Past Lax Conferences


Lax Conference 2013

—Keynote speaker

Terrence Hicks ’73, Vice President of the Investment Group for Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania

“ ‘When You’re Finished Changing, You’re Finished’—Entrepreneurship in the Current Economy”

Terry’s keynote address drew inspiration from Benjamin Franklin (who is quoted in the title). Terry discussed how the current economy motivated entrepreneurs to be more creative, adaptable and nimble than ever.

—Concurrent Discussion Groups

Funding Sources, New and Traditional: Which is Right for Your Venture?

Gus Alberelli ’00, managing director at Palo Alto-based Trident Capital

Feng He ’03, co-founder of China’s first crowdfunding site, DemoHour

Incubating Innovation

Ali Usman ’91, founder of Credit Market Intelligence and Sunergix

Omar Mencin ’97, director, investment group, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania

The Many Faces of Entrepreneurship

Michael Bertuch P’14, president and CEO, ViaTech

Way-Ting Chen ’94, partner and co-founder of consulting firm Blue Garnet

How to Tap into Your Entrepreneurial Spirit

Grace Bulger ’88, vice president of marketing for Forsythe Technology

The Latest Entrepreneurial Trends in Technology

Michael Silton ’86, executive chair, UCLA Capital Venture Fund

Nick Martin ’04, founder and president of TechChange

The Latest Entrepreneurial Trends in Sustainability

Robert Cleaves P’14, co-founder and managing director, Stratex Energy LLC

Claire Hartten ’91, co-founder of Dirt Café and Hungry New York

—Swat Tank: Final Judging of Student Business Plan Competition


The Cocoon by Jalisa Roberts ’13

Pierce + Axel by Kyle Pierce ’14, Chelsea Hicks ’14, and Ian Anderson ’

Rise Desk by Chris Fortunato ’14


Terry Hicks ’73, Karen Meidlinger, Iqbal Quadir ’81, and Joe Turner ’73


Shalom Saar ’74


Lax Conference 2012

—Keynote speaker

David Gelber ’63, co-founder of Roaring Fork Films and co-creator and co-managing director of “Years of Living Dangerously”

“My Year of Living Dangerously: How I Became an Entrepreneur to Tell the Story of Climate Change”

David Gelber was a veteran producer at “60 Minutes” when he decided to leave the venerable show to do something completely different. Believing that climate change is the most urgent issue of our lifetime, David followed his passion to create a multi-platform, multi-media project that would highlight the disastrous effects of climate change to the public in a way that has never been done before.


Twists, Turns and Rewards of Entrepreneurial Success

Brian Heaney ’83: CEO of InnerOptic Technology

Robert Lamb P’12: President of PSSI Global Services, LLC

John Mercer ’65: Founder of Digital Control, Inc.

Who Really Makes It as an Entrepreneur: Can You?

Davia Temin ’74: President and CEO of Temin and Company Inc.

Menno Van Wyk ’67: Entrepreneurial Investor

Phil Weiser ’90: Dean of the University of Colorado School of Law and Co-Chair of Startup Colorado

—Roundtable discussions

“Leveling the Playing Field” with Rueben Canada ’99

“New Media, Old Media and Climate Change” with David Gelber ’63

“From Swarthmore to a Technology Entrepreneur” with Brian Heaney ’83

“Persistence Is Critical, and Capital Is Helpful, but Is your Entrepreneurial Idea a Good One?” with Robert Lamb P’12

“Bootstrapping a Startup” with John Mercer ’65

“The Importance of Self-Knowledge and Awareness in Starting One’s Own Business” with Shalom Saar ’74

“Resilience—Surviving, Thriving Through the Tough Times” with Davia Temin ’74

“From Book Smart to Street Savvy: Postcards from the Entrepreneurial Ledge” with Menno van Wyk ’67

“Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Public Policy” with Phil Weiser ’90


Lax Conference 2011

—Keynote speaker

Edgar Cahn ’56, creator of Time Dollars and the founder of TimeBanks USA, as well as the co-founder of the National Legal Services Program and the Antioch School of Law

Social Entrepreneurship: The Business of Transforming the World

“Social entrepreneurs [are] transformative forces: people with new ideas to address major problems who are relentless in the pursuit of their visions, people who simply will not take no for an answer, who will not give up until they have spread their ideas as far as they possibly can.” — David Bornstein, How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas

Social entrepreneurs at this year’s Lax Conference have tackled social issues from potable water to genocide, from empowering low-income workers to microfinance. In addition to panels and roundtable discussions, the conference will feature a poster session by student social entrepreneurs that will be facilitated by the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.


Initiative, Creativity, and Investment in Social Entrepreneurship

Tralance Addy ’69: Founder and Chairman, Plebys International

Ted Chan ’02: CEO, Upward Mobility

Lynne Randolph Patterson: Co-Founder and Director, Pro Mujer

Starting, Growing, and Sustaining a Social Venture

Michael Caplin ’73: President, Turtle Island Group

Ann Starrs ’84: Co-Founder and President, Family Care International

David Zipper ’00: Director of Business Development and Strategy, Office of the Mayor, Washington, DC

—Roundtable discussions

“Building Meaningful Scale in Entrepreneurial Ventures: The Need for Serious Capital” with Tralance Addy ’69

“Currency for Social Entrepreneurship: Applications and Implications” with Edgar Cahn ’56

“How Can You Tell if You’re Getting Anywhere . . . and Is That Where You Want to Be?” with Michael Caplin ’73

“Mobile Technologies for Social Change” with Ted Chan ’02

“Energy, Sustainability, and Innovation” with H. G. Chissell ’96

“Current Issues in Microfinance: Are Loans Alone Enough to Address Poverty?” with Lynne Randolph Patterson and Jenny Hourihan Bailin ’80

“Social Entrepreneurship from a Global Health Perspective” with Ann Starrs ’84

“Driving Social Change through Business, Government, and Non-profits: Why It’s Getting Harder to Tell Them Apart” with David Zipper ’00


Lax Conference 2010

—Keynote speaker

Peter Schwartz P’12, co-founder and chairman, Global Business Network

Sailing in Any Wind: Risk and the Entrepreneur

“Business always faces risks that they can control and ones beyond their control. There are creative ways for the entrepreneur to anticipate and prepare for those uncontrollable risks. With a bit of discipline and imagination the leaders of a start-up can anticipate whether they will be sailing with the wind or against it. And what is the weather ahead for new ventures setting sail today? Futurist Peter Schwartz will explore both how to think ahead and what may lie just over the horizon for new businesses.


Financing Your Business Venture

Rebecca Voorheis ’93

Ali Usman ’91

Using Social Networks to Build and Sustain a Business

Ted Chan ’02: CEO, Upward Mobility

Dom Sagolla ’96

Noël Theodosiou ’94

Your Company: The First Five Years

Amity Cox ’99

Tracy Korman ’86

Chris Pearson ’95

—Roundtable discussions

“Business Tools and Technology for Social Change” with Ted Chan ’02

“Discover the Soul of Your Business Inside Yourself” with Amity Cox ’99

“The Patent Market” with Robert Cox ’03 and David R. O’Steen’03

“The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma: How Do You Create Value When All You Have Is Vision?” with Tracy Korman ’86

“Creating Focused Milestones and Operating Cost Effectively to Increase Your Chance of Success” with Chris Pearson ’95

“American-Style Bootstrapping” with Dom Sagolla ’96

“Climate Change and Business” with Peter Schwartz P’12

“Prepare Yourself for Entrepreneurship at Swarthmore and Beyond” with Ali Usman ’91

“What Is a Woman with Brains, Talent, Drive, and a Good Idea to Do?” with Rebecca Voorheis ’93


Lax Conference 2009

—Keynote speaker

Richard Teerlink P’83, former chair and CEO, Harley-Davidson, Inc.

Building a Strong Enterprise: Critical Skills for Successful Entrepreneurs

“Join us as we focus on skills entrepreneurs need in order to be successful in any economic climate. Keynote speaker Richard Teerlink led Harley-Davidson’s fabled turnaround, fueled in part by his belief that people are the most important resource in any company. At Harley-Davidson, that process included creating clear performance benchmarks, constant communication and feedback, and a culture built on trust.


Balancing Leadership with Management

Matthew Riffkin ’83

Cecile Roesch-Giannangeli P’12

Building a Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Diana Royce Smith ’68

Gehan Talwatte ’87

Connecting with the Marketplace

Sam Awuah ’94

Richard Teerlink P’83

Developing High Performance Teams

Ronda Muir ’74

Daniel Werther ’83

Transforming Ideas into Reality

Arnold Newman ’73

Lewis Shuster ’77

Putting It All Together

Shalom Saar ’74


Lax Conference 2008

—Keynote speaker

Chris Laszlo ’80, co-founder of Sustainable Value Partners

Sustainability for Competitive Advantage

“The environmental and social impact a business has on the world around it is a rapidly growing source of competitive advantage. CEOs of some of the world’s leading companies are now tackling global challenges such as climate change and the widening rich-poor gap, not as cost constraints but as business opportunities. Based on his new book, Sustainable Value, Chris will discuss sustainability-driven business leadership and emerging sustainability practices based on case studies at DuPont, Wal-Mart, and other global industry leaders.


How Venture Capitalists and Investment Managers View Entrepreneurs for Environmental Sustainability

Jenny Hourihan Bailin ’80

Sohail Bengali ’79

Drew Clark ’87

Pete Hamilton ’97

Corporate America: What’s Green Got to Do with It?

David Hochschild ’93

Gerry Lax ’74

Ruth Perry ’78

Marty Spanninger ’76

Carbon Trap Technologies: A Case Study

Robert B. McKinstry, Jr. ’75

Chris Plum ’75

David Vinjamuri ’86

—Roundtable discussions

“Forming an International Private Equity Fund? The Nuts and Bolts of Achieving Success” with Sohail Bengali ’79

“What Swarthmore Should, and Should Not, Be Doing to Green Itself” with Professor Carr Everbach

“Can Capitalism Save the World? Empirical Evidence Presented” with Pete Hamilton ’97

“Stimulating and Humanizing the Process of Connecting Thinking with Doing: Enabling Eco-Entrepreneurs Using Iterative Design Methods” with Claire Hartten ’91

“Getting Clean Energy Policy Passed” with David Hochschild ’92

“The Role of State Efforts in the National Climate Change Program” with Bob McKinstry ’75

“Blue Is the New Green: Attacking the Global Water Crisis with the Mind of an Entrepreneur” with Lisa Diaz Nash ’80

“The Entrepreneurial Spirit Within A Corporate Environment” with Ruth Perry ’78