Doug Pepper - Shasta Ventures, Managing Director

Doug Pepper has been with InterWest’s IT group since 2000, investing in SaaS, Mobile and Consumer Internet companies. Doug is a board member of Badgeville, CarWoo, INVIDI, Marketo, Spredfast,Tapjoy, and Varolii. He led InterWest’s investment in Flurry and Optimizely, and also serves as a board observer of Doximity.

Prior to joining InterWest, Doug worked in business development at Before, he was a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs in New York. In this role, he also spent time in Hong Kong, working with technology clients in China, India and Korea.

Doug received his B.A. from Dartmouth College, and his M.B.A. from Stanford University. Doug lives in Burlingame, CA with his wife, Kim, and their three children. He shares his perspectives on venture capital and entrepreneurship at

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Glenn J. Platt - Miami University, Interactive Media & Marketing

Glenn is the C. Michael Armstrong Chair in Interactive Media, Professor of Marketing and has been Director of the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies since 2000. Glenn is also President Emeritus of the International Digital Media & Arts Association. Glenn, along with his colleague Prof. Lage, coined the phrase “inverted classroom” with a 2000 seminal work outlining the benefits of using technology to move active learning into the classroom and lecture outside of class. He also founded and leads the AIMS Digital Innovation Center in San Francisco. He has won the School of Business Teaching Effectiveness Award, the Associated Student Government Effective Educator Award, and the University’s Knox Award for Teaching.
Glenn Platt received his Bachelor of Arts from University of Florida and his MS and PhD from Carnegie Mellon University. Besides directing AIMS, Glenn teaches the Social Media Marketing, Digital Branding, Internet Marketing (MBA), and the IMS/AI capstone consulting course. He consults in areas of Social Media and Internet Marketing.


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Jonathan Poma - Rocket Code, Partner & CEO

Jonathan Poma is the founder and CEO of Rocket Code, a software company that is proud to build ecommerce solutions that fuel revenue and profit growth for clients such as Chubbies Shorts, P&G, ’47 Brand, Rhone Apparel, and other best-in-class brands. Prior to starting Rocket Code, Jonathan led user experience-centric technology solutions for exciting Columbus-based companies like HOMAGE, Whence, and Dynamit. Jonathan believes in the exponential value of performance-driven designs and “cultures of testing” that, when combined, promote objective decision-making, foster true collaboration, earn trust, and build product roadmaps that maximize future potential. When he’s not leading a conversation about how ecommerce is reshaping the world of retail, you can find Jonathan working on his golf game or nerding out on Twitter (@pomajp).

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Jim Price - The Empower Group, President & CEO

Jim Price, The Empower Group CEO and President of Empower MediaMarketing. At Empower, Jim built a Media Innovation team from scratch, when the Internet was still considered an emerging advertising medium and established a full array of best in class services including Digital Strategy, Digital Media, Web Development, Digital Creative, SEM/SEO, Mobile, Word of Mouth Marketing and Social Media.

Jim was promoted to President of the agency in December 2009 and CEO in December of 2010.

Since 2009 the company has grown 22% during a recession and added to its offerings to include a full array of marketing services. Jim’s twelve year career at Empower has been spent leading the agency as media continues to diversify across channels all while creating an agency that is built for the future. Empower MediaMarketing works with a variety of clients including Bush Brothers, US Bank, Meijer, LCA-Vision and Hoover Vacuums focusing on leading them in their strategic marketing communications, decision sciences and media planning and buying efforts.

In early 2012, through two acquisitions, Jim engineered the start of the Empower Group to include the aforementioned Empower MediaMarketing and the strategic creative group Powerhouse Factories. Jim had the foresight to see the agency trends across paid, owned and earned media and successfully engineered a new model for a 28 year-old independent agency allowing it to do what it does best while adding the services of earned media, data analytics and creative design in Powerhouse Factories.

All together the Empower Group has 190 employees and more than $250 million in billings.

Jim previously held roles with ABC Radio, Beyond Interactive and Bush-Cheney ’04. In 2011 Price was chosen by Ad Age as a Media Maven and in 2010 he was named a “40 Under 40” award recipient by The Cincinnati Business Courier. He is also most proud of Empower’s designation by Ad Age in 2010 as a top place to work in marketing and advertising. He frequently speaks on his expertise in the business, Digital media, at industry-leading conferences such as AdTech and iMedia. Price is also an instrument-rated pilot and very active in the community, mentoring with the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative and serving as President of the board for the Starfire Council.


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Tim Schigel - Refinery Ventures, LLC - General Partner

Tim is the Fund Manager for Cintrifuse’s Fund of Funds. The fund has closed $51 million to date and is believed to be the largest privately funded, first-time regional fund of funds in the country.
Tim is also the Chairman and Founder of ShareThis. Prior to founding ShareThis, Tim was Director with Blue Chip Venture Company, where he led the firm’s investment in marketing and technology leaders such as (AOL/TW), Nielsen Buzzmetrics (Nielsen) and Third Screen Media (AOL/TW). Prior to Blue Chip, he was an entrepreneur and international consultant leading innovative projects for Apple Computer, Hitachi, Hallmark Cards, Motorola and Procter & Gamble. Tim received his Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Case Western Reserve University.@schigel

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Michael Stich - Rockfish Interactive, CEO

Michael Stich is Chief Innovation Officer at Rockfish Interactive. Michael’s specializations include e-commerce, analytics / measurement, mobile, digital retail, social media, relationship marketing, product development and organizational consulting. Prior to Rockfish, he served as group director of strategic planning at WPP agency Bridge Worldwide. While at Bridge, Michael and his team served market leaders in CPG, retail, healthcare, technology and financial services. Previously, he served in venture capital, marketing and strategy roles for Texas Instruments, McKinsey & Company, and Dell. Michael holds a B.S. in computer engineering from Tufts University and an M.B.A. with a marketing focus from the MIT Sloan School of Management. @mstich

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Stephen Surman - Molson Coors, Head of Global Digital & Ecommerce Strategy

Stephen has spent 15 years leading the digital marketing programs for some of the world’s largest consumer goods brands. Currently, Stephen heads digital marketing strategy for Mead Johnson & Company, the global leader in Infant & Toddler nutrition. Previously, Stephen served as Vice President of Digital Strategy for Anheuser-Busch, where he was responsible for setting direction and developing marketing plans to support the company’s U.S. portfolio, including Budweiser and Bud Light. Stephen began his career at Procter & Gamble, leading digital marketing for the company’s Baby & Toddler Care and Feminine Care divisions, with responsibility for brands like Pampers, Tampax, and others. Stephen is a graduate of Cornell University, where he received a bachelors degree in engineering. He also holds a masters degree in computer science from Northern Kentucky University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. @stephensurman
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Adam Symson - E.W. Scripps, Chief Digital Officer

Adam Symson is The E.W. Scripps Company’s chief digital officer, responsible for developing the products and services for digital-platform consumers and advertisers in more than 26 Scripps newspaper and television markets (as well as for consumers of a myriad of other digital services that are not market specific). He previously was responsible for the operation, content and revenue for the TV division’s interactive businesses, including community news and information websites, micro-sites and mobile businesses in nine local TV markets across the country. Before that assignment, he spent a year as the director of content and marketing for the Scripps interactive media division (which was spun off into Scripps Networks Interactive in 2008). Symson joined Scripps corporate in 2002 as the director of investigations and special projects for the television stations group. Shortly thereafter, he was named director of news strategy and operations, with responsibilities for the station’s 9 NBC and ABC affiliated stations. Symson first joined The E.W. Scripps Company as the executive producer of investigations and special projects for KNXV TV, the Scripps-owned television station in Phoenix, Arizona. Prior to his work in Phoenix, Symson worked as an investigative journalist for CBS stations, WBBM TV in Chicago, and KCBS TV in Los Angeles, and served tours of duty in newsrooms across Los Angeles, including KNBC TV, KCAL TV and KGIL AM 1260. Mr. Symson has a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Los Angeles. He lives with his wife Sherri, and daughters Logan and Hannah, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Justin Thompson - CinRx Pharma, Senior Director of Business Development

Justin Thompson is the Senior Director Business Development at CinRx Pharma, an early stage biotech venture. Prior to CinRx Pharma he spent 8 years at CincyTech, a seed stage investment fund. At CincyTech he focused on new company investment, portfolio company management, and internal operations. He received his Master’s in Finance from the University of Cincinnati and his Bachelor’s in Business Administration, specializing in Finance and Marketing, from Washington University in St. Louis.

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Hunter Thurman - Thriveplan, President

Hunter is the Founder and President of Thriveplan: showing brands how to innovate and grow where strategy meets Behavioral Science. Throughout his career, he has helped global brands reframe to create inspired new products and meaning for their consumers everywhere – one of Hunter’s creations is guaranteed to be in your home right now. Beyond his clients at Thriveplan, Hunter works with a variety of venture-backed and bootstrap startups.  

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