Susan Alt, senior vice president of Public Affairs for Volvo Group North America, leads a break out session on "How to Sell Your Story and Be Successful." (Photos by Mark Harrington, ECU College of Business)

ECU College of Business hosts first leadership conference

March 8, 2015

ECU News Services

Top business executives shared leadership advice and experiences with more than 1,000 East Carolina University students during a professional conference held on campus March 31 - April 1.

The ECU College of Business’s first Business Leadership Conference helped prepare participants for the realities of the business world while providing opportunities to interact with ECU's Business Advisory Council, alumni, employers and community members. The two-day symposium built upon the intensive leadership preparation that ECU business students receive throughout their business education.

ECU alumnus Todd Ervin '94 led a breakout session on "The Mystery of Total Market." Ervin earned a degree in marketing from ECU. He is now vice president and general manager of Cultur8.
“This was a tremendous event that helped to inspire and inform our students, and the presenters touched lives in ways they can't imagine,” said Stan Eakins, dean of ECU’s College of Business.

“ECU is known as the leadership university, and this event showed that the College of Business is determined to lead from the front in the development of tomorrow’s business leaders."

Presenters came to Mendenhall Student Center from Dallas, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington, D.C. and across North Carolina, traveling at their own cost to speak about their leadership experiences. They represented businesses such as GEICO, Hormel, Two Men and a Truck, Volvo and Ernst & Young.

The conference began with a keynote address by ECU Head Football Coach Ruffin McNeill, followed by 35 breakout sessions.

McNeill opened the conference by laying out his leadership vision and urging students to learn. "There is knowledge everywhere in this room. In every session, there will be something you can use,” he said. “Grab it, and put it in your toolbox."

Students chose from breakout sessions including "Lessons in Survival, Life, and Leadership," "The Grandma Rule and the Importance of People," "Challenges of Entrepreneurship," and "Women in Business: How to Jumpstart your Career and Leapfrog the Competition."

Sophomore marketing major Casey Adcox reflected on a presentation by Algenon Cash of Wharton Gladden, a real estate investment firm. "There were a lot of great takeaways today,” she said. “[Cash] stressed how important it is to identify your purpose and then work toward fulfilling that purpose. A lot of it resonated with me, not only on a professional level, but on a personal level as well."

Kinston mayor B.J. Murphy shared business and life philosophies that have motivated him throughout his career during a conference presentation. "Listening to Mayor Murphy's speech really inspired me to go for the things that I want and not be afraid of failure," said senior Caroline Arnold.

The Business Leadership Conference was free for juniors, seniors and graduate students in the College of Business. Sponsors included Harry Moser; Phil Tetterton and Keith Harris of Cox Industries; Jim Ward of Ward Holdings LLC; Van Isley of Professional Builders Supply; and Wanda Burgamy of Dell.

Pictured below, more than 1,000 students participate in the first Business Leadership Conference hosted by the ECU College of Business.