Are you a parent with school-aged children at home? Or a leader with team members who have young children?
Chances are you’re pretty stressed out right now — managing work and home life just got a whole lot harder, and with many schools switching to partial or fully remote learning, it’s a long road ahead. We’ve gathered resources, advice, and predictions from purpose-driven leaders with children at home on how to juggle work and kids.
With so many (awesome!) parents in the Small Giants Community — leaders, emerging leaders, and employees alike — we want to do our part to tackle this challenge as a community.
We rolled out the welcome mat to our Zoom room to bring working parents and leaders together for a casual, open roundtable discussion to share strategies for managing work and family stress, supporting team members with children, and how to approach homeschooling as a working parent.
Here are the top takeaways and highlights from our roundtable discussion on how to juggle work, kids, and a pandemic.
Small Giants company Badger Balm actively supports families instead of just working around them. The business has a babies-at-work program, its own full-day, affordable childcare center, paid family leave, and care reimbursement for parents of school-aged children.
Although the circumstances are extraordinary, work from home orders are prompting many to reconsider their stance on virtual work. In the short-term, working from home offers continued safety to team members who aren’t confident about returning to the office. But in the long term, what can we learn from this experience to create a more flexible, rewarding work experience for our team members?
We talked to three purpose-driven leaders to hear their perspectives on returning to the office, the future of working from home, and how to keep employees engaged right now.
Jillian Lukas Rodriguez is a skillful storyteller who is passionate about connecting people through the written word, shared experiences, and authentic representation. Jillian’s experiences span auto industry copywriting and social media management to brand building for artisan food makers. As Storyteller for the Small Giants Community, Jillian finds what makes Small Giants special and shares their stories with the world.
In her free time, you can find Jillian playing tennis or bike riding with her family, listening to podcasts, going to improv comedy shows, and trying to learn or experience something new everyday.
Hamsa Daher is an experienced business leader who is passionate about people, process and purpose. Hamsa’s experiences span higher education, the tech industry, and now business and leadership with the Small Giants Community. Since moving to the States from Iraq in 1991, Hamsa has followed her passion for making meaningful connections with people from all walks of life and infusing purpose into every task, team, and project she encounters — if you don’t put your heart into it, it won’t be your best!
In her free time, you can find Hamsa spending time with family, cooking, playing Scrabble and exploring cities just as a local.
The Supporter Donation: $100 Each $100 donation covers the cost of mailing learning materials and Small Giants swag to a leader in the Small Giants Leadership Academy.
The Bookworm Donation: $250 Each $250 contribution covers the cost of a year’s worth of leadership books delivered to an emerging leader.
The Growing with Purpose Donation: $500 Five contributions of $500 give an emerging leader invaluable guidance from a year of mentorship through the Small Giants Sounding Board program.
The BFF Donation: $1,000 Two contributions of $1,000 give a leader the chance to make new business BFFs at the Small Giants Community Summit.
The Gift of Confidence Donation: $5,000 Two contributions of $5,000 cover a leader’s tuition to join the Small Giants Leadership Academy through which they’ll learn to be a more emotionally intelligent, inclusive, and confident leader.
The Future of Business Donation: $10,000 Every contribution of $10,000 allows one leader to complete a purpose-driven leadership certification program and build a network of like-hearted leaders through the Small Giants Leadership Academy. Donors will have the opportunity to connect with scholarship recipients.
There are a few ways to get involved in the events, resources, and certifications available through the Small Giants Community. Tell us more about you and we’ll follow up with information to get you started.
(Psst! Looking for something different? Learn about the Community and get in touch with us.)
1. Fill out this form and we’ll reach out to schedule a call. 2. Have a conversation with our team so we can brainstorm your sponsorship. 3. Sponsor and make a difference in the lives of purpose-driven leaders.
1. Fill out this form and we’ll reach out to schedule a call. 2. Have a conversation with our team so we can brainstorm your sponsorship. 3. Make a difference in the lives of purpose-driven leaders.
1. Fill out this form and we’ll reach out to schedule a call. 2. Have a conversation with our team so we can brainstorm your impact. 3. Make a difference in the lives of purpose-driven leaders.
Complete the form to save your spot! After you register, you’ll receive an email with your prep work and instructions for joining the Zoom room.
Ben currently runs SmugMug alongside his brother Don. He started at SmugMug more than 16 years ago in front line customer support, a focus that has helped him remain totally committed to the passionate photography community.
After successfully acquiring Flickr from Yahoo, he now brings that customer focus to revitalizing that community.
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.
A change agent at heart, Amy has been immersed in the world of research and insights for over a decade. With a career path that has transversed shopper insights for some of the world’s leading brands, to launching Gongos’ creative communication practice, to instilling change management principles across the organization, Amy brings a discipline and spirit to achieving goals that deftly balances client needs and organizational goals. When it comes to strategic direction and execution, she instills a deep sense of purpose while mobilizing teams to take on challenges, often inside uncharted territory.
Amy holds a Master of Science in Marketing from The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She regularly speaks at industry conferences, webinars and presents to client organizations at events including activation summits, retreats and intensive workshops.
She resides in the Greater Milwaukee Area with her husband and three daughters.
Michael is a co-founder and partner of Detroit City Distillery. Detroit City Distillery makes small batch craft whiskies, gins and vodkas in the heart of Detroit’s historic Eastern Market. Today, Detroit City Distillery is the fastest growing distillery in the state and is expanding its national presence.
Michael Forsyth is also the founder and CEO Creative Place Consulting. Michael founded Creative Place Consulting in 2017 to facilitate authentic community and economic development at the neighborhood scale. Creative Place Consulting commonly works with philanthropy, academic institutions, government and the private sector to facilitate real estate development, small business growth and vibrant cultural programming in America’s cities.
Prior to becoming a full-time entrepreneur, Michael served as the Small Business Director with the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. In his six years with the DEGC, Michael designed and managed two-cutting edge programs, Motor City Match and REVOLVE Detroit to facilitate entrepreneurship, real estate development and arts investment in Detroit’s neighborhood business districts. Michael attended Michigan State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and a master’s in Urban Planning.
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.
One-third of the skilled workers building our country’s infrastructure will retire within the next five years, and nowhere near that many are entering it. Meanwhile, college is leading only 20% of Americans toward a career they find satisfying. Can we bridge this gap so that more people find fulfilling work in critical industries? Deven Paolo believes we can – if we expand our definition of success and look for our individual right-fit paths.
12 years into his entrepreneurial journey, he knows firsthand how much ingenuity and growth careers in the skilled trades can offer. Deven is the co-founder and president of Solid Form, a custom metal fabrication shop in Oregon’s wine country. After a few detours with jobs that didn’t align with his strengths and interests, he found his own right-fit path and now helps guide others toward theirs – within his company and beyond.
Deven has forged partnerships with educators and industry partners to remodel high school shops and reshape curricula for 21st-century manufacturing environments. In 2017, Solid Form established an educational endowment fund – and in 2019, it distributed a round of seven scholarships. That year alone, the company also hired two new team members who first connected with the company through college internships. These successes offer tangible examples for educators and business leaders as Deven shares his ideas from event stages across the nation.
Diana’s expertise is in strategy and developing learning programs for improving organizational performance. She earned a PhD in organizational strategy from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an MBA in Finance and International Business from Dalhouse University, Halifax. With an extensive international background, Diana focuses on supporting leaders and management teams with strategic planning and meeting facilitation, organization development, leadership development, executive coaching, training and development, cross-cultural competency development and organizational learning systems. Her 25 plus years of consulting encompass industries related to health care, automotive, management consulting, manufacturing, non-profit organizations, and faith-based organizations. Diana is a certified coach in conducting 360 degree feedback with the HayGroup’s emotional competency inventory for leadership development to impact performance. She was the President of the ASTD, Ann Arbor chapter from 2005-06 and became a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance by national ASTD in the pioneer cohort.
I’m a father of 2 boys (Hugh and Harry) and a husband of 9 years to my wife, Carrie. We live in the Austin, TX area near Lake Travis. I’ve been working with Loop1 for 5+ years and have been a part of the Loop1/SolarWinds community for 10+ years. Enjoy snow skiiing, waterskiing, time with family and anything with water (pools/lakes/rivers). It’s hot here!
About Shawn: Shawn Busse is the founder and CEO of Kinesis, a Portland-based strategy and marketing firm. An accomplished speaker and author, Shawn helps business owners reinvent their companies through Marketing from the Inside Out – a core business philosophy that starts with a focus on mission, vision, and values. Shawn’s driving purpose stems from a belief that small businesses have a wealth of untapped potential – potential to create meaningful work, build strong communities, and make the world a better place.
Since its founding in 2000, Kinesis has helped hundreds of small businesses radically transform their strategy, marketing, and culture. In addition to numerous awards for fast growth and innovation, Kinesis is also a certified B-Corporation. Thrice-recognized as the top 10% of their B-Corp peers, Kinesis seeks to help visionary leaders take their businesses from “Good” to “Great.”
About Zane: Zane is one of the Managing Partners and owners of Buchi Kombucha based in Asheville, NC. Buchi is the largest craft kombucha brewery on the East Coast. For the past eight years, he has been a part of crafting Buchi Kombucha to cultivate a culture – both the billions of beneficial bacteria in its bottles as well as a thriving regenerative human culture that celebrates fermented foods. By engaging in community centered commerce, he advocates that all organizations have a role in joining a larger dialogue around living in a more symbiotic way with each other and our planet.
About Wynne: Wynne Odell is a co-founder and the Board Chair Odell of Brewing Company. She retired from her decades-long CEO role at Odell in January of this year. Odell was founded in 1989 by Wynne, her husband, Doug and Doug’s sister Corkie. 30 years later, Odell is now the 23rd largest independent craft brewery in the country out of a total of 7,500 craft breweries.
Wynne, Doug, and Corkie sold the majority of Odell Brewing Company to their co-workers (now co-owners) in 2015 via a combination of a management buyout and an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. By selling to the people who worked side-by-side with them to build the company, the three founders preserved the legacy of quality, collaboration and contribution that they had very intentionally cultivated over the years. Both the founding and new owners are passionately committed to Odell Brewing’s enduring independence.
About Torey: 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.
About Leslie: 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!
About Mike: Growing and fostering our creative team is my number one priority at Atomic. I take great pride in helping enable our talented team members to achieve their personal goals.
I enjoy working at the intersection of business and technology. I love helping clients research, identify, and create the right software products to suit their needs.
In 2003, I became Atomic’s first full-time software developer hire. Over the years, I’ve held various other roles in the organization. I’m especially proud of the work that I’ve helped with on our employee share purchase program, our career accelerator program, expanding our value chain, and opening our Ann Arbor office.
I have both a degree in Computer Science from GVSU and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts.
About Jon: I have wanted to be a Business Coach/ Author / Speaker since I was 18 and my Dad gave me a set of tapes by Brian Tracy: The Psychology of Success. The moment they hit my ears, I knew I wanted to Help successful businesspeople get unstuck and grow their businesses.
I’ve been called the “business whisperer” because I can see what you cannot see and hear what you cannot hear at your company. I use that laser focus to help you enhance, improve, increase and evolve not only your business but yourself.
I lead you away from your comfort zone to an explosive new frontier of your shifting mindset to increased awareness. I work with you to identify your stuck and get you unstuck. We will zoom in to create a living business plan that will accelerate your business. We dive into creating the organizational chart of the right people, creating the processes and systems that get your company in growth mode and work together to infuse consistency and accountability to keep everyone on track. We evolve a culture where you and your team are inspired, motivated, successful leaders with greater, more effective communication, bolder execution- and in possession of a detailed roadmap to execute deliverable results.
About Ari: Ari Weinzweig is CEO and co-founding partner of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, which includes Zingerman’s Delicatessen, Bakehouse, Creamery, Catering, Mail Order, ZingTrain, Coffee Company, Roadhouse, Candy Manufactory, Events at Cornman Farms, Miss Kim and Zingerman’s Food Tours. Zingerman’s produces, sells and serves all sorts of full flavored, traditional foods in its home of Ann Arbor, Michigan to the tune of $65,000,000 a year in annual sales. Ari was recognized as one of the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” by the 2006 James Beard Foundation and has awarded a Bon Appetit Lifetime Achievement Award among many recognitions. Ari is the author of a number of articles and books, including Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon (Zingerman’s Press), Zingerman’s Guide to Giving Great Service, Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating (Houghton Mifflin), Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 1: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business, and Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 2: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Being a Better Leader. Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 3; A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Managing Ourselves. Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 4; A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to the Power of Beliefs in Business was released in summer of 2016. In 2017 Ari was named one of “The World’s 10 Top CEOs (They Lead in a Totally Unique Way)” by Inc. Magazine. In 2018 he released the pamphlet, “The Art of Business; Why I Want to be an Artist.” Another pamphlet, “Going into Business with Emma Goldman” came out in June 2019.
About Vivian: Vivian Lee is SVP of People Innovation at Arkadium, a global tech company with offices in New York and Russia. Having previously worked in an eclectic mix of industries — from investment banking, to non-profits to tech — she brings a unique perspective to organizational management. She’s committed to creating innovative ways to engage employees and establish an environment that empowers employees to do their best work.
Vivian has spearheaded several new initiatives since joining Arkadium in 2016. To name a few: the rollout of a self-directed learning budget provided annually to every employee, demystification of career advancement in the form of transparent promotion-tracking, and the cultivation of an environment that emphasizes effective coaching at all levels of the organization.
Vivian’s laser-focus on improving the employee experience has translated to tangible results, both in the office and in the news. Arkadium has been certified as a Great Place To Work, and recognized as a best workplace by Crain’s and Inc Magazine.
About Chad: Chad Littlefield is the co-founder and Chief Experience Officer of We and Me, Inc. (www.weand.me)—an organization whose mission is to create conversations that matter. Leaders call Chad when they want to “gently eradicate small talk” and build a culture of connection in their organization. Forbes calls Chad a “global expert on asking questions that build trust and connection in teams.” He is a TEDx speaker, author, and creator of We! Connect Cards™, which are now being used to create conversations that matter on campuses and companies in over 80 countries around the world. Most recently, Chad and his co-founder Will Wise launched their new book, Ask Powerful Questions: Create Conversations that Matter, now a #1 Amazon Bestseller.
Chad has led workshops, trainings, retreats, and interactive keynotes at JetBlue, Starbucks, Conscious Capitalism International, and dozens of other conscious companies. Feel free to follow Chad via video beforehand through his interactive learning letter right here: www.weand.me/ideas
About Jay: Jay is the CEO of Firespring, a Nebraska-based Certified B Corporation that was featured as one of Inc. Magazine’s Top 50 Places to Work in America and has been listed on the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies 7 of the last 9 years.
Jay is passionate about crafting Firespring’s culture and he spends the majority of his time helping businesses find their why and deepen their impact. In May, 2019 Jay founded the Do More Good Movement to help educate, empower and amplify companies and business leaders doing more good.
Jay is among the highest-ranking speakers at conferences all over the U.S. and has informed thousands with his empowering messages. His TEDx talk on company culture has more than 1 million views. A graduate of MIT’s Entrepreneurial Masters program, Jay has appeared on CNN and other national news outlets discussing the important role impact organizations play in the U.S. economy.
About Camille: As CEO of a decision intelligence consultancy, Camille understands what it takes to make business decisions while operating in volatile environments and building strong cultural buy-in. She believes operationalizing customer centricity as a strategy for growth will produce consistent results and have a harmonizing effect on decision makers inside Fortune 500 companies. Beyond driving behaviors through impactful communication, knowledge activation, and change management initiatives, she operates under the belief that people realize their full potential when put in the right seats. Her grounding vision is to foster a culture where purpose, transparency, and innovation shape a company fit for the future. Camille is the sole owner of Gongos, Inc., a WBENC company, and is a member of the Forbes Agency Council. She served as Chairperson of the Advisory Board of Michigan State University’s Master of Science in Marketing Research Program and has contributed to the University of Michigan’s Institute for Survey Research.
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.
Bill’s 2025 Vision: In 5 years my vision for myself is to be thriving as a leader at home and at work. My family is healthy and happy living good habits and actively involved in our community. I have been able to achieve my triathlon goals. I am involved in my men’s group. My marriage is strong and thriving, and Marispy and I are enjoying life together.
Lois Truelove was born and raised in southern Louisiana, where she attended the University of New Orleans. Throughout her professional career, Lois has served in various industries including banking, teaching, and real estate. Lois joined Essential Ingredients in 2013. Lois is committed to making sure customers are delighted with the customer experience that Essential Ingredients provides.
Lois and her husband Chad have three children: Morgan, Graham, and Mason. Lois likes to take her dog on long walks, cook, enjoy quiet family time, and travel back to New Orleans as much as possible.
• Debt-free except for mortgage • Married (still) • 2 kids graduating from college • 1 kid successful in high school • Moved to a different role at my company • Started to give back to my community in some way
In my personal time, I enjoy traveling, playing music, and watching College Basketball.
Jimmy’s 2025 Vision: I’d like to be building creative solutions to challenges I find engaging and impactful. I’d like to work with people who push me to be better and constantly grow and improve. I’d like to be able to spend time with the people I care about and visit new places. Finally, play more music and read more philosophy
Arin’s 2025 Vision:
• Leading a team of 7 at a $75M company • Free to attend all of my kids’ activities • We’ll have taken 3rd annual family vacation • Will harvest 2nd lychee crop
Tracey earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Texas and received a Masters of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University. Tracey has served in various leadership roles with community and professional organizations and is an active member of her local church. She lives in Canton and has two daughters.
Tracey’s 2025 Vision: In 2025, I will have become a more mature and active follower in Christ. Jayden will be graduating and she will have been taught values and will have the tools to continue to grow as a Christ-follower.
Growing up in Berkley, MI, I was not one of the lucky ones who knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. From my adolescents, through college, and into my early professional career, I was searching for that magical job that would bring me happiness. In all honesty, Managed Print Services never crossed my mind. Now, at the age of 29, I have been a Project Manager for the last 4 years at imageOne in Oak Park, MI, and I can finally say I absolutely LOVE my job! Sometimes things have a way of falling into place. Along the way, I also picked up a passion for theater, music, and team bonding, which I try to incorporate into my work as often as possible. Now that I’ve found a professional home, I am constantly looking for ways to challenge myself and continue to grow as a leader.
Connie’s 2025 Vision: I am happily married, I have a child, I work part-time at imageOne, and I am on track to go to heaven.
From the early age of 9, April Anderson knew she wanted to be a baker and started making treats for her family on a regular basis. As April’s curiosity grew she began exploring more sophisticated recipes and started a home-based baking business in 2008. In 2010 April attended Macomb Community College for Pastry Arts, gaining knowledge on Pastry Techniques, Artisan Breads, French Pastries and Recipe Development. It was during this time that April knew that she wanted to open a bakery in Detroit. In September 2013, April along with partner, Michelle Anderson, opened their first bakery in Detroit on the historic Avenue of Fashion.
Incorporated in 2013, Good Cakes and Bakes’ mission is to provide quality baked goods that are wholesome and organic in nature; and to provide baked goods in an environment that is positive, creative, educational and friendly to employees and the community.
In 2015 April, along with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Kresge Foundation President Rip Rapson and former President Bill Clinton, participated in the Clinton Global Initiative America’s closing plenary session Comeback Cities which explored Detroit and highlighted its local businesses. In 2018, April was given the honor of being a Pastry Chef for the James Beard Media Awards (NYC). She’s also a 2018 James Beard Foundation Chef Boot Camp Alum. Featured on The Today Show (NYC, 2019).
April’s 2025 Vision:
• I would love to be living on a farm in upstate New York • I want it to be a bed and breakfast where I’m teaching classes and just relaxing • I would love to be traveling doing speaking engagements about my life and journey and how my life has come full circle • I’m not sure if I’m still married; only because I want to move and my wife feels she needs to stay for her family’s sake
I had no luck finding a management position that I thought I “deserved” (oh, how cute) because of my degree, so I took a job in a call center of a company I knew nothing about. I figured I will work my way up.
Sasha’s 2025 Vision:
• Library with sliding ladder • Walk-in wine cooler • I love my job and company and want to be exactly where I am, just better, smarter, and more effective
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.
Travis’ 2025 Vision:
• Fully present, connected, engaged with my wife and daughter • 4 weeks a year to be in Michigan with our immediate family • Our family home renovation is complete and comfortable • Engaged in trust-based workplace culture that promotes individual investment
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.
Lauren’s 2025 Vision:
• 2-3 kids, they’ve developed their own personalities which has been fun to see • Husband working at a job that works for our family (good work/life balance) • Moved to a neighborhood we are excited about and are very involved in the community • I’ve become an owner at my firm, taken on more responsibility, but kept work/life harmony • Gone on another international trip to celebrate 10 years of marriage with my husband
Christina Moore has experience in transactions involving securitization and warehousing of vacation ownership receivables, accounts receivable sale and hypothecation, real estate and related-asset secured loans and other complex credit facility transactions. Additionally, Ms. Moore has been involved in the structuring and regulatory compliance of resort and leisure developments such as condominium, hotel, timeshare, fractional development, condo-hotel, vacation clubs and destination clubs. She also assists clients in state and federal regulatory compliance with marketing and telemarketing laws, including sweepstakes; prize and gift promotions; do-not-call and various other Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission; state statutes and regulations; and she represents clients in marketing trade practice cases. Her depth of experience allows her to comfortably and knowledgeably work all aspects of a transaction and offer a full range of services to clients needing answers in just a single phone call. She also recognizes the need to balance the legal framework of regulations and in transactions with the business goals of growth and development.
• Kids will be: Julia 13 Peter 12 Conner 10 Josephine 10
• Exciting to watch my kids grow and engage the world. Continue to balance work and family with a client base that is one I enjoy.
I’ve worked in the Finance arena for most of my career. Nine years ago I made a change and went from working for a publicly-traded company with thousands of employees to working for a privately owned business with six employees. It’s been a great experience. I was brought on as the Chief Compliance Officer and have taken on various roles over the years.
More recently I’ve been moving into the COO role. I have found that I truly enjoy the Human Capital side of the business.
Brenda’s 2025 Vision:
• Show love, support and make an impact to my family and team, generously • Be their cheerleaders and be blessed mutually for it • Director for Culture for the Cordant team
Katie has a dual B.S. in Finance and Marketing from the University of Montana. Outside of her work at Spika, she owns a local events and activities promotion website – hiddenmt.com – with her sister Bekhi. She also enjoys spending time with her two Pyrenees dogs and her two cats.
• Financial security • Strong leader with super competent team • Meaningful personal relationships
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.
Trevor’s 2025 Vision:
• Managing and possibly owning a part of my firm • Soccer, football, baseball, whatever my kids are into. I want to be fully involved and supportive of their interests • Being a great leader for my family
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.
Emily’s 2025 Vision:
• In 2025, we will still be running a strong, fun, profitable company where the employees are empowered and engaged. Doug and I will continue to travel and be loving and connected to family and each other • Healthier, more gratitude, humble
Michelle’s 2025 Vision:
• Be recognized as a leader in the industry • Team culture and structure balanced to our growth • Support and develop new leaders within our organization to carry it forward towards our BHAG • Find the work/life balance that has been so elusive • Trust in the team and the process to operate and succeed if I were not there • Travel more and work only 45-50 hours per week (or less) • Rediscover me without work
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.
Lorena’s 2025 Vision: I will have a house/cabin and I have traveled internationally.
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.
Maggie’s 2025 Vision: The year is 2025. I am thriving — I have a healthy, happy family. I have received my CPA certification, my husband has found his place in his career, and we are where we want to be (wherever that may be).
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.
Roy’s 2025 Vision: My life will be different in that my children will be out of the house. My vision is that I will be able to support my wife’s dream of business ownership and our dream of travel. Same role but different life balance.
As Director of Torch’s Applied Engineering and Test business unit, I have the privilege of leading a highly dedicated workforce across 8 locations in the U.S. and abroad.
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.
Brady’s 2025 Vision: I want to continue leading a team of high achievers that share a deep bond of camaraderie. Whether that involves a promotion or not is irrelevant. I want my children to be on a path of lifelong happiness (and independence) and an ever-deepening relationship with my wife.
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.
Nicholas’ 2025 Vision: I will be at a VP level at imageOne, overseeing our process, people, relationships, and services. My family is still #1 and we still spend the majority of our time together. I also have finally learned another language.
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.
Tony’s 2025 Vision: I’m prioritizing my vocation as a husband and dad, with faith at the center. I’ve learned to be more selfless and better following God’s will. Professionally, our company culture is thriving, the technical work is not dependant on me, and have more time to work on other projects and pursuits.
I started with Gongos in our call center (that no longer exists in the organization) and worked my way from an intern to a programmer to Information Systems team leader and eventually leading our organization’s Data Sciences.
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.
Jason’s 2025 Vision: I am in a position that is positively impacting how work gets done at Gongos while maintaining a happy and healthy family.
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.
Crystle’s 2025 Vision: I want to be an inspirational, dependable source of strength, friendship, and compassion for those in my life. People who interact with me feel I made a positive impact on their life – big or small.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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.