Director, Lutgert College of Business Institute for Entrepreneurship
For the first half of Dr. Kauanui’s professional life, she was in the financial industry. Both of her parents were entrepreneurs, so it was natural for her to do the same. She owned a thriving business in Virginia Beach with 40 employees. She even had her own cable show. But the more successful she got, the further removed she became from her clients. She started losing the fun.
She knew she wanted to be a professor, so she kept running her business and went back to school on the side (while simultaneously raising four children.) After she got her degree, she sold the business, moved to California and became a tenured professor teaching entrepreneurship there.
She wasn’t really looking for a job, but when she heard about an opening at FGCU, she saw something extraordinary — a university that was growing and evolving and where she could make a real difference. She saw the position at FGCU as an entrepreneurial endeavor in and of itself.
So it’s no surprise that Dr. Kauanui became the driving force behind the formation and management of the Lutgert College of Business Institute of Entrepreneurship. And because she believes entrepreneurship is not just for business students, she’s also a driving force behind establishing one of the nation’s few interdisciplinary entrepreneurship degree programs here at FGCU. She believes that once you create the entrepreneurial mindset in students, they’ll apply it to whatever they love. As she says, “Entrepreneurship is not owned by any one discipline. It’s about being an opportunity seeker, and a seeker of solutions, not problems.”