Mentors

A diverse team of REVTECH mentors

Matt Alexander

Matt Alexander President, Q Clothier / Rye 51

Matt Alexander

President, Q Clothier / Rye 51

Matt Alexander
Matt Alexander is the founder and CEO of Need and Foremost. Born and raised in London, England, Matt graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2010 and, in the time since, has occupied himself with a wide variety of endeavors. From his popular podcast to features in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and NBC, Matt has been cited and covered by publications around the world. Today, he’s listed as one of Dallas’ top entrepreneurs and one of Ernst & Young’s emerging entrepreneurs of the year, whilst Need and Foremost have been named two of the top e-commerce services online.
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Mike Barnes

Mike Barnes Former CEO, francesca’s & Signet Jewelers

Mike Barnes

Former CEO, francesca’s & Signet Jewelers

Mike Barnes
Michael W. Barnes, also known as Mike, served as the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Francesca’s Holdings Corporation from December 4, 2014 to May 17, 2016. Mr. Barnes served as the Chief Executive Officer of Signet Jewelers Limited from January 30, 2011 until October 31, 2014. He served as the President and Chief Operating Officer of Fossil Inc. from January 1, 2007 to November 23, 2010. He served as the President of International and Special Markets Division of Fossil Inc. from October 2000 to 2006 and Executive Vice President from 1995 to October 2000. He served various other executive capacities at Fossil since 1985. Mr. Barnes was part of the management team that took Fossil public in 1993 and contributed to the continuing financial success of the business. During his varied executive roles, Mr. Barnes developed diverse functional expertise. He has had substantial leadership experience, with responsibilities including overseeing state-of-the-art international sourcing and supply chain operations, leading strategic business development, human resource expertise, company acquisitions, organizational structuring and managing diverse business relationships. He served as Director of Signet Jewelers Limited from January 30, 2011 until October 31, 2014. He served as a Director of Darden Restaurants, Inc from June 19, 2012 until October 10, 2014. Mr. Barnes served as Director of Fossil, Inc. from February 1993 to November 23, 2010.
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Michelle Bogan

Michelle Bogan Partner, Kurt Salmon

Michelle Bogan

Partner, Kurt Salmon

Michelle Bogan
Michelle Bogan is a partner at Kurt Salmon, a global management consulting firm, in its Retail and Consumer Products Group. Ms. Bogan is an expert in developing and implementing transformational retail strategies, including omnichannel, consumer analytics and localization, and has helped numerous department stores and specialty retailers around the world. Prior to Kurt Salmon, Michelle was VP at Macy’s, Inc., one of the world’s leading retailers, where she led omnichannel strategy and process development for Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. Before joining Macy’s, Ms. Bogan was a partner at Kurt Salmon, where she led the firm’s consumer insights work, including building a methodology to integrate consumer research into strategy, merchandising and pricing work. Prior to that, she worked at The Walt Disney Company doing product development in the Licensed Consumer Products division. She was named Woman of the Year in Retail by the National Association of Professional Women and was recently inducted into the Worldwide Who’s Who for Excellence in Retail Analytics.
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Chris Camillo

Chris Camillo CEO & Co-Founder, TickerTags

Chris Camillo

CEO & Co-Founder, TickerTags

Chris Camillo
Chris Camillo was formerly the COO of DealerTrack eCarList, one of the fastest-growing solution sets in the automotive retail industry. Chris manages for himself one of the world’s top performing personal stock portfolios, as verified by Covestor.com, the largest portfolio tracking service in the world. His portfolio, ranked Number One in 2010 by Covestor.com among all portfolios valued at over $250k, has averaged triple digit annual returns for two of the past three years. In just over three years, Camillo grew an $85k stock portfolio to over $2 million. Camillo authored a book about his experience entitled Laughing at Wall Street: How I Beat the Pros at Investing (by Reading Tabloids, Shopping at the Mall, and Connecting on Facebook) and How You Can Too! Prior to taking early retirement at the age of 35 (as a result of his investing profits), Camillo worked as a market research executive at Research Now (formerly e-Rewards Market Research) where he was responsible for building and managing the largest youth research panel in North America. Chris spent 9 years in business leadership positions with e-Rewards, helping to grow the company from a 10-employee start-up to an 800 employee global leader in market research panels.
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Jeff Donaldson

Jeff Donaldson Founder and CEO, Intriosity

Jeff Donaldson

Founder and CEO, Intriosity

Jeff Donaldson
Jeff Donaldson recently served as GameStop’s Senior Vice President of GameStop Technology Institute. Donaldson, who previously served as GameStop’s CIO, had been an integral member of GameStop’s leadership team for more than 14 years. Jeff played a key role in the creation of GTI, and GameStop’s new IT structure introduced in 2013. The new structure includes four strategic areas – IT Strategy, Architecture Design, IT Delivery and the GameStop Technology Institute. Each area is designed to accelerate the identification and adoption of new capabilities and solutions to address the ever-changing IT challenges impacting business today. Following GameStop’s acquisition of Electronics Boutique in 2005, Donaldson led the effort to integrate the EB and GameStop technology systems into a single platform. Before coming to GameStop, Donaldson was vice president of information resource management at The Associates. Prior to that, he held progressive management positions with AMR Corporation/The SABRE Group, Texas Instruments, and the Illinois State Government’s technology team.
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Greg Fasullo

Greg Fasullo CEO, EnTouch Controls

Greg Fasullo

CEO, EnTouch Controls

Greg Fasullo
Greg is the CEO of EnTouch Controls, an energy management company. Greg is an experienced executive and entrepreneur with a history of building and leading high performance teams, his passion is aligning emerging technologies with underserved market needs. Greg was a co-founder, officer, and director at Valere Power (now Eltek-Valere), General Manager of the Energy Systems business unit at Lineage Power (now GE Energy), and began his career with AT&T’s Bell Laboratories. Greg has 12 US patents and degrees from Lehigh (BSEE), UC Berkeley (MSEE), and SMU (EMBA).
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Ray Green

Ray Green Small Business, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Ray Green

Small Business, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Ray Green
Ray Green is the Managing Director of Small Business for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation, representing more than 3 million businesses, associations, and chambers worldwide. He is also the architect of Small Business Nation, a U.S. Chamber program offering free tools, resources, and advice for entrepreneurs and small business owners. He currently oversees digital strategy and execution of Small Business Nation, inbound/outbound marketing, a national field sales team, a national inside sales team, customer service, and the U.S. Chamber’s National Small Business Membership Center, a contact center located in Las Colinas. Prior to joining the U.S. Chamber, Ray worked for Napster in the early stages of the quest to legitimize the service, founded and sold a music festival promotion company, took a family business online and sold it to private investors, and both advised and invested in a variety of startups. He holds a degree in sales and marketing and is currently enrolled in SMU’s Executive MBA program.
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Jeff Ketner

Jeff Ketner President, Ketner Group PR & Marketing

Jeff Ketner

President, Ketner Group PR & Marketing

Jeff Ketner
Jeff is the president and founder of Ketner Group Public Relations and Marketing, where he leads the company’s strategic direction and is a leader in managing many of the agency’s key accounts. Jeff has more than 25 years of experience in technology public relations, marketing and advertising. An entrepreneur in his own right, he has positioned Ketner to become a leading marketing agency for retail tech.
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Scott Levy

Scott Levy Venture Partner, GrowthX

Scott Levy

Venture Partner, GrowthX

Scott Levy
Scott has decades of experience as a design-thinking founder, CEO and business development professional. Prior to joining GrowthX, Scott founded W3MG, a product design and management firm with a diverse portfolio of clients ranging from startups to the Fortune 500. Scott has helped dozens of companies craft ‘real life’ approaches to uncovering and satisfying customer needs resulting in an increase in usability, adoption and buy rates. Earlier in his career, Scott co-founded Pan Atlantic Software, where he raised $2 million to develop eRealize.net, a project and process management SaaS startup with clients in North America and Europe. Scott compliments his design skills and business acumen as a full-stack developer. He graduated from University of Texas at Austin.
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Kent McKeaigg

Kent McKeaigg Founder & CEO, OrderMyGear

Kent McKeaigg

Founder & CEO, OrderMyGear

Kent McKeaigg
Kent McKeaigg is the Founder & President of OrderMyGear an ecommerce platform for sporting goods dealers to create and manage online stores. Kent has a strong background in problem solving, strategic relationships and sales. Upon taking his company through the REVTECH Accelerator (Formerly VentureSpur) in 2013, Kent has helped grow the local, Enid, OK-based company to over $60 million orders in over 32 countries with over $400K users. Prior to founding OMG, Kent served as the Director of WorshipHouseMedia.com. Under his leadership, Kent was able to take the fledgling company from $480k in revenue to over $2 million per year. Shortly after leaving WorshipHouseMedia.com, the company sold for $6 million. Prior to WHM, Kent led a parachurch youth ministry, KLife in Columbia Missouri. Kent graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1998 with a degree in marketing.
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Wade Nicolas

Wade Nicolas President Nicolas Interests LLC

Wade Nicolas

President Nicolas Interests LLC

Wade Nicolas
Previously, Wade was the Co-Founder & President of Enkitec, an IT services firm specializing in the Oracle platform. As a leading Oracle Platinum Partner, Enkitec employs experts in database technologies such as Oracle Exadata and Big Data. Enkitec was established in 2004 and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, including established locations throughout North America and Europe. Enkitec has been recognized as one of Dallas’ 100 Fastest Growing Companies, Enkitec was also ranked #1,127 on Inc Magazine’s list of Fastest Growing Companies and recognized as one of the “Best Places to Work” by Dallas Business Journal. Previously, Wade was Vice President of Sales for Oracle. Wade spent over 11 years with Oracle before Co-Founding Enkitec. Mr. Nicolas was also an early employee at the beginning of Netscape.
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TJ Person

TJ Person CEO, OpenKey

TJ Person

CEO, OpenKey

TJ Person
Strategic leader and marketing innovator with over 17 years of professional technology business management and marketing success. TJ is currently the CEO of OpenKey, the definitive source of powerful mobile data for the hospitality industry. TJ was co-founder and CEO of Koupon Media, the industries first one-time-use mobile coupon platform built for brands and agencies. Person recently transitioned from the CEO position at Koupon Media, one of Dallas hottest startups, to Chairman of the Board. Before starting Koupon Media, TJ was the Co-founder and President of Mango Mobile, a company started in 2005 that quickly became one of the leading mobile marketing agencies. Omnicom Group acquired the company in February 2007 after record growth. TJ spent several years with Omnicom after Mango merged with GMR Marketing and continues to be a leader in the mobile space.
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Bob Sinnott

Bob Sinnott Restaurateur, Toasted

Bob Sinnott

Restaurateur, Toasted

Bob Sinnott
Bob Sinnott has heavy CFO experience in multi-unit industries, including hospitality (restaurants, hotels, resorts), franchising, joint ventures, and real estate.  His experience includes public, private, and private-equity-owned companies with annual revenues ranging from $45 million to $1.5 billion. Bob’s experience at the CFO level includes: a)  Firebird Restaurant Group, LLC (El Fenix, Snuffer’s, Meso Maya, La Ventana), b)  M·Crowd Restaurant Group, Inc. (Mi Cocina, Taco Diner), c)  Romacorp, Inc. (Tony Roma’s), and d)  Silverleaf Resorts, Inc. (publicly traded resorts company). Earlier in his career, Bob worked or consulted for Brinker International, Inc. (Chili’s, On The Border, Macaroni Grill), Bennigan’s, Steak & Ale, Taco Bueno, Black-Eyed Pea, Dixie House, and Crystal’s Pizza.
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Jason Story

Jason Story Partner, Interlock Partners

Jason Story

Partner, Interlock Partners

Jason Story
Jason is a Texas based investor and serial entrepreneur. He started Interlock Partners, a Dallas-based Venture Capital firm, in 2015. He serves as the principal investor in a number of startups in Austin and Dallas and is very involved in product development and strategy. He prefers to be hands on with his investments. His passion for growing startups took flight when co-founding one of the largest mobile consulting agencies, Mutual Mobile. His vision and execution of strategy allowed Mutual Mobile to create and direct the mobile product efforts for many Fortune 500 companies. Prior to Mutual Mobile, Jason built an IT services and security firm, Gravity Technical, which was acquired by White Glove Technologies, a Best Buy company. His entrepreneurial spirit was nurtured during his time at the University of Texas at Austin.
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Cary Turner

Cary Turner Chairman, Hawthorne Turner Investments LLC

Cary Turner

Chairman, Hawthorne Turner Investments LLC

Cary Turner
CHARLES H. (CARY) TURNER is currently the Chairman of Hawthorne Turner Investments, a private investment firm. Previously, Cary was Appointed Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Pier 1 Imports, Inc., in August 1999. There he oversaw all aspects of Finance, Strategic Planning, The Pier (England), Cargo, Information Systems, Treasury, Controller, Tax and Investor Relations. Mr. Turner was also appointed Senior Vice President, Stores, in July 1994 and oversaw all aspects of operation for Pier 1’s United States and Canada retail store locations. In addition, he managed Visual Merchandising, Real Estate, Communications, Customer Service, Sales Training, Planning and Analysis, and Asset Protection. He joined Pier 1 Imports in 1992 as Vice President, Controller. Prior to joining Pier 1, Mr. Turner served as Group Controller for JC Penney from 1988 to 1992. As Group Controller, he worked with various J.C. Penney subsidiaries to formulate a business plan and to provide the controllership function and management information to operate the enterprise. Prior to J.C. Penney, Mr. Turner worked at KPMG Peat Marwick as Senior Manager from 1979 to 1988. His responsibilities included auditing and consulting with many retail and distribution companies, including J.C. Penney, Melville Corp. and Tiffany. Mr. Turner received a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce from the University of Virginia in 1979. His civic and board involvements include: Board of Directors for The Elder-Beerman Stores Corp.; Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Fort Worth.; University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce Advisory Board; Jefferson Scholars National Advisory Board and the Fort Worth Rotary Club.
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Robert Weiss

Robert Weiss President, Carts & Parts Inc.

Robert Weiss

President, Carts & Parts Inc.

Robert Weiss
Robert (Bob) Weiss is a true Entrepreneur where he has participated in over 25 companies that were either a start-up, turn around, or being a venture capitalist. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a Business Administration degree, he started his first business Weiss Brothers and Associates which is still an ongoing concern 37 years later. The opportunities that came his way through that base company of Weiss Brothers, has provided the catalyst to be apart of many other endeavors. Most of Bob’s investments have been in the service industries where he has followed a very simple philosophy, “Find a problem and fix it….that’s how you build a business”.
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Mike Yonker

Mike Yonker Director Product Development, AT&T

Mike Yonker

Director Product Development, AT&T

Mike Yonker
Mike Yonker has more than 20 years experience in mobile technology strategy and marketing, leadership, systems architecture, software management and development. He has successfully founded and built profitable businesses at both startups and Fortune 500 companies alike. At Rockfish, Michael led the Mobile Practice, building the mobile strategy, creative and solutions for clients, building business and managing the P&L to triple revenue in less than 1 year, with projections to grow revenues over 9x by the end of 2012. Prior to Rockfish, Mike led an engineering group at The Nielsen Company to build the system to measure what people do on their mobile phones, to feed data for audience measurement and for product planning purposes. Mike co-founded TI’s successful OMAP™ applications processor business, which grew greater than $500M in revenues per year, and led team of 70 people worldwide through formation before becoming CTO of OMAP. Mike is a proven technical and strategic leader with excellent communication, innovation, leadership, analysis and team skills, experienced in interfacing with executive staffs internally and externally. He has extensive knowledge of worldwide mobile phone market, manufacturers, operators, investors, trade associations, and third parties. He is fluent in both English and Spanish.
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Manolo Almagro

Manolo Almagro Sr. Managing Dr., Tech + Innovation

Manolo Almagro

Sr. Managing Dr., Tech + Innovation

Manolo Almagro
Manolo Almagro leads TPN’s retail technology + innovation practice, providing strategic direction and thought leadership in creating best-in-class connected experiences for the agency’s global brands and retailer clients. Since joining TPN in 2011, Manolo has helped grow the agency’s digital and retail technology efforts into a holistic connected-experience offering. In addition to mobile, digital retail and e-commerce solutions, Manny’s team operates TPN’s innovation labs, providing clients with access to emerging technology, and test and learn opportunities with curated groups of retail tech start-ups. Over the past years, Manolo has brought his retail technology expertise as a Retail Practice Expert for Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona, Session Speaker at SxSW 2016 and NRF 2016, Keynotes at Retail Evolution Conference in San Francisco, Shopper Marketing Summit in Chicago, the International Retail Design Conference in Miami.
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Peter Benanti

Peter Benanti Principal, TractorBeam

Peter Benanti

Principal, TractorBeam

Peter Benanti
Before founding TractorBeam a strategic branding, marketing and product development firm in 1998, Peter spent 8 years as EVP of HH Brown Shoe Company a $350 million dollar division of Berkshire Hathaway. He was responsible for inventory, product development, sourcing, sales and marketing for 4 of their brands and the retail catalog business. HH Brown sells to over 11,000 retail outlets. He then served as the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Fossil Inc., during which the company grew from $56M to $300M in worldwide sales. In that position, he was responsible for brand and product development, retail promotions, packaging, point of sale and store design. Peter left Fossil to help form a joint venture with Seiko. This JV was formed to market a high-tech watch product to the U.S. market.
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Jon Bolen

Jon Bolen COO, Entouch Controls

Jon Bolen

COO, Entouch Controls

Jon Bolen
Jon is the Chief Technology Office at Entouch Controls an energy managment company headquarted in Dallas, Texas.  Previously, he held the position of Chief Technology Officer of Interface Security Systems ,a Managed Service company that connects and protects some of America’s best known commercial, retail and multi-site organizations. While receiving his MBA with High Honors from Emory University he worked for AT&T GIS (NCR) in product marketing. After graduation, he spent several years leading technology initiatives for a petroleum retailer before joining Radiant Systems. In his eight years with Radiant, he led the Petroleum Industry Group, the Petroleum and Grocery Product Development Group and, finally, was their first General Manager of European Operations. In 2004, Jon joined Trax Retail Solutions as Chief Information Officer. He and his team re-architected a retail-focused business intelligence product in just 18 months resulting in the successful sale of the company to March Networks. In 2006, Jon joined Westec Intelligent Surveillance as their Chief Technology Officer. In addition to leading the redesign of the entire suite of products, Jon played a key role in the acquisition and integration of both Digital Witness and Vyne Industries (two privately held competitors). As EVP, Business Development and Chief Product Officer, Jon introduced programs that increased gross margins two-fold, increased new product sell-through, velocity to market and established strategic relationships for both hardware and managed service solutions. Most recently, Jon played a critical role in the successful sale of Westec to Interface Security Systems and was subsequently named CTO of the combined company.
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Rob Chumley

Rob Chumley Sr. VP of Marketing & Merchandising, Murphy

Rob Chumley

Sr. VP of Marketing & Merchandising, Murphy

Rob Chumley
Rob is a strategic retail and innovation leader with diverse manufacturing and retailing experience for Fortune 500 and privately held corporations in the United States and Canada. Valued for the ability to leverage technology and partnerships to solve customer problems, Rob identifies and drives transformation, marries creativity with feasibility and executues across business units. Rob has a proven track record of exceeding sales and profit objectives, building organizational capability, developing individuals/teams and affecting change leadership. He is a change agent who constructively challenges company and industry orthodoxies to find the best possible business solutions. Rob champions innovation, diversification and income generation as well as identifies opportunities, then translates ideas into actionable and profitable business goals.  Rob has had a wealth of experience in executive level positions with leading retailers including 7eleven, Kelloggs, & Coca-Cola.
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Dick Doyle

Dick Doyle Division President, Premium Retail Services

Dick Doyle

Division President, Premium Retail Services

Dick Doyle
Dick Doyle is a senior leader with deep experience and passion for the retail environment. He has a track record of success leading teams and organizations where the guest experience is paramount – be that through improved execution, technology, marketing, merchandising, or assortment planning and pricing. Dick began his career with 13 years as a Retail Merchant, and then followed that with 11 years in Marketing/Merchandising Services – driving execution for Consumer Product Brands and Retailers. Most recently, Dick helped lead a digital media company that creates immersive digital experiences to enhance the guest experience. As EVP, Chief Customer Officer at Reflect Systems, Dick was responsible for overall growth and client development. With record growth in 2014 and a strong retail and entertainment client base – Reflect evolved it’s business from that of a software provider to a turnkey digital solution for clients like GameStop, Best Buy, Macy’s, Verizon, and Cedar Fair Amusement Parks. Prior to joining Reflect, Dick was Executive Vice President, Integrated Customer Solutions, for Acosta Sales and Marketing, a $1.7B company serving all major consumer product brands and retailers. Acosta purchased Mosaic Sales Solutions in 2012. As part of the Acosta/Mosaic leadership team for more than 11 years – Dick built and led Mosaic’s largest client teams, serving brands and retailers from Disney to Walmart & Best Buy.  With responsibility for Mosaic’s Retail and Home Entertainment division – Dick led over 2,500 field specialists and 175 managers and support personnel.  His strategic thinking and leadership expertise helped drive exceptional levels of program performance, client satisfaction, and growth. Prior to Mosaic, Dick was Business Unit Director at H.E.B. Grocery Company in San Antonio, a $10.0 Billion Food/Drug retailer operating over 300 stores in Texas and Mexico.  Dick was responsible for H-E-B’s photo and video business – including 163 in-store photo labs, central processing plant, and all associated products and services.  Among his accomplishments was Dick’s success at launching the video category at H-E-B, resulting in $10.0 million in incremental annual sales. Dick began his career with Caldor, a division of May Department Stores, from 1988 – 1997. Caldor was a $2.6B regional discount store chain based in Norwalk, CT.  Dick held multiple merchandising positions of increasing responsibility – from Buyer in Sporting Goods and Consumer Electronics, to Director of Merchandise Distribution and Replenishment. Dick holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
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Joel Fontenot

Joel Fontenot Managing Partner, Trailblazer Capital

Joel Fontenot

Managing Partner, Trailblazer Capital

Joel Fontenot
Joel is a Managing Partner of Trailblazer Capital in Dallas, Texas. Prior to joining Trailblazer Capital, Mr. Fontenot worked for Cisco Systems. Joel was a Director of Business Development in the Voice Technology Group and managed the partnerships and strategic alliances involving the Cisco Unified Application Environment and related application offerings from Cisco’s Voice Technology Group. In 2002, Joel assisted Metreos Corporation as a founder in establishing itself as the first enterprise voice-over-IP applications platform for the development and deployment of innovative, media-rich IP communications applications. Previously, Joel co-founded Netrake Corporation in 2000 and served as the Company’s President from founding through 2002. He was responsible for all areas of the Company which created a unique, patented IP network processing system capable of recognizing, remembering and responding in real-time to network traffic on a session basis. Prior to founding Netrake, Joel incubated the company through his activities as a Founding Partner and Managing Director of Arkoma Venture Partners. Beginning in 1997, Joel made and managed seed stage and early round investments in technology companies focused upon telecommunications, Internet infrastructure, and enterprise software. Joel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from The University of Texas at Austin and a Masters of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University.Trailblazer Capital
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Aaron Handler

Aaron Handler Co-Founder & Partner, Elm Creek Partners

Aaron Handler

Co-Founder & Partner, Elm Creek Partners

Aaron Handler
Prior to co-founding Elm Creek Partners, Aaron spent over five years with Red River Ventures executing a similar investment strategy and serving as a director for several of its portfolio companies. Previously, Aaron was a part of the business development group at ServiceLane.com and spent three years with the Corporate Finance Department of Southwest Securities (NYSE: SWS). Aaron serves or previously served on a number of community boards and steering committees, including Boy Scouts of America’s Troop 70, Congregation Shaare Tefilla, the Foundation for the Dallas Home for the Jewish Aged, and Chabad of Dallas. He currently holds board positions related to the management of Elm Creek Partners. Aaron is married with three children and is a graduate of both Boston University and TCU.
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Lindsey Kilbride

Lindsey Kilbride VP Sales, Trunk Club

Lindsey Kilbride

VP Sales, Trunk Club

Lindsey Kilbride
Lindsey was lucky enough to be one of the first 10 to join Trunk Club’s team in Chicago, then moved to Dallas in the Fall of 2013 to run our first expansion office. Passionate about both recruiting and expansion, she has grown our TCTX team to over 50 stylists and looks forward to more than doubling that number in the coming year. Prior to Trunk Club, Lindsey graduated from the University of Michigan (GO BLUE!) to join the consulting staff at Bain & Company. She left a few years later to be a full-time Sales Director for Mary Kay before turning in her pink Cadillac for a chance to jump into menswear and help change the way gents shop forever, one trunk at a time.
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Olga Lopategui

Olga Lopategui Director International Marketing, TGI Friday’s

Olga Lopategui

Director International Marketing, TGI Friday’s

Olga Lopategui
Olga Berkovich Lopategui is an experienced restaurant marketing executive focused on international franchising business. In her current capacity as the Director of International Marketing with TGI Fridays, she oversees the marketing, advertising and product development of franchise restaurant operators in 50 countries. Olga has been guiding the international franchisees on new restaurant/market openings, and is closely involved with the identification and selection of vendor partners for restaurant technology. She has worked with a wide range of restaurant CRM tools, including loyalty program solutions, stored value card (SVC) solutions, social media management tools, e-mail and SMS/BBM communication engines, guest satisfaction surveys, queue management and tabletop ordering solutions. Olga brings extensive cross-functional experience in Operations, Learning and Development and Supply Chain and a deep understanding of decision-making process in large, established companies as well as entrepreneurial restaurant businesses. Her operational and marketing perspective on the use of technology is unique as she had the opportunities to work in various restaurant management capacities in the USA, UK, Taiwan and Russia. Prior to joining TGI Fridays, Olga was with Yum Restaurants International (Pizza Hut and KFC brands). She holds an MBA from Harvard Business School (’05), and Master of Laws from Georgetown University (’99). Olga is based in Dallas, TX and enjoys travel, photography, world cuisines, skiing and scuba diving.
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Mike Merrill

Mike Merrill Strategist & Sr. Enterprise Exec, Salesforce

Mike Merrill

Strategist & Sr. Enterprise Exec, Salesforce

Mike Merrill
Mike Merrill is a Digital Strategist and Sr. Enterprise Account Executive at Salesforce Marketing Cloud, the world’s leading digital platform for marketers. In his role he helps retailers, restaurants and convenience stores build next generation digital and social solutions including email, mobile, marketing automation and personalization solutions. He’s a keynote speaker and recently completed his first TEDx talk. Mike’s social media and marketing expertise makes him much in demand as a guest on television news programs and as a regular speaker at industry conferences such at SXSW, Dallas Digital Summit, Social Strategies Summit, Explore by Jason Falls, and various other private events as a Keynote speaker. Mike’s passion for social media and word-of-mouth community building led him to launch the Social Media Club of Dallas in September of 2009. Prior to Salesforce, Mike served as Director of Marketing for ReachLocal where he staffed and built out the social media, content and industry marketing team. As a consultant helped build out numerous content marketing and social media strategies for clients. He has held sales roles at NetApp and Dell, ran marketing for higher education at Dell and worked at two venture-backed startups in product marketing and management. Mike serves on the marketing advisory board for the UT Dallas Jindal School of Management. He pursued his MBA at the Ross Business School at the University of Michigan and holds undergraduate degrees in Finance and Accounting from New Mexico State University.
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Bill Ogle

Bill Ogle CEO, Koupon Media

Bill Ogle

CEO, Koupon Media

Bill Ogle
Bill Ogle is currently the CEO of Koupon Media, industry leader in cloud based mobile offer management distributing mobile offers across the largest mobile coupon network. Bill is a dynamic leader helping turn customer insights into world class action plans that deliver category leading results. Before joining Koupon Media, Ogle was the Chairman and CEO of Blue Calypso. He was also previously the Global CMO of Motorola Mobility, CMO of Samsung Telecommunications America and CMO of Pizza Hut. Outside of Koupon Media, Bill serves on the Texas Arts Community Alliance Board and Board of Advisors of University of Cincinnati. Bill received a BBA in Marketing and Finance from University of Cincinnati.
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Joseph Picken

Joseph Picken Founder & Academic Dir IIE, UT Dallas

Joseph Picken

Founder & Academic Dir IIE, UT Dallas

Joseph Picken
Dr. Joseph Picken is a member of the faculty of the Naveen Jindal School of Management at The University of Texas at Dallas. He is the Founder and Academic Director of the Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas (IIE), a founder of the Texas University Network for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and an active angel investor. Over the past thirteen years, as Program Director, Dr. Picken and his colleagues have built a leading academic program in innovation and entrepreneurship with more than 1,200 students enrolled annually in 19 graduate and 10 undergraduate courses. In January 2014, UT Dallas’ MSIE program was recognized by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) as the 2014 National Model Master’s Program. The academic program was also recognized in 2014 by the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC) for “excellence in entrepreneurship teaching and pedagogical innovation.” In 2009, UT Dallas was recognized by the GCEC for “outstanding contributions to advance the discipline of entrepreneurship.” In 2008, UT Dallas and the IIE received the Tech Titan Technology Advocate award for its leadership in the North Texas community. Dr. Picken holds an AB in Economics from Dartmouth College, an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. He is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma academic honor society. Prior to joining UT Dallas, Picken taught for several years at Southern Methodist University and enjoyed a 30 year business and consulting career. He has served as CFO of major operating units of several Fortune 200 corporations, held CEO/COO positions in two NASDAQ companies, and has been involved in two IPOs and several successful corporate turnarounds. He is the co-author of two books and has published numerous articles in trade and professional journals. Dr. Picken is married to Marcia Messinger and resides in Dallas, Texas.
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Mike Sitarzewski

Mike Sitarzewski Co-Founder & CEO, Epic Playground

Mike Sitarzewski

Co-Founder & CEO, Epic Playground

Mike Sitarzewski
Michael Sitarzewski is co-founder, and CEO of Epic Playground, Inc., makers of MediaGauge, a real-time video Call-to-Action network. He is a veteran entrepreneur (and a TechStars Cloud alum) with a specific focus on Web-based software and services. Sitarzewski has been a part of the internet startup culture since 1994 and has had two exits along the way. For the last several years, Michael has been a leader in the Boulder, Colorado startup community – hosting the Boulder and Denver Open Coffee Clubs. Sitarzewski considers helping people understand and leverage technology his life’s work.
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Danny Sullivan

Danny Sullivan VP Chief Digital Officer, Jamba Juice

Danny Sullivan

VP Chief Digital Officer, Jamba Juice

Danny Sullivan
Danny has over 20 years of experience focused on digital businesses. He is currently at Jamba Juice, where he serves as the company’s first Chief Digital Officer. Previously in the restaurant space, he was previously the VP of Global Digital Experience for Pizza Hut, a division of Yum! Brands, where he led all aspects of the company’s $2B digital channels. Before that in specialty retail, he spent 6 years at Sephora, where he led improvements to the beauty company’s award-winning website and mobile products, and 3 years at Gap Inc., where he worked to unify the web platform and launch Piperlime.com for the clothing retailer. Danny’s earlier professional accomplishments included helping The Body Shop launch its first e-commerce site, aiding The White House of the United States in creating a search engine for volunteer opportunities for USA Freedom Corps, and toiling at two early-stage start-ups. In addition to RevTech, he serves as a member of the Board of Advisors for Hathway, a Digital and Mobile Agency based in California. Danny earned his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University. He lives near Dallas with his wife and two rambunctious boys.
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Kevin Vela

Kevin Vela Founding Partner, Vela | Wood P.C.

Kevin Vela

Founding Partner, Vela | Wood P.C.

Kevin Vela
Kevin Vela is a founding partner at Vela | Wood P.C. He focuses his practice in the areas of venture financing, fund formation, and M&A activities. In recent years, he has represented both startups and investors in over $100M in venture financing. Kevin speaks, reads and writes fluent Spanish, and is able to provide bilingual representation on request. He is active in the legal and business community, and regularly writes about startup and small business issues in the VW blog. Kevin was named a 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 Super Lawyers Rising Star, was honored by D Magazine as a Best Lawyer in Dallas, and is a Texas Bar Foundation Fellow, an honor granted to 1/3 of 1% of Texas attorneys. Kevin is a graduate of the University of Texas, where he earned his bachelor degree in business administration and juris doctorate degree with honors. He was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2008. Prior to law school, Kevin spent seven years in Dallas, working in finance and marketing. Although he began his career working for Fortune 500 companies, an entrepreneurial spirit led Kevin to pursue roles in several startup companies. Later, he started his own business, a test preparation company. Having scored in the top five percent on the GMAT, LSAT, and GRE, Kevin used his test taking expertise to help thousands of students increase their scores and gain admission to graduate school. Kevin is active in the business and startup communities. He is the Chair of the Texas State Bar Committee for Law Focused Education. He is also a board member of CFxAustin and the Texas Wranglers Alumni Association, and is the chair of the Greenville Avenue Area Business Association (which puts on the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dallas). He is a mentor for both RevTech, a leading venture accelerator and seed fund, and the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, which provides support and education to entrepreneurs and early-stage startups. Kevin is a founding member of The Dallas Angel Network (the “DAN”), a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting entrepreneurs with angel investors in Dallas. Further, Kevin co-manages a Dallas based venture capital fund, Blossom Street Ventures, which is currently on its fourth fund. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association and the Sports Lawyers Association. An accomplished and experienced speaker, Kevin has addressed large audiences on topics covering Startups, Venture Financing, Crowdfunding, and Fund Formation. Kevin is regularly published and quoted in local media outlets on these topics. Raised in Arlington, Kevin is an avid Dallas sports fan. Although he used to enjoy spending time at the local sporting arenas around town with his wife, Layla, they now spend most of their time pandering to their two children, Ariana and Arman.
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Kiel Werking

Kiel Werking Business Dev, Reflect Systems

Kiel Werking

Business Dev, Reflect Systems

Kiel Werking
Kiel is the Director of Business Development & Partnerships for Reflect Systems, a full-service provider of digital brand media solutions in Dallas, TX. Previously, he managed the lead generation and marketing department for Interface Security Systems, a managed service company that connects and protects some of America’s best known commercial, retail and multi-site organizations. Kiel received an MBA from SMU’s Cox School of Business with a focus on Strategy & Entrepreneurship, while working with Otis Elevator Company as a Sr. Sales Associate. After graduation from Cox, he took an entrepreneurial opportunity with Westec Intelligent Surveillance to start and grow a new video verification product offering. Kiel held various positions with Westec and Interface Security Systems, who acquired Westec in 2012. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Maggie, and they have two daughters, Mary and Olivia.
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Tina Young

Tina Young CEO, Marketwave

Tina Young

CEO, Marketwave

Tina Young
Tina Young is an entrepreneur and integrated marketing expert who started Marketwave in 1998 and has consistently grown the business while producing award-winning campaigns for leading Texas-based brands such as Baylor Scott & White Health, Oncor, and American Heart Association. Marketwave has been ranked three times on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. and has been named twice to the SMU Cox School of Business Dallas 100. Tina is passionate about building a conscious company that lives its purpose and she is the Chair Elect of the Dallas Chapter of Conscious Capitalism (CC), a group that inspires other business leaders to follow the four tenets of CC including: being purpose-driven, building strong cultures, practicing servant leadership and operating with a stakeholder orientation model. Her brand of giving back drives her to mentor and connect with other entrepreneurs, young professionals, and community causes to help them thrive and create sustainable growth. Tina’s philosophy on marketing includes a view of building a brand from the inside out and a consideration of every touch point of a business and how it contributes to the overall brand experience. Her agency helps clients tell their company story in a way that is relevant and engaging to connect with target audiences. And her firm’s creative strategies play out in digital campaigns, website development, experiential marketing and PR programs that help businesses grow. Prior to starting her company, Young was a principal at GTT Communications, an Austin, Texas-based technology PR firm purchased by Edelman Worldwide in 1998. Before GTT, she was with Bustin & Co., an Omnicom affiliate firm focused on marketing strategy, and the Dallas office of Edelman Worldwide, a multi-national public relations firm, ranked in the top five of PR firms in the world. She is a cum laude graduate of the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Tina is on the Board of Directors of the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Visit Dallas, Conscious Capitalism Dallas Chapter and on the Advisory Board of the UNT Mayborn School of Journalism. She is also a member of Women’s Business Council Southwest, American Marketing Association (AMA) and Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Her company volunteers in the community through membership in the Entrepreneurs for North Texas (EFNT), a program of the Communities Foundation of Texas. Find Tina/Marketwave at: Web: http://marketwave.biz/ Twitter: @marketwavetina or @Marketwave Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marketwaveagency Blog: http://www.marketwave.biz/blog
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Ric Anderson

Ric Anderson President, Anderson Strategic Brand Concepts

Ric Anderson

President, Anderson Strategic Brand Concepts

Ric Anderson
Ric Anderson is a respected Omni-Channel Retail and Wholesale Consultant. As President of Anderson Strategic Brand Concepts, Ric brings “Clarity to Retail & Wholesale Strategy” by using a “Customer Centric Vision” to create innovative solutions, merchandising processes & business models to position brands as “top of mind”. His wide breath of experience in Merchandising, P & L, Strategy, E-Commerce, Operations and Marketing, at a senior level allow him to view any market from 10,000ft to find the best “Value Propositions” and “Competitive Advantages” for any company.He understands which questions to ask and the processes to put into place. He builds executive teams engaged in executing the omni-channel merchandising strategy. He has successful experience launching new omni-channel retail initiatives. building brands and creating turnaround strategies.
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Rachel Bentley

Rachel Bentley Co-Founder, The Citizenry

Rachel Bentley

Co-Founder, The Citizenry

Rachel Bentley
After years in strategy consulting, Rachel wanted to establish a business that would make an undeniably positive impact on the world, and so began The Citizenry. While at Bain & Company, she spent time in the private equity, healthcare, and retail practices before finding her calling: helping companies launch and redesign consumer products. From there she partnered with a few industry-disrupting startups and began searching for opportunities to combine extraordinary products with positive social impact. Rachel earned her MBA from Columbia Business School, her Masters in Financial Management, and Bachelors in Accounting from Texas A&M University.
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Trey Bowles

Trey Bowles Co-Founder & CEO, The DEC

Trey Bowles

Co-Founder & CEO, The DEC

Trey Bowles
In June, 2013 Trey launched the Dallas Entrepreneur Center (DEC), a central location for entrepreneurs to learn how to start, build and grow businesses through training, education, mentorship, promotion, and capital investment. As Co-Founder and CEO, Trey leads strategy, vision, and drives the overall planning and development efforts for the DEC. Trey oversees the day-to-day operations of the DEC, including management of all areas of the business. Trey also works closely with the DEC staff to engage executives, mentors and other valuable experts within the Dallas community and across the country to maintain a strong and robust resource offering for DEC startups/members). Trey also holds the positions of the Chair of Startup America: Texas Region. Trey most recently led the turn-around and sale of Big Jump Media Inc. when he was added as Chief Executive Officer in July 2009. As CEO, Trey’s primary focus was guiding the global vision of the social media website(s) tangle.com and GodTube.com while overseeing all strategic, developmental, revenue-generating and expansion initiatives. Bowles has significant experience with building and running technology based media companies, beginning in 2001 when he helped build Morpheus – which had over 100 million downloads of its application in less than one year. Additionally, Trey helped build World Digital Media Group, which was the strategic investment between RadioShack, Dish Network (Echo Star) and Sirius Satellite Radio, with the primary objective of creating a new entertainment company built to utilize each medium for enhanced distribution. Trey lives in Dallas, TX with his bride and daughter and is an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at SMU.
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Mark Clark

Mark Clark Senior Partner, O2 Works

Mark Clark

Senior Partner, O2 Works

Mark Clark
Mark is a Senior Partner at O2Works, a premier Oracle E-Business Suite services provider headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Clark started his career with Oracle Corporation as one of their first Applications consultants, and later founded two globally focused consulting firms concentrating on Oracle Applications. He has worked with enterprise customers across a wide variety of industries and geographies since 1990. Mr. Clark is currently actively involved as a co-founder or Board member of both the North Central Oracle Applications user group and the South Central Oracle User group. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Oracle Applications User Group for several terms, and recently completed a two -year term as their president. Additionally he services on a number advisory boards to Oracle product management. He has worked with a number of startups and software companies in their efforts to reach the wide and varied Oracle customer community, and has leveraged solutions to the benefits of his customer base. Recent technology investments include social gaming, social selling, cloud based survey, social based market research, various B2C and B2B2C companies, e-commerce in Brazil, India and China, and customer acquisition marketing services. Mr. Clark holds a Bachelors Degree in Engineering from the University of Illinois, as well as a Masters Degree in Finance from the same institution.
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Hemant Elhence

Hemant Elhence Founder & CEO, Synerzip

Hemant Elhence

Founder & CEO, Synerzip

Hemant Elhence
Hemant Elhence is the Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Synerzip. Started in 2012, Synerzip is a trusted outsourcing partner for Agile software product development. The company was named to the prestigious Inc. Magazine 5000 list for the sixth consecutive year in 2016 highlighting America’s fastest growing private companies. Hemant is distinguished by his leadership style, which defines Synerzip’s culture based on the true spirit of Agile and permeates throughout the company, helping lead clients to a competitive edge. Synerzip values innovation and experimentation in an environment of trust. SiliconIndia magazine named Hemant Entrepreneur of the Month in 2013. Prior to starting Synerzip, Hemant was co-founder and COO of ECMi, a software products and services company. At ECMi, Hemant was instrumental in raising venture capital funding and defining its initial product/market focus. He also launched the company’s offshore product development services business in India. Hemant’s passion is software businesses. His education, professional experience and personal interests have helped Hemant build a holistic understanding of how to build a successful software company. Areas of particular interest include: business models for product vs. services businesses; Agile & Lean Startup methodologies for delivering software; offshoring/outsourcing development, and venture capital funding for software startups. Before starting his entrepreneurial journey, Hemant built his professional foundation, working at a number of leading companies. Hemant was product-line VP at i2 Technologies, where he lead a portfolio of software products, while managing distributed product teams spread across multiple cities in the U.S. and India. Prior to i2, Hemant was with McKinsey & Company where he served numerous blue-chip clients on operations and business strategy issues. Prior to joining McKinsey, Hemant was a management consultant with TRG, a boutique strategy consulting firm in Boston. TRG focused on product/market strategy work for growing technology companies. Hemant started his career as a software developer, building next generation software tools for semiconductor design, with Digital Equipment Corporation in Hudson, Massachusetts. Hemant holds an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, MSEE from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and BSEE from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), New Delhi. Hemant lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife and two kids who are in college. In his free time, Hemant is always striving to hone is wine tasting skills and expanding his cooking repertoire beyond fish and quinoa dishes.
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Sonny Garcia

Sonny Garcia CRO, Blitzn

Sonny Garcia

CRO, Blitzn

Sonny Garcia
Currently the CRO at Blitzn. Previously he was the President & CRO at Oculus360. Before that he was Senior Vice President of Business Development at Brierley Group, a loyalty program creations and CRM services company.  Mr. Garcia has spent the last 15 years working in business development for various privately held startups including a boutique consulting firm which he co-founded. At Zirtual, a virtual assistant service that matches busy people with dedicated personal assistants, he is responsible for the growth strategy, sales, and marketing efforts of this early stage startup. Prior to Zirtual, he was part of the early team that grew Research Now (formerly e-Rewards) from a startup to a market leader in the digital data collection space for primary research and helped grow revenue by 70x in 10 years. Sonny began his career at Andersen Consulting (now known as Accenture) and was the top-ranked consultant in the Boston office every year of his employment. Sonny is a leader in many community service groups in the Dallas area and is currently on the Board of Directors of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Shakespeare Dallas where he is a Past-Chairman. Sonny was recognized as one of Dallas’ 40 Under Forty by the Dallas Business Journal in 2009. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and his Master of Business Administration from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
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Jonathan Herskovitz

Jonathan Herskovitz Founder, SVOC

Jonathan Herskovitz

Founder, SVOC

Jonathan Herskovitz
Jonathan Herskovitz is a 25-year optical industry veteran.  He was formerly with Eyemart Express for 22 years.  In his latest role as President, he led them to become the 8th largest optical chain in the United States.  Jonathan joined Eyemart Express and was involved in strategy, multi-unit operations, leadership development, product development and procurement, finance and accounting, real estate, p&l management customer experience and advertising.  Through his involvement he helped them grow from 20 to 170 stores. He constantly promoted a “Change Culture” with focus on developing the organizations leadership to support the field organization in providing best in class customer experience. Prior to Eyemart Express, Jonathan was with Pearle Vision as part of their Management Training Program and held positions in advertising and human resources. Recently, Jonathan Herskovitz founded SVOC and is currently serving interim management and consulting capacities for multi-site healthcare companies.  These various sectors include veterinary, dental, optical, and dermatology. Jonathan has been the interim COO for CityVet, a multi-unit veterinary chain in Dallas.  His role resulted in immediate positive comp. revenue growth by restructuring unit level management, focusing on client experience, and developing managerial development of clinic level management and veterinarians. He graduated from the University of Texas, Austin, with dual degrees in Finance and Marketing and serves on the Allocations Committee for the Jewish Federation of Dallas.
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Howard Klion

Howard Klion Co-Founder, Legare Furniture

Howard Klion

Co-Founder, Legare Furniture

Howard Klion
Howard Klion was most recently one of the founding partners of Legare Furniture. Legare specialized in the design, production, sales and distribution of FunToAssemble Furniture. He was in charge of sales and marketing for the company, which sold to a wide range of customers from Pier One, to Walmart, to Amazon in addition to a large international customer base. While Mr. Klion spent most of his time on the sales and marketing end of the business, he also spent considerable time in China helping with the sourcing and overseeing the production of the company’s unique product line. The company was recently sold. Prior to his experience at Legare, Mr. Klion served as the National Account Executive overseeing the sales of Bassett Furniture to J.C. Penney. During his twenty years with the company, Bassett sold over one billion dollars of furniture to J.C. Penney. At Bassett, Howard oversaw all aspects of the J.C. Penney business. In addition, for the last twenty years Howard has been a serial investor in a multitude of startup businesses. The businesses have ranged from biotech startups, to e-commerce platforms, to regular brick and mortar retail businesses. Howard graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a history degreee in 1978 and subsequently received his MBA from New York University in 1983 with a dual degree in marketing and finance.
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Tim Lyons

Tim Lyons Strategic Communications Counsel

Tim Lyons

Strategic Communications Counsel

Tim Lyons
Tim is a communications strategist with expertise in media and public relations, crisis communications, issues management and employee communications. After parlaying a brief journalism career into a communications role with JCPenney, he spent 26 years helping craft and tell the stories behind the retailer’s many transformations — from malls to off-mall, catalogs to e-commerce to omnichannel, entering and exiting new businesses, boom to bust and back again. He’s worn many hats as a communicator, most recently directing JCPenney’s Internal Communications team. As the primary public relations counsel for all the retailer’s stores for several years — along with the supply chain, product development and social responsibility areas — Tim honed his skills in developing effective grassroots media strategies and responding to challenging issues. He holds a journalism degree from Baylor University, and he and his wife, Teresa, live in Richardson, where they raised their two daughters. As a student of retail for the past quarter century, Tim remains excited about the myriad ways in which technology continues to reshape the industry.
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Al Meyers

Al Meyers Retail Innovation, Kalypso

Al Meyers

Retail Innovation, Kalypso

Al Meyers
At Kalypso, Al is responsible for bringing our innovation and new product development services to the retail sector and is a frequent speaker on the future of retailing and innovation. Previously Al served as a Sales, Marketing, and Business Development Director with PwC’s Retail and Consumer practice in the Dallas office where he was involved in growing the firm’s retail, restaurant and consumer products business. He has more than 30 years of consulting experience assisting retailers and branded suppliers with strategic growth and productivity improvement initiatives. Relevant experience: Al’s retail consulting experience includes developing strategies and implementation plans for improving market positioning, comp store sales, customer focus, competitive appeals, omnichannel transformations and merchandising economics. His experience with consumer products companies includes marketing, brand strategies, retail distribution and channel strategies, shopper insights, category management, introducing new products and advising clients on the success requirements for effective implementation of retail programs. Before joining PwC, Al was a Senior Vice President, Sales, Marketing and Business Development at Kantar Retail and responsible for existing and new client relationships. Prior to Kantar Retail, Al was with predecessor consulting companies Retail Forward and Management Horizons, a division of Price Waterhouse. Al also served as the Director of Senn-Delaney, Arthur Andersen’s retail strategy consulting practice. Education and certifications: Al holds a BA in economics from Ohio Wesleyan University and an MBA in Finance from Michigan State University. He serves on the Board of Directors of the DFW Retail Executives Association and is a past distinguished faculty member at the Path to Purchase Institute in Chicago.
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Alex Oswiecinski

Alex Oswiecinski VP International Dev., Which Wich

Alex Oswiecinski

VP International Dev., Which Wich

Alex Oswiecinski
Alex Oswiecinski is the Vice President of International Development and Operations for Which Wich Superior Sandwiches. Alex leads the international division and expansion of the 350 unit, $200M brand into all markets outside the US. He joined Which Wich to help open its 1st unit in Mexico in 2013, and now has 11 countries under franchise development. Previous to Which Wich, Alex spent 7 years with TGI Fridays in various supply chain and international roles. There he developed the brand’s first purchasing co-op in Europe, savings franchisees over $1.5M in the first year. While with TGIF and now Which Wich, Alex has travelled to over 60 countries and has built a vast network of international investor and supplier contacts. Having worked with foreign franchise partners that range from startup entrepreneurs to billion dollar public companies, he has gained a variety of experience developing systems and support models that match the needs of each franchisee, culture and country regulatory standard. Alex graduated with a business degree from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio, and followed with a MBA from Cleveland State in 2004 prior to moving to Dallas.
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Kira Plastinina

Kira Plastinina Founder, Kira Plastinina Style

Kira Plastinina

Founder, Kira Plastinina Style

Kira Plastinina
Kira Plastinina is a fashion designer and entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience in the fashion retail industry. She is the founder of Kira Plastinina Style, a large retail chain headquartered in Moscow with stores across Russia and neighboring countries. She has launched successful brands in both mass-market and luxury segments, and her designs have been worn by celebrities and trendsetters including Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Georgia May Jagger, Karlie Kloss, and Debby Ryan, among many others. Kira presented her collections at New York, Milan and Moscow Fashion Weeks and has been named Designer of the Year by Glamour Russia in 2008 and 2014. She graduated summa cum laude from Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, and then earned her MBA from Columbia Business School in New York. Since then, she returned to SMU as an Adjunct Professor teaching fashion courses in the Fashion Media department in the the Meadows School of the Arts.
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Jim Skinner

Jim Skinner Independent Board Member at Fossil Group

Jim Skinner

Independent Board Member at Fossil Group

Jim Skinner
Jim Skinner is the retired Vice Chairman of Neiman Marcus Group (NMG), a $5 billion luxury fashion retailer. Jim had also served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for NMG. During his 15 years with NMG, Jim has had responsibilities for numerous areas including: finance, accounting, strategy, business development, distribution and logistics, real estate and construction, investor relations, legal, and information technology. Jim led the process for both the 2005 $4.8 billion public to private sale and the 2013 dual tract process that led to the private-to-private $6.3 billion sale of NMG. Jim has also led numerous acquisition teams, including most recently the 2014 NMG acquisition of Munich-based fashion ecommerce retailer, myTheresa. Prior to joining NMG, Jim was the CFO for two publicly held companies: CompUSA ($6 billion pioneer in computer retailing) and CapRock Communication (an integrated telecommunications company). Jim started his career with Ernst & Young, where he served for 16 years, including the last four years as a partner. Jim is on the Board of Directors of Fossil Group (NASDAQ) and Ares Commercial Real Estate (NYSE). For Fossil Group, Jim serves as the Chairman of the Compensation Committee and a member of the Finance Committee. Jim serves on the Audit Committee and Compensation Committee for Ares Commercial Real Estate.
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David Sym-Smith

David Sym-Smith CEO, IndoTraq

David Sym-Smith

CEO, IndoTraq

David Sym-Smith
David Sym-Smith, is the CEO at IndoTraq who has developed the fastest and most precise wireless indoor tracking system and a Venture Partner at Mobility Ventures. David is a 25 year mobile industry veteran and has a solid record of building multimillion dollar operations from scratch along with profitable exits. David has served as senior executive of global corporations as well as a several startups. He has a proven record of success in launching new markets, starting new business groups, building sales channels, introducing new products and services, winning market share and exceeding revenue and sales goals. Prior to joining Mobility Ventures, David served as the Chief Marketing Officer of Tele Atlas. David managed global marketing, strategic planning, and product development for this leading global provider of digital maps and location content. Company doubled in size and was sold to Tom Tom for over $3 Billion. Previously David served as the SVP of Marketing and Business Development at InnoPath, where he managed global marketing, product development and business development for InnoPath the industry leader in over-the-air (OTA) software updates and mobile device management (MDM) solutions. He Increased market share to 70% and revenue by more than 100%. David also helped launch Command Audio Corporation as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales, a leader in the field of on-demand interactive audio, successfully leading the company from beta to launch to spin-off – growing the company from 20 to over 100 people with over $80M in funding from Tier1 VC’s and strategic investors. (The company was partially acquired by iBiquity). David was a member of the founding core management team of Aerial Communications, serving as President; he helped grow the organization from a mobile telecom start-up from early pre-launch phase, to a large entity with a $1.1B market cap within one year and was sold thereafter for more than $3.0B to VoiceStream / T-Mobile. At Sprint Spectrum he led Marketing and Product Development in launching the first PCS network in the country and first GSM network in the Americas. Helping build a startup into an 800-employee, $150M revenue business in only the second year of service, and exiting with Sprint PCS’s purchase of operating control David has also held senior management positions at CellularOne / AT&T, GTE, St. Gobain (France) and The Hay Group. He holds an M.B.A. from Pennsylvania State University – Smeal College of Business.
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James Walton

James Walton VP Product Strategy, EnTouch

James Walton

VP Product Strategy, EnTouch

James Walton
A serial entrepreneur, James holds an Executive MBA from SMU’s Cox School of Business, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He is constantly on the outlook for ways to make facilities perform better using both analytics and controls. His keen insights into applied technology go all the way back to his days at Lucent Technologies and defines EnTouch’s product vision.
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Mike Whitaker

Mike Whitaker CEO, Idea Gateway

Mike Whitaker

CEO, Idea Gateway

Mike Whitaker
With more than 20 years of experience moving businesses from start-ups to marketable positions, Mike is the founder of Idea Gateway, an entrepreneurial development platform that creates innovative business models for entrepreneurs and investors. Idea Gateway is currently launching a photo technology software company, Memory Pix Technologies – currently operating at Seattle’s Space Needle. Mike also owns a growing Oklahoma City manufacturing company, Lucas Color Card, which he started in his garage in 1995. With only $480 in start up cash, Mike went on to develop Lucas into a $12 million enterprise. By 2008, Mike and partners had grown the multi-factory company beyond $100 million in annual sales. In 2010, Mike found an opportunity to repurchase the Lucas division, which he continues to grow. Mike is also an investor and advisor to Invision Capital Group of Chicago, a private equity fund with holdings in many diversified industries within the lower-middle market. He actively pursues additional business acquisitions. Mike attended the University of Kansas where he received his B.S. in Cognitive Psychology. He earned his MBA from the Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma.
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Bruce Ballengee

Bruce Ballengee CEO, Pariveda Solutions

Bruce Ballengee

CEO, Pariveda Solutions

Bruce Ballengee
Bruce Ballengee is Chief Executive Officer of Pariveda Solutions, Inc., an information technology design consultancy with 300 employees in nine markets across the United States. Headquartered in Dallas, Pariveda has consistently been recognized as one of the fastest growing firms and one of the best places to work in the United States. Bruce also serves as Chairman of sp3 nanotech, a nanomaterials additive manufacturer for high-performance lubricants and resins. Bruce is involved in several local non-profit organizations and is a current member of the Baylor Angel Network. He is a Texas Master Naturalist, a member of the Texas Native Prairies Association and the Native Plant Society of Texas. Bruce graduated in 1979 with a BBA in Finance and Economics from Baylor University. In 1981, he received an MBA specializing in Finance from the University of Chicago.
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Urvi Bhandari

Urvi Bhandari Chief Nomad

Urvi Bhandari

Chief Nomad

Urvi Bhandari
I have spent a large part of my life building bridges to connect the dots across the globe: ideas, people, places and things. I am a connector and community builder! What I constantly work on: Influencing individuals to think about their day to day decisions on how they are living their lives. Understanding and bringing to life floating cities, that would sail around the world providing a new platform for innovators, futurists, global thinkers and nomads to live, work and play. What I do everyday: Evolving People, Places and Ideas! Through my daily life whether through my role at Sam’s club or being a global nomad. I support the changing paradigm in how we live, work and play: TODAY. A time where “innovation” is more than buzzword, but a way of being, I embody the changes I make to drive business forward. Whether at work, at play, or in life: I am the bridge between ideas… and action. What I do when I’m not working on the everyday: Building connections across the globe that allows people to collaborate on building the change of the future. With 18 years of global experience in the corporate arena – I bring an innovative perspective to the corporate environment in varied intrapreneurial roles. I mentor and am a CMO level adviser to start ups across the globe. I am strong supporter of women in business and continue to focus on their development. Specialties: Connecting, Innovation, Strategic Branding, Business Development, Life Coach, Cultural Change Catalyst, Disruptive Creative Thinker, Negotiation, Women’s Leadership I am getting back into being an avid endurance athlete completing a half Ironman, multiple triathlons, marathons and long distance bike rides. I lead a very nomadic lifestyle. I will continue to travel across the world to experience and connect life through people and places
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Joan Braatz

Joan Braatz Senior Buyer

Joan Braatz

Senior Buyer

Joan Braatz
Joan has national department store and ecommerce retail buying experience working for 3 fortune 500 retailers: May Company, Macy’s, and JCPenney. She has expertise in global product sourcing, leveraging vertical fabric manufacturing, exploiting production line planning, and managing transit timelines for 10+ private label programs. This expertise translates to product better aligned to customer demand with speed to market decisions. Joan has extensive background in building product category plans that drive revenue, merchandise strategies that maximizes profit, and inventory contingencies, in collaboration with national brand and global vendors, that optimizes resources. For the last 7 years, Joan has also managed multi-million dollar business on-line by driving customer optimization, reducing friction for on-line customers, and improving the customer on-line shopping experience.
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Monica Coney

Monica Coney New Business - Global Sales, American Airlines

Monica Coney

New Business - Global Sales, American Airlines

Monica Coney
As an entrepreneur and investor herself, Monica understands the importance of the right resources at the right time and specializes in executive sales, business development, global strategy and marketing communications. She has been an effective leader in DFW for over 25 years working with start-ups to Fortune 200 Corporate America and is fanatical about technology and the future of work. Motivated by having an impact on others, Monica enjoys helping build better businesses and serves on numerous Boards. She is a 5th generation Texan with deep roots in the Metroplex. Well connected, active and involved in the community, she is passionate about Dallas being the number one accelerator in the world for retail technology innovation. As an avid traveler and thrill seeker, Monica enjoys outdoor adventures with her family and grandchildren. With only one item left on her bucket list she is on a mission to lead a richer life and help others succeed.
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Scott Emmons

Scott Emmons Enterprise Architect, Neiman Marcus

Scott Emmons

Enterprise Architect, Neiman Marcus

Scott Emmons
Scott heads the innovation lab (iLab) for the Neiman Marcus Group (NMG) where he leads the organization in evaluating, designing, testing and piloting cutting-edge technologies and applications for luxury retail.
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Tom Gaunt

Tom Gaunt VP of Sales and Marketing, Allen Interactions Inc.

Tom Gaunt

VP of Sales and Marketing, Allen Interactions Inc.

Tom Gaunt
Tom Gaunt has been an executive in the software business for over 25 years. He has managed exponential growth at early stage companies, such as Macromedia. More recently Tom was SVP of worldwide sales at Rogue Wave Software, a leading provider of enterprise class software tools and components. He is currently the CEO of a stealth mode start up. In addition, Tom serves on the board of directors of the Dallas Angel Network and of Readers 2 Leaders, a West Dallas based non-profit whose charter is to help kids in West Dallas to read at or above grade level.
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Walt Holmes

Walt Holmes President, Interstate All Battery Center

Walt Holmes

President, Interstate All Battery Center

Walt Holmes
Walt Holmes is President and General Manager of Interstate’s All Battery Center retail segment and Chief Legal Officer for Interstate Batteries. The business segment encompasses retail outlet franchises, oversight of company-owned stores, Teel-sales, e-commerce, inside sales, vendor management, process design and improvement, marketing, merchandising, technology enabling infrastructure as well as accounting and finance. Additional roles served at Interstate include Vice President of PowerCare and Interstate-owned territories, as well as Vice President of the Distributor Operations group. With his vast experience across Interstate Batteries, he is well-positioned to lead franchisees into impressive growth in business and retail segments. Prior to joining Interstate in 1995, Walt worked for several Dallas law firms handling litigation, employment and insurance matters. A member of the State Bar of Texas and the Texas General Counsel Forum, he graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Business Administration and Juris Doctorate degree from Baylor Law School. He is an avid fan of John Grisham novels and thoroughly enjoys coaching baseball and playing golf. Walt and his wife reside in Coppell with their three children.
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Chris Kopenec

Chris Kopenec Sr Director Strategy, Brierley Partners

Chris Kopenec

Sr Director Strategy, Brierley Partners

Chris Kopenec
Christopher Kopenec is the Sr Director Strategy @ Brierley Partners. Prior to joining Brerley, Mr. Kopenec was the Digital Marketing Manager for Chili’s Grill & Bar. Christopher has a passion for technology and the digital world. This led to helping to develop & grow leading digital initiatives for Chili’s, such as the rollout of Ziosk tabletop devices, brand website & online ordering, mobile apps, email & CRM program, and social media. Christopher has been a featured speaker and panelist at numerous digital events including Association of National Advertisers, Mediapost Email Insider Summit, and Social Media Club Dallas. Christopher received his BBA in Marketing from the University of North Texas.
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Gil Marmol

Gil Marmol Director, The Vitamin Shoppe

Gil Marmol

Director, The Vitamin Shoppe

Gil Marmol
Guillermo (Gil) Marmol has served in leadership positions in the technology services industries for the past 20 years, most recently as a member of the executive committee that led the successful turnaround of EDS which set the stage for its sale to HP where he was responsible for planning and operations improvement.  Previously, he was CEO of Luminant, an Internet professional services firm, which he took public in a 1999 IPO.  Gil chaired the operating committee of Perot Systems through a period of three-fold growth. Gil was also a director at McKinsey and Co.  During an 18-year career, he served several high performance organizations in the formulation and execution of growth strategies that resulted in far above peer group performance.  His work on organization design has been recognized in a variety of publications including the Wall Street Journal. Today Gil is an investor and advisor to early stage technology firms through his firm Marmol & Associates which works in conjunction with leading private equity firms. Gil is on the board of directors of Foot Locker, The Vitamin Shoppe and Principal Solar.  He is also on the board of the Center for a Free Cuba in Washington, DC and KERA/KXT public television and radio in Dallas, Texas. Gil holds a bachelors of arts in engineering and applied physics from Harvard College and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
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Nick Mysore

Nick Mysore President & CEO, V+V Apothicaire

Nick Mysore

President & CEO, V+V Apothicaire

Nick Mysore
Nick is the President & CEO of V+V Apothicaire, a food and beverage company that creates juices and soups with 100 percent raw, organic, unaltered, and unprocessed ingredients. Nick’s background as brand marketer, consumer researcher and corporate stratgegist for both Consumer Packaged Goods firms & Technology companies provides a unique blend of experience and skills that qualify him to drive business growth. He is currently a Managing Partner at NPower Ventures, a boutique strategy consulting firm and an Adjunct Professor of Marketing Strategy at Southern Methodist University for the EMBA Program.  Additionally, he is on the Board of Directors of the Community Council of Greater Dallas and a Chairman of the Earned Income Committee.  He has been an advisor to portfolio companies backed by angel and private equity investors, which he guides on strategy development, marketing, and sales growth initiatives. His entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen have driven growth of multi-million dollar brands within the food industry in senior positions such as VP of Strategy for Frontier Communications, Head of Market Strategy at Dean Foods, Senior Director of Enterprise Strategy at ConAgra, and General Manager of the TXU Energy’s OUt of Territory Energy division.  His expertise in branding, insights, and the ecommerce platforms have assisted many entrepreneurial business in the Dallas area.
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Adrienne Palmer

Adrienne Palmer Founder, Insite Interactive

Adrienne Palmer

Founder, Insite Interactive

Adrienne Palmer
Adrienne Cornelsen founded Insite Interactive, one of Dallas’ leading digital agencies, in 1998. Insite provides online marketing strategy, web design and development services, mobile development and digital signage solutions. Adrienne has served as President and CEO since the company’s inception, providing business management and leadership to the Insite team, helping clients hone their strategies, and communicating InSite’s vision and capabilities to the marketplace. Since starting Insite, Adrienne has been featured numerous times in the Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Business Journal and DFW TechBiz Magazine for her entrepreneurial achievements, and her company has been internationally recognized for its work with top industry awards. She has been a finalist for the Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the North Texas Tech Titans Award. In 2013, she was recognized as one of Dallas’ Top Women in Business by the Dallas Business Journal, and as one of the DBJ North Texas Women in Technology in 2014. Adrienne is also the co-founder of World Citizens Guide, LLC, a content generation and publishing company focused on global mindset education. Through her various activities, she consistently supports programs that raise awareness and create dialog for cross-cultural understanding and education. Adrienne serves on the Global Board of Directors of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and is a member of Social Venture Network, Entrepreneurs for North Texas and Peace Through Commerce. She also served on the Board of Business for Diplomatic Action until its cessation in 2010. Adrienne studied Marketing and Public Relations at Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth, Texas, and is a graduate of the Entrepreneurial Masters Program at MIT. She served an adjunct professor at SMU’s Temerlin Advertising Institute for four years (2004-2007), developing curriculum for and teaching the school’s first Interactive Media course. Adrienne frequently creates, manages and participates in Global initiatives to unite entrepreneurs from various parts of the world in the pursuit of job creation, economic stability and cross-cultural understanding. She serves as the EO Program Coordinator for the US State Department’s “A New Beginning: Entrepreneurship and Innovation IVLP” program. Adrienne frequently speaks at conferences focused on entrepreneurship’s role in the global economy, ways to support entrepreneurs and empowering women entrepreneurs.
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Allessandria Polizzi

Allessandria Polizzi Founder, Verdant Consulting

Allessandria Polizzi

Founder, Verdant Consulting

Allessandria Polizzi
Dr. Allessandria Polizzi is the CEO of Verdant Consulting, a boutique talent development consulting firm focused on attracting, onboarding, engaging and retaining top talent for business, as well as driving and sustaining change for organizations. Al has over 15 years of experience with a variety of brands, including start-ups, small and mid-sized businesses, retailers and restaurateurs, technology, and nonprofits. She is also the host of the Be Verdant podcast and posts regularly on social media and her own blog.
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Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith CEO, QuantumIOT

Jeff Smith

CEO, QuantumIOT

Jeff Smith
Dr. Smith is the Chief Technical Officer of Numerex (NASDAQ: NMRX). Numerex offers the broadest choice of secure machine- to-machine (M2M) network services and solutions. Previously a scientist for Motorola, The Robotics Institute, and the 
Super conducting Super Collider (SSC), Dr. Smith has worked on wireless
 sensor and control systems developed for the FBI, CIA, DOD, DOE,
 NASA, and USPS – from autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles to 
particle accelerators. In 1993, he co-founded and served as President 
and CEO of OnRamp Technologies, a pioneer internet service provider,
 subsequently acquired by Verio, which is now a wholly-owned subsidiary
 of NTT communications. During Jeff’s tenure at Verio as Regional President and Board member, the company grew to one of the largest web-hosting companies in the world and a principal international ISP. In 2000, Verio was sold to NTT for $5.5B. In 2002, Dr. Smith founded SensorLogic, now one of the industry’s leading telemetry service providers. Recently he founded Ublip, a provider of Web 2.0 applications for remote asset management. Jeff currently serves on Numerex’s board of directors. He has also served on the boards of technology companies including Winning Habits, CreditAnswers, Vericenter, and Verio.
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Brooks Terrell

Brooks Terrell Principal, Tierra Advisory Group

Brooks Terrell

Principal, Tierra Advisory Group

Brooks Terrell
As the former Chief Technology Officer of Heartland Payment Systems, Brooks led the development of the company’s front-end and back-end payment platforms for processing credit card payments. Currently he is President of The Tierra Advisory Group, which provides consulting services to investment firms, payment processors and Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs) regarding their strategic technology initiatives.
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Craig Wax

Craig Wax Executive Vice President | Magid Associates, Inc.

Craig Wax

Executive Vice President | Magid Associates, Inc.

Craig Wax
Craig joined Invodo in 2009 and leads Invodo’s overall strategy by bringing a seasoned general management perspective to guide the company’s rapid growth. Prior to that, Craig was the Senior Vice President and General Manager at Match.com, where he was responsible for all aspects of the business in North America including building strategic partnerships, marketing, and product innovation. Before Match.com, Craig held multiple senior roles at Yahoo!, including running the search marketing business in Australia and launching it in New Zealand as managing director. Craig has also served as head of marketing and communications at Overture Services (formerly GoTo.com), in marketing and new ventures at General Mills, at Procter & Gamble, and at Exxon Company U.S.A. He also is a member of the Board of Governors for the College of Merchandising at the University of North Texas, is a member the UNT Global Digital Retailing Research Center Think Tank, and has served on the board of directors of the UT Lacrosse Alumni Association. Craig holds a BBA with honors and a MBA with distinction from the University of Texas at Austin.
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Zach Wooldridge

Zach Wooldridge Co-Founder & Partner, Elm Creek Partners

Zach Wooldridge

Co-Founder & Partner, Elm Creek Partners

Zach Wooldridge
Prior to co-founding Elm Creek Partners, Zach spent four years with Red River Ventures executing a similar investment strategy. Before graduate school, he managed the development and deployment of securities trading platforms for Investec, an international specialist banking group. Zach has private equity experience managing portfolio companies in the following industries: avionics, community banking, urgent care, in-home respiratory therapy and DME, wholesale optical labs, magazines publishing, retailing, wholesale furniture, wholesale seafood, and refinery construction and maintenance services. He currently serves as a trustee of The Episcopal School of Dallas and the chair-elect of Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity. Zach is married with three children and earned an MBA from SMU and a degree in accounting from Washington & Lee University. He and his wife actively support the Church of the Incarnation and Community Partners of Dallas.
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Salil Bapat

Salil Bapat EVP & CFO, Corner Bakery Cafe

Salil Bapat

EVP & CFO, Corner Bakery Cafe

Salil Bapat
Salil is a strategic results driven executive with exceptional commitment to business and people growth. In his career, he has found success due to his intellectual curiosity, strategic and commercial thinking applied with operational savvy, teamwork, persistence and integrity. He likes to think out of the box and leverage best practices from everywhere. He has delivered results in both Public and PE backed companies. His most recent role was with a PE backed company (Roark Capital) as CFO for Corner Bakery Café/Il Fornaio with total Revenue $500MM . Prior to that, he spent 14 years with Yum! Brands. His last role at Yum Brands was CFO for Latin America & Caribbean Division with System Sales of $2B . Previously, he supported Yum Brands in Thailand and South Korea in progressively larger CFO roles. Prior to his international assignments, he led the Financial Planning and Analysis, Development, Capital Planning and Business Analysis groups at Yum International HQ and for Pizza Hut US business. During his various roles, he has been responsible for Finance & Planning, IT, Legal and SCM teams. During his tenure at Pizza Hut US, he was instrumental in launching Pizzahut.com sales channel, which currently generates over $1.5B in sales, an industry leading Loyalty program in 2002 and the WingStreet concept, a very successful sub-brand at Pizza Hut that has added a significant sales layer to Pizza Hut. Prior to Restaurant business, he worked in Management Consulting for A.T. Kearney and Ernst & Young and worked on Project Finance at IFC (part of the World Bank Group). He has a MBA from Thunderbird (AGSIM) and an Engineering degree. He is fluent in multiple languages.
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John Bjornson

John Bjornson President, Point B Capital

John Bjornson

President, Point B Capital

John Bjornson
John is President of Point B Capital, which invests in early-stage enterprise technology companies.  Point B Capital’s unique investment platform leverages its close relationship with Point B Consulting to inform investment themes, expand deal flow, support due diligence, and help Point B Capital investment portfolio companies accelerate their growth post investment.  Point B Consulting is a highly regarded national consulting practice (including Dallas and Austin offices) of over 600 associates who average 15 years of experience and 250 large and enterprise clients each year. Since launching Point B Capital in 2010, John has been involved across 20 Point B Capital investments and remains active across Point B Consulting’s markets, leaders, associates, and clients.  John joined Point B as its first employee in 1995 having previously worked at Andersen Consulting (Accenture).  Before launching Point B Capital, John developed and managed all aspects of project delivery at 35 Point B Consulting clients and assisted over 200 projects while a Managing Director for Point B’s Seattle practice. He developed Point B’s recruiting and client service quality functions, launched Point B Consulting’s 2nd market (Portland), architected Point B’s unique compensation model, and has led numerous other initiatives to improve Point B’s market-facing and internal operations. John holds a BS in Computer Engineering and Engineering and Physics from Pacific Lutheran University. He enjoys time with his wife and 3 kids at their Lake Huron cabin in Ontario, Canada.
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Caroline Branch

Caroline Branch EIR, Sumo Ventures

Caroline Branch

EIR, Sumo Ventures

Caroline Branch
As Entrepreneur in Residence at Sumo Ventures, Caroline assists the fund in identifying and valuing prospective investment opportunities. Caroline brings strategic, financial, and operations expertise with experience in start-ups facing challenges in scaling operations for the next phase of business. Caroline co-founded, AutoSeis®, a high-tech equipment company in the oilfield services industry, which was successfully sold to Global Geophysical Services. She was retained to run operations and later promoted to President of the subsidiary. She managed engineering, and developed supply chain and manufacturing strategies enabling creation of the lowest cost, highest profit producer of seismic nodal equipment in the world. During her tenure, AutoSeis® became a $100mm worldwide seismic equipment manufacturer enabling the parent company to create new markets with increased efficiency while saving $150mm in capital expenditures. Caroline has an extensive background in process improvement, systems integration, financial planning and analysis, and business development strategy consulting. She has an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
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Chris Cook

Chris Cook Managing Partner, Dry Powder Capital

Chris Cook

Managing Partner, Dry Powder Capital

Chris Cook
Chris Cook is an accomplished entrepreneur with experience in the retail and technology segments. As the founder and CEO of Sleep Experts, a Texas chain of mattress retail stores, Chris successfully competed with two of the largest chains in the country, both headquartered in Texas, and produced average store sales double the industry average. Sleep Experts distinguished itself on exceptional customer service and earned a reputation as a best-in-class retailer. Mattress Firm acquired Sleep Experts in April of 2014. Prior to Sleep Experts, Chris was on the founding team of SiteStuff, a venture backed, e-commerce company with a focus on procurement solutions for commercial property managers. As the EVP of Business Development, he was involved in three rounds of funding, and the acquisition and deployment of customers. SiteStuff was acquired by Yardi Systems, the leader in real estate software solutions. Chris currently serves on the board of the Entrepreneur’s Foundation of North Texas, and is a member of the Young President’s Organization (YPO), where he served on the board from 2008 through 2013. Graduating from SMU with a BBA in Finance in 1991, Chris returns on an annual basis to guest lecture at the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship.
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David Evans

David Evans Founder, EasySeat Tickets & CEO, Geode Software

David Evans

Founder, EasySeat Tickets & CEO, Geode Software

David Evans
Dave Evans is President of Geode Software.  The company provides technology solutions that solve operational bottlenecks and improve profitability for small to medium businesses. He is also the Co-founder of EasySeat, an exclusive ticket sourcing platform for events. Previously Evans was the Chief Futurist for Cisco. A Cisco veteran of 24 years, Evans was a member of the Corporate Technology Group (CTG) where he was responsible for identifying disruptive technologies that were relevant and aligned to Cisco. An expert on emerging technologies, Evans holds numerous patents in the fields of connected car, RFID, virtual people, mobile phone technology and more. His visionary acumen has garnered global attention on topics such as the “Internet of Everything” (IoE) and “The Net Effect,” where he outlines IoE’s transformational impact and the role of the network. Evans’ views have been shared in Forbes, Fortune, CNN, San Jose Mercury News, New York Times, Nikkei, MSNBC, Discovery Channel, History Channel, as well as numerous other media outlets.
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Gab Goncalves

Gab Goncalves Entrepreneur & Investor, Rugula

Gab Goncalves

Entrepreneur & Investor, Rugula

Gab Goncalves
Gab has a successful track record of starting and exiting technology ventures. PeopleAnswers, his most recent startup, was acquired by Infor after 40 consecutive quarters of revenue growth. Gab created this predictive talent analytics software company in the cloud (Saas), helping enterprise customers across the globe reduce employee turnover and increase employee performance. As its CEO for 13 years, Gab rapidly expanded PeopleAnswers, posting impressive revenue growth year after year. The company’s 96% customer retention rate also reflected both its software’s capabilities for delivering results, as well as its customer-centric service model embraced by its Fortune 5000 clients.
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Al Hoover

Al Hoover Managing Director, Leadout Advisors

Al Hoover

Managing Director, Leadout Advisors

Al Hoover
Albert (Al) Hoover is Managing Director of Leadout Advisors, which provides executive leadership and hands-on execution to companies seeking strategic planning and corporate development expertise, including companies contemplating mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships, financings or other significant transactions and strategic initiatives. Previously, he was Managing Director—Corporate Development at AT&T where he oversaw mergers and acquisitions and strategic alliances and investments primarily related to value added services and technology. Prior to AT&T, Al was Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Sterling Commerce, a NYSE listed software and services company, where he oversaw all corporate development (M&A and strategic alliances and investments), corporate governance and legal matters and was a key participant in corporate strategy, acquisition integration planning, investor relations and significant business decisions and activities. Al also previously served as Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at Sterling Software and as a corporate law associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Hughes & Luce. Al holds a J.D. (Cum Laude) from Harvard Law School and a B.A. in Economics (Highest Distinction) from Northwestern University. He is a member of the Texas Bar.
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Charlie Larkin

Charlie Larkin Senior Dir., GameStop Technology Institute

Charlie Larkin

Senior Dir., GameStop Technology Institute

Charlie Larkin
Charlie Larkin serves as Senior Director of the GameStop Technology Institute (GTI). GTI is a business unit focused on creating affiliations with leading technology corporations and academic institutions to discover and deliver business innovation and technology solutions to better address the needs of today’s empowered consumer. In this role, Charlie is accountable for accelerating business growth through the application of emerging technologies that create next-generation customer experiences. Current research and development activities are focused on connected smart-store experiences and digital marketing within the retail space. Larkin has more than 15 years of retail technology experience and a knack for combining emerging technology, business strategy and innovation to solve big problems. He previously led GameStop’s retail digital sales eco-system and formed strategic partnerships with digital vendors leading the technology advancement of GameStop’s brick and mortar stores.
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Jacqueline Martinez

Jacqueline Martinez Partner, Oliver Wyman

Jacqueline Martinez

Partner, Oliver Wyman

Jacqueline Martinez
Jacqui Martinez is a Partner on the Retail & Consumer team at Oliver Wyman. In the past ten years, Jacqui’s work has focused on helping retailers in the U.S. and beyond tackle strategic challenges including making the most of their marketing dollars and getting their store operators to deliver a step change in performance. Her projects focus on delivering tangible impact in the context of reaching long term strategic goals. She is also very active writer on retail topics, especially around the challenges and opportunities created by online retail disruption. She has been quoted in the Dallas Morning News and the Wall Street Journal on these topics.
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Sunny Nadolsky

Sunny Nadolsky Founder & CEO, MediBookr.com

Sunny Nadolsky

Founder & CEO, MediBookr.com

Sunny Nadolsky
Sunny Nadolsky is a serial entrepreneur who built China Education Network (http://www.China Education.net), KooLocal which helps consumers connect to local service businesses for their services (http://www.KooLocal.com), and MediBookr which helps patients to book appointments with imaging centers (http://www.medibookr.com). She received her MBA from Arizona State University, and studied in the Ph.D. Program at Michigan State University. She enjoys mentoring entrepreneurs of tech startups in DFW. She is also an active angel investor in the DFW area (Dallas Angel Network, and RevTech). She also contributes to UNICEF (http://www.unicef.org) and ImaniBridges (http://www.imanibridgets.org).
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Susan Parker

Susan Parker President, Parker Marketing Group

Susan Parker

President, Parker Marketing Group

Susan Parker
Susan Parker, President of PARKER Marketing Group, is best known for forging strong bonds between companies and their customers – bonds that translate into customer loyalty and profitability. Founding PARKER in 2006, Susan enables leading organizations in retail, travel, hospitality, and consumer packaged goods to drive revenue growth – including Charming Charlie Frito-Lay, Gillette, JCPenney, Love’s Travel Stops and Redbox –by creating meaningful customer connections among the most valuable audiences with game-changing loyalty strategies and customer experiences. Applying her C-level experience, Susan serves as a change agent, bringing customer-centric solutions to life across an organization. The result: customer conscious companies that are aligned with customers’ top needs, balanced with company objectives to ensure sustainable growth, profit and loyalty. Susan’s passion for the customer is rooted in her decade of in-the-trenches retailing experience, including buyer, product development, merchandises management and store management. Her unique approach to customer-centric solutions was refined during her 15-year tenure at Southwest Airlines’ driving marketing strategy and the CRM agenda, including customer insights and analytics, product development and strategic partnerships. Susan was responsible for rebranding and redesigning the frequent flyer program, now among the highest award wining programs in the industry. She also drove unprecedented growth in the company’s alternative revenue stream through products such as the Rapid Rewards Visa credit card, Southwest Airlines Vacations, and the southwestgiftcard. Following Southwest, Susan served as Supervalu’s first chief marketing officer, a $40B grocer, unifying a stable of over 20 brands and establishing a centralized customer insights department to support marketing and merchandising strategies and store operation improvements. A native Texan, Susan holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Texas Tech University. Susan is active in addressing the needs of underserved families and children as Board of Directors member of the Town North YMCA and Big Thought, and former Board of Directors member of Goodwill Industries of Dallas and Wednesday Child Benefit Corporation.
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Arnie Rivera

Arnie Rivera Senior VP, Reflect Systems

Arnie Rivera

Senior VP, Reflect Systems

Arnie Rivera
Arnie Rivera joined Reflect in 2006 and serves as the company’s Senior Vice President of Solution Delivery and Client Services. Rivera oversees the customer support, training, procurement, project management, installation and field service groups. Rivera has provided technical consulting for the design, deployment and operations of some of the largest digital signage networks currently in existence, including those at Best Buy, Verizon, GameStop and Target. Rivera holds a B.S. in Information Technology from Western Governor’s University. Prior to joining Reflect, Rivera served as the global technical escalations manager at Texas Instruments. His responsibilities included processing hardware and software quality assurance claims in the United States and Europe. He designed and implemented the process to engage the proper channels within the product management, quality assurance and software development departments in order to ensure that customer issues are resolved within a timely and efficient manner still in use today by Texas Instruments’ technical support. Rivera continues to use his extensive IT and service oriented background to provide his clients at Reflect with superior and comprehensive service.
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Ted Sparrow Ted Sparrow CEO of Veritex Sales Corporation

Ted Sparrow

CEO of Veritex Sales Corporation

Ted Sparrow
Ted Sparrow has over 25 years of entrepreneurial experience in various fields including retail, investment management and B2B operations. Currently he is the founder and CEO of Veritex Sales Corporation, a holding company for specialty retail stores in North Texas. Veritex Sales Corp operates four HobbyTown USA franchises as well as several online marketplaces. Prior to Veritex Sales, Ted was a partner at Martin Capital Advisors, LLP in Austin Texas, a registered investment advisor. Before joining Martin Capital, Ted founded BBS Holdings, a point-of-sale payment processing and verification company. He sold the company in 1999. Ted graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1990 with a Arts and Science degree and a major in economics. He lives with his family in Dallas, Texas.
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Mike Theilmann

Mike Theilmann Partner, Heidrick & Struggles

Mike Theilmann

Partner, Heidrick & Struggles

Mike Theilmann
Mike Theilmann is a partner in Heidrick & Struggles’ Dallas office and a member of the Consumer Markets Practice where he specializes in CEO, board and CHRO searches. He brings more than 25 years of global experience across retail, hospitality and consumer goods. Previously, Mike served as managing director overseeing venture capital investments for a family office. He served on the boards of LeapYear, Catapult Health, Bypass and Peeractive. Prior to that, he spent seven years of increasing responsibility with JC Penney. As Group Executive Vice President he led store operations, supply chain management, property development and human resources. Mike served in multiple human resources executive roles at Yum! across their US brands, corporate, and international. Earlier in his career, he worked at Diageo in human resources and with Towers Perrin as an actuary. Mike serves on the Board of Advisors of the Jay A. Baker Retail Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School. He is also a mentor with Retail Technology Ventures. Mike received his bachelor’s degree from Gustavus Adolphus College and a master’s degree in physics from the University of Nebraska.
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Darren Waxman

Darren Waxman CEO & Co-Founder, Joinem

Darren Waxman

CEO & Co-Founder, Joinem

Darren Waxman
Darren is passionate about transforming great ideas from vision to reality. He has held key product development and marketing roles at American Express, Sprint and technology startups Gogo, Biscotti and now Joinem, a totally new social shopping platform that brings the sharing economy to ecommerce. Darren’s experience creating solutions in the digital retail and mobile sectors has taught him the art of building technology that delights the consumer. Prior to Joinem, Darren launched the cookie­shaped smart video camera, Biscotti. There, he pioneered customer “wins” including an award­winning product UX and beautiful packaging that Mashable called “the best since the iPod.” Prior to Biscotti, Darren drove mobile and brand experience at the world’s first inflight broadband network, Gogo, leading to its $2 billion IPO. At the cutting edge of tapping into social media to engage consumers, Darren partnered with celebrity influencers and industry insiders to spread the word about Gogo through their far­reaching networks. Obsessed with the customer experience, Darren was frequently known to conduct impromptu focus sessions while traveling at 35K feet. Before Gogo, Darren championed the customer experience strategy at Sprint, leading to Sprint’s move from worst to first in customer satisfaction in the ACSI survey. Darren also worked on the Team that developed Sprint’s mobile web store, where customers could shop anywhere without waiting in line, marking some of the industry’s first ever mobile transactions. Darren holds an MBA from Clark University Graduate School of Management and a BA degree in Economics with Honors from Clark University.
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Brad Woy

Brad Woy Founder & CEO, CapRock Services

Brad Woy

Founder & CEO, CapRock Services

Brad Woy
A graduate of SMU’s Cox School of Business in 1992, Brad brings over 20 years of executive management experience to CapRock Services. In 1995, Mr. Woy founded The Brower Group (now known as Santander Consumer), which became one of the largest sub-prime automotive lenders in the United States. From 2000 – 2005, Mr Woy worked with Accenture’s Retail Strategy Practice consulting with Fortune 500 companies such as JC Penney, Home Depot, Office Max and Toys R’ Us. After exhaustive research and consulting with business, financial and legal counsel, he launched CapRock Services in October of 2007. Mr. Woy also leads Corporate Strategy & Development efforts for Blue Star Payment Solutions, a partnership with Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys organization and WorldPay. Brad is married with two children, Jordan and Hayden.
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George Barber

George Barber

George Barber

George Barber
A global business and technology executive, George is currently a Partner at Trailblazer Capital.  Mr. Barber has an impressive track record of leading and growing entrepreneurial companies and Fortune 500 business units.  Mr. Barber was most recently Chairman, CEO and President of Vapro, Inc an innovator of patented two-phase cooling solutions for the electronics industry.  The company has since received strategic funding and, as a result, was relocated to Korea. Prior to Vapro, Mr. Barber was President and CEO of SyChip-Murata, a wholly owned subsidiary of Murat Manufacturing Corporation of Japan.  Murata acquired SyChip, Inc in April 2006.  Prior to the Company’s acquisition, George was recruited to the venture capital-backed start-up (a Bell Labs spinout) in 2001 as President and CEO.  The wireless Plug-N-Play company designed, developed and marketed Radio Frequency Chip Scale modules, Systems In Package solutions, software and integrated circuits for the portable device market.  SyChip was an innovator in the smartphone revolution.  SyChip was recognized for numerous awards including “Start-up to Watch” and Investor’s Choice by VentureWire.  In addition, the company received “Rising Star” and “Fast 50″ net revenue growth awards from Deloitte LLP.  In 2004 Mr. Barber was recognized as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year nominee and 2003 was a Metroplex Technology Business Council Tech Titan Emerging Company CEO finalist.  George led the company in raising nearly $50 million of venture funding.
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Daniel Black

Daniel Black CEO, Glass Media

Daniel Black

CEO, Glass Media

Daniel Black
As a Silicon Valley native, Daniel is often referred to as an Entrepreneurial rebel for relocating to Dallas, Texas where he launched Glass-Media, Inc. Since moving to Dallas in 2013, Daniel has quickly become an integral part of the startup community/ecosystem. In February 2015, Daniel was co-featured on the cover of “D CEO Magazine” in an article entitled “The New Faces of Dallas Tech” and later that year, he was named a finalist for the Tech Titans – Emerging Company CEO Award and was subsequently honored at the Tech Titans Gala. Daniel is considered a practical futurist and is passionate about bridging the gap between physical and digital.
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Evan Brody

Evan Brody Founder & CEO, PnP Loyalty

Evan Brody

Founder & CEO, PnP Loyalty

Evan Brody
Evan Brody is the Founder and CEO of PnP Loyalty, an enterprise loyalty and CRM platform company providing solutions to mid-sized retail and restaurant chains. Leading up to founding PnP Loyalty, Evan served as head of marketing for Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, an international chain of fast casual restaurants. Prior to Which Wich, Evan worked for 7-Eleven where he held several roles including lead loyalty strategist, head of digital marketing, and Slurpee & Big Gulp brand management. Evan has an MBA from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in Saint Louis with concentrations in brand management and entrepreneurship
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Steve Dennis

Steve Dennis President, Sageberry Consulting

Steve Dennis

President, Sageberry Consulting

Steve Dennis
Steven Dennis is a trusted advisor and thought leader on customer-centric growth strategy, marketing and innovation, with a particular focus on omni-channel transformation. As President of SageBerry Consulting, he applies his C-level executive experience to drive growth and marketing strategy for retail, e-commerce and luxury/fashion industry clients. He shares his thought leadership in the press, as a keynote speaker, through his blog “The Art & Science of Customer-Centricity”(www.stevenpdennis.com) and as the luxury contributing editor for Colloquy (www.colloquy.com). Steve is also Executive-in-Residence at the JC Penney Center for Retail Excellence at SMU’s Cox School of Business, Board Chair & President of the DFW Retail Executives Association (dfwrea.org) and serves on the Advisory Boards of Invodo Inc., Nectar Online Media and Education Opens Doors. Prior to founding SageBerry, Steve was Senior Vice President of Strategy, Business Development and Marketing for the Neiman Marcus Group. As a member of the Executive Committee he drove the company’s major growth initiatives, multi-channel marketing programs, loyalty strategy and customer insight & analytics agenda. Before joining Neiman Marcus, Steve held leadership positions with Sears, including Acting Chief Strategy Officer, Lands’ End acquisition integration team leader, Vice President-Multichannel Integration and VP/General Manager of a $600MM division. Earlier in his career he was with NutraSweet and the global management strategy consulting firm, Booz & Co. Steve received his MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BA from Tufts University. He is active in social/non-profit impact and innovation as a Partner and member of the Board of Directors of Social Venture Partners-Dallas, where he also co-chairs SVP’s Opportunities Committee. Among the agencies Steve has assisted with strategic planning and/or marketing are VMLC, Trinity River Mission, Children at Risk, Youth Village Resources of Dallas, The School Zone, Galaxy Counseling Center and Education Opens Doors.
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Chris Fagan

Chris Fagan Founder & CEO, KeyRing

Chris Fagan

Founder & CEO, KeyRing

Chris Fagan
Chris Fagan is the founder and CEO of KeyRing, a mobile wallet for loyalty card and coupons. The company was acquired in Sept 2012 by Gannett (GCI), a major media company that owns and operates 80 newspapers and television stations across the US including the USA today. Chris and his team continue to operate the Key Ring business in Dallas TX under the Gannett Digital Marketing Services umbrella. Chris raised a series A investment from Austin Ventures and is a 2010 graduate from the Tech Wildcatters accelerator program. Chris is on the board of NITICA, a nonprofit truck insurance company and helps advise various startups in Dallas area. Prior to starting Key Ring, Chris was a technology consultant for Accenture, a global management consulting firm. Prior to Accenture, Chris was enlisted in Army as an artillery sergeant. Chris has a bachelors in Finance from Oklahoma State University.
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Colby Graff

Colby Graff GM, Digital & Shopper Connect

Colby Graff

GM, Digital & Shopper Connect

Colby Graff
Colby is a strategist and digital leader with over a dozen years experience in the U.S. and abroad. He Cofounded a startup, then went client side for one of the largest office retailers honing his branding, digital and above the line marketing skill set. He jumped shipped to agency side and led a variety of digital efforts for clients ranging from Miller Lite, Domino’s Pizza, AMEX, PepsiCo and Proctor & Gamble. While agency side with CP B, he helped develop the brand value position for Miller Lite and Dominos, while bringing the Pizza Tracker to market. One of Domino’s biggest wins to date. Colby worked at the digital agency MEplusYOU, where he managed their largest client, Procter & Gamble and made history with the P&G Mean Stinks Anti-bullying movement, which not only won the brand team prestigious awards but was one of two brands highlighted and part of Facebook’s IPO. Colby is passionate about sharing his experience and insights on new emerging technologies that create meaning for marketers today.
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Sascha Jamall

Sascha Jamall Director, SAJ Consulting

Sascha Jamall

Director, SAJ Consulting

Sascha Jamall
Sascha has led transformative change across E-commerce, traditional Retail and Wholesale supply chains. He has a expertise in leading Apparel, Home Furnishings and Arts & Crafts product development, sourcing and supply chain activities for retailers including Eddie Bauer, Williams-Sonoma, Michaels Arts and Crafts Stores and One Kings Lane. Over his 35 year retail career, Sascha has travelled extensively in Asia, Europe, Central and South America developing strategic partnerships between suppliers and retailers.
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Rene Larrave

Rene Larrave CEO, CPC Software

Rene Larrave

CEO, CPC Software

Rene Larrave
Mr. Rene Larrave has over 25 years of entrepreneurial and management consulting experience in areas that include business strategy, operations, business process redesign, and information technology in a variety of industries including financial services, retail, telecommunications, manufacturing, utilities, hospitality, high tech, and entertainment. Throughout his career, Mr. Larrave has advised some of the most influential corporations in the world. Rene is currently the CEO of CPC Software and formerly was CEO of KoiosWorks, a management and technology consulting firm in Dallas, Texas. As an entrepreneur, Mr. Larrave was the founder and President of Calatestra Partners, an advisory, consulting, and private equity investment firm. Calatestra led the A-round financing for Neptune Wave Power, a power engineering company, for which Mr. Larrave became its CEO. Prior to Calatestra Partners, he was also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Avvantica, a national business and technology outsourcing company based in Dallas, Texas, that he sold in 2008. Prior to Avvantica, Mr. Larrave was the founder and President of Tactica Technology Group, a business and technology consulting company that was sold to Hitachi in late 2001. Most recently, Mr. Larrave conceptualized and built Motopia, a restaurant, business center, and European motorcycle garage which is in the process of expanding to other locations and of franchising around the world. Prior to his entrepreneurial ventures, Mr. Larrave was a management team member with Booz, Allen & Hamilton and Deloitte Consulting in both their London and Dallas offices. He has held Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Business Administration teaching positions at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, Monterrey Institute of Technology, and currently at Southern Methodist University (SMU). He is, or has been, a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), the Young Entrepreneurs’ Organization (YEO), and the World Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and is a member of the board of directors for a number of for-profit and non-profit organizations. Mr. Larrave received an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin and a BS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from Ohio State University and Monterrey Institute of Technology. He is also a Certified Management Consultant with the Institute of Management Consultants.
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David Matthews

David Matthews Managing Director, REVTECH

David Matthews

Managing Director, REVTECH

David Matthews
David Matthews has a background as an entrepreneur, a lead investor in emerging alternative investment funds, a venture capitalist, and a venture philanthropist. As an entrepreneur, he launched several successful start-ups including Intelecon, Green Mountain Dallas, and the Oklahoma Chapter of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO). As a lead investor in alternative investment funds, he brought the initial capital together to back emerging managers in such funds as Red River Ventures, Elm Creek Partners, Trailblazer Capital, and REVTECH. As a venture capitalist, Matthews invested in a number of early-stage entrepreneurial ventures including PeopleAnswers, Green Mountain Energy, K12, Zaadz, and EnTouch Controls. As a venture philanthropist, he developed innovative, entrepreneurial approaches for raising hard-to-get operating funds for early childhood education. His OKCityscape and Dallas Cityscape exhibits have generated over $1 million of net contributions to several schools during the past five years. Matthews earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Audio Engineering from Ohio State University in 1986.
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Kat Nelson

Kat Nelson Founder & President, RedKatalyst

Kat Nelson

Founder & President, RedKatalyst

Kat Nelson
Katherine “Kat” Nelson is RedKatalyst’s President and Founder. She is truly the Kat-of-all-trades who drives the strategy and growth of many of her clients. Kat has consulted with hundreds of organization over the course of her career and has specialized expertise in marketing, finance, customer and product development, and process management. Previously, she was part of the senior leadership team at Obtiva, one of the hottest independent software development shops in the country when it was acquired by Groupon in 2011. She’s a frequent speaker at industry events like the Web 2.0 conference in New York and TechWeek in Chicago, and is called upon to speak on topics like finding your inner passion, how to develop your sales strategy, to getting your business unstuck. She loves to meet new people, mentor, speak, support start-up initiatives, and stay nimble.
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TJ Paterick

TJ Paterick Board of Advisors, Dor

TJ Paterick

Board of Advisors, Dor

TJ Paterick
TJ Paterick is the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and General Manager at Xome, a Dallas based technology company with a vision to digitally connect major touch-points in real estate, analogues to Uber for buying and selling homes. With an MBA from Babson College’s acclaimed Entrepreneurship program, TJ leveraged his retail background and knack for Entrepreneurship to help two Silicon Valley and one Silicon Alley company grow their respective businesses and raise venture funds; two of which were acquired. TJ quickly identifies, prioritizes and drives technology, product and partnerships by starting with the customer and working backward, allowing him to align the right tactical and strategic initiatives. He is a “start-up athlete,” which he credits to developing skills and habits through repetition playing Division I NCAA basketball and boot strapping and growing technology start-ups. He recently left Groupon, which acquired Swarm Mobile, where TJ served as the Vice President of Business Development. He is excited to return to Dallas to pursue his passion of being a technology leader in his favorite city.
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Michael Schornstein

Michael Schornstein Founder, TX-YAT LLC

Michael Schornstein

Founder, TX-YAT LLC

Michael Schornstein
Michael is a start-up founder and chief marketing officer. He monetizes innovation, creates market disruption and brand & product differentiation. A hands-on leader and business owner, Michael has a builder and fixer’s DNA and thrives on productivity. He leads from the front and has a track record of building highly productive goal oriented teams of winners. Michael currently invests in and mentors start-ups and provides strategic, branding and go-to-market consulting services. He is developing NewOrleansAficionado.com, a guide to eats, drinks and music in the ‘City That Care Forgot.’ In 2009 he developed, funded and launched Open Circle, LLC, a Patent Pending online donor acquisition, sales and social retention marketing platform, which integrates the power of social community, digital marketing and financial services. Prior to Open Circle, Michael spent 20 years in executive/officer leadership roles –P&L, integrated (digital & traditional) marketing & advertising, digital media and e-commerce. Organizations such as Yahoo!, Interpublic /TM Advertising, Warnaco, VF Corp and Haggar, have recruited Michael to deliver finance centric Marketing ROI. A New Orleans native and aficionado, Michael lives in Dallas, TX. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management (MBA/Marketing), Tulane University’s College of Arts & Sciences (BA w/Honors) and Culver Military Academy.
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Anne Marie Stephen

Anne Marie Stephen CEO & Founder KWOLIA

Anne Marie Stephen

CEO & Founder KWOLIA

Anne Marie Stephen
Anne Marie Stephen is the CEO Founder of KWOLIA, strategic advisory for emerging technologies applied in retail connecting the physical and digital worlds. Technologies including mobile, location, data/analytics applicable to retail/brands are shaping experience and driving transactions at retail. As a global customer-focused product and service developer, customer experience guru and trends forecaster in retail, she has worked with leading companies including: Panasonic, Disney, Chico’s, AutoZone, Ralph Lauren, Hickory Farms and Macerich integrate innovative solutions for over a decade. She is a frequent speaker and is featured writer for Chain Store Age, Retailing Today, Street Fight, SharpHeels and FierceRetail. She is Founder of Smart Women in Retail Leadership (SWIRL); President, Location Based Marketing Association (LBMA) Chicago; Mentor at Plug and Play Brand and Retail Center of Innovation technology incubator in Silicon Valley and 1871 in Chicago. Anne Marie is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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Chris Todd

Chris Todd President & CEO, Theatro

Chris Todd

President & CEO, Theatro

Chris Todd
Chris is the President & CEO of Theatro, a four-year old Dallas based technology company that is pioneering the use of voice controlled wearable computers by hourly workers in the retail and hospitality markets.  Theatro’s “Heads-Up and Hands Free” voice controlled wearables delivered as a service over the indoor Wi-Fi network to every employee is the perfect mobile device for an hourly workforce. As the senior member of the founding team, Chris is responsible for leading Theatro’s overall direction, strategy, and growth plans.  Chris is a “rollup your sleeves” type leader who is passionate about the strategy of a business.  Chris believes that most every idea can be a winner…it’s all about figuring out the strategy angles to drive success!  As a co-founder, Chris has been instrumental in guiding Theatro from an early innovative concept into a fast paced start-up company. Chris has 25 years of experience in senior executive positions with small start-ups and large multinationals in a diverse array of industries, including software, networking and apps for leading hardware and software companies including Cisco Systems, AppTrigger, Metaswitch, Extreme Networks and Newbridge Networks. Chris graduated with a BBA from SMU in Dallas, Texas.
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Deborah Weinswig

Deborah Weinswig Managing Director, Fung Global Retail Technology

Deborah Weinswig

Managing Director, Fung Global Retail Technology

Deborah Weinswig
With 20 years of expertise, Deborah Weinswig is a premier global retail analyst and an authority on the disruptive technologies, trends and innovations that are shaping the global retail landscape. Leveraging her background as the top Wall Street retail analyst for nearly a decade, Deborah serves as the Managing Director and Head of Fung Global Retail & Technology, the research arm and Think Tank of Hong Kong-based The Fung Group. In this role, she is responsible for building Fung Global Retail & Technology’s research capabilities and providing thought leadership on cutting-edge retail innovations, technologies, and solutions. Focusing on game-changing technologies such as wearables, The Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, cyber security, and predictive analytics, among others, Deborah examines the intersection of technology, fashion and retail to help companies drive growth in a rapidly changing environment. Deborah’s deep knowledge and understanding of global retail and emerging technology trends were fostered through her extensive banking career, which included 12 years as Head of the Global Staples & Consumer Discretionary Team at Citi Research, as well as senior research positions at Bear Stearns and Morgan Stanley. Throughout that time, Deborah was consistently ranked among the top analysts in her field by such prominent publications as Institutional Investor, where she was ranked #1 for nine years, StarMine and Business Insider, which named her as one of Wall Street’s top 36 analysts in 2012. Also in 2012, Deborah received the Researcher Award for Outstanding Service by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). With a passion for innovation and for cultivating the next generation of retail, Deborah has been instrumental in helping several U.S. technology startup companies develop and implement retail technology systems and strategies that have been adopted by top-tier, national retailers. She serves as a mentor to Silicon Valley-based Alchemist Accelerator, Plug & Play, and ERA (Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator), is an advisor to Shoptalk, and also serves on the advisory boards of several early-stage companies in both the U.S. and Hong Kong. As a recognized industry expert and thought leader, Deborah’s global perspective and insight are often featured in national business publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Barron’s, as well as on CNBC. Deborah sits on the Boards of many philanthropic and industry organizations, such as Dignity U Wear, and was recently appointed to the advisory board of the World Retail Congress. She was one of the founding members of the Oracle Retail Strategy Council, is an executive board member of the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing at the University of Arizona, and is an active member of the ICSC Research Task Force. New Zealand-based point-of-sale software company, Vend, has named her one of Retail’s Top 50 Influencers for 2016. Deborah is a Certified Public Accountant, and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
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Neal Yanofsky

Neal Yanofsky Restaurant Executive

Neal Yanofsky

Restaurant Executive

Neal Yanofsky
Neal Yanofsky’s career has spanned several industries, with the common thread of developing strategies and building teams that drive the expansion of high growth enterprises. Neal is currently Chairman of Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen and a director and senior advisor to Snap Kitchen; both are portfolio companies of Catterton Partners. He also serves on the boards of three venture-backed companies and on the advisory board of activist hedge fund Voce Capital. Previously in the restaurant industry Neal served as President, International of Dunkin’ Brands (NASDAQ: DNKN), where he was responsible for all of the firm’s operations outside the U.S., comprising 7,000 Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins locations in more than 50 countries. Neal was President of Panera Bread (NASDAQ: PNRA), the definitive leader in the “quick casual” segment of the restaurant industry. During Neal’s tenure Panera’s system-wide sales tripled to over $2.5 billion and the company’s stock generated the highest compounded annual growth in the restaurant industry. In addition to his operating experience, Neal spent ten years at Fidelity Investments. As Vice President of Fidelity Ventures he was responsible for re-starting Fidelity’s venture capital program, forming and managing a group investing predominantly in early-stage health care technology companies and producing returns almost double the industry average. In the retail industry, Neal was CEO of Generation Mobile, a venture-backed firm that was the largest independent multi-brand retailer of wireless products and services. Earlier in his career he was vice president, market development for Charrette Corporation, and chief marketing officer for Au Bon Pain. Neal is a former adjunct faculty member at Simmons School of Management and former faculty member at Radcliffe Seminars. He is a regular guest lecturer at universities including MIT’s Sloan School, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Boston University’s MBA program, Rhode Island School of Design and University of New Hampshire. Neal received his A.B. from Harvard College and M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and completed a post-graduate fellowship at London School of Economics. He serves on the board of the West End House and is a member of the Harvard Art Museum Collections Committee.
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