Television writer and producer Mara Brock Akil (“Girlfriend — With an Agenda,” spring 2004) celebrated the fifth-season premiere of her comedy-drama series The Game. The show, which focuses on the wives and girlfriends behind a pro football team, airs on BET; its fourth-season premiere drew almost 8 million viewers, a network record. She and her husband, Salim Akil, are now filming a remake of the 1976 movie Sparkle, the story of a Supremes-like Motown singing group, starring American Idol winner Jordin Sparks.
Dave Eanet (“Mr. ’Cat Enters Hall,” Sports, summer 2005) was named the 2011 Illinois Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Eanet is Northwestern’s football and basketball play-by-play announcer. He also hosts the Wildcats’ football and basketball coaches’ shows and co-hosts Wildcat Insider, a weekly radio show on WGN Radio. An honorary member of Northwestern’s Athletic Hall of Fame, Eanet will be honored at the 53rd annual NSSA Awards Banquet in June in Salisbury, N.C.
John Huston (“Cold Fires Up Arctic Adventurer,” fall 2007, and “To the Top of the Earth,” fall 2009) and his polar expedition partner, Tyler Fish, released Forward: The First American Unsupported Expedition to the North Pole (Octane Press) in December. The book features more than 300 full-color photos, a 45,000-word narrative and short pieces that present vivid details of their April 2009 expedition to the North Pole. Huston and Fish became the first Americans to ski unsupported and unassisted, without sled dogs or food drops or other outside assistance, to the North Pole. The trip took 55 days and spanned 475 miles.
Karen Page (“Karen Page: A Real Page Turner,” fall 2010) added another chapter to her impressive standing in the wine world last fall when she released The Food Lover’s Guide to Wine (Little, Brown and Co.). The work won the 2011 Gourmand Wine Book Award for the United States and will contend for the “best in the world” title on March 6 at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards at the Folies Bergère in Paris. In 2011 Forbes named Page’s best-selling book The Flavor Bible one of the world’s top 10 cookbooks of the past century.
Constance Teska, standing at right with fellow Pluscios Management co-founder Kelly Chesney (KSM00) (“Hedging Their Bets in a Sober Economy,” fall 2009), was named the 2011 Distinguished Woman Investment Professional of the Year by the Chicago-based organization Women Investment Professionals. The award honors Teska’s commitment to supporting the advancement of women in the investment industry.
David Hoffman, Samir Rayani and Alex White earned a spot in Businessweek’s listing of America’s Best Young Entrepreneurs thanks to the Next Big Sound, a startup that the trio conceived during a Northwestern Business Institutions Program entrepreneurship class (“Discovering the Next Big Sound,” News on Campus, fall 2009). The company provides bands with a tool to measure their social media presence. Its service tracks fans’ online activity and behavior for thousands of artists and packages the analytics in an online dashboard. White, who was also named to Forbes 30 Under 30: Music, says the Next Big Sound plans to double its staff in the next six months.