Women Entrepreneurship Week 2020 Speakers
Denise Woodard, Founder, Partake Foods
Denise Woodard is the Founder/CEO of Partake, a line of allergy-friendly snacks inspired by her daughter’s experience with food allergies. Since launching in July 2017, Partake’s first product – delicious, nutritious, allergy-friendly cookies – can be found in over 2,500 retailers including Target, Sprouts, and Whole Foods Market. The company has been featured by People, Black Enterprise and Entrepreneur and, in June 2019 closed a seed round of funding led by JAY-Z’s Marcy Venture Partners.
LaToya Stirrup, Co-Founder, Kazmaleje
In 2016, LaToya and her two sisters launched KAZMALEJE, a company that is changing the way consumers embrace themselves and their curls by developing innovative hair care tools and lifestyle accessories. LaToya is also the recipient of awards such as Walker’s Legacy Power Award, Legacy Miami 40 Under 40 Award and is actively involved in various community organizations and boards, such as launching the Miami Chapter of Black Girl Ventures.
Pauline Nakios, Founder/Creative Director, Lilla P
Pauline Nakios, Chaleston native, founded the women’s clothing company Lilla P over 20 years ago. Lilla P is understated luxury for every day. With unfettered details, impeccable fit and timeless styling, these are the flattering and functional pieces you’ll reach for over and over, season after season.
Lorelei Bandrovschi, Founder/CEO, Listen Bar
Lorelei Bandrovschi, the founder of booze-free bar Listen Bar, started the concept on a dare. After forgoing alcohol for a month, Bandrovschi found that she loved going out without drinking. The only setback: the lack of places to go. So Bandrovschi set out to rewrite nightlife beyond alcohol. Started as a pop-up in the fall of 2018, Listen Bar is now hosting virtual private parties and offers a virtual alcohol-free cocktail course on demand.
Madeleine Barr, Founder/CEO, Piecewise
Madeleine Barr is the founder and CEO of Piecewise, a student debt repayment platform universities use to lower student loan default rates. Madeleine started Piecewise after graduating from the University of Chicago based on her own experiences navigating student debt and raised over $1M in venture capital to grow the business. She’s driven by expanding access to higher education and helping other first time founders start and grow their companies.
Lia Winograd, Co-Founder/ COO, Pepper
A former management consultant from McKinsey & Co. and holding an MBA from NYU, Lia Winograd brings with her operational, manufacturing and financial planning experience. She is fluent in Spanish and native to Colombia, managing the production and supply chain process with Pepper’s Colombian factory. Traditional bra brands have created crazy aspirational body standards that are impossible for most of us to achieve. It’s no wonder women today have trouble feeling confident with their body when we grew up watching models strut in a fashion show with unimaginable cleavage and flipped pages in magazines with airbrushed, Photoshopped skin. Pepper started with bras, but we’re building so much more. The Small Squad is our community of women banding together, celebrating each other, and conquering body stereotypes once and for all.
Jill Johnson is the Co-Founder of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Headquartered in Newark, N.J., IFEL supports economic development through entrepreneurship. We are experts in creating and implementing small business programming in support of larger economic development objectives. Our mission is to eradicate the systemic barriers that prevent entrepreneurs of color from being able to access the knowledge, networks and capital required for business success. Through these years, we have supported thousands of entrepreneurs with our resources and programs. She is also the Founder of Women of Color Connecting and the Making Black Angels movement.
Alex West Steinman, Co-Founder/CEO, The Coven
In 2017, Alex West Steinman teamed up with three other Minneapolis-area PR and advertising professionals to create a femme-forward co-working space with the mission to “economically empower women by providing safe, accessible space for personal and professional transformation.” After crowdfunding its first location, the Coven grew to 500 members within a year. A second location opens in December. For every five memberships purchased, the Coven gives one to a member of the community who couldn’t afford it, “prioritizing people of color, folks from the LGBTQ community, those who are differently abled, immigrants, and veterans,” it says. The broad goal for West Steinman and her team is to corner the middle of the country (“underdog cities,” as the Coven calls them). It wants to open more than 20 locations in the next five years.
Karen Cahn, Founder/CEO, iFundWomen
Karen Cahn is the Founder & CEO of IFundWomen, the go-to marketplace for women-owned businesses and the people who want to fund them. The mission of iFundWomen is to close the funding and confidence gap for women entrepreneurs by providing a full-stack funding and education solution for startups. Karen is a pioneer in tech and media. She was an early Google Intrapreneur where she spent 10 years leading various monetization teams in search, display, and video. Most notably, Karen started the Branded Entertainment business at YouTube, when, back in the olden times of YouTube 2006, she and a rogue group of sales and product managers, made the connection between big consumer brands and video creators, thus creating the first native video ad experiences monetized on YouTube.
Kimberly Weisul, Editor-at-Large, Inc.com
Kimberly Weisul is an award-winning writer, editor, content developer, and all-around media pro. In her role at Inc. she coaches and edits columnists, handles some special projects, mentors reporters, and writes the occasional opinion piece. She is also a co-founder of One Thing New, a digital media start-up that is rebooting so-called women’s content. Ms. Weisul is a regular guest on MSNBC’s Your Business. She has also appeared on ABC World News This Morning, CNNfn, Dow Jones News Radio, and AP News Radio
Kathy Landy, Founder/CEO, The Feminist Institute
Kathleen Landy is the Founder and President of The Feminist Institute, digitizing the archival records of feminist activity since the 1960s and the life papers of innovative women in all fields of human endeavor. An early-in-life feminist through her involvement with Punk music and the downtown art scene in the 1980s, Landy championed the work of women artists and other alternative cultural contributors. She co-owned and directed LiebmanMagnan Gallery in Chelsea from 1997 to 2003, focusing on young emerging artists including Tania Bruguera, Karen Finley, Valeska Soares, and Jana Sterbak. And continued that work through smARTadvisory, an advisory firm specializing in contemporary art.
Marjorie Perry, President and CEO, MZM Construction & Management Company, Inc.
Marjorie, a lifelong resident of New Jersey, is widely recognized as an innovator, public speaker, writer and role model for women and minorities in business. Using her extraordinary path to success and 26 years of experience as fodder for inspiration, Perry finds her mission to be one who motivates nascent entrepreneurs to develop and pursue their dreams by sharing the lessons she has learned from her own success, which often meant taking life’s lemons and making lemonade. Trained as an educator with a B.A. from Kean College, Perry’s path in teaching was diverted after she was caught in a series of layoffs in the Newark Public School system. In a fortuitous career move, she decided to try her luck in sales and marketing—which turned out to be an unexpected perfect fit. She went on to work for corporate giants 3M, Johnson & Johnson and United Airlines, ultimately cultivating a burgeoning vision for life as a passionate, self-made entrepreneur.
Michele Siekerka, President & CEO, New Jersey Business & Industry Association
Michele Siekerka, Esq. has served as the President of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association since October 2014. Since that time Michele has led the organization in expanding NJBIA’s voice on critical policy issues impacting New Jersey businesses, while also expanding member services and resources. Michele came to NJBIA from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection where she served in the critical position of Deputy Commissioner, following her service as Assistant Commissioner for Water Resources Management.
Kris Ohleth, Founder & Operator, Garden State Kitchen
Kris began exploring her love of locally produced food over a decade ago. She has dabbled as a hands-on baker and prep cook in a half a dozen commercial kitchens and worked on several organic vegetable farms in the region. During these experiences, she discovered how common the struggle was for many new entrepreneurs to find adequate professional kitchen space and connect to essential business resources and education. Ever curious and service-oriented, she began to investigate how she could utilize her project management talents to solve this problem for the food community she had come to know and love. Kris began her journey to open Garden State Kitchen back in 2015. GSK became the perfect amalgamation of all she ever wanted to do by combining her passion for producing, preparing, and sharing food and her love of community.
Dr. Beth Simone Noveck, Chief Innovation Officer, State of New Jersey
Beth Simone Noveck serves as the State of New Jersey’s first Chief Innovation Officer – a position she was appointed to by Governor Philip D. Murphy in August 2018. In this capacity, Dr. Noveck, a native of New Jersey, focuses on enhancing innovation in government and in the Garden State’s economy. Using better data, more collective intelligence and agile technology, her team leads projects, designs policies, and advises agencies on innovative strategies to improve the lives of New Jerseyans. Dr. Noveck serves as the Chair of the Governor’s Future of Work Task Force and sits on the Governor’s Jobs and Economic Opportunity Council.
Silvia Gianni, Co-Founder, MySuperFoods
Silvia Gianni is Co-Founder and Revolutionist of MySuperFoods, an organic snack food company that makes SuperFoods for SuperKids. After a thirteen year career in Investment Banking, Silvia left to start MySuperFoods with Katie, a fellow twin mom, who she met in a New York City online parent community. Their shared life experience and love of food sparked a fast friendship and inspiration for the brand. As Co-Founder, Silvia oversees Sales, Product Development and Finances within the company. Since launching their first product in 2012, the brand has developed nine delicious products across three snack lines. MySuperFoods’ focus on organic, peanut and tree nut free snacks with superfoods like chia seeds, baobab and coconut oil has made them a successful brand among partners like Whole Foods, HEB, Target and Amazon. At the heart of the company is a social mission focused on ending child hunger. To date, MySuperFoods has donated team service, product and over 230,000 meals to kids in need.
Katie Jesionowski, Co-Founder, MySuperFoods
Katie Jesionowski is Co-Founder and Enthusiast of MySuperFoods, an organic snack food company that makes SuperFoods for SuperKids. Katie left a career in Advertising to become a full time stay-at-home mom just prior to the birth of her twin daughters. Nearly 14 months later, she joined Silvia, a fellow twin mom, who she met in a New York City online parent community to co-create MySuperFoods. Their shared life experience and love of food sparked a fast friendship and inspiration for the brand. As Co-Founder, Katie oversees the Marketing, Customer Service and Operations arms of the company.
Tiffany Aliche ’02, Founder, The Budgetnista
Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche is an alumna of Montclair State University, having graduated in 2002 with a degree in Marketing. Tiffany is also America’s favorite personal financial educator (thebudgetnista.com). Through her Live Richer Movement, she’s helped over 1 Million women save, manage, and pay off millions of dollars. A former teacher for ten years with a Master’s degree in Education, Tiffany was instrumental in getting The Budgetnista Law (A1414) passed in January 2019, making financial education mandatory for middle school students in New Jersey.