For Lexie Cheng ’25, entrepreneurship is in everything she does.
“I love the startup grind—brainstorming ideas, coming together, finding solutions, and being part of that problem-solving process,” says the Rockville, Maryland, resident.
In high school, the budding entrepreneurial leader started her own Model UN chapter, an organization that allows students to cultivate their leadership and diplomacy. In her sophomore year, Cheng started a chapter of DECA, an organization that prepares emerging business leaders and entrepreneurs to be college and career ready.
As she entered her final summer in high school, COVID-19 swept the country. Yearning for normalcy, Cheng co-founded Klimate Kombucha, a specialty beverage distribution company, along with a friend. By creating and distributing a product from scratch, Cheng found solace during a difficult time. The company also donated 20% of their proceeds to organizations that fight climate change.
Cheng plans to concentrate in environmental sustainability at Babson, where she can combine her passion for problem solving with her experience in entrepreneurship to solve the world’s biggest challenges. “Whatever my entrepreneurial endeavor is in the future,” she says, “it will be focused on climate change.
Tell us about your background and how that has influenced your goals.
I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. My dad owns two businesses in the technology sector. He has that unique entrepreneurial mindset, and I've always shared that bond with him.
Growing up, I was shaped by doing student government, where I could lend a voice to people who otherwise might not have a platform. In high school, I also did a lot of advocacy work with the Montgomery County Board of Education.
All these influences are factors in my desire to make the world a better place.
What drew you to Babson?
During my college search, I was looking for a gym while businesses were starting to open back up. I found Zumba Fitness. The founder, Alberto Perlman, is a Babson alum (Class of 1998), and a person of color, which I could relate to as a budding entrepreneur. I realized that my ultimate life goal is to be a Babson alumni who breaks that mold of the corporate executive stereotype, with a mission to leave a positive footprint on the world. Babson was the perfect fit for my aspirations.
What does entrepreneurial leadership mean to you?
As the climate clock rapidly nears the end of its countdown, we're still drawn to professions that further perpetuate the problems that we want to see changed. However, entrepreneurship provides a tinge of optimism by giving us that ability to be proactive instead of reactive and to create long-term solutions before long-term damage becomes irreparable. Entrepreneurial leadership has the power to enable people to pursue positive solutions and to achieve those goals through a different lens.
Of Blank’s six leadership qualities, which one do you most identify with?
Giving back to others. Part of that is to always be kind, to have empathy, and respond to conflict gracefully. These are also essential traits to being a good entrepreneur. I also think the value “listen and respond” is quite relevant to what I've been doing with my student government and advocacy work.
Besides starting ventures, what are some of your interests outside the classroom?
I’m a theater kid, and I love musical theater. I have performed both onstage and in the pit orchestra for the past four summers with Wildwood Summer Theater, an all-youth performing arts group in Maryland. The group is made up of people ages 18 to 24 who create the whole production—from the actors, to the crew, to the set designers. Performing arts is a logical fit for the entrepreneurial mindset, as it relies on thinking on your feet, and being able to pivot on a dime. When I get to Babson this fall, I plan to join Students Against Gravity improv group, and Babson Players.