Dispatches from Inside the Classroom: Day 8

Best Marketing’s Liz Sara, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Dingman Center of Entrepreneurship and former Dingman Board member, concluded the Business to Business Marketing course with a tall order for the part-time MBA students: create and present a marketing plan for a real startup. Four company CEOs participated in this project:  Sean Virgil, founder of last year’s Cupid’s Cup finalist company Diagnostic anSERS; Brian Johnson, founder of Divvy Cloud; Jack Reis, founder of ManageUrID; and Payam Fard, founder of Subject-7.  All four CEO’s attended class, listened, probed and commented on the marketing plan presentations.

This type of pitch was a first for many students including Antwan Jefferson. “This was the first time in my education I have had the opportunity to interact with an actual company. Being afforded the opportunity to provide solutions to a CEO is one of the more exciting experiences that I have had,” said Jefferson.

After the final class Sara felt the students took a sip from the fire hose of B2B Marketing. “From hearing more than a dozen CEOs who took the time to present a marketing challenge to class discussion to actually developing a plan for a real company – well it just doesn’t get more experiential than that,” Sara concluded.

Sara-05Aug13-97Liz Sara has 20 years of experience in the local high tech community as an entrepreneur, business leader, angel investor and philanthropist. In 2001, she founded Best Marketing, LLC to provide early stage software companies with strategic marketing, PR and business development services. Her company offers clients all the benefits of a full-scale, seasoned marketing department on a ‘virtual’ basis — eliminating overhead and headcount associated with full-time staff. Previously, she played a principal role as co-founder of SpaceWorks, an eCommerce software company, where she facilitated its startup and growth to nearly $25 million in revenue; at America Online, where she designed the PR program and investor road show for the IPO; at United Press International, where she facilitated a turn-around strategy; and for LEXIS/NEXIS, where she was instrumental in the creation and successful launch of a new division. Ms. Sara holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Maryland. She is a member of the Business & Professional Women’s Committee of the Corcoran; the Women’s Committee of National Museum of Women In the Arts; and the Board of the Capital City Ball. In addition, Ms. Sara is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Maryland’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship.

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