Episode 42

Brand Story Podcast

The Entrepreneur’s Journey

with Suzanne Bergmeister

Executive Director of the Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship at James Madison University

Suzanne Bergmeister, Executive Director of the Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship at James Madison University, talks about what makes a successful entrepreneur with our president, Steve Gilman.

Fall in love with the problem, not the solution. It’s what Suzanne Bergmeister teaches all her entrepreneurial students. Because without a problem to solve, your solution has no ground to stand on, and all you’re left with is a cool idea.

In this episode of Brand Story, we talk with Suzanne about what makes a successful entrepreneur, both personally and professionally. Currently the Executive Director of the Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship at James Madison University, Suzanne has sat on both sides of the entrepreneur’s table, first as a venture capitalist and later an entrepreneur herself. She’s seen the amount of passion, sweat, and tears it takes to make it in the field, and now she’s sharing the best advice she’s gathered over her years working with aspiring and successful entrepreneurs.

About the Guest

Suzanne Bergmeister

Executive Director of the Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship at James Madison University

Suzanne is the Executive Director of the Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship at James Madison University, where they connect aspiring entrepreneurs with educational and hands-on opportunities that help inspire and bring their business visions to life. Suzanne is also the founder of Sunflower Business Ventures, which specializes in small business consulting, and was a former Admissions Liaison Officer for the U.S. Air Force.

Quickfire Q&A

What do you think are some of the biggest habits and skills that you've seen over time that make for successful entrepreneurs?

Suzanne: The hallmark of any successful entrepreneur is flexibility. Entrepreneurs also have to have great passion, but thick skin, because they're gonna get told time and time again, “It'll never work. You'll never get funding for it.” If they truly believe in their ideas and their passion, and they work hard, they will make a successful.

What's a piece of advice around entrepreneurship that's really stuck with you?

Suzanne: The different question I'm going to answer is not advice that's been given to me, but the best advice that I can give to an entrepreneur. Tell people about your idea. Because most people in the entrepreneurial world are not out to steal your idea, they’re out to help you.

If you could give your younger self any advice, what would it be?

Suzanne: This would be advice for any young person. Don't take yourself so seriously. Don't stress out. Life is flexible. You can change. I changed colleges, I changed majors. I've changed careers five times in my life. So be flexible. Don't take yourself so seriously.

About The Host

Steve Gilman

As the President of Gravity Group, Steve is passionate about helping brands reach their goals through honest, creative marketing and powerful brand stories.

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