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At the Intersection of Passion and Purpose: Celebrating the Books of Gabelli School of Business Faculty Members

April 17 @ 5:45 pm - 6:45 pm

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From finding the “secret sauce” at the intersection of cooking, leadership, and accounting, to sharing the inspiring story of a family’s autism journey, to exploring how anthropology can provide clues to consumer behavior, faculty members at the Gabelli School of Business have combined their academic expertise with their personal passions to create compelling new books. Their diverse interests and output inform and enrich the Gabelli School community, as well as audiences on a national and global scale, providing insights and expertise across subject areas.

Join us on April 17 for a conversation with faculty authors Donna Rapaccioli, Ph.D., University professor and dean emerita; John Fortunato, Ph.D., professor of communications and media management; and Timothy de Waal Malefyt, Ph.D., clinical professor and director of the M.S. in Strategic Marketing Communications. The discussion will be moderated by Lerzan Aksoy, Ph.D. dean and George N. Jean Ph.D. chair and professor of marketing at the Gabelli School of Business, and will delve into the inspiration behind each of these unique works.

A book signing and celebratory reception will follow. Doors open at 5:00 PM.


More About the Authors and Their Books

Book cover: When Life Hands You Lemons, Throw Tomatoes: Lessons in Life and LeadershipWhen Life Hands You Lemons, Throw Tomatoes: Lessons in Life and Leadership
By Donna Rapaccioli, Ph.D., University Professor and Dean Emerita

Donna Rapaccioli’s leadership and life’s work in accounting has always been intertwined with her passion for cooking and feeding her family, friends, and colleagues. In her new book, “When Life Hands You Lemons, Throw Tomatoes: Lessons in Life and Leadership,” Rapaccioli serves up stories from her life— some about her large, loving, and loud Italian family, and others that highlight key attributes of successful leadership—alongside more than 100 of her favorite recipes. Each tale is paired with a dish and reveals how specific ingredients have inspired her over the course of her career, which includes more than 15 years at the helm of Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business, where she is now dean emerita and continues to teach accounting. Rapaccioli sees parallels between accounting and cooking—”Each sometimes requires rule-based action with absolute precision—such as calculating earnings per share or baking a delicate cake—and other times more interpretive judgment and estimation, such as determining the useful life of an asset or deciding between baking versus frying meatballs.” (Spoiler alert: She prefers frying them.) She combines practical advice, mathematical measurements befitting the rigor of an accounting professor, and heartfelt bits of memoir to create a one-of-a-kind culinary compendium filled with effective and delicious ways to bring people together—in the kitchen, classroom, and boardroom.

Book cover: Miracle of Effort: Thalia’s Autism JourneyMiracle of Effort: Thalia’s Autism Journey
By John Fortunato, Ph.D., Professor of Communications and Media Management

John Fortunato is an expert in sports media, sponsorship, and crisis communications, but his most recent book covers a topic with which he has a more personal and emotional connection—autism. In “Miracle of Effort: Thalia’s Autism Journey,” he tells the story of his cousin’s daughter, Thalia, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at the age of 2, masterfully capturing how the impact of that diagnosis (and the struggles that followed) reverberated throughout his entire family. It’s a story of triumph against all odds, chronicling Thalia’s life from her toddler years to her college graduation, as she overcomes myriad obstacles to eventually achieve her dream of becoming an elementary school teacher. Through the lens of the family’s personal experience, Fortunato offers compelling insights into the challenges that autistic children and their family members face. He painstakingly details how Thalia’s family navigated the complex network of education and health services required to secure effective treatment and guidance on the difficult decisions that needed to be made at different stages throughout their child’s life. Fortunato wanted to share Thalia’s journey with the world to offer hope for families and individuals who might be facing similar challenges. “I felt this was an important story to tell,” he notes “Even if it helps just one family.”

Book cover: Business Anthropology: The BasicsBusiness Anthropology: The Basics
By Timothy de Waal Malefyt, Ph.D., Clinical Professor and Director of the M.S. in Strategic Marketing Communications

Timothy de Waal Malefyt’s work highlights the contemporary relevance and competitive advantage of utilizing anthropology in the business world. Malefyt has held senior positions in advertising agencies where, as a corporate anthropologist, he applied anthropological and cultural approaches to consumer research to develop brand and strategic insights. He is passionate regarding teaching business students about the value of anthropological thinking in the realm of consumer research. “Looking at consumer behavior, not from the view of numbers and quantities, but from the perspective of brand rituals, tribal behavior, and magical practices is refreshing for them. It expands their viewpoints,” he asserts. His latest book, “Business Anthropology: The Basics,” offers an introduction to the application of anthropological theory and practice to real-world business scenarios. Malefyt explains key research methods and approaches used in industry, government, and non-profit sectors, showing how anthropology can inform decisions and initiatives in the areas of marketing communications, user experience, product development, and entrepreneurship. He also discusses ways for organizations to partner and interact with communities to implement change and to encourage public conversation about social issues.




April 17
5:45 pm - 6:45 pm
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140W McNally Amphitheater
140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023 United States
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