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Athletics Hosts Leadership Forum


SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – The Seton Hall University Department of Athletics hosted its Second-Annual Leadership Forum for current student-athletes on Monday night, welcoming an all-SHU alum panel of business professionals to Walsh Gymnasium for a night of discussion, interaction and networking opportunities.

After the successful inaugural edition was limited to seniors and juniors only, this year’s forum was expanded to include sophomores as well.

Consistent with the vision behind the introduction of the event, student-athletes in attendance had the opportunity to listen to and meet with a diverse group of industry leaders that could impart valuable knowledge regarding the wealth of opportunities available to current students as well as recent graduates and the steps an aspiring professional can take to help differentiate themselves in a highly-competitive landscape.

"The Leadership Forum is an unique opportunity to listen and get in touch with successful alumni who once were in the same position as many of us," said Marie Klemme, a junior on the women's soccer team and marketing major. 

The panel discussion, moderated by the voice of the Pirate Sports Network Jon Schaeffer, included Joe Abruzzese, a veteran and leader of the broadcasting industry who currently serves as the President of Advertising Sales for Discovery Communications; Lisa LaBruno, Senior Vice President of Retail Operations at Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and a former member of the SHU faculty; Richard C. McMahon, who in 15 years at retail giant Bed Bath & Beyond has risen to the position of Chief Strategy Officer & V.P. Corporate Operations and President/Chairman – International and Michael Lucciola, a member of the Seton Hall University Board of Regents who has served as the Managing Director of the Firefly Group, a private investment and advisory company, for over a decade.

During the discussion, the panelists were asked to share their personal thoughts on being proactive during the undergraduate years, how to best network and create valuable, lasting relationships in an increasingly digitalized business environment and the importance of being prepared and having an educated plan when entering the job market.

In addition to the question and answer session as a part of the formal event, there was also a cocktail reception held in the Walsh Lobby where the student-athletes were afforded an opportunity to have one-on-one conversation with each of the speakers.

"I enjoyed the opportunity to speak with so many of our student-athletes and to be a part the alumni panel,” said Lucciola who earned his MBA in Finance Concentration from Seton Hall in 1986 after graduating with a BS in Political Science two years earlier.

“Seton Hall student-athletes develop unique, transferable skills throughout their undergraduate experience that make them very marketable when they enter the workplace," he continued. "An event like this is a great opportunity for them to hear advice and insight that can outline the steps for their professional development."

"I really appreciate events like this," added Klemme. "They inspire, and motivate myself and others to create a personal brand that will help us acheive our goals once we leave Seton Hall."