Top business executive share business experiences at USF

Joliet, Il. – The top executives of four major companies—all University of St. Francis graduates—will share their insights and success tips on Thursday, Nov. 18. The Alumni CEO Business Symposium will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the University of St. Francis in Joliet. The public is invited.

From left to right: James Hamilton, Cheryl Stepney, Dr. Michael LaRocco, Michael Spinozzi

The symposium will feature James “Jay” Hamilton, CEO, North America AXIS Global Accident & Health; Joe Shankland, director of Sunny Delight Beverages Co.; Michael Spinozzi, president, Sally Beauty Supply; and Cheryl Stepney, CEO Empowerment Associates.

“USF has many graduates whose successful business careers have put them at the top of companies and organizations throughout the country,” said Michael LaRocco, dean of the College of Business and Health Administration.

“One of the best ways of learning is through the experiences of others, so we have brought four of our most accomplished and dynamic alumni to campus to share what they have learned through their years in the business world. These alumni are innovative and driven. They will be an inspiration to all of our students.”

While the Alumni CEO Business Symposium will be in the university’s Moser Performing Arts Center, Sexton Auditorium, it is also accessible online to USF’s alumni and students throughout the country, said LaRocco. The symposium can also be viewed online at For more information, call 815/740-3395.

Hamilton has more than 20 years of accident and health insurance experience with a consistent record of success in strategically growing premium and profit at leading insurers. Most recently, Hamilton served as senior vice president, North American Accident & Health for the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. Previously, he was vice president, Accident & Health for CNA Insurance Companies. Hamilton holds an MBA and bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of St. Francis.

Previous to joining Sunny Delight Beverages, Shankland was president/CEO of Jays Foods, which distributed snack foods to seven states. A retail veteran of 28 years, Spinozzi directs the overall strategic direction for the more than 2,500 Sally Beauty stores in the United States and Canada. Previously Spinozzi was executive vice president, chief product officer at Borders, Inc., with responsibility for all product and supply chain functions for Borders Group worldwide. Both Shankland and Spinozzi now serve on the University of St. Francis Board of Trustees.

Stepney is a proven technologist, executive and organizational leader having expertise in empowering people to maximize their potential. Stepney brought technologies to the commercial marketplace while at AT&T, including the Unix and the first e-mail system. She established new divisions for start-up organizations like Oracle and Macromedia.

The University of St. Francis in Joliet serves 3,400 students nationwide, offering 40 undergraduate programs, four degree-completion programs and 14 graduate programs, including a doctorate in nursing practice. Programs are offered in arts and science, business, education, nursing and health care and social work. For information, call (800) 735-7500 or visit