Danielle Derkink (MBA ’05) commits to inclusivity, advocacy

Danielle Derkink (MBA ’05) is an enthusiast, whether she’s talking about her extensive experience in hospitality, being an advocate for women and diversity in the workplace, or creating awareness about childhood arthritis.

The daughter of Dutch immigrants, Derkink fell in love with hospitality at a young age through a family friend who was a live-in general manager at a hotel in Houston. She remembers learning about a new area of hospitality each time she visited her friends. She was curious and intrigued by the way a hotel functioned. Forgoing her initial childhood dream of being a female fighter pilot, Derkink embraced the excitement of a hotel management career instead and followed her passion to the Netherlands, where she received her Bachelors of Hospitality Administration at The Hotelschool The Hague.

Moving back to the United States to begin her career in hospitality, Derkink quickly began moving up the ranks as her career aspirations continued to grow. It was at this time she decided to pursue her Masters of Business Administration at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. Upon completing her degree, she took a promotion to Washington, D.C. and served as a hospitality ambassador for the Terry MBA program in the city.

After a career opportunity in Tampa, FL and the birth of her first child, Elle, Danielle made the move to back to Atlanta and to IHG, a company that has allowed her to live out her other passions – philanthropy and advocacy for women and inclusivity in the workplace.  When Elle was 2 years old, she was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. In search of a support network, Derkink began volunteering with the Arthritis Foundation’s Georgia Chapter, of which she is now acting co-chair of the juvenile arthritis committee. Derkink has partnered with other organizations including the University of Georgia’s Alpha Omicron Pi to raise awareness about the disorder. Each year the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation and the sorority team up to put on the annual 5K “Run for the Roses” as a fundraiser.

Danielle (far right) at a Lean In event with Sheryl Sandberg (second from left) and other Atlanta-based Lean In leaders, Emily Schwarz and Alison Eminger.

Danielle (far right) at a Lean In event with Sheryl Sandberg (second from left) and other Atlanta-based Lean In leaders, Emily Schwarz and Alison Eminger.

IHG has provided Derkink a platform to demonstrate her commitment to women and inclusion in the workplace. For the fifth straight year, IHG has received a perfect score by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI). At IHG headquarters, Derkink has led the Women’s Lean In Group, inspired by Sheryl Sandberg’s book. Derkink also actively attends IHG’s representation at the Atlanta Pride Parade annually, bringing her two daughters—and this past year, her mother too—to encourage them to be their authentic self.

In addition to her philanthropy and advocacy, Derkink has engaged with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ newest major Hospitality and Food Industry Management. IHG will sit on the board of the new major, helping to guide curriculum and support students. The University of Georgia is grateful to alumni, like Danielle Derkink, who are making an impact in their workplace and reconnecting with the university.

Georgia Museum of Art receives large gift of “cutting-edge” contemporary art

This article was written by Hillary Brown and originally posted to UGA Today on March 5, 2020.

The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia received a major gift from John and Sara Shlesinger consisting of 110 contemporary works of art from the Shlesingers’ personal collection, spanning a wide variety of artists and mediums.

A partial list of artists represented in the donation includes Damien Hirst, Daniel Arsham, Shannon Ebner, David Altjmed and Mike Kelley. According to William U. Eiland, director of the Georgia Museum of Art, this gift will fundamentally transform how the museum operates.

“This gift from Sara and John Shlesinger to the Georgia Museum of Art is certainly a quantitative change for our collection, but most important, it is a qualitative one,” said Eiland. “It gives us the means not only to teach and to exhibit the cutting-edge art of the past 25 years, but also allows us to help students and our general audiences to find, to understand and to step beyond that edge. Overnight, due to their generosity, we are able to extend our collection planning and augment our ability to teach in an age when visual-arts education has become more and more necessary.”

Sara Shlesinger grew up surrounded by realist and impressionist art and studied art history abroad, earning a bachelor’s in fine arts from Brandeis University. Meanwhile, John—a 1983 UGA master’s of business administration graduate—knew little about art before marrying Sara, but collected local contemporary art. Interested in starting a collection together and curious about the contemporary art world, they traveled and visited galleries and museums.

In 1997, they decided to purchase an early spin painting by Damien Hirst—now a part of the gift to the museum. The couple first focused on Young British Artists, amassing works by Hirst, Gary Hume, Sarah Morris and Gavin Turk. They then expanded their vision, developing relationships with gallerists, dealers and the artists themselves in order to fully understand and appreciate the art they collect.

After 23 years, the couple have amassed a collection of several hundred works by emerging and established contemporary artists from around the world. Most recently, the Shlesingers acquired works by Katharine Fritsch, Nathaniel Mary Quinn and Atlanta’s own Shanequa Gay.

Chen Yi, “Naomi Wang’s Anniversary,” 2006. Part of The John and Sara Shlesinger Collection

Chen Yi, “Naomi Wang’s Anniversary,” 2006.

Gabriela Palmieri, former vice chair of Sotheby’s North America and now an independent art consultant, has worked with the Shlesingers for years. Palmieri says she can think of almost no other collectors who approach art in the way the Shlesingers do, citing their tendency to take risks and the fact that they buy works because they love them and want to live with them, not as part of an investment portfolio.

“Their tendency to collect works from across an artist’s lifetime will allow UGA students to see the trajectories of different careers. That’s unusual even among people who collect contemporary work,” said Palmieri. “Their desire to educate and instruct was a driving factor in this gift.”

For example, she points to their purchase of one of Damien Hirst’s early spin paintings the year it was made. Created using a mechanism that rotates the canvas and leaving much to the power of chance, these works were a new approach to painting, almost removing the hand of the artist.

In celebration of the donation, the museum plans to have a small exhibition this summer with a larger one to follow that will introduce visitors to the works provided by the Shlesingers.

John Shlesinger is a vice chairman at CBRE, a publicly traded, global commercial real estate firm, and serves on the boards of the Atlanta History Center, Oakland Cemetery and Tech Square Ventures. He was previously a member of UGA’s Board of Visitors and the board of the High Museum of Art.

Sara Shlesinger is a community leader on both a local and national basis. She is a board member at Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum and is on the advisory board for Art 21. Sara has served on the selection committee for the Venice Biennale and on MoMA’s Modern Women’s Fund Committee. In Atlanta, she was on the founding board for the Children’s Museum and is currently involved with various organizations and working in the art world.

2020 Alumni Awards recipients unveiled

Update as of April 1: Due to the ongoing public health concerns surrounding public gatherings, the 2020 Alumni Awards Luncheon is canceled. We look forward to sharing content in the coming weeks to virtually celebrate this year’s honorees.

The Alumni Association will celebrate individuals and organizations that have demonstrated a deep commitment to bettering the university during its 83rd annual Alumni Awards Luncheon on April 24.

This year’s honorees include:

Lynda Bradbury Courts

The Honorable Johnny Isakson

Dr. Hamilton E. Holmes Family

Peter Shedd

Sanford and Barbara Orkin

Christina Swoope Carrere

2020 Alumni Merit Awards

The Alumni Merit Award, which is given to those who bring recognition and honor back to the University of Georgia through outstanding leadership and service, will be presented to Lynda Bradbury Courts and the Honorable Johnny Isakson.

As a lifelong philanthropist, Lynda Bradbury Courts (AB ’63) has supported and served the university for decades in a multitude of ways. Perhaps most notably, she served as the chair for the University of Georgia Foundation board of trustees from 2004 to 2005.

After graduating from UGA, Sen. Johnny Isakson (BBA ’66) had a multi-decade career of public service to the state and the university. He holds the distinction of being the only Georgian ever to have been elected to the state House, state Senate, U.S. House and U.S. Senate.

2020 Family of the Year Award

The Dr. Hamilton E. Holmes family will receive the Family of the Year Award, which is presented to a family that demonstrates loyalty to UGA.

Dr. Hamilton Holmes Sr. (BS ’63) helped pave the way for future generations of students as the first African American male to attend UGA. The Holmes family has continued his legacy of opening doors and making campus more inclusive through their great support of UGA over the years.

2020 Faculty Service Award

Peter Shedd is receiving the Faculty Service Award. First presented in 1969, the award recognizes current or former UGA faculty and staff who have distinguished themselves in service to the university.

Peter Shedd (BBA ’74, JD ’77) has shown boundless commitment to the university and its students and faculty. He is an emeritus professor of legal studies at Terry College of Business. He was named the 1993 CASE Georgia Professor of the Year. He previously served as the associate dean of business, executive assistant to the president, interim VP for instruction and director of Terry College’s full-time MBA program. He has written numerous articles and two leading textbooks in the areas of the legal and regulatory environments of business and business law.

2020 Friend of UGA Award

Sanford and Barbara Orkin will be honored with the 2020 Friend of UGA Award, which is given to any non-alumnus or organization that has demonstrated outstanding loyalty and support to the University of Georgia and the UGA community.

Sanford (H ’19) and his late wife Barbara, who passed away in Nov. 2019, have demonstrated unyielding commitment to supporting the endeavors of UGA’s students, faculty and staff. They have provided tremendous financial support across the university including the Terry College of Business, the Mary Frances Early College of Education, College of Public Health, UGA Athletics, Carl Vinson Institute and the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases.

2020 Young Alumni Award

The Young Alumni Award will be presented to Christina Swoope Carrere. This award is given to those who attended UGA in the past 10 years, have embodied the Pillars of the Arch—wisdom, justice and moderation–and provided notable service to the university.

Christina Swoope Carrere (BS ’11) was the first African American female drum major of the Redcoat Marching Band and is the immediate past president of the board of directors for the Redcoat Band Alumni Association. She was also in UGA’s 40 Under 40 class of 2016. She currently serves as the senior Medicare program examiner for the Office of Management and Budget in Washington, D.C.

Learn more about the Alumni Awards program, or view a list of previous award recipients.

 

Alumnus guides others on med school journey

I always knew that I wanted to be a doctor. I remember proudly proclaiming this on career days in elementary school. I didn’t know what kind of doctor that I wanted to be, but the decision to pursue medicine was clear from an early age.

What I didn’t know was that the path to medical school was like running through miles of thorn bushes while trying to avoid a stampede of buffalo in the dark of night, during a tornado. Maybe I’m being dramatic, but I remember what it was like every step of the way, and it was not easy.

Destination Med School Screen Capture 1

I was never the smartest person in class. As I share in the video above: I failed my driver’s test twice, I took the SAT three times to get the score I needed, and I had to take the MCAT twice. I got denied from 25 medical schools and it took me nearly two years to get accepted. Hard work, resilience, and patience got me to where I am today.

After 3 years of medical school in Philadelphia at Sidney Kimmel Medical College (Thomas Jefferson University), I decided to pursue an opportunity to earn a Master of Business Administration at my Alma Mater, the University of Georgia, in the MD/MBA Dual Degree program.

When I returned to UGA, I wanted to give back to the university that shaped me into the person I am today. I began volunteering for the UGA Pre-Health Advising Office, speaking at panels, hosting presentations, and meeting with students for one-on-one advising. When the new year rolled around, I decided that I wanted to make a larger impact.

We all know the value of a mentor. During undergrad, I had a small handful of these mentors that were accepted into medical school and they provided me with powerful advice. What about the people that didn’t have mentors? Imagine a space where an entire community of doctors, dentists, physician assistants, nurses, physical therapists, pharmacists, and more, many of whom are UGA grads, provide advice and motivational stories to pre-med students.

In January 2020, I launched Destination Med School, an online community of medical professionals sharing advice, insight, and lessons they’ve learned along their journeys. As I write this post, the account has exceeded 2,000 followers on Instagram since launching one month ago and has grown to a community of nearly 100 medical professionals. Future medical professionals, anywhere in the world, can now tune in to receive daily content from mentors in all fields.

I am proud to continue my work with UGA’s Pre-Health Advising Office and speaking to future medical professionals at this great university. I am proud to run an account that provides mentorship to students who need it. And I am proud to now, and always, be a Georgia Bulldog.

Check out Destination Med School on Instagram @destinationmedschool.

Jake Goodman

Best,
Jake Goodman
UGA Class of 2015

UGA achieves career outcomes rate of 95%+ for fifth year running

University of Georgia Class of 2019 graduates are employed or attending graduate school within six months at a rate of 95 percent—eight percent higher than the national average.

Regarding these 2019 UGA graduates:

  • 66 percent were employed full time;
  • 19 percent were attending graduate school; and
  • Approximately 10 percent engaged in post-graduation internships, fellowships, residencies, postdoctoral research, part-time jobs, or have reported their status as entrepreneurs.

“Students continue to excel in their post-graduate endeavors as UGA’s career outcomes rate has been 95 percent or above over the past five years,” said Scott Williams, executive director of the UGA Career Center. “This extraordinary level of consistency demonstrates that our students’ strong academic performance is supported through career readiness skills development and complemented by experiential learning.”

UGA graduates are now making an impact in positions across all sectors of the economy from business to government, nonprofit to education. Over 3,000 unique employers hired UGA graduates. Top employers for the Class of 2019 include Emory Healthcare, Delta Air Lines, The Home Depot and NCR Corporation.

Of those full-time professionals, 60 percent were employed before graduation and 98 percent were hired within six months of graduation.

“Internships that I secured through UGA’s job board, Handshake, provided me with hands-on experience to see that I actually enjoy sales.” said Erin Orem, a May 2019 graduate. “I was able to confidently speak about my internships at the UGA Career Fair, where I met my current employer, TTI. Using UGA Career Center resources, I began preparing for my job search in my freshman year, so I never stressed about finding a job!”

71 percent, nearly three-quarters of the Class of 2019 graduates working full-time, accepted employment within the state of Georgia. Graduates landed in all 50 states and in 43 countries in the six months after graduation, with top out-of-state destinations spanning the country and including major metropolitan areas such as Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C.

The 19 percent of graduates who are furthering their education have chosen top graduate or professional schools including Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, Emory University and the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

The UGA Career Center calculates the career outcomes rate each January by leveraging information from surveys, phone calls, employer reporting, UGA departmental collaboration, LinkedIn, and the National Student Clearinghouse. The preceding data is based on the known career outcomes of 8,289 graduates from the Class of 2019.

Check out a video and infographics highlighting the Class of 2019 career outcomes.

Image provided by University of Georgia Marketing and Communications/Photo by Andrew Davis Tucker