The Coleman Entrepreneur Network at Lexington College: Learn, Advise, Connect has been created to showcase Lexington's leadership in the hospitality industry and entrepreneurship studies, as well as provide continuing learning opportunities for College alumnae and Chicagoland entrepreneurs.
Recently, the Network hosted a lunch roundtable (below) that brought restaurateurs including Karyn Calabrese, Owner/Entrepreneur of Karyn’s, Mike Green, Co-Owner of Jak’s Tap and Village Tap, Arturo Gomez, President of Rockit Ranch Productions, and Wendy Pashman, Owner and Founder of Entertaining Company to discuss “Solving challenges facing catering/restaurant entrepreneurs.”
Through the Network, Lexington will offer seminars focusing on four specializations: hospitality management: event planning, hotel/restaurant management, culinary arts, and health care & wellness. The Network also includes life-long learning roundtables focusing on key issues facing entrepreneurs and partners including professional organizations in the hospitality field.
For example, Lexington hosted the Ladies in Hospitality (LHI) with an evening networking reception. Panelists included Jim Grillo, founder of Hereschicago.com; JP Marchetti, General Manager and Owner of Galleria Marchetti; Jiwon McCartney, Managing Director of Allure Event and Meeting Productions; and Claudia Antony Zompa, Principal of as You Wish Events.
Lexington also hosted a brunch in partnership with the Culinary Historians of Chicago. The topic was “Success as a food entrepreneur ~ how to reach it!” Panelists included Katie Das, President of Das Foods LLC, Ina Pinkney, Chef/Owner of Ina’s, Elizabeth Scott, '97 Owner of Kitoweo Catering, and Kantha Shelke, PhD., Founder & Principal of Corvus Blue LLC.
“The events and panelists are inspiring. As students, it is great for us to learn from the guest speakers who are successful in this industry. It’s encouraging to see what they have faced to get to where they are today. It encourages us to keep pursuing our passion and reassures us it is worth the investment,” commented Lexington student Brittney Richter.
The Coleman Entrepreneur Network, funded by the Coleman Foundation, offers College alumnae and hospitality industry professionals the opportunity for personal and professional development and continuing education. In tandem with the events and seminars Lexington is establishing video and web archives to document things learned and to make the findings available to future students for entrepreneurial study.