Successful CEOs are not born overnight. Ryan Drexler, AS’93, grew up as the shy kid and lacked confidence in public speaking, but like every Northeastern student, he focused on finding his career path. Ryan majored in theatre, a unique choice at the time, but one that brought him outside his comfort zone to develop essential leadership skills. Fast forward to the present, Ryan is now CEO and president of MusclePharm, a publicly traded sports nutrition company, and shares his advice on leading teams, overcoming challenges, and reaching the top.
Creativity. Diversity. Changemakers. What do these buzz words really mean? Vallabhi Singh, DMSB’17, has been chasing that answer and her own curiosity since she graduated. Unexpectedly, she left her promising career in New York City to return to her home country of India, but she brought with her a deep passion for entrepreneurship, collaboration, and connection. She focused her energy and founded Creatives Around The World (CATW), in the midst of the global pandemic, to bring diverse minds together and #NetworksForGood. Hosting several virtual roundtables since May, the CATW network is growing, pushing boundaries on how we approach problems and define creativity.
An American passport changed her life. Alexandra Tarzikhan was born in the United States to her American mom and Syrian dad. She grew up in the city of Aleppo, returning to Boston to attend Northeastern. But in 2011 at the start of the Syrian civil war, Alexandra could easily hop on a plane thanks to her passport. Her lived experience became drastically different than the refugees struggling for safety and asylum in Europe. Instead, she experienced the migrant crisis in Lesvos as a volunteer. Alexandra received a JD/MPH dual degree and is passionate about pursuing a legal career in human rights and humanitarian operations with a focus on migration and health. Her Instagram account @meetarefugee helps share stories and bring attention and awareness to the refugee crisis.
What do the Beanpot and Chicken Lou’s have in common? They are both beloved Northeastern traditions, and Men’s Hockey Head Coach Jim Madigan speaks fondly of both. Coach Madigan set foot on campus for the first time in 1981 as a first-year student. Graduating in 1986, he landed his first assistant coaching job at Northeastern, and 34 years later, hasn’t looked back. Coach Madigan is a six-time Beanpot champion and has held roles in athletics, facilities, and advancement, proudly serving the university as an alumnus, staff, coach, and parent. However, the soul of Northeastern goes beyond academics and athletics, and Coach Madigan remembers a special friend and campus icon, Lou Ferretti, the late founder of Chicken Lou’s, a little sandwich shop on Forsyth St. Chicken Lou’s closed in 2020 after 30 years of bringing joy through food to the campus community and in this episode, Coach recounts where it all began.
To pre-order a commemorative Chicken Lou's plate visit: giving.northeastern.edu
If sports journalism makes you think of box scores and game recaps, you are only scratching the surface. Kade Krichko, AMD'12, is a freelance writer, editor, and photojournalist who makes a living traveling the world and chasing stories. Covering skateboarding in Cuba, and the history of skiing in China, he writes with a unique lens at the intersection of sports and culture and is published in The New York Times, ESPN, Outside Online and more. Kade is also an editor for Northeastern’s Game Plan, a student-run publication exploring the future of sports journalism. During the pandemic, we have seen live sports grind to a halt, and while fans have to adapt, so does the journalism industry. Listen to hear Kade’s experience living in Spain when COVID-19 hit Europe and what he is working on next.
What's "African fashion?" Audrey Lang, DMSB’15, finds it almost impossible to define for the most culturally diverse continent in the world. Born in France to two Cameroonian immigrants, she has lived in the US since she was three with the goal to work in Africa after her Northeastern experience. Having built a career in retail and e-commerce, Audrey landed an opportunity in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire at the largest marketplace for African-inspired goods. The market is complex, and faces unique challenges. She is also a freelance writer for Okay Africa, Travel Noire, and Afriquette, capturing authentic travel diaries and photographs of beautiful, historic places. Hear from Audrey about how the pandemic has impacted her work, industry, and future travel plans.
Read Audrey's Travel Diary: Côte d'Ivoire on Okay Africa.
What is the “heart” of your ideal workplace? Who are the people, the values, and the shared goals? The answers to these questions help define an "employer brand"—the look, feel, and voice of a company. Employer branding and recruitment marketing are growing fields in the modern work landscape, where talent acquisition is competitive and employees are expecting more. Rian Finnegan, AMD'11 is a champion for the employee experience and followed a passion for creating engaging and inclusive company cultures. Rian’s experience spans diverse companies like Twitter, Pandora, Squarespace, and now, Instacart. Hear the latest trends in recruitment, and how a strong and authentic employer brand can attract and retain top talent. As many of us are working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rian also shares some tips to stay connected in a remote working environment.
Find Rian on LinkedIn
Simply making it to Shark Tank might be the ultimate dream for an entrepreneur. But, last year, Jamie Ratner, MS’01, founder and CEO of CertifiKID, closed a deal with Mr. Wonderful himself, for her discount website for family-friendly activities. Before starting CertifiKID, Jamie worked in security for almost a decade after receiving her master’s in criminal justice at Northeastern. But, as a parent and self-proclaimed deal-finder, Jamie and her husband saw a gap in the market for kid-friendly events, offering amusement parks and birthday parties instead of spas and restaurants. Their solution—Certifikid. However, like many others, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Jamie's business, forcing her to pivot and offer awareness and discounts for virtual kid programming. Today, she's working hard to stay resilient, and is ready to share the lessons she's learned from navigating through the unique circumstances.
There are five times as many books about trucks than there are about any children of color. When Sailaja Joshi, DMSB’06 was searching for authentic and appropriate stories of Indian culture for her own children, she found a huge diversity gap in children’s literature. So, she decided to solve the problem, and launched Mango and Marigold Press, an award winning independent publishing house focusing on the South Asian experience. Serving as the CEO and founder, today the press has over a dozen titles, and recently launched the #1001DiverseBooks initiative, with the goal to bridge the accessibility gap, and raise money to donate diverse children’s literature to underserved communities. Northeastern’s IDEA venture accelerator gave this alumna a leg up, and she later utilized SCOUT, the student-led design studio, for her company’s rebrand.
Follow: @mangoandmarigoldpress on Instagram
We might love the sun, but it is also very harmful to our largest organ—the skin. Lauren Rampello, DMSB’11 is the founder of Pure Glow—a company dedicated to bringing an organic and sunless tanning solution to Boston. Lauren built her business on knowledge and transparency, focusing on natural ingredients, while prioritizing health and the unique client experience. And, Lauren has leveraged Northeastern resources to give her a boost. Northeastern has a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem and offers support to both students and alumni. Lauren was matched with a mentor in the McCarthy(s) Venture Mentoring Network, setting her company up for growth and continued success.
Follow on Instagram: @pureglowtanning