Kellogg World Alumni Magazine Winter 2009
  Lori Winters Samuels (top left) and the GMA cabinet. Clockwise from top right: Tony Mann, Fred O'Connor and Kelvin Walker.
  Lori Winters Samuels (top left) and the GMA cabinet. Clockwise from top right: Tony Mann, Fred O'Connor and Kelvin Walker.
  Samuels in 2009 with sons Ben (left) and Bobby (right).
  Samuels in 2009 with sons Ben (left) and Bobby (right).
KSA Then & Now

Lori Winters Samuels '86
'It was a wonderfully rewarding and inspirational two years of my life'

By Amy Trang

When Lori Winters Samuels '86 ran for president of the Kellogg Graduate Management Association in 1985, she took some creative efforts to garner votes.

During a TG, Samuels — along with GMA candidates Tony Mann, Fred O'Connor and Kelvin Walker, all '86  — jumped atop a table and began to sing parodies of election-themed songs that Samuels had written herself. But instead of hearing the candidates' voices, the crowd was treated to the sound of an all-male Kellogg a cappella group hidden nearby. The atrium filled with laughter.

Samuels went on to win the election — and to serve as president as Kellogg was gaining increasing recognition as one of the world's top business schools.

"It was really exciting. You could sense that Kellogg was doing something great," Samuels says. "We asked ourselves, 'How do you follow that up when you are on top of the heap?' We just kept doing what we were doing and made sure that we proved we were deserving of the honor when we went out into the workforce."

Samuels recalls that Kellogg professors young and old were very focused on helping every student achieve success.

"They were inspired and invested in your future, not just going through the motions as professors," Samuels says. "There was a feeling that everyone was accessible and creative. They treated every student as a special and unique individual."

As president, Samuels used her leadership skills to bring her classmates' ideas to fruition. Her tenure was marked by the creation of the annual student yearbook and new guidelines for GMA campaign finances.

With the support of the Kellogg administration and several fellow students, Samuels also created a video to market Kellogg as the perfect place to host the Graduate Business Conference, a then-annual gathering of student leaders from the top 25 business schools. Kellogg was selected over six other schools vying for the opportunity.

The spirit of involvement was contagious. "People didn't just go to class and go home," Samuels says. "Everyone wanted to be a part of something. They didn't join groups for résumé-building; they joined so they could know different groups of people better and enhance their own experiences. It was a wonderfully rewarding and inspirational two years of my life."

After Kellogg, Samuels worked as a product manager for Ralston-Purina and Colgate-Palmolive. Now a resident of Pasadena, Calif., she stepped back from the workforce after her children (Ben, 18, Bobby, 17 and Leigh, 10) were born. That move gave Samuels time to do more nonprofit work. She has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Los Angeles Zoo and The Huntington Library. She has also contributed many hours of service to Kellogg — fundraising, working on Reunion committees and serving on the Kellogg Alumni Council.

"I'm a big believer in Kellogg and its mission and supporting it in any way I can," Samuels says. "Kellogg is proactive. The school has a sense of what is to be and where its students need to be, whether it is focusing on global initiatives or venture capital. It is good at educating its students not just how to do theory, but to be useful, practical and worldly in an environment that requires it."

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