Fireside Chats with famous entrepreneurs

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Join us for a new series, featuring intimate fireside chats with innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs who will share their journey, and insights along the way.  Each is a dynamic, successful entrepreneur with a powerful message.  These are unique opportunities to meet innovation leaders, and enjoy genuine conversations from the hearts and minds of great entrepreneurs.  You’ll experience inspiring, up-close stories, and engage in spirited dialogue.  Each guest brings a unique global perspective.

Friday, October 12, 2018 — 11:30 am to 12:45 p.m. Blackstone LaunchPad

Rob Harris, Founder and CEO of Pacific Market International (PMI), Seattle

PMI is a vertically integrated global brand marketing and product innovation company focused on food and beverage containers. Rob started PMI in 1983 and was an early pioneer in investing in brands and manufacturing in China and has grown PMI to a global portfolio of brands (e.g. global heritage brands of Stanley and Aladdin and younger hip regional brands in Slant and Migo) with company owned manufacturing operations in China and Brazil and subcontract factories in USA, Thailand and Portugal. His experiences are legendary and have been the subject of numerous articles and talks on subjects ranging from Starting and Growing a Business for Long term Shareholder Value; Principals over Profit; Making Sustainable Business Practices a Priority; China as the World Economic Growth Engine; Ethical Investing in China, and many others. He has opened offices and established operating entities in over eight countries and has distribution experience in over 35 countries.  Over the last three decades Rob has led the transformation of the company from a trading company in the 80’s, to a product development and manufacturing organization serving Fortune 500 companies in the 90’s, to what it is today, a global brand marketing and product innovation company with over 950 employees in 11 locations around the globe. He’s an active investor in early stage companies, as well as philanthropist and passionate environmentalist.

Thursday, October 18, 2018 – 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Blackstone LaunchPad

Arvind Lodaya , Renowned Expert in Product Design, UX/CX, UI, Branding, Innovation, Research, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Arvind trained in Product Design and consults on branding, design and tech, service and business innovation. He teaches at premier institutes in India and overseas—and has been involved in several startups, including an environmental NGO, a museum on conflict, a skilling initiative and a design-led business incubator. He’s also associated with QGlue, a major design & innovation consultancy.

After a tenure as Senior Faculty & Dean (Research) at Srishti, he launched a ‘breakthrough’ innovation + brand consultancy that works with corporates, NGOs as well as startups. In addition, he is Visiting Professor at two d-schools and mentor at a skilling startup. He was Creative Director at Ogilvy, where he led the corporate rebranding of ICICI. At Srishti, he curated student art for Ars Electronica, and launched programs on Product & UI/UX Design and Transcultural Design. He was the first HP Labs-Srishti Research Chair and was on the steering group of the Nokia-Srishti Design Research Lab. He was invited on the UNDP-GoI’s “Endogenous Tourism” review panel, and Visiting Scholar at the University of Gothenburg in 2010. After Srishti, he briefly consulted with IMRB International as Innovation Mentor. After launching his consultancy, he helped with dLabs at ISB and co-founded the Deccan Centre for Innovation & Design [DCID]. He was invited by IIT-G to advise on its BTech program, and by Impact Business Leaders, University of Stellenbosch, ISB, Ambedkar University and Startup Village to lead programs on Design and Business Innovation. He is on the board of QUEST Alliance, an NGO that aims to upgrade public education via tech innovation, and Drishti, a media NGO. He also sits on the Advisory Board of USID Foundation, a nonprofit that seeks to channel design towards social innovation. His current interests include impact entrepreneurship, design thinking & innovation cultures, cultural policy, transcultural design and integrating design with deep values.

“30 years of being in design has taught me one thing,” says Arvind, “and that is every ‘solution’ is in fact the start of a new ‘problem’. In this session, I would like us to collectively unravel ‘wicked problems’ using exemplars from our experience, and hopefully open up a neglected aspect of design intervention that we can all take back home and get down to working on.”

Friday, October 19, 2018 – 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Blackstone LaunchPad

Michael Sadicario ’03, Founder and Global Sales / Business Development Thought Leader … and the original co-founder of the Syracuse University Entrepreneurship Club

This event is co-hosted with the Syracuse University Entrepreneurship Club

Mike is a founder / entrepreneur, sales leader, startup advisor, consultant, and frequent conference speaker about leadership, social media, marketing, sales, media, and recruiting. His career experience has made him an expert at shaping new and existing businesses – from large media companies to small startups and across advertising sales, enterprise sales, subscription revenue, content syndication, business development, publishing, video production, and content marketing. Beyond day-to-day executive responsibilities and meeting regularly with C-suite level clients, he has a passion for mentoring the next generation of leaders.  Mike’s freshman year at Whitman coincided with the launch of the entrepreneurship major, a skill he took with him through his career. He and a friend founded the Syracuse University Entrepreneurship Club, getting people together who enjoyed writing business plans and pitching ideas.  It’s still going strong, 15 years later.  He then embarked on a career in national radio sales and advertising, working his way up from sales assistant to account executive. After a stint in sales at WSKQ-FM, the largest Spanish language radio station in the country, he joined Bloomberg—first as a Northeast territory manager, then global head of mobile advertising sales and eventually as head of North American advertising sales for all digital platforms. He then moved on to the social news and content company, Storyful, as chief sales officer before being promoted to chief revenue officer. Mike’s role was evangelizing the brand, networking, negotiating and developing revenue strategies, and heading up a global sales team of next generation leaders from around the world.  Following his stint at Storyful, he joined OZY, where he served on the core management team as the head of sales/revenue.  In January of 2018, the call of entrepreneurship again beckoned, and he launched his own venture, Finalist, while earning a side income as a consultant for media/advertising industry startups – Karma Network, CastPlus, Grid North, and Wave. Finalist is an exclusive marketplace that’s redefining talent acquisition and the candidate experience by creating a shared talent network matching in-house recruiters with vetted candidates while enabling HR teams and reduce costs. Companies in the network find great candidates, avoid costly recruiting firms, and turn HR costs into profits.  He’ll be pitching for Finalist in Orange Tank, later that afternoon, as part of Orange Central Weekend.

Other recent fireside chats included Dave Knox, author of Predicting the Turn, Heather Reavey, head of practice innovation at EPAM Continuum,  RJ Sherman, innovation technologist and founder of Startup Deloitte, and Doug Mellinger, managing director of Clarion Capital Partners.  Stay tuned for more opportunities.