Published: July 20, 2023

Stefani H  0:06  
Welcome to another episode of Creative Distillation. Your hosts Jeff and Brad from the University of Colorado Boulder is Leeds School of Business discuss entrepreneurship research while enjoying fine craft beverages. This episode is the first of two recorded on the rooftop patio at the Grief Center for Entrepreneurship at USC Marshall School of Business. It's the closing reception of the 19th Annual Entrepreneurship Conference at USC. Brad and Jeff are joined by Colleen Robb, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Florida Gulf Coast University. And Julienne Shields, the President and CEO of USASBE (the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship). They enjoy a lively conversation ranging from the differences between entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship to how students learning styles have changed since the pandemic with many stops in between. Enjoy and cheers!

Jeff York  1:04  
Welcome to Creative distillation, where we distill entrepreneurship research into actionable insights. I'm your host, Jeff York, research director at the Deming Sarah fryer intrapreneurship, at the University of Colorado, Boulder leads School of Business and I'm joined as always by my co host.

Brad  1:18  
Hi, Jeff. It's Brad Warner. And it's great to be with you again from USC.

Jeff York  1:22  
It is and I'm really excited to still be here. We just heard exciting news here at this social entrepreneurship Research Conference, the 19th annual one hosted by the USC Business School, the Marshall School of Business here, and we've got some guests as always, yep. So

Brad  1:39  
why don't we have the guests introduce themselves? Let's do it.

Colleen Robb  1:42  
I'm Colleen Robb. I'm an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Florida Gulf Coast University. Awesome.

Julienne Shields  1:51  
Yeah. I'm the president and CEO of the United States association for small business and entrepreneurship or you sighs good.

Jeff York  1:57  
You, too, are just on a panel here. Right?

Julienne Shields  2:00  
We were. I was the moderator so I control the entire thing. As

Jeff York  2:04  
always, we're gonna offer you a beverage. We have a wide selection of craft beer from hops St. Lovely brewery down in Torrance. As always, here at the USC conference, we also have an offer of brainwash a pseudo from real soda, which is down the coast. We also have the red cola. And you can mix either these lovely things with cup water rum from San Diego, we have three sheets round, that's another four or we have a little Brad, you're the wine guy here.

Brad  2:36  
And then we have Cabernet Sauvignon, and I'm enjoying it.

Jeff York  2:42  
Our guests to decide what they would like to have you asked me

Colleen Robb  2:45  
to talk  well, I mean, the brainwash is a cola, right?Is it like a Coca Cola? Fanta.

Oh, okay, because I was thinking you could mix it with the wine and drink. Good. Mix it with the wine? Yeah, then it's like some kind of Brazilian drink.

Julienne Shields  3:02  
That's it. Oh, you can make a Cali Mohawk.

Jeff York  3:05  
Are we good? Would you like to?

Colleen Robb  3:07  
I don't know. I don't think so. Not a

Jeff York  3:16  
great innovation we were gonna embark on? No, no.

Brad  3:25  
No, but cheers. Great to see all of you and meet you. This has been a great week.

Jeff York  3:32  
So this one we had this actually last night the same one we were

Brad  3:36  
once a Taylor Steakhouse, Taylor. p3 in Los Angeles, and we had this very cool old red leather dark wood bar. Yeah, the food was great.

Jeff York  3:46  
And this is I mean, I'm not a wine guy. So wine people feel free to correct me. I like cab and particularly California ones because they have this jammy flavor, right? Jambi. I get like a raspberry BlackBerry kind of jam thing going on with us that I really

Brad  4:03  
liked. So I looked at the selection at the bar, and this was the best of all the choices.

Jeff York  4:07  
Awesome. Well, okay, so we're gonna talk about teaching social entrepreneurship. Now,

Brad  4:13  
I want to actually back up. Okay, please do how do you become a keynote speaker at a conference? Because this had happened?

colleen  4:19  
I think it was like a self serving question.

Brad  4:22  
This is not a self serving question. This is actually for our listeners. How does this happen?

Julienne Shields  4:27  
Oh, yeah. Okay. You're the president of UCSB. Right, which is like the premier conference for entrepreneurs. And your first question is, how does one become a keynote?

Speaker for a friend

Brad  4:49  
She's coming back.

Jeff York  4:52  
She only stepped up and mixed the brainwash. Right so we still might

Julienne Shields  4:59  
there are more multiple paths to this right? And I think this is very important to think about is that certainly those who write books, right and have things that they're trying to articulate, or it could be be excellent researchers that have those aha moments that people like, mind blowing, not this kind of mind, that your mind blowing. To be frank, it could be like just those who are doing crazy and amazing things within their ecosystems, right, like changing things, overturning things on their side, and just changing the conversation. So that's the main thing when it comes to keynote, speaking at least at a conference or conferences that I've done, is it what are you doing that is making people pause and say, Holy, I need to think about this and act on it. And so that's the big thing. And specifically with something like use OSBI. It's there's a conference commission that kind of evaluates these things, too. And it's just like, which of these things are relevant within our current year? And if it's not relevant within our current year, let's push it to the next year or forget about it. Love it

Brad  6:05  
crazy and amazing. Yeah, I think that that's actually

Jeff York  6:09  
I feel like that's an actual insight. Whoa, why don't you formulate this action? Since you asked the question?

Brad  6:14  
So to me the actionable insight is you need to be bold. Yes. Right. Yeah. And it seems that you're being bold. And that's awesome. And I think we're going to talk about, actually now specifically what you're doing. So tell us about your discussion today.

Julienne Shields  6:29  
It was a panel of entrepreneurship educators, social entrepreneurship educators to be specific, because there's a lot that has happened in the past couple years responses to the pandemic responses to me to movement response to Black Lives Matter. And students have been under the kind of pressure that nobody's been under before as well. Right? Their take on education has been warped in many ways because of virtual technology and everything. Right, so it's warped. So what are educators doing to infuse research translatable research, to infuse different kinds of techniques and tools and theories and tactics to to change? And I don't know, maybe not change the behavior but to to retool people's brains, students brains. And that was the that's the main focus of the conversation today.

Brad  7:19  
Great, Kellyanne, what was your takeaway or your, your thoughts about the panel,

Colleen Robb  7:23  
I think the panel was great. I mean, you had a really nice, diverse group of thought leaders really. But I think the overarching theme of really the whole conference that we've had these past few days, is encouraging students to take ownership, like this is their world more than even all of ours, right? Because they're gonna be here longer, and really giving them the confidence and the tools to be able to say, Yeah, I can change the path that the world is on at the moment, you know, whether it's climate issues, whether it's racial issues, whether socialism doesn't matter, but, you know, really encouraging them to take those steps. And social entrepreneurship, in my mind, at least. And I mean, there's many opinions on this is really profit and purpose. So I want you to be a millionaire, right? I want you to make $5 million, you short, $10 million, $15 million a year. But you can also do good with it, as well. And so I think that was kind of the takeaway that I got, and it's great to see so many educators here that are really trying to put that kind of mindset in our students. And

Julienne Shields  8:26  
and I loved how there was such a diverse range of experience among educators in the room. Right? So you had those who are still young still, you know, almost just just getting in there first class, right? Just getting in there first class, versus those who have been doing stuff for many years that we all like listen to at the at their feet, like how do we do this? So it was it was a great group, a diverse group of audience members, too.

Brad  8:51  
Great. And I like a quick question, though, what kind of feedback you're getting back from your students? And now that you're student facing, how are they embracing this?

Colleen Robb  8:59  
Well, I'll give you an example. That just happened today. So after the panel, I had a sophomore at USC come up to me, because I had basically talked about how the increase of travel right and tourism actually contributes to poverty, right? Because basically, you're creating these new jobs, but they're low paying jobs, there are restaurant jobs or retail jobs or bartending jobs. You're not really creating an industry that can sustain higher housing prices, how are higher cost of living, and so increase tourism while it seems like a very good economic activity is actually increasing poverty and increasing, you know, the, the economic disparity, and she had never heard that before. And she came up to me and she's like, can you tell me more about that? Because I'd never thought about that. And, you know, making some of these connections between root causes, really is opening students eyes like I had no idea this cause that

Brad  9:56  
that's a policy issue too. Sure. And that's really, really interesting because If you get people grass roots to understand this and in a sense, instead of alleviating your short term pain, just getting a job is that instead be smart build for the long term and build the jobs.

Jeff York  10:13  
Absolutely. You said that I'd like to chime in Oh, calling it's really important, I think is empowering the students as their world. I've never taught social entrepreneurship class, but I've taught sustainable entrepreneur entrepreneurship for like, I don't know, eight years, something like that. And so we get a wide variety of opportunities that people would either call environmental or sustainable or social entrepreneurship, I, I don't really make a lot of differentiation. I want the students to work on what they're passionate about. But I do this little exercise where I talk about paths to staying below 1.5 degrees, climate, global temperature increase, and we show like scientifically proven paths to get there through a simulation. And invariably, somebody in the class ends up crying. And it's not because they're sad. It's because it's the first time anybody's told them that we can actually avoid the worst effects of climate change with action. I think students are just inundated with like negative messages right now. And what's worse is they're inundated with negative messages. And when they're portrayed in the media, it's as though we're on like, some unstoppable ride to hell or something. Right? Yeah. It's just the message that our students are getting through all the channels they tune into. So I think the most powerful thing that I really admire people, they're teaching social entrepreneurship, because it draws those people in that that care about doing that gives them the tools to do something.

Colleen Robb  11:39  
Yeah, I mean, I've even had conversations with with my students like open in the classroom, where I will tell them point blank, I don't care like I do, right. But I don't care about climate change, I'm going to be dead by the time that these effects happen, right. So it's really up to you. And the ball is in your court. And so if you want your children to breathe clean air, you've got to step up, and you've got to take ownership. And let me help you do that. Right. Because ultimately, I do care. Obviously, I would have otherwise I wouldn't be teaching it right. But I mean, the people that are making these decisions are not going to be around right to experience.

Brad  12:17  
What kind of reaction you get from them when you say that to them?

Colleen Robb  12:20  
Oh, gosh, they I think some of them are scared. But I think they're excited, because they're in our program. They're in an entrepreneurship program. They're in a social entrepreneurship class. All of our faculty at Florida, Gulf Coast University are so supportive of the students. And so they're in a really supportive environment. And if they come up with, you know, an idea that we think is fundable, we've got the resources to fund it. So, you know, we had one panelist who kept talking about her second class in social entrepreneurship was the doom and gloom class, right, where she was just like, Oh, these are all the hard things that you're gonna face, and bla bla, bla, bla, bla, bla bla. But ultimately, we really are empowering these students to, yeah, we've got a look in the mirror and look at our environment, but they can make a difference. And I think that they walk away with believing that they can be personally

Brad  13:13  
I think that the DNA that's running through our students, I'm very hopeful, actually. And that's cool. And I think that people walk into the door, and they don't believe that they have the power to actually effectuate the change. And they can. Yeah, just letting them know that is incredible, plus the toolkit of things. But we put them

Colleen Robb  13:32  
in a good place. Yeah. So one other thing, I do want to jump in here, since we're talking about this, in a separate class that I teach entrepreneurial mindset. We have a midterm, and it's called rejection day. And so there's, there's actually

Speaker 4  13:47  
I'm probably saying his name wrong, but gi Jiang, he did a TED talk. And he did 100 days of rejection, we actually went through that many times. So the students actually have to go out and seek rejection, and they have to film it. And so I've got hundreds of hundreds of films of students getting rejected, because they're not used to being rejected, right. I mean, yeah, we've been maybe a little too nice to this generation. Right? And if these students are not afraid of rejection, yeah, imagine what they could do. And so I think it's also a little bit of tough love writing resilience. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Brad  14:21  
First of all, I love burger refill day. Oh, my God. Yes.

Colleen Robb  14:26  
That is hilarious. You can get a free soda refill, like at a fast food restaurant. God Do you want to? So he goes to what was a Five Guys or something like that. And so he ordered a burger, right? And he goes up to the counter and he's got the empty wrapper, and he's like, so can I get a burger refill? And the guy's like, a what? A burger refill. We don't do burger refill, but you do soda refills. Why don't you do a burger refill? I would be a much more loyal patron. If you guys did burger refills. Sure. And the guy behind the counter is just I'm sorry, we can't do it. But he creates all of these different scenarios.

Brad  15:07  
It's really amazing. Yeah. But the also the power is you have to ask

Julienne Shields  15:11  
yes. And there's no harm in asking. All the students are like, Yeah, you know what I'm gonna

Colleen Robb  15:17  
ask. And it's so funny. So the last class, I taught that when they had to do their final presentations, the students said, well, since I've learned that I can ask for anything, and I can't be afraid of rejection. I'm going to ask for 100% on this presentation right now. And I said, You know what? That's exactly the attitude that we want. So yes, you get 100%. On the presentation. No, yeah.

Brad  15:40  
I love that. I was actually at a funding event the other the other day, actually, last week for scientific research. And one team got $100,000. And the use of funds was, we can go talk to 100 people that's really stuck on this. It's driving me crazy. Yeah, that's how they got to go and talk to me talks about

Jeff York  15:59  
every minute were together.

Colleen Robb  16:01  
Are they supposed to spend $1,000 on each person? It makes no freaking sense.

Jeff York  16:05  
They're getting the funding before I think what drives you crazy, my friend is that they're getting the money to go talk to people when they should have been taught hunger for the money backwards. It's a little bit of like, hey, you know, you haven't actually

Brad  16:21  
forced my students to talk to 100 people to talk to them. And if they don't they keep going until they do. Yeah, you make them film it. I've never had them fill it. Maybe I should.

Colleen Robb  16:30  
You should because otherwise they don't do it.

Brad  16:33  
Yeah, maybe?

Julienne Shields  16:35  
Well, at least. Some of them.

Jeff York  16:37  
I've heard about teaching social entrepreneurship from just the regular entrepreneurship class. Is that all the time? I was just curious what the thoughts are today that you guys empathy. Oh, interesting. See More, please? Well, so it's the first

Colleen Robb  16:51  
step in design thinking it's one of the major components of human centered design, which IDEO is really promoted. We talk a lot about different social problems. And in the class that I'm teaching, now, we're talking about health and wellness for college students. And really, the focus has been on mental health. And it's really, empathy is really a key skill and trying to figure out what the solutions are, rather than passing judgment. You know, like, you know, this is bro culture, and they just like drinking. Well, really?

Jeff York  17:25  
No, but so empathy you think, do you mean by that taking? Because I mean, we often teach design thinking tools to entrepreneurs in our classes, we almost always do. But I'm curious if what you mean is that empathy is the starting point.

Colleen Robb  17:39  
Absolutely. So so really understanding, because one of the main things that we really do, at least with human centered design, is you don't start with the solution and try and validate it, right, you really try and understand the problem. Sure. And you don't really even get to ideation until like, the third phase of human centered design, you're not even really coming up with solutions, until you're really digging in. Whereas with, you know, entrepreneurship that doesn't have a social component, you can have a concept or have an idea, right, and then interview the customers to really uncover the problem. But it's not really let me be in your shoes and experience the challenges that you are experiencing. It's really more of problem validation.

Jeff York  18:24  
So I would say that we teach. Well, I believe it was an actionable insight. Okay, so

Brad  18:28  
I so I agree. I wait, I agree. But let me say one thing before insight rolls over my insight. No, I do because I actually agree with you. 100%. But I think it's equally important for whether you're talking about commerce or social. Sure. Right, because I think whichever way whichever path you're gonna go down through that empathy component, and the problem discovery is critical, and nothing else should happen.

Julienne Shields  18:56  
So I don't I don't teach anymore. i In my role, but I will say that I get asked to do judge pitch competitions all the time. Right. So I'm always on a panel and bolder next

Brad  19:08  
week, right? Yeah, and I need you on the eighth if you don't

Jeff York  19:14  
just in case you're looking

Brad  19:17  
beautiful. That's me here. We

Jeff York  19:18  
can't pay for anything.

Julienne Shields  19:22  
All right. So here's the thing is that when when it's a pitch competition for like a traditional, you know, traditional tech or go oh, my gosh, or a dance off? No, I'm kidding. Or as for like, a social pitch, right. So I was at Miami University for a social innovation weekend. The difference in the quality of the ideas because of the empathy piece was just, it was hands down so much better because the ideas were about real problems. They could connect with them rather Then some crazy thing where maybe I'll talk with 100 people I don't know, right? I mean, that was a difference. And it was like, pie in the sky, no ideas versus no, these are like real things that help the world. And that that, to me is when I think about the difference in in the collegiate environment between regular entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship, it's because it this hits kids where they are, right, they can actually deal with these things.

Brad  20:27  
How does the university get involved with the organization? Yeah, so

Julienne Shields  20:30  
it's really faculty members, for the most part. So if they're trying to figure out what are some great ways to engage with entrepreneurship education, right? How do they get into the heads of their students a little bit more they can become individuals can become members of our organization. And you can contribute by, you know, research, teaching exercises, Learning Innovations, programmatic innovations. So we used to be just a once a year conference, but now we're an all year value proposition for faculty members. So it's pretty cool.

Brad  20:57  
Yeah. Great. As a faculty director for the Deming center, I'm going to sign up you should.

Jeff York  21:01  
And it might be even a good place to run a podcast from Oh, that'd be cool. Yes,

Julienne Shields  21:07  
yeah. I will have a table with

Jeff York  21:14  
very fancy. We have a table with some stuff. I think we

Brad  21:21  
should go I think that they actually would

Jeff York  21:22  
be. Yeah, sure. Do. actionable insight for Eric Miller out there? Sure. You're gonna help me with this. Julian? Yeah. Come into your if you want your entrepreneurship center to have more impact and have a greater impact on the students greater renowned learn some great techniques. What What would you do you would join your

Julienne Shields  21:47  
SASB? Come to a conference come to our come up? Oh, I'm sorry. Have have this podcast. Yeah.

distillation, distillation? Jeff.

And Brad and Jeff come to you size between 23 Yeah, exactly.

Jeff York  22:04  
Now, before we go, I want to make sure you when we're talking about paper, you're working on some of these topics?

Colleen Robb  22:09  
Well, it's not really social entrepreneurship, to be honest. But it's a it's about gender in entrepreneurship. And so what we did was we actually scraped the websites of entrepreneurship programs and looked at their language and whether it was more masculine or feminine. Now, when you say programs, you mean like centers? Right? Yeah. And ownership centers? Obviously, they were all I shouldn't say obviously, but they were mainly masculine. Yeah, I'm sure. And so then we took it a step further. And we tested out three different versions of language against three different populations. So we had female students, male students, and non binary students. Okay, so we had, they were able to choose from those three. And then we basically created a program description. One was mainly we using masculine language, one was using feminine language and one was using neutral language. Shockingly, the male's responded to the male language, most positively, the females responded to the female feminine language most positively. And the non binary students responded to the neutral language almost positively. And so as you look at, you know, the gender disparity in entrepreneurship, right, you know, you can, you can kind of make the case huge that as students are thinking about what major they want to pursue, if entrepreneurship programs are using mainly masculine language, they might be turning away, you know, female and non binary students, because they don't have that sense of belonging. Wow, they don't feel like they can see themselves in the program. That's because it's mainly masculine language. And so that's kind of one of the big things that we found in the research, which has some really interesting implications. Julie, go ahead.

Julienne Shields  23:49  
Go ahead. I was gonna say, I think, you know, how, when you're traveling abroad, there's you know, do you want it in Danish? Or do you want it in English? Why couldn't there also be what gendered language do you want? And have, you know, right? Like, if you really wanted to, you don't want to pick the the, you know, the service provider doesn't want to pick or the company doesn't want to pick but if the, if the audience if the customer picks, here's how I want to consume this information, all that much better.

Jeff York  24:16  
That's really important, because like, I mean, we're trying to reach out to students of all types to get them involved in entrepreneurship. And I mean, we know there's huge disparity, especially in venture capital and other high growth ventures between female and male founders and funding. And I mean, it's just really disheartening stuff, if you look at the research and interest in changing it. But this is actually the reason I went with the times that's actually actionable, right?

Colleen Robb  24:40  
It is precisely you can do this. Yes, that is,

Brad  24:43  
anecdotally we can do when I the first time I went and walked into a classroom five or six years ago, I had three female students, three out of 30. I have now more female founders than male founders. And that makes me want to do an unfamiliar Yeah. If however, they're getting empowered or we can empower them, absolutely. I'm all in.

Jeff York  25:08  
Yeah. 200% Absolutely. All right. Well, and you wanted to talk about something it was coming up to you.

Julienne Shields  25:15  
Oh, the Italy immersions.

Jeff York  25:21  
Us to Tallahassee

Julienne Shields  25:30  
so we've been talking about

Jeff York  25:39  
it here is. So here we go. So if we really want to make an impact in entrepreneurship, so what do we need to do Julia?

Julienne Shields  25:49  
Well, just like students have to, you know, go and kind of outfit the inside of their head with what you guys as faculty members are teaching in the classroom. Faculty need that same experience, right. So we have immersion programs in Italy. One is specific on rural entrepreneurship and education. But there's also a research retreat that's combined with that and that's in a little town called or banja Italy. You can't get out of there without the one taxi driver that I happen to know and you can check in That's right. So that one is on rural and it's fantastic. We did it last year we had 17 faculty go it was amazing. And then the right after that there's one on hospitality and policy in Italy. And so we go to we we kind of are home based in that small town of her Vanya, but it is we go to Remini and talk with, you know, beach restaurants we go to San Marino and talk is an independent city state and how they interact with Italy, which is all surrounding them. We go to Urbino, which is a fantastic hill town. And we kind of ended off in Modena and Food Valley and talk with all of the all of the food and wine.

Brad  26:55  
This sounds like it's gonna

Jeff York  26:56  
suck. Sounds like So

Brad  26:59  
what time of year is this?

Julienne Shields  27:00  
So the first one is July 7 through the 17th. The second one is July 14, through the 24th, double occupancy 3995. You can bring your partner, spouse, whatever, if you want, there's a fee that goes along with that. But that's all fine, right? Yeah, you just have to stay in the same room. But whatever works is fine. So the cool thing about this location is this is off the beaten path. So you get to let go of all the things there's no distractions, but the distractions that you allow yourself to have.

Brad  27:31  
Well, it sounds like my prediction is my program in France ends the 15th of July. We will hold the spot for you.

Jeff York  27:42  
Okay, well, on that note, we see people are dancing and the crowd

Brad  27:48  
is like, it's over. Everybody should be partying and,

Jeff York  27:51  
ya know, it's like, well, we're gonna have to find the after party here. So I guess we're joined shields President of United States association for small business and entrepreneurship otherwise known as you says, being an east coaster, what can I say? And colleague Rob, who is Associate Professor at Florida Gulf Coast University. Yeah, thank you for joining us. Research Director at the WCF product ownership. We are gonna be here with more coverage of the USC social entrepreneurship research conference with my co

Brad  28:24  
host, Brad Warner and ladies, it was great having you absolutely very, very much. Your work is incredible. Thanks. See you next time.

Stefani H  28:34  
We hope you enjoyed this episode of Creative Distillation recorded live on location at the 19th Annual Social Entrepreneurship Conference hosted by USC Marshall School of Business. Learn more about Colleen Robb on her website That's C-O-L-L-E-E-N  Rob with two Bs. Learn more about Julienne and her work with the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship at We'd love to hear your feedback and ideas email us at, and please be sure to cubscribe to Creative Distillation wherever you get your podcasts. The Creative Distillation podcast is made possible by the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado Boulder's Leeds School of Business. For more information, please visit That's D-E-M-ING and click the Creative Distillation link. Creative Distillation is produced by Joel Davis at Analog Digital Arts. Our theme music is "Whiskey Before Breakfast" performed by your humble hosts, Brad and Jeff. Thanks for listening. We'll see you back here for another episode of Creative Distillation. If you've enjoyed this episode, you may also enjoy Leeds Business Insights, check them out at