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Dallas Startup Week Keynote – Abe Minkara, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson & Trey Bowles

Abe Minkara is the Founding Partner of Legacy Knight. Prior to Legacy Knight, Abe was the Managing Director at Mark Cuban Companies. Abe managed the portfolio of investments at Mark Cuban Companies with a focus on technology, logistics, and consumer product goods (Shark Tank).

Abe is also actively engaged as an advisor and board member with a number of companies leveraging his expertise in strategy, operations, and capital allocation to help accelerate their growth. D CEO Magazine has recognized Abe as one of the 500 most influential business leaders in North Texas for 2020.

Additionally Abe is a Member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) North Texas Chapter, Advisory board member at Institute of Excellence in Corporate Governance (IECG), Advisor at NPX (A new Donor Fund), Advisor at NYC based City Rock Ventures (Focus on Impact with Diverse Founding Teams), Mentor at Unreasonable Group (Global Impact Accelerator), Advisor at Guardian Bikes (Shark Tank Season 8 Company), Advisor/Mentor at Stadia Ventures (Global Sport Business Accelerator), and Advisory Council Member at Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT).

Abe received his MBA from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.

Eric Johnson was elected as Mayor of Dallas in June 2019. He was born in Dallas, Texas in 1975 to working class parents and raised in West Dallas and Oak Cliff. He attended Dallas Independent School District schools through the first grade before earning a scholarship to Greenhill School through the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas.

After graduating high school, Mayor Johnson earned his undergraduate degree with honors from Harvard University before earning a graduate degree from Princeton University and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Mayor Johnson and his wife, Nikki, live in Dallas with their three children, William, George, and Lela. He is a member of the Mountain View Church of Christ. 

Mayor Johnson is a practicing lawyer in Dallas. He is a former member of the Texas House of Representatives, where he represented Dallas from 2010 to 2019. 

Trey Bowles is a serial entrepreneur, social capitalist, and educator. He co-founded the Dallas Entrepreneur Center (The DEC Network), a central location for entrepreneurs to learn how to start, build, and grow businesses through training, education, mentorship, promotion, and capital investment.

Under his leadership, the DEC launched a public-private partnership called the Dallas Innovation Alliance to help design, develop, and launch a Smart Cities solution in Dallas. In an effort to get more young professionals engaged in the City of Dallas, Bowles cofounded The Mayor’s Star Council with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to find culturally diverse and civically minded emerging leaders that wanted to embrace and engage the city today rather than just inherit it in twenty years.

Trey also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Southern Methodist University where he built and launched an entrepreneurship program in the Arts Entrepreneurship and Arts Management department in the Meadows School of the Arts.

Disrupt Dallas Keynote – Ryan Wilson and Demetra Brown

Ryan Wilson is the Co-Founder and CEO of TGS Holdings, a consumer lifestyle and hospitality company based in Atlanta, Georgia. The company’s holdings consist of The Gathering Spot, a private membership club; and A3C, a music, tech, and film conference and festival.

At the age of 24, Ryan and his business partner, TK Petersen, raised private capital from investors to open their first Gathering Spot location in Atlanta. The club has established itself as a home for creatives, business professionals, and entrepreneurs and regularly hosts notable and culturally impactful events. Ryan recently opened the second Gathering Spot location in Washington D.C. Responsible for the company’s overall management and strategic vision across all holdings, Ryan is leading the club’s physical expansion to Los Angeles and forthcoming markets, as well as the company’s digital platform TGS Connect.

Ryan has been honored as the Small Business Person of the Year by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, selected as one of the 2020 Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 40 under Forty honorees, and was the recipient of the John Lewis Emerging Leader Award by the 100 Black Men of Atlanta. He was also selected to join the inaugural class of Shea Moisture’s Social Justice Coalition. Atlanta Magazine named him one of “Atlanta’s 500 most powerful leaders” from 2019 through 2021, and he was awarded Atlanta’s Best Influencer by WXIA-TV. He has also been named one of the country’s most influential African-Americans in The Root 100 and the Ebony Power 100.

Ryan graduated from Georgetown University and Georgetown University Law Center. He currently resides happily in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife and daughter.

Demetra Brown is the Senior Director for The DEC Network and The DEC@Redbird, a 501c3 nonprofit organization driving innovation and economic impact by helping entrepreneurs start, build and grow their businesses.

Demetra is an experienced leader that provides transformative professional development for mission-driven leaders. Through customized coaching and consulting services, she guides young adults and millennials as they explore who they are and the leaders they want to become. 

​Almost ten years ago, Demetra spent her weekdays leading student organizations and studying economics at Louisiana Tech University. On nights and weekends, she kicked into overdrive by working multiple jobs to support herself. During undergrad, she also attended inclusion and diversity conferences, studied entrepreneurship and innovation, and spearheaded civic engagement initiatives among her peers. Even with her educational pursuits, experience proved to be the best teacher.

After graduating college, Demetra jumped head first into a leadership role with a national retailer. The first few years of her career provided her with a solid foundation for growth: mentorship, accountability and professional development. Over the next ten years across various industries, she spent her career leading people, learning from challenging experiences and lifting others. She gained experience in human resources, recruitment, operations, and multi-unit management. Additionally, she serves as a nonprofit leader within a youth workforce initiative.

As a teacher, encourager, and leadership specialist, Demetra provides one-on-one leadership development and strategic planning, group workshops, and speaking. She’s spent the last decade studying leadership through practice as well as theory which includes completing her MBA in 2016.

​Demetra resides in Dallas, TX with her husband, Nolan and their two children. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, reading great books and checking out live concerts.

Women of Innovation Keynote – Shar Dubey

Sharmistha Dubey currently serves as the CEO of Match Group, overseeing growth for the portfolio of brands including Tinder, Match, Meetic, OkCupid, Hinge, Pairs, Plenty of Fish, and OurTime.

Prior to her current role, she served as Match Group’s President, overseeing all strategy, research & development, and innovations across the portfolio. She also served as Chief Operating Officer of Tinder, where she led the team that launched Tinder Gold, a subscription product that has established Tinder as the highest-grossing non-gaming app globally.

Shar has also served in various roles across the portfolio, including President of Match Group Americas, overseeing all product, engineering, and revenue functions at the portfolio’s domestic brands; Chief Product Officer of Match; and Chief Product Officer and EVP of The Princeton Review.

Shar joined the company in 2006 and has been a key driver of Match Group’s mergers and acquisitions, revenue, and product strategy over the last 15 years.

She holds a B.S. degree in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology and a Master’s in Engineering from The Ohio State University.

Shar serves on the Board of Directors for Match Group and Fortive (NYSE:FTV).

Corporate Startup Innovation Keynote – Guy Raz

Guy Raz is an acclaimed radio and podcast personality, described by The New York Times as “one of the most popular podcasters in history.” Perhaps his best-known show, How I Built This, features in-depth interviews with the world’s greatest innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built. The show has been lauded by media outlets including the New York Times, Inc, Fortune, the Washington Post, and was recently named one of the ten podcasts that shaped the decade by Harper’s Bazaar. Raz has also been a featured guest on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon several times.

In addition to being the creator and host of How I Built This, Guy is also the co-creator and co-host of NPR’s first-ever podcast for kids, Wow In The World, the creator and host of Spotify’s The Rewind and Luminary’s Wisdom From The Top, and the co-creator and former host of NPR’s TED Radio Hour. His shows are heard by more than 19 million people each month around the world and he is the first person to ever have three shows in the top 20 on the Apple Podcast charts.

His first book, How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World’s Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs, was released on September 15th, 2020. Based on his highly acclaimed podcast, the book offers priceless insights and inspiration from the world’s top entrepreneurs on how to start, launch, and build a successful venture.

Find more speakers by downloading The DEC Network app in the App Store or Google Play Store.