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About the Lecture Series
Alumni lecturers for the Lyon & Bendheim series are chosen because they are leaders who have repeatedly proven themselves and have tremendous achievements at the highest levels in their respective fields. "Our goal for starting the lecture series was to bring prominent and successful alumni to campus to share their wisdom and experience with the students," says Tom Bendheim. "The students benefit, alumni feel good about being asked to speak, and Tufts ultimately benefits in terms of alumni support and overall recognition as a school that breeds highly successful professionals in all fields."
The name of the lecture series pays tribute to a friendship that started as freshman roommates in Miller Hall. "Decades later we are still best friends," Tom says of his relationship with J.B. Lyon. "We hope the name of the series provides further inspiration for the lasting friendships and ties that take root at Tufts."
The lecture series features one alumni lecturer per semester. Students play a key role in identifying alumni lecturers, as well as planning and marketing each event. The series is also supported by the Entrepreneurial Leadership Program and the Office of Alumni Relations.
About J.B. Lyon and Tom Bendheim
The Lyon & Bendheim lecture series was created by two Tufts graduates with distinguished entrepreneurial track records, J.B. Lyon and Tom Bendheim.
J.B. Lyon, A85, manages Mount Independence Investments, his family office, primarily focused on investing growth capital in private businesses servicing the elderly population and several categories in real estate. He also helped to launch and serves on the board of Fund for the Republic, a nonpartisan, nonprofit philanthropic fund that is committed to reducing the influence of well-financed special interests over American politics and policy-making.
Previously, J.B. helped to create and manage two private equity firms: ZBI Ventures and Vision Media Investors, which focused investments in energy and media, respectively. Prior to working in private equity, J.B. was Vice President of Business Development for Staples, Inc. and Vice President of Operations for Staples Business Delivery unit. During his eight year tenure at Staples, J.B. led the launch of the Staples.com site, for which he wrote the business plan, led site development, and then served as head of marketing while growing sales to $50 million in one year. Staples.com now generates $1 billion annually and is the second largest e-commerce website after Amazon.com. J.B. was also responsible for creating marketing partnerships with top companies such as American Express, Discover, Verizon, and Yahoo, resulting in incremental sales of more than $100 million for Staples, Inc.
Prior to joining Staples, J.B. co-founded and managed Uncle Dave's Kitchen, a nationally distributed all-natural pasta sauce and condiment packaged foods company. Before starting Uncle Dave's, he spearheaded the use of satellite technology in the 1988 presidential election. J.B. also served as Assistant to the President of New World Entertainment, the production company that produced The Wonder Years. During high school, J.B. created a company with his father that became the first licensee of Pac-Man paraphernalia. While at Tufts, J.B. and Tom created and wrote the “Quote of the Day” for the Tufts Daily, J.B. hosted a talk show on WMFO and produced several plays. J.B. received a M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A. from Tufts University.
J.B. lives in Lexington, MA with his wife Kimberly Syman and three children. Kimberly is a managing partner of New Profit Inc. (www.newprofit.com), which she helped to build with Vanessa Kirsch, J87.
Mr. Bendheim also graduated from Tufts in 1985. He is the Managing Director of Carter Development, LLC, a residential real estate development and investment company.
Previously, Mr. Bendheim held senior management and marketing positions at CVS Caremark, PepsiCo and Lenox Brands. Earlier in his career, he held management consulting positions with McKinsey & Company and Bain & Company, serving clients primarily in the consumer goods and retail sectors.
Known for turning around, reviving, and building consumer brands, he orchestrated several turnarounds. In 2005 he became the President & CEO of the Colibri Group, a 35-year old private equity-backed company that designed, manufactured, and marketed branded accessories. The company sold its products through 20,000 customer outlets in the U.S., which included major national chains and independent retailers, and internationally through broad-based distribution. Mr. Bendheim restructured the company and positioned its brands to be market leaders in their respective categories.
From 2002-2004, as President and CEO of the Rheingold Brewing Company, he revived the struggling Rheingold Beer brand and positioned the company for sale to a strategic buyer. In 2005, Drinks Americas, a diversified publicly-traded beverage company, purchased the company and Mr. Bendheim transitioned to the private equity field, where he identified and evaluated acquisitions of consumer/branded businesses.
From 1997-2001, Mr. Bendheim, as COO, orchestrated a turnaround of Dooney & Bourke, a premier marketer and retailer of luxury handbags. The company continues to achieve record sales and profits.
Mr. Bendheim has been featured on CNBC as well as in the New York Times, Daily News, and New York Post for his role in reviving Rheingold Beer. He has lectured at the Stern School of Business at New York University, where a business school case was written on Rheingold, Yeshiva College, and the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the featured commencement speaker.
He earned a B.A., magna cum laude, from Tufts University, and, as a Lauder Institute Fellow, received an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business and an M.A. in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Bendheim serves as a board member of:
Mr. Bendheim lives in Barrington, Rhode Island with his wife Kathryn and their children Rebecca, Bruce, Lauren, and Julia.