A couple of years ago, I joined the Advisory Board of Wharton Entrepreneurship (WE), which is one of the Wharton Boards and is focused on stimulating and advancing entrepreneurship in the Wharton & Penn communities. I joined for a few reasons: (1) loyalty to Wharton (i got my MBA there but also went to Penn undergrad and really enjoyed my time there); (2) the cause – I’m passionate about innovation and entrepreneurship and really wanted to help and give back to the Wharton ecosystem; and (3) the people – just like in choosing which companies to partner with, it’s all about the people – the board at WE is fantastic, with a diverse set of entrepreneurs, executives, and investors.
A signature event we hold every year is the Annual Wharton Entrepreneurship Alumni Dinner at the San Francisco campus of Wharton, which was held on 10/8/14. It’s a great event with about 100-120 folks who are equally passionate about the Wharton entrepreneurship ecosystem. Each year at this event, we honor and celebrate a Wharton alumnus for his/her contributions to innovation and entrepreneurship. Past winners have been Rick Thompson (founder of Playdom) and Jeff Weiner (CEO of LinkedIn). This year we gave the award to Mark Pincus, Chairman & founder of Zynga. The highlight of the evening was a fireside chat that my friend and fellow board member, Andrew Trader (“AT”) conducted with Mark (they went to Penn together). There was a lot of content discussed, but my strongest takeaway from the conversation was how candid and honest Mark was about his own lessons learned leading up to Zynga. I thought it was really inspirational and hope others enjoyed the conversation as much as I did.