Nearly 250 participants attended a two-part Leadership In the New Economy (LINE) event in October, where alumni and community leaders come to meet and mentor Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement (DDEEA) scholars through exposure to post-graduation opportunities. Business expert and entrepreneur Thomas K.R. Stovall led a “Think Tank”-style workshop “Igniting an Entrepreneurial Mindset,” rapid-fire exercises on how to turn intention into action when starting a business.
LINE is a DDEEA initiative to expose UW-Madison juniors and seniors to post-graduation employment, entrepreneurship, research and advanced training possibilities in the rapidly evolving global economy. The “Think Tank” workshop was sponsored by the American Family Institute for Social and Corporate Impact, US Bank, UW Women’s Philanthropy Council, Discovery to Product, and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. Working with the DDEEA External Relations, Partnerships and Development office, these sponsoring partners provided the opportunity for the division’s scholars and graduates to not only get a great job, but create innovative products, services and solutions that result in new businesses and jobs for the future.
As a nationally-renown expert and coach in entrepreneurship, Stovall’s “Think Tank” brought excitement and understanding to the key strategies of how to get from an idea to a successful launch by guiding the brainstorming process to help ignite participants’ entrepreneurial creativity.
Stovall also shared his personal story of creating a successful business only to watch it all fall apart when it grew too fast for him to manage. He inspired the audience with a message of believing in their ideas and abilities, tapping into their personal networks, and supporting each other.
“The people you know going up are the people you’re going to see on your way down,” Stovall said. “You’re going to need those relationships.”
Stovall’s workshop was proceeded by a private reception sponsored by US Bank and coordinated with campus homecoming. The reception offered business representatives and diverse alumni to meet potential student candidates for internships, fellowships and to discuss ways to apply their skills and degrees in the contemporary market.
“It’s hard to be what you can’t see,” Stovall told the students about the value of formulating a vision and adjusting it with as many details as possible.
The DDEEA External Relations, Partnerships and Development office cultivates relationships through constituent relationship management (CRM) best practices and cultural competence. The office is responsible for establishing a long-term plan to diversify the division’s resources, amplify efforts to improve equity and inclusion on campus and cultivate relationships with community, alumni, corporate and philanthropic partners. The office creates impact through sponsorships, initiatives and mutually beneficial partnership opportunities.
In partnership with the Office of Business Engagement, the External Relations, Partnerships and Development office cultivates partnerships with corporations. The office offers insight, expertise and opportunities to engage with UW-Madison to diversify their talent pipelines and create an exclusive environment. Expanding supplier diversity is central to DDEEA’s mission. The office has been intentional in utilizing services provided by minority vendors.