Founder & CEO of the Empowerment Plan
Entrepalooza 2017 kicks off with a keynote address from Veronika Scott, Founder & CEO of the Empowerment Plan.
Veronika Scott has built an entrepreneurial organization that began around a single idea: to design a coat specifically for the homeless. The coat is self-heated, waterproof, and transforms into a sleeping bag at night. That idea has now transformed into a system of empowerment in which homeless women are paid to learn how to produce coats for people living on the streets, giving them an opportunity to earn money, find a place to live, and gain back their independence for themselves and their families. For her extraordinary efforts, Veronika was named a “CNN Hero” by the network in 2016.
William CraneFounder & CEO of IndustryStar Solutions
William Crane is the Founder & CEO of IndustryStar Solutions, which provides technology companies with Supply Chain as a Service powered by their Supply Performance System cloud software. He is an experienced entrepreneur and executive in supply chain with demonstrated results launching and enhancing procurement, logistics, supplier quality, and manufacturing operations for startups and established companies, globally. William has held senior positions and managed for Stage 2 Innovations and Bright Automotive, and consulted for Grant Thornton, Ford, Daimler Chrysler, GM, Mahindra, ThermoFisher, Tesla, KARMA, Proterra, Visteon, Mopar, TREMEC, Lear, Multimatic, Dura, and JAC Products. He is an MBA in-progress at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and has his BBA in Integrated Supply Chain Management from Western Michigan University’s Haworth College of Business. He holds APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional and ISM Certified Professional in Supply Management certifications. William brings unique perspective having worked at every stage within the supply chain.
Anna Farr Program Manager, Grand Circus Coding Bootcamps Anna graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Her background consists of non-profit work where she focused on community outreach and with the House of Representatives, at both the State and Federal level. While she loved this work, she yearned for an innovative and collaborative environment that would encourage her to tap into the passion of making a real and lasting impact in her community. Anna is now a Program Manager at Grand Circus Coding Bootcamps. Grand Circus is a learning institute in the heart of Detroit that exposes individuals to software development through coding bootcamps with a mission to diversify the tech industry and make a career in tech accessible for all.
Megha Krishnan, Marketing and Communications Manager, Innovate Blue
Megha has been a freelance multidisciplinary graphic designer and editor with a clientele that includes Wayne State University, 826Michigan, Ridgeway Press, First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare (Detroit), The Ann Arbor Art Center and many more. As the former editor-in-chief of the Wayne Literary Review, she was not only responsible for the art direction and design of the WLR from cover to completion, but also greatly expanded its reach from a magazine highlighting literary work from a minimal subsection of WSU’s student population, to a magazine showcasing a variety of diverse and urgent voices from a national and international pool spanning several genres. Megha’s work has always been in that Venn-diagram space between an inordinate lifelong love of storytelling, along with a need for a compelling visual aesthetic, and she has been circling around that particular space for the better part of the last few years. In her spare time, she obsesses over beautiful typography and writes slipstream fiction with her stories appearing (or forthcoming) in Gone Lawn, Paper Darts and other literary magazines.
Bill Mayer, Vice President, Entrepreneurial Services. Ann Arbor SPARK Bill Mayer has founded and exited multiple start-ups in the technology and finance sectors. His areas of expertise are in finance, securities and quantitative analysis. He has founded and worked with numerous businesses covering a broad range of industry sectors, ranging from start-up ventures through Fortune 500 companies. Client engagements have covered a broad range of services including market strategy, portfolio structure, and the IPO process. Bill has managed over $125 million in client assets. Areas of specialty are financial modeling, pricing strategies, the process of private and public equity securitization, management of business assets, and fundraising. He has extensive experience in creating financial models, business valuations, and capitalization tables, as well as navigating advanced business tax issues and the complex issues surrounding securitization. This allows Bill to effectively position clients from an investor’s viewpoint in order to maximize a venture’s ability to receive funding. Bill has held multiple securities broker licenses for over ten years.
Michael S. Melfi, Member, Bodman, Ann Arbor office Michael S. Melfi, J.D., MBA, is an attorney who represents emerging companies and established businesses in a wide array of technology and corporate matters. He has extensive experience mentoring, counseling, and securing funding for entrepreneurs, inventors, startups, and small businesses and their disruptive technologies. Michael was the founder, COO, and general counsel of a multimedia company where he led cutting-edge experiential and digital marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 clients and helped national, industry-leading products and brands monetize and grow their web-based businesses. Michael’s passion is guiding and supporting emerging companies and entrepreneurs. To support these communities, he founded Be Investable, an online curriculum for entrepreneurs that provides the tools that help build a successful team, develop strategies for raising capital and produce results. In addition to writing articles about startups, leadership, and business, Michael has also authored four books aimed to help entrepreneurs gain a better understanding of often seemingly complex areas: The Simple Secrets of Social Media, The Simple Secrets of Intellectual Property, The Simple Secrets of Crowdfunding, and The Simple Secrets of Being an Entrepreneur. He can frequently be found touring the country, giving talks and presentations on startups, crowdfunding, and entrepreneurship, as well as interviewing business leaders and entrepreneurs for his weekly podcast, The Trep Talk.
Joseph R. Morrison, Jr., Senior Associate, Bodman Ann Arbor office Joe focuses on representing startup companies and the venture capital firms that invest in them. He has experience in a wide range of matters from formation to financing to general operational concerns related to contract matters and employment issues. He also represents clients in intellectual property matters including brand protection and technology licensing. Before joining Bodman, Mr. Morrison served as corporate counsel and consulting manager to an IT startup based in Ann Arbor, where he helped scale the company to 50+ employees and $3 million in revenue. Joe is active in both the Ann Arbor and Detroit startup scenes as a member of the Board of the New Enterprise Forum and as a frequent guest lecturer. Joe was previously an associate in the Private Equity & Venture Capital practice of another large Michigan-based law firm.
James Wilson, Marketing Specialist, Academic Programs, UM Center for Entrepreneurship Prior to joining the Center for Entrepreneurship, James served as a social media content specialist for UM’s central social media department and UM’s in-house marketing agency, Michigan Creative. Throughout his time at CMU, he served as the social media manager for Central Michigan Life – CMU’s nationally accompanied collegiate media company – and developed a student-run social media firm that is now integrated into the university’s integrative public relations program. James has demonstrated a breadth of marketing & communications experience, working with a range of clients in the fields of higher education, small business, and nonprofit. James earned his BAA in integrative public relations at Central Michigan University with an emphasis in graphic design. In his free time, you can find James traveling the world one Geofilter at a time.