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Featured Events | Mar 07, 2021 |

10th Annual TrepCon: Disruption Opens Doors

By Ashley Rabinovitch

On February 27, the Gabelli School partnered with the Fordham Entrepreneurship Society to present the 10th annual TrepCon, Fordham University’s premier entrepreneurship event. Sponsored by Deloitte, this year’s event provided a virtual platform for students, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders to forge connections and exchange perspectives.

The event’s theme, “Recalculating: Finding Opportunity Through Disruption,” acknowledged the unexpected challenges and opportunities experienced by the entrepreneurial community during the pandemic.  

Forging a New Direction in Crisis

Keynote speaker, Lindsey Pollak.

Lindsey Pollak, global work expert, speaker, and bestselling author of Recalculating: Navigate Your Career Through the Changing World of Work, set the tone of the event in her keynote address. Like many entrepreneurs, Pollak watched her business take a substantial hit after the outbreak of the pandemic. “I had this image in my head of being in a car and taking a wrong turn,” she reflected. “Because of COVID, every one of us is recalculating.”

In her keynote address, Pollak offered practical advice for reinvention in the form of “5 Rules for Recalculators”:

  • Embrace Creativity—Brainstorm the longest possible list of ideas and resources to explore. Follow a wide range of industry experts on social media and go beyond online job applications to make connections.
  • Prioritize Action—Move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. If you believe you can improve at anything, you will. Start with identifying one skill or habit to build or change in the next 30 days.
  • Control What You Can—Instead of focusing on the immovable realities of the economy, the virus, and other people, direct energy into your attitude, work ethic, and daily habits.
  • Know Your Non-Negotiables—Whether it’s work-life balance, salary, or purpose, decide what is fundamental to experience personal satisfaction.
  • Ask for Help—Create a personal advisory board of friends, family, peers, and mentors to provide perspective.

 

If you haven’t achieved everything you wanted to during this time, that is completely normal,” Pollak acknowledged, “but there is no time like the present to make a change.”

The Future of Tech

Christine Janssen, clinical associate professor at the Gabelli School, who also serves as director of entrepreneurship, moderated an Emerging Technology Panel featuring three prominent entrepreneurs in the tech space: Lyron Bentovim, president & CEO of the Glimpse Group; Reed Mollins, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Doctor.com; and Mark Kolb, enterpreneur in residence at Tech Council Ventures.

The conversation primarily focused on industries and technologies, particularly those in the telehealth, data analytics, and virtual reality spheres, that will emerge stronger from the pandemic. “COVID has accelerated existing trends that were already on the cusp,” said Mollins.

In between the keynote address, panel, and virtual reality (VR) demos, breakout sessions and networking spaces gave Fordham students and alumni a microphone to share their entrepreneurial journeys and offer pointers on topics as diverse as building a personal brand and developing a problem-solving framework.

“Whether it’s recalculating your career path or opening up your mind to what you can do with virtual reality, I hope you will walk away with a new mindset,” concluded Professor Janssen.

For Dean Donna Rapaccioli, the first virtual TrepCon event underscored the need for current and aspiring entrepreneurs to embrace a different path than the one they previously imagined.

“Especially in this time, we must continually remind ourselves of one thing,” she said. “Disruption will open doors.”

Ashley Rabinovitch is a brand journalist who specializes in higher education, entrepreneurship, and healthcare.

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