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.”
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!
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.
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!
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
Looking back just a month ago when campus was alive with students, the College held the annual Academic Conference where students from all class years and majors put on a show of research, performances, presentations and so on. This year over 470 students participated in the four-day celebration!
“The best piece of advice we got was to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.” Sierra Hannough ’18 recounts her experience working with choreographers her senior year and working out what comes next after the hill.
Read on to see some of the amazing work Holy Cross students are doing here.
“I really enjoyed the overall experience of Fullbridge. It definitely proved beneficial to my understanding of the business world. I really was unsure about continuing in the certificate program, however after this program I definitely will continue.”
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
Miss the annual Women in Business conference? No worries! Read a review of the 2017 Women in Business conference, written by committee members Sarah Anderson ’20 and Kate Beckerman ’20. Special THANK YOU to Provost Freije for interviewing Deirdre Latour ’95, Senior Advisor, VP & COO at GE.
This year at the Women in Business Conference, we are ~shaking~ things up! Out with the old and in with the new. We’ve transformed our keynote address into a keynote interview and to celebrate the evolution of the Conference, we’ve interviewed four students from four different majors. They have shared their insights into the Conference and gave some of the biggest tips they’ve learned over the years! Be sure to read up about their experiences and sign up for the Conference at holycross.edu/business/wib
TESS ANDREKUS ’18
Q: How did you hear about the Women in Business conference?
My mom is an alumnae (Moira Garvey ’78), and she actually brought me to a Women in Business conference back when I was only 11 years old. I got to go to some of the panels and I was hooked. Then once I got into HC, I made sure to sign up for the Prebusiness program so that I could keep an eye out for the conference each year.
Q: What year did you attend?
I’ve attended every year that I’ve been at HC, so that would be 2014, 2015, and 2016. Plus the time when I was 11!
Q: What was your favorite part of the conference?
I’ve really enjoyed when the alumni at the table engage with us students and try to figure out what helpful advice, tip and tricks they can give us. They have insight that is super helpful.
Q: What was one lasting connection you made at the conference?
I have made sure to talk to Mary Donahue Quinlan every single year. She had a panel at the conference when I went as an 11 year old, and from then on I have been a loyal fan!
Q: What are you most looking forward to at the conference this year?
This year I’m a senior so I think any advice that alums have for me will be helpful. Hopefully I can make some connections that will help me achieve success and happiness.
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Thanks to Casey Carty ’18 for this interview. Hope to see you all at the conference this year on Saturday, November 11, 2017. Registration is OPEN so be sure to sign up!
The Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Ja-Naé Duane, is working with the student club HCEG (Holy Cross Entrepreneurs Group) to offer a series of workshops designed to help you make your idea a reality! Get involved and compete in the annual spring Shark Tank competition.
Each Wednesday meeting is held from 6:30pm-8pm in Hogan 402/403. See you there!
> Wed., October 18th: Pitch Night! Have a project or an idea you are working on? Could you use a little money to work on it? Come to this open mic and tell us about your idea or project and why you could use some financial help. Then your peers will decide. No slides. No suits. Two-three minute pitch. Just you and your idea. That’s it!
> Wed., October 25th: Rapid Prototyping When you have an idea sometimes you just need to put together a prototype for people to see. Within this session, we will go through the different types of prototypes you can create, how to do paper prototypes, as well as digital prototypes.
> Wed., November 1st: Find a Co-Founder Networking Event Want to do a startup, but need a co-founder or to build out your team. Come to this networking event and meet like-minded individuals who might have an interest in teaming up with you and doing something great.
> Wed., November 15th: Pitch Night!
Have a project or an idea you are working on? Could you use a little money to work on it? Come to this open mic and tell us about your idea or project and why you could use some financial help. Then your peers will decide. No slides. No suits. Two-three minute pitch. Just you and your idea. That’s it!
CONTACT: Ja-Naé Duane, Entrepreneur-in-Residence & Lecturer at the College. Stop by her office to say hello in Stein 129C and check out the new co-working space.