Chris Gardner - Keynote Speaker
The amazing story of Gardner’s life was published as an autobiography, The Pursuit of Happyness, (Amistad/Harper Collins) in May 2006, and became a New York Times and Washington Post #1 bestseller. In paperback, the book spent over twenty weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into fourteen languages. Gardner was also the inspiration for the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness,” released by Columbia Pictures in December 2006. The movie is the #2 all-time domestic grossing drama. Will Smith starred as Gardner and received Academy Award, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations for his performance. Gardner was an associate producer on the film.
Joe Calhoon, CSP
Business Strategist / Author / Keynote Speaker
Client success hasn’t come by sitting and listening to a canned presentation. As a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), designated through the National Speakers Association, I teach the principles of leadership effectiveness and organizational performance with an entertaining, educational and motivational approach.
I’ve brought my message to four continents and continue to refine our proven process through each client experience. As the most requested and highest rated keynote speaker with the Covey Leadership Center, I know the importance of synergy, communication, and effectiveness. I bring these to every client interaction. In addition to helping start more than 20 new business ventures, I have co-authored two breakthrough books, Prioritize! and On the Same Page, I’m eager to share this knowledge with you.
Elizabeth Alex - Anchor NBC Action News
Join award winning Elizabeth Alex, anchor for NBC Action News Channel 41 for an enlightening seminar on how to make changes work for, instead of against you.
The media landscape has changed immensely and companies need to approach media coverage more strategically. It's not just cable TV and traditional networks that businesses can utilize. Camera-toting bloggers and even conference-goers armed with flip video cameras are posting reports on the fly.
That means it's more important than ever to know:
- How to pitch outlets
- How to connect with the journalists you want to know
- How to structure your message
- How to look and sound good on camera
There is a real art to giving relevance to your company and your brand by pegging products and services and even company identity to current events and trends.
Elizabeth Alex has a unique perspective. She has worked both sides as a television journalist, a dedicated humanitarian, and advisor and sought after public speaker for service groups and non-profits.
Elizabeth has earned many journalism awards during the course of her career. They include awards for all around reporting, feature, investigative, health and 4 regional Emmys. Her honors include work on a six month project into pollution at a former oil refinery in Sugar Creek, as well as in-depth stories on drinking and driving, doctors accused of malpractice, and the death penalty.
Elizabeth has been named "Best Newscaster" by various publications. She has also been honored by the National Kidney Foundation and received a Humanitarian Award from Medical Missions Foundation, received the Sullivan Award from The Diocese of Kansas City, St. Joseph.
Elizabeth spends much of her time involved with humanitarian causes around the world.
She is on the board of directors as Vice-President of Public Relations for Medical Missions Foundation, She is Vice President of New York Based United Aid Foundation, she personally sponsors and advocates for the health of a little girl from The Gaza Strip with serious medical needs. Elizabeth sponsors an orphanage in Romania, and a school dedicated to bringing peace through education in Pakistan.
Elizabeth is also an enthusiastic supporter of Operation Breakthrough Center for children in Kansas City, Heart to Heart, International Elizabeth is also a member of the Olathe, Kansas Rotary Club.
Bill Bates - President, Bates Public Affairs Consulting
Today, Bill’s startup venture – Bates Public Affairs Consulting – undertakes legislative research, lobbying, political action committee management and communications support (including voiceover). Bill is affiliated with Evans Capitol Group for Washington DC projects and Exposures Talent Agency for voice work. Recently, Bill helped a technology company evaluate federal grant and business opportunities under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“stimulus bill”) and contributed to the development of a business strategy to participate in stimulus incentives earmarked for healthcare. Other recent consulting assignments include:
• Positioning a regional Federal Home Loan Bank for financial services reform;
• Facilitating public outreach and grassroots mobilization for a health insurance trade group confronting healthcare reform;
• Developing a legislative strategy for a not-for-profit interested in forming a parochial tax district;
• Voicing the message system for a mobile communications firm and narrating the website of a private school
Bill graduated from Southern Methodist University earning a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. His law degree was conferred by the University of Missouri - Columbia. Bill has completed courses toward an MBA at Rockhurst University and is a graduate of the Kauffman FastTrac NewVenture Entrepreneur Program. Bill lives in Kansas City with his wife of nineteen years and three children.
Don Bayer - Partner - Stinson Morrison Hecker
Joe Close - Regional President, Country Club Bank
Joe Close focuses his expertise on helping entrepreneurs obtain commercial real estate loans to support and expand their businesses. With 22 years of banking experience, he has been with Country Club Bank since 2002 and currently is a regional president serving metropolitan Kansas City. Joe is a member and past president of the Northeast Industrial Association, and serves on the Downtown Council Housing Task Force. Since 2008 he has been serving on both the Kansas City Water Services Funding Task Force and the Kansas City Bond Funding Advisory Committee. He also volunteers on the Newhouse finance committee, and serves on the board of directors of the Downtowners civic group and the Kansas City Sports Commission. Joe earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri and an MBA from Missouri State University.
Steve Cosentino - Partner - Stinson Morrison Hecker
Pat Doherty - President, Mariner Private Equity LLC
From 1993 through 2007, Mr. Doherty was employed by A.G. Edwards & Sons, most recently as Managing Director of the firms Mergers & Acquisitions Group and Group Head of the firm's Consumer and Industrial Investment Banking Group. Mr. Doherty received his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Chicago and his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Georgetown University. Mr. Doherty is a board member of Nexxus Lighting, Inc. (NASD: NEXS).
Mr. Doherty received his Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago and his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Georgetown University.
Marty Fahncke - President - FawnKey & Associates
Marty speaks to audiences across the country on topics related to internet marketing, social media, affiliate marketing, direct response television and more. Marty also shares his knowledge as an Advisory Board member and feature writer for Electronic Retailer magazine and Online Strategies magazine. Read more about Marty M. Fahncke at the blog "My Perspective", which can be found at http://www.MartyFahncke.com.
Tim Feathers - Partner - Stinson Morrison Hecker
Ginny Fiscella - Silver Director - Silpada Designs
Daren Fristoe - President - The Fristoe Group, Inc.
Prior to forming TFG, Daren worked in the industries of collision repair franchising, e-commerce procurement, telecommunications, staffing, international manufacturing, and property and casualty insurance. Daren is also active in community service, serving as a Planning Commissioner for the City of Lee's Summit, member of Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council Executive Committee, and as a Co-Chairman for the Lee's Summit 360 Strategic Planning Committee (focusing on economic development strategies). In addition, Daren is a member of Rotary International, the Lee's Summit Chamber of Commerce, and the Advisory Board of Directors for Hope House. Daren received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Missouri - Columbia and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University Of Tulsa College Of Law.
Martin Frost - Shareholder - Polsinelli Shughart
Jo Anne Gabbert - President - Bicknell Family Holding Company (BFHC)
Upon graduation at Central Missouri State University, Jo Anne Gabbert started her career with Southwestern Bell as an analyst. After nine years with Southwestern Bell, Jo Anne moved back to Kansas City and joined Ernst and Young’s Management and Consulting group. At Ernst and Young she spent most of her time consulting Fortune 500 Companies with process improvement and customer operational excellence projects.
In 1999, Jo Anne left Ernst and Young and founded her own management consulting company, Adams-Gabbert & Associates, Inc. In the 9 years that Jo Anne owned Adams-Gabbert, Jo Anne and the company were recognized with several awards. Jo Anne was personally recognized with the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2001, 2002 and 2003 as well the Women Who Mean Business Award. In 2003, Adams-Gabbert was named one of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Top 10 Small Businesses and the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year. In 2005, Adams-Gabbert was honored as a “Top 25 Under 25” Company by Small Business Monthly. Along with these prestigious awards, Adams-Gabbert has several awards for being a top Small, Women and Diversity Owned Business.
Steve Gardner - CEO - Five Star Speakers & Trainers
Steve is the CEO of FIVE STAR Speakers & Trainers. In the past 21 years, his company has worked with thousands of organizations around the country including more than 50% of the Fortune 500, hundreds of the largest national and state associations, governmental agencies, and non-profit organizations.
FIVE STAR has worked with the biggest celebrity names in the business including Bill Cosby, Goldie Hawn, Geena Davis, Jennifer Hudson, Mike Krzyzewski, Mike Ditka, Don Shula, and hundreds of other athletes, celebrities and entertainers. Additionally, they have worked with literally hundreds of business speakers on the top subjects of the day including leadership, sales & marketing issues, future trends, politics, economics, and nearly any other subject you can imagine.
Steve has also coached dozens of the top speakers, corporate executives, athletes and celebrities in the business on the subject of personal branding, marketplace positioning, presentation skills and product development.
Terry Gehrke - CEO - Gehrke Group
Terry Gehrke is an author, educator, CEO and founder of the Gehrke Group; an internet e-commerce consulting service based in Denver, CO. He is the host of eBiz-Radio .com and is a certified eBay Instructor and one of only 29 eBay Business Consultant in the country. He has over 30 years experience in sales, marketing, SEO, and web design.
George E. Hansen, III - Director of TGP Investments
A graduate of the University of Maine he also holds a certificate in Management from Columbia University. Hansen has served on a number of charitable boards and currently sits on the Board of Advisors to the Business School at the University of Kansas, where he regularly lectures on strategy.
John Hense Jr. – Managing Director - CC Capital Advisors
Chad Herman - Founder & CEO - Offer Strategy
Notable clients being served by Offer Strategy include: My Fashion Database, Ziff Davis Enterprise, 4baby, Smaktones and Punch Software, in addition to several top CPA networks including: ROI Rocket, Media Trust and Click Speed, to name a few. Currently, Offer Strategy is the Agency of Record , and responsible for, Social Media for My Fashion Database and 4baby.
Prior to starting Offer Strategy, Mr. Herman held multiple management positions with Inuvo (formerly Think Partnership), a leader in performance marketing, in sales and business development on the following brands: SecondBite, AdExchange, iLead and BabytoBee. During his time with Inuvo, Mr. Herman managed marketing campaigns for companies such as FTD, Zales, Hickory Farms and a number of fortune 1000 companies.
Mr. Herman was a regular speaker to leading Affiliate Networks and was published on two occasions in Marketing Sherpa and Practical eCommerce. Mr. Herman graduated from the University of Missouri and resides in Kansas City with his wife and family.
Jené Popper Hong - Principal - Business Transition Specialist, LLC
Kenny Hulshof - Shareholder - Polsinelli Shughart
Former Congressman Kenny Hulshof has established a strong national reputation as a leader with integrity. For 12 years (1997-2009) he served with distinction in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Missouri’s Ninth Congressional District.
Hulshof has championed legislation reflective of his diverse district: Education savings accounts; biofuels incentives; telemedicine and health IT initiatives. He rose to national prominence when he co-authored the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Act. The bill, signed into law by President Bill Clinton, helps individuals with disabilities lead independent, productive lives.
Hulshof was appointed by former-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to the powerful Ways and Means Committee. Hulshof served on this prestigious committee during his entire congressional tenure and was a member of the Health and Trade subcommittees. He also served with distinction on the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct and the Budget Committee.
Prior to his congressional career, Hulshof served as a special prosecutor in the Office of Missouri Attorney General, prosecuting some of Missouri’s most high-profile death penalty cases. He also held previous positions as an assistant public defender and assistant prosecuting attorney for Cape Girardeau County, Missouri. Certified as a Specialist Instructor in Criminal Law, Hulshof frequently lectured at law enforcement conferences and seminars throughout the Midwest.
Most recently, Hulshof was the republican nominee in the 2008 race for Missouri Governor and he continues to be in demand for speaking engagements on the topics of a national energy policy, tax reform, health care, and agriculture.
Zach Hurst - Director - Nexboom Universe, INC
Matt Kirk - Co-founder/CEO - Clickspeed
Matt is also co-founder and CEO of ClearVox. ClearVox is a mid-sized professional contact center designed for businesses wanting to increase revenue, lower costs, and enhance their customer relationships either with complete functional outsource, call overflow or disaster recovery.
In 2004 Matt co-founded and was CEO of Centrinex, a 200 seat call center servicing the sub-prime financial services industry. During his time with Centrinex, Matt led the company through rapid growth taking it from 5 employees to 150 in less than 3 years. Recognized by Ingram’s Magazine as the second fastest growing company in Kansas City in 2008, Matt and his partner sold the company and opened ClearVox.
As a habitual entrepreneur, Matt has been involved with multiple start-ups since 1991. Matt holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Friends University.
Jonathan Klem - Vice President, Financial Center Manager, - Country Club Bank
Jonathan Klem builds relationships with new and established businesses from the first time they walk in the door to ensure they have the right contracts, agreements and other documentation in place. He joined Country Club Bank in 2008 as a vice president for the Plaza and Southwest Trafficway locations in Kansas City. Jonathan began his banking career in 1992 as a teller with AnchorBank, FSB in Madison, Wis. He participated in the management-training program at Bank One in Chicago in 2000, and was a branch manager with U.S. Bank in Kansas City between 2002 and 2007. He earned a bachelor’s degree plus a juris doctorate, both from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Greg Kratofil - Shareholder - Polsinelli Shugart
Mr. Kratofil's experience includes complex technology and commercial contracting transactions, technology and software-based mergers and acquisitions, as well as compliance with GLB, HIPAA, state privacy breach notification laws and other privacy directives.
Drawing on his technology and business background, Kratofil takes on the role as general counsel for a number of the region’s new and developing technology businesses.
Laura Lake - Author, Teacher, Columnist, Consultant and Speaker
In 1998 she became the editor/guide for Internet Communications for The Mining Company, now known as About.com, a New York Times Company. In 2003 she advanced to editor/guide covering the topic of Marketing at About.com and still writes for them today.
She has helped companies in the development of their marketing plans, understand their consumers, create a brand identity, assist in public relations, help in the utilization of internet marketing, social media and more. Her specialty is the development and creation of successful campaigns and strategies that utilize the knowledge of consumer behavior and turns those potential consumers into lifelong customers that increase the bottom line of businesses all over the world. She knows that effective marketing raises bottom line revenues, lowers customer acquisition cost, increases customer retention and profitability.
Laura Lake got her marketing chops the old fashioned way. She earned them. Through years of experience in the marketing industry, Lake has helped thousands of business owners and marketing professionals with her down-to-earth writing, consulting and lectures. Her fresh perspective allows even small companies to benefit from marketing power without spending thousands of dollars.
Laura has been involved in the interactive and traditional marketing industry since the beginning of her marketing career and has seen e-commerce and social commerce evolve into a viable and lucrative industry. She brings a user-centered perspective to marketing that promotes mutual benefits for both advertisers and consumers. Marketing is her passion.
Laura’s Definition of Marketing:
“Marketing is the process of teaching consumers why they should choose your product or service over your competitors; if you are not doing that you are not marketing. It’s really that simple! The key is finding the right method and defining the right message to use to educate and influence your consumers.
Companies make the mistake of thinking that marketing is just “one” thing, but marketing is everything that the consumer encounters when it comes to your business, from advertising, to what they hear, to the customer service that they receive, to the follow-up care that you provide. It’s all marketing and creating the decision within the consumer whether or not to choose you initially or for repeat business.”
- Laura Lake
She lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her cat Martini. When not working you’ll find Laura driving fast in her BMW Z4 with the top down to relieve stress, strolling through an art gallery, covered in sweat in spinning class, or just sitting on the deck enjoying the view of the lake and a nice glass of wine. She enjoys being the marketing columnist for About.com and consulting with businesses on how to market and integrate social commerce into their marketing plan.
Seth Meinzen - Co-Founder & COO - StartKC
Seth Meinzen is a passionate entrepreneur committed to supporting entrepreneurs and startups locally through events like startFEST and Just for Starters, business development & startup seminars, a pathway to guide ideas through startup called StartPATHS, and through online communities on Linkedin called Start Kansas City. Seth began his first entrepreneurial venture 5 years ago, straight out of college, and has started several more ventures since. Seth is currently a partner at Core Advocates, which provides training to small business owners and professional on how to increase business by activating their reputation, resources, and relationships. Seth has recently unveiled his latest startup called StartKC.com, which offers a "Virtual Conference" platform to deliver over 20+ online presentations from local entrepreneurs, executives, and business owners discussing how to grow YOUR business in Kansas City.
Moira Mulhern - PhD Co-Founder/CEO - Turning Point
With a PhD in Community Health Psychology, Moira has devoted 20 years to providing support, awareness, and education for people with cancer and other serious or chronic illnesses. She has extensive experience designing and implementing stress management, support and training programs for local hospitals and companies. She is a sought-after lecturer on issues related to the management of stress, resilience and chronic illness.
Turning Point History
Officially established as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization on March 21, 2001, Turning Point's genesis began more than a decade earlier with the work of Dr. Moira Mulhern. Recognizing that families facing a diagnosis of a serious or chronic physical illness were challenged with long and often fruitless searches for complementary therapies, support networks, assistance in assembling and working with a health care team, Dr. Mulhern had a vision to create a gathering place which would serve as a community resource for hope and healing. Partnered with the creativity of Liz Paugoulatos in designing children's services, as well as a dynamic Founding Board of Directors and the expertise of a respected Medical Advisory Board, Turning Point: The Center for Hope and Healing has become a reality.
Following an eight year career in business, Dr. Mulhern earned a doctorate degree in Community Psychology. For more than eighteen years, Moira has devoted her energies to providing support, awareness, and education for people with cancer and other serious or chronic illnesses. She has extensive experience designing and implementing stress management, support and training programs for local hospitals and companies. She is a sought-after lecturer on issues related to the management of stress, resilience, and how to use your mind to maximize your potential. She co-founded and is currently CEO of Turning Point: The center for hope and healing located in Shawnee Mission, KS. This non-profit organization, now in its seventh year of operations provides vital support to people in our community who are dealing with serious medical challenges. In addition to her work with individuals and their families living with illness, Dr. Mulhern has been providing educational programming
Joellen C. Ostrander - Senior Vice President, Treasury Management - Country Club Bank
Joellen C. Ostrander, CTP (Certified Treasury Professional) has extensive expertise in treasury management products and services offered to banking customers. In 2007 she joined Country Club Bank as senior vice president of treasury services. She has more than 17 years of banking experience, including positions at UMB Bank and Boatmen’s First National Bank of Kansas City. Earlier in her career Joellen was vice president in the treasury services division of Commerce Bank in Kansas City. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.
Matt Salzman - Partner - Stinson Morrison Hecker
Randal L. Schultz - Share holder - Polsinelli Shugart
Health Care - From the beginning of his career, Mr. Schultz has represented large and small health care entities in all of their corporate structure, finance and governance needs. He works extensively with hospitals (private and governmental), and physician groups, as well as other forprofit and not-for-profit entities on their contract matters, employee benefit issues, compensation planning issues, and insurance program structure and development.
Insurance Law - Mr. Schultz assists insurance companies with the design and implementation of insurance programs for national and local employers, insurers and reinsurers. His benefits/insurance practice involves working with self insured and fully insured employee benefit and property and casualty programs including insurance brokerage agreements, excess and reinsurance structures, off shore captive insurance companies, and the relationship between the programs, the insurers and the regulators. Mr. Schultz represents associations with the design of self-insured health benefit and property and casualty liability programs as well as working with implementing HMO and PPO arrangements. He assists with both public and private self-insured entities and has worked extensively with insurance regulators in various states and foreign countries.
Corporate Compliance - Mr. Schultz also helps small and large companies protect their usinesses by providing custom risk assessment analysis and compliance program management.
Kevin Sweeney - Share holder - Polsinelli Shugart
Mr. Sweeney uses his broad contacts in the national scientific, academic, business and financial communities to assist companies, universities, and other scientific organizations in achieving their business and financial goals. His understanding and appreciation of the scientific and humanitarian mission of these entities was fostered by early work for entities such as Marion Laboratories, BioTechnica International, and AVAX Technologies and continues with numerous emerging, growth, and established entities that advance human health, animal health, plant science, "green" and industrial technologies, and biosafety and homeland security sciences, as well as computer and software technologies. One of most exciting endeavors of Mr. Sweeney’s career was the opportunity to work with Nobel Laureate Dr. Sydney Brenner to co-found the Molecular Sciences Institute in Berkeley, California, as one of the leading multidisciplinary basic scientific institutes focused on predictive biology.
In leading complex securities, venture capital, private equity and M&A transactions, Mr. Sweeney coordinates and integrates the efforts of investment and commercial bankers, accountants and other experts. For example:
- Mr. Sweeney leads IPO’s and secondary public offerings of debt and equity securities, private securities placements, “PIPE” securities placement transactions, venture capital investments, and merchant banking transactions, as well as senior secured bank debt facilities and subordinated debt instruments.
- He has implemented complex cross-border, tax-enhanced financial transactions. - He handles leveraged buyouts, hostile takeovers and defenses, restructurings, strategic and financially driven transactions, “platform” and “add-on” private equity investments and acquisitions and divestitures of both public and private companies and divisions and business units.
- He has formed and unwound complex joint ventures and other strategic business relationships and has assisted clients in executing industry roll-up and consolidation strategies.
- He has run auctions of public companies and other structured acquisitions.
Mr. Sweeney often lectures on various aspects of corporate finance and merger and acquisition transactional matters and has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law, teaching courses in“Mergers and Acquisitions.”
With extensive experience in the boardroom, Mr. Sweeney has served as a key advisor to the Board of Directors of numerous public and private companies, advising them on corporate, finance, fiduciary and SEC issues. He has represented Independent Committees in related-party transactions and investigations of alleged management improprieties and he advises Audit Committees, Compensation Committees, and Finance Committees of Boards of Directors.
Mr. Sweeney also represents a number of collegiate sports organizations, handling the negotiation of their television and sponsorship contracts and other financial arrangements, and assisting them in corporate and other business matters.
C. Tyler Prochnow - Senior Partner at Think Big Partners
Tyler is a founding member of Think Big Partners and an active entrepreneur/investor with significant and varied business interests. As President and CEO of Premier Customer Solutions, he runs one of the nation’s largest direct marketing service companies, providing data management, data consulting, and call center and e-commerce services for domestic and international marketers. He is also President and Managing Member of ACS Properties, LLC where he manages the company’s varied business ventures, including its interest in Q Masters BBQ, Grade Genie.com and multiple real estate projects nationwide. Until 2007, Prochnow was the principal owner and President of the Kansas City Brigade (Arena Football League) and still serves as the Managing Partner of KC Arena Sports & Entertainment (“KCASE”).
Tyler’s professional career has included working on various political campaigns around the country with a short stint in the White House. In addition to his work on the national level, Mr. Prochnow also served as an assistant with the Appropriations Committee of the Colorado House of Representatives.
In 1995 began a successful law practice with Patton Boggs, LP in Denver. In 1997, he moved to Kansas City as an associate with the Lathrop & Gage law firm. Specializing in marketing and advertising law, Mr. Prochnow has been called to testify as an expert before congressional committees, federal agencies, state legislatures and in private litigation. Mr. Prochnow was also a frequent lecturer to national groups on marketing issues and a guest columnist for several trade publications.
In 2003, Prochnow left the practice of law and founded Golden Peak Sports, a full service sports representation agency that counts among its clients such notable athletes as Deion Sanders, Amy Van Dyken, Aly Wagner and Ed McCaffrey. Prochnow still serves as President of Golden Peak and is actively involved in managing the careers of the firm’s clients.
Tony Rock - Kansas Venture Capital, Inc.
Tony is an experienced executive and advisor for emerging growth and distressed companies. He has extensive financial, operational and technology consulting experience in serving nearly 100 operating units in various capacities, including the development of over 20 new business ventures. His professional background also includes senior consulting, planning and corporate development roles with BKD, Olsten Corporation and Andersen Consulting.
Tony is also a strategy advisor with KTM China Advisors, a provider of trade and investment support services for cross-border transactions between the U.S. and China. He has extensive experience in government relations, entity formation and due diligence activities in China. He is currently conducting seminal research on private equity, innovation and entrepreneurship in China through the University of Kansas.
Tony currently serves as a board member on a number of operating companies, the Kansas City chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth and the Sunflower House, a child abuse prevention center serving Wyandotte and Johnson Counties in Kansas. He also serves as a co-instructor on venture capital finance for UMKC’s Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Tony holds a BA in Economics from the University of Kansas and an MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management. In addition, Tony is a CFA charterholder.
Herb Sih - Managing Partner at Think Big Partners
Herb Sih currently serves as Managing Partner and is one of the founders of Think Big Partners. Think Big Partners (TBP) specializes in incubating, accelerating and maximizing business ideas, opportunities and entrepreneurs.
Prior to starting Think Big Partners, Herb was a Senior Vice President for Wachovia Securities (formerly A.G. Edwards & Sons), working with corporations, institutions and high net worth individuals. He also worked for Merrill Lynch early in his financial services career in the Kansas City market. Today, he still maintains a presence in the investment community, primarily through his role in private equity.
As an active entrepreneur, Herb has started numerous companies and assisted in the early stages in many others. These companies range from interactive marketing agencies, call centers, software companies, numerous internet / online businesses, consumer retail, consulting companies, database marketing organizations and more. Several of these companies have appeared in publications such as Inc. (Inc. 500 list), Entrepreneur, Ingram’s (Top 10 Fastest Growing Companies in Kansas City list), Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year competition, numerous newspapers, trade journals, online publications and more.
Herb has been actively involved in the internet business arena since 1998, and was formerly VP Sales for eScout. Prior to his business career, he was a helicopter pilot and officer in the military.
Herb attended the University of Kansas and holds a Bachelor of Science degree. Herb is a member of the National Business Incubator Association, National Veteran Owned Business Association and several other professional associations. Having served on different charitable boards, Herb is an active member in the Kansas City community.
Cary Silverman - Founder - Pub-Corn
Upon selling his second business, Cary had time to go to the movies. It was there that his next idea started to brew. When he saw some college kids sneaking in alcohol, he watched them drink while they munched their popcorn, Cary was ready to belly up to the bar.
He started by soaking the kernels in alcohol. He tried everything, even injecting the kernels with a syringe. Ultimately he developed the authentic (non‐alcoholic) beer and cocktail flavors into a light coating which he applies to each fluffy kernel.
Pub‐Corn wasn’t an immediate hit, but still Cary persevered. In January 2009, he launched www.Pub‐Corn.com and the buzz of the first beer and cocktail‐flavored popcorn began to spread like a bar brawl, across the Internet. In just its first month, Pub‐Corn received as many as 5‐10 orders an hour during peak times.
Pub‐Corn isn’t Cary’s only business venture. He also started a number of Internet businesses from a social media network to GradeGenie.com, a site for students to share class notes. Based on his track record, Pub‐Corn likely won’t be last call, either.
Cary will graduate in December 2009 with a business degree from the University of Missouri – Columbia. He was raised in the Kansas City area, where he attended Rockhurst High School.
Jeff Teeven - Partner at Consumer Growth Partners
Previously, Mr. Teeven spent five years as a senior consultant with KPMG in the Corporate Transaction Services Group. In this role, he focused on multiple buy-side and sell-side engagements for his clients with a focus on valuation and transaction structuring.
Mr. Teeven earned a BS in Finance from the Boston College Carroll School of Management. He also earned an MBA from the University Of Chicago Graduate School Of Business with a concentration in Corporate Strategy and Marketing Management.
Dan Weaver – Founder - Weaver & Martin
Weaver & Martin provides tax and attestation services for publicly traded and closely held companies. Industries served are oil & gas, manufacturing, construction and distribution. Dan and other firm members have also served as an expert witness and as a friend of the court.
Prior to the inception of Weaver & Martin, Dan was a partner in the audit department of John Meara & Company for six years and a supervisor in the audit department of Ernst & Young for five years.
Robin Wells - Senior Vice President - Country Club Bank
Robin Wells uses her quarter century of experience in banking to help entrepreneurs obtain government-backed loans through the SBA. She also introduces her clients to new banking services, such as remote capture of deposits that help companies improve their cash flow. Robin joined Country Club Bank in 1996 and is currently a senior vice president focusing on commercial and SBA lending. Robin is also active in the community, serving on the board of directors of the Academy of Finance and First Step Fund, and Heartland Business Capital. She is a graduate of Longview Community College in Lee’s Summit, Mo.
Vicki Westerhaus - Partner - Stinson Morrison Hecker