September 2022 • Edition 13
In this month’s edition, read about Wharton’s success today and its trajectory for the future; learn about a new mentoring program for burgeoning entrepreneurs; and find out how the Prism Fellowship is delivering on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Wharton’s Success Story Is Onward — and Upward
Wharton is moving forward with new initiatives and a historical commitment to providing excellence in business education. In a wide-ranging interview, Wharton Chief Advancement Officer Sam Lundquist (not pictured) offers his perspective on how Wharton is delivering to students, alumni, and the world an institution focused on today — and tomorrow.
Mentoring Is Critical to Entrepreneurs
A brand-new mentoring initiative will match startups founded by Wharton and Penn students who are beginning their entrepreneurial ventures with one or two experienced alumni founders for specialized advising. The Alberto and Gay Peisach Mentoring Initiative will initially focus on teams that have completed the Venture Initiation Program accelerator offered through Venture Lab, the entrepreneurship center at Wharton that serves all Penn students and alumni who are interested in enterprise and innovation.
Yet, at the heart of this mentoring initiative is the founders’ personal understanding of just how many innovators starting on their entrepreneurial journey may lack connections with family or business networks that can offer their nascent companies support. “Entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted,” said initiative co-founder Alberto Peisach, ENG’86. “The combination of resilience, building a wonderful team, and surrounding myself with the right mentors to guide me propelled my journey to success.”
Peisach is the founder and former CEO of Grupo Phoenix, a manufacturer of rigid packaging and custom packaging solutions. From 1986 to 2021, with facilities in the United States, Colombia, and Mexico, and with customers in more than 30 countries, he spearheaded the growth of the company from US$5 million to US$750 million in revenues. Currently, he is founder of Category Five Ventures, which invests in, and helps accelerate, entrepreneurial initiatives.
With the support of his wife Gay, Peisach said they are proud to fund the mentoring initiative. “It gives us a sense of purpose through which we hope to participate actively in helping students turn ideas into businesses, foment innovation, build unique products, create new jobs, and give entrepreneurs the opportunity to build companies that improve people’s lives,” he said.
The Peisachs have deep roots in Penn and Wharton, going back three generations. They are parents to three alumni: Tatiana Peisach, C’11; Mike Peisach, ENG’13; and Leon Peisach, C’15, WG’21. Alberto’s father, Natan, graduated from Wharton in 1961.
World-Changing Campaigner Comes to Wharton
Gifts to Wharton change the world. Udai Bhardwaj, WG’24, the School’s 2022 Prism Fellowship recipient, is already a world changer — but he’s not finished with his mission. As an undergraduate, Bhardwaj began a legal movement in India that led to the decriminalization of homosexuality. At Wharton, he is looking forward to learning more about the implementation of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility practices in the workplace.
The Prism Fellowship is part of a Wharton tradition of supporting student diversity programs. The fellowship was established in 2019 by Jeffrey Schoenfeld, WG’84, and is awarded annually to one student in the MBA program.