Jerry Conrey has been an integral part of the CSUF Entrepreneurship Program since 2002 when he first became a mentor. Jerry still serves as a mentor to our student-entrepreneurs and he also has funded the Conrey Insurance Brokers and Risk Managers Entrepreneurial Scholarship for many years, participated as a panelist at a seminar on Patent Trolls and has served on special committees in support of the Center for Entrepreneurship over the years. We recently had the chance to ask him a few questions about his time with our program and, as you can see below, he was gracious enough to give us some very thoughtful answers.
Center for Entrepreneurship: “How has the program evolved during your tenure?”
Jerry Conrey: “The program has become more prolific, with many more students and class offerings since my initial involvement. It has matured into a perennial national contender at the annual Student-led Business Consulting Project of the Year Competition. The professors and lecturers have evolved over the years into being a great fit for the program.”
CFE: “What drives you to volunteer?”
JC: “My interest in giving back is the number one driver. The ancillary drivers include maintaining my own relevance as a business owner, exposure to other businesses, the students, and the curriculum provide ample opportunity for me to take personal and corporate inventory of my own business – so even though I mentor, I also become a student of the process and perfect my own operation with what I learn.”
For many years, Jerry Conrey (left) has supported the Conrey Insurance Brokers & Risk Managers Entrepreneurial Scholarship. This year, the scholarship went to Sam Cisneros (right).
CFE: “Tell us about your involvement in student projects.”
JC: “Quality control. I am there to make sure that the client business gets a consulting report that provides relevant analysis, a thorough consideration of options for solving the problem, and an actionable recommendation that considers the financial and human capital necessary to executive it.”
CFE: “What is one of your most memorable moments as a mentor?”
JC: “I get great satisfaction from the students when I see “the lights turn on” in them. You know the moment, when they begin to connect the dots and see the possibilities and the likelihoods at the intersection of philosophy and practicality. In other words, when they start to execute what they learned in a book and put it to use – that moment is galvanizing for me.”
CFE: “How has your participation in the program enhanced your life?”
JC: “In numerous ways. I learn about new application and how they can be used in collaborative ways, I bring what I learned back to my own business and incorporate it into my own management system and style. I enjoy working with youth as it makes me feel younger and more relevant. As I become more knowledgeable of the ways the younger generation thinks, and what motivates them, I become more understanding of our generational differences and I see the opportunities to collaborate rather than dismiss. Volunteerism and giving back are in my DNA, and through this program I not only give, but I almost equally get.”
CFE: “What is your professional and educational background?”
JC: “I studied but never graduated from CSUF. My career took off and the demands from it pulled me out of the classroom in my senior year. Twenty years later, I returned to academia and earned my BA and MBA concurrently through Almeda University.”
CFE: “What are your hobbies?”
JC: “I play golf and tournament style poker. My wife and I are culinary and wine enthusiasts, and we enjoy the performing arts. I have a band whose genre is the music of the ‘60s British Invasion. We do corporate and special events, conventions and you can find us every year at the Orange International Street Fair.
Scholarship winner Robert Gates with scholarship sponsors Vicki and Jerry Conrey
CFE: “What advice can you offer to Entrepreneurship students and grads just beginning their career?”
JC: “There’s more to success than profit alone. Happiness is not measurable on a P&L or a balance sheet. One who learns how to profit from anything they are passionate about will find a level of satisfaction and happiness that is immeasurable.”
If you are interested in volunteering in our program please send us a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
This post was written by Adrienne Bailey and Travis Lindsay