John Andreoli ’82 President & CEO of Sullivan Group Insurance
“With an economics background, I knew I wanted to be in business for myself at some point, so this opportunity gave me the chance to build a business from the ground up and join a firm that had already been in existence, and then have built that for the past 35 years.”
On February 25, 2019, Ciocca Center Student Intern Sarah Anderson ’20 visited John’s Worcester office for an interview and to learn about his journey from HC into the insurance industry. John was an economics major and currently serves as the President & CEO of Sullivan Insurance.
Business on campus at College of the Holy Cross is developing as the newly named Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, and Society expands its offerings to students eager to learn about the industry. The business program at HC includes the following: Certificate in Business Fundamentals (with an optional track in finance and banking), Certificate in Entrepreneurship, and a minor in Business Ethics, and Society.
My name is Sarah Anderson ’20. I’m a junior at Holy Cross, majoring in English with a Religious Studies minor working towards my Certificate in Business Fundamentals. As the current chair of the annual Women in Business Conference, I am interested in learning more about different leadership styles and company dynamics within the workplace. For the Academic Internship Program, I am taking a seminar called “Boards and CEOs: Governing America’s Businesses” with Professor Dan Riccardi and interning at the Ciocca Center. My main project is crafting a blog featuring my research and interviews with HC alums that highlight current CEOs and board members of a variety of companies with a liberal arts education.
Stay tuned for more blog posts to learn from HC alum CEOs and board members about their roles and how they got there!
*If you would like to be interviewed or have any suggestions, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“With the relaunch and the rebranding of the HC Startup group, there is also a renewed vision to create an ecosystem of entrepreneurial-minded folks. With the future of work dramatically changing the landscape, we need to prepare and support our students and alumni for this shift.” Ja-Naé Duane, EIR & Lecturer, Holy Cross
JOIN US for our winter networking event at T3 Advisors in Boston.
JANUARY 16, 2019 << Click to REGISTER.
Holy Cross alumni thriving as entrepreneurs and business leaders respond to real student questions about how to find success and satisfaction in the business world. Read student questions posed to alumni through Slack, HC Startup’s online message board, to learn what it takes to navigate the business world and find success as a modern entrepreneur.
Want to be a part of the community? Have answers to student questions? Join the conversation and meet us on Slack!
>> Q: Kit Mullen ’21, international studies major, asks “Lots of times people are torn between doing what they love and doing what will guarantee them successful in the eyes of others. As entrepreneurs how did you make the choice to leave the more normal, reliable lifestyle of working for a company for the riskier task of starting your own company?” A: Rob Petrosino ’10, Director of Social Commerce Marketing at Peak Activity, answers “Sometimes it comes down to a gut call but job satisfaction and fulfillment typically out weighs a “normal” life.”
>> Q: Gavin McNamera ’21, political science major, asks “Early in your college experience, how did you find direction on where you wanted to take your career in business or entrepreneurship?” A: Dan Barrett ’13 at Madaket Health, replies “Good question… the classic response is “follow what you enjoy doing”. It’s classic for a reason though: it’s true. Reflect on the classes that appeal to you, the assignments that appeal to you, the “aha” moments and the deep curiosities as you encounter new ideas in the classroom. Pursue those things. Entrepreneurship is hard. Working is hard. If you’re not doing something that fundamentally aligns with your interests you will burn out in a snap. Entrepreneurship is not flashy, it’s a grind. It usually involves grinding into a headwind, uphill. But it’s also a race. And if you hate the field you’re in or find it a total bore, it will be next to impossible to race against the people who happen to enjoy doing it.”
>> Q: Max Krause ’21, economics major, asks “How do you make sure your idea is a good idea before you go and invest your time and money into realizing it?” A: Rob Petrosino ’10, Director of Social Commerce Marketing at Peak Activity, answers “If your idea solves a problem you are most likely on the right track. How you execute is more than half the battle however.” A: Stacy Chin ’12, Co-founder & CEO at HydroGlyde Coatings, responds “ Listen to the market and you will see if they agree to your solution.”
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!
Intensity was in the air last night as Holy Cross held its annual Shark Tank competition in Hogan Suite A. This year the competition was fierce among nine teams pitching for seed money (about $1,000) with just three minutes to pitch, or venture money (over $10,000) with five minutes to pitch. After each presentation the judges had time to ask a few questions before heading to a private room to deliberate. While waiting, the audience got the chance to vote for a new category, the People’s Choice Award. The contestants waited anxiously as the room filled with fellow Holy Cross students and alum. Around 8pm the judges returned with three oversized checks in hand… Check out photos from the event HERE.
$5,000: Dillon Carmichael ‘18 pitched Redefining Black Masculinity, a platform for those actively redefining black masculine identity. Dillon said “the event is intimidating and inspiring. To see different people come with such great ideas and motivations makes you want to improve and keep on doing better. Hearing some people go before me almost disuaded me from giving my pitch, but once those jitters settled, it served as additional fuel for my fire. It’s competitive, but a healthy competitive because it comes from a place of genuine passion. Winning still comes as a surprise, but I am beyond grateful that I did and had the opportunity to share my idea with everyone at the event.”
$5,000: Riley Benner ‘20 launched a bespoke men’s fashion line produced by refugees for his company Phoenix Haberdashery. Riley commented “Holy Cross’ Annual Shark Tank was a really unique experience. It’s not often that you get the opportunity to share a night with other aspiring entrepreneurs and get to see the wide range of projects that they’re working on. We have a great community of support here on the Hill, especially from Ja-Nae and Professor Chu and many faculty members, but I think the most rewarding support that we can receive is from our peers who are all just trying to make their dream ideas into reality. Winning the competition was an honor, and it’s a reminder for me to keep working towards fulfilling the mission of Phoenix Haberdashery, because the judges clearly believed in that mission. It’s a wonderful affirmation of the hard work that my team and I have been putting in for the past 6 months, and we’re excited to use the money we received to further that mission.”
$2,500: Brad Ross ‘18 wants to improve goal accuracy for soccer players with his idea Scopum. Brad commented “The Shark Tank event is a really fun and exciting way to engage the entrepreneurial side in all of us. The prospect of pitching in front of judges with incredible backgrounds and experience while competing for real cash prizes allowed us to think as true entrepreneurs. This coincides with the exciting new entrepreneurship program at Holy Cross that provides us as students a platform to truly find our entrepreneurial spirit and bring it out the right way. Thinking about not only specific projects or ideas, but also the market opportunities, business plans, and go-to-market strategies that are necessary to consider in the real world.”
$1,140: Christina Nee ‘19 is interested in upcycling food waste to make delicious treats with her company named Top Banana. Christina wants to say “Thank you to everyone involved last night! I’m so excited to be able to pursue a business that will help combat food waste!”
$100: Hawar Haddadi ‘19 and Michael Lyons ‘19 won the People’s Choice Award for their idea, The Device Doctors. This company is a door-to-door phone repair service for campuses, starting with the College of the Holy Cross. Hawar commented “The event really brought to light the competitive nature of the entrepreneurial world. Everyone really came with their A-game and it was clear that everyone was extremely passionate about their idea. It was great to see such a high level of competition and excitement from Holy Cross students. I had a blast presenting and we received some really awesome feedback on how we should advance with our business!”
Thank you to our runners-up:
Anthony Saltarelli ‘18 presented his mobile app, The Networking Assistant, a tool to help students organize their network.
Nick Lacasse ‘18 pitched Table Split, a mobile app to divide checks amongst a table of friends at restaurants.
Nate Chung ‘18 launched a mobile app named EchoMe that enables users to live broadcast music and listen together in real-time, regardless of geographic location.
Michael Lowther ’18 pitched Undercover Difference Makers, an online platform to highlight those making a difference in the world.
Special thanks to our judges:
Stacy Chin ’12, CEO & Co-founder, HydroGlyde Coatings
Prof. Daniel Klinghard, Director, J.D. Power Center, Holy Cross
Tyler Scionti ’15, Product Expert, Hubspot
Thank you to Ja-Nae Duane, EIR, and Ben Lodge ’18 for making this event a true success. Looking forward to next year and hearing about all the incredible ideas the next group of Holy Cross students have!
Have you seen the show Shark Tank? Did you know we had our own version of it here at Holy Cross? YES! It’s run by the Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Ja-Nae Duane, where current students will pitch their ideas to a panel of alumni judges for real money. Don’t want to compete? Come watch the show!
The annual competition will be held on Thursday, February 22 from 6-8pm in Hogan Suite A …followed by an alumni networking event! Stay tuned to see who the alumni judges will be.
>> Want to compete? Join us for a prep session held on: Monday, February 5 and Monday, February 12 at 6PM in Stein 216. *Must attend one prep session to compete.
MORE INFO: Meet with Ja-Nae via Google Hangout or stop by the new co-working space in Stein 129C.
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UPDATE: Interested in who will be on the judging panel this year? Come to the event to meet them and mingle during the networking hour with a number of alumni entrepreneurs!
Stacy Chin ’12, CEO & Co-founder, HydroGlyde Coatings
Prof. Daniel Klinghard, Director, J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts & the World, Holy Cross
Tyler Scionti ’15, Product Expert, Hubspot
Founder of the online business, Jeff is excited to announce the launch of Eridu Market and Magdalena Premium Colombian Coffee just in time for the holiday season.
Jeff was a Russian Studies Major at Holy Cross taking several courses on international politics and history. Through his liberal arts education, he was exposed to opportunities and experiences with international communities first hand. During his travels, he met with local business in different corners of the world. Jeff was so captivated by the stories and techniques of the artisans he met, he kept in touch with them long after leaving South America.
By creating Eridu, Jeff has established a platform to sell artisan made products and the Magdalena Coffee. Here he hopes to both expose the world to the talents of artisans, and help the artisans share their stories and sell to the U.S. market. Jeff believes his company shares the values of his liberal arts education of authenticity, quality and cultural exchange.
Authentic Products with Authentic Stories: Welcome to Eridu
Through close personal relationships and equitable partnerships with talented artisans and coffee farmers, Eridu brings you authentic styles, designs, and high-quality products from unique corners of the globe. Eridu currently only has products from Columbia, but Jeff and his team are working on expanding his network of artisans to Peru, Haiti, and Tanzania. Jeff’s goal is to empower people through culture and commerce. Discover Colombian art and culture today!
Unlike the vast majority of craft coffees in the US, Magdalena is purely single origin. The coffee is farmed, processed, roasted, and packaged in a mountain-side village by the people and culture who know coffee best- a true import product. The farmer, Leila, is one of the only female coffee farmers all of Colombia. This is the first time her coffee and this style of indigenous roast have been sold in the United States. Click to learn more about her story and the unique, aromatic flavor of Magdalena Café.
Pictured: Jeff Reppucci ’14 hand delivering his first online order to Prof. David Chu at Holy Cross.
MEET JEFF and see all of his products first hand at the Holiday Bazaar in the Hogan Ballroom tomorrow (12/8/17) from 10am-4pm for some holiday shopping. See you there!
— Thanks to Sarah Anderson ’20 & Rosangel Cruz Cabrera ’18 for collaborating to share this story.
Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Lecturer
Ciocca Office of Entrepreneurial Studies
College of the Holy Cross
For over 20 years, Ja-Naé Duane focused on one mission: make life better for as many people as possible. This award-winning innovator has done that by focusing on revolutionary ideas and develop programs that impact our world. Currently the co-founder of The Revolution Factory, a global network that enables innovation ecosystems in corporations, governments, and universities.
The author of the bestseller, “The Startup Equation” and “How to Start Your Business with $100” Ja-Naé excels at advising startups because she understands from personal experience what it means to be a social entrepreneur. Over the years, her work has caught the attention of The Associated Press, NPR, Classical Singer Magazine, The Boston Globe, and Business Week.
Ja-Nae is an angel investor and advisor in a number of startups including Singularity University. She is excited to be joining the COES team here at College of the Holy Cross.
“I wanted to take subjects that I truly enjoy like philosophy and political science, but still gain the technical skills to be successful following graduation. That is exactly what Holy Cross has offered me: the ability to pair a liberal arts education with a professional business understanding.”
1) Why did you choose Holy Cross? At the time I was applying to schools I was looking for a small college with a Jesuit identity. There was no better fit than HC. I wanted to learn more about the business world, but I didn’t want my whole schedule taken up by accounting, economics, and management classes. I wanted to take subjects that I truly enjoy, like philosophy and political science, but still gain the technical skills to be successful following graduation. That is exactly what Holy Cross has offered me: the ability to pair a liberal arts education with a professional business understanding.
2) What has been your favorite aspect of Holy Cross? Hands down… the people. You hear that the Holy Cross network is incredible. They aren’t lying. The Prebusiness Office has been especially supportive with my startup. Every member of the HC community – professors, staff, alumni, and even students – truly want to see their fellow crusaders succeed.
3) Tell me more about your startup. Junior year of high school I started a company called Phoenix Haberdashery, a high-end mens’ accessory brand known for its line of reversible, double-sided neckties. All of our employees are refugees who came to America to escape violence and tyranny. For most of them working with us was their first job, which is why we use the Phoenix to represent the brand- it symbolizes rebirth and new opportunities. Each tie purchased will tell the story of the sewer who made it, a powerful way to show our customers that not only was their tie handmade and carefully constructed, but it was done by someone with an incredible story. Keep up with these stories on Instagram.
4) How have you been involved with the Entrepreneurial Studies & Prebusiness Office? When I decided halfway through the second semester of my freshmen year to resume my company, I knew that the first place to go would be the Office of Entrepreneurial Studies. I met with Professor Chu and two other faculty to learn about (and later receive) the Ignite Fund, a grant that allows students to gain capital and jumpstart their ideas. Professor Chu also invited me to an alumni networking event in Boston for entrepreneurs. I went, pitched my idea, and met several alumni who have been incredibly helpful in Phoenix Haberdashery’s early development. I decided to stay in Worcester over the summer and was hired to work in the Prebusiness Office. While here, I’ve been learning about business administration and getting tips on how to successfully scale my startup.
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If you want to learn more about the Entrepreneurial Studies & Prebusiness Office, check out our website and follow us on Instagram. Thank you Riley, for sharing your story – we look forward to seeing your business grow!