The event was bustling with alumni representing classes from the 1970s to 2013. Also in attendance were members of the College administration, and Professor David Chu, Director of the Ciocca Office of Entrepreneurial Studies and HC’s Pre-Business Advisor.
Many thanks to those who helped organize the event, including Kristen O’Hara ’92, CMO of Time Warner Media Group, who generously secured the Screening Room, HCEG-NYC co-founders Andrew Cialino ’10 and Colin Cunningham ’09 who managed marketing and social media outreach along with the Holy Cross Alumni office. The event was financially supported by a number of individuals and two company sponsors. Those sponsorships were arranged by J.D. Rehm ’88, co-founder of Mercury Group and Patricia Werner ’97, attorney at Bryan Cave LLP.
HCEG-NYC co-founder and the event’s host, Dan Barrett ’93, opened the event with a question: Why a Holy Cross Entrepreneur’s Group? In response, he expounded on two points. First, that alumni involved in entrepreneurial activities or servicing entrepreneurs have lacked a networking organization that has so long existed in other fields, such as law and finance. And second, alumni and students would greatly benefit from efforts to raise the profile of the College among entrepreneurial leads in the NY Metro area. HCEG-NYC would provide a professional networking organization in to help fulfill these goals.
Dan also shared interesting data on entrepreneurship among HC alumni. Using information gathered from the alumni office database, he noted that approximately 200 alumni have ‘founder’ or ‘co-founder’ in their job title. These individuals come from classes as far back as 1945 and as recent as 2013. The majority of these alumni reside in Metro NY, Boston, California, Maryland/DC and Florida as the top five locations. The list also revealed a wide variety of fields in which these alumni worked, including non-profits, finance, and consulting in addition to traditional entrepreneurial fields, such as technology and communications.
The evening culminated in the hour-long discussion with Tom Keirnan ’92, serial entrepreneur and currently co-founder and CEO of ClickPay, and Jack Hanlon ’06, co-founder and VP of Product and Data at Kinetic Social. In January, Jack also received the distinction of being named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 for the Marketing and Advertising industry for his transformational work at Kinetic.
Tom discussed how his early involvement in web development during the early days of the internet played a transformational role in his career and development as an executive or founder of several digital ventures over the past two decades. The concept of working for himself came as a result of advice from his father, as well as the training he received as a student. He stressed the value that a broad-based, liberal arts education provides an entrepreneur not only with the ability to think critically, but also with the skill set to solve problems and learn new tasks quickly. These skills, he claimed, were instrumental to his success thus far.
Jack added that his time at Holy Cross allowed him to explore various avenues which jumpstarted his passion for entrepreneurship. He was one of only four Music majors in his class, and he organized a thriving Ultimate Frisbee club on campus. These activities at Holy Cross required many of the same skills he leverages today at Kinetic.
It was a privilege to host such successful alumni speakers and hear their entrepreneurial stories. It is our hope that they provide an inspiration to all in their efforts, and that HCEG as a community can in the future cultivate even more talent and ideas to further our mission of connecting with each other on a professional, entrepreneurial level.
Thanks to Sydney Pugliares ’16 for attending and adding to this great review of the event! Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the HCEG: Boston Networking Event on June 12th, 2014. Be sure to like us on FACEBOOK and follow us @HCPrebusiness!
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies