Editor’s note: Opus College of Business is highlighting Opus graduates (“giants”) who are making a huge impact in the world. Read the rest of the profiles here.
Every dog has its day at Lucy & Co., a business co-founder and CEO Ahmed El Shourbagy ’10 MBA started with his wife, Ashley. Together they grew their digital business into a social powerhouse with millions of loyal dog followers.
One year after completing his MBA at St. Thomas, he started a passion project curating photos of people’s dogs and posting them to an Instagram account he created, @dogsofinstagram. Turns out the idea was quite the tail-wagger. For the next three years, he managed the account during his free time until it had a loyal and engaged following of 200,000 dog lovers.
“It felt like the opportunity had presented itself, and I had to seize it. You can’t always choose the exact field you want to go into but there are things you can do to invite opportunity,” he said.
Although he considers himself an entrepreneur at heart, El Shourbagy never expected he’d be running his own business so early in his career. He was working at Target Corporation in a financial analyst role he enjoyed. But even so, he wanted to build something from scratch.At Opus College of Business, a solid foundation of business and leadership gave El Shourbagy the confidence to venture into entrepreneurship at a high level. “Some of my fondest memories are from my time at Opus,” he said.
His exposure to marketing, accounting, finance and organizational development courses gave him the building blocks for his ventures. Fellow visionaries he met at Opus continue to inspire and educate him.
“I built lasting connections with like-minded students that have been extremely valuable for my career and personal life,” he said.
But cute photos and stylish dog accessories are only part of El Shourbagy’s story. He’s also helping humans (and dogs) in need.
During the pandemic, Lucy & Co. quickly pivoted to produce masks that matched the popular dog bandanas. Through sales of these masks, the company raised $11,000 to donate to East Side Neighborhood Services, a nonprofit that directly serves the Twin Cities community. He’s proud of the company culture they’ve built at Lucy & Co. – a team that really values community.
“In my business, I strive to build the best company for my employees, customers and anyone else we work with in order to have a positive impact,” he said.
As a digital trailblazer and thriving business owner, El Shourbagy is deeply aware of his responsibility to create good in the world.
“My philosophy is that by leaving a small memory everywhere I go and in everything I do, I’m doing a great deal to contribute to the common good,” he said.