SU Organizes Event with Business Leader Rishad Tobaccowala

The Student Union External Affairs Department organized a talk with entrepreneur Rishad Tobaccowala as part of their Speaker Series Project.

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On February 9, The Student Union (SU) External Affairs Department organized a talk with Rishad Tobaccowala as part of their Speaker Series Project, which brings in professionals of their field to speak to students about their experiences. Tobaccowala is a bestselling author, teacher, advisor, and businessman with a 40-year career in marketing and business strategy.

The event was coordinated by freshman and SU External Affairs member Alexander Panas, who expressed that Toboccowala’s field experience made him a suitable speaker with unique insight to provide to students. “Personally I found [Tobaccowala] and his book, Restoring the Soul of Business: Staying Human in the Age of Data, to be incredibly compelling, ” Panas said. “Considering the wealth of knowledge he has on business, entrepreneurship, and data, as well as his impressive resume, I thought that having him share what he knows and [has] experience[d] [was] valuable for Stuyvesant students to hear,” Panas said.

During the 40-minute event, Tobaccowala spoke to Stuyvesant students about leadership, modern advancement of technology, and his strong belief in science and innovation. The event also consisted of a question and answer session, in which participants had the opportunity to ask questions and seek advice from the Tobaccowala live.

Attendees expressed that they found the interactive question and answer session to be especially insightful. “The most important thing I took away is how to ‘find myself.’ When I posed the question of how to stand out in [a] competitive school, Tobaccowala gave me the best piece of advice,” freshman Alexandra Ruinsky said. “He told me to write down nine words: three about my voice, three about my talents, and three describing my story. [...] Together, these nine words help me see that I was unique and show me options I could pursue.”

Generally, the event received positive feedback. “I loved the talk—it was so inspiring. Mr. Tobaccowala spoke of his own experiences and how he faced many of the same issues that we face today, about overcoming challenges and succeeding in today’s world,” Ruinsky said.

Panas echoes this sentiment, expressing that the event was a worthwhile one to host. “[The] event went very well. Tobaccowala had many interesting things to talk about with the students, and he answered several questions from [them] about how to stand out at Stuyvesant, [managing] one’s time and [motivating] oneself, [becoming] an entrepreneur as a high school student, the best majors [for] student[s] interested in marketing, [etc.],” Panas said. “From my perspective, it was a worthwhile experience, and I'm very thankful to Mr. Tobaccowala for lending his time to us.