Smeal's leadership speaker series to host THON chair

February 06, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- For the first time since its inception in 2007, the executive speaker series at the Penn State Smeal College of Business, Leadership in Focus: Executive Insights, will host a current Penn State student as a featured speaker. Elaine Tanella, overall chair of the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, will be the college's guest speaker on Feb 24. 

Tanella, a senior Schreyer Scholar majoring in bioengineering with a minor in Italian, will join Smeal Dean James B. Thomas for an interactive on-stage conversation at 11:15 a.m. in the Business Building's Struthers Auditorium (110 BB) on the University Park campus. The talk is free and open to the public.
As overall chair of Dance Marathon, Tanella oversees the largest student-run philanthropy in the world and what has become one of Penn State's greatest and most unifying traditions. The annual event, which involves more than 10,000 Penn State students, involves hundreds of students dancing for 46 hours to raise money for The Four Diamonds Fund, a charity fighting childhood cancer at the Penn State Children's Hospital in Hershey, Pa. Since 1977, THON has raised more than $78 million for the Four Diamonds Fund's fight to conquer pediatric cancer, including more than $9.5 million in 2011.
During the 2011 THON season, Tanella served as overall communications chair, responsible for about 3,300 students on the communications committee. As a sophomore, she served as a member of the communications committee and danced in the 2009 THON as a member of Atlas, a special THON fundraising organization.
Outside of THON, Tanella has served as a research assistant in Penn State's Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering Laboratory and the University's Nanomedicine Laboratory. She also has interned with the Penn State College of Engineering and Auxiliary and Business Services.
Originally from Garden City, N.Y., Tanella has accepted a position in management consulting with Accenture in Philadelphia.
Executive Insights, an initiative started in the 2006-07 academic year, is designed to complement the Smeal educational experience by bringing high-profile business leaders to the college to connect with students, faculty, and administrators to share some of their business expertise and experiences in leadership.
In addition to Tanella, this semester Smeal will host alumnus Lou D'Ambrosio, president and CEO of Sears Holdings Corp., on April 13. Past Executive Insights guests include Daniel Mead, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless; Karen Quintos, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Dell; and Barry Salzberg, CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.
For more information on the Executive Insights series, visit
For more information on THON or to make a donation, visit


  • Elaine Tanella, overall chair for THON in 2012.

    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated January 09, 2015