Alumni Spotlight: Erika Dean ’05 on Being the Composer for her Company’s Go-to-Market Strategy

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Erica Dean ‘05, lawyer and Global Ops + Product Launch Strategist, sat down with The Hurt Hub@Davidson to talk about her path from Davidson College student to successful business woman.

Dean began her success by taking on many leadership roles. During her time at Davidson College she was the President of the BSC, head resident advisor, and a Senior Admissions Fellow. 

The liberal arts education inspired Dean to pursue a career in which she could use her Hispanic Studies major, communication skills, and interest in technology. She says, “I wanted to be able to use both sides of my brain.”

This passion, along with an outreach from a recruiter on LinkedIn, lead Dean to start working at OutBrain (a multicultural advertising company) as a Go-to-Market Strategist Leader. Now, she uses her Spanish skills and technological experience to build strategies for tech companies to better create products that meet the actual needs of multicultural markets. She then makes sure those products are successful when they launch.

“My job is to be the bridge—I’m Switzerland, the quarterback, or the composer of the Go-to-Market strategy.” Dean further explains, “I may not know how to do everyone’s job, but I know when to pull in people to get the job done.”

Davidson College helped Dean be successful in her career by giving her the opportunity to take on responsibility. She learned how to better negotiate and make sure that everyone left a conversation feeling as though it was a win-win. She also describes how important a liberal arts education is in helping students become educated and experienced in a wide variety of topics. When Davidson students enter the professional world they have a broad repertoire of information to use to connect with others. “Companies are not able to operate in a silo,” Dean goes on to say, “so if you find that commonality between yourself and another company it can help you to pull them out of their shells and get the products to launch more successfully.”

Her biggest challenge during her career was learning speak up. Not only was Dean balancing intercultural communication but she also discovered her own tendency to be quiet. Dean explains that it took her some time figuring out that her introversion holds power in the business world. She learned, “There is power in who I am. I learned how to navigate that and not see my introversion as a weakness.”

Dean’s love of technology, communication, and entrepreneurship has culminated in her vibrant career and her new position on The Hurt Hub@Davidson Board of Trustees. Now, Dean helps other Davidson students become successful as well. Her main piece of wisdom for students is to “know yourself, and figure out how you can grow from there.”

By Lucy Fasano ’21, Resident Storyteller at The Hurt Hub.

Julie GoffAlumni Spotlight: Erika Dean ’05 on Being the Composer for her Company’s Go-to-Market Strategy
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Alumni Spotlight: George Ramsay ’13 from Green Eggs and Jam to Bold Music

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George Ramsay ’13, co-owner and co-founder of Bold Music got his start at Davidson College. Ramsay took full advantage of what Davidson had to offer. As a music major, varsity soccer player, and member of one of the most popular bands on campus– Green Eggs and Jam, Ramsay experienced every side of the college.

After graduating Davidson, Ramsay set up his company in Charlotte. Ramsay’s company, Bold Music, offers at home lessons for aspiring musicians. Ramsay uses his business to spread his passion for music. Now, he helps children and adults to realize their dreams of becoming musicians. But, music has not become all business for Ramsay. His band Green Eggs and Jam is still going strong. The band now plays for weddings, including a wedding of a Davidson Alumni in Germany!

Ramsay took a diverse set of experiences (and one awesome band) from his time at Davidson College. He believes that these experiences were integral to his success as an entrepreneur.

Ramsay explains that life as an entrepreneur is often unpredictable: “When you start a business you have no idea what you’re getting into, and you often have to adjust on the fly. You may not necessarily be doing things you ever thought you would be doing.”

The value of a liberal arts education, especially in the entrepreneurial field, is that students have a more diverse background of knowledge. Ramsay suggests that Davidson College helps students become uniquely equipped to taking on tasks outside of their majors or realms of expertise. After his time at Davidson, Ramsay was able to draw on his experiences from classes he never thought he would take, his career as a varsity athlete, and his education in music.

While the value of the liberal arts track cannot be understated, Ramsay wishes that Davidson had a more accessible network of alumni to help students get started. After leaving Davidson, Ramsay found a mentor to be extremely helpful in the start of his business. However, he explains that Davidson’s current alumni network makes it extremely difficult to find help, either for advice, summer internships, or other work. Ramsay could not stress enough the value of “having a mentorship program where entrepreneurs can connect with older Davidson alumni in business to lean on and run ideas past.”

The importance of preparing students for life as an entrepreneur is becoming increasingly important. During his time at Davidson and his time in the professional world, Ramsay has noticed that many millennials are becoming more interested in personal and professional freedom as opposed to a traditional career path. For those individuals Ramsay suggests entrepreneurship as a career path. He explains, “a huge benefit of being an entrepreneur is the freedom it allows.”

Of course, life as an entrepreneur is not all positive. Ramsay warns, “Starting a company can be lot of responsibility and the start can be really stressful. Put things into perspective, because tons of companies don’t work and a lot of successful entrepreneurs aren’t successful on their first try.”

While failure can seem daunting both Ramsay and The Hurt Hub@Davidson want to remind aspiring entrepreneurs once again that failure is not final. Ramsay’s final piece of advice is to, “Take a leap of faith: be willing to go for it and be willing to fail. A failure in the short term can be a really helpful lesson in the long term.”

How The Hurt Hub gets involved:

The Hurt Hub is completely on board with Ramsay about the value of failure. In fact, we even have a Failure Fund that allows students to learn through failures!

As for Ramsay’s point on Davidson’s need for a more robust mentor program — we could not agree more! Student and alumni interest in mentorship was a core focus during the development of The Hurt Hub. At present, The Hurt Hub connects students with entrepreneurs and other local professionals everyday, and is building additional resource options for alumni. Looking for mentorship, or how to connect with Davidson Alumni working in the entrepreneurial field? Connect with Julie Goff (jugoff@davidson.edu), General Manager of The Hurt Hub, to learn how!

By Lucy Fasano ’21, Resident Storyteller at The Hurt Hub.

Julie GoffAlumni Spotlight: George Ramsay ’13 from Green Eggs and Jam to Bold Music
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Introducing Forbidden Renaissance

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Team Name: Forbidden Renaissance

Team Members:

  • Kerry Winfrey (@TheFreshKwin)
  • Name (@garrett_nickelson)
  • Cole Reynolds (@cole_reynolds5)
  • Nick Peeples (@nickpeeples35)

How We Got Here: Racial divisions, gender and political polarization, LBGTQ discrimination, etc., have become intrinsically baked into every social aspect of our lives. Rather than sitting back and ignoring the problems that so many communities face today, we wanted to provide some way that could unite communities and create a sense of acceptance no matter your demographic. So in order to achieve this, we created the idea of Forbidden Renaissance.

What We Do: Our brand, Forbidden Renaissance, stems from our devotion to bridge the gap between people of all different demographics. Many of the discords we see today are so normalized in our society that people possess different implicit biases. We believe that there isn’t a full understanding of, or tolerance for, everyone’s circumstances and beliefs in our society. We have taken steps back rather than forward, and we need a cultural rebirth, or in other words, a renaissance, to stray away from our ignorance towards diversity. However, societal norms of today prevent progress—almost like it’s forbidden. Through our brand, we want to create an environment where it is safe for anyone to express their opinions, to expose their feelings, and to offer personal insight. We want to cultivate change and allow people to freely express what truly makes them unique.

Where We’re Going/What’s to Come: When we first began this project we limited ourselves to developing and spreading our message of unity and acceptance through the use of clothing. However, since then we have evolved our vision into accompanying the clothing line with an online platform that would eliminate the journalistic middleman of a reporter. This platform allows people to directly share their own first-person stories of different situations in society. Through the use of clothing (wearing what you believe in) and an online platform to explore other people’s experiences and insights, we believe there is a chance for open, civil dialogue among the community you otherwise may not see.

Wednesday, November 21: Right now, we’re collecting customer feedback via Survey Monkey and working to finalize both the website and our merchandise. We have decided to purchase long sleeve shirts since its Winter, and because we can sell them for slightly more than regular short sleeve t-shirts. We’re also contacting people to potentially write the initial stories that we will launch the website with. We’ve also begun posting on social media to create awareness of our company. We have also reached out to Chris Clark about setting up a legal consultation. We hope to follow up with the mentor Rory for any advice in this phase of the company.

Julie GoffIntroducing Forbidden Renaissance
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Hub Happenings: Episode 9

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This week’s episode features 2018 Avinger Program winners Kim Bako ’21 and Patrick Sullivan ’21. Checkout their idea, JustPlay!

Don’t forget to like this video, comment what you would like to see, and subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you never miss a Hub Happenings upload! Thanks for watching. We will see you next week!

By Jessie Epstein ’21, Resident Vlogger at The Hurt Hub.

Julie GoffHub Happenings: Episode 9
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Hub Happenings: Episode 8

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This week’s episode features 2018 Avinger Program winners Nathan Engstrom ’21 and Zane Libke ’21. Checkout their idea, SowChange!

Don’t forget to like this video, comment what you would like to see, and subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you never miss a Hub Happenings upload! Thanks for watching. We will see you next week!

By Jessie Epstein ’21, Resident Vlogger at The Hurt Hub.

Julie GoffHub Happenings: Episode 8
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Hiring for Winter Break Interns!

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The Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Davidson College is hiring 2 Winter Break Interns (December 3 – January 14). If interested, apply through Indeed.com or Handshake (Davidson College Students). 

During this 6-week internship, you will work as to support The Hurt Hub@Davidson staff with hospitality and event logistics for the community. Interns will primarily work with the Community Manager of Flywheel Coworking (the coworking operator for The Hurt Hub@Davidson).This position requires flexibility in planning and in work hours during evenings and possible weekends.

Number of Positions Available: 2 positions available

Hiring Timeline: Position open until filled. Full consideration given to applications received before November 19th, 2018.

Pay Rate: $10/hour

Expected Time Commitment:

  • 6 weeks (December 3 – January 14)
  • 20 hours per week
  • Hours must be worked at an agreed upon schedule, during business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., evening hours between 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on weekends as needed.

Responsibilities:

  • Engage with and assist Flywheel Coworking members, prospective members, and walk-in guests.
  • Be ready to provide tours of the space and answer questions about the coworking concept and Flywheel Coworking memberships.
  • Act as a liaison between members and Community Manager, ensuring that any questions or requests are addressed in a timely manner.
  • Assist with the planning and execution of meetings and events including setup and breakdown.
  • Provide support to members; be willing to assist with their entrepreneurial tasks and projects.
  • Other administrative tasks for Flywheel Coworking, relating to managing the space, amenities and memberships.
  • Maintain the organization and cleanliness of Flywheel Coworking and its public areas.
  • Update and maintain member wall profiles as new members join.
  • Punctuality is expected and timely communication with Davidson student employee manager is required if a change in work hours is needed.
  • Additional duties as needed.

Desired Skills:

A successful Intern enjoys working with a team aligned with the mission of both The Hurt Hub@Davidson and Flywheel Coworking:

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Energetic demeanor, outgoing personality, positive attitude.
  • Ability to adjust quickly to change, ability to take direction.
  • Strong work ethic, both independently and as a member of a team.
  • Willingness to pitch in wherever needed.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Flexible schedule preferred.

Physical Demands

  • Subject to normal inside office conditions.
  • Frequently required to walk, stand, sit and use hands.
  • Work on computer requires ability to use keyboard.
  • Occasionally required to reach with arms, carry/lift up to 20 pounds, stoop, kneel, bend, and crouch.
  • Must be able to assist with set-up and break-down of events, to include moving chairs and rolling tables to appropriate spaces.
  • NOTE: Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.
Julie GoffHiring for Winter Break Interns!
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NEW EXCHANGE CONNECTS STUDENTS WITH STARTUPS

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This fall, The Hurt Hub@Davidson launched Gig-Hub — an exchange where Davidson students and startups/companies can connect on short-term real-world projects for pay: you know, a gig! Julie Goff ‘05, General Manager of The Hurt Hub, was inspired to start Gig-Hub in response to the needs expressed by both students and businesses.

“We know Davidson students don’t have a ton of time for professional experience on top of full course loads, nor do they take on semester-long internships. However, students still need opportunities to demonstrate their skills.” Goff stresses, “How many students do you know that drive to Charlotte twice a week for an internship? Probably zero.”

With little time to take on formal internships, Davidson students miss out on valuable skills-based experience. Yet, students have always been motivated to earn money via short-term jobs; perhaps they pick up work as babysitters, tutors or baristas. Gig-Hub now allows students to allocate that same time to work that is more relevant to future careers and lives post-Davidson.

Meanwhile, companies are in need of more qualified individuals to work on short-term projects. “The world is moving away from 9-to-5 jobs with a 40-year commitment to the same company,” Goff explains, “Now, especially in the tech industry, jobs have become more project-based.”

Entrepreneurs often approach Goff looking for students to take on skill-specific work. Sometimes they need someone to take on 30 hours of research and development or hourly client support. Before now, faculty and staff had no seamless way of connecting interested companies to students with the right skills for short-term projects.

The Hurt Hub team decided the best way to meet the needs of both companies and students was to create Gig-Hub. Through Gig-Hub, students can get exposure to the professional world and companies can have access to motivated Davidson College students to work on real-time projects. Goff believes Gig-Hub will mold these two needs together “in a frictionless process that will be easy for both the student and the startup, or innovative company.”

Students can apply for Gig-Hub through Handshake. Students apply for up to 8 separate “skill pools” based on qualifications and experience. When a company comes to The Hurt Hub@Davidson with a specific project, The Hurt Hub will connect with students from most applicable skill pool to let them know about the opportunity. Any available student in that pool can either accept or decline the project. If the student accepts, The Hurt Hub will send the student’s information and resume to the company to conduct interviews. The Hurt Hub then assists students with setting up online payments to streamline the hiring process for both the student and the hiring company.

All in all, Gig-Hub is a new opportunity for students and companies to collaborate in a way that is effective and useful for both parties. Don’t miss your opportunity to get involved and check out our website for more information about Gig-Hub! Students, read about the Gig-Hub and join us for a 30-minute information session. Companies, submit a project to the Gig-Hub on our website.

By Lucy Fasano ’21, Resident Storyteller at The Hurt Hub.

Julie GoffNEW EXCHANGE CONNECTS STUDENTS WITH STARTUPS
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