Familiar with the international speaking circuit, I’ve been invited to speak at top conferences in the social media, digital marketing and technology sectors. Here’s a sampling of my most recent engagements:
- SXSW 2016 (Austin, 2016)
Non-technical entrepreneurs often hold themselves back once they’ve got an idea, because they feel like recruiting a CTO to build the proof of concept is essential. I organized a panel at SXSW 2016 to debunk the myth that tech startups must start with a technical product. I shared the story of Noble Impact’s non-tech digital portfolio MVP that led to us hiring a contract development team to build out the first version of the product. The session was highly anticipated and was featured as a session preview interview in SXSW official news.
- MIT Startup Accelerator (Cambridge, 2016)
As part of the speaker series for MIT’s summer startup accelerator program, I spoke about Startup Public Relations, in order to get the teams ready for their upcoming Demo Day, where media would be present, reporting on presenting companies. The discussion was followed by pitch feedback for each startup, wherein I made pointed suggestions on tightening up each team’s elevator pitch. It was exciting to speak at the accelerator, since I had sat in on a number of these speaker series talks while attending MIT.
- ASU Women’s Leadership Conference (Jonesboro, 2016)
Speaking with 200 business students at the Arkansas State University College of Business Women’s Leadership Conference, I addressed college and career success from the lens of my personal story, as a Northeast Arkansas native who became a first-generation college student and thought leader within technology and content creation. Titling my session “Womanhood and Entrepreneurship: My Journey From Paragould To Prosperity,” my purpose at the conference was to inspire future women business leaders to dream bigger than they’ve ever dreamed.
- 1 Million Cups Little Rock (Little Rock, 2016)
Every week, entrepreneurs across the country present their startup companies to their communities and learn how their community can help support their business to flourish. As Start Here Little Rock steering committee members, Clinton Foundation educational programmer Nathaniel Thomas III and I presented about the organization’s initiative to engage women and minorities in Little Rock to increase their access to entrepreneurial information, resources, and training.
- Lean Startup Conference (San Francisco, 2015)
High schools across the nation are implementing Lean Startup methodology in entrepreneurship, business, and marketing courses. At Lean Startup Conference, the mecca of lean startup gatherings, I shared the story of how my team at Noble Impact is empowering students to get out of the building and solve the problems they see in their communities.
- SXSW (Austin, 2015)
There’s an increasingly polar debate about whether an MBA is valuable in the pursuit of starting a business, but less common is the conversation of whether both can (or should) be pursued simultaneously. Joining a mixed panel of entrepreneurs with and without MBAs, I shared my personal experiences about founding a starting during business school and the pros and cons of waiting versus going for it during the program.
- Junior Achievement Youth Business Challenge (Little Rock, 2015)
Addressing a room of 120+ Arkansan high schoolers, I discussed the lessons I’ve learned as an entrepreneur since my days as a young Arkansan. Stressing my path from poverty to graduating as a first-generation college student, I used my life as a case study for what’s possible for Arkansans, even more so today. Kudos to the student who asked me about my inspiration to forge a new future for myself, against the odds — you touched my heart.
- Youth Entrepreneur Showcase (Y.E.S.) for Arkansas (Little Rock, 2015)
I served as a judge for the 2015 business plan competition, in which 5th-8th graders entered 5+ business plans with ideas for products and services ranging from hair tie holders and art supply organizers to deer dollies and photography sessions. The competition culminated in the Y.E.S. for Arkansas Expo Day, where students exhibited and marketed their goods.
- MIT Start6 (Boston, 2015)
Start6 is a workshop for Electrical Engineering and Computer Science majors at MIT (Course 6) to learn the necessary business skills to start a company. I moderated a panel about marketing and public relations and lead a workshop session on market segmentation during the three-week workshop.
- Women.com Ask Me Anything (Internet, 2015)
Answering questions about my career, life, aspirations, and greatest fears, I participated in an “Ask Me Anything (AMA)” digital chat session on Women.com, a question and answer platform that encourages women to connect, share experiences and knowledge in a women-only community.
- MIT Sloan The Yarn (Boston, 2015)
MIT Sloan’s “The Yarn” event is a forum for students to share their personal stories, to go deeper and become more tight-knit as a Sloan community. In May 2015, I shared my story about growing up as a “low-income, at-risk youth,” elaborating upon my childhood and how those labels affected and still affect me.
- MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (Boston, 2015)
Identified as a strong educator for my inclusive content facilitation style, I presented a class module on startup marketing to the Summer 2015 class of Global Startup Labs instructors prior to their departure to run local university-based startup accelerators in countries including Sri Lanka, Mexico, Malaysia, and South Africa.
- Alma High School DECA (Alma, 2015)
While researching Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) at Noble Impact, I learned about the highly active DECA student organization at Alma High School in Alma, Arkansas. The club runs a student-based enterprise called Airelooms (a school apparel store), named after the school’s mascot, the Airedale. I visited the school, saw the store in action, and spoke with the Small Business Operations class (that runs the store) about market planning and customer segmentation.
- eStem High Public Charter School (Little Rock, 2015)
During my final semester as an MBA at MIT Sloan, I conducted an independent study about career development opportunities for high school students, including a survey of the current landscape and ideas for potential programs. I presented by findings to partner organizations, Noble Impact, and during that visit also got a taste of student perceptions, needs, and desires by visiting with students at eStem High during a scheduled class visit, where I also shared my story of Arkansas-native-to-NYU-and-MIT with the students.
- Blank Label (Boston, 2015)
Alongside digital marketing expert Danny Wong, I sat on a fireside chat panel conducted by Blank Label CEO Fan Bi about the future of digital marketing and startup culture. The talk was live-streamed on Twitter via the Periscope app.
- Web Summit (Dublin, 2014)
Speaking on a panel of distinguished MBAs from the MIT Sloan School of Management, Harvard Business School, and HEC Montréal, I addressed 5,000 Dublin-area college students with a mission to inspire them to follow their passions.
- High School Startup Weekend (Little Rock, 2014)
Flying back to my home state of Arkansas, I served as a judge for the first-ever High School Startup Weekend, which took place at the Clinton School of Public Service. Fifteen high school teams, 54 hours of development time, and a whole lot of fun!
- HPAIR (Boston, 2014)
The Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations conference is focused on creating a forum of exchange relating to economic, political, and social issues in the Asia-Pacific region. I spoke on a panel about tech startup ecosystems and how they differ between key American and Asian ecosystems.
- MIT Start6 (Boston, 2014)
Start6 is a workshop for Electrical Engineering and Computer Science majors at MIT (Course 6) to learn the necessary business skills to start a company. I spoke on a panel about marketing and lead a workshop session on media relations during the three-week workshop.
- InnoWeekend (Boston, 2013)
I served alongside an esteemed panel of judges at Northeastern University’s 48-hour InnoWeekend hackathon, contributing my insight as a startup founder and student venture capital partner.
- Harvard iLab Startup Scramble (Boston, 2013)
Serving as a mentor at the Harvard Innovation Lab Startup Scramble, I mentored early-stage startup founders on the viability and scalability of their venture ideas, giving feedback on product offering, consumer feedback, and product design.
- Boston Startup Weekend (Boston, 2013)
Taking place at Boston University’s School of Management, Boston Startup Weekend was a 54-hour product validation workshop geared towards rapid development. I served as a mentor at the event, helping startups think through product and marketing strategies.
- SXSW (Austin, 2013)
More and more people are deciding to embrace a global way of living — no attachment to a specific city, apartment, job, daily routine. As I live the life of a professional vagabond of sorts, it was fitting that I join a panel along with three other world wanderers to discuss how we have destroyed our cubicles and made the world our offices.
- Public Relations Society of America (Kansas City, 2013)
As social media revolutionizes the way people communicate, publicists are increasingly turning to social channels to find and engage with journalists and the world at large. Entrepreneurs, too, are becoming more and more comfortable approaching journalists and managing their own PR. For journalists, this means an overflowing inbox and lots of confusing emails from strangers eager to stand out. I discussed the new rules for engaging journalists, in the world of social media and the age of the entrepreneur, highlighting best practices for pitching and communicating with journalists in a world of overflowing inboxes. Listen to the podcast on YouTube.
- NYU Stern (New York, 2013)
Entrepreneurship is on the rise, and social networks are helping entrepreneurs do everything needed to get their businesses going, from ideating, finding a co-founder, and hiring, to finding investors, managing stakeholders, getting press, and getting much-needed advice. I spoke with Professor Arun Sundararajan‘s “Networks, Crowds and Markets” class on this topic, focusing on the many new and growing social networks for entrepreneurs.”
- StartupBus Accelerate (New York, 2013)
As an alumni of StartupBus, the 72-hour hackathon on a bus, I spoke to the next generation of StartupBus buspreneurs about how to craft a startup email pitch that gets press, even before the product is built.
- Lean Startup Machine (Boston, 2013)
Addressing a room of budding entrepreneurs at a Lean Startup Machine Boston workshop, I spoke about the various types of Pitch MVPs, how to present them to potential customers, and what qualifies as valid “currency.”
- ARK Challenge (Fayetteville, 2013)
I spoke about startup PR with the second class of entrepreneurs at startup accelerator ARK Challenge, located in Fayetteville, Arkansas. As an Arkansas native, it was my pleasure to arm the next generation of Arkansan entrepreneurs with the communication tips they need for interacting with journalists.
- StartupBus Accelerate (New York, 2013)
StartupBus is a 72-hour hackathon that takes place on a bus en route to SXSW. Convening with fellow StartupBus alums and future StartBus entrepreneurs, I shared my knowledge about how to generate coverage while at a hackathon. This talk was based on my StartupBus experience of founding Deliverish and garnering extensive pre-product press.
- Community Managers Meetup (New York, 2013)
After a panel discussion about discovering the business value in social analytics, I gave a brief, and apparently highly entertaining, presentation about five tools and resources I recommend for other community managers. An audience member captured a video of me explaining the first, Schmap’s Know Your Twitter Followers tool.
- Sketch & Draft (New York, 2013)
Bringing together designers and content creators to discuss how they can better work together to improve the end-reader’s experience, Sketch & Draft explores how content fits into the design process — and how design fits into the content process. I spoke on a panel about bridging the gap between content and design, contributing my experience as a content strategist and journalist.
- SXSW (Austin, 2012)
The world of brand journalism is both controversial and ever-changing. I joined a panel including MarketingProfs Chief Content Officer Ann Handley, Twiter Editorial Director Karen Wickre and Eloqua Corporate Reporter Jesse Noyes to speak about how organizations are incorporating editorial practices and how journalists can make the shift.
- NYU Stern (New York, 2012)I was invited to speak with Professor Arun Sundararajan‘s “Networks, Crowds and Markets” class on the topic of “Trust and the Sharing Economy.” The discussion focused on current trust indicators on collaborative consumption platforms and potential ideas for solving the trust issue currently present.
- Mobile Marketing Strategies Summit (San Francisco, 2012)
Foursquare’s launch in 2009 set the stage for the mobilization of loyalty programs. While punch cards and scan cards still reign in use, mobile loyalty programs are popping up in a number of industries. I spoke to a group of mobile marketers about a number of mobile apps that can help mobilize their businesses’ loyalty programs.
- Technovation Challenge (New York, 2012)
As part of a 10-week program on developing Android apps, I taught a group of high school girls about presentation skills when pitching a product. The girls then went on to pitch their newly developed Android apps to a group of prestigious venture capitalists and angel investors.
- Social Media Strategies Summit (Las Vegas, 2012)
In response to the many question marks surrounding Google+ for businesses, I spoke about how small and medium-sized businesses are using Google+, highlighting the pros and cons of the platform for small businesses.
- Mediabistro Social Media 101 (Webinar, 2012)
Speaking with a group of beginner social media users, I presented on how users can optimize their LinkedIn profiles for attracting, building, and maintaining business connections.
- Mediabistro Social Media 101 (Webinar, 2012)
Presenting to a group of beginner social media users, I spoke on how to use LinkedIn and Google+ to build a personal and professional network.
- Social Media Strategies Summit (Chicago, 2012)
Big brands are making a splash on Google+. So, I provided a number of case studies on how brands are using the platform, incorporating details on the pros and cons of the platform from a business perspective and tips on how other businesses can learn from these corporate giants.
- Social Media Strategies Summit (Miami, 2012)
The Hispanic market is the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S. and also the most mobile and social media savvy in the country. While only 1% of advertising dollars are dedicated towards reaching this market, some brands are on the right path. In this presentation, I presented a number of strategies for effectively reaching tech-savvy Hispanic communities in the United States.
- Skillshare Master Teacher Dinner (New York, 2012)
I joined a group of “Master Teachers” at Skillshare to learn about what they’re teaching on the platform, as well as to speak with them on how to promote their classes through social media and digital PR tactics.
- DFlash Girls in Tech Summer Camp (New York, 2011)
On a panel about women in tech, I gave my insights on breaking into the tech industry to a group of motivated 11-15 year-old girls from the Young Women’s Leadership Network charter school.
- WOMMA Summit (Las Vegas, 2010)
I spoke on a panel about the state of social media marketing. Moderated by Jeremiah Owyang (Altimeter Group Partner of Customer Strategy), the panel included Rick Murray (President of Edelman, Chicago), David J. Chamberlin (MSL New York’s SVP & Director of Issues and Crisis Management, North America), Stephanie Agresta (Weber Shandwick’s Managing Director of Social Media), and me. Check out this live blog of the event for details.
- Social Marketers Summit (Prague, 2010)
At a time when Facebook was practically the only social network being used in the Czech Republic, I spoke at the Social Marketers Summit in Prague about 10 emerging social platforms and how businesses are using them. My presentation was mentioned by Tomáš Hodboď on Česká Televize.
- Social Media Brasil (São Paulo, 2010)
Lending my advise as a tech journalist and former New York Times social media consultant, I spoke at Social Media Brasil, the largest social media conference in Brazil, on best practices for traditional media outlets on social media.
- Hackers and Founders Meetup (New York, 2010)
Contributing my experience as a tech journalist, I spoke on a panel at Dogpatch Labs about “Demystifying PR for Startups.” Moderated by Hackers and Founders co-organizer Dave Ambrose, this panel included Yipit founders Jame Moran and Vin Vacanti, SeatGeek Director of Communications Ben Kessler, Unigo founder Jordan Goldman, Business Insider reporter Nick Saint, VentureBeat mobile writer Devindra Hardawar, Rubenstein Communications Director of Digital Media Adam Isserlis and me.
- LIM College (New York, 2010)
Invited to speak with Professor Shelley Nicholas’s “Social Media and Mobile Marketing” class, I gave an introductory course on blogging, focusing on revenue streams and organizational structures.