10 Years Later: Dean's Leadership Council Continues to Connect School of Business Community

In the banner above: From left to right: former DLC vice president Andrew Forenza ’13, ’14, DLC President Najwa Zarook ’15 and DLC co-founder Don Boyce ’06, ’08 at Network NYC in January.   

Two undergraduates walk into the dean’s office to appeal for more of a say in the school. That cannot end well, can it? Well, it did. That 2005 meeting produced the Dean’s Leadership Council, which continues to thrive 10 years later.

Brian DiMarino ’06 said, “We thought that there could be a better connection between the student body and administration. That night, it was just talk. But if you have an idea, Don makes it happen.”

Don Boyce ’06, ’08 arranged a meeting with then Dean Paul Leonard. Neither student had met him. Boyce said, “We were nervous about the pitch, but believed in the vision.”

Boyce and DiMarino shared their ideas. DiMarino said, “To our surprise, he loved it.” The dean listened and asked them to return with a structure to bring their ideas to fruition. Once they did, the dean sponsored their first meeting in the Patroon Room. More than 150 people attended.

This debut event established connections between the four student clubs of the School of Business: Pi Sigma Epsilon, Delta Sigma Pi, Beta Alpha Psi and the Accounting Club.The groups discovered what their peers were doing,beginning an ongoing exchange that continues today as the DLC now works with 14 clubs.

Boyce, with the perspective that 10 years brings, noted, “Different clubs are plugged into an infrastructure that allows them to succeed.” Current DLC president Najwa Zarook agrees. She points to the number of School of Business clubs created by students, which more than doubled since its inception .

While School of Business clubs are not required to join the DLC, Zarook said that it benefits the newcomers to learn from established clubs. She said, “The DLC connects the new groups to other students, faculty and staff by helping them promote their club and best utilize resources.”

Zarook said that the group has maintained Boyce and DiMarino’s original intent, adding events to enhance communication and community within the school. A well-attended annual event that brings out students, professors and staff is “Pick Your Path,” providing information on School of Business majors and concentrations in an informal setting. The DLC sponsors a club fair for students to learn about the variety of organizations at the school. The group also offers flash mock interviewing, like speed dating but with employers, giving students an opportunity to practice their elevator speeches and interview skills. A bowl-a-thon raises money for Junior Achievement.

Assistant Dean John Levato was a strong supporter of the DLC. To honor him, they donated $500 to the John S. Levato Scholarship. The funds were raised at the R&R event, the money coming from a collection jar at the table that was filled not only by students, but by alumni visiting campus for the annual School of Business Awards ceremony held that day. The group hopes to establish their own DLC scholarship funded by an annual event.

Zarook said, “The DLC continues to build community within the School of Business.” As for the future of the DLC, she says, “When I look back at the past 10 years, if that is a testament to what has happened, we have a lot of prospects.”

The DLC connected more than groups. This spring the second president of the DLC, Jen Marinelli ’07, ’08 and co-founder DiMarino were married. The pair did not date in college, but reconnected at Boyce’s 30th birthday party year.