Featured Session
[ August 3, 2022 by Emma Barnhouse 0 Comments ]

Benjamin Vann

Benjamin Vann is a community builder, serial problem solver, and financial activist working at the intersection of technology, impact, policy, and capital. As a 5th generation entrepreneur, he is passionate about building new systems that center marginalized people and move them towards economic freedom and self-determination.

Benjamin currently serves as Impact Ventures Founder & CEO and leads overall strategic direction, executive management, and fundraising efforts. Benjamin’s journey to this work started in banking and corporate finance and evolved into social entrepreneurship, community organizing, global micro-finance, and impact investing.

When he is not strategizing on how to leverage capital to heal communities, he enjoys playing music and exploring city sites with his wife Cashmere and two sons Benjamin II and Braxton.

Featured Session
[ August 1, 2022 by Emma Barnhouse 0 Comments ]

Anthony McClure

Mr. McClure has wide‐ranging marketing and management accomplishments in global and domestic programs and procurement. First‐hand knowledge of international security, logistics, organizational planning, resource and personnel management, and administration.

Significant achievement in the negotiation of issues in politically sensitive environments. A consistent track record of winning bottom line results and growth.

As the President of The Peregrine Group International, Mr. McClure provides consulting and development to major industries and the US government in areas of security, terrorism, marketing, and management. Activities include threat assessment, risk analysis, security training and simulation, security briefings, corporate security analysis, marketing analysis, and research, new business development, and executive management. Clients include global businesses in such fields as governments, transportation and supply chain management, and entertainment.

While at E‐Systems (a Raytheon Company as of 1995), Anthony was the Regional Director ‐ Europe, Middle East, and Africa. He was instrumental in marketing/procurement/proposal activities for a wide range of products throughout the entire region. Introduced marketing, sales, service, support, and after‐sales activities as a mass data management and data storage system for major oil companies, weather bureaus, universities, large manufacturing firms, and governments. Responsible for marketing satellite communications on aircraft and ships; advanced data and voice secure communications involving law enforcement and special government departments; VIP and special cargo tracking for large
vehicle fleets and transportation companies; and multi‐media language and skills training marketing in Central Europe
after democratization and in South Africa.

Anthony was also involved in the sale of transportation, management, and traffic control systems for major municipalities
in the Netherlands and Greece. Provided telemedical radiological hardware and software to regional and local medical authorities and hospitals. Responsible for the sales of secure identification documents (ID cards, passports, card entry systems, etc.); non‐destructive testing systems for aircraft engines and structures; and law enforcement security devices for police, immigration services, and customs agencies. Managed a large organization of Value Added Resellers (VARs), Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), distributors, and agents throughout the region for sales and follow‐up sales and service support. Involved in many classified programs. Represented the company in several European Union (EU) and NATO agencies and regulatory groups for customs, intellectual property rights, and standards.

Featured Session
[ July 28, 2022 by Emma Barnhouse 0 Comments ]

Mike Marcantonio

Mike is a Partner at LiveOak and has been investing in high growth businesses for more than a decade.

Prior to joining LiveOak, Mike was a Principal with Blue Heron Capital, where he invested in early & growth-stage companies in the tech-enabled business services and healthcare industries. Earlier in his career Mike was with American Capital, a middle-market private equity firm, where he focused on pre-investment due diligence, valuation, and portfolio company management. He also spent time with the Healthcare group at Harris Williams, a sell-side M&A advisory firm. Mike started his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Mike received his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. He also has a BS in Finance and Accounting from James Madison University.

Featured Session
[ July 28, 2022 by Emma Barnhouse 0 Comments ]

Eric Engineer

Eric Engineer joined S3 Ventures in 2018 and is currently a Partner. He serves on the boards of S3 Ventures portfolio companies: NoiseAware, QbDVision, RepVue, Sumatra, Videate, and VUV Analytics. He previously served on the boards of Atmosphere and Briggo, prior to its acquisition by Coca-Cola. He also works closely with Allstacks, Liquibase, and Interplay Learning.

Eric was previously CEO at Invodo — an S3 Ventures portfolio company — which was acquired by CoCreativ (Industrial Color Studios) in early 2018. Prior to Invodo, Eric was a Partner at Sevin Rosen Funds, where he helped lead the firm’s investment in Invodo. Eric also worked at Microsoft, where he held a variety of roles in product management, product planning, and enterprise sales across several business units. Eric began his career as a Sales Engineer at Trilogy Software in Austin, TX. Eric has an MBA from Harvard Business School — as well as an MCS in Distributed Systems and a BA, cum laude, in Computer Science — both from Rice University. 

Featured Session
[ July 28, 2022 by Emma Barnhouse 0 Comments ]

Leah Reznicek

Leah has led the HR team at Smart Business Concepts since September of 2021. She has over 9 years of experience in Human Resources, supporting and empowering a global tax firm and scaling technology start up companies to focus on the people components that impact the business. Leah focuses on all areas of HR Management including establishing people-focused processes, compensation and benefits, training and development, talent acquisition and the employee experience. Outside of work she enjoys cooking, listening to podcasts, and hanging out with her dog, Warner!

Featured Session
[ July 28, 2022 by Emma Barnhouse 0 Comments ]

Kellen Jemeyson, CPA

Kellen has over 12 years of experience leading accounting and finance teams, specializing in profitability and finding the intersections between operational data and financial insight. He has been with Smart since 2016, originally leading the strategy team before taking on his current role as Director of Business Operations and Enablement . He can do it all – from valuations to robust financial modeling. When he’s not busy analyzing custom financial models or providing our partners with critical business intelligence, Kellen enjoys spending time with his son or racing his motorcycle. If you’re lucky enough to work with Kellen, you’ll understand your business better than ever, and you’ll know it’s in great hands.

Featured Session
[ July 28, 2022 by Emma Barnhouse 0 Comments ]

Chas Hart, CPA

Prior to working at Smart Business Concepts, Chas spent time as a Solutions Specialist and Analytics Manager in the Supply Chain Planning industry, focusing on finance and operational planning while leveraging technology to analyze data. He’s been with the Smart team since 2019 and has helped the company and client base evolve in his roles in Accounting and Strategy. Chas currently leads the strategy team. He helps our clients distill their complex business problems into creative and actionable solutions, creates data analysis processes and leads internal efforts in keeping the Smart team informed of the impact of the changing state of the economy.

Featured Session
[ July 26, 2022 by Emma Barnhouse 0 Comments ]

Cynthia Nevels

Cynthia Nevels, is a business management consultant who uses her voice to promote economic and community development through social impact and tech innovation.

Cynthia currently serves as Business Advisor for the national Goldman Sachs One Million Black Women Program. She formerly served as Senior Business Advisor and Alumni Manager for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program in Dallas, Texas. She has supported and advised multi-million dollar enterprises across Texas. She owns and operates the popular vegan restaurant and food truck, Soulgood in Dallas, Texas which is the recent recipient of the Hennessey Never Stop Never Settle $50,000 Grant Award and Hello Alice Grant Award. She was featured on the nationally syndicated television show with Harry Connick, Jr. – Harry on NBC 5; and voted Best Food Truck in Dallas by Dallas Observer in 2018 and number 7 in the country as best vegan food truck in the U.S. In 2019.

For over 18 years, Cynthia has been an integral part of helping clients meet their goals. Clients such as LiftFund, Inc. managing PPP Loan Forgiveness application compliance and processing, Capital One Bank, Palo Alto Software, Dallas County Community College District, Denton County Transportation Authority, LiftFund, RealPage, Wells Fargo, City of Austin, City of Dallas, Tarrant County College and Stella McCartney Enterprises.

Nevels recently joined Dallas Independent School Districts’ Multicultural Studies and History Advisory Council (MSHA) and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ team of innovative social innovation mentors for the GroundFloor Accelerator. She is a former mentor for Texas Woman’s University’s Women in Business Center and board member of the Marcus Graham Project, Inc. In 2012, she was appointed to serve on Chicago’s Task Force for Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Enterprise. 

Nevels is always willing to help entrepreneurs create innovative ventures, build plans to grow, create memorable and profitable brands, and organize their financial data to support growth.

Featured Session
[ July 26, 2022 by Emma Barnhouse 0 Comments ]

Amir Mirzadeh

Amir has been a Frost banker since 2010. As a commercial banker, he works to ensure that business owners, investors and others know about and have access to all of the banking products and services offered by Frost. In his nine year career Amir has worked with a wide range of clients, from the smallest of retailers to publicly traded companies. Amir is a professional who strives to produce satisfactory results and unmatched customer service, and he enjoys working directly with clients to help them reach their goals. 

He earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree with a double major in management and economics from Baylor University in 2010 and a Master of Business Administration degree from University of Texas at Arlington in 2014.

Featured Session
[ July 26, 2022 by Emma Barnhouse 0 Comments ]

Damon Hurst

Damon Hurst is a vice president and private banker with Frost’s private banking group. He joined Frost in 2020 and has more than 12 years of experience in the financial industry. Damon is responsible for helping clients navigate their sophisticated and diverse financial needs by developing a tailored plan and unique combination of services designed to protect and grow wealth to reach future goals.

Damon earned a Bachelor of Science in sociology from Southern Methodist University where he received the SMU Alumni Association Award for his outstanding character. He is a General Securities Representative and holds his Texas General Lines for Life, Accident, Health and HMO and Property and Casualty insurance licenses.

In addition to his work at Frost, Damon is a member of the Southern Methodist University Letterman’s Club and the Black Alumni of Southern Methodist University.

Damon enjoys spending time with his wife and four daughters and staying active by playing basketball, football and golf. He also enjoys reading and cooking for his friends and family.