Former Apple and PepsiCo CEO John Sculley Visits Fairfield University

John Sculley, former CEO of Apple Inc. and PepsiCo Inc., visited Fairfield University Wednesday to speak about the changing American economy and his impressive marketing career. Speaking to a full audience at the Quick Center, Sculley also advised the audience on what it takes to be successful in the business world.

Sculley was the definition of success as he described his own career at the beginning of his presentation.  He described a career that took him from PepsiCo, where he created the first 2 liter plastic soda bottle a full 2 years before Coca-Cola, to becoming the CEO of Apple. Sculley was also behind the successful “Take the Pepsi Challenge” ad campaign, which challenged consumers to blindly taste samples of Pepsi and Coke and pick which tasted the best. Sculley said the campaign played a significant role in spreading the popularity of the beverage.

Following his time at PepsiCo, Sculley worked closely with Steve Jobs as Apple CEO in the ad campaign for the first Macintosh computers. The ad they created was the famous Super Bowl ad of 1984, which was inspired by George Orwell’s novel, 1984. Sculley said that the ad was so different from any other ad that it ran once during the Super Bowl, yet it replayed continuously during regular programming thereafter, resulting in an estimated $45 million in free advertising for the product.

After discussing his own success, Sculley gave students 5 steps to becoming successful leaders in their own careers.

Curiosity is important, he said, as it can lead to finding new and better ways of doing something. And then, aspiring leaders must become passionate about changing the world.

“When I went to Silicon Valley in 1982, the idea of changing the world had never even crossed my mind,” he said. However, he explained that innovators in Silicon Valley “were talking passionately” about doing just that. “And they had the courage to make mistakes,” he said.

(From left to right) Senior and Marketing Club President Jerome Bivona, Former Apple and PepsiCo CEO John Sculley, and Senior and Vice President of the Marketing Club Christopher Merone after Sculley's presentation.

(From left to right) Senior and Marketing Club President Jerome Bivona, Former Apple and PepsiCo CEO John Sculley, and Senior and Vice President of the Marketing Club Christopher Merone after Sculley’s presentation.

Next, Sculley explained that it is essential to never give up, even after the worst of failures. Learning how to recover from the failures is one of the hardest things to do, he said.

He also told the audience that to be an effective leader, “Somebody has to be the decider. Somebody has to make the decisions,” no matter how difficult the decision is.

The last step to becoming a successful leader is to recruit exceptional people who share the same vision. Sculley said that in order to find exceptional workers, it is essential to “inspire people who are talented to be on your team,” he said.

Jerome Bivona (’14), the Fairfield University Marketing Club president and organizer of the event, said he thought Wednesday’s lecture was very successful.

“We had a great turnout,” of close to 700 people, he said. Bivona said Sculley’s advice on achieving success in the business world was very inspirational, “He was very invigorating, and he gave a lot of insight into the industry.”

Christopher Merone (’14), the Vice President of the Marketing Club and co-organizer of the event, echoed those feelings.

“He gave a lot of great advice to kids and adults who are trying to start their own businesses, as well as do well in the corporate world,” Merone said.

Sculley concluded his remarks by encouraging the audience to have faith in the future of the economy and the worldwide marketplace.“Feel good about the future,” he said. “You can play a big role, and some of you may even change the world.”

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Dustin Hoffman and François Girard to Film Movie at Fairfield University

Fairfield University's Quick Center stage awaiting the arrival of Academy Award winner Dustin Hoffman and Oscar-winning director François Gerard

Fairfield University’s Quick Center stage awaiting the arrival of Academy Award winner Dustin Hoffman and Oscar-winning director François Girard

Two-time Academy Award winning actor Dustin Hoffman visited Fairfield University Thursday night to speak about the filming of his latest movie Boychoir. He spoke to a sold-out Quick Center audience alongside Oscar-winning director François Gerard, who will be directing the film.

Boychoir, which will be filmed at Fairfield University’s Bellarmine Hall, will tell the story of a Texas boy who is admitted to the prestigious American Boychoir School of Princeton, N.J. In the film, Hoffman will portray real-life American Boychoir director, Francisco Malvar-Ruiz.

Hoffman spoke of the choir the film is based on, saying that to see the choir perform live is a “magnificent” experience. He went on to explain that, “God gave these boys those voices,” calling their talent a “miracle.”

Girard said he was excited to work with a talent like Hoffman.

“Consistency is the most difficult thing to achieve,” said Gerard. “I am blown away by Dustin’s consistency. He is the most consistent artist I’ve come to work with.”

As if to illustrate this point, Hoffman then spoke of his role in Rain Man, saying that he tried to reach the people he was portraying. Upon the completion of the film, it was shown to autism specialists to ensure that he gave an accurate portrayal of an autistic character. When they told him that his performance was flawless, he said that it was the greatest feeling to know that he reached his audience.

The event drew a crowd filled with long-time fans of Hoffman and his work. Julie Frassetto, faculty assistant at the Fairfield University Dolan School of Business, attended the event and said she was thrilled to have such a big star on campus.

“I thought it was great that he was offering up a talk to the community and Fairfield University students, to really talk about his filming and his acting” Frassetto said. “We are really excited to have him.”

Members of the audience recognized the immense talent of both Hoffman and Girard. Long-time Dustin Hoffman fan Patty Foley spoke of his incredible talent.

Hoffman (center) and Gerard (right) during their Arts and Minds discussion at Fairfield University's Quick Center

Hoffman (center) and Girard (right) during their Arts and Minds discussion at Fairfield University’s Quick Center

“He is very passionate,” said Foley. “And I really, really enjoyed listening to him.”

Frassetto added that both Hoffman and Girard’s were very genuine and passionate about their careers, saying “It’s not all about just a profession, it’s truly who they are.”

Hoffman and Girard are set to film the concert scenes at Bellarmine Hall for Boychoir on March 11, offering the audience a chance to be extras in the film. For information on participating in the film, please email

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Jodi Schneider Gives Advice to Aspiring Journalists

Jodi Schneider, Team Leader at Bloomberg News, knows how to have a successful career in the journalism industry. “You have to be clever about it,” she told students in a press conference Thursday. This iswhat she did in her own career, and she tells aspiring journalists to do the same in theirs.

Being clever was always a part of her character. While in college, Schneider wanted to get a job at The Capital Times, a local paper in Madison, Wis. Requirements for the job included previous experience and a car. Although she had neither, she told staff at the publication that she had both and got the job. From there, she went on to hold future positions at The Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, and currently Bloomberg News.

Bloomberg's Jodi Schneider, Photo courtesy of

Bloomberg’s Jodi Schneider, Photo courtesy of

It was not just in her positions at the big-time news publications where Schneider learned what it took to be successful in the journalism industry; she also was a training and recruiting director for Congressional Quarterly, a congressional news and analysis publication, in which she handled career development issues.

As a recruiting director, she learned and shared vital information and advice on pursuing a career in journalism, stressing to students the importance of branding, or finding a topic that aspiring journalists can specialize in. “It’s all about the brand, or how people see you,” she said. Schneider also spoke of the importance of ‘networking,’ creating databases and contact lists of colleagues and acquaintances and being sure to stay in touch with them.

Students should pay attention to what Schneider called “The Big Three,” or the three most important areas to focus on when trying to land a job in journalism. First, she spoke of the importance of a concise, one page resumé, giving links to any websites or blogs that feature the candidate’s work.

Next, Schneider gave important advice on interview skills, telling students to always dress professionally and to “leave them with a something they will remember about you…in a good way!” Practicing for an interview with friends or family is also good to do, Schneider said, calling this form of training “muscle memory” that will help candidates be better prepared to answer difficult questions in an interview.

The final piece of “The Big Three” is to follow up with the interviewer, even after a rejection. In doing so, the candidate may receive a job offer from the company in the future.

Schneider told students, “The biggest thing is to pitch your potential.”


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Karen Donoghue: An “Advocate” for Students

Doling out consequences to students who violate the school policy is all in a day’s work for a dean of students on a typical college campus.

Karen Donoghue, dean of students at Fairfield University, believes she is an exception. She explained that she does not like to be defined as “chief conduct officer.” Instead, she sees herself as “an advocate and a helper,” to not only her campus community, but also to the greater Fairfield community, focusing especially on sexual assault prevention.

In a discussion with students Wednesday evening, Donoghue discussed her active role in the Fairfield community, particularly in spreading awareness about the prevention of sexual assaults on campus. Donoghue recently attended a University of Connecticut seminar designed for college Title Nine coordinators to promote equal treatment and opportunity for both men and women on a college campus. Donoghue said she is eager to apply what she learned in the conference to Fairfield’s policies.

Karen Donoghue, Fairfield University Dean of Students
Photo Credit to, “Our Sunday Visitor”

Donoghue has also facilitated self-defense classes on campus once every semester for women called “R.A.D.”, or Rape Aggression Defense class. “If you’re ever in a dangerous situation and you actually were going to get abducted, then you would be able to defend yourself,” she explained. The main goal of the class, she said, was to fend off perpetrators and save someone from a possible death.

Beyond the Fairfield University community, Donoghue serves on the advisory boards for the Center for Family Justice in Fairfield, Trumbull, and Bridgeport. Here, she said that her position involves providing resources to those in the community who have been victims of sexual crimes as well as domestic violence.

Donoghue has made great strides in working to prevent sexual assault both on campus and in the greater Fairfield community thus far, considering she has only recently begun educating herself about the topic. “Within the last year or so, I have become very knowledgeable around this topic,” she explained. Yet, she is passionate about the topic because she “realize[s] the stark reality that this is occurring on our college campuses and it’s not okay. It’s human rights. It’s human dignity,” she said. I feel like I have an obligation in my role to do something about this.”

Although advocating against sexual assault isn’t written in her job description, Donoghue argues that it’s an important issue to her, telling students, “I guess it’s both a professional goal as well as a personal goal.”


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