An Evening of Conversations & Connections with New York Alumni: Experiencing Entrepreneurship


Monday, April 24, 2017
6:30 – 10:00 p.m.

237 Park Ave., New York, NY 10017

Open a printable map of nearby metro,
train and bus stations and parking options.

Join the New York City Alumni Club and spend An Evening of Conversations & Connections: Experiencing Entrepreneurship as four alumni share short “TED Talk-style” presentations on their entrepreneurial experiences. UD's Horn Program in Entrepreneurship director, Daniel Freeman, will moderate the program on the following topics:

  •  Launching Startups - Tanya Bakalov, BE04
  •  The Value of the Entrepreneurial Skill Set - Sue Frech, HS95
  •  Being Entrepreneurial in Unexpected Ways - Monica Burns, EHD07
  •  Driving Growth in Established Companies, the Entrepreneurial Qualities - Neil Book, AS99

Our featured speaker is Charlie Horn, AS75, who will discuss Experiencing Entrepreneurship with Grace Leong, AS88. The evening will be complete as we network with alumni, parents and friends, along with current Horn Program students.

Mix business and pleasure and make valuable connections at this installment of this popular series.

Cost: $40 (includes hors d'oeuvres, food stations and bar throughout the evening); $50 at the door

Special Guests:

In the interest of learning about the Entrepreneurial Experience, we open the evening with a discussion on a few key topics, including UD experiences, favorite dinner guest wish, “out of the box” marketing ideas and leadership qualities.

Charles Horn, AS75, Chairman and Founder, 5 Lights Group ▶ Mr. Horn is an active entrepreneur based in Tucson, Arizona, and a seasoned entrepreneur and investor in numerous high-growth companies focusing on the areas of consumer benefits, marketing and administrative platform, and e-commerce technologies. He is chairman and founder of 5 Lights Group, a firm which partners with exceptional entrepreneurs and innovators in growing businesses to manifest their secret.

Charlie has been recognized by multiple national business publications, and the University of Arizona and Tucson organizations, as one of the leading entrepreneurs in Arizona. Awarded multiple entrepreneurship awards, he also serves on the National Board of Advisors to The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy.

The Horns, who have been married for over 39 years, assisted in establishing the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship, UD’s interdisciplinary center for innovation, in 2012. They also founded, and co-chair, The Touchstone Foundation, a non-profit that provides funding to a variety of health care and family service charitable organizations. Charlie holds a bachelor of arts in Sociology from UD from 1975, the same year he was captain of the UD golf team. In 2015 he was inducted into the UD Alumni Wall of Fame.

  Charlie Horn

Grace Leong, AS88, Managing Partner, Hunter Public Relations ▶ For the past 28 years, Grace Thompson Leong has built her career providing strategic marketing communications counsel to national consumer brand teams and CMOs of Fortune 100 companies such as Kraft, Johnson & Johnson and 3M. An entrepreneur at heart, Grace earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from UD in 1988 and went on to earn her master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing from Rutgers.

A year after graduating from UD, Grace formed Hunter Public Relations and currently serves as its CEO. The New York City-based marketing communications firm, which began with three employees in 1989 and now operates across North America, Toronto and the United Kingdom, is regularly ranked among the top 20 consumer-focused public relations firms in the country.

She dedicates her time to the Blue Hen community by providing guidance and internships for current students. From 2009 to 2016, Grace served on the Dean’s Advisory Council in the College of Arts and Sciences and served as its chair from 2015-2016. She also serves on the advisory board for UD’s Horn Program in Entrepreneurship within the Lerner College of Business and Economics.

  Grace Leong


Our theme this evening comes from the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship, which ignites imaginations and empowers world changers through educational offerings that emphasize experiential learning, evidence-based entrepreneurship and active engagement with entrepreneurs and other members of the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Through participation in Horn Program offerings, students gain the knowledge, skills, personal capacities, experiences, connections and access to resources needed to successfully manifest innovation and thrive in the rapidly changing world.

Dan Freeman, Ph.D., Director, University of Delaware ▶ Dan serves as founding director of Horn Entrepreneurship at the University of Delaware. Under Dan's leadership, Horn Entrepreneurship aims to empower leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs as they pursue new ideas for a better world. Dan has built Horn Entrepreneurship to combine a personalized approach with lessons learned from successful entrepreneurs and evidence-based best practices. The resulting programs provide all students with relevant and accessible opportunities to gain valuable knowledge, skills, connections, personal capacities and experiences through hands-on, project-based learning and real world engagement. Since its founding in 2012, Dan has helped to raise almost $10 million to support Horn Entrepreneurship initiatives and grown the program to positively impact more than 1,000 students each year.

  Dan Freeman

More about the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship.

Individual TED Talk-style speakers:

Tanya Bakalov, BE04, Founder and CEO, BetterSkills, Inc. ▶ Tanya, E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 for Northeast USA, has had over 10 years of experience in the high tech industry. Her career has included a variety of leadership roles in business operations; go to market strategy, corporate development, organizational hiring, Saas and Enterprise and software solution selling. Tanya co-founded her business, SevOne, in 2005, and through a variety of leadership roles, she fostered the company’s growth to over 500 employees worldwide, over $80 million in revenue, expanded operations globally and consistently led double digit revenue growth for the company.

Most recently, Tanya has returned to her entrepreneurial roots, and has become the Founder and CEO of BetterSkills Inc., a company that provides a dynamic next-generation platform, which allows organizations a better way to manage their employee’s talent and professional development. Simply put, BetterSkills allows companies to grow, develop and retain their human capital by providing them with the tools and methodology necessary for them to excel in their careers.

Tanya received three 2016 awards, the prestigious E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the Silver Stevie Award winner for Female Entrepreneur of the Year, and UDE Alumni Excellence Award winner for 2016. She also received the Silver Stevie Award winner for Female Executive of the Year in 2014.

Tanya has worked as a consultant at Deloitte and Touche in the IT risk management and assurance division, consulting with many Fortune 500 and blue chip companies in the technology, insurance and manufacturing sectors. She is a certified public accountant and holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Management Information Systems from UD, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2004.

  Tanya Bakalov

Neil Book, AS99, President and CEO, Jet Support Services, Inc. ▶ Neil serves as the President and CEO of Jet Support Services, Inc. (JSSI), the world's leading provider of maintenance programs to the Business Aviation industry. Founded in 1989, JSSI provides its clients with comprehensive, flexible and affordable financial tools for managing the often unpredictable costs of operating and maintaining nearly all types of aircraft. Under Neil’s leadership, JSSI has become the global leader in its market space.

Prior to joining JSSI, Neil served as Vice President of Mobile Security for Juniper Networks, directing its mobile security business unit. He joined Juniper in 2010 through the acquisition of SMobile Systems, where he served as President and CEO. Neil began his career at AT&T, serving in a variety of management positions. Neil also sits on the boards of United Hatzalah, an organization dedicated to providing emergency response and care throughout Israel; and the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship at the University of Delaware. Neil earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Delaware in 1999.

  Neil Book

Monica Burns, Ed.D., EHD07, Educator and Founder, ▶ Dr. Monica Burns is a curriculum and educational technology consultant, Apple Distinguished Educator and founder of As a classroom teacher, Monica used one-to-one technology to create engaging, standards-based lessons.

Monica visits schools across the country to work with PreK-20 teachers to make technology integration exciting and accessible. She also provides support to organizations using technology to reach children and families in need. Her mission is to help educators place tasks before apps and promote deeper learning with technology.

Monica is the author of Deeper Learning with QR Codes and Augmented Reality (Corwin, 2016) and #FormativeTech: Meaningful, Sustainable, and Scannable Formative Assessment with Technology (Corwin, 2017). Monica graduated from the College of Education and Human Development at UD with a certificate in Elementary Education in 2007.

  Monica Burns

Sue Frech, HS95, Co-Founder and CEO, Social Media Link ▶ Susan is Co-Founder and CEO of Social Media Link, bringing more than 20 years of experience within the advertising and marketing services industry. Social Media Link is an enterprise engagement and activation platform launched in 2009 to help brands ignite action through authentic consumer relationships, loyalty and advocacy.

With a passion for the start-up and entrepreneurial environment, she brings a unique combination of brand, retail, sampling, digital and social media experience — creating a very integrated approach to her clients’ campaigns. Susan received her bachelor’s degree in Human Resources from the College of Health Sciences at UD in 1995 and holds a master’s degree in Business Administration with a focus on Marketing from the University of Phoenix. Actively involved in the NY advertising community, her goal is to build and grow companies that change the landscape, challenge the status quo and improve the relationship between marketers and consumers for all brands with talented, smart and hardworking people.

  Sue Frech


Convene is located at 237 Park Avenue. Enter the building from Grand Central Station by walking through the Met Life Building and exit right to 237 Park Avenue entrance up the steps to the terrace entrance. An alternate entrance is on 45th Street and also at 466 Lexington Avenue between 45th and 46th Street where you take the escalator up to the main lobby level. The Convene venue entrance is near the security desk in the building lobby.

Open a printable map of nearby metro, train and bus stations and parking options.

Special thanks to the UD Alumni Association for their generous support of this event.


Pre-registration closes on April 21. Walk-ins are welcome at $50/person. Cash and credit cards will be accepted.

No refunds will be made after April 12.

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