Posts Tagged ‘entrepreneur’

The Entrepreneur’s Journey

December 17th, 2014 by cgevry

What 5 traits empower entrepreneurs to create their own luck?

Ray just got off a call from Chennai, India. The call was from a business partner, who now wants to expand Ray’s book of business internationally.  This good news came weeks prior to a different partners’ meeting, a meeting celebrating the past. The three original partners got back their most recent financials, and they blew their year-end goal out of the water.

ray_jorgensen_headshot_tnRay Jorgensen ‘91’s firm, PMG, Inc., is in the business of helping low income communities get access to affordable health care. This mission, inspired by “men and women for others”, has earned PMG the privilege of being a top Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) firm serving the Community Health Center (CHCs) market.  He has written several books and teaches healthcare practitioners about how to maximize their revenue for the healthcare services they provide. And amidst the uncertainty of health care reform, Ray and his two business partners have grown the PMG team from 3 to nearly 300 people to capitalize on an underserved, yet growing, niche market.

This journey supports the modern myth that entrepreneurs can control what goes on around them. It presents a story that Ray knew what he wanted to do after his 1991 graduation.  It conjures a narrative that he knew exactly how to capitalize on the health care overhaul. It creates a belief that he always intended to have a business partner in India.

In fact, the opposite is true.

After Holy Cross, Ray was rejected from every law school he applied to, a non-compete clause challenged his startup’s growth, and his professional musician dreams sank.
As a result of these challenges, Ray is constantly battling an illusion of control. He adapts to uncertainty in an ever-changing market. The first step to battle this illusion is his own awareness that he cannot change things out of his power. The second step is controllable; most importantly, attitude and effort. Ray cannot affect an evolving environment, so he focuses on how to react to change. And with enough perseverance and persistence, he believes he can create his own luck too.
So how has he battled the illusion of control? How has he created his own luck? And what clues can other entrepreneurs follow to improve their chances at success?

The items below outline 5 areas in which entrepreneurs can control and in doing so create their own luck.

1)    Expertise: Be a top authority in your industry
Ray credits PMG’s success in the healthcare industry to focusing on CHCs. Before this commitment, his business was scattered across many medical subspecialties from chiropractors to anesthesiologists. Although the business was diversified, there were many competitors in these subspecialties with more expertise than PMG. By focusing on being a top CHC authority, no competitor knows more than Ray’s team. In fact, as the nation’s leading provider of for CHC’s, PMG’s articles are often the only result to his team’s CHC Google searches. Although this is easy for Ray to realize looking back, how can others identify how to be an authority?

2)    Information Gaps: Fill the information gaps others have missed
In 2006, PMG made the difficult decision to release the two-thirds of their book of business that were not CHCs. Although this decision sounds crazy, Ray applied his Holy Cross history major to research their hypothesis. His team validated that the government hyper funds CHCs at a rate higher than traditional fee-for-service Medicaid. PMG discovered what the competition had not: CHCs are part of the government healthcare safety net with exceptional reimbursement despite typically undesirably elevated percentages of Medicaid patients. This insight allowed Ray’s team to identify an information gap, accessible knowledge that the rest of his competitors didn’t understand. Although their 2006 book of business included many medical subspecialties, this broad knowledge allowed PMG to identify the information imbalance, which ultimately led them to focus on only CHCs. This is easy to identify in hindsight, so how can others identify and bridge the information gap?

3)    Mentorship: Find a mentor to learn from the best
Before Ray started his own firm, he was learning about the entire healthcare billing business while working for a New England start up. The startup, which specialized in the RCM, allowed him to receive first-hand experience from industry experts. This was more than a job; this was a mentorship that allowed him to develop key industry knowledge, while still paying the bills for his growing family. The intellectual capital he gained over this time period served as the foundation to later start PMG with his partners. Identifying information gaps and becoming an authority may appear difficult, but finding a mentorship can significantly reduce this time and effort. While Ray was fortunate to have come across this opportunity, how can others find mentors to learn industry knowledge?

4)    Complex Industry: Enter an industry with growing opportunities
Shortly after graduation, Ray took a job at Blue Cross Blue Shield, before ultimately switching to the provider side to focus on compensation maximization. The healthcare industry, with its growing demand and legal complexities, provided him a fertile environment to develop intellectual capital. The ever-changing market created new problems for established organizations, but Ray saw this adversity as an opportunity. Although Ray and his partners never knew exactly how healthcare reform would affect his business, their ability to identify problems and perceive them as opportunities, has led their team to become a top billing specialist in the CHC space. How should others narrow their search for a growing industry?

5)    Passion: Choose a profession with meaning
Ray believes that everyone, rich and poor, should have access to healthcare. The healthcare industry and the CHC subspecialty, empowers him to create change in the lives of people who need it most. Yes, billing may not sound glamorous, but PMG makes a real impact every day. Although his job hasn’t always been smooth sailing and he hasn’t always had control of the helm, finding a meaningful career has allowed him to weather the storm as he awaits calmer waters.

So how do you create your own luck and start on the path to successful business?

Ray believes the first step to battle the illusion of control is to be aware of it. The second step is to control what is controllable. So create your own luck: choose a career with meaning, identify growth areas, find a mentorship, fill the information gaps, and become a top authority at what you do. It has been a 20+ year journey for Ray, from the midnight shift at Blue Cross Blue Shield to being his own boss. During this journey, he has come to the conclusion, “Life works serendipitously, but the gradual persistent development of expertise is repeatable.”

At his team’s celebratory dinner last month, he made a toast. The toast was simple – “to the complexities of Healthcare.” Although PMG continues to blow their 2014 goals out of the water, it could be said that Ray actually prefers to be in the water. He gave up swimming against the ambiguity; in fact, Ray has grown fond of swimming with it.

Ray Jorgensen ‘91 has been President and CEO of Priority Management Group, Inc. (PMG) since 1998. Responsible for oversight of consulting operations strategic leadership, national speaking, and board work for PMG’s companies, Ray has personally trained thousands from all 50 states on coding, billing, and reimbursement in addition to authoring several books and dozens of articles.

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Thanks to our writer, Andrew Marzo ’14.  He is an aspiring entrepreneur who believes that founders do not find their business, they create opportunities. He suggests that the prevalent entrepreneur narrative is a myth, and believes a new narrative is necessary. Through articles, conversations, and interviews, Andrew hopes to deconstruct this illusion and leave behind breadcrumbs for future entrepreneurs to discover on their own journey.

Check out the new COES instapage and follow us @HCPrebusiness
Watch for our next blog post…

Cassie Gevry
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

 

A Whole New Line-Up!

December 4th, 2014 by cgevry

COES_topHAVE YOUR HEARD? The Ciocca Office of Entrepreneurial Studies is excited to announce a new program structure that rewards students with focused business skills – the COES Professional Program. This structured co-curricular program is designed to complement the excellent Holy Cross liberal arts education by offering you an introduction to business workshop, followed by access to a number of alumni-led, industry specific workshops and advising. The workshops listed below, combined with internship experience, recommended HC courses, student club involvement and required Excel workshop, will enable HC students to connect their education and experience to the marketplace.

 

  • Fullbridge Professional Edge @ Holy Cross, www.fullbridge.com/holycross, is held three times per year (August, January & May) that boasts a simulated work experience to expose students to the basics of business. Fullbridge is a pre-requisite to the following workshops.
  • Finance Boot Camp is a four-day workshop designed as an immersion to guide students who are interested in a finance career. Held over fall break with an overnight trip to NYC, students shadow alumni at various banks including J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, etc.
    • Advertising, Communications/PR, Sales and Marketing held over spring break with a site visit to Boston, this workshop networks students with successful alumni who can offer relevant career advice for the industry. APPLICATIONS DUE TODAY – DECEMBER 4, 2014 – Email cover letter/resume to prebusiness@holycross.edu
  • Entrepreneurship Deep Dive held over winter break works as a motivating and idea-clarifying workshop for fresh ideas to become more concrete. Collaborating with students from local area colleges, students are encouraged to then participate in the spring Shark Tank Competition for a cash prize.
  • Principled Leadership guides students to explore the intellectual, emotional, and moral qualities of successful business leadership. This alumni-led workshop is held right after the conclusion of finals week in May.
    • Future Steps Capstone is a comprehensive workshop over winter break for students who have completed at least two of the above-mentioned workshops and are looking to “build a personal brand” as prep for internship and job interviews. Students work with alumni through a series of exercises to connect their liberal arts education and experiences to the marketplace. APPLICATIONS DUE TODAY – DECEMBER 4, 2014 – Email cover letter/resume to prebusiness@holycross.edu

Thank you for reinforcing your education and future career goals through the many opportunities our office provides.

Worcester Entpreneurs Event at Holy Cross: Nov 12 @ 6PM

November 12th, 2014 by cgevry
HCEG_AlumJOIN US tonight (NOV 12) in in HOGAN 406 @ 6PM!
Dinner will be provided :-)
  • How do you find the right team mix to launch your business?
  • How do you identify the right set of advisors that will guide you?
  • Once you have these advisors, how do you manage them?
April Lukasik P’16 and Carrie O’Donnell ’83 will walk through the following:
  • Ways of finding and managing the right team
  • Dive into what the responsibilities and compensation structure models are for startup team members and advisors
  • Identify the right roles to help you launch your product or service
  • Uncover what some common pitfalls are when building a team as an entrepreneur
ALL STUDENTS WELCOME!
 
Hope to see you there,
HCEG E-Board

HCEG: Boston Networking Event 10/23/14

November 5th, 2014 by cgevry

photo (7)

The Ciocca Office of Entrepreneurial Studies Office worked with the HCEG Alumni Group to host the bi-annual HCEG Boston Networking Event last month on Thursday, October 23rd at the Racepoint Global offices on State Street. It was a fun-filled night with good company, food and drink. Present alumni covered a broad area of careers from commercial real estate to communications to c-level executive at technology companies. The theme of the night was “The Ability to Adapt to an Ever-Changing Market” and this topic was covered by the keynote speaker of the evening, Ray Jorgensen ’91. He is the President and CEO of PMG which specializes in revenue cycle management for community health centers. Ray gave a powerful speech on the art of adaptation in a career.

He broke this concept into three separate ideas to become successful in a perpetually changing career.

1) Find a “Hedgehog Concept”
a. Do what you love
b. How can you be the greatest in the world at what you do?
c. Success is very gradual until you hit a tipping point in which it skyrockets

2) Be Resilient…Persevere!
a. Fail and learn
b. Jim Collin’s Stockade paradox: the resilient and realistic persevere, not the optimists in the world

3) Be “Lucky”
a. Create your own like; be in the right place at the right time and out work everyone
b. Solid support network
c. Good fortune is rarely unplanned
d. Control what you can control: your attitude and effort

Ray’s speech was incredibly informative, entertaining and relevant to his audience. The Holy Cross community is truly fortunate to have such successful and passionate alumni like Ray who are willing to share their advice and story. Next time we hope to have more students in the mix for networking!  Watch for the spring event registration.

Thanks to Matt Campbell ’15, for attending the Boston event and writing this succinct review. Great keynote, great food/drink and great networking! As always, don’t forget to “like” COES on FACEBOOK and follow us @HCPrebusiness

Cassie Gevry
Associate Director
Ciocca Office of Entrepreneurial Studies

Arts Transcending Borders: Cultural Entrepreneurship

October 8th, 2014 by cgevry
Pato_DinnerOn Thursday September 25th, Cristina Pato – a Galician bagpiper, pianist, composer and Artist in Residence here at the College of the Holy Cross – held a special dinner lecture titled: “Cultural Entrepreneurship: At the Intersection of Business & the Arts.” Pato has an active professional career devoted to Galician popular and classical music and jazz, and her dual careers have led her to perform on major stages throughout Europe, USA, India, Africa, and China.
The night started with Cristina telling the dinner guests about her story. She was the first female Gaita (Galician bagpipe) player to release a solo album in 1999, and she became a huge pop star in Spain. Since then, she has also collaborated on world stages with Yo-Yo Ma, Arturo O’Farril, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Osvaldo Golijov, to name a few. However, she had no idea that she could become this product: Cristina Pato. She was fortunate enough to have a edge in the music industry as the first female, soloist playing a Galician bagpipe. Yet other artists today do not always have this competitive advantage. Thus, she developed the Galician Connection, an annual festival dedicated to promote intercultural dialogue through music and encouraging cultural entrepreneurs to rise.As the night went on, Cristina got all the dinner participants to interact at their tables and gave each table a scenario to discuss. Scenarios included: Being an artist with no initial funding, being an artist with public funding, etc. The fundamental idea was to come up with a way for the artist to market their product and make a sustainable income. After each table presented their plan of action, Cristina posed the question: “What is holding the artist back? What’s stopping all of us from sculpting, from being a famous singer, from being a renowned pianist?” It seemed like the unanimous answer was that in our modern world, most art has funding through public donations or private investments, and that we believed being an artist would not be able to rake in a steady income.That is exactly why Cristina created the Galician Connection. She is passionate about education, and feels that people need to be educated on how important art is, and they need to have a support system while creating art. Participants in the Galician Connection are able to attend classes and workshops that help them grow as artists, and they have a forum where they can connect and grow together.

So what exactly is cultural entrepreneurship? Everyone had a different definition. But if you ask me, cultural entrepreneurship is being able to acknowledge that the arts are an important part of society, and finding a way to creatively present an art form to other people so that you can make a living off of it, and so that others can appreciate and connect with it as well.

Thanks to Sophia Jin ’15, for attending and writing this blog post. Great speaker, great dinner and great conversation! As always, don’t forget to “like” us on FACEBOOK and follow us @HCPrebusiness

Cassie Gevry
Associate Director
Ciocca Office of Entrepreneurial Studies

HCEG: Leveraging One’s Network Effectively in the Technology Sector

August 4th, 2014 by cgevry

HCEG_Alum

The Holy Cross Entrepreneurs Group of New York City held its second networking event of the year at Bryan Cave on Wednesday evening, July 23.  The evening was a great success, as many alumni and students attended. Professor David Chu, Director of the Ciocca Office of Entrepreneurial Studies & Pre-Business Adviser, also attended the event.

Many thanks to those who participated on the panel, including Michael Barrett ’84, CEO of Millenial Media, Chris Nace, ’06 VP Executive Search at Connections NY, Colin Cunningham ’09, Manager at Axial, and moderator Andrew Cialino ’10, Senior Account Executive at Axial.  A hearty thanks goes to Patricia Werner ’97, Counsel at Bryan Cave LLP, who hosted the event at the law firm. Patricia is also a member of the Steering Committee for the Holy Cross Entrepreneurs Group of New York City, along with Daniel Barrett ’93, Andrew Cialino ’10, Colin Cunningham ’09, and Chris Nace ’06.

The alumni panelists focused their insights on leveraging one’s network effectively in the technology sector. With today’s growing tech space, whether pertaining to startups or to the field in general, it is important to understand industry basics. More importantly, both students and alumni should know how to recognize and utilize technology’s benefits in an entrepreneurial way.

The panelists addressed various issues under this umbrella topic, such as how to secure a job in the tech industry, how to reach out and successfully network within the field, and what kinds of tactics both students and alumni may leverage when acclimating themselves to the tech sector.

As always, this networking event successfully fostered that famous Crusader spirit and alliance, as alumni and students were brought together under the same passion for entrepreneurship. The goal of these events is to further the mission of HCEG of creating more entrepreneurial relationships, so that the Holy Cross community is not only a group of “men and women for others,” but also a community of men and women for each other.

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Thanks to Sydney Pugliares ’16 for covering this event and to all the alum sharing insights to the tech industry! As always, don’t forget to “like” us on FACEBOOK and follow us @HCPrebusiness

Cassie Gevry
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

 

HCEG: Boston Networking Event Summary

June 24th, 2014 by cgevry
HCEG_Allard 61214The Holy Cross Entrepreneurs Group of Boston held its spring networking event at McGladrey on Thursday evening, June 12, 2014.A remarkable number of Boston alumni attended the event, along with the students participating in the Holy Cross Summer Business Program.  This opportunity gave students the opportunity to practice their networking skills and expand their alumni circle in a professional setting. Professor David Chu, Director of the Ciocca Office of Entrepreneurial Studies and HC’s Pre-Business Adviser, also attended the event accompanied by several other members of the College administration and the Pre-Business Office.

While the event cultivated that classic Holy Cross spirit, the evening’s host, Bob Allard ’91, proved most energetic of all, with his insights on Servant Entrepreneurship: How to Survive in a Not-Just-for-Profit World. The Managing Partner of ExtensionEngine LLC explained how “Servant Entrepreneurship” is in fact NOT an oxymoron, but rather a strategy that all successful business gurus recognize and utilize.

Allard placed significant focus on the benefits of networking, giving anecdotes and valuable advice that have aided him in the ongoing process of entrepreneurship. He explained how it is often “who you know” along with (and sometimes more important than) “what you know” that will help you succeed in business. However, Allard took this philosophy one step further to note how it is also “who you help” that will lead you to success. He explained how “paying it forward” in the world of networking will come full circle — a sort of entrepreneurial “karma,” per se.

After Allard’s discussion of “Servant Entrepreneurship,” the alumni and students returned to more networking fueled with even more enthusiasm than before, as his insights gave more purpose to the event. Alumni Tom Brennan, CFO of AbilTo, Inc and Ray Jorgensen, Co-Founder & CEO of Priority Management Group, Inc. (PMG), also helped to facilitate discussion regarding these topics of entrepreneurship and networking.

Many thanks to those who helped in organizing this successful event. A big thank you to Bob Allard ’91, Tom Brennan ’86, and Ray Jorgensen ’91 for facilitating such valuable discussion of entrepreneurship during the event.

It is always an honor to host such successful alumni at events that bring together a variety of stories and passions, as each attendee is linked with the same drive of entrepreneurship and Holy Cross identity. The connections made during these events are instrumental in furthering the HCEG mission of creating more entrepreneurial relationships.  Our goal is to foster the Holy Cross community as not only a group of “men and women for others,” but also a community of men and women for each other.

Thanks AGAIN to Sydney Pugliares ’16 for helping to organize, attending and writing this summary of the event!  Be sure to like us on FACEBOOK and follow us @HCPrebusiness!

Cassie Gevry
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

HC Shark Tank Winner Ben Kaplan ’16 Set to Launch New Social Networking App

September 25th, 2013 by hhoran

As those of you who are avid readers of this blog might remember, last spring the Ciocca Office of Entrepreneurial Studies and the Entrepreneurship Club co-sponsored the inaugural Holy Cross Shark Tank competition where Ben Kaplan ’16 took home the grand prize for his original social networking app: WiGO.

Well, we are excited to announce that since last spring Kaplan has taken serious strides towards making WiGO (Who is Going Out) come alive and he has the initial launch slated for this early October.  Holy Cross just might have its very own Mark Zuckerburg on its hands.

The goal of Kaplan’s app is to simplify the process of making social plans for college students.  As a freshman at HC, Kaplan felt that making social plans and figuring out “who is going out?” was unnecessarily challenging.  College students didn’t want to constantly be sending out group texts and no one wanted to always be posting all the details of social plans online and so WiGO was born.

The app creates networks based on a users’ college or university email address so that, for example, when an HCer logs in their homepage will show all of the other HCers who are users and indicate who has – or has not – said they’re headed out that night.  There’s no specifics given, just “I am going out”, and there’s no friending process like with Facebook.  Rather, if you go to HC you can see everyone else in your network and vice versa.  From there, Kaplan believes that this app will make it easy to see who wants to go out and then utilize the app’s chat function to make plans.  Additionally, if you see someone on the app who you’d like to encourage to go out you have the option to “shoulder tap” them, which lets them know you’d like them to see them out.

I had the chance to sit down and talk to Kaplan last week, as he prepared for the upcoming app launch, and what I was really struck by was the way he has developed an initial idea he had last spring into a real live app.  He explained to me how he’d started the summer interviewing web developers and coders and ultimately settled on a team from Green Mountain Software, located in his hometown of Burlington, VT.  He then spent the rest of the summer working with them to take what was initially an idea in his head and turn it into something that’s accessible and user friendly.  We discussed why he decided to hire a local team, rather than outsourcing the coding as many app developers do, and he said that the opportunity to actually meet with, and have easy access to, his coding team was ultimately one of the best decisions he made.  It allowed him to take real ownership in the creation process and meant that he could be involved making changes and decisions during the course of development.

Kaplan also credited the Holy Cross alumni network as being indispensable in this process.  The time and feedback that he said so many alumni were willing to give him was very beneficial in the development of this app.  Last spring, Shark Tank judge Chris Stephenson had told Kaplan that if he brought his idea to Seattle he’d meet with him to discuss.  Kaplan cashed in on this promise over the summer, flying to the West Coast to meet, and also said that there were many other alumni who connected him with local entrepreneurs, weighed in on questions of copyright and intellectual property law and offered feedback as he moved through the process.

Obviously in launching an app, the marketing efforts are, in many ways, as important as the actual coding and Kaplan explained that he had a clear game plan for that too: he was starting by focusing on sports teams here at HC, because such a larger percentage of students are involved in them, and had reached out to individuals on the various teams to get them onboard as ambassadors.  The plan is that these individuals will encourage their teammates to download, and use, the app thus creating the initial injection of users needed to get WiGO off the ground.  From there the hope is that it will catch on organically and as students see how easy and effective it is to use they will encourage their friends to use it, too.

What’s the plan long term?  Well, Kaplan is initially launching the app exclusively here at Holy Cross and you need to have a verified Holy Cross student email address in order to register.  But, looking forward, Kaplan said his next step would be to roll it out to a handful of additional colleges, continue to monitor its growth, and then allow it to continue to spread to schools across the country.

Towards the end of our talk Kaplan said that he thinks no matter what happens with WiGO – whether it gets off the ground or not – the process of creating the app and bringing it to market has been incredibly valuable in and of itself.  That being said, after listening to him for an hour – hearing where the idea came from, how he built the app, and how he plans to roll it out – this blogger has a hard time believing Kaplan isn’t going to make this a success.

Women in Business 2011

November 8th, 2011 by kkayer

On Saturday, October 22, we hosted the sixth annual Women in Business conference here on campus.  With over 150 alumnae and students in attendance, the conference was a huge hit!  The Prebusiness office wants to thank the student organizers  Juliana Biolsi ’12, Kristen Buonassisi ’12, Lauren McCarthy ’12, Christie Cannone ’14, Haley O’Brien ’13, Stephanie Pajak ’13, and Lauren Esposito ’14, for their hard-work and dedication to this event.

If you weren’t able to attend, Juliana and Kristen wrote a great recap for the Holy Cross website:

Women in Business Conference Continues to Inspire Students, Alumnae

Save the date for next year’s conference: October 20, 2012!

As always, don’t forget to “Like” us on FACEBOOK and look for our WIB, SBP and ELW groups on LinkedIN!

Kaithlyn

Kaithlyn Kayer
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

David Chu
Director, Entrepreneurial Studies & Pre-business Advisor

Spring Break Plans? Why Not ELW?

October 31st, 2011 by kkayer

Considering the unexpected and, in my opinion, unwelcome snow-storm over the weekend, it’s not entirely surprising that I’m thinking about Spring already.  While I can definitely see the appeal of heading to warmer climates, I urge you to consider sticking around campus and participating in the Executive Leadership Workshop.  This is our longest-running and most popular program.  It’s a one-week immersion into the world of business: how to start a business, creating a business plan, valuation, growing a business, international business, and more.  It’s a crazy week of non-stop, hands-on learning.

Oh, did I mention it’s a competition?  Teams of 5 will compete against each other, developing a business plan for a new product or business that they will present to a panel of  mock venture capitalists.  The winning team gets a cash prize and a year of bragging rights.

Applications are due Friday, November 11th – so get started ASAP!

ELW is totally FREE!  All meals are included! This is a competitive program, only 40 seats available.  Visit our webpage, stop by the Prebusiness office, or ask someone who has participated for more info.  It’s worth it.

You can always go to Costa Rica next year.

As always, don’t forget to “Like” us on FACEBOOK and look for our WIB, SBP and ELW groups on LinkedIN!

Kaithlyn

Kaithlyn Kayer
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

David Chu
Director, Entrepreneurial Studies & Pre-business Advisor