By Alexis Menard On May 1, 2019 11:55 am
The 2018-2019 academic year was a massive success for the School of Management student organization, Entrepreneurs Society (ES). Entrepreneurs Society received four awards at the Wolverine Excellence banquet on Thursday, April 11, 2019. The banquet is hosted by the Department of Student Involvement and Leadership and recognizes the contributions of a student organization which exhibits strong leadership skills such as teamwork, collaboration, communication, while also implementing initiatives that fulfill the mission of their organization. The organization is also one that is committed to furthering the university’s mission and positively impacting the quality of student life on campus.
Entrepreneurs Society received the Outstanding Organization Award and the Student Organization Community Contribution Award. The Outstanding Student Organization Award recognizes a student organization that has demonstrated significant leadership qualities and has contributed to the University of Michigan-Flint during the 2018-2019 academic year.
Along with the two distinguished organizational awards, the School of Management Faculty member and Advisor to Entrepreneurs Society, Dr. Michael Witt, received the Outstanding Student Advisor Award. Lastly, the President of Entrepreneurs Society, Todd Fridline (BBA in Finance ’20), received the Outstanding Student Leader Award.
The President of Entrepreneurs Society, Todd Fridline (BBA in Finance ’20), Vice President, Elisabeth Hamilton (BBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship ’20), and Treasurer, Carryn White (BBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship ’19) discuss Entrepreneurs Society community contributions and leadership at University of Michigan-Flint in a Q&A with the School of Management.
Q: How has this organization demonstrated leadership and positively contributed to the Flint community?
Hamilton: The Entrepreneurs Society takes great pride in being leaders on our own campus and also in the community in which we live. The biggest way our organization is making a positive contribution to the community of Flint is our Flint Green project. Flint Green is a project focused on changing the negative connotation that the community of Flint receives, and turning it into a positive outlook. Flint Green is focusing on promoting a greener version of Flint, using solar and wind energy to support the members of the Flint community who typically get ignored. By promoting and marketing this project, Entrepreneurs Society is also promoting a positive contribution to the Flint community.
This past December, over 20 Entrepreneurs Society members visited the Whaley Children’s Center to volunteer our time. The Society believes it is important to give back to the community whenever possible. This volunteer opportunity allowed ES students to help the Whaley Children’s Center in one of their most crucial times of the year.
Fridline: In the fall, the Entrepreneurs Society held its first annual Entrepreneur Tour. This experience provided students with an opportunity to listen to and network with entrepreneurs here in our own city. The tour made two stops in Downtown Flint. The first was at Cafe Rhema, where ES members listened to one of the executives at OLV Investment Group and Cafe Rhema owner, Josh Spencer. The tour also visited the Flint Ferris Wheel to visit the owner of KALM Clothing. They are both thriving businesses within the Flint Community and offered great insight about their experience of crafting their businesses, as well as gaining support from other local companies and promoting them to students at the University of Michigan-Flint.
Along with this tour, we have also had the honor of having various Flint entrepreneurs come to speak to our society, such as Wes Stoody, Founder of Article One, Terry Stanfill, inventor of “Lenz,” and we had a team assisting him in his marketing and finding his market segment, Drew Lauinger, Instagram Influencer looking to start a social media marketing company, Sean Tabor, Project Manager at Michigan Management Specialists and alumni of ES and many more entrepreneurs.
The Society also visited local packaging company and Tier-1 automotive supplier, NorthGate. Several ES students received a tour of one of their facilities and had a great opportunity to talk with the President of the company for over an hour. ES has also collaborated with local Entrepreneurs and alumni of the University of Michigan-Flint. Two entrepreneurs reached out to the Society in search of help for their respective businesses. Students from ES provided these entrepreneurs with business plans, financial models and projections, and helpful insight to their business sector.
White: Entrepreneurs Society has also held many events open to the community of Flint, including relationship with the Hagerman Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurial Speaker Series, Financial Wellness workshops and a LinkedIn Workshop. In these workshops, we have collaborated with other student organizations, emphasizing on the idea that the community of Flint should be an environment where everyone feels involved.
Q: How has the organization demonstrated a commitment to furthering the mission of the University of Michigan-Flint?
Fridline: The Entrepreneurs Society is dedicated to the success of its members, the community and the University of Michigan-Flint. Through collaborations, student engagement, and various events, the Entrepreneurs Society has worked hard to create opportunities for students across campus at UM-Flint. Entrepreneurs Society provides students with valuable, hands-on professional experience through events and projects. Among many things, we provide students with an opportunity to explore career opportunities and learn the skills needed to succeed as a student and professional.
Hamilton: Our two main events engage the community locally and globally. The first being our annual Entrepreneurs Society Dinner. This event is an opportunity for everyone in the Flint community to network with each other and grow positive connections along with each other, thus continuing the mission of bringing positive collaboration of members of the Flint community. This dinner is also a way to get the University of Michigan-Flint name out there in a positive way and show anyone from outside of this community the great things our school and organization are doing. The Entrepreneurs Society invites esteemed alumni and business professionals in the Flint area and connect them with current students on our Flint campus. The goal of this dinner is to provide these current students with a chance to network with local businesses and entrepreneurs. Over 120 people were in attendance, making it a great night of networking and opportunities for UM-Flint students, alumni, and community members.
White: The other main event the Entrepreneur Society participates in is the annual Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Conference. In November of 2018, ten Entrepreneurs Society members attended this global event in Kansas City to represent the University of Michigan-Flint and its values. At the conference, each member built leadership, networking, and teamwork skills through various seminars and workshops. In addition to learning these new skills, our Entrepreneurs Society also placed in the top five for awards in Outstanding CEO Chapter Leader, Outstanding CEO Chapter Advisor, and Best Cross Campus Innovation & Networking Award. Our President, Todd Fridline, was also able to represent our chapter and university during a Chapter Development session allowing ES to reach a global base by speaking about our practices. The conference is an opportunity to network with other students and executives from Fortune 500 companies. By supporting individual endeavors, as well as hosting these campus-wide events, the Entrepreneurs Society has been able to draw student involvement from multiple disciplines (including pre-med and engineering) to the organization.
Hamilton: Lastly, the Entrepreneurs Society has worked diligently to include students of all majors in events, projects, and meetings. Specifically at UM-Flint, ES has had student volunteers participate in coordinating a Zillion Solutions, another event hosted by the Hagerman Center, competition and Think Tank sessions hosted in the fall semester. Through collaborations with the Hagerman Center, and outreach at events like Admitted Student Welcome, Mgagement, and Pre-Business Welcome, ES has continually offered assistance to students beyond the School of Management.
Q: How has this organization positively contributed to student engagement at UM-Flint?
White: The Entrepreneurs Society is a resource that enables students to shape their careers and advance themselves in the professional world. Every semester, Entrepreneurs Society works hard to create opportunities through various projects and events. Members can take part by leading their own project or volunteering to support ongoing endeavors.
Hamilton: The organization has engaged students by providing team members to help students start their own businesses. ES alumni, Hane Cho, has launched DASH, a social networking app on Google Play and in the app store. Cho has been interviewed by several local news outlets about his work and aid from the Entrepreneurs Society. Another current project we having been supporting is an Italian import startup.
Fridline: Entrepreneurs Society invites students from all areas of campus to join the group for weekly workshops held during meeting time. These include etiquette tips, how to network effectively, intellectual property basics, how to improve your LinkedIn profile, and financial wellness for students. Additional involvement comes from collaborating with other organizations, such as SHRM, Marketing Club, and SCOMA, to host these events. Entrepreneurs Society also works closely with the Hagerman Center by hosting a Zillion Solutions, which received over 200 idea-solution entries. ES members are developing a sales pitch to aid the engineering department in participating in the annual Baja race. Collaboration with these organizations has resulted in the promotion and involvement of our members, as well as members of other student organizations.