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Reach out to say hello to the new leadership

Spend 18 months with someone and you’re bound to form a bond. Over the course of their studies, students in the Executive MBA program at the Daniels College of Business have always developed a strong relationship with the faculty and staff administering the program. The program recently welcomed Andy Cohen, Nicole Lovato and Christina Dinegar onboard, joining longtime member Amanda Cahal. Get to know the team and learn a little more about where they see the EMBA program going in the years ahead.

Andy Cohen, Academic Director

Andy Cohen headshotWhen Andy Cohen made the decision to move to Denver, he was thinking about teaching and skiing. He hoped to find a home in Colorado, where he began his DU career as a visiting professor of practice in the Department of Management. It wasn’t long, however, before Dean Vivek Choudhury asked him to take the job he’s filled since Jan. 1, 2022. Six months later, he feels right at home. Cohen has worked in the corporate world, with Oliver Wyman and Capital One, and spent the last decade teaching and leading programs at George Washington University.

Can you explain your role and responsibilities? 

I am the academic director of the EMBA, which means I am responsible for the curriculum and academic experience both long term and day to day. So, that is both a tactical and strategic role. At the same time, I am accountable for much of the day-to-day administration of the program including the day-to-day student experience, new student recruiting and enrollment, and alumni relations. However, the staff including Nicole Lovato, Christina Dinegar and Amanda Cahal, are absolutely critical to the program. They make the student experience exceptional from start to finish. 

What appealed to you about working with EMBA programs and students?

I am a leadership developer at the core. I teach leadership and I coach leaders of organizations of many sizes. Simply put, leading the EMBA program is about putting my two great professional passions—teaching and leadership development—together.

What makes DU’s EMBA program great?

Lots of things, but I will go with (a) a faculty that neatly straddles academia and the practitioner world, (b) the experiential nature of the program, and (c) the rich network inside the classroom (in the cohort) and beyond (with alumni).

What aspirations do you have for the program’s future?

I see the EMBA as an elite intimate experience for a select group of students. Only a few can be DU EMBAs.

Nicole Lovato, Program Director

Nicole Lovato headshotShe may have only arrived at Daniels in December 2021, but Nicole Lovato is no stranger to campus. Lovato is an alumna of the former DU Latino Leadership Institute, where she later worked as assistant director of programs. Her Insights profile is high blue and high yellow—no surprise, she says, when you consider that she once simultaneously held down a finance career while moonlighting as a DJ on KUVO Jazz 89.3 FM. Prior to her time at DU, Lovato led work-based learning for the Denver Public Schools district, including its nationally ranked charter network, DSST Charter Schools.

Can you explain your role and responsibilities? 

My responsibility is oversight of the program in partnership with Andy. Together, we work to deliver a unique learning experience for our students that is tailored to the needs of their professional prowess and future aspirations. 

What appealed to you about working with EMBA programs and students? 

My career has been devoted to the leadership and professional development of students, spanning from K-12 to graduate. It is an honor to continue my passion for elevating students to their highest potential through the EMBA. I am in constant awe of our students in regard to the caliber of their industry expertise, their hunger for professional and personal growth and, more importantly, how they support each other’s journeys. 

What makes DU’s EMBA program great? 

Our Executive MBA is truly unique in its cohort structure, which promotes the development of a powerful core network and shared learning from a diverse pool of students representing various life experiences, industry sectors and disciplines. Another powerful element is that our program offers a heightened self-awareness, which enables our students to be mindful about their leadership style as it relates to any given situation they may find themselves in. 

What aspirations do you have for the program’s future? 

I look forward to leading our recent program enhancements into their first complete year beginning with the Fall 2022 Cohort 79 and deepening our alumni engagement. 

Anything else you’d like to add? 

As a new team, we are excited to lead the EMBA program to continued and heightened success. We value the opportunity to serve our students through educational and professional transformation to pursue their endeavors with confidence and determination.

Christina Dinegar, Student Engagement Manager

Christina DinegarChristina Dinegar joined the EMBA program as its student engagement manager in April, returning to the workforce after raising three children with her husband. One of those children is a current DU sophomore, studying biology and philosophy. Dinegar (JD 1996) is an alumna herself, earning a diploma from the Sturm College of Law. She’s also a proud native Coloradoan.

Can you explain your role and responsibilities? 

My role is to help in the day-to-day administration and short- and long-term event planning of the EMBA program. I also help the EMBA students, professors and staff as needed.

What appealed to you about working with EMBA programs and students?

I am looking forward to working with the EMBA team and the student body of the EMBA program. Each student brings unique and interesting professional and personal experience to the program, and the topics taught are timely and engaging. I am looking forward to learning about the many professions, businesses and academic fields of this amazing group of students and professors.

What makes DU’s EMBA program great? 

The quality and depth of the EMBA students and professors is very special. With DU in the heart of the country and at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, DU and Denver are dynamic, with endless opportunities for entrepreneurship and growth. DU’s EMBA program offers top academics, an exceptional opportunity for collaboration and networking for its students, a beautiful campus, a value- and ethics- driven culture, and lifelong learning community.

What aspirations do you have for the program’s future? 

I hope to help continue to make the Executive MBA program the best experience possible for each student. From the Daniels College of Business to the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management to the Sturm College of Law to the Josef Korbel School of International Studies to the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science—DU offers top academics in almost every area. The EMBA is among the gems of DU.

Amanda Cahal headshot

Amanda Cahal, Director of Global MBA Programs

When Amanda Cahal is really happy, she “clogs.” She’s tapped her toes and heels Bluegrass style all over the world as the director of Global MBA Programs at the Daniels College of Business, including in Rwanda, when trekking to see mountain gorillas. Her joy and love for the old American folk dance was so infectious, even the local kids joined in. Cahal has brought that same joy to Daniels MBA students since she arrived at DU in 2006, after running a similar program at the University of Texas at Austin.

Can you explain your role and responsibilities?

I run the global programming for our Executive MBA program, specifically focusing on working with companies and organizations all over the world to facilitate visits with our students. I also team-teach the Global Business course, which helps ensure the course and the international trip are deeply integrated.

What makes DU’s EMBA program great?

After 15 years here, I have a real heart for the EMBA program and the transformational impact I have seen it have upon our students over and over again. Yes, the classes are solid and yes, the curriculum is connected to the market. But what makes this program very special is the people—the faculty, staff and students come together to create a community, and that community has serious staying power.

What are some of your most treasured experiences with the program?

I have had the honor of traveling the world with our EMBA students! After more than 20 international trips with EMBA cohorts, I have come to realize the power of moments—meeting Desmond Tutu in South Africa, trekking to visit the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, connecting with kids at an orphanage in Vietnam, enjoying an evening meal during Ramadan at a friend’s home in Istanbul, touching the Western Wall in Jerusalem, playing soccer with street kids in Mozambique, camel-riding at the Egyptian pyramids, seeing the Southern Cross in Chile, dune-busting in the Sahara, horseback riding in Mongolia—and especially of experiencing all of those moments together with students. There have been hundreds of bus conversations over the years and I am grateful beyond measure.

What aspirations do you have for the program’s future?

My hope is that this program maintains its sense of community and continues to keep the students at the center of everything we do. The EMBA program has been on a rollercoaster of an experience over the last 5 years and my sincere wish is that we are coming out the other side in a way that makes the program even stronger.

We encourage you to reach out to the team to ask questions, seek career advice, network or engage in any way. Feel free to contact them via LinkedIn or directly at Andy.Cohen@du.edu, Nicole.Lovato@du.edu, Christina.Dinegar@du.edu, and Amanda.Cahal@du.edu. We look forward to hearing from you.

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