Business, Start-Ups & Entrepreneurship
Dylan Gambardella is the co-founder of Next Gen Summit and previously co-founded Students4Students. He is an accomplished entrepreneur, speaker, investor, and activist. The 22-year-old Duke University alumnus has addressed global audiences at events including TEDx, Yale University, and UCLA, and is passionate about supporting young people in creating lasting, positive impact in our world. Dylan was born and raised in Westchester, New York and graduated as the valedictorian of his high school class. While at Duke, he majored in Economics and Public Policy and was named a Melissa & Doug Scholar and was elected as Senator for the student body. Dylan was also a member of the Duke Basketball Practice Team and a Director of Campus Enterprises, Duke’s oldest student-run company. Dylan was the 2017 recipient of the New York Wunderkind award. But Dylan’s entrepreneurial journey began at age 17 when he co-founded Students4Students, a higher-education consulting firm designed to provide applicants an advantage in the collegiate admissions process. After successfully helping over 120 clients in the first two years, Dylan co-founded Next Gen, where he aims to support innovation by providing the resources young entrepreneurs need to change the world. To date, Dylan and Next Gen have hosted thousands of attendees at more than a dozen events across the country - including the international Next Gen Summit - and have attracted an online network of over 5,000 young entrepreneurs.
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>>>
In his teens and early 20s, Levi Meeuwenberg was flipping off of walls, somersaulting over railings, and performing impossible stunts across the US as a professional parkour and stunt man. His extraordinary acrobatic skills helped him land gigs as a parkour dancer on one of Madonna’s World tours, as a star competitor on Japan’s Sasuke Ninja Warrior, and even as a stunt man in The Avengers (he briefly doubled Captain America) and in the movie The Bourney Legacy (he doubled Jeremy Renner)! But after all of this success, Levi grew disillusioned with his parkour career and decided to pursue a lifestyle that he felt could produce something of more lasting value. Enter: permaculture. Leaving his parkour career behind, Levi developed a deep concern about climate change and discovered permaculture — the development of self-sustaining agricultural systems. Levi moved back to his hometown in Michigan and applied his new love for ecology and sustainable living, and has since become successful enough to share his knowledge with others. Supplementing his permaculture lifestyle with his own web design business, Hog the Web, Levi is on a mission to show other Americans the importance of living sustainably in communities in which neighbors not only regularly support one another but also eschew the trappings of so-called successful lives in order to build truly happy lives.
Joe De Sena has always been guided by his entrepreneurial drive. Before applying to Cornell University, Joe had already built a multimillion dollar pool business in his hometown New York City. After his studies at Cornell, where he majored in Textiles, Joe’s passion took him to Wall Street and then to Vermont, where his business acumen helped him operate and manage an organic farm among other ventures. It was here where Joe first developed his idea for the Spartan Races – the international fitness phenomenon that’s gaining popularity in more than 30 countries across the world. These races are rooted in his own mantras of motivation. In an age of luxury and technology, it’s important that people stay active and embrace the Spartan lifestyle. Two-time New York Times bestselling author of the cultural hits Spartan Up and Spartan Fit, Joe has a thing or two to say about getting off the couch, on the move, and to a better future. Listen up, Java Junkies!
Chris Walker is the Director of Social Innovations at Mercy Corps, where he manages the Innovation Investment Alliance, a partnership between the Skoll Foundation and USAID that finances the scale-up of social enterprises. He also advises Mercy Corps’ Social Venture Fund, which invests in and accelerates impact-oriented, for-profit businesses. Prior to joining Merc Corps in 2015, Chris directed the Innovative Finance Program at the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), an international organization dedicated to ending malnutrition. He designed and built innovative initiatives that attracted investment capital to address malnutrition, including impact investment partnerships that provide equity and debt financing to companies having a positive impact on nutrition.
Vivek Wadhwa researches exponentially advancing technologies that will soon change our world. These advances--in fields such as robotics, artificial intelligence, computing, synthetic biology, 3D printing, medicine and nanomaterials--are making it possible for small teams to do what was once possible only for governments and large corporations to do: solve the grand challenges in education, water, food, shelter, health and security. Vivek Wadhwa is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, engineer, computer software programmer, author and professor. Professor Wadhwa is a Distinguished Fellow at Harvard Law School and Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering at Silicon Valley.
Lindy Morris Fishburne is the Managing Partner of Breakout Ventures, a venture capital fund, or in layman's terms, the pot of “seed” money that investors give startups to get their ideas off the ground. Lindy, who specifically works with STEM startups, focuses getting budding science and tech companies out of the lab and into the market. Lindy is also the Executive Director of Breakout Labs which is re-shaping the way early-stage science is funded so that independent researchers and early-stage companies can advance their most radical ideas.
Mick Ebeling is an award-winning film, television, and commercial producer, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and public speaker. He is the founder and CEO of The Ebeling Group, an international production company and creative think tank representing some of the world’s leading design/director collectives. He is also the founder of Not Impossible Labs, an online crowd-sourcing platform instigating the creation of low-cost, open-source, DIY devices to help people in need. Not Impossible Labs (NIL) was founded based on Mick’s firm belief that ideas that once seemed impossible turned out to be possible.
Hold onto your coffee cups …the Time4Coffee summer interns are loose in this special episode of T4C showcasing the insights, lessons learned and behind the scenes experiences of the freshman class of T4C interns: Julia Pekala (Bethesda Chevy Chase High School, Class of 2019), Alexandra Radifera (University of Oregon, Class of 2021) and Michael Ellick (Elon University, Class of 2020).
Entrepreneurs and digital marketing experts Michael and Marc Guberti have been driven to achieve their dreams since they were teenagers. Now, as successful young men, they hope to spread their message: Age is NOT a limit to success. Michael is a social media strategist and the founder of SmartBizPeople a full-service digital marketing agency, who just graduated from the Fordham University Gabelli School of Business in May 2018 with a degree in Marketing. While his brother, Marc who is 20-year old has just started his junior year at Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business majoring in Finance.
Rob Karp has been passionate about the travel industry, and building his own business, since he founded the high-end luxury travel company, MilesAhead, the day before his 15th birthday. Today, Rob is 20 years old, and has just started his senior year at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. As CEO of MilesAhead, a luxury travel concierge in partnership with the Valerie Wilson Travel, Rob is the youngest travel advisor in the Virtuoso network.
Ladan Davia graduated from Chapman University in 2014-- yes, 2014-- with a double major in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. Her dream, or so she thought, was to become a hard news reporter. Fortunately, she realized before she graduated the quality of life (there isn't any) of an entry-level hard news reporter wasn’t for her. After landing a job at Entertainment Tonight she decided to scrap the whole TV thing altogether. It wasn’t until she started searching for another job online, one that would ideally match her interests, that Ladan realized something was missing. She spent hours browsing multiple job search sites and still couldn’t find a good fit for her professional interests. Instead, she got recommendations for jobs to be a gardener or a nanny. So, being the bad-ass 20-something that she is, Ladan decided to do something about it!
Seth Goldman, co-founder of Honest Tea, dipped his tea bag into the world of entrepreneurship when he started Honest Tea with one of his Yale Business School professors, Barry Nalebuff. That was way back in 1998 in the kitchen of Seth's Bethesda, Maryland home. Today, 20 years later, Seth is a multi-millionaire and Honest Tea is owned by the Coca-Cola company and is sold nationwide in 170,000 retailers and is expanding globally ...
Sarah Robb O’Hagan learned the hard way why professionals who thrive must ‘step up’, ‘stand out’ and ‘kick ass’. And, oh yeah, why it’s essential to repeat all of the above if you want to succeed! As CEO of Flywheel Sports, the fast growing indoor cycling company, O’Hagan is on the cutting edge as a leader in the fitness industry which is currently experiencing a major transformation through digital content and services.
Time4Coffee is a podcast (and website: Time4Coffee.org) where the professionals in the jobs that matter most to you, always have time to grab coffee 24/7, no matter where you live. Time4Coffee’s mission is to help 18-25 year olds: college students, recent graduates, grad students and those still looking for the right professional fit, navigate a rapidly changing global job marketplace.