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Spring 2022 Marlin Business Conference: Commerce Reimagined

The weeklong student-led business conference takes place April 11-15

University News | April 8, 2022

Virginia Wesleyan University’s student-led business conference will take place April 11-15. The theme for the spring 2022 semester’s conference is “Commerce Reimagined.” During this eventful week, members of the community are invited to participate in free workshops, presentations and interactive panels, all planned and organized by students in Lecturer of Management, Business and Economics (MBE) Frank Futyma’s “Principles of Management” course. The biannual conference represents the culmination of months of hard work by the students who were responsible for coordinating all aspects of the event, as they engaged in key management skills such as product development, networking, project management and financial planning.

“MBE 301 is the course to take in order to oversee the business conference,” said MacKenzie Osborne ‘22, CEO of the spring conference. “This semester the conference focuses on how businesses were able to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and explores how to expand their operations in the face of the virus.”

Osborne, who is majoring in business administration with a concentration in human resources, explains that when students take the course the entire class is expected to host the business conference, with each semester’s CEO and team putting their own spin on it. From identifying speakers, judges, audiences, workshops, live stream events, and even fundraisers, the students are expected to think of every detail for the conference.

Students in the class assume key planning roles throughout the process. In addition to CEO Osborne, computer science major Davon (DJ) Young ‘24 serves as the chief technology officer, overseeing every technical aspect of the conference including livestreaming the event for participants who cannot be there in person.

“As the conference tech guy, I'm in the head role regarding the hardware and software for recording, livestreaming, and whatever supplemental device decides to break right before a presentation,” said Young. “It's my job to keep delays to a minimum and A/V quality to the maximum. Up until now I've been working on most of our graphic design and organizational projects, but now that things are in full swing it's mostly test runs and process improvements.” 

The executive staff for the conference also includes Doris White, chief of staff; Jacob Ness, chief secretary; Dylan Muniz, public relations manager; and Brian Hostetter, director of human resources. Marketing Manager, Moeno Sawai, and Social Media Managers Risa Yanagita and Evie Trinh have created the flyers to promote the conference to the campus community. Other members of the conference team are: Stephanie Fury, Chris Harrell, Ian Brennan, Niklas Koukku, Julia Sinnett, Reo Nagayama, Anniina Toivanen, Logan Cook, Michael Burton, Jordan Radford, and Anna Rogers.

With the opening ceremony right around the corner on Monday evening, the students are excited to see their plans come to fruition. The conference opens on Monday at 6 p.m. at The Hive in Virginia Beach where the guest speaker will be VWU Trustee and Co-Owner/Chief Executive Officer of Taste Jon Pruden.

Conference presenters also include Senior Vice President of Programs and Communications for the Hampton Roads Chamber Priscilla Monti, Executive Director of the Greater Norfolk Corporation Linda Peck; Co-Founder and former CEO of Astronet Media Kenny Trinh; John Sullivan and Russell Playford from the Risk Management Association; President and CEO of the Miles Agency Delceno Miles; and The Micro Nonprofit Network’s Veronica McMillian.  

Conference highlights include a “Business Ethics” presentation from students in MBE 400 ; “Dress for Success” presentation by Men’s Warehouse; and workshops on “Resume Writing,” and “Interviewing Tips,” as well as an ISP Consultant Competition by students in ISP 101, "Fundamentals of Information Systems."

Of course, the ever-popular “Shark Tank” returns on Wednesday at 1 p.m. in Brock Commons with presentations by students in MBE 101 that closely mirror the popular ABC television series.

“I'm looking forward to the “Shark Tank” presentations,” noted Young, “not only because they tend to be the most creative events, but because that was my first experience with the business conference, as part of the MBE 101 class.”

Now that most of the details and hard work of conference planning is behind them, the students are hyper focused on execution. Most of the conference events will be digitally recorded so participants who can’t attend in person can view the presentations at a later time.

“The entire community is more than welcome to attend,” said Young. “We've been working with the Office of Student Activities to get some awareness among our peers, with posters and schedule links in the weekly email. Of course, there's no replacing word-of-mouth!”

View the full Marlin Business Conference Schedule and Livestreamed Events.

Schedule  Livestream