Category Archives: Vital Voices

Steve Forbes Speaks in Goodwin College ‘Vital Voices’ Lecture Series

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As part of Goodwin College’s Vital Voices lecture series, former presidential candidate and editor-in-chief of Forbes Magazine Steve Forbes told an interested audience that money was not as complicated as they might have thought.

Forbes came to Goodwin College on Thursday, June 12, as part of Vital Voices: The T. Boone Pickens Endowed Lectures Series in Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This innovative speaker series focuses on first-hand perspectives of leaders who are making their mark in the business community and the world.  Forbes’s lecture was held in conjunction with the CT Forum and R.J. Julia Booksellers.

“It’s very special for us to have this particular guest gracing our stage,” Goodwin President Mark Scheinberg said. “You have here a gentleman willing to speak truth” to those in power, he continued.

Forbes shared insights from his new book Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy—and What We Can Do About it to an audience of over 180 people in Goodwin’s auditorium.  He said that though economic theory and monetary policy could be seen as boring topics, they were vitally important to the future of the country.

“Any students here who are on a bad date and you want out?” he joked, addressing the Goodwin College students in attendance. “Start talking about monetary policy and you’ll never see that person again.”

He told the audience that though the perception of money is that “only a handful of high priests at the Federal Reserve understand it,” the concept is much simple than is commonly thought.

“Money makes it easier to buy and sell between each other,” Forbes said. “That’s all it does.”

After a lecture on topics ranging from reverting to the gold standard, reforming the healthcare system, and simplifying the tax code, Forbes took questions from the audience. The question-and-answer session was moderated by WNPR Business Desk Editor Harriet Jones.

When asked by an audience member what advice he would give the new head of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, Forbes quipped: “Besides buy my book?”

His actual advice: “Get back to basics.”

With a circulation of more than 900,000, Forbes’ flagship publication, Forbes, is the nation’s leading business magazine. In 1996, Forbes entered the new media arena with the launch of Forbes.com. Now averaging 47 million unique monthly visitors, it has become a leading destination site for senior business decision-makers and investors.

Under Forbes’ leadership, the company has launched a variety of new publications and businesses, which include ForbesLife, the dedicated luxury lifestyle and culture magazine; Forbes Europe; Forbes Asia; and Forbes licensee editions published in over 30 countries.

In 1985, President Reagan named Forbes chairman of the bi-partisan Board for International Broadcasting, where he oversaw the operations of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. He was reappointed to his post by President George H. W. Bush and served until 1993.

Forbes serves on the boards of The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, The Heritage Foundation, and The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He is also on the Board of Overseers of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Board of Visitors for the School of Public Policy of Pepperdine University.

By: Robert Muirhead

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Goodwin College to Present Steve Forbes in Vital Voices: The T. Boone Pickens Endowed Lecture Series in Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

On Thursday, June 12, Goodwin College welcomes Steve Forbes, former presidential candidate and editor-in-chief of Forbes Magazine, to Vital Voices: The T. Boone Pickens Endowed Lecture Series in Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.This innovative speaker series focuses on first-hand perspectives of leaders who are making their mark in the business community and the world.

The event, hosted by Goodwin College in partnership with the Connecticut Forum and RJ Julia Booksellers, begins at 6:30 p.m. in the College’s auditorium. Forbes will share insights from his new book Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy — and What We Can Do About It.

Tickets for the event are $25 per person and include a copy of Forbes’ new book, a wine and cheese reception, and book signing following the talk.

To purchase tickets, please call 860-509-0909 or visit the Connecticut Forum’s website at: http://www.ctforum.org/special-events/steve-forbes.

With a circulation of more than 900,000, Forbes’ flagship publication, Forbes, is the nation’s leading business magazine. In 1996, Forbes entered the new media arena with the launch of Forbes.com. Now averaging 47 million unique monthly visitors, it has become a leading destination site for senior business decision-makers and investors.

Under Forbes’ leadership, the company has launched a variety of new publications and businesses, which include ForbesLife, the dedicated luxury lifestyle and culture magazine; Forbes Europe; Forbes Asia; and Forbes licensee editions published in over 30 countries.

In 1985, President Reagan named Forbes chairman of the bi-partisan Board for International Broadcasting, where he oversaw the operations of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. He was reappointed to his post by President George H. W. Bush and served until 1993.

Forbes serves on the boards of The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, The Heritage Foundation, and The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He is also on the Board of Overseers of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Board of Visitors for the School of Public Policy of Pepperdine University.

The event will take place at Goodwin College, One Riverside Drive, East Hartford, CT 06118.

By: Hannah Stacy

Vital Voices in Entrepreneurship Featuring Stew Leonard, Jr.: The Ups and Downs of Running A Successful Family Business

An audience of more than 300 gathered at Goodwin College on February 26 to hear Stew Leonard Jr., president and CEO of Stew Leonard’s, deliver an inspiring, uplifting speech, often laced with humor, at Vital Voices in Entrepreneurship, a speaker series focused on first-hand perspectives from leaders who are making their mark in business and the community.

Leonard pictured with Scheinberg and two Goodwin students,  Marlon Jengelly and John Fountain.

Leonard pictured with Scheinberg and two Goodwin students, Marlon Jengelly and John Fountain.

President Mark Scheinberg set the tone for the evening as he addressed the packed auditorium buzzing with energy. “Goodwin College is anything but institutional. We are deeply customer based,” he said, making Leonard a perfect guest speaker. “What’s amazing about his stores is that you don’t feel like a customer. It’s an event. It’s an experience that’s really, really special.”

“This crowd is a testament to our guest. We are very blessed and very appreciative to have him here.” He welcomed Leonard to the podium, referring to him as a “true icon of Connecticut business.”

Stew Leonard’s, a unique family owned and operated fresh farm food store, came from humble beginnings in the 1960s, as a milk company — one with a distinctive flair for marketing. During the last 50 years, the company has expanded its products with four farm store locations in Connecticut and New York, as well as nine wine stores in the tri-state area, accounting for more than 20 million visitors annually.

Leonard referenced the four main STEW principles of business that he and his family follow: Satisfy, Teamwork, Excellence, and Wow!

Satisfying customers and maintaining the philosophy that the customer is always right have proved essential to Stew Leonard’s business plan. Listening to customer needs and providing for them are something the Leonard family insists on. “People want to help local farms, they want organic foods, and they don’t want antibiotics in their food. We get a lot of our products from farmers in Connecticut, and we provide whole, organic foods that customers want,” Leonard noted.

The dictionary defines teamwork as a “cooperative effort on the part of a group of persons acting together in the interest of a common cause.” Leonard understands the importance of a healthy working environment. “You can’t make a great place to shop without first making it a great place to work,” he stated.

The number of Stew Leonard’s employees is growing at a steady pace with no layoffs in the history of the business. Achievement awards are presented at events to show appreciation for all of their hard work in the common cause of providing quality products. Employees are the key to making a business prosperous. Something is certainly working: Stew Leonard’s has been included in FORTUNE Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for the last 10 consecutive years.

“Stew’s business messages are wrapped in honesty and humor. They are simple, clear, and very affective. He understands that his employees make his business what it is,” said Lee Housley, a current student in Goodwin’s Management and Leadership program.

Leonard’s third philosophy, excellence, means providing top-notch products and staying up to date with the latest trends. Leonard explained, “We make our bread fresh in store, we meet with ranchers to find the best quality meat, we get our lobsters from Maine, we provide fresh fruit platters, and we are always in search of new products.”

When “cronuts” (a cross between a croissant and a donut) became a recent fad, Stew Leonard’s developed their own version, selling over $100,000 worth since August. Another treat, “crogels” (a cross between a croissant and a bagel) have created profits upwards of $50,000 in a just a few weeks of their premiere.

Researching, being ahead of the curve, and visiting with farmers to understand where their products are coming from have allowed the company to reap endless benefits. “With competitors like Walmart, Costco’s, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s, we can’t just sit back. We are always trying to make the stores better,” Leonard said.

The final philosophy — the Wow! Factor — is all about creating a unique, uplifting experience. “We don’t act like a chain. We keep that family feeling alive,” Leonard stated. Stew Leonard’s provides an interactive environment complete with costumed characters for kids, milk containers that sing, and much more. No one who visits a Stew Leonard’s location is likely to forget the experience.

As with all businesses, Stew Leonard’s has experienced its share of failure. “The reality of life is that there are bumps and setbacks and you stumble,” Leonard explained, “but you pick yourself back up.” Failure is a part of business and life in general. “[Leonard] embraces the failures as opportunities to be better,” Housley noted.

Some of Leonard’s setbacks have been personal. He lost his 21-month-old toddler in a drowning accident in 1989. This sparked Leonard and his wife to seek ways to prevent this tragedy from striking other families, especially since drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children under five. In 1990, the Stew Leonard III Water Safety Foundation was founded. In 2006, the Leonards expanded the foundation’s mission to address childhood obesity through better nutrition. To learn more about the Stew Leonard III Water Safety Foundation, visit their site: http://www.stewietheduck.com/12ourstory.cfm

“Triumph through tragedy” seems fitting for Stew Leonard and his success story. In business and in life there are hurdles to overcome, but once crossed they can lead to endless possibilities through effort and hard work.

Goodwin thanks the East Hartford Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring the event. In addition, Scheinberg made an announcement that T. Boone Pickens, Texas businessman, philanthropist, and Goodwin College 2013 Honorary Doctorate recipient, will be providing funding for future speaker series at the College called the T.Boone Pickens Endowed Speaker Series – Vital Voices in Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

By: Hannah Stacy

Goodwin College to Present Third Installment of Vital Voices in Entrepreneurship

On Wednesday, February 26, Stew Leonard Jr., President and CEO of Stew Leonard’s, will be speaking at Goodwin College’s third installment of Vital Voices in Entrepreneurship, a speaker series focused on first-hand perspectives of leaders who are making their mark in business and the community.

Stew Leonard, Jr.

Stew Leonard, Jr.

The event, hosted by Goodwin College and sponsored by the East Hartford Chamber of Commerce, begins at 5 p.m. with a cocktail hour where attendees, including community business leaders and Goodwin College students, alumni and staff, can network and share ideas.

Hors d’oeuvres will be provided by Stew Leonard’s Catering, and beer and wine will be provided by J Restaurant Bar.  The keynote address will begin at 6 p.m.

Stew Leonard’s is a unique family owned and operated fresh farm food store with annual sales in excess of $400 million. Originally opened as a small dairy store in 1969 selling only 7 items, the company now has four locations in Connecticut and New York, operates nine wine stores in the tri-state area, and welcomes more than 20 million visitors to their stores every year.

Stew Leonard’s has been dubbed the “Disneyland of Dairy Stores” by The New York Times for its commitment to freshness, quality and in-store entertainment and has earned world-wide acclaim for its distinctive approach to retailing and customer service. It has been featured in two of management expert Tom Peters’ books, A Passion for Excellence and Thriving on Chaos, and was included on FORTUNE Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for ten consecutive years.  The company is also listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having “the greatest sales per unit area of any single food store in the United States.”

The event is free and open to the public and will take place at Goodwin College, One Riverside Drive, East Hartford, CT 06118. Attendees are required to RSVP by Wednesday, February 19 to Vanessa Pergolizzi, Alumni Relations Coordinator, at 860-913-2160 or by email at vpergolizzi@goodwin.edu.