The Joseph Wharton Awards Dinner gathers alumni living in the Greater New York region for a sparkling reunion. Hosted by the Wharton Club of New York, the Dinner has been held for the past three years at the JW Marriott Essex House in New York City. It’s an opportunity to converse with treasured faculty, such as Negotiations Professor G. Richard Shell, HOM’92; Finance Professor and Vice Dean, Howie Kaufold, W’75; and Leadership Professor Mike Useem, as well as the School Dean, Geoffrey Garrett. On top of all that, the Joseph Wharton Award recipients each year regale us with their stories of resilience, innovation and success. Dinner honorees’ inspiring stories and words can be found in the interviews of this issue. Our Dinner Chair was Thomas W. Courtney, Jr., WG’90, who is CEO of The Courtney Group, and served as Club President from
The Joseph Wharton Awardees for 2017
James S. Riepe, W’65, WG’67, Senior Advisor and retired Vice Chairman T. Rowe Price Group, and former Chairman of Penn’s Board of Trustees.
Victoria Mars, WG’84, Former Chairman, Mars
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, WG’83, Author The Black Swan and Antifragile
Jesse Pujji, W’06, C’06, Co-Founder and CEO Ampush, and Nick Shah, W’06, Co-Founder and COO of Ampush
1992 to 1999. Tom shared that, as he was entering Wharton, he asked his then boss, Alfred R. Berkeley III, WG’68, who became Chairman of Nasdaq, if he had any advice. Alfred said, “Yes. I wished I had made more friends during school, because it’s a little awkward to reach out now, so many years later. So this is what you should do. During your first week at school, rent a boathouse on the Schuylkill River and throw a huge party. That way, everyone will remember you!”
Tom admitted, “I didn’t do that, but I did make a lot of friends. I also got inspired by Dean Russ Palmer who sent each of us a video saying how he wanted to make Wharton the pre-eminent business school, which he accomplished. I wanted to be part of that vision. Since graduating, I’ve run exciting and financially successful class reunions every five years. Even better, I can reach out to anyone in this large group of friends if I have a busi- ness need. Find a way that makes sense for you to get involved.”
Kenny Beck, WG’87, is our new Club Chairman, and was the one who revived the Joseph Wharton Awards Dinner in 2006. Kenny asked those to stand who make WCNY shine year round, including the Board of Directors and Executive Committee, and those who make the Dinner flourish — the Steering Committee, Awards Committee and Sponsorship Committee. Kenny then got the audience laughing with an anecdote. Joseph Wharton had donated $100,000 to start the School in 1881 (the same amount our Club donated in 2017). To commemorate the School’s 100th anniversary, the U.S. Post Office issued a Joseph Wharton stamp. This prompted then University President Sheldon Hackney to quip, “Other business schools should celebrate the stamp, be- cause at least now they have a chance to lick Wharton.”
Kenny said, “I was Club President for 15 years, and made a lot of friends. And I count among my friends, Regina Jaslow, W’97. Remarkably talented and exceptionally bright, like our Wharton alumni, Regina is the perfect person to take over the Wharton Club from me.” He then asked all to stand to welcome our new Club President to the stage.
Regina ardently impressed on the audience that the alumni network can be more powerful when alumni go beyond “Taking the Call” to “Making the Call.” When alumni proactively think about how to help one another, it makes a significant difference to the success of all alumni, whether they are working in startups or established firms. If alumni have an opening at their firm for a board seat, a C-suite or other role, or a business referral to make, they should think first to make that opportunity available to a fellow alum! (See more of Regina’s remarks on Page 2).
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, WG’83, was honored with the Joseph Wharton Award for Social Impact. Nassim spent 21 years as a quantitative trader before becoming a researcher in philosophical, mathematical and practical problems with probability. Nassim is the author of a multivolume essay, the Incerto (The Black Swan, Fooled by Randomness, and Antifragile) covering broad facets of uncertainty. He was not able to attend the Dinner, for personal reasons.