Jim Keyes ‘77 Inspires Lifelong Learning

Jim Keyes '77 shaking students hand

Holy Cross recently had the honor of hosting notable alumni Jim Keyes ‘77, member of the Holy Cross Board of Trustees, who took the time on April 25, 2024 to engage with students and share insights from his new book, “Education is Freedom.” Keyes’ journey from humble beginnings to becoming a successful business leader as former CEO of 7-Eleven and Blockbuster is not only inspiring but also filled with valuable lessons for young students across the globe. 

Keyes began his talk by delving into his childhood, where he experienced the challenges of living in poverty with a house lacking basic amenities like running water. Despite these hardships, he was determined, always putting his best foot forward in everything he did whether it was sweeping the floors at McDonald’s with incredible speed or outworking white-collar employees at corporate internships.

One of the pivotal moments in Keyes’ early career was his internship at Gulf Oil. Here, he demonstrated his dedication and passion for his work, which quickly made him stand out among his peers. However, his commitment to excellence didn’t go unnoticed, and he encountered resistance from a colleague who felt threatened by Keyes’ hard work, fearing it would reflect poorly on others.

Keyes’ experiences shaped his belief in the power of education and continuous learning. He understands that education is not just about academic knowledge but also about personal growth and empowerment. In his book, “Education is Freedom,” Keyes emphasizes the importance of education in preserving democracy and promoting critical thinking. Keyes highlights the role of education in fostering an informed electorate capable of discerning truth from fiction. He advocates for a return to the values of civil discourse, critical thinking, and lifelong learning.

“Education Is Freedom” serves as a self-help guide for individuals and society as a whole. It allows readers to embrace education as a tool for personal and collective growth. Keyes believes that knowledge is the ultimate freedom, as it provides individuals with the chance to navigate challenges, make informed decisions, and contribute meaningfully to society.

Keyes’ journey from childhood poverty to advocating education for freedom is a testament to the transformative power of learning. With support from Snoop Dogg, Mr. Beast, and many more influential individuals, it is no secret that Holy Cross is beyond grateful to have someone like him share their personal experience. 

Thank you to Nico Corporon ‘26 for this event recap!

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”

Navigating Venture Capital: Insights from Joe Darcy ’11

After having the chance to sit down with Holy Cross alumni Joe Darcy ’11, many valuable insights were taught on the inner workings of a venture capital firm, career paths leading up to these roles, and how students can maximize their time while here on the hill. 

Joe’s journey into the world of venture capital has landed him as Investment Manager at Volvo Group, where he plays a pivotal role in the company’s team. With a focus on investing in startups relevant to Volvo’s industry sectors, Joe and his team conducted thorough due diligence, meeting with hundreds of startups annually to find the right fits for the company’s investor portfolio. Joe’s entrepreneurial background—starting his own hockey club at just 14 and building the Holy Cross Club Hockey team from the ground up while serving as club president—equipped him with the mindset needed to thrive in the fast-paced world of venture capital.

Drawing parallels between building a VC portfolio and assembling a hockey team, Joe emphasized the importance of diversity in both. Just as a hockey team needs a mix of forwards, defensemen, vocal leaders, and quiet leaders to succeed, a well-rounded VC portfolio requires a diverse range of startups with different strengths and personalities. It’s this blend that ultimately leads to success, as each startup contributes to the collective goal of building businesses and generating investment returns.

Joe also shared valuable academic advice for current Holy Cross students. He emphasized the importance of taking advantage of resources like .edu emails to network and explore career opportunities early on. This access provides students with a distinct advantage in connecting with alumni and industry professionals, facilitating mentorship, internships, and job opportunities crucial for their future careers. Joe encouraged students to embrace their time at Holy Cross as a period of growth and learning, urging them to be sponges and absorb as much knowledge and experience as possible. He highlighted the benefits of the tight-knit community at Holy Cross, which not only fosters strong relationships but also prepares students for professional workspaces beyond graduation.

In conclusion, Joe’s journey from Holy Cross to venture capital exemplifies the value of a liberal arts education in preparing students for diverse career paths. Through his experiences, Joe has not only made the most of his post-grad life but also offered valuable insights and advice for current and future Crusaders embarking on their own professional journeys.

Written by Nico Corporon ’26

Student Highlight: Nico Corporon ’26

Nico

My name is Nico Corporon and I am a current second year Political Science major pursuing a business certificate in business fundamentals and entrepreneurship. During my time at Holy Cross, I have engaged in a diverse set of activities, including membership in HC Launch, Finance Club, Men’s Club Hockey, and serving as an exam proctor. Most recently, I will be taking up the opportunity to serve as an intern for the Ciocca Center this spring semester. 

My involvement with the Ciocca Center has been incredibly transformative so far. Through HC Launch, I collaborated with a local Worcester startup named Multiscale Systems, contributing to a complex research project focused on the manufacturing of Gen IV Natrium Reactors. This eight-month project provided me with the opportunity to delve into the nuclear energy sector, engage one on one with C-Suite executives, and produce a comprehensive research document piling over one hundred pages in length.

Additionally, the Ciocca Center has served as a platform for honing my skills through participation in business competitions, similar to the recent Innovation Challenge hosted by Sideline Swap. Looking ahead to this upcoming internship, my focus will be on enhancing student involvement in Ciocca Center events, fostering greater engagement on social media, and connecting with alumni to produce insights into maximizing not only my potential within the Ciocca Center, but the rest of my Holy Cross peers.

I am very grateful for what has come through my involvement in the Ciocca Center thus far, and look forward to what lies ahead!

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”