The Project Entrepreneur Summit | New York City: Know Your Customer offers aspiring and early-stage women entrepreneurs the chance to connect with one another and workshop their ideas with some of the brightest entrepreneurs and investors. Workshop speakers include co-founders of Rent the Runway, Jennifer Hyman & Jennifer Fleiss, Piera Gelardi, Refinery29 and more!
1:00-1:30 PM Check-In
1:30-1:40 PM Welcome Remarks
1:40-2:25 PM Keynote Conversation
10 Minute Break
2:35-3:35 PM Workshop #1
10 Minute Break
3:45-4:45 PM Workshop #2
4:45-5:45 PM Cocktail Reception
Jennifer Hyman, Co-Founder & CEO, Rent the Runway
Jennifer Hyman is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Rent the Runway, a company that is disrupting the $1.7 trillion fashion industry by introducing clothing rental as a utility in women’s everyday lives. In her role, she sets the strategic priorities and leads the company in growing all areas of the business, including marketing, technology, product, logistics and analytics. She co-founded Rent the Runway in 2009 with Jennifer Fleiss, and has since raised over $190 million in venture capital, growing the business to over 6 million members, 1,100 employees (which is over 60% female and 70% minority) and 450 designer brands. As the CEO, Jennifer has built Rent the Runway from an idea into a profitable, high-growth company valued at nearly $1B and one of the most beloved brands in the U.S.
Jennifer has been honored with recognitions like Forbes “12 Most Disruptive Names in Business”, Fortune’s “Most Powerful Female Entreprenuers”, “Trailblazers”, “40 under 40” and Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business.” She is also a frequent guest on television, serving as Rent the Runway’s spokesperson on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Fox Business News, Bloomberg and at major industry events.
She received her BA from Harvard University cum laude and MBA from Harvard Business School. In 2015, Jennifer Co-Founded the Rent the Runway Foundation to help female entrepreneurs throughout the U.S. build scalable, high-growth companies. She is an investor in and advisor to a diverse group of startups throughout the U.S. and is passionate about diversifying entrepreneurship. Jenn lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter Aurora.
Jennifer Fleiss, Co-Founder of Rent the Runway
Jenny recently started code eight, the first portfolio company within Walmart’s startup incubator. As CEO and Co-Founder of code eight, she leads a team focused on developing highly-personalized, one-to-one shopping experiences. Jenny Co-Founded Rent the Runway, a business that has transformed the retail industry by making designer clothing rentals a convenient and accessible luxury experience for millions of women. During her time at Rent the Runway, Jenny wore many different hats, serving as President, Head of Logistics, Head of Business Development and Head of Special Projects. Jenny remains a Rent the Runway board member and adviser.
Jenny has been honored with numerous recognitions including: Inc.Magazine’s “30 Under 30”; Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40” and “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs”; and Fast Company’s “Most Influential Women in Technology”. Prior to Rent the Runway, Jenny worked at Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley as part of their Strategic Planning Groups.
She earned her MBA from Harvard Business School and graduated Cum Laude from Yale University. She is Co-founder of the RTR Foundation, a proud advisor to several female-founded start-ups, serves on the advisory board of the HBS Startup Studio and is a guest lecturer at Yale, Princeton, NYU, Columbia and Harvard Business School. She currently resides in New York City with her husband and three children.
Lori Feinsilver, UBS Head of Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility, Americas
Lori is Head of Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility and Executive Communications for UBS Group Americas. She also leads the UBS Foundation USA. Since 2011, Lori has led a strategic overhaul of UBS’s philanthropic and corporate giving platform, creating a more cohesive and impact-driven organization while establishing a culture of service among the region’s 20,000 employees.
How To Fail Early, Fast and Often For Long-Term Success (Human Centered Design Methods) with IDEO
Your new mantra: Fail early, fast and often. Trust us, this will lead to success in the long term. This workshop, led by the design consultancy IDEO, will introduce you to Human Centered Design methods to help you get deep with your users and their needs, and to prototype your solution over and over again until you get it right. You’ll leave with a basic understanding of design thinking and a suite of tools and tactics to carry you and your business forward.
Ademide Adefarasin, Business Designer, IDEO.org
Ademide is a Business Designer at IDEO.org, the non-profit design organization incubated at IDEO. In her role she applies strategic thinking, experimentation and prototyping businesses to ensure the viability of the products, services, and experiences that IDEO.org designs to improve the lives of people in poor and vulnerable communities.
Aya Jaffar, Communication Designer for the Amplify Program at IDEO.org
Aya is a Communication Designer for the Amplify program at IDEO.org. In her design work, Aya is most passionate about the collaborative process of designing with and learning from the communities she worked with to cultivate their strengths and potential. She is fueled by empathy and is inspired by its impact on social responsibility, storytelling, and the poetics of everyday life.
Sloane Beaver, Senior Design Researcher and Project Lead, IDEO
Sloane is a Senior Design Researcher and Project Lead at IDEO New York. With a background in brand strategy, Sloane brings human insight and inspiration to complex challenges across the private and public sectors. She is passionate about engaging users as partners and co-designers throughout the design process to inspire human-centered solutions.
Be The Most You: Building A Brand With Spirit
The highest valued companies and the most fulfilled people have one thing in common: they know who they are. Learn how to leverage your unique strengths to build a memorable brand that truly connects with consumers.
Piera Geraldi, Co-Founder & Executive Creative Director, Refinery29
Piera Gelardi is Executive Creative Director and Co-founder of the award-winning digital media company, Refinery29. She leads a growing team of creatives who bring the brand to life online and IRL through diverse, original content, storytelling, and experiences meant to empower and inspire women. She and her team have won numerous awards and honors including CLIO Image, Webby’s, Digiday Publishing, and spots on both Inc 500 and Fast Company’s lists of most innovative companies. Piera was recently honored as one of Ad Age’s 50 Most Creative People of the year. In 2014, Piera co-authored Refinery29’s first book, the New York Times best seller, Style Stalking.
She is a frequent public speaker, a jury member for the CLIO Image Awards, the Webby Awards, and the Art Director’s Club, and holds a seat on boards of Step Up and Lower East Side Girls Club, two organizations focused on connecting girls and young women to healthy, successful futures.
How to Get Your Story Told: Generating Buzz and Press Coverage
Any founder knows how difficult it is to break through all the noise and get coverage for their brand and business so what’s an entrepreneur to do? Veteran journalist Kelly Wallace of CNN offers some tips on developing the sharpest pitch, seizing press opportunities and navigating the media landscape to get your story to a wider audience.
Kelly Wallace, Digital Correspondent and Editor-At-Large, CNN
Kelly Wallace is a digital correspondent and editor-at-large for CNN, focusing on family, career and work/life balance. An award-winning digital journalist and television correspondent, Wallace writes in-depth articles and socially sourced stories and does original web videos for CNN Digital’s Health, Wellness and Parenting section. In addition, she appears regularly on both CNN and HLN TV.
Wallace came to CNN from iVillage, where she served as chief correspondent and executive director of digital video. While there, she made headlines for scoring exclusive interviews with First Lady Michelle Obama, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Alicia Keys, Jill Biden, Dr. Oz and other newsmakers. She also appeared regularly on TODAY and MSNBC. In 2012, Wallace received a Gracie Award for Outstanding Reporter/Correspondent.
Kori Hale, Anchor, Cheddar TV
Kori Hale is an anchor at Cheddar TV appearing on its most popular shows, covering technology, business and media live from the New York Stock Exchange. Cheddar TV is the leading innovative news media platform for millennials on digital platforms all over the world. Previously, she was a TV Producer for CNBC’s top rated shows, Squawk on the Street and Squawk Alley. Prior to joining CNBC, Kori served as an international producer for Bloomberg TV and a financial correspondent for TheStreet.com.
Rachel Nagler, Director of Communications, Bloomberg Philanthropies
Rachel Nagler is a public relations and communications specialist who has been working in the field for more than 20 years. She currently leads communications for Bloomberg Philanthropies, which works across five program areas—arts, education, environment, government innovation, and public health—to help ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people.
Building a Differentiated Brand on a Budget
When it comes to building a brand that resonates with your customers, the ability to differentiate is crucial. Learn how to build a high impact brand on a budget.
Rachel Blumenthal, Founder & CEO, Rockets of Awesome
New York-based entrepreneur and mom Rachel Blumenthal created Rockets of Awesome, which launched last July, to offer parents a simpler and smarter way to shop for high-quality kids clothing. She began her career at Yves Saint Laurent, before launching her first entrepreneurial venture as designer and founder of the fashion jewelry brand Rachel Leigh. The brand was licensed to GlamHouse in 2011. Rachel then lent her hand to Warby Parker, which was cofounded by her husband Neil, before founding and acting as CEO of Cricket’s Circle, the trusted resource and editorial destination for everything baby and toddler. It was the insights and learnings from the Cricket’s Circle community, in addition to her own experience as a mother that inspired the idea for Rockets of Awesome.
Jennifer Mellon, Founder and President, Trustify
How to Use Grassroots Marketing to Validate Your Idea and Grow Your Business
Why do so many businesses fail? How do you grow your business with little to no capital? Learn how to use grassroots marketing and the lean startup process to validate your idea and scale your business.
Jennifer Mellon is the Co-Founder and President of Trustify, the first technology platform to connect individuals and businesses to the only nationwide network of highly-vetted, licensed private investigators. Goldman Sachs named Jen one of the “100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs”.
Prior to founding Trustify, she served as Executive Director of Joint Council on International Children’s Services and Program Director for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. A serial entrepreneur, Jen also founded Aqua Pure Technologies and Oh My Darling Designs. She was a speaker at International StartupFest, SXSW, and Conference of Western Attorney Generals to discuss Trustify’s anti-human trafficking work. She has been featured in Vice, Forbes, Inc., Fortune, Business Collective, Quartz and is a staff writer for Adoption.com. She is the recipient 2017 Women In Technology Entrepreneur Leadership Award, The Leadership Center for Excellence 40 Under 40 Award and Alexandria’s 40 Under 40 Award, and the Barbara Pratt Lee Heart of Gold Award. She resides in Alexandria, Virginia with her Co-Founder and husband, Danny Boice and their 5 children.
How To Successfully Raise Money
In this workshop, explore the 3 things you need to dramatically increase your chances of raising venture capital (or other funding) for your company. From identifying the right person to approach, to perfecting the pitch, to customer milestones and metrics that signal to investors that your company has what it takes to scale and deliver strong returns.
Tracy Chadwell, Founding Partner, 1843
With over 15 years’ experience in venture capital and private equity, Tracy Chadwell is the Founding Partner of 1843 Capital, a venture capital fund focused on early stage technology companies. She is a leader and a sought after speaker within the community of women founders, innovators and entrepreneurs. Formerly, she was a partner of a growth capital venture capital fund – Baker Capital. She is a current Board Member of Marstone, and Sachs Insights. Passionate about service, she proudly serves on the Advisory Boards of both the New York Institute of Technology and the MIT Enterprise Forum, is an Executive Advisor for the Echoing Green Foundation and a Mentor for Monarq and Techstars KC.
Linnea Conrad Roberts of GingerBread Capital/ Roberts Foundation New York and Menlo Park
Linnea is a Retired Partner of Goldman Sachs. Linnea joined Goldman as a partner in 2004 and served as co-head of Technology within the global Technology, Media and Telecom Group through 2011. Most recently, Linnea served as Diversity Ambassador for the Investment Banking Division. Linnea created GingerBread Capital a venture firm focused on investing in women founders and entrepreneurs. She also looks to connect great women-owned and/or operated businesses with women investors.