(St. Petersburg, Fla.) April 14, 2010 – Alex McKenna, the new chair of the College of Business Advisory Board, always carries a George Bernard Shaw quote in his jacket pocket. He hands the small, laminated piece of paper to anyone that asks about his approach to life and work.
The quote, from Shaw’s Man and Superman, talks about one’s life belonging to the community, about selflessness and hard work for the sake of future generations.
These values exude from McKenna’s professional accomplishments and guide his approach to the COB Advisory Board, a group he hopes will help the USFSP College of Business find its rightful place in the local business community.
“The challenge for the College of Business is getting the business community aware of what is here,” McKenna said. “There is fertile ground here. The community has a resource at its disposal and it’s not being fully used.”
McKenna experienced the college’s resources as a resident of a condominium located a few blocks from the university’s campus. The condo’s association needed help with forensic accounting. A COB professor lent his expertise and COB students lent their academic muscle to help. The connection offered students real-world experience while helping the association resolve a financial issue.
“Universities offer an accessible intellectual base that otherwise would not exist,” McKenna said.
Wherever he has lived – McKenna connected with universities.
He taught classes and appeared as a guest lecturer at SUNY Buffalo, Lakeland College, Willoughby Ohio, Cornell University, Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Marquette University and the University of Miami School of Engineering. He co-founded the Executive-In-Residence program at Niagara University.
He has been on the COB Advisory Board for three years and became its chair this year. He is currently president of McKenna Group International, Inc. a company providing career transition coaching and counseling to Global 100 senior executives and managers.
McKenna entered the field of management consulting after a corporate career that included labor relations, profit and loss responsibility for a manufacturing division and officer status with a major California company.
McKenna received his PhD in Education from Marquette University, master’s degree from Niagara and a bachelor’s degree in labor and industrial relations from SUNY Buffalo.
As the COB Advisory Board chair, he hopes to unite the group in its effort to support the vision and strategies of Maling Ebrahimpour, dean of the College of Business.
The 17-member group helps advance Ebrahimpour’s vision by engaging in activities that enable the college to make meaningful progress toward its initiatives and goals. Members serve as liaisons between academia and their respective business or government organizations.
“We have to harness the energy of a group of people who haven’t been able to give all their energy and talents,” he said. “My biggest challenge is to provide my fellow board members opportunities to contribute their knowledge and expertise. It isn’t going to be an easy task, but the breadth of opportunity here is motivation enough to work toward these goals.”