2017 Speakers





Speakers from 2017:


Erica Wassinger

Co-Founder of The Startup Collaborative

Erica is the cofounder of The Startup Collaborative, a nonprofit dedicated to radically improving the odds of startup success. More than 70 area startups have participated in the unique blend of incubator and accelerator program, The Collaborative has been connected to the creation of hundreds of jobs, millions in venture funding and the inspiration of thousands of current and potential entrepreneurs. 


She hails from Dallas where she worked with top civic leaders on pivotal public-private partnerships to change the trajectory of the city. Previously, Erica worked with a handpicked group of growth-seeking clients spanning the marketing, technology, startup and nonprofit industries. 

Jess Ekstrom

Founder & CEO of Headbands of Hope

Jess is the 25-year-old founder of Headbands of Hope, providing headbands to children with cancer in every children’s hospital in the U.S.  HoH and has been featured on the TODAY Show, Vanity Fair, Seventeen,  Good Morning America and more.


Kunal Mehta

Entrepreneur & Author of Disruptors

Disruptors profiles the early heartbreaks and triumphs of the entrepreneurs behind game-changing companies such as Pinterest, Foursquare, Dwolla and Venture for America. Kunal is a serial entrepreneur and worked at charity: water before becoming a Venture Associate at NYU.


Ray Land

Founder of Fabulous Coach Lines

Bio coming soon



Robert Nicholson

Social Entrepreneurship Guru

Robert has formed multiple nonprofit companies that developed new streams of revenue through earned channels. From elder care to racetracks, Robert does it all.  Helping people who are less fortunate, marginalized, and protected is his highest calling.




Stefanie Monge

Founder of Think Start Do & CEO of Welcor Enterprise Yoga

Stefanie Monge is a serial entrepreneur, consultant, international yoga teacher and writer. She’s the founder and executive producer of the Think Start Do women’s conference, founder and CEO of Welcor Enterprise Yoga and managing partner at the Petshop Gallery and Artists Co-op in Benson. As a consultant, Stefanie helps entrepreneurs with business planning, strategy and content marketing.



Cory Levy

Co-Founder & COO of After School

Cory is the Co-Founder & COO of After School, the largest teen social network in the U.S.  After School’s privacy settings has attracted intense media coverage all across the country.  Cory is a serial entrepreneur and one of the youngest to ever receive venture capital funding



Renee Mellican, Ph.D., PMP

Food Innovator, Scientist

Renee has lead product innovation teams for companies such as Proctor & Gamble, PepsiCo and ConAgra Foods, where she was the director of research and Innovation.  Her expertise corporate innovation has led to countless new product launches.


Cory Scott

Founder & CEO of LiveBy Inc.

Cory founded LiveBy a new B2B Real Estate Technology company in 2015. Their products match consumers and professionals with the best locations to live, build and grow.  Cory graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan and the NMotion accelerator.




Dan Houghton

Co-Founder, Buildertrend

Dan Houghton co-founded BuilderTREND in 2006.  BuilderTrend offers user-friendly, web-based software to help builders reduce costly communication errors and maximize customer satisfaction.




Saul Flores

Founder of LoveWalk

Saul Flores is the founder of LoveWalk, an organization that brings awareness to the immigrant journey. LoveThreads is a campaign to give three-knotted turquoise threads to immigrant children around the world to remember their families abroad. He has been featured on NPR, TEDx, and FOX News.