Wharton alumni gathered at this year’s Joseph Wharton Awards Dinner held in the elegant Essex House on October 10. Introducing this year’s award winners, Regina Jaslow, W’97, WCNY President, exclaimed, “Triumph without challenge is never so sweet!” She asked past Joseph Wharton Awardees how they had handled adversity. Leonard Lauder, W’54, the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Awardee, remembered his father telling him, “Better to have one shock of pain — than endless pain. Therefore, fail fast!” Michelle Peluso, W’93, SVP of Digital Sales and Chief Marketing Officer of IBM, said, “If you look at the hard facts of the business, and you believe a profitable course is still there and that you can course-correct along the way, then continue.”
Art Collins, WG’73, former CEO of Medtronic, asked his R&D teams to kill projects without concern for retribution. Jonathan Gray, C’92, W’92, President of Blackstone, led the purchase of Hilton Hotels in 2007 for $26 billion in cash, right before the Great Recession. It was the largest private equity check ever written. Many thought it would be an historic failure. Jon never lost confidence in Hilton’s game plan, and pressed forward throughout the recession. Recently, Blackstone sold it for a $14 billion profit. In contrast, a Goldman Sachs real estate fund tried a similar deal that resulted in catastrophic losses, from which it has not recovered.
“As you hear our honorees tonight,” Regina said, “reflect on the pivotal crossroads that they had to face, and try to apply them to your own lives and careers. That is the sheer power of the Wharton alumni community. We are here to spur each other on!”
WCNY also reached out to future alumni to attend the dinner! Noelle Marder, WG’96, Vice President Marketing and Communications, and Rob Dinerman, W’78, Vice President, Business Networking invited four Wharton students selected for their contributions to student life. The student ambassadors were introduced to awardees Pete Nicholas, Art Collins and to Club volunteers. Rob explained, “The idea is to create ambassadors for the Club on campus. We will continue to look for ways to engage students and talent from Wharton for the event. We taught ‘Making the Call’ by helping them network with successful alumni. Everyone loved that we had reached out to the future in an event that honored the current and past successes of the Wharton brand.”
William P. Lauder, W’83, Executive Chairman of the Estée Lauder Companies, is the recipient of the 2019 Joseph Wharton Award for Leadership.
The recipient of the 2019 Joseph Wharton Award for Lifetime Achievement, Pete Nicholas, WG’68, is Co-founder and Chairman, Ret. of Boston Scientific.
Anjali Sud, W’05, who received the 2019 Joseph Wharton Award for Young Leadership, is CEO of Vimeo.
The 2019 Joseph Wharton Award for Social Impact went to Dr. Edward Halperin, W’75, Chancellor and CEO of New York Medical College.