Spring Events to Bring Top Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs to Haas

From a big thinker in finance to a conference on consumer choice in health care, a host of impressive leaders and events this spring will inspire, engage, and inform the Haas community about the latest trends in business.

The Dean’s Speaker Series kicks off its 2013 programs Jan. 31 with Bill Hambrecht, founder and chair of W.R. Hambrecht & Co., a financial services firm that created the OpenIPO auction process. Branding and management expert Gary Shansby, former CEO of the Shaklee Corp. and founder and current chair of privately held Partida Tequila, will speak on Feb. 3. Professor Emeritus David Aaker, vice-chair of the strategic brand and marketing consultancy Prophet and author of 15 books, is scheduled to give his annual talk on April 9.

Next year marks the 10th anniversary for the school's Center for Responsible Business, which it will celebrate with an evening event at Gap Inc. headquarters March 20. Speakers will reflect on the past decade and provide a glimpse into the future of sustainable enterprise. There will also be an all-day sustainability leadership workshop for alumni before the evening celebration.

The Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership will continue its Schwab Charitable Speaker Series with events in February and April on “social impact bonds and new forms of social finance” and “catalytic technologies for base-of-the-pyramid.” Exact dates and speakers have yet to be confirmed.

Several student-organized conferences and events also are planned for this spring. The Education Leadership Case Competition, to be held from Feb. 15 to 16, will involve a case about High Tech High School in San Diego. On March 1, the seventh annual Haas Business of Health Care Conference will address the theme "Embracing Consumer Choice" at the Nikko Hotel in San Francisco. G. Steven Burrill, CEO of Burrill & Co., a venture capital and merchant banking firm, will give the keynote speech. Before founding Burrill, he spent 28 years with Ernst & Young, directing and coordinating services to clients in biotechnology, life sciences, high tech, and manufacturing worldwide.

On March 16, the student-run Berkeley-Haas Asia Business Conference is expected to attract more than 500 Bay Area students and professionals to the Clark Kerr Campus to address the theme "Asia: Bigger Than You Think."

Later that month, on March 28, the Haas School will play host to Ideas Economy: Innovation 2013, a conference organized by The Economist that will explore how major technological changes will reinvent business during the next century. Confirmed speakers include Peter Diamandis, chair and chief executive of the X Prize Foundation; and Silicon Valley corporate innovation expert Navi Radjou, co-author of Jugaad Innovation: Think Frugal, Be Flexible, Generate Breakthrough Growth.

The Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability, whose membership includes the Haas School's Center for Responsible Business, will host its Fifth Annual Research Conference from April 29 to May 1 at Haas.

The Lester Center for Entrepreneurship is sponsoring three competitions this spring.  Executive summaries to participate in the UC Berkeley Startup Competition, the marquee entrepreneurship event at UC Berkeley, are due Jan. 31. Up to 40 teams will be chosen to compete in the competition's April 23 semifinals, which will be followed by a public final round April 25.  Serial entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki, former Apple chief evangelist and now a venture capitalist, will be among the judges.

The deadline is Jan. 30 for entries from the U.S., Canada, and Central and South America for the Global Social Venture Competition—an international competition founded at Haas that encourages students to create sustainable for-profit and not-for-profit ventures that generate positive social change. (Entries from elsewhere are collected and winnowed through two rounds of competitions organized by 12 partner schools around the world.) The competition will hold the U.S. western regional finals on March 22 and global finals and conference on April 12, both at UC Berkeley.

On Feb. 1, the Venture Capital Investment Competition is a "reverse business plan competition" that will bring together six teams of five graduate students to play the role of venture capitalists as they compete to create the best investment strategy. The students will evaluate investment opportunities from actual entrepreneurs who are pitching for funding. The winning team will move on to the regional competition at Santa Clara University.

Bill Hambrecht, founder and chair of W.R. Hambrecht & Co.