Marlin Business Conference returns to in-person events

Held during the fall and spring semesters of every school year, the Marlin Business Conference allows Virginia Wesleyan University’s students and faculty, along with members of the community, to engage in workshops, presentations and interactive activities over the span of a week. 

This semester’s conference was held between Nov. 15-19. Following last year’s streaming-only conferences, this year’s was in person, with the theme being “Commerce in the New Normal.”

“This year’s conference was digitally streamed live. It was also able to be attended in person and recorded,” VWU lecturer in business, management and economics, and “conference coach” Frank Futyma said. “We have never streamed live. Additionally, we have never offered all three options for viewing it.”

For more than a decade, the Marlin Business Conference has been a student-led event, and this semester’s was no different. Students from the VWU business course MBE 301 Principles of Management, including Chief Executive Officer Ryan Nicholson and Chief of Staff Marlese Boyer, all worked together to make the conference a success.

“The mission of the Marlin Business Conference is to acknowledge the hard work of business students at Virginia Wesleyan University by allowing them to compete in professional challenges, and to provide a platform upon which business leaders can share their knowledge and experience,” Boyer said. 

This semester’s conference incorporated a wide range of events and activities spread between Monday and Friday. Some of the events that were held included the conference’s biannual Shark Tank competitions, a resume workshop presented by VWU’s Director of Career Development Jessica Harrington and several presentations by entrepreneurs and small business owners. 

“My favorite presentation [was] Will Spiegel Frye’s talk about his journey as an Amazon Systems Engineer. Even presenting through Zoom, he was well-spoken, kept the audience engaged, and was eager to share his life experiences which got him to where he is today,” Boyer said. “It was most fascinating to hear how he became a Systems Engineer with virtually no experience in the field and graduated college with a religious studies degree.”

The conference began on Monday, Nov. 15, with its opening ceremony at the Hive in the Town Center of Virginia Beach. Moving on, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were characterized by a variety of competitions, guest speakers and group presentations. The conference ended on Friday, Nov. 19, with an awards ceremony that was followed by a closing ceremony.

Overall, this semester’s Marlin Business Conference proved to be a huge success. Next semester’s conference has already been scheduled and is in the process of being put together as well.

By: Carey Seay