Like many a Bruin, Jaime Nack ’98, M.P.P. ’02 spent years building her business through a combination of grit, belief and talent. But over time she realized there was a fourth element, just as critical: networking. More specifically, UCLA networking. On LinkedIn, Nack read about a program at the University of Georgia that was honoring its top alumni entrepreneurs as the “Bulldog 100” — a distinction that would no doubt perk up the ears of other “bulldogs” within the UGA network. A seed was planted.

Nack, who at the time was an alumni association board member, proposed a “Bruin 100” concept to Julie Sina, UCLA’s associate vice chancellor for alumni affairs. Sina quickly rallied her team to launch a social media campaign to enlist alumni business owners to apply, and Bruin Business 100 was underway. Some 40 judges selected the top 100 companies they felt embodied “True Bruin” values of respect, accountability, integrity and service.

In May, 80 of the inaugural Bruin Business 100 recipients returned to campus for a lively reception in the James West Alumni Center. Among the wildly creative, diverse honorees: Tina Chen ’14’s HumaniTea, the United Kingdom’s first chilled, plant-based tea lattes bottled in aluminum cans; Dave Whelan M.B.A. ’02 and Jessica Barnette M.P.H. ’14, M.B.A. ’19’s BioscienceLA, a nonprofit helping Los Angeles to become the next bioscience hub; and Daniel Zakowski M.B.A. ’12’s Ready, Set, Food!, a pediatrician-sanctioned program to help parents prevent food allergies in their babies. A new cohort of honorees will be selected on an annual basis by the UCLA Alumni Association.

In her remarks, Nack encouraged the entrepreneurs to “pay it forward” with their UCLA connections, saying: “Look at the multiplier effect of just one program.”


Read more from UCLA Magazine’s Fall 2022 issue.