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From left: Salon founder David Kabiller ’87, Salon Award winner Ian Mashal ’11, Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro, undergraduate Salon Award winner Jesse Wiener ’11 and New York Yankees Manager Joe Girardi ’86

From left: Salon founder David Kabiller ’87, Salon Award winner Ian Mashal ’11, Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro, undergraduate Salon Award winner Jesse Wiener ’11 and New York Yankees General Manager Joe Girardi ’86

A Northwestern home run

At the 2011 Salon, alumni celebrate two outstanding Kellogg students and hear a few words on leadership from New York Yankees Manager Joe Girardi ’86

By Amy Trang

1/28/2011 - With an awe-inspiring view of Yankee Stadium before them, more than 100 Northwestern alumni gathered Jan. 19 at the Legends Suite Club in New York City to hear from fellow alumnus Joe Girardi ’86, the New York Yankees manager.

Girardi’s talk was a highlight of the 2011 Salon, an annual event organized by Northwestern trustee David Kabiller ’87. New York-based Northwestern alumni from an array of professional communities — including finance, entrepreneurship and family business — attend the event each year to connect with current Northwestern and Kellogg students, reunite with faculty and hear insights from a renowned speaker.

The event also honored the recipients of the Salon Award, which is bestowed annually on two Kellogg students. Ian Mashal ’11, a student in the MBA program, and Jesse Wiener ’11, who is enrolled in Kellogg’s certificate program for undergraduates, were recognized for their academic excellence, commitment to the study of finance and potential to be leaders in the Northwestern alumni community. The students are chosen each fall by the Kellogg finance faculty.

Kabiller launched the Salon series in 2005 with the goal of strengthening the Northwestern alumni community among business leaders in the New York tri-state area. Kabiller, who also received an undergraduate degree from Northwestern, is the co-founder of AQR Capital Management in Greenwich, Conn.

The young award winners said they were grateful for the opportunity to meet with Northwestern alumni, whom Mashal described as “open, supportive and energetic — as anyone who is involved in life at Northwestern would expect.”

“There were plenty of accomplished and intelligent alumni who were willing to impart some wisdom or extend a helping hand,” he said. “The people I met were eager to give back to the community and support it going forward.”

Wiener echoed those sentiments.

“I was extremely grateful to David for the opportunity to spend some time with him and to meet Northwestern graduates who are leaders in their respective fields in the New York area,” Wiener said. “The Northwestern alumni community is extremely diverse and supportive of Northwestern students.

“It was also a real thrill to hear Joe Girardi and meet him,” Wiener added. “He was a very engaging speaker.”

Girardi spoke fondly of his memories as a Northwestern undergraduate in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and of his experience as a manager and former Major League Baseball player. During a 30-minute question-and-answer session, Girardi also discussed his leadership style and his work with the Catch 25 Foundation. Leadership is “love,” he said, and a driving force in how he runs his team. “You have to love the people first and the game second,” Girardi said.

Attendees also learned about the state of the university from Northwestern President Morton Schapiro, who discussed the continuing rise in the number of undergraduate applications and shared an update on the athletics program.

Previous Salon speakers have included the late political journalist Tim Russert, New York Times columnists Maureen Dowd and Michael Gordon, and artist Jeff Koons. Last year’s speaker was 1987 Northwestern alumnus and comedian Stephen Colbert.

Kabiller plans to host annual dinners with previous Salon Award winners to further build the Northwestern community among young alumni.

“We want to help the young graduates plug into the university immediately and foster a bond with other alumni,” Kabiller says. “The Salon provides a real opportunity to help build our university’s network.”