Suneel Gupta, bestselling author and entrepreneur, was Saunders College of Business’ 2021 Gasser Lecture Series Speaker and RIT Entrepreneurship Conference Keynote. Suneel is also the founding CEO of RISE, which partnered with then-First Lady Michelle Obama to deliver low-cost healthcare services to people in need. Here is where you can view the full talk!

Suneel’s speech to RIT students and the greater Rochester Community talked about his book “Backable,” which shared his journey of being the “Face of Failure” on The New York Times to the “New Face of Innovation” on the New York Stock Exchange. He emphasized that individuals need to fail in order to succeed. He mentioned that “failure is not the opposite of success. It’s a pathway to success.” Suneel also shared a few tips for how he overcame failure:

55/5 Minute Rule

For every 55-minutes of work you do, take five minutes to clear your head. This will help you with your focus throughout the day. By managing your energy, you can end the day with more than what you started.


Meditation is a journey that can bring an unlimited amount of benefits. Practicing meditation can help bring a sense of calm, reduce stress, and help with focus.

Embarrass yourself

Learning how to embarrass yourself will make you feel more comfortable when you do get embarrassed. It will help you learn how to embrace embarrassment instead of fear it.

A Team of Four C’s

Suneel additionally talked about creating a team of “Four C’s.” This team is comprised of having a Collaborator, Coach, Cheerleader, and Cheddar to help steer you in the right direction.

Collaborator – Your rock band

A Collaborator is someone you can count on and is there as an equal to help conquer tasks with you. They help create your rock band and are always there for you.

Coach – Looking out for you

A Coach will always be there to ask, “is this a good idea for you?” They have your best interest because they are always rooting for your success.

Cheerleader – Believe in you

A Cheerleader is someone who is always cheering for you. They give you the energy needed to continue and will always be supportive of you.

Cheddar – Brutally honest

Based on the movie “8 Mile” with Eminem, Cheddar is always brutally honest and a critic, but in a good way. Although sometimes hard to digest, you need someone like Cheddar on your side.

Check out photos from the event taken by Ethan Bissinger, Yuna Kang, and Peggy Tirrell. The keynote presentation ended with a meet and greet autograph book signing of "Backable." Suneel reemphasized the importance of Saunders' recently-revised master of technology innovation management and entrepreneurship. As entrepreneurs and innovators, Saunders students learn how to identify problems and view them differently to create unique and creative solutions. Technology innovation managers and entrepreneurs who know how to lead technological changes in entrepreneurial ways are in high demand to capitalize on process and product development opportunities.

The William D. Gasser Lecture Series is an annual speaker series to provide thought-provoking and engaging content for students. Consistent with RIT’s specialty of delivering uniquely powerful experiential opportunities, Gasser attendees can meet keynote speakers at post-event autograph receptions. Starting in 2019, the Gasser speaker is the featured keynote speaker for the RIT Entrepreneurship Conference. The Gasser Lecture Series invites disruptive entrepreneurs and industry-leading businessmen and women to share their insights on business trends and opportunities. Check out our Gasser Lecture Series Archive page for a history of past speakers and links to video and photo galleries.