2017 Speaker Lineup

Monday, April 3

7pm – Ore Dock Brewing Co. – 114 W. Spring


Crowdfunding – Thomas Coke is currently the VP of North America for Hubbub Fundraising.  He was previously the CEO of CampusStarter.co, a crowdfunding site for college entrepreneurs that was acquired by Hubbub in June.  He has also been the Director of Business Development at CrowdFundConnect and in Business Development for FinTech startup VerifyValid.  He advises a variety of startups in the Midwest and speaks around the country on crowdfunding, payments and electronic signatures as well as working on several state crowdfunding bills.  He is a graduate of Kalamazoo College and the Michigan State University College of Law.



Tuesday, April 4

7pm – Ore Dock Brewing Co. – 114 W. Spring

jeff wallace pic

The Power of Disruption, Innovation & Teamwork – Jeff Wallace, President, Global Kinetics – Jeff Wallace is founder and president of Global Kinetics, Inc., a San Francisco Bay Area based corporate advisor and market development accelerator which partners with early-to-mid stage clients seeking to establish or expand operations within the U.S. marketplace. He is also a Founding Investor of The Batchery, a Bay Area-based global incubator for seed stage startups poised for rapid growth, which was founded by 50 veteran Investor-Advisors ready to provide entrepreneurs with ideas, insights and networks. In addition, Jeff is an Entrepreneur in Residence for SKTA Innopartners where he works alongside the staff coaching and mentoring portfolio companies, sourcing new companies for the accelerator, conducting technical and financial diligence on new investments and expanding the contact network with other investors. Jeff was previously with Cognizant Technology Solutions and Brillio where he served as the founder of and Global Practice Head for the Mobility practices and also focused on Internet of Things (IoT) and user experience (UX) practice areas. Prior to this, Jeff was a serial entrepreneur having founded several businesses since the mid-1990s. In fact, Jeff was awarded the prestigious BridgeGate 20 Award, recognizing Jeff as one of the top 20 business leaders and “difference makers” in Southern California’s information technology and new media community. In addition, Jeff serves on the Global Advisory Board for the Enterprise Mobility Exchange and is a mentor and advisor to several Bay Area / Silicon Valley technology accelerators where he advises several early to mid stage technology companies. Jeff is also an active angel investor and a member of the Berkeley Angel Network as well as the global angel investor network, Keiretsu Forum. Jeff also serves as a Board member for Innovate Marquette SmartZone in Michigan where he helps support the entrepreneurial ecosystem in which new tech-based business ideas can start, grow and succeed while existing ones can continue to innovate, thrive and expand. Jeff frequently speaks at international conferences and corporate events and has published numerous documents about enterprise mobility, user experience, Internet of Things and related topics. Jeff earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics/Finance from Rutgers College and an MBA focused on Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Technology from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. He is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and, along with his wife, enjoys the Silicon Valley lifestyle.



Friday, April 7

Noon – 4pm – Ore Dock Brewing Co. – 114 W. Spring


Lunch and Professional Development Session: Lead Like a Legend – Jim Cederna, Cederna International, Inc. – Jim Cederna is a former Chairman and CEO of a publicly traded Fortune 500 company. He began his career in R&D at the Dow Chemical Co. and worked his way up to Senior Leadership positions including global assignments with the largest chemical company in the world. Jim has spent the last 13 years as a professional speaker, director on corporate boards, and executive coach for over 100 top business leaders. Learn how the best become “Legends” because of the way they lead themselves, their people, and their businesses. There will be an interactive discussion with questions during and after the presentation, which is packed with real life examples and practical ideas that can be implemented immediately to improve your leadership and your business success. Jim grew up in Iron River, Michigan as the son of an iron miner and played football at CMU.

7pm – Marquette Commons – 112 S. 3rd St.


Chicken Soup for Growth – Jim Cederna, Cederna International, Inc. -7pm – Marquette Commons – 112 S. 3rd St.


Sunday, April 9

6:30pm – Marquette Masonic Center – 128 W. Washington St.

SmartPrize 2017 Awards Banquet


Keynote SpeakerCathleen Francois is a Results Expert. Her mission is to help bring people to a place in which they yearn for continued expansion, both in business and in balance with the rest of their lives. Ms. Francois guides them to create simple, effective and evocative ways to uncover their dream and inspires the confidence they need to go after it with joy and inner peace. Cathleen holds several positions in multiple companies as well as serving as executive director of a developing non-profit. Her main position is Executive Director of GreeningDetroit.com, where alongside Founder John Carlos, she formulates the links between the hundreds of government, educational, and non-profit organizations, corporations, and business connections within Metro Detroit through public relations, marketing strategy, media and events. Her most exciting venture to date is as co-founder of a patent-pending technology that will eradicate the dysfunction of the current clean water infrastructure. Her background includes corporate management and sales, retreat and workshop creation and facilitation, former instructor and lead para-professional for several public and private schools, corporate speaker and practitioner of integrative therapies and philosophy.


Guest Host – Doug Garrison – Doug is a U.P. television personality who has hosted programs including “The Doug Garrison Show” and “Doug Garrison LIVE!” His time in television has given him the opportunity to meet and study many of the area’s entrepreneurs. Doug believes that the region is home to a great number of inventive and ambitious people who find the beautiful north country conducive to creative thinking.