Stetson Success Report, Fall 2011

Danielle VanCola joined the Stetson University Executive MBA program in August 2011, and she has already earned a promotion at Wyndham Vacation Resorts. VanCola is one of many Stetson Executive MBA students and alumni who have recently been promoted. Stetson University congratulates these Hatters and proudly recognizes their accomplishments.

Danielle VanCola was recently promoted to Account Executive, Wyndham Vacation Resorts.

Danielle VanCola was promoted from Junior Representative to Account Executive at Wyndham Vacation Resorts. The Cohort 9 student was inspired by her colleague Shariq Khan, who is a member of Cohort 8. Khan also works at Wyndham and was recently promoted to Director, Product Yield Management at Wyndham Vacation Ownership.

Khan’s classmate Harley Wentzel was promoted to Operations Manager of Ticket Fulfillment at Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts when his application, during the screening process, was elevated because of his MBA education.

Other promotions for Cohort 8 include Jason Plas to Integration Analyst, Time & Deployment, Strategy & Standards, Walt Disney World; Jacob Walters, Communications Technology Specialist, Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts; and Juliana Trujillo, Market Area Sales Specialist, Partners Federal Credit Union.

Kelly Glassburn and Susan Golinsky were both recently promoted within Disney.

From Cohort 7, Susan Golinsky has recently been promoted to Labor Administrations Manager, Operations Area Manager and Project Manager at Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts. “Obtaining an MBA degree has opened more doors and opportunities than before, not to mention adding numerous networking channels,” said Golinsky.

Golinsky’s former classmate Kelly Glassburn was also promoted to Manager of Marketing & Communications for Disney Photo Imaging. “Completing the Stetson Executive MBA program had a tremendous impact in both my personal and professional life, and I continue to reap the benefits on a daily basis,” Glassburn said. “I secured a promotion and found that often topics discussed in class on Friday would resurface in a Monday Steering Committee meeting, making me more strategic and effective in my new role.”

Norbert Dean is now the Chief Procurement Officer for Sea World.

Other promotions from Cohort 7 include Darcy Clark to Digital Marketing Manager, Disney Destinations; Norbert Dean, Chief Procurement Officer, Sea World Parks & Entertainment; Terry Tasior, Finance Manager, Walt Disney World; Lourdes Mola, Manager, Minority Business Development, Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts; and Penny Miller, Operations Human Resources Business Partner, Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts.

From Cohort 6, Jennifer Small has been hired as Executive Director/CEO at The Grove Counseling Center. She was also recently nominated for Orlando Business Journal’s Forty Under 40.

Justin LaFoe is now Director, Global Retail Development for Disney.

Justin LaFoe of Cohort 4 was promoted this fall to Director, Global Retail Development at Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts. “The Stetson Executive MBA program helped refine my strategic decision making skills which gave me the advantage I needed to grow at Disney,” said LaFoe. “Completing the program at Stetson was one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career.”

Other promotions from Cohort 4 include Geoffrey Pointon to Digital Marketing Manager, Disney Destinations; and Cathy Martin, Director, Career Development, Stetson University College of Law.

Stetson University will celebrate each success as Executive MBA students and alumni continue to excel in their careers. Onward and upward, Hatters!

Students and alumni, please report any promotions and job changes to so we can recognize your accomplishments!

Dr. Belcher wins EMBA Outstanding Professor award

Dr. Larry Belcher holds the plaque naming him the EMBA Outstanding Professor as members of Stetson University School of Business Administration’s Executive MBA Cohort 7 surround him. Students presented Belcher the award at the March 19 reception following the cohort’s last class of the 19-month program.

Many of Stetson’s veteran professors left lasting impressions on Stetson EMBA’s Cohort 7, but when it came to choosing one to receive the EMBA Outstanding Professor Award, the overwhelming choice was Dr. Larry Belcher, a finance professor at Stetson since 1990. Students said he has a knack for putting complex academic concepts into understandable real-world terms, connected with every student, espoused a centered approach to life and that his sense of humor helped lighten stressful classwork.

“You have to love a guy who answers to Dr. Doom,” said student Norbert Dean.

One highlight of Cohort 7’s studies was a trip to Vietnam and Hong Kong last summer where they not only met business leaders and toured factories and cultural sites, but also decided to perform a service project in Vietnam. The cohort worked in the kitchen of a small Buddhist monastery in Ho Chi Minh City preparing a meal for monks and played games  with children who also practiced their English on the students.

EMBA students in the past have visited Ireland, the Czech Republic and Dubai, and later this spring, Cohort 8 will embark for a tour of businesses and cultural sites in South Africa.

“I am forever changed because of this program,” said Darcy Clark, a Disney marketing manager. “I believe in myself more than I used to.  I’m more confident.  And most importantly, I’ve developed relationships that will far outlast my 19 months at Stetson.”

Walter Kurlin, a Disney facilitator of Orlando, agrees: “I have recommended and will recommend the program to others.”

EMBA graduates will receive diplomas at Stetson University Commencement ceremonies on May 7. Graduates include Penny Miller, Gillian Cady, Chuck Rivas, Norbert Dean, Aaron Wright, Terrence Tasior, Kelly Glassburn, Darcy Clark, Joshua Speed, David Ulloa, Kenyon Langford, Lourdes Mola, Alicia Matheson, Wael Alfattani, Susan Golinsky, Kimberly Ruggiero, Walter Kurlin and Joel Foreman.

Four Cohort 7 students earn peer awards

Top students of Stetson University’s Executive MBA’s Cohort 7 hold their gifts after learning that fellow students picked them for honors. They are Penny Miller, named Top Student Overall; Norbert Dean, named Cool Under Pressure; Gillian Cady, Team Player and Chuck Rivas, Best Humor.

Toasts, cheers, honors and feasting marked the end of studies March 19 for a group of MBA students at the Stetson Center at Celebration who completed the life-changing goal of earning a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.

Members of the cohort picked Penny Miller of Clermont, a human resources partner for Disney, as the Top Student Overall. Gillian Cady, a Disney project manager of Minneola, was chosen to receive the Team Player Award. Classmates chose Chuck Rivas of Apopka, who works in information technology for Disney, as the student with the Best Humor, and Norbert Dean of Windermere received the Cool Under Pressure Award.

“The experience was all that I hoped for and much more,” Miller said of her EMBA courses. “I have been applying classroom learning’s in my work since my first month in the program.” The understanding she gained, she said, helps her “bring a new level of overall business acumen to the table” in her professional role.

These students and other EMBA graduates will receive diplomas at Stetson University commencement ceremonies on May 7.

Six Cohort 7 students inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma

These six members of the Executive MBA’s Cohort 7 will be inducted into the Stetson University chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma because of their high grades. Back row: Aaron Wright, Terrence Tasior and Norbert Dean. Front row: Kelly Glassburn, Charles Rivas and Darcy Clark.

The seventh cohort of Executive MBA students ended 19 months of study — which had taken it halfway around the world — with a festive reception of accolades that produced touching testimony of their experience.

“I expected a good curriculum and great professors when I enrolled, but I did not expect the powerful relationships that we have developed,” Norbert Dean, a sourcing officer at Sea World, told his classmates. “The love and feeling of family as we went through the program was truly moving.”

Six students’ grades were in the top 20 percent of university graduate students and were tapped to join Beta Gamma Sigma, the highest recognition a business student anywhere in the world can receive in a baccalaureate, post-baccalaureate or doctoral program accredited by AACSB International. They are Norbert Dean, Chuck Rivas, Aaron Wright, Terrence Tasior, Kelly Glassburn and Darcy Clark.

These Beta Gamma Sigma honorees and other EMBA graduates will receive diplomas at Stetson University Commencement ceremonies on May 7.