Posts Tagged ‘alumni’

The Great Balancing Act

September 1st, 2018 by cgevry
Cara Gontarz Hume ’03
Senior HR Leader, General Electric Finance
Major: Political Science

It seems as though achieving a healthy work-life balance in today’s society is unattainable. Finding harmony between a demanding work schedule and a role as a mother, or juggling classwork, a social life and sleep as a student is exhausting. As highly motivated women with many goals, it is easy to feel overwhelmed.

Meet Cara Gontarz Hume, one of our fellow female Crusaders, who has created a balance between her career and family that works for her. Hume is the Senior Human Resources Leader for General Electric Finance and has three children all under the age of five-years-old. With an executive career and three young kids, she asks herself a question that many struggle with, “Can I still work and be a great mom?” For Hume, the answer is yes. She has managed to be present as a mother while simultaneously progressing her career. She remembers going on maternity leave for the first time and how worrisome it was balancing her career with the vision of what it means to be a mom. However, when she sat down with her manager and explained her situation, he gave her the life changing advice of, “just leave early.” In that moment, Hume discovered that the keys to balancing her home life with her work life were setting priorities and not keeping her two lives separate from each other.

Hume recalls the once defined line between work and personal life: “I was taught, you keep work at work and home at home.” However, throughout her career, she has seen a change in this attitude to which she attributes much of her success. She explains that she brings her full self to work not hiding that she is a working mother with three young kids. She explains, “I will be there and deliver but I do carve out time for kids. I do not use them as an excuse or a limiting factor, just part of who I am.”

As a student at Holy Cross, she was able to develop her time management skills. Like many students on the Hill, she managed a schedule of rigorous courses, a competitive athletic schedule and a variety of other campus activities. The ingrained concept of Cura Personalis, or “care of the whole person,” is a mentality promoted at Holy Cross that has contributed to much of her success. Hume says she draws upon these ideas of caring for the mind, body, and soul as a foundation of her whole-self resulting in a better self.

Multiple priorities are hard to balance and this difficulty will never go away. Hume emphasizes the importance of setting parameters around prioritizing personal time. She says, “If you don’t set a framework for personal time you will burn out. And no one will set it for you.” Everyone has their own tips and tricks on how to balance commitments, but what has worked for Hume is making a habit of taking personal time. She advises, “Make an actual plan. Mark it on your calendar and block it off.” Mark off family dinner or gym time. Put drinks with friends in your calendar and stick with the designated schedule. Having personal time marked into the calendar will make it part of your routine, making it harder to let your personal time go by the way side. Additionally, she warns, “Don’t bite off more than you can chew and avoid the extremes.” Hume also recommends constantly turning inward for personal assessments. Nobody’s fulfillment plan will be the same so it is important to check in with yourself to make sure you are happy with the way life is going.

With the school year starting up soon and new projects beginning at work, try using Hume’s trick and mark your calendar with consistent “me time” to care for yourself. Happy balancing!

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Want to learn more about Cura Personalis? Join us at the fall Women in Business Conference (Sat., Nov. 3, 2018) to hear from other alumnae discussing this topic even further. Thanks to Kate Beckerman ’20 for writing this piece and Cara Gontarz ’03 for sharing her wisdom.

>> NEW WITH WIB: Stay in touch with the Women in Business network year round with the new Purple Pulse quarterly newsletter!  Join the WIB Community!

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Entrepreneurship & Innovation @ Holy Cross

August 16th, 2018 by cgevry

Have an idea for a business? Interested in working with cool ideas?
Get involved with entrepreneurship and innovation this fall!

 

“The extracurricular entrepreneurial opportunities offered outside of the classroom such as the Ignite Incubator, the Fullbridge Program, the Shark Tank Competition, visits to start-ups, and networking events have all furthered my desire to pursue a career in business.”

– Paul Wiley ’20, chemistry major
2017 Shark Tank Competition Winner



>> Join the new Holy Cross student run Ignite Incubator!
The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program is excited to launch the College’s new student run incubator. The Ignite Incubator enables students from all class years to learn what it takes to bring a business to market through hands on experience. Students can either:

  • have their idea or business incubated in the program
  • work on other students business ideas

The incubator is now accepting applications for both business ideas and for associate positions on the management team.
Apply NOW! Deadline: September 10, 2018


>> Fall Course: Entrepreneurship 101
Tue. & Thu. from 12:30-1:45pm
Prof. Ja-Naé Duane

Entrepreneurship begins with a vision.  This course focuses on the foundations of entrepreneurship and is appropriate for students from any major.  It is designed to introduce students to the entrepreneurial process so that they may begin to shape their own entrepreneurial vision. Course objectives include an introduction to the challenges of entrepreneurship, an understanding of the ethical environment in which entrepreneurs operate, the skills to think critically and work toward the ability to evaluate opportunities in the business. This is a course that includes project-based entrepreneurial activities where students work to test and validate ideas.

Who should take this course?

  • Students who have a business idea
  • Students who want to work on existing business idea
  • Students who want to explore the field of entrepreneurship and innovation

Space is limited. Seats available for second, third and fourth year students.


>> Have questions? Reach out to Ja-Naé Duane, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, for more program details!

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Join the WIB Network!

August 7th, 2018 by cgevry

The annual fall Women in Business Conference comes but once a year, but the student committee would argue differently. With conference planning that takes a full year, and various student events each semester, the student committee has a new goal: Create a network of women in business.

Kate Beckerman ’20 decided after the 2017 conference to create the Women in Business newsletter, Purple Pulse, with the first edition sent out mid-April 2018. She explains “I saw how special of a community we had at the conference and I wanted to have a way to keep us connected and inspired throughout the year.” She went on to say the name “Purple Pulse” was inspired by the phrase “Bleed Purple” which speaks to how passionate  students and alumnae are about HC. “Pulse” refers to our strong network and the burst of empowerment we receive at each conference. Beckerman hopes this newsletter will help to strengthen this amazing community year round.

>> Join the Community! Register for the next installment of the Purple Pulse newsletter to see student and alumnae highlights, conference announcements, upcoming events, career tips and year-round inspiration!

 


2018 Women in Business Student Committee


Meet your 2018 Women in Business Student Committee! 

Top Left to Bottom Right: Nalani Ramos Ruiz ’21, Kate Beckerman ’20, Casey Carty ’18, Rosangel Cruz Cabrera ’18, Grace Ingram ’21, Clare O’Leary ’19, Sarah Anderson ’20, Margaret Anderson ’21

Not Pictured: & Mary McGregor ’19 and Delaney Wells ’20

 

CEO Symposium Highlights

July 8th, 2018 by cgevry

87% of Holy Cross alumni work in business roles, yet none of them majored in business.  Hear about  “The Value and Relevancy of a Jesuit Education in the 21st Century” as discussed by:

Douglas M. Baker Jr. ’81, CEO & chairman of the board, Ecolab Inc.
AnnMaura Connolly ’86, CSO & EVP, City Year and president, Voices for National Service
Brian P. Kelley ’83, vice chairman, Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.
Mary Agnes “Maggie” Wilderotter ’77, former CEO & executive chairman, Frontier Communications

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

Boston Networking Event: 10/7/2015

September 29th, 2015 by cgevry

HCEG_Alum

Mark your calendars: the Holy Cross Entrepreneurs Group’s Alumni Networking Event is on Wednesday, October 7th!

The COES Pre-Business Office is presenting current students the opportunity to connect with alumni who are directly involved in start-ups or are involved with a business looking for start-ups as customers. Held at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, the event will consist of a general networking period, allowing students to speak with alumni about their experiences, and a Q&A session with a panel of four Holy Cross alumni.

The COES Pre-Business Office offers at least one networking event per semester, and has been offering this particular event since 2007. Professor David Chu suggests creating a business card for yourself (including your name, class year, email address, and cell phone number), and that you bring a few copies of your resume. In Prof. Chu’s opinion, “the most important thing for a student to ask is, ‘What do you do, and how did you get there from Holy Cross?’” Take this opportunity to learn from people who were in your shoes not too long ago! This is a great chance for students to make connections with HC alumni and solidify their reception networking skills.

Looking for networking tips?

  1. The HCEG student club will be meeting today, 9/29, for the second time this fall. In honor of this upcoming HCEG Networking Event, they’ll be discussing
    networking etiquette and important DOs and DON’Ts. Again the club meeting is tonight (Tues., Sept. 29) in Hogan 402 at 7pm.
  2. The Center for Career Development has put together a handout outlining networking tips. Access the blog here, and stop by their office (Hogan 203) during drop-in hours M-F 1-4 pm and Wednesday 10-12 pm for resume review and more.

The event, titled Graduate School: Accelerating Your Entrepreneurial Trajectory, will run from 6:30-9:00pm on Wednesday, October 7th at MIT of Cambridge, MA. *Students can register for free! Dress is business casual – no jeans. Full details of the event and descriptions of the panelists can be found here. We hope to see you there!

Feel free to stop by the COES Pre-Business Office in Stein 129E or email dchu@holycross.edu with any questions.

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Thanks to Catherine Cote ’18, our Career Communications Liason student worker, for her detailed description of this upcoming networking event in Boston. Like she said, hope to see you there! As always – check out the new COES instapage @HCPrebusiness – and watch for future student write-ups of Pre-Business events.

Cassie Gevry
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

 

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

 

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!

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

 

Ninth Annual Women in Business Conference

November 21st, 2014 by cgevry

WIB_2014On November 1, 2014, just under 200 alumnae and students attended the 9th annual Women in Business Conference. This year, Keynote Speaker Anne Fink ’85, COO of PepsiCo North America, talked about “Longevity in the Workplace: The Pursuit of Self Discovery.” This year’s Student Organizers were Patricia Feraud ’15, Brooke Levine ’15, Alexandra Schiffman ’15, Lauren Campson ’16, MaryAnn LaShota ’16, Sydney Pugliares ’16, Lauren Biolsi ’17, and Caroline Keane ’17.

Check out what the Student Organizers for this year’s Women in Business conference have to say about the 2014 WIB event on the HOLY CROSS blog – and browse the photo gallery!