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Vanderbilt MBA Admissions and Related Blogs

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Vanderbilt MBA Admissions and Related Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 18 Aug 2017, 02:16

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Students Reunite to Celebrate the New Academic Year and the Life of Ni [#permalink]

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New post 18 Aug 2017, 02:18
FROM Owen Press Releases: Students Reunite to Celebrate the New Academic Year and the Life of Nii Amar Amarfio
The Owen Student Government Association (OSGA) kicked off the academic year with an Opening Bell ceremony to welcome students and remember rising second-year MBA student Nii Amar Amarfio, who passed away last week in California. The cause of death has not yet been determined, but the coroner’s office is investigating natural causes. Nii was interning at the Skoll Foundation this summer.

“It’s a little sad to welcome you all back and remember Nii at the same time, but I bet he would’ve loved this event,” noted Dean M. Eric Johnson, who rang the bell and held a moment of silence in Nii’s memory. “He loved getting together and having juice, coffee, and anything sweet. We bought donuts to as a way to remember Nii this morning.”

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Nii Amarfio was a member of the MBA class of 2018

An active member of the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures (TFC) and the incoming president of the Christian Business Association, Nii was pursuing a career in social enterprise. The Ghana native was a fixture in several facets of the school, particularly the TFC, and was known for his infectious enthusiasm and passion for any project he undertook.

In a letter to the TFC community, TFC leadership wrote that they “will remember Nii as a fiercely passionate leader, committed to finding common solutions to persistent problems in our society. We will remember his constant desire to engage his faith in his work and relationships in meaningful ways. Most of all, we will remember his deep joy.”

Professor Bart Victor, the Cal Turner Professor of Moral Leadership, remembered Nii with great warmth.  

(Nii’s) search to be of service was as profound and passionate as any student I have ever met. – Bart Victor

“As a teacher, I enjoy a hard question from a student more than anything else. Nii Amar Amarfio brought me great joy,” he said. “In our first encounter before classes even started until just a week or so ago, Nii challenged and inspired me. His search to be of service was as profound and passionate as any student I have ever met. In that search, he applied his heart and brilliance in equal measure. We are all at a loss from his tragic early passing. But we are also all better and more committed to our shared mission as the gift of knowing him.”

A memorial service will be held for Nii this Friday, August 18th, at Benton Chapel.

 

The post Students Reunite to Celebrate the New Academic Year and the Life of Nii Amar Amarfio appeared first on Vanderbilt Business.
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Health:Further 2017 Takes the Stage Next Week, Co-Sponsored by Center  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Aug 2017, 02:18
FROM Owen Press Releases: Health:Further 2017 Takes the Stage Next Week, Co-Sponsored by Center for Health Care Market Innovation
The 2017 Health:Further Summit, co-sponsored by Vanderbilt’s Center for Healthcare Market Innovation (CHMI), is expanding its agenda considerably in year three of the conference.

With over 140 speakers, multiple networking sessions, live musical performances, and a pitch competition, the summit spans industries and ideologies to find new ways to create the future of health. The mission of Health:Further and the summit align well with CHMI, which conducts research on the changing demands for health care and models to address shifting consumer needs.

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Larry Van Horn

“The future of healthcare will be determined by consumer choice, not Washington policy,” said Professor Larry Van Horn, co-founder and co-director of CHMI. “We need to understand the new customer in health care and leverage lessons from industries which have been successful.  The Consumer Summit at Health:Further advances this conversation.”

A Untraditional FAQ for an Untraditional Event

Why is the CEO of Forbes Travel Guide coming to Health:Further?

A widely recognized visionary in the worlds of hospitality and entertainment, Jerry Inzerillo has developed some of the world’s most famous and successful lifestyle brands in tourism and entertainment. With consumers footing an increasingly larger portion of their healthcare bill and demanding more from their service providers, the industry can learn a lot from market leaders like Jerry, and it’s why he and dozens of other experts in industries like finance, sports, consumer goods, retail, and food are taking part in the summit.

Is there still a chance for attendees to learn how industry leaders are staying current and planning for the future?

Leadership from major players in the healthcare ecosystem, including hospital groups like HCA, St. Jude’s, and Vanderbilt; insurers like Blue Cross/Blue Shield; senior-care providers like Brookdale; and government organizations like the Dept. of Health & Human Services and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, will be on hand to share their approaches to innovation.

For an industry with roots in reason and analysis, why is there so much programming around passion?

It can mean many things – offering consumers a chance to improve their health by appealing to their interests, using a personal health journey to create a product or service, or encouraging others to live their best lives. Several participants will speak to these concepts, including Olympic champion Scott Hamilton, NBA Hall-of-Famer Dominique Wilkins, and Dr. Oz, the founder of summit co-sponsor Sharecare.

What’s up with all of the music at this health care event?

Because music and art are an integral part of health and a foundation of Nashville. Performers at the summit include legendary blues artist Delbert McClinton, Brenda Lee, and a remarkable set of singer/songwriters, who will be performing in between speakers and sessions. Delbert will be headlining the Health:Further@Night concert at the iconic Cannery Ballroom.

For more information on tickets, click here.

About Vanderbilt’s Center for Healthcare Market Innovation

The Center for Health Care Market Innovation at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management is a hub for the evolution of health care markets. It conducts research on the demand for health care, how it is changing, and the capacity for new financing and delivery models to successfully meet changing consumer needs.

About Health:Further

Health:Further is an open community focused on the future of health. We are driven to pursue two difficult ideals: that health is a human right, and that health must be supported affordably and sustainably. Each year our community gathers at the Health:Further Festival in Nashville, TN to exchange ideas, evidence and good will. We are providers, payers, politicians and practitioners. We are investors, innovators, artists and activists. We are patients, and together, we will create the ideal future of health. More at HealthFurther.com.

The post Health:Further 2017 Takes the Stage Next Week, Co-Sponsored by Center for Health Care Market Innovation appeared first on Vanderbilt Business.
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This is Vanderbilt Business — Getting Oriented [#permalink]

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New post 18 Aug 2017, 14:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: This is Vanderbilt Business — Getting Oriented
Classes kick off this week at Management Hall, but for MBAs, MSFs, MAccs, MMarks, and EMBAs, the real work begins during the orientation period, which began a month ago for certain programs. Through math camps, networking sessions with classmates and recruiters, career management and interview training, students acclimate themselves to the furious pace of Mod 1.

Megan Nichols of the CMC sat down with students from the MBA and career launcher programs to get their thoughts on orientation. She also checks in with two of the executive coaches that prepare students for the job hunt. Check it out on SoundCloud, iTunes, Overcast, or Stitcher!

Listen on iTunes here

Listen on Stitcher

Listen on Overcast

The post This is Vanderbilt Business — Getting Oriented appeared first on Vanderbilt Business.
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Nashville Health Care Council, Nashville Capital Network Present Devel [#permalink]

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New post 21 Aug 2017, 10:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Nashville Health Care Council, Nashville Capital Network Present Developing Health Care Ventures
The post Nashville Health Care Council, Nashville Capital Network Present Developing Health Care Ventures appeared first on Vanderbilt Business.
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VU names vice provost for inclusive excellence [#permalink]

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New post 21 Aug 2017, 11:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: VU names vice provost for inclusive excellence
The post VU names vice provost for inclusive excellence appeared first on Vanderbilt Business.
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Open for Business: Walker Management Library Renovations Finished [#permalink]

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New post 21 Aug 2017, 14:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Open for Business: Walker Management Library Renovations Finished
Since Nashville is the largest city in the path of totality, most residents will spend today obsessing over the eclipse. But at 8 a.m., something else happened that will impact Owen students for much longer than the eclipse’s two and half minutes: The Walker Management Library reopened its doors after a major renovation.

“I’m really pleased with how excited people were to come in. They were here at 7:15 (before we opened) just to check it out,” Hilary Craiglow, Director of the Walker Management Library, said. “The second year (students) can’t quite believe it. Someone just said it looks like a completely different building.”

Construction projects are notorious for delays, but the library team crammed a six-month renovation project into just over three months of concentrated work. The construction team worked triple shifts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to get the project done on time. The only structures that remain from the original library are the bathrooms on the second floor, and even those were completely gutted.

“Our students don’t live in an 8-to-5 world. They study and work together all hours of the day and night, all year long. We really needed space that worked that hard, as hard as the school works.” – Hilary Craiglow

(Scroll down for a virtual tour of the space, including the gas-lit fireplace, cabana-style seating, and more.)

The new space was designed by EOA Architects and built by Burns Construction; Chief Business Officer Caitlin Mullaney (MBA ’13) and Craiglow oversaw the entire project from beginning to end.

The new library will also be open 24 hours for studying, effective immediately.

“Our students don’t live in an 8-to-5 world. They study and work together all hours of the day and night, all year long,” said Craiglow. “We really needed space that worked that hard, as hard as the school works.”

Of course, library staff will still be on hand during the day, helping students navigate the digital catalog, use the Bloomberg terminals, check out equipment, and more. The library services area will be protected by a gate after hours. In addition, the library will be monitored at all hours by a security system with cameras, which VUPD helped implement.

The Walker Management Library at Vanderbilt Business hadn’t undergone major renovations since it opened its doors 35 years ago, in 1987.

The post Open for Business: Walker Management Library Renovations Finished appeared first on Vanderbilt Business.
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Have Fellowship, Will Travel: Team Leaf Visits Six Countries [#permalink]

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New post 22 Aug 2017, 08:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Have Fellowship, Will Travel: Team Leaf Visits Six Countries
What if your MBA summer internship required traveling around the world? It may sound far-fetched, but for Connor Echols and Alejandro Sabillon (both MBA ’18), this unusual scenario came true this summer. In fact, their team traveled to four continents and six countries — Greece, Mexico, Cambodia, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, and Kenya — to conduct market research for a startup concept.

The startup idea originally came from Nat Robinson (MBA ’07, JD’18). For months, Robinson had been working on multiple ideas to address the global refugee crisis, starting with his participation in the Hult Prize competition early this year.

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Nat Robinson, JD ’18

His original team’s idea focused on providing safe transport for refugees across the Mediterranean. However, after the Hult competition, Robinson pivoted to work on another major hurdle faced by refugees: transporting their assets safely.

“A lot of (refugees) are paying three to five thousand dollars to these smugglers to get them across the Mediterranean or to make their journey, so there’s cash there,” he said. “Then suddenly that refugee is faced with being in a camp or in a country where they don’t have any identity (and) they don’t have any credit history.”

Robinson dubbed the concept “Leaf” and pitched it to the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures (TFC), a student-led organization committed to alleviating poverty.

“I’ve always had a great experience at Owen and love being part of the business school, so it’s a way for me to get back involved,” Robinson said.

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Connor Echols, MBA ’18

The Center ultimately agreed that Leaf was a good fit for their summer fellowship program, which provides funding for graduate students who want to pursue social impact internships. Based on the students’ social impact interests, TFC then matched Echols, Sabillon and Kevin Lubin (GPED ’18) — who had already applied for the summer fellowships — with Robinson.

“As we work with companies and ideas to challenge and eradicate poverty, our thought is that it’s really about access,” said Mario Avila, founding Director of the TFC. “It’s not about having money, but it’s about having access to information, having access to a living wage, having access to ideas. That’s what we provide and what this fellowship provides our students.”

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Alejandro Sabillon, MBA ’18

The team started the summer off strong, winning $15,000 at the 36|86: Student Edition Pitch Competition at the beginning of June. Most of the money went to blockchain developers in San Francisco, to build a test version of the technology that will allow refugees to convert their cash to digital currency.

The summer fellowships themselves were used to fund the team’s travels, as they conducted market research in an effort to determine in which country they wanted to launch. Avila traveled to both Mexico and Kenya with the team to provide support. Jaime Rincon (MBA ’17) also joined the team in Mexico; before graduating in May, he was actively involved with both Leaf and the TFC and continued his work with them through the summer.

It’s about having access to information, having access to a living wage…That’s what we provide and what this fellowship provides our students. —Mario Avila

Some team members made a trip out to San Francisco to meet with the blockchain developers as well as potential investors. While there, they also met with Matt Flannery, an entrepreneur most well-known for co-founding the microloan non-profit Kiva.org. The team had arranged to do research for Flannery’s newest project, Branch, during the summer, in tandem with their work on Leaf.

Branch provides loans to people in emerging markets via a smartphone app. While Leaf focuses on saving accounts for refugees and rural residents, Branch targets urban dwellers who need loans and already own a smartphone. Right now, Branch is trying to determine which international markets to expand into, paralleling Leaf’s early market research.

Being backed by both Branch and Vanderbilt gave the Leaf team access to networking opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

“I wouldn’t have been able to have those meetings or meet those people without this internship and build my network,” said Echols. “I knew I was going to be able to meet all these people that I’d read about. Matt Flannery — I went to his 40th birthday party.”

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The team experienced this not just during their domestic travels to San Francisco, but also during their travels abroad.

“I remember, in Cambodia, I made a phone call to Pricewaterhouse(Coopers). I said, ‘I’m working with Branch. We’re doing a market study around the Cambodian market, and we want your insights.’ He said, ‘Yes, do you want to meet in 10 minutes?’” Sabillon recalled. “It’s impressive how you can create a network based on what you’re doing, what you’re passionate about, and just mentioning the brand of Vanderbilt University.”

After their various travels, the entire team convened together in Kenya. Kenya is known for its mobile banking ecosystem, and the team sought to learn how they could create such a system in another country. Robinson previously spent six years in Kenya starting a successful agriculture microfinance company called Juhudi Kilimo.

“In Kenya, it’s pretty impressive to see people pay with their phones. No one carries money in their wallet,” Sabillon said. “We had one tour guide who lost his wallet, and he was okay because all his money was in his phone.”

Now that they have returned to the U.S., the team plans to continue working with Leaf during the school year. Their first task is to consolidate their market research and choose a specific country to consider for launch. In addition, they have a final presentation for Branch on August 17, in addition to certain milestones to hit by October for the 36|86 competition, including a financial business model and a finished blockchain test.

It’s impressive how you can create a network based on…what you’re passionate about, and just mentioning the brand of Vanderbilt University. —Alejandro Sabillon

Echols and Sabillon encourage MBA students who are interested in social ventures to get involved with TFC early on at Owen. They also urge students to consider an untraditional “internship” experience and to potentially apply to the summer fellowship next year.

“Take advantage of the fact that (TFC) is a student-led organization. I didn’t grasp what that was when I entered the TFC…until Mario started saying ‘what do you want?’ and started putting decisions in our hands. That was very empowering,” Echols said. “I think you’ll be surprised at the opportunities that open up.”

The post Have Fellowship, Will Travel: Team Leaf Visits Six Countries appeared first on Vanderbilt Business.
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Accelerator Teams Search for the Next Big Idea in Print-on-Demand for  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Aug 2017, 08:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Accelerator Teams Search for the Next Big Idea in Print-on-Demand for Leaf Group’s Society6
The world of print-on-demand is a large one, and it’s getting larger. A staggering variety of online marketplaces connect shoppers to artists, whose designs can be found on nearly every non-perishable item for sale, from coffee mugs to phone cases.

Society6 (one of Leaf Group, Ltd.’s art and design marketplaces) has established themselves as a leading marketplace in this growing industry, with 4 million unique designs across over 40 different products and 3 million customers. Its community of artists numbers in the 100s of thousands, and the marketplace’s royalty model incentivizes greater involvement. Through careful attention to technology, commerce, and creativity, Society6 has built a successful enterprise in a market on the rise.

This summer, leaders from Society6 turned to the Accelerator program for product development insights. The marketplace currently offers over 40 consumer products across home décor, apparel and tech accessories, but is always looking for new opportunities to appeal to their primary demographic, which, coincidentally, aligns neatly with the Accelerator’s class demo. Through business acumen and (perhaps) some personal experience, 10 Accelerator teams set out to identify Society6’s next big item and win the approval of a panel of executives, directors, and managers from Society6 and Leaf Group.



Teams spent a week researching and validating concepts, building marketing plans, and projecting revenue and profits. Using proprietary customer data, research platforms like Hoovers, Mintel, and EBSCO, and various consumer reports, students were able to get a strong grasp of potential demand and profit margins for a vast assortment of product categories.

“This project was one that was particularly exciting for students, as their demographics matches that of Society6’s consumer base,” said Accelerator coach Jonathan Holston (MBA’17). “Furthermore, it offered students exposure to a number of real-life consulting challenges, including market-sizing, internet marketing tactics and product development.”  

With an almost limitless number of possibilities to consider, it stood to reason that teams would settle on an array of product lines, but the final presentations saw multiple teams pitching similar or identical products.

“There was a chance that would happen,” said Rory Wood, Senior Director of Marketing at Society6, “but we didn’t realize it would come from such unique products.”

Teams’ suggestions ranged from athletic accessories to home décor, tech accessories, and other product segments with large and growing markets, strong margins, and few current options for customization.

It’s customary at Accelerator for judges to deliberate intensely about the rank order of 1 or 2 team pitches, but presentations for Society6 generated “heated debate,” according to Tawn Albright, EVP Corporate Development, Leaf Group.

In the end, the winning idea came from two teams with the same idea in the home décor space. The panel resonated with the appeal of the medium for designers, customer demand, and marketing strategies, ultimately giving first place to Team U. Team S, which pitched the same product, finished second.

You’ll probably see a lot of these products on Society6 in a couple of years – Rory Wood, Society6

“The results were really, really impressive, and came from a lot of attention, time, and activity,” Albright noted. “Every single project was a success.”

“You’ll probably see a lot of these products on Society6 in a couple of years,” added Wood.

The Accelerator project for Society6 turned out to be a win-win for everyone involved – students gained strong research, modeling, and presentation experience, while Society6 and Leaf Group got some strong ideas from their target market, as well as a couple of interns for the summer.

“It was really cool to see how everyone took the problem differently and ran with it in a different way,” said Shannon Roche, a member of the winning team who went on to intern for Society6 after the program concluded.

“My internship at Society6 involved two similar projects that allowed me to take ownership of my work and create tangible impact,” Roche added. “The experience helped me gain a deeper understanding of the industry while developing key professional skills that I know I’ll be able to use for the next steps in my career. It was an extremely insightful, challenging, and rewarding experience.”

“From my perspective, it took a little bit of a risk to come out here and do this program,” Albright concluded. “I was really impressed with the results, and we may be back again next year.”

About Society6

Society6, an online marketplace that provides artists a place to connect with consumers and sell their art, customizes products for buyers by printing artists’ works on dozens of items, ranging from tapestries to pillows to shower curtains. The artwork on Society6 is created by hundreds of thousands of artists from around the world, all of who are empowered by Society6 to profit from the sale of their artwork, without giving up control of their rights. Every purchase made on Society6 pays an artist.

About Leaf Group

Leaf Group Ltd. (NYSE:LFGR) is a diversified Internet company that builds platforms across its marketplaces (Deny Designs, Saatchi Art, Society6 and The Other Art Fair) and various media properties (including Livestrong.com, eHow and Cuteness) to enable communities of creators to reach passionate audiences in large and growing lifestyle categories. In addition, Leaf Group’s diverse advertising offerings help brands and publishers find innovative ways to engage with their customers. For more information about Leaf Group, visit www.leafgroup.com.

The post Accelerator Teams Search for the Next Big Idea in Print-on-Demand for Leaf Group’s Society6 appeared first on Vanderbilt Business.
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Health:Further Recap Day 1 [#permalink]

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New post 23 Aug 2017, 09:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Health:Further Recap Day 1
“A mayor, an NBA Hall of Famer, and the founder of CrossFit walk into a bar” is the start of a joke. “A mayor, an NBA Hall of Famer, and the founder of CrossFit walk onto a stage” is the start of the Health:Further 2017 conference.

The conference kicked off Tuesday afternoon with a slate of panels that required a premium ticket to attend. And no wonder: The afternoon line-up featured plenty of heavy hitters, including Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins, and the founder of CrossFit, Greg Glassman.

We breakdown the first day of the conference below:

Theme(s) of the day

The first half-day focused on inspiration and drawing lessons from outside industries, including consumer products (Procter & Gamble), sports (Atlanta Hawks), hospitality (Forbes Travel Guide), virtual reality (HTC Vibe) and more. Speakers drew parallels between health care and their respective industries, explaining how to apply (for example) best practices for positive guest experiences in hotels to improve patient experiences in hospitals.

Power players

Today featured a slate packed full of big experts and companies. Major names included Craig Wynett, Chief Creative Officer of Procter & Gamble; Steve Koonin, CEO of the Atlanta Hawks; Ryan Ellis, defenseman for the Nashville Predators; and Kat Kinsman, Senior Food & Drinks Editor at Time Inc. Surgeon and television personality Mehmet Oz, better known as Dr. Oz of The Dr. Oz Show, participated in several panels. His company ShareCare, co-founded with WebMD founder Jeff Arnold, is a major sponsor of Health:Further.

Key takeaways

Dr. Oz made a remark early in the afternoon that encapsulated one of the major problems facing health care today: “People do not change based on what they know. They change based on how they feel.” People know that they shouldn’t drink that soda or eat that donut, but it feels good, so they do anyway. In order to inspire people to become healthier, technology must make the choice feel good (or at least less painful). On the physician side of technology, Vinay Narayan gave concrete examples of how virtual reality headsets could be used to train future surgeons — for instance, being able to place trainees inside the human body virtually to see how it works. This technology could open up more ways to train future doctors and help address the coming provider shortage.

Connections to Vanderbilt

Mayor Megan Barry (MBA’93) delivered the opening remarks, welcoming attendees to Nashville and reaffirming the conference’s goals of affordable and sustainable health care. John Ingram (MBA ’96) spoke as part of a panel about “Leveraging Change to Create Opportunity,” reflecting on his long history in the publishing industry and how he has weathered its significant disruptions. Larry Van Horn, Associate Professor of Economics and Management at the Owen Graduate School of Management, delivered both the opening and closing remarks of the day. Van Horn is one of Health:Further’s organizers as well as co-founder and director of the Center for Health Care Market Innovation at Owen, a co-sponsor of Health:Further.

Can’t Get Over It

Glassman offered up plenty of memorable quotes and anecdotes. He believes that the CrossFit movement developed organically — “I’m more of a superintendent of a natural resource. This movement grew spontaneously” — and described its methodology as a “profound and elegant metabolic truth.” He noted that CrossFit’s compelling mixture of physical agony and social camaraderie “almost seems like a variant of the Stockholm syndrome.” He gave Steve Koonin a hard time about his work for Coca-Cola many years ago, since soda contributes to diabetes and other health problems due to the high sugar content. While nearly everyone else stuck to more formal scripts, Glassman brought a raw and sometimes biting edge to his panels. He’s slated to give a solo talk Wednesday afternoon, so check back for more memorable Glassman quotes.

The post Health:Further Recap Day 1 appeared first on Vanderbilt Business.
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Health:Further Recap Day 2 [#permalink]

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New post 24 Aug 2017, 13:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Health:Further Recap Day 2
Wednesday was the first full day of the regular Health:Further conference, no premium ticket required. The slate was jam-packed, with speakers from companies big and small, a pitch competition, and more.

Theme(s) of the day

Day 2 focused on the future of health care, looking forward to innovations, disruptions, as well as barriers to change. Speakers represented a variety of companies, from cutting-edge startups to bigger corporations that are still trying to stay ahead. In keeping with the theme of innovation, a pitch competition ran alongside the regular conference sessions from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eighteen entrepreneurs got the chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of business experts; the winner will be announced Thursday afternoon.

Power players

Presenters from several large companies, including Samsung, Adobe, Salesforce, and DXC Technology (formerly Hewlett Packard Enterprise), spoke throughout the day. As he did on Day 1, CrossFit founder Greg Glassman offered up several colorful opinions on health — “Fitness is ****ed up because medicine is ****ed up” — and claimed that the medical community suppresses important information because it overvalues consensus and peer-reviewed studies.

Alencia Johnson, Director of Constituency Communications for Planned Parenthood, reviewed the many challenges faced by her organization’s clinics in the current political climate; while “no one comes to Planned Parenthood to make a political statement,” for many women, receiving much-needed health care has become a political act, even if they don’t want it to be.

Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, discussed the problems facing her two programs and plans for overcoming them. Even though she oversees a federal agency, she emphasized the need to give states flexibility to provide more health care, since “our best ideas…come from local communities.”

Key takeaways

Yesterday afternoon may have been billed as the “Consumer Summit,” but today, speaker after speaker emphasized the idea that patients need to be treated with the same care and attention that consumers in other industries receive. The day closed with a talk from customer service expert Frank Eliason, who summarized the consumer treatment issue smartly: “You know health care has a problem when the person who worked at Comcast and Citibank is here talking to you about customer experience.”

However, as Thomas Swanson from Adobe pointed out, even as patients become more involved in their health care processes through apps and websites, some will undoubtedly choose to opt out of sharing their personal health information, creating consumer barriers to innovation.

The Vanderbilt Connection

The day started off with concurrent presentations from two Vanderbilt-affiliated speakers. Tatum Allsep (BS’97) gave a solo talk about the lack of viable health insurance options for musicians, while Paul Harris, Professor of Biomedical Informatics, participated in a panel about artificial intelligence and data science. Later in the afternoon, founder and CIO of Concert Genetics Mark Harris (BS’03, PhD’09, and MBA’11)  spoke about precision medicine. “The goal of precision medicine is to maximize treatment benefit for all patients,” he said, before explaining the concrete steps that health care companies can take to leverage data to create precision medicine.

Can’t get over it

In Music City, one of the biggest health care capitals in the nation, “the deadliest preexisting condition that exists in Music City USA is being a poor, uninsured musician.” Tatum Allsep made this provocative claim in her early morning solo talk, and then explained her rationale: musicians are either self-employed or part of a small business and don’t receive insurance from an employer, leaving them to fend for themselves in the wildly expensive individual market.

Many musicians cannot afford insurance or the health care costs that come when they do fall sick. Allsep felt this pain herself when she gave birth to premature twins; she was self-employed at the time and left the hospital with half a million dollars in medical bills because of her poor insurance. This experience inspired her to become the founder and CEO of the Music Health Alliance, a resource for health care solutions and access for music professionals.

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Professor Profiles: Kelly Goldsmith, Marketing [#permalink]

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New post 24 Aug 2017, 14:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Professor Profiles: Kelly Goldsmith, Marketing
Associate Professor Kelly Goldsmithis the newest member of the Marketing Faculty at Owen. As an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, she earned several awards for her teaching and research, which focuses on Consumer Decision making, specifically examining how consumers active motives and mindsets affect their choices. I talked with Kelly about her research, the move to Vanderbilt, and her stint on one of the most popular reality shows of all time.

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Dr. Oz talks health care in Nashville [#permalink]

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New post 24 Aug 2017, 16:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Dr. Oz talks health care in Nashville
Publication: Nashville Pride

TV host and health advocate Dr. Mehmet Oz was a recent guest speaker at the third annual Health:Further Festival that is co-sponsored by Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management.

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Health:Further Recap Day 3 [#permalink]

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New post 25 Aug 2017, 08:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Health:Further Recap Day 3
After two days full of outside experts, Thursday at Health:Furtherrevolved entirely around the health care industry, with a speaker slate heavy on providers and other authorities. In addition, the winner of the pitch competition was announced: Twiage, a dashboard that seamlessly relays real-time data on incoming ambulances and patients from EMS to hospitals. Twiage earned an opportunity to speak at the closing plenary sessions, promotional support from Health:Further, and a chance to work with Healthbox, a Chicago-based accelerator focused on innovative solutions for healthcare.

Theme(s) of the day

While the past two days have emphasized other industries, Thursday turned inward and focused on big health care names: HCA, Blue Cross Blue Shield, the FDA, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and more. Politicians, providers, and physicians all spoke on the regulatory and political climate, as well as the laws and policies that companies large and small must navigate.

Power players

Kelly Nye of HCA, David Murray of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and Mark Lange of Reputation.com participated in tactical panel about how physicians and hospitals can manage their brands online. As they pointed out, patients are most inclined to rate providers when they are unhappy, lowering ratings and the revenue curve. To mitigate this effect, providers should proactively request ratings to get a more representative sample.

Stephen Konya III, Senior Innovation Strategist for HHS, discussed various pieces of federal legislation and how they impact health care innovations, particularly in the realm of health IT. Economist Art Laffer praised Tennessee’s local policies — “I’m just so d*** proud I moved here,” and “The dream in America is to be like Tennessee” — before reflecting on federal policies. “What we need to do is bring in federal policies that do what Tennessee has done,” he said, before arguing that Obamacare was “a huge mistake” and claiming that the legislation will be repealed eventually.

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Brenda Lee speaks about health care in the music industry

Singer Brenda Lee, aka Little Miss Dynamite, gave an inspirational speech about the need for more health care and insurance within the music industry. “There’s someone at every step of (my recording) process…who can’t afford health insurance,” she said. “It seems to me that health care shouldn’t belong to business and politicians. It seems that health care should belong to the people who use it and need it. It seems like financial health and physical health shouldn’t be dependent on each other.” She received a standing ovation from the crowd.

Key takeaways

Optimizing the flow of information for providers, physicians, and patients remained top of mind for many presenters on Thursday. Bob Gold of Gold Group Enterprises explained how providers can improve patient outcomes by implementing cognitive behavioral principles and combining clinical data with lifestyle state (information on the individual patient’s preferences and habits).

Keith Smith MD, Medical Director of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, discussed another key area of information access: price transparency. Years ago, Keith published the price list for all the services offered by his center; over time, other facilities in the area have been forced to match his prices to stay competitive. Smith hopes that his radical price transparency can serve as a model for other facilities, as well as evidence that price transparency can help drive down medical costs in the real world.

It’s not about second options, it’s about seventh options. How do we make that happen? – Scott Hamilton

Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton, a former competitive figure skater who has survived both testicular and brain cancer, urged listeners to become more actively involved in their health care decisions, as he was forced to during his cancer treatments. “It’s not about second opinions, it’s about seventh opinions, he said. “How do we make that happen?”

Can’t get over it

Former practicing physician Brian Fengler, founder of EvidenceCare, shared a surprising statistic — only 20% of care is evidence-based. According to him, most front-line providers are seven to 10 years behind the guidelines, since staying current would requiring reading publications for dozens of hours every single week. Most physicians are simply too busy trying to help as many patients as possible to stay up-to-date on the latest medical evidence, but this leaves them practicing with potentially outdated care guidelines.

While Fengler’s statistics make sense upon reflection, it is still jarring to consider them, especially given patients’ reluctance to question doctors’ decisions. After all, the medical system’s complexity (and expense) discourages patients from seeking alternative opinions, and most patients have never been to medical school, so they don’t feel justified in questioning their doctor’s advice. But if even the doctors are behind the times, how can patients receive the most updated care? Fengler started EvidenceCare to compile the latest evidence-based care findings in an easy-to-use portal, so doctors can look up information and make informed decisions in real time.

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Translating Performing Arts Experience into Performance-Minded Busines [#permalink]

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New post 28 Aug 2017, 09:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Translating Performing Arts Experience into Performance-Minded Business
K-Pace is her name, and no, she’s not a rapper — she’s a Professor for the Practice of Communication (full name: Kimberly Pace). And yes, Owen students can call her this, as she informs the newest class of MBA candidates during the first Communications Academy workshop.

Pace may not be a rapper, but she was trained in the performing arts as a singer-dancer-actress. In fact, Pace started her teaching career in the performing arts, instructing college classes while working on her masters in vocal performance.

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Kimberly Pace

“I always say I bring a performance mindset to business. That was my sales proposition when I first came here (to Vanderbilt),” she said. “As a performer, I would never hire a coach to tell me how fabulous I was. You hire a coach to eat you alive and give you all the hard feedback.”

Pace has been teaching at Owen for more than a decade, and the business communications program has greatly evolved during that time. Core classes were much larger when she started, and specialized workshop weren’t even offered. She used to teach a class on how to use PowerPoint, and recorded students’ presentations on VHS tapes during her first year of teaching.

Fast forward to today, and the communications program at Owen has been expanded and repackaged as the Academy in order to give MBA students the comprehensive support they need. Instead of teaching PowerPoint, Pace instructs students in how to present their personas online. She still records students’ presentations (digitally, no VHS required) and makes students critique their own videos after the fact.

“I almost don’t have to give (students) feedback. If they just watch themselves, they’ll see it immediately,” she said. “They’ll be like, ‘why am I dancing the whole time? I’m trying to stand (and give a presentation).’”

Students actually start the Communications Academy during the summer, when they must take a communications skills self-assessment and submit a personal brand statement online. International students also attend an additional workshop in July as part of the U.S. Business Communication and Culture Program (USBCC).

I always say I bring a performance mindset to business. That was my sales proposition when I first came here. -Kimberly Pace

The Academy starts in earnest during orientation in August, when all incoming MBA students attend the first workshop and meet one-on-one with a writing coach to review their personal brand statements. Everyone is also required to take the Management Communications core class during Mod I.

In Mod II, students attend two workshops, one on professional business writing and one on an elective topic of their choice. Managerial Writing is also offered as elective course during Mod II for students who want to further improve.

The Academy may seem like a lot of work — and it is — but such communication expertise is critical for MBA candidates to advance in their careers, according to Nancy Lea Hyer, Associate Dean of the MBA Programs and Associate Professor of Operations Management.

“Communication skills are vital to success in a business career,” she said. “Being able to present and write clearly and persuasively is fundamental to being effective in any leadership position in any organization.”

While the Academy targets MBA candidates, a Communications Lab is also offered bi-weekly to all business students who want one-one-one consultations. In addition to managing the Lab, Pace also supports other Owen programs, including Executive Education, where she teaches courses like Persuasive and Influential Speaking and Communications Strategies for Senior Leadership.

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Pace says all this effort pays off in real results, and that every year she sees students’ communication skills transformed by the end of the program.

“I do remember this gentleman…who was in the military in India. He would get up to speak, and he was very authoritative — everyone in the room listened to him — but he was basically yelling like a commander (no matter what he was saying),” she recalled.

Pace worked one-on-one with the student to match his voice and body language with the content of his speech. The student felt out of his comfort zone at first, but he was eager to learn, and made great progress during the Academy.

“He got up and did the next presentation with this amazing smile, and the whole class just erupted in clapping…by the end of the course, he was completely transformed,” Pace said.

My number one tip for communications would be to invest in increasing your emotional intelligence. -Kimberly Pace

While tone, facial expression, body language, and similar factors are critical to smooth presentations, Pace’s top recommendations for business communications are more broadly focused.

“My number one tip for communications would be to invest in increasing your emotional intelligence, specifically in self-awareness,” she said. “Make sure you really are seeing how you are coming across in your writing and your speaking, and make sure it’s what you intend.”

After that, she suggests that leaders focus on adapting their leadership and communications style to their audiences, rather than assuming that everyone communicates the same way they do.

“If I say something to you and it doesn’t get through, it doesn’t mean you’re not intelligent, it might be because of the way I communicated it,” she said. “If (students) can learn to adapt to that, they’ll be so much happier and so much more successful long term in their career.”

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Day trading in Wall Street’s complex ‘fear gauge’ proliferates [#permalink]

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New post 29 Aug 2017, 12:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Day trading in Wall Street’s complex ‘fear gauge’ proliferates
Publication: The New York Times

Robert Whaley, Valere Blair Potter Professor of Finance and creator of the VIX, is quoted in this story about the lucrative strategy day traders are using with the fear gauge.

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This is Vanderbilt Business: Alumni Spotlight – David Zinsner [#permalink]

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New post 29 Aug 2017, 13:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: This is Vanderbilt Business: Alumni Spotlight – David Zinsner
David Zinsner (MBA’96) has spent much of his career at the top of large organizations, serving as CFO first at Intersil Corporation and later at Analog Devices, a Fortune 500 Semiconductor manufacturer.

In April, David moved to Affirmed Networks, a venture-backed mobile network solutions provider based out of Massachusetts, to serve as the company’s President and COO. We talked with David about his career, changing titles and companies, the impact Owen’s had on his career, and more.

 

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HOP Symposium brings alums and students together to discuss the possib [#permalink]

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New post 30 Aug 2017, 06:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: HOP Symposium brings alums and students together to discuss the possibilities of HR
It’s never too early for first-year MBAs at Owen to begin their internship searches, but the sense of urgency often depends on one’s preferred approach and interest. The opportunities present themselves early and often — career fairs sponsored by organizations like National Black MBA Association and Prospanica let students network and interview with hundreds of companies just a few weeks after classes start (or, in the case of Forte, a few weeks before). Those looking to get ahead of recruiting cycles can also begin tapping into Owen’s vast alumni network to learn more about industries, companies, and potential internship openings.

However, with their heavy recruiting seasons several weeks away, most students can prioritize coursework, social calendars, and career evaluation as they re-acclimate themselves to academic life, build new friendships, and consider career options.

Unless they’re considering a career in Human Resources.

HR recruiters arrive on campus as early as September and begin interviewing in October. Students interested in the Human and Organizational Performance (HOP) track need to prepare early for a deluge of information sessions, networking happy hours, and interviews.

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Heather Webb (MBA’07) chats with students

To help students acclimate quickly, the HOP Association kicks off the school year with an annual symposium designed to bring students a professional-level view of the career tracks within HR, an overview of the recruiting process, and an opportunity to meet alumni working at target companies.

This year’s event, held last Friday, underscored the diversity of roles in HR as well as the impact that Vanderbilt graduates have had on the profession. Alumni from Google, Procter & Gamble, Deloitte, HP, and Bridgestone offered students an insider’s perspective on their careers and the opportunities and challenges surrounding them.

“It was fun to see alumni from Google, Deloitte, HP, Bridgestone and P&G introduce the HR field to our Owen students. There’s so much to be learned in the classroom at Owen, but the real-world advice from our alums is invaluable.” – Katherine Calvert (MBA’18)

“It was fun to see alumni from Google, Deloitte, HP, Bridgestone and P&G introduce the HR field to our Owen students,” said Katherine Calvert (MBA ’18), President of the HOP Association. “There’s so much to be learned in the classroom at Owen, but the real-world advice from our alums is invaluable.”

THE SPEAKERS

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Stephanie Levitt

As a manager in Deloitte’s Human Capital Organization Transformation & Talent practice, Stephanie Levitt has led change management efforts for multiple global clients. She spoke with frank enthusiasm about the highs and lows of being a consultant. “I’m very stimulated by the problems I get to solve everyday, but one of the big challenges is lifestyle,” she said, describing weeks where she visits 5 cities in 4 days. “Some weeks I want to pull my hair out, but last week I was in Chicago at a workshop that was so meaty and interesting that I left exhausted but energized.”

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Janet Nelson (MBA’07)

Janet Nelson (MBA’07), Senior HR Manager at P&G, spoke at length about her path in Corporate HR, and the attractive levels of autonomy and collaboration that her position offers. “My boss has been so busy meeting partners, he expects me to run things,” she said. “But I also need to be collaborative, because I need people to buy into my proposals.”

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Dan George (MBA’14)

A former consultant, Dan George (MBA’14) took a position in workforce analytics and strategic planning after graduating from Owen. After seven years of consulting, he got “burned out” from consulting (“when I got to Owen, I was happy to stay in one place for more than a few weeks at a time”) but he enjoyed the experience (“the fast-paced lifestyle is really fun.”) He spoke at length about the impact of analytics in HR, from reporting to predictive modeling, and demonstrated the tools he uses daily to assess information and present to teammates.

Google HR Manager Heather Webb (MBA’07) and HP HR Business Partner Kaye Luenprakansit (MBA’15) talked specifically about HR in the technology sector. They spoke about the rapid pace of progress and change at their companies, but both noted that keys to success in Corporate HR at Google and HP aren’t markedly different from corporations in any other sector. “All companies are looking for dynamic people who are good communicators and good with data,” Luenprakansit said.

THE TAKEAWAYS

Data proficiency is an expectation, not a nice-to-have. Every panelist, spanning positions in Corporate HR, Human Capital Consulting, and Workforce Analytics, spoke to the importance of data in their work. “Reports are being delivered, and we receive education on how to create reports,” added Nelson. “I have to use the (data analytics) systems to get the most out of them. The language of business is dollars and cents, so you need the numbers.”

“At Deloitte, it’s understood that you have to be data fluent,” said Levitt. “All Human Capital consultants are responsible for building reports that are truly measurable and tangible…that’s table stakes.”

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Kaye Luenprakansit (MBA’15)

Know your audience. Luenprakansit and Webb spoke to the importance of understanding the roles, responsibilities, and even language of the employees HR partners work with. “Anytime I take on a new client group, I spend as much time shadowing as possible,” Webb said. “It’s not necessary to be ‘techie’ (to work at a technical organization), but it’s very helpful to learn the language your partners speak,” added Luenprakansit.

Webb made a good point about the impact that an appreciation and understanding of a company’s employees can have on the job search: “If you’re going to be a client partner and work with executives, think about the type of employees you want to work with. Are you interested in technology? If not, you may not like working with those who are.”

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Going South by Southwest: Health:Further Becomes a Festival in 2017 [#permalink]

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New post 31 Aug 2017, 13:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Going South by Southwest: Health:Further Becomes a Festival in 2017
From August 22 to 25, Health:Further became the latest health care conference to land at Music City Center — just don’t call it a conference. Health:Further bills itself as a “festival” and aims to become the South by Southwest of the health care world.

“We don’t want to be a conference. We won’t let anyone call it a conference. If you’re from the press, please don’t write about this as a conference,” CEO and founder Marcus Whitney exhorted the audience on the second day. “It’s a festival when people come together to celebrate…we’re here to celebrate a bright, bold, optimistic future of health.”

So, did Health:Further 2017 succeed — and why does it matter to the Owen community, anyways? First of all, the Center for Health Care Market Innovation (CHMI) at Vanderbilt Business was a major sponsor of the event. In addition, Professor Larry Van Horn, founding director of CHMI, spoke at the festival several times and personally coordinated much of the other programming.

“The role of the Center is to craft the vision for the various days,” he explained. “(Health:Further), to me, is not about how health care is delivered today…it’s much more around where will the future go.”

Van Horn was just one of many Owen connections who spoke at the festival. Nashville Mayor Megan Barry (MBA’93) gave the opening remarks, reaffirming Health:Further’s two ideals: that health is a human right, and that it must be supported affordably and sustainably.

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Nashville Mayor Megan Barry (MBA’93) gives her opening remarks

“We have a paradox about accessibility (to health care),” she said. “It’s important that we have the entrepreneurs, the innovators, the disruptors, the providers, the payors, and the policymakers all in the same place, so that you all can come up with solutions to our health care challenges.”

Numerous Owen graduates gave solo talks and participated in panels throughout the festival, including John Ingram (MBA ’86), Vic Gatto (MBA ’02), Hayley Hovious (MBA ’08), Travis Messina (MBA’08), and Mark Harris (MBA’11). Gatto is the founder of Jumpstart Foundry, which is owned by the same parent company as Health:Further and helped sponsor the fourth day of the festival, which centered on investment topics.

“The only way to solve the challenges that we have…is to find new innovations, new technology, new ways to engage people in their health,” Gatto said. “We use our technology and behavior modification to sell things on TV…I want to take those same advertising-based techniques and teach people to take care of themselves better.”

Naturally, innovation was a major theme of Health:Further 2017 (and of course a major reason why CHMI became a sponsor this year). These innovations came from organizations of all sizes, from small startups to big institutions like HCA, Blue Cross Blue Shield, the FDA, the Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Medicare and Medicaid, and Planned Parenthood.

Attendees looked to companies from non-health-care-related industries for insight, such as Procter & Gamble, Atlanta Hawks, the Nashville Predators, Adobe, Salesforce, Samsung, and Forbes Travel Guide. Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, spoke memorably about broader wellness topics, and attendees heard from other celebrities such as television personality Dr. Oz and NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins.

“This event is not just about health care,” said Health:Further founder Marcus Whitney. “We want to make sure this is about health, the core of what health care is really about.”

This year, the event expanded from 1.5 days to 3.5 days, and the numbers show it: four stages, 185 presenters, dozens of exhibitions booths. If each stage was a firehose, attendees were trying to drink from three or four at a time.

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Professor Larry Van Horn

“I think we need to be more cognizant of giving people time to engage in the business meetings, the networking, the conversations, outside of the programming here,” Van Horn said. “(Next year,) we would probably re-orient the programming, cut it back in terms of the length of the day, and allow more time in the afternoons and evenings.”

In some ways, the festival agenda didn’t seem all too different from a conference, at least on paper. But walk into the hall, and it quickly became apparent that Health:Further is not your typical conference.

The event featured four stages set up in one large concrete hall to mimic the simultaneous performances at a music festival. Stop by any stage, and you’d be able to hear the other presenters, including a rotating cast of singer-songwriters who played throughout the event. The set up was designed specifically to create an energetic ambience and increase opportunities for mingling in the commons areas.

“We wanted there to be a lot of sound bouncing off the walls and for people to be like ‘Man, it’s so much energy going on,’ (and there was),” Whitney explained.

“Having the multiples stages and all the exhibitors (in one room) has this energy to it,” Van Horn agreed. “(But) the acoustics are tough, and there’s some challenges that we’ll want to address in the future.”

“There’s no excuse to have bad sound in Nashville,” agreed Tatum Allsep, another Vanderbilt alum (BS’93) and founder of Music Health Alliance, who helped coordinate the daytime performances as well as the Delbert McClinton concert; she also arranged singer Brenda Lee’s talk. Music Health Alliance is a patient advocacy group that helps connect musicians with poor or no health insurance to health care resources.

We all know music heals…why would we not include music in an event about health? -Marcus Whitney

Since health care is the single greater employer in Nashville, and the music industry is the second, the festival re-branding seemed natural to organizers.

“Nashville is this really unique place, because we’re a health care city, and we’re Music City. And that means we can have a festival,” Whitney said. “But healthcare events don’t ever include music. We all know music heals…why would we not include music in an event about health?”

While the organizers will certainly draw some lessons from this year, the event still made great strides in executing on its new vision, especially in terms of incorporating music and creating a festival-like atmosphere. No longer is Health:Further a series of breakout sessions sprinkled across conference rooms.

“I think the potential (for the festival format) is immense,” Allsep said. “There is no other city in the United States that could pull it off.”

Van Horn agrees that the event is on a good trajectory for many festivals to come.

“The vision that we’ve talked about is building South by Southwest for health care in Nashville… (and) being the anti-conference conference,” Van Horn said. “We’re really trying to generate an energy that is unique, and I think we’re on a path.”

About Vanderbilt’s Center for Healthcare Market Innovation

The Center for Health Care Market Innovation at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management is a hub for the evolution of health care markets. It conducts research on the demand for health care, how it is changing, and the capacity for new financing and delivery models to successfully meet changing consumer needs.

About Health:Further

Health:Further is an open community dedicated to the pursuit of two ideals: first, that health is a human right, and second, that health must be supported affordably and sustainably. Health:Further hosts an annual festival in Nashville, the center of health care in the United States.

The post Going South by Southwest: Health:Further Becomes a Festival in 2017 appeared first on Vanderbilt Business.
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Spreading the Word: Accelerator Helps Peanut Butter Company Reach Camp [#permalink]

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New post 01 Sep 2017, 11:01
FROM Owen Press Releases: Spreading the Word: Accelerator Helps Peanut Butter Company Reach Campus
Good Spread, an organic peanut butter company founded in 2011, is a company with a simple mission — to help good spread. How do they spread the good? By fighting one of the most devastating inflictions in the developing world: severe acute malnutrition.

For every purchase of Good Spread peanut butter, a malnourished child receives a packet of ready-to-use-therapeutic food (RUTF), provided by the MANA Nutrition and distributed through World Vision in several African countries.

Leveraging the buy-one-give-one model pioneered by Toms Shoes, Good Spread has delivered over 33,000 packets of RUTF to children in need. With product on the shelves at Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, Kroger, and small grocers, as well as Amazon, the company turned to Accelerator to build awareness of the brand and mission on campus, through development of a college ambassador program.

Image
Good Spread’s Mark Slagle and Daniel Anderson

College Ambassadors are big business — brands like Coca-Cola, Apple, and Victoria’s Secret engage in campus rep programs across the country. The trend isn’t unique for socially minded enterprises like Good Spread either: Love Your Melon is just one example of retail-centric enterprises using the ambassador model to promulgate missions and brand awareness amongst young consumers.

But like any good strategy, success lies in execution, especially when the strategy involves motivating and sustaining the interest of college students with shifting priorities and demands on their time. Co-Founder Mark Slagle and Community Engagement Director Daniel Anderson put it to four Accelerator teams to create a turn-key solution for a college ambassador program, which included plans for launch, management and sustainability, and financials. As is the case with many young enterprises, resources were slim.



“We’re on a very limited budget, so we had to think about how do we entice people to become part of this program without spending any money,” said Natalie Jones, an Accelerator student from Pepperdine University that participated in the Good Spread project. “We’re really having to come up with creative ideas to engage without spending money, which is definitely a challenge but really exciting at the same time.”

Team strategies overlapped considerably in terms of marketing channels — social media was a cornerstone of every presentation, and Greek systems were a popular target — but logistical considerations and targeting strategies were precise and unique, due in large part to team members’ past experience with ambassador programs. Establishing consistent expectations through team charters and constitutions, implementing communications platforms like Slack and GroupMe, and hiring regional leadership were presented in strong detail and well-received by Slagle and Anderson. From a promotional perspective, hashtag-branded social competitions, use of the company’s revered Winnebago, and opportunities to meet impacted children were all considered.

(This project) really is a big deal, because it allows us to sell more and save more lives. We’re going to be using components of every single presentation. – Mark Slagle

For Slagle and Anderson, the biggest challenge was settling on a winning team. “You guys have all been so good,” Slagle told team members. “We had 15 minutes (to decide), and we needed 3 hours.”

After fierce deliberations, Team 8 was selected as the winner, with Slagle and Anderson cited the team’s focus on story-telling, thoughtful community building through technology, and regional management structure as the difference-makers.

They commended every team for their thoughtful analysis and recommendations. “This (project) has saved us so many hours of work, and helped us in so many ways, so that we can better spread the word of Good Spread,” Slagle said.

“It really is a big deal,” he added, “because it allows us to sell more and save more lives. We’re going to be using components of every single presentation.”

The mission-based approach to Good Spread certainly hit home with team members. “(Slagle) had created this product that was so delicious, but behind it was such a deeper drive for him, and it all made us so much more attached to the mission,” said Jones.

 

Image
Good Spread celebrates with Team 8

The post Spreading the Word: Accelerator Helps Peanut Butter Company Reach Campus appeared first on Vanderbilt Business.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Spreading the Word: Accelerator Helps Peanut Butter Company Reach Camp   [#permalink] 01 Sep 2017, 11:01

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