Fairfield Dolan Dean’s Executive Forum Hosts BIC CEO and Former WW International CEO

Fairfield Dolan Dean’s Executive Forum Hosts BIC CEO and Former WW International CEO

Image of Brunco Bich and Minday Grossman

Fairfield Dolan Dean's Executive Forum speakers Gonzalve Bich and Mindy Grossman delivered talks to students in March.

BIC CEO Gonzalve Bich and Consello Group Partner Mindy Grossman headlined conversations with students that addressed topics including innovating for the future and the importance of having a strong vision.

The Dolan School was pleased to welcome two prominent leaders as part of the spring Dean’s Executive Forum series held last semester for students. The purpose of the forums are to bring together thought leaders and distinguished executives to discuss issues that have profound impacts on business and/or societies.

BIC CEO Gonzalve Bich was first to present on March 1, 2023 and gave a talk, titled, "Pens, Lighters, Tattoos?" The event was co-hosted by Dean Zhan Li, DBA, and instructor of the practice in management Christopher Hamer. BIC is a $2.3 billion business known globally for its pens, shavers, and lighters. “I’m very privileged,” Bich told the audience. “I get to run a company that has products that are in your hands all day long, every day. We’re very proud of that.”

During the presentation, Bich’s conversation focused on how BIC’s product strategy is evolving in order to attract a new generation of digitally-native, trend-focused consumers while honoring its history as a heritage brand.

“Tattoos have been around for over 10,000 years, and there’s not a single culture that hasn’t had them or doesn’t use them today,” he said, by way of explaining the company’s introduction of BodyMark temporary tattoo markers and the purchase of Inkbox, a maker of vegan, temporary tattoos, to capture some of the market. Bich shared his belief with students that a successful leader must have three things: curiosity, demonstrated by an eagerness to learn something every day; the agility to pivot in order to adapt to market forces; and grit. 

Later that month Forbes Most Powerful Woman Mindy Grossman, partner at Consello Group and Former WW International CEO, concluded the Forum series with her talk, titled “Business/Brand Transformations, Culture, and Opportunities.” During the event, co-moderated by Dean Li and Carl Scheraga, PhD, chair and professor of business strategy and technology management, Grossman shared with students some of the most pivotal moments in her career. As the former president and CEO of WW International, Grossman led the organization’s transformation and rebranding from Weight Watchers, a move designed to reflect the company’s expansion from weight loss to a more generalized focus on health and wellness. Achieving success for a major turn-around like that, she said, requires a few things.

“You need a vision, and an organization that is aligned with that vision. Having the support of the board is very important,” Grossman noted. “You need the capital to invest, and you need resilience, because it’s not going to be a linear journey. You have to take risks and be able to develop pivot capabilities to respond in real time.”

Asked what advice she might give to graduating students, Grossman advised students to be strategic about making a decision about the company they want to work for, to consider the company’s values, their leadership and to understand the opportunities and support system. She also reminded them that self-belief is a critical attribute. “If you don’t believe in yourself, why should others believe in you?” 

Tags:  Dolan School


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