SPEAKERS

 
CEO / Founder, The Empowerment Plan

Veronika Scott, CEO / Founder The Empowerment Plan

Veronika Scott, founder and CEO of The Empowerment Plan, has built an organization that began around a single idea: to design a coat specifically for the homeless. The coat is self-heated, waterproof, and transforms into a sleeping bag at night. That idea has now transformed into a system of empowerment in which homeless women are paid to learn how to produce coats for people living on the streets, giving them an opportunity to earn money, find a place to live, and gain back their independence for themselves and their family. Veronika is the youngest recipient of the John F Kennedy New Frontier Award from the JFK Library Foundation and Harvard University. She has received an IDEA Gold Award from the Industrial Design Society of America and has an honorary PhD of Humane Letters from Johnson State College. Veronika has been named one of CNN’s Ten Visionary Women in the World and is the winner of the 2014 DVF People’s Voice Award. She has also been named a 2015 Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur. The Empowerment Plan story has been told across the world and shared at events such as the World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Forbes 400 Philanthropy Summit with Oprah, Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett.

Jason Lucash, Co-founder OrigAudio

After getting a degree from the University of California-Davis, Jason gained early marketing and promotions experience while working for Major League Soccer and later JanSport. Lucash, who has traveled more than 900,000 miles in the past seven years, had the idea for OrigAudio while living the life of a road warrior. Frustrated with all the bulky portable speakers on the market, Jason and partner Mike Szymczak decided to launch OrigAudio in August 2009. Their first product "Fold n' Play" recycled speakers were the perfect solution to allow consumers to listen to their music on the road without taking up a lot of space in their suitcases. A mere three months after launching, their first product was named to the prestigious Time Magazine “50 Best Inventions of the Year” list causing their business to skyrocket over night. Lucash has gone on to sell over 2,000,000 speakers since then and has his products in 5,000 stores across the United States and another 38 countries around the world. Lucash also starred on season 2 and season 3 of ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank” and in January 2013 was named Entrepreneur Magazine's "Entrepreneur of the Year".

Kelsey Meyer, Co-founder & President Influence & Co.

Kelsey Meyer is the cofounder of Influence & Co., a specialized content marketing firm focused on knowledge extraction, content creation, and distribution to create business value for clients. Kelsey was named Columbia, Missouri's 2014 Emerging Business Woman of the Year award, and Influence & Co. was named to Forbes' Most Promising Companies In America - 2014.

Kelsey worked on a couple of startups before launching Influence & Co. in 2011, and it has since grown from 2 to over 70 employees on staff. Kelsey started her first company while she was a sophomore in college, and is a mentor to college entrepreneurs through University of Missouri's Entrepreneurship Alliance program.

Kelsey is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine and has been featured in a wide variety of national media.

Alexander Mendeluk, Brand Strategy Consultant, Creative Director & Public Speaker the Disruptive

From working on film sets around the world; to creating the multi-million dollar lifestyle brand SpiritHoods; to pitching the 5 sharks on ABC’s Shark Tank - Alexander Mendeluk is not your typical “entrepreneur”.

Growing up, Alexander literally saw magic happen before his eyes, as his father (a film director) turned fantasy, fiction and action on a page into reality.

It was during these times that Alexander realized; anything you conceive, you can in fact create.

With this mantra, Alexander (with no formal business education, industry experience or money) birthed the global lifestyle brand - SpiritHoods.

He’s here to show you how.

With his new company the Disruptive, Alexander helps disruptive entrepreneurs start, build, brand and market their businesses so they can make an income and an impact.

Krish Patel, President/CEO – Wireless Communications

By the time he was barely past 20, Krish Patel knew that one day he’d strike out on his own. But he wasn’t content to wait. By the time Patel was approaching graduation, he was plotting how to open his first Verizon Wireless authorized retail store. Less than five years later, his company Wireless Communications operates 40 stores across four states. Between the stores and corporate operations, his staff numbers 300. In 2013 Krish was nameds a 30-under-30 in Inc. magazine.
A born salesman, not every aspect of running the business is easy for Patel--namely, he’s had to figure out how to lead the non revenue-generating parts of the company, like operations. He’s had to figure out how to coach and motivate staff when there are no sales goals. When it comes to sales, "I know how to react and work on those types of scales." Operational efficiency, on the other hand, which is driven by softer metrics, "is a puzzle."

Liz Presson, Founder/CEO Pursuitof.com

Liz Presson is on a mission to redesign the way we approach work. She works at the intersection of company culture, marketing and technology to help organizations empower, inspire and engage a new era of employees and customers. She started her career as a founding employee of a social media management system. There, she learned the art of hustle, the importance of a perfect pitch and the value of developing products and services with real user feedback. Since then, she launched the social media subsidiary of the email marketing system iContact, which sold to Vocus in 2012. She’s consulted with startups such as Skillshare, The Daily Muse and Seth Godin’s The Domino Project. Recently, she led marketing communications for Digi International, a high-tech Internet of Things company. Today, Liz combines her work in growth marketing and community management with her passion for company culture as the founder and chief strategist of the digital media and company culture consultancy Pursuit. She's also the creator of the media site for business leaders and employees of distributed companies, WorkingRemote.ly. Liz’s articles on digital media, company culture and technology have been published in Fast Company, Forbes, Mashable, Yahoo and others.

Frank Klesitz, Founder/CEO Vyral Marketing

Frank Klesitz is a passionate sales and marketing professional. Self-employed since 18, he graduated magna cum laude from the University of Nebraska where he earned Entrepreneur of The Year in 2006 and 2007. An Eagle Scout, copywriter, entrepreneur, and salesperson; Frank was named 40 Under 40 by the Midland Business Journal for starting Vyral Marketing in 2009 to help professionals leverage education-based video and social media technology to increase sales from their #1 asset - their existing customer database. Frank has also be awarded the "Empact 100" featuring the top 100 entrepreneurs in the US age 30 and under with revenues over $100,000. Frank lives in San Diego, CA. Visit his Vyral Marketing blog at www.getvyral.com or call 1-800-323-9974 for speaking and hiring requests.

Rebecca Brei, Director at Aksia LLC and Co-Founder at rSr Creations LLC

Rebecca is the Co-founder of rSr Creations, LLC, which invented the Trivae, a versatile kitchen tool for food preparation and serving that solves the “where do I put the lid?!” dilemma while cooking. As a lid holder, its unique design supports inverted lids of various shapes and sizes with easy access to the lid handle at all times. For serving, Trivae converts to two different-size trivets: a standard size for use with a single pot, pan or dish and a dual size for up to two pots or pans or a large casserole dish. While cooking or serving, Trivae takes you from kitchen to table in style. It also stores flat in any standard kitchen drawer. Patent pending. For more information, visit web at www.trivae.com or on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/trivae. Trivae is available for pre-order now on Kickstarter! Please visit our campaign page: http://kickstarter.trivae.com/
Rebecca will be sharing her lessons learned as an inventor, manufacturer and her inside knowledge of how KickStarter really works.

Aron Beierschmitt , Founder / CEO Foundationsgames.com 2010-2014

Aron Beierschmitt founded his company, Foundation Games, in 2010 when he was 19. He employed 15 people and has offices in San Francisco, Philippines, and Sydney today. He raised $850,000 in funding from angel investors, including the founders of Treyarch –– the guys behind the popular Call of Duty series. Beierschmitt and his team have developed five iOS games and are working on three more. “Most of our titles have seen typically 500 to a million downloads” with no real marketing.” Lumi, the team’s second release, was featured as Apple’s app of the week; it retails for 99 cents and has seen over a million downloads.
Currently Aron is the entrepreneur in residence at Codex Venture Partners, a boutique investment group focused on early stage investments in high growth technology ventures. His roles include: development of his next project, deal flow, due diligence, and advising of portfolio companies.

Michael Luchies, Founder, TrepRep

Michael’s passion is to help others within the world of entrepreneurship. Michael is Founder of TrepRep, Director of Content Programming for Pursuit, Interview Editor for Under30CEO, freelance journalist, and an Entrepreneurship Lecturer at Illinois State University.

As a writer, Michael has published over 800 articles and accumulated over 2.5M pageviews. He is currently on a mission to publish 365 articles in 2015.

Brent Comstock, Principal and Chief Innovator BCom Solutions, LLC

Brent Comstock grew up in rural Southeastern Nebraska in a town with two stoplights. Compelled to make a difference in the way people perceive rural communities, Brent established a technology company at age 12. BCom Solutions now manages digital branding and technology solutions for over 500 clients around the world with marketing strategies reaching over 1 million people per year.

Brent’s passion for helping young entrepreneurs lead him to be the first Student Entrepreneur in Residence at an incubator in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he attends the University as a Robertson Scholar. He has been blessed with the opportunity to deliver keynote speeches around the country – from Oklahoma to New York City. He recently participated in the Lincoln TEDx event where he debuted his newest venture: a rural start-up program for young adults that is unlike any other.

Duane Spires, CEO Extreme Youth Sports

Duane Spires is a high energy motivational speaker who has one main goal… To produce positive results in the lives of the people who hear him speak. From the second he steps on stage, the audience becomes engaged, excited, and inspired to succeed in their lives, their careers, and their businesses!
Duane speaks to groups of entrepreneurs about taking action on their personal and business goals to enable them to have a successful life. His goal is to show entrepreneurs across the United States how to break through their personal roadblocks and fears so they can start highly successful businesses.
He created Extreme Youth Sports Inc. EYS quickly expanded to over 50 locations with several employees in the Tampa Bay area and offered Karate, Dance, Cheerleading, Tennis, Fitness, and team sports classes. Duane currently serves as a board member for the Entrepreneur's Organization, which is a global organization committed to the growth of it's members businesses. As the CEO of Extreme Youth Sports Inc., Duane qualified in 2009 to join EO with gross revenues exceeding 1 million dollars per year.
Fun Fact: Duane is also a professional ring announcer for MMA cage fighting events and is VP of World Class Fight League. He has been featured on several television programs and he has interviewed many famous sports athletes.

John Vyhlidal, Manager of Culture and Inclusion at ConAgra

At ConAgra, John is leading enterprise-wide culture initiatives with a significant focus on the development and execution of the leadership elements of their continuous improvement journey at our 70+ manufacturing facilities.
Originally from Columbus, Nebraska, John received his Bachelor’s Degree at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, NE. John is passionate about making things better through hard work, great ideas, and meaningful connections. He has been fortunate to have a professional career that has allowed him to live that passion. He began his career as an officer in the US Air Force where he led teams of highly trained employees who managed Air Force-wide studies using statistical analysis, as well as performance improvement studies. Following the Air Force, he worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) where he led project teams conducting risk-based finance and IT assessments. Today, at ConAgra Foods, Currently, he is responsible for providing critical support in the planning, consulting, and execution of key organizational effectiveness initiatives to ensure ConAgra Foods is well prepared to accomplish current and future business objectives.

Ryan Downs , CEO, Proxibid. Formerly Senior VP, Worldwide Operation at Paypal.

At Proxibid, Ryan oversees all aspects of the company. Proxibid has created a $2.5B online marketplace for buying and selling high-value and specialized assets. We specialize in heavy industrial assets (construction equipment, commercial and industrial equipment, farm equipment, trucks, etc.) and high-value collectibles (autos, firearms, coins, fine art, etc.). Recently, we have increased our focus on real estate and consumer electronics.
Prior to joining Proxibid, Ryan was Member of PayPal executive team, helping to drive vision, strategy, and resource allocation that served approximately 180 million customers in 190 countries (approximately 4 million contacts/month) Ryan implemented necessary process, policies, procedures and staff to scale organization from 250 people to 4300 people in seven years.

Mary Clare Sweet, Founder / CEO Lotus House of Yoga

Our story began with the desire to create a village of open-hearted, empowered and healthy yogis. We opened our doors in April of 2010 and in 2013 added two more studios. We make yoga easy to get to, clean, challenging and full of FUN! At the center of it all, we believed that at your core, you are love. Through stillness, you can find peace no matter what; in asana practice, in traffic and at home.

Our teacher training program continues to change lives. The majority of our graduates go on to be full and part-time yoga instructors. Several of our “lotus petals” now own their own yoga studios across the U.S. Most importantly, they leave our program having undergone a deep personal evolution with a clear, positive and exciting outlook for the future. Our mission is to share love through yoga.
Mary Clare will share how her principles have guided the development of her business and lead us in a yoga exercise for stressed out entrepreneurs.

The Amazing Arthur, Arthur Fratelli

Arthur Fratelli, More than just an elaborate and complicated tax evasion scheme. Arthur Fratelli is in constant demand as one of the most popular corporate entertainers in the country. An energetic, charismatic performer-Arthur involves the audience as he performs top notch mentalism, hypnosis and more.
With Arthur on stage you can count on a professional performance. A wild ride from start to finish. Audience participation, comedy, magic, a lot “how’d he do it” looks from the crowd, a standing ovation and most importantly you will receive a lot of pats on the back for having the genius idea of hiring Arthur.
Arthur will lead us down the path of creativity and wonder, challenging us to think about the world.