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Marshall Alumni Reconnect at Leadership Summit

Marshall Alumni Reconnect at Leadership Summit

The summit offered alumni a chance to reconnect and learn from leaders of industry and each other.

Chad Tons presenting in front of the Leadership Summit logo

Chad Tons ’97 presents at the 2024 Marshall Leadership Summit.

[Chris Flynn/USC Photo]

Stay Informed + Stay Connected

On February 22, dozens of USC Marshall alumni packed into the Tutor Center Grand Ballroom for an all-day conference centered around leadership, professional development, and networking with fellow Trojans. The event embodied the principles of the USC Alumni Association, bringing together graduates from around the globe to return to a place they can always call home.

The opening remarks by Ramandeep Randhawa, senior vice dean for academic programs, reflected the exciting day conference attendees had ahead of them. He updated alumni about the ways Marshall is keeping up with the competition with innovative joint programs, progressive degrees, and cutting edge education.

“If I had to tell you one mission of all of these academic programs, it is to nurture and develop future business leaders,” Randhawa said. “So it gives me so much pleasure to see the business leaders here.”

Dean Geoff Garrett made an appearance by video, thanking alumni for attending. He referred to the Leadership Summit as a “flagship event” for Marshall graduates. And, because it was a private gathering, the dean only hinted at a few exciting new opportunities coming to the business school in the near future.

The summit kicked into full gear with keynote speaker Chad Tons ’97, CEO of Infinity Marketing Team, an immersive marketing agency. Tons’ agency has been responsible for some of the most daring and original marketing campaigns seen today, including HP Regen at Coachella 2022, State Farm Gamerhood, and, most recently seen at Super Bowl LVIII, the fake Arnold Schwarzenegger State Farm movie ads. For Tons, Infinity is all about pushing the limits of advertising, delivering the most entertaining and compelling brand experiences possible — while still retaining the human element.

“I wanted to … offer services that hit like the giant [companies], coming up with new kinds of innovations that never had been done before, but to give it a personalized touch,” Tons said. “I didn’t want people to feel like they were a number. I wanted it to feel very boutique even if it wasn’t going to be boutique.”

Between panels and breakout discussions, the attendees enjoyed a “Lunch & Learn” session with representatives from LA28 Olympic officials — Erikk Aldridge, vice president of impact and Becky Dale, vice president of sustainability, moderated by Assistant Professor of Clinical Entrepreneurship Glenn Fox. Aldridge and Dale gave a wide-sweeping view of the Olympics’ impact on the city, highlighting the benefit of Los Angeles’ built-in sports foundation.

Unlike other host cities, Los Angeles won’t have to construct a new permanent competition venue for the first time in Olympic history. It’s a relief on the city’s taxpayers, while simultaneously reducing the Games’ environmental impact.

“I think the single most important decision we could make has already been made because the most sustainable building is the one that you don’t have to build,” Dale said.

Afternoon panels included discussions of the future of the entertainment industry, the honest truth behind entrepreneurship, the ethics of artificial intelligence in the workplace, and much more. Following the packed day, the attendees were treated to a closing reception, where they had one more opportunity to connect with fellow Trojans.

If I had to tell you one mission of all of these academic programs, it is to nurture and develop future business leaders. So it gives me so much pleasure to see the business leaders here.

— Ramandeep Randhawa

Senior Vice Dean for Academic Programs