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Executive Program Celebrates

Presenter at podium in Follower Hall

University Residences celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Executive-in-Residence (EiR) program during Homecoming 2019.

The EiR program was established in 2014-15 to connect students to alumni industry leaders. Four executives typically visit campus for up to a week each semester, living on campus in Third Street Suites while they interact with and mentor students in various settings, from lecture halls and residence halls to dining courts and basketball courts.

Each visiting executive helps plan their visits according to their areas of expertise and even their own hobbies and interests. Organized interactions can include meeting with academic departments, Residential Life groups and professional staff, and meeting individually with students during Coffee & Consulting, which allows students one-on-one time to receive career advice, discuss other areas of the executive's expertise or share thoughts on their Purdue experience. Events organized by executives have included poker nights, "Shark Tank"-style exercises and hosting executive-board simulations which teach students about the decision-making process inside an executive boardroom.

The keynote event of the EiR anniversary weekend was a panel discussion featuring returning executives. Moderated by Drew Mattison, the event brought more than 430 years of combined professional experience in front of students, faculty and staff on the Fowler Hall stage. Whether it was recounting multiple instances in which individuals at Purdue helped in their success or reminiscing on horror stories involving various classes, executives were quick to relate how Purdue helped prepare them for their careers.

"There's no problem that anyone in the corporate world can put in front of me that beats Physics 251," joked Patrick Mosher, Chief Scientist of Sales & Marketing Talent Solutions for Accenture and a four-time participant in EiR.

While there were light-hearted moments shared with the audience, executives also shared pieces of advice with those in attendance. One theme that was reflected throughout the discussion was that students should try new things and not be discouraged by setbacks.

"These four years are a gift," said Emily Liggett, CEO of Novatorque. "It's a laboratory and a safe space to try new things and take some risks and it's in those risks that we get out of our comfort zone and we really learn a lot. We learn about ourselves and we grow a tremendous amount. Take classes that sound interesting, not necessarily those where you know there's an 'easy A.' Try out a few things that you may not get, run for an office you might not win, apply for some scholarship that's difficult to get. And if you don't get it, then just move on and find something else that's interesting because there's so many opportunities here."

Steve Furry, CEO and Founder of Catalyst Healthcare Advisors, told those assembled that they shouldn't be discouraged if they don't find their ideal job right out of college.

"If there's one thing I had to hone in on in the message we've tried to share with students who come in and speak with us, it is that your career path from here is not always a straight line," Furry said. "We're here to tell you that path has a lot of zigs and a lot of zags. It's okay if you fail forward every once in a while. You're not going to get it right every time."

Other executives added thoughts on the importance of building relationships while at Purdue.

"The connections that we make and the humans that we engage is the same as it's always been," said Mattison. "The cultural system we work in is different, and so understanding what experience can translate to what you want to do is amazingly powerful."

Returning executives who participated in the panel discussion included:

  • Rusty Rueff, Co-Founder and Board Director of Alioth.
  • Patrick Mosher, Chief Scientist of Sales & Marketing Talent Solutions, Accenture. (Four-time executive-in-residence).
  • Art Norins, Founder and CEO of Nor1.
  • Jack Calhoun, former Global President of Banana Republic.
  • Gary Hobbs, President and CEO of BWI Real Estate.
  • Dave Clifton, Brand Architect.
  • Best Bostwick, Advisor of Women Startup Lab and Co-Founder/CEO of SafeTeller & ReadyTouch.
  • Marc Swanson, Chief Financial Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.
  • Dave Omholt, CEO and Founder of The Entrepreneur Authority.
  • Steve Furry, CEO and Founder of Catalyst Healthcare Advisors.
  • Amy Furry, Co-Founder and Senior Advisor of Catalyst Healthcare Advisors.
  • Drew Mattison, Partner and Vice President of Business Development at Tremendousness.
  • Teresa Roche, Chief Human Resources Officer at City of Fort Collins.
  • Emily Liggett, CEO of Novatorque.
  • Lorna Utley, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit.

More photos of the discussion and fifth anniversary celebration can be found on the University Residences Facebook page.

EiR continues to build momentum towards the spring semester and is booking executives well into the future. Stay up to date on upcoming EiR visits and opportunities by the visiting the EiR online.