Lynn Garcia

By Jim Ellis
2014 | Case No. E540 | Length 13 pgs.

The fictitious Lynn Garcia case examines several managerial challenges faced by first-time CEO Lynn Garcia.  After graduating from Stanford’s GSB, Garcia founded eChange, a self-service coin-counting company that enabled users to convert coins into other forms of currency.  As Garcia grew the company, she encountered a variety of difficult situations.  Each of the five vignettes highlighted in the case can be solved through a variety of approaches and decisions, with no clear “right” decision.

The first vignette examines the many sources of advice available to Garcia, from classmates to friends to professors to professional associations.  With so many potential sources of counsel, Garcia must determine the best strategy for seeking guidance.  In the second vignette, Garcia must determine how to navigate a tricky telephone conversation with a notoriously tough advisor named Gene Mathews.

After proving eChange’s concept through an initial set of machines, Garcia began the process of raising capital to scale eChange across the United States.  After accepting an offer from Valley Partners, Garcia was thrilled to turn eChange into a national brand.  However, during the due diligence process, it became clear that Valley Partners and Garcia were not on the same page, and Garcia must determine what to do.  In the final two vignettes, Garcia must determine how to respond to two challenging phone calls.  The first is from Zachary Jones at the Federal Reserve, who wanted to better understand eChange’s business and its potential to negatively impact the Federal Reserve.  The second was from WSCM News reporter Amy Watson, who planned to run a televised story “exposing” eChange machines’ inaccuracies, even though her accusations were off base.

Learning Objective

The case examines several learning objectives: 1) Understanding how to seek advice and improve the quality of counsel received; 2) Navigating difficult conversations and relationships, including those that involve heightened emotions; 3) Managing complex investor relationships; 4) Interacting with external audiences, including the government and media.
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