Financial Planning Alumnae Will Be Panelist at Women in Leadership Event

Nicole Middleton is CEO of Strategy Squad Insurance Services and will be a panelist at the 5th-annual Women in Leadership event on October 25, 2017. A graduate of GGU’s Master of Science in Financial Planning program (’17), she is a strong supporter of women’s empowerment issues.

Strategy Squad Insurance is a family-owned wealth management firm based in Oakland, CA where Middleton specializes in creating strategies for women and their families to protect and grow their wealth—through holistic financial planning, insurance, and investment management. She is also an active member of the Financial Planning Association of San Francisco’s NexGen Leadership Committee and the Urban Financial Services Coalition.

We invite you to read Middleton’s recent post on the GGU blog in which she discusses the five biggest things she learned in the Master of Science in Financial Planning Program.

Special Event

Women in Leadership

Join us and hear a distinguished panel of professional women share stories, tips, and insight on how to navigate a successful career. The event is open to anyone in the GGU community and the public. Come to chat and enjoy food!

Date: October 25, 2017
Time: 5:30 – 8 p.m.
Where: Golden Gate University, San Francisco [directions]


5:30 – 6:30 pm — Registration begins / networking
6:30 – 7:30 pm — Panel discussion and Q&A
7:30 – 8:00 pm — Post-panel networking

Driven to Succeed: Armenian Student Continues Marketing Career in San Francisco

Tsovinar Yenokyan is a student in Golden Gate University’s Master of Science in Marketing Program (’18).

Tsovinar Yenokyan has been driven to succeed from an early age. She started to work at age 16, which was not common in her native country of Armenia, and began what she calls her, “long-lasting relationship with marketing.” Two years later, she took a Brand Manager position at Starcom Mediavest in Armenia. At 21, Tsovinar launched a marketing agency based on forward-thinking “lifestyle” targeting. While earning an MBA at American University of Armenia, she met a classmate and together they opened a bakery and café called “Cupcake Place.”

Tsovinar decided to come to GGU in San Francisco to get a master’s degree in marketing. “I came to San Francisco to get new perspectives, gain more knowledge, and realize my ambitions. San Francisco is a great generator of tech innovation that impacts the entire world. San Francisco, particularly downtown, is a great place to make professional connections and build a career.”

Tsovinar outside GGU in downtown San Francisco.

A Real-World Education at Golden Gate University

“I love my school,” Tsovinar says. “GGU has great professors. Most importantly, they are professionals who bring real-life experiences to the class.” For example, her Data Analytics course was taught by Dr. Nabanita Talukdar who has conducted quantitative and qualitative analyses for L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble, and other major companies.

In the Data Analytics class, Tsovinar created a quantitative report focusing on Airbnb units using statistical indicators such as which San Francisco neighborhoods have the highest demand, consumer satisfaction numbers, and rental prices. Through using a programming language called R, Tsovinar and her peer team created a prediction model for hosts to estimate the fair price of their rental properties.

GGU has great professors. Most importantly, they are professionals who bring real-life experiences to the class.

Inspiration in Armenia

Tsovinar credits the launch of her career at 16 to her mother, who was working on becoming a laser physicist until the Soviet Union collapsed. Her mother began a second career as a market developer for Coca-Cola and advanced to become the company’s CEO for Armenia. She then took the job of CEO of Armenia Wine.  “Armenia is famous for world-class wineries and Armenians are probably the most hospitable people in the world; we like to make each person that visits our country or our home feel special. You can ask my boyfriend about Armenian hospitality; he gained eight pounds from my mother’s cooking.”

On Being an International Student

“GGU is a perfect place for international students. Each student has an advisor and mine has been helpful in answering questions about student Visas and my curriculum. San Francisco is a city with its own heart and soul. I love this city. I have never seen such a contrast of people with so many different interests and backgrounds in one place. It’s a warm and welcoming place.”

Request information about GGU’s Master OF SCIENCE in Marketing PROGRAM  >>

A Master’s Degree in Accounting in One Year? GGU Offers New Path2CPA Program

GGU-outsideGolden Gate University now gives its undergraduate students the ability to earn a Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) in as little as one year after completing a bachelor’s degree with an accounting concentration. The new Path2CPA program lets students apply a number of their undergraduate courses to an MSA – making the “step up” to a graduate degree both quicker and less expensive.  The bachelor’s-to-MSA route also removes the hurdles of taking the GRE and completing an application for grad school.

GGU’s accounting programs are recognized as some of the best in the nation. Students get an edge in a crowded job market by choosing a specialized accounting concentrations. Most of GGU’s accounting courses are taught by instructors who are also practicing professionals — many working at “Big Four” firms in San Francisco’s Financial District.

For many students, the MSA will satisfy the 150-hour education requirement to become a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Other students can take electives that deepen their knowledge and help them get to the next step.

Four In-Depth Specializations

GGU provides concentrations that allow graduates to enter the job market with relevant, in-demand skills. These areas of focus offer students the uncommon opportunity to choose the most rewarding path for them.

Financial Accounting & Reporting: Theory and principles that frame a wide range of problems and issues encountered in the accounting profession.

Forensic Accounting: Courses in fraud auditing, financial statement investigations, complex discovery and data management, the role of the expert and expert report, bankruptcy and insolvency, economic damages, valuation, and lost profits.

Internal Auditing: Assisting students to become Certified Internal Auditors (CIA) as defined by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA).

Management Accounting: Positions students to achieve the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) and/or the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designations.

If students are not sure which specialty is right for them, staff advisors and faculty mentors can help them find the specialization works best for their career goals.

I am taking advantage of the opportunity to finish the MSA in just one year after getting my undergraduate business degree at GGU. Students like me can get a head start in an accounting career and save time and money in the process.
—Joey Byers (Bachelor of Science in Business, ’17)

Why GGU is the Best Option

In a competitive job market, a degree from an accredited university with a national reputation is an advantage. GGU has been part of the accounting community in the San Francisco’s Financial District for decades. The relationships among local students, faculty, and alumni have formed a natural pipeline from classroom to the executive suite. Local firms also look to GGU for new talent to fill positions in a growing field with increasing need for specialized skills.

Path2CPA Highlights
Earn an MSA in as little as a year
Apply undergrad credit to your grad degree
Skip the GRE and grad school application
Get real-world skills from in-depth concentrations

Are you a Golden Gate University graduate?
Alumni receive a 30% discount for the Path2CPA Program.


Deconstructing Mr. Damore’s Google Diversity Memo

By Terry Connelly, Dean Emeritus, Ageno School of Business, Golden Gate University

Maybe Tom Cruise of Jerry Maguire fame should play James Damore in the movie version – “It’s not a memo, it’s a mission statement.” Besides, the same thing happened to Jerry Maguire when he wrote his. And of course, Tom and Mr. Damore do share an important characteristic: they are both males.

Maybe we should focus on “males” for a moment. I was thinking a writing a “memo” about how the “traits” of men NOT cited by Mr. Damore in his memo purporting to assess dispassionately Google’s diversity programs (sourced to the exactly the same scientific “evidence” cited by him in that memo) such as a stronger tendency to “narcissism” and “taking dangerous risks”. These traits (to follow Mr. Damore’s logic) may suggest that the preponderance of males in the senior leadership of Google is “not good for the company.” Indeed, consider how Google’s parent Chief Financial Officer, Ruth Porat, has in the view of Wall Street analysts, has done more for the company’s shareholder value than any other officer, male or female. (Of course, she first had to overcome her “female” tendency to shy away from intensive numbers work!)

Mr. Damore’s memo is very selective about the supposed biological and genetic traits of “men” that he makes reference to – namely, only those that support the overwhelming presence of men in the ranks of Google employees, such as males’ “higher drive for status.” But let’s put aside for the moment and concentrate on what Mr. Damore said about women.

First, he starts off with the polemic technique of setting up mythical “straw men” (Sorry for the gender reference but that’s the way some common figures of speech roll.).

He attacks the leftist “moral… biases” he accuses his employer of embracing in shaping their diversity policies, as opposed to the right-wing biases he later endorses (Let’s “de-emphasize empathy”) in his memo’s conclusions:

Google’s Biases

At Google, we talk so much about unconscious bias as it applies to race and gender but we rarely discuss our moral biases. Political orientation is actually a result of deep moral preferences and thus biases. Considering that the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices.

Left Biases

  • Compassion for the weak
  • Disparities are due to injustices
  • Humans are inherently cooperative
  • Change is good (unstable)
  • Open
  • Idealist

Right Biases

  • Respect for the strong/authority
  • Disparities are natural and just
  • Humans are inherently competitive
  • Change is dangerous (stable)
  • Closed
  • Pragmatic

Only facts and reason can shed light on these biases, but when it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence. This silence removes any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies. For the rest of this document, I’ll concentrate on the extreme stance that all differences in outcome are due to differential treatment and the authoritarian element that’s required to actually discriminate to create equal representation.

Where is his evidence that Google lives by what he calls the obvious bias that “all” differences in outcome are due to differential treatment, or that discrimination is “required” to create “equal” representation? He has merely asserted that Google has based its personnel policies on these extreme and authoritarian straw men. But that’s just his opening amateurish, Sophistic trick. He goes on to cite as though it is settled science a series of findings in selected research studies that “suggest” that:

Men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership. Many of these differences are small, and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population-level distribution.

Women, on average, have more:

  • Openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas. Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men (also interpreted as empathizing vs. systemizing).
  • These two differences in part explain why women relatively prefer jobs in social or artistic areas. More men may like coding because it requires systemizing and even within SWEs, comparatively more women work on front end, which deals with both people and aesthetics.
  • Extraversion expressed as gregariousness rather than assertiveness. Also, higher agreeableness.
  • This leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading. Note that these are just average differences and there’s overlap between men and women, but this is seen solely as a women’s issue. This leads to exclusory programs like Stretch and swaths of men without support.
  • Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance).This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs.

Note that contrary to what a social constructionist would argue, research suggests that “greater nation-level gender equality leads to psychological dissimilarity in men’s and women’s personality traits.” Because as “society becomes more prosperous and more egalitarian, innate dispositional differences between men and women have more space to develop and the gap that exists between men and women in their personality becomes wider.” We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism.”

Mr. Damore’s source for these scientific “suggestions,” which he nonetheless concludes are “universal across human cultures,” are eminently “heritable,” and “exactly what we would predict from an evolutionary psychological perspective” is none other than – wait for it —Wikipedia! Such sourcing would not make it past a freshman sociology class…or even one in high school. But leave that aside. He also asserts that when a society becomes more “prosperous and egalitarian” these disparate tendencies between men and women become more pronounced and embedded. Even if that conclusion were undisputed (which it isn’t) surely he does not consider that America – or even Silicon Valley – is becoming more “egalitarian!”

Indeed it is possible that Mr. Damore in fact “proves” too much. If he’s right that to achieve success in tech, women must overcome embedded pre-dispositions in their very nature, but that these differentiations also can “evolve,” would it not be useful in terms of such evolution to provide them some extra support to do so in order simply to broaden the base and scope of collective human talent. Moreover, would it not be “good for the company’ to go out of its way to hire women who have shown the “grit” to overcome their natural deficiencies in terms of working with “things” or doing mathematics?

Mr. Damore also employs the trick of “acknowledging” that these ‘on average” characteristics overlap among men and women to some degree, and are not automatically the case with each individual male or female. But this point subtly introduces the old saw that “the exception proves the rule.” More importantly, it puts the burden of proof on women in any job interview in tech to show that, to put it bluntly, they have as an “individual,” overcome their biology and genetic makeup! How would Mr. Damore enjoy having to prove in every interview that he is not a narcissist?

In his conclusions and suggestions, Mr. Damore reveals his own biases. He states as an incontestable fact (without supporting citation other than an indirect reference to a book by one Dr. Farrell who asserts he has proved that women actually earn more than men) that there is no income disparity whatsoever between men and women doing exactly the same work. He supports this claim with the fatuous claim that since women spend more than men, we ought to “reconsider our assumptions” in terms of male/female workplace bargaining power.

He says: “Yes, in a national aggregate, women have lower salaries than men for a variety of reasons. For the same work though, women get paid just as much as men. Considering women spend more money than men and that salary represents how much the employees sacrifices (e.g. more hours, stress, and danger), we really need to rethink our stereotypes around power.”

And this is the logical mind The New York Times David Brooks admires as compared with the judgment of the CEO of Google, who has the common sense to recognize a direct attack on Google’s corporate values and female employees as a group when he sees it. Does Mr. Brooks also support the scientific “reasoning’ in Mr. Damore’s closing recommendation (in addition to de-emphasizing empathy and morals in diversity practices) that Google also should stop alienating conservatives: “Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, which is required for much of the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company.”

Perhaps Mr. Brooks will at some point enlighten us on how he feels, as a conservative columnist, about being more cut out for sheer drudgery (did Mr. Damore mean Matt Drudge?) than progressives.

In self-defense, Damore has penned another note, this time in The Wall Street Journal, where he asserts: “In my document, I committed heresy against the Google creed by stating that not all disparities between men and women that we see in the world are the result of discriminatory treatment.”

Please read the original memo, including the excerpts included in this blog, to determine for your self whether that is in fact what Mr. Damore said. Disputation about ideas is fine; in fact, I like Mr. Damore’s suggestion that similarly affected men should be allowed to attend special sessions designed for women to address assertiveness issues. But what’s good in Mr. Damore’s memo is overwhelmed by its overall devotion to Alt-Right cant that Google is entitled to disown. After all, the Supreme Court has decided in the campaign finance realm that corporations are people, too, in terms of the First Amendment, and more recently, that they can even assert and enforce religious beliefs. I do not see any evidence that Mr. Brooks has challenged those holdings. Yet he attacks Google’s CEO for acting on them and instead embraces Mr. Damore’s rather obvious misuse of selected scientific studies about “evolutionary psychology” — that Mr. Brooks knows do not go as far as Mr. Damore stretches them — to fit his own biases.

After all, what is wrong with Google doing its best to push forward that “evolution” – in terms of further developing the range of female talents and traits? My own personality has been scientifically assessed as a Myers-Briggs INTJ type – but with pronounced non-conforming characteristics of Expressiveness, Acceptance, and Rationality. But nobody can pick out these typologies just from my walking into an interview room or an office. But so-called ‘traits’ of a particular sex or race are just the opposite – they can be assumed by mere physical appearance.

This is precisely why biases based on the mere physical reality race and gender, in fact, compel special attention in terms of the workplace. We have, in fact, ”evolved’ from reliance on racial and gender stereotypes. You say you do not endorse stereotypes – yet you cite research to the effect that they are the MOST reliable indicator of human behavior. Why?

Girls can’t code! All Google is saying is “Yes they can if given a chance!” That’s not discrimination, as Mr. Damore asserts, that’s justice.

This article appeared on the Huffington Post on 8/14/17.

About Terry Connelly

Terry Connelly is an economic expert and Dean Emeritus of the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University. With more than 30 years experience in investment banking, law and corporate strategy on Wall Street and abroad, Terry analyses the impact of government politics and policies on local, national and international economies, examining the interaction of global financial markets, the U.S. banking industry (and all of its regulatory agencies), the Federal Reserve, domestic employment levels and consumer reactions to the changing economic tides. Terry holds a law degree from NYU School of Law and his professional history includes positions with Ernst & Young Australia, the Queensland University of Technology Graduate School of Business, New York law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore (corporate, securities and litigation practice in New York and London), global chief of staff at Salomon Brothers investment banking firm and Cowen & Company’s investments, where he served as CEO. In conjunction with Golden Gate University President Dan Angel, Terry co-authored Riptide: The New Normal In Higher Education (2011). Riptidedeconstructs the changing landscape of higher education in the face of the for-profit debacle, graduation gridlock and staggering student debt, and asserts a new, sustainable model for progress. Terry is a board member of the the Public Religion Research Institute, a Washington, DC think tank and polling organization, and the Cardiac Therapy Foundation in Palo Alto, California. Terry lives in Palo Alto with his wife.

GGU’s Psychology Chair to Lead Discussion at Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California

Dr. Tom Wooldridge, Chair of the Department of Psychology at GGU, will be leading a discussion at the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California in September. The discussion will follow a lecture by Kathryn J. Zerbe, MD and focus on secret-keeping and how bringing secrets to light in psychotherapy can result in positive outcomes. Dr. Zerbe is a well-known expert in the field of eating disorders and the author of several books including The Body Betrayed: Women, Eating Disorders. Attendees will get an inside look at a master clinician’s thinking about the complex clinical situations presented by patients with eating disorders.

Dr. Wooldridge will comment on the issues raised by Dr. Zerbe’s presentation. He is an authority on the subject of eating disorders and the author of Understanding Anorexia Nervosa in Males: An Integrative Approach (Routledge Press, 2015). His second book, an edited collection entitled Psychoanalytic Treatment of Eating Disorders: When Words Fail and Bodies Speak, will be released through the prestigious Relational Perspectives book series with Routledge in late 2017.

The Secret Life of Secrets: Toxic Effects of Preconscious Knowledge on the Development of Eating Disorders, Psychosomatic Illness, and Countertransference Reactivity

Kathryn J. Zerbe, MD with Discussant Tom Wooldridge, PsyD, CEDS
Wednesday, September 13, 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Location: 530 Bush Street #700, San Francisco
Register >>

We invite you to learn more about GGU’s master’s degree in counseling psychology  program.

Leadership Experts to Speak at Braden Lecture Series at GGU

Golden Gate University is welcoming a prestigious group of thought leaders to the 2017 Braden Leadership Speaker Series. The lectures will take place at the San Francisco campus from August through December and are free to the GGU community and the public. This year’s speakers will discuss leadership in the context of timely issues such as women in the workplace, mindfulness, and managing change.

Lunch and Learn

Join us for any of these free talks from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Lunch will be provided.






/shared-content/get-started/business-leadership-speaker-series/index.pcf Image

Lori Granger has taught a mindfulness curriculum for over ten years. She began her mindfulness journey through Zen meditation while working as a market-research based broadcasting consultant. She currently serves the GGU community as the head of Wellness Resources.

SEPTEMBER 12, 2017





/shared-content/get-started/business-leadership-speaker-series/index.pcf Image

Don Rath is VP of Corporate Tax at Synopsys where he leads finance transformation and finance leadership development. Previously he served as Senior Vice President, Global Tax and Corporate Risk Assurance (CRA) with Symantec Corporation, responsible for worldwide tax compliance, planning, and tax controversy as well as the company’s internal audit and advisory function.

SEPTEMBER 26, 2017





/shared-content/get-started/business-leadership-speaker-series/index.pcf Image

Izzy Chan’s award-winning documentary feature on breadwinner moms and at-home dads, The Big Flip—Stories from the Modern Home Front (2016), premiered at the Austin Film Festival and Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival.

OCTOBER 10, 2017



/shared-content/get-started/business-leadership-speaker-series/index.pcf Image

Philz Coffee’s unique blends, community-oriented stores and one-cup-at-a-time approach have drawn a cult following nationwide. Founded by Phil (Jacob’s Dad) with Jacob by his side, the first store opened in the Mission district of San Francisco in 2002.

OCTOBER 24, 2017


NOVEMBER 7, 2017





/shared-content/get-started/business-leadership-speaker-series/index.pcf Image

Sameer B. Srivastava is AssistantProfessor and Harold Furst Chair in Management Philosophy and Values at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and is also affiliated with UC Berkeley Sociology.

NOVEMBER 21, 2017





As CEO of BPM, Wallace focuses his attention on leading strategic initiatives that raise the Firm’s national prominence through the expansion into new markets, concentration on specialty services and business combinations in key markets.

NOVEMBER 28, 207





/shared-content/get-started/business-leadership-speaker-series/index.pcf Image

In addition to his leadership role at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Ramsey serves on the Board of Trustees at the California CPA Education Foundation.

DECEMBER 5, 2017





/shared-content/get-started/business-leadership-speaker-series/index.pcf Image

Bruce Braden is the CEO and Founder of F2 Oilfield Services in North Texas and NEOK Energy, LP in Oklahoma. In addition to operating energy service companies, Bruce also uses his entrepreneurial and leaderships skills in the real estate market where he devotes a majority of his time and energy.

His investments include The Stanford Storytelling Project, the Braden Diabetes Center at Marin General Hospital, and GGU’s School of Taxation. Braden is an active member of the Golden Gate University Board of Trustees and was a GGU Taxation instructor from 1978 to 1981. In recognition of his significant contributions to the university’s educational capabilities and services, GGU awarded Braden with the Amicus Award in 2012.

A Stanford University undergraduate alumnus and veteran of the United States Army, Bruce holds an MBA with a concentration in Taxation from Golden Gate University (’74).

For more information on the event please write

Should I Get a Master’s Degree in Taxation?

By Eric Lee, Lecturer and Director of Academic Quality & Training, Golden Gate University

I posed this exact question to my mentor, a tax partner at KPMG, one of the Big Four public accounting firms, in the 1990s. At the time, I had completed one year as a tax staff. My mentor answered my question by simply stating, “Yes, assuming you want a career in taxation.”

Thus, it quickly became a matter of “when”, not “if”, I should get my master’s degree in tax. Why was timing so important? Taking graduate-level tax classes is challenging. I wanted to take classes when I did not have other substantial commitments outside of my full-time job as a tax staff. In fact, I planned to avoid Spring semester courses because that was during the busy season when tax preparers often work 55-hour weeks.

Education for the Real World

Shortly after that conversation with my mentor and having just passed the CPA exam, I decided the time was right to begin taking classes toward the Master of Science in Taxation degree at Golden Gate University. Fast forward 25 years, I have enjoyed a very successful and rewarding career in taxation as a member of senior management at a very large public accounting firm.

I started my education at GGU in the evenings, walking the short distance from KPMG’s office to campus. I quickly realized that the classroom experience was like none I had ever had. The courses were led by faculty with substantial academic and real-world experience, bringing in concrete real-world issues and challenges. My fellow students had diverse real-world experiences, including working in small and large public accounting firms, corporate tax departments, and governmental agencies. The diverse student backgrounds helped trigger engaging classroom discussions as we explored the technical material.

I started my education at GGU in the evenings, walking the short distance from KPMG’s office to campus. I quickly realized that the classroom experience was like none I had ever had.

The reality is that the Internal Revenue Code is both voluminous and complex. The two thick volumes of the Code are longer than the seven Harry Potter books, combined! Further, the Code is supported by six volumes of Regulations, IRS Revenue Ruling and Procedures, and endless amounts of tax case law. It is impossible for any one person to learn it all. The magic of a Master’s Degree in Taxation from GGU is that it teaches you how to research, read, and apply the myriad of tax law to a taxpayer’s set of facts. So, even if you have never seen a set of factual circumstances before, you will know how to identify the potential tax issues and find the solution.

Another major benefit of getting a Master of Science in Taxation at GGU is the material learned is very relevant in the real world. Many times, I applied what I learned during class the next day on the job in a client situation. After three years of experience in public accounting, you begin having client contact. Talking directly to clients who are paying a substantial sum of money for your tax guidance can initially be intimidating. However, the knowledge gained during classes gave me the confidence to ask appropriate questions to understand the client’s facts. Also, by understanding not only the tax law — but also the underlying theory and purpose of the tax law — gave me the ability to explain tax issues and tax law to the client in layman’s terms.

Getting a master’s in taxation degree, especially while working, is not easy. But, neither is the tax law. Despite missing a few Monday Night Football games over the years, I never regretted my decision to get my master’s in Taxation degree.

About Eric Lee, CPA

Eric Lee is an accomplished professor with 20 years of university classroom experience, a CPA, 20 years of public accounting experience, and author of 5 published books. He holds a master’s degree in taxation (’97) from Golden Gate University.


San Francisco is the Place to Be for Graduates Looking for a Job

A casual search of LinkedIn uncovers thousands of high-paying tech and business jobs in San Francisco. Shortages in the healthcare management and business analytics fields, combined with rapid growth in the tech sector, have driven abundant work opportunities.

Despite this promising outlook, recent graduates of any field face competition from their peers and those with greater experience. Choosing the right city to start a career can give graduates an edge in finding a great job.

It comes as no surprise that San Francisco has been named the best city in the US for recent graduates to find a job by the highly respected American Institute of Economic Research (AIER). The study looked at a number of factors, including unemployment rate, labor force participation, and how many people worked in emerging industries.

Located in San Francisco’s Financial District, Golden Gate University is situated as an ideal launch pad for graduates looking to advance a business career or break into a new one. GGU’s faculty often make a short walk – some literally across the street – to teach courses. Many currently work for international companies with a worldwide impact such as Google. Direct exposure to working professionals creates valuable networking and mentoring opportunities for students. Golden Gate University’s roots in the Bay Area business community go back more than 120 years, a history that has created a natural pipeline from the classroom to the executive suite.

“San Francisco is a great place to look to for work. There are a lot of magnificent local companies like Uber, Google, Facebook, Salesforce, Apple, Microsoft, Charles & Schwab—and the list goes on. I believe this city has opportunities for everyone, whether a graduate is looking for a career in Marketing, Human Resources, IT, Finance or Accounting. As the technology hub of the world, the number of startups growing every day.”

—Jatin Jaiswal (MBA candidate, ’18)
President Student Government Association

The Best City, Period

AIER also named San Francisco as the best city in the world for higher education when considering both quality of life and practical considerations. The survey found that the factors prospective students value most – the percentage of an educated population and diversity – are hallmarks of what locals call The City. AIER researchers also considered factors such as employment rate (a low 3.1% in San Francisco); arts and entertainment; the presence of science, technology, medical, and engineering workers; biking and walking options; and public transportation. As far as getting around, the new transit station a block from campus and its 4.5-acre rooftop park only adds to the appeal of GGU’s downtown location.

If you are interested in learning about San Francisco’s reputation and position in the business world, we invite you to watch this video with Dr. Gordon Swartz, Dean of GGU’s Ageno School of Business.

Request information about GGU degrees and certificates >>

Dr. Marcia Ruben Shares Expertise on Neuroscience and Leadership at Worldwide Event

Dr. Marcia Ruben shared her expertise in two “Ask the Doc” panels at the second-annual Conversational Intelligence® graduation program in New York City on July 22. Ruben is Chair of GGU’s Management Department and the 2016-2018 Recipient of the Russell T. Sharpe Professorship. The event was attended by 380 educators, executive coaches, and business leaders either in person or through streaming video.

Dr. Ruben has given presentations, taught, and written in her Leadership Tangles blog on the link between neuroscience and leadership. She has incorporated the latest scientific knowledge about the biological basis for leadership behavior in five GGU courses: Management and Leadership; Personal Leadership; Teamwork in Organizations; Executive Coaching; and Leadership Theory, Research, and Application. Since being certified in Conversational Intelligence® in 2016, she has embedded some of its concepts and tools in these courses. Ruben says: “Leaders who are aware of the neurochemistry of social interaction are better able to regulate themselves, lower defensiveness, and bring everyone’s best thinking and ideas to the table.”

Left to right: Dr. Richard D. Glaser, Judith Glaser, and Dr. Maria Ruben

Judith Glaser, who created the Conversational Intelligence® certification, invited Dr. Ruben to join the advisory team of her organization and speak at the 2017 graduation ceremony. Dr. Ruben and Dr. Debra Pearce-McCall (who co-authored The Neurochemistry of Power Conversations with Ruben) consulted with Glaser to create a Whole Brain Simulation exercise that took place at the event. Dr. Ruben took a lead role in designing a pre- and post- survey to measure the effectiveness of the simulation. Graduates of the certification program broke into pairs, each representing a part of the brain, and discussed how their part functions and communicates with other brain regions. The group then picked a triggering event – for example, announcing a layoff – and simulated how each part of the brain would react. Participants found the exercise beneficial in learning more about how the brain responds in challenging situations. Ruben says the most important takeaway for participants is learning how to regulate their stress to have more productive conversations.

At the core of all the courses I design or teach are techniques for managers and leaders to create a sense of safety so that they can bring out the best in their people.

—Marcia Ruben, Ph.D.

Dr. Ruben will collaborate on the analysis and write up of the survey she co-designed to access the learning outcomes of the Whole Brain Simulation experience. She is also working on a new and expanded version of her article, Know your Brain, Grow your Leadership, which appears on her Leadership Tangles Blog.

Dr. Ruben is the recipient of the 2016-2018 Russell T. Sharpe Professorship. She is focusing her efforts on identifying the most recent and relevant empirical research to include in GGU’s graduate-level management courses, as well as conducting research that will further enhance the teaching of neuroscience and leadership. Dr. Ruben will be conducting an experiential “Neurowalkaround” with GGU students in December 2017 and gathering data on its effectiveness for current and future leaders.

You can follow Dr. Ruben on Twitter at @TangleDoctor.

About Marcia Ruben, Ph.D.

Marcia Ruben Ph.D. began teaching full-time at Golden Gate University in 2012 and was appointed to the Chair of the Management Department at GGU in 2014. She is president of Ruben Consulting Group, Ltd. and has expertise in executive leadership, team performance, change management, and organizational development. Marcia earned the Certified Management Consultant designation from the Institute of Management Consultants USA in 2002. She is also an accredited executive coach and completed a year-long evidence-based coaching certification program. Marcia earned the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) designation from the International Coach Federation in 2010. Marcia earned her Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University and is currently working on a book based on her doctoral research. She earned an M.A. in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University and an M.S. in Counseling from California State University, Hayward. Marcia graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. from University of California, Berkeley. She has co-authored several articles that are recognized as thought-leaders in the change management and coaching industry.

Under Every GOP Plan to Replace Obamacare, Your Employer Will Be Free to Terminate Your Health Insurance: Did You Vote for That?

By Terry Connelly, Dean Emeritus of the Ageno School of Business

Employer-based health insurance has been a mainstay of the American economic scene since World War II, when it provided an added benefit for workers denied any increase in wages to match their wartime productivity by Federal wage-price controls. And it is at risk of disappearing without much, if any, public debate. For decades it was provided on a voluntary basis, as a product of employer-employee bargaining and job market forces.

The Affordable Care Act signed by President Obama made such coverage mandatory for most enterprises in the US except those with fewer than 50 full-time employees. The Act also specifies the required core elements of such coverage in line with the essential insurance coverage set for the Obamacare Exchanges. It has been a central promise of the Republican Party to end the employer mandate (as well as the individual mandate to purchase some form of insurance). The GOP has made that promise a core part of every form of legislation they have on offer to repeal President Obama’s signature legislation.

Yet, the working assumption of the media seems to be that most large-scale employers would not take advantage of the opportunity to terminate the health insurance benefits of their employees. Even the Democrats have not raised the issue of folks losing their workplace health care policies under the GOP plans, presumably because of the same lazy assumption. But these assumptions fly in the face of basic economic consideration that should lead any sensate CFO to put pencil to paper and “go figure.”

First of all, there are no wage/price controls in place today that would prevent them from giving employees a raise in their pay packet in exchange for ending the insurance benefit. Both are deductible business expenses under the Federal and state income tax laws. Indeed, the only threat on the horizon in terms of benefits is the risk that some health insurance plans may be so generous as to lose part of their tax deductibility!

This trade-off could well be a win-win for employees, especially at the lower segments of the national pay scale, who could buy health insurance on the private market using their expanded paychecks together with both the GOP expansion of tax-advantaged, expanded Health Savings Accounts and Federal premium support subsidies (both part of the GOP proposals to replace current Obamacare tax credits).

If any state were to take advantage of GOP proposal to waive essential insurance benefits mandated by Obamacare on its Exchanges and the individual market…all employers nationwide would be immediately authorized by law to drop their employer coverage down to this new “lowest common denominator” range of coverage.

Replacing workplace-based health insurance policies and forcing the entire US employee base to enter the individual marketplace could have the benefit of radically reducing premiums for most insured families as a result of the massive influx of basically healthy workers to that market which is now gravely tilted to the sick and people with pre-existing conditions (and let’s remember, a pre-existing condition before Obamacare included not just cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, but also simply having ovaries or just having once taken a prescription antacid).

If CFOs discover the magic of replacing rapidly escalating health insurance costs with much more controllable pay increases and letting the US taxpayer foot the bill through the GOP’s federal insurance tax breaks and subsidies, surely employees’ personal contributions to health insurance payments would quickly be made tax deductible by any sensate Congress. (And why not: why should such costs be deductible if paid by an employer, but not if paid by employees if there is no longer an available employer-based plan in their workplace?)

It would be one thing if this rosy transition scenario would be worked out in advance; however, that is hardly the likely base case of what would happen if any of the GOP replacement plans were to be enacted and signed by President Trump. It is much more likely that the first wave of employee insurance terminations would come from small scale, non-unionized “mom and pop” businesses and non-profit entities. Given their vociferous opposition to the mandate all along, they will logically stop providing employee health insurance as soon as the ink is dry on
Trump’s signature.

Remember that as we get closer to businesses of 500 or so employees, we would be dealing with a very big source of jobs in America in an aggregate sense. So it is no wonder that the CBO has estimated that millions would lose their employer-based insurance in the early years following enactment of the GOP proposals. At the same time, there will be rolling chaos as other millions lose their Medicaid coverage and flood the emergency rooms, which are now increasingly staffed by high-cost outsourcing firms. Separate from a hospital’s doctor and nursing workforce, these firms are known for laying the highest maximum ER charges onto working poor patients, thus forcing many thousands into additional medically induced bankruptcies.

This outcome, in turn, would bring increased calls for higher Federal insurance subsidies which will only make it more attractive for major corporate CFOs, CEOs and boards to begin thinking the unthinkable about “repealing” corporate insurance benefit expenses and “replacing” them with equally or even more fully deductible pay increases. Nobody in media is doing such scenario analyses now, in part because they are not paying close enough attention to the CBO scoring of the GOP bill beyond the headline coverage loss numbers largely due to the obvious cutbacks to Medicaid coverage.

The media is also not paying a lot of attention to another aspect of certain GOP proposals that would have another profound effect on employer-based health insurance. If any state were to take advantage of GOP proposal to waive essential insurance benefits mandated by Obamacare on its Exchanges and the individual market — like maternity care, mental health, drug rehab or cancer care — all employers nationwide would be immediately authorized by law to drop their employer coverage down to this new “lowest common denominator” range of coverage, regardless of how those with pre-existing conditions would be left to the mercy of the marketplace, and that Obamacare’s ban on lifetime limits of coverage would likewise disappear also for those conditions.

This sneak attack on employer-based insurance may or may not make it into whatever the GOP manages to pass in Congress or adopt by regulation, if they pass anything at all. But it is worth paying far more attention to than the mainstream media (perhaps cowed by President Trump’s incessant attacks on their bias and “fake news” reports) is willing to report. As Arthur Miller wrote in Death of a Salesman: “Attention must be paid.” — especially when we are confronting the possibility of a slow, insidious attack on workplace health insurance.

This article appeared on the Huffiington Post on July 27, 2017.

About Terry Connelly

Terry Connelly is an economic expert and Dean Emeritus of the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University. With more than 30 years experience in investment banking, law and corporate strategy on Wall Street and abroad, Terry analyses the impact of government politics and policies on local, national and international economies, examining the interaction of global financial markets, the U.S. banking industry (and all of its regulatory agencies), the Federal Reserve, domestic employment levels and consumer reactions to the changing economic tides. Terry holds a law degree from NYU School of Law and his professional history includes positions with Ernst & Young Australia, the Queensland University of Technology Graduate School of Business, New York law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore (corporate, securities and litigation practice in New York and London), global chief of staff at Salomon Brothers investment banking firm and Cowen & Company’s investments, where he served as CEO. In conjunction with Golden Gate University President Dan Angel, Terry co-authored Riptide: The New Normal In Higher Education (2011). Riptide deconstructs the changing landscape of higher education in the face of the for-profit debacle, graduation gridlock and staggering student debt, and asserts a new, sustainable model for progress. Terry is a board member of the the Public Religion Research Institute, a Washington, DC think tank and polling organization, and the Cardiac Therapy Foundation in Palo Alto, California. Terry lives in Palo Alto with his wife.