Carnegie Mellon University


February 11, 2020

New Conference Considers Leadership in Entrepreneurship

A joint effort of the Graduate Entrepreneurship Club and Accelerate Leadership Center, Leadership in Entrepreneurship took place Dec. 7.

When investors look at startup companies, they will certainly consider the viability and marketability of the product, along with the business plan, to determine where their funding would be most successful. However, savvy investors are also looking at the leadership team, looking for the kinds of skilled and impactful leaders who can navigate a business through the inevitable challenges a new company will face. 

“Launching a successful business is about so much more than developing on a promising idea,” said Leanne Meyer, Executive Director of the Accelerate Leadership Center. “Future success requires a leader who can adapt to ambiguous and changing environments and who can empower her team to do the same.”

With this in mind, the Graduate Entrepreneurship Club introduced its Leadership in Entrepreneurship Conference on Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Tepper School of Business, in collaboration with Accelerate. Conference topics supported the substantial impact that leaders have on how successful a business may be. Experts in such industries as autonomous vehicles, fintech, health technologies, and educational technologies presented in the Simmons Auditorium at the Tepper Quad on topics like motivation, innovation, and design thinking.

The schedule kicked off with a keynote address from Summer Craze Fowler, Chief Information Officer at Argo AI, a Pittsburgh-based company developing a self-driving technology platform. Other keynote speakers throughout the day included Mary Beth Green (MBA 2004), Head of Innovation at Sheetz, and Evan J. Segal (BS 1982, MSIA 1983), Co-Founder and General Partner of 412 Venture Fund.

Panel discussions took place during afternoon sessions, including a panel on “Leading vs. Doing” at the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship. Panelists included former James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellows JJ Xu (MBA 2018), Founder and CEO of TalkMeUp, and second-year MBA student Summer Xia, Co-Founder of LittleMoochi, as well as Tepper School alumna Amanda Hazer (MBA 2015), Director of Population Health at Oscar Health, and Carnegie Mellon University engineering student Matt Spettel, Co-Founder of DeltaTrainer. A concurrent panel focused on the tech industry included former Swartz Fellow Hayden Cardiff (MBA 2016), Founder and CEO of Idelic.

Attendees also had several networking opportunities throughout the day, including an interactive exercise led by Jarred Lazear, Leadership Coach at Accelerate, and a happy hour hosted by the Graduate Entrepreneurship Club.