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The Kellogg School is a touchpoint for alumni, a place where many first experienced the power of collaborating toward a shared goal.

The Kellogg School is a touchpoint for alumni, a place where many first experienced the power of collaborating toward a shared goal.

The power of the Kellogg network

Around the world, alumni leverage their Kellogg connections to open doors

10/10/2011 - When Yoshimi Inaba ’76 became president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. in 1999, he saw that Mexico’s large population and growing economy offered a tremendous opportunity for the company. He reached out to his Kellogg classmates and friends in the Mexican business scene — Fernando Chico Pardo ’76, Rodrigo De La Pena ’76, Adolfo Autrey ’70 and Miguel Ramirez Barber ’76 — and they introduced him to government officials and other key decision-makers.

“When you’re doing business in a new country, you need a network,” Inaba says. “I was fortunate that my network included some close friends who had many connections in the market that I wanted to enter.”

Toyota’s successful entry into the Mexican market in 2002 is just one example of the strength of the Kellogg network. More than a shared alma mater, the Kellogg School is a touchpoint for alumni, a place where many first experienced the power of collaborating in pursuit of a common goal. Here are just a few of examples of the power of the Kellogg network:

Kellogg support helps launch

While looking after his mother during her battle with lung cancer, Andy Cohen ’90, a former brand manager at Johnson Wax, realized there were very few resources available for caregivers. The experience inspired him to launch, a free resource and support website that quickly became the most-visited site for adults caring for aging parents, spouses and loved ones.

From writing the business plan to reaching key milestones, Cohen says there was a Kellogg connection every step of the way. Supporters have included alumni investors Jim Simons ’89 of Split Rock Partners, Tod Francis ’83 of Shasta Ventures, Bobby Kandaswamy ’98 of Intel Capital, and Evan Liang ’06,’s vice president of product management.

The Kellogg connection also helped him find advertisers such as Ruth Berkowitz ’01, a senior marketing manager at Pfizer. “ is a good fit for Pfizer, but as a small growing site, I don’t know if we would have gotten in the door without the Kellogg connection,” Cohen says. “I did this over and over with other potential advertisers. I’m about 9 for 10 whenever I reach out to a Kellogg graduate. They’re always really responsive and helpful.”

At Google, Kellogg alumni find a familiar passion for collaboration

Google colleagues and Kellogg alumni Jason Spero ’99, head of mobile ads for the Americas, Jesse (Marmon) Haines ’03, group marketing manager, and Paul Feng ’04, group product manager, collaborated to plan “thinkmobile,” a half-day conference in February 2011 geared toward convincing Google’s top advertisers to invest more in mobile ads.

Hundreds of advertisers attended thinkmobile, with thousands more watching a live stream of the event online. The three Kellogg alums attribute the success of the event to Google’s emphasis on teamwork and collaboration, something they learned at their alma mater.

With more than 100 Kellogg alumni among the company’s employees, Google Global business head Bill Sickles ’94 says the power of the Kellogg network is in full effect at the firm. “Kellogg really focused on the bigger picture and on teamwork, so that allows alumni who work for Google to come in and really make an impact,” Sickles says.

One Acre Fund flourishes under the 'Kellogg effect'

As founder and executive director of One Acre Fund, Andrew Youn '06 has helped small farmers in Africa become prosperous. As proud as he is of the organization’s accomplishments, he says he owes it all to the Kellogg network.

Thanks to the advice and assistance Youn received from board member Matthew Forti '06, a consultant with The Bridgespan Group, Mike Anderson '75, president and CEO of The Andersons Inc., and Steve Wilson '74, chairman, president and CEO of CF Industries Holdings, One Acre Fund expects to aid 50,000 farm families in Kenya and Rwanda this year.

“Our founding board was made of Kellogg classmates, our initial start-up grant was from board members of the (Kellogg-based) Larry and Carol Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice, and we have hundreds of alumni supporters," Youn says. "The 'Kellogg effect' is difficult to quantify, and the effect goes much farther than financial contributions."