7 Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career & The 7 Characteristics of a Winner

By Terry Connelly, former Dean of GGU’s Ageno School of Business

In a related post on this blog, I wrote about implementing your career strategy “like a business.” Here, I get down to skills you need in business and how to be a true winner and leader.


1) For finance and international careers, learn to think financially in non-US currencies. While business “language” is most predominantly English, globalization has made far more than one currency relevant to business strategy and financial practice. Regional currencies have survived, and trade in pairs, to some extent in a zero-sum game. Public perceptions of the US dollar’s purchasing power change with tides of global central bank policies and national trade policies, which are currently a preoccupation of every US taxpaying business with foreign operations and profits and intellectual property. Do this exercise: spend a week translation all your own expenses and investments into Euros or yen.

2) In meetings, if you are not chairing, always be ready (and even volunteer) to be the note-taker! It’s not demeaning; it’s Making the record of discussion flow and decisions can become a very important role. It often yields access to more senior executives and follow-up responsibilities. If there is a document under discussion, be happy to keep the “mark-up master.” You will remember the important decision points in the meeting better, and be a “go-to” person for the next draft. If you have ideas to contribute, train yourself to “draft in the air” (i.e., gather precise language in your thoughts before you even write them down on the shared document) so you are immediately prepared to defend them: don’t rely on your “stream of consciousness” — get good and conscious before you stream!

3) Read people acutely: and don’t jump to conclusions. Always challenge your own assumptions about others’ motivations — truly keep an open mind, listen and read critically before you respond (particularly in terms of texts or e-mail; the latter have solved the problem of immortality as well as ultimate transparency! Don’t underestimate the usefulness of walking down the hall to chat, because you can’t read body language in print or even optimally in a video conference. Admit when you don’t know an answer without giving up the change to go get the answer.

4) Thinking outside the box can be learned. Try to focus on facts or nuances that others are missing, or dismissing. Avoid the “not invented here” syndrome affecting many bureaucracies and apparently entrenched lines of business. Pick your spots, however, when mounting a challenge to conventional wisdom – don’t become easily branded as a “contrarian.”

5) Pay close attention to internal politics. Then rise above it. Do not become trapped in other peoples’ disputes unnecessarily. When you are a party to a disagreement, always show respect for your adversaries. There are seldom permanent work enemies. If you are in charge of a working group or committee,  be flexible enough to include, rather than exclude, those whom you expect will disagree with the group direction, or your own  – unless it’s clear they would participate only to disrupt.

6) Build trust in your ethics and your judgment. Get known for fair and measured assessments of situations. Be the “sane one” in a room or workspace fully of rancor. And never disparage your own proven abilities – it confuses people and makes them wary of your intentions. Don’t’ surprise colleagues too often; let them have a good general sense of “where you are coming from.”  Let the surprise be the special insight, not that it’s coming from you. Be neither “predictable” not “unpredictable.”

7) Treat any workplace relationship or interpersonal conduct not relating to business as though its essence could be disclosed on a major social media or another news site at any time, and act accordingly. When in doubt, disclose; if you can’t disclose, don’t act.

Those are the skills, and here are the personal qualities you want to develop to be a winner and a leader…

1) Know your authentic business “personality” and stay true to it. Play within your competence, and if that’s not enough to succeed, seek to expand your competence.

2) Be committed to getting to the bottom of things; don’t settle for superficial agreement or avoidance because the issue is “too hard.” Do not keep a permanent “too hard” file if at all possible.

3) Be sure of your facts. Be truly well-informed. Take care in all things – including the “little” things.

5) Be  objective. Don’t fear to admit the strengths of another person’s position or argument.  Remember the argument based on your authority is the weakest.

6) Be discrete. in what to say, and when to say it. Keep legitimate confidences. Never agree “not to tell the boss” if the boss has the need to know, even as a favor to a close friend or mentor.

7) Be the first to define reality and the first to say thank you. Intelligence, integrity, and charm will take you a long way. Integrity is the essential one, and the hardest one to fake in the long run.

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, Connelly 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. He 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 past Golden Gate University President Dan Angel, Connelly 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. He is a board member of the Public Religion Research Institute, a Washington, DC think tank and polling organization, and the Cardiac Therapy Foundation in Palo Alto, California. Connelly lives in Palo Alto with his wife.

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GGU and Study.com Team Up to Make College More Affordable for Bay Area Working Professionals

A new relationship between Study.com’s Working Scholars program and Golden Gate University (GGU) will give students a flexible option to earn a bachelor’s degree in business management at a fraction of the cost. Working Scholars participants will take online credit-recommended college courses at no cost to them through Study.com that will transfer directly for credit at GGU.

Study.com is an online education platform with more than 150 courses recommended for college credit by the American Council on Education (ACE). Its Working Scholars program gives adult learners the opportunity to pursue a bachelor’s degree while still balancing a job and other commitments.

Students in the Working Scholars program will now have the opportunity to finish their degree at GGU, which has been named America’s #1 School for Adult Learners two years in a row by Washington Monthly. The university is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Golden Gate University has a long history of expanding access to higher education, and we’re excited to form a relationship with Study.com that will give us the ability to help even more students.
— Dr. David J. Fike, Golden Gate University President

After taking the online credit-recommended college courses, students will take their remaining courses, including a capstone, through GGU at a significantly reduced tuition rate — earning a GGU degree upon completion. Students will be able to choose if they want to enroll in the GGU courses online or on-campus. Study.com success coaches can also help assess credits that students earned prior to entering the Working Scholars program.

“Golden Gate University has a long history of expanding access to higher education, and we’re excited to form a relationship with Study.com that will give us the ability to help even more students,” said GGU President David J. Fike. “Together we can help students fulfill their dream of earning a college degree, which can have such a positive impact on their lives and their earning potential.”

The Working Scholars program began in Mountain View, CA in January 2017 as a philanthropic endeavor with the goal of helping busy adults address the three main barriers to a college degree: cost, convenience, and confidence. The program has since grown to residents and workers of East Palo Alto, Gilroy, and Sunnyvale.

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“This partnership makes perfect sense because Study.com and GGU have a shared goal – to help students overcome the barriers to earning a college degree,” said Adrian Ridner, CEO & Co-founder of Study.com. “At Study.com we’re passionate about using our Working Scholars program to give students in our community an affordable way to earn a degree that can have a transformative effect on their lives. By partnering with GGU, we can work together to break down the barriers to higher education so students, who once thought earning a degree was impossible, will now be able to reach their goal.”

With relationships with institutions such as GGU, Study.com hopes to expand Working Scholars to various cities in the Bay Area.

About Study.com

Study.com is an online education platform that helps learners of all ages excel academically and close skills gaps. From test prep and homework help to earning low-cost college credit and developing workplace skills, Study.com’s online courses, short animated video lessons, and study tools have made learning simple for over 30 million students, teachers, and working professionals. Study.com was founded in 2002 and is a privately held company located in Mountain View, CA. Find us online or download the mobile app from the iOS app store or Google Play. Working Scholars is a fiscal sponsorship fund at Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity registered in the United States, EIN# 20-5205488.

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Global Philanthropist and Humanitarian Bita Daryabari Will Receive Honorary Doctorate and Deliver Golden Gate University’s 2018 Commencement Address


Bita Daryabari will receive an Honorary Doctorate and deliver the commencement address at Golden Gate University’s Graduate Commencement Ceremony on April 27, 2018. A global philanthropist and humanitarian, she received a master’s degree in Telecommunication Management from GGU in 1996. After graduating, Daryabari joined GammmaLink, Inc., one of the early pioneers in the field of telecommunications. She later moved to MCI Communications where she received distinguished awards and recognition for her work on more than one occasion.

Philanthropist and Humanitarian

Daryabari has had a long-standing passion for increasing knowledge of the culture of her native Iran, as well as improving the lives of people from Iran and beyond. Her vast charitable work includes establishing the Unique Zan Foundation, whose mission is to promote health, literacy, and peace for women in and from the Middle East. She also launched the Pars Equality Center, a community foundation that supports the full integration of people of Persian (Iranian) origin in the U.S. — including refugees, asylees, immigrants, and the American-born — and to advocate for their perspectives in American society. She works to create a more just and compassionate community in which Iranians of all cultures and beliefs can participate.

In gratitude for her GGU graduate education experience, Daryabari established the GGU Bita Daryabari Endowed Fund for Middle Eastern Students, which supports a scholarship for graduate business students born in a Middle Eastern country, and a graduate law fellowship for lawyers who reside in a Middle Eastern country. She has also endowed GGU with the Bita Daryabari Scholarship Program for Women of the Middle East in Business and Law.

“Bita Daryabari exemplifies Golden Gate University’s mission to prepare individuals to lead and serve,” says GGU President David J. Fike, Ph.D. “She is an inspirational alumnus, not only for what she has achieved in her career but also for her rich legacy of giving back and helping others get ahead. Bita is at the forefront of supporting immigrants in the U.S., and her leadership in expanding access to U.S. education for students from the Middle East is unparalleled. Her establishment of the Bita Daryabari Graduate Fellowship and the Bita Daryabari Scholarship at GGU are only two of many examples of her generosity and commitment to higher learning. GGU is honored to have Bita share her wisdom, optimism, and enthusiasm for positive change with our 2018 graduates.”

I vowed that I would use my influence and resources to create positive change in the world, as I don’t believe any child should have to live in a war zone.

Bita Daryabari (MS ’96)

Awards and Honors

Daryabari’s awards and honors include the World Affair Council Honoree of the year (2015), Ellis Island Medal of Honor (2012), the United Nations Appreciation Award for Outstanding Leadership, Commitment and Support of the UN and Achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (2011), PAAIA Philanthropist of the Year Award (2010), and GGU’s Alumni of the Year Award (2008). Gentry magazine also listed her among the Top 50 Bay Area Philanthropists (2015).

Creating Positive Change

As an immigrant who came to the U.S. at the age of 16 with virtually nothing to my name, I worked my way up through the telecommunications industry,” Daryabari says. “I was also fortunate enough to be part of the Google family during its inception, which resulted in my journey into philanthropy. I vowed that I would use my influence and resources to create positive change in the world, as I don’t believe any child should have to live in a war zone.”

She adds: “I hope to convey to this next generation: that anything is possible if one applies himself or herself; and I see my story is a living example. I also want to put emphasis on the importance of our daily intentions and relationships. These are the most important aspects that determine the outcome of our life stories.”

The Gig Economy: What is it? What’s It Mean, and What’s Ahead? Q&A with Tom Cushing, Senior Adjunct Professor at Golden Gate University


Tom Cushing, JD, MBA has operated within the evolving structural environment of work throughout his careers as an attorney, corporate executive, legal recruiter, and freelancer (As he says: “an Adjunct Professor, after all!”). Cushing is a Senior Adjunct Professor at Golden Gate University teaching employment law, negotiation, and Corporate Social Responsibility-related courses.

What is the Gig Economy?

It’s an environment in which work is temporary, done primarily by so-called independent contractors and moderated by the internet in several ways.

What can people expect to hear at your seminar on the Gig Economy?

The seminar will start with some big picture context about the evolving economy and then define terms. There’s a lot of overlap among non-traditional work types. We’ll look at the slippery numbers associated with the obvious growth of the Gig Economy, and the two primary types of gig workers. Then we’ll talk about the messy ways the law currently sorts workers, and why that’s so important to all concerned. Folks will get a chance to be the judge and try their hand at applying the current rules to an actual case. Then we’ll conclude with some reform proposals and takeaways for workers or next year’s budding (or is it “bro”-ing?) “Kalanicks.”


What has changed socially and economically that has birthed a Gig Economy?

In the very big picture, there has been a “war on overhead” (fixed costs) since roughly the 1980s. If major expense items like labor are made “variable” with the amount of business activity, then companies can be agile enough to stay competitive across the business cycle. US workers may be hired or shed “at-will“ — meaning that those individuals, rather than their companies, bear most of the risk in that business cycle.

Technology has also tended to replace human labor, and the jobs it does create are often lower skilled and lower paid. That, combined with a relatively abundant, inclusive workforce (as well as global outsourcing competition) has reduced workers’ relative bargaining power. They’re settling for fewer benefits and less security at work, making it possible to convert large numbers to contractor status (albeit with some legal risk). Contractors are “purely“ variable, as they are only engaged – and paid – when they’re specifically needed.

Connectivity via the web has certainly accelerated these changes. It has also created whole new approaches to businesses like urban transportation, as just one obvious example.

It’s now good to be an investor or an owner, rather than a worker, as U.S. wealth-disparity problems demonstrate. As an aside, I’ve noticed that how various commentators weigh the relative importance of these factors, and whether they consider these trends to be problematic, seems to depend on whether the writer expects to profit from them.


Gig Economy: What is it? What’s It Mean to Me, and What’s Ahead?

Tom Cushing will be presenting a seminar on the Gig Economy on Tuesday, April 24 from 6:30-8:30 pm at GGU (Room 3201). You can attend the seminar either in-person or online (via ZOOM).

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The seminar is open to GGU undergraduates and alumni. Graduate students have priority for registrations, but space is limited.

What about this phenomenon in California and the Bay Area?

The Bay Area tech industries are at the epicenter of these trends, as demonstrated by the likes of Uber, Task Rabbit, Upwork, Craigslist, and others. Tech firms are busily creating the future, and flexibility is an important element in their thriving. At the same time, it’s instructive to note that most of the California legal rules were established in the context of the ebbs and flows of agricultural work during the last century. There are similarities to today’s circumstances, but it’s not clear that those rules well-serve this fast-changing economy.

Can you give an example of career paths that are relevant to the Gig Economy?

“Path” is an interesting term, as it implies proceeding and building in some career direction. There is much to be resolved, as above, but “staying current” and “seeking growth sectors” (e.g., health care?) are relatively timeless good advice, if not comfort.

I think the term “career” is being redefined. “Thirty-years-and-out” is an artifact of a much more stable time and worker heyday. I think that today’s worker has to be ever-vigilant for the next new opportunity and accept the dislocations and turmoil that come with job-hopping. They also need to retain their own “agility” – meaning low, fixed personal costs, and high investment in retraining.

Does surviving in the Gig Economy have to do with transferable skills or building new skills?

“Yes.” We’ll see that there are those who dabble for some extra dough on the side, and many others who are treading water – only staying afloat by hustling among several ‘gigs,’ all of them insecure. Those latter are usually lower skill and lower paid.

/Rant on: As is typically American (and implied in the question), we tend to look at this as everybody’s individual responsibility –  to accept the system as it is, and to protect your own personal interests as best you can. But there’s a dawning, systemic public policy issue here – that nobody wants to address. What kind of society do we want to be – and what kind of social contract will there be among us? Is the Gilded Age really something we want to repeat? You know we’re a lo-o-o-ng way from constructively dealing with these issues when even Social Security, which we’ve paid into for decades, is labeled an “entitlement” for political purposes. /Rant off.

That said, in the short-run, micro sense, you are captain of your skillset. A significant trend in education is gaining specific vocational skills via certificate, rather than degree. You want to be among those higher-paid “giggers,” so tending that skill set by adding new capabilities in the programming arena, for instance, will be important.

How does one discover one’s secondary talents?

Learning to juggle?

You can register for the Gig Economy seminar or any seminar in the Innovation in Practice series on Eventbrite.

GGU President David J. Fike Meets with Accomplished Business School Alumni in Hong Kong

The GGU alumni community extends all over the world. Recently, GGU President David J. Fike, Ph.D. met in Hong Kong with members of its business community and two prominent alumni of the Ageno School of Business: Pollyanna Chu (BS ’81, Management) and Stephen Chow Chun-kay (BS ’79, Management & MBA ’81). Both were international students who studied at GGU’s San Francisco Campus.

Chu is CEO and Executive Director of Golden Resorts Group. She is also an Executive of Kingston Financial Group, a publicly-traded company that focuses on IPO distribution and mergers and acquisitions.  Forbes Asia listed her as one of their Women In The Mix and called her, “Hong Kong’s most prominent woman entrepreneur.”

Chow is Chairman and Managing Director of Chow Electronics, Ltd. In addition to being a past member of the GGU Board of Directors, he is active in community, business, and, educational pursuits in Hong Kong. Its government has awarded him the Golden Bauhinia Star in 2017, which recognizes those who have given distinguished service to the community or rendered public or voluntary services of a high degree of merit.

In the photo above: Sylvia Rosales-Fike (5th from left), David J. Fike, Ph.D. (6th from left), Pollyanna Chu (7th from left), Mary Ellen McGillan, GGU’s VP for Development and Alumni Relations (9th from left), and Stephen Chow Chun-kay (far right). 


GGU Seminar Series Addresses Cryptocurrency, Business Analytics, Sexual Harassment, and Other Timely Subjects

The Ageno School of Business is offering Innovation in Practice, a seminar series that covers timely, interdisciplinary, and applied topics. All currently registered Ageno School of Business graduate students who take at least one in-person class are required to register for, and participate in, one of these seminars. Seminars are also available via ZOOM online conferencing. The sessions are open to GGU undergraduates and alumni as well. Graduate students have priority for registrations, but space is limited for each seminar. You can register for any seminar here.

Innovation in Practice Seminars

Speechless: “Improv” Your Way to Great Presentations!

Thursday, April 19, 2-4pm

Speechless, San Francisco’s renowned improv performance group, offers interactive, on-your-feet training combines improv, stand-up comedy, and storytelling to fuel its PowerPoint show. The Speechless mission is to make public speaking more fun and less scary for everyone — and also train corporate presenters to be more creative and persuasive in delivering presentations. The Presenter-as-Performer Philosophy and improvisation techniques encourage participants to find their voice, tell their story, and go public! This seminar will conclude with Speechless’ hilarious signature PowerPoint contest that will leave you laughing and thinking about your newly acquired skills. Speechless has trained some of the biggest and brightest companies in the world including Google, Adobe, LinkedIn, eBay, Microsoft, Salesforce, Zynga, and Twitter.

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Intellectual Property in Marketing: Overview and Recent Controversies

Thursday, April 19, 4:00-5:30 pm

GGU Law Professor Bill Gallagher will present an overview of intellectual property principles — including trademarks, patents, copyrights, and trade secrets — with an emphasis on those of interest to marketing and new product development. The session will include a discussion of recent issues and controversies. Hosted by Blodwen Tarter, Professor and Chair of GGU’s Marketing and Public Relations Department.

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Storytelling Techniques for Interviews and Networking with Dave Collins

Thursday, April 19 6:30-8:30 pm

Award-winning coach, improviser, and strategist Dave Collins will guide you in how to apply the art of storytelling techniques to create lasting, positive impressions for interviews and networking. This interactive workshop will use improv and experiential skill-building to develop best practices for talking about yourself, your skills, and engage any audience in any circumstance.

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Returns with a Conscience: How Social Responsibility Impacts Investment

Monday, April 23, 12-1:30 pm

In a world of climate change, diversity, and gun control controversies, investing with an eye for social responsibility is becoming a higher priority for many people. While some believe that limiting a portfolio to “ethical” investments results in lower returns, others argue that strong ethics enhance value for companies and their investors. Explore how you might earn returns without sacrificing your moral compass from Sonya Hetrick (pictured), Sector Analyst at the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), and Billy Hwan, Portfolio Manager at Parnassus Investments. The event will be moderated by David Kaczorowski, Academic Program Manager and Professor of Finance at GGU.

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Strategic Play with LEGO® Bricks: Building Corporate Social Responsibility

Monday, April 23, 4-6 pm

Did you create your own world when playing with LEGOs? Then you must join this hands-on workshop with artist and GGU professor Walt Stevenson! Participants will explore major contemporary practices of corporate social responsibility while building a model of society with LEGOs. Using state-of-the-art LEGO SERIOUS PLAY® methods for critical thinking, this session will explore the complex and dynamic relationships created by a pluralism-based society and government in our free market economy. LEGO SERIOUS PLAY methods are based on hand-brain connection research done by the LEGO Group.  Presenter Walt Stevenson is a Professor of Management and Communications at GGU, emphasizing critical thinking, business context, and interactive learning. He holds an AB in English from UC Berkeley and MBA and DBA degrees from GGU. He is a qualified MBTI facilitator and an approved LEGO SERIOUS PLAY facilitator. He is a Colleague and Distinguished Leader of the Creative Education Foundation.

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Protecting San Francisco’s Future: The Seawall Fortification Bond

Monday, April 23, 4-6:30 pm

This is a fascinating case study evolving in real-time for all student and professional PMI and ITMs. Tyrone Navarro, the Principal Administrative Analyst for the Port of San Francisco (and President of the Board of Directors of Project Management Institute, San Francisco Chapter) will discuss the facts and challenge of the Seawall Fortification Bond. Did you know that the Port of San Francisco is responsible for maintaining more than seven miles of City of San Francisco waterfront, including the three-mile-long seawall that protects it? The Seawall, from Fisherman’s Wharf to Mission Creek, will require billions of dollars over the next three decades to make it resilient to a major earthquake and combat sea level rise. This is a major planning and public outreach effort, as voters will need to be convinced to pass the initial $350 million bond measure this fall.

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Blockchain and Initial Coin Offerings: An Introduction

Monday, April 23, 6-7:30 pm

FinTech, cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings (ICO), and digital wallets have been hot topics in the popular press. These terms are associated with “digital assets” that are disrupting financial services in the 21st century and changing the way the world does business. Blockchain is the software technology underlying these changes. This seminar is an opportunity to learn from industry expert, Patrick Baron, CEO of Ambisafe Financial Services and a Member of the Board of Directors of Orderbook.io. Among his many activities, Patrick is an Adjunct Instructor of Blockchain at the FinTech School, an advisor to UC Berkeley’s student-led blockchain group, and a frequent presenter of blockchain workshops for corporate executives.

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Creating a Culture of Respect in the Workplace

Tuesday, April 24, 12-1:30 pm

No doubt you have been following #Metoo and #Timesup movement. Dr. Marianne Koch, Associate Dean and Director of GGU’s Human Resource Management Department, has been interviewing HR managers about challenges and best practices concerning sexual harassment at work and how to end it. She will discuss the preliminary findings of her research into how to end sexual harassment and create a culture of respect in our workplaces. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in small-group discussions focusing on questions and scenarios of workplace interactions. Short case studies will also be presented followed by debate as to the best ways to approach various situations. This is an important discussion for all employees, regardless of gender identity, who want to work in a shared culture of dignity and mutual respect.

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A Broad View of Cybersecurity

Tuesday, April 24, 4-6pm

According to Homeland Security: “Our daily life, economic vitality, and national security depend on a stable, safe, and resilient cyberspace. Cyberspace and its underlying infrastructure are vulnerable to a wide range of risk stemming from both physical and cyber threats and hazards.” Cybersecurity expert Thomas Overman will provide a review of the development of modern information system security frameworks and implementation guidelines. The framework will be used as a base for group discussions of specific security case studies. Overman has an extensive security background serving in military and civilian areas of cybersecurity, information assurance, system security architectures, and security management. He has taught at the National Security Agency National Cryptology School.

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Running a For-Profit Business as a Force for Social and Environmental Sustainability

Tuesday, April 24, 4-6pm

B CorpJoin Veena Harbaugh and leaders from three local, certified B Corporations® to learn about B Corps and the 170 Bay Area firms that have become certified B Corps. Harbaugh is a Development Associate at B Lab, where she helps aspiring and certified B Corporations become extraordinarily successful and aligned with the principles of a running a sustainable business. A nonprofit organization, B Lab is devoted to driving a global movement that rethinks how businesses are measured.  Through a unique and rigorous assessment process, B Lab audits companies that strive to be both the best in the world and the best for the world — so that they have positive social and environmental impact, organizational transparency, and legal accountability.

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Gig Economy: What is it? What’s It Mean to Me, and What’s Ahead?

Tuesday, April 24, 6:30-8:30 pm

The Gig Economy is here to stay. But what does it mean for workers and organizations? Where did it come from, and why? How are workers best ‘classified’ and managed, and what are the consequences of employee mismanagement? Does the current legal system serve the interests of stakeholders and commerce well? What changes might be ahead? Whether you work for a Bay Area company or you are busy dreaming up the next big thing to replace Uber, this session will inform important choices in your working life. The seminar is presented by Tom Cushing, JD/MBA, a Senior Adjunct Professor at the Ageno School of Business, who teaches employment law, negotiation, and CSR-related courses. As an attorney, corporate executive, legal recruiter, freelancer (“an Adjunct Professor, after all”), he has operated within the evolving structural environment of work throughout his careers.

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Analytics in Sports

Wednesday, April 25, 4-6 pm

Sports Predictive Analytics is used to improve the winning records of athletes and teams, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and build a winning strategy. In this seminar of interest to business students and sports fans, Dr. Ash Pahwa, Ph.D. (pictured) will focus on team rankings and how to predict the winner of a specific game. Pahwa is an educator, author, entrepreneur, and technology visionary with three decades of industry and academic experience. He has founded several successful technology companies during his career, the most recent of which is A+ Web Services. Dr. Pahwa earned his doctorate in Computer Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He is listed in Who’s Who in the Frontiers of Science and Technology. He is also a Google Certified Analytics Consultant. His expertise includes search engine optimization, Web analytics, Web programming, digital image processing, database management, digital video, and data storage technologies. The seminar will be hosted by Dr. Siamak Zadeh, GGU Visiting Assistant Professor & Data Scientist.

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Introduction to Ketamine with Dr. Raquel Bennett

Thursday, April 26, 6-8 pm

In a rare opportunity for psychology students and professionals, Dr. Raquel Bennett will be discussing ketamine: a medicine that is primarily used as a surgical anesthetic, but which also has rapid-acting antidepressant properties. Dr. Bennett has been studying the therapeutic effects of ketamine for over 15 years and lectures frequently on this topic. The presentation will describe ways of working with therapeutic ketamine: low-dose infusions, ketamine-facilitated psychotherapy, and psychedelic ketamine journeys. Dr. Bennett will also talk about which patients should or should not have ketamine treatment, and provide resources for finding clinicians who work with this unique medicine. She is the founder of KRIYA Institute and the organizer of the KRIYA Conferences, which is an annual and international event devoted to understanding the use of ketamine in psychiatry and psychotherapy.

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Women Lead at GGU

To honor Women’s History Month, we would like to acknowledge the accomplished women who make a large contribution at GGU. Women are represented at the VP and Dean level — and are well over half of the degree program chairs and directors.

Vice President and Deans

Barbara Karlin
Vice President, Academic Affairs 

Mary Ellen McGillan
VP for Development and Alumni Relations

Kayla Krupnick Walsh
Dean, Student Services

Associate & Assistant Deans

Jessica Bride
Associate Dean, Law Student Support, School of Law

Benedetta Faedi Duramy
Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship, School of Law

Corey Farris
Associate Dean for Law Career Development, School of Law

Marianne Koch
Associate Dean, Ageno School of Business – Chair, Human Resources Program

Chairs & Directors

Ageno School of Business

Andrea Anthony, Chair, Financial & Economics Department
Jelena Ristic Kelleher, Director of the Undergraduate Experience
Judith Lee, Chair of Business Analytics, Operations, & IT Management
Marcia Ruben
, Chair, Graduate Management Program
Marie Spark, Director, Project Management Program
Blodwen Tarter, Chair, Marketing and Public Relations
Kendra Calvert, Director of Admissions and Recruitment
Cassandra Dilosa, Director of Administration, Graduate Programs
Karen McRobie, Director of Foundations for Academic & Professional Excellence and Director of Academic Integrity
S. Jamila Buckner, Head of Human Resources Department (Administration)

School of Law

Rana Boujaoude, Director, Bar Services Program
Teresa Wal Cyb, Director, Externship Program
Olivera Jovanovic, Director, Graduate Law Programs
Helen Kang, Director, Environmental Law and Justice Clinic
Reichi Lee, Director, Academic Development Program
Fiona McKenna, Director, Legal Writing and Research Program
Kaelyn Romey, Director, Litigation Program
Leslie Rose, Director, Advanced Legal Writing Program
Kimberly Staley, Director, LL.M. Tax and Estate Programs
Hina Shah, Director, Women’s Employment Rights Clinic

Braden School of Taxation

Kathleen Wright, Director of State and Local Tax

Undergraduate Programs

Nabanita Talukdar, Director of Math Programs

Associate & Assistant Directors

Academic Affairs, Student Life, and Wellness Services

Jennifer Carri,  Director, Student Life and Wellness Services
Regina Guerrero, Associate Director for Academic Affairs
Lori Granger, Assistant Director, Wellness Services
Neepa Parikh, Associate Director, Office of Career Services
Sandra Jimenez, Assistant Director, Student Life

GGU also supports the success of its female students with its annual Women in Leadership event. You can watch a video of the 2017 panel discussion, which was hosted by Ageno School of Business Associate Dean Marianne Koch.

Announcing GGU’s Corporate Fellows Scholarship for the Executive MBA Program

GGU’s Executive MBA (EMBA) is a demanding, transformative experience. Unlike many other “executive” programs, it is not a spin-off from a traditional MBA for full-time students. The EMBA is geared specifically for real-world success.

We’re pleased to announce a Corporate Fellows Scholarship of 50%.

  • Covers 50% of EMBA tuition
  • Limited to 15 recipients
  • Cannot be combined with any other grant or scholarship offered by GGU

To qualify for consideration for the Corporate Fellows Scholarship, EMBA applicants must:

  • be employed by a company operating in the U.S.
  • have at least 5 years’ experience managing people, projects, or businesses.
  • apply to the EMBA program by the August 3, 2018 deadline.

About the Executive MBA

The EMBA program at GGU is based on more than 115-years of proven success developing and delivering programs for working professionals, and it was designed to leverage the real-world professional experience and knowledge of the EMBA participants with GGU’s renowned active and practice-based learning methods.

As you complete GGU’s 16-month EMBA program, you will gain confidence not only from advancing your knowledge of business and leadership concepts, but also from mastering and applying what you learn to boost your professional performance.

More than 80% of EMBA faculty members
are scholar-practitioners.

From day one, you will have the opportunity to connect with a peer group of accomplished, high-energy professionals, in the heart of San Francisco’s thriving business district. You will join an active alumni community that is 68,000-strong, and you will benefit from a network of corporate partnerships and entrepreneurs that GGU has forged for over a century in the center of this world-changing business hub.

As a participant in the EMBA program, you will collaborate with and learn from executive coaches and instructors who are influential business leaders and who transform GGU classes into dynamic learning laboratories. More than 80% of EMBA faculty members are scholar-practitioners, and they will constantly challenge you to enhance your business knowledge and hone your leadership skills by solving real, meaningful and practical business problems.

Again, we invite you to apply for the EMBA program by the August 3, 2018 deadline to be considered for the Corporate Fellows Scholarship of 50%.  Winners will be notified by August 10, 2018.


Risks to the US Stock Market Rally in 2018 – “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?”


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


It was hard NOT to make money in the American stock market because almost everything went right in 2017, with each of the DOW the NASDAQ and the S&P 500 indices up between 20% on up to 28%. Yet some Wall Street traders managed to fail against those benchmarks or even lose a lot of money, largely by shorting high-growth technology, going long energy or otherwise trying to live without the moderate to high price day-to-day price volatility that is the mother’s milk for trading profits. Investors who simply invested in those indexes did very well indeed: $1000 spent buying the S&P 500 index, for example, yielded a total of $200+ in profits by the last day of trading in 2017.

But even with such performance, the US market was surpassed by the returns of its global peers, as measured by the MSCI ACWI non-US Index that tracks non-US companies across other developed and emerging markets. According to CNN Money, Hong Kong’s Index was up 36%, India’s 28% and markets in countries coming out of the shadows of economic downturns like Argentina (77%) and Nigeria (42%) were also up substantially more than the US market.

Last Days of 2017

Indeed, the synchronized global recovery in 2017 – including Europe (with or without the UK), plus India, Japan and many developing markets (but excluding China) – was fueled by maintenance of relatively low interest rates and bond buying by major central banks including the US Federal Reserve and the European and Japanese Central Banks. This had a lot to do with the US stock rally – perhaps even more than the self-described hero of equities President Donald Trump. In fairness, his election obviously had a positive impact on stock values – investors quickly and accurately saw him and his Administration’s agenda as very favorable to American business interests. As a “discounting mechanism” for future economic value, the stock market anticipated his tax cut agenda increasingly as it became finally clear that it would pass in the late fourth quarter and rose 25% for the year.

Investors generally know about the risks of a North Korean nuclear conflagration and the Mueller investigation of possible Trump campaign ties with Russia…But there are other less-noted risks that merit attention.

Nothing in fact of substance to the equity market has changed between December 29, 2017 and the first week of January 2018 so many analysts have predicted a continuing positive run for stocks in the New Year. Yes, there was a 100+ point drop in the Dow the last minutes of trading that coincided with a last-minute headline on Reuters that Russian ships were secretly transferring oil on the high seas — in violation of UN sanctions — to North Korean vessels. But Russia denied any “State” involvement (just as China had done days before in response to a similar charge).

Diplomatic Relations in 2018

Denials aside, however, US relations with Russia, China, North Korea (and even oil) pose risks to the US stock rally that investors need to take into consideration as they count especially their unrealized winnings – as they also contemplate their moves under the new tax regime, which has lowered individual rates such that the 24% personal rate kicks in only when couples’ taxable incomes reach $315,000 while long-term capital gains rates for such folks still come in at 23.8%. This marginal effect is a whole new wrinkle in a tax code change that otherwise is far more favorable to capital than salaried income! The tax changes themselves also include some surprising potential pitfalls for investors as the year begins, as we shall see below.

New Market Risks that Merit Attention

Knowing “when to hold ’em and when to fold ‘em” is a skill often in demand and frequently in short supply. Investors generally know about the risks of a North Korean nuclear conflagration and the Mueller investigation of possible Trump campaign ties with Russia that could threaten impeachment and political turmoil. Thus far markets have not reacted adversely to these threats, nor to China’s relative economic slowdown in the wake of financial reforms and capital controls.

But there are other less-noted risks that merit attention. Let’s uncover some of those:

Trade War

A trade war with China has often been threatened by Trump, but no trigger has been pulled as yet — although there have been media reports that an Administration squeeze on China trade is coming as early as January. We know from the Depression onward that markets hate trade wars, especially right when the world economy, driven by trade, is just starting to come around.

Interest Rates

The price of oil has been recovering from a multi-year slump and closed the year above $60, along with the increasing price of other commodities in part due to the 7.5% decrease in the value of the US dollar in 2017. Such inflationary pressure could lead the US Fed to raise interest rates more quickly than anticipated now by the market. That outcome could be negative for US equities even if US GDP picks up to near 4% as Trump predicts.

[The] tax code change … is far more favorable to capital than salaried income! The tax changes themselves also include some surprising potential pitfalls for investors as the year begins…

Government Shutdown

Likewise, the Federal government’s unfinished budget business (which took second place to passage of the Trump tax bill) is now leading to a January 19 shutdown deadline that could also play havoc with equity values short-term — especially if both Trump and the Democrats conclude that a shutdown fight over “principles” is in their 2018 midterm election interest. Remember that politicians take credit for rising stock values, but blame “market forces” for corrections and crashes.

Corporate Tax Rates

Under the new tax “repatriation” provisions, US corporations holding cash profits at least technically offshore to income tax liability here are deemed to have repatriated that cash effective in the 2018 tax year and owe theirs in addition to the new special tax of 15% on those proceeds. Although they can spread the payment that tax amount over 8 years, many will follow the lead of Goldman Sachs and take a charge for that liability in their last quarter of 2017, creating a sharp decline or even negative result for quarterly profits – quite the opposite of the strong and steady increase in such profits investors had come to appreciate and value in 2017!

Will shareholders look past this one-time hit to the fact that the new tax regime severely limits taxation of foreign profits of US companies going forward with a new “territorial” based-regime more akin to the rest of developed world? That risk question starts coming up right now. Goldman’s stock closed 1% down after its decision was announced on the last day of US trading, in a reversal of a recent uptrend that had broken above long-term “resistance” levels.


We will also need to see what other banks do with write-offs of tax-loss carry-overs from the bad days of the financial meltdown beginning in 2007, which are now worth much less on their balance sheets than they were before the new tax law substantially cut their effective tax rates from the mid-thirties to nearly the teens. A knee-jerk “run” on bank stocks could also upset the equity market’s equilibrium early in the first quarter as last quarter charges hit.

Technology Stocks

Another sector that has been responsible for much of the equity indices march higher has been technology, especially the “FANG” stocks – Facebook, Apple (and/or Amazon), Netflix and Google (now officially “Alphabet). The risks here to investors are even more substantial and longer term.

Senator Mark Warner and others in Congress have targeted Facebook’s and other Silicon Valley giants’ failures to control Russian use of its platforms to spread fake news intended to interfere with US elections.

Apple ended the year with an apology for remotely and secretly controlling the internet access speed of older iPhones to save battery life. This is a worthy goal, for sure, but an unworthy process that ironically mocks the very same “net neutrality” policies – now overturned by the Trump’s appointed leader of the FCC – which other FANGS and, lately, Apple have so vigorously has advocated.

In addition, Amazon is in Trump’s sights most recently for its “cheap” delivery deal with the US Post Office. Netflix has its own problems with new direct competition from Disney and its combination with Fox Entertainment – not to mention its ongoing streaming rivalry with Amazon. And Google is under threat from the European Union for billions in fines and more for favoring its own brands on its search function.

Collectively, the FANG stocks spell more risks for investors even than individually, because their rising stock prices have along with other “tech” companies has elevated their percentage presence of that sector in “market-cap-weighted” indices like the S&P 500. If the market turns sour on a set of such tech stocks, it would bring down the value of the whole index accordingly. Thus the 20% profit enjoyed by S&P index investors in 2017 could quickly turn the other way if the FANGS collectively fail to deal effectively with their current challenges.

The Dow and Its Most Expensive Stocks

The Dow Industrial average, by contrast, is not market-cap-weighted but stock-price weighted – so that that it is the higher per-share price stocks like Goldman Sachs (and, Boeing, IBM, and Apple) can have outsized impact day to day. As noted, some of these companies have their own special risks going into 2018 and can bring down the Dow index if they are not handled well.

The best speech I ever heard on Wall Street, given to assembled investment bankers in the midst of a trading recession, was the simple “environ­mental” reminder that “trees don’t grow to the sky.” Even as the science of climate change undergoes severe challenge from the “fake news” crowd, 2018 investors would do well to remember that basic lesson of ecology.

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 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.

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Meet the Incoming Chair and New Members of GGU’s Board of Trustees

Randy Merk (MBA ’85), Incoming Chair of the Board of Trustees, is the retired Executive Vice President of The Charles Schwab Corporation and past President of Schwab Financial Products. He oversaw all mutual fund, investment management, insurance, and banking activities within Schwab, and from 2004 to 2007 he reported directly to the firm’s legendary founder and chairman, Charles R. Schwab.

Before joining the Schwab organization in 2002, Merk was President and Chief Investment Officer of American Century Investments, Inc., headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. Prior to that, he was Chief Investment Officer for Fixed Income for two mutual fund companies: 20th Century Investors (Kansas City) and for Benham Capital Management (Mountain View, CA).

Merk earned a B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of California, Davis, and attended Golden Gate University where he was selected the Outstanding MBA Graduate in Finance in 1985. Today, Merk consults for financial service firms and teaches at GGU as adjunct faculty. He is known to his fellow board members for his financial acumen, his penetrating questions and his faith in the future of Golden Gate University.

New Board Members

Tracey Edwards (JD ’81, LLM ’83)

Tracey Edwards, who recently retired from Deloitte after 31 years, rejoins the Board and will be serving on the Law School Task Force. She previously served from 2000 to 2016.


Scot FerrellScot Ferrell (MBA ’88)

Scot Ferrell currently serves as the Chair of the Ageno School of Business Advisory Board. Managing Director at Marsh since June 2002, he is a member of the San Francisco Bay Area Red Cross Chapter Board of Directors and past President on the Board of Directors for the Fairview Fire Protection District.

Francis S. Ryu (JD ’95)

Francis S. Ryu has his own law practice in Los Angeles, leveraging trial success and dispute resolution skills to help clients prevent future threats to their companies. He has been a member of GGU’s Law Dean’s Advisory Board since March 2016. In 2013 he was voted GGU Alumni Association Volunteer of the Year.