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Taking Flight – May 2017

deanphotonewsletter2016Message From the Dean

I’ve noted an interesting trend recently – a significant number of leading companies are moving away from remote work and returning to the traditional, work in the office model. Several firms like Yahoo, Aetna, IBM and Bank of America have made public announcements about the changes, touting the benefits of having everyone working together in the office, providing incentives, where necessary, to assist people in making the transition. What’s up with all of this, and why am I thinking about it today?

Well, there are a couple of things. One is the investment we’re making in our own space over the summer. During this month, movers delivered two truckloads of new furniture. We’re refurbishing 19 offices and one classroom. We’re outfitting the new Ph.D. suite, the student tutoring suite, a conference room, and a new collaborative learning space. Our hallways were full of boxes, furniture and teams of movers and installers. Watching it all caused me to think about our work and the way we do it. There is real value in proximity, in interaction and in creating a space where people can study, teach and learn together. It’s not the only way to work, but it is an essential part of the work we do here. So, we’re committed to providing a good environment for it.

The second thing that came to mind is the old saying, “The only constant in life is change.” Most attribute this saying to Heraclitus, who lived around 500 B.C. But, the meaning is just as relevant today. The firms that are making these changes were all leaders in promoting the concept of remote work. The intent was to save money on office space, to provide flexibility to employees, and to enable wider participation in an effort to spark innovation and creativity. These were all good ideas and timely solutions to the problems of the day. The fact that we seem to be changing yet again, though, serves to remind us that the problems and solutions of tomorrow will be different from the problems and solutions of today. And so, we can never become complacent. We must constantly ask questions, seek answers and work every day to adapt what we do to the emergent realities of the marketplace. No organization that seeks to develop and sustain a competitive advantage can afford to settle for anything less.


Alumni Spotlight – Jasmine Lightning

After graduating from Georgia Southern, Jasmine Lightning (MGMT, ’10) began her career at The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta. Since then, she has worked for Beazer Homes, MagMutual Insurance Company and Equifax. Jasmine has held and earned a variety of positions including senior business systems analyst, project manager and cloud solutions consultant. Her personal philosophy is, “work hard, consider suggestions and learn from the constructive criticism of people who support your dreams and goals.” Jasmine has now ventured into entrepreneurialism, recently launching a professional career services business, Lightning Clout, while continuing to work as a functional IT consultant for various Atlanta-based companies.

While at Georgia Southern, Jasmine especially enjoyed SAP. These classes later greatly impacted her career in IT. Her favorite class of all was labor relations with Bob Hoell, Ph.D. and chair, Department of Management. While a student, Jasmine served as president of SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) and was a member of the Georgia Southern first Women’s Tack & Field Conference Championship Team. Jasmine states that the experiences and lessons she learned at Southern help her daily.

From a young age, Jasmine was always very driven and focused, leading her friends and family members to reach out to her for career advice. Jasmine’s passion is helping others land their dream jobs within their dream careers. This passion inspired her to start Lightning Clout (, which provides full-service career counseling and résumé services. Lightning Clout’s mission is to influence and empower people to make the best decisions for their desired career paths. Being able to provide new innovative solutions to business customers is her favorite part of the job. Jasmine also enjoys solving new and complex issues with each project team with which she works.

Since Jasmine believes a positive attitude and strong work ethic accomplish anything, she finds that most challenges are not challenges at all because, once a person decides to overcome, he or she will. Following on this attitude, Jasmine hopes to expand Lightning Clout statewide and then nationally to accomplish her ultimate goal of being completely self-employed.

Jasmine currently lives in the Atlanta area and is working her way through Atlanta’s Top 20 Best Burgers list. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling to new places and trying the local restaurants.

2017 Honors Symposium

Two students from the College of Business, members of the University Honors Program, presented an overview of their senior-year capstone research projects at the Tenth Annual Honors Research Symposium held on April 21 at the Nessmith-Lane Center.

During the morning session, economics major Derrick Ramage summarized his project, “A County-by-County Analysis of Poverty in the State of Georgia,” supervised by his faculty mentor, Bill Levernier, Ph.D., professor of economics. Derrick reported that attempts to alleviate poverty in the state must address multiple factors in a systemic manner, rather than focusing on a single cause.

In the afternoon session, human resource management major Clinton Ford summarized his findings regarding “Organizational Health: Researched Problem Analysis,” supervised by his faculty mentor Robert Hoell, Ph.D., department chair and associate professor of management. Clinton reported on the issues regarding attempts to reinvigorate and maintain the organizational health of the Society for Human Resource Management at local and statewide levels.

Sales Team Success

The Georgia Southern University Sales Team, composed of AJ Bryant, Nicole Gump, Nick Leavenworth and Kara Wells, debuted at the Western States Collegiate Sales Competition held at the California State University–Chico College of Business during April 20–21, 2017.

Bryant ranked in the top ten within the ADP role-play competition, which included Baylor, University of San Diego and Arizona State, among others. The role-play competition, established in 2005, is an exciting event for university students, faculty members and corporate recruiters. Participants are among the best sales students from universities across the U.S. and are offered the chance to showcase their skills to attending recruiters. Prior to the competition, a corporate mixer and speed networking events were held.

Eagle Sales Showcase Boot Camp

On April 25, 2017, the Georgia Southern University Center for Sales Excellence held its first annual Eagle Sales Showcase Boot Camp for senior sales students. The Boot Camp is designed to allow graduating sales and sales management students an opportunity to learn through rotating sessions, interacting with sales professionals and all-access opportunities to sponsors from Aerotek, Briggs Equipment, C.H. Robinson, Enterprise, Insight Global, Mutual of Omaha, Nolan Transportation, OTR Capital and Tom James.

The sessions lasted 25 minutes each, and professionals from each company rotated around the room working to answer a list of questions recruiters found hardest for new graduates to answer. The résumés of students seeking employment were also made available to representatives prior to the event, enabling sponsors to pre-schedule interview sessions. After the event, sponsors were also able to dine with students for more face-to-face time leading to several students being offered employment.

Sponsors and students equally agreed the best part of this event was the companies looking specifically for sales students with students interested in sales being able to network in order to build relationships leading to employment and prepare for what is to come upon graduation.

The Center for Sales Excellence would like to extend gratitude to the nine corporate partners that participated with the event, as well as to Debbie Hilton, Deborah Howard, Lindsay Larson, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing, Linda Mullen, Ph.D., associate professor and director for the Center for Sales Excellence, and Stefan Sleep, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing, for the planning and facilitation of the event.

The Center for Sales Excellence will host its next Eagle Sales Showcase on September 26, 2017, during Professional Development Day at the Georgia Southern College of Business. For more information, please call Linda Mullen at 912-478-5437.

27th Annual Accounting Day

Accounting Day 2017 began with the Accounting Principles Recognition ceremony. Two dozen students were recognized for their outstanding academic performance in the accounting principles courses. Representatives of the faculty and student organizations talked to the students about accounting careers and opportunities. Alumnus Mike Lamberth (’94), managing director with KPMG, made an energetic presentation and answered questions about his career.

At 5 p.m., 21 accounting firms and organizations wishing to recruit accounting majors held a career fair in the atrium of the Nessmith-Lane Center; 120 students registered and met with the representatives of these firms. Students prepared in advance by working on their personal 30-second elevator pitches. These firms were not provided résumés so, in many cases, students were making their first connections. Faculty members circulated to support and remind students to ask for business cards and follow-up with representatives within 24 hours. The firms were enthusiastic about this opportunity to assess the talent pool in advance of the fall recruiting season. In addition, a few of them were looking for candidates for leadership programs and internships.

Shortly after 6 p.m., the annual awards banquet was held in the Nessmith-Lane ballroom. Thanks to our Accounting Day sponsors, students were treated to a fine banquet meal for only $5. Students were directed to find a seat at a table of a firm that impressed them earlier during the Career Fair. Each of the School of Accountancy student organizations made brief presentations and, of particular note, Brit McKay, Ph.D., associate professor of accounting, was selected as Instructor of the Year by the Accounting Association. Previously announced faculty awards were also recognized.

The highlight of the evening was the awarding of scholarships and awards. Dwight Sneathen, Ph.D., associate professor of accounting, who chairs the Scholarship Committee, explained that $43,000 in professional certification review packages (CPA reviews and CMA reviews) and $42,850 in cash scholarships and awards were distributed. Forty-nine students were surprised by having their names called by the faculty members, donors or firm representatives who helped announce the scholarship winners. This year’s total scholarship value of $85,850 may have set an all-time School of Accountancy record. The School of Accountancy would like to thank everyone who helped to make Accounting Day 2017 a success.

Dean’s Advisory Board & Young Alumni Board Meet in Atlanta

On Saturday, April 29, the Young Alumni Board (YAB) met in Atlanta at the Georgian Terrace. Prior to the meeting, the YAB hosted a Southern Social on Friday night at Edgar’s P&P, where the board members could interact and network with fellow College of Business graduates. At the meeting, YAB Chair Matthew Whaley introduced the new members elected to three year teams – Trey Scrudder, Hannah T. Ginn, Curtis Williams, Zach Sines, Brianna Lewis and Brian Prevatt – and provided an update on the activities of the YAB since the fall meeting, which included alumni networking events hosted in Savannah and Atlanta and two events held on campus for students, a LinkedIn Workshop and “How to Network Like a Pro” workshop and reception.

David Pitman from the Dean’s Advisory Board (DAB) provided an update of the DAB board meeting held the previous two days in Atlanta before Dean Allen Amason held a Q&A, answering members’ questions regarding the merger with Armstrong State, how to increase internship opportunities for our students and other issues that the YAB can help the College advance. After lunch, the board held committee meetings then reconvened to recap their breakout sessions. The Student Development Committee discussed plans to hold two to four sessions during Professional Development Day on September 26, and the Networking Committee discussed plans to continue working closely with the Alumni Association to attract College of Business alumni to regional events, including the Computing Technologies Reunion in Atlanta on June 2. The next Young Alumni Board meeting will be on November 4 in Statesboro.

LaunchSavannah Event

On Thursday, May 4, the College of Business partnered with LaunchSAVANNAH, the young professional (under 40) arm of the Savannah Chamber of Commerce, to sponsor the group’s Spring Meet Up event at the Cotton Sail on Bay Street in Savannah. In spite of the weather, the turnout was excellent and allowed the young professionals of Savannah to network. The College of Business promoted the MBA in Savannah, talking to several individuals interested in advancing their careers.

LaunchSAVANNAH is the Savannah Area Chamber’s council for emerging leaders, bringing together business professionals between the ages of 22 and 40. Visit for more information.

Where Are the Retail Stores Going?

On Wednesday, May 10, John Brown, Ph.D., associate professor of economics, discussed the economy and the decline of retail stores on GPB’s “On Second Thought,” hosted by Celeste Headlee.


Getting an Inside Look into Entrepreneurship

Darin Van Tassell, Ph.D., associate professor of political science and international studies and owner of The Clubhouse, hosted Jim Randall’s, DBA, professor emeritus of marketing, spring graduate strategic marketing management class. Members of the class spent the evening at The Clubhouse as Van Tassell laid out how he began by opening Hackers Driving Range, then constructed a high-quality miniature golf course, followed by batting cages, go-carts, and finally The Clubhouse. He described the hosting of a national championship at the miniature golf facility, which helped gain widespread publicity. In recounting the concept of The Clubhouse, Van Tassell stressed that his goal was to appeal to everyone between the ages of 5 and 70. The quality of the facility is first class and provides entertainment for the region. The class toured the facilities and was allowed to walk back where the pins are set for bowlers.

Van Tassell’s latest venture, Tormenta Soccer Team of the Premier Development League, currently plays games at the Georgia Southern University soccer field. Attendance exceeds 2,000 spectators per game, giving Tormenta the highest attendance in the league. Some former players have already moved into the professional ranks. Additionally, Van Tassell has built soccer fields behind The Clubhouse for youth soccer as well as soccer tournaments for all ages.

Not only did the class learn from a great marketer, Van Tassell also provided pizza from The Clubhouse’s kitchen. It was a wonderful experience for the students to hear firsthand from a successful entrepreneur.

Thousands of Georgia Southern graduates soar to new heights during Spring Commencement Ceremonies from Georgia Southern University Newsroom

More than 3,300 of Georgia’s best and brightest undergraduate and graduate students received degrees from Georgia Southern University during ceremonies on May 5 and 6 in Statesboro.

Georgia Southern President Jaimie Hebert, Ph.D., congratulated the students from each of the University’s eight colleges as they received their degrees.

“Congratulations, Eagles. You truly are Georgia’s best and brightest,” said Hebert. “Enjoy your day celebrating your academic successes. You surely make Eagle Nation proud.”

Alumnus Ronny Just, governmental relations manager for Georgia Power, and the Honorable Casey Cagle, Lt. Gov. of Georgia, served as this year’s commencement speakers. Just addressed graduate students on Friday, reminding them that a small act of kindness could make all the difference in their lives.

“The most meaningful and maybe the most memorable things you will ever accomplish, your legacy, will be some small act of kindness that probably only a few will ever know,” said Just. “That may not be the secret to worldly success. But there is invaluable gratification in secret success.”

“May you soar to heights unimaginable, remembering those who helped you here,” said Just. “Stop and help someone along the journey and share with others a kind word, encouragement and a little bit of the blessing you will take from this place.”

Cagle spoke to undergraduate students on Saturday at Allen E. Paulson stadium, taking them through a memorable time in his life when he was recruited by the late Erk Russell to play football at Georgia Southern. He reminded them that life, like playing football, took a strong work ethic and perseverance.

“No career that you pursue will ever be assured, and while no one can predict the future, what will matter most is how you use your individual talents to persevere through any challenge you face and to make it the most of your potential,” Cagle said. “At times you might doubt your path, but never doubt yourself. Never put limits on your future, and never hold back.”

BIG Café

This month’s BIG Café event was held on May 10 at City Campus in downtown Statesboro. Local entrepreneurs listened to two of their peers present their business and problems they are currently encountering. As the two “localpreneurs” presented, attendees enjoyed complimentary coffee provided by Cool Beanz and doughnuts provided by the DSDA while they gave invaluable feedback to the two presenters.

The presenters for May’s BIG Café were Jared Lott from Broadstead Media, and Will Britt of Sustainable Solutions of Statesboro. Jared, an Evans County resident, has a passion for outdoor videography and film. His outdoor TV shows have been televised in Statesboro and Savannah, regionally on Fox Sports South and nationally on the Pursuit Channel, which is geared to hunting, fishing, shooting and outdoor recreation. He recently did a video campaign with the state of Georgia for Click-It or Ticket. Part of Jared’s business is in the wedding industry. He has reached the point with his video production company at which it is too much for him to handle alone, but he cannot afford to hire an industry professional. His dilemma is trying to figure out when to hire someone and whom to hire. During the interactive part of BIG Café, someone suggested hiring someone on commission, utilizing the Georgia Office of Film and TV Production, and tapping local talent through colleges and universities. Another suggestion was to split the wedding business from the TV production business, hiring someone who can do all of the wedding videography so that he can focus on the TV production side. Jared also mentioned he would like to grow his business, and it was suggested that he partner with boutiques, dress shops, venues and wedding planners.

Will Britt discussed one of his business ventures, Sustainable Solutions of Statesboro. Part of this business is strictly educating people about sustainability and how to save money by reducing consumption. Will conducts energy inspections on new and old houses alike, helping homeowners save money over the long term. He works with Georgia Power and EMC customers for safety purposes and to make changes to their homes to save energy and receive rebates. Will’s dilemma is how to get the word out about what Sustainable Solutions is? It was suggested that he partner with realtors and housing inspectors, and possibly with home builders, since certain tests are required on all new construction.

BIG Café was a huge success. Special thanks go to Jared from Broadstead Media and Will from Sustainable Solutions of Statesboro for presenting and to our sponsors, David Hoyle of Cool Beanz, and Elena McLendon, DSDA. If you would like to present your business obstacle(s) at BIG Café, please contact Andi Wilson at or (912) 478-0872. Attend the next BIG Café at City Campus on Wednesday, June 14, if you would like to come together to network, drink coffee and help one another thrive. Also, attend five times and receive a free BIG Café coffee mug!

Faculty/Staff News

Jackie Eastman, along with co-authors Lindsay Larson and Dora Bock, received Best Article of the Year (2016) from the Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice for their article titled, “A Multi-Method Exploration of the Relationship between Knowledge and Risk: The Impact of Millennials’ Retirement Investment Decisions.” Congratulations, Jackie and Lindsay!

The International Journal of Logistics Management accepted the manuscript, “A Comparative Assessment of Win-Win and Win-Lose Negotiation Strategy Use on Supply Chain Relational Outcomes,” authored by Jackie Eastman, Stephanie Thomas, David Shepherd and Trey Denton. This research came out of Stephanie Thomas’s dissertation. Congrats, Jackie, Dave and Trey!

Hyunju Shin and Jackie Eastman co-authored a paper with David Mothersbaugh from the University of Alabama that has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services. The paper is entitled, “The Effect of a Limited-Edition Offer Following Brand Dilution on Consumer Attitudes Toward a Luxury Brand.” Congrats, Hyunju and Jackie!

Last updated: 1/27/2023