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  • 03 Aug 2017 1:42 PM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Dear Members:

     Over the years the term leadership has been studied through different core leadership theories, and the meaning of leadership continues to evolve. When you look at the historical trends of leadership,  the initial and first form identified was from Galton's Great Man theory (K. E. Clark & Clark, 1990). "Leadership was royalty, battlefield heroes, and other wealthy and successful individuals who were thought to possess inherent talents and abilities that set them apart from the population at large."  Although the theoretical keystones of leadership  have changed over time, in many ways the basic functions of leadership-providing direction, decision making, establishing goals, communicating and resolving conflict- have not changed.

     In today's business world, leadership is characterized by using either a Transformational Approach, meaning they focus on initiating change in an organization or a Transactional Approach, meaning they work with thin the existing system. Another approach worth mentioning is the Charismatic Approach. Regardless of the approach, the bottom line is that true leaders impact the people around them, whether  it be positively or negatively.

     It would be nice to think that with all the information available, and all the research pertaining to leadership, that people would invest in themselves, lose their egos, and develop their skills to lead in  beneficial ways.  However, after reading an article by Jay Baugham, "Pitting People Against Each Other, Why Do It" I was shocked about an experience he shared. He cites witnessing a youth football team training together. The youths had varying and different skill levels and abilities. The team strategies that the coaches employed were to pit the youngsters against each other under the premise of motivation and teamwork.  They did this by poking fun and highlighting failures and weaknesses, all in the name of bringing the players out of themselves and pulling them together as a team.  Really? I liken that type of leadership to my own fish bowl theory, where rather than giving direction, feedback or positive motivation,  leaders gather all the beta fish, throw them in a bowl together, and watch to see which one will survive. 

     Iwan Baranskay, management professor at Wharton, gave some of the best feedback on these tactics through one of his studies, "Rankings and Social Torment". He found that  giving workers feedback about their performances relative to their peers has quite the opposite effect. As a matter of fact it causes workers to become complacent and de-motivated, and even created depression. Complacency and depression are not the two words you want to hear about your workforce.

     The most valuable insight any leader can have is the understanding that leadership has an impact, and that impact, whether positive or negative, will have repercussions relative to the success of an organization.  Leadership is not easy;  it requires an individual to put aside natural human tendencies, ego and look at the bigger picture.  Good leaders maintain ethics and morals while at the same time being transparent. Effective leadership requires  you to lead with your heart and know that is strength.

    Eiji Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation President, said "Doing the right thing, when required, is a calling from on high. Do it boldly, do as you believe, do as your are." 

     Work hard, be productive, but above all else stay postie

    Peggy White

    Executive Director



  • 27 Jul 2017 11:32 AM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Dear Members:

     Have you ever heard the song by Toby Keith "I wanna Talk About Me"? The lyrics to that song, "want to talk about me, Want to talk about I, Want to talk about number one"......those lyrics are what compelled me to write this weeks letter. The I versus we mentality.  It's everywhere, they are even writing songs about it. It is all over the business world. In business the  I verses WE syndrome is known as the silo mentality. It has become almost an epidemic as the world is becoming more and more competitive and change is happening faster than we as human beings can process. When the silo mentality takes hold in an organization the results can be devastating, reducing  the efficiency, depleting moral, and effecting the ability to achieve the goals of the organization, with  repercussions that could result in the eventual demise of the company.  

     All of us play a role in this mentality. Which role we chose to play is our choice and is determined by our egos, insecurities, motivations, and fears. Strong leadership and proper training can elevate some of the negative attributes. While it may be true that the burden of developing a team is the responsibility of the leadership. We need to be agreeable to the goals and vision that are presented.that especially If they have properly communicated a unified vision, and a clearly stated goal. When properly communicated it creates an environment of trust, thus empowering the individual's to feel part of the team.  

     There are also four more key factors according to Brent Gleeson, "The Silo Mentality" for  any team to thrive: knowledge, collaboration, creativity, and confidence.

    Creating a team environment is not an easy task. Look at some of the leadership and co-workers you have worked with in the past. One person can poison an entire team.

    If leadership allows the I mentality into their place of business and allow individuals the I mentality, managers are setting themselves up for resentment and cynicism from the rest of the team. Sooner or later you will encounter the immature employee., The one that won't play nicely with their co-workers. The one that will cut anyone's throat, the showboat and the one that needs all the attention.

     I guess I'm old school when it comes to dealing with this I mentality. I rely on what my mother once told me -if someone has to tell you how rich, good looking, or smart they are they're probably not.

     Work hard, be productive, and above all else stay positive. 

    Peggy White, Executive Director



  • 24 Jul 2017 11:58 AM | Anonymous



                   THE MARKETPLACE at the historic Train Station in downtown Pulaski is celebrating its 5th season this year!  Everyone was so proud that first evening five years ago when six vendors set up to sell fresh, locally grown produce!!!  Prior to this opening, the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce had spent months planning, researching, networking, and meeting to develop a blueprint for a farmers’ market that would be successful in the Town of Pulaski.  At that time the elements of shopping, food, beverages, and entertainment were lacking in the area, so one goal was to provide these things as well as introduce people to the benefits of locally sourced food.  Recognizing that the vendors were micro-businesses which needed to be profitable, the Chamber chose Tuesday evening (an “off-night” as farmers’ markets go) to enable the participating vendors to continue with whatever larger Saturday venues in which they already participated and to make some additional funds in Pulaski.  Since ensuring the profitability of the vendors was and continues to be a major priority, other things were required to entice people to come out to shop on Tuesday evenings.  It was necessary to make THE MARKETPLACE a destination, “the place to be,” on Tuesday evenings.  More and more people began to stop by, and the market gradually grew.

                   After the first year, the Chamber published a book featuring their vendors and were cited in Bon-Appetitt Villa Appalachia, helping to make the second year extremely profitable for the vendors, which had grown to over twenty participants. Year three brought some changing economic factors and by year four it became incumbent on the Chamber to rethink some of the strategies while continuing to attract the same demographics that appreciate fresh produce and locally sourced food.

                   In the spring of 2017, the layout was upgraded and the music was changed to a more acoustic style with a band only once a month.  Musicians appearing this season include Magic Moments, Ron Ireland, Billy Steele, Pratt Brothers, Steve Smith, Don’t Quit Your Day Job, Audio Rain, and Virginia Wild.  Whitebarrel Winery joined Westwind Winery to provide beverages along with continuing the craft beers from local distributor and supporter Virginia Eagle.  Fresh lemonade is also available.

    Town of Pulaski Mayor Nick Glenn came up with a new idea which has been very successfully incorporated into THE MARKETPLACE this season:  sponsorships are being taken.  In addition to advertising the sponsors and benefitting the local non-profit food banks, these sponsorships also help assure profitability to the vendors.  Sponsors for this season include Downtown Exxon, MasTech Utility Service Group, Martin’s Pharmacy, Highland Ridge Health & Rehab, Pulaski YMCA, State Farm – Webb Donald, Colley Architect, and New River Resource Authority.  A group is chosen by each week’s sponsor to receive the benefits of that week’s sponsorship.  Those chosen this season include the Emergency Needs Task Force,Our Daily Bread, Heritage Cares, Farm 2 School, and the YMCA with the Farm to Table Dinner.  The food banks obtain fresh local meats, vegetables, fruits, and breads to help feed the hungry in our community.

    A thank-you letter from just one of the beneficiaries stated, in part, “Thank you so much for your donation of food, of 102 pounds of fresh bread, produce, eggs and meat to the Emergency Needs Task Force of Pulaski County….Your support makes it possible for us to offer a ‘hand up’ to those in need.  Your donation helped us feed many families in our community.”

      Everything cooked and sold at THE MARKETPLACE this year is made from locally sourced ingredients. The sellers either used their own meats and vegetables or purchase their ingredients from other MARKETPLACE vendors.  Hudson Beef, LLC – Old School Hamburgers are made with local farm raised beef and lettuce/onions from their farm.  Johnny Ray’s uses pork purchased from Stump Ridge; the pork is then slow cooked at the Train Station all day and sold at THE MARKETPLACE; Southern BLTs

    are also available. P. J. Slaughter has cooked meat raised by the NRV Sheep and Goat Club.  Local chefs P. J. Slaughter and Loren Hunter sold shredded pork tacos made from locally-sourced ingredients (meat from Stump Ridge and vegetables from Pear Tree); they sold out within one hour!!!  Chef Paul Etzel from LewisGale Hospital – Pulaski and Food City also participate in the Culinary Showcase to show healthy dishes that can be prepared from the produce that is currently in season.  Chef T from the Draper Mercantile was recently at THE MARKETPLACE purchasing ingredients for her culinary creations from Amy Tanner of Pear Tree Hill Farm.


                The first Farm to Table Dinner with Chefs P. J. Slaughter and Loren Hunter was held at the July 18, 2017 MARKETPLACE to benefit the YMCA.

                   Virginia Tech Extension is often present to share recipes and/or distribute healthy samples, but always to promote healthy eating.

                   Young Entrepreneur Academy graduates Isabella of Forget Me Knot Designs and D.J. Roark of Greenhouse Down South have been selling at THE MARKETPLACE on some Tuesdays throughout this season. 

    Lizard Licks, a relatively new business in town, got started at THE MARKETPLACE. 

    A recent communication from another local business showed the way participation in THE MARKETPLACE has helped that business:  “THE MARKETPLACE was the initial building block for the Blue Ridge Fudge Lady.  I was able to use THE MARKETPLACE to build a strong local customer base as well as some outside customers who still order online!  THE MARKETPLACE provided the Blue Ridge Fudge Lady one of the best stepping stones, which allowed us to grow into a local retail store!  Many repeat customers coming in today were initially MARKETPLACE customers!”


         Some of the other currently participating vendors include: Pulaski Grow (produce grown usingaquaponics);  Cobb Hill Alpaca (alpaca yarn, socks, honey, greens); Daisy’s Kitchen (baked goods); Mountain Mama’s (handmade personal care items); Kelley Family Farm (produce, jewelry, glass items); Debbie Grubb (baked goods); Stump Ridge Farms (pork products:  sausage, uncured bacon, ribs, tenderloins, brats); JWC Farms (greens, tomatoes, herbs and other produce); Chestnut Ridge Berry Farm (blueberries, canned items, other produce); Pear Tree Hill Farms (our heaviest produce vendor:  greens, squash, green beans, tomatoes, cabbage, and much more); Laughing Duck Farms (fresh ground horseradish, produce, eggs, herbs); Dave Knight (local honey); Haunted by Waters (handmade fishing lures); Oh Tutu (craft items), and Pycone Creamery (local ice cream).

                   Greg East, Town of Pulaski Town Councilman, recently commented, “The Chamber has year after year exceeded the Town’s expectations for the farmers’ market.  This year is no different.  They have put together a market that is great for the customer, the vendor, and most importantly, for our community.  THE MARKETPLACE is the place to be on Tuesday evening!”

                   Peggy White, Executive Director of the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce, has this to say about this season of THE MARKETPLACE, “One of our favorite aspects of THE MARKETPLACE is that it has become a community gathering spot for the citizens of the Town of Pulaski and surrounding areas.  The Chamber of Commerce cares about THE MARKETPLACE vendors as well as the customers who visit.  The Chamber makes everyone feel welcome, actively includes the community (such as honoring World War II Veterans in early June), and supports local agriculture and artisans.  New this season, the Chamber has initiated a MARKETPLACE sponsorship which is a win-win-win for all.  THE MARKETPLACE sponsor donates money to the Chamber for the purchase of fresh produce, meats and baked goods from the vendors.  The food items are then donated to area food banks.  The sponsor receives acknowledgement, the vendor makes a sale, and nutritious foods are distributed to people within the community who may not have access to fresh foods.  Throughout the years, the Chamber has consistently listened to vendor and customer feedback and has worked hard to set up THE MARKETPLACE to be the best market it can be for vendors, customers, musicians, and the Town.  It is a community hub, and we have made lasting relationships from our involvement with THE MARKETPLACE.”

                   Many other events periodically contribute to the efforts to give THE MARKETPLACE a true sense of community.  Some of these include Pulaski Proud, Cass Long & her Country Line Dancers, Salute to Schools to highlight all the Pulaski County School programs, Pulaski County Library with activities for kids and to promote the summer reading program, Healthcare night featuring various healthcare vendors in the area, the list could go on and on……………..

                   THE MARKETPLACE continues to evolve and become a family of sorts.  After a worker with one of the food vendors suddenly and unexpectedly passed away earlier this season, there was a wreath placed in his memory and a sympathy card for everyone who wished to sign.  The following note was received from the gentleman’s family:  “We wish to express our deepest gratitude to all the friends and neighbors of THE MARKETPLACE.  We wish to thank you all for the consolation you gave us during such a trying time…..straight from my heart.  Thank you.”

                   Ms. White, Chamber Executive Director, continues her reflections about THE MARKETPLACE: “Our focus on THE MARKETPLACE is based on the fact that ‘food’ is the single-most unifier on the planet.  All cultures and religions have celebrations and events based around food.  Food brings us all together.  Pulaski County needs to embrace its rich agricultural heritage and we have tried to bring attention to that heritage with THE MARKETPLACE HERITAGE FARM SERIES written by Sheila D. Nelson and featuring a Pulaski County farm each month.  Agriculture is still the number one industry in Virginia:  hence, big business, small business, micro business.”

                   About the future of THE MARKETPLACE, she says: “This is our fifth season and we are still going strong and changing to meet the demands of the local and regional economies.  As we look toward the future, I see THE MARKETPLACE continuing to be the heart of the community driven by the significant role that food plays in our lives.”

                     Danielle Hiatt, current President of the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce,shares her feelings about THE MARKETPLACE:  “THE MARKETPLACE is so important to our community because it gives us an opportunity to shop, eat, and spend locally.  We have access to high quality foods and produce that are not only local, but picked for us at peak quality.

                   “It’s so exciting to see how THE MARKETPLACE brings the New River Valley together.  The variety of events provide something for everyone.  THE MARKETPLACE encourages health and wellness while supporting the arts and other aspects of life in Pulaski County.

                   “THE MARKETPLACE is made possible because of the Town of Pulaski.  The Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce appreciates the Town’s commitment to provide our area with such a distinct place to visit and enjoy.

                   “We invite you all to join us and check us out online at Pulaskimarketplace.com for this season’s calendar of events.”

                   Hope to see YOU at THE MARKETPLACE!!!!

  • 17 Jul 2017 1:57 PM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Dear Members:

         I have come to the conclusion that food is the single greatest unifier on the planet; the language of food is universal and creates community. Almost every culture and religion uses food in celebrations, and seasons, harvests, and holidays all have unique foods and help bring us together. What we eat is an accumulation and function of all our experiences, beginning with our first bottle or breast. Learning to eat is learning to become human. Food is part of our social interaction on multiple levels. As a matter of fact, food is such a significant part of our who are that it is the last thing people change when adapting to or attempting to blend in with a different culture.

           The significance and impact of food reaches far deeper than we can imagine. We build associations with food much like we do with music. Our most important memories are frequently rooted in celebrations and events,  and where there are events and celebrations there is food. Even a weekly family dinner has significant impact on children. Researchers from Harvard, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Congress on Obesity, performed global studies and found that children that have a designated family dinner time are more likely not to be obese, to show better academic performance, to have better school attendance, and are less likely to abuse alcohol or drugs. 

           Likewise, in the world of business, food also plays a key role. More business is conducted at dining tables in restaurants, executive board rooms, clubs, and homes than anywhere else.  Food is so important in many cultures that knowing appropriate food etiquette is seen as essential in building strong client relationships, increasing sales, and helping 'close the deal'. Never underestimate the value of food and food etiquette when dealing with top management.

            The Marketplace motto this year,  "Buy, Shop, and Live Local", has been used to raise awareness about an array of businesses in our local community. For example, we are highlighting various aspects of farming in our area, and the meaningful contributions they make to the value and significance of providing healthy food for our bodies. Our local farmers take their responsibility to consumers seriously, and when we can purchase our food at a farmers market we are able to build a relationship with the farmer instead of buying from large corporate growers who are not as likely to care about how the foods they sell impact our well-being. Chances are the food at the market was picked that day and is traveling straight from the farm to you.  This quick farm-to-table can preserve the product's nutrients for a healthier you.

           This  Tuesday will be our first locally sourced "Farm-to-Table Dinner". I truly hope you will plan to attend. Tickets must be obtained in advance, and can be purchased at the Pulaski YMCA or at Pulaski on Main. You will be able to participate in this experience of fresh food right from the farm with an exquisite meal (paired with wines, if desired) created by local chefs, Loren Hunter and PJ Slaughter.

          The last thing I'm going to write about while advocating the importance of food came from an article "Top Ten Reasons to Buy Local" by Vern Grubinger. He cites a study by the American Farmland Trust, that says farmers contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas most development companies contribute less in taxes than they require in services. Cows don't go to schools, and tomatoes don't call 911. So, support our local farmers!

    Please join us this Tuesday at The Marketplace for our first Farm to Table meal. 

    Work hard, be productive, and above all else stay positive.

    Peggy White, Executive Director

  • 06 Jul 2017 11:42 AM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Dear Members:

    In lieu of saying "Happy 4th of July" I thought it would be fun to look at an obscure fact that pertains to food since this year we are focusing on Shop-Eat-Live-Local! So, one of the most interesting facts I came upon is the fact that on July 4th, Americans consume about 155 million hot dogs; it is the biggest hot dog holiday of the year! Since we are all about food this year, it might surprise you to know that our founding fathers had a very different palate in mind than what we typically think of as a July 4th fare of hot dogs, french fries and barbecued treats. Our Founding Fathers feasted on some pretty different foods to celebrate the country's independence back in the day. "According to legend, on July 4, 1776, John Adams...and his wife, Abigail, sat down for a celebratory meal of turtle soup, New England poached salmon with egg sauce, green peas and boiled new potatoes in jackets. They followed the meal with Indian pudding or Apple Pandowdy," wrote Justine Sterling for Delish.com in 2011.

    Hmm...that is not at all what we would consider now days as a July 4th feast! Although, a lot of us enjoy a low-country boil, the southern version of our forefathers feast, minus the turtle soup. I have to admit that since I'm originally from outside of Philly, I am not familiar with turtle soup and have only indulged in snapper soup, which is  a deliciously  hearty soup popular in Philly.  Apparently, turtle soup is also a hearty soup very common in the Northeast, and also in Louisiana with a creole style flare. So if your looking for a real traditional July 4th meal, and feel adventuresome, here is something new for you to try.

    I find whether it is hot dogs, low country boils, salmon or whatever is on your menu the best part about the day is being with family and friends and celebrating this great country of ours!

    Work hard, be productive, and above all else stay positive.

    Peggy White, Executive Director


  • 26 Jun 2017 4:06 PM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Dear Members:

    I have been threatening to write this one for awhile, "Is there a Place in Business for the Diva/Divo?"   At first glance you might think that it is a situation becoming all  the more norm as our millennials emerge in our workforces. But when you look at the criteria it takes to develop a healthy work environment you can see how these two forces conflict. The idea behind a positive environment is that you are creating an atmosphere conducive to higher productivity.  Rob Groff and Gaeth Jones share some of these concepts in an article in the Harvard Review,  "Creating the Best Workplace on Earth, "

      Let people be themselves                                                                   Unleash the Flow of Information                                                            Magnify Peoples Strength                                                                           Stand for more than Shareholders Values                                                    Daily Work Make Sense

    Have Rules People Can Believe In                                                                

     If we lived in an ideal world we would be able to incorporate most, if not all, of those concepts  into the work place. Productivity is increased by incorporating these concepts into the work environment. Research by the Hay Group has shown that highly engaged employees are, on average, 50% more likely to exceed expectations than the least-engaged workers.  Creating a well balanced, self-less,  team becomes impetrative for confronting competition in today's highly competitive markets. Companies want to maximize their individual employees'

    potential and encourage their propensity to help others on the team.  Throw into the team  a diva/divo mentality and two things are going to happen: 1) the team balance is lost; and, 2) attitude goes from "team" to "I.", and eventually  creates a toxic atmosphere for all.

    There have been arguments made that these toxic employees  are smarter and usually do a better job. But at what cost? There are also arguments out there with the millenniums moving into the workforce and there "it's all about me'' attitudes need to be shaped to work for the company.

    How that will translates into the future workforce development as companies and industry move forward remains to be seen.  But it certainly has become a topic of concern. The Washington Post reported in a recent article the results of  a survey given to more than 1000 chief financial officers worldwide on their opinions about millennials. Approximately 70 % had positive things to say about their technological savvy, and 21%  said they were more creative and innovative than previous generations. But more than half of CFOs said millennials are lacking in company loyalty, and 46 % said they have an inflated sense of entitlement. Thirty-one percent said millennials need more hand-holding, and 27 % said millennials are more interested in the development of themselves rather than the development of the company.

    This is going to be an on-going topic of conversation for awhile. My perspective may be short sighted but in my opinion if you have this type of personality on your team, I suggest cutting your losses before they  infect the rest of the team. It's a team not one person,   and the goal is about the company and not the individual. We, as a part of any team, need to continue to remain "learners" and not self-promoters. 

    Work hard, be productive,  and above all else stay positive. 

    Peggy White                                                                                      Executive Director                                                      peggywhite@pulaskichamber.info

  • 20 Jun 2017 9:05 AM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Dear Members:

    My younger daughter recently graduated from high school. As she reached this major milestone I was reminded by my older daughter’s gift of how much we are influenced by the people around us. How much impact one person can have on another person’s life. By now you’re wondering what does this have to do with business. I’ll get there.

    The gift my daughter, Hope, gave to my younger daughter Jordan, was the book by Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go. She asked the most important people in Jordan’s life to write her a letter. The letter their grandfather wrote said all the things you would expect from a loving grandfather. But he went a step further and gave my daughter strong guidelines for a business manger. I’m going to share an excerpt with you:

    “As I progressed through the management ladder I found that while a degree was important it did not determine success. The most important quality to managing people was the ability to lead them in a manner that would implement and follow the policies of the company, so that the company would be successful and profitable.

    I found there are just a few principles to successfully manage people:

    Always treat everyone as you would like to be treated.

    Let them know they work with you -not for you.

    Maintain the highest level of integrity.

    Never look down on anyone-no matter their position.

    Treat everyone fairly.

    Always keep in mind it is nice to be liked, but more important to be respected, and this can only be accomplished by the example you set. All of these principles apply to everyday life."

    As I look back I realized that I have incorporated these values my father so eloquently worded to my daughter into my life and that both my daughters have been incorporating  those values into their everyday life.

    Work hard, …….


    Peggy White, PCCC Executive Director

  • 12 Jun 2017 10:52 AM | Anonymous

    Dear Members:

    Years ago while working in an art gallery in Texas, and later in Virginia, I came to the realization that artists posses an entirely different mindset from entrepreneurs;  one that is geared towards creativity,  but not towards business finesse.  Years later while owning a business, and observing the approach of my father-in-law (who came from a pure academic background and at one time served as the Dean of Admissions for Davidson), I realized the difference in academic and business mindset. There is nothing wrong with different mindsets, and that is certainly what makes the world go around, but it is important to understand these mindsets since it effects the approach to problem solving.  I found an article written by  Kerry Ann Rockquemore that addressed these differences from a professor's journey from professor to CEO.

    There were five major differences between the academic and entrepreneurial mindset, which I will share her words with you now.

    1. Academics move slow. Entrepreneurs move fast.

    As an academic my approach to change was to move slowly, deliberately and cautiously. I believed that the best way to minimize mistakes was through extensive conversation, committee meetings, producing volumes of written material, etc. In other words, the best way to make a decision was by slowly moving through a process that involved lots of talking, thinking and analyzing before doing anything. As an entrepreneur I act first and analyze later. Quick movement is essential because my goal is to get into action and fail as fast as possible. Every time I fail, I can evaluate what worked (and didn't work), make quick adjustments, and get back into action. Failing gives me lots of data that I can use to adapt as I'm moving forward.

    2. Academics study problems. Entrepreneurs solve problems.

    As an academic researcher, my primary goal was to thoroughly analyze the cause of problems. I would spend my time going as deeply as possible to the root of the problem and fleshing it out in all its glorious complexity. As an entrepreneur, problems are to be solved and the cause may (or may not) be relevant to an effective solution. Being solution-obsessed means I spend my time experimenting with solutions and measuring outcomes.

    3. Academics function in constraint. Entrepreneurs create possibility.

    As an academic at a public university, I was embedded in an environment of shrinking resources and a culture of constraint (there's no budget - state funding is shrinking, you have to do more with less, etc.). This was such a constant pressure over time that it shaped the parameters of my thinking to the point that any brainstorming about solutions started with, "What can be done with no resources." As an entrepreneur, it's critical to first dream up solutions without any constraints and then figure out how to make what you imagine a reality. Instead of assuming no resources are available, entrepreneurs trust that resources can always be generated to fund good ideas.

    4. Academics focus on patterns. Entrepreneurs focus on the exceptions.

    When I talked about starting a business, almost every conversation with an academic involved the data on the percentage of new businesses that fail. Most of these conversations occurred with social scientists who observe patterns and calculate probabilities as part of their research. The implicit message was that most businesses fail, the probability is high that yours will fail, so why bother trying? The entrepreneurs I talked to focused on the small percentage of businesses that are highly successful. The implicit message was that there are exceptions to every pattern, so you'll want to focus on how to be one of the few who succeed.

    5. Academics loathe promotion. Entrepreneurs live to sell.

    From my academic mindset, promoting myself, my work, or my ideas was unseemly. I was professionally socialized to believe that people should quietly do good work, submit to the review of others, and then let that work speak for itself. As an entrepreneur, I'm in love with the solutions I offer so I'm constantly making invitations to people to step into our programs because I've seen the transformations that occur as a result. There is no shame in my game whatsoever; in fact, I feel it's a disservice not to let people know what we have to offer.

    Reading about the differences between an academic and entrepreneurial mindset may have caused a bit of discomfort! Whether they resonate with you or not, I'm drawing out the differences because I want to raise your awareness that while an academic mindset is perfectly suited to teaching, knowledge production and campus life, it may keep us from quickly getting into action when it's time to make our big ideas a reality.

    Work hard, be productive and above all else stay positive.


    Peggy White

    Executive Director



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