International Women's Entrepreneurship Symposium

IWES 2020: Creating Value out of Chaos
March 9-10, 2020
University of Nevada, Reno
Joe Crowley Student Union

Register to attend

About the symposium

The Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship and The College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno, are excited to announce the 2nd annual International Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium. This event focuses on building a global community that supports each other’s work to engage, create, and grow companies founded by women, across all geographies and sectors. The growing community is comprised of students, academics, start-up founders, business owners, investors, government agencies, support organizations, and the community at large. The Symposium is purposefully organized to encourage the building of relationships amongst attendees by providing space for meaningful conversations, engaging debates, and the exploration of practical application.

This year’s Symposium on March 9-10 at the Joe Crowley Student Union at the University of Nevada, Reno brings us world-class keynote speakers, dozens of amazing panelists, and seven breakout session panels focused on Entrepreneurship in various industries.

Keynote speakers

Kara Goldin

Founder & CEO, Hint, Inc.

(Closing Keynote)

Kara Goldin is the Founder and CEO of Hint, Inc., a healthy lifestyle brand that produces the leading, award-winning, unsweetened flavored water, as well as a scented sunscreen that is oxybenzone and paraben-free.

Kara has received numerous accolades, including being named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 Northern California, one of In Style’s 2019 Badass 50, one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business and one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs. The Huffington Post listed her as one of six disruptors in business, alongside Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.

Previously, Kara was at AOL, where she helped lead the growth of its shopping and ecommerce business to over $1 billion.

In 2016, she launched The Kara Network, a mentoring platform to help other entrepreneurs, and she recently launched the podcast Unstoppable, where she interviews disruptors across various industries.

Laura Jackson

Conductor, Reno Phil

(Leadership of Note)

Now in her eleventh season as music director of the Reno Philharmonic — continues to win praise for her artistry, leadership, innovative programming, and creative community engagement. 

Her passion and drive have helped the Reno Philharmonic reach new heights with cutting edge composer-in-residence projects as well as vibrant performances of traditional repertoire. New works that Jackson has commissioned in partnership with the Reno Phil have enjoyed multiple performances nationwide.

In addition to concerts with the Reno Philharmonic, Ms. Jackson guest conducts nationally and internationally. Her performances include concerts with the symphonies of Alabama, Baltimore, Berkeley, Charlottesville, Detroit, Eugene, Flint, Hartford, Hawaii, Orlando, Philippine Philharmonic, Philly POPS, Phoenix, San Antonio, Toledo, Toronto, Winnipeg and L’Orchestre symphonique de Bretagne in France.

In 2013 Jackson was issued a joint invitation by the Algerian Cultural Minister and the U.S. State Department to serve as the first–ever American to conduct the National Orchestra of Algeria. The concert celebrated Algeria’s fifty years of independence from France.

Jackson served as the first female assistant conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra from 2004-7. Prior to her appointment in Atlanta, she studied conducting at the University of Michigan and spent summers at the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Tanglewood Music Center in 2002 and 2003. As the Seiji Ozawa Conducting Fellow at Tanglewood, she conducted numerous concerts featuring both traditional and contemporary repertoire.

Ms. Jackson spent her early childhood in Virginia and Pennsylvania before moving at age 11 to Plattsburgh, NY, where she grew up waterskiing, swimming, and sailing on Lake Champlain. She fell in love with the violin in public school, later attending the North Carolina School for the Arts and Indiana University where she studied both violin and conducting before moving to Boston in 1990 to freelance as a violinist and teach at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire.

Yuli Ziv

Founder, ULTIMA

(Opening Keynote)

Named one of the Top Women in Media by Folio: magazine, Yuli Ziv is a serial entrepreneur and a pioneer of the influencer marketing industry. In 2008 she created Style Coalition, one of the first influencer networks, whose clients included world’s biggest fashion, beauty & luxury brands. She bootstrapped her business from zero to millions in revenue and recently sold it to a global software & data company Launchmetrics. An author of several trade books on innovation, today Yuli continues to disrupt the fashion industry. Most recently she launched a modern minimalist clothing brand ULTIMA, as an antidote to fast fashion. Yuli lives and works in New York.

Carolyne Ekyarisiima

CEO & Founder- Apps and Girls, Computer scientist, Entrepreneur, MWF Alumni, Obama Foundation Collaborator


Carolyne Ekyarisiima is a Mandela Washington Fellow, social entrepreneur and the founder of the Apps and Girls, a social enterprise that works to bridge the tech gender gap in Africa by empowering girls aged 10-18 years with the SuperPower of CODE and entrepreneurship skills to become effective leaders and TECH drivers using Technology to solve challenges in their communities. Carolyne holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Information Systems from Kampala International University. She is a Tigo and Reach for Change Digital Change Maker and was awarded a certificate of achievement in 2014 for her great efforts in improving children’s lives through innovation & digital technology at the Hackathon Prototype Change 2014 in Sweden. She was also a MalikiaWanguvu2017 award recipient recognized for her great contribution in the STEM sector in Tanzania and 2017 Winner of NextGen franchising award.  Apps and Girls was awarded by UNDP and Sahara sparks for its devotion and persistence in supporting and inspiring ladies in Technology in Tanzania. Furthermore, Carolyne is a collaborator of the Obama foundation, mentor at First Global Robotics competition, Africa Entrepreneurship award winner and part of the Ushahuri virtual mentorship Platform.  Carolyne also serves as the Technnovation Challenge and Africa Code Week regional Ambassador.   She recently spoke at the 2017 E-learning Africa conference in Mauritius about how empowering women with TECH skills is the biggest investment for Africa “An African WOMAN with superpower of CODE is a mighty sword for Africa.” She joined President Barack and Michelle Obama during the Obama summit for young leaders across the globe in Chicago.

Siri Chilazi

Gender and Organizations Researcher, Harvard Kennedy School

(Advancing Gender Equality in Venture Capital)

Siri Chilazi is a gender and organizations researcher at the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard Kennedy School. She is a recognized expert in advancing women and promoting gender equality within organizations. Siri specializes in translating academic research into practical approaches and tools to design more inclusive workplaces. As an advisor and speaker, she frequently collaborates with organizations ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies and leading professional service firms in order to close gender gaps. Siri’s work is frequently featured in media outlets including Harvard Business Review, Behavioral Scientist, Forbes, New York Times and BBC. She has an MBA from Harvard Business School, a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a B.A. in Chemistry and Physics from Harvard College.

Molly Troupe

Master Distiller, Freeland Spirits

(Day 1 Closing Keynote and Food & Beverage Panel)

Molly Troupe grew up not far from Portland in Troutdale, Oregon. She attended Southern Oregon University where she earned a Bachelor degree in Chemistry. After SOU, she continued her education by attending Heriot Watt University where she earned a Master degree in Brewing and Distilling. Upon graduating, she moved back to Oregon and put her education to work starting in Quality Control and ending in Production Management and Lead Distiller in a career that spanned several Oregon distilleries. In 2017, she joined forces with Jill Kuehler as Freeland Spirit’s Master Distiller. Molly’s strengths as a distiller lay with her recipe development, quality control, problem solving, and process development. In 2018 she was featured on Forbes 30 under 30 for Food and Beverage and is currently the youngest female Master Distiller in the United States. If not at Freeland Spirits, you can find her writing articles for Artisan Spirit Magazine or serving the Board of Directors for the American Craft Spirits Association or hanging out with her pup Logan.


General Admission of $295 includes opening reception, continental breakfast and luncheon.

Group Deal: Bundle of 3 tickets for $165/person

Discounted rate of $100 available to students, founders, academic/government, and non-profits.

Register today!

The dates, times and topics for the International Women's Entrepreneurship Symposium.
Time Topic
Monday, March 9, 2020
12:30-1:15pm Registration & Networking
1:15-1:30pm Welcoming Remarks
1:30-2:15pm Keynote Speaker – Creating Value out of Chaos
2:15-3:00pm Marketing Workshop - Driving Growth in a New Business
3:00-3:30pm Networking & Break
3:30-4:30pm Advancing Gender Equality in Venture Capital with Siri Chilazi, Harvard Research Fellow
4:30-5:15pm Funding Chaos - Best Practices in Fundraising
5:15-5:45pm Day 1 Closing Keynote - Keeping Spirits Up with Molly Troupe, Master Distiller, Freeland Spirits
5:45-6:30pm Opening Reception
6:30-9:00pm Dine Around Dinners
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
8:30-9:00am Registration & Networking

Breakout Sessions

  • Social Entrepreneurship:
    • Amy Berry, CEO Tahoe Fund
    • Caren McNamara, Founder & CEO, Conscious Container
    • Kelly Northridge, Founder, Audacity Fund
    • Kristy Muir, CEO & Founder
    • Moderated by Doug Erwin, SVP, Entrpreneurial Development EDAWN
  • Food & Beverage:
    • Carlotta Mast, New Hope Network,
    • Christy Ross, Founder & CEO, Planted Places
    • Molly Troupe, Master Distiller, Freeland Spirits
    • Moderated by Shila Morris, President & Owner, Squeeze In Restaurant Group
  • Health & Wellness:
    • Deepa Prasad, Managing Director, West River Group
    • Camie Cragg Lyman, Founder Camie Cragg Fitness
    • Andi Kilgore, Chief of Staff, Flirtey
    • Moderated by Julie Ardito, APR, Senior Director of Advancement and Engagement, UNR School of Medicine
  • Entrepreneurship in the Arts:
    • Myrton Runningwolf, Actor, Writer, Director, Producer
    • Kris Vagner, Editor & Publisher, Double Scoop
    • Beth Macmillan, Executive Director, Artown
    • Moderated by Debra Moddelmog, Dean, College of Liberal Arts, UNR
  • Doing Business Globally:
    • Abi Weeds, CEO & Founder, Odylique
    • Relina Shirley, Co-Founder, HIDEIt Mounts
    • Danell Wilson-Perlman, Owner, Reno Tahoe Limo, CEO African Skies
  • Male-dominated Industries:
    • Karen Schlichting, Founder & Owner, Tri-Sage
    • Megan Lovelace, Founder & President, Facilicorp
    • Shari Pheasant, Founder & CEO, Horsepower Strategies
    • Karen Purcell, President, PK Electric
  • Climate & the Environment:
    • Eileen Christensen, President & Principal Scientist, BEC Environmental
    • Melissa Wendt, Director, Project Development, Ormat Technologies
    • Travis Johnson, VP of Operations, Renewable Energy Development, Liberty Utilities
10:00-11:30pm Leadership of Note: An Orchestral Metaphor with Laura Jackson, Conductor of the Reno Phil
11:30am-12:00pm Networking & Break
12:00-1:30pm Luncheon with Carolyne Ekyarisiima, Apps & Girls
1:30-1:45pm Networking & Break
1:45-2:15pm Ensuring Both You and Your People Thrive in Chaos
2:15-3:00pm Closing Keynote with Kara Goldin, CEO & Founder, Hint, Inc.
3:00-3:30pm Closing Remarks
What to expect

The 2nd Annual International Women's Entrepreneurship Symposium brings together participants in the global women's entrepreneurship ecosystem to discuss and explore the topic of Creating Value out of Chaos.

Start-up founders and business owners can expect to:

  • Be supported in their journey to create value in their company
  • Learn ways to manage the chaos of the start-up life
  • Learn how to value themselves and their company
  • Learn how others have managed chaos and created value in their companies
  • Network with experts in creating value, investors, entrepreneurs, community support agents, and researchers

Attendees supporting founders either through investment, support, or research can expect to:

  • Learn how their messages and support are received by female entrepreneurs
  • Learn ways in which to better support female entrepreneurs through the chaos of start-up creation
  • Understand ways in which their services, support, financial support or research are valued by female entrepreneurs
  • Understand how to better bring value to female entrepreneurs
  • Network with entrepreneurs, and others supporting the female entrepreneurial ecosystem

The International Women's Entrepreneurship Symposium attracts 250+ professionals from around the world from universities, non-profit and for-profit businesses, government agencies, and foundations and NGOs. The Symposium provides an ideal venue for exposure to top-level practitioners from around the world focused on supporting and growing companies founded by women. Sponsors, supporters, and exhibitors are critical to the success of the International Women's Entrepreneurship Symposium. A variety of sponsorship levels and event activity sponsorships are available that offer high-profile attention and recognition to each sponsor organization. We welcome and appreciate your support of this event!

Sponsorship level costs and benefits.
Sponsorship levels Introduce the event or speaker Booth at symposium Logo & name on symposium materials Promotional materials in registration bag
Keynote Speaker - $10,000
Diamond - $5,000
Platinum - $3,500
Gold - $2,500
Silver - $1,000
Bronze - $500

* A limited number of event tickets will be made available to all sponsors commensurate with sponsorship level.

For more information and details about sponsorship opportunities please email our event staff at

Group hotel rates

The ROW will be hosting rooms for our speakers, panelists and attendees at 20% off retail rates, along with 50% off resort fees using code: IWES20. Call or visit their websites to book your room today.

The Renaissance Hotel- Marriot in downtown Reno will also be hosting rooms for our speakers, panelists and attendees. The Renaissance is only 1.5 miles from The University of Nevada, Reno and is conveniently located near the beautiful Truckee River, and many local downtown eateries and shops.

Book your group rate today.

Additional speakers and panelists



Julie Ardito

APR, Senior Director of Advancement and Engagement, University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

(Health & Wellness Panel Moderator)

Julie Ardito, APR, is senior director of Advancement and Engagement at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine.

A+E is an integrated team providing strategic communications, brand marketing and creative, events, and development and alumni relations to UNR Med and UNR Med’s clinical practice plan, University Health. Ardito and her team enhance the reputation, relationships and resources of the school, emphasizing partnerships, outcomes and impact.

Ardito joined UNR Med in 2017 and brings more than 25 years of strategic marketing communications experience to the school. Prior to joining UNR Med, she was principal of Julie Ardito Public Relations, a strategic marketing communications firm that served a diverse group of companies including corporate, economic development, travel/tourism, technology, health care and non-profit.

Her professional portfolio also includes serving under Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval as director of community relations and constituent affairs, and in senior communications management roles at the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN), Sierra Nevada Corporation and at a Reno-based advertising, interactive and public relations agency.

Ardito graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno and is an Accredited Public Relations (APR) professional. Her industry contributions have earned Sierra Nevada Chapter of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Silver Spike Awards for excellence in public relations and AMA Ace Awards for excellence in marketing.

Amy Berry

CEO, Tahoe Fund

(Social Entrepreneurship Panel)

As Tahoe Fund CEO, Amy leads the organization’s efforts to use the power of philanthropy to help complete more environmental improvement projects around the Tahoe Basin.

Amy has raised more than $9 million from private donors, including more than $1 million for a new section of the Tahoe Trail from Incline to Sand Harbor. In the past few years, she has helped the organization leverage $2M in private donations to secure more than $40M in public funding. The Tahoe Fund’s portfolio of more than 35 projects includes critical watershed restoration projects, new sections of the Lake Tahoe Bikeway, expansion of public access, and prevention and control of aquatic invasive species.  She worked with more than 50 partners to create the region’s first collaborative stewardship program, called Take Care Tahoe, which seeks to change the culture of caretaking in the Tahoe Region.

Prior to joining the Tahoe Fund, Amy was director of marketing and communications for the North American arm of renewable energy giant ACCIONA. In this role she was a member of the management committee and responsible for corporate branding, internal communications and product marketing. She led the company’s communications and stakeholder engagement activities for more than 1,00MW of wind and solar developments, and worked with industry groups to lobby federal and state leaders for policies to expand renewable energy throughout the US and Canada. While at ACCIONA, she was a two-time judge of the Clean Energy Trust Challenge, the largest single-day clean energy pitch competition in the nation.

Amy began her career at advertising agencies Saatchi & Saatchi and Ogilvy & Mather in New York City.  She has garnered attention for various brands in a variety of media outlets, including ABC’s “20/20”, NPR, and the New York Times. Her experience includes work with IBM, Johnson & Johnson, General Mills, Rodale Press and the National Crime Prevention Council. 

Amy was Co-Chair of the New Energy Exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, a 2008 Nevada Women’s Fund honoree, is a federal appointee to the Lake Tahoe Federal Advisory Committee, a two-time judge of the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change $100 million prize competition, was named a Reno Gazette Journal “Twenty under 40” honoree, and received the 2018 Lake Spirit Award. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University where she was an All-American sailor. 

Amy is an active volunteer who focuses on mentoring youth. She is a Brown Women’s Launch Pad mentor to graduating women at her alma mater, and she is a mentor with the SOS Outreach program that introduces under-served youth to snow sports and leadership training.  She also enjoys spending time out on the trails in Tahoe with her daughter Grace and dog Charlie.

Indira Chatterjee

Associate Dean of Engineering and Professor of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno

(Climate & Environment Panel Moderator)

Indira Chatterjee is Associate Dean of Engineering and Professor of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno. She has been at the University of Nevada for 31 years. As Associate Dean of Engineering she oversees undergraduate and graduate education in the college including assessment, accreditation, recruitment, K-12 outreach, retention and advising. She also coordinates efforts to expand the research productivity of the College of Engineering. This includes promoting and facilitating industry-college partnerships, identifying and monitoring opportunities for competitive research grants, apprising faculty of research opportunities and providing coordination and leadership for forming research teams as needed to respond to these opportunities. As Professor of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering she has been actively involved in funded research. She has been primary mentor to several graduate students who are well placed in industry and academics. Over the past 20 years she has brought in well over $6 million in research funding from the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Johns Hopkins University, National Institutes of Health, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and industry.

Eileen Christensen

Principal and founder of BEC Environmental, Inc.

(Climate & Environment Panel)

Eileen Christensen is the Principal and founder of BEC Environmental, Inc. She is a Nevada Certified Environmental Manager with over 25 years of experience in environmental consulting for local, state, federal, and international clients. She is a former member of the Nevada State Office of Energy’s Energy Economy Strike Force and has presented at EPA National Conferences and regional workshops; Nevada State Brownfields conferences; and Nevada Economic Development forums. She is an active associate member of the Nevada Association of Counties, American Council of Engineering Companies, Nevada Contractors Association, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Eileen’s work focuses on the nexus between brownfields, infrastructure, clean energy, water resources, and socio-economic benefit. Since 2002, BEC has secured, on behalf of clients, federal grant awards totaling over $14 million and economic development support services that have provided a return on investment of over $900 million.

Camie Cragg

Founder, Camie Cragg Fitness

(Health & Wellness Panel)

I am Camie Cragg and I am the founder of CCF. I started CCF in 2011 after an opportunity to run another gym fell through. My sincere devotion for fitness was ignited when I was 15 years old. I had a freak accident and broke my back. I was told that if I had more muscles built up around my spine, then that break likely would have never happened. This accident has been my inspiration for it all and I could not have done it it without my training mentor, Max McManus. I have used all that I have learned from my accident and the rehab that followed to become a stronger woman, high school athlete, collegiate athlete and now a competitor in just about anything I set my heart to. 

Some of my competitive accomplishments thus far are becoming a competitive Spartan racer. By doing this have qualified for the Trifecta World Championships in Greece in November of 2020. I am a NSL Pro Beach bikini athlete. I am a competitive 5k runner (35-39 age) and have completed the 1/2 marathon Surf City USA race. I have had the amazing opportunity to try out for the USA bobsled team in 2019 where I had the privilege to compete with some amazing athletes. 

Not only have I become a stronger woman physically, but I have also become a stronger woman mentally. I am a mother of two amazing boys. Through what I have learned through my trials and tribulations, I have been able to start the “Project You” podcast. This has been an incredible outlet for me to share my story and the stories of others. It has really become a platform of accepting myself and others on their health and wellness journeys. Furthermore, I have the privilege of co-hosting Fitness Fridays in the mornings on Fox 11. Throughout my journey with CCF, I have truly dedicated myself to running the gym with the same passion and vigor as I live my life. 

As a local Reno girl and Galena High School graduate, I knew I wanted to give back to my community and share my passion for fitness with the city I love. I’m extremely involved in the community. This involves speaking out about goal setting, nutrition and business success. Through CCF I have been able to create the CAMunity program. This program brings people together in tragedy in hopes of offering some relief to those in need. To date we have raised $150,000 and 100% of this has been donated. The goal of CAMunity is to give back in a monetary way, but also bring support, love and a sense of kinship during a difficult and devastating time. 

Additionally, I am a graduate of Dominican University where I had the wonderful opportunity to attend and graduate as a student-athlete. I have the pleasure of working with so many wonderful athletes and our CCF team sponsors people and organizations including, the Reno Rodeo Queens and the University of Nevada-Reno Cheer team. In addition to owning and training at CCF, I also I serve as a Lululemon Ambassador and Project C founder. Project C is an online and onsite training program to help others find the confidence to take the chance, to make the choice, to be the change they deserve. Thank you for taking the time to learn a little about me and I cannot wait to meet YOU!

Douglas Erwin

SVP Entrepreneurial Development at EDAWN

(Social Entrepreneurship Panel Moderator)

Doug is a serial entrepreneur turned nonprofit executive currently working as the Senior Vice President of Entrepreneurial Development at EDAWN. Doug is committed to growing Northern Nevada’s startup and technology ecosystem and supporting entrepreneurs as they embark upon their own journeys.   Doug’s work in community has helped change the perception of Reno and lay the foundation for future generations of entrepreneurs to thrive in the region.  

Doug’s work in the startup community include:

  • Cocreating a vision and values for the startup community with various stakeholders
  • Creating a strategy which led to the creation, funding or direct support many of the entrepreneurial support programs in existence today
  • Securing over $1.1M in federal funding which lead to the creation of the Summit Venture Mentoring Service and the Reno Seed Fund
  • Developing a startup attraction program which resulted in dozens of companies relocating to the region
  • Receiving 2 IEDC Gold Awards for creating the Startup Deck

Before devoting his work fulltime to EDAWN, Doug cofounded six companies in different industries including eCommerce, software development, medical diagnostics and consumer products manufacturing.  Through his entrepreneurial endeavors he experienced first-hand the highs and lows of building companies, managing investors and partners and the challenges associated with balancing family, self and career.

Doug’s Entrepreneurial highlights Include:

  • Raising over $10M in equity and debt capital from angels and corporate investors
  • Establishing strategic partnerships with Fortune 1000 companies
  • Establishing global partnerships in Switzerland, Japan, China, Singapore and Thailand
  • Negotiating the sale of multiple companies to both private and public acquirers
  • Being recognized as the Entrepreneur of the Year for the State of Nevada

In addition to his full-time work, Doug is an active supporter of local nonprofits and community organizations.  He was a curator for TEDx Reno for 3 years, served on the board of the Discovery Museum for 6 years and was an active member of Entrepreneurs organization for 13 years.  Doug currently serves as a commissioner for the Reno Arts and Culture Commission and on the board of EO Reno/Tahoe.  

Mark Estee

Managing Partner at Sasso Concepts

(Food & Beverage Panel)

Mark Estee is an award-winning chef, restaurateur and visionary on a mission to reinvent dining culture as we know it. Now flanked with a superstar team of partners, Estee is prepared to parlay 20 years of experience into building a restaurant empire. This includes expanding into new regions, harnessing new technology platforms, exploring new restaurant concepts, hiring talented teams and embracing a diversity of opportunities.

When it comes to the growth of his businesses, it’s not just restaurants he’s creating; it’s a culture of learning, caring and respect. “No jerks need apply,” as he often jokes, reflects the importance integrity holds at his workplace. His belief is that by instilling strong values, restaurants are capable of operating smoothly on their own. These qualities not only empower employees, but serve to build strong foundations with producers, purveyors, customers and the community at large.

Much has changed since his early days at Campo and Moody’s Bistro, the first of his many successful enterprises. Campo, a fine-dining pizza restaurant that Estee opened, owned and managed as a chef for many years, continues to be one of the most important players in Reno’s burgeoning dining scene. Moody’s, a wildly popular restaurant in downtown Truckee, California, was another creation of Estee’s and operated at his helm for years.

Today, Estee owns Liberty Food & Wine Exchange in downtown Reno, The Union in downtown Carson City, chez louie inside the Nevada Museum of Art, the historic Overland Restaurant & Pub, and the recently opened Cucina Lupo in Carson City.  He’s also the managing partner at Campo Mammoth. He’s been featured on the Food Network and Cooking Channel, is a James Beard Award nominee, was awarded Best New Restaurant by Esquire, and was honored as Entrepreneur of the Year by the Reno Gazette Journal. A pioneer and champion for uniting regional farmers and suppliers with a thriving restaurant scene, his commitment to community is the cornerstone of his ongoing success.

Estee can be found splitting his time between restaurants, where he makes sure to spend time at the front of the house, talking to customers, overseeing the kitchen, and making sure all of his establishments are equipped with the tools they need to operate smoothly and independently. When he isn’t at one of his restaurants, he’s out looking for ways to scale his impact. His enthusiasm and larger-than-life personality continues to inspire those around him, a quality that, no doubt, continues to serve his mission well.

Awards, Accolades & Appearances

  • Golden Shovel award – Nevada Grown, 2016
  • MSNBC – Your Business, 2015
  • Kids Cook For Success (an arm of Michelle Obama’s Let’s MoveCampaign) – Selected as Nevada’s Top Chef, 2014
  • Cooking Channel – “Bite This with Nadia G,” 2014
  • Food Network – “Guys Grocery Games,” 2014
  • Reno Chamber of Commerce – Community Spirit, 2014
  • James Beard House in New York City, 2013
  • Reno Gazette Journal – Entrepreneur of the Year, 2013
  • Food Network – “Guy Fieri’s Top 10 Burger,” 2013
  • Food Network – “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” 2013
  • James Beard Semifinalist – Best Chef, West, 2013
  • “Trattoria” the movie, 2013
  • 4-Diamond Awahnee Hotel in Yosemite
  • Pebble Beach Food and Wine Expo
  • Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival
  • Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival

Shuly Galili

Founding Partner, UpWest

(Funding Panel)

Shuly Galili is a Founding Partner at UpWest, a Silicon Valley - based seed fund investing in Israeli tech entrepreneurs and startups. Founded in 2012, UpWest has a growing portfolio of more than 80 startups across diverse tech domains. Among them: Endpoint security leader SentinelOne, business management platform Honeybook and fintech leader Stampli.   Her fund portfolio companies have raised over $1.2B in VC funding.  

Prior to founding UpWest, Shuly worked at various cross-border organizations and funds investing in social and business ventures. She spent more than a decade on building Silicon Valley’s gateway to Israel as the Executive Director of the California Israel Chamber of Commerce (CICC). Shuly built the organization’s infrastructure across all tech domains and fostered high impact initiatives for Venture Capital, corporate executives and entrepreneurs between the two regions. 

She was named among 100 Most Influential People in Israeli Hi-tech by Israel’s leading tech magazine Geektime. She serves on the Advisory Board of The C100 - A Canadian Entrepreneurs Network. 

Eddy Goldwasser

Owner & CEO, Small World Toys

(CEO’s Journey on Day 2)

After nearly ten years working at Simplex Toys, Eddy founded Small World Toys and grew the company from 1974 to 2004. Small World Toys was a national distributor of specialty toys and educational products, distributing to specialty toy stores, gift stores, educational stores, mail order catalogs and online shopping.  During this time Eddy was a member of The Executive Committee (TEC) for ten years, an organization that brought in guest speakers and served as an advisory board to members.  Eddy sold Small World Toys in 2004 and retired.  Eddy now spends his time consulting, enjoying life, and volunteering with organizations including The Mankind Project and Parent to Parent.

Travis Johnson

P.E., VP of Operations for Liberty Utilities, Tahoe Region

(Climate & Environment Panel)

Travis Johnson, P.E. – Travis is a UNR graduate and currently the Vice President of Operations for Liberty Utilities, Tahoe Region.  With over 27 years of electric utility experience, Travis is most proud of his accomplishments in integrating large scale solar projects into utility portfolios and advancing electric vehicle adoption.  He is currently working to transition the electric utility he manages to a 100% renewable energy platform in the coming years.

Andi Kilgore

Chief of Staff, Flirtey

(Health & Wellness Panel)

Andi Kilgore is a graduate of UVA-Wise and originally from the Commonwealth of Virginia, where she worked for the Supreme Court for several years prior to moving to Nevada and joining Flirtey. Kilgore was instrumental in the first Federal Aviation Administration-approved drone delivery in U.S. history conducted by Flirtey in 2015 in Wise, VA, which demonstrated the powerful benefits of unmanned aerial vehicle technology. She was the UAS coordinator for the event and helped organize and bring together Flirtey, NASA Langley Research Center, Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, RX Partnership, The Appalachian College of Pharmacy, Health Wagon, Remote Area Medical, and Ryan Media Lab for this event. In 2016, she joined Flirtey as Director, Communications, leading the public relations efforts for the startup. By 2018, Kilgore had taken on the role of Chief of Staff for the CEO at Flirtey, where she focuses on local and state stakeholder engagement as well as internal and external communications for the office of the CEO.

Megan Lovelace

Founder, FaciliCorp

(Male-Dominated Industries Panel)

Megan Lovelace founded FaciliCorp in 1993. The project management firm provided construction and relocation management services to corporate clients in the Bay Area while also supporting their growth nationally and internationally. FaciliCorp’s clients included many of Silicon Valley’s most notable companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Seagate, eBay, Netscape/AOL, SAP, Genentech, Twitter, and Yelp, among many others. 

Prior to founding FaciliCorp, Megan was the Facilities Engineering Manager at Hewlett-Packard’s Stanford Park Division. She left HP in 1990 to embark upon an Around-the World trip which lasted 19 months and covered 27 countries. Upon her return she provided consulting services to HP and recognized an opportunity to start her own company in out-sourced project management.

Megan majored in Engineering at SJSU and completed her BS in Economics at USF while continuing to work at HP. She was part of an HP culture that she fondly remembers as “the good old days” prior to outsourcing, and credits the experience of managing in-house architects, engineers and trades persons as the technical base she relied upon to build FaciliCorp.

In 2015 Megan sold FaciliCorp but continued to provide consulting services to a select group of clients until finally retiring in 2018. 

Beth Macmillan

Executive Director, Artown

(Entrepreneurship in the Arts Panel)

Beth Macmillan joined Artown as Festival Manager in February 2001 and was promoted to Executive Director in November of 2003.  Macmillan, formerly a professional dancer and actress expanded into arts administration through various roles such as Production Company Manager, Public Relations Manager, Assistant Stage Manager, Founder and Owner/Director of a small, highly successful arts education business, Executive Director of a major dance organization and business owner and distributor. Macmillan thrives in a fast-paced work environment while managing a wide range of responsibilities.  As Executive Director she has produced Artown events, created “out of the box” approaches and strategic partnerships to presentations, co-presentations and future Artown commissions. Currently, Beth has expanded her commitment to the arts with a recent two-year appointment as President of the Western Arts Alliance (WAA), a membership association of performing arts professionals throughout the western states and provinces.  Beth was awarded Woman of Distinction and Woman of Achievement in 2009.  Now widely recognized as a leader in the festival presenting model, she has made several presentations about Artown regionally and nationally including Arts Presenters, California Travel & Tourism Commission, Nevada Travel and Tourism, World Choir Games, and several regional service organizations. In 2016 Beth was presented a prestigious award from the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) for exceptional leadership. Most recently, Macmillan was elected to serve of the Board of Directors for the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) and began her term January 2018.

Carlotta Mast

Market Leader, New Hope Network; SVP of Content, Informa Markets

(Food & Beverage Panel)

As market leader, Carlotta Mast sets the strategy and guides the growth and impact for New Hope Network, the leading events and information services company for the natural & organic products industry. She also leads the content strategy and team for the Informa Markets Health & Nutrition group, which includes New Hope Network. Her team produces the content and conference programming for Natural Products Expos, NBJ Summit, Nutrition Capital Network, Esca Bona, Natural Foods Merchandiser,, Nutrition Business Journal, NEXT Forecast, SupplySide, Natural Products Insider, Vitafoods and Vitafoods Insights.

With 20 years of experience, Carlotta has her finger on the pulse of new health, wellness and natural product trends and the forces shaping consumer attitudes and behaviors. Carlotta is a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences and has been interviewed about the natural products industry, regulatory issues and market performance by media outlets including The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, NPR, ABC News, BusinessWeek and many others.

Carlotta serves on the board and is the past board president of Naturally Boulder, a 1,600-member trade group with the mission of nurturing community, leadership and innovation in the Colorado natural products industry. In addition, Carlotta serves on the board of the Climate Collaborative, whose mission is to leverage the power of the natural products industry to reverse climate change.

In 2013, Carlotta co-founded a paleo snack company called Wholly Bites, which hit the market well before Whole Foods Market and other retailers began adding paleo sections to their stores. Wholly Bites was sold to 1908 Brands in 2016. 

Caren McNamara

Founder, Conscious Container

(Social Entrepreneurship Panel)

Caren founded Conscious Container, a California Benefit Corporation, in 2017 to bring a refillable glass bottle marketplace back into the US economy and infrastructure.

After over 20 years as a successful project and change management consultant Caren was inspired by the circular economy solutions refillables presented. As a boot-strapping start-up she set proof-of-concept collection pilots which proved the demand and desire for this refillable glass bottle marketplace. With her amazing team, Caren has worked collaboratively and strategically across key stakeholder groups including policymakers, beverage producers, waste haulers, industry groups and non-profits to scale this “benefit for all” sustainable refillable business model. 

On the side Caren loves swimming, mountain biking, skate skiing, and connecting with family, friends and anyone who wants to dialog about refillables!

Geralda Miller

Executive Director of Art Spot Reno

(Entrepreneurship in the Arts Panel)

Geralda Miller considers herself an artrepreneur. She is executive director of Art Spot Reno, which is a website dedicated to promoting and providing an online voice for the Reno arts community. Art Spot Reno coordinates several arts events in Reno, including the Midtown Mural Tour, Art Walk Reno, which is held every first Thursday in the downtown Arts District, and community engagement programs during Artown. She also blogs for the website.

Geralda also has done extensive study on race and ethnicity in Northern Nevada and has published articles on the topic. She earned her undergraduate degree in Journalism from Southern Methodist University and received a master’s degree in History from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Debra Moddelmog

Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, University of Nevada, Reno

(Entrepreneurship in the Arts Panel Moderator)

Debra Moddelmog is Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and a Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno. In her 30-year career in higher education, she has organized new administrative units and held several leadership positions, including Associate Dean of Humanities and Chair of English at The Ohio State University. She has received several awards for her teaching, leadership, and diversity-building programs. Moddelmog has published five scholarly books and over 30 essays, including in the collection Women Leading Change in Academia: Breaking the Glass Ceiling, Cliff, and Slipper (2020). She is co-organizer of the Northern Nevada Women’s Leadership Initiative.

Shila Morris and Kay Salerno

Co-Owners, Squeeze In Restaurant Group

(Marketing Workshop)

When Kay and Shila were 10 and 17, their parents quit their careers and “bet it all” to buy a tiny breakfast restaurant in a California ski town. These sisters instantly gained a front row seat to the drama of American entrepreneurship, all while bussing tables and working the new family business on the daily. As they became adults, they joined the ownership and helped grow the business into a national brand featured on Food Network and in the New York Times. With Mom and Dad now retired, Kay and Shila lead the business as it serves millions of guests across multiple states each year. Often recognized for their unique marketing strategies and dedication to development Kay and Shila find that their love for each other fuels their drive and success.

Since 2015 Kay and Shila have shared their stories and strategies as speakers and podcasts hosts, and as the marketing faculty for leadership expert and bestselling author John Maxwell’s global team of speakers, coaches and trainers. They love to serve delightful experiences with results-oriented focus and simple, actionable takeaways.

Whether they’re driving the kids home from school, running a half marathon, or on stage in front of thousands they pursue fulfillment and encourage others to do the same. In their quiet time, Kay and Shila enjoy spending time with their husbands and children in their hometown of Reno, Nevada and love to do puzzles, read sci-fi fiction and choreograph elaborate sister dance routines for fun.

Kristy Muir

Founder, FuzePlay

(Social Entrepreneurship Panel)

A Reno native, classically trained concert pianist, and experienced startup founder, Kristy Muir is a maverick who has bridged EdTech in policy, enterprise, arts, community, and higher education. In 2015 she developed FuzePlay, an open source EdTech platform that enables educators to teach coding in K-12 classrooms through project-based learning. Kristy has received multiple entrepreneurial awards for her work, the most notable: Utah Business Top Ten Startups to Watch, Utah’s Coolest Entrepreneur 2018, and the Peak 100 Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs. Kristy’s greatest honor was sitting as the first non-educator on the STEM Leadership Board for the International Society of Technology in Education. Kristy also founded the first Silicon Slopes Founder Chapter in Utah -  50+ chapters now exist, averaging 60% attendance from minority groups. She has pitched over 50 investors nationwide, and run startup design workshops for YWCA, TechStars, Girls on the Run, and March for Science. When Kristy is not building or advocating for female founders, you’ll find her hiking or on the slopes with her three daughters.

Maureen Mullarkey

Director, PNM Resources and Everi Holidngs, Inc.


Maureen Mullarkey is currently a Director of PNM Resources, Inc (NYSE: PNM) and Everi Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EVRI). PNM is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico and provides generation, transmission and distribution of electricity through its principal subsidiaries, Public Service Company of New Mexico and Texas-New Mexico Power Company. She serves on the Finance and Compensation Committees. Everi is headquartered in Las Vegas, NV, and designs, develops, and manufactures casino games, as well as provides cash access and customer relationship marketing technologies to the legalized gaming industry. At Everi, Maureen is a member of the Audit, Compensation and Nominating Committees. From 2008 to 2013, Ms. Mullarkey was a director of NV Energy, Inc (NYSE: NVE) when the company was sold to Mid-American Energy Holdings Company, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.

Previously, Ms. Mullarkey spent over 18 years at International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT), a leading global supplier of gaming equipment and systems technology. She served as executive vice president and chief financial officer for 10 years after holding a variety of financial and executive management positions during her tenure with the company. Ms. Mullarkey is active in the Reno, Nevada community having served on many not-for-profit boards, including the University of Nevada Foundation, Nevada Museum of Art, Renown Health System, the Desert Research Institute, the Nevada Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and the Community Foundation of Western Nevada. Ms. Mullarkey has a B.S. in geology from the University of Texas and an MBA from the University of Nevada.

She and her husband, Steve Miller enjoy spending time with family, hiking and skiing in and around Lake Tahoe and traveling.

Kelly Northridge

Founder, Audacity Fund

(Social Entrepreneurship Panel)

Kelly Northridge has worked with, started, and grown several entrepreneurial ventures over the past 20 years across industries including corporate services, luxury fashion, biotech, health tech and social enterprise.  She has a background in finance including venture capital and mergers and acquisitions; economic impact; international strategy; change management and organizational development.   She is currently Managing Partner of the Audacity Institute and its related funds; and CFO/CSO of Conscious Container, a social enterprise focused on bringing refillable bottles back to the US. She holds a BS in International Business and Economics, cum laude, from the University of Nevada, Reno, an MBA focused in International Sustainable Development from Cornell University, a Master’s in Public Health focused in International Health Management from UCLA, and a Doctorate in Innovation from the University of Oxford.   

Jeffrey Ogan

SBA Loan Officer, US Bank

(Funding Panel)

Mr. Ogan is presently an SBA Loan Officer with US BANK.  He has been in the Commercial lending arena for longer than 10 years and has helped to fund over $50 Million for small and growing business. He has helped to fund commercial real estate purchases, business acquisitions, partner buyouts, Franchise financing business expansions and provide working capital solutions for growing businesses.

He has a true love for Small and Medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs and he has successfully opened and sold 3 different business.  He loves to provide small to medium sized businesses with financing solutions for the owner-user.

Nancy O’Neal

Professor, Division of Business and Social Sciences at Truckee Meadows Community College

(Male-Dominated Industries Panel Moderator)

Nancy is a professor in the Division of Business and Social Sciences at Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC).  She is the faculty lead for the entrepreneurship program.  In the spring of 2016 she was awarded full time teacher of the year by Phi Theta Kappa. She also received Club Advisor of the Year Award for the Entrepreneurship club in the spring of 2014.

Prior to teaching at TMCC she taught in the College of Business at University of Reno, Nevada (UNR) for 10 years.  She has worked for various large corporations such as Hewlett-Packard, General Dynamics and Arthur Anderson.  She holds a MBA degree from California Polytechnic State University and a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Purdue University in Industrial Management. 

Naomi Petrushka

Serial Entrepreneur and Angel Investor

(Funding Panel Moderator)

Naomi Petrushka is a serial entrepreneur, an investor and the CEO of a very active family.  After college and graduate school, Naomi followed the traditional corporate career.  She worked in financial consulting specializing in turn arounds, financial restructuring and mergers & acquisitions with Arthur Anderson and EY and consulting companies.    In 1998, with young child in tow, Naomi left the corporate world to try thecworld of start-ups.  She joined The founding team of Castlewood Systems, one of the first removable drive companies, where she was responsible ifor all of the non-engineering aspects of the business including accounting, purchasing, raising capital, hiring and firing etc.  Her experiences at Castlewood led her to start, the first B2B e-commerce platform.  Finding it difficult to start a Silicon Valley e-commerce business business as a woman with a young child, Naomi was joined by her husband and life long partner, Liron who took the position as CEO.  When CommerceBid was acquired by Commerce One, Naomi left to pursue life mission number 2, raising a family with three young boys.  Finding this much harder and financially much less lucrative then start-up life, Naomi spent much of her time investing in other start-ups and guiding and mentoring entrepreneurs.  Now that Naomi’s boys are grown, she is ready to start her third act in life. Her passions are education, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. 

Shari Pheasant

Queen of Horsepower

(Male-Dominated Industries Panel)

Sixteen years ago Shari ventured into the automotive aftermarket, a largely male-dominated market. Her husband Jeff was an industry expert with a low business acumen. Business has always been Shari’s strong suit so she knew they had a great team.  Now her shop, A Master Mechanic is nationally acclaimed in the industry and has a loyal following of female clients.   Shari is a thought leader  and well known leadership coach in the industry and a member of Women in Auto Care, a national group supported by the Car Care Association of America. Shari speaks and trains many shop owners in the NAPA Auto Care arm of GC Parts, a multi million dollar corporation.

Shari Pheasant, the Queen of Horsepower is an award winning business expert that aligns teams, inspires positive change and guides leaders’ greatness. Her dedication to empowering leaders and women has been a driving force in her career and life. At a very young age, Shari found herself lost and alone in the foster care system. After reading Zig Ziglar at 15 she took charge of her life. By 23 years of age, she was managing one of the largest women clothing chains in the nation, 120 women producing 8.2 million a year in revenue. She has been an entrepreneur for the last 32 years and successfully coaches other entrepreneurs to greatness.

Deepa Prasad

Managing Director, West River Group

(Funding Panel and Health & Wellness Panel)

Deepa Prasad holds 20 years of experience across various realms in healthcare from venture capital, healthcare M&A investment banking, legislation for hospitals and consulting for healthcare companies.  She recently worked at a startup that went public with a market cap over $1Bn.

Today, Deepa serves as Managing Director at WestRiver Group (WRG) as a co-lead of the healthcare equity fund. The Seattle based venture debt and equity firm has a growing portfolio of investments in technology, life sciences, energy and experiential sectors. Prior to WRG, Deepa served as Chief of Staff at Blue Shield of California where she was accountable for strategy and operations across Blue Shield’s Healthcare Quality and Accountability department that represented 45% headcount of the entire company. 

Previous to Blue Shield, Deepa was Regional VP at Optum where she invested in equity partnerships with physicians and hospitals in centers and Head of Managed Care at the California Hospital Association.

Deepa’s startup experience came in 2012 when she was the Vice President of Financial Strategy and Business Development of Coherus Biosciences, a stand-alone biosimilars startup company based in Redwood City, CA. Coherus was developing biosimilars for high-cost biologics such as Enbrel and Humira.  While at Coherus, she secured a $10M Series B financing from venture capitalists and a $250M global partnership deal with Baxter that bridged Coherus to a successful IPO nine months later.

Deepa worked in healthcare investment banking from 2004 to 2010 closing 10 deals for over $2BN in transaction value as well and began her career consulting for hospitals at Triage Consulting Group. 

Ms. Prasad earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley with Honors and her Master’s in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Karen Purcell

P.E., Founder, Owner & President, PK Electrical

(Male-Dominated Industries Panel)

Karen Purcell, P.E., is the founder, owner, and president of PK Electrical, Inc., a thirty-six person electrical engineering, design, and consulting firm with offices in Reno, NV and Denver, CO.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Widener University in Pennsylvania.  Ms. Purcell has more than 30 years of experience in electrical engineering. In 2015, Ms. Purcell was appointed by Governor Sandoval to the Nevada State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors and presently holds the position of Chair.

In 2012, Karen’s book, Unlocking Your Brilliance: Smart Strategies for Women to Thrive is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math was published. She draws on her successful engineering experience to inspire young women to enter into and remain in science, technology, engineering and math related careers with full confidence, knowing that she did it, other women have done it, and that they are unquestionably our leaders of tomorrow. Ms. Purcell has spoken to audiences across the United States and China on STEM.

Karen received the 2012 Reno Gazette-Journal’s Entrepreneur of the Year award for a medium-size company. The annual award celebrates individuals and companies that have significantly enhanced the growth and prestige of the community in northern Nevada and recognizes outstanding leaders at all levels of business. 

She is actively involved in the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and has held numerous officer positions for the last 13 years.  Presently she is serving as Governance Director on the Global Governance Committee. 

Ms. Purcell is a Nevada Women’s Fund board member and served as the Event Chair for the 2016 Salute to Women of Achievement.

Karen is married to her husband Jeff and they have two daughters, Alyssa and Sydney.  She is an avid runner of half marathons and relays. 

Christy Ross

Founder & CEO, PlantedPlaces, MyVerticalFarm

(Funding Panel and Food & Beverage Panel)

Christy Ross is a seasoned entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in technology start-ups and high growth companies - primarily consumer e-commece and finance technology. She has a Harvard MBA but considers her real experience that of starting and operating companies.

Christy started her first ecommerce company, Great, when she was 29. The company was recognized as a Forbes top 40 website and was the featured entertaining channel for large internet sites such as AOL and leading Wedding portals of the day. The company built a comprehensive back-end system utilizing real-time warehouse fulfillment and payment systems (in the days before PayPal).

She has also worked in finance technology at companies such as Intuit,, and PayPal (as a consultant). At Intuit she worked in product management for online bill payment and online banking products and started and managed the Quicken Financial Network – Intuit’s personal financial portal. Christy worked for overseeing Strategic Partnerships and running the Accountant and Professional Services business channel. She was with the company and sat on the board during the infant stages (2007) and through early stages of scaling the business in 2014. Planted Places is the 2nd company that she has started. She left and her subsequent consulting practice to start working on a company that combines her passion for the environment/nature and health with solving a real problem - that of sustainability and healthy lifestyles.

Karen Schlichting

P.E., Owner, Tri Sage Consulting

(Male-Dominated Industries Panel)

Karen founded Tri Sage Consulting in 2003 after 16 years of working in the male dominated utility industry.  She established her engineering firm on the basis of providing solid, environmentally friendly solutions to the utility industry while supporting her staff in a more engaging, family work balanced environment.  Her firm provides engineering for High Voltage Electric Substations and Transmission Lines and supports multiple large scale renewable power development projects. Tri Sage has grown over the past 17 years to now serve clients like PG&E, NV Energy and  multiple high profile developers within the renewable energy arena.   Karen believes that the most complex machine developed by main man is the electric grid.  She is proud to be a strong female business owner that leads a team of exceptional professionals who provide effective designs that better this complex grid.   Karen most recently accepted the position of Regional Vice Chairman of the Woman’s Business Enterprise Council (WBEC West) to provide a means of supporting female business owners with this WBE certification that helps in navigating the male dominated industries throughout the west.

Relina Shirley

Co-Founder & CEO of HIDEit Mounts

(Doing Business Globally Panel)

Relina is the Co-Founder and CEO of HIDEit Mounts. As a self-funded entrepreneur whose initial investment was paid back within the first year of business, Relina and her husband Chuck turned their frustration with electronic clutter into a successful global brand and new market segment: technology device wall mounts. Under Relina's leadership, HIDEit Mounts can be found in the offices of Buzzfeed, Indeed, and Nationwide Insurance, the Legoland UK Hotel, dozens of hospitals including Stanford Children's Hospital, school districts across the country, plus hundreds of thousands of homes around the world. HIDEit has been recognized as an Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Company for the last 2 years; in 2018 at #339, HIDEit topped the list of Inc. 5000 companies in Northern Nevada. Relina resides in Reno, Nevada with her husband/co-founder and three sons. When she’s not busy at work on her latest home DIY project, watching her sons sports, or cooking for family and friends, she's connecting with local business owners and attending EO events.

Dr. Yvonne Stedham

Professor of Management, University of Nevada, Reno

(Doing Business Globally Panel)

Dr. Yvonne Stedham is Professor of Management and a 2010 UNR Foundation Professor in the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). She is the past Chair of the Managerial Sciences Department and the current Vice Chair of the Management Department.

Yvonne received undergraduate degrees in business and economics from the Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms Universität, Bonn, Germany, an MBA and Ph.D. in Business from the University of Kansas. After completing the MBA, she worked for a German company in Operations and Logistics.

At UNR, she has been teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in International Management, Management and Leadership, and Mindful Leadership. She also teaches at the School of Management in Ingolstadt, Germany, and many universities in a variety of countries. Yvonne is a faculty member of the interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Social Psychology at UNR. Recently, Yvonne’s research has focused on cross-cultural determinants of trust and on the relationship between mindfulness and leadership. Her earlier work addressed cross-cultural aspects of management and business ethics and has been published in the Journal of Business Ethics, Business Ethics Quarterly, Business Ethics: A European Review, Journal of Management Education, Asia Pacific Business Review, Journal of Management, Women in Management Review, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of European Industrial Training, International Journal of Hospitality Management, Journal of Knowledge Management Practice and others.

Yvonne is a Qualified Mindfulness Instructor (trained at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts) and teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Programs and other Mindfulness Programs at a variety of companies and organizations, including Microsoft, Nevada Department of Transportation, Custom Ink, National Judicial College, Nevada Air National Guard, Healing Healthcare Systems, the U.S, Judiciary, and UNR.

Yvonne is the past President of the Nevada World Trade Council (NEWTRAC), has served on the State Council for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and on the Board of Directors of numerous non-profit organizations in Northern Nevada. She has provided management training locally, including the Reno Police Department, and REMSA (Ambulance Services). Through the National Judicial College (NJC), Yvonne has been extensively involved in providing management skills training for Chief Judges across the U.S.

Kris Vagner

Founder, Double Scoop

(Entrepreneurship in the Arts Panel)

After collecting an English degree in Arizona and studying art in Boston and Los Angeles, Kris Vagner landed Tuscarora, Nevada, which has an impressive art scene for a town of 15. 

A couple of years later, in 2004, she moved to Reno, began writing and editing for the Reno News & Review, and quickly realized that she wanted her writing to speak to art-world insiders and laypeople alike. Since then, she’s written for magazines, arts organizations and news outlets. Kris’s insightful yet accessible coverage of Reno arts and culture has earned Nevada Press Association awards for critical writing, entertainment writing, features writing, and—somehow—sportswriting.

In 2018, Kris started Double Scoop, a news outlet that covers the fast-growing visual arts community in Nevada. Double Scoop was incubated in the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, where Kris earned her MA in 2019. It's now an independent business. In keeping with tradition, Kris sees to it that Double Scoop speaks to industry insiders and casual art fans alike.

Danielle Vincent

Co-founder & CEO, Outlaw

(Funding Panel)

Danielle Vincent is the co-founder and CEO of Outlaw, a rapidly-growing scented sundries company. Since its launch in March 2013, Outlaw has built a loyal customer base of enthusiastic, adventurous individuals. Prior to founding Outlaw, Danielle was a digital Product Manager with nearly two decades of experience fostering relationships, increasing revenue, and reducing costs at every opportunity. She launched the Oprah Winfrey Network website and managed the community for,, and 

Abi Weeds

CEO & Founder, Odylique

(Doing Business Globally Panel)

Abi built Odylique from kitchen-table start-up to a multi-national organic cosmetics brand with distribution in 15 countries and 4 e-commerce sites. Odylique has its own eco-factory near Cambridge (UK), has won over 60 awards and is a Goldman Sachs 10K Small Businesses graduate. The company’s mission is to bring joy through high performance clean cosmetics and solving skin challenges such as eczema. 

Pre-entrepreneur life, Abi worked in the UK, Germany and USA as a management consultant and in economics research at JP Morgan. She has degrees in Politics & Economics from 'Sciences-Po' in France and Nottingham University. She lives in Kingston, Surrey with her husband and two children (aged 12 and 9) and enjoys a number of hobbies including running and orienteering – at which she represents England now and then.

Melissa Wendt

Director of Project Development at Ormat Technologies, Inc.

(Climate & Environment Panel)

Ms. Melissa Wendt is the Director of Project Development at Ormat Technologies, Inc., a renewable energy company specializing in providing geothermal power, recovered energy generation, and energy management and storage solutions. She manages Ormat’s permitting team and the development of all prospects and existing renewable energy facilities in the Americas. Ms. Wendt has 20 years of experience in environmental and natural resource management and for the five years prior to joining Ormat in 2019, she was the Owner and Principal of Rubicon Environmental Consulting based in Reno, Nevada. Rubicon specialized in environmental project and program management for mining, power, industrial, and renewable energy projects. Working closely with industry and regulatory agencies, she was successful in developing permitting strategies, managing risk, and performing resource studies to support environmental impact analyses. Ms. Wendt’s career has and continues to be focused on achieving social and economic progress through sustainable development.

Danell Wilson-Perlman

CEO, African Skies Travel Connection LLC, co-owner of Reno Tahoe Limousine and Reno Tahoe Transportation

(Doing Business Globally Panel)

A native South African, Danell grew up immersed in the local tourism industry leading to a life-long passion, she graduated from Cape Peninsula University in Cape Town with a degree in Tourism & Travel Management. She also has channeled that passion into her Amplify Journeys program which take women entrepreneurs on a 12-day cultural/wisdom exchange experience to Southern Africa

Register to Attend

Join us March 9 and 10, 2020 at the University of Nevada, Reno in Reno, Nevada, USA. Discounted tickets are available for students, start-up founders and academic/government agencies. A limited number of scholarships are available for students.

For more information, contact us at

Thank you to our sponsors

US Bank logo

SNC logo

The College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno logo

Office of the President at The University of Nevada, Reno logo

The College of Business International Business Program logo

Intuit logo

The Row logo

SBDC logo

Nevada Leadership Program logo

RSCVA logo

Greater Nevada Credit Union logo

NV Energy logo

2 News logo

PBS Reno logo

EDAWN logo

Global Nevada logo

Chamber of Commerce logo

Fennemore Craig Attorneys logo

Good Elephant logo

WBEC West logo

VAST logo

Reno Tahoe Limousine logo

Barnard Vogler & Co logo

Mercedes de la Garza logo

Audacity Fund logo

Sara & Leonard Lafrance