Meet Riley Benner ’20: Founder of Phoenix Haberdashey

June 21st, 2017 by cgevry

Riley Benner’ 20
Summer Assistant, Prebusiness Office
Founder, Phoenix Haberdashery

“I wanted to take subjects that I truly enjoy like philosophy and political science, but still gain the technical skills to be successful following graduation. That is exactly what Holy Cross has offered me: the ability to pair a liberal arts education with a professional business understanding.”

1) Why did you choose Holy Cross?
At the time I was applying to schools I was looking for a small college with a Jesuit identity. There was no better fit than HC. I wanted to learn more about the business world, but I didn’t want my whole schedule taken up by accounting, economics, and management classes. I wanted to take subjects that I truly enjoy, like philosophy and political science, but still gain the technical skills to be successful following graduation. That is exactly what Holy Cross has offered me: the ability to pair a liberal arts education with a professional business understanding.

2) What has been your favorite aspect of Holy Cross?
Hands down… the people. You hear that the Holy Cross network is incredible. They aren’t lying. The Prebusiness Office has been especially supportive with my startup. Every member of the HC community – professors, staff, alumni, and even students – truly want to see their fellow crusaders succeed.

3) Tell me more about your startup.
Junior year of high school I started a company called Phoenix Haberdashery, a high-end mens’ accessory brand known for its line of reversible, double-sided neckties.  All of our employees are refugees who came to America to escape violence and tyranny. For most of them working with us was their first job, which is why we use the Phoenix to represent the brand- it symbolizes rebirth and new opportunities. Each tie purchased will tell the story of the sewer who made it, a powerful way to show our customers that not only was their tie handmade and carefully constructed, but it was done by someone with an incredible story.  Keep up with these stories on Instagram.

4) How have you been involved with the Entrepreneurial Studies & Prebusiness Office?
When I decided halfway through the second semester of my freshmen year to resume my company, I knew that the first place to go would be the Office of Entrepreneurial Studies. I met with Professor Chu and two other faculty to learn about (and later receive) the Ignite Fund, a grant that allows students to gain capital and jumpstart their ideas. Professor Chu also invited me to an alumni networking event in Boston for entrepreneurs. I went, pitched my idea, and met several alumni who have been incredibly helpful in Phoenix Haberdashery’s early development. I decided to stay in Worcester over the summer and was hired to work in the Prebusiness Office. While here, I’ve been learning about business administration and getting tips on how to successfully scale my startup.

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If you want to learn more about the Entrepreneurial Studies & Prebusiness Office, check out our website and follow us on Instagram. Thank you Riley, for sharing your story – we look forward to seeing your business grow!

 

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AVOID CAMPUS CHAOS! Fullbridge Summer Session

May 2nd, 2017 by cgevry

AVOID CAMPUS CHAOS!


Avoid campus chaos and move in a week early for the Fullbridge summer session, August 21-26, 2017.  Learn business basics through real-world content, professional development and an expanded network.  Find your professional edge with Fullbridge.

All classes and majors encouraged to apply. Succeed in business!

Get Started >> FULLBRDIGE.COM/HOLYCROSS

 

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March 28th, 2017 by cgevry

 

CPP STUDENT HIGHLIGHT: Ben Lodge ’18 started the COES Professional Program during his freshmen year with the Fullbridge Professional Edge Program. He later participated in two alumni-led business workshops: Finance Boot Camp and Marketing Communications & Sales.  Ben will receive his Certificate of Readiness and Graduation Pin at the upcoming Prebusiness: Road to Success event on April 18.

Ben’s advice to underclassmen? Start early and try everything. Completing the Fullbridge program my freshman year gave me ample time to attend a few of the many workshops offered by COES. I was also able to attend many of the alumni lectures and dinners that the office sponsors.  Through these experiences I was able to explore a multitude of industries in order to find out what I was interested in and how I could turn those interests into a career.

Join Prof. Chu in congratulating Ben and the many other students who have earned the Certificate of Readiness! Hear more advice and eat free pizza on Tuesday, April 18 at 5PM in Stein 208. 

 

 

 

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Your Guide to Career Direction = Fullbridge

March 16th, 2017 by cgevry
INFO SESSION>> Tuesday, March 21 at 5PM in Hogan 519
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To complement the Holy Cross rigorous education, Fullbridge Professional Edge will immerse you in business, finance, marketing, and innovation—for career direction. Working closely in teams to tackle real-world projects, you will develop a strong core of work competencies, and develop confidence to take your next step. Your Fullbridge coach will be your guide and mentor throughout the six-day program.

Classrooms will be transformed into a simulated workplace – the program is an intensive lecture-free hands-on experience that culminates in a final team presentation. Get real world experience. Fast. 

UPCOMING PROGRAMS>>
  • August 21 – 26, 2017 (week before fall classes begin)
  • January 15 – 20, 2018 (week before spring classes begin)
  • May 17 – 23, 2018 (week between finals and graduation)

GET STARTED>> fullbridge.com/holycross

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RECAP: 2017 Annual Shark Tank Competition

March 1st, 2017 by cgevry

Four judges, three innovative ideas, but only one grand prize.  With that much on the line you’d think the room would be tense in Smith Labs 155 for Holy Cross’ annual Shark Tank competition. Instead, it was welcoming and as Professor Chu put it, this was a space to “let our entrepreneurial juices flow.” The five judges stood to introduce themselves as Tom Flynn ‘87, managing partner at SV Life Sciences, Ed Mclaughlin ’78 founder of Blue Sunsets LLC and author of The Purpose is Profit, Bryan Sparkes ‘04, EVP and National Director at JLL and last but certainly not least, April Lukasik, parent of 2016 Holy Cross grad Sydney Zeferina-Pugliares, Founder & President of Bright & Early Children’s Learning Centers.

Dylan Olivera ’17, started the evening with a ride-sharing idea initiative called Splitrips, offering a fun, friendly and affordable alternative way to travel by introducing carpooling to college campuses. He tested the market by creating carpooling Facebook groups at various campuses and received many positive reactions.

Paul Wiley ‘20 then pitched his startup, PW Industries, specializing in custom handcrafted executive products and jewelry for the promotional product industry.  PW Industries has been running for three years and has clients like Lamborghini and Holy Cross, with hopes to expand this year to more corporations and test other college campus bookstores.  These pens are handcrafted and can be personalized according to the client.

Mary Kate Vanecko ’17 introduced her idea, Ella, a jewelry company that empowers girls to find their strengths. Ella was inspired by Mary Kate’s goddaughter, Ella, who at the age of four spreads positivity to everyone around her. Unfortunately, girls can begin to have a negative body image earlier than becoming a teenager. Her jewelry and message resonated with the judges, which they believe could connect with many young girls around the world.

The presentations ended and it was decision time.  The judges left the room to pick a winner.  After a very long 45 minutes, Professor Chu and the four judges re-entered the room. Now the room was tense.  Everyone did so well, there was no clear winner.  Professor Chu then announced Paul Wiley ‘20 as the winner of the Entrepreneurship Deep Dive! Paul received  $12,000, an alumni mentor, membership to the Worcester Chamber of Commerce, The Worcester Clean Tech Incubator and the Venture Forum.  The night ended and everyone left with their entrepreneurial juices flowing for next year’s Shark Tank.

 

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Thank you to Rosangel Cruz Cabrera ’18 for her recap of this year’s exciting Shark Tank competition.  Congratulations to Paul Wiley ’20 and thank you to our judges –  Tom Flynn ’87, April Lukasik P16, Ed McLaughlin ’78 and Bryan Sparkes ’04.  See you next year!

Cassie Gevry
Associate Director, COES & Prebusiness Program
College of the Holy Cross

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MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS & SALES WORKSHOP

February 10th, 2017 by cgevry

REGISTER HERE by February 16th.  Open to a max of 30 students.

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FUTURE STEPS WORKSHOP

November 10th, 2016 by cgevry

jb17<< MEET JULIA BAKER ’17 – “I’m a Psychology major and in the COES Professional Certificate Program here at Holy Cross. Last spring I completed the Marketing Communications and Sales workshop, and this past summer I was an Account Management Intern at BBDO. Working at an advertising agency gave me real world experience, but I am still anxious about job applications and interviews.

I am eager to participate in the Future Steps Workshop because I think it will be beneficial to reflect on my experiences at Holy Cross and develop my personal brand. I want to be able to take my liberal arts education, Psychology major and internship experience, to create a narrative that will demonstrate my value to future employers. This workshop will help me discover more about myself and help me through this critical time in my career path.”

Julia will be participating in the Future Steps Workshop over winter break to better prepare herself for interviews during senior year.  Join her to learn more about how to showcase your value to future employers, and connect your liberal arts education to the marketplace.

Registration Deadline: Thursday, December 1st 11:59pM
Workshop Dates: January 19-20, 2017
*This workshop is the capstone workshop required to complete COES Professional Certificate Program. Students must have completed Fullbridge and two alumni-led workshops prior to registering for Future Steps.

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WANT TO COMPETE IN SHARK TANK?

October 31st, 2016 by cgevry

SaderSandbox: Idea Session, Round 2🔔
Now worries if you missed the first brainstorming session, your second chance is right around the corner!

Join HCEG on Tuesday, November 1st for our final Idea Session where you will:
– get feedback/advice from experienced entrepreneurs
– meet potential team members
– learn next steps in competing in the annual Shark Tank

Don’t let this opportunity float away – we hope to see you there!
> Tuesday, November 1 at 7pm in Stein 216
> Free pizza and refreshments
> #12Kontheline

RSVP REQUIRED: Upcoming Prebusiness Events!

September 22nd, 2016 by cgevry

The fall semester at Holy Cross is always a great time to reconnect with your friends and make new connections.  I encourage you to make plans with these friends to attend some of our upcoming Prebusiness events. Some have food, but they all have great speakers.  See you there!

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Prebusiness hosts Sanctae Crucis honoree Tom Carey ’66
Tom Carey ’66 is the former executive vice president of Omnicom Group Inc. His responsibilities included the strategic development, networking, resourcing and integration of Omnicom companies for the benefit of major clients of the group, such as Daimler Chrysler, Mars, PepsiCo and others. He also participated in evaluation of strategic acquisitions for the company. Previously, Tom was president of BBDO North America and co-CEO of the New York office.  Tom is a member of the Board of Advisers at the Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University, where he received his master’s degree in journalism in 1967, and a former Trustee of College of the Holy Cross.
>Friday – September 30th from 2:30-3:30PM in Hogan TBA
RSVP: bit.ly/SCawards2016rsvp

 

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-2-59-31-pmBusiness As Vocation – You have to do well to do good.
JOIN US for dinner and discussion with Tom Beecher ‘56, Chairman of the Board of Barrantys LLC, who will share life lessons from his 50+ years in business. Mr. Beecher is also chair emeritus of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC), a nonprofit corporation founded to cultivate a world-class medical campus in downtown Buffalo, and he co-founded a Buffalo Inner-City Scholarship Opportunity Network, which funds scholarships for low-income students. Learn how he managed various businesses, and how ethical business practices adds value to the common good.
>Tuesday, October 4th @ 5:30pm in Hogan 320
Dinner RSVP link: https://goo.gl/gmpExc

 

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-3-00-35-pmThe Purpose Is Profit: The Truth about Starting and Building Your Own Business
DINNER SPEAKER: Ed “Skip” McLaughlin ’78, Author
Do you feel the pull to start your own business? Tired of working for others? Learn from Ed “Skip” McLaughlin, who left his high-level corporate position to start not one but two new businesses. Discover what to do and what not to do to create your own successful startup. “The Purpose Is Profit” eliminates the mystery of becoming an entrepreneur. FREE BOOK INCLUDED.
>Tuesday, October 18th @ 5:30pm – 7:30pm in Hogan 408
DINNER RSVP: http://goo.gl/VmTq7e

 

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*NEW* Workshop – Global Supply Chain Management

September 15th, 2016 by cgevry

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Global Supply Chain Management Workshop: REGISTER NOW!
No resume, no cover letter, just register!

This new alumni led workshop will provide hands-on experience to help you understand how a global supply chain gets things made and delivered to where customers are. Everything we wear, eat, drive, and consume comes through an organized supply chain from different parts of the world.  Gain political, cultural, and ethical insights from experienced alumni from issues they’ve dealt with that are inherent in managing a global supply chain.

This new workshop will be two days, held over fall break and is open to all majors/class years.

BONUS: it counts towards the business workshops milestone for the COES Professional Certificate Program!

Program Dates: Monday & Tuesday, October 10 & 11, 2016

Online Registration Deadline: Thursday, September 29, 2016 by 11:59PM

CLICK HERE to register and learn more about the four alumni who will be leading this workshop!

Thanks to Ben Lodge ’18, our Student Assistant, for his detailed description of this new workshop. We are very excited to be expanding our workshop line-up and look forward to welcoming these alumni to campus this fall.  Hope you can join us!

Cassie Gevry
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies