Image of Jeffery R. Brown

JEFFREY R. BROWN
Professor of Finance
William G. Karnes Professor of Finance
Director of Center for Business & Public Policy
College of Business at Illinois

More info

Jeff Brown is the William G. Karnes Professor of Finance and Director of the Center for Business & Public Policy at the University of Illinois. His work has appears in leading economics and finance journals. Jeff began his career as a brand manager for Procter and Gamble. He earned his master's degree in public policy from Harvard in 1995 and his PhD in economics from MIT in 1999. Jeff served at the White House Council of Economic Advisers from 2001-2002 and has taught at the Kennedy School of Government. Among his many other activities, Jeff is also a member of the Board of Trustees for TIAA CREF and Editor of Tax Policy and the Economy for the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Jeff graduated from Miami in 1990 with a B.A. in Economics. He now lives in Champaign, Illinois.

Reflection

An intro micro-economics course at Miami quite literally changed my life. Under the skillful (and entertaining!) tutelage of Prof. Dennis Sullivan, I discovered that economics is a powerful lens through which to understand the world. After graduating from Miami and spending several years in the business world, I earned a Ph.D. in economics from MIT. I now spend my career doing what I love: creating and disseminating economic knowledge. It is my training as an economist that enables me to simultaneously teach, conduct research, consult with financial services companies, serve on corporate and non-profit boards, and advise state and national elected officials on economic policy. I cannot imagine doing anything else, and it all started at Miami.

Image of Michael Bryan

MICHAEL BRYAN
Vice president
Senior Economist
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

More info

Michael Bryan is a vice president and senior economist in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He is responsible for organizing the Atlanta Fed's monetary policy process. Mike previously served as vice president in the research department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, where he specialized in business analysis with an emphasis on measuring and tracking inflation trends. He has served as an economist in the Research Division of the Federal Reserve System's Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., was a visiting scholar at the Bank of Japan's Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies in Tokyo, and at the Swedish Riksbank in Stockholm. Mike teaches at the Graduate School of Business of the University of Chicago and has previously served on the faculties of Cleveland State University, Baldwin-Wallace College, and Case Western Reserve University, all in Cleveland. He joined the Atlanta Fed in 2008.

A native of Cleveland, Mr. Bryan graduated from Miami in 1978 with a B.S. in Business and earned a master's degree in economics from Case Western Reserve University.

Reflection

When I began my undergraduate studies, I didn't look at the world critically. I was critical of the world, I'm sure, but I didn't have a tool set for working through worldly problems. My thoughts were largely informed by intuition and the opinion of others.

My intermediate microeconomics class began to change all that. Microeconomics gave me a concrete framework for problem solving. Who are the essential players and what is their motivation? Regardless of the issue, if your thinking hasn't been framed by these questions, you've left yourself open to serious errors in judgment.

Here's an example from my professional experience. When I graduated from Miami in 1978 and joined the Federal Reserve, macroeconomics and microeconomics had almost nothing in common other than the word "economics." We knew at that time that monetary policy was contributing to the poor economic climate and we had a good idea what the problem was: our models lacked microeconomic foundations. Specifically, our models didn't have agents whose behavior was influenced by their expectations. That omission in our models gave us a false sense of stability regarding our economic policies.

As we began to incorporate expectations into our models, other shortcomings were revealed and micro-principles seeped in from all directions. In the past twenty years or so we've seen a gradual re-synthesis of macroeconomics and microeconomics and it's pretty clear that economic policy is the better for it. Today, monetary policy is as much about the management of expectations as it is anything else.

It's fair to ask whether the recent financial crisis is an indictment of our macroeconomic models. We clearly missed something big: our models didn't have a thoughtful role for banking and finance. In our models, "banks" were merely passive conduits. They didn't really do anything, at least nothing important for the behavior of the business cycle or the conduct of economic policy. We had no way to think about issues like how leverage might be destabilizing, how information asymmetries could systemically disrupt credit allocation, or how risk might be transmitted across borders. Of course, these are the very forces that seem to have turned an economic slowdown into a financial crisis.

So while our models now have microeconomic foundations, they don't yet include the micro-foundations of banking and finance. That shortcoming is being redressed, and again, I'm sure economic policy will be the better for it. Don't buy into the cynicism that the recent financial crisis tolls the end of our reliance on economic models. After all, what's the alternative? Intuition? The opinion of others? I think the recent financial crisis creates even more opportunity for a new generation of economists to deepen our understanding of the world and improve economic policy. But don't take my word for it. Think it through for yourself.

Image of Lesli A. Creedon

LESLI A. CREEDON
Associate Director and Chief Advancement Officer
Smithsonian National Zoological Park

More info

Leslie A. Creedon is the Associate Director and Chief Advancement Officer at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. As head of advancement, Leslie oversees all fundraising initiatives for the Zoo and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. From 2003 to 2007, she served as the executive director of Partnership Development at the United Nations Foundation in Washington, D.C. There, Leslie designed, implemented, and led its first fundraising strategy with a focus on international partnering and donations. She worked with UN agencies around the globe and represented the foundation at international conferences and events, cultivating relationships with major corporate, foundation, individual and government donors and partners. Leslie has also served as the vice president of External Affairs at Resources for the Future, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to energy, environmental and natural resource issues in Washington. She has also held fundraising and communications positions at the Brookings Institution, the Aspen Institute, and the Economic Policy Institute.

Leslie graduated from Miami in 1989 with a B.A. in Economics. She now lives in Washington, D.C.

Reflection

I credit Dennis Sullivan for my career--he was the person who exposed me to the non-profit world and to careers in development by encouraging me to volunteer in the Oxford community alongside him and introducing me to professional fundraisers who helped me network and identify appropriate training programs and job opportunities. Throughout my career in non-profit fundraising, communications, and management, I've utilized my economics degree in a variety of ways. First, my econ background and interest in economics and policy have drawn me, intellectually, and given me a leg up in the job market to work for highly respected thinks tanks, most notably Brookings and Resource for the Future. Second, I have been well prepared to understand, appreciate and translate for donors and constituents the work of these organizations (economics and environmental economics) because of my degree. I don't think I would have been as successful in selling and closing gifts to support academic research as I have been without this technical background. Third, my econ background has provided me with a solid understanding of finance and financial markets, the fields of many of my donors, as well as of business operations, equipping me to be in senior-level management positions.

When I was a senior at Miami, the overwhelming majority of the careers highlighted as employment options were in the for-profit world. Also, the on-campus interview "bidding" process favored B.S. degree students (and I have a B.A. in economics). I hope that the school is now doing a better job of exposing students to the wide variety of career options available to them, especially in the non-profit arena.

Image of James Gilligan

JAMES GILLIGAN
Private Investor

More info

Jim Gilligan joined Invesco in this position in 2010. Previously, he served as Managing Director at Morgan Stanley Asset Management and Van Kampen Investments. Jim was the lead portfolio manager of the Van Kampen Growth and Income and the Kampen Equity and Income strategy for 19 years. He managed a number of other investment products over the years including the Van Kampen American Value Fund. He entered the investment industry when he joined American Capital Asset Management as a securities analyst in 1985. Prior to that, he was an auditor for Gulf Oil. Jim holds an MBA with a concentration in accounting from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a CFA charterholder and a Certified Public Accountant. He is a member of the CFA Institute and the Houston Society of Financial Analysts.

Jim graduated from Miami in 1978 with degrees in Economics and Finance and now lives in Houston.

Reflection

I was an Economics/Finance major at Miami. I can't remember why I chose economics, except I had a very good Econ teacher in high school that introduced the basics and also had us participate in a stock picking contest which, eventually, steered me to career in investments. I was not much of a student in college but I thought, as I still do, that studying Economics would provide a more liberal education and lead to better long term "thinking".

As I have progressed in life and my career, economics, and particularly behavioral economics/finance, have interested me more and more. Although many would like economics to be a predictable science, it has proven to policy makers and prognosticators time and time again that, because of the multitude of known and unknown variables, it is impossible, or at least nearly impossible, to accurately predict or formulate effective policy. But because of this unpredictability, a tremendous amount of thought is brought to fore and, while there may not be totally correct answers, the whole process is a lot more interesting than the more concrete business disciplines.

The period that we are now experiencing, from Greenspan to the current Yellen regime at the Fed, could prove to be one of the most outstanding learning experiences in the field in quite a while. Couple that with the experiences in Japan over the last 30 years and their experiment now to gain "breakout velocity" and China's incredible attempt to bring itself into the developed world without the common volatility that this entails, and you see incredibly fertile ground for study for at least a generation.

Image of Lisa Tintera Guirl

LISA TINTERA GUIRL
Macroforecasting

More info

Lisa Tintera Guirl spent most of her career as an economist at Macroeconomic Advisers (MA), formerly Laurence H. Meyer and Associates, an economic consulting firm focused on macro modeling and forecasting of the US economy and policy analysis. Her most recent role there was developing a new product that provides banks with consistent alternative economic scenarios that they are required to use in stress testing their portfolios in order comply with Dodd Frank. Lisa also been responsible for writing daily, weekly, and monthly economic briefings, and aided in the continual development of the Washington University Macro Model. Most recently, Lisa has been with Conway Investment Research providing a macroeconomic overlay to their investment strategy, advising the team on macroeconomic issues and writing the monthly economic newsletter, Keeping Connected. Lisa currently serves as Treasurer of the Conway School Association as the chair of the school's capital campaign, and sits on the Board of Directors of Bellerive Country Club.

Lisa graduated from Miami with both a B.S. and a B.A. in Economics in 1991 and an M.A. from Miami in 1991. She now lives in St. Louis.

I initially became an econ major because I loved history and was good at math but struggled in finding a meaningful application of it. Economics provided a framework to use math to develop policy. I was lucky enough to spend a year in Luxembourg just as the European Union was coming of age study the economics of the EU, the ECB, and the ECU. One of the best things that I ever did was stay at Miami and earn my Master’s degree in economics. That year gave me an extra skill set that helped me land my first job at what was then Laurence H. Meyer and Associates—a macroeconomic forecasting firm. I was the third Miami grad they had hired---they knew that Miami had a strong program. I spent years analyzing, writing about, and advising clients on the macro effects of policy….the very reason I studied economics to begin with!

Image of Alicia Howrey

ALICIA HOWREY
Social Studies Teacher
Westfield High School

More info

Alicia Howrey is a graduate student at the University of Georgia in the Master’s of Arts in Teaching program which is a 15 month program to be qualified to teach economics at the high school level. Previously, she worked at Nielsen as an Analyst and Associate Client Manager on the Procter & Gamble account. Alicia began her career in 2011 as an Analyst working on P&G's Fabric Care portfolio which includes household brands like Tide and Gain detergent and then worked as an Associate Client Manager on P&G's ever-growing Personal Health Care business including OTC medications such as NyQuil and Prilosec. Her team was responsible for addressing a broad range of business issues such as determining the most effective pricing strategy by brand to targeting high-opportunity consumers and effectively tracking the health of the business. She developed and led the Client Service team’s ongoing training program to encourage continued development of all associates on the team and was also actively engaged in Nielsen’s Employee Resource Group for women “WIN”.

Alicia graduated from Miami with a B.A. in Economics in 2011.

Reflection

After reading Levitt's newly popular book Freakonomics Senior year of High School, I knew I was hooked and declared my major at Miami University shortly thereafter, without a single economics course under my belt. Fortunately, I found the same intrigue and passion in my economics courses at Miami as I had in Levitt's book, learning about the seemingly hidden side of everything. I had never felt so equally challenged and encouraged academically as I did in my economics courses. 4 years and countless macro and microeconomics lectures at FSB later, I accepted a job with Nielsen as an Analyst on the Procter & Gamble account in Cincinnati. I could not have found a company more engrained in what I loved about economics. Understanding what consumers purchase, how, and why, i.e. the fundamentals of economics, is at the heart of what Nielsen does. As we address business questions related to targeting consumers, pricing, and competition, economics is always top of mind, guiding the way I think through the issue and determine solutions. I’ve found economics to be an effective framework for problem-solving. The way economics teaches you to analyze a problem - assessing the costs and benefits, dissecting the decision-making process - is a highly valued skill. I now find the same intrigue, passion, and challenge in my work as I once did in class, using the guiding principles of economics as the foundation for endless curiosity and learning.

Image of Troy Jackson

TROY JACKSON
Philips
Global Brand Licensing, Sales & Marketing Management

More info

Troy Jackson began his career with Procter & Gamble learning the basics of marketing and market research on household brands like Crest and Cover Girl Cosmetics. He now works with Philips (PHG) leading a portfolio of Global Brand Licensing partners for the Americas. He has been with Philips for the last 5 years managing global product portfolios from consumer electronics to strategic brand alliances including the award winning Philips O'Neill headphones partnership. In these roles, Troy has made many appearances with the global press for product launches and marketing campaign announcements while working both in the US and working abroad from Hong Kong. Prior to joining Philips, Troy was VP of Marketing and Product for a venture backed technology startup that was acquired by a leading internet service provider company. Earlier in Troy's career, he managed a number of credit product portfolios for Bank of America.

Troy graduated from Miami with a B.S. in Economics in 1996 and earned his MBA from Harvard Business School. While at Miami University, he studied on our Luxembourg campus. He now lives in Atlanta.

Reflection

"IT DEPENDS." This is the answer to most economics questions and is also the answer to most of life's questions. I didn't have the foresight at the time, but economics was exactly the major that I needed for my career. I knew I wanted to be in business and eventually manage a business one day. I didn't want to get typecast as an accountant or a financial analyst or an operations guy. I wanted to be exposed to all the levers of a business and to be able to figure out the impact of investing in one area vs. another. Economics teaches you how to think and how to evaluate the impact of one variable on all the rest. This is the same thought process that you need for business and for life.

Image of Martin H. Myers

MARTIN H. MYERS
Partner
Covington & Burling LLP

More info

Marty Myers is a partner in the law firm of Covington & Burling in San Francisco. He was formally a partner with Jones Day. Marty is nationally recognized for his success in obtaining large insurance recoveries for complex losses in many industries, with a particular emphasis on the technology sector. While best known for representing technology companies, Marty has successfully recovered insurance money for clients in industries including real estate and construction, natural resource extraction, entertainment, and financial services. Marty frequently advises policyholders on complex insurance underwriting, loss prevention, and risk transfer situations. He is among the world's leading practitioners in mergers and acquisition-related insurance, including tax loss, representation, and warranty and environmental policies. Marty was counsel in the placement of the largest tax loss insurance program in history. Marty also has been lead defense counsel in several notable securities and corporate litigation matters. He has obtained dismissals of clients and established important principles of California law through several published decisions.

Marty graduated from Miami with a B.A. in Economics in 1984 and holds a law degree from the University of Michigan. He lives in Berkeley, near the University of California campus.

Reflection

Being an economics major at Miami changed the way I see the world. The training I received in economics provided me with primary tools to better assess and critically evaluate nearly every aspect of my life. Most important, it taught me how to ask the right questions and how best to evaluate the information I receive. At Miami, I began using econometrics to model aspects of human behavior, intending to develop ways of using such information to influence government policy. I found decision and game theory incredibly interesting and useful, in part for the same purposes.

I attended law school, and discovered that the skills I had developed at Miami - especially the ability to see the world through the lens of economic decision-making - were fundamental to success in law school. Rather than pursue a career influencing government policy, however, I discovered that I also greatly enjoy courtroom advocacy. Over the years, quite unexpectedly, I also discovered an area of law practice particularly well suited to the critical analytic skills that developed during my years at Miami: insurance recovery. I represent corporate policyholders in major disputes with insurers over losses of many types - catastrophic property damage/business interruption, intellectual property and other liabilities. I routinely deploy my econometric modeling skills to analysis of losses and recovery valuation (to the amazement or consternation of forensic experts). The decision and game theory principles I learned allow me to advise clients on key strategic decisions, and to anticipate and defeat positions taken by litigation opponents. In short, the way the Miami Econ Department taught me to understand the world has provided the critical lens that allows me to succeed as a lawyer.

Professional success is a very important aspect of the "dismal science" training I received at Miami. But more important, the lens that training has provided allows me to be a much more engaged, inquisitive, happy and effective husband, father, friend and participant in economic and government affairs.

Image of Dale Shrallow

DALE SHRALLOW
Senior Tax Counsel
AbbVie

More info

Dale currently works for AbbVie as Senior Tax Counsel. He was formerly the Associate General Tax Counsel, and Director of Tax Research and Planning at BP America. Prior to joining BP, Dale practiced at Squire, Sanders, & Dempsey in Cleveland. He advises his clients on a wide range of federal, state, and international tax issues, including acquisitions and dispositions, corporate restructuring, and financial products. Dale earned his JD at the Ohio State College of Law where he was the Associate Editor of The Ohio State Law Journal. He is also a certified public accountant. Dale has served as a mentor in the Menttium program for mentoring professional women in the corporate arena, and as mentor in BP's "Emerging Leaders" program for high potential tax professionals.

Dale graduated from Miami in 1975 with a B.A. in Economics. He now lives in Chicago.

Reflection

When I think about my time as an Economics major, one person comes immediately to mind-Jerry Miller. I took my first course with him during Winter quarter of my freshman year (a large lecture class of course), and I was totally blown away. Two things struck me about the class. First, how absolutely intriguing and interesting the material was, and second, Jerry's unwavering passion. I was fascinated about what Jerry had to say. At the same time, his "unconventional" style made his class all the more interesting.

I went on to take several more classes with Jerry, including a graduate class my senior year. Jerry imparted to me critical thinking skills that no doubt have helped me as a lawyer. He constantly challenged his students and manifested (rightly so!) his impatience with "lazy" thinking. For this I am very grateful.

Image of Karen Simpson

KAREN SIMPSON
Independent Consultant for non-profit organizations

More info

Karen Simpson currently works with various non-profit agencies on programs to help people out of poverty, primarily focusing on efforts on financial literacy training and personal financial counseling. Previously, she worked at Arthur Anderson, GE, and Fabri-centers in various roles performing analysis and development of information systems for manufacturing, retailing and financial applications. In addition, while at Miami University, Karen was an intern at the Federal Reserve Board collecting and compiling data for industrial production.

Karen received her B.S. in Business Economics from Miami University in 1981 and lives in Cincinnati.

Reflection

Economics is a fascinating discipline combining the concrete, quantitative analysis of revenues and costs with the behavioral analysis of how people think and respond to economic forces. The intellectual rigor and breadth of thought required has provided an excellent foundation in every stage of my career, from the quantitative analysis I used at the Federal Reserve Board for informing macroeconomic policy to the business analysis at Arthur Andersen and GE used to maximize competitiveness. Currently, in my work in the nonprofit sector, it informs both the quantitative and behavioral issues involved in tackling the challenges of generational poverty.

Image of Brian Smith

BRIAN SMITH
Global Chief Operating Officer
Mediabrands Insights

More info

Brian’s mix of curiosity and analytics has helped him gain over 20 years of experience driving growth and innovation for some of the world’s leading brands. Brian leads ThinkVine’s product and service teams, helping to ensure that the company's services and technology continue to evolve along with the needs of our customers. Prior to joining ThinkVine, he served as a Principal at The Connell Group, developing brand strategies and innovation plans for clients including Johnson & Johnson, and The Hershey Company. Before that, Smith held senior roles at Nielsen, The Cambridge Group, and BASES where he led transformative client initiatives for major consumer packaged goods companies globally, including Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Kellogg’s, Coca Cola, General Mills, Energizer, and ConAgra. Mr. Smith began his career at Procter & Gamble, guiding innovation and strategy for Crisco, Folgers, Millstone, Scope, Fixodent, and Crest; he also led the commercial team that developed Whitestrips. Brian holds a BA in Economics from Miami University.