Leaders
The EMBAC Board of Trustees sets council goals and charts the strategies for council initiatives. The membership elects candidates for open trustee positions each year. The board includes 11 academic voting members and a corporate member representative as an ex-officio. Each board member assumes a role during their term, such as leading communications, research, conference, and professional development or serving as treasurer.
2014-2015 Board of Trustees
Karin Wiström (Chair)
Director SSE MBA
Stockholm School of Economics
karin.wistrom@hhs.se
TERM EXPIRES: OCTOBER 2016

Barbara A. Millar (Past Chair)
Assistant Dean, MBA for Executives Program
University of Virginia Darden School of Business
millarb@virginia.edu
TERM EXPIRES: OCTOBER 2015

Elmer Almachar
Director, Executive MBA Program, Evanston Campus
Northwestern University
Kellogg Graduate School of Management
almachar@kellogg.northwestern.edu
TERM EXPIRES: OCTOBER 2017

Marci Armstrong
Associate Dean, Graduate Programs
Southern Methodist University
Cox School of Business
marci@cox.smu.edu
TERM EXPIRES: OCTOBER 2017

Bernadette Birt
Executive Director, MBA for Executives San Francisco
University of Pennsylvania
karin.wistrom@hhs.se
TERM EXPIRES: OCTOBER 2016

Karin Wiström (Chair)
Director SSE MBA
Stockholm School of Economics
The Wharton School
birt@wharton.upenn.edu
TERM EXPIRES: OCTOBER 2016

Kelley Martin Blanco
Assistant Dean and Dean of Students
Executive MBA Programs

Columbia Business School
kbm13@columbia.edu
TERM EXPIRES: OCTOBER 2015

Luisa Fernanda Elsin
Directora, Executive MBA
Facultad de Administración

Universitdad de los Andes
lelsin@uniandes.edu.co
TERM EXPIRES: OCTOBER 2017

Sylvia Haas
Director of Admissions
University of California, Los Angeles
Anderson School
sylvia.haas@anderson.ucla.edu
TERM EXPIRES: OCTOBER 2017

Paul C. Velasco
Director, Stayer Center for Executive Education
University of Notre Dame
pcvelasco@nd.edu
TERM EXPIRES: OCTOBER 2017

Robyn Wick
Director, Executive MBA Program
University of Minnesota
Curtis L. Carlson School of Management
wickx013@umn.edu
TERM EXPIRES: OCTOBER 2016

Ex Officio
Jennifer Steben

Academic Solutions Director
Inkling
jennifer@inkling.com
TERM EXPIRES: OCTOBER 2015

Board member profile: Elmer Almachar

Elmer Almachar pursued a diverse career path that most recently led him to a familiar place: The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
He initially considered the merits of the academic researcher. Almachar completed his bachelor’s degree with a focus on government and religion and then received his master’s degree in religious studies from the University of Chicago Divinity School.

He decided to test the waters in business, joining the world-renown consulting firm of McKinsey & Company. As a graphics specialist, he coordinated schedules for graphic designers and mentored team members. But the call of the academy remained strong.

“I had my start as an aspiring academic in multiple incarnations as a graduate student first in religious studies at the University of Chicago, then in political science at the University of California, San Diego,” says Almachar, now director of the Executive MBA (EMBA) Program, Northwestern University, Evanston campus. He gained much from his Ph.D. studies, but decided to return to McKinsey.

“Though I never finished my dissertation, I appreciate how the discipline of academic research has helped me personally and professionally,” he says. Read more...

At McKinsey, Almachar honed his leadership skills, gaining additional responsibilities and eventually leading the working team that established McKinsey’s U.S. Design Center, one of the firm’s largest design centers. “In my stint at McKinsey, I learned the value and creativity latent in structured, real-life problem solving.”

While at McKinsey, Almachar decided to return to school again – this time receiving his MBA from Kellogg. And when the opportunity came to combine his academic and business experiences at his alma mater, he eagerly embraced it.

“My own experience at Kellogg was a personal rediscovery of the joy of learning and of the unique thrill that comes when you have those moments of surprising insights,” he says. “At Kellogg, we talk a lot about inspiring growth, which doesn’t just mean becoming bigger, but more so, wise, more rounded as a person and leader, and engaging in richer experiences. That was true of me, and that was what I wanted to also provide EMBA students.”

For EMBA students, he focuses on creating and sustaining the best possible learning experience to help them develop and grow into the type of leaders they want to be. He enjoys his work to maximize student growth.

“Executive MBA students are the kind of individuals who will change the world,” he says. “They are already accomplished. They come to us because they are seeking a transformation. Why else would you put yourself through the rigors of such an intense program? The inspiring thing is to watch how they end up transforming themselves.”
EMBA Programs have responded to changing times with some key transformations to serves students, he says.

One response involves an investment in bolstering interpersonal and leadership skills, skills that are increasingly important in the marketplace. “Without a doubt, you cannot be successful unless you have the baseline analytic skills that are traditional to all MBA programs,” says Almachar. “However, we’ve come to a point where those are table stakes just to get you in the game. What will make you distinctive and impactful is your ability to persuade, influence, guide, and lead.”

Programs are also recognizing that innovation and entrepreneurship are important to all organizations, not just start-ups. “Great leaders will have to be great intraprenuers as well.”

They also will need to learn resilience in the fact of increasing uncertainty and ambiguity. “The heart of that resilience is what a leader cares about and values. If we can teach our students to be reflective about their own values, and to lead based on those values, we can go a long way toward achieving our educational mission.”
EMBAC offers its members a place to understand transformations. Almachar learned about the council during his first week on the job and attended his first conference in Key Biscayne in 2011. “That was an eye-opener. I could not believe how welcoming and helpful everyone was.”

His experience led him to volunteer his time, talent, and expertise to the benefit of council members. He serves on the EMBAC Center for Research and in 2014, he was elected to the EMBAC board.

It was an easy decision to become involved with the council.

“Once I met my colleagues and fellow members of the council, I was hooked. When you have a sense of belonging, which the council really fostered in me, and you believe in the mission of the community to which you belong, you cannot help but want to be engaged and involved and to help others in that community as much as you can.” Less...

“Once I met my colleagues and fellow members of the council, I was hooked. When you have a sense of belonging, which the council really fostered in me, and you believe in the mission of the community to which you belong, you cannot help but want to be engaged and involved and to help others in that community as much as you can.”
ELMER ALMACHAR
Director, Executive MBA Program, Evanston Campus Northwestern University, Kellogg Graduate School of Management Member, EMBAC Board of Trustees