Ellie Kassner is a member of Marist's online MBA Class of 2016 with a concentration in Ethical Leadership. She lives in the greater New York City area and is the President of W.H. Kassner, Inc., a third-generation family business.
Tell us about your work history before Marist, including years of experience, industry, companies, and positions:
Skidmore College, Class of 2010, Bachelor of Arts (Summa Cum Laude) Recipient: Responsible Citizenship Internship Award 2015 from Skidmore College
Recipient: Dorothy B. Brothers Scholarship: Women's Business Enterprise National Council / Tuck Business School Executive Program 2014
2011: Corporate Account Senior Executive, Intergate Immigration, Cape Town, South Africa
2012 – 2013: Project Manager with W.H. Kassner, Inc. 2013 – Present: President at W.H. Kassner, Inc.
2013 – Present: Vice President of the Board of Trustees, Tomkins Cove Public Library
What are your career goals?
At the helm of W.H. Kassner, Inc. in its third generation of family ownership, I hope to lead my company to 100% growth (of our current 3-year average) over the next 10 years. Based on our work in the increasing niche market of miscellaneous metal fabrication and installation, as well as the comeback of the construction industry and the economy, and our certification as a Women's Business Enterprise, this goal is feasible.
Why did you choose to pursue your degree at Marist?
I chose to pursue my Master in Business Administration (MBA) from Marist College in order to benefit my company. As a more informed business owner, with refined leadership skills, my organization can take steps to becoming stronger as a whole. Personally, I sit on the Tomkins Cove Public Library Board of Trustees. The Ramapo Catskill Library System (RCLS) partnered with Marist College to offer trustees and library employee's program access. Earning my MBA should help maximize what I naturally bring to the board, and provide me with skills to further serve the community in the future.
Tell us about a project or course that was particularly meaningful to your professional development:
In Financial Analysis for Business Decisions, MBA Core Class 602, we took a deep look into financial ratios and what they mean to businesses. We also have tied those ratios into the larger economic tides of the global economy. Understanding the fuller picture allows for a greater understanding of all businesses.
Being able to apply these macro and micro concepts to my own business has provided me with a deeper understanding of how to improve our operations and stay true to the practices that have kept my company in business for over 50 years under the leadership of my grandfather and then father.
How has your coursework enhanced your career?
The coursework I've completed through the Marist MBA Program has enhanced my career, by pushing me beyond my comfort zone to take a holistic view of business practices. This advanced understanding has allowed me to make smarter, more informed business decisions.
What advice would you give to a student considering pursuing their master's degree at Marist?
My advice to a student considering pursuing their master's degree at Marist is that despite the rigorous nature of the program, it's a tremendous opportunity to grow, especially for those who are already professionals. Classmates and professors alike are experienced business people, that bring not only their interest in the course matter to the table but also their vast professional experiences to learn and grow from.
Discuss your experience with Marist's online learning environment:
Largely, I've been impressed with Marist's online learning environment. Although I had limited expectations initially, I've been touched at how closely I've been able to virtually work and connect with classmates.
What do you believe are some of the most important issues in the field of leadership development? What are the important leadership skills that MBA/MPA candidates need to develop to create an impact in their organizations?
To me the most important issue in the field of leadership development is respect. As a leader, one needs to exude respect both for oneself and others. Respect fosters mutual understanding and the ability to overcome diversity. It fuels one's abilities to problem solve and achieve success. Respect is necessary from the top down, which begets respect from the bottom up. Most importantly, respect is not overly wordy or enforced: it is actionable and earned. Ultimately, the commitment to respect to all yields longevity, sustainability, and growth: internally and externally.
Profile Tags:Profile Type: Alumni
Major: Business Administration
Academic School: Management