UC Davis Managerial Economics

Career Connections Speaker Series Prepares Undergraduates for Success

Jan. 24, 2020

The first Career Connections speaker series of the 2019-2020 academic year was held on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 in the ARE library. Hosted by the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics with support from the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the event featured two Managerial Economics alumni. The speakers, Todd E. Behrend and Mike Grenley, shared details about their successful careers in the international tax and retail fields respectively. Dean Helene Dillard joined the packed audience of undergraduate students who were eager to gain insights from event.

Faculty member Kristin Kiesel introduced the speakers and moderated the panel. First to speak was Mike Grenley, who served as Chief Operating Office of The Walking Company for over 20 years, before his retirement in June of 2019. Grenley, who graduated from UC Davis with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics and Business Management (now Managerial Economics), outlined his career in retail, beginning with his first job at Macy’s where he worked for 13 years following his commencement from Davis. Grenley shared his experiences as the retail market changed dramatically over the decades and how he helped to build a niche business model at The Walking Company. He encouraged students to be driven by their passions rather than a pay check and to think outside the box if they have entrepreneurial aspirations.

Contrasting experiences in retail, Todd Behrend then spoke about working in the international tax field. Behrend, a Principal at Ryan, a global tax services firm, shared the experiences that led him to his current position, beginning with his first job at Arthur Andersen. Behrend spoke about taking risks in business and rebuilding after the Enron scandal brought down Andersen. He shared details about Ryan’s innovative work environment and incentives for high performing employees.

Following the lively question and answer period that closed out the hour-long program, students had the opportunity to further pick the brains of Behrend and Grenly at a reception held in the De Loach Conference Room.

The next Career Connections Speaker Series is scheduled for February 20 and will feature UC Davis alumni Frank J. Bernhard, Chief Data & Analytics Officer at Green Dot Corporation and Patrick Archibeque, CEO at Rivermaid Trading Company.

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