How CCOB’s ‘Lopes First’ culture benefits students

April 03, 2019 / by / 0 Comment

Editor’s note: This story is reprinted from the February issue of GCU Magazine. To view the digital version of the magazine, click here.

By Rick Vacek
GCU Magazine

Alexandra Davis was a freshman sitting in her sports business class at Grand Canyon University, contemplating whether this was the right major for her, when she got her first look at the circle of Colangelo College of Business life.

In walked Jerry Colangelo with none other than NCAA President Mark Emmert. This sort of thing happens all the time – the man who had such a major role in turning Phoenix into a major league city regularly brings big names to the college bearing his big name.

The 150,000-square-foot Colangelo College of Business Building features plenty of room on the first floor to meet with faculty. (Photo by David Kadlubowski)

“Definitely one of those surreal moments,” she said.

A few weeks later, GCU announced it was going to transition to NCAA Division I. Just like that, she knew she was in the right place at the right time.

“I saw that it was the real deal,” she said, “and I wanted to be part of it.”

Six years later, Davis is Administrative Coordinator of the Arizona Coyotes. She reports directly to the hockey club’s president. She has “fallen in love with hockey.” She’s on the CCOB sports business advisory board. She’s working toward her MBA from GCU. And she shakes her head when she thinks about how Colangelo has impacted her career.

“When he walks into a room,” she said, “it’s an entirely different demeanor.”

Davis was in the room filled with alumni, staff, students and dignitaries, including Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, when the official grand opening of the 150,000-square-foot Colangelo College of Business Building was celebrated in early January.

It’s a structure that represents what Colangelo is all about – collaboration, communication and servant leadership, and you don’t have to look far to find reminders of the “Lopes First” culture. The definition of “Lopes First” even adorns a first-floor wall.

“Everything we do is to help our students learn and graduate, then go into the world to make a significant impact,” CCOB Dean Dr. Randy Gibb said. “We aim to be the most accessible faculty in the country to help them achieve success and find their purpose. I am so proud of our team and the work they do.”

“Lopes First” is so important to the mission of CCOB, it’s on the wall in the new building. (Photo by David Kadlubowski)

The testimonials of Mindy Weinstein’s marketing students show exactly how the circle of CCOB life revolves.

Junior Michael Price kept in touch with Weinstein after taking her Introduction to Marketing class, and it paid off for him when she got him into the VIP lounge at the Denver Digital Summit last summer.

“I was probably the youngest person there,” said Price, 19. “Everybody was walking around pitching their ideas to me.”

He has continued to meet with her once a month.

“Every time we talk,” he said, “it doesn’t feel like any time has passed. It’s not just what she can bring me to, it’s the people she knows personally.”

Shannon Walker gets to see Weinstein even more often – she’s doing an internship for Weinstein’s company, Marketing Mindshift, and also works in the CCOB Building twice a week.

“She’s been a mentor to me, not just a boss,” Walker said. “She’s given me a lot of good advice – life advice and career advice as well. She’s boosted my confidence and given me great feedback on the job and outside the job, too.

“She’s the definition of a servant leader. In my servant leadership class I always write about her because it’s so easy to write about her. She really cares.”

Tommy Wahl is another student-turned-employee at Marketing Mindshift, and he also is interning for another Weinstein connection – Curt Jones, founder and CEO of Dippin’ Dots. Wahl has found that Weinstein is consistent no matter whether he’s learning from her in the classroom or on the job.

Jerry Colangelo presided over the building’s grand opening. (Photo by Ralph Freso)

“She provides so much information and just loves to teach and give that information and transparency throughout all of her dealings,” he said. “I’ve noticed that it’s not just in the classroom, it’s through her clientele. Everyone who hires her, she gives them in-depth, detailed information – ‘This is what I’m doing. Here’s how I’m doing it.’”

That sounds a lot like what Colangelo often has said: When someone has told him he can’t do something, his response has been, “I can and I’ll show you how.” Then he does it.

His college’s four-story building on 30th Drive symbolizes that moxie. It quickly has become a destination, and not just for students – they like to bring family members there to show off their new digs.

Walker especially appreciates the collaboration space for faculty and students on the first floor.

“Students can come in, go to professors’ office hours and kind of just hang out,” she said. “People are really proud of this building.”

When the grand opening was over last month, Alexandra Davis went up to Colangelo to tell him the story of what happened six years ago and thank him for that fateful visit – routine for him, life-changing for her.

Yet another event in the circle of CCOB life. Surreal? Nope. Very real.

“This building is only getting started,” Davis said. “We’re just warming it up.”

Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].


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