By Bobby Liberatos
The Frederick Gunn School has a new, exciting program titled the Center for Entrepreneurship, which will be housed in the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Center for Innovation and Active Citizenship. It is part of the school’s expansion into new ideas and methods of learning and teaching. Undoubtedly, entrepreneurship is a generational skill that the next generation of leaders will need to have, and FGS recognizes this.
The program’s new director is Arne Rees, and he has already made an impact on the school and started a program that will hopefully last far into the future. Rees is already making an impact, with many students saying his class is among their favorites. In two weeks, they have already explored various topics, such as examining why a famous entrepreneur was able to succeed. He definitely has the expertise to take the helm of the entrepreneurship program. Rees was an executive at ESPN and has also worked at UEFA as a business development director. Most recently, he was the U.S. CEO of the Sportsradar Group. He continues to serve on the Board of Directors for the Bundesliga, Germany’s premier soccer league.
On a recent morning, The Highlander newspaper had the good fortune to speak with Mr. Rees to learn more about himself, his experience as an entrepreneur, and his hopes and dreams for working at Gunn. Mr. Rees has lived in the area, so The Frederick Gunn School was a logical choice when looking for a position. It was an even easier choice to come here, given he knew people from the school and “had a lot of respect for the school.” Rees says establishing entrepreneurship in a high school curriculum is “a bit of an experiment,” but he’s excited about the endeavor. It is a fairly new addition to the usual subjects like math and history, but Rees believes that entrepreneurship is just as important as those mainstays.
First of all, Rees says the art of “self-starterism” is ingrained in the class. Self-starterism is taking risks on your own initiative, and it can apply to anything. Rees says students need “self-starterism.” “Whether you work for someone else, in business or politics, you need to have a sense of ‘self-starterism’ and self-organization.”
Secondly, in the entrepreneurship class, students will learn about the way business works broadly and gain an understanding of things like cash flow, raising startup money, and how past entrepreneurs have failed and succeeded. The future entrepreneurs here at FGS will understand things like how to raise capital and how the market works so they can go out on their own in the future and be successful business people.
When asked what his future goals were for the program, Rees hopes to expand the dispositions and ideas concerning “self-starterism and self-organization” to other courses in the school. For the moment, only seniors are taking the class, but in the future underclassmen may be immersed in business-forward mindsets themselves. It is great to see how the entrepreneurship program has taken off during the first few weeks of the school year, and the student body is extremely excited about the possibilities for the Center in the future!