After ten years as a thriving Goizueta alumni group, the Goizueta Alumni Entrepreneur Network (GAEN) is now an Emory-wide group, welcoming alumni from all disciplines.
“There’s a lot of value being created beyond Goizueta,” says Sarah O’Brien 03WEMBA, copresident. “Entrepreneurial spirit isn’t isolated to only the business school, so we wanted to create an environment that was more inclusive of entrepreneurs in general.”
O’Brien became copresident along with Steve Greenfield 04EvMBA in September 2015. As corporate executives turned entrepreneurs, O’Brien and Greenfield wanted to seek out and help other Emory alumni who might also be looking to change careers or add some entrepreneurial skills to their current job. After a successful networking event in October that was open to all alumni, the pair worked with the Emory Alumni Association to make the change official.
“So far, we’ve received extremely positive feedback and support of us broadening the audience,” says Greenfield. “We now engage students as well as alumni across the entire university and are identifying great entrepreneurial talent from Emory’s various schools.”
The group has held monthly breakfasts for years—small, specialized gatherings to encourage conversation and networking. March’s breakfast featured Benjamin Fink 92L, a shareholder in Berman Fink Van Horn PC, as keynote speaker on the topic of trade secrets. Now the group has begun hosting larger evening events once a quarter, attracting entrepreneurial alumni from every school. October’s discussion panel on real estate and venture capital investing in Atlanta drew over 70 Emory alumni to campus, and the number attending these events is still growing.
“The evening events end at eight, and there are still people in the room at nine, talking and connecting,” says O’Brien. “So we’re getting a great vibe from the alumni about this new change.”—BW
To join the Emory Entrepreneur Network or our upcoming events, visit alumni.emory.edu/connect/entrepreneur.html.