We have brought together experts in various areas of business, start ups, and marketing to give you the best information possible as you put together a plan for your new venture or start the process of seeking funding. We will be adding more names soon as there are so many women who want to give back to other women trying to achieve a dream.
Michelle Breyer, Chief Operating Officer of SKU, a Start Up Accelerator
Michelle will co-host the first four sessions of our boot camp with NextTribe co-founder Jeannie Ralston. Michelle Breyer is the Chief Operating Officer at SKU, the nation’s first Consumer Product Goods accelerator. In her position, she creates curriculum for new start ups looking to scale their businesses and serves as a mentor to many entrepreneurs. She joined SKU after spending 20 years in the beauty industry.
Named one of the 50 Most Influential People in the Multicultural Market by Women’s Wear Daily in 2015, Michelle Breyer is a visionary entrepreneur who took a personal frustration over her curly hair and built it into the largest social-media platform for hair. Numerous haircare brands launched on NaturallyCurly. The company, which grew to include an ecommerce site, a consumer insights division and an experiential marketing company, was acquired in 2018 by Essence Ventures.
Jeannie Edmunds, Consultant and Author of Start Me Up
Jeannie will speak at a session about zeroing in and refining your business idea. Jeannie has been a strategic advisor and mentor to startup companies in the U.S. and internationally for 10 years. She has consulted in marketing and business development for startups in a variety of sectors—from SaaS to skincare—and is currently involved in fundraising for supplements using plant-based medicines. With her background in broadcasting and direct response TV, Jeannie specializes in building brand stories and direct to consumer sales, as well as preparing companies for investment. She is a mentor for Capital Factory and SKU in Austin, and Expert Dojo in Los Angeles. Jeannie has been a producer for US and British TV networks, and an on-camera reporter for CNN in Seoul and Kiev, as well as a documentary filmmaker. She is the author of Start Me Up: Tips, Truths and Tales about Starting Up and Starting Over, a genre-bending business/memoir/self-help book to be released in June 2021.
Ricki Fairley, President of DOVE Marketing
Ricki will be talking about how to identify your market and customers. She is the Founder, President of the DOVE Marketing, whose mission is to deliver iconic thinking, strategic problem solving & creative genius to clients seeking profitable business results. She is a seasoned marketer with 30+ years of marketing experience, including 20 years in brand management at Johnson & Johnson, Nabisco, Reckitt & Colman & Coca-Cola Company, and 10+ years in agency leadership encompassing strategic planning and consulting for numerous companies.
In recent years, Ricki has transformed her strategic acumen into breast cancer advocacy. Ricki co-founded and serves as CEO of TOUCH, The Black Breast Cancer Alliance to address Black Breast Cancer as a unique and special disease state, with the overall goal of reducing the mortality rate for Black women. Ricki founded and serves as co-host for “The Doctor Is In,” a weekly live web series on the BlackDoctor.org Facebook page that reaches over 2 million viewers.
Fran Hauser, Investor and Author
Fran Hauser is an author, keynote speaker and investor at the intersection of women’s empowerment, career fulfillment, and collective wellbeing. Fran has invested in over 20 female-founded companies across CPG, media, future of work, and wellness. Her writing, speaking and investing is informed by 15 years spent in media, where she rose through the ranks at Time Inc. to President of Digital. She is the best-selling author of The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming a Person You Hate which has been translated into six languages and was named “Best Business Book of the Year, 2018” by Audible. Fran regularly speaks at conferences and organizations to pioneer the notion that one does not have to choose between kindness and strength, and that the most effective leaders lead with both.
Kana LiVolsi, CEO and Co-Founder of Dos Mundos Creative
Kana has advised countless entrepreneurs on developing a pitch deck that will tell their story in the most impactful way. She will be talking at a session in Part 2 of our boot camp devoted to pitch decks. Kana, the CEO + Co-founder of Dos Mundos Creative, has a great admiration for talented, entrepreneurial minds and is passionate about helping them standout and succeed. Due to the impact she sees media have on our culture, Kana has made a point of working with brands that align with her values that promote an evolution to healthier cycles — particularly those that place a visible value on empowering women, minorities, and those in the LGBTQ community.
Her diverse experience in entertainment media, digital retailing, and consumer products has given Kana a deep understanding of branding strategy for multiple consumer markets, which she now uses to help the Dos Mundos team evolve and adapt quickly to meet the needs of their globally-recognized, high-end clientele.
Susan Lyne, President of BBG Ventures
We’re thrilled that Susan will be one of the investors who will consider the pitches from the selected participants. She’s the president and general Partner at BBG Ventures, an early stage fund backing the new wave of female founders transforming consumers’ everyday lives. She spent most of her career in operating roles at companies of all sizes and stages, from startups to public companies: founded and led Premiere Magazine; spent almost a decade at Disney, rising to President of ABC Entertainment; CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia; CEO and then Chair of Gilt.com; and led AOL’s Brand Group before launching BBG Ventures. “I drawn to the vortex,” she says.
Michele Martell, Intellectual Property Attorney
Michele will be teaming with Helene Pretzky to answer legal and intellectual property questions. Martell is a rare commodity as a community, marketing and legal strategist and implementer. Michele provides business strategy and implementation as an experienced legal, marketing and business executive. She leads digital marketing and social media programs for clients such as Ayla Networks, Echelon, WindSpring and other technology companies. With a background in entertainment and edtech as well as intellectual property law and a focus on innovative storytelling for every screen, Michele has been part of the executive management teams for The Jim Henson Company, Cinedigm Entertainment, SD Entertainment as well as WWE. She can be found tweeting at Austin music shows, food festivals and edtech events or speaking on panels at SXSW on virtual reality issues.
Lisa Marrone, Co-Founder and CEO of Revel
Lisa will be talking about matching your strengths to your business idea. She is co-founder/CEO of Revel, a social platform and trusted space for women 50+ to connect with new friends in person and online. Previously, she worked as an early stage technology investor at August Capital. She holds a JD/MBA from Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School.
Helene Pretzky, Start Up Attorney
Helene will be discussing legal matters you need to consider as you plan your start-up strategy. Helene is a consummate corporate/securities attorney with an expertise in intellectual property who has focused her entire 30+year legal career on representing start-up and growth-oriented companies based on some form of IP, whether patent, copyright, trademark or trade secret. She specializes in private placements, mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures; intellectual property licensing and acquisition agreements, co-development agreements, international and domestic distribution and sales agreements; and employment and consultant contracts and incentive plans.
An entrepreneur at heart, Helene eventually applied her vast experience in building IP businesses to co-founding and holding top management positions at several start-up companies, both public and private. She currently has her own thriving law firm practice focused solely on entrepreneurs and also continues to serve as General Counsel for several bio-med/bio tech and media companies
Jeannie Ralston, CEO and Co-Founder of NextTribe
All sessions will be hosted by Jeannie Ralston, an entrepreneur herself–first as the co-owner of the first commercial lavender farm in Texas, which is still in business though she sold it years ago, and now as the co-founder of NextTribe. After starting two businesses, Jeannie has great awe and empathy for those who have the guts to dive into the uncertain and taxing world of entrepreneurship. She pulled together a panel for the 2019 SXSW called “How Midlife Women Work Their Entrepreneurial Mojo,” and has experiences to share that she hopes will help others. Just for fun, see the video below Jeannie made about women entrepreneurs that got her panel the votes needed to get into SXSW.
Ava Seave, Principal of Quantam Media
Ava will be discussing revenue models and financial projections in Part 2 of our boot camp. Ava is a Principal of Quantum Media, a New York City based consulting firm focused on strategy and marketing for nonprofit, media and information companies which has been recognized by Forbes as one of “America’s best management consulting firms” in 2020 and 2021. At Quantum Media, she leads consulting engagements and provides senior-level management consulting services in a broad range of assignments and product areas. In addition to being a consultant, Ava is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia Business School and Columbia Journalism School, teaching classes about media and entertainment strategy and management. She is the co-author of two books on media strategy and is author of four teaching cases, published through ColumbiaCaseworks.
Geri Stengel, President of Ventureneer
Geri will speak about the various types of funding options for women entrepreneurs. She is president of Ventureneer, which specializes in defining and eliminating problems that hold entrepreneurs back, especially women and people of color. The research, training, and content we produce for corporations, government agencies, and foundations brands them as helping to break the entrepreneurial glass ceiling for women and minority entrepreneurs. These opportunities generate thought-leadership, visibility, sales, and brand loyalty. She is a WE NYC mentor and advisory council member of Aleria Research, and Sprial5 and former board member for the New York City Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. In 2015 she won the Madam C.J Walker Business Leadership Award from the National Minority Business Council.
Kara Weber, Founder and Partner of Brilliant Ventures
Kara will be on our panel of investors. She is the founder/partner of Brilliant Ventures, which caters to women-owned businesses. Kara’s first investment on the venture side was in 1999, her first experience as an LP. Since then, she’s gone on to lead investments in Happy Returns, CameraIQ, Cognitiv, RevCascade for Brilliant Ventures. She’s a frequent speaker – most recently for 500Startups & TechStars – on the topic of startup launching & fundraising, marketing tech, and women in tech & venture. She serves as a mentor at TechStars and MuckerLab.
A recovering serial tech/media entrepreneur and operator and a born marketer, Kara was a founder and/or leader of breakthrough marketing tech companies, including Adap.tv (acq’d AOL) and Rubicon Project ($RUBI), and before that, mobile/social pioneers Mogopop, Talking Panda, Streetmail (now Everyday Health), and Tripod (acq’d $LCOS). Through her operating and investing careers, she’s found nothing as compelling as working with brilliant entrepreneurs and amazing companies