciting.
Early on, striking out on our own meant learning how to fend for ourselves on a Kroger run, studying for Calculus and navigating weekend parties. One constant we all discovered quickly… we could count on each other. Now 20 years later, we are all taking our kids to Bearcat football games, running into each other at city-wide events and meeting up for dinner in foreign cities as we travel for work. We are fortunate in so many ways; fortunate to have found, challenged and supported one another in our impressionable university years. Fortunate to have been a part of such a ground-breaking program that opened so many doors and unleashed each of our leader within. In a word, fortunate.
Growing up in a small farm town in Northern Ohio, Cincinnati was an enormous city. Norm Baker recalled at my graduation the first time my dad met him, sternly shaking his hand and asking him to take care of his daughter. Norm didn’t disappoint, enlisting his “village” in Jeri, Judy, Scott, Donna, Raj, Susan, and mentors like Kirk Perry, Dick Thornburgh, and Bob and Sandy Heiman (my scholarship’s namesake) to only name a few. Caring for us and shaping us into mature, successful business men and women.
From LHP communications and etiquette class with Lisa Marie, to Quantitative Analytics and Programming 15 years before Big Data became cool, to 2 ½ years of fulltime real-world experience co-oping, to Junior Leadership Cincinnati, to studying at Audencia International Business School in Western France, to inter-disciplinary courses with DAAP students designing solutions for P&G, to having dinner with the US Ambassador to the Netherlands following a day at The Hague sitting in the gallery of the Yugoslavian War Crimes Tribunal, (whew), we simply couldn’t fathom how much was possible to cram into 5 short years.
LHP challenged us to be brilliant business persons and great citizens and leaders. Throughout college, we were encouraged to seek out philanthropic leadership roles both on and off campus, laying the foundation for our lives to come. I found my way from the Student Alumni Council, Lindner Ambassadors, Career Services student employee, CWEST, Homecoming Court, and Cincinnati March of Dimes Board Member to now doing pro-bono projects for Artswave, Union Terminal, YWCA, UC BAC member, Saint Monica/Saint George choir member and a myriad of elementary school and sports activities for my girls. There is never a shortage of projects or inspiring work to be done.
Now, as a business professional, I have found a fulfilling career serving my employers, employees and customers. In addition to traveling the globe for P&G Health Care and Baby Care Brand Management, I now serve as SVP/Chief Customer Officer for Tire Discounters leading 1,200 autocare employees in nearly 130 retail shops across the Midwest. Featured on the cover of the Wall Street Journal or honors like 40-under-40, Tire Business Up-in-comer, or Adweek Brandstar were only made possible by early encouragement to step out of my comfort zone and instilling the moxy to do anything.
I would never have seen my small-town-self conducting ethnographic research in London, living or working on the east coast of Connecticut and Manhattan, visiting the Wailing Wall with my tech start-up colleagues in Jerusalem or sitting for my Master Mechanic ASE in Steering and Suspension 20 years ago. All while making the absolute best friends, meeting my literal better-half Brent, and bringing into the world two of the most beautiful souls, Eliana and Greta. Now I really know what my dad meant when he said, “please take care of my daughter.” Thank you, Lindner family, for your belief in us. Thank you LHP staff and alumni for teaching us to lead from the front and with conviction. I’d like to think I still have many more years to “my story” but wow has it been a ride already.
Reflecting on my life and career thus far, I am thankful for many things. Obvious standouts are the love and support received from family and friends as well as individuals who spent valuable time helping me grow. Certainly another major standout is the Lindner Honors-PLUS program. I was extremely proud to be accepted into this program nearly 20 years ago and am even more proud to be an alumnus.
Like many Lindner Honors-PLUS students, I was born and raised in Cincinnati. Growing up in Cincinnati was incredible – from UC Bearcat and Professional sporting events to a strong sense of community and hometown pride. My wife, Nicole, is also from Cincinnati and our families and many close friends still live there.
While a senior in high school, I began taking courses at the University of Cincinnati. It became apparent during this time that UC was the right choice for my undergraduate studies. The Lindner Honors-PLUS program offered so many elements extending well beyond the classroom. Yes, it is a rigorous academic experience. The PLUS nurtures personal development and expanded engagement.
Professors went beyond theory to help students understand how business truly works. UC was and remains a diverse institution providing an opportunity for all to grow among differences. Individuals collectively learn together and are comfortable challenging conventional thinking. Relationships develop into lifelong friendships.
Through co-ops at Deloitte and Credit Suisse, I gained a much deeper appreciation of the financial services sector which has been the focus of my career thus far. The international experience allowed me to gain a deeper appreciation of global business and ultimately led to my desire to work abroad.
Upon graduating in 2005, I left Cincinnati to begin a career in investment banking at Bank of America in Charlotte, North Carolina. Working in finance was a dream come true! After all I was the kid who loved watching CNBC since about the age of 12 (don’t ask why). The Lindner Honors-PLUS faculty (Jeri, Raj, and Judy to name a few) went above and beyond to ensure networking occurred with the right individuals and that students were thoroughly prepared for interviews. At BofA, I worked in Structured Finance focusing on debt capital markets, helping major global corporations finance their operations through a variety of structures and collateral types (e.g. auto loans, equipment loans, credit cards). Although my focus was away from the mortgage sector, I witnessed firsthand the global financial crisis. This event was devastating and in many ways still impacts our country and the world today.
After nearly four years with BofA, I decided to further my education through the well-regarded Kenan Flagler MBA program at the University of North Carolina. One of my lasting takeaways is that the Lindner Honors-PLUS program is structured like many top graduate MBA programs. These programs have an immense focus on collaboration, critical thinking, volunteer experiences, cooperative education and global studies. Simply stated, UC has a tremendous business college with numerous excellent programs.
For the last 8 years, I have worked for PIMCO, an active fixed income investment management company investing 1.84 trillion US Dollars for its global clients. My general focus among others has been managing PIMCO’s relationships with a wide range of clients including public pensions, sovereign wealth funds, central banks, insurance companies, private banks, consumer banks and family offices. After spending three years working in our Newport Beach, California headquarters, I relocated to Asia in 2014 (Singapore, Hong Kong and back to Singapore).
Asia has provided me an immense opportunity for both professional and personal growth. First and foremost, our two young sons have been born in Asia. An incredible team of diverse individuals has taught valuable lessons regarding local culture and business norms. Naively assuming there is only one way to conduct business will ultimately lead to failure. I’ve led our expansion into markets such as Thailand and Taiwan. Each experience resulted in significant learnings and deepened my appreciation that the world is a small place. After all, investors from around the world face similar challenges and hurdles in today’s low yielding world. Currently, I am an Executive Vice President and the Head of PIMCO Singapore and its Global Wealth Management business across Hong Kong and Singapore.
One common and notable theme about the culture of both PIMCO and UC is the importance of contribution to the broader community. Mentorship of others is a special interest of mine. Many fine individuals played a large role in helping me grow. It is dutiful to give back. It has been quite rewarding to work with several UC students who have had an interest in a finance career. Recently, I have become more involved in the Singapore business community through the local male championship and female mentorship programs. It was very enjoyable hosting a Lindner Honors-PLUS visit to PIMCO’s Hong Kong office a few years back. The students’ eyes were similarly as wide open as mine during my international experience many years ago.
No matter where in the world life takes my family and career, Cincinnati will also be home. The Lindner Honors- PLUS program has made an incredible difference in my life. I am extremely appreciative for the various individuals and companies who have made this program such a success over the last 22 years. Thank you.
I still remember the day I received my acceptance letter into LHP. I had to make a quick stop home after school before I rushed off to volleyball practice. As I scarfed down my dinner, I decided to go through some emails, and at the very top, the subject line read “UC Business Honors Decision.” I quickly clicked on that email. The first line read “Congratulations! It is my pleasure to offer you admission to the September 2011 entering freshman class of the Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS Program.”
During my first semester at the University of Cincinnati, I did what any other LHP student would do… get involved and join almost too many student organizations. Eventually, I had to narrow down to the few I was most passionate about: Student Government, Kappa Alpha Theta, ROAR Guides and Serve Beyond Cincinnati (SBC). During my third year, I was tapped into Sigma Phi Women’s Honorary. My most memorable experience was my time as the first female Student Body President in 21 years. In this role, I had a chance to meet people throughout the community, work on impactful projects, and represent the university I called home.
In addition to student involvement, my other passion while attending UC was traveling. My LHP class was the first to complete a domestic program in NYC and Washington DC. LHP also took me to Asia: China, Thailand and Singapore. I completed three SBC trips: Guatemala, El Salvador, and Peru. Finally, I took two courses that landed me in France and Germany. These travels have had a direct impact on my full-time career as I now work with a global team. When I travel, I have a better idea what to expect, what to research, and how to make the most out of working with people of different cultures.
Last but not least, co-oping at GE Aviation was one of the most valuable experiences I had in college. I learned a lot in my Information Systems and Finance coursework and putting that into practice in the “real world” was where I truly found my passion for technology. After three very different IT rotations, I landed a full-time role in the Digital Technology Leadership Program (DTLP) at GE.
DTLP is a two-year program with training, traveling, and four unique assignments. During my rotations, I worked in Cincinnati, Detroit, Dubai and Budapest. During my time in the program, I started and have since completed my MS in Business Analytics through Indiana University. My rotations included IT compliance, data ingestion and analytics, sales and marketing, and brilliant manufacturing.
After the program, I took a role as a Technical Product Owner for two software applications. Eighteen months later, I was promoted and took a new role as the PMO (Project Management Office) Lead for our SAP ERP team. In this role, I am responsible for defining a strategic roadmap for SAP deployments and designing a framework for delivering initiatives effectively. I also drive operating rhythms and a communication strategy to business stakeholders.
I have been extremely fortunate to have had a successful and exciting start to my career. LHP provided me with right tools and experiences, and I will be forever grateful to the staff, students, alumni, and community that surrounds this great program. While I don’t have the ability to fund an entire scholarship today, I try my best to give back to the program and the university in various capacities. For LHP, I volunteer my time to speak in classes, participate in brainstorming sessions about the future of the program, and attend alumni events. Through GE, I lead the Digital Recruiting team for UC, attending career fairs, and hiring future technical talent. In addition, I serve on the OBAIS (Operations, Business Analytics, and Information Systems) Advisory Council. Through these different avenues, I hope to give back to the program as much, if not more, than it had given me during my time at the University of Cincinnati.
Nearly five years ago, I arrived in Cincinnati to what at the time felt like a destination. After countless Common App questions, AP tests, and campus visits (twenty-five, but who’s counting?) to pick a college, it felt like my arrival to the University of Cincinnati and the Lindner Honors-PLUS Program marked a “job well done.” How-ever, as I am preparing to walk across the stage at graduation and reach what feels like another “destination,” I know that this program, the lessons I’ve learned, and the people who have invested in me have transformed how I’ve viewed the entire experience. They are the foundation for who I have become and the launchpad for all that I aspire to do, making me realize that this destination has been an invalu-able journey all along.
To the surprise of none of my classmates, I wasted no time in diving headfirst into all facets of student involvement. From ROAR Tour Guides to Lindner Ambassadors, Kappa Alpha Theta to the Stu-dent Alumni Council, I saw the passion of the upperclassmen within LHP and across campus and sought to fill my UC experi-ence with similar opportunities to connect with others and our university. For me, I knew that five years would fly by, and I wanted to do all I could to leave UC a bet-ter place than I found it. That’s why, with every opportunity to volunteer for that tour, run for that position, go on that trip, grab that cup of coffee with someone, I gave everything I could to do it to the very best of my ability. It’s what the people before me did, and it’s the lifeblood of this program: a group of some of the best people you’ll ever meet, giving their all to things worth doing, trying to discover who they are along the way.
In addition to my involvement in countless student organizations, I went all in on all things LHP. I had the opportunity to work in the office as the student worker and enjoyed all the highlights of the pro-gram alongside twenty-four of my closest friends. From Camp Joy to Washington D.C. and New York City, to the best six weeks of my life spent halfway around the world in Asia, the adventures shared and memories made are far too many to ever begin to count. While I took pictures of just about every moment along the way, it’s impossi-ble to fully capture the memories and pure joy that I experienced through the times spent with my LHP classmates.
Through all the experiences, groups, and opportunities mentioned above, I can confidently say that I did more than I could have ever imagined possible in my five years at UC. This past year, I had the chance to bring others along with me in the journey of investing back in the uni-versity that’s invested in me, helping me realize why I fell in love with UC and LHP in the first place. As the PACE leader to twenty-five first-year LHP students, I was responsible for helping guide the class in their transition to UC and LHP as well as through their Lindner Fast Track projects. They looked to me for guidance as they be-gan their journeys within the program, and as I reflected on what was most important for them to know, I found myself coming back to variations of one common idea that persisted throughout my own per-sonal experiences: it’s the people along the journey—this program and this university are inherently special because of the peo-ple who come in, share their talents, and ultimately leave it better than they found it for the next generation of Bearcats to fol-low. I am forever grateful to the individuals who preceded me in LHP and who paved a path for me to grow and thrive during my time as a UC student.
To add my name to the growing legacy of LHP alumni is both humbling and inspir-ing because I know I am joining myself to a community that is built to last and built to lead. When I walk across the stage on May 3, I will join the hundreds of other Lindner Honors-PLUS alumni, scattered around the world, united and emboldened by the common hopes we all share: that the program we left behind is better than it was when we started, and its best days are yet to come. That there are LHP students right now who are experiencing what we did, and that they too need the guidance of exemplar alumni like we once had. That there are people, in this city and around our communities, that we can serve just like we did at UC. And that there is a university, the one we all call our Alma Mater, whose future rests in those who carry on its legacy.
Almost 5 years ago, I made one of the best decisions of my life. Joining the Lindner Honors-PLUS Program has shaped me into the person I am today. The LHP Program is so much more than a typical business school experience. This program is where I met my lifelong best friends. My classmates have become like a tribe of trusted friends, advisors, and confidants. LHP has also provided me with an incredible network of successful and driven individuals who want me to succeed as much as they want themselves to succeed. There really is no other program like it.
As a Co – Founder of SaferSit, a local babysitting startup, LHP has been critical in my success. SaferSit is a company I started when I was in high school that connects local high school and college-age students with babysitting jobs in the Cincinnati area. SaferSit has grown to include over 700 babysitters and more than 2,000 Cincinnati clients. Without LHP, my business partner and I would have never been able to grow SaferSit into the entity it has become. LHP, with the help of the UC Center of Entrepreneurship, allowed me to pilot “co-oping for yourself.” This pilot opportunity meant that for two semesters of my college career, I was able to work full time on my own business instead working as a co-op at another company. The flexibility LHP and the Center for Entrepreneurship worked to create for me allowed for my participation in a startup accelerator program called G-beta, which is run through The Brandery. My experience within the program proved critical in both my personal and professional development, and I am forever grateful to the team of individuals who worked to make it possible.
LHP also connected me to one of my most influential mentors, Dr. Tom Dalziel. Tom is the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Commercialization at UC as well as an excellent professor within the Lindner College of Business. Tom has helped guide me throughout my college career and worked closely with the LHP program to create a flexible curricular experience in which the time spent running my business counted for class credit towards my Entrepreneurship degree. The belief of the LHP team in both my business and in me further compels my gratitude for the program and the countless ways it has changed my life for the best. From my friends to my personal and professional development, I would not be who I am without my LHP family behind me—for all of those things and so much more, I am so grateful.
As a freshman business student, I got to participate in a series of projects that tested my ability to think critically, solve problems, and collaborate with other talented and ambitious individuals. One of those projects really stood out to me because of the way that it encouraged leadership, co-creation, and everything LHP: Project Impact.
Project Impact presents an opportunity for students to explore the intersection of social good and business through partnership with a community organization from around the Cincinnati area. This year, though, our LHP director identified a unique opportunity to bring together two campus programs that have separate missions but share in the greater University’s vision: to see the University of Cincinnati grow as a united community. Thus, the partnership between LHP and the Gen-1 Program was born.
Gen-1 is an organization that seeks to help first-generation students pursue their goals by offering a variety of programs that guide students through the transition to college and retention through graduation. My team and I were tasked with creating recommendations that the Gen-1 organization could use to maximize its impact on the students. Our team was chosen randomly, but we were able to work effectively together due to the nature of LHP’s cohort model and our familiarity with one another. We were also assigned a PACE leader, a fifth year LHP student, who oversaw our project, provided advice and assistance, and set up communication with our partner. Our PACE leader proved an invaluable resource as she had already completed Project Impact with her class, so she helped us to learn from her group’s experience. Over the course of the semester, we combined the lessons we learned in class with our own external research to create a set of recommendations that we presented to the executives of Gen-1 and several other vested stakeholders.
Our first recommendation to Gen-1 was to build a bridge between their alumni and the current students. From our own experience engaging with the graduates of LHP, we know an alumni network is critical to students’ successes. Knowing that there is someone who has come before you and successfully conquered the difficult classes and overcome the tough situations proves a powerful source of motivation and inspiration. In addition, the alumni network provides a sneak peek into the future of possibility, which can encourage students to work harder and maximize their current opportunities. Our belief in the power of the alumni network is strong and we were able to support our recommendation with data to back it up.
Our second recommendation was to encourage collaboration between students of different majors, programs, or industries inside of the Gen-1 house. Every program on campus is unique and provides its students with certain knowledge, experiences, and skills. When that program opens its doors to non-members occasionally for collaboration, the output can be extraordinary. Information and wisdom that otherwise would be lost upon a population can be shared in a setting that empowers the students to become the teachers. We were inspired by the potential that Gen- 1 has to truly change the landscape of the campus by sharing its wisdom with the other programs on campus. Our experience with Project Impact represents a clear example of the benefits of cross-program collaboration. Throughout the semester, my team shared ideas with Gen-1 and Gen-1 shared ideas with us; now both of our programs are stronger and better equipped to grow and develop.
By the end of the semester, everyone on my team walked away feeling as though we learned more than we taught others through our project. We learned a lot about LHP, the Gen-1 program, and the fact that almost every student group and program on campus has more in common than we thought. We might all specialize in something different, but we could easily share that specialty with anyone. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to investigate this shared commonality at such a young age alongside a team of my closest peers. It is amazing that I was given the chance to work with students and faculty from another program. I believe we were able to provide legitimate value to Gen-1, and I also recognize the immense value that this project and Gen-1 imparted onto me. I now know the power of cross-program collaboration, and I see this project with Gen-1 as the beginning of a much larger initiative. Throughout these next four years I am committed to pursuing more opportunities with more programs until that initial vision of a united community is realized at the University of Cincinnati. I cannot wait to get started and see where my journey in LHP will take me!