"Cornell students dream bigger dreams."

--Frank H.T. Rhodes, Cornell University Commencement, May 28, 1995

Monday, November 25, 2013

79. Brett Blumenthal

Boston (Cambridge), Massachusetts
· Architecture, Art, and Planning


Tell us about what you're doing with your life.
Professionally, I'm an author within the lifestyle design and wellness genre. My books have included best sellers 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You; A Whole New You: How to Ignite Change for Your Best Life; and Get Real and Stop Dieting. My next book is currently under negotiation and will likely be released in January of 2016.

Additionally, I'm an artist and focus on multimedia illustrations and watercolors. My work can be found at http://www.tinytoesdesign.com and Etsy.

Prior to my current careers in writing and art, I practiced architecture for over five years and was a management consultant for close to seven years. I also went back to Cornell to get my MBA.

My most recent "project" was giving birth to our beautiful son earlier this year, a project I'm most proud of!

What advice would you give to a student starting at Cornell this year?

While at Cornell, I struggled to find what it was I really wanted to do. It took me a long time to realize that I needed to be true to myself, my talents, and my passions. For years, I tried to fit into a typical corporate setting because I thought that was what I should do. I lived "unauthentically" to who I really was. As a result, the advice I'd give new students is to really explore all that Cornell has to offer and not get caught up in what they think they "should" take or "should" do.

What extracurricular activity or hobby from your time at Cornell was the most meaningful?

I discovered my passion for wellness by taking aerobics classes at Helen Newman Hall as a freshman. I absolutely adored one instructor and was inspired to become an instructor myself. Within a year, I was teaching classes at Helen Newman, too. My favorite class to teach was "Double Step" which was extremely popular among students, attracting upwards of 70 students per class. It was such a blast! All 70 of us in complete synch, dancing and exercising to some of the best music out there. It was a total rush!

If you could change anything about your Cornell experience, what would it be?

I started as an engineering student and transferred to architecture. I had a chance to go to Rome for a semester and I opted not to. If I had it all to do over again, I most certainly would have taken advantage of that opportunity. Travel is a very important part of my life and seeing the world is something I want to impart to my son. I'm sure, had I gone to Rome for a semester, I would have had amazing experiences that would have helped shape my life in a truly positive way.

Monday, November 18, 2013

80. Jordan Berman

Pennington, New Jersey · Industrial and Labor Relations


Tell us about what you're doing with your life.

I rocked the cradle in 2001 by marrying a Hotelie ’97, Elizabeth Schepp. We have two rambunctious boys (Dean, 9 and Nate, 6) and live right outside Princeton, NJ (there’s a Wegmans…enough said). I’m a former cable TV marketing guy (Showtime, MTV), turned producer, turned entrepreneur, who returned to my ILR roots by launching a start-up, ofc “the office engagement network” (www.ofc.tv). ofc is an interactive video channel and production studio enabling Fortune 1000 companies to engage employees otherwise watching cat videos during their coffee break. In an era when nobody reads and everybody watches, ofc makes HR sexy via amazing workplace video.

What was your favorite class at Cornell, or the one you found the most useful?

My favorite class was a collective bargaining course taught by Professor Harry Katz, now Dean of the ILR School. The class culminated in a high stakes negotiation pitting teams representing labor and management. I teamed-up with my pals, Rob Friedman and Pete DeBellis. We deployed some crazy psychological tactics to throw our competition off-balance. In addition to wearing ridiculous matching outfits, we found a dead mouse and placed it inside a matchbox that was left in our opponent’s mail cubby. The mouse was accompanied by a note, “When the Katz is away, the mice will die!” A classic moment.

What is your favorite memory of your time at Cornell?

My favorite Cornell memory is when my band, Nothing Rhymes With Orange, played at The Nines on Slope Day. I played drums, backing-up my bandmates including Alon Barzilay on keyboards, Pat Hunt on guitar, and Eric Semo on bass. All of our closest buddies came to the performance, likely enhanced by the fact that everyone was buzzed from a day on the slope. The Nines is a somewhat mythic place for me, given I ate there with my dad the first time I ever visited Cornell while still in high school. Best damn deep dish I ever had.

How has your time at Cornell influenced you since you graduated?

My time at Cornell has influenced me in many ways since graduation. I left with a high degree of confidence that I could hustle and keep up with just about anybody, given the concentration of achievers at Cornell and ILR. In fact, an early career lesson was realizing I might have to sometimes downshift my intensity when operating in a more bureaucratic environment. So, Cornell has always been a reminder to pursue great things with great people, even though the world so often rewards mediocrity.

What extracurricular activity or hobby from your time at Cornell was the most meaningful?
The most meaningful activity for me was involvement in the Cornell Tradition and its Student Advisory Council. It provided a great framework around work, service and academics. In fact, I spent 3 of my 4 years holding a part-time job selling shoes at Fontana’s in Collegetown. To this day, I consider Steve Fontana like family. His entrepreneurial spirit and passion have really stuck with me all these years. With that said, winning the intramural softball championship senior year with my buddy, Neil Glass, was a kick-ass moment and I still have that sweat-stained t-shirt to prove it!

Monday, November 11, 2013

81. Chauncy Cay Ford

Every few weeks, Cornell '95 Faces features a profile of one of our class officers. This week, meet the class webmaster.

Austin, Texas · Arts and Sciences 

Name at Cornell
Chauncy Cay Maddox

Tell us about what you're doing with your life.

Investigating digital [online] technology, database debunking, minor coding and scripting, organizing anything and everything. Being green in Austin. Avid foodie and epicurean. Yoga. Singing, dancing, music, painting, travel, cooking, walking and hiking with my husband and dog, and drinking lots of Tea!

What are your duties as class officer and what have you enjoyed about the job?
I am the Class webmaster, which became very streamlined with Cornell's transition from separate alumni websites to a templatized format called CornellConnect.  The nice thing about this transition? We have persistent links to all other Cornell Alumni sites and resources.  The bummer? It's kind of, well, boring. 

So as our Class Officer team has evolved over the past three years and added committees with the support of (amazing!) council members we've morphed into a more modern digital media relationship with Social and Communities roles.  Our website is a great springboard to cultivate our connections with fellow alumni socially on Facebook, Twitter, and the Faces blog!

My favorite part of online/digital media? That it leads you to people offline! Following and connecting with friends [in person!] at a local spot in Austin, TX or on vacation.

What advice would you give to a student starting at Cornell this year?

I do CAAGH interviews for high school candidates and I always tell them to be yourself, be prepared to meet all kinds of people and learn more outside the classroom than in it. (And careful of those chairs at the library, zzz...)

How has your time at Cornell influenced you since you graduated? 

I've lived and worked all over the world. Starting in NYC, with an alumnae connection. I was picked out of a stack of candidates who I'm positive had more relevant experience than I did at the time. My new boss said, "It doesn't matter what you've done, I know you'll get more done than anyone else in that pile and you'll do it better - or try like hell to!" NYC, London, Tokyo, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas to Austin - and that's just where I've lived and worked, not the travels in between. It's been an adventure!

What random or surprising encounters with Cornell or Cornellians have you experienced since you left? 
Running into a sorority sister at a job interview a few years after graduating. I worked at the company, she was interviewing, I had to quietly advise her to take another job - that company was awful! I left a few months later and started my career that I love. She was happy at the other gig and thanked me. Whew!

Monday, November 4, 2013

82. Jonathan Rosenberg

Westchester, New York · Agriculture and
Life Sciences


Tell us about what you're doing with your life.
I've been drawing comics and posting them on the internet for folks to read since 1997. My first project, Goats, was published as a series of graphic novels by Random House. My current project, Scenes From A Multiverse, has been running since 2010. Last year it won the very first Online Comic Strip Award from the National Cartoonists Society at their fancy/shmancy annual Reuben Awards. You can check out SFAM at http://amultiverse.com.

What advice would you give to a student starting at Cornell this year?

Don't lock yourself into a major or career path too early on. You may be sure you know what you want to do with your life, but you probably haven't been exposed to even a fraction of your possible options in life. Try a little bit of everything while you still have the freedom to do so. Your perfect job may not even exist yet. You just might have to invent it.

How has your time at Cornell influenced you since you graduated?

Although I make a living as an artist and writer, my Cornell education was in the sciences, specifically biology. My exposure to science and rational thought at Cornell permanently changed the way that I think—not just about science matters, but also in regards to politics, religion, comedy, art, and other topics I often touch on in my comics.

If you could change anything about your Cornell experience, what would it be?

I would have eaten a lot more Hot Truck.