Billionaire CEO Inspires Young Entrepreneurs
Juniors and seniors in Maggie Wohltmann’s Entrepreneurship class, as well as members of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) leadership board, recently participated in a Dreamwakers Flash Chat with Mr. Jeff Hoffman. Best known as the founder of the Priceline.com, Mr. Hoffman is a global entrepreneur, CEO, worldwide motivational speaker, published author, Hollywood film producer, and a producer of a Grammy-winning jazz album in 2015.
“Hybrid/remote learning has provided a great setting for virtual guest speakers,” said Wohltmann. While she acknowledges that remote learning presents several challenges, she says that having virtual guest speakers has been a great experience for her as an educator.
“I have found a way to connect my students with the outside world and bring relevance in the simplest of ways,” she said.
During the 45 minute discussion, students had the opportunity to engage with Mr. Hoffman on a variety of topics. Several LHS administrators also joined in on the call.
“It was a wonderful opportunity for students and staff,” said Wohltmann, who explained that the topics he discussed, including entrepreneurship, philanthropy, social good, careers, and education, are constant subjects of discussion in her class.
Wohltmann first became familiar with Dreamwakers last March during the beginning of remote learning. Since then, she has hosted several guest speakers for her classes with great success. “LHS students are amazing to watch in ‘remote action.’ They are prepared with questions, professional in nature and ready to engage. They make us all proud!” she said.
She said that students were enraptured listening to Mr. Hoffman describe his ventures with Priceline and Ubid, as well as his social/philanthropic efforts and his connections to the music/entertainment industry.
Wohltmann shared a list of some of Hoffman’s standout advice for students:
- “You should have a lifelong thirst for learning”
- “School teaches you how to learn”
- “Success is not a destination, it’s a platform”
- "Teachers and educators want you to have a great life. What would make your life epic?"
Following the discussion, students shared their thoughts about Mr. Hoffman’s presentation. “I thought he was amazing. Mr. Hoffman’s advice was inspiring,” said Amara Uzondu.
Gehrig Rosenthal shared that the most important quote he heard was: “Your success is someone else’s miracle. You working hard is going to help someone else in the future too.”
Azaria Asfaw’s takeaway was Hoffman’s advice to “Become a problem solver because the best way to find success is to find the problem.”
Kylie Gorsky shared how she found it interesting that in answering most questions Mr. Hoffman associated himself with another CEO or successful name. “This shows how hard he works…his network… he has the ability to reach out,” she explained.
Thanks to this program, LHS students are expanding their own networks as they learn firsthand from successful entrepreneurs!