CSU Business Day shares unique perspectives from wide variety of leaders

Female Leaders Panel at Business Day 2022

Photo: Liz Guiducci

From working in the upper echelons of the tech industry to elevating music’s biggest stars to even serving three terms as governor, the speakers at Business Day gave the Colorado State University community a firsthand look at what leadership can look like across a wide spectrum of industries and disciplines. 

April 21 marked the 44th year of the annual event, organized by the Dean’s Student Leadership Council of the CSU College of Business.

“I think leadership can get you very far, and I hope everyone came away from this with a wide variety of perspectives on how to be a better leader,” said second-year business major Madison Squibb, a member of the Dean’s Student Leadership Council and the person responsible for choosing the 2022 theme of leadership.

She has spent nearly a year planning the event and locking down the lineup, which included:

  • Three-term Colorado Governor Roy Romer and his daughter, Guild Education CEO Rachel Romer Carlson.
  • CSU Football Coach Jay Norvell.
  • A female leaders panel comprised of Amazon Web Services Senior Project Manager Angelina Howard, Ginger and Baker restaurant owner Ginger Graham and Encompass Technologies Chief Operating Officer Kim O’Neil.
  • Music Business Program Director Chuck Morris and Assistant Director Eric Griffin.

Attendees were exposed to a wide range of philosophies about how to succeed in business, and even got a firsthand look at Norvell’s early morning workout and meditation routine, habit of swinging a golf club for 10 minutes before work, and penchant for cold showers to remind himself about the tasks throughout the day that he might not want to do, but has to.

“Every decision I make, I do it for the team,” Norvell said.  

Photos: Liz Guiducci

And some of those decisions have included moving the entire team to the junior varsity locker room for months to teach them the value of cleaning up after themselves and taking accountability in everything they do. 

“As senior leaders, we want to transfer leadership from coaches to players,” he said.  

The idea of leaders serving as mentors and elevating the people around them was a theme of the event. Graham recounted how early in her career, she made a $50 million mistake during a transaction involving a major company, and while she had expected to be fired, her boss asked why he’d let her go after he’d spent so much money on her education?

“The idea of mentoring is all day, every day, with every person,” she said.

Similarly, Griffin said:  “Our moments of success, our biggest moments, are really about seeing other people succeed.”

During his session, Morris told stories about his decades working with the biggest artists in the world during his decades as a concert promoter with AEG. This included a story about how he once flew to Dublin to have dinner with U2 during the earliest parts of their career, and how the band’s guitarist, the Edge, had just bought his first-ever car and picked him up in it. 

He also told a story about his encounters with Willie Nelson in his tour bus, and how Bonnie Raitt taught him lessons about forging a path in the industry. 

“When I started in business, I was sort of a young hippie, but I quickly learned how to buck up and deal with people,” said Morris, adding later, “But, I never worked a day in my life in music.” 

Second-year business student Marceli Ollervidez, who moderated one of the Business Day panels, said she was exposed to a wide variety of perspectives throughout the event. 

“It’s amazing to see the wide amount of things you can do with business,” she said. 

Levi Wyrick, a third year business student, is a member of the Dean’s Leadership Council and helped organize the event. He said he was grateful for the opportunity to help the community hear from a diverse group of leaders, and to enrich his own education. 

“It was about getting all of this real-life insight, and to get good context in how to apply what we’re learning in the classroom into the business world,” he said.

Watch: Jay Norvell’s full presentation at CSU Business Day

About CSU’s College of Business

The College of Business at Colorado State University is focused on using business to create a better world.

As an AACSB-accredited business school, the College is among the top five percent of business colleges worldwide, providing programs and career support services to more than 2,500 undergraduate and 1,300 graduate students. Faculty help students across our top-ranked on-campus and online programs develop the knowledge, skills and values to navigate a rapidly evolving business world and address global challenges with sustainable business solutions. Our students are known for their creativity, work ethic and resilience—resulting in an undergraduate job offer and placement rate of over 90% within 90 days of graduation.

The College’s highly ranked programs include its Online MBA, which has been ranked the No. 1 program in Colorado by U.S. News and World Report for five years running and achieved No. 16 for employability worldwide from QS Quacquarelli Symonds. The College’s Impact MBA is also ranked by Corporate Knights as a Top 20 “Better World MBA” worldwide.