When Baylor School senior Baylor Pillow arrived from the Mississippi Delta as a boarding student, he brought along a love for California-based Camp BizSmart, a fun, intensive, two-week business camp for kids age 11 – 15.
Although his name alone suggests he was destined to attend Baylor, the Greenwood, Miss. native says his interest in business and entrepreneurship at the age of 12 first led him to attend Camp BizSmart in San Mateo, Calif. Captivated by the energy and the philosophy behind Bizsmart, Pillow was on the camp’s winning team and says teamwork taught him a valuable lesson. “I was a class leader at my school in Greenwood and had a pretty high opinion of myself,” he smiles. “I remember arriving at BizSmart and being anxious to ‘teach these people everything I know.’ I realized quickly that I was surrounded by a lot of smart kids, kids a lot more talented than me. I also found out that I could learn a lot from the group and that working together was necessary for us to succeed. It was very humbling.” That lesson and others led Pillow in search of a more challenging academic environment that would reinforce and value the talents and ideas of a collaborative cohort. In the fall of 2015, he enrolled at Baylor and continued working summers at BizSmart as a Leader-in-Training at the Stanford University camp.
In true entrepreneur fashion, he became the catalyst of bringing Camp BizSmart to Baylor last summer as the first "Silicon Valley-inspired summer experience east of the Mississippi." In its first year, Camp BizSmart enrolled students from around the world -- with Pillow on the staff of course -- and with companies such as Netflix as sponsors for business cases. "I thought if they wanted to get more people from the eastern side of the U.S. they should host one at Baylor." Registration is now open for this summer's camp June 17- 30 (read more about it here).
Even a short conversation with Pillow reveals that he has adopted his two favorite mantras from the BizSmart philosophy. “The first is ZOG – zeal, optimism, and grit,” Pillow explains. “Anything you go into in life, you have to have zest and energy for what you’re doing, you have to have optimism that produces a positive direction in your life, and you need grit to get yourself headed in that direction. The other is FAB – features, advantages, and benefits. In business, every idea you have needs to be thought out and weighed against your competition. Features – what does your idea have and how is it different? Advantages – why is it better? And benefits – what is it going to change?”
“In any field you work in, you can be an entrepreneur and it doesn’t have to be just business. You don’t have to come up with a great new idea, the ‘better mousetrap.’ If you are an entrepreneur, you look at what’s happening, look at all the problems with what’s happening, and come up with ways to fix those problems. It’s observing and analyzing. It can happen in any field. It’s about coming up with an idea that, at the end of the day, no one can deny it will make their life better.”
Today, Pillow serves as the president of Baylor’s business club, a prefect for Lupton Hall, a leader in The Baylor Fund's student fundraising organization (Students Today Alumni Tomorrow), a Red Circle admission host, a participant in the 2018 community service trip to Jamaica, an afternoon tutor in the community service program, head of the community service grant-writing program, and a member of the prestigious literary Round Table organization. Pillow also believes the lessons he’s learned at Camp BizSmart have helped him thrive at Baylor. “I would think anyone who had a great Camp BizSmart experience would also have a good experience attending Baylor,” he says. “They are both are very inclusive and both inspire a lot of thought and new ideas.”
Camp BizSmart Questions:
Marla Zemanek – Baylor Workshop Director
Mobile: (415) 279-2514
Office: (408) 477-2279