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UD Students and Alumni Discuss Social Entrepreneurship and Responsibility

UD Students and Alumni Discuss Social Entrepreneurship and Responsibility

Although many business leaders focus solely on the bottom line, those who understand and embrace the social implications of starting and growing an ethical company often have the greatest impact on their communities while still creating jobs and realizing profits. A group of local entrepreneurs with ties to the University of Dallas participated in an Entrepreneurship and Social Responsibility panel event on October 6 to discuss these issues. The event was co-sponsored by the Entrepreneurship Society and Market Share Marketing Club and moderated by Dr. Laura Munoz.

Rachel Sullivan, President UD Entrepreneurship Society   Photo by Anthony Garnier
Rachel Sullivan, President UD Entrepreneurship Society
Photo by Anthony Garnier

In making the connection between business and social responsibility, Michael Hasson (Politics ‘08), a digital campaign strategist and executive at Red Metrics LLC, said that entrepreneurs have responsibilities to various constituent groups. “First, you owe your funders integrity and responsibility,” he said. “You also owe your customers your focus, you owe your employees your loyalty, and you owe society the value of creating jobs.”

Simone Meskelis, a student in UD’s Doctor of Business Administration program and Regional Sales Analyst at Essilor, shared a personal story from her native Brazil about the important role entrepreneurs play in the community. “My father traveled the country trying to find a city where he could start a business,” she said. “And our entire family lived and breathed that business. But in 1995 when the Brazilian economy collapsed and he lost his job, his biggest concern was having to let 50 people go. Those 50 families depended on my father’s business.”

(L to R) Michael Hasson, Simone Meskelis, Kyle Callahan Photo by Anthony Garnier
(L to R) Michael Hasson, Simone Meskelis, Kyle Callahan
Photo by Anthony Garnier

Kyle Callahan (Economics ‘10), Client Success Executive for Care Continuity, pointed out the challenging relationship between social responsibility and business profitability. “In our business, 30% of our clients are complex cases because they don’t have health insurance,” he said. “And our caseworkers sometimes spend a disproportionate amount of time coordinating their care. But they still need our help.”

Beyond the mechanics of business itself, the panelists also discussed how companies can publicly demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility. “Spending all day with your employees doing something like building a house–think about the lessons that can teach,” Hassan said. “And it can make a real difference in the company as well. You want employees to grow and you hope that they eventually outgrow you.”

Photo by Anthony Garnier
Photo by Anthony Garnier

Meskelis explained that increasing employee engagement can result in a win-win for both the company and the employee. “When employees receive meaning from what they do, it helps them connect their work to making the world a better place,” she said. “Work becomes more than just a paycheck.”

Callahan added that simply treating everyone well and with respect also makes employees feel connected to the company. “Understanding things like family emergencies is important,” he said.

The panel also discussed how a company might market or promote their commitment to social responsibility. “Unfortunately, hacks take what sounds best at the moment,” said Hassan. “But obligations to society have been around forever. Trying to just look social responsible doesn’t work.”

Meskelis agreed. “Social media is every liar’s worst nightmare,” she said. “If you’re not going to do the right thing in your core business, it will come out sooner or later. It doesn’t matter what foundation you serve or which cause you support.”

The University of Dallas Executives on Campus program was founded to further the University’s mission of providing practice-based education, by inviting successful business leaders to share their experience with graduate and undergraduate students in the classroom. Through this program, alumni, business leaders, and their companies are invited to partner with the University in our shared pursuit of management excellence. For more information click here.

Executives on Campus: Jennifer Boyanovsky, AT&T

Executives on Campus: Jennifer Boyanovsky, AT&T

AT&T is a Fortune 5 company, and, as you would expect, its marketing program is complex. Jennifer Boyanovsky (MBA ‘03), Executive Director, Brand Management for AT&T, spoke on September 15 to Dr. Laura Munoz’s Marketing Theory and Practice class at the University of Dallas about approaching the market, market segmentation and her own roles at AT&T.

Boyanovsky began her marketing career making cold calls. “I was literally doing door-to-door sales. It not only forced me to get outside of my comfort zone,” she said, “but it also helped me learn to deal with different types of people.” After moving on to business acquisition sales, Boyanovsky eventually took a role in consumer marketing at AT&T, helping to establish the company’s early online presence. She then worked in channel marketing, where she served as a liaison between the marketing and distribution channels. “I was really a negotiator in that role,” she said. “It was my job to make sure marketing’s plans got executed on the front line.” From that experience, Boyanovsky learned marketing departments can’t sit in a silo making plans: “Marketing has to figure out how the front lines can improve the customer experience.”

Jennifer Boyanovsky
Jennifer Boyanovsky

According to Boyanovsky, one of the keys to marketing a big brand like AT&T is balance: “The trick is to keep the brand stable, yet evolving.” Marketing plays a key role in that process by continuing to evaluate customers’ needs. “Our business marketing is a great example of how we are evolving,” she said. “We want to provide solutions to everyone from mom & pops to huge corporations like IBM. So our marketing has to show them how AT&T can help them optimize their networks, manage their data, but also answer the phones.”

Boyanovsky said that in order to become an integrated communications company, AT&T has had to break down barriers between departments. “Our marketing plan focuses on advertising broader solutions rather than just individual products,” she said. Despite the brand evolving in this way, Boyanovsky said that the it remains consistent: “Our ads are predominately blue, they contain a particular font and include the iconic AT&T tone.”

Because AT&T values new talent acquisition, Boyanovsky said that the company has two programs aimed at college students and recent graduates. The summer internship program targets freshmen and sophomores and allows students to rotate through different departments within the company over three summers, with the potential to move into full-time employment after graduation. AT&T’s 16-week B2B Sales Program is a graduate apprenticeship-type program that Boyanosvky said allows for “excellent career and learning potential.”

The University of Dallas Executives on Campus program was founded to further the University’s mission of providing practice-based education, by inviting successful business leaders to share their experience with graduate and undergraduate students in the classroom. Through this program, alumni, business leaders, and their companies are invited to partner with the University in our shared pursuit of management excellence. For more information click here.

 

Alumni Spotlight: Mariana Zayas

Alumni Spotlight: Mariana Zayas

Even before she graduated from UD in 2012, Mariana Zayas (BA ‘12) knew that she wanted to work in human resources. “I love people and I really wanted to make a difference in people’s lives,” she said. Zayas started her HR career on campus as an intern for the UD Office of Human Resources. She said that one of the most valuable parts of the experience was learning important professional skills: “I learned things like how to communicate within the boss/subordinate relationship.”

Mariana ZayasZayas was able to translate her HR internship into an entry-level position with Omni Hotels and has since moved up to the role of Corporate Human Resources Manager. “Our employees are spending eight or nine hours a day away from their families,” she said. “So employee relations is the best part of my job because I can help those hard-working people grow.”

Zayas credits the critical thinking skills she developed at UD with helping her hone her ability to communicate professionally. “When I’m in a meeting, I have to listen to what people are saying, then make my case and support my conclusions with facts, just as if I were writing a paper in Lit Trad. UD grads are smart and eager to learn, and they reflect that when they become professionals.”

Alongside her career in HR, another way in which Zayas helps people grow is through her role as president of the Young Catholic Professionals Organization. “YCP brings together everyone from experts to recent graduates,” she said. “We host executive speakers and hold panel events and mixers designed to help you grow a network of friends who share the same values.” You can visit their website here for more information about the organization.

Zayas advises students to say “yes” to opportunities that present themselves: “Get to know your professors. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Be ‘that person’ that says ‘yes’ to opportunities and be passionate about what you do.”

Most importantly, Zayas said, is that you love what you do: “Make sure the company you work for is a good fit. And if you’re passionate about what you do, you’ll be motivated every single day.”

LinkedIn from a Recruiter’s Perspective

LinkedIn from a Recruiter’s Perspective

As a recruiter for a national hospital system, UD alumna Anna Sowder (Business ‘15) sees LinkedIn profiles every day. Unfortunately, many fall short for a variety of reasons. In hopes of helping out UD students and grads, Anna has given us a recruiter’s perspective on how to improve your LinkedIn profile.

Anna Sowder
Anna Sowder

Post a picture!
While Anna acknowledges that some people think a photo might allow an employer to discriminate, she believes that it actually shows that you cared enough to take your time in building your profile: “It makes it more personal and allows people to see you as a PERSON, which is what we all want.” Make sure to dress professionally in your photo–that means no T-shirts for men and no low necklines for women.

 
 
Always keep your profile updated with your current role
This is one of Anna’s pet peeves: “Even if you aren’t really in the market for a job, you should ALWAYS update your profile! We message people all the time with opportunities to see if they would be willing to make a switch.” Anna says that although having the right contacts will often get you a job, recruiters are now actively emailing potential candidates based on the roles listed in their LinkedIn profiles: “You don’t always know what other people see in you until you get that email that says, ‘Hey, we think you’d be a good fit for this job. Wanna check it out?’”

If you really, really, really want/need a job, attach a resume or cover letter
Anna says that a resume gives a recruiter something to print out so she can compare you to other candidates. “It also makes it easier to pass on to the hiring manager/executives,” she said.

Remember, LinkedIn is NOT social media  
Anna is adamant about this point: “Your LinkedIn profile is your professional face to the rest of the world! So make it that way! Show that you have good judgement, can be professional, and should be trusted!” According to Anna’s HR Manager, her company’s head recruiter, this is the most important aspect of a LinkedIn profile.

Click here for more information about OPCD or to make an appointment with a career adviser.

Executives on Campus: Jack Gibbons, CEO, Front Burner Restaurants

Executives on Campus: Jack Gibbons, CEO, Front Burner Restaurants

Everybody loves restaurants. And we all have opinions about what makes a good one. Ask your family members, neighbors, and coworkers and they’ll surely tell you about their great—and not so great—dining experiences. Jack Gibbons (MBA, ’05) is passionate about eating out, too. But he has taken his passion and turned it into his vocation. As the CEO of Front Burner Restaurants, Gibbons lives and breathes restaurants every day. On February 23, he shared his experiences as both a restaurateur and an entrepreneur with the University of Dallas Entrepreneurship Society.

Gibbons began his career in the restaurant industry as a waiter with the Pappas family of restaurants, a favorite in the Dallas area. He worked his way into management and eventually became brand manager for the group. While employed by Pappas, Gibbons came to UD’s Satish and Yasmin Gupta College of Business.

Gibbons said that obtaining his MBA from the University of Dallas helped him become a better businessman. “I would hear things in class—like what the great business minds have to say about something—and I would realize that it could help me solve problems I was dealing with in the restaurants,” he said.

Gibbons eventually realized that what he really wanted to do was take a risk and follow his own vision of what makes a great restaurant. He and partner, Randy DeWitt, created Front Burner Restaurants in hopes of addressing consumers’ unmet needs in a creative way. And they have been wildly successful.

According to Gibbons, putting together a strong team has been integral to the success of Front Burner. “I have surrounded myself with people who are smarter than me,” he said. “My team helps me create the unique brand for each individual restaurant.”

That uniqueness is important to Gibbons, so when he is cultivating a vision for a restaurant, he draws inspiration from a variety of areas. “I love to travel and experience new adventures in food. I study restaurants from around the country and decide what I like and what I don’t like about them,” he said. Gibbons takes what he’s learned through his research back to his team, and together they mold his vision into the DNA of the brand—what he defines as its “differences, nuances, and attitudes.”

Front Burner Restaurants certainly have attitude. A prime example is Whiskey Cake, located in Plano. Gibbons chose the area because he felt the DFW suburbs were missing out on unique dining opportunities. And despite the restaurant’s conservative surroundings, “counterculture” best describes the restaurant’s vibe. “We wanted the staff to really fit the ethos of the brand,” Gibbons said, “So our servers have dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings.” A farm to fork menu and a commitment to freshness and sustainability (they press their own juices and even recycle rainwater) have resulted in Whiskey Cake’s becoming the top-rated restaurant in DFW on the popular user-review app, Yelp.

Gibbons and his team are working on several exciting dining and entertainment projects that will take advantage of the phenomenal growth of the DFW area and its reputation as a testing ground for new restaurant concepts. With these new projects, Front Burner will continue to attract top chefs and culinary trendsetters. Anyone who likes a good meal will be looking forward to that.

For more information about the University of Dallas Entrepreneurship Society, click here.

4 Ways to Launch Your Great Idea

4 Ways to Launch Your Great Idea

So you’ve got a great idea for a product, business or app. Social media marketing guru Ali Mirza (MBA ‘12) says that the old way of launching–build, launch, market–doesn’t properly leverage the power of social media to bring ideas to fruition. According to Mirza, entrepreneurs must first test their ideas using a variety of offline and social media channels to validate that needs exist–and that their ideas can fulfil those needs. “Before you build a product, you have to know what people want,” he said. “You have to identify their pain points so that you can properly address them.”

How do you go about validating your idea? Mirza says that the first thing you must do is build an MVP–a minimum viable product. If your idea is for a website or app, build a landing page that includes a logo and briefly describes the product. Then use that landing page to capture the email addresses of interested users. Once you have an MVP, the real work begins. Mirza details five ways to drive users to your landing page, which–if your idea is a good one–will create buzz for your product and build your list of customers.

Offline Hustle
Mirza says that Meetups (meetup.com), local affinity groups focused around hundreds of different hobbies and interests, are a great way to meet like-minded people. “You could find a Meetup for foodies, for yoga, for just about anything,” he said. And look for other events that align with your idea, like workshops or vendor fairs. Make sure to bring your business cards with your landing page address, because networking with potential users in person can start the buzz and help you identify whether your product will take off.

Startup and Pitch Competitions
Mirza, whose FiveOH restaurant and food app won Google’s Startup Weekend competition, says that these types of competitions are about more than winning–they can validate your idea and help you find partners, like designers or programmers. “My app is designed to help college students find cheap food,” he said. “So I knew that I could talk to a lot of college students at the competition. I didn’t expect to win.” Check out startup weekend.org for more information.

Startup Communities
Researching what others are doing is another way to analyze your market. Mirza suggests browsing startup communities like Hacker News (news.ycombinator.com) and Betalist (betalist.com), which give makers an outlet to showcase their ideas and get early feedback. A Q&A website like Quora can also help you look for questions and answers associated with your idea.

Social Media
“The people who will use your product are on social media,” Mirza says. “If you want to connect with people, you have to commit to having a social media presence.” In the initial idea-building phase, Mirza suggests using social media as a tool to drive people to your landing page. “Choose one or two social media platforms and post consistently,” he says.

Ali Mirza is the founder of iSocialYou, a business dedicated to helping businesses create engaging social brands and generate leads. He spoke on April 20 to a meeting of the University of Dallas’ Entrepreneurship Society.

From Political Philosophy to Human Resources: Sabre VP Doug Johnson

From Political Philosophy to Human Resources: Sabre VP Doug Johnson

The human resources department may not be the most glamorous segment of the business world, but according to Doug Johnson (BA ’94), Vice President of Human Resources for Sabre Airline Solutions, managing it effectively is essential to a company’s bottom line. “If a company is like a machine,” he said, “then HR is the steward that keeps the machine running.” Johnson spoke recently to Dr. Greg Bell’s Business Foundations class as part of UD’s Executives on Campus program.

Johnson began his career in human resources with a summer job recruiting doctors and dentists to staff a military base. He tried teaching after graduation, but eventually returned to the recruiting field and, through a series of jobs with increasing responsibilities, landed at Sabre as VP of Human Resources for two of the company’s three divisions. During his tenure there, global employee turnover has been reduced by nearly 50 percent.

Johnson’s experience with Sabre reflects not only his success as an HR professional, but also his business acumen. The company, whose reservation systems run some of the world’s largest airlines, has over 10,000 employees. “Sabre’s IPO ranks in the top 10% of all IPOs in the last 2 years,” he said. “And I firmly believe that our HR practices played a role in that success.” Johnson believes that the purpose of a human resources department is to make money for the company, just like any other business unit. In other words, HR for HR’s sake isn’t an option for an organization that has to answer to a board of directors and shareholders. And one of the most important functions of a bottom-line-focused HR department is talent acquisition. “Sabre is relentless about recruiting the best talent in the global market,” Johnson said.

Another important role for an HR department is change management. “When Sabre shifted its focus from being an airline company operating in the software space to a software company operating in the airline space, we had to work hard to make sure everyone in the company understood this new way of thinking,” he said. Johnson accomplished this through building and buying. “Building is training the people you have and buying is recruiting new people to the organization,” he said.

Part of change management in an organization often involves what Johnson called “executive team alignment”—making sure that the company’s leadership is working well together. “The culture of an organization is the result of leadership behavior,” he said. “And when people quit, they are quitting their bosses, not the company. So leadership matters.”
Johnson advised students to leverage their liberal arts degrees by demonstrating to potential employers that they have the ability to communicate well. “Look, I never pictured myself in HR,” he said. “I have a degree in political philosophy. But most companies are willing to teach those who can and are willing to learn.”

And how exactly does a candidate catch Johnson’s eye? “I’m looking for people who are promotable and who are humble,” he said. “And people who have learned how to learn.” That’s where a liberal arts education from the University of Dallas comes in. “Having a strong liberal arts background plus business acumen will set you apart from everyone else,” he said.

For more information on University of Dallas’ Office of Personal Career Development, visit our website at www.udallas.edu/OPCD.

Alumni Spotlight: Jenna Grable’11 – Working in Sports and Technology

Alumni Spotlight: Jenna Grable’11 – Working in Sports and Technology

Jenna Grable presents to students about her experience in the sports and technology industries. Image by: Marquel Plavan

There are lots of rumors out there that companies within the tech industry are great places to work. But is that really true? It is according to Jenna Grable, BA ’11, an Elite Account Executive at Yelp in San Francisco. Grable spoke to students recently about her experience in both the tech and sports marketing fields.

After graduating from UD in 2014, Grable left Dallas for San Francisco to try something new. “I contacted recruiters from different job sites and set up interviews during a two week visit, which stretched to three weeks,” she said. She soon received an offer from LoopNet, a real estate company, and relocated to San Francisco.

After some time with LoopNet, Grable decided that she would indulge her real passion, baseball, and took a job with the Omaha Storm Chasers, the KC Royals’ AAA club and the Richmond Flying Squirrels, the Giants’ AA club. “You have to know what you’re getting into with sports marketing,” she said. “I love baseball and I loved being around the game every day. But it’s long hours and a lot of work with not so much pay.”

So although she loved the baseball life, Grable realized that her future lay in the tech industry back in San Francisco.

Grable began working for Yelp two and a half years ago and recently achieved the company’s President’s Club award for outstanding sales. She attributes her success to Yelp’s culture. “We have an excellent, 60-day training program known throughout the industry,” she said. “And we’re constantly learning new things through ongoing professional development.” Grable said the team atmosphere at Yelp is such that they cheer everyone’s successes. “If you work hard, you get to play hard,” she said. Grable added that company-paid health insurance and even free food are a few of the many benefits that make Yelp a great company to work for.

Grable, a theology and business double-major, advised students that most tech companies will hire sales people regardless of their majors or backgrounds, as long as they meet some simple criteria. “Most companies want sales people who are competitive, persistent, coachable and, in the case of Yelp, passionate about small business,” she said.

Grable added that although some graduates might think they don’t like sales, it’s worth taking a sales job to get in the door of a tech firm. “There are so many tech start-ups” she said. “And the easiest way to get in is through the sales door. Once you get your first job, you can demonstrate that you are coachable. That shows your own and future employers your potential.”

Grable encouraged anyone interested in working for Yelp or in the sports marketing field to contact her through LinkedIn.

Interested in learning more? Stop by the Career Development Office in downstairs Augustine Hall to make an appointment with one of our advisors who can lend you the advice you need to help with all steps of the job search! Or shoot us an email at career@udallas.edu

Executives on Campus: John Ridings Lee, Insurance Entrepreneur

Executives on Campus: John Ridings Lee, Insurance Entrepreneur

John Ridings Lee holds the distinction of being one of the first freshmen at the University of Dallas. And although he didn’t graduate from UD, perhaps the university can stake a small claim to the success he has achieved in his career. Lee spoke recently to Dr. Greg Bell’s Business Foundations class on March 31 about what he’s learned during his 50-plus years in the insurance industry.

Lee’s first job (after a stint in the military in Special Forces) was working for an insurance syndicate in London called Blackwell and Green. They assigned him to work on the offshore oil rigs near Aberdeen, Scotland. “I think Scotland is about the coldest place in the world, so I was ready to head back to the states,” he said.

Upon returning to the U.S., Lee took a job as a salesman at Southwestern Life Insurance Company. “After a couple of years, I realized the janitor was making more money than I was,” he said. “Because he was a better salesman.” In hopes of improving his bottom line, Lee took a look around the industry and determined that he should head in a different direction. “Employee benefits was just beginning to break through,” he said. “So I decided to start my own company as a benefits administrator.” That company, Employee Plans Management, administered group health and life insurance plans for large companies.

After about four years as CEO of Employee Plans Management, Lee decided to sell the company and start a holding company that could serve as an umbrella for other businesses. Over the next several years he founded a succession of companies that provided the insurance industry with new and innovative tools. For example, Lee’s North American National Re was one of the first to spread the financial risk of large life insurance policies to more than one company. “My dad told me I was a glorified bookie,” he said. “But we paid back our initial debt in the seventh year, and the company sold recently for $770 million in capital and assets.”

That wasn’t the only bet that paid out for Lee. In 1982, he and a partner started Management Compensation Group, a company dedicated to compensation and executive benefit planning. The company, which grew to twelve offices and over 400 employees, sold in 2013 to insurance giant, Prudential.

Lee also holds patents on unique financial instruments including a product which pays salaries to the survivors of deceased employees. In addition, he invented a product that offers a paid-up life insurance policy to retiring employees. As a result of his patents, Lee receives royalties every time a new one of these policies is written.

Lee credits his ability to stay on top of industry trends to his moving around from company to company. “Don’t stay with one company your whole life,” he advised students. “Look for a different hill to climb. Look for a different way to skin a cat if you want to improve your personal bottom line.”

Lee said another crucial component of success is to surround yourself with the right team. “There’s no substitute for smart people,” he said. “Your math-inclined people, like actuaries, keep your business running. And your ‘people-people’ can get more you more yeses than anybody else.”

Lee also advised students to trust their first instincts when trying to solve a problem. “If you’re sure you’re right, don’t let anybody talk you out of what you know to be true,” he said. “Whether you end up being right or wrong, you’ll learn something.” Finally, Lee told the group to be aware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. “Somebody is always going to be trying to sell you something,” he said. “So do your homework and know what it is you’re buying.” Good advice from a man who built an enormously successful career around making the right bets at the right time.

The University of Dallas Executives on Campus program was founded to further the University’s mission of providing practice-based education, by inviting successful business leaders to share their experience with graduate and undergraduate students in the classroom. Through this program, alumni, business leaders, and their companies are invited to partner with the University in our shared pursuit of management excellence. For more information click here.

Executives on Campus: Hon. Doug Lang, 5th District Court of Appeals

Executives on Campus: Hon. Doug Lang, 5th District Court of Appeals

Ethics can mean different things to different people: morals, values, principles. To the Honorable Doug Lang of the 5th District Court of Appeals, it’s a combination of honesty, integrity, and civility. Justice Lang, currently a student at the University of Dallas’ School of Ministry, spoke to Dr. Greg Bell’s Business Foundations class on March 31 about the importance of ethics—in the public areas of law and business and in the private areas of our personal lives. “Although some people say that ethics are fuzzy and can’t be articulated, the truth is, they are very simple,” Lang said. “They can be summed up by the rules you probably learned in kindergarten: don’t lie, don’t steal, and don’t hit anyone.”

Lang defined honesty as simply telling the truth and cited examples of professions which demand honesty of their practitioners. “The CPA’s code states that its members should have self-discipline above and beyond what’s required by the laws and regulations that govern them,” he said. “And attorneys must swear not to make false statements or to withhold material facts.” Lang added that businesses must be subject to moral principles as well, and that the way a business behaves is not separate from individual ethics—the same principles apply.

Lang went on to discuss how a business’ ethics and moral principles will serve as the foundation of its reputation and how the status of that reputation can translate into profits for the company. “Businesses that hold the highest ethical standards inspire trust and confidence. And when they establish a reputation of honesty, word of mouth brings in more business,” he said. “In that way, honesty pays.” Lang tied honesty to integrity, which he defined as reliability. “Integrity is when you know that someone is going to the do the right thing,” he said.

Also within this spectrum of ethics is civility. “Civility is respect for others,” he said. “And it envelops the concepts of honesty and integrity. They are all different concepts within a greater whole.” Lang said that civility is a respectful posture towards both customers and competitors. “We have to respect our adversaries,” he said. He also described civility by giving examples of its opposite: incivility. He cited the statistic that managers of Fortune 1000 companies typically spend seven weeks of every year dealing with the aftermath of incivility. “That’s lost productivity,” Lang said. “And it means that businesses must begin to manage, teach, and hire for civility.”

Finally, Lang discussed his decades-long career as a lawyer and the rewards and challenges he faced along the way. “To begin, law school will be the three most difficult years of your life,” he said. “It will be the hardest work you will have done.” Lang advised students interested in a law career to do their research. “Learn about what it really means to be a lawyer. Don’t just base your idea from what you’ve seen on TV” he said. “Read law magazines, go to law websites, and talk to lawyers about what they do.” Lang also said that working part time at a law firm can give students a clearer picture of what a career in law would be like.

Lang sees the future of the legal profession as more of the same. “There will always be real estate lawyers needed for the buying and selling of dirt,” he said. “And the amount of regulations on businesses–things like environmental laws and building codes–is only going to increase.”

Lang also said that there will always be a need for litigation and appeals, what he called hard, strenuous work that can be depleting and not always rewarding. “Losing is like being kicked in the head a thousand times,” he said. “But winning is—wow!”
The University of Dallas Executives on Campus program was founded to further the University’s mission of providing practice-based education, by inviting successful business leaders to share their experience with graduate and undergraduate students in the classroom. Through this program, alumni, business leaders, and their companies are invited to partner with the University in our shared pursuit of management excellence. For more information, click here.