Speakers

 Ja’Net Adams, Debt Sucks University janetadams1

Ja’Net (Ja-Nay) Adams is an International speaker, author, and the CEO of EMACK Consulting, but when she was in college she let money rule her life.

She graduated from South Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. A short time after graduation she found herself in nearly $50,000 of debt! She dug out of the debt in two years by following the principles that she now speaks about to audiences all around the country as a professional motivational speaker. She speaks around the country to various universities and corporations about Financial Literacy. She recently released her second book “Debt Sucks! Everyone’s Guide To Winning With Money So They Can Live Their Dreams!” Her first book was “Debt Sucks! A College Student’s Guide To Winning With Money So They Can Live Their Dreams!” and her advice has been featured on Forbes, BBC, CNBC, Huffington Post, Black Enterprise Magazine, Fox Business, JET Magazine, BizWomenJournal.com, LearnVest.com, USA Today, USA Today College, and NPR’s Marketplace Money.

Website | Facebook |

 


Joel Bennett

Joel knows startups.

He is a product/industrial designer, inventor and creative graphic designer and entrepreneur who combines Lean Startup methodology with marketing strategy and Design Thinking to build products, companies and innovative platforms that result in commercialization.

Joel leads the Triad Startup Lab business accelerator and Greensboro’s suite of Entrepreneurial Connection programs with an emphasis on community engagement and brand development. He also consults on planning, product design and marketing strategy and deployment.  Joel studied industrial design at the Columbus College of Art and Design and Pratt Institute.”

Portfolio:  http://joelbennettus.prosite.com/


Lou Anne Flanders-Stec, VP of Entrepreneurship

 As the VP of Entrepreneurship at The Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, Lou Anne Flanders-Stec, has the pleasure of working with entrepreneurs every day. Prior to returning to Greensboro, Lou Anne was the Executive Director at City University of New York’s (CUNY) Center for Student Entrepreneurship (CSE), a CUNY-wide student initiative to increase entrepreneurship across all university campuses, and Professor of Entrepreneurship, working to develop a student only incubator/accelerator. As the founding Director of the Entrepreneurship Center and Associate Professor at High Point University, Lou Anne developed and managed entrepreneurship programs, built community relationships, and developed and taught the entrepreneurship courses.

Her entrepreneurial experience comes from working with many early stage companies – either as an employee or consultant, including Fund Executive for the Piedmont Angel Network and as CFO/Strategy officer for two privately funded companies.

Lou Anne holds an MBA in Finance from the University of North Texas and an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Ouachita Baptist University. She has served on the boards of several community organizations including: Angel Capital Association, Greensboro Children’s Museum, Eastern Music Festival, and Spring Garden Community Church. Lou Anne was recognized as one of the Top Women in Business in the Triad in 2013 and was named one of the Piedmont Triad’s 50 Most Influential People for two years.

Her passions include reading, college basketball, as a spectator (but especially UNC basketball), and wine tasting and collecting.


Pat B. Freeman, Certified Speaker

 I’ve spent more than 20 years in the field of education, with 18 years in leadership and management. As an author, educator, Certified Program Planner (CPP, LERN), certified speaker/trainer/personal coach (John Maxwell Team), radio host, serial entrepreneur, and Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt, I can offer you workshops, seminars, keynote speaking, and coaching to aid in your personal and professional growth. Working together, I will move you and your team or organization in the desired direction to reach your goals. I am also the Greensboro Chapter President of NAPW, the National Association of Professional Women — over 700,000 members nationwide.

My life-purpose to help others excel and live successful and fulfilled lives led me to join the John Maxwell team. I realize that all of my successes in life (as an administrator in Adult Literacy Education, having worked as an Independent Educational Consultant and Trainer, being a serial home-business owner, etc.), evolved out of planting seeds of hope in others. Also, the experience to raising my two sons taught me the value of helping people develop so they can reach their potential.

My goal-oriented sessions will “lift you up” so that you are infused with enthusiasm, innovation, and passion. Through my use of proven leadership principles and methods, you will be enriched with transformational insight and be equipped to operate at the top of your game!


 Jennifer Hance, Director, City Arts

City Arts was founded in 1970 as part of the leisure services provided by the Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department. Classes and showcase opportunities are offered in visual and performing arts for people of all ages. From pottery classes to cultural festivals, from tap dance classes to musical theater performances, and from art camps to orchestras, there is a place for you to Listen, Learn and Perform!

City Arts offers year-round programs in dance, drama, music and the visual arts.


Bill Johnson, Life Design Catalyst Coach

Bill Johnson is a Student Success Navigator, Life Design Catalyst Coach, and Instructor in the School of Health and Human Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  His work is geared towards helping others optimize their lives and create the best version of themselves, through reflection, connection, creativity, and play.  In addition, he facilitates the Life Design Catalyst Coach Training Program, a train-the-trainer program for students, faculty, and staff in higher education which incorporates purpose and vision as the foundation of academic and life success.  “The Dream Dean” writes a monthly blog (https://thedreamdean.wordpress.com/) and coordinates the nationally recognized Life Design Program.


 Willy Minnix, Minnix Music untitled-2

As a musician, artist, writer, sound man and minister, Willy Minnix has formed a unique perspective on life that has grown along with his chance to live all across America. His unique perspective on life is reflected in his works, and connects with people from all walks of life. His songs often offer a glimpse into other times and places, that carry the listener along to places they have never experienced, and sights they have never seen, often reflecting social commentary on modern life and culture. With roots in Blues, Pop, Rock and Gospel, and influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Howlin’ Wolf, Greg Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis, Beach Boys, The Beatles, Andre Crouch and the Disciples, Rev. Gary Davis and Jimi Hendrix, Willy creates a unique blend of all of these elements that has been labeled “Cornfield Blues,” and has some calling it “Rural Countryside: a signpost; a mile marker from Austin, Nashville and Abbey Road.”

Over the course of his career, he has had the pleasure of working with such people as Paul Shaffer from the Late Show with David Letterman, the actor Stanley Tucci, and bands such as Blues Traveler, Little Feat, Keb’ Mo’, and even members of the Grateful Dead.

As a writer he has seen his work published in the Christian Sci-Fi Journal, Forsyth Family Magazine, Forsyth Women’s Magazine, TakeLessons.com Blog, and has had several books published as well, most notably his “Mandolin: Dead Man’s Tuning” series of books. Recently he and his writing partner Greg Kemp, published their first novel “T.o.B.,” a political, sci-fi thriller.


Chisa Pennix-Brown, Lady Bizness

With over 15 years of experience in business coaching, community outreach, and social media insight, Chisa Pennix-Brown has transformed savoir faire and a long-time vision of helping her peers, into Lady Bizness, an organization committed to fostering healthy relationships, business opportunities, and providing events for Entrepreneurs in North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad community.

Her most recent accomplishment is becoming the author of The 90 Day Focus: Your Action Plan for Success, a book that helps to transform your mindset towards prioritization and goal setting to help you complete your passion project.

She can always be found Giving it to the People!


Erika Rauer,  Program Director-Community Arts Collaborative, UNCG

Erika Rauer is the Program Director of the Community Arts Collaborative at the College of Visual and Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In this capacity she develops the community-engaged work of the school and advances strategic partnerships between the school and community partners. Erika brings a depth of experience spanning performance, education and administration to UNCG. She served as the Director of Education at New York City Opera after acting as lead teaching artist on school programs, family programs, and curriculum development for many years. As Director of Education she produced several acclaimed children’s operas including Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland and Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha. She also recently served on the staff at the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall as the Manager of Elementary School Programs. A passionate advocate for arts education for many years, Erika worked with teachers and students in public schools across New York City as a teaching artist and instructor with the Dreamyard Project, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Highbridge Voices and Children’s Aid Society.

As an artist, Erika’s solo soprano credits include the title role of Salome at Oper Bremen in Bremen, Germany, Abigail Williams in The Crucible with Opera Boston, Donna Anna, Fiordiligi, and Vitellia with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Tanglewood Music Festival and Belinda in Dido and Aeneas with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, as well as performances with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Gotham Chamber Opera, and the Opera Company of North Carolina. Her concert highlights include a recital of Chinese yage at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Yale Philharmonia, Shostakovich’s 14th Symphony in Albany and performances of his vocal chamber repertoire at the Ravinia Festival. Ms. Rauer received her training as a member of the Young American Artist’s Program at Glimmerglass Opera, a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Festival for three seasons, and a Chamber Music Fellow at the Steans Institute at Ravinia. A native of Dover, Delaware, she holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Swarthmore College in religion and her Master’s Degree in voice from the Yale School of Music.


David Sar

Duke 1992. Yale Law School 1996.  Since starting at Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard in 1996 in Greensboro, NC, David has been counseling clients in nearly every area of intellectual property.  He handles disputes and business transactions involving trademarks, patents, copyrights, trade secrets and technology.  He litigates cases in state and federal courts, as well as before government agencies. He has handled the prosecution or maintenance of more than 3,000 trademark and copyright registrations, both within the United States and internationally.  Some of David’s present or past representations include:  contract, copyright and trademark work for advertising and marketing companies; litigating trade secret disputes about technology; trademark protection and litigation for designers/clothing companies; writing and negotiating software contracts; court disputes for biotech and genetics companies; counseling individuals and companies about IP issues, and more.
For more information on David and to see what services he specializes in visit his page at: http://www.brookspierce.com/our-people/attorneys/david-w-sar


Dori Staehle, Rock the Next Stage

A freak accident in 2011 triggered a rare disease and caused Dori Staehle to rethink her life and her purpose. She healed in a very unusual way: drumming. She then started her third business with $40, wrote a book called Find Your Divine Rhythm: A Creative’s Success Formula (which hit #1 on Amazon) and took her drums and her story on the road. She is known as “Dori the Drum Chick” and is a high-energy and engaging speaker.

Dori holds a BA in French and German, an MBA in finance, and has done graduate and post-graduate work in gifted education and gifted psychology. Dori also holds certificates in drum therapy and therapeutic drumming and is considered an expert in creativity, entrepreneurship, and ADHD. She has kept thousands of bright and creative kids and adults off of stimulants with her unique program and ground-breaking study.

She is the Founder & CEO of Rock the Next Stage, a full-service company for musicians, offering mentoring, booking, management, and more. Dori is also a percussionist and drum therapist. She plays in the rockin’ band at her church and wherever she can. Life’s short! Might as well rock!


 JustinStreuliJustin Streuli, Director of NCEC

Justin Streuli currently serves as Director of the North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He joins the NCEC after serving the UNCG community as Spartan Startup Living Learning Community Coordinator, Entrepreneurship Lecturer, General Manager of the Spartan Trader, Coleman Fellow, ECDP Academic Advisory Board Member, and Adviser for the UNCG Chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization.

Outside of UNCG, Justin served as Director of Business Development for Anomaly Squared, after the fast-growing marketing agency absorbed the web development firm he co-founded, OpenLedge. He is currently a partner in Dynamic Mail Management, a web-based mailroom management software firm commercializing an award winning technology developed at UNCG.

 


Aubrey Turner

Mr. Turner is a 1996 Biology graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, earned a Master’s in Genetic Counseling from the University of South Carolina in 2000, and completed his Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from Wake Forest University in 2016. His first job after college was as a technician in a parvovirus molecular genetics lab in the department of Comparative Medicine, at Wake Forest School of Medicine. At USC, his Master’s thesis focused on risk communication in genetic counseling clinics. After completing his M.S., he then worked as a genetic counselor in the Dept. of Medical Genetics at Wake Forest School of Medicine. His role as a genetic counselor gradually shifted to include coordination of several large research studies within the Wake Forest Center for Cancer Genomics. In his research career, he accumulated 49 peer reviewed publications and authored three book chapters, primarily on the topic of the genetics of prostate cancer. After a total of 15 years at Wake Forest, in 2014 Aubrey joined the Office of Sponsored Programs at UNC Greensboro, as a Proposal Development Officer, where he focuses on the development of large multidisciplinary proposals. Outside of work, Aubrey has three children, a lovely wife, and serves as a soccer coach and scout leader.


 Julene Valitutto

Julene-ValituttoJulene Valitutto is a sales professional and entrepreneur with 10 years experience in advertising sales and 15+ years in entrepreneurial marketing. She is a graduate of the UNC-G School of Music with a degree in Music Education, which provided important foundations for her continued enjoyment and life-long support of the arts. She has sat on the board of Greensboro Ballet and is an active member of the Greensboro Symphony Guild, whose work promotes music education in Greater Greensboro.

Her son Richard Valitutto (www.richardvalitutto.net) is a Grammy®-nominated pianist and composer based in Los Angeles. While closely observing her son’s career with the studied lens of a marketer, Julene has developed a unique understanding of the importance of a 21st-century artists’ brand creation and active self-marketing within their community and beyond.

Julene has an infectious sense of humor, and her presentation style is fun and relaxed. Attendees should look forward to a series of thought-provoking activities that prompt the creation of their personal brand (or vetting their current brand). They will leave with a better understanding of their brand as well as several marketing ideas to put their brand into practice right away.