I’m here today to tell you a simple story about one of my favorite professors.
To say that Dr. Mike Haynie is passionate about veterans would be an understatement. He’s been known to shock bystanders on planes by telling them about the suicide rate of our nation’s all-volunteer armed forces. But just as much passion as he exudes for veterans he finds room in his heart for arguably his second love: entrepreneurship. His doctorate degree focuses on entrepreneurship with an emphasis in social innovation, decision-making, self-identity, and cognition. Before he was an academic, Haynie served for 14 years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. So you can see how the two loves intersect.
Haynie was, hands down, one of the best teachers I have ever experienced at Syracuse University. I remember he didn’t teach in the typical PowerPoint manner. Rather, he stood in front of us, telling us stories of businesses in an engaging manner. He made me want to learn because he understood that our brains would remember bigger concepts before they’d remember details. My favorite tale was about the crew from New Belgium Brewing Company.
I love hippies. I love beer and this is a story about both.
He talked about how Jeff Lebesch, the brewery’s founder, took his homebrewing passion commercially and was so successful that he rallied an entire crew of hippies to keep his company going. They were so passionate and so successful that a large brewing company wanted to buy them. The company was faced with a critical decision: sell the company that they were passionate about and all become millionaires or continue to build their empire based on their hippie culture.
I won’t tell you the end of the story. I’d much rather you sit back and ponder what you’d do in the same situation. Would you sell or would you develop a culture? Would you pick people or profits?
I think these are the sorts of teachers that budding entrepreneurs should pick in B school if at all possible: teachers who don’t tell you the answer, but rather allow you to explore the possibilities in the safety of a classroom first before you have to make those real-life decisions later. They’re the sorts of teachers who plant a seed and wait patiently for it to turn into innovation in the real world through the lives, actions and companies of his students. He created a veritable innovation factory for families of veterans and veterans themselves and so, bit by bit, person by person he’s creating a world that’s safe for vets to come home to, a place where they don’t feel anonymous, and a place where we can spawn the next generation of ideas that will change the post 911 world.
Don’t believe me? Just listen to his Ted Talk.
About the Author
Named Top 100 Leaders by 2012 Magazine, Jasmine Grimm has been nominated for Central Penn Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40,” and The Lancaster Chamber’s ATHENA Award.
Jasmine founded Ruby, Inc. a personal styling business that teaches women how to dress for their body types and became a two-time nominee for Inc. Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30 Top Young Entrepreneurs in America. She won the 2013 SCORE Business Development Award, the won the Central Penn Business Journal’s Top 25 Women of Influence Award in 2013 and the 2013 Leadership Award from the MS Society.
She has been a popular guest lecturer at the Maastricht Institute of Entrepreneurship and has been featured in Under 30 CEO and Productive Magazine, was the cover story for Harrisburg Magazine and her writing has graced National Geographic Television and Film, Harvard University and more.
She’s a 5,3,8,3 on the Kolbe A Index and her strengths include input, relator, learner, responsibility and achievement.
For more information visit her Google + Page.