Rider seniors attend Inc. 5000 Conference open exclusively to business owners
Because of the generosity of Norm Brodsky ’64, six Rider seniors received an all expenses paid trip of a lifetime to the Inc. 5000 Conference in San Antonio, Texas, from Oct. 17-19.
Normally, the conference is exclusive to successful entrepreneurs who gather for three days of networking and a lineup of speakers sharing their business wisdom. Brodsky, whose long-time connection with Inc. magazine, where he serves as a senior contributing editor, paved the way for Rider students to attend. They were the only students, and non-business owners, in attendance.
“I’m so grateful for Norm and Elaine Brodsky for sponsoring us,” says arts administration major Michelle Belain, an aspiring business owner. “They showed us great hospitality and made this experience a fantastic one.”
Brodsky is the founder of eight successful businesses, including Citi storage, the largest privately owned archive business in the country. He has long provided generous support to his alma mater. Last year, he initiated the Norm Brodsky Idea/Business Concept Competition, which provides a full, four-year tuition scholarship to Rider to a high school senior. His contributions to the attending seniors included travel and accommodations and even supplying their tuxedos and gowns for the event’s black-tie party.
Rahquan King-Stubbs, a senior accounting major who grew up in Bedford–Stuyvesant and shares Brooklyn roots with Brodsky, hopes to serve as a role model for inner-city youth through business success and entrepreneurship. Going to the conference helped him create connections that could help him achieve his goals.
“We did a lot of talking to people, which is pivotal in the business world,” says King-Stubbs who has already accepted a full-time position with KPMG Audit Financial Services on Wall Street following graduation. “We had inspirational keynote speakers, such as Brené Brown and Scott Harrison, talk to us about leading and simply giving back to the world. There were breakout sessions in the afternoon that we chose based on our personal desires and needs. In one of those breakout sessions, I was able to meet NBA basketball player Pau Gasol.”
Being the only college students there, the seniors left an impression on the business owners, says Rider's director of planned giving, Dan Pinto, who was present at the conference. Some have offered internships to the students.
During the conference, Pinto says that Norm and Elaine were also impressed with the level of professionalism on display. “The students were poised,” Pinto says. “They were sociable. Elaine and Norm were very proud to be associated with the Rider students.”
They were selected to attend the conference based on an essay contest open to those interested in business and entrepreneurship. The essays were judged by a panel of the College of Business Administration members. Belain was compelled to submit an essay because, as a seasoned reader of Inc. magazine, she valued its business advice. When she saw that Rider was offering the possibility of visiting the conference, she wanted to go to gain even more insight and knowledge to help as she pursues her own success.
“When they look back at their time at Rider,” Pinto says, “they will say they had a chance to take advantage of a unique opportunity that few other students had.”
Brodsky was honored at the conference with a lifetime achievement award. Alongside his wife, Elaine, the Rider students were his special guests to witness him receiving the award.
Mentoring is a significant aspect of Brodsky’s life. He has provided pro bono consulting services to hundreds of entrepreneurs and in 2014 established the Branded Entrepreneurs Network Global Mentorship, now know as Birthing of Giants. Brodsky serves as the organization's entrepreneur-in-residence. Brodsky is also co-teaching an entrepreneurial studies class this semester at Rider where he provides real-world examples to complement classroom learning.