Leadership has long been recognized as a key area in the for-profit sector. Business leaders are asked to inspire and motivate their followers to grow their organizations and achieve their goals (e.g., market share, profits, product development). Regardless of the organization's size (from small businesses to large multinational corporations), success does not come about without careful attention to leadership. At McDonough, we ask these emerging business leaders to be thoughtful, ethical and attentive to social needs and values.


 

Megan Staley '99

1. Title and organization

Manager, Portfolio Management
GDF SUEZ, Global Gas and LNG Branch

I joined SUEZ LNG North America’s Boston office in 2004, and in 2008 transferred to the SUEZ Global LNG group in London, UK. As a result of the SUEZ and Gaz de France merger in summer 2008, I relocated to Paris, France, in January 2009.

2. Briefly discuss your educational record (major, minor, certificate at MC; graduate work)

B.A., Marietta College, 1999
Major: International Business Management (language : French)
Minors: History ; Leadership

MBA, Thunderbird School of Global Management, 2004
Focus: Supply Chain Management and Finance ; language : French

3. Describe your organization and what you do in this organization (job responsibilities, recent projects, work environment)

The LNG Division (liquid natural gas) is the center of knowledge in the GDF SUEZ Group with respect to the LNG business, including liquefaction, trading, supply and shipping. It provides coordination and development services for long-term LNG activities within the Company. Specific activities include:

Negotiating GDF SUEZ’s short and mid-term LNG trading activities throughout the world;
Developing and maintaining the GDF SUEZ group’s fleet of LNG carriers;
Managing the LNG supply chain from liquefaction to delivery at the discharge port; and,
Implementing commercial strategy and procedure to optimise gross margin and minimise physical risk

As Manager, Portfolio Management, I am responsible for the analysis, measurement and optimisation of gross margin economics in the physical LNG portfolio. I interact with the all the teams in the LNG Division, but most frequently with my colleagues in Logistics, Trading, and Shipping. Also, I am responsible for managing commodity and currency exposure in GDF SUEZ’s LNG business. This means I interact with people in other groups of the Company including Supply, Back Office, Traders, Risk and Finance.

In the GDF SUEZ LNG division, the work environment is very lean – there are not many layers in the organization. Employees are given freedom and the responsibility that comes with it. In many cases, one has to be comfortable working without defined boundaries and directives. We are expected to speak up, identify new opportunities, and take responsibility for our decisions.

4. Briefly discuss how "leadership" plays a role in your professional field

Due to the type of work environment in LNG at GDF SUEZ, leadership plays a large role in my career. I am expected to take initiative on work projects with no directives from my supervisor. I am expected to know the company’s portfolio and the global LNG industry, and act in the Company’s best interest.

Some of the work we do is in teams, so I have to know how to be a leader and a follower – knowing when to speak up and when to stay silent, and knowing how to express ideas is important. Managing projects does not always mean “leading down” but it often can mean “managing up” and sideways. Also, a part of my work is self-generated and done independently from the group, requiring self-leadership.

At the end of the day, however, in this industry you could have the most charisma, the best speaking skills, a dynamic personality, and good looks to match, but if your calculations and data are not accurate or well presented, you will not get far. If you have the analytic skills combined with the ability to lead, there are no limits.

5. Briefly discuss how the McDonough Leadership Program prepared you for this professional field and leadership challenges.

The McDonough Program, and Marietta College, prepared me for this field and its leadership challenges by giving me the opportunities to work in different types of teams – interdisciplinary, gender, age, socio-economic, etc. These diverse environments evident in the McDonough programs, and the larger Marietta College and city communities, helped me develop my skills in working in multi-cultural environments. This couldn’t be more helpful to me as I am now working in Paris!

The elective courses that are part of the Leadership minor, being interdisciplinary in nature, showed me how leadership can manifest itself in different fields – from history, to business, to ethics, to science. While specific technical and industry knowledge comes from other areas of study, the McDonough Program helped me tie together the themes and challenges within these industries, forcing me to look at the “big picture.”

The McDonough Center for Leadership and Business not only prepared me for leadership challenges in my professional field, but it also prepared me for life outside work. “Giving back the gift” was the theme when I was at MC, which I continue to follow today. From volunteering at a local university in Boston, being on the finance committee at my church, to leading an executive management meeting, I feel comfortable stepping in and taking responsibility.


 

Melissa Huff '05

1. Basic Information:

Name: Melissa (Yusko) Huff
Title: Senior Auditor
Organization: Ernst & Young
City: Columbus
State: OH
Country: U.S.A

2. Educational Record:

At Marietta College:
Graduation Year: 2005
Major(s): Public Accounting
Minor(s): Leadership Studies
Certificate(s): N/A

Honors/Awards: Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, Tau Pi Phi, Alpha Lambda Delta, Pi Kappa Delta, McCoy Scholarship, Jewett Oration Prize Speaker, Summa Cum Laude

Degrees after Marietta College:
Area of Study: Masters in Accounting (MAcc)
College/University: The Ohio State University
Graduation Year: 2006
Honors/Awards: University Fellowship

3. Describe your organization and what you do in this organization (job responsibilities, recent projects, work environment).

Ernst & Young (EY) is a global leader in professional services, and included as one of the “Big Four” accounting firms in the U.S. The firm has over 700 locations worldwide with approximately 130,000 people in 140 countries.

I work in the Advisory Services division, which specializes in assisting companies deal with risk and compliance issues. My typical responsibilities include client interactions through interviews and meetings to complete audit testing for various business cycles. Once I have gathered my information, I write up my findings in reports to deliver to management. Often, I work with management to correct any problems that I uncover, and in turn improve business procedures.

4. Briefly discuss how "leadership" plays a role in your professional field.

Teamwork is key at EY. At every client engagement, there is a team that will work on the client’s projects. Within that team, leadership responsibilities will move to various individuals as they lead subprojects to complete the client’s request. Since one minute I am a follower and the next I am a team leader, I need to be flexible in my abilities to work with the team to accomplish our goals. Moreover, we work closely with the client and will assume both roles: work under the Directors or chief executives to complete the engagement and also lead audits, interviews, and discussions with other client personnel.

5. Briefly discuss how the McDonough Leadership Program prepared you for this professional field and leadership challenges.

Interaction with various individuals, at many different levels of experience and rank, requires me to be cognizant of how leaders and followers cooperate. McDonough covers a breadth of leadership styles and discusses how each can be applied in everyday life. This exposure has allowed me to put these styles in action as I collaborate with numerous individuals on a daily basis. Each person brings a unique style to the table, and knowing how to balance each to work towards a common goal is imperative. Without McDonough’s classes and simulations, learning the how to interact with all types of individuals on the job would have taken significantly longer. Instead, I was able to hit the ground running, so to speak, and am prepared to interact with whomever I meet.


 

Andrea Nay '99

1. Basic Information:

Name: Andrea Nay
Title: Photojournalist
Organization: Andrea Nay Creative
City: Tipp City
State: Ohio
Country: USA

2. Educational Record:

At Marietta College:
Graduation Year: 1999
Major(s): Marketing
Minor(s): Leadership
Certificate(s): Writing
Honors/Awards: Phi Beta Kappa, Student Body Vice President, Adair Prize, Sherrill Cleland Prize in Leadership

Degree after Marietta College:
Area of Study: English Composition & Rhetoric
College/University: Wright State University
Graduation Year: 2006
Honors/Awards: M.A.

3. Describe your organization and what you do in this organization (job responsibilities, recent projects, work environment).

After graduating from MC, I worked in sports event management at the highest level. In Ohio, I executed contract promotions for sponsorship clients of Mandalay Sports Entertainment’s Dayton Dragons (an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds). With the PGA TOUR, I coordinated hospitality for media, players, sponsors, and volunteers at marquee events including THE PLAYERS Championship, TOUR Championship, and World Golf Championships - Accenture Match Play Championship. I've worked with tournaments in California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Ohio, and Oklahoma and sponsors including Accenture, American Express, Anheuser-Busch, Kohler Co., MasterCard International, Microsoft XBox, and Shell / True North Energy.

Along the way, I always had a camera handy. I've been blessed to visit some of the most scenic spots in the world, and my sports background has given me a unique behind-the-scenes view of premier events. In 2006, I turned my attention from planning events to documenting them. I now work with art buyers, news editors, and publishers as a professional photojournalist. In this capacity, I've flown with the Blue Angels, covered musicians, and captured pro and college sports.

As an artist and entrepreneur, I manage every aspect of my own business including accounting, contract negotiations, prospecting, and vendor relations. I like to say that I never have the same day twice.

4. Briefly discuss how "leadership" plays a role in your professional field.

My career has required me to interact with everyone from a down-on-his-luck groundskeeper to a Fortune 100 CEO to Tiger Woods.

My definition of leadership is being aware of your surroundings, understanding human behavior, and knowing how to make the most of any situation for the betterment of all parties involved. In the world of professional sports and media, this means juggling the goals, management styles, and personalities of journalists, players, spectators, sponsors, vendors and volunteers.

When interacting with so many different personalities, the question is not whether conflicts will arise but how efficiently and gracefully I’m able to handle them.

5. Briefly discuss how the McDonough Leadership Program prepared you for this professional field and leadership challenges.

McDonough’s academic curriculum and accompanying extracurricular programs were invaluable in helping me understand my own communication and management styles and those of others and how our goals, personalities, and tendencies fit within the larger picture. Today, I feel confident walking into any situation and being able to quickly gauge the motivations and temperament of the others involved, determine how we can reach common ground, and walk away feeling that we’ve accomplished something great together.

Perhaps even more importantly, the McDonough Leadership Program instilled the importance for corporate responsibility. Working with programs like Marietta Community Service Day, MC Baseball Community Day, and an after-school tutoring program at the Washington County Library shaped the way I looked at the relationship between businesses and their surrounding communities. One of the primary reasons I chose to work with the PGA TOUR was its commitment to giving. The organization has raised over $1 Billion since 1938 for over 2,000 different charities. Today as an entrepreneur, I’m continually striving to find new ways to volunteer, serve as a mentor, and incorporate cause-related marketing programs into my own business plan.


 

Brian Ashton '08

Brian is currently working as a Strategic Sourcing Intern at Honeywell Analytics in Lincolnshire, just outside downtown Chicago, IL. He graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Management and a Certificate in Leadership Studies. Honeywell is a $35 billion company that employs over 122,000 employees worldwide. Honeywell is a FORTUNE 100 company that supplies various products and services around the world. Honeywell produces everything from military aircraft and vehicles to equipment for firefighters to HVAC units for buildings and homes. Brian works in the Strategic Sourcing department, which specializes in the selection of suppliers and the negotiations of contracts and commodity prices. His responsibilities vary from week to week. The focus of his first few weeks was on supplier diversity. He worked to increase the amount of suppliers that come from small businesses, women-owned businesses, minority-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, and small-disadvantaged businesses.

Brian says that leadership is one of the central concepts within Honeywell: “We are expected to voice concerns and approach management with solutions. Each employee is empowered to find better ways to do their job. If they think there is a better way, people will listen.” Honeywell also has a program for those employees that do community service. For 50 community service hours that an employee completes at a charity, Honeywell will donate $500 to that organization in the employee’s name.

Brian also says that being a McDonough Scholar has greatly enhanced his ability to be successful: “I was able to contribute on day one. I would attribute most of this success to my experience in the McDonough Center’s Executive-in-Residence Program. The business consulting experience exposed me to working in a high paced environment with local business leaders. I now find myself working with local business all over the country and utilizing the skills I learned from that experience. Most all, the McDonough Center provided me with connections to Marietta Alums. My current boss is a 1985 graduate of Marietta. While on my interview, we spent the majority of the time talking about my experiences in the program and how important leadership is in business.”


 

Kara Prentice '91

Kara is currently a Certified Project Manager in the Westinghouse Electric Company Project Excellence Program and a Senior Project Manager Candidate in the Westinghouse Project Manager Development Program. She has 17 years of technical, project management, and marketing experience with the company. Her most recent accomplishment was serving as Deputy Project Manager for a greater than $9M company venture.

Prentice graduated from Marietta College in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry and Minor in Mathematics. In 2000, she completed her Master of Business Administration Degree and Master of Science in Environmental Science and Management Degree at Duquesne University.

She resides in Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, gardening, and working out. She is also a quarterback/long snapper and six-season veteran of the Pittsburgh Passion women’s football team, which won the National Women’s Football Association (NWFA) championship in 2007.

The McDonough Center for Leadership and Business honored Kara as the very first Mentor of the Month in October 2008. The Mentor of the Month award goes to McDonough mentors who go above and beyond the call of duty. Kara’s mentee, Touka Akiyama, recommended her for the honor because she gave great advice, offered to let her job shadow, and even referred her resume to a marketing department for a possible internship.


 

Sylvia Barbagallo '03

1. Basic Information:

Name: Sylvia Barbagallo
Title: Retention Manager
Organization: Thomson Reuters
City: Eagan
State: MN
Country: USA

2. Educational Record:

At Marietta College:
Graduation Year: 2003
Major(s): French Language Studies
Minor(s): Management and Leadership

3. Describe your organization and what you do in this organization (job responsibilities, recent projects, work environment).

Thomson Reuters is the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. I work for West, a Thomson Reuters company, which provides information, decision support tools and services for legal, intellectual property, compliance business and government professionals throughout the world. I work with the Law Schools across the nation and am in charge of ~$50M in revenue retention.

4. Briefly discuss how "leadership" plays a role in your professional field.

I work with a myriad of departments, field sales representatives and managers, and external (and internal) customer groups. I have to provide leadership on a daily basis as I am the voice of our Law School Department. Any type of situation that deals with other groups is a leadership opportunity if I want to get any sort of initiative launched and have it be successful.

5. Briefly discuss how the McDonough Leadership Program prepared you for this professional field and leadership challenges.

I believe the McDonough Leadership program provided me experiences to work in smaller groups and across different boundaries. It provided confidence to speak up and raise legitimate concerns when things are not going well, as well as the ability to engage higher levels of leadership to acknowledge success.