Speakers from Quinlan and from the world of startups arrived at Loyola, to discuss their own unique experience and expertise. These professors and entrepreneurs shared significant points and interesting stories with these student business leaders. 


Arsen Avakian (Keynote Speaker)

CEO and Co - Founder of Argo Tea

Originally from Armenia, Arsen Avakian immigrated to the United States in the 1990s on a Fulbright scholarship to study business. By June 2003 at age twenty-seven, he opened the first Argo Tea in Lincoln Park.

In just a decade, Argo Tea has become an international hit with almost 35 locations across the world. Avakian had no retail or restaurant experience prior to his foray into the tea business. He simply desired to “challenge the assumption that coffee shops are the only places to relax and enjoy a hot drink.”


Stacy Neier

Professor, Quinlan School of Business, Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan Professor Stacy Neier has years of experience including merchandising, consumer insights, and sub-brand development. In 2008, she joined the marketing faculty as a full time professor, providing real world insight to her students. At the SRBC conference, she gave an insightful presentation "Social Media in Storytelling" and explained how social media is a crucial element in any business. 


Nick Powills

Founder, Chief Brand Strategist, No Limit Public Relations Agency

Nick Powills had a dream, saw an opportunity, and made it a reality. He sought closer client relationships, better results, and most importantly, to exceed customers expectations. 6 years of hard work and determination earned No Limit Agency national recognition amongst PR companies and now represents 50 brands. At the SRBC conference, he led a discussion and talk about leadership while offering his own expertise and experience with businesses and brands, and providing the best quality for clients. 


Dr. James R. Larson, Jr.

Professor, Dept. of Psychology, Loyola University Chicago

Professor Larson is a psychology professor at Loyola and conducts research to better understand how groups handle information available to them, and how it effects decision they make. At the February SRBC, he facilitated the discussion, "Managing your Peers for Long term success". 


Dr. Jill Graham

Professor, Quinlan School of Business, Loyola University Chicago

Dr. Jill Graham as done extensive research and work in management practices and organizational behavior. During her career at Loyola, she planned and executed a course where students develop business plans for emerging entrepreneurs on the south and west side of Chicago. At the SRBC, she facilitated a discussion on strategic management and shared her personal stories in the business. 


Thank you to ALL the great speakers! Their wise words of wisdom and experience in the business was engaging and insightful and we hope to see them again at next year's conference.