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        Alumni, College

        First Harbert Day of Engagement a success

        April 26, 2024 By Laura Schmitt

        All News


        Damion McIntosh speaking to seated crowd

        Finance Professor of Practice Damion McIntosh discusses his research on money laundering to Harbert Day participants April 18 during the Faculty Insights session.

        Harbert College alumni and friends participate in professional development, networking while learning about college's progress and Auburn athletics

        A broad range of alumni from many industries reconnected with the Harbert College of Business for the inaugural Harbert Day, engaging with university and college leadership, faculty and students, as well as participating in a professional development session led by renowned organizational health consultant Patrick Lencioni.

        Held on the Auburn campus April 18, the alumni also learned about Auburn Tiger athletics during a fireside chat-style session with football coach Hugh Freeze and basketball coach Bruce Pearl, who fielded questions about the impact that name, image and likeness (NIL) deals and the transfer portal are having on college sports.

        “The goal was to get our alumni back on campus and, in some cases reintroduce them to the college, so we could build that relationship going forward,” said David Walker (accounting ’92), president and CEO of EBSCO Industries and Harbert Alumni Council member who initiated the idea for hosting such an event.

        Auburn President Christopher B. Roberts kicked off the day with a brief update on the university’s priorities, which include providing students with exceptional experiential learning opportunities—a topic that was addressed throughout the day with presentations from Harbert students Justin Stuckey, MBA candidate and Auburn track athlete; Maddie Cimino, accounting senior and entrepreneur; and Jake Levant, accounting and finance senior and Auburn football player.

        Patrick Lencioni talking to seated crowd

        Patrick Lencioni led the professional development session at Harbert Day.

        Renowned author and business consultant, Patrick Lencioni led an interactive professional development session based on his latest book, The 6 Types of Working Genius. Lencioni shared a number of stories to illustrate how understanding individual’s working genius, competencies and frustrations can help managers build stronger teams and better functioning organizations.

        He also described the five dysfunctions—absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results—that derail organizations’ success.

        Interim Dean and KPMG Professor Jennifer Mueller-Phillips, who will become the ninth dean of Harbert College on May 1, presented the alumni with an overview of how the college has grown and evolved over the past decade following the transformational $40 million gift from Raymond and Kathryn Harbert.

        In a Harbert Insights panel moderated by Associate Provost Norman Godwin, faculty members  Brian Connelly (management), Beth Davis-Sramek (supply chain management), Damion McIntosh (finance) and Pei Xu (business analytics) described some of the real-world issues they address through their research.

        For example, they discussed projects that examine what impact powerful institutional investors have on corporate boards, whether hiring more women truck drivers would result in better overall highway safety, how best to combat money laundering operations, and how travelers react to AI-powered robots in the hospitality industry.

        Brett Whiteside, Auburn football director of operations and administration, was joined by Harbert junior and basketball player Dylan Cardwell, in a discussion of On To Victory, the Auburn collective that supports NIL opportunities for student athletes.

        four men sitting on chairs talking to audience

        Tacala LLC CEO and Harbert alumnus Joey Pierson (left) and EBSCO Industries CEO and alumnus David Walker (right) moderated a fireside chat with Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl (second from left) and football coach Hugh Freeze (second from right) at Harbert Day.

        Looking forward to next year

        The second-annual Harbert Day will be held April 24, 2025, on the Auburn campus, and Walker expects it will build on the success of this year’s event.

        “As we think about next year’s event, alumni will once again be able to engage at both the personal level and the team level,” Walker said, referring to the people who attended on their own and those whose companies sponsored entire teams of employees to attend.

        “There is application for everyone, and we’d love to have a diverse mix of people at next year’s event, too.”

        Harbert Day was made possible by the generous support of its sponsors:

        • The Broadway Group
        • EBSCO Industries
        • The Table Group
        • Momma G’s/Trios Cantina
        • Brasfield & Gorrie
        • Truist Securities
        • McWane Family of Corporations

        Special thanks to the Harbert Advancement, Communications and Marketing, and Events teams, as well as Auburn University Alumni Engagement, for their contributions to making Harbert Day a success.


        The Harbert College of Business which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Raymond and Kathryn Harbert's transformational naming gift, is a nationally ranked hub of undergraduate, graduate and continuing business education that is inspiring the next generation of business leaders. Our world-class faculty deliver unparalleled academic rigor in the classroom, while our research-driven scholarship advances thought leadership and best practice across business disciplines. The largest college on Auburn's campus, Harbert enrolls more than 6,900 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.