By Kelly Hartmann (MMark'21)
On Friday, March 26th, the Vanderbilt Center for Entrepreneurship brought together over 400 attendees in a virtual setting for the 3rd Annual Vanderbilt Entrepreneurship Conference. The day started off with 3 keynote speakers, followed by 3 themed presentation tracks, an insightful panel discussion of investors, and 2 live student pitch competitions.
In the opening keynote address, Justin Ishbia, Founding Partner and CEO of Shore Capital Partners, shared his journey from Vanderbilt Law School to developing an industry-leading private equity firm. He provided 7 key lessons he has learned from his years of experience as an attorney at law and investment professional.
Following Justin, Katrina Markoff, CEO of Vosges Haut-Chocolat, elaborated on her unique entrance to the chocolate industry and her inspiration for creating true experiences and storytelling through her brand. The keynote speakers were concluded by Ryan McGrath, CEO of Asset Living. Ryan enlightened listeners with his experience running one of the largest student housing and multi-family property management firms in America. Along with his entrepreneurial journey, he shared ten key principles on how to build a successful, sustainable career.
Participants then selected the track of their choice: founder insights, investor insights and ecosystem partners. Each path consisted of an array of entrepreneurs from varying industries. Whether it was the CEO of Everlywell, Julia Cheek, sharing on how to scale a business, David Furse providing the best practices for pitching or Sherry Deutschmann speaking on the importance of putting employees first, all tracks and speakers provided attendees with creative, valuable insights.
The track sessions were followed by a startup panel discussing how the funding landscape supports innovation across the country and what is needed for the next stage of growth in Nashville and Tennessee. The afternoon was concluded by graduate and undergraduate pitch competitions. First place winners from each category included: Expected Value (Graduate) & ready dress go (Undergraduate). Participants then joined the Wond’ry for a virtual afterparty.
Thank you to our wonderful speakers, partners, and attendees for making VEC 2021 day of insights and inspiration. Session recordings and more information on next year’s in-person conference can be found by visiting our conference page.