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W&M president, guests discuss entrepreneurial thinking during a pandemic

  • Sonali Gobin with smaller photos down side of Natalie Marcotullio, Sam Pressler, Graham Henshaw, Katherine Rowe
    Community conversation:  Sonali Gobin ’20 (left) discusses entrepreneurial thinking with William & Mary President Katherine A. Rowe and guests during the May 6 community conversation.  Photo by Jennifer L. Williams
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Uncertainty and new ways of doing things can be shifted into positives, according to a William & Mary group discussion May 6 about turning challenges brought on by COVID-19 into opportunities for innovation.

“Any time you’re annoyed, just try to think of a way to solve it,” said Natalie Marcotullio ’19, director of marketing for Map My Customers, as she described applying problem-solving thinking she learned at W&M to tough situations.

Graham Henshaw, executive director of the Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Miller Center and clinical lecturer at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business, described the skills and mindset that are used to teach entrepreneurial thinking at W&M and explained that they aren’t just for business but can be applied to any situation.

He invited viewers to complete the center’s first-ever online entrepreneurial thinkers scavenger hunt. Participants will answer clues and discover five W&M entrepreneurial thinkers.

W&M President Katherine A. Rowe led the virtual talk  as part of a weekly series featuring different guests and discussion topics. The weekly series runs from March 27 through May 13.

This week’s two-part conversation centered on entrepreneurial thinking. The first segment was an overview of the skills and mindset of entrepreneurial thinking, which was then followed by panel discussion with guests about how they are using it during the pandemic.

Rowe was joined by Marcotullio, Henshaw, former Miller Center fellow Sonali Gobin ’20 and Sam Pressler ’15, founder of the Armed Services Arts Partnership.

Gobin talked about handling numerous rejections for internships and jobs with a resilient mindset.

“Entrepreneurial thinking has really taught me how to use my skills to get over that quickly,” Gobin said, adding that failing wisely is one of the tenets she uses regularly.

“The most important thing for me is identifying what is in your control, what is not in your control,” Pressler said. “And then figuring out everything in your ability to act on what’s in your control and how you can accept what’s not.”