Professor Kristin Prien Presents at International Symposium on Lasallian Research

The sixth annual International Symposium on Lasallian Research was held on September 24-26, 2017 at the Twin Cities Campus of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. The symposium featured presentations by several CBU faculty members, including Dr. Kristin Prien from the School of Business, who presented on “The Development of a Peer Evaluation Scale for Group Work.” Professor Prien’s presentation describes the reasons why students participating in class project groups need to evaluate their fellow group members’ contributions and describes the steps in developing – with extensive student input – such a scale. It’s been used most recently in a section of MGMT 227 Foundations of Management.

Rachel Freund (BSBA – Accounting ’99) Appointed CFO of Auditorium Theatre

Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre has announced the appointment of Rachel Freund as Chief Financial Officer. Freund worked at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company from 2002 to 2017 in the capacities of Director of Finance and, most recently, as Director of Operations and Management. She oversaw a team of over 30 people and handled a multi-million dollar budget. She is a newly appointed board member for Definition Theatre Company, and previously served on the boards for Red Tape Theatre and 20% Theatre Company. Freund holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Christian Brothers University and a Master of Arts in Management from Columbia College Chicago. She is a registered CPA in the state of Illinois. You can read the full article online now at

Dean’s Note

Spring is finally here after an especially late rough winter for the Memphis area.  As we turn our focus to the promise of the Easter season, the School of Business wishes everyone a joyful and Happy Easter!  This latest newsletter is filled with the truly remarkable accomplishments of our current students, alums, and faculty members.  From the spotlight on alums to the special interviews with current students to our current initiatives, the School of Business is excited about the future of the School and the University.

Delta Sigma Pi, the professional co-ed business fraternity, is as vital as ever at CBU with 30 current members of the Epsilon Psi chapter.  We hosted the annual Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) competitions for the second and third years respectively, and we will again be offering summer camps in business and accounting for the third consecutive year this July.  The theme of this year’s business camp is Memphis business and we continue our very important relationship with the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) in presenting the Accounting Careers Awareness Camp (ACAP) for minority students.  We gratefully thank the local accounting firms that fund this camp.  Finally, we are fortunate to have the Barret School of Banking residing on our campus and we are proud to announce a new concentration in banking that will begin this coming fall, 2015, with support from the director of Barret, Chris Kelley.

Don’t forget, you may connect with us via social media through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please contact me at:

Jack Hargett, PhD
Dean, School of Business
Christian Brothers University

Albonetti (Management ’95) Brings Together Art Village Gallery and Crown Winery for New Wine Tasting Room on South Main

Local investor, Tennessee Viticultural Oenological Society (TVOS) member, and CBU alum Chris Albonetti (Management ’95) has been working tirelessly to bring together the best of both worlds in downtown Memphis – art and wine. With the help of local investors Chris Albonetti and Linda Harris, the Crown Winery is partnering with Art Village Gallery to open a new wine tasting room. The Crown Tasting Room held their grand opening on February 21at the Gallery located at 410 S. Main St. The celebration marked its official opening to the public. Read the full article at

Kevin Dean (MAEL ’09) Recipient of Innovation Award Presented By MBQ

Kevin Dean (MAEL ’09) was the recipient of one of four Innovation Awards presented by MBQ: Inside Memphis Business magazine on September 24. Kevin is the executive director of Literacy Mid-South and was nominated for the award by Dr. Bevalee Vitali. He was lauded by MBQ for pulling “Literacy Mid-South out of a financial crisis while making reading and learning accessible to all ages of the Memphis community through a nationally adopted curriculum, an app that houses a framework for benchmarks for teaching literacy, and the creation of the first ever city-wide Book Festival, complete with its own app as well.” Read more online now at


Featured Business Major: Carlos Meza Amador

Carlos Meza Amador is a Business major concentrating in International Business studies at CBU. Carlos is also a well-known soccer player, trilinguist, and world traveler, and this is his story.

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CB: Where did you grow up? What was it like to grow up there?

CM: I grew up in four different cities in Mexico. It was a lot of fun, I made a lot of friends because of moving to different locations and I was always involved in sports.

CB: Why did you choose CBU?

CM: One of my dad’s best friends came to CBU. He is now in the CBU Athletic Hall of Fame. He played soccer and baseball and told me about CBU, so I contacted the soccer coach and that is how everything began.

CB: What motivated you to study International Business?

CM: I was an exchange student in Sweden during 2009-2010. I had the opportunity to travel to 12 different countries and that grew my interest in how different countries trade and do business among each other.

CB: I hear you are on the soccer team. In fact, you’ve been described as “a maniac on the field”! What do you enjoy most about playing soccer here at CBU?

CM: I consider myself a hard working player. That might be the reason of that description. I like discipline and commitment on the field. I really enjoy playing soccer at CBU because we have a good blend of players from different parts of the world, and because we are always trying to be a competitive team in the region.

CB: I understand you are completing an internship with Mueller Industries. What can you tell me about your internship, the business, how you got there, and what you’re learning in the process?

CM: It has been a great experience so far. Mueller Industries manufactures plumbing, HVAC, refrigeration, and industrial products. I got there through Career Services and alumni who did their internship there. I am learning about how the company works, the codes they use for orders, and how they ship the product. I am currently doing a market research in Egypt, trying to find potential customers for the company in the future. They treat me really well, and I do not have any complaint about the company.

CB: Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in, and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.

CM: My parents have always been mentors in my life. I always admired and I still admire them for everything they have done for me. They educated me in a great way that I will be always grateful for and I am proud of them.

CB: What are your plans and goals for life after college?

CM: I want to start my Master of Business Administration after I graduate. I still have another year of eligibility to play, so I might take that opportunity. If not, I would like to get a job and do my master’s at the same time.

CB: What is your favorite CBU memory?

CM: Being back-to-back Gulf South Conference Champions during my freshman and sophomore year.

CB: Looking back on your experiences, what advice would you give to a new student?

CM: Make the best out of your college experience. I heard this phrase a lot when I was a freshman, but I will encourage every student to make the best out the time here at CBU. Four years for me went really fast, so I will advise all new students to enjoy every day in their college experience.

Featured Business Major: Shanice Oliver

Shanice Oliver is a Business major with dual concentrations in Marketing and Sustainability Studies. Shanice is also an entrepreneur, a dedicated volunteer, and was recently named as a Lasallian Fellow for all of her contributions to the community. You can read more about Shanice’s story below.

Shanice Oliver Picture for Newsletter 201520_Cropped


CB: Tell us a little bit about your background.

SO: My name is Shanice D’Shara Oliver. I graduated from Bishop Byrne High School with Honors as well as being the valedictorian. I am currently a senior at Christian Brothers University seeking the expertise in marketing with the fundamentals of Spanish and sustainability. I am the oldest of three. I have a little sister named Kiana who is 17 -years-old and a little brother named Ivan who is 10-years-old. My lovely parents are Debra Hall and Antonio Smith.

Throughout my education my favorite subject was English because I loved to express and interpret my opinions of a story, even if my view was a little too intuitive. I love crafting and reading during my spare time. I usually read about current events in the world and write my notes on the side of the articles so I can be able to express my thoughts and ideas.

Some fun facts about me: I am a Virgo. My favorite color is green. My favorite food is tacos and anything with chips and dip. I like to make arts and crafts. I like suspense stories. My dream career is to be a Director of Marketing. My favorite shopping store is Francesca’s. My dream car is a Mercedes.

CB: Why did you choose to study marketing? Why CBU?

SO: I chose marketing because I believe it is in my blood. Speaking, presenting, and brainstorming have been things I have always done in my life. My grandparents always tell me the story of how I tried to make my own restaurant using my grandmother’s cooking. I called the restaurant Grandma’s Cooking. I would ask them to buy me arts and crafts so I could draw my own flyers. I would pass them out at my grandfather’s church and give them a menu along with the flyer. I would set the tables nicely and find objects around the house for centerpieces. Now, every time someone wants to decorate their house or find an outfit for a specific event, I am the person they call. My friends always say “I cannot wait to see how your house looks.” I honestly just love entertaining people, meeting people, and getting to know people.

I do not have an inspiration story about why I chose CBU. However, I can answer why I continued my CBU experience. CBU is an institution that challenges individuals to be the best they can be. The professors have standards for their students and will assist their students in any way, shape, or form. I knew CBU was special when I met Dr. Bevalee Vitali. My primary reason for reaching out to her was simply for educational and career guidance. After the time spent together, she was more than a professor to me but a friend. I can talk to her about personal issues and she will give me some heartfelt advice. I truly consider her to be my big sister. From that moment, I knew I would not have built that relationship with another professor at another university. Thank you, Bev, for your awesomeness!

After my freshman year, I became more confident about what I could do on campus. Professors like Dr. Burke, Dr. Vitali, Dr. Gross, and many more challenge students to be their best, and there is nothing better than a good challenge.

CB: Your work, service projects, internships, and more have all been centered on service and change making. What drew you to study marketing and has it been valuable in these endeavors?

SO: I absolutely love to network and meet people. What makes the work meaningful to me is knowing I am helping and making a difference. I recently learned in my career service class that I do not care so much about the pay of my job, but the ability to express my innovating ideas. I am a fast pace thinker, creative, and can talk your ear off (marketing is for me). A good friend of mine always asks me very psychological questions about what my purpose is and how I can use my gifts as a value tool. Many of the internships and service projects I have been a part of, I have used my field of study to the fullest. Being able to research a need in the community and implement a program to satisfy the need is so fun to me. Communicating, networking, planning, and creativity are not a walk in the park for everyone. I actually like to do those things and it is a wonderful feeling!

CB: Everyone in the School of Business was so proud when we found out you have been awarded one of the very select few Lasallian Fellows Leadership Awards for 2015. What does being Lasallian mean to you? Do you have any specific plans or ideas for how to impact the community as you serve as our Lasallian Fellow?

SO: There are five core principles of being Lasallian. My favorite one is inclusive community. Everyone is open to learn and grow from each other regardless of race, age, gender, ethnicity and nationality, denomination, sexual orientation, and social class. Inclusive Community is more than just looking over each other’s differences; it is about accepting the fact that we are made in the image and likeness of God and not one person is the same.

My plan as I move closer to graduation is to notify the United States that violence derives from people being full of hatred and not accepting to differences. Something I work very closely with is hunger within the City of Memphis. Whether people know it or not, food is used as a way to separate people by social status. Some people steal just so they can have a meal for the night. I am not justifying the act but there is a problem if people steal just to eat. I want everyone to have food security in all parts of Memphis. I am in the process of creating a system, along with other students, that provides healthy food supply to all people in Memphis community.

CB: You are an integral part of The Food Recovery Network. What is it The Food Recovery Network and how can others get involved?

SO: The Food Recovery Network is an initiative that serves the purpose to unite students from colleges and universities to fight food waste and hunger by recovering perishable food that would otherwise go to waste from their campuses and the surrounding communities and donating it to people in need. Being that Christian Brothers University is a Lasallian School, one of our primary goals is to foster service for the betterment of our community. Being sustainable and knowledgeable of the needs of the community is making a difference in the lives of hundreds of civilians. The CBU community can be involved with The Food Recovery Network by expressing interest to me, Jonathan Mosley, and Michael MacMiller. We are always looking for volunteers to help and serve the community.

CB: You have been highly involved with campus life. Tell us a little about your experience with campus activities, groups, fraternities/sororities, etc., and how it has been meaningful for you.

SO: The most meaningful part of being a part of campus activities, organizations, and groups is being able to help the community in different perspectives. Sorority community service, Delta Sigma Pi community service, Enactus community service, BSA community service, Honors Program community service, and etcetera have the desire to serve the community but they serve in different ways. The Honors Program loves to serve nonprofits in the Memphis community; Enactus serves students and teaches them about entrepreneurship, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated services the community based on specific targets and international concepts, and the list goes on and on. Being active makes one wiser about the issues of the community. I cannot count how many organizations I am actively a part of. I have served positions in many of the organizations, groups, and campus activities at CBU. Because I am so active in the majority of the organizations I am a part of, I have been over programming and coordinating events. People see active involvement as a positive attribute to their organization, and this has definitely helped in building my future and continuing my love for Memphis.

CB: I heard you started your own company! What can you tell us about it?

SO: The Pretty in ME is an initiative that caters to high school women. One of my heart-held passions is empowerment of women. Within the masculine driven world, young women do not understand their worth and value to humanity. Last year was my first year building on this idea I had. My first big event was reaching out to makeup artists around the Memphis area to contribute services to the young ladies who could not afford to “get pretty” for prom. The girls received manicures and polish changes on their toes. A boutique even donated dresses for the girls to choose from if they wished. Every woman should feel beautiful, that goes for all ages!

I have spoken at churches and teen improvement seminars to express to women they are beautiful!

CB: You are a very high achiever and hard worker. Who or what motivates/inspires you?

SO: My grandparents are my life! Without them I would not be able to have and achieve many of the things I have. My grandparents are a part of my academic goals, career goals, spirituality goals, family goals, and lifetime goals. Not being local does not stop them from showing their unconditional love for me. I work so hard because they work hard to give me anything I need. They will drive to Memphis just to stop by for an hour just so something can be handled. I tell them all the time “I am going to take care of you when I have my own money and my own house.” No retirement home for them.

CB: You spend so much time working and giving back to the community that I asked an old friend of yours what you do for fun or hobbies – and learned that you once played a state championship in basketball! When did you play basketball? What other fun secrets are you keeping and how to do you keep it all in balance?

SO: Wow, this is so funny! I played basketball for many years before I became a college student. It is nice to say I have a championship ring from my high school, Bishop Byrne. One of my fun secrets is that I love to dance and sing. Although I can move a little bit, my vocal chords need some tuning (they might improve over time). I always make time to enjoy my music, that’s probably the one thing that keeps me sane besides being around people. Having a balanced life is about sacrifice. You always make time for the things that you consider important (I guess I don’t consider sleep important lol). My personal definition of balance is: standing firm on your purpose, not falling for procrastination. Maintaining balance is not an easy thing but sacrifice is the way to success.

Truth be told, I recently started to practice balancing my life in different ways such as exercising, dieting, and saving. Throughout college life, I have grown to understand that there is more to life than just a career. I have a very diverse group of friends who I cherish and love. I have learned so much from them, and I do not think they realized it. I admire Jahleel Nelson’s organization skills. I admire Takeva Hicks’ leadership skills. I admire Whitney Stepter’s dedication skills. I admire Michael MacMiller’s motivational skills. I admire Kyera Suggs’ compassionate skills. I admire Jonathan Mosley’s execution skills. Being balanced is surrounding yourself with people who balance you. I keep everything in balance by taking what I observe and learn from my friends and apply it to my life.

CB: Looking back at all that you’ve learned and experienced, what advice would you give to other students?

SO: My advice would be, don’t be proud of your college — make your college proud to have you. Many students fail to go the extra mile, and a frequent regret is that they didn’t contribute more to their college campus while they had the chance. Try to be one of those students that your professors and classmates will remember in years to come. Make an impact.

Also, always think before you speak and act. I know of people who were not awarded opportunities because of how they act and communicate with students and faculty. Although we as students are in an adult environment, we must respect those who are above us regardless of the situation. You never know what favors you need that individual to do for you. Respect is everything.

CB: Is there anything you would like to add that I haven’t thought to ask?

SO: Something I believe every college student should explore is Study Abroad. Study Abroad is an amazing way to learn handson and in an impactful way. I went to Rome, Italy in Spring 2014 with the Honors Christianity and Spirituality class with Dr. Holmes. Learning should be about more than just the words written in a book. Learning about history in those fields where battles and conversions took place was amazing. Take a novel to the next level by reading it exactly where the author placed the characters. All these scenarios are being brought to life through study abroad programs. Taking a community of students and placing them in areas around the world in order to get a first-hand take on subjects can change their world. Even better, it can raise their desire and understanding of education to another level. Education means more to me than just what I learn within the walls of a classroom. Education is about knowledge of different cultures and collaborating with diverse people about topics of all kinds. If people are only exposed to one idea, or one way of viewing things, that is ultimately what they will believe. However, there are many ways of understanding the world, and you will never be able to articulate an informed opinion if you are not exposed to differing perspectives. That is why I feel that everyone should take advantage of learning around the world. Learn as much as you can through first-hand-accounts.

Featured Business Major: Vania Rogers

Vania Rogers graduated from CBU with a degree in Accounting this past December and has just begun a successful career with the same firm she interned at. Vania was also voted Mrs. CBU during homecoming of last year and has recently been engaged to another School of Business alum, Phillip Gbee (International Business). You can learn more about Vania from her interview below, which was conducted just before she graduated.

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CB: Tell a little us a little bit about your background.

VR: I am a native Memphian who was raised on the values of family, hard work, education, spirituality and self-pride (not in any particular order). I strive to incorporate all of these values in everything that I do. I was very active in my childhood ̶ from swimming lessons to piano lessons, summer camps to band camps, church outings, social and academic clubs, volleyball practices, etc. I guess this explains why I thrive on such a busy, fast-paced lifestyle.

CB: Why did you choose CBU?

VR: I like to say that CBU chose me! Being from Memphis, I’d always drive past CBU never thinking that I’d actually spend four years of my life here. My dream was to go away for college. However, I visited the campus and fell in love! I knew that this is where I belonged. Everyone was so pleasant. I knew that I would be challenged academically and that I would come to appreciate the challenge once I graduated. I hadn’t heard much about CBU until I started my college search, but I like to think of the school as one of Memphis’s “best kept secrets.”

CB: How have your academic and professional endeavors affected your personal growth here at CBU?

VR: The academic standards to which CBU holds its students have made me a more logical and critical thinker. Having a fairly tough major has taught me patience and perseverance through the challenging courses I’ve taken. There were definitely times when I wanted to change majors when things got hard, but I didn’t quit. Now, I feel able to think strategically and solve problems both in and out of the classroom. As for my professional endeavors, I credit my passionate professors and career counselors at CBU for pointing me in the right direction and helping me to foster valuable relationships with different professionals in my field. CBU has taught me how to network.

CB: What is your biggest accomplishment and what has this accomplishment meant to you?

VR: My biggest accomplishment thus far is being awarded the title “Miss CBU” during homecoming week 2014. I am still astounded to this day that I actually won! It was a challenge, yet I worked very persistently to capture my vision. I am appreciative to have had such a great stream of support during that time. Christian Brothers was established during an era when women and African Americans were not accepted into the institution. As an African American woman, I am extremely proud to be a manifestation of the barriers that have been broken over the years. It serves me well to have been selected to represent a school for which I have so much pride and spirit!

CB: What mark do you want to leave at CBU?

VR: What I hope to leave as my “mark” is my fearlessness. I am always accepting of new and invigorating challenges, despite some of the reservations I may have. A professor once said to me, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” His words have never left me, and I hope others can gain from that.

CB: What drew you to the field of accounting and what has your experience been so far?

VR: It’s funny, I actually started out as a Biochemistry major my first semester. Chemistry and I had no “chemistry,” so I decided to switch to business. Accounting was one of the required courses for business majors. I really enjoyed it, so I decided to pursue that as my major. My experience has been a rewarding challenge. Also, my family is very business-oriented. My father has been in upper-level management for many years, and my mother owns her own business. So I guess you can say that it’s in my blood.

CB: How can current and prospective students make the most out of their CBU experience to achieve greatness at their highest potential?

VR: I believe that healthy working relationships are one of the best things you can have. Forming positive relationships early on with deans, professors, staff members and fellow students will equip you with what you need to succeed. It’s difficult to make it through college alone. Luckily, there are many people at CBU who are willing and ready to make college life that much easier.

CB: I understand you are completing an internship with a local accounting firm. What can you tell me about your internship, the business, how you got there, and what you’re learning in the process?

VR: Yes. I am an intern with CBRE, a property management and real estate firm. This company is worldwide in over 40 countries. Though I am currently assigned to accounts payable, I get to dabble in several projects outside of my job. This allows me to utilize my creativity in certain aspects of accounting while getting to see different sides of the business. Amy Ware, Senior Director of Career Services, recommended this position to me through the internship program at CBU. She’s amazing!

CB: Are you involved with campus life? Tell us a little about your experience with campus activities, groups, fraternities/sororities, etc., and what it means to you.

VR: Most definitely! I was a CARL (CBU Advising & Registration Leader) for one summer, which was fun. I am a member of Delta Sigma Pi professional business fraternity, in which I held the position as Chancellor for the 2013-2014 academic school year. I am also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated where I have served as Vice President, Program/Fundraising Chairman and Treasurer. Having the opportunity to participate and become a member in these organizations is such an honor. Obtaining membership within each of these groups requires application and approval. To be selected, not only as a member, but also as a leader in these organizations automatically sets one apart.

I have learned that getting involved in extracurricular activities is a great way to branch out and open your mind to different ways of learning and thinking outside of your academic routine. You associate yourself with other people who may not have the same thought process as you, yet you have to get your focal mission accomplished. I think it is important for students, especially as business majors, to get involved in campus life activities; the experiences you may encounter as members and leaders in different organizations are similar to some of the executive decisions and daily happenings that occur in the professional world. It is a great way to get “business savvy” before venturing into any career.

CB: Have you done any volunteer work or performed community service through any of the organizations you’ve been involved with?

VR: The majority of the volunteer work that I’ve done within these organizations is because of my membership in AKA. AKA is a service-based sorority, so I have partaken in various service projects. Last year, I organized and chaired a major program to raise funds for Heifer International. On several occasions I have also volunteered at St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen located in downtown Memphis. This has always been a personal favorite of mine.

CB: Who (or what) inspires you?

VR: My biggest inspiration comes from knowing the kind of lifestyle that I want to lead and the legacy that I want to leave on this earth. I live so that my actions and decisions will positively impact those around me who I love most. My every move is geared toward making sure that I uphold the values that my parents worked so hard to instill in me so that I may render the same wisdom to my child(ren).

CB: What are your plans and goals for life after college? How has CBU helped you on the way to achieving those goals?

VR: My short-term goals are to work in my career field upon graduation before returning to complete my Master’s degree. As for long-term plans, I am open to whatever the business/accounting profession has to offer. I can definitely see myself living somewhere new and learning a different culture. CBU has definitely been instrumental in making my post-graduation transition a lot smoother. Because of the CBU professionals and the wonderful career services, I don’t have to “job hunt” after graduation. They made sure that I got connected with the right people. As a December 2014 graduate, I had pretty much solidified my post-graduation plans weeks in advanced. That eliminated a major stress that so many recent college graduates encounter while struggling to find jobs.

CB: What will you remember the most when you look back on your college experience at CBU?

VR: I will forever remember Buckman Hall! 95% of my time on campus was spent in that building. There are so many memories ― from my hardest classes, to work/study; I had so many DeltaSig meetings in there! Come to think of it, almost every meeting I’ve ever had on campus was probably held in Buckman. A lot of my growth transpired in that building.

CB: Looking back at all that you’ve learned and experienced, what advice would you give to a first-time freshman?

VR: I would advise freshmen not to overwhelm themselves with too much during their first year. The college transition can be difficult enough in itself without trying to be the president/coordinator of five different organizations. Setting yourself up to have the highest GPA possible from the beginning is critical. Once you get into your upper-division courses, it is much harder to redeem your GPA if you’ve been slacking academically during your freshman and sophomore years. You can always join an organization―that’s one of the great things about CBU.