Stepping Up...Celebrating those who make a difference to the School of Management
The 'New DAC'
Leading by example
The new Dean's Advisory Council display in the Hauber Commons on the first floor of the Alfiero Center. Photo: Tom Wolf
The Dean's Advisory Council (DAC) is a group of exceptional alumni and leaders who assist the dean and the School of Management by providing external perspective, advocacy and financial support for the school's programs and strategic priorities.
The council was first established as a Corporate Advisory Board by Dean Joseph Alutto in 1978. Then in 1994, Dean Frederick "Rick" Winter reconstituted the board to include distinguished alumni as well as local executives, and renamed it the Dean's Advisory Council.
Since then, the council has shifted and changed to meet the needs of the dean, the school and the business world.
"We wanted to take the pulse of the organization that supports the dean. We were thankful for the solid foundation set by previous DAC members and chairs, and wanted to build upon that."
Sharon Randaccio '76, MBA '81
In 2011, with Dean Arjang Assad at the helm, DAC chair Steven Shepsman '75, executive managing director of NewWorld Realty Advisors, created an ad hoc subcommittee to set the goals and expectations of what would unofficially come to be known as the "New DAC."
Sharon Randaccio '76, MBA '81, president of Performance Management Partners, was named chair of the subcommittee and led the group through the development of a survey for all DAC members.
"We wanted to take the pulse of the organization that supports the dean," says Randaccio. "We were thankful for the solid foundation set by previous DAC members and chairs, and wanted to build upon that, get current members more engaged, and provide even more support for the new dean and his strategic priorities."
They set out to diversify both industrially and geographically, and they succeeded. Current council members represent a variety of industries from all over the world-from Western New York to Kobe, Japan.
"When you bring in alumni leaders beyond the core of Western New York industries, the dean can mine them for their experiences and perspectives."
Jim Lederer '82, MBA '96
"When you bring in alumni leaders beyond the core of Western New York industries, the dean can mine them for their experiences and perspectives," says Jim Lederer '82, MBA '96, executive vice president of Qualcomm Inc., who joined the DAC in 2011. "Being able to provide that is what's really resonated with me."
The meetings themselves, typically held in Buffalo or New York City, have moved beyond the state. One meeting was held in Arizona, and the May 2014 meeting will be hosted by Lederer in San Diego.
In addition, DAC members set goals to increase their financial contributions to the school and to make meetings and the overall experience more valuable for council members.
"The DAC has shown an exemplary willingness to explore new directions. And they've shown a level of commitment that inspires others."
Dean Arjang Assad
Lou DiBerardino '80, partner - tax services at Ernst & Young LLP, has served on the Dean's Advisory Council for 10 years, including a term as chair. He says that in just a few short years, the DAC feels like a whole new organization.
"The subcommittee's recommendations were spot-on and have been a resounding success," says DiBerardino. "We've recruited several outstanding new members, begun holding the meetings in exciting new places, featured interesting 'brain food' content and succeeded in increasing financial support for the school."
The stimulating content has come by way of special guest speakers from Bloomberg Businessweek, CNBC, Forbes and J.P. Morgan Chase, as well as UB President Satish Tripathi and other senior leaders from UB.
"We've recruited several outstanding new members, begun holding the meetings in exciting new places, featured interesting 'brain food' content and succeeded in increasing financial support for the school."
Lou DiBerardino '80
Financially, the council is leading a new culture of philanthropy both in the school and across the university. Led by a generous gift from Steven Shepsman '75, DAC members have collectively contributed an unprecedented $1 million in the past 18 months alone.
In October, a new Dean's Advisory Council display was installed in the Hauber Commons on the first floor of the Alfiero Center. The words on the panels of the display-advocacy, engagement, external perspective, connections, internships/jobs, advancement and support-represent key contributions of the council.
"The DAC has shown an exemplary willingness to explore new directions," says Assad. "And they've shown a level of commitment that inspires others."
- Kevin Manne
Dean's Advisory Council Chairs
When the Dean's Advisory Council was founded, the School of Management dean served as the leader of the group. The position of council chair was established in 2003 to enhance the performance and effectiveness of the group through the perspective of an external leader. Below is a list of the exceptional leaders who have served as DAC chairs.
- David F. Simon '74
- Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer
- Jefferson Health System Inc.
- Richard T. Stephens
- Vice Chairman
- Delaware North Cos. Inc.
- Douglas C. Bean, MBA '87
- Chief Operating Officer
- Eric Mower & Associates Inc.
- Louis A. DiBerardino Jr. '80
- Partner - Tax Services
- Ernst & Young LLP
- Steven H. Shepsman '75
- Executive Managing Director
- New World Realty Advisors LLC
- Sharon D. Randaccio '76, MBA '81
- President and Co-Founder
- Performance Management Partners Inc.