Business Leaders Share Insight and Advice with Students

by Nina Karim '10

This spring, APU's School of Business and Management welcomed five professionals to campus for the 2010 Business Speaker Series. Throughout the semester, students were able to hear from experts in management, advertising, and human resources. The goal of the series was to inform and encourage conversation and relationships between the APU community and leading figures in the business world.

The series kicked off on January 21 with Chick-fil-A's National Human Resources Director, Andrew Cathy. Representing the first of a third generation of Cathys to enter the business world, he encouraged APU business students as he spoke with humble words about his simple upbringing, confident business sense, and strong business ethics that led him to his current business position.

President and CEO of Gloria Jean's Coffee Carl Mount spoke next in the series. Previously a team member with the Pepsi Bottling Group in San Francisco, his experience and stories captivated the attention of the students.

"I found the lecture series extremely useful, considering I am planning on starting my own business post college," said sophomore marketing major Sarah Harden. "Every seed of information I can get, I am storing for the future." Students appreciated the speakers sharing their experiences and valuable insight in the business world, especially upperclassmen seeking guidance for their own lives post-graduation.

Additional speakers included Nick Kehoe, former NATO wing commander, retired United States Air Force lieutenant general, and current president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation; and Peggy Campbell, president of Ambassador Advertising.

Thursday, April 15, marks the final lecture of the spring series with Michael Lizarraga, president and CEO of the East Los Angeles Community Union (TELACU), who will speak about the program he leads and the importance of pursuing one’s true passion.

The semester also included a series of presentations hosted each week called, "How to Start a Small Business in a Down Market," on Tuesday evenings during the month of March.  Students frequently remained after the lectures to chat with the speakers one-on-one, and with a high turnout for every speaker, both the lecture series and the small business series proved quite enjoyable and well-liked by the students.