Time to Reflect


Interim Dean Brian Gray and Mike Ross.

When I made the decision to run for President of the Culverhouse College of Commerce Executive MBA Alumni Network at The University of Alabama for 2014-15, I knew it would be an important responsibility, one that would require a serious commitment. The EMBA Program has and continues to have a serious impact on me as a business person and as a community leader. It was important in assuming this position that I would be able to devote the necessary time and energy the role of president demands. My number one priority was to take this opportunity to give back to the school that gave so much to me. The experiences gained through the EMBA curriculum gave me a “head start” on many of my peers in the commercial banking business early in my career.  My family has benefited greatly from those experiences, and I will always feel indebted to UA as a result.

I have been very honored to have worked with a wonderful group of professionals willing to share their talents and expertise.  The EMBA Alumni Network is a tremendous resource promoting the EMBA Program, professional networking, educational offerings and social events.

In October 2014, the board members participated in a strategic planning session to examine our by-laws, mission and strategic objectives. Our focus became the recognition and celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Executive MBA Program. We kicked off 2014 with a Rooftop Reception at the Renasant Bank in Tuscaloosa honoring the EMBA founders: Dr. H.H. “Bill” Mitchell, Dean of Culverhouse College of Commerce 1981-1986); Dr. Lonnie Strickland (MBA Director 1982-1986); and, Ms. Gina Johnson (MBA Coordinator 1982-1986).


Ross addressing the 2015 EMBA graduating class on May 2, 2015.

Other 30th Anniversary events followed. On May 2, we recognized the 30th graduation class, the EMBA Class of 2015, at a Graduation Brunch in the North Zone.  Throughout May we held networking events in Atlanta, Chattanooga, Nashville and Mobile. In June we held our very first Family Day at the Tuscaloosa River Market complete with games, prizes and a movie night. In August, we headed to the ballpark in Birmingham to watch the Barons play. And, finally we wrapped up with a Roll Tide Tailgate last Saturday, October 24, watching the Crimson Tide beat the Tennessee Volunteers.

The next board will also be tasked with reviewing the results from the EMBA Alumni Survey conducted August-September this year. The survey will inform the new board as it plans future Network activities and initiatives. Results from the survey will appear soon in an upcoming blog.

2014-2015 EMBA Alumni Network Board.

I want to thank the many alumni who have been supportive throughout the year. I also want to thank the board members with which I served:  Vice President Jennifer Thomas (TEMBA 2014), Secretary-Treasurer Beckie Crawford (TEMBA 2013), Communications Chair Ben Paulk (TEMBA 2012) and Past President Kent Darzi (HEMBA 2010). They continue to give and mentor and do whatever is needed, from welcoming the incoming classes to being there at graduation to help celebrate. I also want to thank the EMBA staff, who care deeply about the alumni and students and do an outstanding job.  We could not have done all of this without you.

In the coming year, I look forward as Past President to working with the incoming 2015-2016 EMBA Alumni Network Board. We’ve made tremendous progress as an organization and we will carry that momentum forward. It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve as President of the EMBA Alumni Network.

Michael Ross (TEMBA 1989) is Central Region President & Chief Commercial Officer of Renasant Corporation

For more information on The University of Alabama Executive MBA Program, contact Cheryl Altemara at 205.348.4501, caltemara@cba.ua.edu.

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