In the Growing with Purpose Podcast, Small Giants Community Founder, Paul Spiegelman, goes behind the scenes with purpose-driven business leaders to learn about what shaped them in business and in life.
Jennifer Lyle is the owner of Lush Yummies Pie Company LLC. She is the head pastry chef and founder with a production kitchen in Detroit’s historical Eastern Market. As a child, Jennifer would stay with her grandparents where her grandfather would teach her how to make his family favorite pie recipes. Growing up, Jennifer attended all DPS schools, and graduated from Cass Technical High School.
Jennifer went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Howard University and then traveled to Miami for Culinary School at Le Cordon Bleu. Jennifer later moved back to her hometown of Detroit Michigan and soon went back to her grandfather’s pie recipes. She started Lush Yummies Pie company shortly after returning home and the rest is history.
Her pies are sold in numerous retail chains across the Midwest including Kroger, Westborn Markets and soon Meijer. You can also find her pies at Eastern Market on Saturdays in Shed 2.
I am a geek at heart who has become an ‘accidental CEO’. I started my career in the corporate world with Microsoft in 1995 and have since stayed in the software industry but in different roles. I co-founded Loop1 Systems in 2009 as Vice President and CTO. In 2017 I gained sole ownership and assumed the role of President and CEO. Over the last 10 years at Loop1 we have built a strong professional services business that we are very proud of.
I am an individual driven for constant improvement. I strive to be a better version of myself each day. When my daughter was born five years ago it opened my awareness to not only question how to improve but how can I be better for others. Thru personal development of books, therapy and a search for purpose I’ve recognized I feel that I’m using my skills to the best of my ability when I strive to make a positive impact for our team members and our community.
Maggie joined Loop1 Systems’ accounting team in 2014, where she currently sits as Finance Manager. At Loop1, Maggie is responsible for the development and execution of the financial and operational plan, metrics tied to that plan, and the ongoing progress and monitoring of control systems designed to preserve company assets and report accurate financial results.
In 2018, Maggie facilitated the company’s migration into a new ERP system while simultaneously switching accounting methods. The same year, she assisted in the purchase of Loop1’s new headquarters in Cedar Park, Texas. Most recently, Maggie supported Loop1’s CEO in the acquisition of a foreign entity.
When not buried in spreadsheets, Maggie enjoys traveling with her husband, gardening, and taking her two dogs on long walks. Maggie earned her BBA in marketing at Texas State University and is currently enrolled in TSBPA-accepted accounting classes at Austin Community College to be CPA eligible in late 2020.
After several years in Chicago, Lauren and her husband, Chris, spent a year traveling to more than 50 countries before returning to her home state of Michigan. They live in Allen Park with their son.
Our team provides a wide range of engineering, scientific, and logistics support to the DoD in disciplines such as systems engineering, test and evaluation, software development, electronics design, metrology, and environmental compliance.
I enjoy seeing our team of employee-owners excel and deliver solutions that make a difference to our nation’s men and women in uniform.
Prior to joining Vivayic, I worked for a large private corporation as a Retail Sales Supervisor and managed a territory of 30 sales reps. After that role, my husband and I moved back to Missouri and started in my family’s insurance agency. After a couple years there, I worked in marketing for a company that manages loyalty cards for grocery store chains. Around the same time, Vivayic was starting to take off, which my husband and I became co-owners of in 2009 (along with Seth and Carrie Derner). In the beginning, I worked part-time as the bookkeeper, and in 2013 came aboard full-time to fill the role of Business Manager, including all financial and human resources activities, which is what I still do today, along with duties on the ownership team.
I’m 35 and have been working with Bluewater since April 2008 (11 years). I started as a Junior Field Examiner and have grown into a Senior Field Examiner. I have a laid back go with the flow personality and love getting to know new people. I’ve been married for six years now and have a two-year-old son, Louis.
I grew up watching my Dad and uncle run several successful small service-industry businesses. Eventually, I followed in their footsteps and attended Cornell University and was fortunate to graduate magna cum laude with a degree in Business Management.
Now as Vice President for Core Management Services, I lead our consulting and software development operation. Core is a consulting firm dedicated to the janitorial and facilities industry. To date, we have conducted program assessments, audits, bids, staffing models and master plans for over 1 billion square feet, serving many iconic properties and universities across the U.S. I also oversee the development and support for Core’s custodial quality inspection app, Smart Inspect, which is used by thousands of cleaning industry professionals to conduct quality audits and share reports.
I live in upstate New York, and my favorite pastime is enjoying life with my wife and five young children.
I sit on the companies leadership team and am currently involved with the evolving people system and leading all of our functional team leaders in weekly meetings to help grow our level 2 leaders.
I started at Gongos right after finishing my degree and was fortunate enough to move directly into a career and organization that I loved and was passionate about. As an avid learner and achiever, I’m always looking to push myself to new places, and have the opportunity to take on new challenges at Gongos while helping us achieve our core purpose.
With my role in business development and harnessing new relationships, I’m able to partner closely with leadership to expand our offerings, while ensuring we remain true to ourselves and our vision through the clients we serve. I also have a passion for helping others succeed, and strive to be a helpful guide and mentor for others – both within and beyond my organization.
Lorena is currently the Resource Manager at Vivayic where she inspects, schedules, reviews data and makes sure the right people and resources are on board for any particular solution. Before coming to Vivayic a year ago, Lorena worked in both city and state governments where she coordinated youth development programs, community-based programming, and workforce programs. She created a unique culture for her teams; a culture where it was safe for her departments to work alongside and learn from other departments; a culture where her team coordinated with public partners, non-profits, and businesses to identify community needs and solutions.
More recently I’ve been moving into the COO role. I have found that I truly enjoy the Human Capital side of the business.
I am a 34yr old residing in the Cleveland, OH area with my wife and 2 small children (Logan, 6 and Riley, 3). I came to imageOne over 8yrs ago starting as a field technician but also had a background in management.
I am a Kolbe A fact-finder to the highest level – I always make sure I have all the information necessary to make an informed decision. Lastly, I am very process-oriented, and always looking for efficiencies and enhancements as a way of doing things.
Roy Hernandez joined Geil Enterprises, Inc. in 1997 as a Security Guard. He has held a supervisory or management position since 1999. His has held the role of General Manager of CIS Security & Valley Security & Alarm. He served as Chief Operating Officer before becoming President of GEI in 2017. Roy received a Bachelor of Science in Business with a Concentration in Finance Degree from University of Phoenix.
Torey Carter-Conneen serves as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and is responsible for all matters related to the association’s business model – including day-to-day management and long-term sustainability planning. In this role, Torey has helped the Executive Director establish a culture of collaboration and entrepreneurial curiosity – providing fact-based, metric-driven strategic development to drive organizational success and impact. As COO, Torey coaches the senior leadership team on implementing the strategic vision and planning of AILA, helping to measure progress against organizational goals and maximizing the use of available resources across the organization. His management portfolio at AILA includes the content delivery teams (conferences, publications), marketing and member experience, business development, finance, technology, human resources and facilities management. Torey has more than 20 years of extensive organizational development and leadership, tactical implementation, financial stewardship and administrative expertise. His executive leadership roles have included Interim President & CEO, Senior Vice President and COO for companies ranging in size from $7mm to $750mm in annual revenues and staffs of nearly four hundred. His unique blend of business operations experience, critical thinking, and financial acumen have helped him successfully manage complex projects and bring cost-effective results to the various disciplines of mission-focused and results-driven organizations in both the for-profit and not for profit worlds. Prior to his leadership at AILA, Torey was the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Center For American Progress (CAP) – an independent nonpartisan policy institute that is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans, through bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong leadership and concerted action. Before CAP, he served as the Managing Director and CFO at the Victory Fund and Institute and Divisional Controller of MV Transportation – a privately held North American transportation management corporation. Mr. Carter-Conneen is a graduate of the University of Maryland University College where he obtained an M.B.A. with a concentration on global business management and emerging markets. He also holds degrees in economics and accounting from George Mason University. He is married and a father of an amazing little girl.
Latricia Wright is the Principal Practitioner of Olive Seed, a certified woman-owned, wellness center in Detroit. Recognizing the immeasurable need for both primary and supplemental nutrition programs, Olive Seed provides a comprehensive approach to implementing sustainable strategies focused on wellness promotion and prevention.
With more than 10 years of professional experience, Latricia constructs and delivers forward-thinking instruction programs, which gives attendees actionable tools for lifestyle changes, generating measurable results.
Latricia holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration and is qualified in Herbal Medicine, Nutrition, and Auricular Acupuncture. She regularly practices meditation and yoga. She also enjoys quality time with her family, hiking, traveling, and spending time re-energizing in nature.
Jeanne, a founding partner, is responsible for client relationships spanning more than 20 years. An educator and former school counselor, Jeanne has the unique position of straddling both the classroom and industry. As our chief educator, Jeanne leads the specialists and oversees our core work product. Her career has been dedicated to teaching, career development, and service learning.
Jeanne is a graduate of the Ohio State University with an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education and a Masters in Guidance and Counseling. Over the course of 20 years, she taught school in New Orleans, La., Memphis, Tenn., and Upper Arlington, Ohio. She serves as an adjunct professor for Ashland University and participates in professional education groups such as the Ohio Department of Education STEM Innovation Team, Central Ohio Workforce Development Team and on the Board of the Ohio Invention League. Jeanne and her husband live in Upper Arlington, Ohio.
I always make it a priority to be available for meeting with any of my families or teachers as I believe open and honest family communication is key for success. My goal is to provide the best education experience possible and a good solid foundation of academics for each of child.
Having been born and raised in Germany, I came to the US in 1999 for personal reasons – and to complete my BA in Communications and eventually earn a Masters in International Policy. After my studies, I worked at a university and in a political outreach office in Germany before I took a position as a Research Specialist within the Public Affairs Office of the US Embassy in Berlin.
In 2006, my husband and I decided to move back to Oregon, so that he could pursue his dream of opening a brewery. Changing up my career, I started working for a small custom retail manufacturer as a project manager. I stayed with the company for more than 9 years, working the latter couple of years closely with the owners as the manager of the project management team while the company increased in revenues from $5 million to $12 million.
Looking for a new challenge in my career and a work place that closely aligns with my values, I was introduced to Shawn Busse, CEO of Kinesis, in October 2017. After our meeting, it was clear to me that Kinesis was the place I had been looking for. Kinesis’ culture of openess, high standards and no egos proved to be a perfect fit for somebody like me – always looking for improvements. After all, our mission is transformation.
After growing up in Puerto Rico, my family moved to the mainland US when I was 11. Since then have lived in the Southeast, Northeast and Northwest, currently in Asheville, NC. After studying organic agriculture and dabbling in the culinary arts for a couple of years, I found my calling working in small mostly technology companies. What started out as a career in finance took a few twists and turns and has brought me into operations, strategy, HR and organizational development. Over the last couple of years I have developed an obsession with building resilient, adaptive learning organizations that are purpose driven and human centric.
I live near Allentown, PA with my wife, Christina, and my two children, Ava (11) and Evan (8). I’ve spent my entire career in the specialty chemical industry in various Sales and Sales Management roles at both suppliers and distributors. I joined Essential Ingredients 18 months ago as a Sales Director. My hobbies include running and playing guitar.
I am the Director of Team Operations. In this role, I am responsible for the Operations of our domestic accounting teams. I work closely with our Controllers and their team members for effective team management, client facilitation, customer service and on-going support of the relationships. I first joined Venturity in 2006 as an Assistant Controller, working within the team dynamic and providing client support through month-end close and financial statement preparation. In 2011, I was promoted to a Controller and managed a team, serving clients in retail, manufacturing, and the non-profit sector. In 2014, I was promoted to my current role. Prior to joining Venturity I had several years of operational and leadership experience. The roles were always operational in nature, growing from the needs of the organization. I have my degree in Accounting from Liberty University. I love scrapbooking in my spare time and spending time with my family, two young men ages 19 and 16.
Dan has been a technician with imageOne for over 10 years. He is currently leading a team of 6 that is responsible for servicing imageOne’s customers base locally and nationally. Dan oversees the day-to-day operation of the techs ensuring they are bringing an extraordinary experience to both our internal team and the client. EOS is in use at imageOne as well as open-book management, therefore these concepts are in practice daily. Dan is also still in the field handling escalated issues as they arise to ensure customer satisfaction.
I am currently a Managing Partner at Atomic Object in the Grand Rapids office. Prior to this, I was President at Springthrough which was a software and managed services agency. I’ve worked in a LA based dot.com startup in the healthcare industry. And I’ve worked in the large corporate environment of a local Health Insurance company. I’ve held various leadership positions, managed a variety of teams, and even ran a small company for awhile. I consider myself lucky to now work with all the amazing people at Atomic Object. Their passion to help, curiosity to learn, and desire to solve hard problems align with my own desire to make the world a better place.
I joined Atomic Object in 2013 as a senior developer after spending 10 years in the industry programming. Since then, I’ve moved into my role as Managing Partner in Atomic’s Ann Arbor (A2) office. I have broad P&L responsibility for the A2 office and my job includes sales, management, hiring/recruiting, facilities, financial and often helping project teams navigate client project success. It’s challenging but rewarding to see our people succeed.
For nearly twenty years, Valerie has helped organizations achieve strong growth goals through operational efficiencies, organizational effectiveness and helping build alignment among the executive team. Although her journey started on the financial side of the house, she recognizes spreadsheets and numbers provides facts yet people are the real engine behind any successful organization. She has been fortunate to gain experience across a variety of industries including manufacturing, construction, specialty products, laboratory testing and hospitality/service.
In 2013, Valerie joined The Motz Corporation as CFO while also bringing strategic growth alignment with leadership. In 2016, she moved in a new position, leading USGreentech as president, to focus on process implementation, organizational development and long term sustainable product marketability.
Valerie resides in Goshen, Ohio with her husband John and their two children. During her free time, you will find her spending time with her family.
Flexografix is a high-tech manufacturing company, which specializes in custom-engineered electronic color separations, press-accurate contract proofs and photopolymer printing plates for packaging – at the highest end of quality.
Flexografix adopts advanced technologies, like the award-winning Bellissima Digitally Modulated Screening in 2016 . We installed our first Hell Gravure, High-Definition Direct Laser Engraver mid 2017.
Flexografix improves our Customers’ businesses by effectively blending a highly-skilled team of people, state-of-the-art technologies, applied knowledge of Flexographic printing and on-site applications / technical support.
My name is Jeanine Cambra and I work for early education, inc., where I am currently working as Head of School for Sandwich Montessori School. I have spent a great deal of my life working as an educator and worked as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, and school principal. I left teaching, in the traditional sense, when I joined early education, inc. and began working with preschool directors to provide support and quickly moved into learning the acquisitions part of our business.
Attorney Green strongly believes that Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Divorce is the premier method to resolve family conflict with the highest integrity and dignity. Attorney Green is the Founder of CT Mediation Center, a mediation practice focused on problem solving, conflict prevention, education and empowering families who undergo separation and divorce to reach long-lasting agreements without resorting to the Court System. With guidance from caring and experienced collaborative professionals, couples can separate or divorce intelligently and creatively, considerate of one another and of their children. Collaborative Divorce or Divorce Mediation offers divorcing clients constructive, fiscally and emotionally efficient alternatives to ruinous and adversarial litigation process.
Attorney Green graduated from Hartford College for Women in 1990 cum laude and Clark University in 1992. She received her Juris Doctorate from Western New England College School of Law in 2001. She was born and raised in Hunedoara, Romania and immigrated to the United States in 1987, prior to the fall of the communist regime.
Brandy founded Shades of Green Permaculture in 2004, and for the past decade plus, she has studied and taught permaculture design alongside some of the world’s leading professionals. Moving from Asheville, NC, to Atlanta in 2011, she began to pollinate the Atlanta area with a whole-systems permaculture perspective, empowering individuals, businesses, and communities with practical tools to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. She has trained 200+ permaculture design students, who are applying these learnings in the non-profit sector, landscape design firms, the building industry, city government, and many other industries in Georgia and beyond. As a designer, Brandy is intuitive, inspired, and pragmatic. She loves observing a site, and nestling human activity into the natural pattern language of each place. Her designs bring land to life for clients in a way that is healing, responsible, abundant, and regenerative. She completed her Master’s Degree in Contemplative Education from Naropa University, and brings forth a passion for land-based, experiential education, both in formal classes and in working with clients to engage with their land. In her “spare” time, she serves on the Pine Lake City Council and as the Dogwood Alliance Board of Directors’ Vice Chair. She lives in Pine Lake with her husband, Aaron, their daughter, Zepyhr, and their rambunctious pup, Peanut Butter.
I am a digital marketer by trade and passion. I started my career on the publisher side working for a newspaper (Phoenix New Times and then The Arizona Republic/Gannett) and loved the fast pace advertising space. What I didn’t like is the inability to track results so when the internet boom happened, I jumped at the chance of actually being able to track ROI. I moved on to help a mortgage company create their digital footprint and then through a stroke of luck found an opportunity at a unique digital advertising agency doing some big things. I started at Sitewire as a media planner within the organization and have had several roles throughout my seven years. Sitewire evolved and now operates under a holding company, Audacious Studios, with four agencies in the portfolio. I run one of the agencies, Tailwind, and am responsible for the health and growth of the organization; namely a profitable P&L, happy employees and happy clients. As the Managing Director, I have 10 individuals on my team (and growing!), with various levels of seniority. I also own a cosmetic surgery supply company (Inspired Surgical Supplies) with my husband Jon, in which I act as the marketing expert. With Inspired Surgical Supplies, our goal is to grow the business in order to sell in the next 5 years. I have two awesome kids, Everett, 4 (more coordinated than I am… and I danced in college!) and Emmett, now 8 months (perhaps a future linebacker, he’s already 26 pounds!). I spend most of my free time with my family, we love to be active by playing sports and being outdoors. To escape the Phoenix heat in the summer, we spend many weekends up in Pinetop, AZ enjoying the cooler weather and greenery (Phoenix is very… brown). I look forward to the days when the boys are older and all four of us can golf on the weekends. Lastly, I am an avid college basketball fan of which my loyalty is to the University of Kansas (Jayhawks) where I got my undergrad in Journalism. I never miss a game and love to cheer on my team, Rock Chalk!
Father of two wonderful daughters. Husband to an amazing wife. Software engineer turned leader in training. I like analyzing problems and looking for creative solutions. I love sports (as a player and a fan). I enjoy reading books and going to the movies. I believe experiences are more important than things.
Blessed dad of 3, husband to the best wife in the world, and a 10 year resident of Michigan (originally from Bloomington, Indiana). Moved to MI in ’07 from Chicago, where I went to school (Northwestern) and worked for several years. I’ve been fortunate to work across over a dozen industries, in largely operational leadership and/or consulting roles. Currently VP of Operations for imageOne, a document lifecycle management company out of Oak Park, Michigan.
I’m Sabrina also known by my work tribe as “sunny with a chance!” My nickname is actually a great way to describe me – I’m energetic and bubbly with a little bit of a feisty streak.
My husband and I are the proud parents of two fur babies. When we’re not cuddling with our pups – okay, we’re always cuddling with our pups – we love to watch movies, eat out at fun places and play dominoes!
Co-founder of Vivayic. I’m a farm kid from Missouri who turned his insatiable curiosity about people, learning, and technology into a business. At Vivayic, we apply our knowledge of learning and development to build other’s capacity to good in the world. Our experiences range from helping companies and NGOs striving to ensure a safe and sustainable food supply to consulting with educators and groups trying to make learning experiences more relevant and engaging. More than what we do, I’m most proud of the one-of-a-kind culture our team is forging together. I live in Mid-Missouri with my wife and partner, Emily.
Connect with Doug
Seth Derner is the Co-founder of Vivayic. We consult, design and build large-scale learning development solutions for corporate, nonprofit and public clients (e.g. revised on-boarding programs, dealer development initiates, etc.). I grew up on a cattle ranch and started my career as a shop and agriculture teacher. I love the belief in learning, I love the natural world, and I love ideas that apply new technologies and approaches to everyday problems. All that shows up in the work we do at Vivayic. I treasure our culture and the people we work with. God, my wife and kids are at the core of my life.
Connect with Seth
Steve Palmer is the managing partner of the hospitality and consulting company, The Indigo Road Hospitality Group. Founded in 2009 in Charleston, SC, when Palmer began working with the celebrated restaurant Oak Steakhouse on historic Broad Street, Indigo Road now owns and operates more than 16 concepts throughout the southeast.
In January 2017, The Post & Courier named Palmer the second most powerful food and beverage industry player in Charleston. He was recognized not only for his growing presence in the hospitality business, but also for his charitable and community efforts. Palmer is a longtime supporter of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry and Charleston’s Feed the Need coalition. In 2016, Palmer founded Ben’s Friends, the food and beverage industry support group offering hope, fellowship, and a path forward to professionals who struggle with substance abuse and addiction. He has been recognized by The New York Times, NPR, Southern Living, Atlanta Magazine and Charleston Magazine for his work, and has presented at TedX Charleston and the Charleston Wine + Food Festival
Connect with Steve
Matt is the second generation President of Choice One Engineering where their focus on everything beyond the numbers has perennially made them the Nation’s #1 Best Civil Engineering Firm to work for. Matt is a recovering engineer, who has always had a passion for business and enjoys living his passion of helping people by leading those around him to become their best version of themselves. He believes that when you are comfortable, you aren’t learning, and uses his desire for continuous learning to challenge the status quo and push others to get out of their comfort zone.
Matt has had some amazing people in his life that have shaped who he is today and desperately hopes he can have that same impact on the people he is fortunate enough to connect with.
Connect with Matt
From an early age, Behfar has always had a true passion for technology. His parents always made sure he had access to the latest gadgets, and he immersed himself in everything tech. Fast forward to the present, and Behfar continues to mix together his passions for technology, entrepreneurship, and business. For those that know him, they will regularly see him toting multiple gadgets, business magazines, and financial statements. “Organized chaos” might be a term that best describes him, but he’ll readily admit that’s the way he loves it.
Behfar loves the business, but his family takes priority. He always finds ways to bring the best of both worlds together.
Connect with Behfar
Loren Feldman is the Chief Content Officer at the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs and former senior editor at Forbes. He also co-hosts a call-in show for business owners, Mind Your Business, on Sirius XM’s Wharton business network. His previous job was small-business editor of The New York Times, where he created the You’re the Boss small-business blog. He has also been editor of the Web sites at both Inc. and FastCompany. Before going digital, he was a top editor and writer for print magazines such as Inc., Philadelphia, Manhattan,inc., the American Lawyer, Money, and George. He has also written for GQ, The New York Times magazine and The New York Times Sunday Business section. And he has spoken and conducted interviews at numerous conferences and seminars on entrepreneurship. On Twitter, he’s @lfeldman.
Connect with Loren
Jean Pitzo is the CEO of Ace Metal Crafts, a stainless steel manufacturer of fabricated and machined components parts. Ace serves OEM’s in the food processing, packaging, pharmaceutical, and environmental industries and is located in Bensenville, IL. She has been with the company since 1983, joining as a sales rep and progressing over the years to Vice President of Sales and Marketing, then to President and to her current role in 2003.
Throughout her tenure, Jean’s passion for developing conscious leaders and helping team members thrive has advanced the success of the company, and produced a culture with a foundation built on trust. Her extensive sales and leadership experience has taught her that taking great care of customers on the outside starts with taking good care of people on the inside. Every day at Ace, she asks team members for their opinions and advice. She relies on them, trusts them and supports them. ACE Metal Crafts purpose is to inspire and connect with people to unleash their potential. Everyone on the team understands that to succeed both individually and collectively, they must share, learn and grow together.
Connect with Jean
Connect with Morgan
Carl is the CEO and co-founder of Atomic Object, a software product development company with offices in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. He likes solving problems and questioning the status quo to innovate and create value. He believes strongly that work matters, that companies should be a force for good in their communities, and that everyone should have a job which provides fulfillment beyond a paycheck. Atomic Object has been his platform to develop these ideas and put them into practice.
Carl sails a Snipe at the Grand Rapids Yacht Club, enjoys owning interesting cars, loves to snowboard, and plays Swedish floor ball in the winter.
Connect with Carl
Ray Brown is Senior Director of Pricing and Contracting at Medtronic PLC, the world’s largest medical device company by revenue. His outstanding team of 44 is responsible for pre- and post-sale support of offer development, contracting, global pricing governance, asset operations, pricing operations, and contract compliance for the company’s $3.2B Minimally Invasive Therapies Group in the US.
Ray has been at Medtronic (which acquired his former employer, Covidien) since 2006. He has held positions with the company in Boulder, CO, and Zürich, Switzerland. Prior to his time at Medtronic, he worked for Qwest Communications (now CenturyLink) and AT&T.
Ray lives near Boulder, CO and is married with two adult children. In his spare time he enjoys flying, running, reading, and German language. He earned a BA in history from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from Purdue University.
Connect with Ray
Connect with Elena
Jessica Rovello is the CEO and co-founder of Arkadium, which provides interactive, visual content to more than 450 of the world’s best-known brands and publishers. Founded in 2001, Arkadium has developed products ranging from games (notably Microsoft Solitaire Collection, one of the most played games of all time) to dynamic editorial tools allowing journalists to embed visual data and interactive content in their articles. Previously, at just 24, she pioneered modern digital viral marketing when she produced the website for The Blair Witch Project. A fierce proponent of evergreen business building and living a full life, Jessica was recently featured on the cover of Inc. magazine. She lives in NYC with her husband and three sons.
Connect with Jessica
Jason Fried thinks deeply about collaboration, productivity, and the nature of work. He is the co-founder and CEO at Basecamp and co-author of Rework, Remote: Office Not Required, Getting Real, and the recently released, It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work. You can get to know Jason before he takes the Summit stage through his TED Talk, Get Real Column for Inc. and Basecamp’s Signal v. Noise blog.
Connect with Jason
Nicole Sahin’s mission is to make it easy for any company to expand into any country as easily as they hire team members in the United States. Her current focus is building the world’s most competent and trustworthy Global PEO to meet the standards of the company’s Fortune 500 clients. She led Globalization Partners to a ranking of No. 33 on the 2017 Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies in America, No. 6 on the 2016 Inc. 500 list, has been named Entrepreneur of the Year in New England, and has won numerous awards for breaking the traditional corporate mold by building a nationally-recognized company culture.
Prior to launching Globalization Partners, Nicole was a Managing Director at High Street Partners, a firm which provided international HR, tax, legal, and compliance services to CFOs, HR Directors, and General Counsel of fast-growing technology companies establishing subsidiaries and hiring in dozens of countries. Via her experience advising companies ranging from Tesla to HID Global on their international expansions, Nicole founded Globalization Partners to create a legal and technology platform that eliminated the need for companies to set up branch offices and subsidiaries in multiple jurisdictions prior to expanding their global sales footprint.
Connect with Nicole
Jim Hume is the Founder and Principal of Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Phire Group: a brand research + articulation + activation company. Phire is a fiercely independent agency focused on transforming organizations’ brands, their cultures, and their customers’ experiences. Using the power of research, community, and creativity, they help unleash brands that inspire and impact. With a focused and purposeful team of 25 all-stars, Phire Group has a wide range of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to startups in consumer goods, healthcare, technology, education, business-to-business, the arts, and more.
Connect with Jim
Jeff Liscum is an executive business coach and co-founder of Prism Perspective Coaching, specializing in entrepreneurial business owners and leadership teams. Jeff’s expertise lies in combining a client’s Gallup Builder Profile and CliftonStrengths results for targeted professional development and intentional business growth through the lens of his client’s unique talents. With a previous career in advertising and marketing development, Jeff provides the most authentic and individualized experience for each of his clients, as he knows the importance and impact of a tailored growth plan.
In addition to his executive clients, Jeff contributes to the betterment of his coaching colleagues by administering his custom Builder Profile + CliftonStrengths comprehension workshops. Training certified coaches around the country hones his craft while encouraging the growth and continued development of his field. Jeff received his BP10 coaching certification through Gallup, Inc. and his CliftonStrengths training through Strength Strategy Coaching Certification.
Connect with Jeff
Michael is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Big Path Capital, a leading boutique, impact investment bank focused on providing Corporate Finance, M&A, and Placement Agent services to impact companies and funds globally. Big Path has worked with over 150 impact and sustainable companies and funds, more than any firm in the sector. In 2007 the old economy driven by the single gear of profit maximization reached a dead end in the financial crisis. It was a moment of reckoning during which Michael left his fifteen-year career in private equity to form Big Path Capital with his partner, Shawn Lesser, leveraging the engine of capitalism for an expansive economy built on natural, social, and financial capital.
Recognizing that impact investing isn’t just a different way of investing but a superior way of deploying capital, Michael is committed to challenging the status quo and to raising the expectation of capital. In this vein, Big Path has created a number of first-in-class initiatives including the Five Fund Forum, Impact Capitalism Summits, and Impact & Sustainable Trade Missions. Michael received his BA summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from the University of the South in Sewanee, TN and received a joint MBA and MEM (Master of Engineering Management) from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.
Connect with Michael
Heidi Convery is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and founder of Flourish LLC, a strengths-based coaching firm focused on putting purpose back in the workplace. Through high energy retreats and intentional one-on-one coaching, Heidi ignites purpose and value in your team where complacency might be looming.
Heidi specializes in improving Business-to-Business connections by aiding your team in understanding the unique Strengths of your business partners and how to tailor communication for intentional relationship development. With a previous career in university administration, she also has in depth experience in motivating Millennial and Centennial employees. Heidi maintains a selective number of executive clients for management-based Strengths coaching – understanding how an individual’s Strengths motivate and discourage the growth of his/her business and people.
Heidi is a co-author of the Amazon International Best Seller, “Turning Talents into Strengths: Stories of Coaching Transformations.” She holds a B.A. in French, an M.Ed. in University Administration, and CliftonStrengths Coaching Certification from Gallup, Inc.
Connect with Heidi
Corey is the publisher of Conscious Capitalism Press, the founder and CEO of Round Table Companies (RTC), and a speaker, artist, and storyteller. He previously starred in one of the 50 greatest Super Bowl commercials of all time (Mountain Dew, Bohemian Rhapsody), has won 15 independent publishing awards, and has been featured on the cover of the Wall Street Journal as well as in the New YorkTimes, USA Today, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, and Wired. Corey is the creator of the Vulnerability Wall and the Vulnerability is SexyTM card game. His documentary of the same name won 2017 ADDY and HERMES awards for branded content.
Connect with Corey
Steven Dyme is the Co-Founder & CEO of Flowers for Dreams, a socially conscious flower company named one of Business Insider’s 20 Most Inspiring Companies in America (2012). Every bouquet his company sells benefits an amazing local charity in Chicago, Milwaukee, and soon Detroit. To date, they’ve donated over $400,000 from the sale of flowers.
Connect with Steven
I’m the CEO of Know Your Team. My life’s mission is to help people become happier at work.
I write regularly on leadership at the Know Your Team blog, and have been published in Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, CNBC, Inc, Fortune, among others. I speak internationally on how to create more open, honest work environments. I teach as an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at my alma mater, Northwestern University.
People matter to me, most of all. I love my family and friends. I also enjoy painting, yoga, cooking, and any project that requires a pencil.
Connect with Claire
Jana specializes in helping people magnify what they’re passionate about and connecting them to resources and people. In her work at Trebuchet Group, she uses her extensive background in organizational management and marketing to help companies get clarity around where they need to go and the confidence to find the right path to get there. She creates and delivers workshops and keynotes on leadership and entrepreneurship, and gets delighted when people realize they need more healthy conflict to accomplish great things.
Connect with Jana
Since 2002, hundreds of leaders have trusted Chris Hutchinson and Trebuchet Group to help them achieve great accomplishments through creating great teams. Chris brings together real-world experience and understanding to support leaders who feel the weight of their company on their shoulders, and are frustrated by teams not achieving their potential. Chris wrote Ripple: A Field Manual for Leadership that Works in 2015 to help leaders increase their personal impact and create long lasting results.
Connect with Chris
For the past eleven years Blair Kellison has been the CEO of Traditional Medicinals, a mission driven, organic and fair trade botanical wellness company based in Sonoma County, CA.
Traditional Medicinals purpose since its founding in 1974 has been to connect people to the power of plants to change lives through its social business model. This business model has enabled the company to continually be in a leadership position on social and environmental sustainability practices. This philosophy
coupled with the Company’s financial sustainability has resulted in five decades of commercial success and created a truly sustainability organization. The Company is now the 4 th largest bagged tea company in North America.
Connect with Blair
Hamsa is a business leader who is passionate about people, process and growth. She grew up in Baghdad, Iraq, moving to the U.S in 1991. Her first language is Arabic, and she speaks English and Spanish. Hamsa received her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Wayne State University and her MBA from Walsh College. After college, Hamsa worked for an immigration agency to help refugee and asylee populations assimilate into the US, learn English, and find employment. She then joined Walsh College as their first international student advisor where she helped recruit, admit and counsel over 400 international students over a period of 9 years. In her four years at Mango Languages, Hamsa recruited and mentored many employees, providing outstanding leadership. She was promoted to the COO/Integrator role in 2012, and helped lead Mango to its most successful year in 2014.
Paul Spiegelman is the co-founder of the Small Giants Community, a peer-group of purpose-driven business leaders. He is the former chief culture officer of Stericycle, the co-founder and former CEO of BerylHealth and the founder and chairman of The Beryl Institute.
Paul is a New York Times best-selling author and has been honored with the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Paul is a sought-after speaker and author on leadership, employee engagement, entrepreneurship, culture, and leading a purpose-driven life. He has made many radio and TV appearances and his views have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, and he is currently a columnist for Forbes.com.
Paul practiced law for two years prior to starting BerylHealth. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from UCLA and a law degree from Southwestern University.
Bo Burlingham is the author of Small Giants: Companies That Choose To Be Great Instead of Big (Portfolio, 2006) and an editor-at-large of Inc. Magazine. Bo joined Inc. in January 1983 as a senior editor and became executive editor six months later, a position he held for the next seven years or so. In 1990 he became editor-at-large for a number of reasons, including his desire to go back to writing. He subsequently wrote two books with Jack Stack, the co-founder and CEO of Springfield Remanufacturing Corp. and the pioneer of open-book management. One of the books, The Great Game of Business, has sold more than 300,000 copies. The other, A Stake in the Outcome, has also done pretty well and gotten great reviews.
Before joining Inc., Bo freelanced for various publications, including Esquire, Harper’s, Boston Magazine, and Mother Jones. Bo was also managing editor of Ramparts magazine. In 1982, he joined Fidelity Investments, where he wrote for Peter Lynch, Ned Johnson, and other honchos until coming to Inc. From 1992 to 1997, he served on the board of The Body Shop Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of the international cosmetics company. He was also a founder, with Tom Peters, of PAC World, a weird international networking group that gave him a chance to meet a lot of zany—and brilliant—people from around the globe.
Jillian received her B.A. in Sociology and Creative Writing from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI in 2012. She graduated with honors from U of M’s Residential College. For over four years, Jillian has worked as a freelance writer, working with a range of diverse clients to provide creative, high-quality writing, editing, and social media services. Jillian partners with brands to elevate their messaging, strengthen their voice, and create consistent, powerful copy. From managing Chevrolet’s social media to helping a small, bean-to-bar chocolate company market their mission, her experience runs the gamut. She is excited to work with the Small Giants Community to tell the incredible stories of its leaders and promote their philosophies the world over. Outside of her daily work, Jillian loves to write and read short fiction and essays. She’s a lifelong Michigander and the proud owner of a very dysfunctional – but very cute – shih tzu.
Jason jumps in wherever he’s needed, from publications, videos, infographics, logos, videos, web design and development. For eleven years, he served as Creative Director for a group of small businesses. In 2012 he started Armour Creative, his own creative services and solutions business. Jason is passionate about corporate culture and is a co-author of Smile Guide: Employee Perspectives on Culture, Loyalty, and Profit, has spoken on a panel about customer service at Inc. 500|5000, and his corporate-culture videos have been featured in the Wall Street Journal. Jason loves to travel the world with his wife, typically backpacking or camping, and making it up as they go along.
After earning her B.A. in French Literature from Oakland University, Rachel joined the colorful language-learning company Mango Languages. Within three years, Rachel transitioned into the role of Marketing Director, leading overall brand and creative strategy and implementing a full company rebrand.
Ready for her next challenge, Rachel moved to imageOne, a document lifecycle management company and all-star Small Giant, to lead its marketing department. There, she experienced what it felt like to work for an organization that radiates the six qualities of a Small Giant (spoiler: it’s an amazing feeling!).
Motivated by her inner space geek, Rachel then joined the team at the Michigan Science Center, marketing the Detroit-based science museum and inspiring curious minds of all ages to appreciate the cosmos.
Rachel loves to bake, binge watch Star Trek, and spend time in Montréal.