Accomplished role models to their alma mater for Homecoming

Southern Illinois University



Accomplished role models to their alma mater for Homecoming

November 06, 2015, Katja Sonkeng


The inaugural class of ESLA Awardees at the 2015 Homecoming Reception of the College of Business at Morris Library

Homecoming season marks the time of the year when proud alumni return to their alma maters to reminisce about their college glory days.

At SIU Carbondale, some of the special guests for this year’s SIU Homecoming included the SIU College of Business Emerging Saluki Leader Awards (ESLA) winners.

The 11 members of the first class of ESLA winners were announced and honored at the annual College of Business Homecoming Reception. The awardees were chosen by the college’s external advisory boards for their outstanding achievements at the early stage of their careers.

To be eligible, candidates must have graduated within the past 15 years and have had significant achievements or contributions to SIU and to their respective industries, communities and/or governments.

“As we typically celebrate the accomplishments of our alumni at the end of their careers, one of the goals we have for this program is to recognize achievements that some of the more recent alumni had in their careers so far, and the impact they are having on the firms and clients they work for and the communities they serve,” said Jason Greene, interim dean of the College of Business. “We have an incredible class of emerging Saluki leaders who really stand as role models for our students.”

One of the seven award winners on hand at the event to celebrate their successes with current faculty and staff members was Austin Goins. She received her bachelor’s degree in advertising in 2008 and her MBA in 2010 from SIU before she became an account supervisor at FCB Global in Chicago, specializing in digital marketing for international clients.

Goins has been an active member of the SIU Department of Marketing’s external advisory board since graduation. The two-time SIU graduate also has been a leader in her professional positions and in targeted service commitments, such as the annual “Run for Their Lives” 5K at Walker’s Bluff that benefited Cache Creek Animal Rescue.

Fellow awardee Joel W. Sambursky, a two-time SIU graduate with a finance degree and MBA (2005 and 2007, respectively), was the starting quarterback for the Salukis during their three straight MVC Valley Conference championships and NCAA national playoff appearances from 2002-2005.

Sambursky, who still holds the record of the “Toughest Saluki,” has excelled off the gridiron as the founder of Liberty Wealth Management and in a previous role as a financial advisor for LPL. The Liberty, Missouri, native also is a gifted public speaker and is involved in the local community as a member of the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees. He served on the board of directors for the Carbondale Community Arts and is a past president of the board of directors for the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce.

Also present to accept and celebrate the ESLA awards were:

- Jamel Jackson, a nine-year veteran at Tyson Foods, who graduated from SIU with an accounting degree in 1998 and an MBA in 2000.

- Allison Niendiek, a future product marketing manager with John Deere Harvester Worldwide Product Development, who earned a degree in marketing with a minor in history from SIUC in 2008.

- Dana Robinson, a regional administrative partner for the Southern Illinois/Paducah, Ky., region at Kemper CPA, who graduated from SIU Carbondale with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2003 and a master of accountancy in December 2004.

- Jeff Rose, a certified financial planner, CEO and founder of Alliance Wealth Management LLC (an investment advisory firm), who graduated with a degree in finance and minor in accounting in 2002.

- Dan Wilcoxen, a certified public accountant and chief financial officer of United Community Bank, who graduated from SIU Carbondale with a bachelor’s degree in accountancy in 2001.

Awardees who were not able to attend the reception because of professional commitments included:

- Robyn Phelan, a social marketing manager with Walgreens, who graduated with a dual degree in marketing and speech communication with a specialization in public relations in 2011.

- Matt Arnold, an equity analyst in the research department of Edward Jones, who graduated with a finance degree and minor in accounting in 2003.

- Casey Jackson, a technology professional and entrepreneur, who graduated from SIU Carbondale with a degree in management in 2004.

- Matthew S. Wood, an assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Baylor University, who graduated from SIU Carbondale with a Ph.D. in 2012.

The College of Business is proud of the inaugural class of Emerging Saluki Leaders. Congratulations to all awardees on their outstanding accomplishments, and thank you for serving as role models to our CoB students.