DSWIL – Entrepreneurship Panel

DSWILCan anyone say PIVOT? The stories shared by the panelists were amazing but all seemed to have some sort of pivot in their lives. Some had large let downs – being fired and some had new and better ideas to pivot towards. One of the best quotes was “you can’t possibly predict what will happen when you graduate.”  Watch the video below for the full story.

Marilyn Laverty
Founder and President, Shore Fire Media

Marilyn Laverty is founder and president of Shore Fire Media, recently named #10 on New York Observer’s “Power 50” list of PR agencies. Shore Fire is known both for its blue chip roster of musical acts and also for its leadership in bringing new media strategies to its campaigns. Shore Fire’s roster includes Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Grizzly Bear, Carole King, Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown Band, Mavis Staples, and Lana Del Rey, among others, and also represents venues, businesses, charities, books and non-music events. An honors graduate in philosophy from Cornell University, Laverty was a successful freelancer for U.S. and British music magazines before she became a publicist. In 2011, Laverty was named one of Billboard Magazine’s top 40 Women in Music. 

Angela Mwanza
Senior Vice President, Richards & Mwanza Group (UBS)

Angela Mwanza headshotMs. Mwanza serves as a Private Wealth Advisor to ultra high net worth families serving as an outsourced family office. As part of her role she works to develop an investment plan that is focused on managing risk, liquidity and implementing high performing, values-based (or socially responsible or impact) investments. Ms. Mwanza joined UBS Private Wealth Management in 2008. Prior to her role at UBS, she was a Private Banker at Lehman Brothers Private Investment Management having begun her financial services career at J.P. Morgan Private Bank (Morgan Guaranty Trust).

Ms. Mwanza received her M.A. in Linguistics from the University of Konstanz, Germany and an M.B.A. from Johnson, Cornell University. She is fluent in German and holds Series 3, 7, 63 & 66 licenses.

Ms. Mwanza serves on the Advisory Boards of Johnson, Cornell University Business School and Entrepreneurship@Cornell. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and Grassroot Soccer. Ms. Mwanza is an Emeritus Member of the United Nations Foundation Global Entrepreneurs Council and most recently joined the MDG Health Alliance. Further activities include her memberships with the Social Investment Forum and the Economic Club of New York.

Ms. Mwanza hails from Zambia and currently lives with her husband Todd in Brooklyn, New York. She is an avid runner with five marathons behind her and enjoys golf, snowboarding and adventure travel, most recently to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Caitlin Strandberg
Associate, Flybridge Capital Partners

Caitlin Strandberg is an Associate at Flybridge Capital Partners whose investment interests and experience broadly cover companies and technologies across the information technology sector including ad tech, digital media, fin tech, and consumer interest. Flybridge is an early-stage venture capital firm with $560 million under management. Their goal is to find talented entrepreneurs and then partner with them to build exceptional and valuable companies.

Ms Strandberg joined the firm in August 2012 from LearnVest, a personal finance start-up in NYC where she served as Director of Business Development.  

Previously, Ms. Strandberg was the Associate Director of Business Development at Behance, a platform for showcasing and discovering creative work online. Ms. Strandberg was also the President and Co-founder of Slope Media Group, a student-run media organization based out of Cornell University that includes internet radio, internet television and a digital magazine.

Ms. Strandberg holds a BA in History from Cornell University with a minor in Science and Technology Studies.

Terry Swack
Founder & CEO, Sustainable Minds

undefinedTerry is a serial Internet and environmental entrepreneur and a pioneer in customer experience strategy and web-based product development. The arc of her career demonstrates how design thinking drives business and product innovation.

In 2009, Sustainable Minds® was first to market with a cloud-based software solution for manufacturers to operationalize environmental performance into product development. Today Sustainable Minds is used in industry and education in more than 75 countries around the world. The brand and market footprint position the company to become the industry standard solution for designing and marketing greener products.

In 2005, Terry founded The Beam™, a venture-backed Web 2.0 marketplace for consumers, manufacturers, and green building professionals to power the demand for clean and green products and services. In 2002, as VP Customer Experience for network security software startup StillSecure, Terry co-lead the product teams bringing three best-in-class products to market in 18 months. Her first company TSDesign™, an Internet strategy and product design firm, in 1996 developed the User Experience AuditSM, positioning the company as the industry leader in design analysis and user experience strategy. In 1999, TSDesign was acquired by Razorfish, a global digital services provider.

As an industry thought leader, Terry is a frequent speaker on innovation, the business opportunity for designing greener products and the future of the design and engineering software industry. Terry received her BFA in graphic design from Philadelphia’s University of the Arts. She is also the proud aunt of Laura Furman, Student Agencies’ new president.

Verneda White
Founder & Creative Director, Human Intonation

verneda whiteVerneda White is the Founder and Creative Director of HUMAN INTONATION, the premium, unisex apparel brand dedicated to raising awareness while donating 20% of each sale to pertinent social & human rights issues.   

Following her family’s personal experience with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the loss of her closest cousin and best friend to AIDS, Verneda began designing men and women’s graphic tees, tank tops, and dresses made from her own original patterns, using organic materials, to draw attention to re-building efforts in the Gulf Coast. Her platform of using fashion for social change, related community events, and speaking engagements nationwide has since extended to education for children in Darfur, rebuilding Haiti, and the brand’s primary focus on HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, and treatment. Verneda has received support from the likes of VH1’s Love & Hip Hop, Usher Raymond, Dr. Drew, and Wyclef Jean, in addition to lifestyle mogul B. Smith who wore her own Human Intonation tee during a cooking segment on The Wendy Williams Show. Human Intonation has been covered by outlets such as NV Magazine, Black Enterprise, AOL/Levi’s, and Uptown Magazine, while most recently Verneda became a blog writer for the Huffington Post, and the recipient of the Daily Points of Light Award from President George H.W. Bush for her innovation in service.

In addition to her work as a Social Entrepreneur, Verneda continues to be on the pulse of the fashion marketing, events, and brand management industries as an independent Consulting Event Director. Having graduated from EBS London, Verneda finished first in her International Business program earning a Masters of Business Administration with Distinction. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and an alumnus of Cornell University where she completed a B.S. Textile and Apparel Management, and was awarded the honor of College of Human Ecology Outstanding Student. Verneda has lived in London, UK, and Hong Kong, CH since graduating from Cornell and now resides in New York City.