An inspirational day of reflection upon the successes of female entrepreneurs had no shortage of wisdom and insight – beginning with the keynote speaker and carrying through the rest of the program.
“Don’t be in too much of a hurry. Live in the present and envision the future,” said keynote Sarah Hetznecker, at the League for Entrepreneurial Women’s Conference, held Oct. 8 at Temple University’s Mitten Hall.
The event, in its 15th year, focused on educating students, alumni and the community on ways in which women can increase awareness of entrepreneurial initiatives and learn about starting a business, building a team and launching new products into the marketplace.
Temple’s Fox School of Business, the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM), the Office of the Provost, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI), the School of Media and Communication and Institutional Advancement co-sponsored the event.
Fox Executive MBA alumna Beth Duffy, CEO of Einstein Medical Center Montgomery, was one of Temple alumni inducted into the League for Entrepreneurial Women’s Hall of Fame.
Her fellow Hall of Fame inductees were: President and CEO of Jeanes Hospital Linda Grass, a 1973 graduate of the College of Health Professions and Social Work, who was instrumental in leading Jeanes’ integration with Fox Chase Cancer Center; and Vice President and Manager of Training at Urban Engineers and Vice President of the Philadelphia Engineering Foundation Carol Martsolf, a 1992 alumna of the College of Engineering and an advocate of development and mentorship in her field.
For Duffy, healthcare has been a lifelong passion. As the story goes, Duffy watched the construction of the former Warminster Hospital in Bucks County from behind a chain-link fence. When the hospital was completed, she applied for a volunteer position and has had an interest in healthcare ever since.
During her acceptance speech, Duffy reflected on a recent vacation to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where she heard “the angelic voices of three little girls” who, for 50 cents, were selling advice and compliments. Duffy coughed up the necessary funds, took a shell from the girls’ basket and unwrapped it when she returned home.
“It’s still on my desk,” said Duffy, who has spent three decades in the Einstein Healthcare Network. “It said, ‘Be a good example. It will inspire others.’ This is my advice today. For me, success is tied to keeping it simple.”
Fox alumnae Phyllis Ludwig and Yasmine Mustafa participated in a panel discussion centered on the characteristics and drivers of entrepreneurship.
Ludwig, the founder and president of Ludwig Business Consultants, PLLC, a CPA firm, referred to entrepreneurship as “a calling. It wasn’t a choice.” She said she remembered, as a 6-year-old, applying price tags to pencils and selling them in school.
Mustafa had a similar story. As a child, she would purchase candy just to resell – sometimes at double the price – once she had arrived to her school.
“Realizing I didn’t have to have all the answers, but having a way to adapt was key,” said Mustafa, who has founded three ventures – 123LinkIt, which streamlines affiliate marketing for bloggers; the Philadelphia chapter of Girl Develop It, a nonprofit that provides mentorship and instructional opportunities for women who lack a tech background; and ROAR, which develops fashionable self-defense accessories for women.
Others on the panel included: Claire Laver, former executive director of Franklin’s Paine Skatepark and current operations director for Legacy Restoration, LLC; and Shelly Salamon, owner of Fairmount Bicycles and the Philly Bike Tour Co.
“This conference helps aspiring entrepreneurs learn what is necessary to take an idea, product or service and turn it into a revenue-producing business,” said Betsy Leebron Tutelman, Temple’s Senior Vice Provost for Strategic Communications. “It is a great opportunity to hear from entrepreneurs and leaders who have traveled the road to success and encountered the bumps and challenges common in startups.”
“The information discussed and connections made at this conference are invaluable, ” Tutelman added. “These panelists have overcome the challenges inherent in launching and growing a venture into a successful enterprise. Students come away with real insight into how to bridge classroom learning to real-world success.”
The League for Entrepreneurial Women’s conference is only one way that Temple University embodies entrepreneurialism. Recently, The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine ranked the Fox School of Business No. 1 in the nation for having the best graduate-program entrepreneurial mentorship. Also, Fox’s undergrad and graduate entrepreneurship programs No. 11 and No. 16 in the nation, respectively.
The Fox School has always had a history of a strong entrepreneurship program, said IEI Executive Director Ellen Weber, and it’s spreading throughout the university. Temple President Neil Theobald laid out his vision at the beginning of the semester with six pieces and one of them is to be a leader and “encourage entrepreneurship across all disciplines.”
“I think there is a basic belief here at Temple that through understanding entrepreneurial concepts students can take control of their careers,” said Weber. “An entrepreneurial student is one who can identify an opportunity, identify solutions to meet that opportunity and then execute on it. That’s the skills we are trying to teach through our entrepreneurship programs. I think this is why we got the ranking. Our programs are a combination of academic rigor as well as hands on practice.”