Alumni Profile: Digital Self-starter

Michael Loban
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Entrepreneurial Studies, 2008
Chief marketing officer and co-founder, InfoTrust
Cincinnati

Info What? | InfoTrust is a fast-growing technology company that was featured recently in the Cincinnati Business Courier for its early growth and global expansion. The start-up’s major customers include E.W. Scripps, Total Quality Logistics, the University of Cincinnati and LegalZoom. It reported earnings of $2 million last year.

Google That | “We’re in the business of analytics consulting…and are certified as a Google Analytics Partner. We try to answer a simple question: How do we turn data into something that helps organizations market themselves better and generate more sales?”

Origin Ukraine | “My family won a green card, which gave us the legal right to move to the U.S. when I was in high school. I’m grateful to my parents. When you’re 15 or 16 years old, you can adapt to anything, but it was harder on them. I’m confident I wouldn’t have the same level of opportunity if I had stayed in Ukraine.”

Major Studies | “When I declared entrepreneurship as my second major, I had no idea what it was. What I thought of as entrepreneurship is very different than how I think now. But my favorite classes were theology and philosophy. It helped me see the world differently.”

Data Discovery | “After graduation I worked in a number of different jobs and noticed how companies paid attention to social media. The Chamber of Commerce offered classes on Twitter and data analytics. It’s where the marketplace was going.”

Worry Wart | “The challenges have been in areas I didn’t anticipate, but I tend to worry. I consider myself a highly successful worrier, but worrying doesn’t stop me. It keeps me on my toes and helps me anticipate.”

A Xavier Foundation | “The best thing about Xavier is the ability to go out and explore. I was interested in things beyond business, so I applied for a fellowship to go to Israel, and I managed to go to the Vatican while I was at Xavier. You don’t anticipate those opportunities would be available in college. That’s why I love Xavier so much.”

Next Stop: Dubai | InfoTrust recently opened an office in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. “It seemed like a market that was ready for the services we offer. That turned us into an international company. We also have clients in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Asia.”

And Beyond | “We have very ambitious goals. We’ve been growing almost 100 percent year over year. We want to stay on track of being a company that builds products, and we want to grow our consulting.”

Alumni Profile: Nature’s Steward

Sally Gladwell
Bachelor of Science in Biology, 1993
Vice President, Mannik Smith Group
Toledo, Ohio

Environmental Pioneer | Gladwell’s interest in the environment dates to her childhood. At Xavier, she promoted recycling long before the University made green a priority. Now with MannikSmith, an environmental consultancy, she focuses on sustainable development. She’s also vice president of the board at the Black Swamp Conservancy, a land trust that protects farmland and open space from development.

An Early Affinity | “My interest grew out of a curiosity and vision of stewardship when I was a teen. I grew up with a love of nature. My happiest childhood memories took place outdoors. That grew into a commitment to make sure we had an energy-efficient home.”

Longterm Vision | At Xavier, “I really started to see my interest in the environment as a vision for a career. I wanted my career to be more than a way to support myself and my family, but also a way to contribute to the common good.”

Early Recycler | “I got involved with the recycling initiative on campus, using blue vans from Physical Plant to collect recyclables. Some offices weren’t willing to go to the trouble of setting things aside, but overall we got good support.”

Earthcare | “I helped found EarthCare out of the Dorothy Day House, an inspirational and foundational effort for me, and we received Club of the Year. We focused on expanding recycling and sponsored programs on farming, food challenges and how to be responsible consumers.”

Sustainable Developer | At Mannik Smith, Gladwell works on developing abandoned or underused land in urban areas, known as brownfields, into office space, retail, entertainment venues and housing. She developed funding strategies for an entertainment district being built by the Toledo Mud Hens minor-league baseball team. The district, known as Hensville, is redeveloping three vacant buildings and a vacant parking lot into a $21 million outdoor event space with sustainable stormwater management.

Wake-up Call | “Urban revitalization is one of the reasons I get up each morning. The most sustainable way for people to live is in cities and urban centers. Abandoning the urban core and regional sprawl has a cost that’s not just financial.”

Urban Core | “Once people understand a topic, they have a greater appreciation for environmental stewardship and sustainability. But I think people don’t understand that urban centers are a more sustainable way of living. It ripples out from environmental to economic sustainability.”

Abundant Opportunities | “I challenge myself to bring an environmental awareness to everything. I’m always trying to bring to mind what we can do as an organization to be more sustainable.”

Alumni Profile: Public Financier

Natasha (Hamilton) Holiday
Bachelor of Arts in history, Bachelor of Science in political science, 2004
Director, RBC Capital Markets
New York

Financing | When New York City, its subway system or other city departments want to build things, Natasha Holiday is a key contact for getting the necessary financing in order.

The Projects | “Our area of finance is based on the municipal bond market and helping city and state governments leverage debt financing to facilitate infrastructure investment. That’s roads, bridges, highways, new school construction, airport expansions, housing and sometimes a more controversial issue like stadium finance. The whole nine yards.”

World Trade Center | Holiday is responsible for client coverage for large municipal issuers, primarily New York City and MTA, the regional transportation system, and clients all along the Northeast. “My clients are typically large issuers, transactions of $300 million-plus. The largest I’ve ever done was $2 billion to help finance the new World Trade Center.”

View from the Top | “We were able to tour the facility up to the 103rd floor. So that was very special.”

Time at Xavier | Holiday was the Student Government Association president her senior year and was involved with student government all four years. It was a time that involved greater work on diversity and some controversy concerning the on-campus showing of the “Vagina Monologues.” Under her leadership, Xavier also staged the first significant concert in years, featuring OAR at Cintas.

True Blue | “I’ve been a (Xavier) trustee for four years, which is really an amazing opportunity. I sit on the finance, investment and student affairs committees. I come back to campus four times a year. It’s completely different. When I was there, the new buildings were Cintas and Gallagher.”

Still Into Politics | A Democrat, Holiday ran in 2010 for state committee person. “It’s the entry-level elected office in New York City and state politics. I lost by 106 votes in a primary election where over 4,000 votes were cast.”

A Young Family | Her husband, Aaron Holiday III, is a venture capitalist at 645 Ventures. Their 11-month-old son, Aaron IV, is “definitely the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” They live in Battery Park, near where she works on the ninth floor at the World Financial Center.

Charitable Giving | They sponsor an annual party in November for a cause they choose each year, raising over $10,000 in 2013 for Morehouse College to support African American men pursuing careers in computer science and technology. In 2014, they raised over $10,000 for Xavier’s Women of Excellence scholarship to support women pursuing careers in business. This year it’s Practice Makes Perfect, a New York City-based education organization committed to narrowing the achievement gap.

Alumni Profile: Spiritual Advisor

ROBERT W. STEPHAN, S.J.
Honors Bachelor of Arts in history, 1995
Campus Minister for Liturgy, Seattle University
Seattle, Wash.

Flagged by God | Stephan pulled into town to start work on a law degree at the University of California at Berkeley on a Sunday. He wanted to attend Mass, but what church? He saw a sign for the Holy Spirit Parish’s Newman Center. But where to park on these streets, with his possessions in his car? He saw a man who flagged him into a parking lot.

Uncanny Connections | Then during Mass, Stephan was surprised to hear the priest, Al Moser, mention having lunch with his sister on Fountain Square in Cincinnati. Moser, like Stephan, had attended Covington Latin and Xavier decades earlier. The coincidences were too much.

A Real Resolution | Stephan says he “resolved that first day: I’m going to do the first campus ministry event at the Newman Center, which really wouldn’t have been my thing. But because of that, I’m like, ‘OK, God, you’ve got my attention. I’m going to try something here.’” The event was a meet-and-greet introduction to small faith-sharing groups that convened the entire semester. It was one of the pulls he felt that led him toward the priesthood.

Xavier Connections | The oldest of five, Stephan attended Covington Latin and Xavier and was baptized at Bellarmine Chapel. The seed for the priesthood was planted when he took history courses from John LaRocca, S.J.

Early History | But history was his first passion, and he continued his studies in Austria and earned his master’s in history at UCLA in 1998. He later went to law school at Berkeley, graduating in 2002, before finally succumbing to the pull of those signs that first day in Berkeley and joining the Jesuits. Stephan, now 42, was ordained in 2013.

Education is Key | In between, he earned master’s degrees in pastoral studies at Loyola University Chicago and divinity at Boston College. He also taught at a Catholic high school and at Loyola Marymount University, both in Los Angeles, and served as deacon at a parish in Brookline, Mass. He’s now in campus ministry at Seattle University.

Homeless Ministry | While in Chicago, he was captivated by the Ignatian Spirituality Project, a Jesuit ministry that offers retreats to the homeless. “We don’t think to bring the two together, but at the same time, who else might need that more? It can help be a foundation that those who are struggling with homelessness can build on for real transformation in their lives.” He continued his homeless ministry in Orange, Cal., where he worked with high-school students, young adults and homeless people.

Spiritual Advising | “A place I feel very called to or passionate about is the spirituality and work with the poor and people who are marginalized in particular. I think there’s something very powerful, very much in line with the Gospels and what Jesus calls us to do.”

Alumni Profile: Medical Missionary

Dr. Carol Egner
Bachelor of Science in biology,
1978 Staff physician, Women Partners in OB GYN
Cincinnati


Trouble in Madagascar | The African island nation is a dangerous place to be pregnant. For every 100,000 births, 440 women die in childbirth, compared to 24 in the U.S. Babies are six times more likely to die than their American peers.

Mother-Baby Initiative | Every year Dr. Carol Egner spends two weeks in Madagascar trying to change that. Egner, a Cincinnati obstetrician/gynecologist, returns in September for her fifth visit helping the Caring Response Madagascar Foundation with its Mother-Baby Initiative.

Feeling a Calling | Though she describes herself as “not very adventurous,” she ended up 6,000 miles away, being greeted by strangers in African villages, after learning about the Caring Response Foundation, launched by a woman named Virginia Wiltse.

Caring Response | The idea of doing medical mission work appealed to Egner, and meeting Wiltse sealed the deal. Caring Response also runs literacy centers, a water-purification program, micro-lending and other initiatives,  concentrating on needs that others aren’t meeting.

Needs vs. Wants | “The poverty is overwhelming, and yet the people are so kind and receptive. We show up to a village to set up a clinic, and we’re always greeted with song and dance and food,” Egner says. “Their whole lives are about what they need and not what they want.”

Saving Mother’s Lives | In Madagascar, Egner teaches doctors and midwives the basics of delivering healthy babies while preserving the mothers’ safety. She starts with how to prevent and treat post-partum hemorrhage, the leading cause of maternal deaths there. Students also learn vacuum extraction, infant resuscitation and other skills.

Stocking Up | In addition to volunteering her time and paying her own way, Egner contacts medical-equipment manufacturers and companies to bring as many supplies with her as she can when she travels. The first year, the foundation shipped maternity beds, baby warmers and other supplies to better prepare clinics for births.

The Grapevine | The foundation also sent an ultrasound machine to a region that had no familiarity with the technology. Egner used it on a pregnant midwife who was one of her students. Early the next day, in an area void of social media, 20 pregnant women were standing in line at the clinic, all eager to see images of their babies.

House Calls | Egner also travels to surrounding villages to provide care for people who have walked for days. The initiative is also teaching caregivers how to keep pre-natal, delivery and post-partum records so they can track outcomes among their patients.

Almni Profile: Youth Mentor

George Powell
Bachelor of Science in physical education, 1965
Master of Education, 1972
Retired educator, Washington, DC


Go West Young Man | Powell, a Washington, DC, native, had completed his freshman year at Virginia Union University in Richmond when he decided he had to see more of the country. “I just packed my gym bag and said, ‘I’m going to the Midwest. I want to see the world,’” says Powell, 72. “I thought Xavier was a good place to come in and sharpen my skills and then give back.”

Knock-Knock | Athletic recruiting was a little different in those days. A student-athlete today wouldn’t, for example, show up at a coach’s office unannounced, ask for a tryout, and begin classes and practice a few days later. But that’s exactly what Powell did on Xavier’s now-defunct football team in the early 1960s.

Guiding Pillars | Giving back became the guiding principle for Powell’s life, along with education. He graduated in 1965 after studying physical education and psychology, and returned for a master’s in education. He volunteered at the Boys Club and the De Porres Center in CIncinnati, and would bring young boys to campus to expose them to college.

Teacher-Coach | After stints at the Ohio State University and Virginia Union, he later coached and taught at high schools in Cincinnati and Columbus. Some of his players went on to play football professionally, including two from Lincoln Heights High School in Cincinnati. Along the way, he mentored many students, urging them to take their education seriously and use it as a stepping-stone to a better life.

Open Door | “The door was open and I told kids to come with me. I tried to do everything I could to show them education is the way to a better life,” he says.

Family Man | Powell and his wife raised their two children to value education as well; his daughter Angela is a physician in Akron and his son George is a high-school teacher in Virginia. Powell moved back to Washington, DC, and lives in the house where he grew up.

Football Reunion | He was back on Xavier’s campus last year, when former Xavier football players were honored at a men’s basketball game. The school ended its football program in 1973, but many players stay in touch 40 years later.

Student-Athletes | Powell marveled at the changes on campus since he was here, and he spoke with pride about the emphasis the school still places on academics for its student-athletes. Though his teaching days are over, Powell’s mentoring and encouragement live on.

Giving Back | “We have to learn how to give back, because there are so many people out there who, with just a little bit of help, can be great people. Everybody needs a hand sometimes,” he says.

Alumni Profile: Justice for All


Megan Connolly

Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice, 2009
Attorney, Lowe Eklund Wakefield
Cleveland, Ohio


Uncommon Lawyer | Meghan Connolly loves to fight for the underdog—even when it’s herself. Imagine entering law school in 2009, when only 65 percent of graduates were finding jobs as lawyers. Additionally, Connolly’s chosen career as a personal injury attorney at Lowe Eklund Wakefield Co., LPA , a law firm in Cleveland has meant pushing against the image of ambulance-chasing lawyers and anti-plaintiff legislation. But she’s always been up for a challenge.

Making Her Case | “There’s a stigma attached to personal injury law, but we’re fighting the good fight. We’re helping deserving victims who’ve been tragically injured by negligent and reckless conduct. We pour our lives into these cases.”


A Good Argument |
“I don’t have any lawyers in my family. My dad plays the viola in the Cleveland Orchestra. My parents both say they could see me as an attorney: ‘You were so good arguing with us, maybe you should try to get paid for it.’ Research and writing are central to the law, two things I’ve always been good at. The first impression the court has of an attorney is through their writing.”

The X Factor | “I was a transfer student. I did my first year at East Tennessee State University with a volleyball scholarship. When that didn’t work out, I transferred to Xavier. I signed up for a course in constitutional law and it was the most interesting class I took. And that’s when I started thinking, ‘Maybe I want to go to law school.’”

Ex Post Facto | “I think a lot of people would be surprised how much reading, writing and of research we do. Good writing goes a long way. Anymore, ‘legalese’ is considered old school. What most judges prefer now is to be concise, straight forward, and to tell the truth. Plus the writing-intensive liberal arts education at Xavier gave me an advantage.”

Law School of Hard Knocks | “I remember being accepted and being really excited. When I got to school, some professors  started telling us, ‘It’s bad out there, guys, there aren’t enough jobs for everyone.’ Fortunately, I started clerking at the firm I’m working for now while I was still in law school. And the partners I work for have such a great passion for representing their clients. I identified ethically  and morally with this side of the law.”

Jesuit Jurisprudence | “It’s a very moving experience to meet a client who has suffered a tragic injury or who has lost a loved one through the negligence of someone else and then begin to advocate for them and do everything you can for a just result. I think the Jesuit mission absolutely lines up with those efforts.”

Alumni Profile: Active Organizer

Mike Moroski
Bachelor of Arts in English, 2001

Master of Arts in English, 2011
Director of Community Engagement, Community Matters
Cincinnati


Flipping For Good | After graduating with an English degree, Mike Moroski began taking students from Moeller High School to Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood to rehab, or flip, old buildings to create affordable housing. He became deeply enmeshed in reviving the impoverished neighborhood, even opening a non-profit coffee shop. He received Xavier’s Magis Award in 2011.

Moving On | While dean of student life at Purcell Marian High School, Moroski faced an ideological dispute over the issue of same-sex marriage and left the school. He ran for Cincinnati City Council and lost. All the while, he kept watch as Over-the-Rhine gentrified into a neighborhood of pricey restaurants and high-end housing.

Uphill Climb | Moroski turned his sights to the Lower Price Hill neighborhood two miles west of downtown, where he serves as director of community engagement and development at Community Matters. He also emerged as a leading figure in efforts to fight poverty in Cincinnati, serving on multiple boards and organizations.

Research Lab | Lower Price Hill provides an especially useful laboratory for community organizing. In this tiny community of less than 1,200 residents, about half live in poverty, and 40 percent of adults lack a high-school diploma. And the traditionally Appalachian neighborhood has seen an influx of Guatemalan residents.

Unlimited Potential | Moroski sees unlimited potential for Lower Price Hill. “The people in the neighborhood are so hardworking and so proud,” he says. “You can literally wrap your arms around Lower Price Hill, and you can empower the entire community to rebuild itself.”

Nerve Center | The nerve center of Lower Price Hill’s renewal efforts is the former St. Michael the Archangel Church and School, which closed in 1997 and now houses Community Matters and Education Matters, two non-profits dedicated to improving the neighborhood.

Renewal | A $10 million renovation by the two non-profits is creating a food pantry, thrift store, benefits resource center, co-op laundromat and a community space in the old sanctuary. It will also host students from Xavier and other schools for service-learning programs that immerse them in solutions to poverty. Such programs used to be held in Over-the-Rhine, before the pace of redevelopment there picked up.

Come Together | Morowski sees all his past and current work—education, community development, job creation and support for families—coming together in just a few city blocks. “There’s way more potential than obstacles,” he says.  JULIE IRWIN ZIMMERMAN

Alumni Profile: Victoria Raymond

VICTORIA RAYMOND

Bachelor of Science in biology, 2004
Certified Genetic Counselor, University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Mich.

A Matter of Degrees | Victoria Raymond loved math and biology, but was advised against majoring in both. So she stayed undeclared until she realized a biology degree did not mean she had to go to medical school. There were other options in health care and research.

Clarity | “I did very well once I made the official decision to do biology and not pre-med, but then I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was taking Dottie Engle’s genetics course and doing a research project with her, and it clicked for me that it has a lot of math in it and combines two disciplines I really like. So I began thinking about what I can do in genetics.”

Ground Breaker | No one had ever gone into genetics right out of Xavier’s biology program, but Raymond’s research revealed a developing field in genetics counseling that combines the science of gene research with the humanity of patient care. The best part was it does not involve endless hours flying solo in a research laboratory.

Personalized Medicine | “It’s a fascinating field, a hybrid field where the genetics patient is the entire family. So if I find out someone has a mutation, it has implications for everyone in the family. That has shifted how we think about medicine. Genetics is the basics of personalized medicine, which is where medicine is going today.”

Job Ready | About 10 days after completing her master’s degree in medical genetics, Raymond started her new job at the University of Michigan in June 2006. She does genetic counseling with cancer patients, which includes risk assessments and genetic testing for them and their families. She also conducts clinical research studies and teaches at the medical school.

Celebrity Issues | The benefits of genetic counseling got public attention recently when celebrities such as Christina Applegate and Angelina Jolie decided to have double mastectomies because they learned they carry the BRCA gene for breast cancer.

Decisions, Decisions | “Physicians send patients to us wanting to know if there is a genetic risk factor for their disease, and if so, they treat the patient differently,” she says. “Genetics allows us to be more proactive with someone’s health care and make educated decisions. Instead of waiting for someone to become symptomatic and enrolling people in strenuous screening programs, this allows us to detect things earlier and to treat them earlier. We’ve seen a reduction in mortality as a result.”

Cigar Czar

They say where there’s smoke there’s fire. But for Kevin McKenna, it means more than that. For him, where there’s smoke, there’s business.

The 2005 communications grad manages the cigar humidor at The Party Source in Bellevue, Ky., so he knows a good smoke when he sees one—enough so that he went out and created one to his own taste.

McKenna traveled to Nicaragua, a country known for its tobacco exports, to learn about the manufacturing process. There, he watched tobacco farmers grow, harvest, ferment and roll premium tobacco into cigars. He was impressed by their intricate knowledge of the plant, which to him seemed like something that couldn’t be taught.

“How do you know when the tobacco finishes fermenting?” he asked one of the Nicaraguan farmers, who had spent his entire life working and living on tobacco fields. “You just know,” the farmer said.

McKenna selected the tobacco to make his own corona blend, which he named La Abeja, Spanish for “the bee.”

“Bees, in folklore, are a symbol of sacred knowledge,” he says. “That farmer knows exactly when to stop fermentation stage, which is the most important step in preparing tobacco. If you stop the process too late or too soon, the whole batch is ruined. It’s just something that he knows from years and years of experience. That’s what makes it good.”

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[divider] How to smoke a cigar [/divider]

Kevin McKenna’s advice on the best way to smoke a cigar:
1.)  Choose the right one.
2.)  Stake out a spot. “Don’t worry about the [deleted] who give you dirty looks.”
3.)  Clip the end of the cigar.
4.)  Make sure everything’s in good shape. “I like to draw an unlit cigar just to make sure that air is getting through it.”
5.)  Sip on something.
6.)  Lighting matters. “Some people like to use harsh lighters on their cigars; it gives you a hotter, harsher first hit. I like to use a soft lighter on mine.”