Business Leadership Initiative

BLI1Fred Posniak at BLIDSCN3027

Business Leadership Initiative is a unique opportunity for exceptional Jewish business students to learn from and network with some of the leading Jewish business executives in the country. Within the framework of a small group you will be able to meet with these executives in a relaxed setting and engage with them in open dialogue. These executives, who have generously given their time, are eager to get to know you and speak with you about how they achieved their success. Students will also participate in a private Shabbat dinner at Rabbi Silberberg’s home.

Due to its competitive nature, students are asked to complete the following application in order to join BLI and to agree to participate in at least three of the programs offered. If you are unwilling or unable to make this commitment, please contact Rabbi Sue at before submitting your application.

Please click here to complete the application to apply to Business Leadership Initiative.

Business Leadership Initiative Schedule Fall 2017

Thursday, September 7, 6-7:30 PM
Dinner with Idie Kesner, Dean, Kelley School of Business Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management Professor of Management. Appointed Dean of the Kelley School of Business in May, 2013 after serving as Interim Dean for almost 1 year. Kesner joined the Kelley School faculty in 1995, coming from a titled faculty position at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She was chairwoman of Kelley’s Full-Time MBA Program from August 2003 to August 2006 and chairwoman of the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship from October 2006 to June 2009. From 1996 to 2003, she co-directed the school’s Consulting Academy.

Tuesday, September 12, 6-7:30 PM
Dinner with Gabe Connell, Founder and Owner of HotBox Pizza.  HotBox began with one location in 2004.  Gabe began Franchising efforts in 2009 and currently has 6 company owned and 11 franchised locations. HotBox Pizza was born out of a desire to save the world from pizza mediocrity. The clever and irreverent HotBox Pizza franchise delivers a fresh experience with broad market appeal. Through “in-your-face” branding, expert merchandising and great promotions, HotBox Pizza has literally created its own culture. Gabe received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Indiana University and his MBA from Butler University.

Wednesday, September 27, 7-8 PM
Special Dessert Reception with Steve Malter, Associate Dean, Director of the Undergraduate Program at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis.  He is responsible for the management of the undergraduate program, advising, admissions, student engagement, and setting its strategic vision. Steve has led the development of Olin’s Israel based initiatives that include innovative courses are Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Israel and Venture Advising in Israel.  In Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Israel students spend the first six weeks of the spring semester learning about Israel, its culture, politics, economics and various industries.  During the students spring break Steve leads a ten day immersive trip to Israel for the class allowing them to experience the topics they are covering firsthand.  Venture Advising in Israel is a joint course with the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya.  Twelve Washington University and twelve IDC students are placed on global teams to advise an Israeli start-up on a strategic issue.  Steve, another colleague and the students travel to Israel for an eight day immersion where the global teams work face to face to create a strategic solution for the start-up company.  He is also responsible for the development of the semester abroad program based at the IDC.

Steve is responsible for the creation and development of the Israel Summer Business Academy, a six week summer course based in Israel to launch in June of 2014.  This course is a collaboration between the IDC and the Olin Business School and is open to students from undergraduate programs across the United States.  This academy will be modeled on previous coursework he has created and collaborative coursework that he has participated in with colleagues at the IDC.

He initially joined Washington University in 1998 as the Coordinator for Programming and All Campus Events in the Office of Student Activities.  At the end of 2000, he left Washington University to join Ernst & Young in New York and spent four years as a member of the national recruiting team in various capacities but missed working in higher education.  Steve returned St. Louis in late 2003 and then to Washington University in 2004 and joined the Olin Business School as an Associate Director for Academic Advising and Student Services and as a BSBA career advisor.  In 2008 he became the Director of Student Development and became Olin’s Assistant Dean for Student Development & Strategic Initiatives in 2010.  On January 1, 2014, Steve was appointed the Associate Dean & Director of Olin’s Undergraduate Program.

He received his undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice and his Master of Education in Counselor Education from the University of Florida. Steve completed his Ph.D. at the University of Missouri at St. Louis in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies with a concentration in Higher Education Administration in 2007.

Monday, October 2, 6-7:30 PM
Dinner with Ralph Balber, President, ALO Property Group LLC.  Ralph Balber, real estate broker, established ALO Property Group LLC in August of 2014. As president of ALO Property Group LLC, he uses his CPA, entrepreneurial and large business experiences to advise companies in Indianapolis and around the country on securing the best real estate situations. He values the importance of building long lasting relationships and views his role as a full service consultant. He thrives to be supportive and nurturing in order to help his clients develop and make informed business decisions…he is not your typical real estate broker.

Ralph’s vast knowledge in business started in 1991 when he started his professional career in Chicago working for Arthur Andersen’s Commercial Division, and earning his CPA from the University of Illinois. In 1993, he left to start Ralph & Barry’s Inc., and owned and operated 9 restaurants across the Midwest. After he sold the restaurants, he moved to Indianapolis to start his career in commercial real estate. In 2001 he joined Meridian Real Estate as the director of new business development. In 2003 he became founder and principal of Newmark, Knight, Frank, Halakar Real Estate, overseeing the brokerage division.

He is frequently involved with any transaction noted in the Indianapolis Business Journal’s (IBJ) “Who’s Who in commercial real estate”. Ralph has also been recognized in the IBJ’s “40 under 40” and is listed consistently in the city’s dealmakers and Costar’s National Power Broker list.

Over the past decade in the commercial real estate market, Ralph has a portfolio that has included such iconic properties as Regions Tower, College Park, and Woodfield Crossing just to name a few.

Friday, October 27, 7:30pm
Meet at Rabbi Sue and Phillip’s home for Shabbat Dinner. Join other BLI members for an intimate Shabbat dinner at Rabbi Sue and Phillip’s home for a home-made Shabbat dinner. A chance to relax and schmooze.

Ethan Goldwasser and Adam Friedman explain why BLI is so important to them


Students introduce themselves to Fred Posniak, Senior VP of Malkin properties

 BLI Alumni Click Here for info about the BLI Alumni Association