“Tech for Entrepreneurs: Where to Start” was hosted by Ms. Tech and Belly at their River North headquarters. Small business owners supporting each other is right in line with our credo at CUSP Magazine, so of course we had to attend the event.
Entrepreneurs helping entrepreneurs was the theme of the first CODEFIDENT event…
Two panels of Chicago entrepreneurs were moderated by Leslie Vickrey, ClearEdge Marketing CEO and Founder, who is also a co-founder of ARA, a company in Chicago helping to advance women in their careers. The first panel featured Belly’s own CTO Craig Ulliott and Head of People Jeremy Haney. Since Belly launched in 2011 and now is in all 50 states, they were valuable people to give advice. Craig and Jeremy kicked off the discussion by sharing their personal stories of both business success and failure. Their stories inspired a long round of question and answer with the crowd of established entrepreneurs and small business hopefuls. One question from an audience member on the topic of keeping a day job while launching a startup was fielded by Ulliott who stated, “If you can, keep a day job and work 40 hour nights and weekends. That helps you get used to 100 hour work weeks. It shows you’re scrappy.”
On the topic of diversity (especially the lack of women in the technology field) Hanley stated, “Once you bring diversity into the fold, make sure the environment is welcoming.”
Leslie Vickrey – “Be bold, educate. Push back a little,” when it is time to get tough she suggests women should ask questions like, “would you have said that to a guy?”
The second panel featured an all woman line-up of innovative thinkers in Chicago: Gulé Sheikh (part of Ms. Tech, works with MATTER), Coco Meers (founder of PrettyQuick, the one place to book all your beauty appointments), Dima Elissa (CEO and founder of VisMed-3D which creates 3D printings of human body parts) and Marcy Capron (CEO of Polymathic, a consulting firm). The panel has all worked together in the past and continue to support each other in their endeavors. Their community driven approach to business taught them important business lessons that they shared with the audience. Leslie Vickrey offered questions to the panelists who responded with positive energy, guidance and a wealth of knowledge. The questions ranged from establishing roots in your business, team building and on to the all-important issues of competition. In terms of a small businesses market Meers stated, “Embrace and study your competition!”
The topic of the lack of women in top business positions and technology was presented. Elissa stated, “How do we get the same traction that our counterparts do?” She went on to make a point that men have sporting events, private clubs, etc. that allow them to communicate and support each other. Furthermore, they spoke about biased statements they have gotten from men in meetings, such as Meers giving a superior presentation to only get a comment on her stilettos. Vickrey stated, “Be bold, educate. Push back a little,” when it is time to get tough she suggests women should ask questions like, “would you have said that to a guy?”
CODFIDENT will be an ongoing series with different panelists sharing the common bonds of entrepreneurship and education. CUSP Magazine will bring you the details for upcoming CODEFIDENT events and locations.
Check out the Linkedin profiles of the event contributors to learn more about them and their companies:
Craig Ulliott – Belly Co-Founder & CTO
Jeremy Haney – Belly Head of People
Leslie Vickrey – ARA Co-Founder & ClearEdge Marketing CEO & Founder
Gulé Sheikh – Ms. Tech Technology Council Member
Coco Meers – PrettyQuick Founder & CEO
Dima Elissa – VisMed 3D Co-Founder & CEO
Marcy Capron – Polymathic Partner & CEO