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Budding Entrepreneurs Gain Valuable Insights from Industry Experts

The Investment Club hears from industry experts in their journey for the keys to investing success.
The CEO of First Watch Restaurants and former president of ODA's Board of Trustees, Mr. Ken Pendery, was one of the six business professionals who visited the Investment Club this quarter. Each guest spoke to the groups' members about the challenges and rewards of investing in the stock market, entrepreneurship, running a successful business, and venture capitalism. The group, facilitated by Mr. Marc Roberts, was generously gifted start-up funds to purchase stocks for a portfolio–the profits of which were reinvested–and visits with industry experts helped fine-tune their choices.

Senior Vice President of Wealth management and Board of Trustees member Mr. David White, and Financial Advisor Mr. Charlie Balliette, both from the Fairway group at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, talked to the group about the stocks they were considering for their portfolio. The two investment experts pored over the financial break-downs of each pick with the students, and then led a lively and informative conversation about each stock, helping the students narrow their choices.

During Mr. Pendery’s visit, the students were full of questions for the restaurateur, who spoke about what he has learned during his decades of experience building a series of restaurant chains across the country. “Consistency is key,” said Mr. Pendery, when asked about the most valuable thing he has learned while building a successful business. “You have to invest your own money, learn the business yourself, and work there every day. Don’t stand back and let others run it for you—you’ll have less chance of success.”

Other informative guests included Mr. Dominique Gimbert, former Global Finance and Administration Director; Mr. Glen Taylor, CEO of Centric Learning, a leading educational software company; and Mr. Scott Jarr, Founder and CEO of Cambridge Mobile Telematics.
 
“I’ve learned so much from the different speakers that visited our club, and enjoyed investing real money in stocks that we chose ourselves,” said Harrison Koffman ‘20. “I learned that stocks are very often overvalued, and this factor can hugely impact the outcome of your investment. Investing in the stock market is all about research, and not properly looking into a stock before investing can be a very critical mistake.”

Mr. Jarr spoke with the group about the ins and outs of venture capitalism with respect to his experience in the technology sector. He shared anecdotes about his successes and failures, and what he learned from each. When asked for his advice about investing in a tech stock, Mr. Jarr said, “Consider if you will be able to sell the product on Wall Street and on Main Street. If you can sell on both, you have a greater chance of success.”

The guests’ visits had a huge impact on the students. “I honestly didn't expect that I would learn as much as I know now, and all of that is credit to the multiple speakers we've had,” said Drew Swartzendruber ‘20. He said Mr. White and Mr. Balliette had the biggest impact on him. “Hearing both their experiences and their advice to us on the stocks that we chose really helped me understand more about the basics of what to look for in a company when investing. I think I will utilize researching a stock and examine what to look for, especially determining when a stock is overvalued or undervalued. Learning more about the basics has motivated me to really look into making some investments in the future.”

The students in this club have learned an incredible amount from the professionals who visited to share their wisdom and advice. The Out-of-Door Academy thanks them all for taking the time to share their invaluable perspectives with our budding entrepreneurs.
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