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16:26 PM

Business Series Provides Access to Top CEOs

By Christine Vaughan

Businesses today require employees at all levels to step into leadership roles to inspire and influence others to achieve a shared vision. To give students insight on the varying styles of successful leadership, the College of Business Administration invites top executives to take a seat and share their business philosophies, successes and challenges with CSUSM students in the innovative course known as In the Executive’s Chair.

Since the course was first developed 12 years ago, In the Executive’s Chair has welcomed more than 200 CEOs, founders and executives to campus.

“We bring in top business leaders to talk about their careers, their companies and the critical business decisions with which they are commonly faced,” explained Business Professor Raj Pillai, who co-founded and co-teaches the course. “Our primary purpose for exposing the students to these successful executives is to better prepare them for their own business careers.”

The concept for the course was inspired by the Bravo television series, Inside the Actor’s Studio. At the core of the show, highly regarded actors shift from celebrity to teacher, imparting successes, failures and words of wisdom to the next generation of actors, or in the case of CSUSM’s course, future business leaders. Professor Dr. Raj Pillai and Advisory Board Member Jim Tenuto serve as the interview hosts.

In the Executive's Chair is an open lecture series and free for the community to attend. The seminars are held on Tuesdays from 10 to 11:50 a.m. in Markstein Hall room 125.

Fall guests include:

  • Sept. 2: Lee Meeler, AVP Claims, GEICO
  • Sept. 9: Scott Free, Chief Executive Officer, Lusardi Construction Company
  • Sept. 16: Brian Hudak, Founder and President, HMT (Hungry, Mean, Tired) Electric
  • Sept. 23: Dr. Timothy White, Chancellor, California State University
  • Sept. 30: Jim Pinto, Technology Futurist, Speaker, Writer, Industrial Automation Commentator, Analyst & Consultant, Founder (formerly President & CEO of Action Instruments)
  • Oct. 7: Peter Ronchetti, General Manager, Merlin Entertainment Groups’ LEGOLAND, CA
  • Oct. 21: Steve Wagner, President and Brewmaster, Stone Brewing Co.
  • Oct. 28: Greg Lucier, Limited Partner, Lakeshore Capital Partners LLC and former Chairman and CEO of Life Technologies Corp.
  • Nov. 4: Brian Lee, Regional Banking Area President, Wells Fargo - North San Diego Region 
  • Nov. 18: Dr. Karen Haynes, President, CSUSM
  • Nov. 25: John Reilly, Park President, Sea World San Diego

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