Illinois Institute of Technology

Global Alumni Gathering

Thank you for attending our 3rd Annual Virtual Global Alumni Gathering on November 5, 2022!

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Virtual Global Alumni Gathering 2022

Thank you for attending our Global Alumni Gathering on November 5!

This year’s virtual gathering focused on exploring the incredible accomplishments of our alumni, and how Illinois Tech has empowered them to be difference makers on a global scale.

Open to alumni around the world, this one-of-a-kind convening included messages from President Raj Echambadi and international alumni representatives, as well as regional breakout sessions.

Watch the video below to learn more about the Illinois Tech Alumni Association and how they make an impact at Illinois Tech and beyond. Share more about YOUR inspiring story by clicking HERE.

Meet our speakers

Global Alumni Gathering - Bob Hoel

Bob Hoel graduated from Illinois Tech in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in business and economics from the Stuart School of Business. During his time on campus, he was an active member of the Illinois Tech Student Association, eventually serving as president of student governance. After he graduated, Hoel remained heavily involved on campus, primarily as a member of Triangle Fraternity, while working in various capacities at RR Donnelley. After a successful 34-year career, he retired in 2004 and shifted his focus to volunteer work.

Hoel spent six years serving on the Alumni Association Board and took on the role of vice-chair in 2018, actively participating in each of the board’s standing committees. He was elected an Illinois Tech trustee in October 2018 and currently serves on its Academic Affairs Committee. In September 2022, Hoel was appointed as chair of the Alumni Association Board of Directors.

He and his wife, Nancy, have two adult children with families of their own. In addition to his passionate volunteer work, Hoel spends his free time enjoying ornamental and vegetable gardening and, as an avid cyclist, has completed numerous international bike tours. Additionally, he sits on the board of Ride Illinois—the state-wide bicycle advocacy organization—and served as Active Transportation Alliance board president, representing one of the largest regional active transportation advocacy groups in the United States.

Global Alumni Gathering 2022 - Shanita Akintonde Headshot

Shanita Baraka Akintonde, aka ShaniTaDa!, is a German-born, Chicago-raised communicator, academician, author, and entrepreneur who has transitioned thousands of students from the classroom to the boardroom. Her company, ShanitaSpeaks, LLC, energizes clients to lead, listen, and love themselves and others through keynote speeches, training, workshops, and specialized curriculum. Her audience members and clients span on a global level.

Akintonde connects with audiences by sharing stories of lessons she learned on her great-grandmother’s front porch. This knowledge led her to graduate from high school at age 16 and earn three college degrees: B.A., Columbia College Chicago; M.B.A., Illinois Tech; and M.Ed. Loyola University Chicago. Akintonde built her expertise in marketing, advertising, and public relations—related to but not exclusively—through the lenses of diversity and leadership. She prides herself in using a combination of grit, grace, and a whole lot of home-cooked greens fresh off great grand’s stove.

A true trailblazer, she is the youngest—and first black female—to simultaneously sit on boards for the American Marketing Association, the American Advertising Federation, and the Public Relations Society of America, Inc (PRSA), where she is the 2022 PRSA D. Parke Gibson Honoree which is bestowed upon the top leader in diversity work.

Additionally, Akintonde serves as board vice chair of The Metropolitan—the largest private club for business leaders in Chicago. She is the founder and president of the Leading Ladies Toastmasters Club—the first specialty club of its type chartered in the Chicago area which is among over 350,000 Toastmasters around the world.

A happily married mother of two young adults, Akintonde met her college sweetheart Jimmy Akintonde (ARCH ’95), president of UJAMAA Construction, Inc., at Illinois Tech. Their oldest son, Jimi, is also a part of the Illinois Tech family, currently studying civil engineering. The youngest son, Anthony, is enrolled at Morehouse College.

One of Akintonde’s proudest accomplishments is serving as chair of the International Committee for the Illinois Tech Alumni Association Board of Directors, a role in which she is leading the charge for the 2022 Virtual Global Alumni Gathering.

Raj Echambadi

Raj Echambadi became the 10th president of Illinois Institute Tech in August 2021.

Central to Echambadi’s vision for Illinois Tech’s future is a new path to preeminence driven by four principles: 1) honoring and strengthening the university’s role as an engine of opportunity and national leader in economic mobility; 2) pursuing growth through reimagining education to serve learners at all stages of life; 3) fueling future innovation by empowering students; and 4) exemplifying purpose-driven citizenship in service of Bronzeville, Chicago, and the world. 

From 2017 to 2021 Echambadi served as the Dunton Family Dean of D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University. Under his leadership, D’Amore-McKim has become widely recognized for moving beyond traditional business silos and for embracing cross-disciplinary perspectives in both research and teaching. Programmatic innovations include the “MBA x” program, “MS x” program, combined undergraduate majors, and work-integrated degrees with business partners; each of these help students and learners develop multidisciplinary perspectives by blending their business studies with non-business areas of expertise, such as computer science or experiential design. During his tenure, Echambadi created an Office of Student Engagement, Affinity, and Inclusion at D’Amore-McKim to foster better on-campus experiences for students and launched several programs—Building Belonging Fellows, Pathfinders, Peer Affinity Cohorts—in order to build an inclusive community and cultivate a culture of belonging at the school.

Prior to joining Northeastern in August 2017, Echambadi served for eight years in various roles, including as the Alan J. and Joyce D. Baltz Professor and the senior associate dean of strategic innovation, at Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Echambadi was a driving force behind the scaled online M.B.A. (iMBA) program at the University of Illinois, which has been lauded as one of the best breakthrough, disruptive educational innovations in the past decade.

Echambadi received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Anna University in India and a doctorate in marketing from the University of Houston. His academic research focuses on strategic innovation within organizations and how firms should balance current and future opportunities. He has won numerous teaching and research accolades including the prestigious Academy of Management Journal Best Paper Award for his work on employee entrepreneurship.

Global Alumni Gathering 2022 - BJ Engelhardt Headshot

BJ Engelhardt (M.S. MAC ’14) serves as senior director of operations for career services. He has worked at Illinois Tech since 2007 in enrollment management and recruiting roles, prior to career services. In his current role, Engelhardt manages the day-to-day activities of Career Services and assists in determining the strategic direction for the office to most effectively engage students, employers, and alumni to ensure that our students are successful in the first step of their career journey. Engelhardt is a proud alumnus of Illinois Tech’s Stuart School of Business, receiving his Master of Science in Marketing Analytics and Communication in 2014.

Global Alumni Gathering - Kaelen Evon Headshot

Kaelen Evon is the manager of Elevate initiatives in the Office of Campus Life. She started at Illinois Tech as an undergraduate admission counselor in February 2018 before moving to the Office of Campus Life in November 2021. As part of her responsibilities, Evon assists with planning and implementing Campus Life events, oversees Union Board—Illinois Tech's student programming board, and assists student organizations with event planning and other organization needs. As part of Elevate, she manages the portal that showcases experiences for students, assists with overseeing the Edge Award, and oversees the First-Year Elevate program.

Global Alumni Gathering 2022 - George Mui Headshot

George Mui is a managing partner of Global Consultants United (GCU), an international business consulting group that provides world-class solutions with a team of collaborative partners. GCU’s current project scope includes business development services for small businesses, career coaching and training services, special event planning, and support for international business conducted in the United States. Mui also serves as business coach for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s T.H.R.I.V.E. program in Chicago.

Most recently, Mui served 12 years at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). He spearheaded global market access programs at the agency by leveraging the Diaspora Business Community while focusing on the Asian market. This approach has since been adapted into the U.S. National Export Strategy. These innovative programs earned Mui two MBDA National Director Awards in 2010 and 2017. Additionally, he served as senior advisor for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) from 2014–2016, where he liaised for Asian-American and Pacific Islander businesses for both WHIAAPI and initiated multiple AAPI advocacy programs.

Prior to working in federal government services, Mui served in various capacities including director for the U.S. Small Business Administration Development Center located in the Chinatown neighborhood of Chicago, international business management consultant, and software engineer at AT&T Bell Labs and Lucent Technologies prior to being promoted to product management director, a role in which he oversaw a $400 million data networking business unit.

Mui has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in computer science from Illinois Tech. He also completed two executive education programs at Stanford University focusing in marketing and business management. Mui is married with two children and one grandchild.

Global Alumni Gathering - Thy Nguyen Headshot

Thy Nguyen is the associate vice provost for student engagement and career services, possessing more than 22 years of experience in career services with a focus on working with students and companies in STEM-related areas. Nguyen is a recognized leader in the career services space and recently served on a task force for the National Association of Colleges and Employers which focused on elevating career services within a university setting.

Global Alumni Gathering - Mallik Sundharam

Mallik Sundharam joined Illinois Tech in July 2022 as the vice president for enrollment management and student affairs. Prior to Illinois Tech, Sundharam was a critical member of the enrollment management leadership team at Northeastern University, overseeing pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate enrollment management. Before joining Northeastern, Sundharam was the vice president for ELS educational services, overseeing business development and recruitment efforts worldwide while providing visionary leadership to the organization. He also brings more than a decade of diverse and rich enrollment management, alumni fundraising, marketing research, and study away experience from his time at Saint Joseph’s University.

Sundharam holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Bharathiar University in India, a Master of Business Administration in general management and finance from the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s, and a master’s degree in organizational dynamics and leadership from Saint Joseph’s.


Global Alumni Gathering - Michael Choi

Michael Y. Choi (M.S. CS ’89, Ph.D. ’98)

Global Alumni Gathering - Martino Tangkar

Martino Tangkar (M.A.S. CE ’96)

Global Alumni Gathering - Ann Trandai

Ann Trandai (EE ’89, M.S. ’93) 

Global Alumni Gathering - Frank Landaverde

Frank Landaverde (EE ’93) 
(El Salvador)

Global Alumni Gathering - Griselda Monsivais

Griselda Monsivais (CE ’99) (TBC) 

Global Alumni Gathering - Cindy Miao

Cindy Miao (M.S. PHRD ’11) 

Global Alumni Gathering - Jong Massaquoi

Jong Massaquoi (BA ’16)
(West Africa)

Global Alumni Gathering - Timi Akindele

Timi Akindele (PS ’15) 
(West Africa)

Global Alumni Gathering - Bilal Syed

Bilal Syed (EE ‘83) TBC

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