Harnessing the Power of Liberal Arts to Create Catalysts for Change

By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship 

“At Wake Forest, we champion the liberal arts background as the foundation to being a catalyst for change.” –Evelyn Williams, Associate Vice President of Leadership Development

Each year, highly competitive freshmen students are invited to apply to Wake Forest’s Innovation Leadership through Communication or the “Catalyst Scholars” course. The trans-disciplinary course begins with a pre-term design thinking immersion week prior to the beginning of the year, and continues to meet weekly throughout the remainder of the fall semester.

The Catalyst Scholars course, which is taught through both the Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise and Communication departments, focuses on building design thinking, influential communication and leadership skills within the twenty-eight scholars who are chosen each year. Evelyn Williams, the Associate Vice President of Leadership Development at Wake Forest and the lead professor for this course, explains that the Catalyst Scholars course encompasses a holistic way of working with students to help them answer an important question: “What kind of leader do you want to become?”

The Catalyst Scholars course is built on the belief that in order to be a real catalyst for change, students need to understand the richness of a liberal arts background, as well as other teambuilding and communication skills. There are three parts to leadership development, explains Professor Williams: “Know. Do. Be.  Students need to have the conceptual knowledge to discover problems, have the skills to grapple productively with problems and the character to push to solve problems that really matter.”  Through the CAT immersion course, students become design-thinkers and problem-solvers who are able to develop solutions and motivate others in order to influence outcomes.

This year’s cohort of Catalyst Scholars have worked throughout the fall semester to consider what Wake Forest can do to develop the whole person. As a result, the scholars have offered recommendations to design the college experience in ways to produce engaged leaders for the Wake Forest community.

Gray O'SaileGray O’Saile, a current Catalyst Scholar, explains that through the CAT program, and final presentation, he has gained the skills he needs to become a positive change in the world. “Catalyst Scholars gave me the ability to not only analyze and understand problems for individuals in society, but to also act on those observations, develop helpful solutions for these issues, and use the powers of influence and presentation to introduce these solutions into a community or a society to enact change,” O’Saile explained. “It taught me how to turn my broad liberal arts education, and the traits developed within this educational style, into an actual product, something that can be used to positively impact societies.”

The Catalyst Scholar program builds upon foundational entrepreneurial thinking with a focus on innovation, design thinking and impactful storytelling.  These creative skills, combined with applying concepts learned from a cadre of faculty from across campus (Provost Rogan Kersh, Dean Michele Gillespie, Sr. Assoc. Dean Christy Buchanan, Vice President Penny Rue, Prof. Bill Conner, Prof. Cindy Gendrich and Prof. Eranda Jayawickreme were among the guest lecturers), helps students apply some of the best thinking from their liberal arts disciplines to solve real world problems.  The course encourage scholars to engage and motivate each other and their community by building relationships and fostering change.

Marlee StarkMarlee Stark, a 2014-2015 Catalyst Scholar, calls the Catalyst Scholar program “the most impactful experience” that she has had during her time at Wake Forest: “Catalyst Scholars pushed me to interrogate my communication and leadership styles and taught me the value of storytelling. While I think I have always generally taken an interest in how others interact and create together, the Catalyst Scholars program allowed me to engage with this concept in a more formal manner while forging some of my most valuable friendships on campus in the process.”

At a school where building positive change through Pro Humanitate is at the heart of everything that we do, Catalyst Scholars are going a step further by learning how to use their own leadership skills to make Wake Forest, and the world at large, a better place.

Finding a Niche: Student Entrepreneurs Develop Loopey Laces, LLC

By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

collis Worcester

Sometimes, the best entrepreneurial ventures are those that are right in front of you. Earlier this year, Tommy Worcester (’17) and Tim Collis (’17), junior Finance majors and aspiring entrepreneurs, set out to develop an entrepreneurial idea that would get their feet wet. After months of brainstorming and researching different options for how to find a niche in the sock/footwear market, Worcester and Collis realized that there was a tremendous opportunity here on campus. After learning of a custom shoelace business which sells exclusively Nike shoe designs, these student entrepreneurs developed the idea to create shoelaces imbued with sorority letters to complement the Chuck Taylor Converse shoes that Wake Forest sorority members traditionally wear.

In the last couple of months, Worcester and Collis’ idea has taken off and Loopey Laces is now a fully-operational business that will begin selling its product during the first week of January alongside sorority recruitment! Loopey Laces will use tabling displays to market their products to the Wake Forest student body.

KD LettersWorcester and Collis explain that the Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (CICE) has contributed immensely to their ability to create Loopey Laces. “The CICE New Venture Grant committee put us in front of the CICE Advisory Counsel of successful alumni, who were willing to sit down with us to hash out many of our questions,” explained Worcester. “We now have a professional network that ranges from business professors to consulting employees to founders and employees of different entrepreneurial institutions throughout the country. The ICE network continues to drive decisions in our business today,” he added.

Loopey Laces LogoAlthough Worcester and Collis hope to initially market Loopey Laces at Wake Forest and in the North Carolina area, they are planning to expand to the national space via eCommerce and physical trips within just a few months. “Years down the line, we are considering deals with major Greek retailers, collegiate organizations, and high school groups,” explained Worcester. “We don’t know exactly what the future might bring and that’s why this opportunity is so exciting!”

Congratulations to Tommy Worcester and Tim Collis on their success! Make sure to check out Loopey Laces when their products debut on campus in January.

Lani Lazzari, CEO of Simple Sugars and 2013 Shark Tank Winner, Encourages Students to “Live the Life they Love”

By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

“You should never have to choose between a life you love and a job you love.” –Lani Lazzari

Lani LazzariLani Lazzari, the CEO of Simple Sugars and 2013 Shark Tank winner, was the keynote speaker at the Do Something Challenge main event, held on November 19, 2015 in the Kulynych Auditorium of Byrum Welcome Center. During the event, Lazzari, who followed her dreams to found Simple Sugars at the age of eleven, shared her own success story with the students, faculty, and staff in attendance. Lazzari also used her own entrepreneurial experience to share advice with other young entrepreneurs interested in either starting their own for-profit businesses or becoming involved in making a difference through social entrepreneurship.

At a young age, Lazzari had trouble finding skin care products that she could use on her sensitive skin. After numerous visits to the dermatologist and finding that even prescription lotions and skin creams were full of artificial preservatives, she played around in the kitchen and created her own recipe. Simple Sugars began as a hobby, but Lazarri quickly realized that she had created something really special, as there was a need for an all-natural lotion alternative in the beauty market.

Shark TankIn 2012, Lazzari was approached by Shark Tank and asked to pitch her idea on the show. After making it past twelve rounds of auditions, Lazzari pitched Simple Sugars to the sharks and signed a deal with Mark Cuban. As a result, Simple Sugars exploded overnight. Shark Tank producers told her to expect $20,000 worth of sales in the days after her episode aired, but Lazzari was shocked to find that in less than 24 hours, she had received $600,000 worth of sales as well as over 13,000 emails and voicemails – on her private cell phone number and email address!

“We had to restructure our business in a short time frame,” explained Lazzari. “Before Shark Tank, Simple Sugars had no Customer Service. We had only two part time employees, both of whom quit the week after the show aired. We didn’t have a supply chain either. We were still buying sugar from the grocery store!”

Simple SugarsAlthough Simple Sugars faced many structural challenges in the days following the Shark Tank premiere, Lazzari and her new team were able to continue growing the business. They retained eighty percent of customers who purchased a product after watching the episode, a huge feat for any business. Today, Simple Sugars is a multi-million dollar skincare line that sells products online and in retail stores across the world. Simple Sugars operates out of a 10,000 square foot facility in Pennsylvania and currently has seventeen full time staff members.

Although Lazarri is proud of the products that she created, she explained that she is even more proud of the company culture she has provided for those employees. “You should never have to choose between a life you love and a job you love,” she explained. “I want employees to come to work happy and even be sad when they leave. At Simple Sugars, we strive to create a positive energy culture where we celebrate everything.” Lazzari wants Simple Sugars to be a company that is changing the way that people look at jobs. She wants her company to be a role model for other companies who want to help their employees be fulfilled by their jobs.

S1230010When asked what she has learned through her Simple Sugars journey and what advice she would give to aspiring entrepreneurs, Lazzari offered advice about taking risks, learning from failures, and understanding that success takes time. “Take yourself seriously,” she told the audience. “The first step to getting others to take you seriously is to do so yourself.” Lazzari, who at only twenty-one years old has already accomplished what many entrepreneurs hope to accomplish during their lifetime, encouraged students to follow their dreams: “Dream it and then live it,” she explained. “Every day.”

To learn more about Lani Lazzari, click here. To learn more about the Do Something Project, click here.

What Would You Do with $5,000 to Change the World?

By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

Do Something Challenge LogoAs part of Wake Forest’s celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, The Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship hosted the 2nd Annual Do Something Challenge, an event designed to allow young social entrepreneurs to pitch ideas for how they want to make a difference in their community. The Do Something Challenge culminated with a main event featuring Shark Tank Winner Lani Lazzari in Kulynych Auditorium on November 19, 2015.

This year’s Do Something Challenge posed this to Wake Forest students and community members: What would you do with $5,000 to change the world? In all, twenty-five students pitched ideas to a panel of judges about how they would put the money to use. The pitches spanned a wide range of initiatives and included ideas to tackle educational deficits, social justice issues, economic problems, and other social issues in the community.

Lindsey CarpenterLindsey Carpenter, the first place winner of this year’s Do Something Challenge, received a $3,000 stipend to fund her idea, Thrive to Strive. Thrive to Strive is a weekend-long career planning workshop that will be held in the spring for local high school students. During the workshop, students will learn how to write resumes, practice their interviewing skills, and learn how to succeed in the business world.  “If we really want to change the world,” explained Carpenter, “we have to look at where the world starts, and that’s with our children. Children are the building blocks of society…the future…they’re what we put our hope in.” Congratulations to Lindsey Carpenter for her winning pitch!

Rushil MehtaRushil Mehta, the second place winner of the 2015 Do Something Challenge, was awarded a $1,500 stipend to fund his idea, Agricultural Opportunities. Mehta’s idea is to hold a food-focused career fair around the food and agricultural jobs that are available in Winston- Salem. Mehta explained, “My goal is to bridge the gaps between the opportunities and the people in Winston- Salem.” He added, “I’m not trying to solve hunger in Winston-Salem. I’m trying to inspire the minds that will.” Congratulations to second place finalist Rushil Mehta for his wonderful idea!

In addition to the first and second place winners, four other pitches were chosen as semi-finalists. These top six pitches were presented during the main event and audience members were then given the opportunity to vote for the pitch that they would like to receive a $500 Audience Choice Award.

Matt Williams“Captivism,” an idea pitched by Wake Forest graduate student Matt Williams, was chosen to receive the $500 Audience Choice Award. Captivism, a social justice crowd-funding site, will allow patrons to donate their money to a wide range of social justice issues, including those local to the Winston-Salem community. “Captivism is the tool for the next generation of change agents,” explained Williams. “When our capital meets activism, change becomes revolutionary.” Congratulations to Matt Williams for winning this year’s Audience Choice Award!

Winners also received membership privileges to Flywheel, a premiere co-working space in downtown Winston-Salem.

This year’s Do Something Challenge was planned and executed by senior Kelly Guin and her Executive Team.

Do Something Challenge Exec Team and LaniPictured here from left to right are:

Kelsey Brown (’16), Director of Logistics

Sabrina Parisi, (’18) Director of Public Relations

Amanda Ulrich (’16), Budget Director

George Papakonstantinou (’19), Speaker Coordinator

Lani Lazzari, (Incredibly Talented Entrepreneur and Speaker)

Kelly Guin (’16), Executive Director

Stephanie Sullan (’16), Director of Programming

Kent Garrett (’16), Public Outreach Director

Not Pictured: Olivia Cheney (’16), Marketing Director

“This year’s Do Something Challenge was amazing. We had such inspiring student pitches, passionate judges, and an incredibly talented and accomplished speaker,” said Kelly Guin, Executive Director. She added: “Being the Executive Director of the Do Something Challenge was the most rewarding experience of my collegiate career and I am incredibly grateful for everyone that was a part of it.”

The Do Something Challenge would not have been possible without our generous sponsors: The Office of the Provost, the Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship, the Student Activities Fund, the WFU School of Divinity, the Women’s Center, the Entrepreneurship Society, and Winston-Salem Flywheel.

Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathan Reckford Shares Leadership Insight and Perspectives with the Wake Forest Community

By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

Jonathan-ReckfordOn October 20, 2015, Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathan Reckford visited Wake Forest as part of The Leadership Project. The Leadership Project is an initiative designed to celebrate the many ways leadership development is taught and inspired at Wake Forest and to engage members of the Wake Forest community with compelling personal leadership stories from a wide range of experiences and perspectives.

Jonathan Reckford, who has a degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, spent most of his career in the for-profit sector. He held executive and managerial positions at Goldman Sachs, Marriott, the Walt Disney Company, and Best Buy. Reckford served as executive pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church near Minneapolis, Minnesota before being appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of Habitat for Humanity in 2005. Under his leadership Habitat for Humanity, an ecumenical Christian housing ministry, has grown exponentially serving more than 300,000 families last year, in comparison to the 25,000 per year served a decade ago.

ReckfordDuring his visit, Reckford shared his thoughts on leadership with University President Dr. Nathan Hatch. Reckford began by explaining that when he was a child, his grandmother, former New Jersey congresswoman Millicent Fenwick, often posed this question to him: “What are you going to do to be useful?” Reckford, who held many different jobs throughout his career before joining the Habitat for Humanity team, explained that it is important for Wake Forest students and future leaders to be intentional about being intellectually curious and doing what they love in order to live a “useful life.”

Reckford, who serves on the board of the Duke Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship, encouraged students to follow their dreams and passions. He explained: “Studying something you feel you ought to, but don’t really have an affinity for, is probably not a good long-term perspective.” Instead, he advised students to seek jobs, careers, or businesses where they will be able to use their skills and gifts in order to add value to the world. Reckford, an advocate of social entrepreneurship and finding innovative solutions to social problems, also encouraged students to follow their calling, which he defined as “where the deep gladness of one’s heart meets the world’s great need.”

Reckford ended his lecture by thanking the Wake Forest community for its embodiment of the school’s motto, Pro Humanitate, as well as its ethos of community involvement and support. The Leadership Project strives to help students embody Pro Humanitate by providing them with the necessary skills and capabilities that they will need to make the world a better place. For more information about The Leadership Project, click here.

Millennials and the Culture of Entrepreneurship

Millennials 1On October 8, 2015, the Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship and the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism co-sponsored a panel entitled “Millennials and the Culture of Entrepreneurship.” The panel was moderated by Wake Forest Economics Department Chair Dan Hammond. Panelists included:

Saras Sarasvathy – Professor of Business Administration at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.
Don Boudreaux – Economics Professor at George Mason University.
Michael Strong – Chief Executive Officer of FLOW, a movement dedicated to “liberating the entrepreneurial spirit for good.”

Millennials 2Panelists were asked to give their thoughts on the tools necessary for millennials to succeed as entrepreneurs in today’s 21st century world. Because of their diverse backgrounds, the three panelists were able to present a multi-faceted view of entrepreneurship to the Wake Forest students, faculty, and staff in attendance.

Juilee Shivalkar, Communications and Marketing Intern for the School of Business, offers the following synopsis.

• Saras Sarasvathy compared entrepreneurs to scientists discovering new concepts as she explained how innovation can further society and the economy. Her comments focused on collaboration and she urged the audience to build ventures together with coworkers, instead of just considering them to be employees working for a boss.
• “Entrepreneurs are creative destroyers,” explained Don Boudreaux. From Boudreaux’s perspective, entrepreneurs destroy existing trade paths, technology and jobs, but do this in the service of creating better ones. He suggests that entrepreneurs enable society to offer a higher standard of living.
• Michael Strong believes economic development can create humanitarian and environmental benefits. He also suggests that working at a start-up gives entrepreneurs and their teams the chance to do a little bit of everything.

Where are They Now?

By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship

Wake Wash picture

It all started with a class assignment, $40, and a great idea.

During the fall of 2007, three Wake Forest sophomores co-founded Wake Wash, a laundry service developed by students, for students. Two of the Wake Wash founders (and ICE alums) stopped by during Homecoming Weekend in October of this year. Julie Musgrave (’10) and Eleanor Smith (’10) talked with current students and Wake Forest faculty about what they are doing now, while also sharing advice for students just beginning their own entrepreneurial journeys.

Julie MusgraveMusgrave, a Finance major from Severna Park, Maryland, has worked for Navigant Consulting as part of their healthcare practice since she graduated in 2010. In her role, Musgrave travels weekly as a consultant to different hospitals across the United States. She is responsible for helping these hospitals reduce their costs and increase their reimbursement. Musgrave explained that her experience with founding Wake Wash as a student has been immensely helpful to her in the real world. A quote from Napoleon Hill can sum up the lessons that Wake Forest’s ICE program taught her: “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”

Eleanor Smith

Smith, an Economics and Art History major from Houston, Texas, has worked for iProspect since January 2013. She currently serves as Associate Director of Display for the East, managing all display business for iProspect clients in the Boston and New York offices. Smith similarly explains that the skills she learned as a student entrepreneur at Wake Forest have benefitted her throughout her career: “I think the most critical thing I learned through my experience with Wake Wash was to not be afraid to take risks – constantly strive to do more and do better. It is true that fortune favors the bold, and those people who are successful in life are not afraid to grab the bull by the horns and face a challenge head on.”

As founders of one of Wake Forest’s most successful student-run entrepreneurial ventures, we asked Musgrave and Smith what advice they might have for other students who are interested in starting their own businesses.

1. Ask for help

"We spent a lot of time talking with professors, university leaders, parents, mentors, other laundry business owners, and students to get perspective on our ideas and challenges,” explained Smith. “You cannot solve everything yourself, and a small business owner would be remiss to think they had all the answers, so it’s really important to build strong relationships with people you trust and value.”

 2. Don’t be afraid to take risks

“I often think that people don’t start businesses or new initiatives because they don’t feel that their ideas are unique or remarkable enough to stand out,” explained Musgrave. “Starting a laundry company was not a very innovative business idea; however, my co-founders and I decided that there was a market for the business at Wake Forest and that as long as we ran the business as best as we could that we’d likely be successful and make an impact. On a weekly basis, we went above and beyond to ensure that our business stood out positively on campus.”

3. Get started and get creative

“In the beginning, we didn’t have much cash on hand, so we were very frugal and kept our startup costs low through creativity,” explained Musgrave. “My advice to new student businesses is to continually challenge your team to come up with new, creative ideas to market your business.” Smith added: “The biggest piece of advice I can give is just to get out there and start doing things. A lot of people have good ideas, but very few come to life. College is one of the best times to start your own business because you have an amazing support system. Take advantage of it and get started! ”

The Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship Welcomes Dan Cohen, Professor of Practice in Business and Entrepreneurship

Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship

“Wake Forest has a tremendous amount of potential in entrepreneurship, and I’m looking forward to being a part of the team taking it to new heights.” Dan Cohen

Dan CohenThe Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship is delighted to welcome Dan Cohen, the newest member of the ICE team, to Wake Forest! Professor Cohen joined the faculty in July of this year from Cornell University, where he founded and directed Cornell’s E-Lab start-up accelerator program for advanced entrepreneurs. At Wake Forest, Professor Cohen will be collaborating with Bill Conner, the Lelia and David Farr Professor of ICE, and Polly Black, the John C. Whitaker, Jr. Executive Director of the Center for ICE, to develop curriculum for all levels of student entrepreneurs. He teaches ESE 205, Managing the Entrepreneurial Venture: Startups to Early Growth, a required course for the Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise minor.

After founding his own company and working for 15 years in the specialized construction industry, Professor Cohen made the decision to transition into academia in order to teach entrepreneurship to college students. Having started his own company when he was 24 years old, he understands why students want to start companies. Professor Cohen makes an effort to bring his entrepreneurial experience into the classroom by helping students develop skills that substitute for not having work experience. He spices things up with examples and experiential learning opportunities that heighten students’ understanding and help them prepare for what they’ll be doing in the real world. “In entrepreneurship, you have to do it to learn it; you can’t learn solely from a textbook or a case study,” he explained.

Dan Cohen 2Professor Cohen was attracted to Wake Forest because of the student-focused environment, as well as the expectation of teaching excellence. The “Wake Way,” as he referred to this environment, offers professors the opportunity to get to know their students inside and outside of the classroom. Professor Cohen enjoys learning about what is going on in students’ lives and helping them develop something from scratch that can become extremely valuable. “I’ve had some great mentors that have helped me throughout my entrepreneurial journey, and I enjoy being able to pass that forward to others,” he explained.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities at Wake Forest, Professor Cohen is currently researching “anticipatory entrepreneurial passion,” a construct he developed which describes the anticipatory passion that helps nascent entrepreneurs develop an entrepreneurial identity. This construct considers how entrepreneurs develop, learn and grow from the anticipatory stage, in which they think they might like to be an entrepreneur, to an internal belief that they are an entrepreneur, to the solidification of their entrepreneurial identity through validation by relevant outsiders, such as customers or investors.  His construct represents a new area of emotion research in the entrepreneurial field.

Professor Cohen is excited to continue developing his research here at Wake Forest with students who are just beginning to get excited about entrepreneurship. “Wake Forest has a tremendous amount of potential in entrepreneurship, and I’m looking forward to being a part of the team taking it to new heights,” said Cohen.

App 101 – The Life Cycle of an Application

By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship 

Greg 1Have you ever had a great idea for a new smart phone application – maybe even a future “Candy Crush” sensation – but didn’t know where to start? On Wednesday, October 21, Entrepreneur-in-Residence Greg Pool hosted App 101, a workshop for students interested in launching their own mobile app or learning more about the life cycle of an app. During the interactive workshop, Pool, who previously sold a game development company to Playdom Disney, spoke about his own experience in order to give advice to budding entrepreneurs and developers.

In the App 101 workshop, Pool described the steps an entrepreneur must take to turn an idea for an app into a successful product and shared his expert advice on the importance of defining the app’s value proposition and developing a marketing plan that will lead to virality and engagement. Virality, Pool explained, is a metric borrowed from the medical field which measures the “infection rate” of an app, or how many people download and use it. Engagement, on the other hand, measures the success of structural features designed to turn acquired users into returning users who are frequently engaged with the app. Both metrics, according to Pool, are vital to successfully acquiring and retaining users.

Pool also discussed the different pathways to monetization, tips for learning to code or recruiting someone who can, as well as the legalities that must be taken into consideration, such as signing development agreements and filing for patents. These steps are integral to the success of a mobile app, and must be considered even during the initial stages of the app’s development. As part of his talk, Pool told stories of his own experiences, as well as those of others, to help students understand the factors that contribute to the success of an application.

greg 2“Failing to plan is planning to fail,” explained Pool. “It’s essential that you get everything right on the upfront. There is so much white space left to fill in the app world, and there’s a ton of money to be made.” The numbers are staggering. Each day, 329,000 smartphones are sold in the United States. Similarly, there are approximately 100 million app downloads per day, more than the number of credit card transactions per day. The app market continues to grow rapidly, and the time is right for entrepreneurs to create apps that solve needs in the market and provide value to customers. The opportunities to grow and expand are endless, as is the opportunity to make a lot of money through a successful venture.

Student entrepreneurs who have an idea for their own app may make an appointment to meet with Greg Pool here. Pool will also be hosting another App 101 workshop in the spring on Wednesday, February 24 from 6-8pm.

Student Leaders Contribute to the Entrepreneurial Culture at Wake Forest

By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship

The Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship provides many leadership opportunities for students who want to give back to the program and their community. Our student leaders are driven, passionate, and contribute to the entrepreneurial culture of Wake Forest. Read on to meet some of the 2015-2016 Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship student leaders.

Keshav Daga, Orton Scholar and 2015-16 University Innovation Fellow

DagaThe Orton Merit Fund for Entrepreneurship awards a scholarship each year to a rising junior who has distinguished himself/herself as a leader in promoting entrepreneurship interest and involvement. Keshav Daga, a Finance major and Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise minor from Cranbury, New Jersey, is the first Orton Scholar recipient. Daga initially became involved with the ICE program by attending E-Society meetings his freshmen year, where he was able to meet others who shared similar interests in entrepreneurship and innovation. During his sophomore year, Daga and his roommate founded Deacon Clean, a student-run cleaning service for students who don’t receive regular custodial services. “My experiences with the ICE program have taught me the importance of not only learning about entrepreneurship through an academic setting, but also learning through an extracurricular context,” explained Daga. “The Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship has been a great resource in helping me pursue my interests in entrepreneurship and innovation.” Daga is also the University Innovation Fellow and in that role will be exploring ways to inspire more innovation and entrepreneurship activities on campus.

Austin Evers, Executive Director of TEDxWakeForestU2016

Austin Evers pictureAustin Evers, a senior BEM major and Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise minor from Atlanta, Georgia, is the 2015-2016 Executive Director of TEDxWakeForestU, an entirely student-run conference featuring speakers from a variety of fields. Evers first became involved with TEDx when he served on the student board last year, supporting marketing and engagement efforts for the conference. “Through TEDx, I have learned what it means to engage students, faculty, staff, and community members in meaningful dialogue and to encourage them to think beyond the walls of our campus and city limits,” explained Evers. “I love working with such a talented, diverse group of students who share a passion for shaping the culture, climate, and conversations of Wake Forest and beyond.” This year’s TEDxWakeForestU will be held on February 20, 2016. Please make plans to come out and support the TEDx team during the fifth annual TEDxWakeForestU!

Kelly Guin, Executive Director, Do Something Challenge

Kelly GuinKelly Guin, an Entrepreneurship and Creative Design major from Fairfax, Virginia, was one of the winners of last year’s inaugural Do Something Challenge. During the challenge, Guin proposed the creation of a website to combat the issue of negative stigma surrounding mental illness (especially depression) on college campuses. She is currently working to create the website, which is comprised of community-based positive post sharing, mentorship and support, and access to resources. “Through this experience, I have learned how to see a project through to completion, as well as how to work with the campus community in order to develop my idea into a reality,” Guin explained. This year, Guin is leading a team to organize the 2nd Annual Do Something Challenge, which will culminate with a main event on November 19th, 2015 in Wait Chapel. “I love the possibility of turning the Do Something Challenge into a new tradition here at Wake,” explained Guin. “I have assembled an incredibly passionate and talented team and am excited to see what we can work together to create!”

Adrienne Henderson, Riley Scholar

hendersonThe Richard and Carolyn Riley Scholarship is awarded annually to a student who shows outstanding potential in entrepreneurship. This year’s recipient, Adrienne Henderson, is a Communication major and Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise minor from Old Greenwich, Connecticut. Henderson took her first Entrepreneurship class while abroad in Barcelona, Spain, and signed up for three more when she returned to Wake Forest. During her first semester of Entrepreneurship classes at Wake Forest, Henderson developed an idea for a non-profit venture called the Social Petwork. The Social Petwork aims to decrease rates of animal euthanasia in the United States and increase the number of adoptions from and donations to animal shelters across the country. Henderson explained that the support she received from ICE faculty and student leaders was incredible: “The ICE Program is one of the best assets Wake Forest University has. I truly feel as though this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of a community that fosters such creativity.”

 Hayden Lineberger, Farr Scholar

Hayden LinebergerThe Lelia and David Farr Scholarship is awarded every four years to a student who shows outstanding potential in entrepreneurship. Hayden Lineberger, a current sophomore from Winston-Salem, NC, was awarded the Farr Scholarship last year. Lineberger, who has been interested in entrepreneurship since a young age, knew he wanted to attend Wake Forest and minor in Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise after visiting an ESE class during his junior year of high school. “Through visiting an ESE class, I learned that Wake was a place where my desire to use creativity in a business environment would be encouraged and fostered,” he explained. “That classroom experience solidified my decision to attend Wake Forest.” During his junior year of high school, Lineberger created a social media business that offered marketing and promotion services to apparel manufacturers and retailers, a venture that filled a void in the marketplace at the time. Last summer, he created two new ventures for Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina as part of an internship through the ESE department.

Congratulations to these students!