Mark Cuban
Dallas Mavericks
John Schnatter
Papa John's International
Julia Hartz
Bert Jacobs
Life is good
Jason Fried
Amy Jo Martin
Digital Royalty
Amos Winbush III
Les McKeown
Predictable Success
Danae Ringelmann
Mark Cuban
Dallas Mavericks
John Schnatter
Papa John's International
Julia Hartz
Bert Jacobs
Life is good
Jason Fried
Amy Jo Martin
Digital Royalty
Amos Winbush III
Les McKeown
Predictable Success
Danae Ringelmann


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Mark Cuban

Billionaire serial entrepreneur and Investor, Owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, Star of ABC's "Shark Tank"

Mark Cuban is an entrepreneur, investor and the owner of the 2010-11’s NBA champion Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theatres, and Magnolia Pictures, and the chairman of the HDTV cable network AXS TV. He is also a “shark” investor on the television series Shark Tank. In 2011 Cuban wrote an e-book, How to Win at the Sport of Business, in which he chronicles his life experiences in business and sports. Cuban started the Fallen Patriot Fund to help families of U.S. military personnel killed or injured during the Iraq War, personally matching the first $1 million in contributions with funds from the Mark Cuban Foundation.

Mark Cuban Appearance by Athlete Promotions

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Jason Fried

co-founder and president, Basecamp; co-author, Rework and Remote; columnist, Inc.

Jason Fried is the co-founder and president of Basecamp, a privately-held Chicago-based software firm committed to building the best web-based tools possible with the least number of features necessary. The company’s products include Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack, Campfire, Ta-da List, and Writeboard. Fried is the co-author of three books: Rework, Get Real, and Remote: Office Not Required. He also writes Inc.’s Get Real column.


Julia Hartz

co-founder and president, Eventbrite

In 2006, Julia left her responsible career as a television development executive to start Eventbrite. With a focus on strategy and growth for the company that has processed $2 billion in gross ticket sales for organizers in 179 countries, Julia is responsible for building, evolving and sustaining the global ticketing company’s growing team of 300 “Britelings” and award-winning company culture (voted “Best Places to Work in the San Francisco Bay Area” four years running). She was a TechCrunch annual “Founder of the Year” finalist and made Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs list in 2013.


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Bert Jacobs

co-founder and Chief Executive Optimist, Life is good

The Life is good Company is a privately held business based in Boston, MA, Life is good® spreads positive vibes through its colorful collection of apparel and accessories and through its social mission to help kids overcome poverty, violence and illness. Jake, Life is good’s iconic hero with the contagious smile, teaches men, women and children that optimism is fun, healthy, and empowering. In 1994, with a combined sum of just $78 in the bank, Bert and his brother John officially launched Life is good. Today, Life is good products are sold by over 4,500 retailers nationwide. Bert, John, and The Life is good Company are living proof that “Optimism can take you anywhere.”


Amy Jo Martin

founder and CEO, Digital Royalty

Author of the New York Times Bestseller Renegades Write the Rules, Amy Jo Martin founded Digital Royalty five years ago to help companies and individuals measure and monetize their digital universe. In addition, Digital Royalty provides customized social media education programs through Digital Royalty University. Martin has 1.2 million Twitter followers. She travels the world speaking about the latest trends, social platforms, and how to successfully build a personal brand by utilizing social communication tools.

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Les McKeown

president and CEO, Predictable Success; author, Predictable Success, The Synergist, and Do Lead; columnist, Inc.com

Les McKeown is the president and CEO of Predictable Success, a leading adviser on accelerated business growth. He has started more than 40 companies in his own right and was the founding partner of an incubation consulting company that advised on the creation and growth of hundreds more organizations worldwide. McKeown’s most-recently published book is Do Lead: Share Your Vision. Inspire Others. Achieve the Impossible.


Danae Ringelmann

co-founder, IndieGoGo

Danae Ringelmann co-founded Indiegogo in 2008 with a mission to democratize fundraising and has since helped to propel the company into the world’s largest crowdfunding platform. Today, as Indiegogo’s Chief Development Officer, Danae is focused on driving total customer satisfaction and steering the company’s employee culture and value initiatives. Prior to Indiegogo, Danae was a securities analyst at Cowen & Co. where she covered publicly traded entertainment companies including Pixar, Lionsgate, Disney and Electronic Arts. Danae also focused on cable network, NFL, newspaper and hedge fund clientele while at JPMorgan’s Investment Bank and Private Bank. Danae was listed on Fast Company’s “Top 50 Women Innovators in Technology” in 2011 and was named one of Fortune’s “40 Under 40″ in September 2013.

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John Schnatter

founder and CEO, Papa John's International

In 1983, John Schnatter delivered his last campus pizza, picked up his business degree from Ball State University, and went home to Jeffersonville, Indiana. There, at age 22, he knocked down the broom closet in his father’s tavern, installed an oven and began delivering pizza out of the back of the bar. Today, Papa John’s boasts 3,054 restaurants in 50 states and 32 countries. Schnatter’s numerous business achievements and philanthropic efforts culminated in his induction into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2007. He was also named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans in 2000 by the National Jaycees Organization and the 1998 National Ernst & Young Retail/Consumer Entrepreneur of The Year.

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Amos Winbush III

founder and CEO, CyberSynchs

Amos Winbush III is the CEO and mastermind behind CyberSynchs, the world’s leading universal data transfer and synchronization Company. It all began when Amos’ iPhone crashed; frustrated with no simple solution, he took charge of the problem and created a universal synchronization company with global reach. Amos drives solutions. He is recognized as one of the world’s youngest, brightest and most effective CEO’s in the tech industry receiving many industry honors and awards such as “30 Most Influential CEO’s under 30” among others. Amos views today’s world of technology as an ecosystem supporting innovation and valuing disruptors. Through his leadership and vision, Amos quickly grew CyberSynchs into the multi hundred million dollar company it is today.


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Nikhil Arora

co-founder, Back to the Roots

Nikhil Arora founded Back to the Roots, an urban farm in Oakland, California, with Alejandro Velez upon graduating from UC Berkeley in 2009. Currently, Nikhil oversees marketing, product development, and operations, and has led the company to triple-digit annual growth over four years.  Along with Alejandro, the duo created the Grow-Your-Own Mushroom Garden and the Home Aquaponics Garden. Nikhil was recognized as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 (Food and Wine category) in 2011 and Inc.’s “Coolest Young Entrepreneurs” in 2012 and serves on the board of the Sage Mentorship Project and SVN.


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Steve Baker

vice president, The Great Game of Business, Inc.

Steve Baker is the Vice President of The Great Game of Business, Inc., a division of employee-owned SRC Holdings Corporation. He also co-wrote the update of the best-selling book, The Great Game of Business 20th Anniversary Edition. Baker spent two decades struggling to help small business owners reach their goals without access to key business metrics. Learning to play the Great Game of Business at SRC changed his life. He also serves on the Board of the National Center for Employee Ownership as well as the Steering Committee for SRC’s Ownership Culture Initiative. Steve is a career marketing and branding professional and is an award-winning designer. He lives in Springfield, Missouri with his family.


Lindsay Blakely

senior editor, Inc.

In her role as senior editor of Inc., Lindsay Blakely oversees the website’s and magazine’s tech coverage from Los Angeles. Previously she was a senior editor at CBS Interactive and before that she was a reporter for Business 2.0 magazine.



Norm Brodsky

honorary chairman, Inc. Business Owners Council; founder, CitiStorage; partner,Black Gold Suites; columnist,Inc; co-author, Street Smarts

“Street Smarts” columnist and senior contributing editor Norm Brodsky is a veteran entrepreneur who has founded and grown six businesses. In 2007 he sold CitiStorage, a document-archive business based in Brooklyn, New York City, for $110 million. His most recent venture is Black Gold Suites, an extended stay hotel in Tioga, North Dakota. Along with Inc. editor-at-large Bo Burlingham, Norm has chronicled his entrepreneurial journey in his “Street Smarts” column in Inc. and in the book The Knack: How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up.



Rose Broome

co-founder and CEO, HandUp

Rose is passionate about using the power of technology to create social change. She is the co-founder and CEO HandUp, a direct donation system for homeless people and other neighbors in need. HandUp lets you donate to specific people, and 100% of donations go toward basics like food, technology, and housing. Previously, Rose served as COO at SuperBetter Labs and as a data manager for Obama for America. She lives in San Francisco.

@rosical @HandUp


Michael Burcham

president and CEO, Nashville Entrepreneur Center

Michael has extensive experience in healthcare innovation, entrepreneurship, and startup venture coaching.  He served as President of ParadigmHealth, a provider and integrator of care and disease management services for health plans and employers, from 2001-2007. He also founded and served as President of Theraphysics, a venture-backed specialty healthcare firm managing rehabilitation services, from 1992-2000.  He is founder and Director of the Accelerator Summer Business Institute, a 4-week intensive immersion program designed to challenge undergraduate students to develop their own personal brands and business skills. At the Owen Graduate School of Management, Michael teaches healthcare innovation and strategy. He is passionate about helping the creative class transform their ideas into real businesses, and looks to the Entrepreneur Center as an opportunity to revolutionize Nashville’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and creative venture development on a large scale. Michael received his PhD in Healthcare Administration from the Medical University of South Carolina in 2003.

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Bo Burlingham

editor at large, Inc.; author, Small Giants; co-author, The Knack

Besides serving as editor at large for Inc. and authoring Small Giants: Companies That Choose To Be Great Instead of Big, Bo has also written two books with acclaimed businessman Jack Stack. Bo also co-authors with Norm Brodsky the popular monthly column in Inc. called Street Smarts. Bo and Brodsky’s co-wrote the book The Knack, which is also known as Street Smarts: An All-Purpose Tool Kit for Entrepreneurs.


Bruce Clay

founder and president, Bruce Clay, Inc.

BRUCE CLAY is founder and president of Bruce Clay, Inc., a global Internet marketing optimization firm providing search engine optimization, pay per click, social media marketing, conversion rate optimization, SEO-friendly Web design and architecture, and SEO tools and education. Prior to launching Bruce Clay, Inc. in 1996, Clay operated as an executive with several high-tech businesses, with a far-reaching professional background in leading Silicon Valley firms. Seven time honoree in the INC 5000.



Steve Cody

co-founder and co-CEO, Peppercomm; columnist, Inc.com

As co-founder and managing partner of Peppercomm, Steve Cody is responsible for overall agency direction and management, new business development, new product development and agency marketing. Since co-founding the agency in 1995, he has been instrumental in Peppercomm’s rise from a two-person start-up to its current position as one of the nation’s best-known mid-sized strategic communications firms. He is the author of What’s Keeping Your Customers Up at Night? and also writes at the award-winning blog, RepManBlog.com.

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Soraya Darabi

co-founder, Zady

Soraya Darabi is the co-founder of Zady, a shopping platform and lifestyle destination, founded in August 2013, for the next generation of conscious consumers who care about the origins of the items they purchase. Zady, the “Whole Foods of fashion,” seamlessly integrates commerce, rich media content, and social media to provide customers with a dynamic shopping experience. On Zady, customers can purchase goods that were created with craftsmanship, a quality that has been sacrificed by fast-fashion.

@SorayaDarabi           @Zady

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Kevin Daum

founder and CEO, TAE International; author, ROAR! and Video Marketing For Dummies; columnist, Inc.com

As the author of five books including Amazon No. 1 best-sellers, Video Marketing for Dummies and ROAR!: Get Heard in the Sales and Marketing Jungle, Kevin Daum helps companies communicate in strategic, compelling, and often humorous ways. Daum is an Inc. 500 entrepreneur and Inc.com columnist with a more than $1 billion sales and marketing track record.


Maren Kate Donovan

founder and CEO, Zirtual

Growing up in Las Vegas, Maren gained a passion for customer service and the world of high-end personal assistance from an early age. She started Zirtual in 2011 to save people’s time so they could focus on what’s important and to provide purposeful employment to smart people who enjoy the freedom of working remotely. As an entrepreneur with a background that includes biker bars, Chaucer, and science fiction, Maren believes in the power of achieving a work/life balance through delegation.

@Zirtual          @marenkate


Allison Fass

deputy editor, Inc.com

Allison Fass is deputy editor, strategy and business development for Inc.com. She has been with the media company since 2011. A longtime business journalist at Forbes and The New York Times, Fass has also worked in venture capital and innovation at Hearst Interactive Media and digital strategy at a start-up consultancy. A graduate of Duke, Fass earned an MBA from Columbia where she was also a Knight-Bagehot fellow.


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Donna Fenn

author, Upstarts! and Alpha Dogs; contributing editor, Inc.

Donna Fenn is the author of two books, Upstarts! How GenY Entrepreneurs Are Rocking the World of Business and 8 Ways You Can Profit From Their Success and Alpha Dogs: How Your Small Business Can Become a Leader of the Pack. Fenn is also a contributing editor at Inc., a blogger on BNET/CBSi and Inc.com, and an experienced international keynote speaker. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, Working Woman, Parents, Reader’s Digest, and The Washington Monthly, among other publications.


Duane Forrester

Sr. Product Manager - Webmaster Outreach at Bing

DUANE FORRESTER is a Sr. Product Manager with Bing’s Webmaster Program. Previously, he was an inhouse search marketer running the SEO program for MSN in the US & Americas. He’s also the founding co-chair of SEMPO’s In-House SEM Committee, was formerly on the Board of Directors for SEMPO and is the author of two books: How To Make Money With Your Blog & Turn Clicks Into Customers. Duane used to write for Search Engine Land and has almost 15 years’ experience as an SEO.



Kris Frieswick

senior editor, Inc.

Kris Frieswick is senior editor at Inc. She is an award-winning journalist and editor whose work has appeared in a wide variety of national publications including the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, the Boston Globe Magazine, Departures, and Hemispheres.


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Jordan Goldman

founder, Unigo; author, Students’ Guide to Colleges

As an 18 year-old Jordan created the best-selling “Students’ Guide to Colleges” series of college guidebooks. After graduating Jordan founded Unigo, which US News & World Report named “One of the Top 10 College Websites” and The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg called “a college resource built for the age of YouTube and Facebook.” As Unigo’s CEO, the site has grown to more than 15 million visitors per year, raised investment from McGraw-Hill Ventures, won education grants from The Gates Foundation, and received awards / recognition from The Association of Educational Publishers, AlwaysOn, Facebook, the InfoCommerce Group and the Webby’s. He was named “One of the Top 30 Young Entrepreneurs in America” by Inc Magazine, “One of the Top 100 Young Entrepreneurs in America” by the White House, and “One of the 100 Most Influential People in NYC Business and Technology” by Silicon Alley Insider.


Jeff Hayden

columnist, Inc.; ghostwriter

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry from forklift driver to manager of a 250-employee book plant. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest innovators and leaders he knows in business. He has written more than 30 non-fiction books, including four Business and Investing titles that reached #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list. He’d tell you which ones, but then he’d have to kill you.



Brittany Hodak

co-founder, ZinePak

Brittany Hodak is the co-founder of ZinePak, a content company that creates collectible merchandise for entertainers and brands. In 2013, she was named to Advertising Age’s 40 Under 40 list, won the Stevie Award for Young Female Entrepreneur of the Year, was profiled in Wall Street Journal‘s Startup of the Year documentary series, and received an Empact100 Award at the United Nations. She holds an M.S. in Marketing from CUNY Baruch’s Zicklin School of Business.

@BrittanyHodak          @ZinePak


Shama Kabani Hyder

founder and CEO, The Marketing Zen Group; and author, The Zen of Social Media Marketing

As the CEO of the award-winning Marketing Zen Group, a full service web marketing and digital PR firm, Shama Kabani Hyder has led the organization through explosive growth, averaging 400% growth annually since its start in 2009. She was named as one of Inc.’s 30 Under 30” young entrepreneurs in in 2013 and was honored at the White House as one of the top 100 U.S. companies to be run by a young entrepreneur by Empact100. Shama is the bestselling author of the Zen of Social Media Marketing and has shared the stage with the world’s top leaders, including President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama.


Chuck Jaeger

senior business development officer for small business finance, CertusBank, N.A.

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Leila Janah

founder and CEO, Sama Group

Leila Janah is an award-winning social entrepreneur using technology and lean business methods to promote social justice. Sama means equal in Sanskrit and is the guiding principle of her life and work. Janah is the Founder and CEO of Samasource, a non-profit social business that connects people living in poverty to microwork — computer-based tasks that build skills and generate life-changing income, now part of the broader field of impact sourcing. Samasource has moved 3,800 workers and their families over the poverty line in under five years and spun out a domestic program, SamaUSA, in 2013. It has received the Templeton Freedom Award, the Secretary’s Innovation Award from Hillary Clinton, and the Prix Netexplorateur from the French Senate. In 2011, Janah co-founded Samahope, the first crowdfunding site for medical treatments in developing countries. The Sama Group has been featured widely in the press with features in The New York Times, CNN, Forbes, and Fast Company, and in the book Hearts on Fire. Janah is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, a Director of CARE USA, a 2012 TechFellow, and the recipient of the inaugural Club de Madrid Young Leadership Award, presented by President Clinton. She received a BA from Harvard and resides in San Francisco.

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Ami Kassar

founder and chief executive, MultiFunding; columnist, Inc.com

MultiFunding helps small business owners find the best business loan options. Within the company, Kassar ensures small business owners have access to the capital to help grow and manage their businesses. He has been featured in the New York Times and The Huffington Post. Ami is the 2012 recipient of the Small Business Advocate Award. He developed Banking Grades, a free tool that helps small business owners discover which banks are lending to small businesses.


Kim Kaupe

co-founder, ZinePak

Kim Kaupe is the co-founder of ZinePak, a custom publication company that creates engaging fan packages for entertainers, brands, and celebrities. She graduated with a B.A. in marketing from the University of Florida and roots loyally for her Gators. Most recently, she was named one of Forbes 30 Under 30. Previously she was named to Advertising Age’s 40 Under 40 List and featured in The Wall Street Journal’s Start Up of the Year Documentary.


James Ledbetter

editor, Inc. and Inc.com; and author, Unwarranted Influence

James Ledbetter, before joining Inc., was the Opinion Editor of Reuters. He was the founding editor of Slate’s financial site The Big Money, deputy managing editor of CNN Money, and has published five books including Unwarranted Influence: Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Military-Industrial Complex.


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Julian Mann

co-founder and Vice President, Product Management, Skybox Imaging

Julian Mann is an engineer and entrepreneur from Ukiah, CA. Prior to Skybox, Julian founded Astronautical Development, LLC, which specialized in nanosatellite engineering, and provided products and services to several U.S. government agencies. At Skybox, Julian focuses on the development of Skybox’s core technology, managing the relationship between near-term product development and long-term technology strategy. Additionally, he is responsible for the company’s IP portfolio and strategic corporate partnerships.


Morgan Newman

co-founder, IdeaPaint; and co-founder, MixedMade

Morgen Newman is an entrepreneur and the co-founder of IdeaPaint and, most recently, MixedMade. After launching IdeaPaint in the US, Morgen built it’s international business to account for 30% of total company sales from more than 40 countries in less than 4 years. MixedMade was launched in just 30 days to inspire and provide a guide for aspiring entrepreneurs.


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Sarah Prevette

founder of Sprouter.com

Named by Inc. as one of the top young entrepreneurs in the U.S., Sarah Prevette has captured attention as a futurist and early-supporter of emerging technology. Most recently, Sarah was the founder of Sprouter.com, an online platform facilitating knowledge exchange between startups and business leaders that was acquired by Postmedia in late 2011. Sarah is frequently in the media and has been profiled by numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Wired. Sarah is a relentless evangelist for the tech community and founded BetaKit.com to showcase promising new startups. The online publication was acquired in early 2013. Her current behind-the-scenes projects are all focused on transforming education to better inspire innovation and entrepreneurship.


Srikumar S. Rao

former Columbia Business Schoolprofessor; creator of MBA Creativity and Personal Mastery (CPM) course; author, Happiness at Work

Srikumar Rao is the author of Happiness at Work Be Resilient, Motivated, and Successful – No Matter What and Are You Ready to Succeed? Unconventional Strategies to Achieving Personal Mastery in Business and Life. He is also creator of the popular course Creativity and Personal Mastery. He helps entrepreneurs cope with internal struggles to lead them to external success. A former professor at Columbia Business School, Rao has consulted to RCA, Reuters, and Citigroup.


Manny Rivas

Online Advertising Director, aimClear

MANNY RIVAS is online advertising director at aimClear®. His areas of expertise include PPC, blogging, online journalism, demographic research and all-things YouTube. In addition to writing for aimClear blog, Manny is a contributor to SearchEngineWatch. He has spoken about YouTube, PPC, Facebook & Linkedin at national and international industry conferences, and recent university speaking engagements include University of Minnesota, College of St. Scholastica and University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.


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Allison Lami Sawyer

CEO and co-founder, Rebellion Photonics

Spun out of Rice University in 2009, Rebellion Photonics is an advanced optics company focused on Oil and Gas safety with their Gas Cloud Imaging camera for continuous monitoring of explosive gas leaks in real-time. Allison Lami Sawyer has an MBA from Rice University as well as a MSc in Nanoscale Physics from Leeds University (England). Before Rebellion Photonics, Allison worked at the Houston Technology Center, the region’s largest technology startup incubator. Allison was listed on Inc.’s “30 under 30” list in 2012 and Forbes’ “30 under 30” in Energy for 2014. Rebellion Photonics was named Wall Street Journal “Start-up of the Year” in 2013.

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Lewis Schiff

executive director, Inc. Business Owners Council; author, Business Brilliant: Surprising Lessons From the Greatest Self-Made Business Icons

Lewis Schiff is the executive director of Inc. Business Owners Council, a membership organization for Inc.’s top entrepreneurs. He maintains a blog about behavioral entrepreneurship on Inc.com. He has co-authored two books, The Influence of Affluence: How the New Rich Are Changing America and The Armchair Millionaire. His new book, Business Brilliant: Surprising Lessons From the Greatest Self-Made Business Icons, which focuses on the wealth-creating behaviors and attitudes that work best in the new economy, was published by HarperCollins in March.

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Eric Schurenberg

president and editor-in-chief, Inc.

In three years at Inc., Eric Schurenberg has presided over the magazine’s 24 percent increase in ad pages, numerous journalism awards and a National Magazine Award nomination for general excellence. Prior to Inc., his resume includes 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, he is an occasional contributor to CNBC, MSNBC, and The Today Show.



Theresa Sexton

partner, Claritas Capital

Theresa Sexton is a member of the equity investment team at Nashville-based Claritas Capital.  As a Partner of the Claritas Capital Equity Group, she works closely with entrepreneurs and evaluates venture, growth, and private equity solutions for health care, business services, and technology companies.  Since 2002, the investment team at Claritas has worked with 42 companies who have arranged over $6 billion in financing.  The Claritas Capital Equity Group typically supports entrepreneurs seeking $250,000 to more than $5 million of capital.


Clint Smith

co-founder and CEO, Emma

Clint is one half of our co-founding duo and serves as Emma’s CEO. Clint is a former editor with TicketMaster/CitySearch, where he honed his content and online-community-building chops before further honing those chops alongside (Emma co-founder) Will Weaver at Smallbusiness.com. What his other “chops” are, we’re not quite certain, though we’re told they may include air hockey, bowling and miniature-pig-in-blanket-making, in that order. Clint is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, where he majored in history and nearly minored in math. What can we say? Abstract Algebra is a bitch, man.


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Gary Solomon, Jr.

co-founder and president, Solomon Group

Gary Solomon Jr. is the Co-Founder and President of Solomon Group.  In just five years the New Orleans-based firm has become one of the nation’s top entertainment production resources, creating award-winning projects for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, CBS’s Emmy® nominated coverage of Super Bowl XLVII, ESSENCE Festival and The National WWII Museum.  Gary has been featured in Forbes, The Atlantic, Success Magazine and Inc.’s 2013 “30 Under 30” list, among others.


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Alejandro “Alex” Velez

co-founder, Back to the Roots

Alejandro founded Back to the Roots, an urban farm in Oakland, California with Nikhil Arora upon graduating from UC Berkeley in 2009. Currently, Alejandro manages the company’s sales and finance. Back to the Roots’ products include the Grow-Your-Own Mushroom Garden and the Home Aquaponics Garden. Alejandro was recognized in the Hispanic magazine PODER as a 30 Under 30 as well as on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in 2011. He and Nikhil were selected in 2012 as one of Inc. Magazine’s “Coolest Young Entrepreneurs.
@BTTRVentures @VelezAlejandro


Maisha Walker

founder and president, Message Medium

MAISHA WALKER is a 17-year digital marketing veteran who has been featured on both Fox News and NBC.  Through her digital marketing agency, Message Medium, her column for Inc. and events with organizations like Chase, Capital One, Goldman Sachs, SCORE, Black Enterprise, Inc., the Chamber of Commerce and many others, Maisha has built Web sites and digital marketing campaigns generating thousands of dollars in revenue and taught thousands of business owners how to leverage digital marketing to accomplish aggressive growth.


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John Warrillow

founder, The Sellability Score; author, Built to Sell; columnist, Inc.com

The Sellability Score is a cloud-based assessment tool business owners use to assess the “sellability” of their company. Inc. recognized John Warrilow’s bestselling book, Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You, as one of the best business books of 2011. Throughout his career, Warrillow has started and exited four companies, including a quantitative market research business that was acquired by The Corporate Executive Board. B2B Marketing considered him one of the top 10 business-to-business marketers in the nation.

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Kimberly Weisul

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.
Follow: @weisul


Tina Wells

founder and CEO, Buzz Marketing Group; and author, Chasing Youth Culture and Getting It Right

As the founder and CEO of Buzz marketing Group, Tina Wells creates innovative marketing strategies for numerous clients within the beauty, entertainment, fashion, financial, and lifestyle sectors. Tina has worked with clients including: Maidenform, SonyBMG, PBS, P+G, Sesame Workshop, and American Eagle Outfitters.  Tina’s long list of honors include: Essence’s 40 Under 40, Billboard’s 30 Under 30, and Inc’s 30 Under 30, just to name a few. She is the author of the tween series Mackenzie Blue and the youth marketing handbook Chasing Youth Culture and Getting It Right. Tina is also a celebrated blogger on The Huffington Post. She serves on the board of directors of the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, The Franklin Institute, and The Young Entrepreneur Council.



David Whitford

editor-at-large, Inc.

David Whitford was a senior writer at Inc. in the mid-1990s, and recently returned as an editor-at-large, based in Boston. Between tours at Inc., he was an award-winning feature writer for Fortune and Fortune Small Business. He has written three books about sports, business and politics, the first of which, A Payroll to Meet: A Story of Greed, Corruption and Football at SMU, was republished last fall by University of Nebraska Press.