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CEO in the Classroom: Gary Trainor’s Guest Lecture Series


He walks into the room and logs on to the computer.  With a few clicks, his PowerPoint presentation appears on the projector screen.  He steps away from the computer, removes the glasses from the bridge of his nose, and smiles at the room.

Gary J. Trainor, the CEO, is ready to teach.

Gary began his guest lecture series last fall as a way to pass on his own knowledge and experience with the incoming generation of professionals.  His twenty-nine-year career in Human Capital Management (HCM) and his vast experience in leadership roles have led Gary to his present-day role as CEO of Viventium Software, Inc - and they’ve equipped him with quite a bit of wisdom to share.

Of course, learning from Gary is something his employees get to experience every day, thanks to his tendency to roll up his sleeves and get involved with the day to day activities of his company.  But he doesn’t just believe in HCM as a practice - he believes it is a philosophy, and that professionals are the most valuable asset to any company.

And who, arguably, needs to hear that message the most?  Perhaps college students about to graduate and enter the marketplace?

Ready to tackle this task, in the past year, Gary has brought his experience and expertise to students at universities across New York and New Jersey, including Rutgers University, Montclair University, and Fordham University.

Bringing a Lot to the Table

In his guest lecture series, Gary speaks on a variety of topics around brand development and management and marketing strategies - using the story of Viventium to illustrate his points.

He talks about what it takes to bring a 25-year-old company into a new era with his discussion of the Viventium rebrand - from choosing a new name to building the Viventium brand.

He also walks students through the array of marketing strategies necessary to build a brand, including the differences between paid and owned strategies.  And he gives marketing students a crash course on what skills they’ll really need to succeed in the field.

Perhaps the most unique portion of Gary’s presentations are his “Dad’s Rules,” a set of guidelines he wrote down fifteen years ago to help guide his own children through a successful career.  Now that his kids are grown, Gary brings his “Dad’s Rules” to his college audiences before they take off into the real world upon graduation.

The Real Impact

You may be thinking, “this is all well and good, but do the students care?”  The answer is emphatically yes.  Dr. Sonia Monga of Rutgers Business School, who hosted Gary in her Brand Management MBA class earlier this fall, shared:

“Gary did an amazing job giving a talk in my Brand Management class. He has a dynamic personality, and my MBA students were fully captivated by his experiences of rebranding Viventium. He was very engaging, and it was inspiring listening to him talk about his illustrious career and experiences with brands. Many of students told me later on that some of the class material that I had taught took on new meaning when Gary described them in his own personal context.  It was a pleasure having him in my class!”

Dr. Jie Gao of Montclair University’s Feliciano School of Business had similar sentiments to share following Gary’s guest lecture in her Marketing Strategies class:

“Gary talked about how he and his staff used a variety of strategies to market Viventium. His passion for Viventium and the Living culture was extremely inspiring for my students. Gary was very engaging in class, and he created a very good and relaxing communication with my students.”

Gary looks forward to continuing to share his experiences and pass on his knowledge to college students throughout the region.


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