School of business

Wake Up With Washburn

Register for Wake Up

You can register online for the breakfast lecture series. Each breakfast is $10 for members of the Alumni Association and $13 for nonmembers. Members of the Alumni Association can sign up for all four breakfasts for $50.

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Washburn Alumni Association Membership

Show your Ichabod Pride by joining the Washburn Alumni Association or renewing your membership. You'll receive numerous benefits as a member and be giving back to the University.

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Wake Up With Dr. Priti Lakhani
Dr. Priti Lakhani

Dr. Priti Lakhani, an executive physician at Cerner Corp., spoke about the importance of big data in health care during the April 2015 Wake Up With Washburn.

Read about Dr. Lakhani
Wake Up With Michael Clark
The Taylor family

Former Washburn athlete and alumnus Michael Clark, now an executive at ONEOK, spoke during the November 2013 lecture.

Read about Clark's visit
Wake Up With Ron Whitten
Golf Digest's Ron Whitten

Golf Digest architecture senior editor Ron Whitten was our guest speaker during the second Wake Up With Washburn of the 2012-13 season.

Read about Whitten's visit
Wake Up With Marsha Oliver
Marsha Oliver and Walt James

Marsha (Ticehurst) Oliver, vice president of marketing and a shareholder at Mize Houser and Company P.A., was our guest speaker during the third Wake Up With Washburn of the 2012-13 season.

Read about Oliver's visit
Wake Up With Steven S. Martin

Steven S. Martin, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska, was our guest speaker during the fourth and final Wake Up With Washburn of the 2012-13 season.

Read about Martin's visit
All Business

Washburn University's School of Business sponsors Wake Up With Washburn, along with the Alumni Association.

About the School of Business

Wake Up With Washburn

A photographer from Sports Illustrated, the first lady of Kansas, an executive at Dominos Pizza and the play-by-play broadcaster for the Denver Nuggets. Just a sample of the Washburn alumni who have returned to campus for Wake Up With Washburn.

In conjunction with the School of Business, the Alumni Association has sponsored the breakfast lecture series since 1993. Wake Up With Washburn is inspired by the accomplishments of alumni and a desire to provide a forum for their interaction with fellow members of the Washburn family and Topeka community.

The series includes four programs during the academic year and assembles a versatile lineup of outstanding Washburn alumni from across the country. Each program begins with a breakfast at 7:30 a.m. in the Convocation Hall of Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center.

The cost for individual lectures is $10 for members of the Alumni Association and $13 for non-members. Members can sign up for all four lectures for $40, while nonmembers can sign up for all four at a cost of $52.

2015-16 Wake Up With Washburn Speakers

Sept. 3, 2015: David Callanan, Cody Foster, Derek Thompson, co-founders, Advisors Excel

David Callanan, Cody Foster and Derek Thompson

A few years into careers in financial services, David Callanan, Cody Foster and Derek Thompson dreamed about redefining their industry. In 2004, Callanan, bba ’98, Foster, ba ’99 and Thompson bba ’99 began to work on that dream.

The trio pooled their financial resources, which amounted to $135,000, and opened the doors to Advisors Excel in 2005. A decade later, the Topeka-based company is an industry-leading marketing organization assisting independent financial advisors across the United States.

David Callanan: The native of Benton received a bachelor of business administration in management and marketing in 1998 and worked as a director of annuity sales before joining Foster and Thompson to form Advisors Excel.

Callanan is a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and is married with two children.

Cody Foster: Foster is from Stockton and received a bachelor of arts in mass media in 1999 and worked as a director of marketing before teaming with Callanan and Foster.

Foster is a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and is married with two children.

Derek Thompson: The native of Silver Lake received a bachelor of business administration in management in 1999 and worked as a director of LTCi sales before co-founding Advisors Excel. Thompson was a member of the golf team at Washburn and is married with three children.

Nov. 19, 2015: Karen Neilinger, real estate developer, financial services professional, author

Karen NeilingerNeilinger, ba ’88, bba ’89, began working on Wall Street in the early 1990s. She was a senior analyst at Goldman/Sachs in New York City and London and the head of international retail marketing at Lehman Brothers in London.

She has a broker license and invests in and develops residential and commercial properties and manages private family investment accounts, spending most of her time between Florida, Connecticut and London.

She authored the book “Think Rich! Get Rich! Stay Rich! Think Like a Woman … Invest Like a Pro!” Purchase the book or read more about it at

Neilinger’s work in the community includes serving as chairwoman of the board for the Greenwich (Connecticut) YWCA and Putnam Cottage, a historical site. She received the Spirit of Greenwich Award as volunteer of the year.

The Topeka native is a member of Delta Gamma and Nonoso and established an endowment at Washburn for study abroad.

Feb. 25, 2016: Colby Fries, director, pharmacy and retail operations, Walgreen Co.

Colby FriesFries received a bachelor of business administration in finance in 1994 and is a member of Phi Delta Theta.

He has worked at Walgreen Co. for 22 years and currently is director of pharmacy and retail operations.

Fries is an executive committee board member for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and a member of the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

He was recognized by the ADA for his fundraising efforts in 2013 and by Crime Stoppers as corporate citizen of the year in 2014.

Fries is married with two children.

April 21, 2016: Carol Rogers, president, CEO, founding partner, Rogers & Company

Carol RogersRogers received a bachelor of arts in psychology in 1971 and has enjoyed an investment advisory career that spans nearly 40 years. She is the president, CEO, founding partner and a senior financial consultant at wealth management firm Rogers & Company.

She began her career as a partner at Central Research Corp. before joining E.F. Hutton in 1976. Rogers was one of the company’s leading brokers and left in 1986 as a vice president and member of the chairman’s council.

She formed Rogers & Company in 1986 and was named broker of the year by Registered Representative magazine in 1997. Rogers & Copmany has received numerous honors and accolades, and Rogers was named one of the top 50 independent woman advisors by Barron’s.

Her service to the community includes the Benedict College board and Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, MBA alumni board.

2014-15 Wake Up Speakers

The 2014-15 lineup consisted of an exeuctive/professor, community leader/professor, CEO and physician.

2013-14 Wake Up Speakers

The 2013-14 lineup consisted of a state trooper, accounting executive, entrepreneur and artist.

2012-13 Wake Up Speakers

The 2012-2013 lineup consisted of a restaurant owner, magazine editor, marketing executive and health care executive.

2011-12 Wake Up Speakers

The 2011-12 lineup consisted of two banking executives and an FBI agent.

Previous Speakers

See which previous speakers have shared their story during Wake Up With Washburn.

Attending Wake Up With Washburn

The cost for each lecture is $10 for members of the Washburn Alumni Association and $13 for non-members. If you prefer, you can skip breakfast and listen to the lecture for free at 8 a.m.