At interise there is an "i" in team
The Interise team is comprised of men and women who bring years of experience in cultivating a strong culture, and a passion for our mission and the community we serve.
JOE WADLINGER | CHAIRPERSON & BOARD MEMBER SINCE 2011Joe runs the New England NonProfit & Healthcare Banking team at People's United Bank, which helps clients succeed by providing tailored financing and cash flow management solutions. Joe’s career spans 30 years as a sales and strategy executive in banking. Having grown up as a child of a small business owner from an old mill-town in Massachusetts, Joe has a passion for business success and a deep sensitivity to the role businesses play in the health and vibrancy of their communities.
JEFF DICIACCIO |SECRETARY & BOARD MEMBER SINCE 2014Jeff has over 25 years of experience as a purchasing professional. He currently serves as Director for Strategic Procurement at Harvard Medical School. He is former Senior Director of Purchasing at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Prior to that, he was Corporate Purchasing Manager at Stream International.
CYNTHIA FRANKLIN | BOARD MEMBER SINCE 2015Cynthia is Senior Associate Director at the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at New York University Stern School of Business. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship. For the past 5 years, she has been an instructor for Strategic Steps for Growth (M/WBE) in New York City. Cynthia co-founded KIP Communications and was a former editor for the award-winning KIP Business Report newspaper.
ALVARO LIMA | BOARD MEMBER SINCE 2017Alvaro Lima is the Director of Research of the Boston Planning and Develpoment Agency. Originally from Brazil, he recently served as Senior Vice President and Director of Research of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), a non-profit organization founded by Harvard Professor Michael Porter. Prior to the ICI, Alvaro was the Director of Economic Development at Urban Edge, a Boston-based community development corporation. He has also worked as Chief of the Economic Development Department of the Ministry of Industry and Energy in Mozambique. In his work in Brazil, he was the Coordinator of Regional Developmen Projects at the Institute for Social and Economic Research - IPARDES. Alvaro holds a Master's degree in Economics from the New School for Social Research.
ELLEN THRASHER | BOARD MEMBER SINCE 2018A member of the Federal Senior Executive Service, Ellen had three decades of experience in the Legislative and Executives Branches of government, including fourteen years on the personal staff of Senator Barry Goldwater. During her most recent tenure as Director of the Office of Entrepreneurship Education, U.S. Small Business Administration, (SBA) she led the National SCORE program, the largest network of volunteer expert business mentors in the country as well as the SBA’s online virtual Learning Center and young entrepreneur initiative. Of particular note is the highly successful Emerging Leaders Program now in its tenth year, an intensive executive-level training for small, poised for growth companies.
Ellen is closely associated with the development and recognition of women business owners. Under her leadership as Associate Administrator of the Office of Women’s Business Ownership, women business owners were included for the first time in the U.S. Census. Ellen was a frequent speaker and media contributor on the topic of small business entrepreneurship.
MANJARI RAMAN | PROGRAM DIRECTOR & SENIOR RESEARCHER, HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL
Manjari supports co-chairs Professor Michael E. Porter and Professor Jan W. Rivkin on all U.S. Competitiveness Project priorities such as the Young American Leaders Program and the HBS worldwide survey on U.S. competitiveness. Her research efforts focus on location choices by global companies, the role of business in making cities and regions more competitive, shared prosperity, and cross-sector collaboration.
Manjari works closely with co-chairs Professor William R. Kerr and Professor Joseph B. Fuller on shaping strategy and conducting research related to all aspects of Managing the Future of Work Project. Her research focuses on diverse aspects of managing the future of work including the middle skills gap; dealing with displacement by automation and technology; developing rural and urban workforces; and the care economy. She has researched and co-authored two reports on the role of business in closing the skills gap in America: “Bridge the Gap” and “Dismissed by Degrees.” She recently co-authored “The Caring Company,” which demonstrates that employers can cut costs and boost productivity by helping employees manage caregiving needs. Manjari also just published “Future Positive: How Companies Can Tap Into Employee Optimism to Navigate Tomorrow’s Workplace,” a report which finds that successfully navigating the future will require employers to tap into the existing optimism of middle-skills workers who are eager to embrace the future.
Previously, she worked as a Senior Editor in Bain & Company’s global marketing team, supporting practices such as healthcare, industrials, telecommunications, technology, and media.
Prior to that, Manjari was the Senior Vice President of Programs at the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, a national not-for-profit focused on revitalizing America’s inner cities. She managed programs such as the Inner City 100 as well as helped launch new programs such as the Inner City Economic Forum, the first national network of public and private leaders focused on inner city economic development.
She conceptualized, designed, and led Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC), a national platform for facilitating private equity capital flow to inner city businesses. Since its inception in 2005, ICCC companies have created 11,000 jobs and secured more than $1.3 billion in debt and equity capital. In 2008, Manjari designed the Small Business Administration’s Emerging 200 program to help small businesses in low-income neighborhoods grow. More than 2,000 business leaders from 50 underserved communities across the country have undergone training on expand their businesses – creating additional jobs and wealth in their communities.
Before joining ICCC, Manjari had more than 15 years of experience with the corporate sector, working as a business editor.
Lenin Agudo is a high performance motivator with experience in supporting economic growth for small businesses, municipalities and economic development engines. As Director of Widener University Small Development Center, Lenin’s mission is to foster vibrant, experienceoriented, market driven and economic development results. To achieve this, he supports wantrepreneurs, growthreprenuers and famlilypreneurs in their efforts to forge, temper and strengthen their business.
Lenin utilizes a design-thinking trajectory © to consult with clients and to create and deliver customized learning opportunities for them. He practices a design, test, learn and evolve approach to enhance the business development process and its outcomes.
As former community and economic development director for the 5th largest city in PA, business consultant, trainer and small business owner, Lenin has over 14 years of experience in loan packaging, real estate development, financing, business model generation, and value proposition design.
Lenin graduated from Pace University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in International Management, holds a Master of Business Administration from Kutztown University, a postgraduate certificate in Economic Development and Growth from the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government and an Executive Education Certificate in Leadership and Organizational Performance from the Kennedy School at Harvard University.
Lenin is a Certified Business Advisor from Growth Wheel; a Certified Program Facilitator from a Strategyzer; and a Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) from the National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators (NASBITE). He enjoys free time with his wife Gabriela Raful and is enthused about teaching golf to his 4 year-old son Julian.
Brenda Anderson has more than 25 years of leadership and organizational development experience in Fortune 500 corporations. She has held key leadership roles in human resources, training and development, operations, accounting and financial management. For the past 15 years Brenda has worked with business owners across the country helping them to position and grow their businesses. Brenda’s clients value her ability to help them strategically align their organizations’ efforts with their mission and vision. Brenda has led multiple organizational development engagements nationally as well as internationally. She was a member of an international team that supported leadership development efforts for Alcoa Europe, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. She has also developed and facilitated several major organizational supplier development initiatives. Brenda has spoken at several national conferences regarding developing diverse business owners and increasing supplier diversity to address disparity in contracting opportunities. Featured in the November 2012 issue of Black Enterprise magazine as an innovative entrepreneur, Brenda was also named in 2010 as one of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Diversity Champions, Pride Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Black Women; Charlotte Business Journal Who to Watch in 2008 Business Leaders, Charlotte Business Journal’s 2006 Women in Business Achievement and 2004 Diversity Catalysts Winners.
ANDREAS ANGER | FAIRBANKS, ALASKA
Andreas (Andy) Anger is a Professor and tenured faculty member in the Applied Business and Accounting department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Community and Technical College. His academic specialties are finance, accounting and entrepreneurship. Well versed in a wide variety of teaching formats including online, video and intensive, he has developed and presented from short intensive to multiday workshops and seminars in Small Business Start-up, - Management and - Marketing to a wide variety of audiences in Alaska in support of small business development. As department chair for the past 6 years, Professor Anger focused on positioning the UAF Applied Business program as a viable competitor in the online education market worldwide, currently serving students in 40 U.S. states and 14 countries. These efforts were highlighted by receiving a U.S. number one ranking as “Best Online Associate Accounting Program in the USA, 2017” by College Choice Ranking.
Before entering academia, Andy was the owner and operator of a backcountry touring company offering eco and adventure tours in Alaska. Concurrently, he was engaged as a consultant in the development of targeted sales and marketing strategies for Alaskan tourism businesses. Andy remains very active in the tourism industry and in the community at large, currently serving on boards of several non-profit organizations.
In his private time, he greatly enjoys the outdoor opportunities Alaska has to offer.
Marvis Aragon, from Acoma Pueblo, has the ambition to serve tribal communities. He is the current Chief Executive Officer with the Isleta Business Development Corporation (IBC) which is wholly owned by the Pueblo of Isleta in New Mexico. In addition to overseeing some of the current business enterprises, the IBC is charged with new business development and to support small business in the Isleta community. Marvis has also served his community in numerous positions including two terms as Acoma’s First Lieutenant Governor and chairmanship roles with the Acoma Business Board, Acoma Housing Commission and currently the Acoma Board of Education. In 2007, the New Mexico Business Weekly honored Marvis as one of New Mexico’s Top 40 Under 40, and has he been featured in the American Executive, Smithsonian, and other national publications.
Barbara Baggerly-Hinojosa | Weslaco, Texas
Dr. Barbara Baggerly-Hinojosa is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Leadership Empowerment Group, LLC. She holds a PhD in Leadership Studies from Our Lady of the Lake University, where she currently is a full time faculty member in the School of Business and Leadership Studies teaching PhD courses in Leadership Studies.
She is publisher/owner of the Mercedes Enterprise newspaper. She is also a published author, having published a number of books, including Are You a Ten? The Ten Characteristics of a Servant Leader. Her books are available through Amazon and are included in Good Reads and other similar media outlets.
Additionally, she volunteers with the youth throughout the Texas/Mexico border area, providing them with opportunities to learn valuable life skills. She was recognized as the Mercedes Woman of the Year for her many contributions of time and leadership to the community. Most recently, she was named Rio Grande Valley Business Woman of the Year by the RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. As seems to be her way, she was quoted as saying “I’m humbled, the work I do is a collective effort with family and the community. I accept this award as a group.”
Alison brings a broad range of experience from Fortune 500 companies, Government, and start up, entrepreneurial endeavors. Her career began at Procter and Gamble where she held leadership positions in sales, marketing and business development. She left P&G to join a start up HomeRuns.com, a home grocery shopping and delivery service. Alison then transitioned to public service for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and served as the Executive Director of the Office of Small Business & Entrepreneurship.
Recently Alison was the Director of Partnerships and Licenses for Interise, bringing their StreetWise ‘MBA’TM curriculum to business owners in 32 US cities. For the last 20 years, Alison has also provided strategic business growth solutions for many businesses, small and large with her consulting practice, Twelve. Recently Alison created Encore Age LLC, a health & wellness practice supporting clients from around the country to live a healthy life.
Alison is currently attending the School of Applied Functional Medicine. She serves on the Charlestown Boys & Girls Club Advisory Board. Alison is also an avid skier and when it snows she can be found mountainside. Alison graduated from the University of Massachusetts’s Isenberg School of Management and resides in Charlestown Massachusetts.
Vanessa Best is CEO of Precision Healthcare Consultants (PHCC). PHCC has a successful track record of consolidating and standardizing HIM operations, developing and performing extensive chart reviews for ensuring coding compliance and appealing insurance denials. The firm brings to this project a deep understanding of primary care practices and relationship building. PHCC are part of the elite AHIMA ICD-10 Ambassador Approved Trainers and very proud to have received certification with the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) as a CCS-P (Certified Coding Specialist, Physician Based) and CHTS-IM (Certified Health Technology Specialist) also with the American Academy of Procedural Coders (AAPC) as a CPC (Certified Procedural Coder). Vanessa Best was also a featured speaker at the Bank of America Entrepreneurs Conference, success story in Black Enterprise Magazine and alumni recipient of the "40 Under 40" Achievement Award from the Network Journal. In addition, PHCC has a full service Revenue Management Consulting Company providing medical billing, coding, ICD-10 implementation, work flow analysis and a suite of other services.
Halbert Brown, Jr., a retired United States Navy Veteran of 24 years, is the Co-founder, Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer for Universal Nursing Services, LLC, a local home health care and staffing company. The company has 60 healthcare professionals providing Bexar County and surrounding areas with nursing, therapy and social services in their clients’ homes. Universal Nursing Services provides home health and staffing services to approximately 350 clients annually. The company receives reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), private insurances and other contracts throughout the year. Mr. Brown is proactive in his community. He is the Division “H” Director for District 55, Toastmasters International, a charter member, Past President and Treasurer of Rising Toastmasters Club (RTM). RTM was started at University of Phoenix in San Antonio. Formerly the Chairman of the Board for People’s Choice Federal Credit Union, Mr. Brown also co-founded and is Past President of the Diversified Power Investment Club. Mr. Brown is the Immediate Past President, Business Counselor, Mentor and workshop facilitator for the SCORE, Counselors for America’s Small Business. These positions allow him to exercise his passion for helping other business professionals, for which he was recognized as the Minority Enterprise Development Week (MED-Week) Minority Advocate of the Year (2013).
C. Adam Callery, Ed. D. is serving as the Interim Associate dean, C2C at Harold Washington College. Dr. Callery is the former Program Director for the Business and Computer Information Systems programs at Malcolm X College and is currently a tenured faculty member with City Colleges of Chicago. Prior to accepting the assignment as Associate Dean, he has taught general business management, marketing, and small business management courses at Malcolm X College and Harold Washington College for the past eight years. In addition to his responsibilities as an administrator, Dr. Callery has served as the site program manager for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative, Chicago for the past two years. In this role, he was responsible for faculty recruitment and curriculum development, as well as severing a session facilitator. He came to City Colleges of Chicago from the corporate arena and has accumulated over twenty-five years of experience in the areas of engineering, banking, aviation, managerial consulting, and information technology.
His professional career prior to academia has included employment with several leading corporations: Dow Chemical Company, Pepsi-Cola, First National Bank of Chicago, United Airlines, and IBM. While at IBM he co-authored an article entitled Avoiding the Blues for Aviation Travelers published in the IEEE Computer Society Press. He has applied this combination of practical and academic experience into the formation of a real estate brokerage where he has participated as a partner for the past nine years, as well as developed a small business coaching and executive training practice known as Sagesse Lumiere.
He has completed his doctoral studies at National Louis University where his research has focused on the use of performance data to enhance organizational effectiveness. He is active in a variety of civic and cultural organizations including the National Black MBA Association and National Society of Black Engineers. Outside of professional interests, he travels widely, reads, cycles, snow skiing, and white-water rafting.
Born to blaze trails, Nicole Cober’s entrepreneurial spirit was cultivated as the owner and operator of Soul Day Spa and Salon, a spa and hair salon chain that served as a revitalization catalyst in a burgeoning area of the Nation’s Capital. Over the course of nearly ten years, Soul would be acclaimed for its ingenuity, five-star quality service, and avant-garde branding. The spas were spotlighted in a number of national media outlets, including Essence, People, Allure, The Washingtonian, American Spa, Salon Today, The Washington Post, Upscale, Black Enterprise and the CBS Morning Show to name a few. Soul was featured on the Style Network’s reality show, “Ambush Makeover,” and earned recognition by the Washington City Paper for “Best Stylist” and “Best Spa.” A community champion, Nicole and her team annually partnered with Rachel’s Women’s Shelter in Washington, D.C. to provide complimentary services to residents.
Having come full circle in her exciting professional journey, Nicole currently blends her entrepreneurial, business, and legal prowess to offer a distinct suite of services as the Principal Managing Partner of Cober Johnson & Romney. Affectionately known about town as “The Lawyerpreneur”, she takes the concept of business consulting a few steps further, providing a blueprint for gaining business clarity, portraying and positioning authentic brands, and legally protecting those brands, intellectual properties, and creative works. She empowers start-ups and local small businesses to reach their full potential with her creative effective branding and growth strategies.
A zealous advocate for her clients, her experience spans a broad spectrum of industries, including entertainment, beauty, creative, and cosmeceutical. She is also a mentor for SCORE and an instructor for the “Emerging Leaders Initiative”; both programs are affiliated with the Small Business Administration.
Further, Nicole is a sought-after media influencer who provides her expertise to an array of local and national media. She is a regular small business contributor for American Express OPEN Forum, Black Enterprise, and Citibank’s Women and Co., and she serves as a regular on-airsmall business consultant for Fox 5 DC and WJLA-TV’s NewsChannel 8. On Fox 5 DC, Nicole also served as the expert for the station’s “Business Savvy Sundays” series. She has also fostered strong relationships with radio outlets such as Sirius, WPGC, WHUR and WKYS and print outlets such as the Washington Post, Allure, Essence, Ebony/Jet, Washingtonian, and People. Nicole also shares her advice with audiences large and small as a public speaker and coach.
Nicole is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and Howard University School of Law. Prior to Soul Day Spa, Nicole was a litigation associate at Dickstein Shapiro, one of Washington DC’s largest and most renowned law firms. At Dickstein, she specialized in employment and antitrust law. Nicole was also senior law clerk for Chief Judge Annice Wagner of the DC Court of Appeals.
Hugh W. Connelly is the President of Univest Capital, Inc. f/k/a Vanguard Leasing, Inc. located in Bensalem, PA. He started the business in May 2006. Univest is a national lessor helping equipment manufacturers, dealers and distributors increase sales with Univest’s FAST (Financing As a Sales Tool) system. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Temple University and a Master of Science in Finance-Bank Management from Drexel University. Mr. Connelly is both a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Fund Analyst (CFS). He published his first book in 2013 titled, “401K Tune-Up”.
Dr. Iris Ann Cooper’s career includes leadership positions in financial services, economic development, community service, communication, government, entrepreneurship, and education. She is the owner of “JustAskIris!” an entrepreneurial coaching firm, specializing in food enterprises and products. Iris is a founder of Glory Foods, Inc., a multi-million-dollar food marketing company and has launched several successful enterprises during her career. She is recognized nationally as a business strategy and branding expert, having coached many startups to sustainability. Iris is the former Director of the Ohio Division of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, where Iris led the state from 29th worst place for small businesses in 2007 to the ninth best in the nation, and 1st in the Midwest in four years. She currently works with nonprofits and for- profit organizations desiring market research, strategy development, and other professional services. Iris recently received the Amos Lynch Legacy Award from Champions of Diversity and the Sharon Burkes Soar Award from Franklin County Children’s Services for her advocacy work in Central Ohio.
Iris is a published author, featured writer, and keynote speaker on a variety of topics, and an adjunct professor at Franklin University and Columbus State Community College. A domestic violence survivor, Iris concealed her abuse for over 12 years, until she and her daughter were thrown out of their home. When the Devil is Beating His Wife: A Christian Perspective on Domestic Violence and Recovery, cowritten by Iris and Melanie Houston, provides a fictional account of three female victims, with resources and advice on starting over safely.
Her contributions to entrepreneurship are now included in the History Makers Collection at the Smithsonian Institute. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the National Coalition of 100 Black Women-Central Ohio Chapter, and the Indiana University Alumni Association. Iris holds a BA in Journalism and an MBA in Marketing from Indiana University. She also attended Fisk University for two years. Her DBA is from Walden University in Entrepreneurship and her doctoral study was focused on small business mortality and entitled “The First Four Years: A Small Business Sustainability Study.”
Cairn Cross is a co-founder of FreshTracks Capital and serves as a Managing Director of the Fund. Cairn presently serves on the boards of FreshTracks portfolio companies Vermont Teddy Bear, NativeEnergy, Faraday, Budnitz Bicycles and Mamava and is an observer to the SunCommon and Caledonia Spirits boards. Cairn is a lecturer at the UVM Grossman School of Business where he teaches Financing Sustainable Innovation for the Sustainable Innovation MBA program. Cairn is also an advisor to the board of Colchester, Vermont based C2 an IT services and management company. Prior to starting FreshTracks Cairn was a strategic and financial adviser to Vermont banks and growth businesses, the Assistant General Manager of Green Mountain Capital, L.P. from 1996 to 1998 and spent a decade from 1986 to 1996 working as a commercial banker. In 2014 he created Road Pitch a four day motorcycle tour around Vermont bringing investors and entrepreneurs to 7 towns to listen to entrepreneurs pitch their ideas. In 2011, the United States Small Business Administration named Cairn its Vermont, New England and National, Financial Services Champion.
Sherif A. Ebrahim is President & CEO of Strategic Management Group and Managing Partner of SMG Capital, both nationally recognized Private Equity and Health Care Firms based in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is a board certified health care executive, a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, an NAPH Managed Care Public Policy & Finance Fellow from New York University and a Health Systems Management Fellow from Tulane University and the State of Louisiana. He is considered an expert in Corporate Strategy, Strategic Innovation and Multi-Organizational Integration. He currently serves on the committees of several investment funds, serves as Director, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Education and is a professor of Strategy & Innovation at Tulane University, serves on the faculty of The Catholic University of America, and has served on the faculties of other universities, governance and executive development programs.
Charisma and passion are hallmarks of Orlando Espinosa's approach to sharing the benefits for entrepreneurs, startups and established business to understand the importance of being educated and informed business owners. Orlando was the first National Spokesperson for The Sallie Mae Fund's "On the road: Paying for College Bus Tour". The coast to coast tour gained national recognition for financial aid workshops in 70 cities. He was also a key member of creating and branding 2futuro, a bilingual loan and outreach program by Sallie Mae and USA Funds. As a leadership advisor for ASPIRA of Florida, Inc., a youth based organization, he empowered students through education and leadership workshops. His passion for education has afforded him opportunities to counsel countless individuals and groups on higher education, presented to public and private business organizations, and has traveled nationally to conduct workshops on financial literacy, leadership, entrepreneurship, branding and marketing. He Co-Founded MICROscholarships Inc. a 501c3 dedicated to providing opportunities to student entrepreneurs thru equal access to scholarship funds and entrepreneurship training programs. Once accepted into the program, student entrepreneurs receive tailored mentoring, small business development support, and financial assistance (via need-based qualifications) – all geared toward graduating from college and getting their business off the ground.
In his current role as Co-Founder of Emineo Media, Espinosa helps educate and train businesses on the importance of a solid business structure and the implementation of an effective marketing strategy. He also speaks on brand building, entrepreneurship, leadership and sales & marketing. Emineo Media’s goal is to help businesses find the hidden gems their company possess by evaluating their overall business structure!
Espinosa is a StreetWise MBA™ Instructor and teaches the The StreetWise MBA™ curriculum in partnership with The SBA Emerging Leaders Program in South Florida. Espinosa spearheads the development and implementation of SCORE Miami Dade’s educational workshops to ensure the success of South Florida’s business community! He is currently working with Commissioner Zapata’s office with their Mom and Pop grant program to provide advice and support to help businesses succeed in becoming more sustainable. The goal is to provide collaboration, networking and educational resources to ensure their success.
Espinosa sits on various community and advisory boards. He graduated from Lee University with a bachelor's degree in Communication, and from Nova Southeastern University he obtained a Master in the Field of Education. Espinosa is the recipient of the U.S. Small Business Administration South Florida District and State of Florida Small Business Advocate of the Year for 2016.
A jack of all trades, strategist and expert problem solver. Danielle has owned several businesses, served on the executive team of a multi-national corporation and headed a non-profit. She is able to work at both a macro and micro level to quickly gain clarity of an organization’s opportunities and accurately identify potential obstacles.
Danielle spent the early part of her career focused on business-to-business marketing and public relations. After working for several companies, she founded an award-winning strategic communications consulting firm. Her insatiable curiosity coupled with a dislike of routine resulted in her working with clients ranging from startups to the federal government. In 2008 she agreed to lead the technology marketing team for Teleflora, a former consulting client. Danielle was quickly promoted at the online flower retailer and in 2011 was named Vice President of Administration. A member of the executive team, she led the company’s human resources functions, technology marketing and key enterprise-wide operations projects.
A trusted advisor, Danielle has worked at every level of an organization. She has extensive experience managing cross-functional, enterprise-wide initiatives including quality programs, leadership development and succession planning efforts, compensation programs and product launches. Danielle is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources and has her Accreditation in Public Relations. She earned her B.S. in Public Relations from Syracuse University and her M.B.A. from Oklahoma City University.
Carla Fallone, MBA, CEO of Fallone Business Resources and a fourth generation entrepreneur has been designing/launching companies for 26 years. She has launched and successfully grown her own retail & service based business, and is currently designing and developing an online Enterprise Crowdfunding site for Students. Carla is an adjunct professor at The College of New Jersey, School of Business, where she teaches Entrepreneurship. Carla develops strategic business models/plans, designed to “envision/teach/succeed” entrepreneurship. She consults finance/business development/financial software to private clients. Carla also consults for Small Business Development Centers and the SBA, and authors business theory for Fortune 100 companies.
Fay Fleming, MA is the founder of the Business Performance Company (BPC), a consulting firm started in 1994. With more than 20 years of senior-level expertise, her career includes work in training, strategy, research and marketing. Fay’s current focus is providing strategy, research and speaking services to a wide range of businesses and professionals. Ms. Fleming has worked with more than 75 organizations including start-ups, small and mid-cap businesses, nonprofits and Fortune corporations. Services span industries ranging from technology and financial services to travel and human services. She has also been an adjunct instructor for several universities including Washington University.
A published author and featured writer, she also serves as a keynote speaker for corporations and conferences, focusing on issues related to business and career success. Her topics include: Mastering the Game of Business, Playing to Win, Strategies to Beat the Odds for Entrepreneurs, Publicizing Your Brand and Staying in Demand and The Six Unwritten Rules of Business. A former business columnist for the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the St. Louis Business Journal, Fay has also published books for other authors.
Professional awards include: Excellence in Small Business Award-Bank of America, Minority Business Advocate of the Year Award-Small Business Administration, Entrepreneurial Excellence Award-Minority Supplier Council, Distinguished Business Woman of the Year-NAWBO, Academy of Leaders Award-YWCA and the National Vanguard Award-TransComm.
Fay has a BBA in finance and accounting, a Master’s in marketing and media and postgraduate training at the top two research institutes, RIVA and the Burke Institute. An avid volunteer, Fay is a past president of the National Association for Women Business Owners, St. Louis Chapter and has served on the board of many organizations like the United Way, American Marketing Association, Boys & Girls Club, St. Louis Community College Foundation and others.
Leland B. Goldberg is a Turnaround Management Consultant, with over 30 years’ experience in managing and restructuring both under-performing and growing businesses. He has been the CEO for 14 companies and has also served as Financial Advisor to over three hundred manufacturing, distribution and retail businesses. Lee has been a frequent guest lecturer at Harvard Business School in connection with the HBS case study on his role as CEO of Newport Creamery. He is also a former Partner in the Business Restructuring Group at Coopers & Lybrand and a former Senior Credit Officer at Bank of Boston. Lee holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration with a major in Accounting from Northeastern University, and a Masters Degree in Business Administration with a major in International Finance from Boston College. He has served as an adjunct professor in the graduate business schools at both universities. He is a Certified Turnaround Professional, past President and founder of the Northeast Chapter of the Turnaround Management Association and an active member of the Association for Corporate Growth and American Bankruptcy Institute.
Mr. Miguel Hampton, MSM is a multi-talented self-starter who believes “in order to achieve what one has not achieved, one must do what they have never done”. Miguel has a diverse-managerial background with experience in downsizing strategies, which include the refocus of management, consumer and employee development/retention, brand marketing and advertising, internal and external sales, corporate retail and marketing sales, as well as multi-level retail management and development. After aggressively climbing the corporate retail ladder, Miguel chose to make a career change from retail into marketing where he spent several years as a Senior Sales Representative and later the VP of Sales. He later returned to retail for a short stent prior to starting his own Marketing Company, F5 Enterprises, LLC in 2007 and Food & Beverage Brand in 2012, Sancho Miguel’s Salsa. Miguel has his bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Wilberforce University and his Master in the Science of Management from Indiana Wesleyan.
Andra L. Hargrave is a military service disabled veteran who served in both the U.S. Army and the Minnesota Army National Guard. He has over 20 years of state and federal business development expertise.
Mr. Hargrave is a former Denver SBDC Consultant of the Year, Colorado SBDC Consultant of the Year, Pueblo SBDC Consultant of the Year and has helped the Colorado based companies secure in exceed over $120 million in state, federal and corporate awarded contracts. Hargrave is currently hold the Colorado SBDC Veterans’ Representative and also serves on the Colorado Department Transportation’s Connect 2 Dot program and works with the Colorado SBA Veteran’s Boots2Business program and the Colorado Minority Business Office.
Andra is a registered procurement analyst and his knowledge of federal set-asides, certification, and acquisition strategies is without equal.
Arquella Hargrove brings a successful 25-year track record of creating and implementing productivity-inducing practices through the application of strategic planning and organization development in both the public and private sector. She has supported both established organizations and entrepreneurial ventures advising them through their stages of creation, growth, and stabilization.
As the CEO of EPIC Collaborative Advisors, she helps business leaders build stronger, more effective teams and companies. Valued for providing her clients with a set of principles on workforce development, diversity & inclusion strategies, EEO and company-wide codes of ethics and policies to build their capacity. Arquella is a sought-after facilitator, business consultant, speaker, and coach dedicated to the transformative and sustainable results of business leaders. A moderator and frequent panel speaker in the areas of diversity, women in leadership, and social capital, as well as, a contributor to publications such as Wo rkforce Magazine.
Arquella holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources Management from Ottawa University and an Executive MBA from Texas Woman’s University. Arquella has several certifications in coaching, facilitation, leadership development, conflict resolution, mediation, and training.
The combination of teaching and business has been a part of Jason's life for his whole professional career. He has spent the last 7 years working with one of the biggest and fastest growing companies in Idaho helping to train and coach business professionals and entrepreneurs from across the US and Canada. Working with everything from very small businesses to multi-million dollar, global enterprises Jason has helped business owners develop the skills and enhance the attributes that lead to success. While business is one of his passions, there is nothing he loves more than to teach. Jason has a Master’s degree in Education and spent 5 years teaching high school. Creating a learning environment that fosters interaction, growth and achievement have been skills that he has developed over a decade of teaching and coaching.
Mark is the Managing Partner at MKP Inspired, a consultancy firm focused on economic development and he’s also a Partner at Vortylon an M&A advisory consultancy. He has a foot in both camps so to speak, one in growth and scaling businesses and the other foot in helping owners exit and sell their business. He brings extensive experience in sales, marketing, and business development growth strategies. Mark is an acknowledged leadership coach and has built a world-class sales organization for a fortune 500 company in Europe before transferring to the US in 1997.
As President of a startup business, the executive team laid the foundation for the company to grow into a highly profitable enterprise which today does business on five continents. Mark has an ownership interest in eight very different companies which operate in various industry sectors including life sciences, biotechnology, healthcare, education, data, and financial services. An engineer by trade at British Aerospace Mark graduated with an HNC from Guildford College in the United Kingdom.
DARWIN HOPWOOD | LAS VEGAS, NV
Darwin Hopwood has extensive financial and business management experience. Darwin has worked in the investment industry, for a large regional bank and for an agency of the U.S. Treasury Department as a bank regulator. In addition, Darwin was 50% owner of an electrical contractor in Las Vegas for 18 years. Darwin holds a bachelor’s degree in economics, a master’s degree in business administration, Series 7 and Series 66 securities licenses, a Nevada real estate license and business broker permit. Darwin consults with small business owners on the use of planning and financial management tools to grow their business and develop exit plans. Darwin is also an adjunct professor at the Lee Business School at UNLV where he teaches finance, commercial banking, and management and leadership.
Mr. Huggins is a Senior Executive, Entrepreneur and Consultant with solid leadership, program management, business acumen, strategic planning, and business development skills. He has over 30 years of experience in the Telecommunications and Information Technology industry; with over 15 years of experience of starting and leading small business enterprises. For the past 7 years, he has provided business operations and business development consulting support to small and medium sized businesses. Mr. Huggins is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP); and has over 18 years of project management experience. He is a results-driven individual and recognized as a strong leader and visionary; who maintains a passion for motivating and integrating people into developing extraordinary solutions. Mr. Huggins has received National, State and local personal and business awards, including the selection as a 2006 US Black Engineer & Information Technology Magazine Top Black Entrepreneur; 2006, 2010 & 2012 Mid-Atlantic Region Top 100 Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Awards; received a 2011 Maryland Governor’s Citation for his promotion of economic development and community enrichment; a 2011 Air Force Association (AFA) Medal of Merit.
Raquel L. John-Baptiste started her accounting career employed by a well known Certified Public Accounting Firm in the USVI. During her tenure there, Ms. John-Baptiste completed individual and business income tax returns, prepared and filed payroll tax forms, compiled monthly financial statements for Government entities, served as the Senior Managing Accountant for Government projects and completed tasks such as preparation of audit ready work papers and schedules for bank reconciliations, modified accruals, long-term debt, financial statement preparation and reporting, indirect cost allocation plan development, deadline compliance and regulations, preparation of performance measure reports, bookkeeping oversight and reporting of pooled funds.
During the next two years, Ms. John-Baptiste pursued her goal of providing quality bookkeeping, accounting and specialized services as an entrepreneur. In September 2012, that goal was accomplished and RJB Bookkeeping and Financial Services was registered and licensed in the United States Virgin Islands.
In recent years, Ms. John-Baptiste filled a critical need in the preparation of fixed asset work papers and schedules and accounts payable work papers and schedules for audit implementation; these efforts, in collaboration with the Government teams, helped to facilitate the timely completion and issuance of the Audited Financial Statements.
In addition to Governmental agencies, Ms. John-Baptiste handles multiple financial controller functions within a multi-unit corporate organization including bank reconciliations, preparation and responses to auditor inquiries, preparation of daily financial cash reports, management of clients’ staff, performance of duties related to accounts payable and accounts receivable functions, and identification and accounting of intercompany transactions for financial reporting.
Other responsibilities include implementing processes to convert existing data into a more user friendly format allowing for easier processing of payroll, preparation and filing of tax and other payroll related forms and assistance and/or preparation of work papers and schedules for the audits of small businesses. Ms. John-Baptiste has assisted small and medium size businesses in automating many repetitive, manual tasks and processes and finding efficient methods to streamline workflow.
Ms. John-Baptiste currently holds certification and membership with the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) and is an Associate Member of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICBUSA). She is currently a candidate preparing to sit for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Exam.
Mr. Tim Kovar, co-founded Kovar’s Karate Centers in Sacramento in 1987 which grew to 20 locations in 4 states by the time he retired in 2007. In the process Tim helped transform the martial arts industry from bare knuckle, back alley operations to one of modern, customer centric, business systems. Tim earned his Bachelor’s in Applied Economics from the University of San Francisco and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of St. Leo. Tim brings thirty plus years of successful business ownership, management, and marketing experience. He has started businesses from scratch, acquired existing businesses, and done a few mergers along the way. His teaching experience includes 20+ year as a martial arts instructor, and over six years an Adjunct Professor at American River College, Sierra College, and William Jessup University.
Octavia’s business training began eight years ago when she moved to Birmingham, Alabama from San Francisco, California. She served for four years as the program development manager for the SBA funded entrepreneurial development agency, Central Alabama Women’s Business Center in Birmingham. During that time she became aware of the psychology factor of business and began a master’s program in psychology, completed in 2010. At that time, Octavia founded Psychology for the Real World (PRW) a study and research group focused on best business and workforce development practices for the 21st century workplace. PRW provides curriculum for staff training using the latest research from psychology on human development and learning. Her client list includes Jefferson State Community College, US Steel and AmeriCorps. She is currently completing a degree in business administration and researching the economic psychology of poverty for a book. She has written for the Birmingham Business Journal on SWOT analysis, recent articles about business by Octavia can be found at www.examiner.com.
As co-founder of Integrated Media Group, Gil's primary area of expertise is working with companies of all sizes on developing results drive digital marketing strategies.
A serial entrepreneur since setting up a baseball card table in his parent's yard at age 7, Gil has a proven track record of success. After building his last marketing firm to rank as one of Rhode Island's top 100 private companies and the 3rd fastest growing in the state from 2007-2010, Gil was part of a successful exit in 2013. Around the same time, Gil launched the Rhode Island Small Business Journal, which quickly became the states most circulated business publication, both in print and online. Most recently, Gil formed Integrated Media Group, which in just two short years has become Rhode Island's 7th largest marketing agency. In addition to its Rhode Island headquarters, IMG has satellite offices in both New York and Boston. Gil currently leads the strategy behind the IMG brand and works with clients nationally on developing effective digital marketing campaigns.
In addition to his entrepreneurial ventures, Gil volunteers his time to speak with High School and College students interested in entrepreneurship, serves as a consultant and speaker for the SBA and Center for Women and Enterprise and is a current SCORE counselor as well as an instructor for the Emerging Leaders Program. At home, Gil has two very active children, Nina (8) and Victor (6) and a very supportive wife, Michelle, who puts up with his crazy work schedule, late nights at the computer, and caffeine addiction.
Sera Soto Larsen has a passion for small business operations and has successfully contributed to the growth and development of several organizations in the Central Valley. Her professional experience includes a broad management background in Strategic Planning & Implementation, Financial Management & Budgeting, Operations, Human Resources, Marketing, Communications, as well as Leadership Training and Development.
SUZANNE K. LEMEN | JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA
Suzanne (Suzi) Lemen is the founder and CEO of Dynamic
Corporate Solutions, Inc. (DCSI), one of the region’s
largest human resources consulting and recruitment firms,
specializing in providing HR solutions for businesses small
and large. As an expert in the Human Resources function
with more than 30 years experience, Suzi has been
called upon by some of the largest companies across the
nation to provide comprehensive auditing, consulting, risk
management and compliance services.
Suzi is passionate about helping business and HR leaders
create a culture of strong HR practices to maximize employee
satisfaction and productivity while minimizing business risk
and liability. As a result of her passion, DCSI has been named
as one of the fastest growing businesses in the nation by Inc.
500 magazine and amongst the top 20 growth companies
by the Jacksonville Business Journal.
After earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources
and Psychology from the University of Kansas, Suzi went
on to University of Florida where she received a Master’s
Degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In 2005, she
was recognized as the Entrepreneur of the Year by the
Women in Business of Northeast Florida. In 2008 she was
named Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Small
Business Leader of the Year as well as the SBA Champion for
Women in Business.
In addition to running DCSI, Suzi is the lead instructor for
SHRM certification classes where HR Professionals earn
their professional certifications. She is a dynamic public
speaker who enjoys traveling the country educating and
helping HR professionals leverage best practices and avoid
John Liddy has over 15 years of managerial experience and currently serves as the entrepreneur in residence for several colleges and universities. Mr. Liddy also is the Director of the Syracuse Student Sandbox, which is an accelerator program for college student run businesses. He has been part of five startup companies, primarily in an operations and finance role. Immediately preceding his tenure as EIR, Mr. Liddy headed a business unit for a publicly traded company where he had full P&L responsibilities for a $300 million dollar business and had over 300 employees reporting to him. John received his undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont and received his MBA from the Whitman School at Syracuse University in 2003.
Ralph Little is an Associate Instructor at the University of Utah since 2008. Prior to that, he was Program Director of Entrepreneurship for LDS Business College. He was the President of Little & Company for 19 years. Ralph has a BS in Finance and a MBA from the University of Utah, and he is a gradute from Harvard Business School.
Jamillah Lodge is a Business Development Officer for Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC). She is responsible for providing BEDC clients with business development advice and loan guarantee assistance. In addition, Jamillah manages the marketing and communications plan on behalf of the Corporation and oversees the development of mentorship and youth entrepreneurship programmes. Jamillah has over ten years of business experience working in various positions in the USA and Bermuda. Educated in the United States, Jamillah graduated from Clark Atlanta University; Atlanta, Georgia with a B.A. Business Administration with a focus on Marketing and also obtained an AA in Merchandising Marketing from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising; Los Angeles, California. Jamillah is also in the process of obtaining her MBA in entrepreneurship from Nova Southeastern University, Florida.
David Mackinder has enjoyed a long and successful history in both business management and university level teaching. In the business world, he has extensive experience in both sales and management, including all marketing, sales and business infrastructure decisions in order to grow a retail company from start-up to greater than 4 million dollars in sales annually. Additionally, he has created and sold several small to medium sized businesses and most recently has acted as Treasurer/Secretary for his wife’s thriving garden design business where he is responsible for all business infrastructure issues. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from the Honors College at Michigan State University and he holds a masters of fine arts degree in creative writing and literature theory from Wayne State University where he likewise graduated with high honors and continues to teach today.
Mary Marshall began her business career running a family-owned business. Learning the details of small business operations and management led her to a career coaching small and medium-size business entrepreneurs who were interested in selling their companies. After three years of successfully completing many mergers and acquisitions, Mary was fascinated by one small high tech company and accepted a position as Sales and Operations Manager. She then became an owner and President of the company after completing a successful turnaround in less than a year. After selling her business to a partner in 2000, she launched a career as a consultant, primarily focused on operations management and organizational development. In 2012 Mary left corporate life at Vistage to go back to what she loves best – working with entrepreneur’s to help them achieve their dreams. She launched Marshall Advisors, LLC as a CEO and Executive Advisory agency to work with CEOs and their executive teams.
Accomplished executive with broad business experience. Five years of Public Accounting followed by 26 years with PepsiCo and Pepsi Bottling Group, the last 15 years as a Vice President. Senior Leadership roles in Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions and Technology. In depth experience in Project Management, Change Management, Strategy Development and Implementation, Business Operations and Technology Initiatives. Retired from PepsiCo in 2014 and moved to Indianapolis in 2015. Volunteering with SCORE organization as Small Business Mentor and as Board member with Indianapolis YMCA. Independent Consultant assisting clients in developing business strategies, leading implementation of key initiatives, driving change and performing project management. Providing Advisory Support to small and medium sized businesses.
Rick Miller has over 30 years’ experience working in both public and private companies in financial, operational, and administrative roles. He has served as CFO for companies in the wide variety of sectors including medical practices, manufacturing and distribution, real estate, advertising, and recreation. He has also served as COO for a fast food operation in Oregon and Washington. As CEO of a venture-capital backed fitness Technology Company, he secured private placement financing and a national distribution agreement with a specialty retailer.
In addition to coaching, Rick has extensive experience in team building at the corporate and/or divisional level, strategic planning and budgeting, private equity negotiations and transition planning, line-staff conflict resolution, and entrepreneurial networking. Rick is the lead instructor at a local high school of the Young Entrepreneur Academy. Rick’s personal mission is to joyfully help individuals develop their God given talent and abilities and his passion is coaching/advising people to positively impact their colleagues, community, and companies in meaningful and lasting ways.
Rick holds a BS in Accounting from the University of Alabama where he was named Outstanding Undergraduate in the College of Business Administration. He holds a MBA from Harvard University and a middle school teaching certificate from Regis University in Colorado.
As CEO of American Business TV, Executive Vice President of SCORE in Houston, Interise Streetwise ‘MBA’™ Instructor, an expert in business development and teaching "How To Make Your Business Bankable." Mr. Muhammad’s work with entrepreneurs, multinational corporations and government agencies has earned him the U.S. SBA Minority Small Business Champion of the Year, Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, and SCORE 10 Years of Service Award. Mr. Muhammad has transformed organizational cultures, driven growth, built capacities and created jobs.
Dr. Wendy Munday is the Director of the MBA program at Newman University as well as an Associate Professor and tenured faculty member teaching in the Division of Business. Before coming to Newman, Wendy enjoyed a highly successful corporate career in marketing and sales across multiple industries including banking, business development consulting, auto dealerships, and media. Dr. Munday also founded Management & Marketing Innovations, working with small businesses and entrepreneurs in a wide variety of sectors such as construction, banking, retail, custom building, design services, museums and many service-focused organizations to include a multi-year, multi-million dollar federally-funded research project in conjunction with several large social service agencies. Her work on the research project has been published on a national level. Wendy received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Marketing from Wichita State University. She completed her MBA at Wichita State University where she was awarded the Dale E. Wiggins Graduate Assistantship. Wendy went on to Oklahoma State University to earn her doctorate in Occupational and Adult Education.
Lin O'Neill, president of Futures, is uniquely skilled in helping individuals, teams and organizations—in both the profit and nonprofit sectors--articulate and realize their goals while maximizing quality of work life. With a blended background in operations and human resources, Lin has been a corporate executive and president of her own firm. Her talents stem from practical experience such as that gained while, as Vice President and Board Member (Corporate Officer) for Continental Airlines. Lin has a B.S. in sociology and a M.B.A. For more than two years, she conducted a weekly talk show regarding career and career transition challenges on a Los Angeles F M radio station. Among her numerous accomplishments: design/implementation of a team-based training program resulting in a 43% decrease in the operating costs of the seed division of a national agricultural firm and development/implementation of a global executive retention strategy that resolved an anticipated executive exodus.
Julie Percell is a business owner and instructor/trainer in Honolulu Hawaii.
She has a background in sales, marketing, accounting. Strong travel industry and business community expertise.
She has taught entrepreneurship at Kapiolani, Leeward Community Colleges and the Patsy Mink Center for Business and Leadership. She has been certified to teach the entrepreneur curriculum of Interise, NextLevel, Kauffman Institute, and Cisco Systems.
She was awarded the SBA’s Small Business Advocate for 2016 for the State of Hawaii. She and her husband raise orchids in Palolo Valley.
Steve Pitcairn is CEO and a certified Business Coach with Clear Vision Business Services. Steve’s practice is based in Jackson, Tennessee and he provides his services in Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. Recognized as the “Outstanding Coach in Tennessee” in 2009 and a winner of the “Emerging Business Award” from the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce, Steve puts what he teaches into practice. As a Certified Business Coach, Steve uses his abilities to partner with small and mid-size businesses to implement improved processes and systems for their strong growth. He helps businesses achieve success by revisiting the dreams and visions of the owner, analyzing where the business is currently, and developing a plan as how to achieve their goals. Once the plan is in place, Steve meets with the businesses on a weekly basis to act as an advisor, mentor, and most importantly to hold the owner accountable for taking the necessary steps to achieve their goals.
Nicholas A. (Nick) Rago is the President and CEO of Consultants to Management, a Phoenix based firm that helps companies grow profits and people by improving sales, sales management, marketing, operations and human resources strategies. Founding the business in 1998, the mission of Consultants to Management is to assist companies in adapting their performance strategies to an ever-changing domestic and international business environment.
Through his management career and Consultants to Management, Mr. Rago has provided the highest level of business consulting to small and large domestic and international companies, with an emphasis on P/P.....PROFIT/PEOPLE.
Mr. Rago has dedicated his life to helping companies achieve the next level of success. He has an acute understanding of the business world and what it takes to be a successful entity. Viewing entrepreneurship as the tool for helping people reach their dreams of success, he stays abreast of industry trends through membership in numerous professional organizations and working with and directing small businesses.
He served in the United States Army Reserve. Sergeant E5 with an Honorable Discharge.
Mr. Rago holds two degrees in marketing and management from Temple University, Fox School of Business and Management. He currently serves on the Temple University Advisory Council.
Dan Ramacciotti has over 35 years of experience in management. He has held executive positions in marketing and operations in both public and private firms. As CEO he has led startup and growth-stage firms in two different business sectors; both of which achieved higher management efficiency ratios than their industry. Currently, he spends his time as a business consultant and an Adjunct Professor teaching both at Webster University and Lindenwood University in the graduate and under graduate programs in the departments of Business, Management, and Entrepreneurship. As a consultant he mentors business owners in strategic planning. His community efforts include mentor and judge for Entrepreneurial studies at Webster University, facilitator for the educational seminars for the organization SCORE and board member for both profit and non-profit firms in the St. Louis area. He holds degrees from Lindenwood University-MBA and the University of Missouri-BS. Specialties include: strategic planning, turn-around and leadership.
Jim Ramstad, a business advisor, has more than 40 years of experience in various roles from controller, COO and CFO to CEO and director of business development. Jim worked for a family owned business, 42 million in gross revenue, in the transportation industry for 25 years as CFO. As a non-family member, he assumed the CEO responsibilities with the passing of the founder and taking on the role of mentoring the son until he was astute to assume the responsibilities. He also assumed the task of coordinating the family estate process with accountants and attorneys. Jim has also worked in closely held business industries as: COO & CFO for a construction truss component assembly, business development and government relations for an electric car company, and management accountant for banking institution. Today, Jim uses his experience in working with families and closely held business in an advisory capacity that focuses on outcomes that produce solutions. As an advisor, Jim facilitates the implementation of strategic plans focusing on growth and profitability, an exit strategy of succession to family or employees, or a third-party transaction.
Jim holds a Bachelor of Arts, Accounting and Business Administration degree. He was certified in exit planning by Business Enterprise Institute, and an Accredited Mindshop Facilitator.
Outside of being an advisor to clients, Jim enjoys spending time advising his grandchildren on their life journeys while riding with them on a jet ski, golfing, or in a challenging game of monopoly.
Personal Mission: as I enter the second half of life, I am focusing on being a person of significance an instrument who inspires others to live victoriously to their full potential. This will be my greatest joy!
Rita Caldwell Ricks is unlike any other person on the speaking circuit, because she coaches everyone in her view. Her wisdom, wit, energy and encouragement are the catalysts which inspire her listeners to renew the person within. Rita’s dynamic presentations are custom made for each group and, wherever possible, she moves through the audience to personally connect with individuals. In 1988 Rita launched Mirror Enterprise INC. a professional and personal development training company. Her emphasis was on The Impact of Image which became the title of her first workshop series followed by a video titled Careering: A Concept for Success. This video, created for high school and college students, highlighted the proper way to interview, dress appropriately, network effectively and practice proper meal etiquette. Two years later Mirror Enterprise INC. broadened its service offerings to include diversity training, leadership development, customer service, team building, and management training. In 2007, Rita wrote and published “PERMISSION GRANTED! A JOURNAL OF SPIRITUAL EPIPHANIES”. Unlike most journals with blank pages, this one asks provocative questions that invite you to take a critical look at yourself and embrace the life that is uniquely yours.
Aldo Scrofani began his tenure in the theatre in 1977 at Jujamcyn Theatres Corporation. During his 13 year term he served as the Executive Vice President and Executive Producer and participated in the vast growth of the organization into one of America’s leading and most progressive theatrical companies. Jujamcyn owned and operated first class legitimate Broadway theatres, as well as produced some of the Broadway Theatre’s most memorable and successful productions. In 1990, he joined Columbia Artists Theatricals (CAT). CAT was among the industry’s most highly regarded producing and management companies, and was a leader in the world of theatrical touring. During his 18 year term with CAT, Mr. Scrofani served as the Chief Operating Officer. In addition, during this term, he also held the position of Executive Vice president and COO of Columbia Artists Management, Inc. (CAT’s parent company) and was a senior member of the Board of Directors. In 2009, he founded Theatre Management Associates, Inc. (TMA) and its subsidiary, Moonglow Productions LLC. TMA/Moonglow is a theatrical production and management company providing expertise and professional services to theatrical ventures on a worldwide basis. He is a lifetime member of The League of American Theatres and Producers (now The Broadway League) and has served on both the Executive Committee and the Board of Governors. He also served for 15 years on both the Tony® Management and Tony® Administration committees and continues to be a TONY Voter. Mr. Scrofani is also an Adjunct Professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business teaching a course entitled “The Business Of Broadway. In addition, through a partnership with NYU and the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment Mr. Scrofani is also teaching a graduate level course for CEO’s of media & entertainment companies entitled “Steps for Growth” using the renowned Interise curriculum.
Ken Sevick has coached and trained business owners, CEOs, and their teams in over 40 different industries. He has helped businesses ranging from professional services to manufacturing to retail realize double digit sales and profit growth in 12 months or less. Kevin has also successfully served as a change agent in revitalizing and reenergizing teams of people in sales, production, administration, and operations. He has done over 500 hours of formal training in the latest strategies, techniques, and tactics used in business, and over 10,000 hours coaching organizations in strategy implementation and accountability. In addition, Kevin was ranked as one of the top 100 Coaches Globally in 2008, 2014, 2015, and 2016.
Entrepreneurial with a passion for developing Leaders, Marty Shea started his business path over 25 years by co-founding a single unit restaurant in San Francisco. With its niche in the Fast Casual sector of the industry, Specialty’s Inc. now operates over 50 restaurants up and down the West Coast and Chicago and continues in full expansion mode. While still active in an advisory capacity, Marty exited his business and turned it over to his management team in 2008 to further pursue personal development and to spend time with his family. He ultimately strives to become significant in others’ personal and professional growth. Now as the founder and principle of K2 Business Coaching, Marty’s Executive Coaching practice serves those in both profit and non-profit sectors. He coaches and mentors CEOs and their executive management teams as well as those in small businesses, including the start-up phase.
Richard Sheridan has owned and operated accounting and financial planning practice in the Youngstown, Ohio area for the last 33 years. He has worked with a variety of businesses over that period in the areas of: accounting systems, payroll, tax planning and preparation, financial planning, business acquisitions and sales, marketing and a variety of other concerns unique to the small business owner. In addition, he has taught a number of classes on entrepreneurship at Youngstown State University, Kent State University, and Ashland University in Ohio, as well as seminars for professional organizations. Richard earned a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Economics and Finance from Kent State University and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Youngstown State University. He is also enrolled to practice before the Internal Revenue Service (EA); a Certified Financial Planner (CFP); a Certified Public Accountant (CPA); a Personal Financial Specialist (PFS); and a Registered Investment Advisor Agent (RIA) with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
An Entrepreneur, Educator and Executive Director; MBA & former CEO. Eric is the Executive Director of the Enterprise Center at Plymouth State University a Business Accelerator and Incubator. He also serves the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Cluster at PSU as a Faculty member and a Director for the College of Business Administration, specializing in Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Strategy and Management; He is a Marketing Analyst and Strategic Consultant, advising and coaching founders and executives in companies ranging from Startups to Multi-Nationals. The creator of a “Masterclass in Entrepreneurship” and an APEX Accelerator program, delivering guidance and mentoring in Business Model Development, Innovation and Design Thinking, Change Management, Marketing and Tactical Execution in an applied, action-oriented, experiential format.
Eric is an expert in rapid business optimization, actionable insights and growth strategies.
Jodi Standke is a trusted partner who advances organizations through its people and increased effectiveness. Talon developed T.A.P. (Talent Alignment Process) which is a cohesive approach to talent selection, leadership development and retention in the digital age. Aligning one’s talent makes a difference in the world one person at a time.
Talon Performance Group is Minnesota based – providing Midwest values and cost-effective service to organizations and professionals nationally. Emerging companies to fortune 50 organizations – Talon has a track record of creative and innovative solutions.
Jodi is an elected Fellow of the prestigious College of Law Practice Management. She is a frequently sought author, keynote speaker and seminar presenter. Jodi was featured in Forbes Magazine as one of six outstanding Minnesota Women Business Owners. She was recognized by Finance and Commerce as one of 40 Minnesotans to Watch, and by the Twin Cities Business Journal as a Top Woman to Watch. Her bachelor’s degree is from Minnesota State University, Winona and a mini masters via the e-200 program. Jodi is certified in numerous coaching, assessment, personality and emotional intelligence programs. She has participated on several boards which include The National Association of Women Business Owner, MN Chapter, The National Association of Legal Search Consultants and The Minnesota Zoo.
In her “free” time, Jodi coaches a ½ marathon and marathon run group, teaches a yoga for runners’ class and teaches mindfulness meditation. She is an athlete participating in triathlons, running events and yoga. Her claim to fame is mastering the wall push up and she has a rocking canned beet recipe!
G. T. “Toby” Stansell continues to serve in executive management roles for high-impact, fast-growth organizations that want to leverage innovation and technology for improved operational and financial performance. Mr. Stansell specializes in developing and deploying innovative approaches to an organization’s most pressing problems and primary opportunities, and his involvement imprints an indelible culture within commercial, civic, and cultural entities that motivates, galvanizes, and unifies the organization’s personnel to fulfill its true purpose. Toby’s primary objectives when leading an organization are to identify and capture transformative opportunities, increase the productivity of people and processes, and optimize operational and financial performance. His prescriptive approach has equipped organizations of all shapes and sizes to make better decisions faster, leverage their strengths for a competitive edge, and maximize results.
Ann Marie Swenson is CFO at Thornton Academy, a private grade 6-12 school with 1600+ students, including 200 international residential students, and 230 employees. She joined the Academy in 2018 and is responsible for the Finance, IT, Facilities and HR functions.
Ann Marie’s background is quite diverse. Prior to the Academy, she was Regional Manager Business Banking for the State of Maine at People’s United Bank. Her team worked with commercial clients with borrowing needs up to $2MM. She was with the Bank for 15 years and prior positions include Business Banking Team Leader, Windham Market Manager and Sr. Credit Analyst.
After graduating from college with a degree in Finance, she spent 9 years as a financial analyst at GE, Budget Rent A Car and Genzyme, a biotech company in Boston.
In 1995 she moved to Maine to pursue a life time goal of owning her own homemade super premium ice cream shop. In 1996 Ann Marie opened Q’s Ice Cream in Portland and operated the business until 2001. The company was voted Portland’s best ice cream, was featured on an episode of the PBS tv show Made In Maine and even appeared in Bon Appetit magazine.
In 2001 she exited the business and began working with others to help them open and grow successful businesses. She worked for the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development for 1 ½ years and ultimately landed at Maine Bank & Trust, now People’s United Bank.
Ann Marie is very active in the community and is a strong proponent of economic development in the region. She serves on a number of volunteer boards and organizations.
Yaso is a Professor of Accounting and Management at a private liberal arts university in Anchorage, Alaska. She also directs the Business and Public Policy Institute there. A significant part of her teaching career has been focused on working with adult learners. Her background is in strategic financial analysis, performance measurement and evaluation, and organization planning and development. She is a certified global management accountant and holds a Master’s degree in Accountancy with emphasis in Information Systems from Bowling Green State University, Ohio, and an EdD. degree in Educational Leadership and Change from Fielding Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, California. Yaso is an ethnographer of social entrepreneurs concentrating on the study of the cultures, environments, characteristics, and motivations of these individuals and groups. She serves on a number of nonprofit boards in Anchorage.
Rea N. Waldon, Ph.D. - Dr. Waldon has over 25 years of experience working with owners to grow their businesses. Her background includes working as a commercial lender for several major financial institutions, a business advisor for a minority business development agency, and teaching business courses at the college level. Dr. Waldon was directly involved in securing and hosting a Small Business Development Center and is the founder of Ohio River Valley Women’s Business Council, an organization responsible for providing certification and training to approximately 1,000 women business owners in the states of Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.
Dr. Waldon currently owns and operates a business consulting firm that provides strategic guidance and training for small and medium sized businesses.Dr. Waldon has created numerous workshops and training programs focused on growing businesses. Most recently she developed the African American Business Development Program and the Ohio River Valley Women’s Business Development Program. The model is currently being utilized by Procter & Gamble, Marathon and L Brands to build capacity for small and medium sized businesses.
Dr. Waldon has degrees in accounting, management information systems and interdisciplinary studies (public policy and urban economics). In addition, she has training in retail bank administration, non-profit leadership and experiential classroom teaching strategies. In her spare time, she likes to bead and is also the owner of Sister Beaded Creations, a boutique shop that provides one-of-a-kind custom made jewelry.
Gene Wright is currently Director of Graduate Management Programs and Lecturer at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). He has taught graduate courses in New Product Development Management, Innovation Management, Business Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Strategic Marketing part-time for over 25 years. Wright also taught at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Lubar School of Business, where he taught at the graduate level in business strategy, IT, Innovation Management and Marketing. He also has served as the Director of the UWM, Lubar Executive MBA Program.
Prior to forming his own firm, Wright was the Milwaukee Practice Director for BORN, a medium-size business consulting and information technology services provider. Additionally, he was the Director of Global e-Business at Brady Corporation, a manufacturer of Identification Products. Wright’s e-business strategy work has been documented in an MIT Case Study as well as by IBM. His previous responsibilities within the firm included Director of Research and Development, Manager of Product Development, National Sales Manager, and Manager of Engineering Services.
Gene A. Wright has three US Patents, is a pioneer in online marketing (e-Business) and invented “Web-to-Workbench”, the world’s first website-to-custom manufacturing system as well as worked to developed hundreds of other innovative products, processes, and organizational innovations.
Speaker, Author, Serial Entrepreneur, creator of The Passionate Future Project and The Business Treasure Chest.
As an executive and business development coach, Jaime Yordán-Frau is results-driven first and foremost, and passionate about helping entrepreneurs transform the quality of their lives and students achieve clarity of purpose.
With a background in industrial-organizational psychology, extensive coaching certifications, and over 25 years experience helping build dreams into reality, Jaime has become one of the trusted advisors to presidents of multinational companies as well as emerging enterprises. Through his professional practice, Integro Success Unlimited, Jaime focuses on helping his clients discover the relationship between passion, performance and success, and with this as a foundation, guides them to achieve their full potential.
Russ Young is a certified and licensed Professional Business Coach with ActionCoach (January, 2003), Director of Coaching for Georgia, Business, Firm Owner/Partner, on the Board of Directors of a number of Not for Profits, as well as a member of the International Business Coaching Institute, Chambers of Commerce and several area business associations. Russ was born and raised in a neighborhood of Chicago where he first learned the principles of small business entrepreneurship from his father. Russ' business career began when he was 14 and continued through formal education, teaching, entrepreneurial challenges, corporate life, and business ownership. From working with small and midsized businesses in 65 countries, he has had the opportunity to learn that the challenges and dreams of business owners everywhere are both very similar and unique at the same time.
Gail is a serial entrepreneur who owned 2 successful multi-million dollar businesses: first, a national retail franchise operation; next, a groundbreaking worldwide Internet company. In each case, her unique sales approach fueled their growth and resulted in award-winning businesses. In 2000, she transitioned to business coaching and works exclusively with professional service providers, CEOs and their teams to organize for growth and develop a success mindset.
As President and Founder of Gearshift, she consults, coaches, mentors, conducts workshops, writes and speaks – all for the purpose of inspiring successful women and men to achieve their dreams and make bigger impacts on their world. She is a 3-time author.
As a contracted Instructor and Support Coach for Interise, she trains and coaches new and returning instructors nationwide for the Emerging Leaders program. She is Past President of NAWBO Chicago, and co-chair of the Women’s Business Committee for the Small Business Advisory Council. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Applied Professional Studies (MAAPS) from DePaul University.
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