Spark Capital CEO Todd Dagres was taken aback when some nonprofits slammed his idea for a “Shark Tank”-style competition for their sector.
He envisioned young charities pitching their missions in front of an audience while potential investors grilled them on their strategies. Winners would get cash and free consulting. But critics said a staged performance is no way to evaluate a charitable venture.
Dagres took that criticism to heart, and on Wednesday night his revamped contest, “Pitch In,” will be held at the Revere Hotel. His project partner is Power Launch CEO Saskia Epstein, who has helped finalists get ready with pitch workshops and other training.
“This is not just a one-day competition, but an accelerator program where before you send them into the competition you teach them to compete,” Dagres explained, “and it won’t have the demeanor of a ‘Shark Tank,’ which can be mean-spirited and condescending.”
Afterward, nonprofits will have continuing access to mentors and other business resources, with the goal of “preparing them to get to the next level,” Dagres said.
The five competitors, picked from more than 50 applicants, are Dean Bragonier of NoticeAbility, which helps dyslexic students; Emily Cherniack of New Politics Leadershi p Academy, which works to increase participation in politics; Michelle Cove of Media G irls, which teaches young women not to base their self-worth on beauty; Julie Joyal of HMS MEDscience, which encourages a love of science; and Josh Trautwein of Fresh Truck, a mobile food market promoting good health.
Although “Shark Tank” is nowhere in the contest’s name, “it’s woven its way back into our vocabulary,” Epstein confessed, “in part because it’s fun and cheeky and offers a quick frame of reference.” For instance: “we’re referring to our judges as friendly sharks.”
At 80, Art Goldstein still busy
Art Goldstein was supposed to be retiring when he stepped down from his chairmanship at Ionics in 2004, just as General Electric was about to acquire the Watertown-based water purification company that Goldstein had led since the 1970s.
He walked away from a full-time gig, for sure. But he went on to launch an energy storage startup known as Sun Catalytix that was later sold to Lockheed Martin and to consult with smaller water filtration companies. And he continued to be a big presence in Boston’s boardrooms, with director roles at Partners HealthCare, State Street Corp. and Cabot Corp., among others.
For that reason, the National Association of Corporate Directors’ New England chapter chose to honor Goldstein with its Lifetime Achievement Award last Thursday at the Seaport Hotel. Mintz Levin chairman Bob Popeo, the chapter’s president, gave opening remarks. Philanthropist Jack Connors, who worked with Goldstein on the Partners board, emceed the event. Goldstein spoke about how it’s important for companies to think more broadly about their constituents and their impact on society, going beyond just their shareholders’ needs and demands.
Goldstein has pared back his schedule. He was 70 at the time of the big GE deal. He’s 80 now. He’s still involved with boards, but it’s mostly nonprofit work, such as his board seat at the California Institute of Technology. And he acts as an informal adviser to five children and daughters-in-law, all of them in innovation-related jobs.
“When you leave [a job running a company], you automatically slow down,” Goldstein says. “You slow down from 150 miles an hour to 90. I wouldn’t say I’m at 90 anymore. I’m maybe at 50. . . . I’ve still got some gas left in the tank.”
US Senior Open tees off
When you’ve got 15,000 tickets to sell, it makes sense to get an early start.
Just ask Eddie Carbone. The executive director of the 2017 US Senior Open at the Salem Country Club in Peabody returned to Massachusetts from the Miami area in 2015, two years in advance, to help get the event off the ground. Tickets go on sale later this month to industry insiders and event supporters, before sales open up to the wider public in June. A big marketing campaign will begin next month as well.
Carbone grew up in Newton and got his start caddying at the Charles River Country Club. He eventually became executive director of the New England PGA and currently works for Bruno Event Team, the Alabama-based company hired by Salem Country Club to run next year’s Senior Open. Many of the best golfers over the age of 49 are expected to be there.
After 10 years in Florida, he’s been rekindling his relationships in the New England golf community, an effort that’s prompted more than 20 clubs to send volunteers for the Senior Open’s course marshal program. He has also helped line up sponsors, including Lahey Health, John Hancock, and Charles Schwab Corp.
Carbone says he’s glad to be back in his home state. “The thing about Greater Boston is the awareness and appreciation for sports,” Carbone says. “It’s very different from Miami.”
Schwarzenegger daughter signs with TJX
Katherine Schwarzenegger, daughter of Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger, passed through Boston last week — not to visit the Kennedy compound on Cape Cod, but to talk with TJ Maxx shoppers.
Framingham-based TJX Cos. has hired Schwarzenegger to lead a 16-city marketing tour, raising brand awareness by talking with average women about inspiring experiences.
Schwarzenegger, 26, who lives in Los Angeles and authored the 2010 book, “Rock What You’ve Got” about developing a healthy body image, sat with women shoppers Friday at TJ Maxx’s newly opened store at 360 Newbury St.
Schwarzenegger said about 20 women sat with her one-on-one to chat, including a single mother raising an autistic daughter. “The most important thing to do when talking to so many women is to listen,” she said.
Video footage from the tour will also be used in an advertising and ongoing social media campaign.
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