MENU

You are here

Entrepreneurship News

December 10, 2013

Liz Wilkes '13: Keep Calm and Breathe

Liz Wilkes '13: Keep Calm and Breathe


While many companies are taking on different pieces of the employee happiness puzzle, no one is strategically sewing options together to provide clients a one-stop solution. That's where Liz Wilkes ’13 and Exubrancy come in.  Read on to learn more about the company and what you can do to relieve your own stress this holiday season.

Tell us about Exubrancy and what is unique about it?

Exubrancy helps company leaders foster great culture with ease. We bring community-building perks and programs to New York City-based companies. Think on-site fitness, artisanal snack breaks, massages, beer making classes, etc.

What is the one thing someone can do virtually any time to lower their stress level?

Sit up straight with both of your feet on the floor and close your eyes. Focus your attention on reciting out loud a positive mantra such as “I am proud of myself” (silently if at the office?!).  Place one hand on your stomach and synchronize the mantra with your breath. Allow distracting thoughts to float by like clouds passing overhead. Even sixty seconds of this practice will have an energizing effect, though try to squeeze in 5-10 minutes for increased rejuvenation.

Also, during the holidays many people are stressed out by the prospect of getting sick. So, make a habit of washing your hands every time you pass a sink – it's the easiest way to avoid catching whatever may be going around the office. Also, if a coworker is obviously sick, encourage him or her to go home!

What has been your biggest “A-Ha!” moment to date? How did it change your business?

Originally, we hypothesized that Exubrancy would be especially appealing to companies that were losing access to the best talent based on their lack of investment in employee well-being and office culture. When we started selling, we quickly found that companies that already invested heavily in community were far quicker sells. It's always easier converting someone who already believes in your product then convincing someone that they need something entirely new (who would have guessed!).  Today, we offer clients the opportunity to maximize the impact of their investment while decreasing the resources required to implement engaging programming. 

How have the classes you participated in at Columbia Business School shaped your business/management approach?

I have been impressed by how applicable Columbia Business School’s class content has been, and the extent to which the lessons learned impact the business decisions we at Exubrancy make on a daily basis. That said, what has most blown me away is how the professors have been willing to continue to support my development and the application of the concepts they teach in the classroom. Furthermore, beyond the pure horsepower and problem-solving assistance, the emotional support and encouragement professors have provided me has been incredible. A special thank you goes to Professors David Lerner, Robert Delman ’98, Clifford Schorer, Brendan Burns ’95, and Ron Gonen ’04, just to name a few!

The Columbia Alumni Connection: How have you used it?

The Columbia community has been a huge part of our early success. A few Columbia-affiliated companies were among the first to hire Exubrancy in our early days, and that traction has been crucial to establishing ourselves in the marketplace. It was also been wonderful getting to know many more members of the broader Columbia entrepreneurial community via Columbia Venture Community (CVC) events.

Being a part of the Columbia Business Lab has also been an incredible experience -- I feel very fortunate to share an office with a built-in support network of Columbia Business School entrepreneurs. As the head of Culture and Programming, I have the pleasure of coordinating our weekly Lunch & Learns, many of which have been led by inspiring alumni entrepreneurs like Mike Brody ’07, co-founder of Payfone, and Becca Brown ’07, co-founder of Solemates.

What advice would you give to a graduating Columbia student with entrepreneurial aspirations?

Start selling.

Just because you haven't built your product or fully defined your service doesn't mean you can't take orders or pre-orders! People will tell you that they love your idea or "would buy" your product, but until they actually pull out their credit cards it can be hard to tell if you've got a real business on your hands.
 

The Marketplace

Startup Week 2014

Browse the Columbia Business School Marketplace and experience the breadth of businesses from our community this holiday season.

Start Shopping >

 

Spring 2015 Events

January 11, 2015

Lean LaunchPad Block Week Class
Orientation
6:00-8:00PM

January 12-16, 2015

Lean LaunchPad Block Week Class
Professors Steve Blank and Bob Dorf
9:00-5:30PM

January 13, 2015

Lean LaunchPad-Steve Blank (Moderated by Faculty Director Sheena Iyengar)
Alumni Event
6:00-9:00PM, Columbia Startup Lab-WeWork SoHo West, 69 Charlton Street

January 27, 2015

Lang Center Info Session
12:30-2:00PM

February 22, 2015

Columbia Startup Lab-Summer
Applications Due By 11:59PM

February 24, 2015

Summer Fellowship Program
Info Session
12:30-2:00PM

February 25-March 6, 2015

Columbia Startup Lab-Summer
Interviews
12:30-2:00PM

February 26, 2015

Entrepreneur in Residence Workshop - topic to be announced
12:30-2:00PM

February 27, 2015

Columbia Shark Tank Competition
Led by the CEO
12:30-5:00PM

March 3, 2015

David S. Rose '83 Investor Pitch Workshop
12:30-2:00PM

March 5, 2015

Entrepreneur in Residence Workshop - topic to be announced
12:30-2:00PM

March 8, 2015

Columbia Startup Lab - WeWork
Applications Due By 11:59PM

March 13, 2015

Columbia Startup Lab - Summer
Admission Decisions

March 23-31, 2015

Columbia Startup Lab - WeWork
Interviews

March 26, 2015

Entrepreneur in Residence Workshop - topic to be announced
12:30-2:00PM

April 3, 2015

Columbia Startup Lab - WeWork
Deliberations

April 5, 2015

Spring Venture Showcase
Applications Due By 11:59PM

April 6, 2015

Columbia Startup Lab - WeWork
Decisions Announced

April 6, 2015

Summer Fellowship Program
Applications Due By 11:59PM

April 9, 2015

Entrepreneur in Residence Workshop - topic to be announced
12:30-2:00PM

April 20, 2015

Spring Venture Showcase
6:30-9:00PM

April 22, 2015

Inaugural Lang Advisory Board Dinner
6:30-8:30PM

April 23-24, 2015

#Startup Columbia Festival

April 24, 2015

Summer Fellowship Program
Selected Students Announced

April 27, 2015

Entrepreneurial Greenhouse Program
Annual Alumni Reception
6:30-9:00PM

May 5, 2015

Lang Fund Board Meeting

May 5, 2015

Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Columbia
Demo Event
6:30-9:00PM, Morgan Stanley

May 20, 2015

Columbia University Commencement

 

The Marketplace

Browse businesses from our community of entrepreneurs.

Visit

 

Join the Mailing List

Learn more about the program by subscribing to our email list.

Sign Up

ie@columbia

Innovation and Entrepreneurship @ Columbia provides a platform to develop new ideas by leveraging the cross-functional capabilities and knowledge of the University at large.

VISIT IE@COLUMBIA >