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Eastern holds 26th annual accounting banquet

Published on April 20, 2022

Eastern holds 26th annual accounting banquet

Attorney Joseph Lobe ’03 urges due diligence when reviewing contracts

Scholarship recipients
Accounting banquet scholarship recipients with Katherine Patnoud '10, Amber Tucker '04, Professor Emeritus William Sisco and Professor Mohd RuJoub.

The Accounting Program held its 26th annual banquet on April 19 in the Betty R. Tipton Room. The event gathered more than 100 alumni, current students, faculty and university officials for an evening that included a keynote address by alumnus Joseph Lobe ’03, dinner and an award ceremony.

“The Accounting Banquet was very successful, especially after two years of forced hiatus by COVID-19,” said Accounting Professor Mohd RuJoub. “I was so happy to see more than 60 alums took the time from their busy schedules to travel all the way to Eastern in the middle of their working week to support our program and hear our awesome keynote speaker, Joe Lobe. I was sincerely humbled by such a large attendance and enthusiastic response from our alumni, students and administrators/faculty.”

President Elsa Núñez gave the opening remarks, followed by Lobe, vice president and deputy general counsel at Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment. “Joseph is an exemplar alumnus,” said Núñez, referring to his career as a lawyer and accountant and continued involvement with his alma mater as a board member of the ECSU Foundation and adjunct faculty member in the Department of Management and Marketing.

Lobe’s presentation was titled “Accounting for Contracts — Looking Beyond the Numbers” and featured advice for negotiating contracts and protecting one’s personal finances. “The lawyer in me must state that none of this is intended as legal advice,” joked Lobe in his introduction.

Joseph Lobe
Keynote speaker Joseph Lobe '03

Lobe discussed the top mistakes non-lawyers make when reading/negotiating contracts, and emphasized that hiring contractors to work on your house is the most common way people get “bitten by a contract.”

His top mistakes include: 1) not having a contract; 2) signing without reading the contract; 3) focusing too much on the numbers; 4) focusing too much on what’s in the contact, not what’s missing; 5) not accounting for all the ways something can go wrong; and 6) simply not understanding the law and how it protects or hurts them.

Additionally, Lobe said, (7) “They confuse using Google with going to law school and refusing to admit it.” Regarding number 8 — assuming that if everything goes wrong, a lawsuit will fix it — he said, “The only people who win in litigation are the litigation attorneys.”

Lobe urged the audience to do their due diligence when signing contracts and suggested searching for publicly accessible lawsuit records for any companies one considers doing business with. He told the crowd to use credit cards whenever possible. That way if a dispute arises, “let Visa or Master Card handle it… and you get rewards points... just pay it off every month.”  

Professor Emeritus William Sisco

Eastern President Elsa Núñez

He said not to be afraid to ask questions before signing contracts, and to not shy away from conflict. “Conflict is part of negotiating.” Finally, he told the audience to believe who they are working with on first impression. “If they were difficult to work with before, they’re not going to get easier (after you go into business).”

Others in attendance included successful alumni John Cantillon ‘91, vice president and controller of Pratt & Whitney, and Matthew Boughton ’15, audit manager with Ernst Young (EY).

Following dinner, 13 current students were awarded four different accounting scholarships. The PFK O’Connor Davies Scholarship, presented by CPA Katherine Patnaude ’10, went to Sylvia Liang. The Fiondella, Milone & LaSaracina Scholarship, presented by CPA Amber Tucker ’04, went to Grace Muller.

“It's always good to come back to Eastern," said Patnaude, "and I'm glad (our) firm helps support Eastern’s talented Accounting students!”

The Founders of Accounting Scholarship, presented by Professor Emeritus William Sisco, went to five students: Elijah Johnson, Daniel Cormier, Jakoby Irvine, Sasha Hernandez and Angelina Song.

The RuJoub Family Scholarship, presented by Dr. RuJoub, went to six students: Kentasha Stevens, Monn Pierre, David Galvez, Akeem Agbede, Leslie Thibodeau, Manjola Dodani.

“In closing, I know our alumni will continue to support our key accounting endowed scholarships in a generous fashion," said RuJoub.

Written by Michael Rouleau