Entrepreneurs, leaders share tips with Tech students

As a means to provide students at Tech with the opportunity to hone their leadership skills and gain exposure to the behind-the-scenes work of various careers, Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) hosted its annual Georgia Tech Leadership Conference (GTLC) on Saturday, Jan. 22, at the Klaus Advanced Computing Building.
Sponsors of the event included Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), Chik-fil-A, Siemens, Residence Hall Association and the Department of Housing.
The theme for this year’s GTLC was “Entrepreneurial Spirit and Innovation.”
The event’s kick-off was followed by an address by key note speaker, John Brock, Chief Executive Officer of CCE and CHE ‘70, MS CHE ‘71.
Brock provided several insights on the subjects of leadership, management and success within the business and real world.
“It is important that a leader possess both innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. They should have the ability to listen to ideas, make them better and be able to express them in a simpler manner so that one may be able to communicate them better. There is a need to foster such skills. However, they are not innate to all and conferences such as these help achieve such a skill set.” Brock said.
The conference continued with workshops held by various individuals and organizations including the Tech Alumni Association, the FASET cabinet, President’s Council Governing Board and Cultural Council. Attendees had a choice of going to two of the eight workshops offered, spanning various themes such as networking, marketing obstacles, interviewing skills and public speaking.
Following lunch, GTLC included an entrepreneurship panel to discuss various experiences and difficulties faced by entrepreneurs right after they graduate from their respective universities.
The panel consisted of several well-noted Tech alumni who had gone on to become successful entrepreneurs.
The panelists included Lara Hudson, co-founder of Nourish, Inc. and CEO and co-founder of Insomnia LLC; Riccardo Ullio, a restauranteur who now owns several Atlanta restaurants including Sotto Sotto; and Andrew Punnoose, a 2009 recipient of the InVenture Prize. The panel included four other team members and a robotics Ph.D. candidate.
The panel moderator was Kathleen Kurre, whose work experience gave her knowledge about integrating technology and business within the corporate sector.
With her help, the panel was able to interact with the students quite freely and vice versa.
“Passion is very essential. Passion toward problems your device will fix is more important than passion towards the actual product,” Hodgson said of becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Over 120 participants attended GTLC, spanning a variety of majors and levels of seniority. This year’s attendance has been consistent with rates of attendance over the past.
The mixed range of majors helped provide GTLC attendees with a diverse and accepting atmosphere similar to that which all entrants to the job force can expect upon graduation. The atmosphere thus fostered a sense of leadership within the attendants.
“It is our goal to equip you with the skills needed to forge your path at this Institute and beyond,” according to GTLC mission statement.
“The combination of John Brock along with the breakout sessions and entrepreneurship panel helped make it a success. We had organized and contacted several large companies and a few small companies as well for this event and it has helped us achieve our goals. All Georgia Tech students should be leaders within their community,” said Travis Horsley, GTLC organizer and co-chair and a PUBP grad student, as a closing remark for GTLC 2011.
As GTLC came to an end, ODK announced “Fresh Direction,” an event to be catered toward freshmen leadership which will be on Feb. 12. ODK will be partnering with Mobilizing Opportunities for Volunteer Experience (MOVE), a service-oriented organization.

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