Sara Slimp


Lark Blow Dry Studio

Sara Slimp is a corporate controller turned entrepreneur that is passionate about the flourishing of Omaha.  She brought the west coast blowout bar concept to Omaha in December, 2013, by opening  Lark Blow Dry Studio.  At Lark women of all ages get runway ready for occasions big and small.  Leaving the comfort and safety of Valmont was a difficult decision and while Sara misses the global travel, the support she has from her friends at Valmont has certainly eased the transition.

Sara recognized the need for women to be able to get their hair styled in between their normal cut and color visits. It's an old concept, the "wash and set" of your grandma's day, repackage, re-purposed and now called "the blowout".  Omaha is busy place and women want to look and feel their best as they go to all of their events.

 Sara is the fourth-generation of an Omaha-loving family and a graduate of University of Nebraska at Omaha. Her grandfather's meat-packing house no longer stands in South Omaha but she can't go very long without running into an aunt, uncle or distant cousin that still have thrive all over this great city.  Sara serves as a mentor for Straight Shot and is a deacon at Coram Deo Church. 

 Sara will be a participant on the Successful Midwest Women Entrepreneurs Interview Panel.

Mary Graff is a consultant with the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at the Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC), College of Business Administration, University of Nebraska at Omaha.  Mary has worked at NBDC for 34 years, and was the Assistant State Director for Outreach programs for a number of years prior to her current position as a PTAC consultant.  In her capacity as the Assistant State Director at NBDC, Mary was responsible for various programs over the years, one of which was as the publications editor.  She also spearheaded and operated a venture capital club and venture capital network in the early years at NBDC.  Later, she operated an international trade education program for businesspeople, which also served to internationalize the business curriculum in the College of Business Administration.  As a PTAC consultant, Mary very much enjoys working with businesspeople to help them sell their products and services to all levels of government.  She assists them with all aspects of government procurement, from finding the initial bidding opportunities to helping them get paid through such systems as the federal government’s Wide Area Work Flow (WAWF).   Mary has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and is a Certified Contracting Assistance Specialist (CCAS) by the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC).   She is also a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional (CEDP) by the National Development Council.  

Mary will be in the Certification Room with Melissa from the SBA and Rissa from OPPD

Mary Graff

Nebraska Business Development Center

Scott Bishop


A former Franklin Covey consultant and agency digital and social media leader, Scott brings a coveted blend of creativity and business acumen. He has led sales and marketing campaigns for big-name brands and startups alike, including ACE Hardware, Disney, Barrel House Distillery and Shooter Jenning’s new recording label, BCR Media. He’s published two eBooks focused on digital marketing for Financial Times. He is also a founder of Omaha’s 1 Million Cups chapter and a mentor for startup accelerators Straight Shot and NMotion.

​Scott will be leading - After the Market Research is Done, Now What - Breakout Session

Adam Baumgartner

Sales Executive

CDS Global Logistics, Inc.

Laurie is owner Spirit World, Omaha's original specialty wine and spirits store and gourmet deli and specialty wine, beer and liquor store located in midtown Omaha, Nebraska. They are known for their famous chicken and tuna salads, as well as a wide selection of wine, specialty import and microbrew beers, and hard-to-find liquors and cordials. Spirit World is a local favorite, having won Omaha Magazine's Best of Omaha award for Best Wine Store, Best Liquor Store and Best Deli for many years!

Laurie is on the Successful Women Entrepreneur Interview Panel and the Afternoon Retailer Panel listening and giving feedback to women practice their product distribution pitches.

​Pamela Peterson


​University of Nebraska Omaha

Shonna Dorsey

Co-Founder, Managing Director 


​​Janyne Peek Emsick, Ph.D.

Owner, Founder of Inte'grow Inc. &Owner, Managing Partner of Emsick Architects

Bart Dillashaw,

Partner, Koley Jessen Law Firm

Ty Delley,
CEO, founded Back2Family

Deyna joined the firm in 2001 and serves as a Tax Partner at Lutz. She began her public accounting career in 2000 and has significant experience in tax consulting and compliance within the non-profit, real estate and construction, manufacturing and services business industries. Deyna leads the IRS audit consulting and representation efforts at Lutz and regularly advises on IRS collections and procedural issues. Deyna lives in Elkhorn with her husband Derrick and their son Truman. Her outside interests include reading almost anything, baking pies, and Oklahoma Sooners football. Affiliations and Credentials includes: Certified Public Accountant, 2002; American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Member; Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants; Tax Committee Member Great Plains Federal Tax Institute; Board Member Association of Certified Fraud Examiners; Associate Member Community Service Literacy Center for the Midlands; ;ast Board Treasurer  Junior League of Omaha, Current Financial Vice President . Educational Background  BSBA in Accounting, with highest distinction, Creighton University, Omaha, NE   Lutz is a Major Supporter of Own It Omaha.  

Deyna will be leading the Afternoon Panel of Investors as women practice their funding pitch to the experts.

Ty worked for nearly 20 years at Gallup, a research-based management consulting firm, and then changed to a more flexible consulting career to allow more time for her family.  “The flexibility of consulting allowed me to have more availability for my kids. What was evident from day one was that our evenings no longer consisted of lengthy checklists for everyone but an opportunity to spend more purposed, intentional time together. That’s when I knew that a service to help busy parents with after school obligations would be ideal for families,”

Ty worked for Gallup from 1993-2012, and held two key roles during her tenure. From 2011-2012, Ty served as the Performance Manager for Gallup’s Entrepreneur Acceleration System (EAS) — a program that matches entrepreneurs who are in the early stages of building a business with experienced business leaders who support and mentor them throughout this process. As a Performance Manager, Delley worked with entrepreneurs around the globe to help them strategize for growth through critical systems and technology.  In addition to her role as Operational Performance Manager, Delley built and led Gallup’s Global Client Support from 2000-2012. This team assists global customers and employees of Gallup clients with questions regarding Gallup products and services. Delley’s personal passion is reflected in her work to help developing countries build an entrepreneurial ecosystem for self-sustainment. Delley served as Co-Executive Director for the Nebraska Global Orphan Project, a nonprofit organization that supported orphanages in Haiti and sought to create self-sustaining opportunities for orphanages and their surrounding villages. Delley holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is pursuing her Masters of Arts degree in International Relations at Creighton University.

Ty will be leading - "Building Your Business & Raising Your Kids With Purpose" Morning Breakout Session. 

Bart Dillashaw is a partner at the Koley Jessen law firm in Omaha, Nebraska, where he practices general corporate and securities law. Bart primarily works with private companies on general corporate and transactional matters, including formation, equity financings, and mergers and acquisitions. In addition, Bart represents venture capital and angel investors on investments in high growth companies. Bart is actively engaged in the angel and venture capital community in Nebraska, and he is the President of the Nebraska Angels, Nebraska's largest formal network of angel investors. In addition, Bart is a mentor for the Pipeline entrepreneurship program and for the NMotion and Straight Shot business accelerators, and he is a member of the advisory board of the Entrepreneurship Clinic at the University of Nebraska College of Law.  Bart has spoken on the legal aspects of angel investing at numerous conferences, including the annual summit of the Angel Capital Association. He also serves on the board of directors of Nitride Solutions, Inc., a Wichita, Kansas based company developing a high-volume, low cost process to produce high quality, single crystal nitride substrates.    Koley Jessen Law Firm is a Major Supporter of Own It Omaha.  
​Bart received his J.D., with honors, in 2002 from the University of Texas School of Law, and his B.A. from the University of Texas in 1997.   

Bart will be on the afternoon Investor and Retail Panels listening to and providing feedback to the funding and product pitches. His area of experience is working with Technology Companies.
​Janyne is an expert in leadership development, organizational change and adult learning.  With over 20 years of global
experience designing and leading custom programs, Janyne’s insightful and energetic approach inspires organizations around the world to walk their talk, one leader at a time.  She serves as a catalyst for positive change in individuals, which drives successful change transformation in teams and organizations.  Janyne's experience is multi-faceted, having partnered with clients as large as the Fortune 100 and as small as micro-entrepreneurships.  Janyne and her husband, Mike, launched Emsick Architects, where Janyne serves as Managing Principal.   Janyne serves on the Business Ethics Alliance's Board of Trustees, and served on the founding board of the Congo Initiative, launching a bilingual university in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Her consulting and facilitating has taken her from North America and Europe to Burma, the Philippines, Kenya and the DR Congo.

Janyne will be leading - "Best Practices for an Engaged Culture" - in the Morning Breakout Session and part of the Successful Women Entrepreneur Interview Panel

Teri's trial practice focuses on complex commercial disputes, franchising, intellectual property, product liability, securities, and insurance defense. Teri's franchising experience includes representing franchisors and franchisees, in both litigation and alternative dispute resolution venues, regarding a whole host of franchise relationship, intellectual property, and compliance issues. Additionally, she has counseled start-up franchisors regarding franchise and business opportunity matters. ​Other Experience/Achievements: Listed: Benchmark Litigation, The Definitive Guide to America's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys Graduate, Nebraska State Bar Association Leadership Academy, Class 2011 Member, American Bar Association Forum on Franchising Publications Committee Associate Staff Member, Creighton Law Review, 2000-2002 American Bar Association Trial Advocacy Competition, first place recipient, 2001 International Moot Court Board, 2001-2002 Practice Areas: Administrative Law and Government Relations, Business Litigation, Franchise Litigation, Insurance and Surety Coverage Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death, Admitted to Practice:Nebraska United States District Court for the District of Nebraska ​United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth CircuitEducation:Creighton University, J.D., summa cum laude, 2002University of Nebraska-Omaha, B.S., magna cum laude, 1998

Teri will be presenting the Morning Breakout Session:  Franchise- A Business Option with two of her clients,

Mary Ann's trial practice focuses on complex commercial disputes, with particular emphasis on patent, trademark, unfair competition and copyright disputes and securities litigation. Mary Ann also counsels clients on intellectual property matters, assists clients in enforcing intellectual property rights,  and prosecutes trademark applications in the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Her Other   experience/Achievements includes:   Law Clerk to Judge Michael R. Murphy, United States Circuit Judge, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, 1997-1998    Law Clerk to Judge Martha Vazquez, United States District Judge, District of New Mexico, 2009-2011; Associate Editor, Stanford Law  Review, 1996-1997;  Articles Editor, Stanford Law & Policy Review, 1995-1996; Published: Elephants, Donkeys, and Ducks,When Trademarks are Borrowed for Political Speech, 28 New Matter 1 (2003)  Practice Areas Include:  Business Litigation,  Intellectual Property and Technology,  Intellectual Property Litigation,  Securities Litigation  and FINRA  Arbitration   Mary Ann was admitted to Practice in:    Nebraska, California, New Mexico; United States District Court for the District of Nebraska;  United States District Court for the Northern District of California;  United States District Court for the Central District of California;  United States District Court for the Southern District of California;  United States District Court for the District of Colorado;  United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit;  United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit;  United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit   Her  Education was completed at:   Stanford Law School, J.D., with honors, 1997  University of Michigan, B.A., with highest distinction, 1994   Cline Williams Wright Johnson and Oldfather are a Major Supporter of Own It Omaha.

Mary Ann will be leading the "Intellectual Property for Entrepreneurs" Morning Breakout Session

Elizabeth Yearwood joined the US Small Business Administration in March 2013 as an Economic Development Specialist and Administrative Officer. Prior to joining the SBA, Elizabeth was an Administrative Officer with the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Omaha for four years. Elizabeth is a veteran of the Air Force, and has a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minn.  Elizabeth’s experience includes economic development, government grant management and developing educational programs.

Elizabeth will be leading the "What are Your Funding Options" Morning Breakout Session with Joe Fox and Marisol Rodriguez

Shonna is a co-founder and the Managing Director for Interface: the Web School. Shonna was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska and is an alumnus of the University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) where she earned both Bachelor's and Master's of Science degrees in Management Information Systems (MIS). Her career includes training facilitation, project management and application development. She has earned the Project Management Professional (PMP) and Project Management Institute-Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) certifications through PMI. Shonna is a board member of the UNO Alumni Association, chairs the UNO Information Science and Technology Alumni Advisory Group, and is an adjunct faculty member for UNO's graduate MIS program. As a professional who is passionate about education, Shonna is excited to extend support to the region's tech talent development and retention efforts through Interface: the Web School.

Shonna will be leading the Morning Breakout Session, "Managing Your Website & Web Developer" and on the Successful Midwest Women Entrepreneur Interview Panel.  Interface:  The Web School is a supporter of Own It Omaha. 

Joe Fox
Business Innovation Manager for the
Nebraska Department of Economic Development

Ryan joined the firm in 2012 as a financial analyst and now serves as business valuation manager at Lutz. With over eight years of experience in banking and finance, he has significant expertise in providing analysis, forecasting, strategic planning and valuation models to privately-held companies in a variety of industries.  In 2013, Ryan became accredited in business valuation and specializes in helping individuals and companies with merger and acquisitions, estate and tax planning and marital dissolution matters.  Ryan is a Certified Valuation Analyst and a member of the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts.  Her graduated with his Masters in Security Analysis and Portfolio Management and Masters in Business at Creighton University.  He received his BSBA in Management, University of Nebraska- Kearney, NE.

Ryan will be co-leading the Morning Breakout Session, "Is Your Business Fundable." 

Marisol U. Rodriguez

Technology Commercialization Program Director

Nebraska Business Development Center

Marisol U. Rodriguez is the Technology Commercialization program director at the Nebraska Business Development Center.  Marisol consider herself as a successful woman intrapreneur:  Growing customer base, developing and implementing marketing plans, building professional networks and creating partnerships, adding value to stakeholders, managing budgets, etc., are some of her accomplishment during her professional career. Marisol's business consulting experience consists of start-up consulting, financing application/process for lenders and private investors, cash flow analysis, business model development and business plan writing, marketing plan development, and financial projections development and analysis.   Recently, she has expanded her knowledge in the grant government, technology transfer, and technology commercialization arenas. Marisol, who is bilingual in Spanish and English, holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a Master of Science in economics.  She is a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional by the National Development Council and Certified as Technology Consultant by the Association of Small Business Development Centers. 

 Marisol will be participating in the Morning Breakout Session, “What are Your Funding Options.”

Elizabeth Yearwood

Small Business Administration



Specialist/Administrative Officer

​Mary Ann Novak

​Attorney At Law

Cline Williams Wright Johnson and Oldfather, LLP

Barbara Soderlin is one of seven reporters on The Omaha World-Herald's Money desk. She covers retail shopping, consumer spending and the food business.  Barbara studied English literature at Northwestern University and is pursuing a master's degree in journalism at South Dakota State University.  She is a Chicago native and lives in Omaha with her husband, World-Herald photographer Ryan Soderlin, their two daughters and their rabbit, Sunny B.
Contact her with tips at

Barbara will be participating in the afternoon Media Panel.

Pamela Peterson is an Instructor at the University of Nebraska Omaha in the College of Business Administration.  In her current position, she teaches upper division courses in sales, marketing and management. At UNO she has developed and taught a variety of sales course including Consultative Selling Principles and Fundamentals of Selling. She is also tasked with building the Sales Innovation and Research Institute which includes four programs: Sales Education, Corporate Services, Sales Career Development and Sales Effectiveness Research. Her research focus on is the effectiveness of sales methodologies specifically within the frontline sales management role. In addition, Pamela is a founding member and Managing Principal of Soldes Partners, LLP a corporate sales advisory firm. She has more than 30 years of diversified experience in sales and marketing at the national and global level with a proven track record of success. Her industry expertise includes professional service firms and industrial and durable goods manufacturers ranging in size from start-ups to Fortune 100 corporations including Accenture and Tyco. She has significant experience managing complex initiatives across highly matrixed organizations with multiple stakeholders. Equally conversant in the sales and marketing disciplines she specializes in defining and executing go-to-market strategy, linking sales to strategy, identifying and capitalizing on new product and market opportunities, building brand equity and creating viable sales enablement tools. Pam is recognized for her ability to grow sales, market share and margins in both the core markets and in adjacent markets. Ms. Peterson received her MBA from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business and a MS degree from Creighton University. She can be reached at 312.515.7404 or via email at 

Pam will be leading the Morning Breakout Session:  "Sales Process for Entrepreneurs"


​Adam is a Regional Sales Executive for CDS Global Logistics, a full-service international freight forwarder, NVOCC, and U.S. Customs Broker. He is well-versed in global distribution, supply-chain, overseas procurement, and global trade practices. He offers transportation and logistics services to many Midwest companies within the agricultural, manufacturing, retail, and automotive sectors.

Adam also serves on the Board of Directors for the Midwest International Trade Association (MITA) and University of Northern Iowa Marketing Advisory Board. He currently resides in Omaha, Nebraska.

Adam will be leading the Import/Export - Logisitcs Break Out Session

Tanya Morrison, Director and General Counsel for Home Instead, Inc. 

She will be joining Teri Koller of Cline Williams Wright Johnson & Oldfather and Melissa Hegarty of Nothing Bundt Cakes in the Franchise- A Business Option Morning Breakout Session.

Ryan McGregor,

Business Valuation Manager


Barbara Soderlin


Money Desk

Omaha World Herald

Laura Classen

Executive Director of the Nebraska Angels

Aretha Prodjinotho 

Director of the Nebraska Business Development Center Omaha

Laurie Hellbush Wolford
Spirit World

Veronica Barrientos

Client Development Social Media Contractors

Veronica is Client Development Strategist for Social Media Contractors—a premium social media and content management firm located in Omaha, NE. In her role, Veronica focuses on working with new and existing clients to build effective social media strategies based on true ROI. She has previously held advertising and marketing positions for political campaigns, sports teams, popular tourist destinations, and nonprofit educational services. She earned a degree in Public Relations from College of the Ozarks. Veronica’s philosophy is to continue to always be a sponge in this ever-changing industry.

 Veronica is Co-Leading the Morning Breakout Session- Social Media & Blogging.

Catherine Walsh


Social Media Contractors

Angela Woltman has worked for Strictly Business magazine since graduating from college in 2001.  She began as a features writer, then moved up to Editor in Chief and Vice President of Operations.  She soon realized that taking on the roles of editor as well as ad sales and being a single mother was too much, and scaled back to focus on sales.  She now enjoys working with local businesses to help them realize the value of press, assist them in developing their message, and helping them succeed through marketing and PR.  Angela also organizes and speaks at seminars on writing and utilizing press releases.Type your paragraph here.

Angela will be on the Afternoon Media Panel- providing feedback to women entrepreneurs on their PR pitches.

Brad joined Lutz in 2015 and serves on the Lutz M&A advisory team. He brings several years of experience in the financial services industry, including mergers & acquisitions, private equity, commercial and investment banking, and equity research.  He brings perspective from both the buy-side and sell-side of transactions.  Brad lives in Omaha with his wife and two sons and is actively involved in Youth Sports as a Coach and is a Junior Achievement volunteer.  He is a University of Nebraska – Lincoln Graduate and has his MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.  LUTZ is a Major Supporter of Own It Omaha.

Brad will be joining Laura Classen and Ryan McGreggor in the "Is Your Business Fundable"  Break Out Session

Ginny is a 20-year Hy-Vee veteran who began her career at Hy-Vee in Des Moines working part-time as a service clerk, checker/stocker and customer service clerk. While attending college in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, she continued to work part-time at stores in Coralville, West Des Moines and Ankeny.  After graduating from Grand View College in 2003, Ginny became a full-time employee at the Hy-Vee in Coralville. She was quickly promoted to manager of perishables in 2004 and then manager of store operations in 2006. She was selected for her first store director assignment in 2008 in Creston, Iowa. She was selected for her current store director assignment at Omaha No. 2, located on Stony Brook Blvd. in July 2011. Ginny graduated from Dowling Catholic High school in 1997. She earned an associate degree from Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 2002 and a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Grandview College in Des Moines, Iowa in 2003. Ginny and her husband Brian have two children —Jake, who is 8, and Izzie, who is 4 months old. Ginny is also involved in many community activities. She is on the Boy Scouts Board and volunteers for many events including the Scouting for Food Campaign. She supports the Millard Young Adult Program and is very active with the Exploring Program, which help local youth determine their career paths.

Ginny will be a member of the Afternoon Retail Expert Panelgiving feedback to women practicing their product distribution pitches.  

Theresa Koller

Attorney at Law

Cline Williams Wright Johnson and Oldfather

Deyna Rouse

Tax Partner

Lutz & Company, PC

Joe Fox is the Business Innovation manager for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.  Joe manages the newly implemented Business Innovation programs that are responsible for $7M in annual state prototyping and R&D grants, SBIR matching grants, and commercialization investment for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. Joe holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree in Advertising from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Master of Business Administration degree in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Indiana University.  Joe and his family currently reside in Lincoln, NE.   

Joe will be in the Morning Breakout Session:  "What are Your Funding Options" discussing Grant opportunities for Startup companies in Nebraska. 

Tanya Morrison, Director & General Counsel Home Instead, Inc.

Veronica spent two years working as a research specialist for the Small Business Innovative Research Program (SBIR) and four years as a Market Research Analyst. Veronica performed market research and analysis for the innovative technology coming out of R&D companies, and university researchers, in order to help them achieve product commercialization through government contracting, start-ups, or licensing. For the past 4 years, Veronica has been also providing Export Assistance to Nebraska companies helping them with export business planning, international market research, international pricing, and export licenses and regulations. She is a Certified Technology Counselor (CTC), Certified Export and Trade Counselor (CETC) and Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP)

Veronica will be in the Import/Export Morning Breakout Room with Adam Baumgartner

Ginny Ward

Store Director

Stony Brook Hy-Vee

Aretha Prodjinotho is the Director of the Nebraska Business Development Center in Omaha. She manages the small business consulting program and leads a team of professionals who provide direct technical assistance to owners and potential owners of small businesses. She brings extensive experience in management consulting, business planning, financial analysis and small business loan applications. Aretha is a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional through the National Development Council.  She holds a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Management Information Systems from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Aretha speaks French and Russian.

Aretha will be leading the Morning Breakout Session "Digging Deep Into Your Market" (Market Research).

Erica Wassinger

Managing Partner

EWR Public Relations

Lisa Tedesco

Business Opportunity Specialist


Catherine is Editor for Social Media Contractors, a premium social media marketing firm located in Omaha, NE. As Editor, Catherine oversees all blog activity for SMC and their clients. She also contributes as a social engagement specialist ensuring that all social media content is consistent and quality-driven. At Creighton University, Catherine was pre-law during her undergraduate education, and recently graduated with her Master’s in English, specializing in Rhetoric & Composition/Ethnography. Catherine’s diverse background helps her thrive in this industry of constant flux.

Catherine will be co-leading the Social Media & Blogging Morning Breakout Session with Veronica.  

Rissa Scurlock

OPPD Corporate Purchasing & Inventory Control Manager

Melissa previously worked at Sheppard’s Business Interiors in Omaha. She was looking for a new challenge, and was reevaluating her career goals in relation to her commitments to caring for and spending time with her growing family. A colleague and friend, Sharon, who she knew through Sheppard’s, was familiar with the Nothing Bundt Cakes brand from living in Las Vegas. Together Melissa and Sharon sent out for a franchise packet to learn more about owning a Nothing Bundt Cakes franchise. In July 2009 Sharon and Melissa visited the Nothing Bundt Cakes Corporate Office and were invited to become franchisees. With help from the SBA and Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC), the two worked on and revised a business plan and received business loan funding. They opened the store in Omaha in November 2010. They’ve since opened another location in Lincoln. Melissa said that some keys to success she has found are delivering an exceptional product, developing and training people, and consistent communication.

Melissa will join Teri Koller in the Morning Breakout Session, "Franchise- a Business Option."

Karen Linder is Partner, at Linseed Capital LLC. She is an entrepreneur and a member of the Nebraska Angels and Women Investing in Nebraska (WIN). She is a former small business owner and former faculty at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She serves on the boards of the Museum of Nebraska Art, KANEKO and SkyVu Entertainment.  Linder spent nearly 30 years as a Cytotechnologist, studying cells, and has written numerous medical scientific journal articles and books.  Her book, The Women of Berkshire Hathaway, was published in 2012..

Karen will be on the Afternoon Funding Panel giving feedback to women entrepreneurs practicing their business funding pitch.

An Omaha native, Laura earned her bachelor's from University of Nebraska - Lincoln, with a dual major in accounting and finance, while maintaining her first small business - an administrative and bookkeeping consulting business based in Lincoln. Upon graduation, Laura served as the controller and financial analyst with a small private equity/venture capital firm based in Lincoln, gaining a deeper understanding of mergers, acquisitions and the analysis behind private investment.  During her time at the company, Laura was part of the diligence and acquisition team for a multimillion dollar banking industry acquisition, and subsequently managed investment inflow for a $ 9 MM capital raise. In addition, her experience included advising engagements to maximize cash flow and operations efficiencies, which gives her a unique perspective when analyzing the scalability of business models. In August of 2012, Laura founded Raven Enterprises, a small business and start up consulting company with the mission of enabling entrepreneurs and small business owners to maximize their potential.  Serving as a complement to the entrepreneur, Raven Enterprises works with the founder to build strategic business plans and financial models to analyze various market and exit opportunities. Currently, Laura continues to support entrepreneurs as the Executive Director of the Nebraska Angels.  The Nebraska Angels is a network of over 50 accredited investors who meet regularly to review and invest in early stage companies with high growth potential.  As Executive Director, Laura sources investment opportunities for the Angels, manages and conducts diligence and guides both Angels and entrepreneurs through the capital raise process. 
Laura will be in the Morning Breakout Session "Is Your Business Fundable?" and on the afternoon Investor Panel, listening to and giving feedback on the funding pitches.

​Erica's positioned clients in the national spotlight through high-quality stories appearing in The New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Fitness Magazine, Woman's Day, Shape, Family Circle, Self, and Parade to name a few.  She hails from Dallas and now resides in the Good Life State, specifically Omaha. Working with a handpicked group of clients spanning the marketing, technology, startup and nonprofit industries. Erica continues to build valuable relationships with media and influencers for the brands she represents. 
Erica's a mentor in the first-ever Omaha technology accelerator, Straight Shot, as well as the American Heart Association Sweet Hearts program. Erica is also a member of the Fashion Institute Guild, which supports Omaha Fashion Week -- the nation's fifth largest fashion event.

​Erica will be on the Afternoon Media/PR Panel giving feedback to women practicing their PR pitches.

Lisa Tedesco is a Business Opportunity Specialist with the US Small Business Administration (SBA) with primary responsibilities in federal government contracting, specifically working with certified 8(a) and HUBZone firms as well as assisting the public with federal contracting assistance.  Prior to joining the SBA, Lisa Tedesco was with the Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC) as the SBIR/STTR Program Manager for the state of Nebraska, managing all outreach, training and counseling activities to small businesses and entrepreneurs on the benefits of and opportunities with the finding SBIR funding to advance new technologies into the commercial sector. Prior to joining NBDC, she spent her professional career in corporate America, working for a large government prime contractor, most recently as the small business liaison officer managing the company’s corporate-wide small business diversity outreach activities and compliance in small business subcontracting planning.

Lisa will be leading the Morning & Lunch Breakout Session and area on Certification, doing Business with the Government & Corporations. 

Angela Woltman

Strictly Business Magazine

Melissa Hegarty,

Nothing Bundt Cakes, Franchise Owner

Brad Lehl

Mergers & Acquisitions Manager


Karen Linder


Linseed Capital, LLC

Veronica Doga, CGBPExport Counselor/Market Research Analyst Nebraska Business Development Center

Rissa Scurlock is the Corporate Purchasing & Inventory Control Manager in the Material Management Division for Omaha Public Power District.  Rissa began her career with the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) in 1988 as a Junior Clerk in the Transmission and Distribution Division.  In 1996 she was promoted as a Corporate Buyer for Purchasing and Contracts and in 2011 named as the  Manager of Corporate Purchasing and Contracts.

Rissa will be in the Morning Breakout Session- Certification, and Doing Business with the Government & Corporations