When professor Waverly Deutsch teaches her “Building the New Venture” course, she invites the pros—people who have built their own businesses. They offer her students a first-hand view into life as an entrepreneur. Deutsch, clinical assistant professor of entrepreneurship, feels her “teaching points really come to life when entrepreneurs come to my class. They echo the importance of actually doing what my students and I can only discuss.”
On January 12, for the class she teaches in the Evening MBA Program at the Gleacher Center, Deutsch hosted a diverse panel of entrepreneurs. Members included a manufacturer of dog clean-up accessories, the president and CEO of a fleet management firm for large and midsize transportation companies, and the president of a digital storage company.
Patricia Henderson, president of Cygany, Inc., manufactures “Poopy Pickups,” a poop bag dispenser for dog-owners. Henderson left geophysics to fulfill her curiosity about starting, running, and ultimately selling a business.
The pleasure she gets from running her own business keeps her going. She even enjoys the nickname she’s earned—“the poop bag lady.” Henderson, who makes all her own sales calls, says “sometimes my nickname gets me through the door better than my own name.” Her product is now carried in more than 800 park districts and 6,000 grocery stores.
Mike Liddell, president and CEO of Mobitrac, a fleet management company, started his firm because he didn’t enjoy working in a corporate environment. Chris Gladwin, president of Cleversafe, the digital storage company, discussed how his foray into entrepreneurship started because he was good with technology. He now has acquired the “bug” for starting and selling companies.
While there was no single common element the business owners could point to that contributed to their success, they all found working for themselves just seemed to make sense at the right time and the right place.
For information on entrepreneurship at Chicago GSB, visit the Polsky Center site.