by: Mandar Kashikar MBA ’19
As I scrambled to find an open seat in a jam-packed auditorium, I knew that this was going to be amazing start to the Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker series. We had, on campus, two of the most influential businessmen known locally as well as nationally. Soon enough, Elana Fine, Executive Director of the Dingman Center, took the stage to elegantly inaugurate the event, describing the objective of the event to enable student learning by bringing business leaders and entrepreneurs to campus. Dean Alex Triantis further took the stage to introduce Bob Hisaoka, the man behind the Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker series. As a student, I couldn’t imagine a better opportunity to learn about business and entrepreneurship. It was an entrepreneurial journey of 40 years packed into 2 hours. Crash course—Entrepreneurship!
As Bob Hisaoka went on to introduce Ted Leonsis, it seemed like the list of achievements would never end. Ted is an Internet industry pioneer and serial entrepreneur. He helped build AOL into the global business it is today. Under his leadership, AOL increased its membership from under 800,000 members to over 8 million, and their annual revenue increased from $100 million to $1.5 billion. He is the owner and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns and operates the NHL’s Washington Capitals and other sports properties. Additionally, he serves on the board of directors at Groupon as well as American Express. But his accomplishments don’t stop there. Ted is an award-winning producer of documentaries, and the founder and chairman of SnagFilms. His philanthropic efforts are many and his impact on society continues to grow to this day.