We have 14 students that were admitted into the Weinert Center’s Wisconsin Fellowship in Enterprise Development program for the 2018-2019 academic year. We asked the Fellows to share how they got interested in entrepreneurship while providing some background on their past experience and future goals.
We hope you enjoy meeting the Fellowship Class of 2019!
After graduating from Northwestern University, I started my professional career with the GRAMMY award winning, independent record label Munck Music, out of Chicago. Eventually working my way to General Manager of the company, I began to understand what entrepreneurial traits a leader must possess in order to continue the success of a small business. Armed with this knowledge, I decided to give it a shot myself in 2016 as the Founding Managing Director of BlackBox Technical Systems Integrators. This integrated audio-visual firm was founded on a customer-centered approach to technology that drove immediate profitability of the company. As an Enterprise Development Fellow, I hope to use my professional experience as a foundation to build an “intrapreneurial” drive for my work as I pursue a career in technology product management.
After graduating from the Colorado School of Mines with a degree in Environmental Engineering, I joined QEP Energy where I led the company’s annual calculation and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions to the Environmental Protection Agency. Through my collegiate and professional experience, I developed a passion for both energy and the environment. With the knowledge gained from pursuing my MBA in Operations and Technology Management, I hope to make a positive impact on the world and am striving to transition my career towards renewable energy development.
I also have previous entrepreneurial ecommerce experience and a strong entrepreneurial drive. I am excited to foster that drive as a Fellow in the Enterprise Development Program. With the knowledge and connections gained through Fellowship I believe I will become equipped to meet my goal of one day starting my own business.
I am originally from Southeastern Wisconsin where many of my early work experiences were influential in shaping my entrepreneurial aspirations. Memorably, I spent many summers working at a marina where many of our clients were successful entrepreneurs, as well as working at other local, family owned businesses. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with degrees in Economics and International Studies, I spent four years at ABN AMRO. Involved in operations at their Chicago derivatives brokerage, I ushered an intrapreneurial spirit into the office, leading to formal programs of continuous improvement. After finishing my MBA in the Nicholas Center for Corporate Finance and Investment Banking, I will be pursuing a career in investment banking. My experience in the fellowship will allow me to better connect with clients who have founded their own successful businesses and will give me the foundation to begin my own venture when the time is right.
After graduating from Miami University of Ohio with a degree in strategic communications and marketing in 2013, I spent 3 ½ years at a business-to-business public relations agency in Chicago. It was in this role that I realized my consistent desire to challenge the status quo, and I regularly questioned –with the goal of improving—the processes that we used across the firm and those that we implemented for clients. Some examples of intrapreneurial projects I took on over-and-above my day to day account responsibilities include:
- Constructing a success metrics program for a client after realizing inefficiencies in the current procedure.
- Managing the internship program and crafting a new recruiting structure to vet stronger talent.
- Running my firm’s first ever 20% project to remedy a significant inefficiency in the way we placed client-authored articles in outside publicationst.
Through my summer internship at Intuit and the Wisconsin Fellowship in Enterprise Development, I hope to grow my intrapreneurial skill set and ability to recognize opportunities to challenge the status quo and improve an existing business. Moreover, I’m looking forward to learning more about the challenges small businesses and entrepreneurs face on a regular basis, so I can be a stronger marketer equipped in empathizing with their needs.
My passion for innovation started when I led digital marketing efforts at Leo Burnett, the advertising agency, where I started my career. I later took a role at Allstate leading the development of Allstate’s web development team, working on app launches for Allstate’s Mobile App and new insur-tech offerings.
Since starting my MBA at UW I have joined two entrepreneurial ventures – a fashion video platform startup, and my wife’s new business venture. Through the fellowship, I look to gain the know-how to succeed in these two ventures and to accomplish my goal of becoming a product manager in the tech industry. My internship at Facebook this summer is the first step in that direction.
After earning my Bachelor’s degree of Control Automation from North China Electric Power University in 2009, I began my career working at Beckett Asia Pacific. For seven years, I worked in such positions as a Quality Engineer and Product & Business Development Engineer, and was later promoted to Sales Supervisor.
I have had an extensive career in the arts. I have worked for the Himalayas Museum, Today Art Museum, Beijing Dance Festival, Beijing Playhouse, and a film production entitled “Into the Rainbow.” I became a producer and director in 2016, and created a cross-disciplinary work “From 2116: The New World.” I later founded a non-profit online art platform, www.XCreation.art.
I have a deep understanding of the diverse skills required for venture creation, along with an entrepreneurial spirit. I recently started a business called The Avocado, which combines software and hardware technologies with the visual arts. I hope to formalize this venture through the Fellowship Program at the Weinert Center.
I am passionate about innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly within the risk management and insurance industry. My professional experience spans a variety of risk management functions, including commercial insurance claims management at a major insurance company, underwriting at one of the world’s largest conglomerates, and corporate risk management at a global consulting firm. I am excited to be a Fellow in the Enterprise Development program and look forward to being involved with the Weinert Center.
I am thrilled to complement my specialized MBA degree in Supply Chain Management with the Wisconsin Fellowship in Enterprise Development program. Prior to enrolling in the Wisconsin MBA program, I worked for the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies where I managed all business operations for their academic programs office. I particularly enjoyed working with faculty and staff to develop new professional masters programs. As co-president of the MBA Entrepreneurship Association, I am working to foster ideation, build community and diversify membership. As a fellow, I am excited to learn how to drive innovation within large organizations and how to identify customer pain points that are ripe for a new venture of my own.
I will be spending the summer of 2018 as a Business Advisor Intern with the Product Innovation team at Surescripts, the nation’s largest health information network and e-prescribing platform.
A sincere interest in entrepreneurship has guided the early years of my career and continues to shape my personal, professional, and academic pursuits. I began my career working in e-commerce and software before moving abroad to understand peer-to-peer microlending and crowdfunding in Latin America. Most recently, I led business development for BCycle, a bike share company and division of Trek Bicycle. These experiences taught me valuable lessons in business strategy and development and inspired me to pursue my MBA. Through the Fellowship program, I hope to further my understanding of how product innovation and business strategy can be applied to scale companies large and small. I am thrilled to join the 2019 cohort and look forward to an exciting year of learning and growth alongside my peers.
I am enrolled in the MBA program at University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business focusing on Corporate Finance and Investment Banking. I hold both a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license and a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certificate. Prior to attending UW-Madison, I worked in a venture-backed wind turbine manufacturer and alternative energy engine manufacturer where I helped guide investment decisions on new products, managed financial reporting, and oversaw new project financials. I currently consult a biotech start-up on accounting and financial matters. My ultimate goal is to become a CFO of a successful business or operating company. Away from school and work, I enjoy travelling, playing hockey, playing volleyball, reading, and being outdoors.
I am excited to return to Madison to pursue my MBA in marketing research and join the Weinert Center’s Fellowship in Enterprise Development program. A 2013 UW graduate in history, political science, and global security, I spent the past four years working at Public Opinion Strategies, a political polling and market research firm in Alexandria, Virginia. With an MBA from the Wisconsin School of Business, I aim to give back to my home state by working to advance entrepreneurship and innovation in Wisconsin, specifically in rural areas.
A Green Bay Packers shareholder, I grew up in rural Elderon, Wisconsin and enjoy the Badger State past times of tailgating, hunting, and snowmobiling. I live in Fitchburg with my wife, Lauren, and together we enjoy traveling, spending time with family, and volunteering for the Honor Flight Network.
I graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with emphasis in supply chain and marketing in 2013. After graduation, I spent four years working for Hewlett-Packard and Hewlett Packard Enterprise in both supply chain, human resources and sales enablement. During my first role, I managed a team of over 30 employees where I implemented “Good to Great” leadership theories and developed a rotation program to keep my employees engaged and motivated. After my daughter was born, I took a role in HR as an instructional developer and improved our onboarding programs and ongoing training of employees across the globe. The last two years, I was promoted to a project manager where I managed the sales training for all inside sales and pre-sales at a worldwide level. I learned valuable lessons on people management, engagement, motivation and project management that I hope to continue to build on and leverage in my career. Following my internship at Procter and Gamble this summer, I’m looking forward to the challenging and rewarding growth through the Wisconsin Fellowship in Enterprise Development program and the network of entrepreneurs that it will provide to learn from.
After graduating from San Francisco State University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Africana Studies, I applied to the Peace Corps and began working as a retail sales associate with Ed Hardy in the interim. Within six months, I was promoted to Assistant Manager and shortly thereafter, was recruited to serve as the Store Manager responsible for launching a new location. After several years with Ed Hardy, my life-long goal of serving in the Peace Corps became a reality, and though I was advancing quickly within management, my passion for becoming a global citizen could not be deterred. I relocated to South Africa, where I developed and implemented awareness campaigns regarding children’s rights, HIV/AIDS, and drug abuse. My passion for travel and global competency then led me to South Korea, where I worked as an English Instructor with Chungdahm Learning, the highest ranked private academy in Daegu. Following this role, I decided to gain more worldly experience by traveling throughout Southeast Asia, South America, and Australia, on my own. When I moved back to the United States I then applied to business school and here I am!
I did not gain all these diverse experiences to work for someone else’s dream. I seek and create opportunities for myself, so I can live my best life. I am extremely driven, not afraid to take risks, not unfamiliar with failure, very flexible, and full of passion. These attributes led me to the Wisconsin School of Business and more specifically to the Fellowship in Enterprise Development program.
I have been enthusiastic about entrepreneurship since an early age. I sold newspapers for charity with my friends on the streets of Chengdu at 10, co-founded a peer tutoring program for 300+ students during college in Beijing, and helped multiple video game technology startups enter new markets after getting my first master’s degree from North Carolina State University. My most recent role prior to MBA was in global product management at Shure Incorporated, an industry leader in audio electronics, where I have worked cross-functionally to conceptualize, develop, launch and maintain microphone products for five years. I am very excited to be a Fellow in the Enterprise Development program. I look forward to collaborating with and learning from my peers and mentors, leveraging skills from my previous jobs, global experience and MBA learnings, and working on business ideas in education, entertainment and travel industries.