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!

Fall 2015 New Venture Seed Grant Winners Announced!

All individuals were required to go through an application process, as well as present their plans and proposals to a grant committee of faculty and administrators.  The committee selected seven proposals to receive funding to assist in marketing, and/or product development.  Congratulations to these seed grant recipients!


Mike Thomas ’16 (Business Enterprise Management)

CRUX is an alternative rock climbing hold that will repeatedly attach and detach from walls without damaging or marking.  CRUX aims to make rock climbing more accessible for athletes, recreationists, and children.

EncepHeal Therapeutics

Omeed Rahimi (PhD, Physiology and Pharmacology)

Bradley Keegan (PhD, Physiology and Pharmacology)

Ayana Martin (PhD, Molecular Medicine)

EncepHeal Therapeutics brings together renowned experts to accelerate the research and development of medicines and therapies designed to treat drug addiction.  EncepHeal’s innovative research model seeks to bridge the development gap for these treatments in order to deliver new, safe, and effective medicines to drug addiction patients.


Josh Litchman ’18

Cam Migdol ’18 

JustGO is a social app that allows users to connect with their friends and find places to meet on a night out.  The JustGo app marks user location, so you can easily find your friends at any time of day or night.

Killam Camouflage

Joe DiLeo ’16 (Psychology)

Killam Camouflage will provide innovative camouflage garments of the highest quality available to both hunters and outdoor enthusiasts.  The flagship product will be a black, polyester-blend t-shirt that reveals a camouflage pattern in sunlight using UV-reactive photochromatic fabric.

Loopey Laces

Tom Worcester ’17 (Finance)

Tim Collis ’17 (Finance and Political Science)

Loopey Laces allows consumers to recreate the look of their shoes and express themselves with uniquely colored, patterned, and lettered shoelaces.  Custom printed shoelaces allow individuals to add personality to their footwear at a low cost.


Toye Falaiye (MA, Management)

ShowerShoes are designed to be a convenient and eco-friendly way to protect your feet from commonly contacted skin diseases, while also sanitizing the bottoms of feet with hydrogen peroxide coating.

The Social Petwork

Adrienne Henderson ’16 (Communications and Entrepreneurship)

Molly Zaverucha ’16 (Finance and Entrepreneurship)

The Social Petwork is a non-profit website designed to decrease the rates of animal euthanasia and increase the number of donations to and adoptions from animal shelters in the U.S.

Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship Program Celebrates WFU Homecoming

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


The Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship was proud to welcome home ESE alumni and friends during Wake Forest’s Homecoming on September 23-25. On Friday, September 23, the Center kicked off Homecoming Weekend with a “Spin the Wheel” activity in Reynolda Hall. Wake Forest alumni and students were able to spin the wheel for a chance to win a prize, such as a snack pack of Wake Forest alum Nikki Azzara’s (’14) Slender Seven cookie dough. Thanks to all the alums and current students who stopped by to learn more about the Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship program and help us celebrate our 11th anniversary!

Among the mUnion Kitchenany entrepreneurial alums back for Homecoming were Swizzler founders Jesse Konig ('14), Jack Zimmermann ('14), and Ben Johnson ('14) and Slender Seven founder Nikki Azzara. Swizzler and Slender Seven, food start-ups based in Washington, DC, returned to campus for 10 days of food events beginning with Homecoming Weekend. Thanks to these alums and the many others who returned for this year’s celebrations.

receptionThe Homecoming festivities continued with a reception in the Innovation Station in Reynolda Hall. Previous student entrepreneurial leaders as well as ESE minors stopped by to visit with faculty, staff, and current students.  The reception culminated with a viewing of an ICE video that included quotes from many previous alumni. The video was created with the help of the StoryLine Bus during Homecoming 2014. To learn more about last year’s 10th Anniversary Homecoming Celebration, click here. To watch the StoryLine Bus video, click here.

Start-Up Boot Camp Blast Teaches Students How to Jumpstart their own Ventures

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

boot camp

One of the Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Innovation’s main goals is to be a resource for students who have a great idea for a new venture or small business, but don’t know how to get started. On September 9, 2015, CICE Director Polly Black hosted a Start-Up Boot Camp Blast for students interested in starting their own businesses. Over twenty students attended this semester’s session and gained invaluable insight into how to develop a business model and a financial plan for their emerging idea.

Prpollyofessor Black’s Start-Up Boot Camp Blast emphasized the importance of finding the niche in which your business will be successful, and determining how to market what you’re selling to those individuals. Caitlin Smith (’17), who attended the Boot Camp Blast, explained that Black’s advice was particularly beneficial for new ESE minors who were just learning about the program: “The Start-Up Boot Camp Blast helped me understand the basics of how to develop a business idea,” explained Smith. “It was interesting to learn about the details that go into creating a business model, and I am excited to use the skills that I gained in my ESE classes.”

The Boot Camp was also beneficial for students who are currently developing business models for their own ventures. If you have an idea for a start-up and need help getting started, visit our website for tips and resources. Students may also make an appointment with our Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Greg Pool. The Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship will host another Start-Up Boot Camp Blast in January 2016.

To learn about other upcoming events hosted by the Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship, check out our Events Calendar here.

Wake Forest Senior Uses Artistic Talent to Support Children’s Home in Kenya

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

KatitaKatita Miller (’16), a Studio Art and Spanish double major from Fort Worth, Texas, traveled to Amazing Grace Children’s Home in Awasi, Kenya in 2013 while on a mission with her church, All Saints’ Episcopal Church of Fort Worth. After visiting the Children’s Home, Miller knew that she wanted to use her artistic talents to raise money to support such a worthy organization.

The Amazing Grace Children’s Home opened in December 2005 and is currently home to 72 girls aged five through twelve. In January of 2013, the home additionally opened a Girls’ School for over 270 local girls. While visiting Amazing Grace during the Summer of 2013, Miller had the opportunity to meet Serphin, her pen pal of many years.

During this past summer, in addition to taking a design class at Parsons School of Design and visiting the Art Biennale exhibition in Venice, Miller painted13 pieces of boldly patterned work in acrylics and oils. She sold these works during an art Show entitled “Patchwork Places,” which took place August 14-15 in her hometown of Fort Worth. Within two hours of the opening, almost all of her pieces had already been sold. The final piece sold shortly after the show closed, and Miller also received a commission to paint an additional piece, bringing the total to 14 pieces. In total, Miller was able to donate over $6,500 to the Amazing Grace Children’s Home.

Congratulations to Katita Miller on her success! You can find photos of several paintings sold during her show below.

katita 4 Katita painting katita 3 katita jpg