Business, Start-Ups & Entrepreneurship

Francis Hoang — aka France — is a veteran entrepreneur who has used his impressive skills and experience to build companies across the industries of law, aerospace, and technology. Born into war, France fled Vietnam as a refugee to the United States in the 1970’s and eventually attended West Point, where he graduated in the top 1% of his class. As a Partner with FH+H, France represents, advises, and counsels middle market companies on a wide variety of matters, including sensitive government inquiries and internal investigations, corporate compliance, corporate governance, and government contracts law. Holding an active security clearance, France has unique and extensive experience with the defense, intelligence, and homeland security industries.  He has over 20 years of national security experience, including positions in every branch of the US government. Now, France uses his knowledge to help a variety of organizations grow, develop, and function, and has even applied his wide-ranging skill set to establish two of his own startups — Chisel co-working for lawyers and Boodle AI. France is an entrepreneurial star with a heck of a lot of sage advice on being your own boss.
Raj Kumar is the founding President & Editor-in-Chief of Devex, the media platform for the global development community. A social entrepreneur and digital media executive, he's been a part of nine presidential campaigns and was a co-founder of a successful financial information company. Raj saw the world-shaping potential of Devex while a graduate student at the Harvard Kennedy School and promptly dropped out to build it. He has been profiled in Forbes, the Financial Times, Foreign Policy, and the Washington Post, where Devex was called the Bloomberg of foreign aid. Raj is also an active investor in ground-breaking startups, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Clinton Global Initiative, and is the former chair of the World Economic Forum's humanitarian council.
Ann Mei Chang is the Executive Director of Lean Impact at Lean Startup Co., a company that  encourages all organizations, especially ones seeking solutions to social problems, to think like startups. She is also the author of the new book LEAN IMPACT: How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good, which takes a closer look at the idea of applying entrepreneurial thinking to social problem solving and explores examples of how these theories have played out in advocacy organizations around the world. Ann Mei came to this work through a winding path of both social and technological innovation. After graduating from Stanford with a degree in computer science, she went to work in Silicon Valley as a software engineer, and quickly climbed her way up the management ladder as she moved between tech startups. But after 20+ years in fast-paced Palo Alto, Ann Mei decided it was time to use her skills as an engineer and innovator to truly make the world a better place. More specifically, she set out to end global poverty. She began a career in government work and again climbed the management ladder quickly, becoming the Chief Innovation Officer at USAID and later the first Executive Director of the US Global Development Lab. She also served the US Department of State as Senior Advisor for Women and Technology in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues and, after moving from government to NGO work, Chief Innovation Officer at Mercy Corps. Today, Ann Mei combines the skills she’s developed over her two illustrious careers to bring a new approach to solving global social issues by thinking like the innovator and engineer she always will be.
Dennis Whittle has worked for the past 30 years in philanthropy and aid. He is currently the co-founder and CEO at Feedback Labs a consortium which aims to change the norms in development, aid, and philanthropic policy to be more responsive to the people that those policies aim to help.  Dennis also co-founded and was the CEO of GlobalGiving, a global crowdfunding platform for grassroots charitable projects. Forbes magazine called GlobalGiving “one of the 10 startups changing the world.”  Before those ventures, Dennis worked for 14 years at the World Bank where he worked in Indonesia, Russia, Papua New Guinea, and Niger on projects and issues including: agriculture housing reform, structural adjustments, innovation, and energy efficiency.  Dennis Whittle has an incredible breadth of experience within the world of nonprofits, philanthropies, as well as the startup world. He hopes to encourage Java Junkies to push themselves outside their comfort zones and learn how to embrace failures as the key to unlocking their true potentials.
Christina Lukeman is Head of Investor Relations at Agora, an organization founded in 2005 as a modern-day “public square” that brings together key stakeholders to accelerate social entrepreneurship -- in order to create a positive social impact.  Christina’s job is to play a kind of a “cupid” role by building relationships with social entrepreneurs and investors who are looking to put their money towards a worthwhile cause. Agora is among the first impact focused investment funds in Latin America, and serves entrepreneurs in that region. Since its founding in 2005 this organization has been at the forefront of the venture capital world.   Christina is a multilingual MBA who has traveled all over the world - even once hula hooping her way across Latin America. After graduating from the University of California, Santa Cruz, Christina spent a few years traversing the world before earning her MBA and filling out hundreds of job applications to find the career that fit her best. For this ‘caffeinated career conversation’ Christina joins us all the way from sunny California, rather than Mexico City where she’s now living,  to share the story of how she got to where she is today, and what its like to work in the influential and exciting world of venture capital.
Nathalie Molina Niño is the CEO of BRAVA Investments where she is committed to delivering returns to investors while making a catalytic impact on women in the world. She is also the author of the new book: LEAPFROG, The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs. In LEAPFROG, Nathalie provides her readers and aspiring entrepreneurs with 50 read more>>>

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