Summer 2020

News, Notes, and Nods: Undergraduates


Jeffrey Brown ’86, president and CEO of Brown’s Superstores Inc., established the Pennsylvania 30 Day Fund to assist small businesses affected by the COVID-19 shutdown. Each grantee, which was otherwise ineligible for government loans or grants, received a forgivable loan of $3,000.


Sean Wheeler ’89 is a senior partner at Kearney, and managing partner for his firm’s Turkey, Black Sea, and Caucasus Region. He has spent more than 25 years living and working in London; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and now Istanbul, supporting a variety of international clients. He also is leading his firm’s regional social impact pro bono work, working closely with charities and nonprofits to sponsor business incubation and new business development efforts. He is an Ashoka Support Network member, and he recently partnered with Ashoka to support Syrian refugees in Turkey to establish startup businesses.


Training and development firm Illuminate, founded by Shaun McMahon ’90, has been welcomed into the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) following its certification through the NGLCC Supplier Diversity Initiative. The NGLCC is the only national not-for-profit advocacy organization dedicated to expanding the economic opportunities and advancements of the LGBT business community. “Encouraging inclusivity in the workplace and supporting diverse communities is personally important to me,” McMahon said, “and these objectives are fundamental to Illuminate’s mission and work culture as well.”


Craig Vaream ’91 has written No Limits: Adventures and Lessons from Living with Diabetes, which discusses his climb of Mount Kilimanjaro and running of the New York City Marathon to celebrate his 25th anniversary of being a Type 1 diabetic. Proceeds from the book benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.


Faith Hickey ’92, MBA’99 (bottom left) and her college roommates—including, clockwise from Hickey, Gisele (Serralles) Woodward ’92, Vikkilyn (Smith) Gallagher ’92, Amy (Carroll) Coumounduros ’92, Ellina (Tsirelson) Beletsky ’92, and Joanne Saunders ’92—have been getting together for a virtual Zoom cocktail party once a month since the beginning of the pandemic. All six were residents of Pietz 44 during their senior year.


Kristine Ball ’93 was appointed to the board of directors of Atreca, a biotechnology company focused on developing novel therapeutics. Ball previously was senior vice president of corporate strategy and chief financial officer of biopharmaceutical company Menlo Therapeutics. “I am excited to join the team during an important phase for a growing company,” she said, “and I very much look forward to being a part of Atreca’s continued progress and success.”

Marci McCarthy ’93 was appointed to the board of directors of Spirion, a company that enables businesses to take steps toward data protection. She joins Spirion with more than 20 years of business management and entrepreneurial experience.


The Womanity Foundation, established by Yann Borgstedt ’94, placed 146th in the 2020 Top 500 NGOs world ranking by NGO Advisor. The Womanity Foundation’s mission is to invest in audacious solutions that accelerate gender equality and create sustainable social change. Its purpose is to foster an inclusive world in which all women and men enjoy equal rights and opportunities. Since its creation, Womanity has supported 22.6 million people, and the foundation recently celebrated its 15th anniversary with a gala that raised about $3 million for its programs.


Jennifer MacLellen ’96, CFO of Reformation, helped lead her company in repurposing part of its manufacturing to produce face masks.


Si02 Materials Science—led by Lawrence Ganti ’97, president of customer operations and chief business officer—unveiled a $143 million agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense (JPEO–CBRND) to accelerate the production of the company’s state-of-the-art, patented, primary packaging platform for storing novel coronavirus vaccines and therapeutics. “We’re dramatically ramping up capacity to meet customer demands and to ensure that the surge seen due to the COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutic developments can be accommodated,” Ganti said.


Hamilton Stolpen ’99 launched his line of barbecue sauces, rubs, and apparel, born from his 30-year passion for cooking. Bear Smoke BBQ even was featured in the summer issue of Martha Stewart Living as a trending new product. “What grew from fulfilling requests from friends, co-workers, and charity events is my own business,” Stolpen writes. “My Babson education and experiences have paid off.” Bear Smoke BBQ makes all of its hand-crafted sauces in North Carolina.


Linda Pizzuti Henry ’00, H’19 is serving on a diverse 27-person advisory panel to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as the city progresses through its phased reopening.

Yan Katz ’00 of The Bulfinch Group was named an Executive Club qualifier by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, one of the highest honors annually awarded by The Guardian to financial professionals who demonstrate outstanding service and dedication to their clients. “Being recognized as an Executive Club qualifier is a true testament in regard to his exceptional client service,” said Seth Medalie, president and founder of The Bulfinch Group.


Darcy Buck ’07 helped lead her family business, A. Rifkin Co., in pivoting production from security bags and supplies, to face masks, covers for N95 masks, gowns, and head caps.

Maja Stevanovich ’07 recently worked on a Netflix special on mental health in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense. Stevanovich is the founder of Braintuff, where she, along with Joshua Yashari ’17, aims to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health through programming and support.


Founded by CEO Joel Holland ’08, Harvest Hosts was featured in a Good Morning America story on the appeal of RV travel during the pandemic. Harvest Hosts connects travelers with lodging in the United States and Canada, and Holland said membership signups were up 400% compared to 2019.

Ian So ’08 joined forces with Charlestown Face Shield Project to produce face shields in the Chicken & Rice Guys warehouse.


Ball and Buck, led by Mark Bollman ’10, is donating one mask for every mask purchased.

Jamaal Eversley ’10 will host an art show in September at Beacon Gallery in Boston. Pieces featured have been created by Babson alumni, including Stephanie Ayotte ’10, LaShonda Cooks ’10, and Terence Musto ’10, as well as Babson friends and faculty Stephanie Osser, Professor Mary Pinard, and Melissa Shaak. Ayotte and Eversley also are working on a fashion line for the show.


Mary Blackford ’11 was named the grand prize winner in the national ESSENCE and Pine Sol’s Build Your Legacy grant competition, aimed at empowering Black female entrepreneurs. Blackford’s company, Market 7, is a community marketplace featuring several Black-owned businesses for the purpose of alleviating goods and retail deserts in Washington, D.C.’s underserved Ward 7. After being named one of three semifinalists, Blackford won a public vote and was awarded a $150,000 grant. Market 7’s food hall is slated to open in 2021.


James Hilton ’12, founding partner of Xavinci, co-created a database of people willing to volunteer during the pandemic. Xavinci specializes in the creative design and development of digital experiences.


Jessica Lynch ’13, MS’13, MBA’18, founder of Wishroute, launched a new program to help people navigate the challenges of social distancing.


Thomas Callahan ’14 and Alexis (Ferraro) Callahan ’15 were married September 21, 2019, on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. They met in Associate Professor Jon Dietrick’s class in the fall of 2012 and have been together ever since. There were more than 30 Babson alumni at their wedding.

Daquan Oliver ’14, founder of WeThrive, was among eight named an Ashoka Fellow for bringing actionable and breakthrough ideas to the table for the common good. WeThrive has brought engaged learning and a culture of empowerment into schools by promoting entrepreneurial skills and spirit in classrooms across the nation. Ashoka is the world’s pioneering and largest network of social entrepreneurs.

Chia Pan ’14: See 2016, below.


Alexis (Ferraro) Callahan ’15: See 2014, above.


Lena Wu ’16, MS’16 and Tina Xiao ’17 co-founded the Feed Your Hospital initiative to provide meals for frontline hospital workers by supporting Asian restaurants during the pandemic. The initiative began March 21 in New York City in coordination with TabeTomo, a Japanese dipping noodle restaurant at 131 Avenue A in the East Village, co-owned by Chia Pan ’14. Wu and Xiao quickly expanded the initiative to 17 additional areas across the United States. The initiative has raised $206,000, including more than $40,000 raised by Babson alumni, and has delivered 13,000 meals to 110 hospitals nationally. TabeTomo alone has delivered 1,950 meals to 17 hospitals. Kitsby, co-owned by Amy Hsiao ’16, also is fundraising for Feed Your Hospital. Kitsby is a baking kit company with a dessert bar located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in New York City. Also pictured: Chef Tomo and co-founder Ben Xue.

Emily Levy ’16, Maria del Mar Gomez ’16, and Yousef Al-Humaidhi ’15, and their company, Mighty Well, donated $15,000 worth of personal protective equipment, and some of their earlier products that can be turned into face masks, to Rhode Island medical workers.


Tina Xiao ’17: See 2016, above.

Joshua Yashari ’17: See 2007, above.


Busy Beauty, led by Jamie Steenbakkers ’18 and Michael Leahy ’18, has added hand wipes to its line of beauty products.


Beantown Blankets, a venture created by Maxwell Perry ’19 in Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship (FME), has partnered with Subaru to donate 50,000 blankets to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) in August, with another 50,000 blankets donated to homeless people around the United States. Through Beantown Blankets, Perry also collected donations during the early days of the pandemic in order to purchase and donate food to hospital staff working around the clock.

Protective product manufacturer Detrapel, led by David Zamarin ’19, now is offering an EPA-approved, hospital-grade disinfectant.

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