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Pung Speaker Series: How will you become significant?

By Taylor Hindman, student writer
Thursday, April 18, 2024

The latest discussion in the Roy S. Pung Executive Speaker Series was led by alumnus Dan Raynak (B.S. Packaging ’95). With nearly 28 years of experience in the consumer and retail sectors, and having worked with renowned companies such as Kellogg, General Mills, Target and WPP, Raynak brought a wide array of experiences to his presentation.

After Raynak graduated from MSU, he embarked on a professional journey for Nabisco, the cookie and cracker company, which also was a pivotal moment because he found numerous mentorships at the company. These mentorships served as a platform for Raynak’s future, educating him on company culture, packaging operations and dynamics of the corporate world.

Several years into his career, Raynak made the strategic decision to pursue his MBA in marketing and strategy from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. Then Raynak began his nine-year tenure at General Mills, specializing in the brand marketing department, where he excelled using his past experiences as reference.

From there, Raynak seamlessly transitioned his wealth of experience to WPP, within the data analytics sector of Kantar. He underscored to the Pung series audience that each position he ever held taught him valuable skills that were applied to his next roles. For this particular position, Raynak discussed with students how he focused on the significance of his work.

“I have always had this mindset of ‘How do I think about a problem differently? How do I try to have a significant impact that goes above and beyond the everyday employee?’” he said.

He clarified for the audience the sharp distinction between being successful and being significant. Using a basketball analogy, he compared winning a basketball game to success and being a hall of fame coach to significance.

“Sometimes the smallest things have the biggest impact. So my advice to you is to be significant.”

He brought up one of his past MSU professors, Martin Fuchs, and how he wrote a heartfelt letter to this mentor in 1992. In the letter, he thanked Fuchs for his unwavering support, building his confidence and assisting him whenever needed. In 2013, Raynak received news of his professor’s passing, along with news that his note was still in his professor’s office. When asked, Raynak gave MSU permission to display the note in tribute to Fuchs and his profound impact on generations of students.

“I guess that is how you are significant. You don’t know the impact you have on other people. And all of this growth and business is important and it’s fun and it’s exciting, and traveling around the world is fun and being in boardrooms with CEOs doing business is fun. But sometimes the smallest things have the biggest impact. So my advice to you is to be significant.”

Raynak expressed the profound truth that even the smallest acts have the potential to shape individuals’ lives. He advocated not merely for success but for significance, emphasizing the impact of making a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

More information on the 2023–24 Pung Speaker Series, as well as information on past events, is available via the Full-Time MBA program.

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