Crossroads of Athletics and Entrepreneurship at Babson College
For Len Green, life, like business, is about gaining a competitive edge.
As a highly successful entrepreneur and CPA, he has spent most of his life finding and maintaining that competitive edge. And, as a longtime professor at Babson College, he has spent the past two decades instilling that same competitiveness in his entrepreneurship students. Even its popular and long-running class – the Ultimate Entrepreneurial Challenge – is a competition, pitting teams of students face-to-face with real-world challenges.
To succeed in such competitive environments, Green says, students need the physical and mental benefits that come from sports activities.
“I really believe that if you want to be an entrepreneur, athletics has to be part of it somehow,” Green said, noting that it could mean participating on a team, training to stay mentally and physically sharp, or even analyze and strategize aspects of the sport. “In business, you have to be able to take calculated risks. What better for calculated risks than sport? And what is the strategy? If you don’t have a business strategy, you can’t be successful. Where else can you practice this skill? »
Green’s love of sports has led to her enduring financial support of Babson Athletics, including cross country and track and field teams, women’s programs, and club sports, such as rugby and polo. Green’s passion culminated Thursday at a celebration to rename the Len Green Recreation and Athletics Complex, the College’s multimillion-dollar state-of-the-art facility that opened in 2019 for athletic teams and for good – physical being of all students.
“It’s a place where students who are lucky enough to get in here can maximize the value of being in a first-class institution,” Green said, “and they can do all kinds of different things in this sports facility. , which is really important, because then they can focus the rest of the time with a clear mind. That’s really why I do it.”
Celebration and Gratitude
Hundreds of Babson community members – alumni, faculty, staff, administrators, family, friends and students, especially student-athletes – gathered at Lamere Plaza to celebrate Green, his career and the resort’s renaming. athletics.
The dedication ceremony was marked by gratitude for Green’s impact as a teacher and supporter of athletics. He was thanked for his longstanding commitment to Babson Athletics by a trio of speakers: Mike Lynch, Pamela P. and Brian M. Barefoot Senior Director of Athletics and Athletics Advancement; Judy Blinstrub, longtime women’s basketball coach; and Megan Bauman ’23, senior captain of the women’s basketball team.
“I really believe that if you want to be an entrepreneur, athletics has to be part of it somehow.”
Len Green, Professor Babson
President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD, who first hired Green as a professor of entrepreneurship, spoke about their relationship and how important Green is to the Babson community.
“Len is truly committed to adding value to everything he does,” Spinelli said. “It is truly with deep gratitude that we are not only grateful for the donation you have made that enables us to provide this kind of facilities for our students for this generation and for many generations to come, but for letting his name and the inspiration of his teaching to this community which I believe will last far beyond this building.
The newly renamed building — formerly the Babson Recreation and Athletics Complex, or “BRAC,” for short — now needs a new moniker. At Green’s suggestion, the College announced a contest, sponsored by the Babson Student Government Association and the Campus Life Division, for students to help decide what they want to name the complex.
“I’m overwhelmed,” Green said as he took the stage in front of so many students and colleagues. He recalled his time at Babson and thanked his wife of 63 years, Lois. And, he praised Babson’s students. “It’s a real honor to teach here,” he concluded his address. “Nowhere students like you, nowhere.”
The thrill of victory
Green’s affinity for athletics dates back to his high school and college days, when he played varsity sports. It was also at this time that he developed a fascination with game analysis and strategy development. He was watching games movies, breaking down tactics and identifying trends. It’s a skill he still uses as a football and basketball watching fan, not to mention an entrepreneur.
“That translates into the real world. It really is,” Green said. “I get a big thrill out of it, because it’s a different part of my brain that’s really working all the time. I just think athletics teaches you the ups and downs, and it teaches you that your mind can go further than you think.”
Green remains physically active. He wakes up at 5 a.m. every morning and trains for an hour, then he checks his emails and meditates before going to the office. “I’m not saying it works for everyone, but it works for me,” he said. “When I walk or swim, my mind spins like a gunwire.”
He also completed six marathons with the encouragement and support of Russ Brennan, Babson’s longtime head coach for the men’s and women’s cross country and track and field programs. To help keep his mind engaged for 26.2 miles and break through physical barriers, Brennan and members of the cross-country team joined Green to ask him questions and talk business while running.
“If I have a work issue, sometimes I work on it all night,” Green said, “because I’ve pushed myself further than I think I can just because of athleticism. And I love to win.”
Investing in students
This competitive spirit has led to a career of winners. Green is a CPA, MBA and entrepreneur-president and founder of The Green Group, a tax and financial services consulting firm. He has owned, advised and/or invested in more than a dozen companies, including The Green Group; a commercial real estate company; DJ Stable, a thoroughbred racing stable; Matzos Society of Streit; Automatic kitchen; Buckle:45; Blue Buffalo dog and cat food; and SoBe drinks.
Last year, Green was inducted into Babson College’s Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs®. “It was special because I saw all the people who are in the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame,” said Green, taking his place alongside Ray Kroc, Richard Branson and Sara Blakely, as well as d Babson alumni such as Arthur M. White ’63, H’98.
As a popular Babson teacher, Green has taught and remains connected to over 2,000 students. It focuses on real-world issues through case studies and connects students with entrepreneurs, many as guest speakers. Its unique Ultimate Entrepreneurial Challenge course pits 10 teams of students, each with a hand-picked CEO, in a head-to-head competition. Individual team members must collaborate together, or risk being “fired”, while gaining advantages over their rivals. The current team standings are always present on the whiteboard.
“I just think athletics teaches you the ups and downs, and it teaches you that your mind can go further than you think.”
Len Green, Professor Babson
Green travels from his New Jersey home to the Babson campus each week for two days. In addition to teaching, he takes the time to meet individually with each of his students twice a semester – in his office, over coffee or a meal – to better understand their motivations and aspirations. Each year, Green has been invited to Q&A sessions at eTower, the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity, and religious organizations. He served as a mentor and inspiration to many students long after graduation.
It’s no surprise to learn that Green says his inspiration has always been Vince Lombardi, the legendary football manager who is famous for saying, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
That same competitive spirit continues to drive Green as an entrepreneur, educator and philanthropist. And that’s why he’s such a big believer in investing in Babson’s sports programs.
“That’s how you attract people who are outside-the-box thinkers,” Green said. “Athletes are always trying to get that competitive edge. It’s not the money. It’s won!”
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