John Baker, Baseball Operations Assistant for the Chicago Cubs will be at The Walker School talking about balancing academics and sports and answering questions for students. All are welcome.

Wednesday, November 16
10:20-11:20 A.M.
EAB 137

John Baker, Baseball Operations Assistant for the Chicago Cubs and former MLB Catcher

 Baker is a catcher who was drafted in 2002 by the Oakland A’s in the 4th round of the amateur draft. He played during the time period Michael Lewis was researching Moneyball and is mentioned several times in the book. He went on to an 8 year MLB career playing for the Florida Marlins, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs. While playing, he spent his offseasons teaching physical education at his former high school. He was also nominated several times for the Roberto Clemente award for his work with veterans.
Since retiring in 2015, Baker has appeared frequently on radio and television and is known for his down-to-earth and frank discussion on the realities of playing catcher and major league baseball, clubhouse culture, sponsorships, superstitions and curses in sports, and maintaining a healthy relationship with the sport.  In addition to his burgeoning broadcast career, Baker has been actively building a social media following and learning what works and doesn’t work in branding oneself on social media. Furthermore, in order to further his career, Baker has returned to school to work on his degree.

Baker also continues to work with the Chicago Cubs acting as an assistant of baseball operations.  His job includes working with Cubs minor leaguers on the fundamental skills needed to be a good personal and professional player.  He also works with the major league players on health and wellness, including meditation, yoga, and pilates.

tom-johnsonThomas Johnson, associate vice president and chief of strategic initiatives at Webster University, has been named interim dean of Webster’s George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology.

Since arriving at Webster University in 2012, Johnson has spearheaded several strategic initiatives, including identifying and executing market- and student-responsive opportunities such as the creation of the University’s cybersecurity program.

“Dr. Johnson is a natural fit to lead the Walker School during this leadership transition,” said Julian Schuster, Webster’s provost, senior vice president and chief operating officer.

“His work with academic programs and faculty at Webster, as well as his extensive previous experience in higher education, in the governmental sector and in science and technology will serve Webster’s largest school well.”

Johnson previously served as dean of the College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at the University of New Haven for 13 years, during which time he worked with faculty to develop new programs in the areas of national security, digital forensics and advanced investigation. In the governmental sector, he has developed programs in criminal justice, national security, emergency management, occupational safety and health, and fire science. He has also trained law enforcement agents and prosecutors from more than 30 countries in areas such as computer crime and advanced investigations.

After serving as dean at the University of New Haven, Johnson co-founded the California Sciences Institute, delivering PhD research programs in national security and digital computer forensics. He earned a bachelor of science degree with honors and a master of science degree from the School of Public Administration and Public Safety at Michigan State University and a doctoral degree from the School of Criminology at the University of California – Berkeley.

Johnson has published seven books, 13 referred articles; holds copyright on four software programs and his chapter on “Infrastructure Warriors: A Threat to the U.S. Homeland,” was published by the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College. In addition to lecturing at the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, he has also lectured at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and numerous universities.

Johnson will begin transitioning to his new role immediately and will fully assume interim dean duties on July 1. Current dean Benjamin Akande has been named the president of Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, effective July 1.

Professor Jim Brasfield to Retire

On April 28, 2015, in In the News, by Walker News

Jim Brasfield

Please join the George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology in recognizing retiring faculty member Jim Brasfield as he concludes his 39th year of teaching at Webster University. A reception for Brasfield will be held Tuesday, May 12 from 3-4:30 p.m. in the East Academic Building, room 253/262. RSVP to attend.

Brasfield joined Webster University in 1976 as an assistant professor in the History-Political Science Department with teaching obligations in the graduate program. In addition to teaching courses in management and health services management, he has also taught courses in political science. From 1978 to 2014, he served as the program director for the Master’s of Health Administration.

A prominent voice in the study of health politics, Brasfield is the author of numerous papers and articles on healthcare policy and reform. In 2011, he published the book, “Health Policy: The Decade Ahead,” which explores Medicare and Medicaid and the debates surrounding the 2010 Affordable Care Act. In addition to his publications, he is a member of the American Political Science Academy and was the first president of its health politics and policy organized section. He is also the book review editor of the “Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law.”

“An accomplished professor and author, and a regularly sought-out commentator on health policy and governance, Jim’s impact extends beyond Webster University,” said Benjamin Akande, dean of the Walker School. “He has been a loyal servant to Webster and on many occasions has offered sage counsel to me in my time as dean. I value his friendship and appreciate his leadership and service.”

Brasfield served as Chair of the Management Department for a total of 19 years and was President of Faculty Senate at two different times. Friend and longtime colleague Tom Quirk described Brasfield as a thoughtful individual who has the capacity to change the tone and the result of discussions. “Jim is a calming force,” said Quirk. “He has the unique ability to help a discussion move forward to a much improved solution because of his advice.”

In addition to his work at Webster, Brasfield has served on various civic organizations. He was the Mayor of the City of Crestwood for six years and a member of the Crestwood Board of Alderman for 18 years. He is currently a member of the Municipal Park Grants Commission. He was formerly on the St. Louis County Board of Equalization, and served as President of the St. Louis County Municipal League.

In reflecting on his career, Brasfield said he feels fortunate to have had the opportunity to work at Webster. “I have truly enjoyed teaching because it has allowed me to share my interests with students and help them understand the world of politics and management,” he said. “I also appreciate the friendships I’ve made while working with faculty and staff across disciplines. Together, we have been able to make a positive impact on the university.”

After retiring, Brasfield plans to travel with his wife, Judy, spend time with his daughter and four grandchildren, and cheer on the St. Louis Cardinals.

StefanBomhard_crop“A Family’s Secret to Success”

On Monday, Sept. 29, the Walker School will host Stefan Bomhard, regional president – Europe of Bacardi. During this event, Mr. Bomhard will offer insights on Bacardi, the largest privately held, family-owned spirits company in the world, and share how it has expanded its business from one white rum to more than 200 brands and labels.

This event will be held at Webster University Geneva.  In addition to this viewing opportunity, St. Louis area students are invited to attend a luncheon at Webster University’s main campus to watch the presentation remotely.  RSVP to attend – 

1.  Speaker Series Event at Webster University Geneva
6 p.m. CEST presentation; reception to follow
Webster University Geneva
LLC Commons Room, Route de Collex 9
1293 Bellevue, Switzerland
RSVP to attend the lecture and reception in Geneva.

2.  Luncheon and Viewing Party at Webster University St. Louis
11 a.m. CDT; event includes a free lunch
Webster University St. Louis
Loretto Hall 402
470 E Lockwood Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63119
RSVP to attend the luncheon in St. Louis.


Richard Ludmer

Richard Ludmer, a 2012 MBA graduate from Webster University Vienna, is one of three business partners working to assist students who are settling into life abroad.  The business venture, Feels Like Home, is the brainchild of Ludmer and his two friends, Alexander Karakas and Martin Mössmer.

According to the team, the idea for Feels Like Home came about three years ago when the young entrepreneurs went through the process of setting up their own lives in a different country.  From visas to housing, insurance and more, their experiences opened their eyes to the number of different questions international students must address when they go abroad.

Ludmer, a native of Austria, said he chose to study at Webster Vienna because he had a passion for travel and he understood that his future career would likely have an international connection.  “The diversity of the student body, the excellent faculty and the small class sizes at Webster were important to me,” he said.  “I also used the opportunity to go abroad with Webster University, spending a term at Webster’s campus in Bangkok, Thailand.  The experience was fantastic for me, and it’s my hope that every Webster student makes use of this unique chance to study at campuses within Webster’s worldwide network.”

From Idea to Creation

The idea for Feels Like Home began when the team started giving personal, face-to-face advice to friends who were settling into life abroad.  Recognizing the potential of their idea, the team developed a business plan to create an online relocation tool and worked to secure funding through a grant.  “We presented our idea to a panel of judges, similar to the format of the TV show ‘Shark Tank’,” Karakas explained.  “The panel liked the population we served and awarded us the grant.”

feels-like-home-4Thanks to the funding, the team was able to create a prototype and eventually launch their complete online relocation platform that guides international students through the process.  Coined the “Step-by-Step Guide at, this tool gives students who create an account access to personalized information about Vienna before leaving their home countries.  In addition to the option of preordering a starter package full of necessities that the team will deliver to their new place, students have access to special offers on dining and entertainment through the team’s robust partnership network.  The other aspect of the company is a social component.  From organizing ski trips to city tours, cocktail nights and more, the team at Feels Like Home is helping students make connections in their new home.

Today, the website generates traffic from more than 125 countries, and this number continues to rise.

Webster Connection

Feels Like Home is headquartered on the campus of Webster Vienna.  As a result, Webster University students represent Feels Like Home’s core business.

“We help students every day,” said Karakas.  “We appreciate the support we have received from Campus Director Dr. Arthur Hirsh.  Without him, we would not be able to operate on the same level that we are on right now!”

Looking Ahead


The Feels Like Home Team: Richard Ludmer, Alexander Karakas and Martin Mössmer

Vienna is an excellent home base for the business because the city boasts a large pool of nearly 50,000 international students.  Despite this, the team has plans to expand its services to other European countries.  “Our goal is to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for students, and the potential is there for us to grow our business,” Karakas said.

While the innovative approach of Feels Like Home is helping students ease into their study abroad experience, only time will tell what’s next for this Webster University based start-up.

Webster’s Walker School of Business Executive Leadership Workshop: Raising Your Game and Driving Superior Performance is your opportunity for a unique development experience designed specifically for top leaders. This exclusive one-week program will challenge your thinking about leadership, guide your leadership development, and show how you can have a greater impact on your organization and team.

akande-pendlenton2The program will be directed by an international team of renowned leaders and executive educators from Oxford University led by Dr. David Pendleton, Business Psychologist from the Said Business School at Oxford, and Dr. Benjamin Akande, professor of Economics and Dean of the Walker School of Business, Webster University.

This workshop will be held April 6-11 in St. Louis, Missouri.  For detailed information on the program and to register, visit or call 314-246-5951.

exec workshop

052313_brasfield_headshotDr. Jim Brasfield, professor of management and health services for the Walker School of Business & Technology at Webster University, discussed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Oct. 1 with KMOX News Radio and in the article, “Health Insurance Exchanges Open for Business,” in U.S. News & World Report.

In his interviews, he addressed specific areas of the law that take effect on Oct. 1, including the enrollment period for coverage.  According to Brasfield, the ACA is complex with a lot of moving parts.  Read his remarks in U.S. News & World Report.

With a background in health services management, Brasfield is often asked to speak on health policy and local government management.

A New Approach to Leadership

On October 11, 2012, in In the News, by charlalord

Dr. David Pendleton, Associate Fellow of Saïd Business School at Oxford University and visiting professor for the George Herbert Walker School of Business at Webster University has a new approach to leadership he’s sharing with students this fall.  MNGT 5500, a one-credit seminar, offered at both the university’s Webster Groves  home campus and Westport campus is designed to provide students with an evidence based, coherent and practical understanding of leadership they can use in both their personal and professional lives. During his two day seminar, Dr. Pendleton will consider previous attempts to produce models and theories of leadership as well as the impact effective leadership can have on organizations.  He will then propose a new approach to leadership.

“We are truly honored to have Dr. Pendleton here at Webster throughout our Fall 2 semester,” said Dr. Benjamin Ola. Akande, dean of the Walker School.  “His expertise in the development of top leadership teams and the management of organizational change is unequaled in the field.”

Registration for MNGT 5500 – A New Approach to Leadership is now open to all graduate students.  The seminar will be held Friday November 30th  and Saturday December 1st (5:30pm-9:30pm) at Webster University’s home campus. Monday December 3rd  and Wednesday December 5th  (5:30pm-9:30pm) are the dates for the seminar at Westport.

For more information on the course or how to register please contact Jennifer Hylton in the Walker School’s management department.