Inspiration & AdviceSo You Think You’re Ready To Be A CEO? Speaker Spotlight on Emma Mcilroy from Wildfang

Emma Mcilroy, CEO of WildfangAs an entrepreneur, what do you wish you’d learned in school?

We asked Emma Mcilroy, co-founder and CEO of Wildfang and a speaker at our upcoming Entrepreneurial Summit, to design a class for aspiring entrepreneurs—the class she wishes she’d taken in school.

At Wildfang, the home of tomboys, Emma leads a passionate and talented team of 12 people, to bring a fresh, exciting and truly badass retail experience to young women all over the USA. She has over 10 years’ experience in brand and product marketing at two world-class brands: Nike and Barclays. Above all else, Emma is consumer-obsessed. Emma graduated with a 1st Class Honors degree from Emmanuel College, Cambridge in Natural Sciences. She is sports-crazy and if Liverpool loses, it’s been known to ruin her weekend. When she’s not working, she can often be found drinking Irish whiskey in one of Portland’s karaoke bars.

We doubt you ever found a class like Emma’s in your course catalog:

So You Think You’re Ready To Be A CEO?

Key lessons the course will teach:

  • You can’t do it alone.
  • You need to become the world’s best salesman.
  • Nothing will ever be perfect. Get used to operating on 90/10.

Key skills the course will develop:

  • Relentless evolution – ability to intake information and change course, the ability to overcome hurdles, the ability to keep moving forward no matter what obstacles hit you.
  • Sales pitch for 20 different audiences (prospective employees, customers, investors, media, vendors, interns).
  • Ability to write 90-day and 12-month plans/articulate clear strategic priorities for short- and medium-term.
Field trips:
  • You will shadow me for a day. Then you’ll shadow my friend at Nike, who gets a half-day Friday. Then you’ll be asked to pick which you’d prefer.

Projects & Tests:

  • Pitch your idea to 10 people in a busy mall. Get their attention, get them to listen, keep them engaged and get them to buy in/thumbs up before your done. You have 60 secs with each max.
  • Tell your business plan through three genres of fictional story: romance, thriller, horror. Why? Because it teaches you what makes a story great. And your story better be great.
  •  You have one weekend. Spend one hour each with 10 people who fit your customer target profile. Ask them questions. Shadow them. Watch them. Obsess over them. Then come in Monday and tell me three things you learned and how you’re going to change your business because of it.
  • In small groups, develop a plan to go to market for a new product over a two-day period. (In those two days I’ll mess with them as much as possible. I’ll plant one person in the team to cause disruption, be argumentative and quit. I’ll present 5-6 new pieces of data/info that greatly change or impact their plans. I’ll test their resilience and ability to adapt and stay positive.)

Reading list:

  • The Intelligent Entrepreneur by Bill Murphy – real talk from some of the best entrepreneurs. Teaches the importance of pivoting and overcoming obstacles.
  • Strengths Finder by Tom Rath – teaches you how to hire and manage and develop people. Focus on strengths, not weaknesses. Changed how we approach our people.
  • Untethered Soul by Michael Singer – you’re gonna laugh at this one, but it changed me a lot as a person. Essentially a self-help/Buddhist book but it totally educated me on how to manage my energy, which is vital for a leader.

Ready to register? OEN invites you to come and be schooled at The Kennedy School on June 6, where Emma Mcilroy and 14 other successful entrepreneurs will share their stories. Appropriately themed The School of Hard Knocks, our Entrepreneurial Summit is a chance for you to learn what they didn’t learn in school. Learn more.

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