A wonderful event and further development recently took place with the Jack & Julie Nadel School of Business & Entrepreneurship at Santa Barbara City College (SBCC), specifically focusing on supporting veteran entrepreneurs like longtime Santa Barbara resident and author Jack Nadel. Nadel passed away in late 2016 just after committing to plans of a generous gift with wife Julie Nadel, through The Nadel Foundation, to pledge $1 million to SBCC to establish an endowment fund that supports the highest needs of the programs and initiative of all academic disciplines that comprise the Business Division, which was aptly renamed with the recognition of the Nadels in 2017.
For those who were fortunate enough to know him personally or professionally, or read one of his many articles published on The Huffington Post, they vividly remember Jack Nadel’s amazing legacy as a decorated WWII veteran turned award-winning entrepreneur and author who continues to inspire the next generation with his focus on ethics, peace and prosperity through business development. With his powerful inspiration and performance history in mind, Julie Nadel wanted to help drive a special event to both give back to area veterans considering entrepreneurship and draw attention to the tremendous opportunity veterans play in the role of local business development and economic growth.
Together with the dedication of Julie Samson, Director of the Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at SBCC, during the week of Veteran’s Day on November 16 an incredible event took place that featured former Green Beret turned successful businessman Larry Broughton, to honor and support veterans in the Central and Southern California areas to lay the groundwork for a collaborative program called Vetrepreneur LAUNCH!
Broughton created a track record of victories that began during his military career that led to a path of forging tremendous business success during some of the most difficult economic times in US history, much like Jack Nadel achieved with Jack Nadel International, which spanned across many decades and continues to have great impact in Southern California and abroad globally. In January 2001, Broughton founded California-based broughtonHOTELS, a leader in the boutique hotel industry. During what proved to be the worst two-and-a-half year period in the hospitality industry since before World War II, Broughton successfully acquired four hotel properties and today his company has 20 hospitality projects throughout California and Chicago.
Among other interests for The Nadel Foundation, supporting veteran entrepreneurship in Santa Barbara and surrounding areas was a keen focus for Jack and Julie Nadel before Jack passed in 2016, and today the need and unique opportunity to foster greater awareness around supporting the untapped talents of veterans still remains in our community and beyond.
As Julie Nadel shared in her presentation, veterans returning from WWII like Jack started businesses at a rate of more than 49 percent, whereas today, veterans are becoming entrepreneurs at a rate of just 4.9 percent. She firmly believes we need to fix that, and the stats across the board back her belief up.
According to the Small Business Administration:
- Veterans start businesses at a rate 4x greater than the general population,
- Businesses run by Veterans outperform their non-veteran counterparts in early stage start-up growth,
- Top brands like Nike, FedEx, GoDaddy, Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company, JNI (and countless others), were all started by Veterans.
Vetrepreneur LAUNCH event participants gained both the inspiration and guide to resources needed to help deploy their business venture or pursue important next steps on their journey. With a discussion following Broughton’s insightful keynote, SBCC Professor and Faculty Chair Bonnie Chavez asked some poignant questions during a fireside-style segment, including what Larry had learned from his military career that he felt had made him more successful in business.
His response: “To give trust first—don’t make people earn it. Trust people until they teach you otherwise. Stay focused on the mission and your purpose, and remind your team of that daily. Ask tons of questions, and be tenacious. I would take tenacity over talent in an employee any day.”
Many from the audience also asked questions. One standout moment was when a young veteran stood up and boldly asked about how to overcome days he can’t see the vision and things are feeling extra tough.
“Everyday you need to be speaking and adding positivity into your life,” responded Broughton. “Dilute the swamp water around your brain, soul and spirit. Keep adding in fresh, pure water to clean out that funk and work to try and retrain your brain with positive thoughts. Try keeping a gratitude journal at night to remember even the small things, and no matter what, get people around you that you can call on to lift you up when you’re down—you are not in this alone and we need guys and gals like you.”
SBCC President Anthony Beebe said this event and program concept is a model for the entire country for our veterans.
“We know that veterans are phenomenal employees because they have a good work ethic, good moral character, they are dedicated, and these are also characteristics of a good small business owner. That’s why SBCC is behind supporting vetrepreneurs 100% with an entrepreneurship program to be able to get involved and consider starting up a small business.”
As a wonderful continuation just a year after the Nadel School celebrated its opening dedication ceremony, Julie Nadel hopes that the event helped to create a ripple toward the next wave of vetrepreneurs in Southern California and push forward the important conversation around how more veterans can be supported to find and grow their own triumphs either as entrepreneurs with their own businesses, or as intrapreneurs—someone who promotes innovation and growth within an organization.
The event also featured light bites and delicious treats for the attending veterans and guests from Rincon Catering, including a patriotic cake pops platter decorated like an American Flag.
Those who are interested in learning more about the business and entrepreneurship practical learning programs and courses offered within the SBCC Business Division can check out the Nadel School Business web page, or visit the Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
—Amber Sims Hinterplattner