On Wednesday, July 18th a bevy of Feldbergs descending on the Frick museum. We were invited as guests at a special evening convening Frick members and the James Beard Foundation, co-hosted by Feldberg significant other, Lucy Lang (CLS 2006). Featuring small bites from local restaurants and a variety of Italian wines, the event provided an an introduction to the Frick’s current exhibition - Canova’s George Washington - as well as lots of information about both the Frick and the Beard Foundation. It was a special evening and hopefully the beginning of a great relationship between the Feldberg Fellows and the Frick Museum, one of New York's most enduring and hidden treasures.
The Fellows and several significant others were treated to an evening of leadership and fashion with Richard Collasse, President of Chanel Japan. Born in France, Mr. Collasse moved to Tokyo after studying at the University of Paris and his first job was at the French Embassy. Just a few years later, he began his fashion career at Givency in 1979 and joined Chanel Tokyo in 1985 where he rose to lead the franchise over the past 33+ years.
Collasse discussed leadership and strategy, technological changes to the bricks and mortar retail industry, recruiting and, finally, brand and reputation. “Luck is a huge factor in one’s success and you have to catch it,” noted Mr. Collasse, "... luck is about seizing the opportunities that come your way."
Collasse also commented on how hiring at Chanel is about feeling. He can quickly read a candidate to determine if they will fit with the Chanel culture. Another important component of the interview is seeing how the candidate interacts with his/her significant other.
“Fashion has nothing to do with research, it is all about the feeling and how to create the unexpected for our customers.” He noted how true leaders are not always on the front line, but in times of trouble a leader should always take the hit.
Chanel’s brand has been protected by the human touch and they won’t let AI and robotics influence the future too much (only for stock taking behind the scenes) as the salespeople are the key component to understanding the customer, her wardrobe at home and what current trends complement her collection. But Chanel is trying to incorporate facial recognition technology for their VIP customers when they enter different stores around the world. The Chanel brand is always about being different and keeping its integrity. “Coco did completely unexpected things and we are about being a leader, not a follower. She used men as an inspiration for women’s trends, but we don’t have the know-how of the body of a man so won’t veer too far from our current path.” The company rarely discounts anything, unlike many of its competitors, and its loyal customers keep coming back for more as they offer creativity and excitement in their fashion and cosmetics lines season after season.
As part of our Master's series of events, the Feldbergs attended a special event at The Whitney Museum of American Art on Friday, Dec. 15th. As guests of the museum, the Feldbergs were treated to a guided tour, discussion in the museum's beautiful Trustee's room on the Whitney's unique place in New York's cultural heritage, private drinks at the Studio Cafe, and finally a night out at Bubby's Highline across the street!
Our tour was led by the incomparable Josh Lubin-Levy, one of of the museum's wonderful Joan Tisch Teaching Fellows. He led us through the relatively new exhibit on protest, currently on the 6th floor. We were introduced to fascinating artists like Carl Pope, Ad Reinhardt, and Faith Ringgold, among many others.
After about an hour of touring, we settled into the Trustee's room to discuss the Whitney's peculiar origins, its new building, and what it means to be involved with Morgan Arenson, the museum's Director of Foundation and Governmental Relations, and Joel Snyder, manager of Membership Benefits.
Next we enjoyed some bonding time at the eighth floor studio cafe where we were treated to views of the Hudson and New Jersey skyline, and beautiful view of the highline. Finally we trekked through the cold to Bubby's where we finished the night. We look forward to a continued relationship with the Whitney and growing our cultural outreach!
The Feldberg Holiday Party was held on December 1, 2017 at the Avery Lounge on 100 Riverside Blvd. Hosted by Jennifer North and Marc Lessner, the night saw over 25 Feldbergs and their significant others including Michael Smeets and Lucy Smeets' little one, Celine get together to celebrate the holiday spirit. The Feldbergs head into the holidays waiting for the class of 2020 to be announced and full of lots of great career and personal news!
On March 3, 2016, the Feldberg Community was privileged to engage with William Bardeen (CBS ‘04), SVP of Strategy and Development at the New York Times. Scott Asher (Feldberg ‘09), hosted the event over a casual dinner at his office near Columbus Circle.
Mr. Bardeen, who oversees a team of 20 people handling all M&A, Strategy, and Corporate Development for the Times, was very interested in the Feldbergs' backgrounds and what united such a diverse and dynamic group. After the participants introduced themselves, Bardeen gave context around the changes in the news delivery industry and how The New York Times has become progressively leaner to focus on its core competency providing premium news content.
The majority of the dinner was spent discussing topical questions and digging deeper into Bardeen's perspective about the past, present, and future of the news industry. Bardeen gave frank and candid answers on how The New York Times thought about many of the challenges it faces daily -- how to engage millennials, how to evolve its revenue model while maintaining high engagement and broad readership, how to deal with pervasive and vicissitudinal competition. He also elaborated on his personal journey through some of the most turbulent periods of the company's storied history, including its near collapse during the financial crisis.
Meeting with Bardeen gave the Feldbergs an inside look into how difficult working in the media industry can be with the advent of the internet and the "all information should be free" model that many of its denizens operate using. Many of the Feldbergs commented afterwards that Bardeen's unique experience in play a key role shepherding the Times through this period as its leader of strategy gave him a truly unique and enlightening perspective. His belief in the importance of the Times and its journalistic mission spoke to everyone in the room.
Victor Eng (Feldberg '17)
On October 29th, the Feldberg Community had the opportunity to share the evening with Keith Sherin, CEO of GE Capital CBS EMBA ‘91. Claire Burke, CBS ‘15 was gracious enough to host us at her lovely home. Walking in I was somewhat surprised how intimate the setting would be. The Fellows gathered up in the living room, Mr. Sherin took out some large white sheets of paper, and literally began walking us through the process of how he managed the unraveling of GE Capital. He explained the obstacles he had to overcome and the unique pressure that his team had to face. Mr. Sherin proceded to discuss the regulatory obstacles and out-of-the-box strategies he led his team in executing in order to complete the successful divestiture of GE Capital’s asset totaling more than $200 billion. Mr. Sherin left us in awe at his ability to speak so granularly about the details of the events and his holistic understanding of all the various components surrounding GE’s diversified businesses and its eye toward software. This experience embodies the opportunities provided to the Feldberg Fellows. We are all appreciative of having Mr. Sherin come in, spend his evening with us, and further our education outside of the classroom.
Daniel Rudyak CBS ‘17, David Johnson CBS ‘17, and Laura Kornhauser CBS ‘17
Feldbergs gather at the beautiful home of Russ and Judy Carson.
Professor Robert Willens, an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business and 2008’s Adjunct Professor of the Year, joined the Fellows for breakfast on June 11, 2015 for a discussion on transactions and taxes.
In addition to Professor Willens, guests included: Michael Kopko (Oscar, Feldberg '09), Lenore Petteruti (JPM Morgan Alternative Investments), Garrett Jones (Greenlight Capital, Feldberg '11), Scott Asher (PDT, Feldberg '09), Lauren McKenna (UBS, Feldberg '14), Brian Thomas (PDT, CFO), Josh Saltman (Baron Capital, Feldberg '10), Aaron Wasserman (Baron Capital), and Jason Aronson (Feldberg '16).
The group covered important tax topics including inversion, roll-ups, spin-offs, and advanced conveyance of NOLs. A primer for the event is available here.
The next Masters in Business event is already in planning with a tentative target for sometime in October 2015. Look out for our back to school drinks before then!