The invitation-only 2015 Endeavor Entrepreneur Retreat took place from Wednesday, May 6th – Friday, May 8th in Westchester County, New York. The Retreat offered an emphasis on peer-to-peer learning as well as a mixture of keynote speakers, site visits to Fortune 500 companies, industry breakouts, and intensive workshops focused on business development topics geared towards Endeavor Entrepreneurs. Nearly 300 members of the network convened for the event to celebrate the power of high-impact entrepreneurship.
On May 5th and 6th, a series of pre-Retreat visits allowed select groups of entrepreneurs to visit and learn from executives at major corporations, including IBM’s World of Watson, Barclays, Google, PepsiCo and EY. The topics of focus ranged from talent management to product design to transaction readiness, giving participating entrepreneurs an in-depth look at strategies for corporate innovation and growth.
The mainstage during Daniel Lubetzky’s fireside chat
The Retreat featured a number of world-renowned executives, entrepreneurs and thought leaders who took the main stage in keynotes, panel discussions and fireside chats.
On day one, American Express CEO Kenneth I. Chenault was interviewed by Endeavor co-founder Linda Rottenberg about leadership and the future of the payments industry, discussing how his career path took him from the consulting world to the top of the Fortune 500. In the chat, Chenault addressed how he proved himself to be a “skunk”, or intrapreneur, at American Express by turning the century-old institution into a modern, democratic and digitally-competitive brand. Best-selling author and entrepreneur Seth Godin then took the stage to address rule-breaking in the marketing world and explore strategies for approaching advertising that could authentically engage consumers. Drawing from theories put forth in his 18 best-selling books, Godin prodded entrepreneurs in the audience to think outside of the box when approaching client and consumer engagement.
Day two brought Unilever VP of Global Media Innovation & Ventures Babs Rangaiah to discuss how he manages marketing and media activities for the company’s portfolio of CPG products sold across 190 countries. Addressing the concept of a #BrighterFuture for marketing, he discussed case studies of Unilever campaigns and how his team works to disrupt the advertising space. In a subsequent fireside chat, General Assembly co-founder Brad Hargreaves sat down with Open English’s John McIntire to discuss the future of the workforce, particularly in emerging markets where access to skills training and education are limited. The pair explored the possibilities for alternative education platforms to empower people all around the world with actionable skill sets.
Vinny, Martin and Leila during their entrepreneur panel
An afternoon panel brought together top Endeavor Entrepreneurs to share their high-impact stories and discuss the importance of multiplying their impact. South Africa’s Vinny Lingham (Gyft), Argentina’s Martin Migoya (Globant) and Brazil’s Leila Velez (Beleza Natural) were interviewed by Endeavor President Fernando Fabre about their experience as entrepreneurs, the impact of joining the Endeavor network, and what it means for them to give back to their communities. The next panel brought representatives from key corporate partners including AXA, SAP, Facebook and P&G in a discussion about global corporate development and growth, which was moderated by Endeavor Entrepreneur Mariano Suárez Battán (Mural.ly).
The final day started off with a fireside with Gilt Groupe’s Kevin Ryan and Endeavor Global Board Member Nick Beim. The chat revolved around investments and how the pair discerns the potential in entrepreneurs that they place their bets on. They also addressed failure and what happens when investments go south. Following them was New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Duhigg, who drew on themes from his best-selling book The Power of Habit to explain how business leaders can shake up their routines and instill innovation in both work and life. He also delved into case studies of big brands and how they target and leverage consumer habits. The final keynote of the day brought Endeavor Global Board Chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr. and KIND Snacks founder Daniel Lubetzky to the stage to talk candidly about why social impact and community give-back is important. Lubetzky provided anecdotes from his personal family history and heritage to explain why he was inspired to build a socially-conscious brand to inspire future generations.
Breakout Sessions, Workshops and Roundtables
By attending smaller workshops and “hot topics” sessions, attendees benefited from personalized coaching and advice – in a sense, small “team meetings” – with some of the best entrepreneurial minds in the Endeavor network.
The Retreat kicked off with a number of industry breakouts that served as “ice breaker” networking sessions, which divided participating entrepreneurs by their company’s industries in a meet-and-greet format. The entrepreneur-led roundtables on the second day were helmed by a number of Endeavor Entrepreneurs from around the world, who moderated group discussions touching on topics that included social media, talent management, employee culture, leadership and more. The final day’s workshops were lead by Endeavor mentors who provided a high-level perspectives and furthered conversations about talent, branding, innovation and much more.
Endeavor Entrepreneur Sally Buberman leading a roundtable
The Retreat closed with an awards ceremony – with awards sponsored by EY, Barclays and Omidyar Network – that honored the most high-impact entrepreneurs and companies in the network. Read more about the Awards by clicking here.
Social Media Highlights
The offline conversations also went online with the hashtags #EndeavorRetreat and #EE2EE, as entrepreneurs shared their thoughts and connections via social media. Over 700 tweets engaging users from nearly 10 countries used the hashtags over the three-day event. Take a look at some of the highlights below.