Connecticut Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz urges students to find mentors to help guide their careers at entrepreneurship and innovation speaker series

Bysiewicz, Brown and McKinney talk to each other.

Inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs

Connecticut Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz speaks with Jennifer Brown, interim provost and executive vice president, and Fred McKinney, Carlton Highsmith chair of innovation and entrepreneurship and professor of entrepreneurship & strategy.

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onnecticut Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz urged the university community to find and nurture mentors throughout their lives. At the first event of this year's People’s United Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Speakers Series, the lieutenant governor encouraged students to form professional relationships while still in college.

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"Having mentors is absolutely key,” she said. "I have been blessed in my life at every step of the way to have some very committed mentors.”

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Two students sit during an event.

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Bysiewicz speaks at a podium.

Bysiewicz described having mentors throughout college, law school and her days in the legislature. 

"There are many ways to find mentors,” she sad. “Internships are a great way to start."

She encouraged the students in the audience to consider applying for an internship in her office.

“Quinnipiac students are fiercely talented young men and women,” Bysiewicz said. “You all have bright futures.”

She told the members of the university community that the current administration in Hartford shares the same the values and goals as the School of Business’ People’s United Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

“Our administration is all about innovation and entrepreneurship,” Bysiewicz said.

To attain success, she said she and Gov. Ned Lamont have built a diverse team.

“I am happy to say that 50% of our cabinet is women,” Bysiewicz said to applause. “We have also assembled the most racially diverse cabinet ever in Connecticut — with more than 40% of whom are people of color.”

Elected leaders and entrepreneurs share a lot in common, she said.

“In order to be successful, we must both communicate well and be persistent,” Bysiewicz said. “Further, people involved in politics and business both have to raise money.”

The most successful campaigns and governments are diverse, she said. 

The People’s United Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

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“When you bring in people from all walks of life, you are most successful,” Bysiewicz said. “The more diverse corporate leadership teams are, the greater returns you can deliver to your shareholders.”

She explained that’s why she believes over the past five years, Fortune 500 companies have gone from 5% women to 23%. However, more work still needs to be done. Today, only 5% of CEOs at the same companies are women.

Quinnipiac is hoping to change that through initiatives like this speaker’s series.

Throughout the coming weeks, leaders will share their experiences. Among the events:

  • February 12 – Michael Reynolds
    Vice President of Ideation & Innovation Strategy, Stanley Black & Decker
  • February 19 – David Lehman
    Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development
  • February 26 – Caroline Smith and Margaret Lee
    Founders, Collab
  • March 4 – Jeff Tengel
    President, People’s United Bank
  • March 18 – Will Ginsberg
    President and Chief Executive Officer, Community Foundation for Greater New Haven
  • March 25 – Blair Decker
    Vice President, Supply Chain, Materials and Strategic Sourcing, General Dynamics/Electric Boat
  • April 1 – Onyeka Obiocha
    Managing Director, Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale, Yale University
  • April 8 – Entrepreneurship Capital Summit

    Rodney Sampson
    Founder, Opportunity Hub

    Steve Grossman
    President and CEO, Initiative for a Competitive Inner City

    Robert Greene
    President and CEO, National Association of Investment Companies

    Shawn Wooden
    Connecticut State Treasurer

    Anthony Price
    Founder, LootScout
  • April 15 – George Llado
    Chief Information Officer, Alexion Pharmaceuticals
  • April 22 – Garrett Sheehan
    President and Chief Executive Officer, Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce
  • April 29 – Mary Howard and Donna Lecky
    Executive Director, ABCT and Co-Founder and Managing Director, iHaven and HealthVenture

All sessions will run on Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. in SB-109, except the April 8 session (10 a.m. in RTSC-316). 

Light refreshments will be served and all are welcome to attend.