The 2023 Zell Alumni Summit

Zell Lurie Institute
October 20, 2023
By, Drea Shipp-Caldwell
Program Manager for Alumni Engagement
Reflecting on the 2023 Zell Alumni Summit, I continue to be inspired by the tenacity and innovation of our U-M Alum entrepreneurs.
This annual flagship event is designed to support our alum entrepreneurs at every stage of business development in achieving startup growth, by making resources and connections available to expand professional networks and develop new strategies for taking businesses to the next level. In addition, this conference offers custom coaching, immersive treks into local entrepreneurial ecosystems and opportunities for alumni to hone their pitches for potential future investors. The Zell Alumni Summit includes facilitated content sessions on the topics of greatest importance to entrepreneurs.
This year, these Alums showcased diversity in geographic location and industry, but ALL bleed Maize & Blue! The Michigan degree holders turned founders, C-Suite, and investors represented 13 states and 2 countries. All came ready to leverage the power of the Michigan Alum affiliation. They brought experience in industries that include CPG, E-commerce, Consulting, Financial Advising, Gaming, Health Tech, Healthcare, Human Services/Social Impact, Innovation, IT, Investments/VC, Fintech, Food and Beverage, Manufacturing/Sustainability, Medical Device Manufacture, Real Estate, SaaS, Job Recruiting App, Search Fund, Sporting Goods.
Day 1: We were honored to welcome esteemed keynotes. Sincerest gratitude to Dr. Marcus Collins and Sanjeev Kumar for presenting their research-based insights on relevant topics for entrepreneurs including culture contagion in strategic marketing/advertising and business value from AI, respectively.
16 coaches with specific content expertise provided 1:1 feedback to participants seeking to move the needle on their businesses. Thanks to Nadia Boutaoui, PhD; Kimberly Dillon; Lynn Fernando; Tim Freeth; Sarika Gupta; Steven Harutunian; David Janssens; Steve Janssens; Dana Jewell; Mike Lemirande; Katy Lind; Colin McKillop; Rashmi Menon; Serena Riley, CCXP; Jaap Schut, Ph.D.; Katrina Turnbow-Marion; Angela Yee for their dedication to this program, both in-person and virtually. You all brought tremendous value to this custom coaching initiative.
Day 2: A “D-Trek,” visiting diverse Detroit businesses, founded and managed by successful U-M Alumni/ae and supported by their amazing teams. It was fascinating to hear unique stories of business trajectory from these Michigan Alums. Thanks, Lisa Nuszkowski and Adriel Thornton of MoGo Detroit for the guided bike tour of the Detroit International Riverwalk; David Di Rita and Kaitlyn Horbal of The Roxbury Group for hosting us at one of the firm’s exquisite properties, The David Whitney Building; Jackie Victor and Joanne Bower of the community focused Avalon International Breads and Jolly Pumpkin for a delicious lunch and house-made baked goods for the road.
Designing meaningful experiences and delivering programs that support U-M Alum founders at all stages of professional and personal growth is an incredible privilege. I am grateful for my wonderful leaders at the globally recognized Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies and the incredible Alums we serve. Go Blue!!