SEEC 2020: Conference Speakers,
Pitch Judges & Networking Professionals
Saturday Morning Keynote
Rachel Hanson, Officely, LLC
Rachel Hanson is the Founder and Owner of Officely, LLC, and the current Executive and Operations Assistant for Kelly Cars. She graduated from UTC in 2013.
For the past seven years, Rachel built her professional experience on the foundation of executive, HR, and operational assistance. In 2013, she was the EA to the CEO of Access America Transport, a third party logistics company, and Lamp Post Group, a venture capital incubator in downtown Chattanooga. In 2014, while remaining the Executive Assistant, she became the Community Manager for Lamp Post Group, and scaled to Director of Operations in 2015.
In 2016, Rachel helped found and build the Dynamo Accelerator, a logistics accelerator program at Lamp Post Group, as the Associate Director. After two years with the accelerator program, 5 years at Lamp Post Group, and a slew of experience in operations, HR, startups, and executive assistance, Rachel founded Officely, LLC.
Officely is the back office and white glove service for startups, boards and executives - Rachel focuses on high level operations, executive assistance, and conflict management in companies and workplace culture. At the end of 2019, Rachel signed on full time with Kelly Cars/Southern Honda supporting back office and executive management.
Rachel and her husband Dan reside in North Chattanooga with their two kids, Haley and Cole, and two dogs.
Breakout Session 1A "CBD Business Panel - Starting a CBD-based Business"
Mary Fortune, Chattanooga Times Free Press
Mary Fortune covers business news for the Chattanooga Times Free Press and is editor of Edge magazine. She began her career at the newspaper in 1997, covering topics including immigration, health care, the military, courts, and public housing. She also worked as a personal columnist and news editor. In 2008, Fortune left the newspaper for a role in corporate communications, working in media relations, internal communications, and social media for more than 11 years. She returned to the Times Free Press newsroom in 2019. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and has taught media writing as an adjunct at the university.
Elisha Millan, Grass Roots Health
Elisha Millan is a Chattanooga native, and a graduate of Central High School and Tennessee Wesleyan University. Elisha opened Grass Roots Health in June 2017 as Tennessee's first hemp dispensary. Since then, she expanded into multi-state operations with a location in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, added a charitable arm with Fund 129, and founded Southern Cannabis Consulting. As the organization continues to grow, Elisha most recently opened Henry's Wholesale Dispensary Supply.
James Dawson, Landrace Bioscience
Over the last decade, James has served as a sales and marketing strategist for multiple startups in Chattanooga, TN. Cutting his teeth in the field of technology, he helped launch Text Request in 2014. In the years that followed, he has worked with the disruptive E-commerce company, PriceWaiter, and low-code product development leader, Skuid. Most recently, he joined the founding team of Landrace Bioscience, an industry leader in hemp and cannabinoid ingredient technology. He lives in Highland Park with his wonderful wife, Danika, and son Titus.
Breakout Session 1B "Social Mission Ventures Panel"
Dr. Philip Roundy, Gary W. Rollins College of Business
Dr. Philip T. Roundy (the other “Dr. Phil”) is the UC Foundation Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). Prior to coming to UTC, he was a Postdoctoral Scholar in the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his Ph.D. in Corporate Strategy from UT: Austin. His research focuses on understanding how entrepreneurship can be used as a tool for economic and community revitalization. He is particularly interested in entrepreneurs operating in struggling cities and "dying" industries. Through his research and consulting, he has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors across North America. He has published over 40 articles focused on how entrepreneurship and the marketplace can be used to improve society and serves on multiple editorial and nonprofit boards.
Marco Perez, Relife Strategies, TrailDrops
Marco Perez is an independent small business consultant through Relife Strategies and a Co-Owner of TrailDrops, delicious and nutritious food for outdoor recreation enthusiasts. Prior to these roles he invested the last five years focusing on microbusiness training and coaching of underrepresented communities in entrepreneurship, primarily minorities, women, and people in low-wealth areas. A native Costa Rican, Marco moved to Chattanooga with his wife and three daughters in 2011 after one year of living in Austin where he saw the impact that an entrepreneurial ecosystem can have in a city. He has always been excited to be a part of that energy in Chattanooga especially in bringing all communities to the table.
Breakout Session 2A "I Want to Start Something, But What? Leveraging Your Gifts and Passions"
Dr. Shelley Prevost, Big Self, JumpFund
Dr. Shelley Prevost is an educational psychologist and leadership coach with a diverse professional background. In 2019, she launched Big Self - a learning community that equips people with the psychological tools and skills to thrive in their work and life. In addition to coaching and teaching, Shelley is also co-founder and active investor with the JumpFund, an angel fund investing in women-led high-growth startups in the Southeast. Shelley was the Director of Happiness and remains a partner at Chattanooga-based VC firm, Lamp Post Group. She also has executive experience as a startup CEO and has worked as a performance consultant with peak performers around the U.S. She has written about her work on purpose, relationships, workplace culture, and leadership in columns for Inc. and The Huffington Post. Her work has also appeared in TIME, Yahoo Business, Fast Company, LifeHacker, and Business Insider. Passionate about helping women develop authentic leadership, Shelley gave a 2015 TEDx talk entitled "Lead Like a Girl".
Breakout Session 2B "Launch and Iterate: How to succeed as an early stage startup"
Dr. Pedro Teixeira, Prediction Health
Pedro Teixeira, MD, PhD received his degrees from Vanderbilt University and completed his PhD in the laboratory of Dr. Josh Denny in the Department of Biomedical Informatics. There he applied machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) methods to extract phenotype information from electronic health records (EHR) and identify associations with genetic variants.
Pedro and two fellow classmates began a leave of absence in January 2017 to launch Prediction Health, a startup dedicated to helping doctors work seamlessly with machine learning to ensure every patient gets the best care every time. Their service currently combines machine learning, natural language processing, and remote human scribes to convert the audio from patient-doctor conversations into the documentation doctors are required to generate for every visit.
He has also presented his work broadly and won several awards, including first place in IBM's The Great Mind Challenge (Watson Technical Edition 2013).
Saturday Lunch Keynote
Kevin Zhang, Kreator eCommerce
Age 23, Kevin Zhang is a serial eCommerce entrepreneur and the CEO of Kreator eCommerce, a global eCommerce organization employing over 60 team members with facilities in 3 countries. Kevin achieved acclaim in the digital strategy and eCommerce community for generating $20M in sales in his first year as an entrepreneur. He was proclaimed the "eCommerce Rookie of the Year" by Affiliate World and became the youngest member of the Forbes Business Council.
Aside from managing his business, Kevin is an active advocate for eCommerce education and has provided mentorship to thousands of students around the world. Kevin is determined to empower and inspire future generations of entrepreneurs.