takers, value makers
venture, Stamberger and Jelaca provide a quality update to the
see entrepreneurship as a way out of the corporate race —
a means to control their destinies. For others, entrepreneurship
seems less of a choice and more of a genetic predisposition
to create and build their own enterprises.
Stamberger '02, who began her first business before she
could drive or vote, places herself squarely in the latter
age 11, she observed kids at her Oklahoma junior high school
peddling gum-filled suckers to classmates. Stamberger then
sweet-talked her father into driving her across town to a
discount warehouse so she could buy her product at a lower
rate and undercut the competition.
seem to have very little risk aversion for [starting businesses],"
Stamberger says. "You have to have so much confidence
for this line of work or you would just get pummeled."
latest venture, with fellow Kellogg School grad Pam Volpe
Jelaca '00, is GoPicnic, a line of shelf-stable, good-for-you
boxed meals aimed at travelers and others who can't get to
a restaurant or a kitchen. It's a concept Stamberger first
honed during her previous position with United Airlines, where
she helped the air carrier carve out a for-purchase meal option
when declining fortunes forced it and other airlines to axe
free onboard meals.
quickly realized the economy of creating meals that would
not go bad after a single day or week. She found higher-quality,
natural ingredients often make for a product with a longer
shelf life than food loaded with additives and high fructose
corn syrup. That's particularly true when today's state-of-the-art
vacuum packaging processes are employed.
you dumb down your ingredients they won't last as long,"
Stamberger and Jelaca scour specialty food shows for natural
and organic products and packaging to preserve them. One box,
dubbed "GoFish," is loaded with an albacore tuna
steak, whole grain pasta and bean salad, hummus, baked pita
chips and more.
the alums have pursued their venture, the Kellogg School and
and Carol Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice
have provided support and entrepreneurial advice. One Kellogg
department even became a customer when it purchased meals
for an event. Says Stamberger, a graduate of the One-Year
MBA Program: "Though I was only at school for a short
time, an ongoing relationship with professors has been invaluable."
year-old company has already had success selling its products
to major airlines, and soon plans to target hotels, coffee
shops and corporate clients after test marketing is complete.
days Jelaca, who places herself more in the "entrepreneur
by choice" category, is becoming hooked on this new career:
"I'd be hard-pressed to go back to corporate life,"
she says. "I've never had a better time. It's amazing
being in control of our destinies."