The Thought

Can I develop a better way to address the burden of student loan debt?

From the day that entrepreneurship first took hold of him as a student at Babson, Tim DeMello has been inspired to act on his ideas. At Babson, it was starting a rugby team that is still going strong decades later. Most recently, it was recognizing that he could use his entrepreneurial skills to tackle a societal problem affecting over 40 million people in the United States.

The Action

Creating Gradifi, an employer-based loan payment program

Founded by DeMello in 2014, Gradifi helps new graduates pay off their loans and get out of debt faster, creating a win-win for both employers and employees. For an entrepreneur to be successful, they also need an inspirational and supportive network, and Babson provided DeMello with a dynamic network of friends and professional connections that have played a major role in Gradifi’s continued success.

gradifi.com » Inside the Life, Times, and Napkin Sketches of a Serial Entrepreneur »

The Thought

How can entrepreneurship help improve and save lives?

Entrepreneurs try to solve the world’s biggest problems, and for Deborah DiSanzo, the problem is healthcare. An alumna who has learned from Babson’s thought-provoking community of entrepreneurial leaders, DiSanzo believes entrepreneurs need both courage and follow-through, which is why she was willing to think big and take risks when it came to improving healthcare delivery all around the world.

The Action

Pioneering a new brand of healthcare through IBM Watson Health

IBM Watson Health has one goal: transform the way we manage our biggest health challenges. As the general manager of this entrepreneurial venture within IBM, DiSanzo leads more than 2,000 employees worldwide working to improve access to care and diagnostics, simplify the way clinicians do their work, and find ways to significantly reduce healthcare costs.

ibm.com/watson/health » Entrepreneurs of All Kinds »

The Thought

How can I fuse my love for beauty into my career?

For Brittany Lo, her passion for beauty began when she was 2 and would experiment with her mother’s makeup. She came to Babson because of its reputation for entrepreneurship and her desire to one day have her own cosmetic company. It would be in Babson’s Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab® that her business idea became a reality.

The Action

Founding Beautini, a beauty service that empowers women from the inside out

Surrounded by the supportive women entrepreneurs in the WIN Lab, Lo was inspired to push herself and her business to the next level before and after graduation. Now headquartered in Manhattan, Beautini continues to pursue its mission: to offer fun, personalized makeovers that make women look and feel beautiful at the most special times of their lives.

beautinibyblo.com » Entrepreneurs of All Kinds »

The Thought

How can I be best equipped to help my company navigate change?

Archie Seale came to Babson for more than an MBA. He recognized that, when you’re at an expanding company that deploys state-of-the-art managed IT solutions to businesses, you need to develop a versatile skillset capable of addressing rapidly shifting challenges. There are always new obstacles, and, at Babson, he honed the problem-solving skills necessary to create innovative solutions.

The Action

Using an entrepreneurial mindset to ensure mindSHIFT keeps evolving

As vice president of marketing, Seale is uniquely situated to not only identify new opportunities for growth, but to take the steps needed to avoid getting stuck in the status quo. By thinking and acting entrepreneurially, he’s able to generate ideas and create change that will help mindSHIFT continue to be a leading IT outsourcing and cloud services provider moving forward.

mindshift.com » Entrepreneurs of All Kinds »

The Thought

Can I create a way to break the cycle of inner-city violence?

A dreamer who believes in doing, Jon Feinman had a vision to bring together his two passions—personal training and community development. Always a self-starter, Feinman sought out the resources and guidance necessary to turn his idea into an enterprise. It was in Babson’s MBA program that he found the peers, faculty, and other advisors to help him craft a business plan.

The Action

Starting InnerCity Weightlifting, a gym that’s a positive alternative for at-risk youth

In Boston, where a small percentage of youth are responsible for much of the gun violence, InnerCity Weightlifting uses fitness training as a way to “empower young people to say no to violence and yes to opportunity.” For Feinman, entrepreneurship is doing, and what he has done is taken an innovative approach to building safer, more inclusive communities.

innercityweightlifting.org » Entrepreneurs of all Kinds » Running a Business Rooted in Mission »

The Thought

What’s a sustainable, creative way to empower women to make a social impact?

Savitha Sridharan had a dream of founding a sustainable energy business, and, at Babson, she found the strength to try something new in this male-dominated industry. Supported by the entrepreneurs at Babson’s Lewis Institute for Social Innovation and Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership, she pursued a bold idea that would deliver low-cost energy, along with economic opportunity, for women.

The Action

Launching Orora Global, which offers solar power to impoverished communities

In addition to providing access to low-cost renewable energy to rural communities in developing countries, Orora Global empowers women entrepreneurs in these areas with the training and financial support they need to sell Orora’s solar products. It’s an innovative solution that improves both the infrastructure of these off-the-grid communities and the economic potential of the women who reside there.

ororaglobal.com » SAVITHA SRIDHARAN MBA’14 »
// Alberto

The Thought

How can the value I create in the world push humanity forward in a positive way?

Alberto Perlman sought out Babson because of its reputation for entrepreneurship, and, as a student, he learned everything from programming logic to financial accounting. He graduated equipped with business fundamentals and an entrepreneurial mindset he could utilize when he met Beto Perez, a fitness instructor with a dream of helping people exercise through dance.

The Action

Turning Zumba® into a global brand that transforms lives through the power of dance

Perlman and Perez conceived of the idea to create tapes of dance exercise routines that made the concept of fitness fun. As the Zumba community of instructors and participants rapidly spread around the world, the business model and its social impact evolved as well. Now, even as the brand continues to expand beyond its dance-class roots, its mission remains the same: to improve the lives of the instructors and clients.

zumba.com »

The Thought

How can I approach problems differently as an entrepreneur?

At Babson, Alisha Varde actively developed a versatile entrepreneurial mindset both in and out of the classroom. In different campus organizations, and collaborating in groups, she learned how to creatively solve problems by asking the right questions, recognizing that to come up with something great, different minds need to come together.

The Action

Tackling complex challenges across a variety of markets at Liberty Mutual Insurance

As a member of the consulting team that works on the priorities of the CEO, Varde is tasked with assessing and implementing high-level strategies. The problems often are undefined, but her perspective as an entrepreneur allows her to view these challenges in a new light. To Varde, consultant is just a fancy term for problem-solver, and she takes a tenacious and inventive approach to new obstacles.

careers.libertymutualgroup.com »

The Thought

What economic and social value can I create in a region dealing with upheaval?

When Central America was in the midst of political, economic, and social turmoil in the 1980s, Roberto Zamora saw an opportunity to offer a solution to a growing problem. As global banks were leaving the region, his company would provide the financial services they had previously offered, helping deliver much-needed stability and growth to the region.

The Action

Founding Lafise to offer financial technology to developing nations in Central America

Today, the family-run company continues to contribute to the economic prosperity of the region, while the Zamora Terán Foundation has shown how the private sector can positively influence the social development of a country. The next generation of the Zamora family includes five Babson alumni, who use their entrepreneurial skillsets to identify and pursue new opportunities for innovation.

lafise.com »

The Thought

In a conventional advertising world, what can I offer that’s different?

At Babson, Aaron Walton learned the art of saying something that was worth hearing. As a young entrepreneur, he pushed himself to take risks, expand his horizons, and do what it takes to keep the lights on. After finding a kindred spirit who also felt most advertising agencies were running on autopilot, they sat down and wrote up a business plan titled “Creating the planet’s most interesting agency.”

The Action

Challenging the status quo with Walton Isaacson, an agency like no other

Unlike large advertising conglomerates that have difficulty connecting with minority audiences because they’re focused on reach and not relevance, Walton Isaacson has the capability to relate to the unheard and underserved. Surrounded by a diverse team who shares his entrepreneurial spirit, Walton continues to experiment and push the envelope for clients in need of innovative and effective creative solutions.

waltonisaacson.com »

The Thought

What’s the best way to pivot to a personally fulfilling career?

After losing a beloved aunt to cancer and successfully running the Boston Marathon in her honor, Kelly Greeley was at a crossroads. Inspired to shift gears in pursuit of a more meaningful path, she made the choice to leave behind a career in investment banking and consulting to earn an MBA with a focus on healthcare.

The Action

Working at Boston Children’s Hospital to improve delivery of care to patients

At Babson, Greeley developed the practical business skills and flexible entrepreneurial mindset needed to handle the unique obstacles of working at a nonprofit. Connecting patients and doctors with the clinical trials that will help them the most is challenging work, but she can rely on a business education designed to teach her to effectively collaborate with different people and teams.

childrenshospital.org » A New Definition of Success »

The Thought

How can I find a way to make my idea a reality?

Immediately after graduation, Michael Bastian came to New York to begin his career in fashion. Success in the always changing fashion world requires the ability to adapt, to collaborate, and to persevere, all of which are entrepreneurial traits he had honed while at Babson. You also need an idea you’re passionate about, and Bastian recognized an opportunity he was willing to take a risk for.

The Action

Becoming a defining voice in modern American menswear

After consistently failing to find men’s styles that he himself loved, Bastian took matters into his own hands, launching an eponymous line that expertly reinvented iconic fashions. Through constant reinvention and relentlessness, he discovered a sweet spot that resonated. Today, Michael Bastian is the name most associated with classic American menswear done at a luxury level.

michaelbastiannyc.com »

The Thought

Can I be more than just a designer?

Ruthie Davis literally dreams about shoes. Fashion has always been her life, but she enrolled in Babson’s MBA program knowing that it would take more than creative design for her to become a successful businesswoman. Growing as an entrepreneur, she gained the confidence to go out on a limb and turn her dreams into something fabulous.

The Action

Creating the Ruthie Davis® brand and redefining fashion footwear

Davis always loved sports, but never understood why no one had combined the sizzle and fun colors of an athletic shoe with the luxury of a dress shoe. After positions at Reebok, UGG Australia, and Tommy Hilfiger, she launched her eponymous brand in 2006 and did just that. Now found on runways and red carpets everywhere, Davis’s shoes are changing the face of fashion, one step at a time.

Ruthiedavis.com » Entrepreneurs of all Kinds »

The Thought

How can I change the way consumers look at the cranberry?

Ken Romanzi, soon after starting as the Chief Operating Officer at Ocean Spray Cranberries, witnessed his first cranberry harvest firsthand. It took his breath away, and he immediately began thinking how powerful it would be if the world could see what he saw. Inspired by an entrepreneurial mindset he had honed at Babson, he set out to push innovation within the cranberry industry.

The Action

Bringing the world’s most beautiful harvest out for the world to see

Under Romanzi’s leadership, Ocean Spray launched its Straight from the Bog® commercials, which featured cranberry growers standing in a sea of berries during the harvest. That iconic advertising campaign, as well as innovative new ways of incorporating the cranberry into different products and packages, led to cranberry sales going up and cranberry growers becoming happier.

oceanspray.com »

The Thought

How can I combine business and my love of the performing arts?

Pamela Pantos got hooked on opera from a young age, majored in music at Wellesley College, and then continued her studies overseas at the University of Hamburg. However, after years spent performing at some of the most famous opera venues in the world, she returned stateside to earn her MBA at Babson. Equipped with a one-of-a-kind business education, she was prepared to make an impact at arts organizations.

The Action

Using her experience on the stage and in the boardroom to revitalize nonprofits

As vice president at Arts Consulting Group, Pantos utilizes her versatile skillset to help theaters and other cultural nonprofits do everything from fundraising to recruiting future executives. There are always new challenges and collaborations, but her abilities as an entrepreneurial leader enable her to go above and beyond to help the arts flourish around the world.

artsconsulting.com » Business Takes Center Stage »