Corporate Startup Innovation
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Mandy Price

Mandy Price is a Co-Founder and the Chief Executive Officer of Kanarys. Kanarys is a technology company that provides the tools organizations need to create long-term, systemic change around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) challenges. Kanarys provides the framework, benchmarking and data companies need to incorporate best-in-class DEI into every area of the organization, so they can track and measure not only “inclusion” and “equity,” but the impact on business outcomes. We are transforming DEI work with data.

Corporate Startup Innovation
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Bryan Chambers

Bryan Chambers is the President at Capital Factory, the most active early stage investment fund in Texas, where he manages the firms venture team responsible for sourcing and evaluating technology startups for the Capital Factory Venture Portfolio.

Prior to joining Capital Factory Bryan was a founding team member of Fixd Repair, a insuretech and home services technology platform that was successfully acquired by ANGI Home Services. Bryan was the founding Director of the UT Dallas Seed Fund and
the Blackstone LaunchPad in partnership with the University of Texas at Dallas and the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and holds a faculty appointment where he teaches Venture Capital at the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a nationally top
ranked entrepreneurship program. In addition to his work as an entrepreneur, educator, and venture investor, and community advocate for North Texas, Bryan is a founding member of Venture Dallas, a non-profit and tech advocacy organization aimed at
growing the venture capital ecosystem in North Texas. Bryan completed his undergraduate and MBA degrees at UT Arlington.

Corporate Startup Innovation
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Bill McNulty

Entrepreneurial executive with success in fintech product development, digital product management, and business development at startups and large companies.

Disrupt Dallas
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Terrence Maiden

Terrence Maiden currently serves as Chief Executive Officer for Russell Glen, a real estate development and investment company that is based in Dallas, Texas. He draws on more than two decades of real estate experience to lead and inspire the company’s growth. Terrence is widely recognized for his leadership and vision in the commercial real estate development industry. He is currently at the forefront of the award-winning Shops at RedBird, redevelopment of former Red Bird Mall. Before establishing Russell Glen, Terrence served as Executive Vice President at Corinth Properties. While at Corinth Properties, his most signature development projects were Glen Oaks Crossings, Canyon in Oak Cliff, Alexan West Dallas, and the redevelopment of Sears at Richardson Square. Terrence received a Bachelor of Science and Engineering degree from Texas Christian University, where he and his identical twin brother Tim were standout football players for the Horned Frogs. In 2015 both Maiden brothers were inducted in Texas Christian University Hall of Fame. Terrence currently serves as Chairman of the Maiden Foundation, a nonprofit organization that invests in educational and community revitalization projects. He is also actively involved in many other charitable/civic organizations including, Board of Trustees of International Council of Shopping Centers, UT Southwestern Medical, Dallas Deck Park, Methodist Health System, The Dallas Loop, University of North Texas Dallas Foundation, Harmony Community Development Corp., Dallas Black Dance Theater, International Council of Shopping Center Foundation, Texas Christian Black Alumni Association, and Urban Land Institute. 

Women of Innovation
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Sarah-Allen Preston

Afloat founder Sarah-Allen Preston has always been a celebrator of relationships. As a professional event planner, she knew how important it is to celebrate your tribe and have fun doing it, too. But what happens when life takes crazy turns and often what is left by the wayside is the time spent celebrating and supporting the people you love? 

afloat was created after two deeply personal experiences – a son’s open-heart surgery and divorce – left Sarah-Allen wanting to show gratitude and thanks to her community but not having the time to do it. She realized that there was no solution that existed to help her support those going through hard times like she did AND celebrate the happy ones, too. 

So, she created it. And gifting became afloat’s love language. 

afloat is a gifting marketplace created to celebrate the people and businesses you love with the ease and convenience you crave. It’s a place where people can go to show someone you care, and it makes you feel good. At your fingertips, you can give gifts, support local businesses, and reinforce relationships. Better yet, afloat uses technology to make these things easy and enjoyable, and then everyone reaps the real-life reward of doing good and feeling good. 

afloat is a space to celebrate the most important and valuable part of life — relationships and connection — in a joyful and fun way. We’re on a mission to become the happiest space in the digital world, by connecting to the relationships that exist in real life. 

Defense Innovation
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Rodney (Rod) Wetterskog

Rod Wetterskog, Assistant Dean Corporate Relations, the Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS), University of Texas at Dallas where he engages industry in research and recruiting partnerships. He directs the UTDesign Studio; home of the ECS UTDesign Senior Capstone, EPICS, Makerspace, and Start-Up entrepreneurship programs. Prior to UT Dallas, Rod was an optical scientist at Eastman Kodak (7 years), an applied physicist at the Superconducting Super Collider, a U.S. Department of Energy project (4 years), and managed the university relations program at Texas Instruments (10 years). 

Degrees: 

BS, Physics, Penn State University

MS, Physics University of Oklahoma

Corporate Startup Innovation
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Paige Dawson

Paige Dawson – North Texas Angel Network 

Board Member

A serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and certified woman-owned business, Paige Dawson brings a unique blend of talent to advise small business owners and entrepreneurs. She is founder & president for MPD Ventures Company, a marketing, branding and publicity firm that specializes in working with entrepreneurs and small business owners. Her team works daily to help clients grow brand awareness, develop leads, and generate revenue. Previously, she was co-founder of ithought.com, marketing director with Arthur Andersen, and account executive with Spaeth Communications. A Phi Beta Kappa, Paige is a graduate of Southern Methodist University.

Corporate Startup Innovation
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Stacey Gee Miller

As the leader of the Toyota Financial Services (TFS) Strategic Innovation group, Stacey Miller’s mission is to drive value to TFS through external and internal strategic alliances.  Stacey oversees new business incubation at TFS to build new capabilities and new revenue streams for Toyota’s future.  In her 28 years of leadership within Toyota, she has held various roles in sales, service operations and mobility.  Her commitment to innovation and diversity makes her a great partner.  

Stacey is originally from New York and after finishing her academics in Business Administration from Hofstra University, Stacey started her career in Automotive Finance, which led to her move to California to join Toyota.  In 2015 Stacey made the move to Plano, Texas with Toyota and currently resides in McKinney, Texas with her two sons.  Stacey is a board member of the DEC Network, a Dallas non-profit organization driving innovation and economic impact by helping entrepreneurs start, build, and grow their businesses.  She is also a founder of Parents of Toyota, a business partnering group that connects Toyota families to create a community that is “going places together”.

Corporate Startup Innovation
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Duan Dankesreiter

Duane is the Senior Vice President of Research and Innovation at the Dallas Regional Chamber.

Duane oversees the Research team which is responsible for creating research products that support the DRC’s strategic priorities of economic development, the talent pipeline, and talent attraction. Duane’s also leads the DRC’s activities around supporting the launch and growth of innovation activities in DFW by connecting entrepreneurs, innovators, researchers, and the business community.

In 2013, Duane and his team were a Grand Prize Winner in the American Chamber of Commerce Executives Awards for Communication Excellence competition. The prize recognized the Dallas Regional Chamber’s Economic Development Guide as the best chamber publication in the nation. More recently, Duane helped lead the launch of Dallas Innovates, a new online news site dedicated to telling the stories of innovation in Dallas-Fort Worth. The website, dallasinnovates.com, launched in December 2015.

Duane joined the DRC in August 2009. He was previously employed at the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) for 14 years. There he led demographic and economic data research efforts.

He is a member of the Dallas Area Business Economists and the Council for Community and Economic Research. Duane also serves as a member of the Cedar Hill Economic Development Board of Directors and the Dallas Entrepreneur Center Board of Directors.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Texas A&M University, and a Master of Public Affairs (M.P.A) degree from the University of Texas – Dallas.

Community NavigatorWomen of Innovation
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Danica Hershberger

Nikka is a purpose-inspired leader and operational strategist who thrives on elevating businesses, professionals, and entrepreneurs to new levels of performance, vision, and mission.  

Proven track record of building customer centric organizations, collaborative and nimble cultures, implementing operational and systemic growth initiatives.  Innovative in approach and thought, Nikka excels in moving highly conceptual ideas into executable and thriving initiatives. 

Professionally, Nikka is currently the Managing Director at Dallas College Bill J Priest Institute.  Her main project is bringing an accessible, future-focused, and technologically advanced Innovation Hub to the DFW Community that drives long-term economic success for the area.  The Innovation Hub will serve as a central point for small businesses, workforce, corporations, and higher education to collaborate and engage.  She is also involved in sustainability initiatives at the college and creating sustainable, renewable, and agricultural programs and labs as part of the Innovation Hub offering.

Prior, Nikka worked with entrepreneurs and small business owners, as a Business Strategist and Consultant, helping them from ideation to realization, launching one company and moving another into development. She was the Director of Operations at Republic Elite, a countertop and cabinet Multifamily Construction company (post-merger) and Chief Business Officer of Elite Surface Innovations (pre-merger).  There she created, implemented, and managed the operating infrastructure for the start-up company, and helped the company grow from start-up to $8M in revenue in 4 years, and supported the company through merger and acquisition.  She was instrumental in developing a culture focused on project profitability, quality installation, and customer service.  She gained a solid foundation in consulting and business engagement while working with Arthur Andersen Business Consulting in New York City.

She has an MBA from Wake Forest University.  She was an active member of Junior League of Dallas, Toastmasters International, and all things fun!  She is also a Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming and has been blessed to journey with sacred teachers. 

Community Engagement

  • Speaker – Guest on Local & Thriving Podcast, 2020
  • Speaker – GridNEXT 2019
  • Panelist – Alternative Funding Resources at The Capital Factory, 2019