Speakers have keys to open doors to success
A young entrepreneur who read a tweet by Sir Richard Branson and then borrowed money to attend a charity event so that she could meet the business magnate, is today a successful businesswoman and one of Forbes’ “30 under 30”.
Meeting Sir Richard was a springboard for Stacey Ferreira’s career. She and her brother pitched their programming-centred business concept to the Virgin Group founder, and he gave it his backing. Two years later the cloud-based password management business MySocialCloud was sold to a multimillion-dollar tech start-up.
Ms Ferreira, 26, who is coming to Bermuda next month, has gone on to co-author a bestselling book, be a US State Department speaker with international experience, and speak at technology conferences, TEDxYouthSanDiego and Grammy Media Week. She is chief executive officer of Forge, a scheduling platform for businesses to offer flexibility to their hourly employees.
Ms Ferreira is one of three guest speakers announced for the first international edition of Meeting of the Minds, which will be held on the island. The other named speakers are Bill Allen, who has extensive executive experience with the likes of Macy’s and AP Moller-Maersk, and Adrian France, co-founder of millennial media company Odyssey Media, who now works with entrepreneurs in multiple countries as a coach and consultant. The trio will speak about some of the keys to success.
Meeting of the Minds, promoted as one of the top millennial-led “mindshares” in the world, aims to bring together overseas attendees and an equal number of Bermudian-based entrepreneurs, chief executive officers and corporate sector leaders. The Bermuda Business Development Agency, and the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, are among sponsors of the local event.
Meeting of the Minds is headed by Jared Kleinert, USA Today’s “Most connected millennial”, and is being co-hosted by Bermuda’s Andrew Mocklow, founder and chief innovation officer of Par 3 Consulting.
The three-day event starts on September 5 and brings together business leaders, entrepreneurs and networking experts, and while it is millennial-led, it is not restricted to millennials. It is limited to 50 attendees and is open only to those who apply and are invited. However, two public presentations will be held afterwards.
Ms Ferreira said Meeting of the Minds is an opportunity for people of all walks of life, ages and backgrounds to come together and discuss new ideas.
“If there is one thing that is true, it’s that every conversation you have with someone — especially someone with a background different from your own — is an opportunity to learn something new,” she said, adding it is an opportunity to meet new, interesting and accomplished people with a fresh perspective.
In collaboration with Mr Kleinert, she coauthored 2 Billion Under 20: How Millennials Are Breaking Down Age Barriers and Changing the World. She said there are much greater opportunities for young people to achieve entrepreneurial success today compared to the past.
“Technological advances, access to knowledge and a greater access to people are all advantages that today’s youth have when thinking about starting their own entrepreneurial endeavour. If you want to connect with the world’s leading entrepreneur in space exploration, you can,” she said.
“If you want to meet entrepreneurs like Richard Branson to learn from them, you can. This access, primarily through technology, has opened doors for myself and all ambitious young people today who have a great idea and a will to bring it to fruition.”
One of the insights she intends to share with attendees is the hard choices that entrepreneurs have to make, and “the challenges of being a young leader and how you and your business can thrive regardless, if you just remember to ‘act human’.”
Fellow speaker Mr Allen was chief human resources officer at Macy’s, Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings and AP Moller-Maersk, having started out his corporate career at PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division. He is now with Allen Advisers LLC, where he provides consulting, professional services and business solutions to clients.
Speaking about Meeting of the Minds, Mr Allen said: “Networking makes the world go around — especially in this hyperspeed world, successful people learn from each other.”
He also believes there are more opportunities for young people to achieve entrepreneurial success today. He said: “Young, talented people live in a connected and globalised world. For the ambitious and entrepreneurial young people in the world, there have never been more opportunities.”
The third speaker, Ms France, will be connecting with attendees as a group and through one-to-one coaching. She cofounded Odyssey Media while still at college. It grew from a company with two people to having a team of 150, and amassed an audience of more than 30 million in less than two years. She was at the forefront of leading and executing marketing programmes for Fortune 100-500 companies.
Ms France now works with entrepreneurs in multiple countries as a coach and consultant.
The fifth Meeting of the Minds event of this year was held in New York at the weekend. Ms France was one of the speakers.
She said: “I’ve intimately and painfully experienced the challenges of building a bootstrapped start-up to a growing $45+ million venture capital-funded company in my Twenties. I’m incredibly passionate about sharing my knowledge and experiences with fellow entrepreneurs because if I can help them avoid one challenge, one fire, one failure, then it was all worth it to me.”
She views Meeting of the Minds as an opportunity for participants to gain fresh perspectives. “Too often entrepreneurs and even highly successful people are unable to see the forest for the trees. We spin, rack our brains, as well as seek and surround ourselves with those only in our industry perpetuating the same perspective. This event allows someone that is completely out of your realm to see the challenge from a different point of view — that unique perspective can be a complete game-changer.”
Ms France believes there are many more opportunities for young people today than in the past, noting that a lot of the barriers to entry into business have been removed, while access to mentors, educations and collaborative communities are more abundant.
“The key is to actually seize these opportunities. You must take action, it’s all in the execution and continued execution and iteration when the entrepreneur will undoubtedly face failure and challenges,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mr Mocklow, co-host of the Bermuda event, described Meeting of the Minds as an “exciting network of entrepreneurs and business professionals”, and said the Bermuda edition is an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to “develop deep and meaningful relationships with like-minded individuals from around the world and create some amazing connections to help solve genuine business issues”.
Separate to Meeting of the Minds, there will also be two public presentations on September 10. The first is titled “How to build a world-class network in record time” and will teach professional networking and relationship-building skills to the wider business community.
At the second seminar, Mr Kleinert will present his latest book 3 Billion Under 30: How Millennials Continue Redefining Success, Breaking Barriers, and Changing The World to public school students, who can attend for free and receive a copy of the book. It is hoped that hundreds of the island’s students will attend. Space is limited for both seminars on a first-come, first-served basis.
Among the other sponsors for Meeting of the Minds in Bermuda are Bermuda Tourism Authority, Travel Edge, Flanagan’s Irish Pub and Restaurant and Premier Tickets.
• To apply for Meeting of the Minds, and RSVP for the public seminars on September 10, visit ptix.bm/motm. Additional information about Meeting of the Minds Bermuda can be found at https://3billionunder30.com/MOTMBDA. Mr Mocklow can be contacted at email@example.com, and Mr Kleinert at firstname.lastname@example.org