Alumni spotlight: Carol Frankel, EMBA '87
Weatherheadlines recently sat down with Carol Frankel, EMBA '87 to learn more about the competencies and skills she acquired while at Weatherhead, her passion for art, and her efforts to bring formalized art programs to local institutions.
Q: What degree did you receive from Weatherhead and in what year?
I received my Executive MBA in 1987. I was enormously fortunate to have Scott Cowan as my Dean, Mohan Reddy as my marketing professor, and David Bowers as my professor of Banking and Finance. Clearly, they were the all-stars of the MBA and EMBA programs at WSOM for many years. Back then, among the requirements for entry into the EMBA program were these: 500+ on the GMAT, employed in a professional management position for at least 10 years, and (this will amuse you) being able to use a computer even if you did not own one. One of the seminars in the first pre-semester retreat was a crash course in computer use!
Q: Please tell us a bit about your career history.
When I entered the EMBA program, I had been an entrepreneur and president of my company, CPS Communications (also called CPS Meetings) for 18 years. CPS was engaged in business-to-business marketing communications, producing sales and marketing materials, small and large-scale meeting productions and audiovisual communications for companies as diverse as Stouffer’s, GE, Nestle, Sealy, Applebee’s International, Imperial, The Cleveland Clinic, Hallmark, TRW, and Premier Industrial. We won many local and national awards for creative excellence. Business awards included: in 1990-91, the WSOM Coopers & Lybrand Entrepreneur Award; in 1992, Who’s Who of American Leading Executives Award; in 1992 and 1993, CPS Meetings Weatherhead 100 Outstanding Growth Company Awards; in 1999, Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Weatherhead Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Q: With regards to your Weatherhead experience, how has it been relevant throughout your career?
Before receiving my MBA, my company was known as a “creative production shop” delivering innovative sales and marketing communications for our clients. After 1987, while still delivering creative results, we changed our focus to become more of a client-centered “every client every time” organization. The EMBA experience also honed our negotiating and sales skills as well as our understanding and analysis of financial operations— our own-- and the large clients whom we served. All in all, my degree made a huge difference in credibility with our clients, understanding the markets we served and increasing our bottom line. The competencies and skills I acquired in the EMBA program served me throughout my business career, and now in retirement as a marketing and arts consultant, and dedicated pro bono board member of several organizations.
Q: I understand you were the driving force behind the “Art in Medicine” concept at the Cleveland Clinic and you were instrumental in bringing artwork to the Peter B. Lewis Building. What is your goal behind these initiatives?
After my husband died in 1997, I moved permanently from Ohio to California and revisited my passion for collecting contemporary art in a sunny new landscape while continuing to consult for a few former clients in marketing communications. I began serving on the Contemporary Art Board and Acquisitions Committee of the Palm Springs Art Museum and consulting for a small group of other collectors. On one of my visits back to Cleveland for medical reasons, I had occasion to meet with former colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF).
As I was walking through CCF buildings, I recognized that they had a nucleus of fine artworks, but some were not well displayed, others had unclear attributions, etc. It occurred to me that, given the correct vision, goals and objectives, CCF could develop a more formalized art program to enlarge and enhance their donor and patient base in a new way. People wishing to acknowledge family, physicians, researchers and other CCF personnel could do so with permanent gifts of painting, sculpture, studio glass, photography, ceramics, and mixed media-- serious artworks by well-established and important artists. More importantly, an Art in Medicine program would enhance the emotional wellbeing of those working, waiting, or simply walking around CCF through an interesting and uplifting visual landscape. New works could be acquired from private collectors, galleries, or by commission from accepted artists.
I prepared a comprehensive proposal that the CCF Development and Institutional Relations Department accepted. A committee was appointed to develop the appropriate approvals, acquisition, de-accession and exhibition policies etc. After nearly a year, the CCF Board of Directors greenlighted and funded the Art in Medicine program and it quickly got “legs.” An Art in Medicine Leadership Board was formed with community, medical and art leaders. After nearly two years, a professional curator, Joanne Cohen, was hired to ensure the ongoing success of the program. Today, the program is healthy and growing.
Q: Regarding the artwork in the Peter B. Lewis building, what does it mean to you personally?
The WSOM sculpture by ceramist Jun Kaneko is one of a group of similar-themed “Dango” sculptures by this world-renowned artist. It is dated 2002, and is hand-built, glazed ceramic, measuring 97x29.5x16 inches. Jun Kaneko was born in Nagoya, Japan, but his work is uniquely American. His graduate school studies were at UC Berkeley, Chouinard Art Institute, and Cal Arts, all in California. His noted public collections include the LACMA, Oakland and the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, all in California; and he has had prestigious public commissions including the Toronto International Airport, San Jose Symphony Hall, Waikiki Aquarium, and the Phoenix Airport. Jun Kaneko was one of five sculptors whose work was considered by WSOM. Once Kaneko was selected, the work now on display at the Peter B. Lewis building was one of five similar sculptures in a series.
The primary color of the sculpture is a rich brown— an earth tone similar to the color of the Grand Canyon. To me, the solid, triangular shape of the sculpture with its towering wider top portion connotes strength stability and growth. Color accents of the American southwest are integrated into the glaze in contrasting colors. It seems to me to be a very American and powerful work with thoughtful Zen-like thoughtful overtones.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
For the first time in my life, I am writing for pleasure—a novel, a lifestyle book and a memoir are all in unfinished states in my computer. I enjoy golf and travel— especially artreks to special exhibitions around the world like Art Basel. For each of the past five years I have spent six months in California and six in Chicago with my new life partner, Edward Anixter, a Chicago native.
Q: Do you have a motto or tagline by which you live your life?
If you can think of doing it, and want to do it, then work to do it well.