founder and CEO of Spanx
Sara Blakely is the founder and CEO of SPANX, Inc. The dynamic women’s brand has revolutionized an industry and changed the way women around the world get dressed. Spanx is known for inventing smarter, more comfortable, must-haves for women including bras, leggings, activewear, undies, Arm Tights™, and of course their famous shapewear which creates the perfect, smooth canvas under clothes! Sara was selected as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the world and was featured on the cover of Forbes Magazine. In 2013, she signed the Giving Pledge to donate half of her wealth to support her larger mission of empowering women. Sara will be joining the Emmy© Award-winning show, Shark Tank, as a guest Shark in the fall of 2017.
founder, O’Leary Financial Group; and co-star, Shark Tank
From his basement, Kevin launched SoftKey Software Products. As sales took off, Kevin went on an industry consolidating acquisition binge. From 1995 to 1999 he bought out almost every one of his software competitors, including Mindscape, Broderbund and the Learning Company in the industry’s first vicious public hostile battle. In 1999 Kevin sold his company to the Mattel Toy Company for a staggering 3.7 billion dollars, one of the largest deals ever done in the consumer software industry.
To keep his money working hard, he took control of his wealth from his lackluster money managers and founded his own mutual fund company, O’Leary Funds. He raised hundreds of millions of dollars from investors who share his “get paid while you wait” yield oriented, value investing philosophy. He is a founding investor and director of Stream Global, an international business outsourcing company. He is on the investment committee of Boston’s prestigious 200-year-old Hamilton Trust, and is the chairman of O’Leary Funds. He also serves on the executive board of The Richard Ivey School of Business.
founder and CEO, NewMe Accelerator; and author, Revival
Angela Benton created NewME in 2011 with a specific mission: To accelerate underrepresented entrepreneurs around the world. NewME has received critical acclaim from The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Inc., among others for the work the company is doing to ensure that technology entrepreneurship is accessible to women and minorities. To date, NewME has accelerated over 200 startups and helped entrepreneurs raise over $25 million in funding. In addition to being a tech pioneer, Benton is also a mother of three, a cancer survivor and author of the best-selling book Revival: How I Rebuilt a Life for Longevity After Cancer, Burnout and Heartbreak.
FOUNDER AND CEO OF BLUEMERCURY
Marla Malcolm Beck is the founder and CEO of Bluemercury Inc., an iconic high-growth luxury beauty retail chain founded in 1999, whose exponential growth is guided by her leadership and passion for entrepreneurship, innovation, and consumer brands. Bluemercury is recognized for disrupting the beauty retailing industry with its creative approach to personalized beauty solutions. Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) saw the value of Bluemercury’s unique model and acquired the company in 2015. Beck is also a cosmetics brand developer, having founded M-61 Laboratories in 2008, makers of M-61 Skincare, a revolutionary natural cosmeceutical skincare brand and Lune+Aster Cosmetics, a vegan cosmetics brand created to empower busy women. Marla serves on the Board of Directors of The Children’s Place (NASDAQ: PLCE), the Advisory Board at Harvard University’s Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Center for Public Leadership Advisory Board at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
co-founder, Rent the Runway; and co-founder and CEO, Code 8
Jennifer Fleiss and Jennifer Hyman came up with the idea for the apparel and accessories rental firm, Rent the Runway, in 2009, while still students at Harvard Business School. Dubbed a “Netflix for dresses,” the company has now surpassed $100 million in revenue. Recently, Fleiss stepped down as co-CEO to take on her newest challenge: Heading up Code 8, a shopping startup which is the first portfolio company in Walmart’s newly launched incubator, Store No 8. Fleiss, who is also a mom of three, will continue to co-run Rent the Runway’s foundation and Project Entrepreneur, the foundation’s startup bootcamp and venture competition in conjunction with financial services firm UBS.
Away is a travel brand designing thoughtful objects for modern travel. Before starting Away, Rubio worked as the head of social media at Warby Parker, where she spearheaded the brand’s early content and partnership efforts and later as the global head of innovation at AllSaints. In 2015, she was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Marketing and Advertising. She lives and works in New York.
founder, The Confidence Factor for Women in Leadership; author, The Chronicles
Carol Sankar is the founder of The Confidence Factor for Women in Leadership, a global executive leadership firm focused on diversity and inclusion initiatives to close the value gap for high-level women executives and entrepreneurs. Sankar has been featured on TEDx, The Steve Harvey Show and Huffington Post. She has also worked with organizations including Inroads, The United Way and The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Sankar is also a best-selling author as well as a regular contributor on women in leadership for Thrive Global, the corporate and consumer well-being and productivity platform.
founder and CEO, LearnVest.com; chief digital officer, Northwestern Mutual; New York Times- Bestselling Author, Financially Fearless
Alexa von Tobel, CFP® is the founder and CEO of LearnVest.com, the chief digital officer of Northwestern Mutual, and the New York Times-Bestselling Author of Financially Fearless. Originally from Florida, Alexa attended Harvard College and Harvard Business School before launching LearnVest, a financial planning company redefining the American approach to personal finance. Alexa raised nearly $75 million in financing for LearnVest, which was acquired by Northwestern Mutual in May 2015 in one of the biggest fintech acquisitions of the decade. While continuing to lead the LearnVest team as CEO, Alexa is helping to accelerate Northwestern Mutual’s digital transformation as the company’s first chief digital officer.
founder, Lastics & Lastics Body
Donna started as a dancer and then moved into the corporate world. After working for top companies like Chanel and Goldman Sachs, and earning two graduate degrees from NYU, she started her own consulting company, where she wrote, Surviving Dreaded Conversations, for McGraw-Hill. At that time Donna became ill and had leave her corporate life behind. Healing involved a massive lifestyle change. As she recovered she formed Lastics. Using dance as the foundation, her second company is devoted to health and wellness.
co-founder and CEO, Honeyfund.com
Sara draws from a rich background in online marketing in her role as CEO at Honeyfund.com, including PPC, SEO, e-mail marketing and content writing. Sara earned an MBA in marketing from Golden Gate University in 2004.
Sara’s winning appearance on Shark Tank in 2014 has propelled her into regional, national and international broadcast media including KABC (LA), SIRISU Radio, CNBC, HuffPost Live, Cheddar Live, and more.
Sara is an authority on a variety of topics including weddings and honeymoons, personal finance, entrepreneurship, and women in tech and business leadership. She hosts “#WeddingWednesday” each Wednesday at 11 am Pacific on Facebook Live at facebook.com/honeyfund.
co-founder and CEO of Wicked Good Cupcakes
Wicked Good Cupcakes started in the South Shore home kitchen of Tracey and Dani. They opened their first retail location in Cohasset, MA October of 2011. In 2013 a second retail location was opened in Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
The company now 6 years young, has grown to be a nationally known, multi-million dollar brand thanks to an appearance on ABC’s Emmy Award winning show, “Shark Tank”.
Wicked Good cupcakes is now the largest shipper of cupcakes in the US.
Tracey was a 2015, 2016 and 2017 Semi Finalist in the prestigious Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year competition. Tracey also mentors female MBA students for Babson College’s Innovative WIN Lab.
Wicked Good Cupcakes, Inc was ranked #511 for Inc. Magazine’s top 5,000 fastest growing privately held companies, 2016. Wicked was also ranked #9 as one of the “Fast Fifty” for in the 50 fastest growing privately owned companies in MA this past April, 2016 and April 2017.
Wicked Good finished building a 21,000 square foot baking and warehousing facility in Hanover, MA in July, 2016. Their fleet of nationally, franchised cupcake trucks launch Q3 and Wicked Good is currently in negotiations to enter into International licensing deals in Europe and Australia.
founder and COO, Surprise Ride
Donna Khalife is founder and COO of Surprise Ride. Surprise Ride delivers hands-on educational activities that get kids to put away the gadgets. Inspired by their artist dad, she and her sister, Rosy, drew upon their childhoods to found Surprise Ride. Having escaped war as kids, the two vowed to build a company with a mission to create memorable moments for families. The company has brought to market more than 50 products. Surprise Ride has received accolades from parenting experts and appeared on television shows such as Shark Tank and The View and they have been featured in a number of media outlets including The New York Times and Tech.Co, among others.
Founder and CEO, Creative Mind Media; author, Let Love In
Debra Maldonado is the CEO of Creative Mind Media, a personal development company that transforms people’s lives through private coaching, in-person trainings and multimedia online courses. She coaches entrepreneurs and women executives to help them understand their unconscious mind and personal psychology so they can improve their relationships and reach their business and financial goals.
Debra is the author of Let Love In (Wiley) and has been featured by ABC News, ABC Radio Network, FOX News, NBC News, Cosmopolitan, Natural Health, Publisher’s Weekly, The Huffington Post, Your Tango and more.
She is also the co-founder of the International Academy of Jungian Spiritual Psychology with her husband, Robert Maldonado, Ph.D., training life coaches in their transformational system based on Jungian Psychology and Eastern Philosophy. Their programs are the most comprehensive for individuals who wish to increase their self-knowledge and spiritual awareness.
Senior faculty, The Negotiation Institute; and director, the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program at Columbia University
Beth Fisher-Yoshida is a senior faculty member at The Negotiation Institute (TNI) and heads their Women’s Insights on the art of Negotiation Initiative (WIN). At TNI, Fisher-Yoshida partners with clients to develop initiatives that will strengthen their core negotiation skills and effectiveness. Clients have included global organizations in the Fortune 100, private sector, nonprofit and government sectors, military and security forces, communities, school districts and academic institutions. She is also the director of the Master of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia University.
Fisher-Yoshida has been working globally with the United Nations as an external consultant for more than 18 years, and more recently with World Health Organization (WHO). She worked as faculty in the Eisenhower Leadership Development Program, a joint collaboration between West Point and Columbia University. She has written, edited and published several books on communication, negotiation and cross-cultural leadership.
CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, WANDERU
Wanderu is the leading multi-modal travel search in North America and Europe. Prior to establishing Wanderu, Polina Raygorodskaya was the founder and president of Polina Fashion, a boutique fashion, travel and luxury PR firm based in New York City. Polina holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Babson College. In 2015, Inc. included Raygorodskaya in their annual 30 Under 30 list of the best young entrepreneurs and Fortune featured her in their list of 40 Under 40 Women to Watch. In 2016, she was featured in Forbes’ annual 30 Under 30 list in the Consumer Tech category.
founder and CEO, WLJ Advisors; and author, Disrupt Yourself
Recognized as one of the 50 leading business thinkers in the world (Thinkers50), Whitney Johnson is an expert on disruptive innovation and personal disruption; a framework which she codifies in the critically acclaimed book Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work as well as the upcoming book Build an “A” Team: Play To Their Strengths and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve. She is also the author of Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream
She developed her proprietary framework and diagnostics after having co-founded the Disruptive Innovation Fund. This framework is complemented by a deep understanding of how executives create and destroy value, having spent nearly a decade as an Institutional Investor ranked equity analyst on Wall Street. Johnson is one of Marshall Goldsmith’s original cohorts of 25 for the #100 Coaches Project. She is also a coach for Harvard Business School’s Executive Education program, frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review and hosts the bi-monthly podcast, Disrupt Yourself.
founder and CEO, Cotential; and co-author, Get Big Things Done
Cotential is a global consultancy that helps organizations transform by delivering collaboration across teams, business units, customers and other stakeholders. As one of today’s most provocative business thinkers on the future of work, Erica Dhawan advises business leaders and companies to lead markets through innovations that matter, create increasing value for customers and clients, deliver sustainable results and ensure future global competitiveness. Dhawan is the co-author of the bestselling book: Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence. She offered her expertise to a number of organizations and enterprises such as The World Economic Forum and Fortune 500 companies including Deloitte, Fidelity Investments, Credit Suisse and Pepsico. Dhawan’s work has been published by Fast Company and Harvard Business Review, among others. In 2015, she was listed on the “Thinkers50 RADAR” list for the emerging management thinkers around the world most likely to shape the future of business, management and strategy. She serves as a board member to Deloitte’s Inclusion External Advisory Council and Lufthansa Innovation Hub. Dhawan also serves as a member of the Aspen Institute Socrates Society, World Economic Forum Global Shapers, Milken Young Leaders and the Young Entrepreneur Council.
CEO and executive coach, Alisa Cohn & Associates
Alisa Cohn is an executive coach who works with startup CEOs, co-founders and executive teams to help them develop leadership capacity to scale their business. Cohn serves on the Cornell Entrepreneurship Advisory Board. She is on the faculty of the “Runway” program at Cornell Tech – an accelerator which focuses on helping post-docs commercialize their research and build companies. She is an angel investor in and advisor to a number of start-ups both in the US and developing countries. She was named as one of the Top 10 Coaches in Boston by Women’s Business, which called her “absolutely brilliant” and “a super hero.”
Cohn is a regular invited lecturer at Harvard University and Cornell University as well as in the Naval War College’s accelerated leadership program. She has also coached political leaders from areas of conflict at the Center for Inclusive Security at Harvard University. Cohn is featured in the book Reinventing You, by Dorie Clark, as well as Clark’s forthcoming Entrepreneurial You. Cohn has been quoted in publications such as the New York Times, the Wall St. Journal, and various other regional and national business publications. She contributes regularly to venture capital publications to help their start-ups grow.
Cohn is an MBA, a recovering CPA and former start-up CFO. She was formerly a strategy consultant, a non-profit executive, and a stand-up comedian. Her clients include Foursquare, Venmo, The Wirecutter (sold to the New York Times), YouNow, Signpost, SilverLake, OpenView, Pfizer, Microsoft, Dell, Bloomberg LLP, UBS and Citi.
funding strategist, MultiFunding
Heather Hoover started her career in commercial lending at NatWest Bank in New York City. Heather continued her career in municipal finance at PFM, the nation’s largest municipal financial advisory firm, in their Philadelphia headquarters as a Senior Managing Consultant working on a variety of debt structuring and financing for clients including New York Power Authority and New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
After spending time raising her children, Heather joined theMultiFunding team as a Funding Strategist in March of 2017. She has experience in Asset Backed Lending, Lease Financing and SBA 7a and 504 lending. Heather finds financing solutions to meet the individual needs of her clients.
Personal finance and financial wellness consultant; and former editor in chief, Money
Diane Harris is an award-winning personal finance journalist and financial wellness advocate. She is the former editor-in-chief of Money—the first woman to hold the top job—and one of the founding editors of its website, Money.com. During her 22 years at the title, Harris covered virtually every aspect of personal finance; wrote or edited more than a dozen award-winning features; worked entrepreneurially to develop new franchises for the brand (including the highly-lauded Best Colleges value rankings); and, as editor-in-chief, nearly doubled traffic to its website. Currently, Harris is writing a book on financial wellness along with a bimonthly column for the PBS website NextAvenue.org, and launching a related coaching and consulting business.
staff writer, Inc.
Zoë Henry is a journalist based in Brooklyn. She is a staff writer for Inc. and Inc.com, where she covers small business and entrepreneurship, with a focus on New York City startups, venture capital and international business news. Her work has appeared in Inc., Slate, Business Insider and The Huffington Post. She have also appeared frequently on Inc.’s weekly podcast, Inc. Uncensored.
editor at large, Inc.
Kimberly Weisul is an award-winning writer, editor, content developer, and all-around media pro. In her role at Inc. she coaches and edits columnists, handles some special projects, mentors reporters, and writes the occasional opinion piece. She is also a co-founder of One Thing New, a digital media start-up that is rebooting so-called women’s content. Ms. Weisul is a regular guest on MSNBC’s Your Business. She has also appeared on ABC World News This Morning, CNNfn, Dow Jones News Radio, and AP News Radio.
senior editor, Inc.
Maria Aspan is a senior editor at Inc. magazine, where she runs the Money section. She was previously a senior editor at American Banker, where she won multiple “Best in Business” awards for feature writing and breaking news reporting from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. She has also worked for Thomson Reuters and The New York Times.
PRESIDENT AND EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, INC
During the five years Eric Schurenberg has presided over Inc., the magazine has seen a 24 percent increase in ad pages and received numerous journalism awards and a National Magazine Nomination for general excellence.
Prior to his tenure at Inc., he had leadership roles at Money, Fortune, Business 2.0, the CBS Interactive websites Bnet.com and MoneyWatch.com, and the Goldman Sachs Group’s personal wealth management website, Goldman.com. In addition to hosting Inc. live events, Schurenberg is an occasional contributor to CNBC, MSNBC, and the Today show.