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Dean Sally Blount (second from left) with the honorees at this year's "With Gratitude, Kellogg" awards ceremony. From left: Lisa Earnhardt '96, Betsy Holden '82 and Matthew Forti '06. Not pictured: Andrew Youn '06.

Kellogg honored four of its alumni May 12 for their contributions to society as well as their commitment to the school.

Alumni celebrated for impact on society and Kellogg

Quartet of alumni honored at this year’s “With Gratitude” awards

By Glenn Jeffers

5/13/2016 - Kellogg honored four of its alumni May 12 for their contributions to society as well as their commitment to the school.

Andrew Youn ’06, Matthew Forti ’06, Betsy Holden ’82, and Lisa Earnhardt ’96 were celebrated for their work at the annual “With Gratitude, Kellogg” awards held at The Langham Chicago.

Youn and Forti, who built the One Acre Fund into a social enterprise helping more than 400,000 farm families in Africa, won the Schaffner Award, which honors Kellogg leaders who have made significant contributions to society and, through their professional achievements, have exemplified Kellogg’s culture.

Holden, a senior advisor with McKinsey & Company in Chicago, received the Distinguished Alumni Service Award, which recognizes graduates who have made significant investments in shaping Kellogg’s strategy, culture and brand to compete in the global marketplace.

Earnhardt, whose leadership as CEO and president of Intersect ENT has helped the medtech startup grow by more than 3,000 percent, received the Wade Fetzer Award, which recognizes outstanding dedication and loyalty in support of the school’s alumni body.

Dean Sally Blount congratulated the award winners, thanking them for their commitment and service while emphasizing the critical role of Kellogg’s global alumni network in continuing to drive the school forward.

The ceremony kicks off Reunion 2016 at Kellogg, where more than 2,100 alumni are expected to return and reconnect with friends and classmates while exploring new thought leadership from faculty.

Fighting hunger in Africa

After finding his calling following a trip to Kenya in 2005, Youn returned to Kellogg and started the One Acre Fund. Providing modern farming techniques (from seeds to market facilitation), Youn helps African farmers grow their way out of poverty.

Forti, a classmate and friend, became the organization’s founding Board Chair and, with the assistance of other likeminded students, raised the seed capital to launch the enterprise.

Today, the One Acre Fund serves more than 400,000 smallholder farms in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania and some 500,000 more via government partnerships. The enterprise’s goal is to serve one million farmers per year by 2020.

Youn continues to live and work in Africa, leading an organization that employs more than 4,000 full-time staff members. Forti serves as managing director of One Acre Fund USA, leading the organization’s work outside of Africa.

“I don’t think One Acre Fund could have been incubated anywhere else but Kellogg,” said Forti. “It’s a success story for Kellogg, where the school is increasingly known as a place for social entrepreneurship to flourish.”

Bringing expertise to Kellogg

At McKinsey & Company, Holden provides her keen executive insight in strategy, marketing, innovation and board effectiveness to clients across diverse industries, from healthcare to financial services. She also sits on corporate boards, including Diageo, Time Inc., and Western Union and on a number of not-for-profit boards.

“I enjoy applying all that I have learned throughout my career to different industries and to not-for-profits,” said Holden. “As a consultant and/or a board member, you need a different style of leadership that relies on the power of your ideas and ability to persuade others to follow your recommendations.”

Staying connected to Kellogg is also a priority for Holden, who has helped recruit and mentor students, taught a course or been a guest speaker every year since she graduated. A member of the Executive Committee of the Kellogg Global Advisory Board, she led a task force of marketing faculty and alumni to further strengthen Kellogg’s marketing preeminence.

Growing companies and communities

Earnhardt joined the San Francisco-based Intersect ENT to help build something from the ground up. With her leadership, Intersect ENT launched Propel, a drug-releasing implant to treat chronic sinusitis.

Following a successful $63 million IPO in 2014, the startup made it onto Forbes’ list of “America’s Most Promising Companies.”

As an alumna, Earnhardt is known as a “superconnector,” bringing both fellow alumni and faculty together with life-sciences professionals in the Bay Area and beyond. A tireless and enthusiastic ambassador for Kellogg, Earnhardt recently concluded her term as Chair of the Kellogg Alumni Council (KAC)

“I’ve really come to appreciate that you join Kellogg not just for a couple of years on campus, but for a lifetime,” she said.