Local entrepreneur Steve Gonick ’85 will make his first visit to the Ithaca College School of Business on Sept. 9 to mark the beginning of his role as executive- and entrepreneur-in-residence.
Last spring, Mary Ellen Zuckerman, then dean of the business school, invited Gonick as the second resident entrepreneur to visit the school as a resource for its students. Last year, Charles “Randy” Christian ’72 served as executive-in-residence after a 30-year tenure at Johnson & Johnson.
As an example of the kind of networking Gonick said he plans to do, the alumnus and Principal with Adirondack Research and Management, Inc., who until recently handled marketing for the firm, has already put two student interns, seniors Nunta Chalothron and Darcy Ray, to work.
Gonick, who will become an in-house mentor and professional connection to the business students, has served on the school’s Business Advisory Council and has been a trustee for the Investment Advisory Board since the spring semester of 2013. Even though he now has an official position at the college, he said, his specific job description is rather flexible.
“It really is whatever I want it to be,” he said. “The way I see it is that I’m going to add some real-world experience to the business students’ coursework.”
His first visit consists of becoming acquainted with students and faculty, and attending student organization meetings, as well as the Student Organization Fair, Ray said.
Gonick said he wants to establish more relationships with alumni who run successful businesses so that their companies may see the college as a a place to look to hire students.
His most recent endeavor is his own start-up, the Steve Gonick Network, LLC. He said his recent project is a marketing consulting firm aimed at helping small-to-medium-sized entrepreneurial businesses to network efficiently. Gonick said his plan is to set up students to work individually with each of the clients he has.
“The students will be intimately involved with each of those different businesses if they want, through internships,” he said.
It is through a personal conversation that Chalothron said she became acquainted with Gonick last year at a meeting for the IC American Marketing Association, of which she is currently co-president.
Chalothron said Gonick offered her and Ray positions as his interns to work with him over the summer and throughout this school year in planning for his new company, building the corporate website and scheduling his visits to the college. As Gonick’s interns, Chalothron and Ray are currently the only students set to work with the company’s clients.
Chalothron said they will be able to share their personal biographies and resumes on the website as well, which will help them connect with Gonick’s colleagues.
“He’s doing this to help us, too,” she said. “He wants us to get our names out there.”
Ray said she remembers Gonick approaching her last year during a meeting with the student panel of the Business Advisory Council, and over the summer, they were also engaged in conversation about her internship, the website and forming connections with professionals.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned from him is the importance of networking,” she said.
Gonick said in addition to visiting classes and guest lecturing while he is at the college, he will be hosting roundtables to discuss students’ resumes and future plans, as well as one-on-one meetings with students.
Chalothron said throughout the school year, Gonick will try to visit the college about twice each month for two to three days, with the next time being the last weekend in September.
Gonick said he plans to involve more alumni in student mentorship so that they see the benefits of doing so and are inspired to maintain relationships with the college.
“Hopefully they’re gonna catch the same fire that I have,” he said. “I can’t begin to say how much I have gotten out of my relationship with Ithaca College in these prior years. It feels great to be back on campus. It’s quite an honor.”