A strong liberal arts base for her finance major was the foundation of success for 2019 Maddalone Wall honoree Marisa A. Ricciardi ’98.
An in-house marketer for nearly 20 years for the New York Stock Exchange and Goldman Sachs, Ricciardi decided to start her own agency to serve clients like her employers.
“I saw a need for creative people who knew marketing and communications strategy and also understood capital markets.”
She founded The Ricciardi Group in New York in 2014 and now partners with Morgan Stanley, BNY Mellon, innovators like Adobe and merging technology brands like General Assembly. Her firm was recently recognized by Inc. 5000 as one of America’s fastest-growing companies, and Ricciardi herself was named one of “10 Leading Ladies Changing Business as Usual” by Inc. Magazine and “Marketing Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the 2017 Markets Choice Awards for Women in Finance.
“The liberal arts courses I took at Siena gave me a broad range of knowledge beyond business,” she said. “It was a very horizontal word view, whereas a lot of marketing agencies are very vertical with a very narrow view. The liberal arts stretched me to know a little about everything – history, science, religion, accounting - and that base helped me understand a variety of companies and their approaches to doing business.”
Her advice to future entrepreneurs at Siena?
“Wanting to go big and change the world is OK but it’s fine to start small and see incremental improvements. A lot of new entrepreneurs want to burst onto the scene and be the next Mark Zuckerberg, but small and medium-sized business are needed too.”
Ricciardi also strongly advises business owners to have a lot of diversity on their teams.
“By ‘diverse’ I mean women and men, and a range of ages, races, and personal and professional backgrounds. Diversity helps you better understand the billions of people you’re trying to reach.”
The annual Maddalone Wall induction ceremony was held October 15 in the College’s Stack Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
The Maddalone Wall provides a highly visible platform to honor Siena graduates who have launched their own successful businesses, and to inspire current students who have entrepreneurial plans, according to Michael J. Hickey ’83, executive director of the Stack Center. Inductees have a plaque with their business’s logo featured on the wall.
In addition to The Ricciardi Group, Maddalone honorees for 2019 are:
Michelle Annese Bleichert '85 Christmas Land LLC, Altamont, NY
Christmas Land hosts holiday-themed activities for families such as visits with Santa, sleigh rides and crafting, and supports various philanthropic initiatives. Each year they bring in groups of children in need to share in the Christmas Land experience, and have founded the non-profit Seeds of Endless Hope, which grows produce for families with a member undergoing cancer treatment. Christmas Land is now hosting summer music events.
Thomas J. Burke, Siena Board of Trustees, Burke Companies, Malta, NY
The Burke Companies has interests in commercial real estate development and food service operations. Their portfolio includes supermarkets, drugstores, medical office buildings, strip malls, convenience stores and residential subdivisions located throughout the greater Capital Region.
Douglas P. Colbeth '77 and Margaret R. Colbeth '76 MedCircle
MedCircle is a professional mental health company that offers its members the ability to dial into conferences with featured MedCircle doctors. The MedCircle educational series was created for patients, parents, supporters, healthcare workers, educators, and first responders, enabling its members to take more control over their mental healthcare.
Douglas P. Colbeth '77 Spyglass Inc.
Spyglass was one of the first internet software technology developers to enable billions of people and their devices to leverage use of the emerging World Wide Web. Spyglass created and licensed many technologies still in use today, including Microsoft's Internet Explorer Browser. In 1995, Spyglass was the first internet software company to conduct a successful IPO and was one of the top performing NSDQ stocks in 1996.
John D. Smack '95 OneConnect, Clifton Park, NY
OneConnect provides customized technology solutions to more than 600 businesses around the world. The OneConnect team advises and supports local clients like Siena College, Plug Power, St. Peter’s Health Partners, Pioneer Savings Bank and SI Group.
Chip J. Stein '78 Stein Fibers, Ltd., Albany, NY
Stein Fibers produces, sources and sells synthetic textile related fiber products with a green environmental focus. They are a distributor of recycled polyester as well as a domestic producer, using global sourcing strategies and modern domestic production facilities.