Episode 049: Mollie Markham, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

For February, we host yet another successful woman from the economics department’s graduate program, Mollie Markham. After a brief learning experience pursuing politics at the front lines in DC, she discovered what she doesn’t want in a career.

Fully embracing that lesson and, with some great counsel from family, she entered DePaul’s graduate program. The rest is or will be legend as Mollie is now a Program Specialist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Her timing could not have had better, as she entered this role at the start of one of the Feds biggest developments in 50 years; the building of a new instant payment system called FedNOW. Happy, successful, and working on really cool stuff. That’s the recipe for a good life right there.

Episode 048: Check In with Dave Ziegelski, National Material L.P.

To kick off 2024, we begin a new, and perhaps recurring version of this podcast called Check Ins. Here, we’re going to welcome back previous guests to update the topics we discussed in our original interview. For our inaugural episode, we welcome back Dave Ziegelski.

Dave is Vice President of Information Technology for National Material L.P.; a partnership of over 30 business units in steel, metals, and related operations that is now one of the largest suppliers of steel in America. That is a high-profile role where there’s a lot at stake. Dave, though, has a way of boiling down the complex into simply, straightforward tasks. To me, a sign he’s not only very good at what he does, but likely a very good person to work with. Give it a listen

Episode 047: Marcin Taraszkiewicz, HDR, Inc

For December we offer part 2 with MBA alumnus, and rail industry veteran Marcin Taraszkiewicz. In this episode we talk about trains, trains, and more trains. Yes, Marcin plays with big toys on big projects, but his work really exists at the nexus of rail technology and client goals.

His industry recognized expertise helps clients navigate those often-competing forces towards better project outcomes. These large projects tend to have a host of competing stakeholder interests, and things can get complicated fast. Luckily, markets respond quickly to public priorities and, consequently, there’s some cool stuff happening in rail technology.

Big trains and cool technology, what more do you want!? Listen in…..

Episode 046: Marcin Taraszkiewicz, HDR, Inc

November begins a 2-part podcast with MBA alumnus Marcin Taraszkiewicz from the global design & engineering firm HDR. In this part 1, Marcin explains how he went from a design focused engineer to senior leader for large, multidisciplinary transportation projects.

A transformation that took time, some failure, learning to ask questions, and how to value those answers. He gives some great examples of how being open to learning, by whatever means, he developed skills and interests that he didn’t know he had or even wanted. The lesson is that even perfectly designed plans, developed in a vacuum, are often useless without the input of all the stakeholders involved.

If that isn’t strategic, I don’t know what is. Give it a listen.

Episode 045: Alla Antonov, Rio Tinto

October brings in MBA alumna Alla Antonov, to discuss her role as Principal Advisor, Commercial Strategy at the mining giant Rio Tinto. Alla specializes in the borates market. Rio, though, is a global, diversified firm with many products and an interesting business structure of four distinct operational entities and a single commercial team, Alla’s home, serving as its primary market interface for all products.

This is a great business with competitive advantage and high returns to capital. A nice place to be for any firm, but the question then becomes what are you going to do next? Rio Tinto isn’t standing idle. They’re innovating for efficiencies, embracing technology to lower environmental impacts and continuing to explore the world for the resources it needs.

It’s a good story and you should hear it.

Episode 044: Howard Gilman, LinkedIn

Let’s welcome strategy alumnus Howard Gilman to the podcast. Howard currently serves as Lead Deal Desk Strategist for LinkedIn’s Sales Solutions group. LinkedIn, as a firm, is many things though; software company, social media platform, hiring & recruiting services, and more.

So, what’s the product, and who’s the customer? Well, it depends. For Howard’s group, it’s firm’s looking for market intelligence to grow their business but what about the others? Such is the nature of a multi-sided platform. A business model that seeks to create value for distinct groups interacting across a core technology platform. LinkedIn has built a very elegant and focused version of this model.

What to know more? Keep Listening!

Episode 043: Jason Knoespel, Evolent

For August, MS-EPA alumnus Jason Knoespel joins us to discuss his work as Managing Director, Client Analytics at Evolent; a provider of technology, reporting, and intelligence services designed to increase efficiency & patient outcomes for its healthcare partners.

Jason talks about his current work, new developments in value-based care, information sharing and big data, and the potential of non-traditional health determinants. Evolving markets do make strategy challenging, but Evolent recently showed its strategic guile by refocusing into value-based, specialty care. Indicating this market could be engaging in value addition; a concept where firms focus on separate & distinct segments and increase value for everyone.

A rare economic win/win? Listen in.

Episode 042: Amy Wilson, Amazon Web Services (AWS)

In our July episode MBA alumna Amy Wilson joins us to discuss her work at the market leading cloud services provider Amazon Web Services (AWS). Amy sells AWS offerings to state and local governments that operate in Windows environments.

In this increasingly competitive industry, there are reasons why this segment would seem difficult to crack, even for AWS. So how do they overcome these difficulties? Using the strategic principle of looking ahead and reasoning back. AWS looked ahead to each stage of client interactions, anticipated obstacles (perceived or real), and designed optimal responses to reinforce their market leading strengths. Leading with your strengths, I like that!

You should give it a listen.

Episode 041: Dain Rideau, Torc Robotics

This episode welcome’s strategy alumnus Dain Rideau. As a Product Manager for autonomous vehicle developer Torc Robotics, he works on connecting vehicles to information. Torc, a subsidiary of industry leading OEM Daimler Truck, focuses on self-driving trucks and while this space is filled with strategic uncertainty, this OEM partnership is a strategic marvel.

Why? During uncertainty, a leading firm’s priority is to protect its position. This partnership allows Daimler to participate in the advancement of autonomous technologies in its own vehicles. Simultaneously protecting its position and embracing the change, whatever that looks like. Smart!

Listen in.


Episode 040: Liam Bruno, Walgreens Boots Alliance

This month we meet Liam Bruno, a Double Demon currently serving as Senior Manager for Procurement at Walgreens. Liam’s focus is on integrating ESG into day-to-day operations. ESG is, of course, well established and proven to create value when executed well, but there are many obstacles.

Still, forward thinking firms like Walgreens are widening their definition of stakeholder to include social and environmental interests, seeing the potential payoff of cooperation between this wider interest group. In essence, Liam’s role is seeking, what economic theory calls, a Pareto optimal solution, where all these interest groups are served while taking away from none.

How does he do that? Listen in.