Former Amazon Exec John Rossman, S.C. Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette Will Headline USC Upstate’s Global Entrepreneurship Celebration

October 30, 2019 at 3:05 pm

The University of South Carolina Upstate’s celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, November 18-21, will include a keynote address from John Rossman, a former Amazon executive and business strategist. South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette will participate in a Women’s Entrepreneurship Panel on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Rossman will present the topic “Think Like Amazon—Creating a Culture of Innovation” during the sixth annual Johnson Innovation Speaker Series event from 12:15-1:15 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21, at the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics (JCBE) at 160 E. St. John St. in downtown Spartanburg.

An advisor, guest speaker, media analyst and author, Rossman is known for launching and scaling the e-commerce platform Amazon Marketplace, which has accounted for more than half of the units sold and shipped by the online retail giant. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has referred to the platform as one of his “magical businesses.”

“We feel privileged and are delighted to have John Rossman, one of the gurus of corporate innovation, speak at The George,” said Dr. Mohamed Djerdjouri, dean of JCBE. “Mr. Rossman’s expertise in the impact of emerging technology on new business models will help the audience of business community leaders and students in Spartanburg understand how the digital world may disrupt firms of all sizes and in all industries, and how these companies can scale and improve their digital technology-driven operations and business strategy.”

Rossman served as director of enterprise services at Amazon, where he managed worldwide services for clients like, Toys R Us, Sears, Marks and Spencer and the National Basketball Association.

In 2018, he founded Rossman Partners, a firm that advises leaders and boards on digital strategy, innovation and culture.

Earlier this year, Rossman’s book “Think Like Amazon: 50 1/2 Ideas to Become a Digital Leader” was published by McGraw Hill. His book series, “The Amazon Way,” has garnered critical acclaim.

“What does being digital mean, how do we create a system for innovation, what type of leadership skills are needed to compete in the digital era and what can we learn from a company like Amazon to apply into our own leadership tools?” Rossman says. “These are the questions most business leaders are asking themselves. I’m excited to give practical strategies and tools, how to ‘Think Like Amazon,’ at the Johnson Innovation Speaker Series.”

Founded in 2014, the Johnson Innovation Speaker Series, sponsored by JCBE, is dedicated to bringing distinguished business professionals to USC Upstate for the benefit of the students and local business community. Named for Spartanburg business leader George Dean Johnson, Jr., the series has hosted Dr. Derek Lidow, Esther Dyson, Dennis Hayes, David Pensak, Dr. Peter Roberts, Nicholas Glover and Robin Chase.

Rossman’s visit is one of several events lined up for USC Upstate’s celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). An annual worldwide initiative, GEW is anticipated to be supported by about 10 million entrepreneurs at 35,000 events in more than 170 countries the week of November 18-24.

USC Upstate-sponsored GEW events taking place in Spartanburg are:

Monday, Nov. 18

  • A kick-off event from 12:15-1:15 p.m. in the JCBE Rotunda, open to all USC Upstate students, faculty, administration and members of the business community. Participants will be able to enjoy refreshments and live music while they take a look at displays for student businesses.

Tuesday, Nov. 19

  • South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette will participate in a panel dedicated to Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Upstate from 12:15-1:15 p.m. in BMW Room 150 at the JCBE. Dr. Meredith Brunen, vice chancellor for University Advancement, will serve as the moderator. Evette will be joined on the panel by Jaime Wall, partner at WJ Partners LLC, and Robin Hussa Farrell, co-founder and CEO of Sharpen, a participant in the GreenHouse Business Incubator at JCBE. Preregistration is required.
  • An event held in partnership with the Chapman Cultural Center entitled “How Artists and the Creative Community Can Grow Revenue and Connect to Capital” from 5-7 p.m. at Mayfair Art Studio at 1885 Hayne St. in Spartanburg’s Arcadia community. Experts will provide their insights about generating revenue, access to capital and protecting valuable art, music and creative content once it’s sold. Libations and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Preregistration is required.

Wednesday, Nov. 20

  • A panel discussion led by the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce focused on how entrepreneurship drives economic development from 12:15-1:15 p.m. in the JCBE’s BMW Room 150 at JCBE. Boxed lunches will be provided. Preregistration is required.
  • A USC Upstate Student business pitch event from 5:30-7 p.m. in the JM Smith Boardroom of USC Upstate’s Health Education Complex on its main campus. All USC Upstate students will have an opportunity to pitch their business ideas and receive feedback from a group of alumni entrepreneurs led by Senior Instructor Jeff Smith. Refreshments will be provided and prizes will be awarded. Preregistration is required.

Thursday, Nov. 21

  • Johnson Innovation Speaker Series event featuring John Rossman from 12:15-1:15 p.m. in BMW Room 150 at the JCBE. Boxed lunches will be provided and preregistration is required.
  • A closing reception and alumni entrepreneur showcase from 5-7 p.m. in the JCBE Art Gallery. Prominent USC Upstate alumni entrepreneurs, including C. Dan Adams, president and CEO of The Capital Corp., and Chip Smith, owner and president of Blue Ridge Log Cabins, will share their success stories and paths to growing their businesses. Libations and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Preregistration is required.

“We are delighted to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week for a second year,” said Brian Brady, an instructor and director of the GreenHouse at JCBE. “These events provide an opportunity for attendees to see entrepreneurship in practice with first-hand accounts of successful entrepreneurs and innovators from many vantage points.” For registration and information, please visit: