Alumni Presentation at EMU
I was delighted to return to my undergraduate alma mater on September 17 to participate in an inspiring conference bringing alumni and current students together.
During the Alumni Business Conference at Eastern Michigan University, I gave a presentation about my entrepreneurship and also led the panel discussion “Making it from the Classroom to the Corner Office.”
In my presentation, I spoke about how I had combined my interests, skills and marketing knowledge to create Russian Pointe out of my dorm room and nurture it to become the international market leader it is today.
Then, I stepped students through the understanding I’ve gained by leading my company and continuing to educate myself, through both advanced studies at Harvard Business School and constant attention to marketing trends and insights.
One of the most important things I shared with the students was my belief that no matter where we are now, we can reach our goals and have a fulfilling life. I also noted that any of them who could speak English at age 16 were a step ahead of me at that age!
The panel included three other successful entrepreneurs who had graduated from EMU: Richard M. Tworek, founder of Tworek Systems, Linda Girard, founder of Pure Visibility, and Paul Roney, president of Domino’s Farms.
It was a very dynamic conversation, touching on many aspects of business leadership from start-up to hiring and promoting staff. Students asked many insightful questions, during the Q&A sessions after both my solo presentation and the panel discussion.
Visiting my old classrooms was a great opportunity for reflection on how much EMU meant to me. It was there that I discovered the meaning of the word “entrepreneur.” I can remember, so vividly, the early days of Russian Pointe when I was juggling school and my career, eating for under $5 per day, and enlisting friends to use the Yellow Pages to help me find potential clientele.
I was also moved to be approached by several students who wore Russian Pointe shoes. One young woman came to the panel but had missed my presentation because she was dancing. Her comment to me – “I was meant to come here – yours is the exact life I want to have” – seemed to illustrate the value of the conference for current students, who found inspiration in our stories.
After the conference, I was pleased to receive this comment from Michael Tidwell, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business: “Aleksandra’s talk at the Eastern Michigan University Alumni Business Conference is evidence that she has the pulse of today’s business students! She possesses an uncommon ability to educate and motivate while making her entrepreneurial journey look easy.”