Paladin Pivots, Stories From the Furman Network, 6 week virtual series poster

Paladin Pivots: Virtual Speaker Series

In uncertain times, it is more important than ever for entrepreneurs and leaders to be flexible. Innovators who know how to pivot can turn crisis into opportunity. In this unconventional semester, check-in with Furman University’s Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship every other Wednesday at 4:30 PM EST for a brand-new virtual speaker series: “Paladin Pivots: Stories from the Furman Network,” sponsored by the top-notch Class E Podcast team. Each session, we will sit down with accomplished new guests to learn how they have adapted and innovated their way to professional success both before and during COVID-19. Drawing on Furman’s rich alumni network, listeners can expect to hear from a diverse range of proven professionals with experience in property management, hospitality, software, finance, and other industries. Read more about our guests and register to join the webinars below. We hope you will join us!

Furman Innovation & Entrepreneurship is dedicated to sharing the stories of distinguished innovators and entrepreneurs in the Furman community. The 2020-2021 Paladin Pivots Virtual Speaker Series will consist of Furman alumni from:

  • Corporate Administration
  • Tech Industry
  • Corporate Finance
  • Investment Firms
  • Property Management
  • Hospitality Industry

Driving Thru to Success: Adaptive Leadership at Chick-fil-A

Now is a stressful time – especially in the restaurant business! As newly enforced health protocols rapidly redefine the industry norm, Chick-fil-A’s ability to maintain its hallmark efficiency has not gone unnoticed. This session will focus on how adaptive leadership at Chick-fil-A remains a critical component of both corporate and franchised operations.

Featuring Clayton Dyson ’05, Sr. Director, Chick-fil-A Leadership Development Program; Rodney Johnson ’03, Chick-fil-A Franchised Operator; Steven Bryant ’92, Chick-fil-A Franchised Operator
Wednesday, September 9 @ 4:30 PM EST

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Managing Change: Shifting Business Priorities in a Post-COVID World

Entrepreneurs are constantly facing the unknown, now more than ever. This session will bring attention to key skills essential to managing unprecedented change, especially in your business. Zach Johnson ’03 is president and partner of Metropolitan Properties LLC, a premier all-inclusive property services company based in Nashville. Tune into this session and get an inside look at how innovative leaders like Zach are pivoting their business strategies to adapt to the needs of their customers.

Featuring Zach Johnson ’03, President & Partner of Metropolitan Properties
Wednesday, September 23 @ 4:30 PM EST

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Embracing Disruption: Investing in the Next Generation of Startups

There is no denying that the recent global health crisis has prompted considerable disruption. However, it is during times of crisis that true innovators display their capacity to adapt.  In this session, we hand the microphone to Ginger Rothrock ’00, Senior Director at HG Ventures, as she shares her take on what investors are looking for in the next generation of startups.

Featuring Ginger Rothrock ’00, Senior Director for HG Ventures
Wednesday, October 7 @ 4:30 PM EST

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Impact Investing: Seeking Profit and Community Good

In times like these, the importance of giving back to one’s community cannot be overshadowed. In this session, we hear from brother-sister team Libby ’11 and Andrew Phillips ’14 on the value found in impact investing. Join us as we sit down with the mission-oriented Phillips family to learn more about how strategic, quality investments can not only enhance profitability, but foster a culture of community impact.

Featuring Libby Phillips ’11, CEO, Big Al Mowing; Managing Partner, Phillips Family Office; Andrew Phillips ’14, COO, Big Al Mowing
Wednesday, October 21 @ 4:30 PM EST

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A Lasting Legacy: Innovative Growth in Family Businesses

Kemmons Wilson Companies (KWC) is one of the nation’s premier family-run investment trusts. Established in 1948, the Memphis-based organization was founded by Charles Kemmons Wilson, Jr., and is perhaps best known for building one of the world’s largest and most successful hotel chains: Holiday Inn. Now run by the third generation of Wilson family members, KWC is dedicated to honoring their founder’s entrepreneurial spirit. In this session, we sit down with Principal of Kemmons Wilson Companies, Kemmons Wilson, III (“Kem”). Join us as Kem sheds light on how KWC embraces innovation, family leadership, and a “people-first” philosophy as they strive both for economic success and continuing on their company’s lasting legacy.

Featuring: Kemmons Wilson, III ’98, Principal of Kemmons Wilson Companies 
Wednesday, November 4 @ 4:30 PM EST

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Connecting With Your Customer Faster and More Efficiently

Working remotely? Same here! In the six months since COVID-19 first entered the US, the number of individuals working from home is estimated to have doubled. As businesses across the country suspend in-person operations in favor of virtual employment, the entire dynamic of customer-client relations has shifted. In this session, we welcome Ford Blakely ’97, Founder, SVP, and GM of Zingle at Medallia. Join us as we celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week as Ford tackles how to maintain excellent customer service in an increasingly virtual world.

Featuring Ford Blakely ’97, SVP & GM of Zingle at Medallia
Wednesday, November 18 @ 4:30 PM EST

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