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:
- Collegiate Summer Venture Program (Amherst, 2020)
A partnership between Valley Venture Mentors and UMass Amherst, the Collegiate Summer Venture Program is a 10-week startup accelerator that helps founders deeply understand their customers and build solutions that meet real market needs. I served as a mentor and workshop leader, focusing my session on startup public relations and messaging.
- University of Indianapolis (Indianapolis, 2020)
Hosted by the Office of Inclusion & Equity at the University of Indianapolis, the “Profiled: The Plight of Blacks in America” digital town hall featured a panel of university staffers and myself, speaking up on the issues facing black Americans today. I lent my voice as a white ally and co-conspirator, sharing resources I’ve created under the #PoliceThePolice Pledge campaign.
- Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship (Amherst, 2020)
In an intimate setting with UMass Amherst founders and aspiring entrepreneurs, I shared my war stories from the entrepreneurial world in the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship’s Startup Bootcamp’s Fireside Chat series. As the first solo fireside chat speaker, I focused on my experience founding and growing Southern Swallow over a decade of life and business transitions.
- UMass Amherst Innovation Challenge (Amherst, 2020)
As one of four judges for the semifinals of the UMass Amherst Innovation Challenge, I helped simulate a investor boardroom pitch for startups participating in the competition. Sponsored by the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, the Innovation Challenge is a four-part, cross-campus entrepreneurship competition that launches promising ventures to the next level with $65,000 awarded in prize money in the finals. Semifinal teams received checks of $1,000 each.
- Tuck Startup Incubator (Hanover, 2019)
The Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship at Dartmouth College hosts the Tuck Startup Incubator to support startups from the Tuck School of Business and undergraduate business programs. I was honored to host a workshop on Startup Marketing which focused on audience definition, marketing channels, one-sentence pitches, and getting stuff done now. The workshop featured team activities and a landing page challenge, and I assessed the seven teams’ pitches in advance to determine strengths and weaknesses.
- MIT Mobile EdTech Hackathon (Cambridge, 2019)
I had the honor of serving as one of the alumni judges of the Mobile EdTech Hackathon, a hackathon-style class that offers students mentorship and four weeks to develop prototypes for mobile educational technology during their Independent Activities Period (IAP) in January.
- MIT Bootcamps (Rio de Janeiro, 2018)
As a coach for the MIT Entrepreneurship & Innovation Bootcamp in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I co-mentored a group of global innovators, entrepreneurs, and change-makers from idea to pitch over the course of five days. Prior to the bootcamp, I led an online seminar on startup PR, and in Rio, my keynote was on how startups can build mindshare. On average, companies coming out of MIT Bootcamps raise $500K in initial investments.
- Arab Innovation Academy (Doha, 2018)
As a speaker at the largest entrepreneurship program in the pan-Arab region, I spoke on thought leadership and community building to teams of aspiring startup founders working to take their concepts from an idea to a tech start-up in 10 days. My talk centered around using content marketing, targeted events, online communities, and media to build sustainable mindshare.
- San Francisco Writers Conference (San Francisco, 2017)
Accompanied by Literary Publicist Julia Drake and author Rusty Shelton on a panel about building communities online, I spoke about my experience building an audience for Entrepreneur Kid, my book series about real kid entrepreneurs with real businesses.
- Economics Arkansas (Springdale, 2017)
As a part of Economics Arkansas’ “Empowering Entrepreneurship Education” (E3) conference, I spoke about the Entrepreneur Kid books I’ve authored and how educators can teach them in their classrooms. Economics Arkansas provided attendees with up to two Entrepreneur Kid books to bring back to their schools after my virtual talk. Read more about the event and watch my talk here.
- Catapult High School Entrepreneurship Incubator (San Mateo, 2017)
There’s nothing I love more than inspiring young kids through my story, and I’m blessed with opportunity to potentially do just that. At the Catapult summer high school entrepreneurship incubator, students come to work on teams to solve problems and build companies. I was the keynote speaker at the San Mateo stop on the three-city incubator tour and served as a mentor to help the young aspiring entrepreneurs build out their Minimal Viable Products (MVPs). I hope my words and advice were able to catalyze at least one attendee to pursue their ideas.
- University of Central Arkansas (Conway, 2017)
At the invitation of illustrator and graphic design professor Li Zeng, I’ve visited the University of Central Arkansas multiple times to judge design competitions and act as a mock client for student projects. I enjoy seeing the talents of Professor Zeng’s budding design scholars.
- UCA Makerspace (Conway, 2017)
The Conductor, an entrepreneurship development network based out of Conway, Arkansas, held a book gifting ceremony to present every elementary school in Faulkner County, Arkansas with a set of Entrepreneur Kid books. I joined to celebrate the moment and discuss with school leaders in attendance the importance of exposing youth to the concept of entrepreneurship.
- Kilgore Intermediate School (Internet, 2017)
After they had read the entire Entrepreneur Kid book series, I visited students in Kilgore, Texas virtually to discuss my story as a writer and how they, too, can find and work on their passions.Thank you to Mrs. Debra Dugger for seeking me out and organizing this discussion — your fourth graders asked great questions and were a total joy to visit!
- Oak Grove Middle School (Paragould, 2017)
I visited my hometown and Oak Grove Middle School — a Paragould School District school — to speak to 200 fifth grade students about my life as a Paragould girl and first-generation college student. I shared with them how my passion for writing began in fifth grade English, with teacher Mrs. Tamra Powell, who is also their fifth grade English teacher!
- 1 Million Cups Little Rock (Little Rock, 2017)
A day after launching the Entrepreneur Kid book series Kickstarter, illustrator Li Zeng and I presented at at 1 Million Cups Little Rock, where we showcased our story, products, and development timeline.
- Lift the Rock (Little Rock, 2017)
Illustrator Li Zeng and I kicked off our Entrepreneur Kid Kickstarter launch at the Lift the Rock meetup, giving a 20-minute investor-style pitch of our project. We had been to so many of these events, so it was nice to be up onstage ourselves!
- 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 my 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.