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Alumni in Action

Meet the 2022-2023 Wisconsin School of Business External Advisory Board

Advancing the reach and reputation of WSB

By Chris Malina

January 18, 2023

2022-2023 External Advisory Board banner.

The Wisconsin School of Business External Advisory Board (EAB) has welcomed six new members to its ranks for the 2022-2023 term. Additionally, returning member Carrianne Basler (BBA ’91), partner and managing director of AlixPartners, has been named as vice chair of the board.

Comprised of nearly 30 business leaders and WSB alumni, the EAB—reconstituted in 2020—plays a key role in advancing the reach and reputation of the school. Led by board chair Colin Welch (BBA ’92), the EAB works hand-in-hand with WSB leadership to help shape the school’s strategic direction and operational priorities, while also serving as WSB ambassadors and philanthropists within the business community and alumni network.

Board members serve at the invitation of Vallabh “Samba” Sambamurthy, Albert O. Nicholas Dean of the Wisconsin School of Business. Terms run for two years, and can be renewed once.

“I’m especially proud of the board’s recent work on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, as well as marketing the WSB brand and evolving the undergraduate curriculum,” says Welch, who is also partner and managing director of TSB Consumer Partners. “I am very grateful for the opportunity to support Dean Samba’s vision and look forward to the continued growth of the school.”

Members of the EAB have also worked to enhance post-graduation placement by creating opportunities in emerging sectors, including digital marketing, technology, and consulting.

“I’m excited to help Dean Samba and the board as WSB moves to the next level in the value it brings to our students and their employers,” says Basler. “The board has so many amazing leaders that are passionate about their support of WSB. That passion translates into great ideas and opportunities, and I’m excited to be a part of that.”

Having the opportunity to think through creative solutions with like-minded individuals who share a passion for WSB was also something that appealed to new board member Joel Grade (BBA ’93), executive vice president of corporate development at Sysco. 

“I’ve been so fortunate in my career for the broad range of opportunities I’ve been presented with, and so grateful to WSB for the incredible foundation it provided me to pursue them,” Grade says. “The EAB allows us to give back in the form of our time, our experiences, our passion for the school, and our desire to make a difference. The combination of a fantastic environment for feedback and discussion created by the dean and the superb collection of talent and perspective by EAB members presents a tremendous opportunity.”

Basler adds that she’s proud of the progress that WSB has made in creating new opportunities for underrepresented students, including first-generation college students, and looks forward to building upon that foundation with the newest board members over the coming months.

“This is as much about how we continue to improve but also in ways that we can share that success with our students, potential students, and employers,” she says.

The six new EAB members this year include:

  • Julie Beck (BBA ’83), chief financial officer, Terex Corporation
  • Rick Bechtel (BBA ’89), president, Compass
  • Brad Butwin (BBA ’82), chair, O’Melveny & Myers LLP
  • Brian Christensen (BBA ’84), executive vice president, Protiviti
  • Cynthia Chu (BBA ’99), chief financial officer and chief growth officer, Audible, Inc
  • Joel Grade (BBA ’93), executive vice president of corporate development, Sysco

View the full External Advisory Board roster.