arrow grid linear view icon
College of Arts and Sciences

Former Etsy CEO to hear student pitches, talk about e-commerce journey

By: Aidan Kelly
Milstein Program in Technology & Humanity
October 15, 2020

Chad Dickerson, former CEO of Etsy and a Cornell Tech fellow, will share his story in “The Journey Up: From English Major to Etsy,” Oct. 28 as part of the Milstein Program in Technology & Humanity’s fall 2020 “In Focus Speaker Series.”

The talk, which begins at 4:15 p.m. is powered by eCornell and will also include a speed pitch fest, where five undergraduates will pitch their business concepts to Dickerson for impromptu feedback and the chance to win $500. Deadline to apply for the pitch fest is Monday, Oct. 19.

In conversation with Milstein Program director Austin Bunn, Dickerson will discuss his journey to Etsy, an online global marketplace, and also his career post-Etsy, including his executive coaching practice and role as a member of the Milstein program advisory council. 

Dickerson received his B.A. in English literature from Duke University, where he concentrated on the works of Shakespeare. Prior to his career at Etsy, Dickerson held several leadership positions in the technology sector, including CTO at Salon.com and senior director of Yahoo!’s Brickhouse project development unit. At Etsy, Chad served as CTO from 2008-2011 and CEO from 2011 to 2017. During his tenure as CEO, Etsy was named a Certified B Corporation for its commitment to social responsibility and was included in the Great Place to Work® Institute’s Best Places to Work list for three consecutive years. 

The Milstein Program "In Focus" Speaker Series features industry leaders talking about the pivots and turns they have faced in their careers, the time between college and their first big breakthroughs, and the pathway that led to where they are now. 

 Next up in the series is Courtney Cogburn, associate professor of social work at Columbia University, the lead creator of 1000 Cut Journey, an immersive virtual reality racism experience that was developed in collaboration with the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University. Cogburn’s talk will take place virtually over Zoom on Wednesday, Nov. 4, beginning at 4:15 p.m. 

Launched in 2017, the Milstein Program in Technology & Humanity offers a unique multidisciplinary curriculum in the College of Arts & Sciences with workshops in design thinking, community engagement and technology topics, and spend two summers at Cornell Tech in New York City. 

Registration is required to attend: https://www.ecornell.com/keynotes/overview/K102820/

The pitch fest will feature five undergraduates or undergraduate teams and will follow Dickerson's talk. Each team will have three minutes to pitch their concept and receive five minutes of constructive feedback. Fill out the form to apply to Pitch Fest by Monday Oct. 19.