Friends From ’96 to Talk On Liberal Arts Success

Friends From ’96 to Talk On Liberal Arts Success

If you talk to Greg Wacks and David Luks, what they share with you is lessons on pursuing passion.  “When you see something you have to be able to execute on that.”  Or, “there could be some interesting ways to do something you love and get paid for it.”  They could be talking about their work starting TV networks, marketing for Fortune 500s, or building multimillion dollar companies.  Instead these Skidmore grads still put a love for bread in their biographies and laugh longingly on the bagel shop they dreamed of opening after graduating from Skidmore.

On Thursday November 3rd at 5:30 pm, the Career Development Center (CDC) is hosting a unique event in Davis Auditorium to highlight the versatility of a liberal arts degree.  Two Skidmore grads and good friends, Greg Wacks, the Director of Creative Strategy at Snapchat and the other, David Luks, entrepreneurial owner of Honeydrop Beverage and former Director at Pepsi, are returning to share their experiences with students. 

While at Skidmore David and Greg pursued different paths.  Greg, an English major, gravitated towards humanities and the studio.  David, more quantitative, majored in Business and enjoyed working in excel.  After graduating in ‘96, with little certainty regarding their futures, they both agreed they wanted to open a bagel shop in Brooklyn.  When I pushed them on how real this idea was, Greg told me “the bagel thing is actually a true story.”  They ended up tabling the topic though because of some unrelated concerns and decided if neither one of them was enjoying what they were doing, they would quit their jobs and start the shop.

The bagel shop was never pursued further.  After David found quick success consulting for a number of major companies and Greg joined the team building MTV2, the bagel idea appeared officially dead.  Creative thought matters to these guys: they attribute the Skidmore motto to their development of an entrepreneurial spirit.  After years working for major corporations, each ventured out into new fields.  Greg developed a “fascination” with the startup space and ended up working with the former CEO and founder of StubHub to develop Spreecast .  And then after months of negotiations with Snapchat, Greg received an offer to be the 2nd NY employee at the company.  David on the other hand got tired with the bureaucracy at Pepsi and started his own thriving company, Honeydrop Beverages.  A company that “romances the benefits of honey” --a substance he found worked wonders for him during a bout with cancer.  He fused his passion with science and extensive experience to create this nationally distributed beverage, generating $3.5 million in revenue last year alone.   

Greg told me during our freewheeling conversation that “we [him and David] are living proof that you can be successful with a liberal arts education.”  With wild optimism and down to earth sensibility these two longtime friends have found success they could not have imagined during their college days.  The Skidmore News looks forward to joining the Career Development Center in welcoming these friends back to campus. 

Greg promised to bring “Snapchat swag” if students brought questions.  These guys want a conversation. 

 

 

Editors Note: Skidmore News is sponsoring this event. This article has been corrected to fix inaccuracies regarding Greg Wacks work history.

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