Alumna Samantha Goodman is finding new ways to give back
Samantha Goodman ’11 had been searching for ways to give back to her alma mater. She was already donating to the Clark Fund, but wanted to do more. Last summer, she was finally able to accomplish her goal when her company became the official sponsor of the hugely popular 2021 Ureka Challenge competition in the School of Management‘s Entrepreneurship and Innovation program. Goodman will serve as a judge for the final competition. We spoke to Samantha about her involvement and passion to help students grow their businesses and entrepreneurial spirit.
How did you become involved in the Ureka Challenge?
I’ve been wanting to find a way to give back to Clark since I graduated 10 years ago, but beyond donating to the Clark Fund, I wasn’t sure how I could do more. My best friends are from Clark and we made memories that have been so influential in my life. When we started Swing Issues Media four years ago, I knew right away that one of my long-term goals for us would be to make a gift of some kind, but it wasn’t until last summer that I realized I could do even more. I reached out to Teresa Quinn (E&I program manager) and we made it happen.
How is being a Ureka sponsor a good fit for your company, Swing Issues Media?
Swing Issues‘ mission is to engage and inform our audience on the major issues effecting not just our country, but the world. We talk about and support important social causes. When I came across the Ureka Competition and saw how many Clarkies were setting out to build businesses with a social impact, I felt like this could be a great opportunity both to thank Clark for giving me so much and to hopefully make an impact on future generations.
You come from an entrepreneurial family – how are you sharing your personal experiences with the students?
I do come from a very entrepreneurial family! My dad has been involved in building a variety of businesses throughout his career, and I’ve been lucky enough to learn so much from him. I’ve also been involved with two startups myself – Swing Issues Media and DCap Claims, a financial services company that I’ve been with for the last 6 years, first as a project manager and now as COO.
I’ve spent time meeting some of the Ureka students and imparting what I hope is useful advice based on what I’ve learned over the course of my career. Obviously, I don’t have near the kind of knowledge and experience that my dad has, but he’s taught me a lot and is always the first person I go to when I need advice on my business. I try to take what he’s taught me and condense it down for the Ureka participants.
What do you think is the greatest benefit to students who take part in the Ureka Challenge?
I think it’s amazing how they’ve been able to find what they’re passionate about and use the tools they’ve been given to turn those passions into businesses. Although I’ve loved the journey I’ve taken to find out what I’m truly passionate about, I’ve always been a little jealous of people who seemed to have that figured out early on. I didn’t know what I wanted to do after graduation, but I got to try out quite a few things, from working with educational nonprofits to running events for an independent bookstore, before I landed where I am now. Seeing these students find their passions so early on and building upon them is very inspiring.
What has impressed you most about the student businesses?
They’ve all blown me away with how creative and thoughtful their companies are, and how determined they are to grow their businesses! There have been quite a few I found to be particularly innovative that I can see creating significant positive social impacts. The judges are going to have a tough job determining winners at Ureka!
You said that you’d like to continue as a mentor for students. What does that look like to you?
Part of it is helping to ensure students are making progress to build their business. I’m looking at potential for growth and if students are willing to listen, learn, and develop. The mentorship part is still being flushed out. Students will have input on how to structure the mentorship.
When it comes to being an entrepreneur and building a business, is there one particular piece of advice that sticks with you?
The most important thing is to talk about your business to everyone you meet. It’s a simple thing, but networking isn’t always easy. Just talk about what you do and what you’re enthusiastic about. But make sure you’re actually passionate about what you’re doing. You don’t want to start something and realize 10 years down the road that you’re exhausted. You want to be excited to go to work. Follow your passions.
Communications Specialist, SOM