Ciocca Center Congratulates Business Certificate Graduates

Business certificate gradutesThe Ciocca Center is thrilled to announce the Business Certificate Graduates for the spring 2024 semester.  This academic year, we are awarding 62 Certificates, up from 51 last spring.  To celebrate this milestone, students are encouraged to meet up with other Ciocca students and recharge before finals on Wednesday, May 1st from 1-3pm for the annual Business Social on the Hoval.

Business Certificate Program graduates can pick up their hard copy certificates, cords and graduation pins.  Underclassmen interested in learning more about the program are encouraged to chat with Ciocca Center staff for more information and to register for a Business Certificate Program.

Attendees will enjoy music with delicious food truck fare with Braised and Uncle Joey’s Cannolis!  It will be a celebratory afternoon and we look forward to seeing you there!

Congratulations to the Business Certificate Program Graduates!

Certificate in Business Fundamentals

Kasamba Amiri ’24
Nicholas Bettenhauser ’24
Lucy Brown ’24
Andrew Burton ’24
Alexander Christie ’24
Julia Clarke ’25
Eleanor d’Arbeloff ’24
Arthur Danas ’24
Doran Deehan ’24
Tyler Durling ’24
Eileen Evans ’24
Mia Fedeli ’24
Liam Gill ’24
Katherine Guden ’24
Thomas Koenen ’24
Maya Krzywda ’24
Anna Lee ’24
Saia Lorenzo ’24
Mikaila Lupoli ’24
Kyle McCabe ’24
Litzy Mejia ’24
Kelsey Minister ’24
Jackson Monteiro ’24
Bridget Moriarty ’24
Madeline Morton ’25
Alexandria Paradise ’24
Alexandra Parsons ’24
Shanil Perez Lantigua ’24
Sandra Rodriguez ’24
James Rogus ’24
Kaelah Ross ’24
Millie Sirum ’24
Cole Seeger ’24
Lane Torosian ’24
Daniel Varano ’24
Laney Vasseghi ’24
Fiona Willette ’24
Emma Wilson ’24
Jiayun Xiong ’24
Liliana Zuniga Diaz ’24 Continue reading “Ciocca Center Congratulates Business Certificate Graduates”

New Speaker Series: CrossTalks

CrossTalks Speakers in front of sign

The first CrossTalks event hosted by the Ciocca Center took place on Saturday April 6, 2024 as part of the College’s celebration of 50 years of coeducation. Cassie Gevry, associate director of the Center, introduced the new series bringing esteemed speakers to give provocative and engaging presentations to connect the community across campus, generations, disciplines, industries and beyond. This event showcased three alumnae: Julie Halpin Anderson ’84, Francine Rosado-Cruz ’94, and Carolyn Risoli ’86. They presented on “Discernment in Action,” highlighting the value that their liberal arts education and various majors bring to their work in business. 

Julie Halpin Anderson ’84, a French major, is a brand builder, leadership coach, and creativity accelerator, known as one of the industry’s most recognized and well-respected experts on brand strategy and creative expression. During her talk, she reflected on her journey as a Crusader, acknowledging past feelings of dissonance between her chosen industry of advertising and the Jesuit call to be a woman for others.  Julie recounted a pivotal moment when a colleague’s creative idea sparked a realization about the essence of her work in advertising – not just selling products, but facilitating moments of inspiration and creativity for others. This epiphany led her to explore the deeper significance of creativity and its potential connection to spirituality, prompting a shift in perspective towards her role as a facilitator of “goosebumps moments.” She further illustrates this by asking “what business are you in…really?” to help others uncover a deeper purpose and foster a sense of serving others, ultimately affirming her identity as a Crusader.

Francine Rosado Cruz ’94, an English major, is an HR strategist, consultant, and executive coach, considered to be a thought leader, influencer, and subject matter expert on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB). Francine embraces and embodies Jesuit values of magis, discernment, service rooted in justice and love, solidarity, and kinship, as they are symbolic to the most important values in her own career.  She started by reminiscing about her father’s humble origins in Puerto Rico and her family’s multicultural background. She recalled her journey through college, guided by their father’s insistence on a Jesuit education, and how the values such as cura personalis and magis shaped her career path towards DEIB work. Francine recounted pivotal cannonball moments, including experiences with her college roommate, career choices, and health scares, crediting the liberal arts for her ability to stay curious. In the end, she expressed gratitude for the Jesuit values instilled at Holy Cross, which continue to inform her personal and professional endeavors, advocating for a life of dialogue and unity.

Carolyn Risoli ’86, a history major, is a fashion and luxury industry executive with over 30 years of experience. She is a seasoned veteran and pioneer in the field. She starts her talk with the question the interviewer from her first job out of college asked her, “History Major? What are you going to do with that?”  Drawing parallels between historical analysis and business strategy, Carolyn highlights the importance of learning to “think critically, speak persuasively, and write effectively” as well as developing pattern recognition as a means to predict consumer behavior. She encourages students not to focus solely on job-specific skills but to embrace the broader perspective and adaptable mindset fostered by liberal arts education, which equips them to thrive in an ever-changing world. She closes with “So what can you do as a history major? Pretty much whatever the future throws at us.”

This CrossTalks event will be the first of many.  If you are interested or know someone who might be great at sharing their story on stage in < 15 minutes, apply to be a CrossTalks speaker.  We encourage you to take this opportunity to inspire others with the connections you have made between your studies and the value you bring to the business world. 

Stay tuned for links to the recorded talks in the coming days! 

WooTank Intercollegiate Showdown

Rob Murner speaking

On April 2, 2024, eight student-run organizations participated in the inaugural WooTank Intercollegiate Showdown at the BrickBox Theater in Worcester hoping to secure real investment for their startup company. Student entrepreneurs hailing from the College of the Holy Cross, Clark University, Nichols College, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, presented to a panel of esteemed and notable sharks. Among them, Brian Geisel serving as the CEO of Geisel Software, Mark A. Wingertzahn, Ph.D., holding the position of Head of Development at INVIVYD, and Margaret McEvoy-Ball, with 40 years of experience in technology marketing and sales. 

Representing the College of the Holy Cross were TJ Haigh ‘26 showcasing his app Trivflic and Logan Mott ‘27 and his brother Skylar Mott (who attends Leigh) revealing their invention Mark-It. Trivflic was awarded $2,000, and Mark-It received $1,500 to continue the growth of their initiatives. Moreover, all teams received valuable in-kind rewards, including 100 hours of mentorship from the sharks, WorcLab memberships, strategy sessions with Mike Mitchell, and meetings with MassVentures.

Congratulations to our students from the College of the Holy Cross for their pitches: 

– TJ Haigh ‘26 founder of Trivflic

– Logan Mott ‘27 and Skyler Mott founders of Mark-It

Tj Haigh, Logan Mott, and Skylar Mott

Further congratulations to the following students pitching from Nichols, WPI and Clark:  Continue reading “WooTank Intercollegiate Showdown”

11th Annual Cross Tank Competition

Winners of the Cross Tank Competition

The 11th annual Cross Tank Competition took place on Monday, March 25th, at Smith Labs 155, hosted by HC Launch through the Ciocca Center. This year showcased an array of pitches, highlighting fresh and innovative approaches to problem-solving. Ideas ranged from optimizing track and field distance tracking to unveiling a 100% waterproof fabric, an app for musicians to collaborate to, and more.

Our panel of judges brought a wealth of diverse expertise to the table, featuring 2022 winner Nick Lazzaro ’23, Venture Forum Executive Zak Dutton, and Adjunct Professor and Healthcare Executive Tom Patton ’86. Teams vied for a total prize pool of $9,250.

The competition unfolded in two categories. In the Concept Stage, participants presented business ideas poised for launch:

  • First Place ($1,500): 

Continue reading “11th Annual Cross Tank Competition”

Nick Lazzaro ’23 Wins 40 Under 40 Award

Nick Lazzaro with friends and family

In recent news, Holy Cross has been excited to witness the achievements of one of its alumni, Nick Lazzaro, a member of the class of 2023. Nick has been making headlines in the entrepreneurial realm with his company, Nick’s On-Site Detailing. His journey from a student at Holy Cross to a successful business owner not only deserves applause but also offers valuable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs within our community.

Nick’s recent recognition in the Worcester Business Journal’s esteemed 40 Under 40 awards ceremony is a testament to his dedication and innovation through Nick’s On-Site Detailing. This acknowledgment not only celebrates his achievements but also highlights his entrepreneurial spirit, which has set him apart in the business world.

During his time at Holy Cross, Nick actively engaged in the Ciocca Center Shark Tank Competition, an experience he considers pivotal in shaping his entrepreneurial path. Reflecting on this experience, Nick emphasizes the importance of effective pitching, noting how the competition provided him with a platform to refine his skills, receive valuable feedback, and gain confidence in presenting his ideas. “The shark tank competition was instrumental in my pitching skills development. It allowed me to learn from mistakes, receive feedback from alumni, and gain comfort in presenting,” Nick shared.

A key takeaway from Nick’s journey is his unwavering determination to seize opportunities and step out of his comfort zone. His decision to apply for the Worcester 40 Under 40 award underscores the significance of taking risks and putting oneself out there, ultimately leading to remarkable achievements. Nick also advises current Holy Cross students to embrace challenging coursework, believing it will equip them with the skills and resilience needed for future success.

Nick Lazzaro’s journey from Holy Cross student to a recipient of prestigious business awards is both inspiring and instructive. His story serves as a beacon of hope for budding entrepreneurs within the Holy Cross community, reminding us of the importance of perseverance, seizing opportunities, and embracing the journey towards our work. 

Written by Nico Corporon ’26

Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives Site Visit

Students at MBI

My name is Maeley Nakamura and I am in the class of 2026 majoring in Economics and minoring in Ethics, Society, and the Institution of Business and pursuing a business fundamentals certificate alongside entrepreneurship. I had the opportunity to go on a Site Visit to Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI), as it is a step to earning a Certificate in Entrepreneurship. Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives, located in Worcester, is an incubator that encourages scientists to take transforming innovative ideas and make them into tangible realities, empowering entrepreneurship. 

During the visit, Jon, the CEO of MBI, provided us with a thorough tour of the facility, offering insights into entrepreneurship in biomedicine. One of the hallways we walked through showcased various inventions originating from Worcester, such as pieces of the space suit, birth control, and the duckbill pipe wrench. It was fascinating to see how MBI continues to foster innovation through its incubator. While technically an incubator, I found it unique that MBI exhibits qualities of an accelerator by actively supporting and guiding entrepreneurs through the entrepreneurial process. The environment and architecture of the building was particularly notable with each floor, wing, and section representing a different stage of progression. For example, the journey for entrepreneurship at MBI starts in a small lab room for initial experimentation and research then goes into larger labs with an office dedicated for manufacturing. When the tour concluded, we all sat down to converse and ask questions. Jon shared some valuable insights. Something that stuck out to me was his ideas of the entrepreneurial mindset. He says some great advice he was given was to meet one new person every day to expand your network, adhere to the “touch a paper only once” principle to promote efficiency and productivity, and be a problem solver, addressing challenges proactively. Jon also emphasized the importance of a liberal arts education, highlighting that liberal arts students know how to learn. In conclusion, I personally had the best time during the site visit. I was able to get a glimpse of the complex and powerful ecosystem of biomedicine entrepreneurship at MBI.

Written by Maeley Nakamura ’26

Students Explore Business Over Winter Break

Students at Fidelty Networking event with Tom Jessop '88 President of Fidelity Brokerage

Kicking off the spring 2024 semester, 160+ students participated in four concurrent workshops the week before classes began.  The week of January 18-22 was led by 25+ alumni presenters and mentors in the following areas:

Fullbridge Professional Edge: This simulated workweek provides exposure to the basics of business and an opportunity to collaborate in teams through active learning culminating in a final presentation where students present a growth idea for a Fortune 500 company. Special congratulations to Team Under Armour for the innovative growth idea securing them each the top prize of a $300 Apple gift card! Kathryn Sweet ’26, Charles Bacon ’27, Marisa Mamak ’27, and Mary Powers ’27 led by Coach Carmen!

Corporate Finance & Banking: 38 students toured at top Boston banks including Bank of America with Ted Lynch ‘84, SV Health Investors with Tom Flynn ‘87, and Natixis Asset Managers with Beatriz Pina Smith ‘87.  The highlight of the workshop was the fourth annual networking event held at Fidelity, hosted by Tom Jessop ‘88.  

Interview Prep: Personal branding and a core value proposition are key to successful interviewing. 86 students further developed their elevator pitch and practiced interview skills with the Center for Career Development followed by successful career tips from notable alumnae including Mimi Doherty ‘02 and Christina Imrich ‘08.

Marketing Communications & Sales: Alumni led 34 students through the practical exploration of advertising, marketing, sales, and public relations including, JR Butler ‘08, Catherine Cote ‘18, Tyler Dooley ‘17, Katie Macdonald ‘07, Kerri Mannion ‘19, Courtney Quinn ‘96, Cal St. Denis ‘08.  Teams competed in the PepsiCo Challenge, each tasked with bringing SodaStream to the next level with short- and long-term strategic thinking. Thank you to our PepsiCo judges Rowan Burgess ’23, Maureen Connolly ’18, Alex Smith ‘14, and Chris Vandervoorn ’19.

Many of the students participated in more than one opportunity as they worked towards Business Certificate Program completion, including the month-long Excel Tutorial offered during the month of January.

Check out the @holycrossbusiness Instagram page for photos from the event and follow to stay up to date with future programming and highlights. 

Entrepreneurship Course Students Pitch Business Ideas for Final Presentations

Students Presenting

Thursday, December 7th marked the last day of classes and final presentations for students in the Entrepreneurship Class taught by Tom Patton ’86. Students presented business ideas to a panel of judges from SV Health Investors, including Andrew Capetta,  A.J. Rossi, and Megan MacDonagh.  SV Health Investors is a venture and private equity investor that backs entrepreneurs in the healthcare space. 

Students pitched their ventures on a variety of innovative topics including:

  • PennyVentures, an app to support students who study abroad that combines budgeting, social media, and connections to local restaurants and services vetted by users.
  • Bass River Cruise, a luxury boat company providing unique water bound experiences on the Cape.
  • Splitz, an app that easily divides expenses for group online orders. 
  • VapeEscape, nicotine patch therapies in fun shapes and colors to encourage young adults to quit vaping without the stigma. 
  • UniBite, an app to aid college students in maintaining healthy and nutritious diets.

After deliberating, the panel announced the winning teams.  Second Place went to Team UniBite comprised of Devyn Gianino ‘25, JP McCarthy ‘24, Ashley Bunici ‘26, and Nico Corporan ‘26.  First Place went to team VapeEscape comprised of Eileen Evans ‘25, Mikey Rufino ‘24, and Mary Pat Sayre ‘24.  

First Place Team

To close the event, Cassie Gevry, Associate Director of Business Certificate Programs for the Ciocca Center at Holy Cross, shared the dates for upcoming spring events such as CrossTank, the annual Holy Cross spring pitch competition, to be held on March 25, 2024. She also announced that the city of Worcester will hold the inaugural WooTank Intercollegiate Showdown on April 2, 2024 where winning teams from their respective college competitions will compete for capital from real sharks. This year, competing colleges include Holy Cross, WPI, Clark University and Nichols College. Students from the Entrepreneurship course were encouraged to compete. 

No More Confusion: Your Ultimate Guide to Marketing Communication Lingo

 

Cartoon picture of business people talking

Considering that every industry has its own language, concepts and acronyms, try to familiarize yourself with this list if you are interested in the Marketing Communications industry. The list of need-to-know terms will continue to grow as time, techniques and technologies advance so feel comfortable asking about a term or acronym if you are unfamiliar with it because chances are that others are also in the dark when they hear “UX”, “KPI” or “CTA”. 

Analytics

In marketing, analytics refers to the process of analyzing data to determine the return on investment of a particular marketing activity. Marketers may also use the term analytics to talk about the dashboard or system they use to review and track this data.

B2B

This acronym is shorthand for business-to-business marketing. B2B companies are those that market their products or services to other businesses.

B2C

This acronym stands for business-to-consumer marketing. B2C companies sell their products or services directly to the end consumer.

Brand

A brand is the way a company is perceived and experienced by potential customers. Pieces of a brand include its logo and other design elements, the voice it uses when interacting with customers and the target customers it’s known for serving.

Brand awareness

The extent to which potential customers are familiar with your company and the distinct images or qualities that are associated with what you are selling.

Buyer persona

Buyer personas are the imaginary people marketers target when they design ads or create content like website copy. Although buyer personas aren’t real people, they are created based on data from actual consumers. These personas are then used to inform the audience, tactics and tone of the messages delivered.

Call to action (CTA)

 A call to action is a prompt that encourages website visitors to take a certain action, such as subscribing to an email newsletter or submitting a contact form. CTAs are used to guide potential customers through the next step in a sales funnel. Campaign

A campaign is a cohesive set of marketing activities designed to achieve a specific goal, like increasing sales for a certain product or spreading awareness of a new product feature.

Case study

Case studies are a type of content that typically showcases a company’s work with a past customer, often with a heavy focus on statistics or other quantifiable data that help highlight how the company achieved the desired results.

Cold calling/emailing

A tactic used by salespeople to contact potential customers via phone or email with whom the company has had no previous contact.

Content

Content is any piece of information that’s created to be viewed by an audience. This could include blog posts, email newsletters, social media posts, videos or even print brochures.

Customer journey

Continue reading “No More Confusion: Your Ultimate Guide to Marketing Communication Lingo”

2023 Innovation Challenge – Recap

Brendan Candon '10 speaking

The Ciocca Center, in partnership with HC Launch, hosted the annual Innovation Challenge yesterday afternoon. Yesterday’s competition revolved around business solutions for SidelineSwap, the premier marketplace dedicated to connecting athletes and sports enthusiasts in the dynamic world of sports gear selling. Founded by Brendan Candon ’10 in 2015, SidelineSwap has a remarkable track record of facilitating transactions exceeding $250 million and has earned its place among the fastest-growing global marketplaces, as recognized by the esteemed Andreessen Horowitz A16z Top 100 list. Backed by influential investors, including strategic partners such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and eBay, SidelineSwap is not only a platform for buying and selling sports equipment but a community-driven hub that empowers athletes to access quality gear affordably. The recent addition of the Trade-in Platform further exemplifies SidelineSwap’s commitment to innovation, enabling retail partners to create circular shopping experiences and fostering a sustainable and accessible marketplace for sports enthusiasts worldwide.

Students were tasked with pitching one of three solutions proposed by the CEO himself: 

Identifying Potential Sales Opportunity:

Identify a sport with over $10 million annual secondhand gear sales potential, requiring research on market size and characteristics for a successful second-hand marketplace.

Creating a User Experience Using AI:

Design an AI-driven user experience to address user problems and drive positive outcomes for SidelineSwap.

Designing a Solution For Cleaning Bats and Clubs in Bulk:

Propose solutions for efficiently cleaning baseball bats, softball bats, and golf clubs in bulk before listing on SidelineSwap.

Integrating AI into the UI: Securing 1st place, API-tizer tackled the challenge by suggesting an innovative incorporation of AI into SidelineSwap’s user interface. Rather than taking the conventional route of directly enhancing the user experience, API-tizer put forth a groundbreaking proposal to integrate AI seamlessly into SidelineSwap’s UI. This integration, facilitated through an API, was specifically aimed at photo verification and data-related processes for enhanced verification. The team not only addressed the prompt but also demonstrated forward-thinking by devising cost-effective strategies for the smooth integration of this advanced tool. Their pitch underscored a profound understanding of how strategically deploying AI could fortify user trust and elevate the overall credibility of the platform.

Savvy Sam: Claiming the 2nd place position, Team Sam directed their focus toward creating a more personalized and efficient user experience. Their innovative solution involved introducing a virtual chat assistant, named Sam, to SidelineSwap’s website. This AI-powered assistant was conceptualized to facilitate personalized user interactions, streamlining the process for users to find customized sports gear more efficiently. Team Sam’s approach emphasized the importance of user-centric design and showcased a commitment to enhancing the overall journey for SidelineSwap users, aligning with the prompt’s objective of using AI to drive positive outcomes for the business.

Squeaky Clean Solutions: The Clean Team, securing 3rd place, devised a meticulous solution aimed at optimizing the cleaning process for SidelineSwap. Acknowledging the operational challenge of managing thousands of sports products, especially baseball bats, softball bats, and golf clubs, the team presented an innovative proposal. Their approach involved implementing ultrasonic cleaners for golf clubs, demonstrating a practical and cost-effective strategy to enhance efficiency and reduce costs in the cleaning process. The Clean Team’s pitch showcased a thorough understanding of the operational intricacies within SidelineSwap’s warehouses, highlighting the significance of maintaining product quality through streamlined cleaning procedures.

Thank you to our judges, Tom Brennan ’86, Terry Waters ’81, and Brendan Candon ’10 for their invaluable time, expertise, and thoughtful evaluation during the SidelineSwap Innovation Challenge.

Winners:

First Place team

API-tizers (Meggan Fourie ’25, Maura Switzer ’25, Ivor Teagle ’25)

1st Place – $1,000:  API-tizers (Meggan Fourie ’25, Ivor Teagle ’25, Maura Switzer ’25)

2nd Place – $500: Team Sam (Nico Corporon ’26, Sean Doyle ’26)

3rd Place – $250: Clean Team (Briana Sullivan ’24, Nico Popeleski ’26, Maya Kryzwda ’24)

Written by Liz Garfield ‘24