On March 31, the Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business hosted its ninth annual Business Symposium, where keynote speaker Ron Losby, president and CEO of Steinway & Sons, treated the at-capacity crowd to a thought-provoking address. The keynote was also telecast to the university’s Scholar Plaza location in Loudoun County.
Losby highlighted the methods Steinway America adapted to changes throughout history – from wars to recession – to become and remain competitive with European piano makers. He cited the visionary leadership of Steinway in its early years as an essential factor for the company’s lasting success. Additionally, Losby shared the history of Steinway & Sons, noting its importance to the development of New York City and the surrounding boroughs. According to Losby, Steinway & Sons’ prevailing standard of excellence fostered the adage, “The biggest competition for a new Steinway is an old Steinway.”
Steinway & Sons’ new computer-controlled player piano, Spirio, was on display and included in Losby’s speech, as he referred to it as the world’s finest “high-resolution player piano.” The piano plays music with such power that it is indistinguishable from a live performance. The Spirio is accompanied by an Apple iPad equipped with a dedicated app connecting the Spirio to hundreds of performances. The app is regularly and automatically updated. This technology bridges the gap between players and non-players, allowing the latter an opportunity to enjoy a “live” piano performance in their homes.
Following Losby’s address, guests were encouraged to visit a wide variety of participating vendor tables, which included symposium sponsor First Bank, as well as IAP Racing, an exotic car company owned by Steve Fredrickson, a member of the Byrd School of Business advisory board.
The Business Symposium offered a variety of breakout sessions for attendees. Morning sessions included “Dress for Success for Less,”“Re-imaging Your Career and Expanding Your Personal Brand,” “Success by Design,” “Your Space Your Brand Your Identity, Humanizing Change,” and “Creating Legacy for Family Owned Business and Managing Risk in the Red Zone.” Among the topics covered during lunch breakout sessions were “Crafting Success-Corporate America to Entrepreneur,” “Transforming your Future-The Byrd School MBA,” and “Creating your American Dream.” Afternoon sessions continued with “Imagine Being the Customer,” “Family Owned Business – a Case Study in Success,” “Managing Success Without Stress,” “Establishing an International Presence,” “Life After School Alumni Stories,” and “Keeping the Lights On.” The breakout sessions were well attended, many beyond provided seating.
An additional feature offered at this year’s Business Symposium was the “Networking Café,” a special venue designed to foster conversations between employers and students. Visitors to the Networking Café participated in a social media tag board.
A wine and cheese reception and raffle followed the breakout sessions. Raffle items included large-screen televisions, a JBL speaker system and an entire Costco shopping cart full of household items.