Spotlight on Karen Heflin

What is your educational background?

BS Communication Disorders, (Speech Pathology).

 

Karen Heflin

Karen Heflin

 

What is your work background?

I have been at home with my children for the past 13 years, with small part-time jobs on the side.  Now that they are all in school, I’m enjoying the opportunity to work for the Griggs Center.

 

What do you do at ACU/COBA?

I am the Springboard Program Coordinator for the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy.  I help with fundraising, coordinate our business model competitions for both students and the community, and provide training events for aspiring entrepreneurs.

 

What’s the best part of working with students?

I enjoy their energy, creativity and enthusiasm.

 

Outside of ACU, what passions and hobbies do you have?

I love being with my husband and four children.  I love to travel and eat and experience other cultures–this may be because I’m a ‘Third Culture Kid.’  I enjoy reading and singing.  Also, I love to climb things.  Especially trees.

 

The Heflin Family

The Heflin Family

 

What is a good, early story about your first job or when you were in college?

My very first job was scooping ice cream for a family-owned, homemade ice cream shop.  I had a very strong right arm at the end of that summer!

 

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

My family and I are a mentors for arriving refugee families through the International Rescue Committee. These families have become our real life heroes as well as our dear friends. Their stories are humbling and inspiring. I am very passionate about serving this community of people and would love to tell you more if you’re interested in volunteering!

 

Karen and Houston Heflin

Karen and Houston Heflin

 

Who is your role model and why?

Corrie ten Boom and Rosa Parks- I admire their strength and tenacity and their willingness to take great risks for ideas they believed to be important.

 

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

Teleportation.  This would allow me to travel anytime to anywhere.

 

What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?

I lived in Iceland in the late 80’s.

Startup Week and Elevator Pitch Welcomes Entrepreneurs!

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In November, the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy hosted the first annual Startup Week. The CEO student organization along with the Griggs Center were busy with several activities during the week, including an Alumni Entrepreneurship dinner on November 18, a CEO chapel on the 19th with guest speaker Toby Thomas, and ending with the final Elevator Pitch competition after the chapel. The goal of the Springboard Elevator Pitch competition was to get students to create and present their idea, giving them the opportunity to gain real experience working with entrepreneurs. Three weeks prior to Startup Week, participants presented their Elevator Pitch ideas in front of a group of local entrepreneurs and ACU faculty members and learned how they would be judged as well as the deadlines for the competition. At the dinner on November 18, the 10 finalists were announced. The next day, the pitches were heard and the winner received $1,500 cash for the idea.

The winner of the Elevator Pitch was COBA major, Colby Hatchett, a junior marketing major from Fort Worth. His idea was The Mullet, a restaurant concept where parents could enjoy a nice meal at the front of the restaurant while their children would be fully taken care of in the back of the restaurant. After the pitch, Colby said he was incredibly grateful to meet entrepreneurs working in the marketplace and gain real experience from the competition.

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Rudy Garza, President of CEO, was excited that students were able to meet and connect with ACU alums and other entrepreneurs. At the dinner, students were seated at tables with the entrepreneurs and were able to hear their stories and advice for those considering entrepreneurship as well as making valuable connections for potential career opportunities. When asked the effect of COBA with the Elevator Pitch, Rudy said, “Because the classes are smaller and the quality of the faculty is excellent, COBA students always excel in the Springboard Challenge competitions. The presenters are stronger and seem comfortable speaking in front of the crowd. Through the interactions between professors and students, students gain major insight into what entrepreneurship looks like, which is incredibly beneficial for them in this case.”

Overall, the competition was a great success. Some unique ideas were presented during the pitch and it was great to have so many ACU and COBA alumni back on campus. COBA is proud to see such amazing business and Christian leadership in the marketplace. Again, congratulations to COBA student, Colby Hatchett, on winning the competition!

 

“The Springboard Challenge is a great enhancement to COBA’s culture of ideation, creativity, and innovation. This competition pushes our students and culture in a good way!” says Dr. Rick Lytle, Dean of the College of Business.

It is That Time of Year: Springboard!

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The highly anticipated event we have all been waiting for is just around the corner! Registration for the seventh annual Springboard Ideas challenge is now open and ready to start accepting applicants for 2014. Springboard is a business plan competition that takes place each year through the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy. Contestants vary, including some who have ideas and are seeking to start a business and others who have already established small businesses. The cash prizes come from several local sponsors. This year, certain phases of the competition have changed. The initial application process has been revamped to make each transition phase flow more smoothly for applicants.

The competition includes three different divisions: the community-growth division, the community-small business division, and the college division. The first, second, and third place winners in each division will receive cash prizes. For the college division, the first place winner will receive $7,500, the second place winner will receive $3,000, and the third place winner will receive $1,000. In the community-growth division, the first place winner will receive $15,000, the second place winner will receive $5,000, and the third place winner will receive $1,000. For the community-small business, the first place winner will receive $5,000, the second place winner will receive $3,000, and the third place winner will receive $1,000. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and be a permanent resident of one of the qualifying 19 counties surrounding the Abilene area.

To enter the competition, applicants must initially complete an online application and pay the registration fee. The online application deadline is 5 P.M. on March 7th. Once the judging panel has advanced chosen contestants on to the next phase of the competition, a mini-business plan must be submitted. The business plan should address the fundamental issues of interest to potential investors. This document should highlight the most important and interesting points of the business, which should give potential investors a general understanding of why this venture would succeed. Contestants who advance to the next phase of the competition qualify as finalists and must prepare a presentation for a live panel of judges. The exact date, time, and location will vary by division but will take place during the week of April 6-12, 2014. Participants will be given 10 minutes to present their idea to the judges and will then be subject to 10-15 minutes of Q&A from the judges.The final phase of the competition will be the awards dinner, which will take place on April 15th. All finalists will display their ideas as part of an exhibit hall before the dinner, and then the winners of each division will be announced during the dinner. This year, Stuart Crum, President for Bridgestone Retail Operations, will be speaking at the awards ceremony.

Students have represented COBA well in the past Springboard competitions. Typically, around 30-4 students from around campus enter the competition each year. Last year, senior Luke Luttrell won first place in the college division with his Right Route idea. Right Route is a mobile app similar to Google Maps but offers more route options, optimizing the fastest route between as many desired destinations. Dr. Brent Reeves and Dr. Brian Burton were two professors that helped Luke develop his idea for the app. Luke believes that COBA was absolutely fundamental to winning Springboard. He credits his success to the help of such great professors in COBA, reiterating how involved and willing they were to reach out and help him on his journey to success. Luke also praises the competition in regards to the process. He says, “Springboard gives students the opportunity to present an idea to a panel of investors with entrepreneurial experience, resulting in great feedback on the idea and business model.” Luke has learned to always seek entrepreneurial opportunities and encourages anyone with even the smallest idea to enter the competition. Springboard is a great opportunity to grow one’s entrepreneurial skills and gain relevant experience through a high value process and interaction with professional entrepreneurs.

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“The Springboard Ideas Challenge is a great opportunity for any student who is interested in entrepreneurial pursuits. It offers an unbelievable experience because it forces students to turn a simple idea into a fully functioning business model,” says Luke Luttrell, senior COBA student and winner of the 2013 Springboard Challenge.

 

Global Entrepreneurship Week

Darbie Angell, Founder and CEO of CRU Dinnerware

Happy Global Entrepreneurship Week!

It’s that time of the year, the one where 35,000 events occur in 125 countries, all in the name of entrepreneurship. It’s beautiful, because it’s the chance to acknowledge that it’s hard to generate and implement new ideas, but that it’s also worth the trouble, because innovation is what makes our world go round.

Here at ACU’s College of Business, we try to embrace the spark of innovation as much as possible, which is why we’re celebrating entrepreneurship through several different events:

 

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13: ENTREPRENEUR SPEAKER SERIES

April Anthony, Founder and CEO of Encompass Home Health

Darbie Angell, Founder and CEO of CRU Dinnerware, will be speaking from 11:00-11:30 at the Hunter Welcome Center (LYNAY room), and April Anthony, Founder and CEO of Encompass Home Health will be speaking from 11:45-1:00, also at the Hunter Welcome Center.

Both of these women exemplify what it means to be successful entrepreneurs. They serve as mentors and examples to our students, especially to our future female entrepreneurs. We are incredibly thankful to have them with us to kick off Global Entrepreneurship Week.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15: SPRINGBOARD ELEVATOR PITCH COMPETITION (FINAL ROUND AND AWARDS)

Budding entrepreneurs have learned to pitch a new product, service, or business concept in two minutes or less in a competition to win $1500. The first round of the Elevator Pitch Competition took place last Saturday, November 6. Everyone is invited to watch the final round of the competition this Thursday at 11:00.  Click here to register.

START THINKING ABOUT THE SPRINGBOARD IDEAS CHALLENGE…

Do you have a great idea? If so, you should participate in our Springboard Ideas Challenge! Each team or individual submits a mini-business plan and then, if chosen as a finalist, is given the opportunity to present its idea to a live panel of judges.  Last year’s student category winner won $10,000 for his idea and the winner from the community category won $20,000! Click here to learn more about the Springboard Ideas Challenge.

Stay tuned for more information on this great opportunity!

A big thanks goes out to the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy for all of their hard work in creating opportunities that foster entrepreneurship within this community.

The season for Springboard

If you have ever taken the time to sit down and jot out a plan for starting your own business, you need to enter our Springboard Ideas Challenge. If you ever even just thought about a cool idea for a business or service, you need to enter our Springboard Ideas Challenge. You never know! YOU could win $10,000! There’s even a high school category for competition this year. Click here for more information about the competition, divisions, awards and prizes.

Registration is now open for our fifth annual Springboard Ideas Challenge!

Don’t worry if you don’t know how to write a business plan, there are training sessions scheduled to help you learn!

Also, mark your calendars for Tuesday, April 17th for the Springboard Ideas Challenge Awards Dinner. We’re honored to welcome William (Bill) E. Greehey, former Chairman and CEO of Valero, as our guest speaker. Click here to learn more about Mr. Greehey. He now serves as Chairman of the Board for NuStar Energy L.P. and is an active philanthropic patron in the San Antonio area.

We hope you can join us during this exciting Springboard season. 

“Let us come before Him with Thanksgiving…”

A note from Dr. Lytle:

In 1789, president George Washington declared that our nation should take time to bow its head and give thanks to almighty God for his sovereignty and provision and “that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions…”  For some 235 years our nation has honored president Washington’s admonition to give thanks.  This week, I invite you to join me in setting aside time to celebrate God’s goodness by gathering with family and friends to share a meal but also to give thanks to the one and only God who has blessed us as a nation.

Washington's prayer at Valley Forge

We had a chance to chat with a few of our students as they were wrapping up their school day yesterday. We asked them to share with us things they were thankful for. Here’s some of the comments they shared: “relationships with professors; the COBA family; professors and the way they care about us and lead us; the way we talk about the balance between faith and money; the study abroad opportunities; our awesome advisors.”

The Oxford study abroad group with Dr. Don Pope (and wife, Beth) and Drs. Mark and Laura Phillips

The faculty and staff in the College of Business are grateful for our incredible students. We know their families are looking forward to this break to be with them and love on them. Please join us in continuing to keep the Reid family in our thoughts and prayers during this time.  We hope you have a blessed time together, safe travels and that you return to us refreshed and renewed, and ready to finish the semester strong.

“Come let us sing with joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our Salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving, and extol him with music and song.” Psalm 95:1-2