Alumni share leadership advice

Refining and growing a tolerance for the unknown and never giving up were just two of the many tips W. R. Grace CEO Fred Festa ’81 imparted to students assembled for the first Future Oswego Leaders Conference April 8 and 9 on campus.

Festa offered the keynote address at the two-day conference, which drew 162 students to the Campus Center and Sheldon Hall to hear presentations from fellow students, develop their own unique strengths and network with alumni from various career fields.

Fred Festa

W.R. Grace CEO and Future Oswego Leaders Conference keynote speaker Fred Festa ’81, center, accepts a gift from conference organizers Michelle Hamann ’11, left, and Steven DiMarzo ’11, right.

The inaugural leadership conference was sponsored jointly by the Oswego Alumni Association, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership society, Student Association, Phi Beta Lambda and Beta Alpha Psi.

Festa urged students to be results oriented, foster open communication, and inspire and mentor others, among many other traits of successful leaders. He has put that last bit of advice into practice by funding, along with his wife, MaryLynn Barbero Festa ’82, the Festa Graduate Leadership Fellowships at Oswego and the W. R. Grace summer internships for undergraduate science and business majors.

Above all, Festa reminded students to always act with integrity. “The best leaders bring out the best in others,” he concluded.

Joining Festa as alumni presenters were Emanuel Adjekum ’05, talent acquisition recruiter for NBC Universal Cable Networks; Joseph Chemotti ’90, partner at Dannible and McKee, LLP; Maria Grimshaw-Clark ’87, counselor and social worker at SUNY Oswego and in private practice; Jeffrey Evans ’86, co-founder and managing partner of Rondaxe Pharma and founder and CEO of Oncoholdings Inc.; and Mary Beth Maroney Fierro ’84,
principal of Oswego’s Charles E. Riley Elementary School.

The alumni presented a panel discussion and individual breakout sessions with students.

Evans, in his breakout session, stressed the importance of optimism and passion to be a successful leader and entrepreneur.

“Find your passion. Do it well. And someone will pay you for it,” he said.

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