Adie Akuffo-Afful | Inbound and Community Partnerships Lead Wefunder

Session: Fundraising 101: Getting & Keeping Investors Happy

Adie Akuffo-AffulAdie Akuffo-Afful is your typical British-born, West African raised American. Growing up in three different worlds allowed him the opportunity to see gaps and opportunities in each ecosystem that lead him into the startup and fundraising sector. 1x Exit, 2x Learning points, and recent partner in a stealth beverage accelerator.

In his day-to-day role at Wefunder, he leads Inbound and Community partnerships.


Holly Barrett | Marketing Director, NextCorps

Session: How to Jumpstart Sales & Convert Leads Into Customers

Holly BarrettAs NextCorps’ Marketing Director, Holly focuses on inbound and outbound marketing for Luminate as well as branding and marketing activities for NextCorps. She is a senior-level marketing and PR professional who has worked at small and large agencies, including Brand Cool (acquired by Butler/Till), Brand Integrity, Text 100, and Young & Rubicam. Holly has been a branding and marketing instructor at The Entrepreneurs Network (TEN) for the last four years and she teaches executive communication at St. John Fisher through the Center for Community Engagement. She is excited to be a part of Rochester’s vibrant entrepreneurial community.

Kim Bawden, Senior Pollution Prevention Engineer at New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I)

Session: Building a Socially Responsible (& Differentiated) Business

Kim BawdenKim Bawden is a Senior Pollution Prevention Engineer at the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) primarily providing technical assistance to industry. Kim supports manufacturers throughout the supply chain by: assessing manufacturing processes for improvement opportunities, performing material and energy balances for baseline metric quantification, researching and identifying environmentally preferable and cost-effective alternatives, and by assisting companies in meeting sustainability certifications/scorecards.

Kim brings eight years of industry experience working in various manufacturing engineering capacities. She holds an M.S. in Sustainable Systems, an M.E. in Engineering Management and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering, all from RIT. Kim is a Certified Life Cycle Assessment professional.

Joel Benzel | Director of Product Development, PointClickCare

Session: Preparing Your Startup for Purchase, Merger, or Exit

Joel BenzelJoel Benzel has over 20 years of experience launching SaaS startups. He founded TouchStream Solutions in 2011, the first tablet-based remote caregiving solution, which was acquired by PointClickCare in 2016.

Prior to TouchStream, Joel was a Group Product Manager at Paychex where he launched HR Online, a SaaS-based Human Resource product-line for small businesses. He also oversaw product development for Intuit’s QuickBooks Payroll and was a founding member of EmployeeMatters, the first web-based payroll for small businesses which was acquired by Intuit in 2001.

Joel began his career as a developer in the financial services industry writing code for brokerage trading systems at Citibank and Smith Barney.

Joy Bergfalk  | Executive Director, Coffee Connection

Session: Building a Socially Responsible (& Differentiated) Business

Joy BergfalkJoy Bergfalk serves as the Executive Director of Coffee Connection. Whether it be traumatized animals, church conflict, or work with women in recovery from addiction, Joy Bergfalk uses her family’s heritage of finding better ways of doing things. Joy is many things — clergy, counselor, spiritual director, labyrinth facilitator, Reiki Master instructor (all those come with education and training), and a program creator. Joy believes that every human being deserves respect and that respect is a crucial piece of recovery for folks with addiction and/or coming out of incarceration. “Client” language is gone, “friend” language is in at the Coffee Connection where the entire infrastructure is being created from the inside out. Not in recovery from addiction? Not qualified! A criminal record is a plus on this application form!

The Coffee Connection/Project Empower, of which Joy is the Executive Director, roasts fair trade, organically grown, sustainable farmed coffee at the South Avenue site, which it sells retail and wholesale. The business is the program and the program is the business, supporting women in recovery from addiction in employment training, sober support, and resiliency training, and by creating sustainable jobs. Especially unusual is the continued support to women who relapse, with a success rate of approximately 80 percent.

David Brown | Founding Managing Partner, Impellent Ventures

Session: Fundraising 101: Getting & Keeping Investors Happy

David BrownDavid Brown is the Founding Managing Partner at Impellent Ventures, an early-stage technology venture capital firm in Rochester that invests nationally. He is also a Founding Venture Partner at NextGen Venture Partners and their social enterprise fund, Align, as well as a Limited Partner in several prominent national venture funds.

David recently returned to Rochester from Boston, where he held roles as the Vice President of Innovation Leadership for the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Director of Partnerships at ZappRx, a healthcare IT startup that has raised $41M before selling to Allscripts, and as the Executive Director of Technology Underwriting Greater Good (TUGG), the philanthropic arm of Boston’s technology startup ecosystem. He has been an angel investor and startup mentor since 2012, supporting hundreds of companies.

In addition to his day to day roles in Boston, David was a mentor for Harvard’s iLab and Babson College, was the industry champion for MassChallenge, the world’s largest startup accelerator, on the boards of six nonprofits, and was selected to the Mayor of Boston’s OneIn3 council, helping advise the mayor on issues relevant to Boston’s next generation.

David holds an MBA in entrepreneurship and finance, summa cum laude, from Babson College, where he received the school’s top academic scholarship, the Olin Fellowship. He also holds a BA in psychology and leadership studies, from Williams College, with honors and was the President of his class. In his spare time, aside from chasing around his two young boys, he sits on numerous nonprofit boards and Rochester economic development counsels, and is an avid skier and golfer.

Jennifer Byrnes, MLS, MPH | Head, Business Insight Center at the Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County

Session: Regional Resources That Can Help You Build Your Startup

Jen ByrnesJennifer Byrnes is the head of the Business Insight Center (BIC) at the Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County where she has served businesses of all sizes and stages for the past eight years. Her prior work experience includes the start-up Logical Images and research in the department of dermatology at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Jennifer holds a Master of Public Health from the U of R School of Medicine and Dentistry and a Master of Information Science from the University at Buffalo.


Dr. Lomax R. Campbell, MBA, PMP, LSSBB, RYT | Director, City of Rochester Mayor’s Office of Community Wealth Building 

Session: Regional Resources That Can Help You Build Your Startup

Lomax CampbellDr. Lomax Campbell has 18 years of experience in small business entrepreneurship, higher education, and government administration. His expertise encompasses management, organizational culture change, ethnic psychology, urban entrepreneurship, and inclusive workforce and economic development. As Director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Wealth Building, he is tasked with serving a diverse residential and small business clientele to foster equitable economic growth and create opportunities that make Rochester’s economic recovery more inclusive.

Beyond his role with the City, Lomax is the Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Black-Owned Business (BOB) Rochester, and serves on the boards for several public organizations. These include Greater Rochester Black Business Alliance, Inc. (Co-Founder and Board President), Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Rochester (Marketing Committee), Greater Rochester Quality Council, and Gamma Iota Boule Foundation, Inc. (Economic Development Committee Chair).

Lomax received a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Media Marketing with a concentration in Chinese Language (Mandarin) and Culture, as well as an Executive Masters of Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology Saunders College of Business. He earned a Doctor of Management degree from University of Maryland Global Campus (Dissertation Title: “The strategic importance of cultural fit between organizations and niche markets in 21st century nations: A systematic review of cultural congruence” © 2019). He also holds an executive education certificate in Leading Economic Growth from Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Denny DeLeo | President, Venture Jobs Foundation; Partner, Trillium Group; Managing Partner, Impellent Ventures

Session: Regional Resources That Can Help You Build Your Startup

Denny DeLeoDenny DeLeo and David Brown co-founded Impellent Ventures in 2020 to bring new tech businesses to the region and connect them to capital and ecosystems in VC hub cities like Boston. It has invested in eleven companies in 2020, with five in Boston, four in Western NY and one each in New York City and Los Angeles.

Denny founded the Venture Jobs Foundation, a 501.c.3 public charity, to invest in companies that would bring jobs to Rochester’s underserved neighborhoods. It offers business assistance through its Jobs Kitchen accelerator and small business loans from two funds.

In 1997, he co-founded Trillium Group, LLC, is a venture capital and private equity firm. At Trillium, he is the fund executive of the Monroe Fund, LLC, a venture capital fund that invested in regional technology-oriented businesses. It is in its exit phase.

Prior to founding Trillium Group, Denny was employed by Eastman Kodak Company, initially as a lawyer in the corporate legal division. Following his work in the legal division, he joined the Kodak Chairman’s staff and managed corporate technology transactions globally. He was elected a Kodak Vice President and Director, Corporate Commercial Affairs, where he was responsible for a wide range of technology and business-based transactions, including licensing, business partnerships and acquisition and divestiture of technologies, products and businesses. He then moved to Kodak operating management as Vice President and General Manager of the Bioscience and Emerging Businesses Division and Vice President, General Manager of the Image Acquisition Products Division. The latter commercialized a variety of digital camera and image scanner products. He also served as President and CEO of Eastman Technology, Inc., a Kodak subsidiary formed to guide Kodak’s internal entrepreneurship operations and launch businesses based on new technologies. As chief executive, he had overall profit-and-loss accountability and managed a portfolio of more than a dozen new ventures.

Denny holds a B. A. from the University of Rochester, a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, and completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Business. He is a former director of the Children’s Institute, the Patent Policy Board of the State University of New York, and former Vice Chairman of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Board. He is a former Board member of the Upstate Capital Association of New York and sits on several private company boards.

Damon Diehl, PhD | Technology Program Manager, NextCorps Luminate

Session: Keys to a Good Investor Pitch

Damon DiehlDamon Diehl has been active in the Rochester optics community since he moved here in 1995 to earn his Ph.D. at the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester. Damon’s path crossed with NextCorps many times over the years (including as a tenant) before he joined the staff full time in 2019. Damon has built a career around his practiced skill for communicating highly technical content to people in non-technical fields. Luminate hired Damon as a consulting pitch-coach for three companies in the lead-up to the debut Luminate Finals. Based on that success, Damon worked with the entire cohort in 2019 and subsequently joined Luminate full-time as a project manager.

Aside from Luminate, Damon is a lecturer for SPIE, teaching two popular and highly-interactive workshops: “Grant-Writing from the Ground Up” and “The Very Least You Need to Know about Optics.” Currently, he is writing a tiny, non-intimidating, and funny book about grant-writing, which will be published in 2021 by SPIE.

Zack Ellis  | Co-Founder & CEO, TheirStory

Session: Launching a Startup: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Zack EllisZack is co-founder & CEO of TheirStory, which provides a web-based interviewing and storytelling platform that helps institutions, researchers, families, and special interest groups streamline the process of collecting, preserving, and engaging with the audiovisual stories of their communities.

Among the diverse set of communities that use TheirStory are the Peace Corps Oral History Project, the University of Kentucky’s Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the Council of American Jewish Museums, Brooklyn College, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the Armah Institute of Emotional Justice/The Black Frontline, and the Chickaloon Native Village of the Ahtna Tribe in Southcentral Alaska.

Don Feige | Chief Revenue Officer, SafeKeeping

Session: Preparing Your Startup for Purchase, Merger, or Exit

Don FeigeDon Feige was a co-founder and served as CEO for ezPBJ, a compliance software used by several thousand skilled nursing facilities in the US. ezPBJ was founded in Rochester in 2016 and acquired by Briggs Healthcare in 2018

Don currently works on several senior care startups, including the How’s Mom app from SafeKeeping and Buffalo-based Patient Pattern, a healthcare risk and care management software company.


Isaac Figueras | Associate Attorney, Nixon Peabody LLP

Session: Legal 101: Things to Know Before You Start

Isaac FiguerasIsaac Figueras is an associate in Nixon Peabody‘s M&A and Corporate Transactions group. Isaac focuses his practice on business transactions and general corporate work.

Isaac has experience with private equity offerings and representing clients in transactions involving federal and state securities laws and regulations.


Matt Foley | Director, Startup Incubation, NextCorps

Session: How to Discover & Validate Your Startup Idea Without Spending a Dime

Matt FoleyDirector of Startup Incubation at NextCorps, Matt Foley is a serial entrepreneur working primarily on software startups in the market research industry. He is the founder and CEO of FocusGroupIt, a web-based platform for capturing qualitative feedback online. Prior to founding FocusGroupIt, Matt was the co-founder of PluggedIN, a Rochester-based company that built and managed private online insight communities for mid- to large size enterprises. PluggedIN was acquired in 2011 by Edelman, the world’s largest independent PR firm, where Matt stayed on as a Senior Vice President for two years following the acquisition. Before PluggedIN, Matt was a senior qualitative market research consultant at Harris Interactive (now Nielsen), and a co-founder of a user experience research firm, Customer Relevance.

Matt received a bachelor of science in business administration from Boston University and is a professionally trained market researcher through the Research in Values and Attitudes Institute.

Don Golini | Founder, SANICA Ventures; Chairman of the Board, Luminate

Session: Preparing Your Startup for Purchase, Merger, or Exit

Don GoliniChairman of the Advisory Board for the Luminate accelerator, Don Golini is a successful entrepreneur with extensive experience in the development, management, and commercialization of new technologies. Through SANICA Ventures, Don provides consulting and advisory services, serves on a number of Boards and Advisory Committees, and is an angel investor. Prior to that, as president and founder of QED Technologies, Don licensed a university technology and developed products that succeeded in global markets. QED was acquired in 2006 by Cabot Microelectronics and Golini stayed on as president until 2010. Previously, Golini managed the research program at the Center for Optics Manufacturing at the University of Rochester (U of R), and worked on large optics manufacturing and R&D at Itek Optical Systems in Lexington, Mass.

Don served as an adjunct professor at the Simon School of Business, on the Hajim School Dean’s Visiting Committee, and the executive committee for the U of R Technology Development Fund. He was chairman of the Rochester Angel Network, worked as an EIR at High Tech of Rochester (now NextCorps), and continues to advise a number of companies. 

A former president of the OSA Rochester chapter and named on 7 U.S. patents, Golini now resides on the New Hampshire seacoast, serves as a catalyst for MIT’s Deshpande Center, and is passionate about startups and entrepreneurship. He is an OSA Fellow, received his B.S. in Optics from the University of Rochester and M.S. in Electro-Optics from Tufts University.

Tom Gunter-Kremers | Representative, Rochester Angel Network (RAN)

Session: Fundraising 101: Getting & Keeping Investors Happy

Tom Gunter-KremersTom Gunter-Kremers has been part of the startup community for two decades, having been a founder in several companies. He started investments in equipment financing and moved on to startup investing with his family fund. Tom has been involved with the Rochester Angel Network since the founding of its two funds. Tom has also organized several startup events from BBQ Pitch events to Rochester’s first Raspberry Pi event.

Tom is currently finishing his EMBA at Simon after winning the Simon Games in 2019.

Marik Hazan | Community Manager, NextCorps

Marik HazanSession moderator: Virtual Happy Hour: Meet the Rochester Startup Community

Marik Hazan is an engineer and advocate who has worked across “counter culture” industries. He founded Iliac which built technology for the sex workers’ rights movement. Later he worked with decentralized governance organizations including Aragon and Democracy Earth in the blockchain space. He led marketing and growth for many of Silicon Valley’s top startups including Clearbit, Segment, and Envoy during his time at Bell Curve (now Demand Curve) as their Director of Growth. His work focuses on providing more opportunities, resources, infrastructure, and human rights access to stigmatized communities through investment and entrepreneurship.

Marik helped to develop the Yale School of Management’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and is the Community Manager at NextCorps.

Marik holds his MBA from the Yale School of Management.

Jason Klimek | Senior Corporate and Tax Associate, Boylan Code LLP

Session: Legal 101: Things to Know Before You Start

Jason KlimekJason Klimek is a seasoned lawyer specializing in corporate and tax work as an associate at Boylan Code. He works with startups as well as small and mid-sized companies, and advises them on legal matters and tax issues. He is heavily involved in technology and works with companies specializing in technological innovations.

Jason also chairs Boylan Code’s Cannabis Practice, and can be found regularly at NextCorps, providing pro-bono legal advice.


Kate Leonard | Digital Marketing Manager, NextCorps

Session: How to Jumpstart Sales & Convert Leads Into Customers

Kate LeonardAs the Digital Marketing Manager, Kate Leonard develops and implements NextCorps’ digital content strategy, including content creation and curation for social media, email campaigns, the blog, and our program websites. Kate has a B.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications from Ithaca College, where she also minored in Psychology.

Kate got her start in PR and gained experience as a copywriter and inbound marketing specialist at agencies large and small prior to joining NextCorps.

Theresa Mazzullo | CEO, Excell Partners

Session: Fundraising 101: Getting & Keeping Investors Happy

Theresa MazzulloTheresa Mazzullo has been CEO of Excell Partners since 2006. She has a 30-year track record in business, finance, and entrepreneurship. Having owned and sold a small business, she brings firsthand knowledge, unique skills, and proven experience to the seed stage investment arena. In her role as CEO, her duties include governance, compliance, reporting, community integration, finance, and fundraising. In addition to her CEO position at Excell, Theresa co-founded Impact Capital NY, LLC. a privately-held VC Fund in Upstate NY. Her fundraising ability has resulted in bringing over $60 million into the upstate ecosystem for investments in high tech startups.

Theresa received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Spring Hill College, Mobile, Alabama and a Graduate Degree in Banking from Stonier, Delaware, MD. Her community activity includes: Treasurer & Member-Executive Committee, Greater Rochester Enterprise Board; Member of NextCorps Board; Trustee, Farash Foundation; Member, NYS Governor’s Regional Council and Co-Chair for Entrepreneurship & Innovation Subcommittee of NYS Regional Council; Member NYS’s $100M Innovation Fund Investment Advisory Committee and MedTech Board Member. Theresa was named on the 2019 New York Tech Power 50 List by City & State NY magazine and, most recently, the Rochester Business Journal’s Power 100 List 2021.

Kate Meddaugh | Manager, Carlson Center for Intellectual Property

Session: Regional Resources That Can Help You Build Your Startup

Kate MeddaughKate Meddaugh is a reference librarian in the Business Insight Center (BIC) at the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, and is the Manager of the Carlson Center for Intellectual Property, housed in BIC. She has been a public librarian for over 20 years, spending most of those years as Manager of the Carlson Center. She holds U.S. patent # 8,533,621, and has self-published two books, securing a federal copyright for both.

Kate enjoys reading and gardening, as well as spending time outdoors with her husband and six-year-old-son.

Sean Charles Morris  | Co-Founder, Kavyar

Session: Launching a Startup: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Sean Charles MorrisSean Charles Morris is a co-founder at Kavyar, a market network that helps photographers, models, and agencies get published.

In 2012, Sean and his fellow co-founders launched Kavyar which transformed how the independent fashion media industry collaborates with content creators. Today, Kavyar is the world’s leading platform photographers and agencies use to get published.

Sean leverages his 20+ years experience working in the creative industry as an agency director, fashion brand owner, and UI/UX designer to help drive Kavyar’s greater mission: Democratizing creative opportunities for the new, massive, and underserved creative population.

With an established presence in the media industry, Kavyar now seeks to create opportunities within the modeling and talent agencies for its rapidly growing 150k+ creative professional users.

Pete Petrella | Managing Director, Viaduct

Session: How to Hire Quickly as a Startup

Pete PetrellaPete Petrella has a dual role in the Aleron Group. He oversees Viaduct, a division of Aleron focused on startups, and leads executive search assignments at TalentRise, focused specifically on finding emerging leadership talent for high growth companies.

Pete’s areas of success in talent acquisition include SaaS, FinTech, Sports, and Private Equity / VC backed high-growth companies. He brings over 20 years of business development and marketing experience in a variety of sectors including sports, healthcare, startups, and technology. Pete is active in a number of growth-stage technology and FinTech startup organizations in Chicago and the Buffalo / Upstate NY marketplace.

Pete’s previous experience includes business development and marketing roles with the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, and Kaleida Health. He served as Strategy Director at 43North and VP Enterprise Solutions, HigherMe; a judge for 43North startup competition and mentor for Endeavor Global Startup Acceleration program; and on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Hospital of Buffalo Foundation, and Town of Amherst Chamber of Commerce.

Jan A. Pisanczyn | Director, SUNY Brockport/Rochester New York State SBDC

Session: Regional Resources That Can Help You Build Your Startup

Jan PisanczynJan Pisanczyn has served as Director of the SUNY Brockport/Rochester New York State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) since December, 1999. In that time the center worked with 13,464 start-up and existing small businesses, accounting for nearly $199M in investment impact, helping create 4,217 jobs, and saving 2,216 jobs. 

As a Certified Business Advisor, Jan has counseled over 1,500 clients, with a funding impact of $9,125,850, 553 jobs created, and 376 jobs saved. Jan is a former Investment Advisor with Merrill Lynch and AG Edwards. He has also been a speaker before various groups on business related topics, a guest on several television and radio programs, and a host of several shows produced by the Buffalo SBDC for CTV on various business topics.

Rick Plympton | CEO, Optimax Systems, Inc.

Session: Building a Socially Responsible (& Differentiated) Business

Rick PlymptonRick Plympton is the CEO of Optimax, a precision optics manufacturer in Ontario, NY. He has provided the leadership and vision over the past 25 years needed to grow Optimax from a small startup to America’s largest precision optics manufacturer.

Rick is actively involved in supporting regional workforce development and the optics industry. He currently participates as Trustee, Optimax Perpetual Purpose Trust; Director, Canandaigua National Bank; Chair, Finger Lakes Workforce Investment Board; Chair, FAME Student Scholarship Committee; Member, Rochester Philanthropy Council; Coach, Univ of Rochester New Ventures Graduate Studies; Treasurer, Optics and Electro-Optics Standards Committee; and Board Member, OSA Foundation.

Other recent honors and participation include: 2021 Rochester Business Journal Power 100 List; 2018-2019 Aspen Institute Fellowship for Job Quality; 2013-2019 Finger Lakes Community College Foundation Board; 2018 inducted into the Rochester Business Hall of Fame; and 2012 SBA New York State Small Business Person of the Year Award.

Rick holds degrees in business administration, computer science, and engineering science from Finger Lakes Community College. He furthered his education at the University of Rochester with a Bachelor of Science degree in Optics ’87 and an MBA ‘99.

Sujatha Ramanujan, PhD | Managing Director, NextCorps Luminate

Session: Keys to a Good Investor Pitch

Sujatha RamanujanManaging Director of Luminate, the largest accelerator for optics, photonics, and imaging startups, Sujatha Ramanujan is a serial entrepreneur and seasoned executive with 25 years of experience in clinical devices and in consumer electronics. Sujatha has started, built, and grown three startup businesses in cardiac surgical equipment, optical communications, and nano materials. In addition, as CTO and Product Line Manager of Mammography CAD and Pediatric Businesses within Kodak and Carestream, her team developed and launched clinical equipment and Clinical IT on every continent. Sujatha has held scientific, technical leadership, and laboratory head positions in Chrysler Corporation, GE, Kodak, Carestream, and Intrinsiq Materials. She holds 28 issued US patents. As a corporate investor for Kodak, then later working with regional investment councils, she provides guidance to startups, M&A strategies for growing businesses, and vetting of technologies to investors. She has served on investment advisories in the U.S., Canada, and Israel.

Dr. Ramanujan holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan and is an Executive Board Member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Mike Riedlinger | Managing Director, Scale For ClimateTech; Managing Director of Technology Commercialization, NextCorps

Session: Developing Your Plan for Profit: Business & Revenue Models

Mike RiedlingerMike Riedlinger creates and provides experiential programs for entrepreneurs throughout the region. He has created programs including NextCorps LaunchPad for web and mobile startups by drawing on his experiences from founding and co-founding eight startups (including one that became publicly traded), as well as training through the National Science Foundation I-Corps Program at Stanford University.

Invention and creativity are key areas of interest for Mike, who holds a BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology and a MBA from the University of Rochester, where he is also a lecturer in Technical Entrepreneurship Management.

Mike revels in the rich history of regional innovations in agriculture, computing, medical devices, optics, and telecommunications. He serves on the Industrial Advisory Board at the Cornell Center for Materials Research and supports educational outreach programs including Cornell’s Lending Library of Experiments and the Rochester chapter of Engineering World Health.

Rachel Rosen | President & CEO, WexEnergy

Session: Launching a Startup: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Rachel RosenRachel Rosen joined WexEnergy as President & CEO in 2017. Rachel often introduces herself as a “recovering landlord.” With over 27 years of experience in the commercial and multifamily real estate markets, she’s developed a keen sense of WexEnergy’s customer needs. At WexEnergy, Rachel leads marketing and financial departments as well as driving the company’s strategic direction. The relationships she has developed in the business community over the last 35 years are key to WindowSkin’s market launch. Rachel has worked with both WexEnergy and WexEnergy Innovations LLC since their inception.

Until June 2016, Rachel was President of Norry Management Corp., a privately-owned property development and management firm in Rochester, NY where she managed over 2 million square feet of commercial office and industrial properties, as well as multi-family residential properties across five states. Rachel received her B.S. in Finance and Economics and her MBA in Management and Entrepreneurship from New York University.

Rachel’s an entrepreneur at heart and looks forward to chatting with all of you about the startup experience.

Jim Senall | President, NextCorps

Session: Regional Resources That Can Help You Build Your Startup

Jim SenallJim Senall joined NextCorps as President in 2009, and in that capacity leads the NextCorps team towards their mission of creating entrepreneurship and innovation-based regional growth.  During his tenure at NextCorps, the organization has launched several new initiatives including a software accelerator program, three climatetech accelerators, a statewide Entrepreneur-in-Residence program, and an optics, photonics, and imaging accelerator. Through these and its other offerings, NextCorps has served more than 800 client companies over the past five years.

Prior experience includes co-founding the Rochester Angel Network in 2005, which he continues to lead as its Managing Director; experience with multiple startup companies; engineering and manufacturing roles at multi-billion dollar firms; and teaching graduate level courses in tech entrepreneurship.

Jim has served in various board roles including chairman of the Business Incubator Association of New York State, board member of the New York State Economic Development Council, board member of Adarza Biosystems, Executive Committee member of the University of Rochester’s Tech Development Fund, Investment Committee member of Launch NY’s seed capital fund, and board member of Rochester Angel Network and the Rochester Angel Fund.

Jim holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology, and an M.B.A. in marketing and entrepreneurship from the Simon Business School, University of Rochester.  He and his family reside in Penfield, NY and they enjoy spending time in Lake Placid each winter and the Outer Banks, NC each summer.

Tracy Till | Independent Board Member; President of T4 Verge, Inc.; Co-Chair of Marketing Committee for the PDA (Private Directors Association)

Session: Building a Socially Responsible (& Differentiated) Business

Tracy TillTracy Till is the founder and former co-CEO and board chair of nationally recognized media and communications firm, Butler/Till, which works with national/regional brands across numerous industries. She also is an innovative and visionary business professional who believes a firm’s Board of Directors will make or break business growth and evolution.

In 2014, Tracy formed the consulting firm T4 Verge to help other companies, boards, and venture capital firms impact strategic transformation, governance, and business growth.

Sabrina Vogler, CPC, CEC, CGSS | Heart in the Moment Mindfulness Coaching, LLC

Session: Guided Morning Meditation

Sabrina VoglerSabrina Vogler is a Certified Professional Coach, Executive Coach, and Grief Specialist in private practice at Heart in the Moment Mindfulness Coaching, LLC. Since beginning her career in 1995, she served as a licensed master social worker in hospice and other medical settings. A formal student of mindfulness since 1999, Sabrina worked as a mindfulness educator within health care. She trained at UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness under Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) co-founders, Dr. Chris Germer and Dr. Kristin Neff. Sabrina is also credentialed with Dr. Brené Brown’s leadership company, Brave Leaders Inc.

Sabrina is a mother of twin boys, author, magazine contributor, teacher, guest lecturer, and consultant for mindfulness, self-compassion, grief, life design, and leadership development.

Jennifer Young | Founder & CEO, What’s Good

Session: Launching a Startup: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Jennifer YoungJennifer Young is the founder and CEO of What’s Good, a not-just-for-profit online market offering a curated selection of eco and socially responsible products from makers and businesses that care — about you, their employees, and the greater good.

After earning her B.A. from the University of Rochester, Jennifer spent a good chunk of her career in marketing, on both the creative and account sides. Prior to launching What’s Good, she was the General Manager of a leading reclaimed wood company. She’s mom to three boys, now grown and out of the house, leaving her and her husband with an empty nest (except for two dogs and cat). She’s a certified Yoga Instructor, Ski Patroller, Outdoor Emergency Care Instructor, and a Board Member of the Hunt Hollow Ski Patrol.

Countdown to Startup Week!