More Than Just a Conference

By Kirsten Settle

My experience representing Western Michigan University’s Haworth College of Business at the Lean Startup conference benefited my character and leadership development in ways beyond what a traditional classroom could. The business culture of San Francisco proved to me that there is more to business in America beyond the conventional structured, corporate America that the Midwest is most familiar with.

The corporate mindset in that part of California is completely different than what I’ve grown to know in the Midwest. I felt that there was so much more respect for women and minorities at the conference and by the people affiliated. As a woman, I genuinely felt equally respected and admired, even though the conference was male dominate.

I am so grateful to Barcley Johnson for allowing me this experience. I also felt that the Lean Startup philosophy promoted a healthier humanitarian approach to the creation of products and company culture. I felt that everyone at the conference, and honestly in the whole city of San Francisco, was much more optimistic and energetic. I could physically feel the passion the people in attendance had for not only their companies but for the activist approach to creating positive change in the way we do business, that the Lean Startup applies.

The trip opened my eyes to all new types of possibilities and opportunities that I can work for. I’ve stated this before, but I am so grateful for the opportunity the University gave me. I have so much optimism and passion for the potential that I now have. I have learned to keep my mind and eyes open for further opportunities that can help widen my perspective on the business world, entrepreneurship, and diversified culture.

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