Six times a year MIM students are required to attend the Age of the Pacific (AOP) Lecture Series to fulfill a one-credit course in the program, MIM 507. Assignments for the course include a one-page essay based upon each AOP lecture and a four-page final summary tying all lectures together with key learnings. AOP lectures have featured a variety of knowledgeable business professionals such as:
- Patrick J. Ryan, President of RCG Strategies – Lecture topic: LEAN business principles
- Ben Thacker, Vice President of ASUS Computers North America Distribution – Lecture topic: Successful sales and marketing of a product
- Linda Weston, President and Executive Director of Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) – Lecture topic: What it takes to start your own company
Linda Weston was the guest speaker at the most recent AOP lecture held this past Monday. Weston discussed her unique career path that started out in the travel industry, led to coaching a women’s professional basket ball team, and finally to her current position at OEN. She explained the history of OEN, the difference between an angel investor versus a venture investor, important things to think about when starting up your own company, and gave valuable “take away lessons.”
Weston’s Take Away Lessons for Entrepreneurs:
- You need both luck AND timing
- You need a good idea
- You need to be coachable. You may not be the person to take your company to the next level. You need to understand when you might need a CEO who can take it to the next level otherwise you will likely face difficulty obtaining an investor.
- If you take outside investment you must be willing to give up a piece of your company. Ask yourself, “Do you want 100% of nothing successful or 40% of something successful?”
- You need passion
- You must have commitment
- You must be willing to make it work (you have to believe with all your heart to see your company succeed)
- You must be willing to take risks
The following is Linda Weston’s Biography from the AOP informational flyer:
- Weston has served as the President and Executive Director of the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network, since 1999. Since that time OEN has increased the number of programs it presents to support entrepreneurs, expanded the capital network available to entrepreneurs, and through outreach has extended its programs statewide.
- Prior to OEN, Weston spent 18 years in the tourism industry, 15 of those in Eugene, with the Convention & Visitors Association of Lane County Oregon (CVALCO), (1981-1996), 7 years as the Director of Convention Sales and Marketing, 8 years as the Executive Director and CEO.
- In 1996 Weston was recruited away from CVALCO by the American Basketball League to relocate to Portland, serve as the General Manager, and start the Portland Power, women’s professional basketball team. Although the American Basketball League was undercapitalized and ultimately failed in December 1998, the Portland Power was successful and profitable. It led the League in ticket revenue and was second in attendance out of 11 teams.
- In 2002 and 2005 Weston was selected as “one of 25 Outstanding Women in Business” by the Portland Business Journal.
- In 2005 Weston was one of three national finalists for the “Supporter of Entrepreneurship” award presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in conjunction with Ernst & Young’s national Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, resulting in major national recognition for OEN’s programs to assist entrepreneurs.
- In 2007 Weston was recognized by the Northwest Women’s Journal as one of the “100 Most Powerful Women” in the Northwest.
Business professionals and students who are not in the MIM program are welcome and encouraged to attend the AOP lecture series. Lectures are approximately 1.5 hours long (with Q&A session), tend to start at 5:30pm on Mondays, and follow with a reception for the opportunity to personally meet the guest speakers and network with like-minded business professionals and students. AOP lectures are always listed on the PSU Graduate Business program’s event calendar.