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Pete Blackshaw - Nestle, Global Head Digital & Social Media

Pete Blackshaw, whose professional background encompasses public policy, digital marketing, and brand management, is the new Global Head of Digital Marketing and Social Media for Nestlé S.A., based Vevey, Switzerland since March 2011.Most recently, he served as former CMO of NM Incite, a recent joint venture between Nielsen and McKinsey centering around enterprise social media strategy and insights. He is author of a recent book by Doubleday entitled “Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3000: Running a Business in Today’s Consumer-Driven World,” and writes a regular column in Advertising Age centered around the book’s themes.Pete founded PlanetFeedback.com, co-founded the Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), and served as Chairman of the Board of the National Council of Better Business Bureau and a member of the National Advertising Review Council. He’s a 2010 Grand Prize winner of the “Great Minds” award from the Advertising Research Foundation. Pete is a graduate of Harvard Business School and the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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Wendy Lea - Cintrifuse, CEO

Wendy Lea is CEO of Cintrifuse, a public private partnership designed to build a tech-based economy in the Greater Cincinnati Region. In collaboration with its founding members, P&G, EY and The City of Cincinnati, Cintrifuse assists the global organizations in the Region access innovation and talent through the development of a vibrant startup ecosystem. Her dedication for innovation and business building, has lead her to serve on the boards of Techstars and Xyleme, both headquartered in Boulder, Colorado.

With a deep passion for entrepreneurship, Wendy is an angel investor and advisor to a number of startups in California, Colorado and Ohio. A entrepreneur at heart, she is a dedicated mentor to the Techstars Accelerator Network and most recently at The Brandery, UpTech and Ocean in the Cincinnati Region.

As an executive and co-founder of The Sales Consultancy (acquired by OnTarget in 1998; OnTarget acquired by Siebel Systems in 1999), Wendy consulted with global technology organizations in the design and implementation of their channel and alliances strategies, delivering engagements for Oracle, HP, IBM, Microsoft and Cisco in over 30 countries. Over the past decade, she’s applied her experience and knowledge to private boards as well as operating high growth venture-backed startups. Prior to her role at Cintrifuse, she served as CEO and the Executive Chairman at Get Satisfaction in San Francisco.

Wendy is a member of the Committee of 200, Cincinnati Women’s Executive Forum and The Women’s Capital Club. She serves on the board of The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, The Health Collaborative in Cincinnati and Techstars in Boulder, Colorado. She has been honored as a Women of Influence in both Silicon Valley and San Francisco. She has deep southern roots and graduated, cum laude in Business, from The University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi.

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Sean Lee - Procter & Gamble, Sr. Brand Manager P&G Ventures and New Business Creation

Sean is a Cincinnati native and the Senior Brand Manager of P&G Ventures and New Business Creation, the unit within P&G responsible for identifying new growth spaces and Brands for the company. Sean received his undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Cincinnati and his MBA from Xavier University. He has six years of versatile and proven Brand Management leadership experience at P&G. Sean led strategy and marketing plans for Iams Pet Food and Old Spice during his first four years at P&G. Most recently he led the digital web presence strategy across all Brands for the company as the first digital platforms and innovation Brand Manager. Sean has also dabbled in entrepreneurship on his own by founding an e-commerce novelty retail company that he grew profitably for three years. In his free time, Sean is active in the local community. He sits on the Board of the Southwest Ohio Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, he co-chairs the JDRF Emerging Leaders Council, and he was a founding member of a local political action group, Believe in Cincinnati.

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Dan Rajczak - totes ISOTONER, CEO

Dan Rajczak is currently President and Chief Executive Officer for the totes-Isotoner Corporation, a Cincinnati-based company that is the world leader in branded, functional accessories for rain, cold weather and footwear products. Before joining totes-Isotoner, Dan most recently served as President and Chief Operating Officer for the Shaklee Corporation, a leader in natural nutritional health products. Prior to Shaklee, he spent 26 years at Procter & Gamble, progressing through roles in R&D, Marketing and General Management. Dan ran P&G’s Household business in Japan, he later led the company’s Corporate New Business and Innovation group and, finally, was Senior Vice President overseeing P&G’s global Pet Care and Snacks businesses. Dan has his degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo in Canada.

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Tony Blankemeyer - 84.51˚, Head of Partnerships

Tony Blankemeyer drives business growth and acceleration by building strategic connections between people, companies and ideas. Blankemeyer leverages his diverse experience across high growth technology companies and global agencies to lead these efforts. Blankemeyer cultivates customer strategy and activation through partnership. Also serving as the Startup Liaison, Tony infuses innovation through their Startups in Residence program and strategic investments. 84.51° is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Kroger Company.

Prior to 84.51°, Blankemeyer served as Director of Strategy & Marketing at the venture-backed company, Zipscene. During his tenure Blankemeyer functioned as a strategist for some of the world’s largest restaurant brands, and led brand communications as the company tripled in size.

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Shashank Saxena - Kroger, Director of Digital & eCommerce

Shashank is currently serving as the Sr. Director for Strategy Development and Integration at The Kroger Co. As part of this role he manages the Web, Mobile, Tablet, Kiosk/in-store and shared service app development teams.

Prior to joining The Kroger Co., Shashank was at Citigroup where he led the Strategy and Planning function for the Global Mobile Banking line of business. Prior to that, Shashank was part of the Project Management Office (PMO) at Citi where he successfully led multiple Internet and Mobile programs. He was responsible for managing the Google Wallet, Mobile Check Deposit, Mobile P2P payments, Latin American Mobile banking and multiple other programs for Citibank. He was one of the founding members of the Global Mobile Center of Excellence (CoE) at Citi.

Prior to this four year stint with Citi, Shashank worked at Uptown Consortium, Dell Computers and Target Corp. He has an MBA in Finance and an MS in Information Systems from the University of Cincinnati.

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Christina Bechhold - Samsung NEXT Ventures, Principal

Christina Bechhold is a Principal at Samsung NEXT Ventures, based in New York, focused on early stage investments in software and services, particularly in mobility, IoT and fintech. She is also Co-Founder and Managing Director of Empire Angels, a member led angel group of young professionals investing in technology startups with a focus on supporting young entrepreneurs. Christina is a Regular Contributor for the Wall Street Journal on startups and small business, a columnist for Inc.com, a mentor at The Brandery and Venture for America and a member of VFA’s Rise Committee focused on increasing diversity in entrepreneurship. She is a frequent speaker and panelist at events in the U.S., Europe and Asia, a TEDx speaker, and was recognized by the New York Business Journal as a 2016 Woman of Influence.

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Marvin Abrinica - Thrivera, CEO

Marvin is a leadership trainer, entrepreneur, & advisor to many companies. He is the CEO of Thrivera, a digital agency that helps companies create a story to brand, fund, & grow. Previously, Marvin spent 18 years with Procter & Gamble in Brand Management, Sourcing, and HR.

He was a corporate trainer with P&G’s Leadership Academy teaching the art of strategy, branding, and effective communication. “I’m the son of two Asian immigrants who struggled with English. So, I grew up helping them get their voices heard, and that’s where I found my mission to help others find their voices too.”​

Marvin is a two-time TEDx speaker, and now gives talks at conferences, accelerators, incubators, & universities sharing his secrets to Brand Storytelling. He’s also a leading advocate for Cincinnati’s growing startup economy, and mentors for accelerators like the Brandery and 500 Startups.

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Nick Cromydas - New Coast Ventures, CEO & Founder / Hunt Club, CEO & Founder

A member of Forbes’ 2016 30 Under 30 Club, Nick is one of Chicago’s top entrepreneurs with a passion for helping companies grow and innovate.

Nick and his partner Scott Kacyn founded New Coast Ventures in 2014. New Coast Ventures is a digital innovation company helping large companies and entrepreneurs alike to build technology solutions. The duo also founded Hunt Club in 2015. Hunt Club is a technology-enabled recruiting firm that leverages its Influencer Network to find the best passive talent for its partner companies’ open positions.

Nick holds a BS in Corporate Strategies and Communication Studies from Vanderbilt University. He was a four-year letter winner on the Men’s Varsity Tennis Team at Vanderbilt. Nick is also a 2013 graduate of The Brandery.

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Julie Miers - Pop Goes the Weasel Brand Consultancy, Founder & President

Julie has a tremendous depth and breadth of experience, having spent the past two decades working with some of the best global brands on the planet, within CPG, Retail, Consulting and the Ad Agency sectors. She has held senior leadership roles at Kroger, Kellogg, DelMonte, Crayola, Coleman Outdoor and CKS/USWEB, offering deep experience in Food, Beverage, Natural/Organic, Allergy-Free, Kids, Pet, Baby, Health & Wellness, Beauty, Candy, Tools/Hardware, Sporting Goods, Technology, Entertainment and Licensing.

Julie started Pop Goes the Weasel Brand Consultancy to fill a void in the brand strategy and marketing space by focusing on achieving “brandruption” through highly creative approaches, and has provided multi-faceted services to global consulting firms and C-level executives in a variety of industry sectors.

Julie grew up in the beautiful hills of West Virginia, is an outdoor enthusiast, pop culture geek, has a passion for health & wellness, is a coffee junkie, roller coaster rider, animal lover, volunteer and is enjoyable to sit by on long flights.

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