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NACCE2014 Conference Blogging - Chancellor Lambert on Salt and Education

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Initial Notes from Dr. Lee Lambert's Opening Welcome on Monday morning. Love to diver deeper into this wake up call for higher ed.  


Salt and education 

Credibility gap

Three insights from salt and it's connection to Salt

1.  Importance drives need

The increase importance of salt drove new discoveries for access to it.  Same is true for education. It's growing importance has led to new ways to provide greater access to it. Waterways vs. information superhighway.


2.  If your service or product can be reduced to a lowest common denominator consistent with its importance then the more vulnerable you are to disruption. 

Salt available on every table. Education can be reduced to a common set of courses that everyone needs. The more I can increase my sale and spread the cost across the volume.


3. A place exist for service providers who can distinguish themselves and add value that is distinct whether or real or perceived as way to support higher cost.


Barriers to Change: Innovations in Higher Education 

From a Recent Chronicle article by Ann Kirschner, Dean of CUNY, honors college


How many academics does it take to change a light bulb?

Change? Change? Who said anything about Change?


She cites to the work of Mark Taylor, a philosopher of religion at Columbia University, in which he argues, "until colleges accept the need to change, they have little incentive to overcome their natural inclination to stay the same. "


The NY times recently reported that between 1998 to 2008' enrollments in public and private universities went up less than 25 percent. Enrollment in for profit colleges went up 236 percent.


Technology is redefining the play field. She argues that what is needed ia a broad minded strategy that embraces technology and learning at all levels. She goes on to write, no discussion of change should omit international study as a key component...we need to connect more students to a meaningful global experience. Only 14 percent of students study abroad.


Close with President Obama, " So let me put colleges and universities on notice, if you can't stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down."



Tags:  12th conference 

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Posted By Megan Ballard, Thursday, October 16, 2014

Launching All Future Entrepreneurs

Morning Panel

Panelists: Jason Jannati | Sheena Lindahl | Chris Allen | Thom Ruhe

Submitted by Braden Croy - Syracuse University

This discussion revolves around the entrepreneurship mindset and how to bring it to every student on campus.

What type of students have you seen on the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour?

Sheena: We’ve seen all types of students.  Our primary goal is the spread entrepreneurship to every student across campus and help them realize they can be their own type of entrepreneur.  We want to help students find the great resources already in their community and begin to self-identify their own entrepreneurial type.  Sometimes it’s hard for studnets to realize their potential.

Who do you see as the non-traditional business owner you’re trying to teach?

Thom: Everybody has the potential to be an entrepreneur.  We used to have these philosophical discussions of whether entrepreneurs are born or made.  But now the whole discussion is about the entrepreneurial mindset and the fact anyone can think entrepreneurially.  We can help empower these students by giving them the mindset; whether they’re and employee or a business owner, they need this mindset.  With some data we hope to prove once and for all how necessary the entrepreneurial mindset is and how we must all embrace it.

As a former student, how do you reach all students, not just business students?

Jason: You could have hit me in the head with an entrepreneurial stamp and I wouldn’t know what it meant.  I never considered myself an entrepreneur, I was just somebody who wanted to control his time and his future.  Some community colleges have done a really good job at turning themselves into magnets for mentors.  These colleges’ uses these mentors as a value add and they’re seeing students are naturally drawn to these programs.  Mentors are critical at helping students demystify the allure of entrepreneurship and the risk inherent in the process.  It also helps humanize this very large and broad process of starting a business.

What do you think about incorporating industry into the entrepreneurial process?

Thom: Most community colleges work very closely with the large corporations in their community.  The deficit we’re seeing though is the soft skills—team orientation, critical thinking, communications, etc.  What if someone took initiative in the corporate structure like Jason did—taking control of his income and time, we’d promote them all day long.  We need to get entrepreneurship education in the same context as reading or mathematics.  The problem with current curriculum is that it relies on self-selection, what about the people who don’t yet realize they need to be entrepreneurial.

Sheena: while working on my company, we came up with this idea of the ice berg.  The top part being material success, but most people don’t realize how important the things below the water are to success—personal brand, networks, etc.  Even if the business fails, because of the mass of assets below the water you will always have an opportunity afterwards.

How do you reach students across campus, what types of messages do you give and how do you do it?

Chris: it’s a huge challenge, probably the biggest challenge.  With such a wide and varied population there can’t be one answer or one strategy.  One thing which doesn’t seem like a benefit but is, is that our area has been blessed with poverty.  Poverty has forced us to tap into family, community, and natural resource assets.  It’s made us a stronger community and forced us to cocreate the ecosystem and businesses.

Jason: Around the fire last night we got talking about innovation and how critical the ability to think outside of the box is.  Break your students into two teams and make them go earn the most money in a single day.  That will get them so uncomfortable the can do nothing but grow.

Chris: A versatile program is important.  We’re not all the same and some programs will work better for other students than others.

We are in a new world of work…

Thom: We’ve used terms like ecosystem and networking, but really it’s community.  Community is the new form of currency.  The smart and successful entrepreneurs realize how to leverage their community greater than any amount of investment money.  We have to be intentional about building these supportive communities.

Chris: I wouldn’t be here if it was for community.  The mentorship and the support there is zero chance we’d be here.

Sheena: It’s important to remember some of the best businesses are the sexy businesses.  Too many times we’re focused on the high-growth or the raise of investment money.  Too many entrepreneurs will focus too much on raising money when in reality they don’t need it.  Raising money can actually hurt your company because it takes you away from the most important tasks in building a great businesses.  Communities need to recognize and glorify even the unsexy companies.

Chris: sometimes the less glamorous the better.  I love hearing how many more young farmers there are in my area—it’s not sexy but there isn’t anything more important than food.

How do we get across the industry gap?

Jason: There are some conceptual and tactical truths.  The conceptual truths can be great at getting the light bulb to go off in students.  I love the quote, “The want is more important than the how.”  I also love, “it takes pressure to create diamonds.”  Entrepreneurship isn’t supposed to be a fluffy ride, it’s going to be hard and people should recognize that taking hits means you’re doing things the right way.  Tactically a residual sales model is so much better than a transactional model.  A sales force gets burnt out if you only ever focus on transactional sales, entrepreneurs need to leverage all of their resources.

Thom: I love talking about the importance of the entrepreneurial mindset.  When the Vatican thinks entrepreneurial thinking should be a basic human right, we’re in for some great things.  Entrepreneurship and IceHouse is growing faster off our shores than on our shores.  My ask is don’t let this year’s NACCE be the year where you get inspired but let the machine beat you down when you get home.  You cannot let yourselves get beaten down, there’s too much at stake for each of us and our country.  The French may have given us the word, but we’ve given it meaning.

What are some tactical suggestions for the folks in the crowd?

Jason: As an entrepreneur you can have a great plan in place, but you need to be able to adapt.  Be able to supplement your core skills with the business management skills.  The question should be what can I do to turn my program into a magnet for high potential entrepreneurs.  As people are attracted to your program you’ll build momentum and you’ll see so many great changes.

What is your recommendation for how to create your ask?

Thom: From experience, the message behind an ask and what it means for the community is a very attractive product or package for philanthropists to fund.  Find the people who don’t want their names on a building or don’t need a brick and mortar type of give.  Investment in education programming is a lifetime of giving, it will change entire generations.

Sheena: Finding the common ground and how your solutions fit into a very large problem is crucial.  You have to work with what you’re starting with, realizing you’ll need to translate from one cluster to another.  Networking is about bridging the clusters.

Chris: It’ll all come down to accessibility.  Students need to realize the programs are there for everyone, not just the people who self-select into entrepreneurship.  Make sure people realize the programs and resources are open to everyone.  You can’t sell this entrepreneur thing as easy.  Be very honest with it or you won’t end up with the type of entrepreneurs you want.

Jason: Put your marketing hats on.  Market it as we’re going to teach you how to secure your own financial future.

Our Second panel…

Mike Hennessy | Sara Whiffen | Angeline Godwin

We need some direction on the entrepreneurial mindset and an accumulation of small actions.  Instead of talking about method, we put it into action.  NACCE wants the stories, it doesn’t just want the words, and it wants to see the assets and inventories of community college ecosystems.

What is your reaction on how you might fund the entrepreneurial method?

Mike: We have a very traditional approach to funding.  As time has gone on, we’ve tried to become more and more targeted on identifying results.  It’s necessary to find ways to bulletproof the grants and the outcomes.  If someone leaves too many times the programs die because that evangelist is no longer there.  I believe we need to fight for a focus on what we’re talking about and what is expected out of incorporating entrepreneurship on campus.  One of my big fears is that we only focus on supporting the next big ideas.  The Effectuation framework and the NACCE process helps people find that target.  Too many times we’re focused on the end game not the first step.

What value did you see in the community assessment and entrepreneurial method?

Angeline: it resonated with me because it just seemed to make sense.  Effectuation gave a clear framework to wrestle with the problems we all face.  Having started and run my own businesses, it made real sense.  I felt this overwhelming sense of urgency to cocreate our future.  I saw effectuation as a path forward not a path out.  I first did an effectuation of myself, to thy own self be true.  We all have 24 hours and we choose what to do with that time.  Taking this framework to start the conversation was great.  It’s not academic and it spoke to everyone regardless of whether you’re a student, a faculty, or an entrepreneur.

Can you talk about poverty as an asset…

Angeline: We’ve always talked about how to overcome the intense poverty, we have the highest poverty level in Virginia.  However, what we realized is to embrace our poverty, we have those students and community members with the survival mentality. Our community uses entrepreneurial principles to survive every day.  Now we can use that to our advantage.

There’s interest from corporations in the Effectuation model, could you share a little?

Sara: I came from a corporate background and couldn’t wait to finally do my own startup thing.  However, I quickly realized when you’re calling with your own name and not the reputation of a huge corporation people don’t throw money at you.  I had the opportunity to participate in an Effectuation accelerator with Saras which really helped place everything into context.  Through that accelerator I was able to build a relationship and partnership with Saras, and it’s grown from there.

The more someone asks the more confident they are to ask.  It’s this feedback cycle.  A self-fulfilling prophecy which helps move an entrepreneur up the ladder.  When coaching the community college crowd, I always get this one questions, “I’m drowning in opportunity, but how do I know where to go?”

There are certain concepts people don’t understand, could you speak to your work with companies and what are some challenges as they go through this process?

Sara: Affordable loss is probably the number one issue we see people grappling with.  Just because something sounds easy doesn’t mean it’s easy to implement.  When they get to roadblocks, people will start to blame the process.  However, stumbling and being challenged is part of the process.  It’s a marathon not a sprint.  Starting with the bird in the hand and setting affordable loss will keep you going.

Mike: In higher education there aren’t too many reasons to ask.  Getting out of your comfort zone and especially your experiential zone is critical.  Take advantage of the ask to come up with new ideas and new ways of doing things.

You can’t just wholesale and make all of these changes.  It takes time and it’ll get muddy, but from there great things will emerge.  Emphasis needs to be placed on the action. 

What are some things you hope to accomplish with this year’s college pitch winners?

Mike: we’ve been doing pitch contests for a long time, never really having put formality or structure around them.  Now we’ve taken a little more intention to observing these winners as using effectuation.  We’d like to see some more train the trainer opportunities to colleges can learn from each other.  We also want to see what the colleges have done that they never did before, what’s the impact?  We have a great opportunity to help push beyond falling back into our typical routines.

Angeline: we’ve learned so much from each other, we’re grappling with so many of the same problems.  Between this year and next year I’d like to see this implosion of action.  I’m sick of hearing the flavor of the day and chasing some random pot of money.  I would love to see entrepreneurship on campuses move beyond conversation and into action.  We are in control of everything, we don’t have to be emotionally or financially fragile.

Sara: I’d like to see that shift in attitudes and actions.  Community colleges need to realize how many great resources they have and which can be utilized.  A college’s students are so valuable and are so eager to help build the future with the college.  I’d like colleges to combine forces with their students.  Hearing success and failures would be great—if you’re not failing, you’re not pushing hard enough.  Apply effectual thinking not causal thinking.

Failed entrepreneurs and successful entrepreneurs are the same person.  Every successful entrepreneur has many failures.  Failure and success isn’t something that has to define the person, it’s only a single part of the whole.

Angeline: we’re adding failed entrepreneurs to our crazy quilt.  They’ve never been at the table but we’re going to go back and ask them to join us.  We can learn so much from their stories and their failures.

Maybe failed entrepreneurs only failed because they stopped.  Perhaps we can help them take that label off and reengage with their communities.

NACCE: we want the stories, not at the end of the quarter, we want stories in real time.  We want to see what your asks were and we want to now the results.  Show us the dots and how you put the quilt together.

Coleman Grant Winners!

From The Coleman Foundation: Mike Hennessy | Clark McCain

This year’s competition called for proposals from colleges focused on how their college would implement 5 action steps to the 5 President’s Pledge principles.  There were 10 finalists:

  1. Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College

  2. Fox Valley Technical College

  3. Indian River State College

  4. Ivy Technology Community College of Indiana

  5. Kaskaskia College

  6. Maricopa Corporate College

  7. Middlesex Community College

  8. Northeast State Community College

  9. Patrick Henry Community College

  10. South Mountain Community College

Each of these finalists are the winners of this competition.  They are the co-creators of the future of community college entrepreneurship. 

A huge congratulations to them all!

Tags:  12th conference  conference 

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Posted By Megan Ballard, Thursday, October 16, 2014

Community Mapping: Defining Assistance for One Year Old Businesses

Submitted by Braden Croy - Syracuse University

Entrepreneurship across Northeast State College has been growing in the past few years because of how entrepreneurial the community and the Governor has become.  Governor Bill Haslum, developed the Drive for 55 initiative which works to help the state reach a 55% college degree recipient rate.  The initiative has been a wonderful boon for community colleges because of the students’ ability to get help with financing tuition and books.

One of the first steps for Northeast State CC was summarizing all of their initiatives.  They came up with the mission: Access, Completion, Community.

Northeast State CC took the President Pledge and it has worked out great for them.  If you’re not familiar with NACCE’s Presidents Pledge it includes:

  1.  Create or Expand Internal & External Teams Dedicated to Entrepreneurship
  2. Increase Entrepreneurs' Engagement in Community Colleges
  3. Engage in Industry Cluster Development
  4. Leverage Both Community College and Community Assets to Spur Innovation and Job Creation
  5. Create Buzz and Broad Exposure of your College's Commitment to Entrepreneurship

Lemonade was made out of the lemons Northeast State CC received.  The college was given the old county's jail house, sheriff’s office, parking garage, and administrative building which had been severely damaged by flooding.  The county, local banks, and the community college helped fund the renovation of the building.  After the renovations it looks beautiful.  Taking Saras’ effectuation to heart, Northeast State CC has made a crazy quilt of partners using the RCAM expansion as the catalyst. 

With a lot of brainstorming, Northeastern realized they need to help their citizens think past the economic destruction plant closings and lost manufacturing can cause.  They were able to leverage their assets and access as a community college to find new ways to help unemployed individuals.

Out of these discussions and brainstorming sessions, they came up with an ecosystem map.  Their map is a community within a geographic region, composed of stakeholders working together to promote and support newly created businesses.  From this definition they were able to use the Google Fusion tool to create a physical map of their support and entrepreneurial resources.  The map appears to be very useful in helping entrepreneurs and others locate businesses and resources near them.

Northeast has also come up with a mind map of their entrepreneurial ecosystem.  The map has provided an interactive method for drilling down into the specific actors in their ecosystem.  FreeMind powers their map.

After all of this mapping, the question becomes, what does a business need that has been around for a year?

Northeast uses a DACUM, a job analysis workshop.  The DACUM process uses live interaction with entrepreneurs to answer what should be taught and what is currently taught.  You must first start with an occupational definition.  As a group, attendees were able to come up with a list of duties and tasks for the community.  Their group decided entrepreneurs needed to know how to:

  • Manage their business

  • Document and organize business flow

  • Grow the business

  • Develop advertising/marketing process

  • Forecast growth

  • Identify potential innovation

  • Manage human resources

The saying you don’t know what you don’t know, couldn’t be truer for entrepreneurs.  The mapping process is about helping entrepreneurs and the community understand what they don’t know.  The Northeast mapping method is a simplistic, yet powerful, method to help entrepreneurs scale their awareness of critical business tasks.  Key to making these assessments work is the type of vocabulary used.  Not all entrepreneurs can be expected to know fancy accounting or legal jargon.

Tags:  12th conference  conference  Northeast State Community College  PFEP 

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Posted By Megan Ballard, Thursday, October 16, 2014

Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs: The Entrepreneurial Mindset in the Workforce

2014 NACCE Alumni Entrepreneur Awards

Submitted by Braden Croy - Syracuse University

A great birthday song for Cheryl to start the morning off.  Happy Birthday indeed.

This year we have three award winners.

  1. Gary Krause

  2. Marylyn Harris

  3. Pamella Butler

Ed2Go has been nice enough to sponsor these awards and has provided a number of wonderful prizes.  We congratulate these individuals and wish them the fullest success in the future.

Gary has a truly inspiring story.  Going from patient with a head injury to entrepreneur and resident nurse.  He took a difficult situation and turned it into immense opportunity, as a good entrepreneur always does—when life gives you lemonade…

Marylyn is a vetrepreneur who has not only served her country but served all of her fellow entrepreneurs.  After leaving the service, Marylyn knew there had to be something out there which called her and spoke to her passions.  She found that activity by starting the Houston Women Veterans Business Center.  Now she travels the country and helps other national heros get their companies started.

Pam was nominated by Tallahassee Community College and now she encourages people to take action, not just make donations.  Pam knows that here in this country anyone who puts their mind to it can change their stars and the stars of their family, friends, and communities.  We must continue in Pam’s footsteps to help train entrepreneurs and future leaders.

We welcome to the stage Virginia Hamilton

Virginia has over 30 years of experience in workforce development at the local, state, and national level.  She serves now as the regional administrator for U.S. Department of Labor-Employment and Training Administration Region 6. 

Contrary to popular belief, the Department of Labor is indeed interested in aligning the interests of all employers, employees, and government agencies.  The Department does this through active investing in social infrastructure and assistance programs.  Many of the Departments programs help entrepreneurs start their businesses and access resources which otherwise wouldn’t be available to them.

Imbedded in all of the Department’s projects are evaluations.  They’ve heard the anecdotes and qualitative success, but now they want to know the quantitative analysis.  We can all help in the writing of the future of business by helping Virginia’s department know what matters to entrepreneurs and our entrepreneurial ecosystems.  So far the government has come up with 7 core principles to their employment and entrepreneurship programs:

  1. Engage employers

  2. Earn and learn

  3. Making smart choices—using labor market data

  4. Measuring matters

  5. Building stepping stones

  6. Opening doors

  7. Regional partnerships

The principles will help define how the government evaluates and funds employment and workforce training programs.  Many of these principles as entrepreneurial educators we already know are important, however, it is nice to see more people jumping onboard.

“The real problem isn’t that there isn’t enough innovation, it’s that there aren’t enough entrepreneurs starting businesses.”  Entrepreneurship is indeed on a decline since the government started measuring the data, but this can change.  Through our work at NACCE and colleges or universities around the country we can reverse this trend.

Entrepreneurs need to be a jack of all trades.  There are so many different skill sets and mindsets entrepreneurs need to embody.  From technical skills to interpersonal skills, any entrepreneurship education program should focus on building the whole person.  As more people learn about the opportunities to start their own businesses we have a perfect ability to help them along that path.

It’s amazing to think that in certain geographic regions sole proprietors, 1099 contractors who are self-employed, provide a three to one rate of tax receipts to governments.  It shows how important self-employment and entrepreneurship will be in the future.  We will all eventually have to be entrepreneurs.

We will now welcome a panel to the stage.

Panelists: Diana Kander | Dr. Jeanne Wesley  | Kristine Spengler

There are 53 million freelancers in the United States, so what are you seeing in your world about the new era of work?

Diana: I think we’re currently doing a terrible job at preparing students for the new world of work.  We actually diminish the entrepreneurial mindset in class by taking this ‘sage on the stage’ philosophy.  The real world never works like this, it is actually customers and consumers who determine what employees and employers do.  There is never an authority figure who has a crystal ball on the market.  Primarily we need a workforce who figures things out, they need to be able to think critically about market and social problems.

Kristine: I agree with Diana.  The majority of student we work with have tremendous energy and enthusiasm but we have to teach them a whole new skillset of thinking entrepreneurially.  There’s a lack of comfort with ambiguity coming from these students.  You can’t be entrepreneurial if you’re constantly worried about not having all of the information.  Without a book to turn to, what will these students be able to do?  They need to turn to the customer.  The bright spot is, they’re ready and eager to learn.

How does anyone teach and help students learn to be comfortable with ambiguity?

Diana: Create as many opportunities and activities where students are tasked with large jobs.  Give a vague assignment and just leave the room—ex. Go make as much money as possible in 3 hours.  We’re not challenging our students enough.  We don’t trust them to be creative thinkers.

Jeanne, how did you get started and what’s your story?

Jeanne: One of the things we observed was that entrepreneurs want skills.  Very simple, very easy, they have skill needs.  Entrepreneurs’ skill needs are typically greater than the needs of students; there’s a lot more on the line for these individuals.  We started helping by using existing entrepreneurs who are already highly skilled.  This gave us credibility and helped young entrepreneurs think through customer discovery and get out of the building.  We built nine workshops around the core lean startup principles and brought them onto campus through startup weekends, internships, and curriculum. 

Through these workshops and activities we were able to build an entrepreneurship ecosystem in the bars and in the coffee shops.  Before we did these, there were no meetups and no community around helping entrepreneurs.  Now we want to build a coworking space and even start an angle investing network.

It’s critical to teach our students to get out of the building and talk to customer.

What can be done differently at community colleges?

Diana: my suggestions are very high level.

Entrepreneurship is very different than any other subject.  It’s more like teaching basketball, could we really earn a certificate by reading this history of basketball but never touching a ball?  Even if they’re writing business plans or interviewing customers, they’re still not experiencing what it means to be an entrepreneur.  It’s something you can only learn by doing it.  We should help them realize whether they even want to be entrepreneurs.  Are you making your students feel uncomfortable, do they have butterflies?  They must feel uncomfortable and be emailing you all of the time.  If they’re not up all the time working on and thinking about their company, you’re not doing it right.

Kristine: Too many times we focus on the books and the theory, but we forget to tell them to follow their gut and follow their instinct.  Part of being an entrepreneur is being able to follow your intuition.  Your gut will guide you.  That little voice in your head will tell you where to go.  We don’t empower our students to trust themselves and their abilities.

We can layer all sorts of stuff on top of that trust.  We need to make them feel uncomfortable, we need to push them and force them out of their comfort zone and the building.  After they get out of that comfort zone they become energized and excited.

How do you teach intrapreneurship?

Kristine: we started with the lean startup but then created a lean program with the intention of training internal employees.  We take trainees through a very short, 2 day, curriculum which helps them understand the terminology and basics of the lean startup.  Those trainees then bring in a real problem their employer is facing and work on that problem through the lens of lean.  Thy end up looking at their work very differently by the end of the program.

Jeanne: We do many of the same things.  We’ve hosted the Marine Intel IT group and used the same lean principles to help them.  We also helped a State Capital group to use lean principles to manage and access big data.

Diana: The curriculum between the entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship classes I teach is identical.  The process and the principles are the same.

It’s about experience and principles, how do we prepare our workforce with this sense that it’s a new game in employment?

Diana: One of the new realities is that business models don’t last as long as they used to.  ‘Built to Last’ no longer holds true.  Entrepreneurs and businesses maybe have 10 years with a single business model.  This principle holds true for career paths as well.  The average employee will have 17 jobs before they retire.  Our job needs to be helping these employees continually learn and access continuing education support.  We need to teach curiosity.

Jeanne: The product is YOU.  Whether you go to a company or start your own business, YOU are the product.  Thus it’s your responsibility to brand yourself individually and get the skills you need to always be valuable.

Kristine: It’s a sense of empowerment.  We need to help workers understand that there’s a paradigm shift happening in the workforce—the truth is YOU have the answers, you don’t need to go to your boss for everything.  If you have good ideas, follow them and then go to your boss with your conclusions.  We’re empowering you to make the decisions and find the answers.  Once people are empowered, realizing they’re the product, they are much more creative.

What are the skills we see in the intrapreneur and entrepreneur paradigm?

Diana: We need to change the way we think about business.  It’s not about prediction and huge risky bets, it’s about finding evidence and making small bets.

Jeanne: I agree, it’s about what we call data driven decisions.  Don’t throw the spaghetti at the wall but rather find the data which supports your ideas.  A lot of businesses will approach us about soft skill training.  These businesses want students who can deal with working in teams, working with difficult people, or how to manage time.  Leadership is another skill which every employer is asking us to train.  These are hard to teach, but we need to embed them throughout the educational system.

Kristine: It is that soft skill set.  We’ve used personality and aptitude testing to help us understand how our employees think and what part of the brain they predominantly work from.  Our employees have loved having that insight.  It helps them realize not everyone thinks the same as they do.  These tests helped employees break their assumptions and work better in diverse teams.  Personality blended with evidence based decisions is a powerful combination.

Can you teach people sales or pitching, is it part of that mindset we need to teach?

Kristine: At the end of our internal lean competitions, our employees pitch.  It’s vital that these people can succinctly and powerfully be able to present their ideas.  If they can’t present, no one will buy into their vision.

Jeanne: Regarding sales we really emphasis relational sales.  This means getting to know people and connecting with them on a deeper level.  It’s not a used car sales strategy, it’s a trust building process.

Kristine: Sales is problem solving.  If you can get to the bottom of your customers problem, the selling becomes easy.

Diana: I think sales is an invaluable skill for all human beings.  Everything is sales.  The challenge isn’t to teach those tactics of ways to sell, but rather to teach them customer empathy — stop selling and listen.

Tell us a little about what you do and your skills?

Diana: I’ve had 9 companies and when I look at opportunities I think of my tool belt.  I ask if an opportunity will add additional skills to my tool belt.  These diverse skills will make you much more attractive.

Jeanne: Educators and admins need to think of themselves as infinite contractors.  You should think through what is your brand.  Become internet savvy and get out of the building to meet with students, other entrepreneurs, and faculty.  Get on Twitter today!

Kristine: Think of what you’re doing as creating a product.  When you think about what you’re providing as a product for a customer, the student, it gives new meaning to your work.  You’ll approach the way you interact with your ecosystem entirely different.  Solve problems with your customers and consumers.


Tags:  12th conference  conference 

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Posted By Megan Ballard, Thursday, October 16, 2014

Entrepreneurship: A Mindset Every Student Needs and the Workforce Demands

Panelists: Bree Langemo | Gary Schoeniger | Joe Raso

Submitted by Braden Croy - Syracuse University

This discussion will help redefine entrepreneurship and the mindset entrepreneurs need, as well as the workforce view which is driving modern entrepreneurship and employment. 

Fun fact for everyone, in the United States, 70% of workers are not engaged in their work.  Gallup notes that 19% of the workforce is actively unengaged and 51% is just unengaged, meaning they won’t create anything great for their companies.

Entrepreneurial thinking provides a framework which can help recapture some of that lost human potential.  However, we’re facing a problem in defining mindset and its understanding in an actionable way.  The term mindset is the underlying beliefs and assumptions that drive behavior—a simple definition but does it cover everything?  We’re often not aware of the actions and patterns which define our mindsets and employees, citizens, and business owners.

Entrepreneurship can be simply defined as searching.  Not everyone is going to sign up to be a business owner or is capable of coming up with a revolutionary technology.  Entrepreneurship though is simply about containing a body of search skills.

The search process must come before the business process. Entrepreneurial attitudes and skills are the search for the connection between needs and business opportunities.  Entrepreneurs possess interaction, observation, experimentation, adaptation, problem solving, networking, and communication skills.  Many times these skillsets aren’t taught or are even actively discouraged in an academic setting.  We teach delivery skills not searching skills.

We must learn how to help students search for the intersection of their competencies and other people.

Entrepreneurship is not a business discipline. 

Only once someone finds something, they have searched far and wide enough, do managerial skills become important.  Redefining entrepreneurship as the ability to search, helps skeptical teachers embrace the idea of entrepreneurship.

The entrepreneur believe he or she can empower themselves by solving problems for others.  As educators, it is our job to help students take their passions, their abilities and turn those into problem solutions for other people.

The question is, is it the person or the situation which makes entrepreneurs?

Fundamental attribution errors is the tendency to overemphasize the importance of traits while failing to recognize the importance of situation factors that influence behavior.  Causation for correlation.  People fail to recognize the extent to which observed action and outcomes relate to the person versus the situation.

Social pressures are influencing use to such a severe extent that most of the time we don’t even realize it.  Entrepreneurs need to be surrounded by other entrepreneurs.  Social pressure is why ecosystem need a critical mass of entrepreneurs to truly thrive.  Keep in mind that A players want to work with A players.

People are defined by their situations and the experiences of their lives.  No entrepreneur will ever be the same people none of us have the same past, present, or future.  We need to ask ourselves whether what we are doing in our institutions is helping students find solutions and understand searching is the key skill to possess for entrepreneurial success.  We must turn class into an incubator for inquiry and analysis.

No matter who you’re talking to, people will always be talking about jobs.  It’s simple but true, “it’s about the economy stupid.”  An amazing stat is that 40% of the workforce in the next few years will be independent contractors.  A tectonic shift is happening in what it means to be employed. 

As communities what are we measuring—completion rates, job openings, or work output?  Traditional metrics will no longer be relevant because work will no longer be performed in the traditional manner.

As communities, the task will be to make it an ecosystem where people will want to live because they can work from anywhere.  Community is the new currency.  If I can work from anywhere, why will I choose your community?

The number one thing employers talk about needing—not technical skills—but foundational skills: communication, team building, creativity, etc.  Big corporations and startups alike all need workforce.  They need a workforce with an entrepreneurial mindset of searching and creativity.  The communities which build these foundational skills and make these skillset connections will be the most prosperous moving forward.  Let’s not treat the symptoms, but rather let’s create an antidote.

Community colleges can be the best resource to lead the creation of these antidotes.  CC’s make the perfect leader because they are focused on serving the regional economy and are typically the closest to the employer.  Community colleges serve tremendously as the connector between K-12 and four year institutions.  CC’s also have a myriad of credit and non-credit courses which are imperative to entrepreneurial training and skills development.

Pikes Peak Community College is breaking the mold and placing their entrepreneurial programs, Icehouse, outside of the business program.  The mindset of entrepreneurship which Icehouse teaches should be provided and taught to all students, no matter their course of study.  PPCC is even mandating their students learn the search process of entrepreneurship by making their program a foundational course.

PPCC’s goal was the advancement of student persistence by inspiring and engaging students in a success mindset and the limitless opportunities it can provide.  The bigger picture goal is the creation of entrepreneurship as a mindset every student possess in the workforce.  They currently have three outcome classification: short, medium, and long term.

Short: changes in skills knowledge, attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors

Medium: increased pass rates, increased 1st semester to 2nd semester retention rates, and increased 1st semester to 3rd semester retention rates.  For those not in the community college know, the largest challenge facing community colleges is keeping students between fall semesters.

Long: increased persistence rate and increased graduation rates within 3.5 years

If you can’t message your entrepreneurial programs you’re going to have a difficult time selling it to students and the administrators.  Message it as discovery and critical thinking skills rather than traditional business ownership or startup.  Many students don’t want to be entrepreneurs, but they need entrepreneurial skills and the mindset.  The word entrepreneurship has blended too much with business management, make sure to clarify that these two activities are wholly different.

PPCC has an Icehouse community including:

  • Pikes Peak Library District

  • Small Business Development Center

  • Pikes Peak Workforce Center

  • Junior achievement

  • Black Chamber of Commerce

  • See the Change USA

  • Peak Freedom Forum

Pulling together all of these partners is instrumental to making Pikes Peak Community College a beacon of light for community college entrepreneurship and community engagement.  They have taken a fresh look at what being an entrepreneur means and the Icehouse curriculum and program have given them that ability.  A little luck, a lot of hard work, and tremendous vision can make any college campus a leader in the new era of employment.

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Posted By Megan Ballard, Monday, October 13, 2014

#NACCE2014 Lunch Panel: From Mindset to Meaningful Action

Submitted by Braden Croy - Syracuse University

Lunchtime Panelists: Julie Lenzer Kirk | Earl Gohl | Jon Robinson | Timothy McNulty

This discussion will revolve around entrepreneurship ecosystems and building vibrant communities.  No one owns the ecosystem and every member comes to the ecosystem for different reasons.  However, this diversity is critical to building strong business

What role do you see yourself playing in an entrepreneurship ecosystem and how does the ecosystem work with community colleges?

Julie: as a recovering entrepreneur, ecosystems are extremely important to me.  In my role at the federal government and as a founding member of Startup America, I find ecosystem to be vital.  There’s a lot of thought leadership happening right now with what ecosystems need to be developed.  Ecosystems move up the hierarchy of needs:

  1. Basic infrastructure

  2. Technology infrastructure

  3. Business support

  4. Engines of innovation

  5. Connected ecosystem

The government helps fund every aspect of this hierarchy.  The government is a catalyst to what community’s needs, especially communities in need—economic distress.  However, now the government can help with seed funds, technology purchases, and program developments.

Earl: Appalachia runs from Alabama to New York and could be considered one of the great next investment opportunities of the century.  The area has everything and every type of entrepreneur.  Huge potential in education, health care, energy, etc.  It will be vital for diverse partners to help facilitate, finance, and grow entrepreneurial ecosystems.

The community college structure throughout Appalachia is critical to its ecosystem.  These colleges are important technical training and stepping stone institutions for students and potential entrepreneurs.  Poverty is a serious is in Appalachia though.  Strategy has ebbed and flowed to reflect the political whims.  Residents and leaders have taken over and defined the region from a grassroots movement.  These communities are incredibly engaged and committed to working together to build their own ecosystems from the ground up—they’re taking their destiny into their own hands.

Jon: The Kauffman foundation tries to operate in the top three slices of the ecosystem’s hierarchy of needs.  The organization is an evangelist for the prosperity of communities, it’s a leading resource for research, and helps with the specific performance of various entrepreneurship assets.  It does a little myth-busting as well, to show what truly helps entrepreneurs grow.  The Kauffman Foundation also has numerous educational programs and curricular opportunities for colleges and communities to leverage.

Put simply, Kauffman is a catalyst for collaboration; both regionally and nationally.  Helping to create that patchwork quilt.

Tim: If you’re dealing with communities facing radical changes, community colleges are a key anchor everyone can rally around.  The ‘maker movement’ is becoming a critical aspect of the modern education and method for preparing students for 21st century jobs.  Hundreds of thousands of campus space has been devoted to the construction of maker spaces.  Community colleges have played a critical role in growing the maker movement and empowering students to build in new ways, with new technologies, and generating new companies.

Maker spaces have attracted some major corporate collaborations and helped bridge the gap between 2 year and 4 year institutions.  We have the chance to work together to develop entirely new tools for makers and entrepreneurs.

What are examples of successes or failures to developing ecosystems and what is the specific role of the community college?

Earl: It’s a challenge because there’s no finish line.  There’s lots of goals and mileposts, but just because you’ve completed one project doesn’t mean you’re done.  You’ll spend your career working on new and old programs.  However, that process helps you community grow best.  It will always be an ongoing process.

Julie: Forget about thinking outside of the box; here is no box.  It’s important to look at the synergies across the community, no matter size or scope.  It doesn’t have to be just a university thing, everyone needs to be involved and helping to find those gaps.

Jon: many times community colleges are the most collaborative institutions in an ecosystem—no ego and no need for credit.  However, this means you’ll have to deal with very large egos from larger, more brand conscious institutions.  Community colleges can at some level be considered the most democratic organization in an entrepreneurship ecosystem.  Many organizations are rent seekers, looking to extract some sort of value from the entrepreneurs they say they’re trying to help—the community college isn’t like this.

Vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem s are entirely about talent, human capital.  Very few institutions outside of community colleges can say they are solely focused on developing human capital.  If you really want to help you entrepreneurs, you have to get off campus and find where the entrepreneurs live.

Tim: The opportunity space is huge for community colleges.  The direction of technology is towards democratization of access.  Things like Kickstarter make it so easy for an entrepreneur in a rural area to find supporters and sales.

Community colleges are key intersections for communities to help entrepreneurs find tools.

Julie: failures in ecosystems have happened because of ego.

Jon: you really have to work to keep egos from creeping in and destroying an ecosystem.  It behooves you to focus on tools not credit.

Heather: the role of the community college should be as a voice and as a leader.  They can unify because of a lack of ego.

What would be your ask of community colleges and what would you like community colleges to ask from you?

Jon: The Kauffman foundation is looking to you, the people in this room, to help entrepreneurs.  We need help testing our hypotheses and communicate to us what entrepreneurs are asking for and what type of help are they looking for.  We need sample size and lots and lots of data.

Julie: we’d like to see good projects come from community college projects.  We have money and are eager to fund your projects.  November 3rd is the deadline for EDA grants—apply!

We’re looking to develop a mentor protégé program.  We want to be the catalyst for your community.

Tim: The most critical thing we can do together is break down the silos and break down the barriers.

Earl: My ask—be bold, don’t hold back.  Be engaged in your community and when other people have sharp elbows, have sharp elbows yourself.  The opportunity is now and community colleges are critical to helping build the future workforce.  We are becoming an entrepreneurial nation, community colleges can be the leaders and the center for this national change.  With your ideas and our help we can put together some pretty great community structures.


NACCE Lifetime Achievement Award…

…and the honor goes to John Chemaly!

“Some people enjoy being an employee, an entrepreneur enjoys being an employer.” ~ John Chemaly

A man with a good spirit and good heart.  John knows how to get the audience laughing and applauding with this short anecdotes.  Only 60 something, John believes he still has many accomplishments ahead of him and opportunities to help his fellow entrepreneurs.

John takes us on a journey 12 years back, recounting moments with his daughter and family.  A man who plays the tough love thing but is never heartless or uncaring.  He cares deeply and is truly grateful for what Middle Essex Community College has given to his daughter, other students, and the community around it.  The college has given hope and opportunity, but most importantly, it’s given possibility to those who could never find their way before.

A small world indeed.  Pat, an employee at Middle Essex, was unexpectedly brought up on stage and it turns out her son works for Trinity.  John truly loves this college.

The time fast approaches when the majority of jobs will only require an associate’s degree and community college certificates.  We have the opportunity to make that future vibrant and prosperous.

John disagrees with the freedom to fail.  A true entrepreneur has the mindset—failure is not an option.  In his own companies, john has zero appetite for failure. 

The definition of value is doing more with less.  Everyone wants more for less in a quicker period of time.  Community colleges embody the definition of value.  They have figured out affordability, access, and employability.   

You can teach accessibility and affordability, but you can’t teach passion. Being an entrepreneur is like being in love.  It’s a feeling of, “I can do this.”  Daily being able to look your business in the eye and saying I can do this.

Tags:  12th conference  NACCE2014 

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Posted By Megan Ballard, Monday, October 13, 2014
Updated: Monday, October 13, 2014

#NACCE 2014 Morning Session 10/13/14

Submitted by Braden Croy—Syracuse University

Heather will be missed dearly as President & CEO of NACCE. 

She will certainly be remembered for her dedication and service to the organization.  We look forward to meeting her possible replacements who are here at the conference with us now.  Dr. Massey has laid out a wonderful plan to find, interview, and onboard Heather’s replacement.  As her true character shows, Heather will stay around the help train and transition the new CEO and organization.

#NACCE 2015 has just been announced for October 11 in Houston Texas.

Lee Lambert will be stepping up to the podium in just a few minutes.  His CV is much too long to reproduce here, but we can certainly say he’s a wonderful speaker to have.

Blue, green, brown, and yellow

Water and trees traded for desert and sunshine.

What does it mean to embrace and entrepreneurial mindset.

Two words and one acronym.

Don’t be afraid of… salt…

Will a college education become the modern day equivalent of salt?

Everyone needs access to salt (education), wars were fought over salt, but it has become common place.

Everyone needs access to education, however, it has become too expensive.  We MUST bring down the cost of education or else an entrepreneur will step in to equalize the market

Demographics, globalization, technology, and lack of government support has put us into a VUCA world.

The real question becomes, how will be replacing our aging population?  Millennials are the most diverse generation of young adults and their potential is huge.  They have never been without the internet and their potential is huge.

Poor nations and poor communities are becoming rich.  95% of all customers do not live in the United States.  However, we must develop a cultural competency which allows us to access those markets.  Technology has allowed us to democratize and access markets we could never before tap.  Can colleges use this new access to keep their business models sustainable and growing?

This access may also be a double edged sword.  Great access means cheaper programs.  Simple economics—supply and demand.

Is curriculum your intellectual property?  It should be marketed outside of the United States.  Leverage your curriculum to expand internationally.  Take curriculum to markets in which you specialize—i.e. automotive engineering, go to China.  Train the train to help foreign universities teach to the American standard.

Use technology to keep the costs affordable.

One course, many sections.  Start a new section every Monday at Rio Siloto College.

Cocheese College, right here in Phoenix is stepping up to advance unmanned aerial systems. 

Dr. Srasvathy has given us all a common language to speak about entrepreneurship and starting businesses.  You can find more about Effectuation and the 5 key principles at

“You must trust the dots will connect in your future” ~ Steve Jobs


We will now be welcoming Dr. Shari Olson to the stage.

She is an entrepreneurial president who exemplifies effectuation in action at the collegiate level.  She fully understands that at times you must set your affordable loss and budget wisely so she can cover those risk taking opportunities which might not pan out.  As any great entrepreneur knows, you will never be successful 100% of the time, you just have to be successful 51% of the time.  Key to her success has been forming partnerships both on campus and off campus.  Diverse stakeholders who believe what you believe will always help you achieve your greatest successes.

She deserves the Entrepreneurial President of the Year Award which has been given to her.

Dr. Olson had humble beginnings in a dairy farming family and community.  From a very young age she was given tremendous responsibly and handled it deftly with grace and caring.

Who doesn’t love a good dog story and picture?  Family runs deep with Dr. Olson’s dedication to her college, her faculty, and her community.

Her best mentor never let her go into the red.  Keeping careful watch on the bottom line and justifying every purchase is an invaluable skill for every entrepreneurial president, faculty, or staff.

Through the Learning Studio, Dr. Olson is giving her students every possible opportunity to succeed as entrepreneurs.  Collaboration, community involvement, and support networks will help students start their businesses.

We owe it to our students to help them explore their entrepreneurial passions.

“Always, always, be happy doing what you love.” ~ Johnny Cupcake


This conference wouldn’t be possible without the support of our amazing sponsors.  Check them out on the website and learn more.


We welcome to the stage, the woman, the myth, the legend… Dr. Saras Sarasvathy!

Oh the places we’ve gone… in only one year. 

Entrepreneurs came up with effectuation.  Saras understands that she was a student of her entrepreneurs.  They taught her just as she now teaches us.

What is it that people learn while they’re building multiple enterprises?  What about along the way when they experience failures, heartbreak, and lower lows?  Simply stated, they learn effectuation.

It’s not all about chasing resources, it is more about working with what you already have.  Those things you can control to co-create the future.  Every successful entrepreneur has followed that basic premise—you can only control what is within your power.

The real question, however, is how.  How can you work with what you have and co-create the future?  We’ve heard the principles in many ways but Saras has given us a common, uniting, language.


  1. Bird-in hand: you already have enough within your control to change the world.  Look at scarcity not as a bad thing because you already have enough.

  2. Affordable loss: focus on controlling the downside, not imagining the upside.  Believe you can live through the worst case scenario.

  3. Crazy quilt: control the downside and leverage greater resources by brining diverse stakeholders onboard.  Find people who already want to go with you—start with why.  People who pass the ‘choose me’ test.

  4. Lemonade: if life throws you lemons, make lemonade.  Even when something negative happens there are ways to turn those bad things into opportunities.

  5. Pilot in the plane: the future is within our control.  We can co-create the future.

So what can we do today to get started?

Start with who I am, what I know, and whom I know.

What can I do which may create some value?

Interact with other people.  Get them to put some skin in the game.  Get them to help define and build the vision.  The future is about what WE, as a group of dedicated stakeholders, can do together.

Build effectual stakeholder commitments to urge people along and develop great programs.

The final product may never be fully visible, however, by minimizing downside risk, no one will lose more than they are able to lose.  Thus reducing the cost of failure holistically.

Taking effectuation into the classroom, or the dean’s office, is doable.

We are dreamers with wholesale ambition, but we become demoralized because of small retail action. However, all of those small actions will build into a very large something.  WE can only solve world hunger or poverty by taking small steps.  It’s fine the dream, but take small bites first.  Action, even the smallest step, will build into something great.

The only criteria we should think about when evaluating business opportunities, instead of massive economic upside, is whether we are happy, even if everything fails, doing the smallest task.  Other people may be as happy, or even happier, doing those tasks with us.  We should seek to partner with other hero’s.

The common student misconception—Steve Jobs wouldn’t ask for help or partners.  Simply stated, not true.  Steve has never found someone to say no or hand up the phone when he asks for help.  People who dream will never pick up the phone, successful entrepreneurs won’t be scared to pick up the phone and ask.

So what should we, our students, our communities be asking for?  It isn’t just about asking for money or resources or tangible things.  Entrepreneurs need much more help than can be provided by capital.  Mentorship, tacit knowledge, relationships, enthusiasm, we should be asking for equal buy-in from everyone involved in our entrepreneurs’ lives.

The Grameen Bank is a perfect example of asking and doing without being constrained by ‘what is’.  Learning along the way and asking for help from clients and supporters.  Why not ask people, in rural, poor regions, why are things the way they are?  Can we, should we, build a business around giving money to women, who have never touched money before?  Only through asking women, men, and village leaders, could Unis actually answer this question.  Proven time and time again, of course you can find opportunity by asking potential customers.

Asking is the only way to solve our world’s problems.


Saras is throwing a curve ball on stage.  In the spirit of effectuation, members from her workshop/master class yesterday will step up to the plate to ‘ask’ the audience.  What will they ask, we’ll have to see…

4 colleges will be given three minutes to make the ask…

Everyone is readying their phones, laptops, and notepads to help these intrepid entrepreneurs.

  1. Seminole State College of Florida

    1. A college of 32,000 students.

    2. Their second year of attending #NACCE Conference

    3. In the fall of 2013 they kicked off their entrepreneurship programs with 50 students and have now reached 300 students.  They have their bird-in the hand, they’re building their crazy quilt, and they’re learning from their failures.

    4. Their students want to be part of the process and the institution wants to go global.

    5. No ask for money here…

    6. They want some sort of collaboration with schools around the world.  They want to help these international institutions teach American/Western entrepreneurship.

    7. “Knowledge and collaboration without action is hallucination”

  2. Eastern New Mexico University – Roswell

    1. Looks like they’re bringing up the whole school on stage

    2. “Get an education that’s out of this world” ;-)

    3. President has his arm twisted by his trusty advisors to join the #NACCE2014 conference, he’s sure glad he came though.

    4. The college and community are having trouble adjusting to entrepreneurial, institutional change—leave things lie.

    5. They’re looking for an entrepreneurial mentor to help them make that change.  The benefits are endless for mentor and community

    6. Pay it forward

  3. Feather River College

    1. Representing the new world of work—the impending massive workforce shift we’re bound the experience if we haven’t already.  50% of the workforce will be entrepreneurial, freelancers, small businesses, and high growth companies.

    2. How do we prepare students for the future of workforce dynamics?  This is not a trend, it’s a global reality.

    3. Effectuation method can be applied on an individual basis.

    4. They would like NACCE to create the new workforce as a key topic area.  Prepare students for all the challenges ahead.

    5. 530-410-1182

  4. Prairie State College

    1. Located in an area known for manufacturing.

    2. Many manufactures have an aging workforce and can’t see a stable pipeline of educated, technically trained, graduates.

    3. A makerspace could solve all of this.

    4. 3D printers, CNC machines, etc. are exactly what students need to learn how to use.

    5. 2,000+ sq ft space identified.

    6. They have their crazy quilt identified (wow is it a long list of excited partners) and are ready to pull the trigger.  They need everyone’s help though.

    7. They want us involved in any way, shape, and form.

    8. 708-912-0418 or

Heather has one last ask… For those who had an ask, please let us know how it went.  We can all learn from this little exercise.

Time for some awesome breakout sessions.  I’ll keep you updated and expect more info to come.


Tags:  12th conference  NACCE2014 

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