At our November lunch, Portland Investment Initiative founder Gill Holland gave an update on the historic neighborhood, including an announcement about a 24-unit affordable housing project called Montgomery Street Apartments that will be opening soon. Holland also led a lively discussion with a panel of business leaders, including Mike Mays of Heine Brothers’ Coffee, Farm to Fork Catering’s Sherry Hurley and Ben Smock of Canopy on Portland's progress in the past few years.
Our October lunch featured West Sixth Brewing's Co-Founder Ben Self, who shared the story behind the company’s success and its $2 million expansion in Louisville. Lexington, Ky.-based West Sixth is turning a 120-year-old carriage house in NuLu into a 9,000-square-foot brewery, barrel-aging warehouse and taproom slated to open in early 2020.
Our September lunch featured three tourism experts — Cleo Battle, Chief Operating Officer for Louisville Tourism (formerly the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau), David S. Beck, President and CEO of Kentucky Venues, and Sean Higgins, Chief Fun Officer at Mint Julep Experiences. They discussed tourism’s economic impact, what Louisville needs to grow the industry and attract larger conventions to town, as well as opportunities for the entrepreneurial community to get involved.
At our August lunch, Carla Dearing, founding CEO of Sum180 and head of product for FlexWage Solutions LLC, shared how she won big by getting the small details right. Her talk focused on how and why she launched financial technology (FinTech) startup with the express goal of attracting a strategic acquirer.
At our June lunch, Fund for the Arts President and CEO Christen McDonough Boone and Metro United Way Chief Development Officer David Lopez shared with a “room of disruptors” why businesses must address the community’s social needs. They argued that people move to a region for a job but they because of culture a healthy ecosystem.
Our April lunch featured a fantastic panel discussion with some of the most dynamic leaders in Louisville's entrepreneurial ecosystem who shared how their organizations are driving economic growth in our community. Panelists were: Patrick Henshaw, CEO of the Louisville Entrepreneurship Acceleration Partnership (LEAP), William Metcalf, Senior Director of Research Development & Strategic Initiatives, Office of the Executive Vice President – Research & Innovation at the University of Louisville, and Tammy York Day, President and CEO of the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council (LHCC). Our fearless leader Tendai Charasika, Venture Connectors Chairman and CEO of SuperFan Inc., served as moderator.
Our March lunch featured a panel discussion with some high-profile executives who are spearheading intrapreneurship efforts within large, local companies. Panelists included Brian Holzer, M.D., Founder and CEO of Lacuna Health, a subsidiary of Kindred Healthcare, W. Colton Payne, Global Brand Manager for Woodford Reserve and Old Forester at Brown-Forman Corp. and Emily Geiger, VP BigCo Innovation at Cintrifuse & Managing Director of Spry Labs. The discussion was moderated by Tonya McKinney, Managing Partner and Innovation Champion for Tata Consultancy Services.
At our February lunch, President and CEO Cedric Francois, MD, PhD, shared the inspiring success story of Crestwood, Ky.-based Apellis Pharmaceuticals Inc. He talked about his experiences with taking the pharmaceutical company public, as well as finding/attracting talent and securing funding.
Our January lunch featured a panel of tech-focused innovators who took advantage of the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program’s matching funds to relocate their early-stage companies to Kentucky and have stayed to grow their businesses. The panel included: Dr. Jane Hermes, President of Turbo Wheelchair Co. Inc., Dr. Angelique Johnson, CEO/Founder of MEMStim LLC and Dr. Trey Riddle, CEO of Sunstrand.