Earlier today, the campus community received an email from President Glenn Roquemore. “Irvine Valley College,” we were informed, “is sponsoring the 2014 Young Professionals Leadership Summit … at the Irvine Marriott….”
It’s on the 17th.
The email raises a question, “why attend?” It provides a 4-point answer:
- Network with 10 participating young professional groups
- over 200 attendees
- 7+ expert speakers, breakouts & panelist
- exploring hot topics like “creating your personal brand,” “working with multi-generations,” and “the art of closing the deal”
The chief business of Americans, you know, is business.
It is what it is, and Prez Roquemore and VPSS Linda Fontanilla, we’re told, “would like to invite 20 individuals to attend” the dang thing.
If you want to attend, you’ve got to got permission, evidently. What's that all about?
Have I missed something? Are we now a business college?
You know what I mean. We’re so seldom invited, by Glenn and his merry Glennsters, to anything academic. Meanwhile, we seem forever to be elbowing our way onto the business and “entrepreneurial” scene. You know, Chamber of Commerce, that sort of thing.
—That's the scene many of us college types spend our time examining and criticizing in the classroom.
That's not a secret, is it? (Uh-oh.)
* * *I still wanna know more about what kind of thing this summit is. So I Googled the summit title and that brought me to the Summit website.
It’s pretty slick. It sports lots of pics of 20-somethings in business suits.
We’re told: “Become a strong leader and dynamic professional while building your network at the most collaborative young professionals event in Orange County.”
I scrolled down and found a list of sponsors:
- US Bank [“a financial services company that serves the banking needs of consumers and businesses alike”]
- Irvine Valley College [um, a college, sort of]
- Dirt-Free Power, Inc. [“implementing energy solutions for residential and commercial clients in the United States and Europe, we are proud to be the first commercial anti-utility in the United States.”]
I did some clicking and found that the list continues. And it continues to be odd, what with a community college's inclusion:
- Eberle Company [“Eberle Company provides Commercial Real Estate advice”]
- d2 Business Solutions [“We provide IT outsourcing and project management, maintenance agreements, hosted Spam filtering, hosted backup and hourly technical support to clients nationwide”]
- Margowsky Design [“I specialize in logo, print and website design”]
- “How to Get Lucky” - Rob Friedman, Auction.com [real estate auctions; the company is “an international seller of distressed properties,” according to the OC Reg]
- “The Art of Networking: Building Beneficial Business Relationships” - Kecia Wimmer Lyons, “CEO, Entrepreneur, Speaker,” according to Linkedin
- “Don’t Underestimate the Power of Culture” - Kristen Allison, CEO & Owner of Burnham Health Benefits
- “Building a Personal Brand Within the Social Media Landscape” - Ash Kumra, Co-Founder of DreamItAlive.com
- “How to Sell Yourself… And Stay Out of Jail” - Todd Tripp, Wealth Management Advisor
Translation: when the recession hit, he made a killing on real estate forclosures:
Co-founded by entrepreneurs Jeff Frieden and Rob Friedman, Auction.com caught the wave of bank-owned foreclosures during the recession and flourished while other real estate firms floundered. (OC Register)At one point, Mr. Friedman announced plans to publish a book entitled “How to Make a Fortune at Real Estate Auctions.” Not sure if he ever published it. Didn't have to, I guess.
What a classy guy.
Ms. Kecia Wimmer Lyons’ Linkedin bio explains that, at one point, “Kecia quickly accelerated her income and personally earned more than $250,000 a month and over $1.2 million in a year”!
Golly. She's Glenn's idea of a "good citizen," a pillar of the community, no doubt.
Evidently, early in her career, she was “a Corporate Trainer for The Anthony Robbins Companies.” Robbins, of course, is a major poster child for New Age claptrap and hucksterism—the sort of thing that critical thinking instructors like me bash all day long.
According to her Linkedin bio, Kristen Allison runs and owns Burnham Benefits Insurance Services, “an industry leading regional employee benefits consulting and brokerage firm.” Evidently, Allison “received the 2012 Enterprising Woman of the Year award from Enterprising Women magazine.” Good for her.
According to his Linkedin bio,
“Ash Kumra is an award winning entrepreneur, author and public speaker recognized twice by the White House as an entrepreneur making an impact. Ash is currently co-founder of DreamItAlive.com; a global community guiding users to create their “dream life” with scientifically proven visualization tools, dreamboards® and personal development content.”Scientifically proven, eh? Don't think so. Didn’t people once try to visualize (or wish) world hunger away? Didn’t work. Idjits.
We’re also told that “Ash is an active advisor to numerous early stage companies and venture accelerators including”
- Zendy Beauty…: Empowers you to look your best at your price by saving on aesthetic and cosmetic procedures including Botox, fillers, laser hair removal, tattoo removal, and more from top quality Providers at prices you can afford.Hmmm. Isn't college the anti-matter to this blithering matter? Think so.
- MotorMood…: An accessory for your car which lets you share good will with other drivers using a light-up happy face in your rear window.
In one of his many publications, the, um, dreamy Mr. Kumra tells us:
I have found the best way to express dreams is by creating a visual collage representing pictures and statements on the things that represent your idea. It’s called a vision board in some circles; my company calls it a Dreamboard. Begin by putting different pictures that represent what value your dream will bring, along with the personal rewards you’ll receive (yes, it’s okay to create your dream life as well!). You can either make this at home with a physical corkboard and images or use online tools.Gosh, it's as though Mr. Kumra exists just so that I can have lots of things to bash vigorously in my logic and ethics and philosophy classrooms.
Mr. Tripp is a Wealth Management Advisor, and, in truth, he seems like a nice guy. According to the YPLS folks,
Having changed careers in his early thirties from law enforcement to financial services [Todd] is grateful for the ability to have an impact on people with something other than pepper spray, hand cuffs, or a mug shot.Elsewhere, we’re told that he “enjoys golf, racquetball, playing guitar, good wine, and the Good Book.”
OK, I guess he’s not so bad, even if his choice of reading material is kind of limited.
* * *The website also lists past speakers. One of ‘em works for the scandal-ridden Susan G Komen organization, but she’s probably swell anyway (she works with charities). Another past speaker “is one of America’s leading experts at launching new businesses, products, and services.” He too got his start working with New Age guru (and huckster) Tony “Firewalk” Robbins.
Well, maybe he grew out of the Robbins, um, approach (namely, talking people out of their cash with total egregious bullshit).
Another past speaker is a "corporate vice president of quality"—I didn’t realize there was such a thing!
This guy loves to tell people that he has a Ph. D. He doesn’t tell ‘em, however, that he got it from an unaccredited “distance ed” college (California Coast University, in Santa Ana) once investigated by the feds for being a “diploma mill.” (CCU somehow eventually received accreditation in 2005, the same year our boy finished his “studies” there.)
Another past speaker has been an employee (now executive) for Allergan, maker of Botox, since 1993. If you've been paying attention, you'll know that Allergan has been in and out of hot water over its products and practices for many years. (See.)
So maybe you're getting sense of what kind of thing this summit is.
We shouldn't be surprised, given Glenn's recent photo op with some bigshot from the U of Phoenix. When I think "U of P," I think about business opportunities all right.
The chief business of IVC, it seems, is business, including the filthy kind.