Posts Tagged ‘entrepreneurship’

COES STUDENT PROFILE: Casey Carty ’18

February 15th, 2016 by cgevry

Carty Name: Casey Carty
Class Year: 2018
Major: Political Science

Internship Position: Event and Social Media Coordinator, Water Rising Project

Are you registered for the COES Professional Program? 
I am in the COES Professional Program and have participated in a number of prebusiness programs including: the Fullbridge Program, co-chair of the Agency (advertising club), on the student board of the annual Women in Business Conference as well as working in the COES Office as an intern.

How has the COES programming influenced or connected you to your future career plans / goals?
The COES Program, in particular Fullbridge, has influenced my future career in allowing me to test all branches of business and discover where my strengths and weakness lie.

While looking for your internship, what services did you use at the Center for Career Development?
I visit Megan Chester on a regular basis and with her help, I now have the perfect resume! The Center for Career Development has  also helped me reach out to alumni and potential connections I want to make via email and well as on LinkedIn.

What skills did you gain from your involvement with COES and how have they added to your professionalism?
The COES Program grants me the ability to explore the business world while still receiving a liberal arts education. Professor Chu (and the WIB Conference) promises all students that at Holy Cross we can major in anything and succeed in business. Throughout the program I have learned how to market myself and my strengths to future employers.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to freshmen considering a business career?
Find what you’re good at and hone your skills!

Shark Tank Competition – Student Review

April 1st, 2015 by cgevry
DSC_9544

Photo Credit: Chris Christo

For all of the aspiring entrepreneurs out there, last Thursday night’s Shark Tank Competition was one for the books. Twenty-one groups of male and female Crusaders shared their ideas for potential products and businesses, competing for cash prizes and the ultimate reward, being named this year’s Shark Tank winner!

Clever Ideas, the first section of the night, consisted of a two minute verbal pitch without the aid of a powerpoint nor a question and answer session preceding it. The prizes at stake were two amounts of $250, and the pitch had to address these three main questions: What’s the product or service, what’s the value proposition, and who’s the customer? Although six groups competed, only two emerged victorious, and those were the apps Gavel, Michael Carboni ’18, and Tap and Teach, Alex Yeo ’15. Gavel focuses on addressing the lack of political expertise among United State’s citizens by simplifying the presentation and explanation of bills currently on the floor. The app will provide a list of bills per week, a short summary of the bill written at a high-school reading level, definitions of key terms and phrases, and the outcomes of each vote so users can directly see if a bill was passed or not. On the other hand, Tap and Teach is an app that wants to “redefine the world of tutoring.” Essentially, it will provide affordable, accessible tutoring and streamline the process of working with a tutor at Holy Cross. Because the app will feature the tutor’s profiles, all of whom will be Holy Cross students, the connection between the tutor and the student will be that much easier.

Directly following this was presentations for a Serious Start-Up, the main event of the night. Each group completed a five-minute pitch and a subsequent two-minute question and answer session, focusing on questions such as: What’s the product or service and how does it work, why is it necessary, what is your plan to grow your company, and what are the projected cash inflows and outflows for the first three years? All the participants in this section especially felt the pressure as first prize was $7,500 and second prize was $4,000, both amounts designed to help winners make their budding businesses concrete realities. Fifteen teams presented their ideas, ranging from Dmix, a program that provides quality, individualized song edits and mixes for dance performances and fitness classes, to RightOver, a shared-economy, freemium marketplace that matches college chefs with hungry college stomachs. Although each team’s idea was fantastically creative, Studily, Sean Donoghue ’15 & ohn Tabone ’15, and SKRA (pronounced ser-ka), Andrw Valencia ’15 & Michael Casey ’15, were the two concepts that emerged victorious. Studily, a productivity suite that allows students to plan their coursework, track their progress, and collaborate with classmates, took top prize. In addition, this app would allow for real-time, anonymous assessment of the course, an especially useful feature for professors using it to gauge student’s experiences in and reactions to the class. SKRA, which took second prize, is a newsfeed platform that enables recipients of blast emails to manage their responses to these emails. Not only does it allow students to gain control over their email inbox, for once, but it also can be used as event management software for high school student and college student involvement offices to track current and upcoming events.

Of course the judging panel had their work cut out for them, I’m sure it wasn’t easy to pick the winners.   A big thank you to judging panel:

Bob Allard ’91, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, extensionEngine (eE)
Mary Moran ’77, Financial Services Consultant and Contractor
John Calcio, VP, Channel Development, QStream
Ben Kaplan ’16, Co-Founder & CEO, WiGO & 2013 Holy Cross Shark Tank Winner
Tom Flynn ’87, Managing Partner, SV Life Sciences
Davide Marini, Co-Founder & CEO, Firefly BioWorks

Overall, the night was truly a success, leaving its participants confident in their products and businesses and its audience inspired to work towards creating their own company as well. If you did not attend this year, all I can say is to make it a priority on your calendar next year; you will not regret it.

Thanks to Evan Grogan ’17 for this review of the annual Shark Tank Competition!  View photos from the event here.

As always – check out the new COES instapage @HCPrebusiness.

Cassie Gevry
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

 

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.

— — —

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

 

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

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

Day 3 of ELW: How to be ethical and why you shouldn’t buy a BMW.

March 6th, 2013 by hhoran

Day 3 of ELW 2013 focused on leading a company and handling “ethical pitfalls”.  Led by Tom Patton ’86, President and CEO of CASMED, and Carolyn Risoli ’86, former president of Marc by Marc Jacobs and current principal at CRisoli Consulting, the student teams spent the day reading real case studies that the executives had written and debating among themselves what the ethical questions were and how they should be decided.

The afternoon was particularly interesting as the students had to read a number of brief scenarios and then respond with how they would have acted.  Tom and Carolyn started by posing the question of: If you take a company pen home from work, is that stealing?  What about 5 pens?  10?  A box?  Your desk chair?  The students quickly realized how tricky business ethics can become as most of them thought that taking a pen wasn’t necessarily stealing but saw their logic unravel as Tom challenged them to thinking about larger items.  Another similar scenario dealt with the question of business reimbursements: If your company gives you a $7 cab ride home if you work until after 7 o’clock, is it ok to take that cab ride to a restaurant rather than home?  What about going out with your friends and then getting the cab?  The debate was lively, with lots of different points of view expressed, and Tom and Carolyn were able to weigh in with how they’ve actually navigated these situations in their roles as executives.

In addition to addressing business ethics, Tom and Carolyn talked to the students about the importance of being careful in business and how quickly things can change.  Tom offered the advice that you need to be sure to live within your means, and be financially careful, because as quickly as things can get good, they can take a turn for the worse.  Citing examples of young business people he knew, he cautioned the students against falling into the trap of wanting the biggest house and the flashiest car.  “The BMW can wait until later,” he said.

The other big message of the day?  Tom and Carolyn talked about how it’s easy to be ethical when things are good.  What’s important is making sure to remain ethical even when it’s challenging to do so.  They encouraged the students to think about two things: first, would you want to see your actions reported in the New York Times? And, second, would you be proud to tell the person you most admire – spouse, child, parent, friend, etc – about what you did?  If you’re not comfortable with both, they said, you need to re-think what you’re doing.

Overall, another really interesting day and one that got the students thinking more about what to do when things aren’t going well and how important it is for a leader to be steadfast in what he or she believes is right!

Tonight the students are off to Boston for the HC Alumni Entrepreneur Group’s Networking Session.  All of the students in ELW have been challenged to meet at least two new people tonight, so we’ll see how they do…

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

Helene

Helene Horan
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies