Bush & Hester: What We Learned

By Taylor Borden, Marketing and Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

Strengths of our program include learning by doing coupled with learning from the pros. On March 14, we were able to exercise the latter when we were lucky enough to hear from two different and exciting speakers, Lori Bush and Gordon Hester, about their own entrepreneurial experiences.

Lori Bush addressed a packed room of students about crowd sourcing and the digital age. She refers to crowd sourcing as a celebration of “the culture of agility,” or a way to successfully hit the market by direct selling with a flexible mindset, or rather, without staying tied to the legacy and infrastructure of traditional business. It took a village and a ton of moving parts bringing products directly to the consumer for Bush’s company, Rodan & Fields, to initially find success in the already saturated beauty industry. “We use this crowd sourcing or direct selling model as a way to be competitive in the marketplace,” Bush admits. She calls this social commerce.

By thriving on this idea of social commerce, Rodan & Fields absolutely became competitive in the marketplace and is now considered the number one premium independent skincare company in the United States.

Gordon Hester, a successful global business consultant, who has even dabbled in the direct selling business himself, applauds Bush.

He follows up her talk with an important takeaway: “The best lesson here is that business is about people.” He would know, as he helped develop one of the largest nutritional direct selling business in the world (Roberti Enterprises) as the CEO and now works his own consulting business focusing on the processes, strategies, and systems that will advance consumer-focused companies like Juice Plus.

His passion for entrepreneurship and the best business practices has taken him all over the world and he spent his time with our students relaying his thoughts on the key principles necessary for success as a nascent entrepreneur. Not only did he stress the importance of people, he shared anecdotes about having an adaptable mentality, forcing yourself to always be learning, and how much you accomplish when you choose to live in the extra mile.

Here are a few of our favorite thoughts shared during this speaker event:

  • “In business, we typically stay so goal oriented but with a fixed mindset. This mindset is tied to legacy so much so that we can’t pivot in an agile way. This is the fear zone and you can’t be stuck in the fear zone.” –Bush, on how she had the confidence to deviate from a standard business model
  • “In Tom Sawyer, remember how he got everyone to help him paint the fence? Well, simply speaking, I am the Tom Sawyer of the beauty industry.” – Bush explaining her process as simply as possible
  • “There is nothing stronger than the power of a network—it’s the people who know people who know people that help you reach your end goal.” – Bush
  • “When school ends, you think the learning stops, but that’s actually when it begins. In today’s world, you have to invest in relevancy.” –Hester, on why he constantly pushes himself to learn new things each day
  • “Success is more about mindset than mechanics. What do successful people have in common? They are so hungry to grow.” Hester, echoing Bush’s points about mindset
  • “To succeed you have to be willing to live in the extra mile. Not too many people do. If you don’t, you’re in the comfort zone. For me, the comfort zone is the death of my potential.” –Hester