Posts Tagged ‘prebusiness’

Guest Speaker: Mike Fernandez

May 1st, 2015 by cgevry

Mike Fernandez – April 22nd, 2015

Last Thursday, Miguel Benito Fernandez held several talks in Mary Chapel, one geared towards Spanish majors, one for COES & Pre-Business program students, and one for the entire campus. He is also known as “a penniless, Cuban immigrant turned self-made business mogul, healthcare industry leader and philanthropist.”

Forced out of Cuba at the young age of twelve, Miguel ( better known as Mike) Fernandez tried hard to make his way in the busiest part of New York City – Manhattan. He enrolled in Xavier High School – a prestigious, private, Catholic college-preparatory school for young men. There, he was defined as a “failure” and a “scholarship” student. He worked incredibly hard, yet was teased as having a low IQ and being a straight C-student. However, what his peers didn’t know was that Mike turned down the full scholarship that he was offered, working part-time as an animal attendant and a gift shop cashier to pay half of the tuition while his father paid the other half.

So how did he do it?

Although Mike only holds a high school diploma and a semester’s worth of college education, he holds more integrity, wisdom, and real-world experience than most of us do today. Through his talk and the Q&A session that followed, Mike offered several tips and insight as to how he was able to get to where he is today.

 

1. Use Your Disadvantages to Your Advantage
Mike described himself as having Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, but rather than talk about how it hindered his performance, he talked about how he was able to use it to enhance his performance. He explained that it provided him with the incredible ability of multitasking- he was able to not only review, but also understand several financial statements in a very short period of time.

2. Develop a Plan
As a result of Mike’s ADD, he began to develop 7-day plans where he would map out his week from Monday of one week to Monday of the next week. This plan allowed him to be focused on achieving a specific goal within given time constraints, while also giving him the flexibility of changing his goal the next week.

3. Be Simple & Be Aware
Mike describes business to be much simpler than we complicate it to be. Broken down, business can be classified as a bunch of small decisions. These decisions are influenced by our knowledge and perceptions, and Mike emphasizes that it is imperative to be aware and understanding of whom you are working with. He explains that most of his clients and workers now are ones who have worked with him in the past, and that it is important to align business and customer incentives to be successful.

4. Break the Glass Ceiling
When asked about his experience with discrimination, Mike responded that he felt like he had two choices: to either be stepped on or to prove that he was better than those who looked down upon him. He compared the situation to be much like that of a glass ceiling. “Break that glass ceiling. You decide if it can be broken or not.” Mike emphasizes that despite what others say, we as individuals have the right and the potential to change our own future.

5. Don’t Invent. Copy.
Mike advises young entrepreneurs to take the ideas and mistakes of previous entrepreneurs into consideration before trying to make it out on their own.

6. Fail. A Lot.
“Push yourself to the point where you’ll fail and you will learn a lot in life.” Mike always focused on what was going wrong with his companies rather than what was going right. He always wanted to know what was going wrong and how to improve on his failures. Although 23 out of the 25 companies he invested in could be considered successful, he considered most of them to be failures because he did not reach his ultimate goal.

7. Stay Motivated
When asked how he stays curious, Mike responded that he keeps moving. Everything he does serves as a reminder that he is building up his own story and making his father proud.

8. Appreciate & Be Grateful
“In this country, if you can make it, you can make it anywhere.” Mike says that he appreciates the United States and all that it has to offer more than others. He reasons that coming from his background and social status in Cuba, he is really grateful and blessed to be in the U.S. today. Putting his own perspective on a popular idiom, he says, “The grass is always greener where you are.”

9. Be SUPER
“Sacrifice – Urgency – Passion – Execution – Results” Mike promotes the idea of being SUPER– that is, sacrificing your time to address important consumer concerns, prioritizing and completing tasks quickly and efficiently, being passionate about what you do, executing your ideas, seeing the big picture and satisfactory results that come along with it, and then helping others.

10. Pay it Forward
Mike’s publisher David Lawrence was also present at the talk, and he explained that Mike had projected to see about 500 copies of his book Humbled By The Journey, but in reality sold over 20,000 copies. Originally, Mike did not even want to write his own story, but after the sale of his books, Mike donated all of the proceeds to provide for early school preparation for children.  He encourages all of us to also pay it forward, connecting with others and then spreading the wealth. “Giving is really a learned experience. You need to learn to give, because the natural instinct is to keep.”

 

Fernandez_Jin Bunny EarsReflecting on Mike’s talk, I concur that we are extremely lucky to be in the U.S., where we have so much freedom and opportunity that we often take for granted. We are especially fortunate to be attending a school like Holy Cross, where students are constantly paying it forward and being men and women for others. I hope that all of you are as inspired by Mike as I am to break that glass ceiling of yours and to form your own meaningful relationships, companies, and future.

And with that, I leave you with a photo of me with bunny ears from the silly, personable and humble man himself: Mike Fernandez.

 

 

Thank you to our student writer Michelle Jin ’17 for her review of guest speaker, Mike Fernandez – and great photo!

As always – check out the new COES instapage @HCPrebusiness – and watch for future student reviews of Pre-Business events.

Cassie Gevry
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

Principled Leadership Workshop – New this May!

March 11th, 2015 by cgevry

FIND YOUR MORAL COMPASS

WHAT IF? Your boss demands you to falsify accounting records to keep your job.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO? An official in another country expects a bribe to finalize a business contract.

 

Leadership BannerThe PRINCIPLED LEADERSHIP WORKSHOP is held over two days to guide students in developing leadership skills and explore the intellectual, emotional, and moral qualities of successful business leadership. This will also provide an excellent opportunity for students to learn from and network with alum.

Program Dates: May 14-15, 2015 (Thursday & Friday)
Two Day Workshop After May Finals

 

Instructors:
Bob Corti P99 P03, Former CFO & EVP, Avon Company
Kendy Hess, Asst. Professor, Philosophy, College of the Holy Cross
Tom Patton ’86, President & CEO, CAS Medical Systems

Info Session: Mon., March 30 at 5P in Hogan 304

Online Application Deadline: Thursday, April 9, 2015 @ 11:59P
Online application includes resume, cover letter and one letter of recommendation (employer preferred).

Have what it takes? APPLY!

Annual Shark Tank Competition

March 2nd, 2015 by cgevry

Annual SHARK TANK COMPETITION – Open to Campus (Come Watch!)
SharkTank_Comp S15 2
Over $10,000 in Prize Monies! *Multiple prizes will be awarded.

Competition Date: Thursday, March 26, 2015
5:30pm in McGrath Lecture Hall (Smith Labs 155)

TWO COMPETITIONS: (Choose one)
1. Clever Idea: Distill your idea into a two-minute pitch.  No Q&A.
Two prizes will be awarded at $250/team for an original and promising idea.

2. Serious Start-up: 5 minute pitch + 5 minute Q&A.
Two prizes will be awarded for teams most ready for launching their business.  First prize is $7,500/team.  Second prize is $4,000/team.

Pitch your product/service idea to a panel of alumni judges for the chance to win! *Multiple prize monies awarded from clever idea to serious start-up, only to be used towards venture.

2015 JUDGES:
John Addonizio P16, CEO, J. Addonizio & Company, LLC
Bob Allard ’91, Co-Founder, extensionEngine (eE)
John Calcio, VP Channel Development, QStream
Tom Flynn ’87, Managing Partner, SV Life Sceinces
Ben Kaplan ’15, Co-Founder & CEO, WIGO & 2013 Holy Cross Shark Tank Winner
Mary Moran ’77, Financial Services Consultant and Contractor

REGISTER: http://offices.holycross.edu/business/sharktankcompetition (Teams must register by Thursday, March 19th to compete.)

Don’t want to compete but want to check out all the good ideas?  COME WATCH!! Free and open to the campus community.

Future Steps Workshop – I’m ready for the next step, are you?

January 30th, 2015 by cgevry

“What are your plans for next year?” – The dreaded question that all college seniors are asked.

It would have been easier to ignore the frightening reality that I am graduating in four months, but with determination I ventured back to campus a few days early to attend the Future Steps workshop over winter break, January 15 & 16, 2015. This COES & Pre-Business workshop, taught by Mimi Doherty ’02 – Founder & President of Future Steps, is geared toward juniors and seniors looking for an internship or a full time job. We were all eager to learn the tools necessary to nail a job interview, write the perfect cover letter and present that 60 second pitch.

What did Mimi teach us?

  1.   How to answer behavioral interview questions
    1. What types of questions can you expect?
    2. Why are the interviewers asking these questions?
  2.  How to construct your resume
    1. Make sure it’s visually appealing
    2. Are your bullet points concise? Do they show what you’re capable of?
  3. How tell a coherent story
    1. Are you making sense? Are you using specific examples to back up your points?
    2. Are you using the three step rule to tell your story?
  4. How to tailor your resume and interview to company specific expectations
    1. Are you qualified? Do you meet their expectations?
    2. What stories do you tell?

Overall, I highly recommend this workshop to rising juniors and seniors. Mimi was incredibly generous in her willingness to help us develop our interview skills, resume and how to market ourselves in the workforce. Attending a liberal arts college has tremendous benefits for the real world.  However, most Holy Cross students lack the proper language to leverage our unique academic background. This workshop will help you choose key vocabulary to enhance your brand and land that first job. I can honestly say I am much more prepared for the job search process.

I’m ready for the next step, are you?


Thanks to Grace Chmiel ’15 for this honest reflection and review of the new COES Future Steps Workshop taught by Mimi Doherty ’02, Founder & President of Future Steps.  Good luck in the job hunt, Grace – we are confident in your success!

As always – check out the new COES instapage @HCPrebusiness and watch for the next blog post…

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

 

A COES POEM: From #dchu to you!

December 12th, 2014 by cgevry
Santa Insta
“GOOD LUCK WITH FINALS”
Take a break for safety sake.
You need to sleep to stay awake!
Good luck wishes from professor #dchu
Hopefully the curve will have a skew.
We’ve got your back here in #prebiz
Don’t worry, it is what it is.
Follow us on insta @HCPrebusiness
We three wish you a Merry Christmas!
Happy Holidays!
– Prof. Chu, Cassie Gevry & Kathy Lavallee

J.R Butler ’08 Translates an HC Degree to a Successful Sales Career

November 14th, 2014 by cgevry

HC Sales Logo

On Monday, October 27th the Holy Cross Sales Group hosted J.R Butler ’08 in a workshop on translating a Holy Cross degree into a successful career in sales. During his time on the hill, Butler found success both in the classroom as a Sociology major, Art history minor and as a Varsity athlete playing for the Men’s Hockey team. More recently, he has been busy in his professional career, recently being named as Regional Sales Director at VM Turbo, one of the fastest growing tech companies in the Boston area.

To Butler, the three most important things that Holy Cross can offer a student interested in sales are: an inquisitive mind, critical thinking skills, and the ability to interact with a variety of people. As liberal arts students, we are taught to understand a wide variety of topics at a deeper level that allows us to apply these skills in the real world. Furthermore, we learn to make reasonable arguments that would appeal to a wide variety of people. Someone with a successful career in sales utilizes these skills to find why a client may need a service or product and is able to help the client understand why it is necessary to the well being of his/her company.

The Holy Cross Sales Group thanks everyone who was able to attend the event and we encourage those who are interested in sales to attend any future meetings. Our next meeting is Monday, November 24, 2014 at 7:00pm in Stein 120. We look forward to seeing you there!

Thanks to Kyle Larkin ’15 and the Holy Cross Sales Club for inviting J.R. Butler ’08 back to campus for a lively talk on the sales industry.  As always, don’t forget to “like” us on FACEBOOK and follow us @HCPrebusiness Watch for our next blog post…

Cassie Gevry
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

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

NEW: Advertising & Communications/PR Workshop

November 3rd, 2014 by cgevry

AdCommPR WorkshopADVERTISING, COMMUNICATIONS & PR WORKSHOP – New COES Program!

– three-day intensive workshop

– successful alumni presenters

– career advice for the industry
WORKSHOP DATES: mon. – wed., march 2-4, 2015 (spring break)
two days on campus, one day site visit to Boston, MA
ALUMNI
Want to get involved? Email Prof. David Chu at dchu<at>holycross.edu
STUDENTS
APPLICATION DEADLINE: thu., november 6, 2014 @ 11:59pm
email your resume & cover letter to prebusiness<at>holycross.edu

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