Media Advisory for Friday, April 15, 8:30 am - 2:30 pm.
Interviews available at noon.
QUEENS COLLEGE HOLDS FIRST-EVER ENTREPRENEURSHIP CONFERENCE
-- Free Public Event on April 15 Features Successful Founders of Many Companies; Keynote Speeches by John Lusk, Co-Author of The MouseDriver Chronicles, and Violy McCausland-Seve, Expert on the Hispanicization of America--
FLUSHING, NEW YORK, April 1, 2005—Some of the nation’s most accomplished entrepreneurs will be discussing the lessons they’ve learned and important current trends impacting new businesses when Queens College holds its first Entrepreneurship Conference on April 15. The free public event, organized and moderated by Queens alumnus Len Schutzman, ’67—former senior vice president at PepsiCo and executive professor of business administration at the University of Rochester—will feature a discussion by a nine-person panel of business founders and venture capitalists. Collectively, the panel members have conceived, launched, grown and managed over two dozen successful new ventures.
“We are delighted that entrepreneurs of this quality will be speaking on our Queens College campus,” says Queens College President James Muyskens. “We also felt it was important that this event, which will benefit not only business students but any student with a creative idea, be free and open to the general public. If this first-time conference inspires the creation of a vital new business venture in Queens or one of the other boroughs, it will have served its purpose.”
Under the general categories of “Lessons from Successful Entrepreneurs” and “Future Trends for New Entrepreneurial Ventures,” these experts will cover the latest developments in Internet and search systems, recent trends in medical technology, and nanotechnology, among other timely topics. “With this conference, we hope to inspire current business students and the public to entrepreneurship,” says Schutzman.
The conference will begin at 8:30 am in Persia Campbell Dome with a keynote address, “Adventures of a Student Entrepreneur,” by John Lusk, co-author of The MouseDriver Chronicles: The True-Life Adventures of Two First-Time Entrepreneurs (Perseus, 2002). The book, required reading in over 150 universities and graduate programs across America, is Lusk’s account of launching a consumer technology products company while he was an MBA student at the Wharton Business School. The roundtable will follow at 9:30 am.
Panelists come from a wide variety of fields. At PepsiCo, John Bronson oversaw compensation
and benefits for more than 350,000 employees. Now he invests in startups, including television studio Madison Road Entertainment, where he is chief operating officer. Plain Sight Systems president Patrick DeSouza, a former director of the National Security Council, advises public and private companies in defense, software, and wireless devices. After creating a direct marketing travel agency, Rob Kaplan co-founded Housing Innovation and Beyond LLC. Marketing expert Gregg Lederman, founder of Brand Integrity Inc., draws his clientele from Fortune 1000 firms such as Corning Inc., Frito-Lay, and Microsoft Corp.
Periodontist and entrepreneur Barry Libin has tackled projects ranging from public service to the performing arts—he wrote the book, lyrics, and music for the new show, GREED!. Sangam Pant became general partner of the early-stage venture fund Evercore Ventures after holding senior management positions at eCompanies, Lycos, Ziff-Davis, and DEC. Kingdom Entertainment president Chip Quigley has been involved in event production and artist management for three decades. Former corporate attorney Allison Wing dreamed up giggle, a baby products and services company, when she was an expectant mother. Trev Warshauer relied on his outstanding track record in sales to found Wild Fruitz Beverages, a line of nutritious sparkling drinks.
At noon, a casual luncheon served in Powdermaker Hall, Room 300A will allow audience members to meet and mingle with the panelists. Formal presentations will resume at 1:30 pm in Campbell Dome when Violy McCausland-Seve, principal of VMS Associates, draws upon her extensive experience in Latin America to give the afternoon keynote on the business implications of the Hispanicization of America. Upon leaving J.P. Morgan, where she was a top manager, McCausland-Seve helped future World Bank president James D. Wolfensohn develop his firm’s Latin American practice. Subsequently, she went into business for herself.
“These speakers are great role models,” says Schutzman. The conference is the first of a series of campus events envisioned by Schutzman, a Queens native whose professional relationship with his alma mater goes back more than a decade: He helped plan and design the school’s distinctive Business and Liberal Arts program (BALA). The BALA program allows students to combine core business classes in both business and the liberal arts. He also taught a course in entrepreneurship. “Two of my former students are still running companies they started while in my class,” Schutzman reports. Citing the drive, creativity and diversity he sees on campus, he concludes, “Queens College is a hotbed of entrepreneurship. It’s the place to be if you’re starting a business.”