What does entrepreneurship look like across Koch companies?
At the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s inaugural Entrepreneurship Summit in San Jose, California, leaders from across the enterprise shared their perspectives with a group of tomorrow’s potential leaders in business, philanthropy, and more.
Speakers during the four-day event included Jennifer Waltner, managing director, finance & business development, Flint Hills Resources, who discussed the stages of business funding. Attendees at dinnertime fireside chats also heard from a panel including Askia Ahmad, IT director, Flint Hills Resources; Sonya Luna, finance director, Koch Logistics; Lisa Bogert, manager, education investments, Charles Koch Institute; and John Hardin, director, university relations, Charles Koch Institute.
Fernando González, president, consumer products for Georgia-Pacific—a Koch company—discussed how he has unlocked numerous opportunities in his career by leveraging an entrepreneurial mindset and discovering how his talents could help others.
González sat down with Koch News to share his top takeaways from the event.
How can all employees be entrepreneurs?
You don’t have to own your own business to be an entrepreneur. It’s a state of mind—as simple as identifying an opportunity or barrier in your daily work and figuring out a solution that benefits all parties. The world is constantly changing, and by enabling more people to have an entrepreneurial mindset, we are preparing ourselves for future success.
Why is it important to have an entrepreneurial mindset?
Learning how to apply an entrepreneurial mindset is critical to sustaining success in today’s competitive marketplace and helping to break barriers across society by creating and growing virtuous cycles of mutual benefit. In doing so, people can reach their full potential and help other individuals and communities succeed.
Why do companies such as Georgia-Pacific and Koch Industries support these programs?
It’s essential for students to have these opportunities, to interact with business leaders and understand how they can best position themselves to not only succeed, but to also continuously improve themselves and learn. HSF’s Entrepreneurship Conference is a tremendous opportunity, not only for these extremely talented scholars to network and grow their skill set, but also for employers to develop a better understanding of how we can continue to recruit and retain the best new talent. This is just one example of how a virtuous cycle of mutual benefit can enable businesses to succeed in the long term, because that is our focus.
What was the best part of getting to participate in this event?
Listening to the scholars—not only their future aspirations but also what they’re doing today to improve their lives and communities. Everybody can learn so much just by listening to one another. It’s how my team at Georgia-Pacific can continuously develop new solutions and apply them to create even greater value for society, whether it’s through our existing products or a new product or service that doesn’t exist yet. No one knows everything, so it’s important to keep these conversations going long after the summit and we return to our work.
So, this summit is something that you’d like to continue in the future?
Absolutely. There’s tremendous potential for the Entrepreneurship Summit to grow into a destination for young business leaders. I had a great time, and Koch Industries, along with the Charles Koch Foundation, is also supporting the Entrepreneurship Summit in 2020.
Read more about Koch’s partnership with HSF here.