Entrepreneurial Arc panel at WCSU to feature local business founders
April 19 forum to present three WCSU alumni who launched successful Danbury firms
DANBURY, CONN. — Three Western Connecticut State University alumni who have launched successful small business ventures based in Danbury will share their entrepreneurial journeys in a panel discussion on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.
“The Entrepreneurial Arc,” a program sponsored by the Entrepreneurship, Research and Innovation Center (ERIC) at Western, will present a panel featuring Nicole Turosky Smith, founder and CEO of GreenWell Financial; Maximillian Barry, founder, owner and master personal trainer of Max’s Best Bootcamp; and Alicia Ghio, co-owner of RmediA LLC and founder of the blog “Local Food Rocks.” The forum will be at 6 p.m. in Room 218 of the Westside Classroom Building. Admission will be free and the public is invited; advance registration is requested at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-entrepreneurial-ard-an-entrepreneurial-panel-discussion-tickets-24327267512.
Smith, who earned her bachelor’s degree in history at WCSU, worked for a decade as a financial consultant and certified financial planner before founding GreenWell Financial in 2015 to serve investors whose portfolios emphasize corporate commitment to social responsibility and environmental sustainability as well as profitability. The company became one of a select few firms in Connecticut to be established as a Benefit Corporation, which requires a broadened purpose to create societal good and sets higher standards for corporate accountability and transparency.
“Today’s consumers are typically turned off by irresponsible and distasteful ways of treating employees and the environment, and prefer to support companies making efforts to be good corporate citizens,” Smith said in an interview with the Fairfield County Business Journal. “The growth of socially responsible investing in recent years strongly suggests that the movement is becoming mainstream. More and more investors believe returns from these strategies are comparable to those of more conventional investments.”
Barry, who received a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the WCSU Ancell School of Business, founded Max’s Best Bootcamp in Danbury in 2013 as a venture designed to promote personal training and weight loss in a vibrant and exciting fitness environment that provides motivation for clients to maximize results from their workouts. Located in a 5,000-square-foot facility, the Bootcamp offers customized programs of individual and group exercise for all levels of fitness led by a team of certified personal trainers who plan each workout session. Barry’s company has set itself apart from competitors in a crowded field through its emphasis on personal training to achieve specific fitness goals and an innovative marketing strategy that makes extensive use of social media including YouTube videos of workout routines and healthy cooking tips.
Ghio, a psychology major who earned her bachelor’s degree at WCSU and master’s degree at Southern Connecticut State University, joined with her husband, Renato, in 1999 to launch RmediA LLC, a full-service video design and production company that serves more than 45 clients in diverse areas including banking, autos, retail, food, arts, education, health care and nonprofits. She holds primary responsibilities for writing, budgeting, scheduling and management in video production, complementing her husband’s focus on shooting, editing and producing video works that seek to communicate clients’ messages effectively through sight and sound.
Alicia’s launch in 2008 of the blog, “Local Food Rocks,” has provided an online forum for sharing news, reviews and recipes inspired by foods grown, marketed and served in Danbury and the surrounding region. “I am a passionate home cook on a mission to inspire and encourage people to know where their food comes from, to know what’s in it, and to savor the flavors of fresh, real ingredients,” she observed on the blog. She also writes about food topics as culinary columnist of the newspaper Tribuna in Danbury and serves as a member of the CityCenter Danbury board.
WCSU recently established the ERIC as a student club that seeks out entrepreneurial and other creative opportunities for students and links students with local business mentors. The goal is to grow the ERIC into a center for entrepreneurial exploration and research based at the university that serves as a catalyst and incubator for new business ventures. WCSU President Dr. John Clark has expressed the vision that the ERIC will help to make Western a hub for entrepreneurial innovation for the region by providing opportunities for partners and mentors from the area business community to collaborate with students and faculty from many academic disciplines at the university.
For more information, contact Associate Professor of Management Dr. Pauline Assenza at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.
Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.