Speakers: NextGen Track National Women's Business Conference | NAWBO

2020 WBC -  Speakers

Dr. Theresa Ashby

COO, KMS - Session: Marketing - How to Inspire Your Buyer and Drive Sales

Session: Marketing - How to Inspire Your Buyer and Drive Sales

Theresa is known as a Stratologist. She is recognized as a savvy, provocative and genuine individual and is widely respected for her business acumen. Theresa is a national business and success consultant, advisor, speaker and author who is passionate about driving businesses forward, as this is what she believes helps grow the economy on all levels. She is COO of KMS.

Amy Bruske

President, Kolbe Corp

Session: Personality Styles - Here's Why You Should Stop Listening to "Good" Advice

Amy Bruske is the President of Kolbe Corp and a sought-after speaker and consultant. If you’re an entrepreneur, female executive or family business owner, you’re probably already familiar with her awards, books and speeches.  She was named Small Business Owner of the Year by the National Association of Women Business Owners. Amy co-authored the groundbreaking family business guidebook, Business is Business, with Kathy Kolbe, and has been a featured speaker for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Amy is trusted by clients in all industries, ranging from the Department of Defense to Hershey Foods. She’s worked with large organizations, including State Farm and the American Red Cross; as well as entrepreneurial startups and non-profits. Amy is an influential mentor in the community and holds volunteer leadership roles with the Young Entrepreneur’s Academy and Phoenix Blue Business Council.

Jasmine Darden

Sales Coach Manager, Dell Technologies-Small Business Partner | Partner, JazzyNash Mobile Shoetique

Session: Business Planning - Let's Take the Mystery Out of Scale and Scope

Jasmine is a sales coach manager with Dell Technologies – Small Business and a partner at JazzyNash Mobile Shoetique, a mobile shoe boutique in Nashville, Tennessee. After graduating from college, she immediately entered Corporate America, starting in inside sales and growing her career to include sales management and operations in the technology industry. Jasmine is a proud small business owner of JazzyNash Mobile Shoetique, which she partnered with a college friend to open six years ago. Outside of work, Jasmine spends time on ideas to grow her business, mentoring other aspiring young business owners and with friends and family.

Mercedes Garcia

VP Community Relations, Mastercard

Presenting Sponsor Remarks

Mercedes is vice president community relations at Mastercard. She is responsible for developing relationships with consumers, merchants and advocacy groups via the Master Your Card community empowerment program, which provides education about how consumers and business owners can get the most from their money through the smart use of electronic payments technology. She has served as Mastercard’s spokesperson for financial education programs for Hispanics, African Americans and other underserved groups for more than 10 years.

Marisa Grimes

Director Diversity and Inclusion, Mastercard

Session: Diversity & Inclusion - Building It Into Your Business From the Start

Marisa is director of diversity and inclusion (D&I) at Mastercard. She leads their D&I initiatives in North America. She is responsible for aligning these initiatives with business strategy to drive innovation and create a culture of belonging where employees from all walks of life feel valued and respected, and have the opportunity to reach their greatest potential. Prior to this role, Marisa was part of Mastercard’s global communications team, where she spearheaded communications initiatives for a variety of business areas, including data and services, digital payments and the Center for Inclusive Growth.

Vera Jones

Broadcaster, Athlete and Entrepreneur, Emcee/Moderator

Session: Public Speaking - Making Your Next Pitch a "Catch!"

Vera is a retired, award-winning television and radio broadcaster with networks that included ESPN, Fox Sports, MSG, NBA-TV and the Big Ten Network within her 30-year career. She is also a Syracuse University Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete, with varied experiences in collegiate coaching, teaching, corporate sales, theatre and even stand-up comedy. Today, Vera engages all of her diverse experiences and gifts through Vera’s VoiceWorks, LLC, her motivational speaking and training entity. Her mission is to empower people to “Play Through the Foul” of adversity.

Laura Neubauer


Session: Marketing - How to Inspire Your Buyer and Drive Sales

​Laura is a serial entrepreneur. Her expertise is in transportation and logistics with a reputation in delivering an extraordinary client experience. Her exceptional business acumen coupled with her grit and entrepreneurial spirit grew her previous company, Deliver It, into a multi-million-dollar company within its first few years. Laura has successfully exited from Deliver It. She is CEO of KMS.

Ginger Siergel

North America Small Business Lead, Mastercard

Session: How to Get Your Business on Solid Ground and Stay There

Ginger is the North America small business lead for Mastercard. Most recently, she was a leader in the financial services group at Deloitte where she was a member of the highly ranked payments practice. She brings 30 years of industry leadership experience as an executive at large multinational and regional banks in the areas of small business, business banking and retail with a focus on strategy and execution, payments, treasury management, sales force and branch optimization and revenue growth.

Featured Keynote

​Mikaila Ulmer

CEO, Me & the Bees

Panelist: What is Your Why? Lessons Learned as a Young Entrepreneur

Mikaila is founder and CEO of Me & the Bees Lemonade. When she was just 4 years old, Mikaila was stung by two bees in the same week. Her parents encouraged her to research bees, and upon discovering the important role they play in our ecosystem, she was determined to help them. She launched her business in 2009 and later landed a deal on Shark Tank. Today, the lemonade is buzzing off the shelves of H-E-B, Whole Foods Market, Earth Fare, The Fresh Market and Kroger.

Anna Welsh

CEO, littlebags.bigimpact

Panelist: What is Your Why? Lessons Learned as a Young Entrepreneur

Anna is the founder and CEO of littlebags.bigimpact. Started in 2017 when she was 12 years old, littlebags.bigimpact is an accessory brand driven by a social and environmental impact mission. She started with the clutch bag and has now expanded to seven product lines, collaborations with textile artisans nationwide, corporate gifts, a wedding collection and wholesale. Believing it is critical to nurture the planet, Anna has rescued more than 3,000 pounds of reclaimed designer fabric pieces from entering a landfill by creating them into littlebags.

Val Weisler

Founder and CEO, Validation Project

Panelist: What is Your Why? Lessons Learned as a Young Entrepreneur

Valerie is the founder and CEO of The Validation Project, an international organization that works with more than 6,000 teenagers in 105 countries to turn passion into positive action through social change programming, career field trips and post-secondary resources for K-12 students around the world. Valerie’s kindness curriculum is taught in 1,000 schools, and her Trailblazers campaign has provided more than 100 high school students with field trips to places like L’Oreal Paris and Harvard University for mentoring and career workshops. Valerie was named an L’Oreal Paris Woman of Worth. 


Akilah Releford

Founder, Mary Louise Cosmetics

Panelist: What is Your Why? Lessons Learned as a Young Entrepreneur

Akilah is an entrepreneur, skincare enthusiast and founder of Mary Louise Cosmetics, a clean beauty brand that Buzzfeed voted #1 in “21 Life-Changing Beauty Products You Should Try in 2019.” After leaving her pre-med track to pursue entrepreneurship full-time, Akilah has dedicated the last three years to growing a company focused on producing high-quality skincare products at accessible price points. When Akilah’s not creating organic beauty products in her hometown of Los Angeles, you can find her traveling the world in search of new, diverse and natural raw materials that her customers will love.

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