Love is Love Campaign

Last week, Pride at Darden — a student-run LGBTQ awareness and education club — promoted the annual Love is Love campaign, consisting of a week of events designed to celebrate love in all of its many forms. As described by Pride at Darden:

The Love is Love campaign is a celebration of love that is meant to create greater social awareness at the University of Virginia and beyond. The power of its message is found in its simplicity. It is a message that can span all communities. Regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, and community-affiliation, true, committed relationships between adults are founded in love. All relationships are equal. All love is equal. Love is Love. It’s not about what it looks like; it’s about how it feels.

The Love is Love campaign [was] scheduled for the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, a holiday that often overlooks members of the LGBTQ community through heterosexist traditions, advertising, and greeting cards. It is also designed to help correct the common misconception that same-sex partnerships and relationships are simply based on sex and sexual attraction with no real feeling or emotion involved. It is meant to represent progress from the past and remind us of how far we still have to go.

It’s a simple message, but one that bears great meaning. Love comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and varieties. Just because it looks differently, doesn’t mean it feels differently or should be treated differently. In the end, LOVE IS LOVE.

Love is Love 2015

Brandon Chinn, the president of Pride at Darden, was very pleased with this year’s turnout: “The response has been great! We have hit max capacity for all our events, and we had a record number of people in the Darden community come out for the photo.” (pictured above)

Darden seeks to be a welcoming community to all of our students, and movements like the Love is Love campaign are a testament to how well the students have adopted that mission as their own.

To learn more about the different clubs and organizations at Darden, check out the club directory on our website.

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Darden Alum Reinvents the Snow Shovel

Darden Alumni are always up to interesting things. Take, for example, the story of Phil Davis (MBA ’85), whose invention may just revolutionize the snow shovel industry. We have posted an excerpt of his story below.

Darden Alum Reinvents the Snow Shovel

Phil Davis (MBA '86)

Phil Davis (MBA ’86)

Virginia received several inches of snow [Monday, 16 February], leaving many in the Charlottesville area with the unhappy task of snow removal [the next] morning.

Traditional snow shoveling, however, may become a thing of the past thanks to Phil Davis, an alumnus of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He is the inventor of “The Pushel,” which, according to his website, is the “first major innovation in snow shovel design in over 100 years.” (You can order it through his website for $49.95, plus shipping and handling.)

We talked to Davis about his time at Darden, his latest invention and being an entrepreneur.

Q. What drew you to the Darden School of Business?

A. I was initially recruited to Stanford and then heard about U.Va. I started out at law, but switched to Darden. I was in a Darden marketing class and thought, “This is it.”

Read the full article on the UVA News website.

Do you have an idea for the next great invention? Darden can foster your entrepreneurial spirit through resources such as the iLab Incubator or the Batten Institute. Check out our website to learn more.

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Women at Darden Follow Up

For the past six weeks, we have been celebrating 50 years of women at Darden here on the Admissions Blog. We are incredibly proud of our female student and alumnae population, and all that they have accomplished.

At the same time, we also recognize that women are still underrepresented in the business world, as depicted by the graph below.

Source -

Source –

Because of this, we are proud to be a partner school of the Forté Foundation, whose goals are to:

  • Show how careers in business can be philosophically rewarding
  • Prepare women and get them excited for business school
  • Provide access to decision influencers like admissions professionals, corporate recruiters, and business leaders
  • Highlight and promote inspiring role models to build women’s confidence

As a member school, Darden has the opportunity to select several Forté Fellows in each class. Being a Forté Foundation Fellow grants you access to many unique resources. In addition to the financial support, Fellows gain exposure to leading companies in the Forté network. They also gain an immediate network of Fellows that extends beyond their individual business schools. Darden usually has approximately 30–40 Fellows during any given year.

We hope you will take the opportunity to explore all of the opportunities the Forté Foundation offers to women in business, as well as the additional resources Darden has specifically for women.

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50 Years of Women at Darden — Part 6

Continuing our series celebrating 50 years of women at Darden, this week we feature Veneka Chagwedera (MBA ’13), a woman who turned her kitchen hobby into an entrepreneurial enterprise.

Veneka Chagwedera — Buy a Bar, Feed a Child

Veneka Chagwedera (MBA '13)

Veneka Chagwedera (MBA ’13)

While working for a Southeast Asian nonprofit, Veneka Chagwedera (MBA ’13) started making healthy energy bars to keep her going during her field trips to remote areas. When she returned to the United States to begin business school, she continued experimenting with ingredients, with the aim of crafting a satisfying snack bar without preservatives or added chemicals.

Chagwedera soon realized her “kitchen hobby had business potential.” With a grant from the University of Virginia i.Lab Business Incubator (housed at Darden) and support from
Darden alumni and faculty, she launched NOURIBAR as a Second Year student in 2012. Having never run a business before, she relied on the guidance of several entrepreneurial faculty experts, including Professors Saras Sarasvathy and Jeanne Liedtka.

Read Veneka entire story in the latest issue of the Darden Report.

To learn more about resources and opportunities Darden provides specifically for women, please visit the Women at Darden page on our website.

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27th Annual BBSF Conference

The Black Business Student Forum (BBSF) at Darden is pleased to share that it will be hosting the 27th Annual BBSF Conference this Friday, 6 February, 2015.

BBSF Conference

The theme this year is “Emerging Domestic Markets: Finding Growth Within the U.S.,” and the keynote speaker is the Honorable Maurice Jones – Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade. There will also be three panels discussing topics such as small business growth and financing. Visit to register online.

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50 Years of Women at Darden — Part 5

Continuing our series celebrating 50 years of women at Darden, this week we recognize Katie Bisbee (MBA ’04), a woman whose desire for social impact had a bigger impact on her classroom than she initially realized. An excerpt from her story is below:

Katie Bisbee — Marketing With a Big Heart

At the age of five, Katie Bisbee (MBA ’04) was serving meals at soup kitchens with her family. “Social impact has always been in the forefront of my mind. My parents taught me that is how you should live your life,” she said. This sentiment has stayed with Bisbee, who turned her passion for helping others into a career.

Katie Bisbee

Katie Bisbee (MBA ’04)

She was several years out of college when she started working at a nonprofit and quickly realized her limiting factor. “I figured if I wanted to make an impact in the social sector, I had to have a really strong business grounding,” she explained. She promptly applied and was accepted to Darden.

As a First Year student, Bisbee worried that her class contributions were subpar, but she quickly began to notice the opposite: Her nontraditional background as a marketer actually added value to the classroom dynamic. “I think I offered a fresh set of eyes that was helpful for my classmates. I asked questions other people probably wouldn’t think to ask because they knew the material so well,” she recalled.

Read Katie’s entire story in the latest issue of the Darden Report.

To learn more about resources and opportunities Darden provides specifically for women, please visit the Women at Darden page on our website.

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Student-Created MBA Classes: Impact Investing

Darden students have the ability to shape and mold their own educations. One recent example of this is the pair of students who created their own class about an emerging business topic — impact investing.

Recently, MBA Admissions Dean Sara Neher sat down with one of the co-founders of the impact investing class. Watch the video below to learn more about how he was able to create his own class and the unique opportunities he and his classmates have gained because of it.

Video: Admissions Talk Show: Impact Investing

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50 Years of Women at Darden — Part 4

Continuing our series celebrating 50 years of women at Darden, this week we recognize Susan Sobbott (MBA ’90), a woman who decided to replace work/life balance with work/life integration. An excerpt from her story is below:

Susan Sobbott – Integrating Budgets and Ballet Shoes

“Yesterday, my daughter Leah asked if she could come to work with me, so I brought her in,” said Susan Sobbott (MBA ’90) of her 9-year-old. “Leah sharpened about four boxes of pencils and sat through some meetings with me. She said she had the ‘very best day.’ Last night, she asked what time we were leaving for work this morning.”

Susan Sobbott

Susan Sobbott (MBA ’90)

As president of Global Corporate Payments at American Express, a wife and a mother, Sobbott knows about the challenges of managing a family and a career. At home, she raises her two children, Leah and Jeremiah, with her husband, Keith.

In her current position, she is responsible for all of the products that serve the company’s corporate payment clients around the world, including the Corporate Card and Corporate Purchasing Solutions. A leader in the corporate payments arena, American Express operates in nearly 200 countries and serves 62 percent of Fortune 500 companies. Since she started working for the company more than 20 years ago, Sobbott has established herself as a leader who spearheads creative marketing strategies, uncovers pockets of untapped growth and cares deeply about her customers.

Read Susan’s entire story in the latest issue of the Darden Report.

To learn more about resources and opportunities Darden provides specifically for women, please visit the Women at Darden page on our website.

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Darden Students Visit New Cuba

As you have heard us say before, Darden students get many unique, hands-on opportunities to advance their educations, both in the U.S. and abroad. One recent example of this is a group of our Second Year MBA students who were among the first American students to visit Cuba since President Barack Obama and Raul Castro struck a deal to re-establish relations.

Below is an excerpt from the news article published on the Darden website.

U.Va. Darden School Students First to Study the New Cuba

“Cuba is an interesting animal,” said [Greg] Fairchild, an entrepreneurship expert. “This is an exceptional opportunity to see a unique economy that’s in transition.”

The 26 Second Year MBA candidates have a busy schedule during their visit to the island country that lies less than 100 miles from the U.S., but is light-years away in political and economic thinking.

The nation of about 11 million people is one of only a handful of communist states left in the world. Under Fidel Castro, and with the help of the then Soviet Union, Venezuela and now China, the country has eked out an existence under the ideology of Marxism-Leninism. In 2008, an ailing and elderly Castro turned his power over to his brother Raul, who has slowly and very modestly begun to loosen restrictions on Cubans and welcomed President Obama’s surprise offer to re-establish relations. But, not everybody is happy with that offer. Cuba’s critics point to the country’s suppression of basic civil liberties, lack of respect for human rights and its totalitarian control over politics and the economy as reasons to strike a harder line with Cuba.

You can read the full article here.

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50 Years of Women at Darden — Part 3

Continuing our series celebrating 50 years of women at Darden, this week we recognize Karen Yelick (MBA ’81), CEO of Indego Africa, a nonprofit in Rwanda. An excerpt of her story is below.

Karen Yelick — From Corporate Capitalism to Conscious Commerce

“I ran what was called the War Room — conflicts clearance for investment banking, and it was a 24/7 job,” recalled Karen Yelick (MBA ’81), a mother of three. After 24 years with Merrill Lynch (which Bank of America acquired in 2009), in 2011 she decided to transition into the social sector. “I had always wanted to do something in the social enterprise space related to women and education. It was time,” said Yelick.

She found “the perfect fit” with Indego Africa, a nonprofit that partners with Rwandan women artisans to sell their handmade products in the United States market. Profits from sales coupled with donations fund education programs for the artisans. “I wanted to join a group that was on the verge, to help take it from a startup to the next level,” said Yelick, who is now Indego Africa’s CEO.

Karen Yelick Darden Women

Karen Yelick (MBA ’81) transitions from Wall Street investment banker to CEO of a Rwandan nonprofit.

Read Karen’s entire story in the latest issue of The Darden Report.

To learn more about resources and opportunities Darden provides specifically for women, please visit the Women at Darden page on our website.

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