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Alumni News

Fall 2016

Jumana Abu-Ghazaleh ’92 is vocal and passionate about two things: that empathy is essential to business success, and that empathy is underrated in the business world. The founder and CEO of online platform was recently named to the Forty Over 40 female innovators list. She studied literature and philosophy at CMC before launching a 20-year career in marketing—winning awards for her brand strategy endeavors with companies including American Express, Yahoo, Coca-Cola, Bank of America, and Hilton Hotels. Abu-Ghazaleh also is a board member of CMC’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Alexei Agratchev ’99 was profiled on Entrepreneur magazine’s website in the “Mentors” column. Agratchev is the CEO and founder of RetailNext, a company that tracks customer behavior for brick-and-mortar stores, but he got his first leg up from what seems like an unlikely source: former Disney CEO Michael Eisner. Agratchev’s father was a translator for Eisner, and the Eisner family took the young Agratchev into its home, while his own parents were still living in Moscow. Eisner’s innate curiosity, said Agratchev, shaped much of Agratchev’s life. Read the full interview 

Starting in October, recent graduates Sofi Cullen ’16, Jessica Jin ’16, and Annika Deurlington ’16 will have a chance to engage in public service and prepare for future careers, while contributing to the development and implementation of public policy in California. The trio were selected for the Capital Fellows Programs, which is administered by the Center for California Studies in Sacramento. It’s an impressive feat, considering that the programs select only 18 fellows from an annual pool of about 500 per program—an acceptance rate of about 4 percent.

Geek’s been the new chic for a while now, and Inc. magazine says Chris Davis ’07’s earnings prove it. Davis’ company, Loot Crate, which is a geek-and-gamer-friendly subscription of action figures, comics, and other like-themed goodies, has been the nation’s fastest-growing private company for the third year running. In its four years, it bolted from a respectable $125,000 in revenue to $116 million last year. In classic CMC fashion, Davis leveraged everything from a better, more cost-effective headquarters location to local sourcing in order to reach that figure, all while building his team from two employees to 240, according to Southern California Public Radio.

Marine Corps veteran Brian Dix ’17 appears in a video produced by the Berger Institute for Work, Family and Children discussing the balance between school, marriage and kids. See the video.

 “I couldn’t see myself sitting in a cubicle. It wasn’t for me.” So says Jack Lamb ’11, who decided not to take a cushy job on Microsoft’s Xbox team, so that he could build something using his own talent and sweat equity. In May 2014, he and three partners—all younger than 30—opened Aslan Brewing Co., one of the Northwest’s first organic breweries. Forbes profiled Lamb and his alternative road to an organic, hit brewpub (where the beer’s already winning awards), in a Sept. 12 online feature.

Tendo Nagenda ’97 was promoted to executive vice president of production at Walt Disney Studios earlier this year, and he quickly made his mark by shepherding the film studio’s latest release, “Queen of Katwe,” to production. The movie, based on the true story of a young Ugandan girl (Phiona Mutesi) who masters the game of chess after a fluke encounter with the game, was released in September. Nagenda also has a hand in the live-action releases of “Cinderella,” the forthcoming live-action releases “Mulan” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Tim Burton’s “Dumbo” and an adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” are also on his roster.

Remember the days of the Peach Pit, Brenda and Dylan, and the fame that followed the cast of “Beverly Hills, 90210” CMC alumnas Katherine “Kat” Spada ’08 and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Leader ’09 do. In fact, they’ve flipped their mutual love of the TV show into their own successful podcast: “The Blaze with Lizzie and Kat!” Not only have they organized “live reads” of a couple of “90210” episodes, they’ve also snagged interviews with some of the original cast, including Carol Potter (“Cindy Walsh”), Matthew Laurance (“Mel Silver”), Douglas Emerson (“Scott Scanlon”), and Dana Barron (“Nikki Witt”). Their podcast is free on iTunes or your podcast app of choice. New episodes drop every Monday at midnight Pacific time.

Chris Temple ’12 and Zach Ingrasci ’12 have produced a movie that addresses the Syrian refugee crisis, an ongoing situation that the United Nations calls “the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era.” “Salam Neighbor” tracks Temple and Ingrasci over the month they spent in Za’atari Refugee Camp, in Jordan, in an attempt to understand more of the situation. The film was an American Film Institute Docs Official Selection, and was released worldwide on Netflix on World Refugee Day. Temple and Ingrasci, who were international relations majors, are working on efforts to fund education in humanitarian emergencies.