Vice President of Commercial Banking
Aaron Towns is Vice President of Commercial Bank with BMOs Southeast Wisconsin market. Aaron oversees the strategic execution of BMOs Diversified Industry Groups clients in the Mid Market space. Aaron joined the bank in 2009 and has 20 years of professional experience.
Prior to his role with BMO, Aaron served as an IT professional with GE Aircraft Engines and Kroger Corporate where he lead many operational excellence initiatives. He then joined National City Banks Leadership team, where he lead 3 business lines and was responsible for the implementation of six sigma and lean methodology concepts being integrated in banking / finance as a Best In Class initiative. Aaron, furthered his finance experience and joined 5/3rd Banks Consumer Banking line of business and with BMO, has served as a Regional Sales Manager in BMO Harris Banks Consumer Banking Division, a Market President with BMOs Wealth business, and now takes his previous expertise to help his clients identify holistic solutions to positively impact their employees, the organization and communities they serve.
Aaron received his BS in Business Marketing and Information Systems from Xavier University and in his free time serves as an advisor for many local non profit organizations & is a member of the leadership committee for the OCC’s Project Reach initiative designed to provide equity inclusion to community members through small business and affordable housing support and advocacy.
ADAM "SMILEY" POSWOLSKY
Keynote Speaker & Author
Author of "The Quarter-Life Crisis"
When companies want to increase workplace belonging, human connection, and team engagement, they call ADAM “SMILEY” POSWOLSKY. Smiley is an internationally renowned keynote speaker, workplace belonging expert, and bestselling author of three books that have been translated into multiple languages, including most recently, Friendship in the Age of Loneliness. Smiley shares industry-shaping insights and practical tools to attract and retain top talent across generations, create a culture of belonging, and engage hybrid teams, at world-class organizations like Apple, Google, Verizon, JPMorgan Chase, and the U.S. Navy. Smiley’s TED talk has been viewed 2 million times, and he has delivered 600 keynotes in front of 250,000 people in 25 countries. Smiley’s work has been featured in 100 media outlets, including Harvard Business Review, the Wall St. Journal, Fast Company, the New York Times, the New Yorker, and the World Economic Forum.
Aichelle is a multifaceted professional with a passion for music. She holds a degree in Music Administration and has embarked on various projects that demonstrate her commitment to the music industry. As a musician, podcaster, and music artist advocate, she understands the challenges that new artists face when entering the industry. Aichelle is dedicated to guiding, advocating for, and teaching music creatives and their parents about the formalities, return on investment, and opportunities available for their talents.
Aichelle is also the owner of MuSample, a local music tech start-up. Through this platform, she aims to revolutionize the music industry by creating a level playing field for musicians. With her years of education and experience, she is well-suited to guide aspiring artists as they navigate the music industry. Her ultimate goal is to change the dynamic of the financial music industry and help balance the scales in the artist's favor.
Aichelle is a visionary who is committed to creating a better future for the music industry. She is passionate about her work and is determined to help new artists succeed. Her dedication to her craft is admirable, and her contributions to the industry are invaluable. With her expertise and experience, Aichelle is a valuable asset to any musician looking to make it in the music industry.
Partner of Business DevelopMENT
Alec is a partner at SperaxUSD, a startup that produces high yield savings accounts, powered by decentralized finance.
Prior to Sperax, Alec worked in the business school at Marquette after starting the Marquette University’s Blockchain Lab. Outside of crypto, Alec enjoys snowboarding, skateboarding and helping others take the leap into entrepreneurship.
Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer - US & Canada
Andy DeLao is the Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer for US and Canada at GE Healthcare. He has a degree in radiation therapy and dosimetry. He has worked in multiple settings within medicine from delivering patient care in radiation therapy, managing physician practices, and developing 25 cancer centers and more than 150 risk reduction facilities globally. He sits on the Board of Directors for Theralink Technologies. Lastly, he is an advocate focused on ensuring the sanctity in the patient-physician interface to deliver care at the N of 1.
Chief Information Security Officer & VP of Security & Business Continuity
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Angela Johnson is chief information security officer for Children’s Wisconsin. A tireless advocate for the better health and wellness of children, Angela works all levels of information systems to promote policies that support this goal. She has more than 17 years of experience in information systems, supply chain and financial services. Always focused on Children’s belief that kids deserve the best, Angela leads Children’s strategic efforts to improve security and infrastructure processes and securely implement new technology. She works in close partnership with all parts of the system to support innovation and collaboration while ensuring compliance with the strict regulatory environment governing the healthcare industry.
In her role as chief information security officer, Angela collaborates with other leaders to ensure infrastructure design and implementation meet security requirements. She also plays a role in planning, maintaining, securing, optimizing, expanding and protecting Children’s growing information technology infrastructure.
Angela brings a multi-disciplinary approach to leading and executing a risk-based enterprise information security, physical security, business continuity and infrastructure strategy and program, helping Children’s effectively meet the needs of the kids and families it serves.
Angela is a graduate of Marquette University where she earned her undergraduate degree. She also holds a MBA from Walden University. Angela is a member of the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee board, as well as president of the Midwest Cybersecurity Alliance. Prior to joining Children’s in 2017, Angela served as the director of information security at Robert W. Baird & Co in Milwaukee, Wisconsin....
President and CEO
Xorbix Technologies, Inc.
Asif Bakar is the president and CEO of Xorbix Technologies, Inc. Over his career, Asif has worked with various industries including Healthcare, Insurance, Manufacturing, Financial and Software. Within each industry, Asif has been involved in the launch of multiple commercial software solutions. His current work focuses on engaging with corporate executives and leadership teams developing and executing strategic and operational plans for Software Solutions and Managed Services.
Asif currently serves on the corporate board of the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) as well as the Industrial Advisory Committee for MSOE's Computer Science program with AI emphasis.
Senior Director in Philanthropy within Government & Community Relations
Audra Brennan has more than 20 years of non-profit and public policy experience at the federal, state and local level. Audra is currently the Senior Director of Strategic Philanthropy for the Northwestern Mutual Foundation. In that role she oversees the team responsible for grantmaking and strategic partnerships across the Foundation’s priority focus areas as well as employee and field community engagement. Ms. Brennan’s prior experience includes education, health and tax equity policy roles at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, State of Wisconsin, City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Public Schools and the Congressional Budget Office in Washington D.C.
Audra Brennan grew up Peoria, Illinois, the daughter of two public school educators. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Mathematics and Economics. She was selected as a Harris Fellow at the University of Chicago and earned a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy in 1999. Audra Brennan lives with her husband Joel and two teenage children in the Brewers Hill neighborhood of Milwaukee.
Co-founder and Strategy Director for Inpower, Aziz Abdullah stands out for his strong passion and dedication to community outreach programs and helping locals by empowering them with the tools to determine their own life outcomes. Inpower is a Black Woman-led marketing, technology, and outreach agency based in Milwaukee. Aziz is renowned for his enthusiasm to connect with people and help them to improve their well-being and health. Prior to joining Inpower, Aziz was in charge of a news and information platform, theinfluence.org, which focused on addiction and recovery service promotion in vulnerable communities nationwide. He attended Marquette University, where he pursued nursing before opting to transition into entrepreneurship, where he's had vast experience in sales, community organizing, mixed media campaigns, and cross-audience transliterations.
Aziz was inspired by his mentor, Jerrell Jones, who owned Milwaukee's first black radio station, WNOV860AM, and the longest operating Black-owned newspaper, The Milwaukee Courier. Over the course of his career, Aziz's hard work and efforts have not gone unnoticed. He has received several accolades, including the 2022 Medical College of Wisconsin President Community Engagement Award Recipient, 2021 Ad Week Award Winner, and his team is the 2022 United Way Gwen T. Jackson of service awardee. Her serves on the advisory board for United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, is the convener of the Milwaukee Mental Health Civic Action Team, and leads the HealthyMKE community initiative.
Dr. Benjamin Weston
Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine
Medical College of Wisconsin
Ben Weston, MD, MPH, FAEMS
Dr. Weston is an Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He serves as Chief Health Policy Advisor for Milwaukee County working to enhance the health of one million citizens. In addition, Dr. Weston is the Director of Medical Services for the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management, directing medical services for the 15 fire departments throughout the county. He was recently among seven individuals selected as a fellow of the National Academy of Medicine. He practices clinically in the emergency department at Froedtert Hospital, a Level 1 Trauma Center.
Dr. Weston served as the Medical Director for the Milwaukee County/City/Municipality COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center. He has been featured on MSNBC, CNN, BBC, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, and in Politico and The New York Times. He has provided medical direction and oversight for events including NFL, NBA, MLB, Indycar, and USA Triathlon. He has been selected as Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 under 40, named the Public Health Leader of the Year, and listed as “Best of Milwaukee” in Milwaukee Magazine.
Dr. Weston received his baccalaureate degree at Lawrence University, his medical degree and master of public health from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and completed his emergency medicine residency at Hennepin County Medical Center. Dr. Weston is dual board-certified in Emergency Medicine as well as Emergency Medical Services by the American Board of Emergency Medicine after completing his Emergency Medical Services Fellowship at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Weston is an NIH funded researcher with interests including prehospital care, resuscitation, health equity, and public health surveillance.
Director Transformation Strategy, Field CTO
IT infrastructure and security leader with 20 years experience spanning operations across 6 continents. Prior to joining Zscaler, Brett lead Bechtel's journey towards Zero Trust as the Manager, Cloud Architecture and Engineering. At Bechtel, Brett championed the local office breakout, VPN replacement and Password-less implementations and lead the infrastructure design of their Azure-based digital transformation application platform. Integrating platforms with advanced modern identity concepts is his specialty. Brett has enterprise management experience across a diverse range of technologies and disciplines, including PC and mobile technologies, unified communications, datacenter, LAN, WAN, identity and access management, APIs, enterprise architecture and cloud IaaS, PaaS and SaaS environments.
Founder & CEO
Bryan served 8 years in the US Army including a tour in Iraq. With over 15+ years of IT & Cyber Security Experience, Bryan & his team specialize in Managed Services and Managed Security Services with specialization in Cyber Security, Deep & Dark Web Analytics & Artificial Intelligence. Bryan is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Cybersecurity & Assurance w/ an emphasis on AI & Cyber Security integration at Capella University. Bryan is also a Cybersecurity Professor at Lakeland University.
Director of Population Health
Caitlin Dunn is the Director of Population & Digital at Froedtert & the Medical College and Inception Health. Her responsibilities include managing the value-based payments and clinical integration strategy, population health operations improvement and digital therapeutics delivery. Caitlin’s passion lies in aligning value based health care financing with the development of clinical care population health programs powered by technology for scale.
Tip a ScRxipt
Chad Johnson is the Founder and CEO of Tip a ScRxipt. Since leaving his corporate career in 2009, Chad has exited one company, co-founded a social impact coffee brand (MKEing Coffee), and launched an independent training consultancy securing enterprise clients such as Johnson Controls, Molson Coors and FISERV. After gaining inspiration for the idea from his mother in 2019, Chad has grown Tip a ScRxipt through participation in The Blueprint Accelerator and the inaugural Northwestern Mutual Black Founder Accelerator powered by Gener8tor, competing in Summerfest Tech Pitch Competition (2nd place - 2020) and Project Pitch It (1st Place - Season 5), completing the Qualified New Business Venture (QNBV) certification, and being the first investment of Gateway Capital in Milwaukee, WI who led a $500K seed round in 2021. Since raising the seed round, Chad has launched the Tip a ScRxipt platform with early partners that include CU Ventures (Concordia University, WI) supporting seven Wisconsin-based HealthTech startups with healthcare expenses for early employees, and American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact supporting Outreach Community Health Center with a prescription payment assistance program for patients.
Senior Account Executive & Team Lead
Chad Ransom is a Sr. Account Executive and Team Lead covering the North Central Region for RingCentral’s Major Accounts team. In his 5+ years at RingCentral, Chad has helped countless mid-market and enterprise customers as they transitioned from legacy on-premise communication and contact center systems, to RingCentral’s industry leading cloud platform.
Manufacturing Happy Hour
Chris Luecke is a Podcaster, Marketer, and Content Creator in the manufacturing industry and the host of the top-ranked podcast Manufacturing Happy Hour. Described as "TEDx meets How It's Made," Manufacturing Happy Hour goes beyond the buzzwords and dissects real-life applications and success stories through candid interviews with executives, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders. To date, Chris has interviewed over 200 leaders in the industrial sector in an effort to simplify and explore the latest trends and technologies impacting modern manufacturers.
Director of Corporate Partnerships
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Chris Menden is the Director of Corporate Partnerships for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In this role, he guides UWM’s partners to better leverage the assets of the University which includes access to research and talent, our faculty, and entrepreneurial resources. After graduating from UWM with an economics degree, Chris worked as an investment advisor with the largest financial services firm in the world. He later went on to receive his MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has held roles in the banking and non-profit sectors as well as starting his own consulting firm. Chris has a solid background in strategy and entrepreneurial thinking and infuses this in almost everything he does.
Christian is the CEO & Co-Founder of Joystik. He has been in Behavioral Health services for over 14 years and has led Innovation efforts and Investment activity related to mental health/wellness for one of the larger US health systems. Within the community, Christian serves on the Board of Directors for a mental health non-profit and is passionate for creating powerful and engaging solutions to be our best and live with more joy.
Emergent Technologist & Keynote Speaker
Christopher is an emergent technologist, humanitarian in virtual and augmented reality applying his talents to the metaverse, ai, medtech, education, web3 and applied sciences.
He is working for a more equitable culture in technology serving as a Silicon Valley national and international speaker, thought leader and an advocate for greater expansion of community in technology that includes cross culture and inclusion considerations.
Founder of GatherVerse.
Gatherverse is the brainchild of Christopher Lafayette. Christopher saw a critical need for going beyond the technical aspects of creating the metaverse to include humanity itself in the conversation about what the metaverse can and should be, and how it could best benefit those who will ultimately inhabit it.
As the Founder of The Black Technology Mentorship Program, he is creating entrepreneurs and professionals of tomorrow through proper incubation and acceleration, career path and apprenticeship.
Christopher has worked with and advised companies and organizations such as Google, Meta, NFL, Merlin Entertainments, European Commission, Nikko Hotels, NBA, Linux Foundation, Cisco, Microsoft, Salesforce, Verizon, Stanford University, Duke University, San Jose College of Engineering, UCLA, renowned chefs, musicians and hundreds of startups. He sits on various advisory councils and boards.He's bringing thousands of communities and millions of people into the metaverse, humanely.
Dana A. Guthrie
Dana A. Guthrie is Managing Partner at Gateway Capital, a venture capital firm focused on Wisconsin-based, early-stage startups. Prior to her current role, Guthrie founded and managed Alchemy Angel Investors, an angel investment network. She founded Alchemy while being employed full-time at a Fortune 500 company and managing a multi-million dollar, global product offering.
Guthrie is a two-time patent recipient, holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Milwaukee School of Engineering, and a M.S. in Energy Engineering from University of Illinois at Chicago.
President and Ceo
Bridge to Cures
Dr. Daniel Sem has over 25 years of experience in healthcare entrepreneurship and innovation, first in the biotechnology sector, then in academia. He has over 70 published papers and book chapters, 10 issued patents, and has co-founded multiple companies. Currently, he is assisting in the launch of several healthcare startups, including Estrigenix Therapeutics, Vivid Microscopy and Retham Technologies. He recently started CU Ventures, which supports and invests in early stage startups via its angel group; and, he co-founded and leads Bridge to Cures, a nonprofit that supports healthcare and HealthTech startups via its annual Healthcare Innovation Pitch event that is part of MKE Tech week. The latter is part of the AMPDNR (Accelerating Medical Products through Networked Resources) initiative, funded by the southeast Wisconsin CTSI grant. Dr. Sem works extensively with Universities, Industries and Government in Southeast Wisconsin to build shared innovation and commercialization resources for the region. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from UW-Madison (1990), and then worked in biotechnology in San Diego where he co-founded Triad Therapeutics, ranked one of the top 10 biotech startups in the US by Drug Discovery Today (later acquired by Novartis for $60 million). He also has Law and MBA degrees from Marquette, and has acquired a passion for healthcare policy and business – blending law, healthcare, ethics and sound economics. He is a licensed attorney.
Sem joined the faculty at Marquette in 2002 and served as Assistant then Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry, before joining Concordia University’s new School of Pharmacy in 2011, transitioning to his role as Dean of Business in July of 2016 and then to Vice Provost for Research and Innovation in April of 2022. He maintains an appointment in the Dept. of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and is also CEO of Bridge to Cures, and cofounder and Director of the Remedium Exchange (Rx) Think Tank (rxthinktank.org). He currently serves a dual role at Concordia University as President of CU Ventures (Technology Transfer; Investing) and as Vice Provost for Research and Innovation. Sem is active in the business community, serving on multiple boards, including BBB and Ozaukee County Economic Development. His personal passion is helping entrepreneurs build, fund and grow companies.
SENIOR DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL STRATEGY
- Cryptocurrency and Blockchain technology
- Audit and Accounting for Digital Assets
- Taxation of cryptocurrency
- Management and Organizational Consultation
- Executive officer heading up auditing and other specialized services at Lindgren, Callihan, Van Osdol & Co. Ltd. (LCV) - LCV merged with Wipfli in 2010
Professional Memberships and Activities
- Digital Chamber of Commerce - Chairman of the Digital Assets Accounting Consortium
- Lead industry initiative for authoritative guidance on accounting for digital assets
- Speaking engagements on Blockchain technology and Cryptocurrency
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) - Member
- Illinois CPA Society (ICPAS) – Member
- Wisconsin Institute of CPA’s (WICPA) – Member
- Board of director’s member for numerous local nonprofit organizations
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
- Bachelor of business administration degree in accounting and information systems
Dave Berka is Project Manager for Techquity & Resource Equity at United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County. Dave works with individuals, community groups, institutions, and companies of all kinds to develop and implement collective impact strategies for addressing some of the community’s biggest challenges, especially those related to the digital divide.
Senior Director of DIgital Strategy
Generac Power Systems, Inc.
David Manske was born in a digital-first era, giving him a slight edge in the tech space, but he knows that resting on his digital laurels is a surefire way to get left behind. That's why he immerses himself in new technologies, modern software delivery, and digital experiences like a kid in a ball pit. With a full stack of skills and a listening ear, he delivers new products and services that raise the bar on new digital experiences. He does this all while leading with contagious enthusiasm and building teams that are engaged, inspired, and ready to conquer the tech world.
David Manske was born in a digital-first era, giving him a slight edge in the tech space, but he knows that resting on his digital laurels is a surefire way to get left behind. That's why he immerses himself in new technologies, modern software delivery, and digital experiences like a kid in a ball pit. With a full stack of skills and a listening ear, he delivers new products and services that raise the bar on new digital experiences. He does this all while leading with contagious enthusiasm and building teams that are engaged, inspired, and ready to conquer the tech world.
Senior Director - Customer Experience Lead
David Yim is Senior Director leading the Digital Product Management Team at Exact Sciences, that focuses on being the voice of the customer as they build out digital experiences for patients and physicians. Before joining Exact Sciences, David was a part of the Digital Product Management team at Kaiser Permanente. He lives in San Ramon, California with his wife and daughter.
Vice President of Information Technology
As Vice President of Information Technology for the Milwaukee Brewers, Derek Hyde is responsible for all aspects of technology, software, and cross-functional systems for the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club. Prior, Derek was the CTO at TrustedChoice.com leading product development and strategy for a lead generation and comparative rating platform for independent insurance agents. Derek is a proven leader with more than 20 years of experience in managing diverse product portfolios and technology strategies serving both private industry and government sectors. He has a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California.
Cloud Solution Architect
Derek Townsend is a Cloud Solutions Architect with Tierpoint. With over 22 years of experience, Derek has extensive experience architecting multi-tenant cloud-native solutions using Azure and AWS. In addition, Derek has a proven ability in designing solutions that increase efficiencies and reduce costs. As a trusted advisor, Derek applies problem resolution, analytical and operational skills to all initiatives and develops strategic requirements and solutions for each project.
Dorothy Jean Tillman, II
Dorothy Jeanius STEAM Leadership Institute
Dorothy Jean Tillman, II, affectionately known as "DJ," is an award-winning child prodigy, tech and arts enthusiast, and community leader. She is currently a 15-year-old doctor of behavioral health (DBH) candidate at Arizona State University. Dorothy Jeanis the founder and CEO of the Dorothyjeanius STEAM Leadership Institute, having launched Dorothy Jeanius STEAM Labs in Chicago and West Capetown, South Africa, in 2020. She publishes STEAM children's books, and speaks on topics aimed at inspiring youth to take steps to save the planet.
Dorothy Jean’s friends and family call her "Dorothy Jeanius," and her motto is "Leading by Examples of Excellence." At the age of 10, she enrolled as a college freshman at the College of Lake County, majoring in psychology, where she completed her Associate's Degree in August of 2016. Following this milestone achievement, DJ went on an accelerated path of academics and enrolled in classes at Stanford University Continuing Studies, Brigham Young University Distance Learning and ultimately completed her Bachelor of Science in Humanities at Excelsior College in the summer of 2018. In the spring of 2020 Dorothy Jean reached another milestone by completing her Master of Science from Unity College in Unity, Maine, making her the youngest environmental and sustainable scientist in the country. In 2021, Dorothy Jean was accepted into the Doctor of Behavioral Health (Management) Program offered through the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University.
Dorothy Jean has been recognized with numerous honors, awards and recognitions, including: the Black Enterprise 40 Under 40 - Tech (and panelist at the 40 Under 40 Virtual Summit), the 2021 WVON 40 Under 40 Gamechangers, the 2019 Young Shining Star Award from the National Association of Black Elected Legislative Women; the 2019 Excelon African American Resource Alliance Achievement Award; and 2018 Black Girls Rock - Who Rocks Next Award.
Dorothy Jean is an alumnus of the Golden Eagle Aviation Legacy Flight Academy based in Tuskegee, Ala., at Moten Field, home of the Tuskegee Airmen. DJ was recently selected to participate in Chicago's Future Founders program, created by Brad Keywell, CEO of Groupon. She enjoys reading, painting, and spending time with friends and family.
Author & Podcast Host
Author of "The Quarter-Life Crisis"
Emily White is a Partner at Collective Entertainment and the Founder of #iVoted Festival. She is the author of the Amazon #1 best-selling How to Build a Sustainable Music Career and Collect All Revenue Streams and hosts the book’s accompanying podcast of the same name. The podcast is the #1 Music Business podcast globally, charting on six continents with listeners in 115+ countries.
After witnessing slim margins in the 2016 U.S. Election, White was inspired to get out the vote. The result was a new initiative called #iVoted in which over 150 venues in 37 states let fans in on election night 2018, who showed a selfie from outside of their polling place. The movement pivoted in 2020 due to the pandemic and created the largest digital concert in history, which took place on election night 2020. Over 450 artists participated in #iVoted Festival 2020, all booked per the data of the top streaming artists in key swing states whose margins are often decided by the size of a concert venue. Artists including Billie Eilish, Trey Anastasio of Phish, Playboi Carti, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Maggie Rogers, Colin Meloy of The Decemberists, Living Colour, Young the Giant and countless more have participated in #iVoted Festival. The #iVoted team quickly followed up by creating #iVoted Festival Georgia for the 2021 special elections that determined control of the U.S. Senate. #iVoted is currently building #iVoted Festival 2022 as we speak, with full coverage on announcements to-date via Variety.
An in-demand speaker and consultant due to her expertise within the modern music and sports industries, artist development, social media, and beyond, White has been on the cover of Pollstar Magazine with her name also gracing the cover of Billboard magazine. Her work has been additionally profiled in Variety, Fast Company, Forbes, Bloomberg, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Alternative Press, Brooklyn Vegan, The Fader, Stereogum, Relix, CNN, Vox, The Huffington Post, ESPN, and more. She is a frequent guest blogger for Hypebot as well as Midem in Cannes, France where she is a regular speaker. In addition, White has proudly served on the boards of Well-Dunn, Future of Music, CASH Music, SXSW, The David Lynch Foundation Live while additionally serving on The Grammys’ Education Committee and Pandora’s Artist Advisory Council. She was named to Billboard’s 2020 Women in Music Executives of the Year list.
White’s career spans the entertainment industry, carving out a unique path that defines a modern maven. Her professional journey began at Northeastern University in Boston, with experiences at Powderfinger Promotions, WBCN-FM, Q Division and Skope Magazine. Upon seeing The Dresden Dolls play on campus, White introduced herself to front-woman Amanda Palmer, quickly integrating into a core member of the band’s team. White and The Dresden Dolls grew up professionally together beginning at SXSW and continuing through White’s graduation day, in which she did graduate, but didn’t walk due to the band kicking off a three continent tour with Nine Inch Nails at Coachella.
Prior to graduating White completed work with Boston’s legendary promoter, Don Law Company, while working deep within the local music scene before becoming a world-class tour manager. An internship at MTV / VH1 UK solidified White’s early love for international business and view of a modern, global economy. Retiring from tour managing at age 23, including runs with Imogen Heap and festivals ranging from Glastonbury to Fuji Rock, White accepted a position at Madison House Inc. in New York working with artists such as The Fiery Furnaces, Dinosaur Jr., The Secret Machines, Angelique Kidjo, and Taj Mahal, as well as members of The String Cheese Incident and Drive-By Truckers.
White wrote a pre-Radiohead In Rainbows “name your own price” distribution model that was passed along to iconic producer Bob Ezrin in 2007. A job offer at Michael Cohl’s Live Nation Artists followed with White project managing Zac Brown Band’s debut release when he was signed along with Madonna, U2 and Jay-Z.
In 2008, White launched Whitesmith Entertainment with Keri Smith to oversee the careers of musicians and comedians such as Brendan Benson of The Raconteurs, Margaret Cho, The Hush Sound, Amanda Palmer, Eric Burdon, Family of the Year, Hockey, The Autumn Defense, Fox Stevenson and W. Kamau Bell. Whitesmith additionally successfully consulted on Jay Mohr’s goal of being nominated for Comedy Album of the Year at the 2016 Grammys.
White is a former Division I scholarship swimmer, who is the daughter and granddaughter of award winning swim coaches. Following the 2012 Olympic games White launched a sports management division with inaugural client Anthony Ervin, an Olympic gold medalist known as the “rock star” of Olympic swimming. In 2016, White signed head U.S. Olympic Women’s Swim Coach David Marsh and Olympic gold medalist Kaitlin Sandeno, expanding the sports’ division further. White additionally works with the world’s leading expert in sports and politics, Dave Zirin. And began working with Japanese-American triplet and two-time Olympian Jay Litherland following his silver medal performance at the Tokyo 202(1) Olympics.
In 2017 White released her debut book, Interning 101; a how-to guide for interns in modern business. The book is based on the “intern manifesto” handbook created by White and is published by 9GiantStepsBooks. How to Build a Sustainable Music Career & Collect All Revenue Streams is White’s second book and can be found here. It is a #1 Amazon best-seller and a course book at countless universities. In 2019, White became an adjunct instructor at New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music within NYU’s Tisch School of The Arts. In 2021, How to Build a Sustainable Music Career and Collect All Revenue Streams launched as a podcast. White brings her best-selling book to life by interviewing hand-picked guests whom she considers experts on each chapter or even the entire book. Guests include Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Imogen Heap, Kam Franklin of The Suffers, Warped Tour Founder Kevin Lyman, Songtrust President Molly Neuman, CAA’s Akin Aliu, Zoë Keating, Ariel Hyatt, Artivist Steff Reed, Patrick Sansone of Wilco and The Autumn Defense, Donald S. Passman, Bandcamp Founder Ethan Diamond, Terrorbird’s Lauren Ross, Symphonic GM Nick Gordon, #iVoted CMO and Co-Founding Collecting Entertainment Partner Melissa Garcia, Mandolin CEO Mary Kay Huse, Artist Nikki Hill, ASCAP’s Loretta Muñoz, and more.
White is thrilled to have Co-Founded Collective Entertainment with longtime colleague Melissa Garcia. Collective Entertainment houses all of White’s entrepreneurial work and beyond.
Chief Operating Officer
Forest Richter is an entrepreneur from Milwaukee, WI with a passion for making the startup ecosystem more accessible and equitable. Forest currently runs Redely, a fintech software and is the founder of Fresh Coast Labs, an innovation focused consulting firm supporting founders and emerging investors. Forest’s first company, Uncrowd, a platform to connect overlooked founders and venture investors, was acquired in 2021. Previously, he led Operations for two CPG startups, Bright Cellars and Moral Code Footwear.
Principal Emerging Technologies KPMG
Greg is a Principal in KPMG’s Lighthouse service network and leads our Emerging Technology Services portfolios for the firm. Within this role, Greg has helped clients to develop and enable solutions related to Connected Cars, Industry 4.0, Connected Healthcare and Smart Buildings leveraging such technologies as the IoT, 4G/5G, Advanced Analytics, Digital Twins, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence. Specifically related to Smart Buildings, Greg has worked with clients to reduce operating costs, drive operational efficiency, transform the employee/guest experience and carbon emission reporting powered by these Emerging Technologies. Over Greg’s 20 years with the firm he has helped clients to resolve complex business issues by creating unique technology based solutions which deliver measurable financial and performance results to the organization. He excels in highly sophisticated organizations, compressing large issues into manageable solutions and facilitating collaboration across teams.
Chief Information Officer
Jahid Khandaker is the Chief Information Officer for GE HealthCare. Jahid is responsible for setting the strategic enterprise technology direction for the company, managing the development of core technology platforms and systems, and securely running the daily operations of the information technology function.
Prior to this role, Jahid was Senior Vice President and CIO at Western Digital and oversaw worldwide IT strategies and operations, including advanced analytics and all technology needs for manufacturing, engineering, R&D, and SG&A functions. He has more than 23 years of industry experience including leadership roles at IBM and Hitachi where he led all global enterprise applications, infrastructures operations, information security, and data analytics. Jahid was also responsible for large, transformational programs, process harmonization, and re-engineering to Cloud software and services implementations.
Jahid holds a master’s degree in information systems and bachelor’s degrees in computer science and mathematics from Hawaii Pacific University. He is also a veteran, having served proudly in the United States Marine Corps for four years.
Jamar Jones, business owner, speaker, and author of the book, "Change Your Circle, Change Your Life," is a visionary who believes in leadership and subscribes to the notion that we can all connect with each other in a relatable way. From a thriving music career performing for thousands to managing IT professionals, Jamar's experience inspired him to establish his own branding and media agency, Foureva Media. Now six years later and 11 employees strong, Jamar models consistency and a strong work ethic to his team. He is the first African American small business owner to rent out sports arena for the Lead the Movement Business Conference! This conference supported community and created collaborations with businesses and leaders to propel diversity initiates using the power of entertainment. He has been featured on major radio stations, worked with companies like BMW, Red Bull, Vayner X and created a brand of an audience of over 40,000.
His desire to surround himself with good people who challenge him to excel every day is what excites and empowers him. Jamar is proud to serve others as a beacon for excellence; his philosophies and intentional action have changed the landscape of his life and the lives of others.
50% Mindset meets 50% Action
Private Cellular Network
James Rose is a wireless veteran of over 10 years. James is currently responsible for driving innovation and educating businesses on Private Network Integrations and IoT solutions. Prior to joining U.S. Cellular in 2015, James held a variety of leadership, project management, and business sales positions with various industry leading organizations.
Optiv Vice President, specializing in Cyber Risk, Strategy, and Board Relations. Provides subject matter expertise and advice / recommendations / education to C-Suite executives, audit committees and boards of directors on cyber threat actors, cyber intelligence, resilience, and response to the crisis management challenges facing companies. Assists clients including public and privately held companies and law firms in developing and executing cyber focused strategy and security programs to prevent and minimize the business operations impact of cyber threats. This includes significant C-Suite and Board level executive experience in advising / translating complex cyber / information technology concepts and building strategies to address cyber-attack influenced business risk, cyber crisis management resilience and response and other strategy efforts for the public and private sector.
Mr. Turgal joined Optiv after spending over three years in the Cyber Risk Practice at Deloitte and after retiring from a distinguished 22-year career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). During his FBI career, James served as a Special Agent, Attorney and Pilot in numerous FBI Field Offices, and while assigned to the FBI Director’s personal staff was involved with all aspects of the design and operation of the Executive Protection Details for the Attorney General of the United States and the FBI Director. His cyber experience began in 2003 working cyber investigations and includes designing a Cyber Crime Taskforce and Computer Forensic Laboratory in the Cincinnati Field Office; served in executive roles as the Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Arizona office; and senior executive / senior staff roles as the Assistant Director – Chief Human Capital Officer and culminated his career as the Executive Assistant Director of Global Information Technology and the FBI’s Chief Information Officer (CIO).
Chief Technology OfficEr
Jason Dobbs, Chief Technology Officer for PKWARE, boasts more than 20 years’ experience in software and product development. He is responsible for driving the product roadmap execution, overseeing software development, and leading lifecycle management for PKWARE’s entire software catalog. Prior to joining PKWARE, Dobbs held multiple leadership roles with SafeNet, most recently as a Managing Partner focused on corporate strategy and revenue generation.
Dobbs has been a vital part of several development teams, from launching software with startup Vesuvius Technologies to consulting on interactive technologies with Centare Group. His wide range of expertise and experience includes technology, IT, sales leadership, and management.
When he is not working on software development, Dobbs enjoys coaching youth robotics teams in his community and is an avid curler. He holds a BB in Information Systems from the University of Wisconsin
CISSP & CCSK, CCO, VP of Managed Security Services
Joe Cox, is curious as to how you secure your organizations.. Which products & services have yielded the best overall results for you? What has and hasn’t worked for your organization? Joe has over two decades of professional experience in information security and compliance. His experience includes data center management, managed Information Security Service design & deployment, virtual system migrations, data privacy & compliance initiatives, and the design and implementation of information security systems and policy for multiple organizations.
Global Partner Director
Joe is a Global Partner Director for Microsoft, responsible for developing enduring partnerships with some of the world’s largest and most innovative companies. In this role, Joe has helped partners bring innovations to market, addressing industry challenges in energy efficiency, sustainability, asset performance and worker enablement.
Joe enjoys “connecting the dots” across complex organizations and finding wins that create business success and lasting relationships. In his 25-plus years of experience, Joe has never stopped learning and is grateful for the opportunity to meet the Summerfest Tech community and share experiences.
Manager - Global Academics
Joseph Zaccaria is the Manager, Global Academic Enablement at Rockwell Automation. Joe has extensive knowledge and experience with Academic Enhancement and Sustainability, Industrial Process control Systems and is an ERP (SAP) Implementation Team Leader. He has a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering Technology from the University of Pittsburg-Johnstown along with certifications in Six Sigma, Project Management, Certified Maintenance and Reliability and SCRUM Master – AGILE Projects.
John Daniels IV
Founder & Principal
John W. Daniels IV is a President’s Magis Scholar and inaugural JSN Ignatian Global Scholar at Marquette University High School. He is the Founder and Principal of Pontem, a company that is bridging the gap between education and financial literacy for the next generation. Pontem provides support for today’s youth to become tomorrow’s financial leaders. He serves as Parliamentarian currently and is the incoming Vice President for the Teen Board of Jack and Jill of America Incorporated Milwaukee Chapter. When building outreach events locally in Greater Milwaukee and beyond internationally through educational distributions in Kenya, St. Maarten and Jamaica, John W. Daniels IV aims to be a vehicle for impact and innovation.
Head of Emerging Tech
Molson Coors Beverage Company
Jonah Turner is a results-oriented, high-energy technology professional with a strong portfolio of project successes that span government, startup, corporate, and nonprofit sectors. He currently leads the Emerging Tech team at Molson Coors where he works with innovative ideas and technologies to drive new sources of value for the company, and builds unique programming to help foster a culture of innovation and strong partnerships across the local tech ecosystem. Jonah also serves as the Startup Committee Chair and on the Advisory Board of the MKE Tech Hub Coalition. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.S. in Computer Science and Mathematics, and earned a Master's certificate in Information Technology Project Management from The George Washington University.
Jonathan Stark has served as executive director of the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute (NMDSI) since May 2022. Since then, he has been tasked with building upon the foundational years of the landmark collaboration between Northwestern Mutual, Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee by expanding data science research outcomes, talent development and community engagement.
Prior to joining NMDSI, Jonathan worked for nearly two decades in higher education, specializing in student services and academic affairs. Most recently, he served as the inaugural chief administrative and operations officer for Columbia University’s Data Science Institute and was instrumental in supporting the development and launch of Columbia’s data science master’s program. Jonathan holds a B.A. in psychology from Western Connecticut State University, an M.A. in applied organizational psychology from Fairfield University, an M.A. in higher education from Teachers College of Columbia University, and an Ed.D. in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.
JML Tech Studios
Josiah Love, an enterprising 13 year old CEO of JML Tech Studios, an NFT (Non-Fungible Token) Trading Card Collectibles, coding, and video gaming business.
Josiah is an award-winning author and web 3 developer. Not only has he been recognized for his achievements with the Project Pitch It Rising Star Award, but he is also an Epic Game Developer and has been twice awarded for his children's books.
At age 10, Josiah began his technological journey by creating an Esports Banquet video game for a local organization. Now taking his already impressive tech skills to the next level, he has leveraged his blockchain and web 3 technology to design digital and physical NFT trading card collections which includes a video game and comic book.
Josiah strives to stay on the cutting-edge of technology and is passionate about sharing his knowledge to empower the next generation. This summer Josiah's business, JML Tech Studios, will be launching an exciting Youth Tech Camp at Gateway Technical College FabLab, where young learners will have the opportunity to learn coding, construct PC's and take part in STEAM Activities.
VP, CHannel Engagement Manager
Joy Daniels is an artist, entrepreneur and technologist with dynamic experiences both in the music industry and technology field. After graduating with a degree in Music Business/Management from Berklee College of Music, Joy built a multi-dimensional career leveraging their experience in technology, music, and business management. Joy has shared the stage with headliners like Stevie Wonder, Sam Smith, and Bastille, among others. Joy also worked for tech giant Apple Computers for over 7 years. Most notably Joy was recently named Milwaukee Business Journal's 2023 40 Under 40.
Justin Seidl is a Partner at a tech services firm for the financial industry, Novotta, was formerly Founder and CEO at Sequoir which developed digital asset software for banks and credit unions. Justin is well accustomed to launching US-based companies, has been involved in multiple acquisitions, and specializes in fintech.
Milwaukee Venture Partners, inc
Karen Plunkett is a former series 7 licensed investment professional (NYC) and a licensed architect. She spends her time as President of a property management / incubator for underserved small business owners and as a Founder and Managing Director for an Angel Investment Network (Milwaukee Venture Partners, Inc) which vets and funds early stage, emerging market companies, mostly in the Midwest. MVP has grown to a membership of 50 accredited investors members in 3 years and its members, aka angel investors, have funded 12 companies. Karen also serves as the chairperson of a private foundation, focused on innovation and healthcare and local projects. She has been elected and served on boards of directors/advisors for many non profit organizations and privately held companies, including Whole Trees, a Madison based structural round timber company. Karen holds a Bachelors of Science in Economics from Stanford University and a Masters in Architecture from UCLA. Previously, Karen was a Principal of a large architectural practice (Plunkett Raysich Architects), leading finance and business development, focusing on healthcare and commercial design. Karen represented the National AIA as one of 11 delegates at the UIA (International Conference of Architects) in Istanbul. For fun she enjoys sailing competitively, Rocky Mountain hiking, biking and downhill skiing and perusing the Sunday New York Times.
Director of Information Technology
Green Bay Packers
Been with the Pack for 16 years with over 30 years of technology experience. US Air Force Vet.
Blokios was founded by Kristin Anastas in 2020. Kristin developed the idea for Blokios after working in global supply chain and determining the need to track items on an individual basis throughout the world. After understanding the capacity of the blockchain to create indelible, unique records she quickly assessed that the technology could be used to solve issues of traceability for consumer product goods.
Larry Cowans holds the role of Program Manager for the Chicago office of i.c.stars. As a graduate of the program Larry went out to fulfil his technology passion working in a variety of roles, but it was ultimately his passion for education and giving back that kept bringing him back to i.c.stars, until he took the full-time role of Program Management in 2022.
Larry takes considerable pride in his commitment to staying up to date with the latest technologies, particularly in the field of 3D Design. With experience as an Exhibition Designer for Trade Shows and a Piping Designer specializing in Process Piping, he possesses a diverse skill set that has been instrumental in project planning, collaboration, and leadership using various 3D Design applications. This experience and his versatile skill set have smoothly paved the way for my transition into the role of a Program Manager.
As a Program Manager, He has the opportunity to share his knowledge and expertise beyond the realm of Design and Engineering teams, helping them elevate their projects to new heights. One of his core strengths and passions lies in fostering teamwork and building strong collaborative relationships. Through effective support, communication, and training, he strives to enhance efficiency and productivity for all team members.
While his professional pursuits are fulfilling, he also finds great joy in nurturing his creative side. From writing to hand sketching, and creating conceptual renderings, Larry allows his imagination to flourish. Additionally, it is his family and loved ones that help him find solace and inspiration.
Marc Khouzami is a Managing Director at Bank of Montreal ("BMO"), responsible for managing the BMO Impact Investment Fund. The C$350 million Impact Investment Fund is aimed at driving more sustainable outcomes by backing technologies that will help BMO and its clients proactively address sustainability and create positive impact for their stakeholders.
Prior to joining BMO, Marc spent over 11 years at Deutsche Bank Asset Management, serving as a generalist private equity investor focused on sustainability covering a variety of sectors. Additionally, Marc developed and executed financial products to help corporate clients achieve their sustainability goals. Prior to joining Deutsche Bank in 2009, Marc was at Citi Alternative Investments, where he was responsible for making growth equity investments as part of the Sustainable Development Investments group. Before joining Citi, Marc held various roles in investment banking and corporate finance at Paragon Capital, Oxygen Cable and Lehman Brothers.
Marc chairs the board of directors of Change Machine, a non-profit organization that uses its platform technology to assist the working poor in the U.S. achieve financial security. Marc also serves on the board of NYCEEC, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to financing hard to finance energy efficiency projects in the built environment.
Marc holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics and economics from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Senior Director - Experience Design
Mark Fallai is Senior Director at Exact Sciences, where he leads the Experience Design Team, whose mission is to prove that “Design Can Help Defeat Cancer.” Before joining Exact Sciences, Mark led Service Design at financial services company TIAA and was one of the founding members of the agency The Hangar in Costa Rica. He lives in Savannah, Georgia, with his wife and son.
Marlon Ross’s work experience spans accounting, investment banking, private equity, and corporate operations. Prior to founding Wellacy Health, Marlon worked as the Director of Sales Operations for two B2B, enterprise-focused SaaS companies, where his responsibilities included building and scaling the sales organizations and executing operational improvement strategies. Prior to his operating roles, Marlon was an investment banker at Credit Suisse. Prior to Credit Suisse, Marlon worked at Denali Capital evaluating private equity investment opportunities and at Arthur Andersen in its Transaction Services practice.
Marlon earned a B.S. in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he was awarded the Robert A. Toigo Fellowship and several other merit based scholarships. Mr. Ross is also a CFA Charterholder.
Founder & CEO
Matthew Schapiro is the Founder and CEO of imnotArt. As an early adopter of blockchain technology, Matt loves teaching others about the potential and opportunity of Web3, with a focus on creating first-in-kind phygital experiences that combine the real world and the metaverse.
Mfoniso Ekong serves as a Managing Director at gener8tor. Before coming to gener8tor in 2020, he previously worked as a researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin as well as a nonprofit leader to expand STEM access to underserved students within Milwaukee Public Schools. Mfoniso began his tenure at gener8tor as gBETA Social Impact Director, growing the program to support 50 startups who have gone on to raise $15M+ in follow-on funding. In this role, Mfoniso has provided coaching and mentoring to more than 100 business founders, 80% of whom identify as BIPOC. Currently Mfoniso runs a gener8tor investment accelerator program that has supported 25 founders who have raised $67M+ in funding. In his past and current roles, he’s been dedicated to community engagement through collaboration with corporations, nonprofits, academic institutions and other organizations to provide community support. In 2023, Mfoniso was recognized by BizTimes as a Notable BIPOC Executive. All of this work has helped to foster his passion for entrepreneurship and empowerment for the communities that he serves. Mfoniso is a board member of B Local Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Robotics Academy.
Executive Vice President of Social Innovation
Michael has 20 years of experience in the non-profit and education industry. He is as passionate about growing communities as he is about growing vegetables. Michael puts his skills and interests together as the Fork Farms Executive Vice President of Social Innovation, which oversees the revenue operations for Fork Farms and has a strong focus on ending hunger worldwide by making fresh, healthy food accessible to all. Michael has extensive fundraising and philanthropic experience, including having raised over $3.5M to install interactive LED lights on Milwaukee's iconic Hoan Bridge.
Michael believes that video games are hidden in plain sight as a powerful part of the solution for today's mental health crisis. As CEO of BetterPlay Studios, Michael and the team work with psychologists and game industry veterans to create video games with therapeutic qualities while sacrificing none of the fun. (No breathing apps or "edutainment" here). In addition to leading company vision and investor relations, he is lead designer and writer on their newest game "The Out Dwellers." When he is not making video games, he is usually playing them - often with his family, exercising while watching 90s music videos, or cooking elaborate meals.
In his role he provides leadership for the Inception Health Investment Fund. As the venture capital arm of the F&MCW health network, the Inception Health Investment Fund makes strategic investments in early-stage digital health companies that help us solve the real problems facing the F&MCW health network by finding innovative solutions for our staff, clinicians and patients. Mike has extensive experience working in finance and strategy roles within health systems at both Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin here in Milwaukee. He has a passion for entrepreneurship that was instilled in him at an early age by his parents who managed a café in Memphis, TN and a sporting goods store in Mt Pleasant, SC. He has invested personally in a sizeable portfolio of local businesses including Sherman Phoenix, the Tandem Restaurant, Fyxation Bikes, the Daily Bird Coffee Shop and Rooted MKE Children's Bookstore. To further his personal mission of providing access to health for all, Mike serves on the board, and as treasurer, at CORE El Centro, the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association and Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.
Chief Security Advisor
Morgan is an internationally recognized expert on cybersecurity strategy, cyberterrorism, national security and intelligence. He currently serves as Chief Security Advisor for SentinelOne, Senior Fellow at The Center for Digital Government, and is the chief technology analyst for Fox News and Fox Business. Morgan's landmark testimony before Congress on Healthcare.gov changed how the government collected personally identifiable information. Previously Morgan was a Senior Advisor in the US State Department Antiterrorism Assistance Program, the Senior Law Enforcement Advisor for the 2012 Republican National Convention, taught behavioral analysis at the National Security Agency and spent a year teaching the FBI how to conduct internet investigations. In addition to 18 years in state and local law enforcement as a highly decorated state trooper and detective, Morgan has developed solutions in defense, justice and intelligence for the largest technology companies in the world including Cisco, SAIC, Unisys and Alcatel-Lucent/Bell Labs.
Audio Moguls Media
Mwanje Thompson is a passionate entrepreneur and educator dedicated to empowering underrepresented communities in the audio industry. As the founder and CEO of Audio Moguls Media, Mwanje uses Web 3 technology to help Black and Brown creators own their audio intellectual property and monetize their content.
As a Milwaukee native, Mwanje is deeply committed to empowering his hometown's overlooked communities. His commitment to creating social impact is evident in his development of the Brilliant Voices audio program, which provides a pathway to business ownership and career success for individuals interested in audio production, broadcasting, or media development.
In addition to his work with Audio Moguls Media and Brilliant Voices, Mwanje is a full-time educator at UpGrade Media Arts Schools, where he teaches entrepreneurship, marketing, and podcasting to the next generation of audio innovators.
Chief Technology Officer
Nathan Lasnoski is the Chief Technology Officer of Concurrency, a CIO/CTO advisor, a 13x Microsoft MVP, and a frequent speaker at 100s of events and conferences. Nathan has spent the last 21 years advising enterprise organizations on their technology strategy, challenging them to think boldly and with courage. Nathan will share experiences that facilitate direct and honest opportunities for technology leaders to be change agents in their organizations and create mission-oriented business value.
Artist, writer, Professor
Nathaniel Stern is an artist and writer, NEA, Fulbright and NSF grantee and professor, interventionist and public citizen. He has produced and collaborated on projects ranging from ecological, participatory, and online interventions, interactive, immersive, and mixed reality environments, to prints, sculptures, videos, performances, and hybrid forms. His first book, Interactive Art and Embodiment: The Implicit Body as Performance (Gylphi 2013), takes a close look at the stakes for interactive and digital art, and Ecological Aesthetics: artful tactics for humans, nature, and politics (Dartmouth 2018) is a creative and scholarly collection of stories about art, artists, and their materials, which argues that ecology, aesthetics, and ethics are inherently interconnected, and together act as the cornerstone for all contemporary arts practices. Stern’s ongoing work with startups and industry, on the other hand, has helped launch dozens of new businesses, products, and ideas. He has been featured in the likes of the Wall Street Journal, Guardian UK, Huffington Post, Daily Mail, Washington Post, Daily News, BBC’s Today show, WIRED, Gizmodo, Time, Forbes, Fast Company, Scientific American, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Leonardo Journal of Art, Science and Technology, Rhizome, Furtherfield, and more. According to Chicago’s widely popular Bad at Sports art podcast, Stern has “the most varied and strange bio of maybe anyone ever on the show,” and South Africa’s Live Out Loud magazine calls him a “prolific scholar” as well as artist, whose work is “quite possibly some of the most relevant around.” “Technological, thought-provoking and unexpected” (NPR) he’s been dubbed one of Milwaukee’s “avant-garde” (Journal Sentinel), called ”an interesting and prolific fixture” (Artthrob.co.za) behind many “multimedia experiments” (Time.com), a “daring poet” and artist (the Verse Verse), “accessible and abstract simultaneously” (Art and Electronic Media web site), someone “with starry, starry eyes” (Wired.com) who “makes an obscene amount of work in an obscene amount of ways” (Bad at Sports) – both “bizarre and beautiful” (Gizmodo). According to Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing, Stern makes “beautiful, glitched out art-images,” and Caleb A. Scharf at Scientific American says Stern’s art is “tremendous fun,” and “fascinating” in how it is “investigating the possibilities of human interaction and art.”
Director of Technical Operations
Nicholas Anastasi started his career in cybersecurity at Sprocket and hasn't looked back. Continuous Penetration Testing is all he knows and during his day to day he leads the penetration testing team, writes a ton of Python and works tirelessly to improve the CPT process. In his free time, Nicholas enjoys running, eating too much candy and developing on his homelab. Nicholas and the rest of the team are dedicated to making sure our clients continuously maintain a strong security posture.
Nick Myers is the CEO & Co-Founder of RedFox AI, a digital healthcare startup based in Madison. RedFox is a process-aware Conversational AI platform that facilitates home diagnostic test and medical device use, troubleshooting, and point-of-care data collection.
Nick is a TEDx and International Keynote Speaker having delivered dozens of talks on the future of Artificial Intelligence, Conversational AI, and data privacy across the U.S. and around the world. Nick is an In Business Madison 40 Under 40 award winner and has been featured in publications such as PR Daily, the Journal of Digital and Social Media Marketing, the Wisconsin State Journal, Wisconsin Inno, Wisconsin Health News, and In Business Madison for his work.
He is an outspoken advocate of the need for stricter consumer data privacy regulations and currently serves as Moderator of the Open Voice Network (OVON) Privacy & Security Workgroup. As part of his work with OVON, Nick co-authored the OVON sponsored Privacy Principles and Capabilities Unique to Voice white paper published last year. Nick also volunteers as an Executive Committee Member for Light The Night - an annual fundraising event hosted by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – and serves as a Committee Member for Madison-based Capital Entrepreneurs.
Nick earned his Bachelor of Science in Communication from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point in 2016.
Vice President, Customer Alliances
Nicole spent nearly 18 years at Microsoft prior to her appointment at Johnson Controls, in roles of increasing responsibility building and leading global sales teams. Her recent experience in managing IoT Sales and large customer engagement has translated well into her role with JCI. Additionally, she has managed large complex customers across the industrial sector, including more than ten years working for Rockwell Automation in sales and marketing capacities.
Nicole has had an extensive career, holding senior leader positions in the areas of marketing, sales, partner development, product management for both corporate and start-up environments, cloud computing, and IoT, always with a focus on high growth endeavors and disruptive technologies. Nicole was a pioneer in launching Azure sales teams at Microsoft. In addition, Nicole has co-founded and launched two cloud computing startups on Azure, including Sitemasher, later acquired by Salesforce.com.
Nicole earned an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration from Florida International University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from St. Norbert College. She is based in Miami, Florida.
Patrick is the esports manager for the Milwaukee Bucks and the general manager of Bucks Gaming. He got his start in esports as the founder and president of Marquette Gaming and Esports during his time at the university. Before the Bucks, he was in New York doing HR for Target and later worked in public relations at a financial PR firm. He moved back to Milwaukee and started at the Bucks at the end of 2021.
Rebecca is a CNBC contributor, author of four books including Silicon Heartland (2023), and a media entrepreneur who has covered global innovation for more than 20 years. Rebecca’s forward-looking and resource-rich books launched her as a commentator and public speaker. A guest on BBC, Bloomberg, Fox News, and NPR, and a quoted expert in the New York Times, she has spoken at SXSW, the Brookings Institution, Asia Society, Harvard, Yale, and Oxford.
A graduate of Ohio University Scripps School, Rebecca began her journalistic career at the Dayton Journal Herald. From Ohio to NYC and later Silicon Valley and Asia, she became a Forbes columnist for 10 years, and wrote for Harvard Business Review and several thought leadership publications. At CNBC, she writes features and profiles innovators for the Disruptor 50 list.
Chief Technology & Strategy Officer
In his role as Chief Technology & Strategy Officer for the Milwaukee Bucks., Robert is responsible for all technology infrastructure, business innovation, and information systems enabling the Milwaukee Bucks business office, front office and its ancillary businesses, including Fiserv Forum, Wisconsin Herd G-League team, Bucks Gaming eSports, and Deer District real estate. Robert was named CIO of the Year in 2019 by the Milwaukee Business Journal for his work at the Bucks and in the community.
Robert is an innovative technology leader with more than 30 years of IT enterprise experience. Prior to his current role, Robert was the Principal Architect at AT&T, responsible for aligning the business goals of AT&T’s largest enterprise customers with AT&T solutions. Throughout his career, Robert has held high-level technology positions at Sara Lee Corporation, CenturyLink and Northrop Grumman.
He graduated from Yale College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering and was a member of the Yale Lightweight Rowing team. He is married with three children.
Founder & CEO
Roger B. Cummings is a highly experienced and growth-focused executive with a remarkable track record of scaling businesses in domestic and international markets. With 20 years of technology expertise, he has consistently delivered exceptional results, driven shareholder value, and achieved profitable exits through five successful company acquisitions. Roger possesses a wealth of experience in executive leadership, strategic planning, and financial management.
As Founder & CEO of FitStack Inc., Roger is excited to be partnering with leading Midwest venture partners of WARF Ventures and High Alpha Innovations to bring the value of FitStack to customers. FitStack is helping companies to address the risk in today's software supply chain. The FitStack solution continuously removes unnecessary application dependencies and vulnerabilities from your container environments. Allowing development teams to be more productive while reducing risk, improving performance, and lower cloud costs all at once!
Industry 4.0 Business Development Manager
As the UScellular Industry 4.0 Business Development Manager, Ross is a graduate of University of Wisconsin and has 25+ years of global enterprise sales and marketing experience within the Fortune 1000 and Federal Government markets. As a result, he’s had the opportunity to help some of the world’s largest organizations address their critical business and operational challenges with innovative and emerging technological solutions. Most recently, Ross led the “Smart Factory” solutions efforts at Fii (Foxconn Industrial Internet) which included Private Cellular Networking (PCN) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Ross is passionate about helping manufacturers become globally competitive and bringing manufacturing back to the United States.
Rusty Planert, a senior manager with Wipfli’s financial services group, possesses over 12 years of public accounting experience. He excels in managing audit and tax services for a diverse range of investment partnerships, including hedge funds, digital asset funds, fund-of-funds, and private equity funds. Rusty's industry focus led him to the realm of digital assets in 2017, sparking an enduring interest in the revolutionary asset class.
In his role at Wipfli, Rusty participates in any assurance engagement involving digital assets, a responsibility that has significantly broadened his expertise in the sector. His keen insights into Bitcoin and the Lightning Network, combined with his practical understanding of the underlying blockchain technology, place him at the forefront of this evolving field.
SVP, Chief Marketing Sustainability Officer
As Chief Marketing and Sustainability Officer, Ruth Harper leads all aspects of Strategic Global Communications, Sustainability and Public Affairs across ManpowerGroup’s 75+ countries and family of brands – Manpower, Experis and Talent Solutions. She is responsible for ESG Strategy, execution of ManpowerGroup’s Working to Change the World Plan and the company’s commitments across all stakeholders.
Harper previously led Public Affairs, CSR and Communications in Europe representing the industry to advise government and business on the European labor market before being appointed Director Global Strategic Communications in 2015 and VP in 2017.
Harper is a sought-after expert on skills transformation, the future of work and for workers, and represents ManpowerGroup at the World Employment Confederation and World Economic Forum Sustainable Development Impact Summit. She is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Jobs and Skills and regularly participates in their Community for ESG Practitioners, Climate Leaders and Diversity and Inclusion Officers.
Harper lives with her husband and two sons in Milwaukee and serves on the Board of Discovery World.
VP of Global Marketing
Sarah serves as VP of Global Marketing, overseeing all global go-to-market teams and activities at PKWARE. She brings with her more than 15 years’ experience building and leading global marketing organizations.
Prior to PKWARE, Sarah led and executed marketing efforts at WorkBoard, Inc. and GHX (Global Healthcare Exchange). In 2006, she played a significant role in building a sports marketing agency from the ground up that managed CPG brand initiatives and PR/branding for professional athletes. Sarah went on to create and lead global business development and digital marketing initiatives with other agencies. Key projects included creating global GTM marketing programs and building operational structures to automate and align global commercial teams.
Outside of the office, Sarah spends time with her family and their Goldendoodle, Phil, enjoying everything Colorado has to offer outdoors: snowboarding, hiking, golfing, and more.
Sarah has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University, Purdue University – Indianapolis, where she played D1 soccer, and a Masters in Marketing from University of Denver.
Manager of Member Growth & Engagement
MKE Tech Hub Coalition
Dr. Shakkiah Curtis is a graduate of Tennessee State University (proud HBCU Alum) with her B.A. in English and Master in Instructional Design and Organization Development from Alverno College. She received her Doctorate in Business Administration focused on African American Women Entrepreneurs and how Emotional Intelligence aids in success.
Dr. Curtis has cultivated many entrepreneurial ventures, including fashion, business, and fitness. My most current venture, SPINN MKE, breaks the cultural norms in boutique fitness and brings it to communities that traditionally are not included; SPINN MKE is built on culture, community, and wellness. I am also the founder of The Pink Hustle, a personal and professional development firm that focuses on helping first-generation women and women entrepreneurs build wealth.
Dr. Curtis is a leader and expert in Emotional Intelligence and has published research in this field. Dr. Curtis's Work experience includes teaching in higher academia, business development, and building and working in the startup and tech ecosystem. Currently, Shakkiah is working with MKE Tech Hub to double the tech talent while creating transformational change in Milwaukee and surrounding regions.
As a mom of two amazing girls, Dr. Curtis's passion for community, entrepreneurship, and health continues to push her as a leader of change. Helping her community live purposefully, which she has noted, has been rewarding and life-changing. And she will continue to go after the greatness we all deserve. Dr. Curtis was recently honored as one of WI 52 Most Influential Black Leaders 2022.
Spencer X Smith
Spencer X Smith has both consulted with and invested in myriad companies across fledgling Web3 technologies including blockchain construction company DigiBuild, currency exchange Kraken, and metaverse fund Republic Realm.
After starting his career at IBM during the Y2K days, Spencer has always been an early adopter of new technology so he can better teach others what he’s learned. He’s given over 300 in-person speeches, including presentations at the New York Stock Exchange, Gillette Stadium in Boston, and The Superdome in New Orleans.
Spencer is a graduate of the Economics of Blockchain & Digital Assets program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Busines
Chief Information and Risk Officer
Landmark Credit Union
Steve Hannan is the Chief Information & Risk Officer for Landmark Credit Union where he is responsible for Information Technology; Information Security; Security & Fraud; Legal, Risk & Compliance; and Back Office Operations. He has a strong track record of improving business results through innovative technology, process, and organizational change. Steve is passionate about delivering best in class customer and associate experiences to drive business results.
Prior to joining Landmark in 2017, Steve served as the CIO for Dohmen Life Science Services and in IT leadership roles at Assurant Health, Sentry Insurance and Andersen Consulting/Accenture. Steve earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He is a Co-Chair of the United Way Technology United Council and leads the Reskill/Upskill Committee of the MKE Tech Hub Coalition. Steve is a 2022 CIO of the Year Orbie award winner from the WisconsinCIO chapter of InspireCIO, and a 2023 national finalist for InspireCIO CIO of the Year.
Vice President of Operations
Chief Information Officer
Generac Power Systems, Inc.
Tim Dickson has served as Generac Chief Information Officer since August 2020. Tim previously served as the Vice President of Front Office IT at Motorola Solutions from 2015-2018, and additionally served as a divisional CIO leading Emerging Technologies, M&A, and User Experience for Dell, Inc from 2004-2015. Tim has a BS in Industrial Engineering from Penn State University and an MBA from the University of Texas in Austin. Tim regularly looks for ways to give back to both of his alma maters as well as the community through #payitforward volunteerism. Tim has a passion for leading Digital Transformation efforts, upskilling and investing in Digital Talent, and helping to make the greater Milwaukee area and the state of Wisconsin and popular tech hub.
Head of Capital Strategies
Topiltzin Gomez is the Head of Capital Strategies at Honeycomb Credit, a community capital platform where small businesses can issue investment offerings to raise capital from their fans, community, and the growing network of Honeycomb impact investors. With prior professional experience in technology, entrepreneurship, and community developments, Topiltzin's professional passion is to create new markets that align financial success with social progress.
Vice President of Cybersecurity
GENERAC POWER SYSTEMS, INC.
William is an experienced information security specialist with over 20 years of experience focused on delivering cybersecurity capabilities to large enterprises. He has systems architecture and engineering, IT risk management, business resiliency and executive leadership background. He has provided cybersecurity advisory services to some of Wisconsin’s largest institutions and has established cybersecurity programs supporting multiple Fortune 500 companies. William brings a practical cybersecurity perspective to organizations looking to responsibly adopt AI withing their organizations. William is a board member of the Wisconsin Cyber Threat Response Alliance. He enjoys speaking engagements which raise awareness of the importance of cybersecurity and is active in #GivingBack through championing cybersecurity as a career at local high schools and across higher education campuses.
Tech for Vets
Navy veteran; Founder of Tech for Vets, a nonprofit group focusing on engaging veterans in esports and other tech opportunities.