Spring 2014 Tour 2: Life of an Entrepreneur

Now that we’ve covered the corporate world, we thought we’d take a totally different look at business through the eyes of local entrepreneurs working at Epicentral Coworking in Downtown Colorado Springs! We toured their space, which consisted of spacious rooms with shared desks, conference rooms, lounges, and a community kitchen. In addition to getting to speak with co-owners Hannah Parsons and Lisa Tessarowicz, our group of 30 students and Career Coaches heard the stories of four uniquely passionate entrepreneurs. Here were a few takeaways:

  • The “tipping point” or in some cases “pain point” of an entrepreneur is when he or she sees a problem and wants to be the solution. In some cases, people have to hit a point where they are completely dissatisfied with where they are or how something is currently being done, and they decide to change things.
  • Create a “transition fund.” Many people are handicapped by fear, leaving their steady income and benefits to pursue a dream. Stash money away for when opportunity arises, you can pursue it knowing that you are taken care of in the short-term.
  • You can’t do everything as an entrepreneur. Know what you’re good at, and hire professionals to do the rest! (We specifically talked about the importance of finding a good bookkeeper, accountant, and legal adviser.)

Thank you to Scooter Wadsworth, Noel Boyce, Julian Flores, and Kimberley Sherwood for providing great advice for our students! And thank you to Hannah and Lisa for hosting!

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Spring 2014 Tour 1: Understanding Corporate Careers

On Friday, February 21, our group toured a local corporate office, T. Rowe Price located in north Colorado Springs. This financial investment and advising firm is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, has offices in 12 countries around the world, and has employed many of our alumni. Not only did we enjoy a lovely lunch, but we also got the benefit from hearing from six panelist regarding corporate culture, the interview process, and their particular business model. Thank you for hosting, T. Rowe Price!

Next month’s tour will feature Epicentral Coworking…stay tuned!

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Your employer can delete everything on your cell phone?

We recently saw this article in the Wall Street Journal and had to share! Make sure before you BYOD (bring your own device) that you check to see what the company policy is regarding information you might carry after your employment.

Here’s the article from January 21:

BYOD? Leaving a Job Can Mean Losing Pictures of Grandma

Some Companies Wipe Workers’ Personal Cellphones Clean After They Leave

In early October, Michael Irvin stood up to leave a New York City restaurant when he glanced at his iPhone and noticed it was powering off. When he turned it back on again, all of his information—email programs, contacts, family photos, apps and music he had downloaded—had vanished.

The phone looked “like it came straight from the factory,” said Mr. Irvin, an independent health-care consultant.

It wasn’t a malfunction. The device had been wiped clean by AlphaCare of New York, the client he had been working for full-time since April. Mr. Irvin received an email from his AlphaCare address that day confirming the phone had been remotely erased.

As more companies allow and even encourage employees to use their own phones and tablets for work activities, often referred to as “bring your own device,” or BYOD, an unexpected consequence has arisen for workers who have seen their devices wiped clean—remotely and with little or no advance warning—during or after employment by firms looking to secure their data. Twenty-one percent of companies perform remote wipes when an employee quits or is terminated, according to a July 2013 survey by data protection firm Acronis Inc.

Joel Landau, AlphaCare’s chairman, declined to confirm whether Mr. Irvin’s phone had been erased. He provided a copy of AlphaCare’s BYOD policy, effective as of July, which includes a reference to remote wiping. Mr. Irvin said he was never given a copy of the policy.

Phone wiping is just another example of the complications that emerge when the distinctions between our work and personal lives collapse. Employers increasingly expect workers to be available 24/7 but don’t always provide company equipment to make that possible, leaving workers in a bind: Expose themselves to losing personal information when a phone is erased, or refuse to use a personal device and risk looking disengaged.

The practice hangs in legal limbo at the moment, say employment lawyers and privacy advocates, thanks to the inability of legislation and case law to keep pace with innovation. The Society for Human Resource Management in November warned its members that phone wiping “will likely be tested through the courts in the days and months ahead.”

If erasing a phone is necessary from a data-protection standpoint, employers should give workers advance notice so they can back up personal information, said Lewis Maltby, founder of the National Workrights Institute, a nonprofit group that monitors workplace issues, including privacy. Instead, many are simply “following the path of least resistance without thinking about the consequences” for employees.

Many employers have a pro forma user agreement that pops up when employees connect to an email or network server via a personal device, he added. But even if these documents explicitly state that the company may perform remote wipes, workers often don’t take the time to read it before clicking the “I agree” button.

Phone wiping has become the most common complaint received in recent months by his organization, Mr. Maltby said.

Philip Gordon, co-chairman of employment law firm Littler Mendelson’s Privacy and Background Check group, has heard from two clients whose ex-employees complained after their devices were erased, each demanding compensation. (In one case, the employee had lost photos of a relative who had died.) Though neither pressed charges, Mr. Gordon expects legal remedies for workers may ultimately be found under state computer-trespass statutes, which were originally designed to prosecute hackers.

A former employee of Hopkinton, Mass.-based cloud-computing firm EMC Corp. EMC +0.32% who requested anonymity, said his phone was wiped a few years ago after he was terminated for not hitting sales quotas. The employee started the job without a smartphone, and EMC didn’t provide one, but he said he was missing late-night notices of meeting changes and other important information, so he purchased an Android device.

On midnight of the day he was terminated, the phone went blank. “I was completely surprised,” he said. “I know it’s so they can protect their data assets, but if that’s such an important policy, we shouldn’t be mixing business with personal.” He has no memory of signing a release or user agreement, though he concedes that a dialogue box may have appeared when he first connected to EMC’s server “and like everyone else, I was like ‘OK, check.’”

In a statement, EMC declined to comment on individual personnel matters but said it doesn’t, “as a matter of standard practice, remove personal information from departing employees’ personal cellphones.”

Since the BYOD trend started gaining momentum about two years ago, most large companies have adopted mobile device management systems to cover the expanding number of tech products that workers tote around, said Lawrence Pingree of technology research firm Gartner. The latest versions of the software allow IT staff to surgically remove work-related material from a smartphone or computer, a feature that is becoming a best practice in the field, he said.

Mr. Gordon of Littler Mendelson counsels clients to have a BYOD user agreement that tells employees what will happen to their phones if they separate from the company. “If the employer is deliberate about letting employees use their personal devices for work, they can eliminate the risk,” he said.

And employees, he added, should back up devices regularly to a cloud program or personal computer. That can still create data protection issues for employers, and companies should forbid workers from backing up corporate data—or at least have a policy saying that. “Whether or not people will follow that policy is hard to say,” he said.

Write to Lauren Weber at lauren.weber@wsj.com

Call for student applications!

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Hello, students of the College of Business!

We are excited to announce that the application link for our spring 2014 program is now available. If you would like to paired with a professional alumni who is committed to helping you learn skills, etiquette, and networking before graduation, please consider applying! Here is the breakdown:

  • Four month commitment (Jan – May 2014).
  • Meet with your Career Coach, who is paired with you based on industry of interest, once a month during the program.
  • Attend three program events: meet and greet, ethics field trip, and etiquette dinner (dates TBD).
  • Go through professional topics with your Career Coach. Materials have already created for you and include resume writing, networking, interviewing, ethical decision making, your online identity, SMART goals, and communication skills.

Before you apply, please have your professional resume, GPA, and employment information (if relevant) handy. We will be accepting applications until January 24, 2014.

APPLICATION LINK: http://www.uccs.edu/careercoach

If you have any questions about the program, please visit the program website at http://www.uccs.edu/careercoach or contact Samantha Bruner at sbruner@uccs.edu or 719-255-5174.

Blue Star Recyclers Tour

Thank you to COB alumnus, Drew Johnson, who gave us an educational and inspirational tour of Blue Star Recyclers today! After learning about their triple bottom line business structure, we had a great discussion over lunch regarding ethical topics such as employing developmentally adults, being environmentally conscientious, and choosing to do what is right despite it sometimes costing more (in perhaps more ways than one).

If you have electronics, fluorescent bulbs, batteries, or scrap metal, we encourage you to celebrate America Recycles Day by dropping them off at Blue Star Recyclers on Saturday, November 16. It’s only $10 per car! Click HERE for more info.

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10 Legal Tips for Small Businesses on Twitter

By Brett Snider, Esq. on November 7, 2013 10:33 AM  http://blogs.findlaw.com/free_enterprise/2013/11/10-legal-tips-for-small-businesses-on-twitter.html

Twitter

  1. Post, post, and post. Tweets are not a finite resource, and in order for business owners to keep an online presence, there must be a consistent stream of posts. Constant updates assure your audience that you’re both real and open for business.
  2. Disclose paid tweets. If you want to tweet a paid endorsement, make sure toinclude the FTC disclosure. It may look ham-handed, but it’s the law.
  3. Consider promoted tweets. The WSJ reports that small business owners have been successful in increasing traffic to their websites by paying “a couple hundred dollars a month” for promoted tweets. Just make sure your online marketing plan has a way to convert new customers.
  4. Throw a “Twitter Party.” Contests and parties using Twitter are a great way to draw in and engage your online audience, assuming you keep it all legal.
  5. Learn to summarize. “The Alchemist” novelist Paulo Coelho, who has nearly 9 million Twitter followers, told The Guardian that condensing your thoughts into tweets is an art, like poetry. So be concise but not trite.
  6. Verify facts before tweeting. Don’t let loose Twitter lips sink your business andset you up for a defamation suit.
  7. Consider social media insurance. Some insurance companies are offering this interesting and novel legal way to safeguard your online reputation and other intangible assets like consumer good will.
  8. Use two-step authentication. Twitter offers extra security to prevent your business’ account from being hacked. Use it!
  9. Hire a social media team. Even one dedicated social media employee can address customer complaints and help your business stay ahead of potential lawsuits.
  10. Keep it professional. Even as a sole proprietor, you don’t want your personal views interfering with your livelihood, and Twitter disclaimers aren’t going to stop customers from getting upset … or suing.

Only you can decide how much or little your business engages with Twitter, but these tips can help guide you toward a winning social media strategy.

Why we do what we do

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In fancy terms, the UCCS College of Business Career Coaching Program exists to provide alumni an opportunity through a structured program to impart their skills and experiences to UCCS College of Business junior or senior students in order to prepare them to enter the workforce as confident, competent, and ethical professionals.

In other words, we want to give our alumni a meaningful way to volunteer AND better prepare our students for the professional world!

Within the program, we cover vital professional development topics including:

  • Resume Writing
  • Dining Etiquette
  • Interview Skills
  • Communication Etiquette
  • Real Industry Knowledge
  • Managing Your Online Brand
  • Selecting a Career Path
  • Ethical Decision Making
  • Skype Interviewing
  • Networking Skills

We debuted this program in fall 2013 as a successful pilot program and are now looking forward to another program in spring 2014! Please view http://www.uccs.edu/careercoach for more information if you would like to participate as either a coach or student.

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