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Taking Flight – October 2018

Message From the Dean

Someone once said, success most often comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it. I like that, and I think I agree. Of course, success also follows good preparation and training. But, in a competitive world, where many talented and well-educated people are in the marketplace, success can hinge on the small things and on the intangible qualities that differentiate a true leader from the rest of the pack. As a business school, it is these intangibles that present us with both a challenge and an opportunity.

The challenge is to infuse our traditional educational practices and programs with experiential elements and actionable examples. Our students should master the subject matter and display the competencies required by their disciplines. But, they should also be able to solve problems by translating that expertise into solutions. Our challenge is to spark aspirations sufficient to sustain our students through many years of hard work and professional growth. They need to know that they are capable and prepared, and they need to display the confidence of their preparation without any hint of arrogance or entitlement. Our challenge is to create a network of support that can guide, mentor, and encourage them as they learn and develop into professionals. Building all of that and doing it in such a way that it complements our scholarly identity and our educational mission is a real challenge. But, it’s one that we embrace with enthusiasm because it offers us such an amazing opportunity.

What opportunity is that? Well, I’m thoroughly convinced the market for talent is ripe for innovation. Employers want people who can get right to work and who can make an immediate difference. They want people who are well-trained, but they also want people who are confident and adaptable, who can function even when they lack complete information and who can get results even when conditions are unfavorable. They want people who can get along with others, who will have a positive influence, and whose optimism and energy are infectious. They want people who can work in teams, who understand and value diversity and can accept responsibility and seize the initiative when given the option. Our opportunity is to create the leaders of tomorrow by meeting the challenges of today.

And that’s why we invest so heavily in the sorts of activities you’ll see in this newsletter. Whether our current class of 40 Under 40, our outstanding Professional Development Day activities, our rapidly growing Business Abroad program, the many teams of students who compete in various professional competitions around the country, or the different leadership development events we sponsor, our goal remains the same: to work hard every day doing everything we can do, to produce the most career-ready, results-oriented and successful graduates anywhere.

Alumni Spotlight–Yannik McKie

Yannik McKie (MKTG, ’14) is the marketing and business development manager for Georgia Business Net, Inc., where he focuses on analyzing data in an effort to build accurate client profiles, establishing and optimizing marketing programs to assist the sales team in exceeding quotas, and growing relationships with businesses desiring to use cutting-edge voice and data technologies to scale their businesses and become more efficient. Yannik loves strategy and the thought process behind what it takes to make a business scale. It is not surprising that strategic management was his favorite class while at Georgia Southern. He is also the founder and executive director at The McKie Foundation, a non-profit corporation committed to helping families in our communities turn their tragedies into triumphs. Yannik fondly remembers hanging out and eating with his friends in the Russell Union; but his favorite Georgia Southern memory is meeting his wife, who, at the time, was working there at Chick-fil-A.

Yannik credits the College of Business with providing him the ability to learn in a diverse environment which has helped him tremendously in his career. He recalls that, not only did the professors provide him information, they also taught him how to apply what he learned. Once he graduated, Yannik was thrilled to find that much of what he learned was actually applicable in his career. In fact, the greatest challenge of his career has been finding opportunities that allow him the ability to leverage his skill set.

Yannik’s proudest career-related accomplishment has been seeing his book, Adversity Creates Purpose, published—an impressive accomplishment for someone who was only 32 years old at the time. He wrote this book to inspire people to eliminate excuses and to turn their pain into purpose. He is also excited to have been named one of the Georgia Southern “40 under 40” Class of 2016. In addition, the New Leaders Council named him Changemaker of the Year. In 2017, Yannik planted a church in the City of Augusta called CHOSEN. This church’s mission is to help people in the city overcome their personal challenges, while maximizing their God-given potential. In the future, he plans to continue to grow CHOSEN and The McKie Foundation’s at-risk youth programs and to increase his support to local communities.

Yannik’s proudest personal accomplishment is being the father of two wonderful children and having a loving and supportive wife. In his spare time, he enjoys hanging out with friends and family, eating, watching movies, and attending his church, “Chosen.”

The Fall 2018 issue of Eagle Executive magazine is now available online.

College of Business Well Represented in 40 Under 40 Class of 2018

In the 40 Under 40 Class of 2018, 12 alumni hail from the College of Business. On Friday, September 28, all members from the Class of 2018 40 Under 40 were invited to campus for lunch to be recognized for their accomplishments. Following lunch, the College of Business hosted its alumni, along with approximately 30 business students to network and discuss building a legacy as a young professional.

As part of the College of Business’s “Young & Soaring: Building a Legacy Before 40” event, a selected group of current student leaders were invited to sit down with the College’s honorees from the 40 Under 40 Class of 2018. These 30 students and nine alumni were divided into small groups for chat sessions that allowed for an easy and interactive exchange of ideas, moderated by current faculty. In this intimate setting, students were able to hear directly from young alumni about a wide range of topics and receive advice they can use to chart their own path to success. Students and alumni had an open conversation during the course of these sessions during which they discussed the meaning of success and how it is achieved, ways to maintain a healthy work/life balance, and how to get involved in the community as a working professional. These chats provided student leaders with the knowledge that building a legacy requires giving back, teamwork, and support from family and friends. By the end of the event, students were able to recognize that their current activities are creating a framework for future accomplishments, but that, ultimately, true success is not an individual endeavor but is a personal process and can be measured in many ways.

College of Business 40 Under 40 Class of 2018

Jeffrey Bush, ECON, ’13, Chief Operating Officer, Parker’s, Savannah

Katie Childers, MBA, ’11, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Legislative Affairs, Office of Governor Nathan Deal, Atlanta

Matt Donaldson, FINC, ’13, Assistant Vice President, Controller, Durden Banking Company, Twin City

Robert Goolsby, MBA, ’13, Vice President, Professional Services, Fiserv, Alpharetta

Dean Hudson, LOGT, ’06; MBA, ’11, Regional Business Manager, J.B. Hunt Transport, Atlanta

Wayne Murphy, MGMT, ’04, Branch Manager, Queensborough Bank & Trust, Savannah

Paul Newman, MKTG, ’05, Owner/Broker, Statesboro Real Estate, Statesboro

Wesley Olliff, MGMT, ’07, Senior Vice President, Commercial Lending, Colony Bank, Savannah

Kutina Ruhumbika, MKTG, ’02, Vice President of People, Barteca Restaurant Group, New York, New York

David Schott, MBA, ’16, Chief Operating Officer, South Georgia Medical Center, Valdosta

Erica Sellers, MGMT, ’04; MBA, ’12, Director of Marketing and Sales, Morris Multimedia, Statesboro Magazine, Statesboro

Curtis Williams, IS, ’09, Owner, HHE Enterprise, Curtis J. & Associates, Smyrna

Georgia Southern officially announced the 40 Under 40 Class of 2018 early in the fall semester. Out of 120,000 living University alumni, more than 50,000 are under the age of 40. This award honors those University alumni who are paving the way in business, leadership, community, educational and philanthropic ventures.

Not only do the honorees represent exceptionally talented young alumni, but they also embody the core values of Georgia Southern. The College was well represented, again, in this year’s 40 Under 40. Congratulations to all of our College’s 40 Under 40 recipients!

Successful Third Annual Event Prepares Students for Future Careers

On Tuesday, October 2, the College of Business hosted its third annual Professional Development Day (PDD). During the event, which is set up like a conference, 99 sessions on discipline-specific and real-world topics were presented to a record crowd of business students and non-business students. PDD is held the day before the fall Eagle Expo Career Fair, the largest career fair held on campus sponsored by the Office of Career and Professional Development. This allows the College to host employers a day early and give them first access to our business students.

As part of our mission, the College is dedicated to producing career-ready professionals. Through PDD, we allow our students to dig deeper into what life after college may look like. As part of PDD, students have the opportunity to network with employers, often finding an internship or a full-time position after graduation.

“I felt much more prepared for the Career Fair,” stated Taylor Anderson, a junior marketing student. “I appreciate that these [company reps] took the time to not only speak with us but share their knowledge to prepare us for our future.”

For more information or to become involved in a future Professional Development Day, contact Danielle Smith, director of experiential learning and student engagement, at or 912-478-6407. To view this year’s PDD schedule, visit

Homecoming 2018: A Southern Masquerade

This year’s Homecoming theme was ‘A Southern Masquerade.’ Homecoming week was host to many events, now synonymous with Georgia Southern University, to include the Doo-Dah Dance and Step Show, Paint the Campus, Homecoming Parade and True Blue 5K.

Prior to the Homecoming game on October 6, the College of Business held its annual Homecoming Tailgate. This year’s tailgate saw the debut of Leopold’s Ice Cream “True Blue,” a new flavor for the long-time Savannah establishment that consists of handmade lemon custard with whole blueberries and almond slivers. Following Saturday’s football game and ice cream debut, True Blue ice cream will be sold on campus at the Russell Union and IT Building GUS Mart and at Armstrong’s Student Union, as well as at Leopold’s in downtown Savannah on Broughton Street. According to Director of Alumni Relations Wendell Tompkins, a percentage of True Blue ice cream sales will be donated to alumni scholarships.

The College of Business entered the Paint the Campus contest. Our display on the Dean’s Suite was designed and drawn by Mark Donato (IT, ’06), the College’s designer in the Office of Marketing & Media. During the annual True Blue 5K on the morning of the Homecoming football game, the College of Business placed 2nd for number of participants running or walking in the 5K. This year’s 5K supported the Abbie Deloach Foundation.

To view College of Business Homecoming Tailgate pictures, visit and look for the Homecoming 2018 album.

College of Business Students Receive BB&T Emerging Leaders Certification During Annual Seminar

Thirty-three College of Business students received The BB&T Leadership Institute Student Leadership Certification earlier this month after participating in the second annual BB&T Emerging Leaders Certification Seminar at Georgia Southern University Statesboro Campus.

The two-day seminar enabled students to learn directly from business professionals and engaged students in focused small group discussions on leadership styles.

“By the end of the program, students are equipped with practical tools and strategies that can be used in their everyday lives and in the business world they are about to enter,” stated Don Cox, Ph.D., the BB&T banking professor and coordinator for the program.

Students from all majors and within various programs participated and completed two, three-hour sessions led by Jasmine Edmonds, a student leadership senior fellow from the BB&T Leadership Institute.

The program is based on the model that beliefs drive behaviors and seeks to give students a better understanding of their individual leadership styles and how they can become more effective leaders. The BB&T Leadership Institute offers a world-class approach to leadership development, helping organizations create dynamic and effective leaders, increase employee retention and improve the bottom line.

In 2017, the College of Business received its first invitation to participate in the program from Jason McMillan, senior vice president and regional corporate banker for BB&T Corporation in Savannah and trustee of the Georgia Southern University Foundation.

Georgia Southern Business Students Compete at National Sales Competition, Land Jobs

Five students on the Georgia Southern University Sales Team landed jobs with AT&T after competing at the first-ever AT&T B2B Sales Program National Sales Competition Oct. 18–20 in Dallas, Texas.

College of Business students David Stulack, Catherine Reece, Layla Enayati, Madalynn Keen and Britt Lee represented the University as one of 12 teams invited to compete in the final round of the competition.

“The students worked hard on this case and have enjoyed working with AT&T,” states Linda G. Mullen, Ph.D., co-director of the Center for Sales Excellence at Georgia Southern. “This has given the sales students some great opportunities for career growth.”

Although the team did not win the competition, each team member scored a job opportunity with AT&T through a summer internship or in the B2B Sales Development Program.

“The AT&T National Sales Competition was an unforgettable experience where we were able to network with students from around the nation, get to know more about the AT&T culture and so much more,” said Stulack. “I’m also very proud to say that everyone on our team received a job offer.”

The AT&T National Sales Competition gauged students’ abilities to present AT&T business solutions that best address customer needs. The teams were given a case involving a fictional insurance company that encountered problems with its adjusters and use of information technology. The teams had to present a solution, explain how their products applied to the customers’ challenges, answer questions and close the sale.

“This experience provided me and my team with real-life business problems and taught us how to remain poised and professional when overcoming objections,” said Enayati. “Throughout this experience, it has been so exciting to take what we have learned in the classroom and apply it to a real-life scenario.”

The Georgia Southern University College of Business is a Sales Education Foundation Top Sales University. The Center for Sales Excellence was established in 2007 to support and promote our students pursuing careers in sales. The Center, located in the College of Business, gives students the opportunity to gain experience with sales role play in dedicated labs, with many of our students competing at national sales competitions. The Center also works to bring students together with companies in the industry looking to hire fresh, new talent. To get involved with the Center for Sales Excellence at Georgia Southern, email Linda Mullen, Ph.D., or Lindsay Larson, Ph.D., at or, respectively.

Georgia Southern Offers Most Flexible, Top-Ranked Master’s in Accounting

Full-time professionals and distance learners earning a Master’s of Accounting degree online through the WebMAcc Program at Georgia Southern University are enrolled in the most flexible online program at one of the top 50 schools for accounting degrees in the country, according to

“We are grateful to be recognized by as a top accounting program,” said Tim Pearson, Ph.D., director of the Georgia Southern School of Accountancy. “This continues the tradition as the program has been highly rated by eight various rating groups since 2016. We are highly regarded and recognized for the quality and affordability of our program.”

According to, which ranks programs based on academic quality, student success and affordability, the fully-online WebMAcc program offers students access to courses and preparation for life as an accountant with little disruption to their personal and work lives.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a need for accountants and auditors is on the rise, and that employment opportunities are expected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026. Georgia Southern’s College of Business is preparing students for this through courses such as financial reporting, current legal issues and taxation, among others, while also teaching valuable skills to help students innovate and develop new methods for driving financial success and managing financial data.

The Georgia Southern WebMAcc is a two-year program that requires students to take two classes during the spring and fall semesters and one class during the summer for six consecutive semesters. Each student is part of a cohort that works to complete the program together. The spring application deadline is November 15. To learn more, visit

The Georgia Southern University College of Business is AACSB accredited, while its School of Accountancy holds a separate accreditation from AACSB—a distinction held by only 180 accounting programs worldwide. The WebMAcc program is designed to mirror the rigor and quality of the traditional MAcc program with classes taught by the same faculty who teach in the on-campus program.

Faculty/Staff News

Steve Charlier, Ph.D., associate professor of management, and co-authors, had their paper, “Trading off Learning and Performance: Exploration and Exploitation at Work,” accepted in Human Resource Management Review. In addition, Charlier is now an associate editor for Human Resource Management, a top-tier journal in the HR area. He will officially begin in this role in January 2019.

Melanie Hinterplattner, doctoral student, and her advisor, Scott Ellis, Ph.D., received the Best Academic Theory Poster award at the 2018 Academic Research Symposium of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) for her research on individual and organizational resilience, titled “Understanding Employee Resilience: A Case-based Approach.” Congrats, Melanie!

Congrats to Constance Campbell, Ph.D., professor of management, Mark Hanna, Ph.D., professor of operations management, and Steve Stewart, Ph.D., associate professor of management, on their Georgia WebMBA teaching awards! Georgia Southern faculty won half of this year’s annual faculty teaching awards given by the Georgia WebMBA.

On Friday, October 26, the College held its first College Research Seminar of the academic year. Lindsay Larson, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing, presented, “Animation and Consumer Perceptions of DTC Pharmaceutical Advertisement,” and Greg Brock, Ph.D., professor of economics, presented “The Real Oaxaca Decomposition: Inflation-Adjusted Convergence Within Mexico’s Oaxaca Region in the 21st Century.”

Georgia Southern Graduate, Business Innovation Group Member Helps Improve Education of Low-Income Children in Statesboro

Sometimes you never know where your degree – and resulting career – will take you. If you’re Shunda (Marie) Williams (’08), one day you’re studying graphic design at Georgia Southern, the next, you’re working to organize conventions and seminars for the University’s Continuing Education program, and from there, you’re inspired to start your own business, Williams Events. Though that seems like enough twists and turns for one person, Williams’ journey doesn’t stop there.

Inspired by her own son, who Williams noticed was struggling academically, this accomplished entrepreneur decided to use her education and experience to help improve academic outcomes for children, primarily those of low-income families, throughout Statesboro.

An extension of her parent company, Williams Events, W.E. Move! is Statesboro’s first traveling tutoring camp and summer fun program for students ages 6 to 12. Rooted in the motto, “We Move Up! We Move Forward! We Move Around!” the camp recently completed its first summer session. The response was so tremendous, Williams had to close registration.

“I’m really thinking about how [I can] develop W.E. Move! to be a year-round source for parents and children who have academic areas of need,” Williams said.

According to the 2016 U.S. Census, more than 50 percent of the Statesboro population is below the poverty line, which puts many elementary school students in Statesboro at risk for falling below the national academic standard. For concerned parents, W.E. Move! was able to provide customized tutoring services to help children improve in challenging areas while also taking steps to ensure they retained what they learned in the previous school year. The program has been approved by the Georgia Department of Early Care and for qualification for the Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program.

For a small fee, with reduced rates for qualified low-income families, children who participated in the W.E. Move! summer session enjoyed structured and fun learning from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., including STEM, art, online learning, character building, free play and seven field trips to locations throughout Statesboro and Savannah.

Like her event-planning business, W.E. Move! is also part of the Georgia Southern Business Innovation Group (BIG), an Innovation Incubator that offers dedicated space and business-development guidance to 20-plus local entrepreneurs at City Campus in downtown Statesboro. The W.E. Move! summer program was largely operated from BIG’s FABLAB and classroom and was led by student volunteers who provided instructional teaching based on curriculums designed by Williams and her former assistant.

With the help of generous donors, the first session of W.E. Move! was a huge success, and Williams has her sights set on continued growth in the months to come to help as many Statesboro students as possible. If you’d like to help, or to find out more, please visit the W.E. Move! Facebook page at

Marie Williams is the administrative assistant in the Georgia Southern College of Business Office of Development and Alumni Affairs.

Last updated: 4/8/2021