Difficult journeys are best undertaken with map in hand – or, barring that, some wisdom from an experienced traveler who has already made the same journey.
With that idea in mind, the Society of Entrepreneurs and EmergeMemphis are assembling a diverse set of business leaders this month for a networking lunch, where attendees will be able to pick the brains of the gathered veterans for insight and practical advice.
That event is the fifth annual Core Conversations on Entrepreneurship, and it happens Nov. 21 at noon at Jim’s Place, 518 Perkins Road Extended. It costs $25 to attend, and it’s being timed to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week, a combination awareness campaign and collaboration platform celebrated each year for one week in November.
This year, the weeklong initiative happens Nov. 18-24, and it will include local, national and global activities and events designed to celebrate and inspire innovators and business founders. The events range from major competitions to networking events – like the one coming up in Memphis, where attendees will be able to have multiple chats with different business leaders on hand while enjoying lunch.
Pearson Crutcher, executive director of the Society of Entrepreneurs, said the idea behind the event is for attendees to have one conversation with an entrepreneur over lunch and another while enjoying dessert. The event, she added, will “bring together entrepreneurs from all across the area to have lunch together to discuss entrepreneurship in Memphis.”
Some of the confirmed hosts include Dr. Mary McDonald, founder and CEO of MCD Partners, a national consulting company that provides a range of services for education consulting, among other things; and Doug Marchant, a founder of Unified Health Services, a provider of worker’s compensation claim processing services.
Also included are Walker Uhlhorn, founder of Uhlhorn Security Group; Phillip Coop, president and CEO of EnSafe Inc., an environmental safety and consulting firm; Richard “Dick” Gadomski, founder of the PSI Group, focused on building and design; and Hilliard Crews, who has founded several companies and worked as a venture capital investor.
“My personal feeling is that people who go out and start business have got unique talent,” Uhlhorn said.
He speaks from experience. In 1973, he founded Uhlhorn Security Group, which provided burglar and fire systems, among other things. He served as the company’s president until selling it in the 1980s, and since then he has served on a variety of corporate boards.
“Entrepreneurs are people that just have a burning desire to do something on their own,” he said. “It’s not an easy thing to do. Running a company is hard, no matter how you look at it. So there’s so many things we could talk about. Things like how you get your money, the service you’ve got to give to your customers and the care you’ve got to take with your employees, because they’re critical to achieving your goals.”
The Conversations on Entrepreneurship event was founded in 2009 as one of the first local connections to Global Entrepreneurship Week.
The Society of Entrepreneurs was founded in 1991 partly to celebrate the contributions of leaders in Memphis’ business community. Its membership includes Memphis-area business owners, presidents and executives who are picked by their peers for demonstrating a range of values like personal achievement and integrity.