Tech businesswoman Randi Zuckerberg to headline SU symposium

Randi Zuckerberg

Shenandoah University announced Wednesday that the 10th annual Business Symposium will feature technology investor and media personality Randi Zuckerberg as the keynote speaker Friday.

One of Facebook’s earliest employees, back when her brother’s future social media titan was still a startup, Zuckerberg left after 10 years to launch Zuckerberg Media, a conglomeration of TV shows, books, radio programs and other media designed to promote women through technology and entrepreneurism.

Zuckerberg’s portfolio includes Dot., an animated children’s television series based off of her book of the same name, which follows the adventures of a tech-savvy eight-year-old as she explores the world along with her friends.

Past speakers have also had high-level resumes, including the past CEO of Porsche International and Norm Nixon, a two-time NBA All-Star-turned-businessman. Miles Davis, dean of the Harry F. Byrd Jr. School of Business, said these consistently prominent speakers helped the university secure Zuckerberg as this year’s keynote speaker.

“The business symposium itself has been building its reputation over the years,” he said. “Our reputation, about what we’re doing, has increased, and so people want to come where other great speakers are coming.”

Davis believes all attendees will benefit hearing from a businesswoman who has built a career around empowering women. The university has a sizeable 60-40 male-female student ratio

“When you hear about ’empowering women,’ what that means is it’s not about somebody taking the place of another, it’s about people being able to stand on their own,” Davis said. “A woman who has the opportunity to engage in her own successful ambitions allows better modeling for both men and the children that may be exposed to that, to show that everybody is capable and is able to function in their own right. That is not a gender-dependent issue.”

The daylong symposium March 30 will also feature a series of sessions grounded in core business basics and the evolving digital landscape, including: “Running Your Non-Profit like a Business,” “Engaging Social Media to Tell Your Unique Story,” and “Adulting 101: Tips for the New Professional.”

Between Zuckerberg, the assortment of business seminars and the fact that the event is already sold out and transitioning to overflow seating sales, Davis has high hopes for the symposium’s decennial event.

“Every year, quite frankly, it gets bigger and better. Every year we say, ‘What can we do next year?’ And I think that we’ve stepped it up a bit this year,” Davis said. “I’m just excited and proud that Shenandoah University, the Byrd School of Business and its advisory board are able to bring in this type of speaker to the northern Shenandoah Valley.”

The event runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 30 in Halpin-Harrison Hall at 600 Millwood Drive for $95 per person. Zuckerberg’s keynote address and Q&A address will be streamed from 9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at K2M in Leesburg for a cost of $35.